26 November 2005

Hunger Striker's Son Demands Human Rights Intervention

Indymedia Ireland

by Prisoner solidarity
Saturday, Nov 26 2005, 8:33pm

Message Of Solidarity With The Political Prisoners: Hunger Striker's Son Demands Human Rights Intervention

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Until All Are Free, We Are All Imprisoned!

The son of a Derry INLA hunger striker, Micky Og Devine has added his voice for the release of the nine political activists who have been on hunger strike for the last three weeks whilst awaiting trail in France. On November 16th the trial commenced in a Paris court room against activists of PCE (r) [Communist Party of Spain reconstituted] an underground political party and GRAPO [First of October Anti-Fascist Revolutionary Group] and SRI [International Red Aid]. The French state aided and commanded by the Franco’s Spanish Civil Guard is collaborating in a so-called ‘anti-terrorist campaign’.

In a statement released on behalf of the Devine Family, Micky Og Devine, has called on human rights organisations to “bear witness” the unfolding events, requesting them to “step into the arena before deaths occur due to high levels of brutality and systematic torture” by French & Spanish State authorities. In the statement he also called for an “immediate cessation of the continuing ‘Show Trials’ against the political activists”.

“I and countless others around the world have been following this latest round of injustice which has been simmering over the past number of years in both French and Spanish goals. In the last few years the Spanish state has illegalized dozens of social-political and cultural organisations of the left which all are non-armed, under the anti-terrorist laws. Basically it’s erasing out of the equation all those politically opposed to the establishment.

“The Spanish authorities have been attempting to link PCE (r) and GRAPO as one sole organisation for the last 25 years without success. Now they are seeking assistance from neighboring France for it to arrange new laws that will permit, or to achieve their agenda.

“Isolation, torture and abuse have been relentless ever since their capture and imprisonment. They will try anything to break them down. I would call on those who monitor human rights violations to bear witness to what has been developing both in France and in the Spanish state, step into the issues involved here before deaths occur due to high levels of brutality and systematic torture. Greater solidarity is needed at this time for those incarcerated.

“We are now in the era of mass pacification, were anyone who attempts to stand up against injustice and oppression, protests or struggles politically against the establishments rule, are likely to be silenced and that is clearly a matter of fact.

“We don’t need new laws or further regulations to justify internment by state forces without trail, torture and even murder. The state is already carrying these activities out without hesitation or hindrance. And this is not an isolated occurrence against political activists in France, in the Spanish State, or in the hellholes of Turkey as it is an unwritten policy alive and well in the occupied six counties.

“I am reminded of the miscarriage of justice victim, Tyrone man John Brady, a republican activist who has been held in goal since his detention back in June 2004 with not a single charge against him. That was until trumped up charges appeared in September 2005 concerning the murder of a British soldier in 2002, the case itself is remarkably similar to that of Derry republican Seamus Doherty, now freed following widespread protests by his family, friends and neighbours against a host of false charges.
“In order to fulfill their pursuit the imperialist states are going to do anything they can to silence any voices of resistance by locking them up in isolation, torturing them, denying them basic rights, such as communication with one another as political prisoners or defence of themselves. That’s why the nine communist, anti-fascist and a prisoners solidarity activists that the state wanted to put away in order to diminish any political opposition in the region (France or Spain), had to carry out a hunger strike.

“A scene, only too familiar to that of my own family and that of other families of former political prisoners as we draw near to the 25 anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike.

“This may be seen by some as an isolated issue however you can be sure that other states are watching very closely at these unfolding developments just as many did whilst my father and his comrades and our class fought back against British imperialism during 1981 hunger strike. It is now policy of the imperialist states to hunt political activists that can be seen as a threat for any involvement in the building of a successful working class resistance movement.

“On behalf of myself and the Devine family, I would like to offer our heartfelt support and solidarity in your struggle, and the strength to stand against continuing oppression and unremitting brutality. You are not alone in at this time, the whole world is watching!”

Micky Og Devine

Stop The Show Trails!
Stop The Torture!

Port workers plan to turn away MV Normandy

RTE

26 November 2005 17:58

In an escalation of the Irish Ferries dispute, port workers at Dublin and Rosslare have announced they will turn away the MV Normandy which is due to arrive from France tomorrow.

The ship is due to leave France for Rosslare this evening.

Meanwhile, Irish Ferries has denied a newspaper report that it considered the use of tear gas when another vessel was taken over by ship's officers last December.

However, the reporter who wrote the story, Gerald Flynn, has said his personal notes bear out the article that appeared in today's Irish Independent.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Minister John O'Donoghue said that if the reports were accurate, the government would examine what criminal charges could be brought against the company's management.

In a separate statement, Irish Ferries denied that their security personnel were carrying any kind of weaponry, saying they were only there to protect equipment.

Trade union reps denied access to crew members

In Holyhead, trade union representatives said they have been denied access to crewmembers of the Irish Ferries vessel, Ulysses, in the worsening dispute at the company.

The International Transport Workers' Federation claims a member of the British seafarers' union, NUMAST, was refused permission to board the ship.

The Federation has also claimed the crew on the Ulysses are not free to leave the ship.

Irish Ferries services across the Irish Sea are suspended, and are not expected to resume until Monday at the earliest.

The Ulysses is one of two vessels stranded in Welsh ports, as Irish crewmembers demand the removal of security personnel and foreign agency workers.

This is the third day of the standoff.

RSF call for boycott of Irish Ferries

Indymedia Ireland

by Des Dalton - Republican Sinn Féin Saturday, Nov 26 2005, 2:42pm
saoirse@iol.ie

Statement by Republican Sinn Féin Vice President Des Dalton

Republican Sinn Fein are calling for a boycott of Irish Ferries as we believe this is the most effective way people can show support and solidarity to the workers of Irish Ferries.

These workers are currently locked in a dispute which goes to the root of what a Trade Union Movement is about. This dispute is a defining moment for the Irish Trade Union Movement; the support of IBEC for Irish Ferries is ominous and has echoes of William Martin Murphy's Employer's Federation attempt, during the 1913 lockout, to beat into submission ordinary working men and women. What is happening now is an attempt to roll back the hard fought for rights and working conditions won by Irish workers in the years since 1913.

This is a challenge that must be met head on. The stakes are high; a victory for Irish Ferries would give the green light for wholesale exploitation. What we are witnessing is the playing out of the globalisation agenda, a world where the most vulnerable, in this case migrant workers, are exploited and used to set one section of the working class against the other. This is not simply an attack on the workers of Irish Ferries but is an attack on the pay, conditions and working time of every worker in Ireland. Republican Sinn Fein calls on every Irish working person to come out in support of the Irish Ferries' workers day of action' on Friday next, December 2.

Ends

http://www.rsf.ie/


Irish Ferries denies tear gas report

BreakingNews.ie

26/11/2005 - 10:29:12

Irish Ferries have denied a report published in today's Irish Independent that the company sanctioned the use of tear gas by security personnel on board its vessels Isle of Inishmore and Ulysses.

The company also denies reports that security personnel on board were equipped with weapons.

Irish Ferries have cancelled all weekend crossings due to industrial action as the tense stand off between the company and workers shows no signs of abating.

SIPTU members remain in control of two of the company's vessels which have been prevented from setting to sea now for two days.

The action came to a head on Thursday when overseas' workers and security staff were deployed on board the Isle of Inismore and Ulysses ferries.

The worker’s union is now threatening to mount blockades of ports unless the security personnel and agency crews are removed.

Protest begins as EPA give go-ahead on two incinerators

BreakingNews.ie

26/11/2005 - 10:42:21

Anti-incineration campaigners are protesting in Ringsend in Dublin today after the Environmental Protection Agency granted licences for two for incinerators in Meath and Cork yesterday.

Locals in Ringsend fear the go-ahead will now be given to what would be one of the biggest incinerators in Europe.

Green Party TD John Gormley says increased political pressure needs to be put on the Government to halt the process.

He’s accused the Government of back-tracking on promises not to push ahead with incineration and has pledged that the Green Party will step up their campaign against incineration.

UDA begins discussions on its future

Belfast Telegraph

Police and NIO involved, says UPRG

By Chris Thornton
25 November 2005

UDA representatives have started the "full process of engagement" they wanted to determine the group's future, a senior loyalist political representative said today.

Newtownabbey councillor Tommy Kirkham said the Ulster Political Research Group has opened contacts with the NIO, senior police, ceasefire monitors and the Republic's Government on the UDA's behalf.

On Remembrance Sunday, Mr Kirkham read a statement from the UDA leadership saying the group has "a clear understanding on the future".

"We are open-minded and waiting on contact," the statement added.

"That contact has come," Mr Kirkham said. "At this minute in time, it's a full process of engagement. We're moving on all fronts."

The UPRG is scheduled to have separate meetings with Secretary of State Peter Hain and Political Development Minister David Hanson next month.

Mr Kirkham said the UPRG met Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland and other senior police officers last week and also "agreed a way forward" with the Independent Monitoring Commission.

"There is other progress," he said. "They have renewed contacts in southern Ireland as well." The UDA has also returned to discussions with General John de Chastelain's Decommissioning Commission.

Mr Kirkham said an internal consultation process conducted by the UDA had indicated it is possible to "come to some arrangement about the future of the UDA".

The Rev Mervyn Gibson, a member of the Loyalist Commission, a group that brokers contact between the main paramilitary groups, said he believes both the UVF and UDA are "facing in the right direction".

But he warned that the process of winding up those organisations would not be taken simply in response to the IRA ending their armed campaign.

"I think there could be significant momentum over the next 12 months," he said.

He said an internal discussion document circulated within the Loyalist Commission had identified a resolution of the parades dispute as a central issue.

NI councils overhaul 'too sharp'

BBC


Paul Murphy said community balance was important

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has admitted he felt, while in office, the reduction in district councils from 26 to seven was too much.

Secretary of State Peter Hain announced the measure as part of the biggest shake-up in Northern Ireland's local government for more than 30 years.

Mr Murphy said he had looked at a compromise between 11 and 15 councils, as favoured by most local parties.

"You have to ensure nationalists and unionists can work together," he said.

Mr Murphy said the final consultation on the changes had not taken place before he left office.

CHANGES TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
26 councils reduced to seven super councils
Maximum of 50 councillors per council
Planning responsibility returns to councils
Assembly members not allowed to sit on councils
Councils to devise community plan for delivery of local needs

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He added: "I'm absolutely sure I would have stuck to that sort of number before."

Sinn Fein was the only party to back the proposed seven-council structure, with the others favouring a reduction to 15.

The government predicted £200m a year savings by the plan which is expected to be implemented over four years.

It encompasses changes in various areas including health and education administration.

The move follows a Review of Public Administration which was set up by Stormont.

Mr Hain said the total number of public bodies in health, education and local government was being cut from 67 to 20.

Each of the seven councils - three in the west, three in the east, and a council in Belfast - will have a maximum of 50 councillors each.

The dual mandate allowing people to serve as Northern Ireland Assembly members and councillors will also be removed. At present this applies to 69 of the 108 assembly members.

Key decisions will be taken on a cross-community basis and in future councils will also have responsibility for a number of major functions like planning and local roads.


You've Sold Out Families Of State Collusion'

Derry Journal

Friday 25th November 2005

Derry MP Mark Durkan has launched an astonishing attack on Sinn Fein accusing it of 'selling out' the families of state murder and collusion for the greater advantage of getting IRA people back to the North with no questions asked. Mr. Durkan is urging Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams to now tell the British government to "call the whole thing off" and withdraw the OTR (On the Runs) legislation.

Speaking to the 'Journal' yesterday as he met with the two governments at Hillsborough, Mr. Durkan stated: "If Gerry Adams really did not know that the OTR legislation would apply to state murderers and colluders, why did Conor Murphy fly over to Westminster to welcome the legislation the day after Peter Hain made public that it would apply to them? "To be fair to Martin McGuinness, he made Sinn Fein's real position clear. When the SDLP criticised the legislation for letting state killers off the hook, Martin McGuinness, on BBC's "Hearts and Minds" programme, dismissed our concerns and said that he did 'not envisage that any people who were involved in the murders of nationalists ... is ever going to be brought before a court in this day and age'.

"He admitted that state killers would be able to get the benefit of the legislation but said that the people who would 'gain most advantage from this are those nationalists and republicans who are on the run for over 30 years'." Not once in the interview did he say that the legislation should not apply to state killers. "So there you have it in Martin McGuinness' own words. In return for the greater advantage of getting their on the runs back with no questions asked, Sinn Fein sold out the families that for years they claimed to fight for. They let state killers and loyalists totally off the hook. "But if a panicked Gerry Adams is now changing position, there is a simple thing that he must do: call on Tony Blair to withdraw this legislation immediately and entirely. That is what Gerry Adams must now do.

"The British have made clear that they do not like this legislation. So Sinn Fein should release them from the side deal and call the whole thing off," concluded the Foyle MP. There were emotional scenes in the British parliament this week as legislation granting an amnesty to on-the-run [OTRs] fugitives was given its second reading. Under the controversial law, those wanted by police for offences committed before the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 will be free to return home without any court charges.

The government, which faced significant opposition to the proposal from Northern Ireland and opposition MPs, said it was necessary to kick-start the stalled peace process. Gerry Adams insisted yesterday that the original proposals agreed at Weston Park in a statement by the two governments did not involve members of the British Crown forces.

"The legislation which was brought forward by the British Government was in breach of commitments made to us, going back seven years," he said yesterday. Speaking in Dublin, the West Belfast MP said he also wanted to see all uncompleted aspects of the Good Friday Agreement resolved. "Hundreds of families have been bereaved through the direct actions of the British Crown forces and none of those soldiers have been held accountable. "And hundreds more have been bereaved through the policy of collusion pursued as an administrative practice by British governments for a very long time."

PSNI drug ‘inaction’

Daily Ireland

Connla Young

A campaigning Co Antrim great-grandmother yesterday slammed the PSNI for failing to tackle drug dealers with links to loyalist paramilitaries who target children in their area.
Eileen Wright from Lisburn hit out after she and a friend were asked to present themselves at a local police station.
This followed complaints made by suspected drug dealers desperate to break the women's will to banish dealers from their district.
The women, along with mothers from a number of estates in the sprawling city, have campaigned for several months to force dealers from the area.
The community campaign is centred on the city's Tonagh estate.
A gang of drug dealers with links to the Loyalist Volunteer Force has been operating in the estate for the last few years.
Earlier this week, the PSNI told Mrs Wright to attend Lisburn PSNI station to answer allegations of intimidation.
The PSNI has come in for criticism recently for failing to deal directly with Lisburn's growing drugs scourge.
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Mrs Wright remained defiant.
“They asked me if I would like to come down to the police station.
“The woman I spoke to said the drug dealers have made allegations that I was involved in putting up anti-drugs posters in the area.
“I told her I'm 19 stone [121 kilograms], 62 years of age, riddled with arthritis and hardly able to put my foot across the gate so I certainly wasn't involved in putting posters up.
“I'm not wasting my time answering allegations made by drug dealers, allegations that are not true.
“I told the policewoman it would be a waste of her time and mine.
“If they have evidence, they can arrest me but I'm not going to that police station. What happens after that, I don't know.
“They think, by asking me to come to them, they are doing me a favour. We're on the streets to protect our children."
Mrs Wright and her fellow anti-drug campaigners have themselves been the victims of intimidation in recent months.
During a recent protest march, several known drug dealers took photographs of women taking part.
Mrs Wright is critical of the PSNI response to the drugs crisis.
“They are asking the public to give them information and, when they get it, they don't do anything with it," she said.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said the force was working to tackle the problem in Lisburn.
“Police are investigating a number of allegations of intimidation in the Lisburn area. Police are also proactively tackling the issue of drugs in the area.
“Between April ’05 and August ’05, £0.75 million [€1.1 million] of drugs have been seized in the Lisburn area, 27 arrests made in the same time period in relation to drugs, and 21 people have been charged and 33 reported for drugs offences.
“Police in Lisburn are fully committed to tackling all crime in the area and would appeal to the public for their assistance in doing so.”
The spokesperson was unable to say how many arrests related to people caught with drugs for personal use and how many related to dealers.

Ferry protesters resolute

Daily Ireland

ZOË TUNNEY

Four Irish Ferries workers who remain holed up in one of the company’s vessels last night showed no signs of backing down.
Speaking to Daily Ireland from the engine room of the Isle of Inishmore ferry, the workers said they were determined to carry on their protest until management agreed to adhere to the recommendations of the Labour Court.
One of the workers, Gary Jones, said: “We are in good spirits and we all feel very determined. We will stay here for as long as it takes. We have nothing else to lose.
“Irish Ferries have whittled our terms of employment down to nothing and now they want to take our jobs. That is what we are doing this for.”
The four Irish Ferries ship’s officers — all members of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union — barricaded themselves into the engine room of the vessel on Thursday afternoon. They did so after management brought two bus loads of foreign workers and security personnel aboard the ship.
The Isle of Inishmore was due to set sail for Rosslare at 2.30pm on Thursday but passengers were told to disembark. The ship was still stranded last night in Pembroke dock in Wales.
Gary Jones, John Curry, Brian Whitfield and Vincent Hetherington locked the door to the engine room, which is the central control unit of the vessel.
They have access to telephones and have been keeping in regular contact with the nine other Siptu members on board the ship.
Mr Jones said Irish Ferries management had not tried to contact or negotiate with them since they entered the engine room.
The executive council of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called a special meeting for next Tuesday to discuss the latest wrangle in the dispute.
Congress organised the meeting on the back of calls from Siptu president Jack O’Connor for a national day of protest against the actions of Irish Ferries.
On Tuesday this week, Siptu members voted to serve a 14-day notice for strike action on the company.
The dispute began when Irish Ferries offered a redundancy package to 543 of its ship’s officers to make way for cheaper labour from outside the European Union.
Mr Jones said the dispute was not about foreign workers.
“We have no problem with workers from other countries but, if Irish Ferries want to employ them, let them pay them a fair wage and compete with the rest of the Irish labour force.
“Irish Ferries have to negotiate a union rate. Otherwise, they will get away with slave labour,” he said.
A ruling from the Irish Labour Court last week said Irish Ferries should honour its existing arrangements in the dispute over the outsourcing of staff on its Irish Sea routes.
Irish Ferries human- resources director Alf McGrath said the company had to employ cheaper labour to survive in the market.
“We’ve predicted that, if we don’t make costs-reduction changes adequate to meet the needs of competition, then we won’t have a company,” he said.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the current stand-off was an unacceptable resort to confrontation, which was not the way to conduct industrial relations. Labour Party TD Brendan Howlin accused Irish Ferries of thuggery. He blamed the company for destroying social partnership in Ireland.
“This stand-off is wrecking any agreement between the government and social partners. The onus is now on the government to act like never before,” he said.

Loyalists warn couple not to return to home

Belfast Telegraph

Writer's family is torn apart by thugs

By Ashleigh Wallace
awallace@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
26 November 2005

THE wife of Ulster playwright Gary Mitchell has revealed how a spate of intimidation at the hands of loyalist paramilitaries has resulted in her family being torn apart.

Speaking last night, Alison Mitchell said the intimidation reached a peak earlier this week when their family home in Glengormley was petrol bombed.

Gary's elderly grandmother, who lived in Rathcoole for over half a decade, died this week.

However, the Mitchell family - including Gary's parents Chuck and Sandra - were warned they would be targeted by loyalists if they returned to the estate to pay their respects. The stress of the situation became so bad that Chuck had a heart attack.

Both Gary and Alison have been warned not to return to their home, which was targeted on Wednesday night. The couple and their seven-year old son Harry are now sleeping on floors of their relatives' houses.

A distraught Alison said: "The intimidation started two years ago when Gary made a film about loyalists called The Beast Sleeps. He started filming in Rathcoole, where he is from, but was told to get out.

"When Gary and I got married, we moved to Glengormley but in the past seven months our family have been subject to terrible intimidation.

"Chuck and Sandra have been forced out of their home in Rathcoole and Gary's sister and her young daughter also had to flee from the area.

"They tried to intimidate Gary's granny but she refused to be forced out. She died this week and we've told not to come into the estate.

"Her dying wish was to be buried from her home and we couldn't fulfil that wish."

Alison said the petrol bombers struck sometime around 9pm on Wednesday.

She said: "A guy tried to get into the house and another one wrecked our car. My little boy was screaming, saying he was going to die.

"My father in law collapsed, had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital.

"Gary's uncle Geordie also had his home attacked on Wednesday night. He's disabled and after what happened, he's now in hospital.

"We've been advised by the police not to return home for our safety.

"I don't even know where we're going to stay tomorrow night.

"We are supposed to be living in a peaceful society now and are lives have been shattered by these rogue paramilitaries."


More snow forecast in big freeze

BBC


Road service gritters have worked throughout the night

Many people across Northern Ireland have been coping with the effects of last night's icy weather.

Gritters were out throughout the night and were still salting some main roads on Friday morning.

The Met Office has warned that more sleet and snow is forecast for Friday and through to the weekend.

The heaviest snow fell on Thursday night on higher ground, with lighter snow on lower roads becoming more severe through the night.

There were sub-zero temperatures in some places across Northern Ireland.

Extreme care

Road Service workers have been out, salting roads and ploughing where necessary but they say untreated roads are hazardous.

Spokesman Colin Brown said they had been helped by "a very accurate weather forecast".

"Our winter service teams have been working very hard and continuously salting the scheduled network from lunchtime yesterday, Thursday, right through the evening, the night and indeed this morning," he said.

"So the main roads, the scheduled roads are passable.

"We are certainly prepared for something similar again today, into tonight and into tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

"So we're well prepared for another fairly heavy night of activity salting the network."

The police are advising motorists to take extreme care, slow down and keep safe distances.

Some ferry services have been cancelled, though at the moment the airports are operating as normal.

Meanwhile, the Met Office said another band of snow was moving in from the north.

Motorists must exercise extra care as forecast snow begins to fall, Northern Ireland's Roads Service has said.

The Met Office has warned heavy snow and blizzards can be expected through to the weekend.

The police have said snow has been affecting the Antrim, Crumlin and Glengormley areas.

Arrangements are also in place to enlist the help of contractors - including farmers - to clear blocked roads.

A winter service leaflet is also available to help inform the public about winter driving and is available by calling 02890 540540 or from the Road Service website.

Meanwhile, the CCEA, the body responsible for setting the 11-plus exam, has issued said the test would go ahead as planned at 1000 GMT.

Neil Anderson from CCEA said parents and staff involved in the transfer test should take due account of any warnings and make judgements about the safety of travel.

"If they do deem that it is safe to make a journey, they should make sensible adjustments to normal travel time to make sure they arrive on time," Mr Anderson said.

However, he reassured people that any child who missed the test because of transport difficulties would be able to take the supplementary exam in mid-December.


Seán Mac Stíofáin

Wikipedia

**This article is available for edit onsite. Of special interest is the archived radio interview in 'Sources'

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Seán Mac Stíofáin (17 February 1928- 18 May 2001) was an Irish republican and first chief of staff of the Provisional IRA.

Childhood

Although he used the Gaelicised version of his name in later life, Mac Stíofáin was born an only child as John Edward Drayton Stephenson in Leytonstone, London in 1928. While his father was English, his mother was of Protestant Irish descent but born in Bethnal Green, London. Contrary to popular myth, Mac Stíofáin never claimed his mother came from Belfast, but that "her people" did. His Protestant Unionist great-grandmother was born in Belfast. Thus, Mac Stíofáin’s Irish ancestry was tenuous to say the least.

His childhood was marred by his alcoholic, wife-beating father. His mother, who doted over her son, died when Mac Stíofáin was only 10. Nevertheless, Mac Stíofáin (who was baptized a Roman Catholic, doubtless at the behest of his mother, despite the fact that neither of his parents was Catholic) attended Catholic schools, where he came into contact with pro-Sinn Féin Irish Catholic students.

He left school in 1944 at the age of 16 and worked in the building trade before being conscripted into the RAF to do his national service in 1945. He attained the rank of corporal. After leaving the RAF, he returned to London where he became increasingly involved with Irish organisations in Britain. He first joined Conradh na Gaeilge, then the Irish Anti-Partition League, bought (and later sold) the United Irishman, joined Sinn Féin in London and eventually in 1949 helped to organise a unit of the IRA. He first met his wife, Máire, who was from Castletownroche, County Cork, Ireland. Mac Stíofáin then began work for British Rail.

Joins IRA

On July 25, 1953, Mac Stíofáin took part in an IRA arms raid on the Officers_Training_Corps School at Felstead in County Essex. In that raid, the IRA netted over 108 rifles, ten Bren and eight Stem guns, two mortars and dummy mortar bombs. The British police seized the van carrying the stolen weapons some hours later and on 19 August 1953, he was sentenced along with Cahal (or Cathal) Goulding and Manus Canning, to eight years imprisonment by a court in Bishop's Stratford, Hertfordshire. In was in the run-up to the raid that Mac Stíofáin learned his first few words in Irish from Cathal Goulding. He later became fluent in the language, which he spoke with an English accent.

While incarcerated in Wormwood Scrubs and Brixton prisons, he learned not only a smattering of Greek from the Cypriot EOKA prisoners (he befriended Nikos Sampson) but some ideas on guerrilla warfare.

Upon parole in 1959, Mac Stíofáin went to the Republic of Ireland with his wife and young family and settled in Dublin, and later Navan, County Meath, and became known under the Irish version of his name. Contrary to a number of accounts, this was not his first visit to the country and he had been to Ireland a month before the Felstead raid in 1953. He worked as a salesman for an Irish language organisation. He remained active in the IRA and gave the Bodenstown oration in 1959. A staunch and lifelong devoted Catholic, he distrusted the left-wing political direction – underway from 1964 – his erstwhile friend and IRA chief of staff, Cathal Goulding, was bringing the IRA. Appointed IRA Director of Intelligence in 1966, Mac Stíofáin was in a position to oppose the Goulding line and prepare the ground in the event of a split in the organisation. He was prominent in agitations in Middleton against ground-rent landlordism and against foreign buy-outs of Irish farmland in County Meath where he moved with his family in 1966.

A tall, well-built man, Mac Stíofáin was regarded as a rather dour personality who did not drink or smoke. He was a devout Catholic and was infuriated by an article in the United Irishman, condemning the reciting of the Rosary at republican commemorations as "sectarian". For refusing to distribute the newspaper, he was suspended from the republican movement for six months. He was described by a former colleague as "a very rigid kind of person. He is not a person who thinks a lot. A courageous person in the physical sense, but at the same time not a person who has an accurate feeling about the situation in Ireland".

Leads the Provisional IRA

When an IRA Special Army Convention voted to drop the principle of abstentionism in December 1969, Mac Stíofáin was prominent in the breakaway faction that later became known as the Provisional IRA. Indeed, he was appointed the organisation’s first chief of staff. At the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin on January 10, 1970, Mac Stíofáin declared from the podium that he pledged his "allegiance to the Provisional IRA" before leading the walkout of disgruntled members to form what would become Provisional Sinn Féin.

The split also ended Mac Stíofáin’s friendship with Cathal Goulding, who went on to serve as chief of staff of the rival Official IRA. Goulding was scathing about "that English Irishman".

According to Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, it was Seán Mac Stíofáin, as chief of staff of the Provisionals, who invented the name "P. Ó Néill". P. O'Neill is the name appended to IRA declarations to show that the statement is genuine.

Nicknamed 'Mac the Knife', Mac Stíofáin was a dedicated "physical force" republican, who believed that violence was the only means to bring about an end to British rule in Northern Ireland. In his autobiography, he set out the aims of the Provisional IRA as moving from "area defence" to "combined defence and retaliation" and then a "third phase of launching an all-out offensive action against the British occupation system". He also gave a detailed account of his development of the tactic of the "one shot sniper". He is said to have taken part in an unsuccessful attack on Crossmaglen RUC station in August 1969.

He disclaimed responsibility for the innocent civilian casualties of IRA actions by simply declaring: "It's a war". His military strategy was summed up in his own words by "escalate, escalate, escalate" and in 1972, by far the bloodiest year of the conflict, the IRA killed around 100 British soldiers and lost 90 of their own members.

On 7 July 1972, Mac Stíofáin led an IRA delegation to a secret meeting with members of the British government, led by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland William Whitelaw, at Cheyne Walk in London. This was the Chelsea home of millionaire Tory minister, Paul Channon. Other IRA leaders in attendance were Dáithí Ó Conaill, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, Seamus Twomey and Ivor Bell. Very much in charge, Mac Stíofáin spelled out the three basis demands of the Provisionals: (1) The future of Ireland to be decided by the people of Ireland acting as a unit; (2) a British government Declaration of Intent to withdraw from Ireland by January 1975 and (3) the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

The British claimed this was impossible owing to the commitment it had given to unionists. The talks ended in failure, and as a briefing for prime minister Edward Heath later noted, Whitelaw "found the experience of meeting and talking to Mr Mac Stíofáin very unpleasant". Mac Stíofáin said that Whitelaw put up his bluff exterior at first, but after a couple of minutes let it drop and showed himself to be a shrewd political operator; he also noted that Whitelaw was one of the few Englishmen to pronounce his name correctly.

Following the unsuccessful talks, Mac Stíofáin ordered an intensification of the IRA campaign which peaked on July 21, 1972, or Bloody Friday, when the IRA detonated 22 car bombs in less than two hours across Belfast, killing nine people and injuring 130. In his memoirs, Mac Stíofáin described the operation as "a concerted sabotage offensive" intended to demonstrate the IRA was capable of planting a large number of bombs at once.

At a meeting between British Prime Minister Ted Heath and Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch in Munich on September 4, 1972, the former asked the latter if Mac Stíofáin could be arrested. In reply, Lynch said that he had disappeared and that the evidence against him was flimsy.

On November 19, 1972, a controversial interview with Mac Stíofáin was broadcast on the RTÉ This Week radio programme. He was arrested on the same day and the interview was later used as evidence against him on a trial of IRA membership and on November 25 he was sentenced to six months imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Political fallout arising from the interview was considerable and some days later Fianna Fáil minister Gerry Collins sacked the entire RTÉ Authority.

Jailed in the Curragh Prison, Mac Stíofáin immediately embarked on a hunger and thirst strike. He was taken to the Dublin Mater_Hospital, from where an IRA unit, two of whom were disguised as priests, unsuccessfully tried to free him on November 26, 1972. Mac Stíofáin continued his hunger and thirst strike, which led to tumultuous scenes in Dublin and protests outside the Mater Hospital where he was visited by the then Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Dermot Ryan, and his predecessor, Dr. John Charles McQuaid.

Near to death after 57Citation needed days, he relented and took liquids, turning what had been expected by the republican leadership to become a major national protest into a farce. For "bringing the IRA into disrepute", he was then ordered off his protest by IRA Army Council members Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill. Under the IRA constitution, Mac Stíofáin lost his rank upon arrest and he never again regained his influence within the IRA after his release in April 1973. He was also thenceforth referred to in republican circles, when at all, by his birth name.

Subsequent Activities

Afterwards he was sidelined, and was given a job of distribution manager of the Provisional Sinn Féin newspaper An Phoblacht/Republican News in the late 1970s. He resigned from the party in 1981 after a disagreement about strategy at the Ard Fheis (annual convention), when a majority opposed the Éire Nua policy, which envisaged the setting up of regional governments in each of the traditional four provinces on the island.

In March 1983 Mac Stíofáin appealed to the IRA to declare a ceasefire.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Mac Stíofáin became active in the Irish language organisation Conradh na Gaeilge. At that organisation’s centenery celebration held in Dublin’s O'Connell_Street in 1993, he was a guest of honour on the platform. He remained a member of the standing committee (Coiste Gnó) of Conradh na Gaeilge until his death.

Death

In 1993, Mac Stíofáin suffered a stroke. On May 18, 2001, he died in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, County Meath, after a long illness at the age of 73. He is buried in St Mary's Cemetery, Navan.

Despite his controversial career in the IRA, many of his former comrades (and rivals) paid tribute to him after his death. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, who attended the funeral, issued a glowing tribute, referring to Mac Stíofáin as an "outstanding IRA leader during a crucial period in Irish history" and as the "man for the job" as first Provisional IRA Chief of Staff. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness also attended. In her oration, Ita Ní Chionnaigh of Conradh na Gaeilge, whose flag draped the coffin, lambasted Mac Stíofáin’s "character assassination" by the "gutter press" and praised him as a man who had been "interested in the rights of men and women and people anywhere in the world who were oppressed, including Irish speakers in Ireland, who are also oppressed".

A number of former EOKA members also attended his funeral.

In 2001, Sunday Times journalist Liam Clarke claimed Mac Stíofáin was an informer on dissident republicans for the Garda Siochána from 1969. According to Clarke, Mac Stíofáin’s former Special Branch handler, the late Hugh McNeilis, claimed that: "I think he was doing it because he wanted to get rid of certain people."

Writings

Mac Stíofáin, Seán, Memoirs of a Revolutionary, London (Gordon Cremonesi), 1975.

 

Sources


Today in history: Police foil IRA hospital rescue attempt

BBCON THIS DAY

26 November 1972


Sean MacStiofain has refused to eat or drink for nine days

Eight armed men protesting against the imprisonment of Sean MacStiofain have tried to rescue him from a Dublin hospital.

MacStiofain - who has refused to eat or drink for nine days - was sentenced to six months imprisonment yesterday for being a member of the IRA.

Four men, two of them bystanders, were injured during a gun fight with Special Branch officers on the ward of the Mater Misericordiae hospital where the convicted IRA chief is being held.

But police said they had foiled the attempt and arrested seven of the attackers.

The gang arrived at the hospital near Mountjoy Prison in north Dublin just after dark.

A Garda spokesman said they were disguised as hospital workers and priests and were able to approach the floor where MacStiofain was being held without being suspected.

"But when they got within sight of the ward, handguns were produced and the shooting started," he said.

Gun battle

The gunmen grabbed a nurse and three police officers, but a fourth was able to run into an adjoining office and radio for support.

The gun battle took place in a narrow passageway leading to the ward. A Special Branch officer was shot in the hand and one of the attackers was hit in the stomach.

Troops have been called to the hospital to help guard the building, but a police representative told reporters the situation was under control.

"There was never any danger of their getting MacStiofain out," he said.

In Context

Sean MacStiofain was born John Stephenson in east London in 1928. He was brought up in England but had an Irish mother.

His involvement in Irish political groups began in his late teens and he joined the Irish republicans' English movement - United Irishman - in the early 1950s.

By the time he was arrested MacStiofain was the IRA's chief-of-staff, but was replaced after ending his hunger strike after 57 days - a sign of weakness in many republicans' eyes.

He died in May 2001.



Dublin/Monaghan bombs compensation almost

BreakingNews.ie

25/11/2005 - 17:46:27

Almost €2m has been paid out in compensation to the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and their families, it emerged today.

In a reply to a question by Dublin North Central Independent TD Finian McGrath, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said a total of €1,982,339 had been paid out to the victim’s families, those injured and support services.

A total of 37 people were killed in the atrocities between 1972 and 1974.

Three bus employees died in two explosions in Sackville Place in Dublin in December 1972 and January 1973.

In May 1974 three separate car bombs killed 26 people and an unborn baby in the capital, while seven people died in a fourth blast in Monaghan town on the same day.

Mr McDowell said that in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement a review of the arrangements to meet the needs of people who had suffered as a result of violence in the Northern Ireland conflict had been undertaken.

“As a result of this review, the Remembrance Commission and the scheme of acknowledgement, remembrance and assistance for victims in this jurisdiction of the conflict in Northern Ireland was established on October 29 2003. The scheme was further amended in October 2004.

“Payments which are made to victims or their families in accordance with the terms of the amended scheme are in respect of a death, economic hardship grounds, medical expenses and also towards the provision of counselling expenses.

“In addition the commission funds support groups working with victims of the conflict and their families.

“To date over €3m has been allocated from the scheme and paid to victims, to bereaved families and to victim support services as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

“This includes a donation of €1.25m to the Northern Ireland memorial fund.

“In addition to money paid out under this scheme, awards were made in the past to victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and their families by the criminal injuries compensation tribunal, which was established in 1974.

“Taken together, the total amount paid to date in respect of those who were either killed or injured in the 1972 to 1974 Dublin and 1974 Monaghan bombings and also to the support services dealing with the victims and their families, is €1,982,339,” Mr McDowell said.

Unionists challenge 'amnesty' for terror killers

BreakingNews.ie

25/11/2005 - 16:00:44

Unionists have launched a new bid to have murderers banned from a British government scheme to allow terrorist fugitives back into Northern Ireland without facing jail.

Even though the House of Commons has passed the latest stage of a bill which has provoked outrage, the DUP has tabled 55 amendments in an effort to thwart the legislation.

Their proposals also involve forcing those who benefit from the plans to serve at least a third of their prison sentence and for all inquiries into alleged security force wrongdoing during the conflict to be halted.

Other amendments include fixing a six-month time limit on applying for a certificate, and ordering applicants to attend a special tribunal.

Democratic Unionist MP Peter Robinson said: “This is a piece of legislation that we cannot support in any form as it is an affront to justice and an insult to the victims of the Troubles.

“Even if all of these amendments were passed, the Bill would still represent an unacceptable step for the government to take. But at least it would be an improvement on the total immorality of the current bill.

“We will use every Parliamentary opportunity to do all we can to block the passage of this legislation and the Government will be given a rough ride at every stage of legislation.”

Up to 150 so-called ‘On The Runs’ wanted for often horrific crimes committed before the April 1998 Good Friday Agreement would benefit from the scheme which the British government hopes will advance the political process in Northern Ireland.

Suspected terrorists who have been in hiding for years would have their cases heard by a special tribunal.

If convicted they would be given sentences but released on license without being imprisoned.

Although Sinn Féin has demanded their return to the North under what many have labelled an amnesty, republicans insisted police officers and soldiers who colluded in terrorist murders should not be included in the plans.

Their nationalist rivals in the SDLP, who opposed the bill, accused Sinn Féin of championing legislation that sets state killers free.

The party also claimed loyalist paramilitary drug dealers will be able to skip prison because the legislation refers to offences committed before April 1998 connected with terrorism, whether committed for terrorist purposes or not.

Alex Attwood, the SDLP’s policing spokesman, said: “It means that people who dealt drugs to raise money for loyalist paramilitaries will be eligible.

“If they are ever charged, they will not have to turn up in court. They will not have to face a single day in prison.

“Drug dealing and racketeering done to raise money for Loyalist Volunteer Force, Ulster Volunteer Force or Ulster Defence Association godfathers will therefore be covered.

“The same goes for IRA bank robbing and other crime before the Good Friday Agreement.”

The Northern Ireland Office stressed the eligibility of individuals and what offences are included would be down to the Certification Commissioner.

“In making decisions the commissioner will take account of information provided by the police and intelligence agencies,” a spokeswoman said.

“The legislation sets out strict criteria for the eligibility of individuals, referring to the behaviour of applicants – both terrorist activities and convictions for other serious offences – and the status of any organisation he or she supports.”

She added that the criteria was similar, if not stricter, to that drawn up for the early prisoner release scheme under the Good Friday Agreement.

“The Commissioner will have to consider whether an offence is connected to terrorism,” she said.

“It’s at present unclear whether charges would be brought against individuals for historic offences of the sort highlighted.”

Why SF members must tow the party line, on everything but the economy

Belfast Telegraph

Via Newshound

Eamonn McCann
24 November 2005

I suppose Francie Molloy can count himself lucky that it's only from Sinn Fein membership that he's suspended and not from the end of a rope.

Francie was accused at lunchtime on Tuesday of not only thinking things which Sinn Fein chiefs hadn't approved, but of expressing them within earshot of voters. Within 90 minutes - give or take - Mitchel McLaughlin had conducted a preliminary hearing in his head and decided that Bobby Sands' director of elections had a prima face case to answer. So he's been cast beyond the Pale, pending a full hearing.

Mitchel helpfully explained yesterday that it's his job as general secretary to take these difficult disciplinary decisions.

This came as something of a surprise to those of us who'd been reminded by Tuesday night's Spotlight programme that in the wake of the killing of Robert McCartney, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams had personally suspended seven members of the party without, apparently, feeling a need to consult anyone else.

Are President Adams and General Secretary McLaughlin the only Sinn Fein officials with this awesome power to remove party members from the organisation at will? Or are there others? Could Sinn Fein, please, publish a list?

It is surely not healthy to have party members walking around not knowing whether it's safe to look sideways at Barry McElduff.

I raise these matters only because no Sinn Fein member whom I managed to consult in the pub last night was clear about the procedures which had been followed in the Francie suspension. None could quote the party rule or policy decision which had conferred these unusual powers on the President and the General Secretary (and possibly on a range of others.)

I have to wonder, too, whether my old friend Mitchel isn't being a mite foolhardy in exercising his disciplinary muscle with such evident alacrity.

I'd proceed with a certain circumspection, if I were in his defiantly unfashionable brogues.

It is Sinn Fein policy not to welcome or facilitate new investment in Northern Ireland unless the inward investor meets a number of conditions to do with ethical practice and workers' right to trade union membership and representation.

The policy was enthusiastically endorsed a few years back by Sinn Fein's supreme decision-making body, the Ard Fheis, the motion having been proposed by a Derry delegation led, if memory serves, by, er, Mitchel McLaughlin.

And yet, long hours fine-tooth-combing through Mitchel's many subsequent pronouncements on economic policy have failed to yield a single example of this particular party policy being espoused.

Indeed, many may have formed an impression from Mitchel that there's isn't an unbridgeable gap between Sinn Fein policy on investment and workers' rights and the policy of the DUP - or even of New Labour.

Is Mitchel not running the risk of finding himself sin-binned with Francie?

I suppose he's safe enough if it's only President Adams who'd have the clout to declare him non grata.

After all, Generalissimo Gerry isn't averse to the odd solo run himself when it comes to economic matters.

There's been a major kerfuffle down south in the past fortnight about the chances of the Shinners going into government with Fianna Fail.

Bertie Ahern says he won't hear of it, on the ground that Sinn Fein economic policy would be fatal for the Celtic Tiger.

"Marxist," the policy was described as, to the delight of those Shinners who are chuffed to be thought of as Marxists.

Right enough, higher income tax, higher capital gains tax, higher corporation tax, a 30% tax on banks, a desire to tax property and opposition to greater European integration - the policy mix would be bad medicine for Fianna Fail's business friends.

But then I read in the Sunday papers that no less a person than General Adams himself has been giving "private briefings" to Dublin media outlets making it clear that it's the peace process and the "equality agenda" which will be make-or-break for Sinn Fein in relation to coalition - not the party's economic proposals, which will be "negotiable".

Something of a pattern here, is there not?

When it comes to communal questions, issues of Orange versus Green, party members must offer no backchat, take their lead from the top, and stay in tune as they all sing the same song.

But on economic questions, on class issues, policy is there only for the optics. You can say anything you like, especially if it advances the party towards power.

Thus it was just days ago that Peter Hain gave an interview to a New York newspaper explaining that Britain now wanted to solve its Northern Ireland problem by privatising the whole place, and the only aspect of the interview which exercised Sinn Fein (or the DUP) was whether we are to be sold off on our own or as a job lot with the Republic.

Still. At least things are being clarified, are they not?


George Best, 59, Soccer's First Pop Icon, Dies - New York Times

New York Times

By JACK BELL
Published: November 25, 2005

George Best, an Irish soccer star who captivated the public with his flamboyant skill on the field and his playboy exploits off the field, died today in London's Cromwell Hospital of multiple organ failure, a hospital spokesman said. He was 59.

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Associated Press

George Best, one of the most dazzling players in soccer history who also reveled in a hard-drinking, playboy lifestyle, died at age 59.

Mr. Best had been in the intensive care unit for a month, when his condition deteriorated drastically on Wednesday. Dr. Roger Williams, in charge of his care at the hospital, said that the former soccer star had internal bleeding, most likely from his bowel.

Mr. Best was hospitalized in 2000 for a liver condition and had a liver transplant in 2002. He had waged a lifelong battle with alcohol and lost.

"My father has passed away." Mr. Best's tearful son, Calum, told reporters on the hospital steps, according to Reuters. "Not only have I lost my dad but we've all lost a wonderful man."

In the staid and tradition-bound world of English soccer during the 1960's, Mr. Best quickly came to personify the rebelliousness of that decade. As soccer's first pop icon, often compared to the American football star Joe Namath of the New York Jets, Mr. Best began his professional career with Manchester United, one of the most powerful clubs in England and the world.

Mr. Best was to soccer what the Beatles were music and pop culture: a reminder that the world was about to change, for better or worse. He made the game entertaining because he was an entertainer long before sportsmen became celebrities. He was a working-class hero in the most working-class British sport, continually sticking his finger in the eye of the establishment.

At the beginning of his career his antics off the field never seemed to affect his playing.

"If ever there was a greater player than George, I've never seen him, Jimmy Greaves, a member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad, said in an Oct. 27 interview, Bloomberg News reported. "He was wonderful."

Mr. Best joined Manchester United in 1961 as a 15-year-old apprentice from the public housing of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bob Bishop, Manchester United's scout in Ireland, had discovered Mr. Best and sent a message to the club's director, Sir Matt Busby: "I think I found you a genius."

Mr. Best made his Manchester United debut at right wing on Sept. 14, 1963, against West Bromwich Albion and scored his first goal in only his second league appearance. The club won the English First Division (now Premier League) championship the next season, 1964-65, and again in 1966-67.

His brilliant yet tumultuous career in the north of England ended when he walked out on the club in 1974 at age 27 after having scored 137 goals in 361 league appearances for United and an additional 41 goals in 105 games in various domestic and international cup competitions.

Mr. Best played in his first international match for Northern Ireland at age 17 and made 37 international appearances, scoring nine goals. In November 1972, he was forced to withdraw from a game against Spain in Northern Ireland because of death threats against him from the Irish Republican Army. Mr. Best never played in the World Cup finals because Northern Ireland did not qualify until 1982.

Mr. Best dazzled the world with his prodigious dribbling skills , often taking a withdrawn position in the midfield, then dashing forward, the ball seemingly tethered to his foot. His touch of genius and individual flair on the field were matched only by his outrageous behavior off the field, which mesmerized and often incensed a sporting public that had come to expect its soccer stars to be seen on Saturdays and unheard the rest of the week.

Perhaps the apex of Mr. Best's career came at Wembley Stadium in London in 1968, when he scored the eventual game-winning goal in Manchester United's classic 4-1 victory over Benfica of Portugal in the European Cup final, the most prestigious club competition in Europe. Mr. Best was selected as the British Footballer of the Year in 1968 and the European Player of the Year in 1968.

That was only the beginning of Mr. Best's roller coaster soccer career, from the pinnacle with Manchester United to the game's backwater of forgettable lower-division clubs in Britain, Spain and Australia. He also played for three clubs in the North American Soccer League from 1976 to 1981, scoring 54 goals in 139 games.

Off the field, Mr. Best nurtured a playboy image that transcended the world of soccer. He built a mansion in Manchester and lived under police protection as he was besieged by hordes of girls.

With Mike Summerbee, a player for cross-town rival Manchester City, Mr. Best opened a number of fashion boutiques and hair salons. He also became the proprietor of a travel agency and several nightclubs. All the enterprises, however, were ultimately unsuccessful.

Still, Mr. Best's popularity was unprecedented - during the 1960's he received about 10,000 letters a week from fans around the world and employed three full-time staffers to answer them.

Frequent and unexplained upheavals with club management were seen at the time as the actions of an obstreperous, immature athlete. Later, it came to light that Mr. Best had a drinking problem. In 1982, while playing in San Jose, Calif., Mr. Best was suspended indefinitely by the club and entered an alcohol rehabilitation program. During a bankruptcy hearing in London in 1983 Mr. Best told the court, "I am an alcoholic."

"My drinking over the last 12 years has been the root of my trouble," he added.

In addition to his wife of nine years, Alex, from whom he separated in 2003, Mr. Best is survived by his son, Calum, from his first marriage.

Whatever off-the-field demons Best has dealt with, on the field he was famously infamous for some of his outrageous stunts in which he flaunted his skills while making the opposition feel impotent. With his speed, balance, vision and control of the ball, he would taunt opponents.

In one game he enraged the opposition when he tapped the ball off the shins of two defenders before setting off for the goal. He once needled a Chelsea defender by taking off his red Manchester United jersey and, foot on ball, waved the shirt in the defender's face like a bullfighter. His theatrics resulted in his being treated savagely by opposing players, and his quick temper often led to confrontations on the field.

Always impetuous and outspoken, Mr. Best was inducted into the International Football Hall of Champions in Brussels in 2000, and caused a stir when he criticized the skills of David Beckham, a star for Manchester United at the time. "He cannot kick with his left foot," Mr. Best said. "He cannot head a ball. He cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that, he's all right."

Several years ago Mr. Best summed up his life when he said: "I spent all my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."


25 November 2005

Six County reforms: "merely a restructuring of British Rule"

Republican Sinn Féin
Teach  Dáithí  Ó  Conaill, 
223 Parnell  Street
Dublin  1,  Ireland

Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Teach  Dáithí  Ó  Conaill, 
223  Sráid  Pharnell,  BÁC  1,  Éire

For further information contact:
Des Dalton: Vice-President:  086-329 1809
Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh Publicity Officer: Dublin 872 9747,  
087-648 2061

Phone: +353-1-872 9747
Fax: +353-1-872 9757
e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie

rsf.ie

For release
25 November/Samhain 2005
Press Release/Preas Ráiteas
     
Statement by Republican Sinn Fein Vice President Des Dalton 

The reform of local government in the Six Counties announced on  November 22 is merely a restructuring of British Rule in Ireland. Far  from delivering democratic accountability the proposed reform merely  represents tinkering with, what is fundamentally an undemocratic and  sectarian statelet. The proposals contained within EIRE NUA, Republican  Sinn Fein's programme for a New Ireland, would deliver real democracy  for a nine county Ulster. EIRE NUA gives local government real teeth, handing regional and district councils control over areas such as  education, health, economic development and job creation, social  services etc, rather than merely street lighting or the maintenance of roads and footpaths.

It is also important to note, in the midst of the media hype  surrounding these so-called reforms that the anti-democratic test oath  for local election candidates remains in place.
 
This oath requires Republican candidates to renounce the Irish people's right to resist British occupation as well as publicly disowning the organisations of  the Republican Movement, thereby precluding Republicans from contesting  local elections in the Six Counties.
 
The continued imposition of this  political test oath disenfranchises people across the Six Counties
because of their opposition to British rule, denying them their right  to vote for the candidate of their choice. It is clear little has changed in the Six County state; democracy still does not apply to
everyone.

Ends.

Court rejects Omagh case appeal

BBC


Twenty-nine people died in Omagh bombing in August 1998

A bid to have the £15m Omagh bomb compensation case dismissed has been rejected in the Court of Appeal.

Two defendants - Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly - claimed alleged irregularities by solicitors representing the families meant it should be thrown out.

The 1998 Real IRA bomb killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Earlier this year Mr Justice Morgan dismissed an application by Murphy and Daly to strike out the claim and Friday's decision upheld that.

The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, said one of the grounds advanced on behalf of Murphy and Daly, two of the five defendants, was that the writ did not comply with court rules because the London legal firm of H20 had no business address within Northern Ireland.

Sir Brian said a Belfast firm of solicitors had agreed to allow their offices to be used as an address for service but were unwilling to be named as agents of the plaintiffs' solicitors for security reasons.

He said that if a local address was necessary, "we consider that the circumstances of the case justify our refusal to set aside the proceedings on account of that irregularity".

Sir Brian added: "Because of the nature of the case the plaintiffs have found it impossible to engage solicitors in Northern Ireland.

"To require the present solicitors to establish business premises here simply to secure technical compliance with the rules would not be in the interests of justice."


Remembering the Past - Founding of Sinn Féin 1905

An Phoblacht

BY Mícheál MacDonncha

Extract from Sinn Féin - A Century of Struggle

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Arthur Griffith - founder of Sinn Féin - see wikipedia.org

The founding date of Sinn Féin is 28 November 1905. On that date the first Annual Convention of the National Council was held in the Rotunda, Dublin. The meeting began at 11am and among the over 100 delegates were Arthur Griffith, Edward Martyn, Thomas Martin, John Sweetman, Jenny Wyse-Power, Pádraig Mac Piarais, Máire de Buitleir, Patrick McCartan, Oliver St John Gogarty, Peadar Ó Cearnaigh, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh and William Cosgrave. Two of those delegates, Mac Piarias and Michael O'Hanrahan of Wexford, were among the executed leaders in 1916.

Máire de Buitléir wrote that most of the audience "consisted of young clerks or working men and some intellectuals, chief of whom was Pádraig Pearse".

Opening the Convention, Edward Martyn, President of the National Council, explained the background:

"The National Council was suddenly called into being in the early summer of 1903 when the visit of the King of England threw so many nationalists off their balance, caused them to forget their principles, whether from weakness or corruption, and afforded the anti-national party a means to triumph over the apparent ineffectiveness of Ireland's aspirations. It was then that, in the general confusion of ruinous lies and credulity, it was found necessary to establish some platform upon which nationalists might meet who recognised the folly and treason to Ireland of voluntarily recognising a king who was ruling in defiance of our Constitution.

"Owing to the work of the National Council, King Edward was refused an address from Dublin Corporation. This was the first time since the invasion of Ireland by Henry II in the 12th Century that an official Dublin body performed such a patriotic act. Its influence and its success in Dublin strengthened the hand of every nationalist in the country. Emboldened by such success the members of the National Council thought it a pity that such a body should be dissolved at the conclusion of the royal visit.

"Then there appeared in Ireland a pamphlet of extraordinary political ability which at once flew over the country and established for its author a reputation for statesmanship such as no Irishman has since Parnell. The Resurrection of Hungary has set Ireland thinking of the policy of Sinn Féin. It is this policy that our convention has chiefly to consider at this conference."

Arthur Griffith, author of The Resurrection of Hungary (1904) then presented a detailed programme which was later published as The Sinn Féin Policy.

"No law and no series of laws can make a nation out of a people which distrusts itself. If we believe in ourselves -- if each individual in our ranks believes in himself, we shall carry this policy to victory against all the forces that may be arrayed against us.

"We go to build the nation up from within, and we deny the right of any but our own countrymen to shape its course. That course is not England's and we shall not justify our course to England. The craven policy that has rotted our nation has been the policy of justifying our existence in our enemy's eyes. Our misfortunes are manifold but we are still men and women of a common family, and we owe no nation an apology for living in accordance with the laws of our being. In the British Liberal as in the British Tory we see our enemy, and in those who talk of ending British misgovernment we see the helots. It is not British misgovernment, but British government in Ireland, good or bad, we stand opposed to, and in that holy opposition we seek to band all our fellow-countrymen.

"For the Orangeman in the North, ceasing to be the blind instrument of his own as well as his fellow-countrymen's destruction, we have the greeting of brotherhood as for the nationalist of the South, long taught to measure himself by English standards and save the face of tyranny by sending Irishmen to sit impotently in a foreign legislature whilst it forges the instruments of his oppression."

Resolutions adopted at the meeting in the Rotunda on 28 November 1905

"That the people of Ireland are a free people, and that no law made without their authority or consent is or ever can be binding on their conscience. That the General Council of County Councils presents the nucleus of a national authority and we urge upon it, to extend the scope of its deliberation and action; to take within its purview every question of national interest and to formulate lines of procedure for the nation.

"That National self-development through recognition of the duties and rights of citizenship on the part of the individual, and by the aid and support of all movements originating from within Ireland, instinct with National tradition, and not looking outside Ireland for the accomplishment of their aims, is vital to Ireland."

After the conference, which lasted most of the day, the first Sinn Féin public meeting was held that evening when the programme was presented to the large crowd which thronged the Rotunda Round Room. The meeting concluded with the singing of Thomas Davis's anthem, A Nation Once Again.

On 28 November 1905, 100 years ago, Sinn Féin was founded in the Rotunda, Dublin.

Tough ‘death driver’ law gets approval

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

Relatives of people killed by ‘death drivers’ in the North last night urged judges to use new legislation to crack down on car thieves.
The call was made after the first person to be charged with a tough new anti-death driving offence yesterday appeared at Belfast magistrates’ court.
Eighteen-year-old Kevin Barry Valliday, from Lady Street, in the Lower Falls area was charged with causing death by aggravated vehicle taking.
The charge followed a horrific six-car pile-up at Boucher Road last May when 17-year-old Stephen McDade was killed.
He was catapulted through the window of a car which had been stolen a short time previously from a woman at Botanic Avenue.
Valliday, who was also seriously injured in the crash, faced further charges of causing the woman grievous bodily harm and stealing her car keys. He was remanded in custody.
The new offence of aggravated vehicle taking causing death or serious injury was brought in after a high profile campaign by the group, Families Bereaved Through Car Crime (FBTCC), following a series of fatalities involving stolen cars.
Conviction carries a jail sentence of up to 14 years whereas the maximum for causing death by dangerous driving is ten years.
FBTCC spokesman Tommy Holland last night urged judges to hand out as severe a punishment as possible for aggravated vehicle taking.
He said: “In the past, judges complained of not having enough powers to give death drivers tough sentences.
“They have those powers now, so the onus is on the judiciary to enforce them.
“There is no point in having this new law, but not utilising it. Death drivers need to know that they are risking a long time in prison if they steal a car and joyride in it. There is no joy in joyriding.”

Agency ‘intimidates’

Daily Ireland

Jarlath Kearney

Senior government officials in the North last night refused to comment after complaints about the activities of the Social Security Agency’s fraud squad.
Earlier this week, Sinn Féin north Belfast assembly member Kathy Stanton wrote to direct-rule minister David Hanson outlining a range of serious concerns about the agency’s Benefit Investigation Services.
Specifically, Ms Stanton highlighted the agency’s decision to require tape-recorded interviews under policing legislation as “a very, very intimidating approach to vulnerable individuals in society”.
Daily Ireland has obtained a pro forma letter issued by the agency requiring a claimant to attend an interview “under caution”.
“Because there is reason to believe your claim may be fraudulent, it is necessary to conduct the interview under caution,” the letter stated.
“The interview will be tape-recorded and conducted under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, and therefore you may wish to consult a solicitor,” the letter said.
At no stage did the pro forma letter indicate the specific reason for alleging the individual’s benefit claim may be fraudulent.
Rather, it stated that an individual must first agree to be interviewed under caution before they can find out “specific information about the matter”.
Nor does the letter notify individuals that their legal representative would be prohibited from speaking or making representations during the interview.
Last night, the Department for Social Development refused to specify the grounds on which the Police and Criminal Evidence Order was being invoked.
“This smacks more of an interrogation than an interview,” Ms Stanton said.
“In fact, it appears that the SSA fraud section believe they have more powers than the PSNI.
“I have very serious concerns about the human-rights implications associated with this approach and will be urgently seeking expert legal advice.
“It is quite clear that the manner of the approach and the so-called interview is extremely intimidatory, particularly for vulnerable sectors of society such as the elderly or those with mental health problems.
“It could take up to 18 months to go through one of these procedures, at the end of which many people are simply cleared of wrongdoing.
“This strategy of intimidation against those sectors of society least able to defend their rights cannot be justified,” said Ms Stanton.
In her letter to David Hanson, Ms Stanton called for a change in the language used in the letters issued by the fraud squad.
She stated that welfare rights groups “believe, if the terminology were changed, it would prevent a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety”.
A spokesperson for the Department for Social Development said the department was “not in a position” to respond to the questions of Daily Ireland.

Partner in plea over mystery Ulsterman

Belfast Telegraph

By Ben Lowry
blowry@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
25 November 2005

THE partner of a dead man believed to be from Northern Ireland has appealed for information on his background ahead of his burial in America next week in a pauper's grave.

The man had told Patti Maloney, who lived with him in Kentucky for the last two years of his life, that his name was Sean Angus Donnelly (45), but she never saw documentation to this effect.

The Belfast Telegraph has been passed pictures of Mr Donnelly by Jefferson County Coroner's Office as part of the bid to identify him.

The paper revealed on Saturday that Mr Donnelly, thought to come from Omagh, has been lying embalmed since he died of natural causes in Louisville on October 29, because no next of kin have been located.

"That is what he told me - Omagh, in Co Tyrone," Ms Maloney said.

Mr Donnelly, who will be given an indigent's burial on Monday, had also told Ms Maloney that he was a stone mason. But he did not work when they were together, because of a past gunshot wound that had been inflicted to his right leg.

"The injury was like from the kneecap down. It was down the whole side of his calf," Ms Maloney recalled. "He always said he was shot at one of the Army checkpoints in Belfast."

She added: "He always said he was an Irish nationalist but I was not entirely sure what that meant. He was very political, that is the way he talked all the time."

No-one from Northern Ireland has contacted the coroners since the Belfast Telegraph article.

Ms Maloney said: "I am thinking he maybe came over here under a different name. But he stuck by that name (Sean Angus Donnelly) the whole time."

Mr Donnelly - who was around 6ft tall, spoke with a "thick" Irish accent and had a Playboy tattoo on his left arm - told Ms Maloney that he was an only child.

Anyone with information can contact the coroners on (502) 574 3506.


Court frees army attack accused

BBC


Michael Rogan is freed after being cleared of bombing charges

A Belfast man accused of involvement in a double bomb attack at the Army's Northern Ireland headquarters nine years ago has walked free from court.

Michael Rogan, 45, from Easton Avenue, was arrested in Tenerife last year after spending seven years on the run.

A soldier was killed and 33 people injured in the IRA attacks on Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, in October 1996.

The judge gave his not guilty verdict after considering a defence claim of "no case to answer".

A defence lawyer had claimed there was no evidence of any knowledge on the part of Mr Rogan "to cause any explosion, to engage in any type of criminal or indeed terrorist activity".

Mr Rogan was also cleared of two further charges of collecting information useful to terrorists.

'No case'

The accused had been granted bail in November 1997, but failed to appear back in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice McLaughlin said he had considered a "no case to answer application" and had decided to clear 45-year-old Mr Rogan of involvement in the attack which cost of the life of Warrant Officer James Bradwell, (46).

The judge said he had prepared a judgement setting out his reasons for the acquittals, but it was not yet ready to be delivered.

He added that it would be "handed down in the near future".

The defence lawyer said anything beyond stating Rogan purchased the two Volvo cars said to have been used in the attacks was "pure speculation".


Football legend George Best dies

BBC :


Footballing legend

Former football star George Best has died in hospital at the age of 59.

Son Calum, 24, who had kept an all-night vigil at Best's bedside, said: 'Not only have I lost my Dad but we've all lost a wonderful man.'

Best died in intensive care at 1255 GMT following 'a long and very valiant fight', said a statement from west London's Cromwell Hospital.

The ex-Manchester United and Northern Ireland star had multiple organ failure following weeks of ill health.

Best's father Dickie, 87, who was among relatives at his bedside overnight, asked for the family to be left to grieve in peace.

Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, said: 'To the thousands upon thousands of people who have sent cards and e-mails, we have taken great comfort from them, especially during the long hours.'

The family later viewed the many flowers and messages left by fans outside Cromwell Hospital.

A statement released by Best's second wife, Alex, said: 'George was the love of my life. He was a unique and talented person who made a lot of people very happy.'

Tributes

Prime Minister Tony Blair led tributes to the man he called 'probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation, one of the greatest footballers the UK has ever produced'.

'Anyone who has seen him as a football fan will never forget it,' Mr Blair said from the Commonwealth Head of Governments meeting in Malta.

Republic of Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said: 'George should be remembered as the very best at what he did. He was quite simply a football genius.'

Sir Bobby Charlton said his former Manchester United team-mate 'made an immense contribution to the game, and enriched the lives of everyone that saw him play'.

'Football has lost one of its greats, and I have lost a dear friend. He was a marvellous person.'

A statement from the club said: 'For the goals, the audacious dribbles and all the wonderful memories, Manchester United and its legions of fans worldwide will always be grateful.'

A minute silence is to be observed at every Premiership football match this weekend in Best's memory.

Deterioration

He had been in hospital since entering with flu-like symptoms on 1 October, later suffering a kidney infection.

His condition deteriorated sharply last Friday with the development of a lung infection that led to internal bleeding.


Best made a television pledge never to drink again

Best, a recovering alcoholic, was particularly susceptible to infection because of medicines he needed after a 2002 liver transplant.

The Belfast-born former footballer and television pundit had been prescribed medication to suppress the immune system and prevent his body rejecting the new liver.

At the time of his hospital admission in October, Best's agent Phil Hughes said his client had been 'off the drink' before being admitted to the hospital.

Dr Akeel Alisa, part of the medical team which had been treating Best, described him as 'delightful to look after - he was very brave, a fighter to the end'.

Heyday

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Best is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced the British and world game.

His heyday occurred during the 1960s, and he brought a pop star image to the game for the first time.

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But the accompanying champagne and playboy lifestyle degenerated into alcoholism, bankruptcy, a prison sentence for drink-driving and, eventually, his controversial liver transplant.

He helped Manchester United win the First Division title in 1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in 1968. His role in the team's success was recognised by his becoming the European Footballer of the Year in 1968.

Best made 466 appearances for the Old Trafford club, scoring a total of 178 goals.

He also won 37 caps - scoring nine goals - for Northern Ireland."

Murdered loyalist leader's assets frozen

RTÉ

25 November 2005 10:46

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Assets worth about £200,000 belonging to the murdered loyalist paramilitary leader, Jim Gray, have been frozen.

They include cash, a BMW car and an 18-carat gold bracelet.

Northern Ireland's Asset Recovery Agency said it had been granted a freezing order by the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Gray, 47, was shot dead outside his father's home in east Belfast last month.

He had been released on bail from prison three weeks earlier after being in custody facing a series of charges including money laundering.

The killing is believed to have been carried out by former associates in the Ulster Defence Association.

Mr Gray had been arrested in April close to the border in Co Down, and police suspected he was preparing to leave Northern Ireland.

He had survived a murder bid three years ago when he was seriously injured in a shooting linked to a loyalist feud.

British govt may modify fugitive legislation

RTE

24 November 2005 20:07

The Northern Secretary, Peter Hain, has indicated that the British Government may be prepared to modify some of its controversial legislation relating to 'on the run' suspects.

The plans were criticised by delegations from the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance party when they met Peter Hain and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern in Hillsborough this afternoon.

The legislation could allow dozens of paramilitary fugitives to return to Northern Ireland without serving a jail sentence.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell has said that suspects in the killing of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe who are currently 'at large' will not qualify for amnesties.

Mr McDowell said an Eligibility Board would be established in the future, where persons who believed they were wanted for crimes in the Republic could seek an amnesty under the Good Friday Agreement.

24 November 2005

Adams urged to move over 'on-the-runs'

Irish Examiner

24/11/2005 - 7:13:08 PM

Sinn Féin was today accused of selling out on the families of victims of alleged state murders and collusion in the North.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan also called on Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams to withdraw his support for the controversial legislation involving so-called on the runs which is passing through Westminster.

Under the proposed new laws, members of the security forces allegedly involved in killings would not have to stand trial – a deal with the republican leadership agreed with the British and Irish governments, according to Mr Durkan.

If and when the legislation is passed, several republicans who fled the North years ago after being allegedly involved in terrorism will be free to return home without running the risk of going to jail.

Tribunals of inquiry into any charges they could face will be held in their absence.

Mr Durkan said: “In return for the greater advantage of getting their on the runs back with no questions asked, Sinn Féin sold out the families that for years they claimed to fight for.

“They let state killers and loyalists totally off the hook.”

Yesterday in London, Mr Adams said no members of the security forces involved in killings should be free from prosecution.

Mr Durkan added: “But if a panicked Gerry Adams is now changing position, there is a simple thing that he must do – call on Tony Blair to withdraw this legislation immediately and entirely.

“That is what Gerry Adams must now do. The British have made clear that they do not like this legislation. So Sinn Féin should release them from the side deal and call the whole thing off.”

Terence MacSwiney


Project Gutenberg e-book

PRINCIPLES OF

FREEDOM

BY

TERENCE MACSWINEY

LATE LORD MAYOR OF CORK

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Click >>here to read Terence MacSwiney's book online at Project Gutenberg



Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920)


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**Last month marked the 85th anniversary of the death of Terence MacSwiney

Terence MacSwiney, brother of Mary MacSwiney, was born in Cork and educated at the Royal University where he studied accountancy and joined the Gaelic League.

During 1911-1912 he contributed articles to Irish Freedom which became the basis of his book Principles of Freedom published posthumously in 1921.

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In 1913 MacSwiney founded the Cork Brigade of the Irish Volunteers and was President of the Cork Branch of Sinn Féin and the 1st Cork Brigade of Volunteers when he was interned under the Defence of the Realm Act in Reading and Wakefield Gaols from April to December, 1916.

Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920)

In February, 1917 MacSwiney was deported from Ireland and interned in Shrewsbury and Bromyard internment camps until June, 1917. In November, 1917 McSwiney was arrested in Cork for wearing an IRA uniform and was imprisoned in Cork Gaol where he went on a three day hunger-strike before his release. MacSwiney was arrested in Dublin in March, 1918 and imprisoned in Belfast and Dundalk Gaols until September when he was released, re-arrested and imprisoned to Lincoln Gaol. In the same year he published a volume of poetry entitled Battle Cries.

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MacSwiney was released in March, 1919 and following the assassination of Thomas McCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, MacSwiney was elected to the mayorality. He was arrested in Dublin on August 12th, 1920 and charged with making a 'seditious' speech; with possession of a police code and a Cork Corporation resolution recognising Dáil Éireann. MacSwiney immediately commenced a hunger-strike. He was tried by court-martial, found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment. In Brixton Prison, MacSwiney continued his hunger-strike for seventy-four days until his death on October 25th, 1920. This was the longest hunger-strike in Irish political history. The young Ho Chi Minh, then a dishwasher in London, said of MacSwiney - 'A Nation which has such citizens will never surrender'.

MacSwiney's body lay in state in Southwark Cathederal, London before removal by sea to Dublin and then by train to Cork. His funeral procession was one of the largest ever seen in Cork City. In 1921 MacSwiney's play The Revolutionist was produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

This extract is from MacSwiney's Principles of Freedom (1921)

Why should we fight for freedom? Is it not strange, that it has become necessary to ask and answer this question? We have fought our fight for centuries, and contending parties still continue the struggle, but the real significance of the struggle and its true motive force are hardly at all understood, and there is a curious but logical result. Men technically on the same side are separated by differences wide and deep, both of ideal and plan of action; while, conversely, men technically opposed have perhaps more in common than we realise in a sense deeper than we understand.

This is the question I would discuss. I find in practise everywhere in Ireland - it is worse out of Ireland - the doctrine 'The end justifies the means'.

One party will denounce another for the use of discreditable tactics, but it will have no hesitation in using such itself if it can thereby snatch a discreditable victory. So, clear speaking is needed: a fight that is not clean-handed will make victory more disgraceful than any defeat. I make the point here because we stand for separation from the British Empire, and because I have heard it argued that we ought, if we could, make a foreign alliance to crush English power here, even if our foreign allies were engaged in crushing freedom elsewhere.

When such a question can be proposed it should be answered, though the time is not ripe to test it. If Ireland were to win freedom by helping directly or indirectly to crush another people she would earn the execration she has poured out on tyranny for ages. I have come to see it possible for Ireland to win her independence by base methods.

It is imperative, therefore, that we should declare ourselves and know where we stand. And I stand by this principle: no physical victory can compensate for spiritual surrender. Whatever side denies that is not my side...

A SPIRITUAL necessity makes the true significance of our claim to freedom: the material aspect is only a secondary consideration. A man facing life is gifted with certain powers of soul and body. It is of vital importance to himself and to the community that he be given a full opportunity to develop his powers, and to fill his place worthily. In a free state he is in the natural environment for full self-development. In an enslaved state it is the reverse. When one country holds another in subjection that other suffers materially and morally. It suffers materially, being a prey for plunder. It suffers morally because of the corrupt influences the bigger nation sets at work to maintain its ascendancy. Because of this moral corruption national subjection should be resisted, as a state fostering vice; and as in the case of vice, when we understand it we have no option but to fight. With it we can make no terms. It is the duty of the rightful power to develop the best in its subjects: it is the practise of the usurping power to develop the basest.

Our history affords many examples. When our rulers visit Ireland they bestow favours and titles on the supporters of their regime - but it is always seen that the greatest favours and the highest titles are not for the honest adherent of their power - but for him who has betrayed the national cause that he entered public life to support. Observe the men who might be respected are passed over for him who ought to be despised. In the corrupt politician there was surely a better nature. A free state would have encouraged and developed it. The usurping state titled him for the use of his baser instincts. Such allurement must mean demoralization. We are none of us angels, and under the best circumstances find it hard to do worthy things; when all the temptation is to do unworthy things we are demoralised. Most of us, happily, will not give ourselves over to the evil influence, but we lose faith in the ideal. We are apathetic. We have powers and let them lie fallow. Our minds should be restless for beautiful and noble things; they are hopeless in a land everywhere confined and wasted. In the destruction of spirit lies the deeper significance of our claim to freedom.


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Funeral of Terence MacSwiney - Click to view

'Teach Us How To Die' by Terence MacSwiney

God, we enter our last fight;
Thou dost see our cause is right;
Make us march now in Thy sight
on to victory

All the agony of years,
All the horrors, all the fears.
Martyr's blood, survivors tears,
Now we offer Thee
As an endless holocaust
For the freedom, we have lost,
God restore it tho' the cost
Greater still must be;
Let Thy grace attend our host,
Give us victory

See, we open our own hearts,
Every wrong that in them smarts;
Every secret pain that starts,
We, too, offer Thee;
Every dearest hope's decrease
Every fear that rocks our peace.
Every cross with pain's increase,
Burthened tho' we be;
Sacrifice that shall not cease
Till our land be free.

Thou holdest freedom in Thy hand;
Thou canst liberate our land;
Hear us; yield our one demand-
Ireland's liberty.

We ask not her chains tro rive
And the sacred deed survive,
That we may rejoice alive
In her victory;
We but ask that she shall thrive,
And rest our fate with Thee.

We know not what must befall
Marching at our country's call;
Make us strong who must yield all
That she may not die.

Those who will survive the fight,
Still attend them with Thy Light,
Thou our hope in darkest night
Then our guardian be,

And hold our dear land in Thy sight
Erect, firm and free.


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