Derry prisoner activist arrested as Sinn Fein and PSNI disrupt IRPWA
crime and justice |
Saturday March 31, 2007 19:44 by Barry - 32 County Sovereignty Movement
Sinn Fein and PSNI combine forces this morning to force IRPWA off streets
A Derry prisoners activist campaigning and collecting on behalf of Political prisoners and their dependants has been arrested and a number of Prisoners Welfare collection boxes seized after the joint targetting and disruption of the weekly Derry collection on behalf of Republican prisoners and their dependants by the PSNI acting in concert with the Provisional Sinn Fein party structure in the city this morning . IRPWA activists carrying out the regular Saturday collection that has been going on for over 6 years outside the Credit Union were first surrounded by Sinn Fein members intent on disrupting their collection, followed shortly afterwards by the arrival of the PSNI , who arrested one activist and seized the collection boxes for the second week running as joint Sinn Fein and PSNI co-operation emerges on the streets of republican districts post election .
puting manners on republicans - with Sinn Feins help
This is the latest upsurge in a series incidents of British activity directed against Irish political activists opposed to the violation of Irish national sovereignty by the British government that have increased since the Provisionals signalled their open intent to support the British occupation forces at their ard feis earlier this year . However the blatant and cynical nature of the assistance rendered to the PSNI by Provisional Sinn Fein activists in Derry this morning in their efforts to disrupt the IRPWA's fundraising has signalled a new era of open collaboration on the streets against political activists that is deeply sinister and can only serve to raise tensions within working class republican districts whilst exacerbating the hardship endured by the wives , partners and children of Irish republican activists imprisoned within British and Free State jails . The Provisional leadership has signalled clearly its intent to act as and encourage others to become informers for the British authorities against Republican separatists , however this mornings shameful events indicate they are determined to make life as hard as possible for prisoners dependants also by co-operating with the British authorities on the streets to prevent vital money being collected for their welfare . Both the Provisionals and the British have long identified the prisoners issue as "the soft underbelly" of those opposed to British rule in Ireland and have both targetted this facet of republican activity in repeated attempts to create despair and hardship amongst those opposed to the political status quo on the island . Todays shameful events illustrate how the Sinn Fein party and the British forces acting in concert are seeking to exploit this vulnerability to the hilt in an effort to dismantle all remaining separatist resistance to British rule in Ireland .
The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association is a registered charitable organisation set up in 1999 to assist in the alleviation of hardship endured by Republican Prisoners and their dependants as result of a republican activists inevitable incarceration . Quite often it is only able to alleviate the expenses occured by a prsioners family as they travel to visit their loved one , usually the family breadwinner , to whatever place of incarceration the activist finds him or herself , whether England , Maghaberry or Portlaoise as well as providing political, logistical and emotional support to those affected . From time to time a real financial crisis affecting a prsoner that must be addressed by the IRPWA occurs that can result in some serious expense . Derry IRPWA activists have been to the fore in fundraising within the community from the groups inception and it is their activity which has been targetted today in a clear attempt to create as much hardship and despair as possible amongst the separatist constituency and particularly amongst its most vulnerable members . Prisoners and their families .
From its inception as a prisoners welfare organisation the activities of the IRPWA have encountered major and deep rooted hostility from the Provisional Sinn Fein leadership . IRPWA activists have been threatened , abducted , interrogated and beaten by the Sinn Fein party militia . Owners staff and even patrons of commercial premises such as pubs , clubs and corner shops have been threatened by Sinn Fein members for hosting collection boxes . Owners of a number of premises have been threatened by leading Sinn Fein members to disrupt fundraising social functions for republican prisoners , often leading to the events cancellation . A number of years back in West Belfast a pub owner who defied threats from a number of leading Sinn Fein members and hosted an IRPWA function had his premises burnt to the ground 2 weeks later . Within a month the man whod organised the function , Joseph O'Connor from Ballymurphy was shot dead by the Provisionals . Another public house full of patrons in Dundalk which hosted Prisoners welfare functions came under petrol bomb attack on a saturday evening during a Sinn Fein function in a nearby part of town . A Sinn Fein member was arrested running from the scene although thankfully the pubs patrons who come from all strands of political opinion and none including Sinn Feins itself escaped injury . With traditional sources of fundraising and campaigning for Irish political prisoners being thoroughly and systematically shut sown and discouraged in a clinical and holistic manner accross the board funds available to prisoners dependents have been successfully reduced to a trickle . This violence and intimidation had went on largely unreported , ignored by and sometimes even encouraged by the media and various constituional nationalist politicians . Including PSNI board member Denis Bradley and others who openly encouraged the provisionals to break up the "dissident" malcontents in their own unique way . Whilst these squalid intimidatory attacks designed to prevent the collection of funds to combat the hardship faced by republican prisoners and their dependents may appear to be little more than petty but often brutal emnity from a rival political faction its important that they ,along with todays shameful events in Derry, be viewed in their proper political context .
From the outset of their talks and consultations with the British and US authorities on how best to combat republican opponents of British rule the Adams and McGuinness leadership , particularly Martin McGuinness , advised the governemnts that the prisoners issue was " the soft underbelly" of their opponents within republican districts . This advice was definitely heeded , with the British government withdrawing political status for republican prisoners and subjecting prisoners and their families to an ongoing and vindictive campaign of harrassment , brutality and degradation inside their jails and to vsisting families . In the south of Ireland political activists meeting to oganise prisoners functions have found themselves arrested under Draconian legislation and charged with IRA membership simply for meeting in a public bar to discuss hosting a social function . In the US , a traditional source of funds for prisoners dependants , the IRPWA was designated a "foreign terrorist organisation" , similar to Al Qaeda . It became a federal offence to either donate money to or organise on behalf of the IRPWA despite it being a perfectly legal organisation within the UK and Ireland . When contacted by journalists asking for a comment on the IRPWAs banning in the US gerry Adams contemptuously dismissed the development on the grounds that highlighting it in any manner "makes these people more important than they really are" . It seems these people were important enough for Martin McGuinness to advise the US authorities to place prisoners kids and wives on a par with Bin laden though .
During the dirty protest for political status embarked upon a few years back by members of the "Real" IRA, the armed group whose prisoners the IRPWA mostly , but not exclusively , collect funds for it also become quite apparent what attitude the Adams McGuinness leadership took towards its own members who instinctively supported the plight of republican prisoners resisting criminalisation inn British jails . Stormont MLA John Kelly was thrown out of the party (retired on health grounds) just days after announcing his support for political status in Maghaberry . South Down councillor Martin Cunningham suffered a similar fate after supporting calls for political status in Maghaberry ..
The strategy of the Sinn Fein leadership , the British and US governments and the Maghaberry Prison governors is not simply petty and vindictive for the sake of it, although its often mistaken by republicans as such . The strategy is very old and very simple simple . Those who defend and support the status quo in Ireland intend to break the resolve of those republicans who oppose the status quo by identfying and going after what they regard as their soft underbelly , the prisoners and their families . By ratchetting up their financial hardship and political isolation the intent is to create as much despair and hopelessness as they can in order to see their dignity , morale and cohesivness crumble . To kill hope and with that to kill all rewistance to the status quo.
So it was with against the backdrop of this political agenda , of political isolation and financial hardship directed against the most vulnerable and voiceless that the collusion between the PSNI and Sinn Fein in Derry took place this morning . The IRPWA collection outside the Credit Union takes place every Saturday morning without fail and has done for the past 6 years . Regardless of the elements a couple of prisoners activists , themselves former political prisoners turn out with their collection tins determined not to let the prisoners and their dependents down . They in turn are well known and supported by their local community who have never let republican prisoners down and who respect the commitment and time served in British jails by those out collecting on their behalf . With many traditional avenues of raising funds for prisoners families successfully closed down this successful Derry collection is viewed as a major irritant by the provos in the city and last year saw their unsuccessful first attempts to disrupt it . For it to be successfully forced off the streets would be viewed by Provos and British alike as a major nail in the dissident coffin due the severe financial hardship to prisoners and their families they would anticipate after closing this avenue of support down . However due to disgust expressed at this cynical move within the local community Sinn Fein were forced to back off and leave it alone . Last Saturday , in a cynical post election and post ard feis move , for the first time ever the PSNI in Derry successfully disrupted the collection , seizing the collection tins . Prior to the PSF ard feis they had consistently backed off and allowed the Sinn Fein militia to disrupt fundraising for political prisoners by turning a blind eye to their violence and intimidation directed against prisoners activists and collections . This allowed the PSNI to not be seen engaging in the petty disruption of a prisoners collection while letting the provos quietly get on with the job instead . However since the election and that option no longer being available to them the PSNI have now decided they will bring it to an end , this time with overt rather than covert Sinn Fein assistance .
Determined not to be driven off the streets of their hometown by the British police the prisoners activists returned to their traditional spot this morning . However within a short time they were physically surrounded by a large contingent of Sinn Fein members . The activists were informed that Sinn Fein were collecting funds for their party , the richest in Ireland who receive almost £2 million per year in subsidy from the British governemnt and with full access to fundraising amongst corporate America , on the very spot Derry former prisoners have been using every Saturday morning for the past 6 years with not a sign of a Sinn Fein collection anywhere. . As the large group of Sinn Fein members stood rattling their little tins and cynically disrupting the prisoners welfasre collection by surrounding the IRPWA activists the PSNI arrived and surveyed the scene . After it became apparent the IRPWA members werent for moving despite the cynical attempts by Sinn Fein to close them down on the street the PSNI decided to move again for the second week running . Ignoring he large group of Sinn Fein members the PSNI seized the collection boxes yet again and this time arrested an IRPWA activist . For the second week in a row the IRPWAs activities in Derry have been severely disrupted by the armed forces of the British status quo in Ireland . The open cynical assistance provided to them this morning by the Sinn Fein party structure in the city ranks amongst the most cynical ever witnessed on Derrys streets . It was a shameful and despicable act carried out by moral and politcal degenerates .
Far from their promises to the nationalist electorate that a vote for Sinn Fein would put manners on the PSNI todays events in Derry illustrate that the electoral madate sought by Sinn Fein will now be used by them and the British to put manners on anyone they regard as an opponent of British rule in Ireland , in full co-operation with the PSNI . Whilst the Sinn Fein party hacks who allowed themselves to be used alongside the PSNI in this desicable manner this morning , targetting and disrupting a collection for political prisoners dependants ,can largely be dismissed as cretinous imbeciles with no regard or concept as to the political magnitude of the act they participated in or the scorn and derision that will be heaped upon them as a result , the political mind which conceived of this act of collusion in Derry can only be described as that of a moral and political degenerate . Its safe to assume the brains behind this courageous act of collaboration with the PSNI had more sense than to be seen by the Derry public participating in such despicable and contemptible activity and left the dirty work to buffoons who are thrilled at the recognition their leadership gives them when sending them out on a mission only the lowest of the low would contemplate .
The late Sean MacDermott gave an analysis in the run up to the Easter Rising that the political leadership of nationalist Ireland was " the most degenerate leadership the Irish nation had ever produced" . Its safe to say that won't be a quote used by Martin McGuinness or by anyone else at the provisionals Easter commemoration in Derry next week . Although it may be an equally safe bet a shower of lowlifes congratulate and backslap each other in the pub afterwards at their successful collaboration with the PSNI this morning . If theyre really lucky Martin might even buy them a round . Unlike the wives and kids of republican prisoners who were targetted this morning he can well afford it
maghaberry Jail , the anticipated breakers yard for republican separatism
maximum security for Portlaoise prisoners, minimum sympathy for their families
others promise , we deliver