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Kilkeel Republicans living under siege

category national | rights and freedoms | opinion/analysis author Thursday August 22, 2013 11:44author by RNU PRO - Republican Network for Unity Report this post to the editors

PSNI join Loyalist backlash

For generations the Mourne harbour town of Kilkeel has been a place where Catholics were largely expected to ‘know their place’.
Catholics in Kilkeel will tell you of a persistent underlying daily tension, of deliberately timed and calculated sectarian beatings (including upon women and priests) as well as a complete intolerance of all symbols regarded as Irish, Nationalist or Gaelic.

Republican tried to walk away from Police, but was elbowed in the face and beaten on the ground.
Republican tried to walk away from Police, but was elbowed in the face and beaten on the ground.

Just last week the BBC News reported that three men in Kilkeel were arrested and charged following ‘scuffles with police’. The rest of the report was left as vague as is possible. Some of those charged have since got in touch with RNU and with written statements and photographs explained what the BBC would not, how PSNI men fired up with Loyalist fervour launched a random attack on known republican faces.

For generations the Mourne harbour town of Kilkeel has been a place where Catholics were largely expected to ‘know their place’.
Catholics in Kilkeel will tell you of a persistent underlying daily tension, of deliberately timed and calculated sectarian beatings (including upon women and priests) as well as a complete intolerance of all symbols regarded as Irish, Nationalist or Gaelic.

Despite the town centre being bedecked in Loyalist flags and bunting virtually all year round, GAA club flags are described in statements from local politicians as ‘offensive and unacceptable’. DUP MLA Jim Wells even took the time out to complain about a nearby GAA club conducting a charity collection in the local ASDA.

As a result of such Ku Klux Klan like sentiments, GAA football pitches often have their goalposts cut down in the Kilkeel area, the nearby Attical GAA clubhouse was burned to the ground 2001. And unlike in other towns across Ireland, flags of competing GAA clubs and counties are viewed as ‘offensive emblems’ and are nearly always removed.

And despite the supposed shift in cultural and political tolerance since the Good Friday Agreement, Kilkeel’s ‘Alabama 68′ atmosphere, makes any expression of Irish Republicanism a complete anathema to well entrenched Mourne bigotry.

It was as a direct result of the towns anti-Catholic sentiment that three local Republicans found themselves being viciously attacked by the PSNI on the night of August 15th.

On the run up to a yearly ‘feast of the assumption’ march in the town, another locally elected bigot Henry Reilly (UKIP) went to the Kilkeel paper the ‘Co Down Outlook’ and laid out which brands of local nationalism were acceptable to him and to Orange supremacy in the town centre. Displaying typical supremacist arrogance Reilly stated .. “The first thing that we have to point out is that no-one in Kilkeel has a problem with the nationalist bands such as Glasdrumman Pipe Band, Longstone Pipe Band and Attical Accordion Band. “These are normal bands and respectable people, and we have no problem with the traditional bands having their parade, but we are very concerned with the antics of [Banna Fliuit Naoimh Phadraig].”

The reason for Reilly’s displeasure with a marching band named after St Patrick is clear. Unlike the other bands which are Hibernian in character, Banna Fluit Naoimh Padraig (though being unaligned) have a membership which unapologetically describe itself as Republican. A former Sinn Fein councillor, former and current Republican prisoners are amongst their ranks.

Orange supremacy has always been comfortable with Hibernian style Nationalism as it is an outlook which is easily controlled, Republicans on the other hand refuse to ‘know their place’. And so Banna Fluit Naoimh Padraig were deliberately singled out for criticism.

By the time Reilly’s comments had hit the shops a predictable campaign of Loyalist hysteria had gripped the town. A facebook hate page entitled ‘Ban dissident republicans from ‘parading’ Kilkeel town’ was established with over 1700 likes. Soon it was printing photos of what they claimed to be ‘dissident republicans’ at their place of work.

On the evening of the religious march, flag waving Loyalists gathered to protest as they had done in the morning, however unlike in Belfast they did not launch a physical attack. Worryingly it increasingly appears that task may have been left to the PSNI.

Following the march, Several members and supporters of the Naoimh Padraig band took the opportunity to get off the streets and slip into a bar in Newry Street, earlier in the day the local PSNI had accommodated two illegal Loyalist protests, now on the streets tensions were high.

In written statements provided to RNU one band member explained how
“I was on my way home from the cove bar with my finance when i seen allot of riot police outside a kebab shop, there were police all over the street and i could hear them arguing and shouting”, i tried to make my way past but my cousin was then hit by 5 or 6 policemen. I went over and asked them to stop when i was grabbed in a headlock by a police man and threw to the ground, he then started hitting me”

The Republican continued..

“The policeman kicked me on the side and i was telling him i couldn’t breathe, be he repeatedly kept hitting and kicking me. My fiancé ran over to help me and pulled me off the road”.

This man was later advised by paramedics to go to hospital due to injuries to his face, but he refused instead waiting to see how his cousin was.

His cousins accounts of events include.

“On the 15th of August i was leaving the Cove bar on Newry Street with some friends, we were en route home when PSNI officers approached me and pushed me off the side of the road, i said to the officer that ‘there was no need to push me’, then he and 5 other officers forced me into the front door of the Archways Bar telling me i was under arrest”.

Not yet formally under arrest, the man’s frightening ordeal continued.

“While this was happening police with riot gear were doing something in the middle of the road, i just didn’t want to be there so i tried to make my way towards the direction of the Police station, then i was elbowed in the face by one of the five riot Police, they then beat me with batons and kicked me while i was pinned to the ground face down. I kept saying ‘im not resisting’ but they still hit me. They were twisting my right hand as if trying to break my wrist. I was then arrested and taken to Banbridge Police station and charged with disorderly behaviour, resisting arrest and assaulting a Police officer”.

Eyewitness accounts of what occurred in Kilkeel on the 15th of August appear much more detailed than the PSNI version of events which claimed ‘the disturbance was not linked to any parades.’
Those assaulted and arrested describe an atmosphere of menace in Kilkeel that day, emanating from the utterances of Loyalist politicians and street protests and directed at the Catholic procession in general and the Naoimh Padraig band in particular.
It is the stated opinion of Kilkeel Republicans that the PSNI played up to the Orange mood in Kilkeel on the night, waited outside a bar for certain individuals to appear then launched an unprovoked sectarian attack upon them. RNU have no reason to disbelieve those who claim this.

We pledge to do what we can to assist progressive Republican activists, trying hard to exist in this most hostile of towns.

Related Link: http://www.republicanunity.org/kilke...list-backlash/

Local Cllr Henry Reilly (UKIP) singled out the Naoimh Padraig band in the press.
Local Cllr Henry Reilly (UKIP) singled out the Naoimh Padraig band in the press.

Local MLA Jim Wells. Offended by GAA clubs conducting charity collections in ASDA.
Local MLA Jim Wells. Offended by GAA clubs conducting charity collections in ASDA.

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1097457_10153143754640261_1821102315_n300x224.jpg

author by davepublication date Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:48Report this post to the editors

Dreadful oppression of irish people in their own country. The loyalists were a plantation they have no right to be there.

author by Rational Ecologistpublication date Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:44Report this post to the editors

Those Loyalists have every right to be here, there or anywhere. My family has only been here since the 18th Century; should I leave too? Their insecurity-outwardly manifested as brutality- will find comfort and justification in comments, as above.
Time all communities moved on into the 21st Century.
Do not offer ignorance and hate the fuel of bigotry, as above-you are merely playing the game on their terms.

author by davepublication date Fri Aug 23, 2013 17:51Report this post to the editors

Protestants have once enjoyed a time where they could have two votes,and the catholics none...I won't forget those days so easily...

There was once a time where protestants would only get the jobs,and that sometimes is the case even today,protestants will only employ their own crowd and show nothing but bigotry to those who are catholic or even of another religion.

Their attitude of an unjust entitlement to ireland has seeped through to the younger generations,with the apprentice boys triumphant marches,full of insults and taunts,which is just a show to rile the catholics up,everything about loyalists spells hatred and they cannot even accept they are in fact part of ireland,they think they have a higher right over those who are catholics.

I refuse to apply the attitude of 'oh were all one' to the loyalist bigots,because thats exactly what they are ............bigots they have no place in ireland,and should be shipped back to the kelvinists in scotland and england..

author by brionOcleirigh - AllVoicespublication date Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:59Report this post to the editors

I believe that all of this is racism which exist to lesser or greater or lesser extent everywhere I have been. Most people I have met are in denial about it, including myself. So an education system that deal with it is important.

I am told there many Irish people who will not get into taxis driven by immigrants. When I heard this i was really angry, bearing in mind our history and the welcome we got overseas fleeing our own land.

When I read in the papers earlier this week, that an immigrant taxi driver was hijacked, beaten to death door and his taxi cab burned, I want the book thrown at them. I hope they serve at least 10 years as an example to the many racists in our society.

So how is this connected with loyalism. I believe a society that enables this racism is fascist as is loyalism which has a supremacist ideology. On the other hand I also believe that Protestants make far better republicans than Catholics. Of course its foolish to generalize but I am writing from experience.

What happened in Kilkeel is institutional and was rife up to a decade ago but I also saw young Protestants being chased with the threat of beatings, simply because of their religion in East Galway when I was growing up. It suits the establishment worldwide to have these distractions divide the proles.

Only a week ago I praised the PSNI for their good work in July, now in one night of bigoted debauchery, they have undone all their Irish goodwill, on the sacred night of the 15th of August in Kilkeel. They were caught on a republican night vision camera, raping an innocent nationalist.

They also abused and battered innocent Irish pedestrians as the article demonstrates, simply on a sectarian basis. How can we have peace in a province of Ireland with such institutional thuggery?They are almost as bad as the Garda, who while joking about rape have not as far as I am aware resorted to this PSNI criminal behaviour in a public place yet!

Rape in Kilkeel
Rape in Kilkeel

 
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