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Nationalist Support for PSNI Totally Untenable

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Tuesday July 14, 2009 09:30author by PRO - éirígíauthor email press at eirigi dot org Report this post to the editors

éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson has called on nationalist parties to withdraw their support for the PSNI in response to the force’s attack on a nationalist protest in north Belfast last night [Monday].

The PSNI recklessly fired plastic bullets, as well as deploying baton charges and water cannon, as they forced an Orange Order procession through the nationalist Ardoyne area.

Leeson said: “The whole PSNI operation in Ardoyne yesterday is conclusive evidence of the unchanged nature of that force. From mid-afternoon onwards, hundreds of PSNI members in full riot gear locked-down Ardoyne, preventing residents from entering or leaving the area.

“Residents who gathered to peacefully oppose the sectarian march and the PSNI operation were repeatedly violently pushed back into Ardoyne. As the afternoon wore on, the PSNI became more aggressive, culminating in the firing of plastic bullets.

“Plastic bullets are lethal weapons which have already killed 17 people in the Six Counties. Despite this fact, the PSNI remain fully prepared to use them when the occasion calls for it – in this instance, to force a sectarian procession through a nationalist area.”

Leeson continued: “When the nationalist parties went onto the Six County Policing Board, they did so with the expressed aim of ending the human rights abuses of the RUC and holding the PSNI to account. In July 2009, it must be recognised that this project has failed utterly – the PSNI remains a violent unionist paramilitary force, dedicated to maintaining the sectarian state in the Six Counties.

“Given recent events, how can working-class nationalists be expected to lend their support to the PSNI?

“The time has come for Sinn Féin and the SDLP to withdraw from the Six County Policing Board and properly represent the interests of their communities. Failure to do so provides political cover for the state gunmen who entered Ardoyne last night and opened fire to suppress a nationalist protest.”
ENDS.

Related Link: http://www.eirigi.org
author by PRO - éirígípublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:42author email press at eirigi dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

éirígí General Secretary Breandán McCionnaith has denied any éirígí involvement in last night’s [Monday] riots in Ardoyne and called into question Sinn Féin’s political priorities.

The PSNI indiscriminately fired plastic bullets, as well as deploying baton charges and water cannon, to force an Orange Order procession through the nationalist Ardoyne area.

MacCionnaith said: “What happened in Ardoyne last night was the depressingly predictable use of state violence to force an unwanted sectarian march through a nationalist area. Unfortunately, such scenes are an almost annual occurrence in some areas of the Six Counties.

“The whole PSNI operation in Ardoyne is reminiscent of similar operations on the Garvaghy and Ormeau roads in years gone by. From about 4pm onwards, hundreds of PSNI members in riot gear prevented residents from entering or leaving their area. Those who gathered to peacefully protest were violently attacked – triggering a predictable and undesirable response from a small number of young
people, which the PSNI responded to in time honoured fashion with batons, water cannon and plastic bullets.

“The suggestion by Sinn Féin that éirígí orchestrated the rioting that occurred in Ardoyne is a transparent attempt by Sinn Féin to divert attention away from the outrageous actions of the PSNI. I challenge Sinn Féin to produce a shred of evidence to support their claims of éirígí involvement in rioting.

“For the record, I can confirm that a small number of éirígí members, mainly local residents, were in Ardoyne yesterday to take part in a peaceful protest against an unwanted sectarian march through the area. For standing shoulder to shoulder with a community in the face of state oppression we make no apologies.

“It wasn’t so very long ago that Sinn Féin was encouraging its own members and supporters to mobilise in solidarity with communities in Ardoyne, Garvaghy and Ormeau. Sinn Féin needs to take a reality check and ask themselves why they are now acting as apologists for state violence against the nationalist community?

“If Sinn Féin thinks it can use éirígí to hide the contradictions of its support for a paramilitary police force, they will be sorely disappointed. Sinn Féin would be do better to focus on the actions of their friends in the PSNI than attacking republicans. The dogs in the street know that the Sinn Féin leadership are deeply worried by the growing support for éirígí’s political message. This is the context in which this latest attack on éirígí by Sinn Féin should be seen.

In closing, MacCionnaith said: “éirígí commends the community in Ardoyne for taking the decision to peacefully oppose a sectarian march through their community. Like the communities of the Ormeau Road in south Belfast, Erris in County Mayo and the Garvaghy Road in Portadown they have shown true courage in facing up to the forces of a state intent on suppressing their rights.”
ENDS.

Related Link: http://www.eirigi.org
author by Wheatfieldpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Breandán McCionnaith's claims are unfounded because in todays Irish Times Gerry Kelly is quoted as blaming the Real IRA not Eirigi. "Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly blamed the Real IRA for the trouble. “This evening’s actions expose very clearly the anti-peace process and sectarian agenda which feeds these factions. It has nothing whatever to do with Irish republicanism,” he said."

The Orange march did not and never has gone through Ardoyne. The march goes up the Crumlin Road and passes Ardoyne but never enters that area. The Crumlin Road is a main road it is not part of Ardoyne and it is ludicrous to claim it as a nationalist road. The Orange Parade is a sectarian event but then Eirigi also enter the realms of being sectarian when they claim that the main roads of a city are nationalist and protestants are not allowed to march along those streets. Eirigi's position is no different than that previously held by the Unionists who controlled Belfast city council when they banned republicans from marching through the city centre.

If the Orange Order wanted to march down the Ardoyne Road then they should be stopped because this goes through the heart of a community that is predominently catholic. But the Crumlin Road is not part of Ardoyne and it never has been.

author by Séamuspublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Gerry Kelly blamed the violence on the Real IRA but said that a number of small groups had arrived from outside Ardoyne with the intention of stirring up trouble, and he included éirígí in this.

author by Anarchistpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You guys are losing credibility by the day. Last night was a riot nothing more nothing less. Get a grip.

author by Another Anarchistpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

saying it was just a riot is a tad simplistic i think.

author by Tedpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the 1992 movie Patriot Games, Harrisons Ford confronts Paddy O' Neill and warns him that if he doesn't give up a group of Irish republican terrorists who attacked his wife and daughter he threatens to ".. put such a stranglehold on your gun money that your boys will be out in the street throwing rocks!"

Oh the irony!

author by Wheatfieldpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The BBC has an article today called Drumcree talks to happen 'soon'.
The article is about how the Orange Order in Portadown and some reps of the Garvaghy Road residents will be meeting soon to discuss the disputed march and it might be chaired by the head of the parades commission. The article was written in the aftermath of a meeting between Brendan MacCionnaith and the DUP leader Peter Robinson. The article says.
"Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition members described their talks with Mr Robinson over the Drumcree dispute as "cordial".

Coalition spokesman Brendan MacCionnaith said Mr Robinson had appeared "open-minded".

He said he had demonstrated he "wasn't going to act as a proxy on behalf of the Orange Order or as a mediator".

"Peter Robinson explained that it had come about as a result of his previous meeting with Portadown District and having met with one side he wanted to hear the views of the other," he said.

"He accepted that there was widespread opposition to the march through the nationalist community in Portadown.

"He is trying to see the views on both sides of this."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/814...8.stm

Is there not a major contradiction between Brendan MacCionnaith's statement about Ardoyne and what happened at this meeting with Peter Robinson.

author by Séamuspublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no contradiction in Mac Cionnaith's position. The only issue is the way the BBC reported the story. Robinson had asked for a general meeting with representatives of the Garvaghy Road residents, who were happy that he didn't try to act as an agent on behalf of the OO during it. However, at no point have the Garvaghy reps mentioned future talks about Drumcree. This is coming entirely from Robinson.

author by Séamuspublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 13:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's 25 seconds into the video.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8148955.stm
author by Wheatfieldpublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Now we are getting somewhere seamus. In the past the position of the Garvaghy Road residents was that they wanted talks with the Portadown Orange Order on the Drumcree march. For years the Orange Order refused to meet residents on the spurious grounds that there were residents spokespersons who had links to terrorism etc etc. Now the Orange Order are looking for talks and Breandán McCionnaith and other reps have said no. Why?

Another issue. Breandán McCionnaith said that Eirigi members went to Ardoyne to take part in a peaceful protest against the march. I would deduce from this the Eirigi members who were protesting were not local residents, not from Ardoyne, that Eirigi have no support in Ardoyne, so why did you go to this area?

author by Séamuspublication date Tue Jul 14, 2009 18:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What Breandán Mac Cionnaith said in the statement regarding éirígí was, "For the record, I can confirm that a small number of éirígí members, mainly local residents, were in Ardoyne yesterday". I'm not sure where you're extrapolating the rest of your comments from.

As for the position of the Garvaghy Road residents, well I don't live there so I obviously can't speak on their behalf, but as far as I'm aware the vast majority of people in the area don't want Orange marches on their streets and so feel there's nothing to talk about anymore. I welcome any comment on the matter from a resident that can shed light on where they stand.

The Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition did give their reasons for meeting Robsinson though:

"We will use the opportunity to put forward the views of the nationalist community in Portadown - views which have not been heard before at such a senior level within the DUP.

"Past experience has shown, however, that partisan political interventions by senior political figures have served no useful purpose in the past.

"Nevertheless, we will not seek to pre-judge either the purpose or the outcome of this planned meeting by speculating on the reasons behind it."
('Robinson to hold Drumcree talks', 4 July 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8134436.stm)

author by Catherine - None publication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 09:54author address noneauthor phone noneReport this post to the editors

I notice Sinn Fein do not use the term ‘The Struggle’ anymore. In the days that they were involved in ‘The Struggle’, part of that struggle involved a solidarity that made a people strong in the face of a brutal tyrant. When IRA Volunteer Larry Marley was killed, his funeral was violently disrupted by the R.U.C. as the British Government tried to stamp its authority on the people of Ardoyne. Back then, people mobilised in their thousands from all across the six counties and further. They came into Ardoyne to stand up to the R.U.C. in defiance.
This mobilisation of solidarity has always been part of our struggle. Gerry Kelly seems to have a major problem now with Nationalist/Republicans coming form other parts of the six counties to stand together in solidarity against discrimination. I remember a few years ago during the swamping of the Ormeau road by the R.U.C. Kelly tried to lead a march from the Falls road over to the Ormeau road. They never made over to the Ormeau road because their path was blocked by the R.U.C. His objective back then was to mobilise people from other areas across Belfast and march over to the Ormeau road and YES, stand in solidarity with a community under siege. It seems now that Kelly has jumped over the fence and stands with the other side (The PSNI/RUC) I wonder would he approve of the actions of the P.S.N.I. if they had decided to stop people from other parts of the six counties travelling to Ardoyne to protest against discrimination.

Sinn Fein’s Minister for Condemnation, Gerry Adams, condemned the rioters in Ardoyne. It was not too long ago when Adams mantra was ‘I’m not into the politics of condemnation’.

Its was pathetic to listen Kelly on the news the other night as he moaned about outsiders coming into Ardoyne to cause trouble. Sinn Fein now are like the Free State forces during and after the civil war, they directed all their hostilities towards their former comrades. These days, the ever contented smiling Kelly who leads a very busy career turns stony faced when having to deal with haunting real issues like Loyalist marching past Ardoyne. He cannot play a neutral roll here, he has to decide who’s side he is on. He only makes a fool of himself as he tries to twist and mould the story to fit into his new contradictory political direction.

author by Séamuspublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First, plastic bullets have not been used in years, baton rounds are used by the modern PSNI. There is a difference.

Are you referring to plastic batons rounds or rubber baton rounds though?

Here's a statement from Relatives for Justice on the issue. Are they liars too?

Deep Concern at Plastic Bullets Use in Ardoyne

Relatives for Justice wish to express its deep concern at the firing of numerous plastic bullets in North Belfast on Monday 13th July. We understand that the office of the Police Ombudsman is investigating the use of plastic bullets by the PSNI that night.

Chairperson of Relatives for Justice Clara Reilly said today:
“It is our understanding that there are a number of injuries sustained, and that there may be a 12 year old injured – (we have heard this from two separate sources, but this remains unconfirmed as yet).

“We have had sight of one injury which involved a man being hit above waist level in the stomach.

“We understand that those who have received injuries may not have received medical attention. The nature of these types of plastic bullets – particularly in cases of abdominal or chest injuries - means that medical attention is strongly advisable. We urge those with injuries to seek medical attention. This is particularly the case for any young people who have sustained injuries. Deep muscle and organ damage is possible and the extent of any injury may emerge only in the days after the injury was sustained. Don’t be brave and wave it off – get it seen to.

“Relatives for Justice is opposed to the use of Plastic Bullets in any situation. We have been repeatedly assured that they are not considered by the PSNI to be a form of riot control – however yet again that is exactly the context in which plastic bullets are being used. This is deeply concerning. As long as plastic bullets remain in the armoury of the PSNI they will be used in this context.

“We are also concerned that the extent of the use of plastic bullets on Monday night is not fully understood or known as a result of injuries not being reported and statements not being taken. We are therefore unable to clearly ascertain the extent to which the use of plastic bullets on Monday night either met or did not meet the PSNI’s own guidelines. This information is vital to ensuring that our community can hold the PSNI to account through the office of the Police Ombudsman. It is also vital in our community’s campaign to have the use of these weapons ended.

Clara added:
“Every time a plastic bullet is used a life is put at risk. Should a young person be seriously injured or worse lose their life in Ardoyne, or anywhere else, as a result of the use of these weapons it would cause devastation to that young person’s family which is irreparable. We see the results of that carnage every day in our office and we do not want to see that visited on any more families. In addition such a tragedy would cause unimaginable political and community impact.

“Today we have been in touch with our colleagues in the Committee on the Administration of Justice to raise this issue, and with the Police Ombudsman’s Office. We strongly urge anybody who may have been injured to contact Relatives for Justice on 90220100 so that these injuries and the use of plastic bullets is clearly and transparently held to account.”

Related Link: http://www.relativesforjustice.com/deep-concern-at-plastic-bullets-use-in-ardoyne.htm
author by Seámuspublication date Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I do not think anything they have done justified using children to riot, or the destruction caused in the area or indeed the danger to life caused by this violence."

Firstly, in all their statements and interviews éirígí have come out against the violence on the day. And who the hell was "using" children? Young people in Ardoyne don't need to be goaded by anyone into attacking the peelers.

Let's put it all in context though. Here's a piece written for the Irish News by a local republican explaining what happened on the day.

Plastic Bullets & Water Cannon Used Against Ardoyne Residents

In recent days there has been much speculation in the media from Politicians about the reasons behind the outbreak of violence in Ardoyne on July 13th, 2009. For generations the Republican community of Ardoyne have had their human rights trampled on by the British army, RUC, Orange Order and now the PSNI. With annual invasions of adrenaline-filled stormtroopers intent on forcing sectarian parades through our district.

This is despite the fact that ordinary residents consider these unwanted marches are not part of the new political dispensation they were promised in the 1998, Good Friday Agreement. Therefore, some 150 residents and supporters organised a peaceful protest to take place @ 4pm on the Crumlin Road yesterday. As part of the planned protest were decided to demonstrate our opposition to yet another triumphalist march by sitting and blocking the road for a specified period of time.

Unfortunately, when residents arrived at the designated point to begin our protest, scores of baton-welding PSNI riot teams occupied the area and surrounded residents. Their aggressive attitude eventually forced us to abandon our planned protest.

Given that people, particularly the youth of Ardoyne suffer from high unemployment, gross deprivation and a dearth of proper facilities. Alongside the legacy that witnessed 99 locals killed during the recent conflict and the unforgettable Holy Cross Blockade of 2001. The presence and aggressive nature of PSNI riot teams to facilitate another sectarian parade inevitably caused a violent reaction from the same young people.

While I respect Gerry Kelly's electoral mandate, he needs to acknowledge that the majority of people in Ardoyne are angry that his Party have not condemned the injuring of ten locals by plastic bullets, the hostile use of water cannon and antaganostic actions by the PSNI. North Belfast Sinn Fein must also stop felon-setting, accussing and naming of Ardoyne Republicans to the media and others. As being behind the rioting that followed the planned protest and work with the majority of local Republicans to end marches that foster sectarian divisons entering our area. After all, it's strategy on this divisive issue has failed time and time again.

Le Meas,
Mairtin Og Meehan
Ard Eoin Resident

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is a great pity that the sectarian Orange marchers do not like to march off on cliff edges or in secluded areas, or somewhere out of sight of decent people and where there would be a peaceful outcome for all. But, I suppose they would not get the bad publicity then and where would they be without that, as it is not possible for them to be in the media for achieving anything good.

Sectarian marches of whatever description should not be tolerated, as there is no such thing as a non-contentious area for these type of marches, unless you hold it in an extremely remote area - i.e. an area that is not inhabited by your average decent human being.

author by Redundant Republicanpublication date Mon Aug 03, 2009 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Orange marches take place in County Donegal every summer and take place trouble free. This summer the orange order was facilitated with a march on the battle of the boyne site in County Meath. The residents of the Free State obviously take no offence to displays of secterian hatred on their roads. This is another example of the ignorance they have to the problems of nationalists in occupied Ireland. Wait for an invitation for the orange order to participate in the St. Patricks Day parade in Dublin. Gerry Kelly could be Grand Marshell for that day.

author by Seaicilín Fpublication date Tue Aug 04, 2009 21:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Orange Order would never march in the St Patrick's Day Parade - they fucking hate it with a passion, buíochas le dia, so, thankfully, we won't ever have to worry about that one.

When the Orange Order attempted to hold its sectarian march down O'Connell Street, it was quite rightly prevented from doing so (much to the delight of all the decent people who turned up to protest - the most successful protest I ever attended).

The truth is that the Orange Order is mocked, despised, or not given any serious consideration by the majority in Ireland - that is the whole truth of it; and no amount of superficial public relations invites to Orange sectarian groupings to the Áras an Uachtaráin is going to change that (although, in fairness, Mary McAleese did escape one time from planet Fianna Fáil PR to reveal her own personal heartfelt views on Unionist culture, when she compared the Unionist regime to that of the Nazis (jaysus, even I would not go to that extreme) but, it was a revealing remark and a breath of fresh air from the usual sickly sweet sentimental shite that she usually spouts.

RUC/PSNI = Is deacair an drochrud a mharú - sin fíor.

Dia ár sabháil!

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