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British army & PSNI repression steps up several gears

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Monday November 30, 2009 13:41author by North West Red - Independent Socialist & Republican Report this post to the editors

This article highlights the growing levels of harrasment and intimidation by the British army and the PSNI throughout the six counties in recent times, but particularly in Fermanagh.

It also highlights the deployment of undercover British troops in operations here in Ireland, the latest example being the revelation that the British army Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) were involved in a joint operation with the PSNI in Garrison on the Fermanagh/Leitrim border.

This article runs a counter to the perceived notion that there has been demilitarisation and a new beginning to policing in the six counties

In recent years the nationalist parties that sit in the Stormont administration repeatedly told us that we were witnessing a new beginning to policing, demilitarisation and the removal of British troops from the six counties. Such was the extent of that hype that, as the British army ended Operation Banner in the six counties back in 2007, many people proclaimed it as being the end of British armed forces involvement in our country. Events in the small border village of Garrison on the evening of Saturday Nov 21 and elsewhere throughout Fermanagh and the rest of the six-counties recently have shattered what remained of those myths.

The reality is that what we have seen in recent times has been, not the demilitarisation as promised, but the remilitarisation of the six-counties and a staggering increase in political policing and repression. Such militarisation and repression has been particularly intense just across the border in West and South Fermanagh. Just two years after we were supposed to have seen the last of the British army, British troops are mounting road-blocks, raiding homes and farms, intimidating and assaulting people, denying people access to their workplaces and in some instances effectively placing areas under military control. The skies above Fermanagh and Tyrone are also being used by Royal Air Force (RAF) and British army air corps pilots carrying out low-level night-time training as they prepare for postings in other war zones such as Afghanistan.

The revelation that the undercover Special Reconnaisance Regiment (SRR) were involved in a joint operation with the PSNI in Garrison last weekend shows once again that the British army are on a war footing and prepared to use whatever military force and terror they deem necessary to maintain its occupation of the six counties. Constitutional nationalist politicians have steadfastly refused to make any comment on the involvement of undercover British troops from the SRR, effectively a British army death squad, continuing to operate on Irish soil despite their claims of demilitarisation having occurred.

Fermanagh is not alone. Throughout the entire six-counties, the apparatus of state repression has stepped up several gears. Over the past twelve months, we have seen the introduction of 28-day detentions - effectively internment on remand, the firing of plastic bullets, the re-deployment of the undercover SRR (if indeed they had ever been removed in the first place) and a major increase in the use of repressive legislation to harass and intimidate nationalists and republicans. Under the 'Terrorism Act' and 'Justice & Security Act' between July and September this year alone there were more than 12,000 stop and search operations carried out by the PSNI, an average of 110 a day, three times the number for the previous quarter and more than the total number for all of 2008.

Amongst those suffering at their hands are political activists, including éirígí members engaged in peaceful protests and other legitimate political activity. A quick read through previous articles on this website will reveal a litany of such incidents, the latest being the stopping and searching of éirígí activists and supporters, on a sponsored walk and protest at a British army Intelligence and Communications post on Black Mountain on the outskirts of West Belfast. The PSNI operation against the 30 or so party supporters who took part in the walk and peaceful protest involved two helicopters, seven armoured jeeps, a number of unmarked cars and up to 30 PSNI riot personnel.

The bottom line is that the British military machine, in any guise, is not welcome in any part of our country. Their military activity and repression, and that of the PSNI, are unacceptable. The silence of politicians on both of sides of the border, especially those nationalist politicians who sit on the six-county policing board, in the face of this increased repression and human rights abuses, is deafening. Its long past time that they faced up to the reality of the PSNI and the continuing British occupation and withdrew their support for both.

éirígí Fear Manach chairperson, Kevin Martin has expressed his outrage at the increasing level of British military activity in the county.

He said: "In recent months, undercover British soldiers, who are most likely attached to the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, have also been active at PSNI checkpoints and in raids in the county. Yet again we are witnessing the consequence of Britain's continued involvement in Ireland. Despite the claims that the British army was going with the ending of Operation Banner in 2007, it is obvious that they are here to stay."

According to éirígí National Chairperson Brian Leeson, "British military operations in Fermanagh or anywhere else on this island are totally unacceptable".

He said: "The London and Dublin governments, as well as the Stormont administration, have all attempted in recent years to "normalise" the occupation. However, there is nothing normal about the British occupation of the Six Counties, the continuing presence of 5,000 British troops in the North of Ireland, a repressive paramilitary police force and the hundreds of MI5 personnel who now mount their operations from a British army base in Holywood in County Down."

He added: "For our part, éirígí will continue to expose the myth of 'normalisation' and to actively oppose the British military presence throughout the six counties. As republican socialists we will oppose the occupation at every opportunity and would urge all those who support the concepts of justice and freedom to do likewise."


author by Micheál MacMpublication date Mon Nov 30, 2009 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

People of North Leitrim around the Rossinver and Kinlough areas have noted a lot of military activity, particularly helicopters late at night along the border with Fermanagh over the past few weeks. It does seem to be stepped up lately alright. To borrow a phrase from someone "they haven't gone away you know"

author by Lisapublication date Mon Nov 30, 2009 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I know people have been charged with weapons offences but as far as I know, no weapon has been found. I wonder are we getting the full story here? It doesnt all add up

author by Misepublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 04:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Until the men of violence go away what would you expect the British Army and PSNI to do...? It's a small price to pay so that there aren't more Omagh bombings and shattered lives, Ireland has seen enough bloodshed, until the majority of Northern Ireland and the Republic vote to change things, then the North will remain part of the U.K.
The Irish Government can barely afford our small ill equipped Army as things stand, how does anyone think they could cope with the Terrorists in the North...?
The Republic of Ireland is a joke anyway, Northern Ireland is far better off being a part of the U.K.

author by want to knowpublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 07:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Were to eirigi stand on all of this,there is repression going on, yes,eirigi is standing up rightly to that,but you can not be oppose to and surpport what went on in garrison at the same time,were do you stand . This Article has me all over the place.

author by BBpublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Where does it state that Eirigi are in favour of what happened in garrison?? the word garrison/the incident is mentioned once, in the context of british special forces being deployed there and elsewhere in increasing numbers/frequency.

Should Eirigi stay quiet about this?? This is what the article was about.

As to those who carried out this 'action', Eirigi has been unequivocal in its assertion that those groups engaged in 'armed struggle' are not going to achieve their objectives, based as their actions are upon a strategy that has been proven to fail - if the Provos didn't manage it, it is almost certain that these groups won't either.

Eirigi believes that the only way for the occupation to be overcome is through the building of a political movement to overthrow the capitalist/imperialist sytem that gave rise to/maintains the occupation.

Anyone in Eirigi I know is of this opinion. It is something they have said directly to me and this is why I support them/am in the process of joining.

By the way - Eirigi are a republican organisation. Are you suggesting that they should not comment on what is happening in Fermanagh, Tyrone etc. etc?

Are you saying that the only reason the forces of occupation are in Ireland/active is because there is resistance to it?? That strikes me as a very 'sticky' assessment.

Look what happened when Eirigi members had a peaceful protest at the military installation on Divis mountain - helicopters, jeeps, branchmen (shouts of eirigi fenian scum etc.)

The forces of the state are there to uphold the state as a part of the 'uk'. This they will do whether the opposition to it is armed or unarmed. Eirigi has made its position very clear - what will be effective where the defunct armed struggle model adopted by the P/C/R/IRA failed is the building of a mass political organisation.

This is what the state fears most

Don't try and lump the perspective/strategy/tactics of Eirigi in with those of the armed groups. They are worlds apart even though they share a common rejection of the British (political and military presence)

Coming from Belfast, I understand the frustration of those who see the armed groups as an option but their tactics are always going to lead to defeat. Eirigi has learned that much at least

Alas, I fear that what I have said won't satify you - Eirigi are (socialist) republican afre all. Maybe that is the problem??

author by mccarrickpublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 13:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors


You talk about the men of violence going away. That is my hope that they do. The British army and PSNI are the men of violence. Once they go away and the occupation is ended, there will be no armed republican groups carrying out armed actions (not that there is many of them now and those that there are are carrying out sfa)

author by want to knowpublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

BB yes their was confusion,and people have a right to ask and find out. If what you say is right ,that OK it clear s things up,.Since you are not in Eirigi how can you speak for them.? O by the way,do not take responsibly for any thing I think,I do that myself,and keep your sticky remarks to yourself,abuse gets you no were.Get off your horse ,they do not like them in Belfast.

author by wileypublication date Wed Dec 02, 2009 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

want to know, there was no confusion. The article was straightforward.

As for éirígís position on armed struggle that is clear. It always has been.

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