Political policing in Ireland exposed yet again

On the 32nd anniversary of Bobby Sands beginning his hunger strike TPQ features a statement from the Release Martin Corey Committee. That the issue of political prisoners and the conditions of their detention still features over three decades later is a cause of concern to increasing numbers of people including many of those who experienced life as political prisoners subject to a British prison regime.

Recent Loyalist Marches once again expose British political policing in Ireland. Since December 2012 a weekly "illegal" parade has taken place in Belfast by a number of loyalists. This parade has been facilitated time and time again by the RUC.

The policing and reaction to the loyalist protests stands in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to Republicans who have taken part in or organised un-notified parades.

In January 2011 hundreds of Republicans marched in Lurgan, Co. Armagh to highlight the internment of Veteran Republican Martin Corey. Marching through a nationalist town on a Sunday afternoon, quietly and peacefully, the marchers where met by the RUC who shouted through loud hailers that they were taking part in an illegal parade, signs erected at the side of their landrovers spelled out that prosecutions would follow and every participant was recorded and followed on police video cameras.

Not long after this march a number of people were awakened at 6am by the RUC, taken from their homes to an RUC station and questioned about their involvement in an "illegal parade". Released later that day they were informed they would be facing court proceedings.

In March 2012, 14 Republicans sat through a three day trial accused of taking part in an "illegal parade". All 14 people were "convicted" with participating in an illegal Parade; two people where further convicted of organising the parade. All 14 people were given fines ranging from £300 to £700, many refused to pay their fines and subsequently spent a week in Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood prisons.

This stands in stark contrast to the weeks of "illegal" parading by the loyalist flag protesters. The response in general from the RUC has been interesting to say the least. No loudhailers, no signs promising prosecution, no organisers arrested; the RUC facilitate this march weekly and only now after 12 weeks of "illegal" parading have the RUC even used the terminology "illegal" Parade.

The loyalist flag parades have seen days of rioting, homes under attack in the Short Strand and countless roads blocked, and indeed several members of the RUC injured and one almost murdered in her car. This is a far cry from the peaceful parade in Lurgan that saw 14 people brought before the British Courts.

The discovery after weeks of "illegal" parading by Loyalists, that the police are unsure of the legal status of un-notified parades is disingenuous. The RUC had no such reservations in arresting and charging, and the judge convicting, Republicans for holding peaceful un-notified parades.

The Release Martin Corey march was met with such hostility because it tried to highlight that internment still exists. Republicans and human rights activists must not allow this state corruption to stop them highlighting Martin's case.

The RUC are part of the same corrupt and rotten force that interns Martin Corey in Maghaberry prison, without charge or trial for almost three years now. Martin Corey must now be released, his continued detention is a crime against his human rights.


  1. Pete the punt put his name to an add in the paper in support of peoples right to protest,his people of course and his partys organised protest, Martybroy and quisling $inn £ein want the nationalist population to adopt the croppy position and thats lie down but not on the queens highway while they win hands down on playing "dummys meeting" their silence is deafening .

  2. Itsjustmackers they are the new Broy harriers a cara and coming to a house near you soon no doubt.

  3. itsjustmacker,

    the challenge is to depoliticise policing. SF are not opposed to political policing but are opposed to the type of political policing that does not bear the imprimatur of their politics. Baggott and Ford are out of their depth.

  4. The very existence of this problem shows a malign agenda at play.

  5. i see this 'man' also managed to be released without stringent bail conditions like those forced upon republicans in the last few weeks ....... he just gets his SF buddies to pay bail and off he goes ...... not just the police playing politics here it's the "injustice" system too .....

  6. It seems the more serious the charge the less likely you are to be remanded for e.g., membership of a proscribed organisation,organising meetings on behalf of a proscribed organisation and involvement in the coverup of a murder yet if your connected to quisling $inn £ein you can have bail no tag no restrictions, but if you hold a bit of paper up in a graveyard you can be interned indefinitely ,hell you dont even have to have committed any offence to be banged up indefinitely just as long as you are opposed to the farce quisling $inn £ein have signed up to, the circus that passes for justice here is rapidly beginning to unravel into a disjointed and two tier system so reminiscent of what went before, the promised new beginning is as big a myth as the English sense of fair play.

  7. Well, now that wee Willie, wee Jamie and KKK Jim have been arrested, after 3 months of directing terrorism, and charged with something the RUC nua do not know the legality of, while at the same time David Ford, leader of the other unionist party, trys to rally his two dozen troops under the grand lie that he could do nothing about the street protests they were involved in, will we see the thousand or so others involved in deliberately blocking roads, terrorising old men going to visit their dying wives, preventing people engaging in their lawful activity and preventing business' making enough money to pay staff, pay taxes and pay rent, being brought to face court's also.
    This whole thing reminds me of 1974 when the RUC stood by while loyalists took my sick Father from the back of an ambulance at their UWC roadblock while his family were prevented from leaving their car.
    Plus ca change.

  8. The punt has been playing mop up with his recent statement that the' police must address a perception they treat loyalists differently than republicans.' This isn't a perception its a fact and has been shown time and time again.

    Conall McDevitt of the SDLP gets on my goat, 'professional independence' of the psni! If I was McDevitt I'd be shouting about the punt meeting with the uvf who the 'professional independent' psni have said have been behind 'fleg' violence, no wholesale loyalist paramilitary arrests to date. And as for McDevitts comment '"To suggest publically that the actions of the PSNI are politically motivated is outrageous and totally unjustified." Conall should remove his head from his rear end take off his stormont tinted glasses and look around him once in a while.


  9. I disagree Seamus Mc, Pete the punt has called it correctly if the psni/ruc think battering the bejayuss out of nationalist protesters is the way to go then Pete,s call for parity for his constituents is fair comment but I get the feeling it would go down like a shit sandwich in East Belfast,as for the chief cuntsnotable well he did address the political wing of the uvf and he didnt even wear a balaclava.