Opposing the PSNI in New York - a Matter of Principle,

Guest writer Helen McClafferty with her thoughts on the protest against the North's British police force marching through New York on Patrick's Day

Before the media try to make a mockery of me and the lack of protesters at the PSNI/RUC line of march on St. Patrick’s Day, I am not embarrassed to say, while waiting for others to arrive I confronted the PSNI in the line of march on 44th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue carrying a sign which read: PSNI/RUC YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN THE U.S. - GO HOME.

British Police Ally Sneers at Republican Protesters
While standing there, anxiously awaiting the arrival of others to join in, one of the members of the PSNI came over to me, tapped on my protest sign and said, 'You have no right to do this. We were invited here and we are wanted here.' I proceeded to tell him, in a dignified manner, that he was now on American soil and I had every right to protest his presence whether he liked it or not. I also made it quite clear that the only ones who “wanted them here” was Sinn Fein.

In the meantime, while I stood there displaying my protest sign, several members of the Garda and the PSNI started shouting “wanker” at me. I was then approached by a very large female wearing a Garda windbreaker who tried to push me back from the line up and block my sign from the press. However, I managed to push her out of my way at which time she proceeded to yell out into the crowd, 'I’ve been assaulted while in America.' I was about to answer her when a reporter from an Irish-American newspaper approached me for a statement. At that point Sandy Boyer, of Radio Free Eireann, and a few others joined in the protest.

I presume that the media will have a field day with the lack of turnout for the protest at the line of march, but it doesn’t matter. For me, personally confronting the PSNI/RUC at their line of march was a matter of principle, given its shocking record of assassinations, collusion with loyalist death squads, its participation in the Dublin/Monaghan murder of thirty-three, Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson and its policy of internment without trial of Irish republicans. The good news is that the turnout to march behind the “England Get Out of Ireland” banner down 5th Avenue was EXCEPTIONAL this year.


  1. Ones had a right to protest at the PSNI taking part in the New York ST Patricks day march- there were no arrests-
    But I was surprised at no protests at the Garda-the 26 county police force must have been supported by everyone there-

    Danny Morrison has a right to joke what he wants-the same as everyone else- rights are rights-

    " I presume the media will have a field day "-

    They did not care about a few protesters and I never met anyone who said boo about this protest-

    " England get out of Ireland "-

    The only banner that should be carried at this march with pride -

  2. Helen: There are many Irish American Republicans in the US who, like you were disgusted by the invite to the PSNI in the first place, and then the meddling of Adams and McGuinness to strongarm the parade committee to reverse their decision to revoke the invite, was even more infuriating. Unfortunately we couldn't make the trip from San Diego to be there at the parade but we are glad you, WBAI, and FOIF were there protesting this insult. Thank You: Wm McGowan on behalf of Roger Casement 1916 society SoCal.

  3. MH

    what are you on about the Garda for? Stick with yer bestest new friends in the RUC/PSNI. SF will be carrying the shoulder high at next years event, doing in public what you're doing in private already.

  4. As Malachi O'Doherty said in the Irish News, the protest only made Irish-Americans look daft. Firstly the 'England get out of Ireland' banner is just plain silly as you obviously mean the UK/Britain which is made up of Scotland Scotland, Wales, England & Northern Ireland. And secondly the Good Friday Agreement as voted for by that vast majority of the populations of Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland makes plain that the constitutional position of Northern Ireland lies solely with the people of Northern Ireland and had nothing whatsoever to do with England. The PSNI ate the agreed police force of every political party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  5. never mind the psni, did u see those free state pigs at o bradaighs funeral. utter scumbags with not a grain of decency or respect. all the irish are gud for now is paddys day parades so let them hav their global display of mass plastic paddy moronism and dont bother protestin at anything. if theres any group that needs to be protested its the irish themselves who havent even bothered puttin on one decent march or riot since they sold their descendents into financial slavery a few years ago now. ban the irish from paddys day parades, they are gud for nothin now. gobshites.

  6. I am at odds to know what Danny Morrison means when he tweets about the dissidents and the PSNI marching through New York in a St Patrick’s Day parade
    To me it seems very strange that a catholic nationalist should be sneering republicans who want the former RUC to have no act or part in the Paddy’s day celebrations.
    What did Danny mean by his tweet, was it that somehow the people who have decided to keep up the good fight and expose the British for their torture and inhuman treatment of the Irish people they have currently interned .What Danny’s tweet has confirmed for me is just how far Sinn Fein has taken Northern nationalists away from the republican ethos of the men from the IRA from a bygone past. Danny would have us believe that Bobby Sands and the rest of the hunger strikers would have supported Sinn Fein.
    So by Danny’s reckoning Bobby would be in full support of the former RUC marching through New York under a St Pats banner.
    You don’t have to be a gobshite to be in Sinn Fein but it helps

  7. What is the New York Police Department's human rights record like? Not great at a guess. Why anyone would want to march in a parade organised by the sectarian and homophobic Ancient Order of Hibernians is beyond me

  8. Kilsally,
    Historically an "England get out of Ireland" banner can never be silly. All of Ireland's political turmoil stems from English invasion, a fact that will never be forgotten. Your comment that the constitution of the six counties has nothing to do with England is laughable. While people across the 32 counties did vote for the gfa my opinion is war weary people voted for peace and were duped by charlatans and conmen.
    Who in'98 read the whole agreement before voting? They voted for an end to violence and were betrayed by their own. As far as I am concerned the 26 county government and the six county government are illegal, undemocratic and should never be recognised by any republican.

  9. Kilsally-

    I know it was just a silly spelling mistake which we all make-but-

    " The PSNI ate the agreed police force "-

    Near enough but the PSNI ate up the RUC-

  10. Danny is being disingenuous here, he knows full well it takes more than a name change to whitewash decades of intolerance and prejudice, and despite the PR window dressing the PSNI is a British police force and it makes no secret of that. I might add having shinners on police committees will not change that.

    Forget about Ireland for a minute, lets me put it this way, if London's metropolitan police band was marching in the Notting Hill Carnival and given their hateful history towards the black community and their current policy of stop and search which they mainly direct at Black people.

    Would that be fine and dandy or should Black Londoners and all freedom loving people cry out on your bike you are not welcome here?

    Of course they should, just as it was correct to oppose the PSNI presence at the NYC St Patrick day parade.

  11. While Bangers, idiot that he is, was tweeting his beloved PSNI were taking Tricolours from kids as young as five. They even arrested an popular alcoholic in a Nationalist area (no where near the city center)for waving a tricolour.

    At the so called Peace Bridge they were assisted by the SF owned Estate Services security firm in ensuring that Tricolours were removed from nasty nationalists...

    Meanwhile in Belfast the loyalists were free to wave union flags and drive round with masked men in army jeeps. No PSNI interference there.

    Aye a right idiot is Bangers. Even Anna Lo is more Republican than that shower of quislings.

  12. Ah then again Morrison has become quite the Royalist so its no surprise he has no problem with the PSNI taking Tricolours from children...

    "Yesterday when we were up at the green field, there was a whole bustle, I saw a BBC camera crew and people thought Bono was arriving," he said.

    "When we got up it was Prince Charles... He was the only person out of quarter of a million wearing a shirt and tie.

    "He asked myself and my brother Ciaran did we actually camp out for three days. We come for about six days. He was very personable."

    In a radio interview for BBC NI's Good Morning Ulster, Mr Morrison added: "I had no problem with him. There is a line drawn through the past."


    Danny and Marty two Pet Paddys...