Gary Donnelly on Political Policing in the North

John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview 32 County Sovereignty Movement spokesperson Gary Donnelly (GD) via telephone from Derry about political policing in Ireland.

Radio Free Éireann

WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio

New York City

Saturday 22 March 2014

JM: The PSNI, formerly the RUC, were marching up on 5th Avenue. And while they're marching on 5th Avenue they were arresting seventy-seven year old Ivor Bell, longtime Irish Republican. They were doing house raids throughout Ardoyne and other parts of Belfast. They were doing raids in Doire. They were actually confiscating tricolour flags, the 26 County flag. They were confiscating them in Belfast while they were marching underneath them on 5th Avenue! And this was all brought about by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.
And what we want to do is refresh the memory of our audience out there about exactly what type of police force this is and how political this police force (is). This is not some bobby down on the street trying to help elderly women cross the street. This is a very, very political police force and what it's doing is enforcing British rule in Ireland. And someone whose felt the brunt of that, and we've had on many times here, he's done time down in twenty-six counties and in the six counties, is Gary Donnelly of the 32 County (Sovereignty) Committee. Gary, you there with us?

GD: I am indeed, John.

JM: Now Gary, what did you think when the police service was allowed on 5th Avenue and one of the main proponents was someone that doesn't live too far from you and that's Martin McGuinness … He Tweeted out this:

Strongly of the view the PSNI marching alongside their Garda colleagues in N/Y will be welcomed by all those who support Peace in Ireland.

I mean, it is a topsy-turvy world we're living in. Maybe you could explain to our audience how the police force works in Doire.

GD: First of all I think Martin McGuinness has lost the run of himself. I want to see peace in Ireland. However, I think that the decision to allow the PSNI to march in New York is a shocking deplorable decision. It's a slap in the face to every Irish man, woman and child who's ever suffered at the hands of the British colonial police force.

What people have to remember is that the PSNI was set up under the Police Northern Ireland Act of 2000. And in that document it states that the name of the police will be The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Incorporating the RUC. Shortened for operational reasons to PSNI).

So it's not just the initials here that's been incorporated into the PSNI it's the whole ethos, the whole corruption that existed within the RUC - the human rights abuses, the shoot-to-kill, the plastic bullets, etc etc - that culture has just been carried on into the PSNI and it's used to suppress Republicans and Nationalists.

JM: Gary, the other point of it is is the way they politically police there. We've covered the story of Gerry McGeough who decided to run for office. He was arrested. Ended up doing two years. And now this week, based on tapes from Boston College that were handed over to the PSNI when they flew from over there to here and brought the tapes back they were actually using the tapes when they arrested Ivor Bell, seventy-seven year old Irish Republican. Maybe you could explain the political policing... never mind just the day in and day out policing.

GD: In communities where I live in Creggan and Doire there is no day-to-day policing by these people. They're not part of our community. They're not welcome in our community. And they don't live in our community. The PSNI is the armed wing of the British establishment which is fronted by Stormont. Now we've had Martin Corey, Gerry McGeough, Stephen Murney, Marian Price, Davy Hyland recently, Ivor Bell...this comes as no surprise to Republicans in the North of Ireland.

Today to be a Republican or Nationalist, and if you dare speak out against The Belfast Agreement - I would equate it to standing outside The Kremlim during the Stalin Era with a placard denouncing Stalin's human rights abuses. It won't be long til you end up with all the internees in the gulag.

And today in the North of Ireland we have our own gulag. And it's called Maghaberry.

SB: Gary, speaking of policing in Doire: There's a video that's going as they say “viral” on the internet of the PSNI in Doire of a woman who was very seriously injured. Instead of taking her to the hospital they dumped her in a bus lane! Is that the kind of policing that they do?

GD: Yeah, that's normal policing by the British police in the occupied six counties. They treat, particularly the Catholic community, as dirt. They have no respect for that community. Every so often they'll wheel out some Irish-speaking police officer for a bit of propaganda but the rest of the three hundred sixty-five days a year are spent harassing and bullying that community. You know, recently here in the North of Ireland we've had people arrested for carrying a hurling stick. We've had a man arrested in this city – within the last fortnight - for speaking the native language. That is the type of attitude of that this British militia - that's how they treat people in this city and right throughout The Six Counties.

JM: Gary, just recently here at Rocky Sullivan's there was a march about the Irish language and trying to save the Irish language. Maybe you could explain a little bit more how this guy was arrested by the British police force in Ireland. Because had he been Spanish, Italian or German, stopped by the police and spoke the language of their country they wouldn't have been arrested. But what exactly happened to this person who spoke Irish?

GD: It's my understanding that this man had been in the city for a commemoration to commemorate a veteran Irish Republican called John Keenan. I was at the commemoration and he spoke at it. And I believe that some time after that commemoration he'd been stopped by the British police under their so-called terrorists laws and when they began to question him he spoke in his native tongue. And as a result of that he was then arrested and taken to the Strand Road police station. It's just part and parcel of the abuse that the Nationalist community in The Six Counties have to endure.

Take the case of Martin Corey – it's a disturbing example of the PSNI. Martin was detained for years on the basis of secret evidence that no one had access to. He is now under house arrest. He's not allowed to speak to the media. He's not allowed to associate with a long list of people. He's not permitted to express any political views with the exception, and this is actually in his bail conditions, unless they are sympathetic to the establishment. The exception is should he feel moved to make pro-Establishment comments, i.e. to condemn Republicans. Now your listeners are probably used to hearing about this type of thing happening to the likes of dissident artists in China.

During the 70's, 80's and 90's people here weren't even subjected to this type of legislation. It seems they have been expanded since the Good Friday Agreement. And if you just look at Stormont...Stormont doesn't allow for any opposition in it. And if you speak out against that establishment you will feel the full force of the state. And this recent incarceration of a seventy-seven year old frail pensioner on trumped up charges is just the latest example.

Now Ivor was refused bail today which means he will now be remanded into custody at Maghaberry Prison. And on his entry into that prison he will be subjected to a forced strip search. Now this a pensioner, a seventy-seven year old pensioner who does not keep well. We still have Special Branch here operating with the PSNI. MI5 have built a massive base in The Six Counties. That shows their renewed confidence. This is how they express their renewed confidence in the fact that The Good Friday Agreement has copper-fastened their grip. And they express that confidence by building a massive new base just outside Belfast.

JM: You're listening to Radio Free Éireann and we're speaking with Gary Donnelly and we're giving the real face of the PSNI who marched up 5th Avenue. If pictures were taken of them in The Six Counties you would have been arrested, like Stephen Murney, and held there for taking the pictures and putting them up on Facebook.

But if you're in a festive atmosphere like 5th Avenue and you put them up you would probably be celebrated for putting up wonderful pictures. Gary, one of the main problem that we have here in New York when there was a campaign to stop them from marching on 5th Avenue: the people that came to their defence was Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

And they will always say to Irish-Americans: We know better – We're from The Six Counties – We need to have them marching in order to get to a united Ireland. (Now that's some convoluted way if they're going to get there – I don't know how). But this is the problem we have here in New York is when you have the likes of a Martin McGuinness and a Gerry Adams saying: listen, this police force is all right – this is our police force. We sit on the policing board.

How any Irish-American could give Sinn Féin one penny when you hear what Gary Donnelly is saying about how they're policing in The Six Counties is beyond me.

But how do we get through to Irish-Americans when people like you would never get a visa to get over here. Our country would not let you in.

GD: That's correct. McGuinness and Adams - they've bought into the British system and basically they're puppets for that system. And they'll get all the perks that goes with that: get out of gaol free card, they'll get to meet Queens and Presidents. When in fact the people who you're meeting, Queens and Presidents, are probably the people who were connected to what happened to Jean McConville.

Getting the message out is very difficult because one of the first things that happened in The States after The Good Friday Agreement was that they banned the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. Now the 32 County Sovereignty Movement was put on a list, I think it was a foreign designated terrorist organisation. But yet we are not banned in Ireland. We are not banned in Britain.

And that was designed specifically to prevent the message, the true message of what's happening in the occupied six counties getting out in the United States. I'd just like to make a comment on another issue regarding the PSNI/RUC. In 2006 a leading PSNI officer, Judith Gillespie, confirmed that the PSNI approved a policy of using children as informants, including to inform on their own families. So basically this British police force can now coerce, bully and intimidate a young child into becoming an informer. This is the type of shocking human rights abuses that this organisation carries out on a day-to-day basis in The Six Counties.

JM: Well Gary, thank you for coming on and giving a different face than was seen going up 5th Avenue there last Monday on Saint Patrick's Day – the PSNI marching on 5th Avenue.

Hopefully we'll keep hammering away and this will be last time they march on 5th Avenue. Although I don't think it will be us preventing them – from the papers I'm reading - the Loyalist do not want them marching here. So in an ironic way they might not be marching next week (year) because of the Loyalists do not want them here in New York. But Gary, thanks for coming on.

GD: Thanks for giving me the opportunity. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Incredulity from judge as man on terror charge for giving police his details in Irish

    District judge Barney McElholm asked: "Was the sum total of this case -- that he gave his name in Irish?" Mr Stelfox said Douglas had "quite happily" allowed the police to search him, and then gave his name and address in Irish and was arrested.

    Judge McElholm said: "One wonders what would have happened if Mr Douglas had been Romanian or Chinese."