Smash Internment And Injustice


  1. Our dear friend Tony TC Catney died this morning after a long illness. He was heavily involved in campaigning around these issues.

    Deeply saddened by the news.

  2. I was at this event earlier, it was excellent. Two of the hooded men along with Angela Nelson and Stephen Murney discuss their stories. I could have sat and listened to them all day especially the two that suffered from hooded torture. There was also a great question and answer session, with a discussion around the subject, ' after all you had been through was it worth it?' I'm uploading it on to you tube now, it's worth a listen.

  3. Gerard, when it's uploaded would you be able to post a link? Thank you.

  4. Anthony,

    it is very sad news; my thoughts are with his family and friends, RIP Tony.

  5. Sarah here they are, you will really enjoy it. Best talk I have ever been to, small informal and extremely interesting. It's in eirigi offices Belfast but its an event by the Irish republican martyrs commeration committee..

    Torture stories from the hooded men, how it was for women from Angela nelson, and then Stephen murney for a more recent story with the q and a at the end based around 'was it worth it?'

    part 1 and part2

  6. We are living in a time when we are lead to believe times have changed and we are in an Ireland of equals but when republicans have to still take to the streets to highlight the continuation of Internment in 2014 I challenge those who try and tell us we are in a different era to explain the difference between Internment in the 70's and Internment of today. My guess is they will get hard to explain because there is no explaining the difference when it is the same.

  7. Gerard, thank you so much for posting the links to these talks. It is an incredibly informative film, but for a non Irish person it raises more questions that it answers.

    I have some things i'd like to ask about but before i do, i'd like to point out that i have only one Irish parent and i was born and raised in the uk, so things that you guys have lived with and are probably obvious to you are things that i have only heard of second hand or read about. So, apologies in advance if i appear ignorant.

    Firstly, although i'm aware of the enormous contribution to the cause and solidarity of the ladies in Armagh Gaol, everything i've read speaks of convicted prisoners, and i've never actually been aware of female internees. After watching this film it seems ridiculous to say so, but in everything i've read, the subject of lady internees has never come up, all the interviews of, and subsequent references to internment and internees, have been about the men - on the Maidstone and then in Long Kesh. Listening to Angela Nelson, i admit i felt like a bit of an idiot, but then Francie McGuigan himself spoke about the effect of internment on the families of the interned. He spoke of the detrimental effect on "mothers, fathers, wives and children" and rightly so, but the effect on "husbands" wasn't mentioned. I'm not a militant feminist, but i am puzzled as to why the suffering of republican ladies isn't more widely alluded to.

    Something i feel very anxious about is this - the rejection of the british presence in the 6 counties. I sincerely believe that the british have no right to, and no rightful place, in the 6 counties. I'm not being deliberately provocative or playing devil's advocate here, this is a genuine question. If/when the british establishment and infrastructure - stormont, police, judiciary etc - are removed from the north of Ireland, the loyalists will still be there. From an outsider's point of view, whatever their beliefs, they've been there for generations so they're Irish, but they are so adamant they're british, can there be a genuine just peace whilst you have this real hardcore of people who simply will not accept a 32 county Irish republic? If the brits disappeared tomorrow, wouldn't there be terrible violence from these people who are adamant they're English?

    Another point raised in the film and something i simply don't understand is this. BOSS chairs and body scanners employed at airports worldwide are deemed sufficiently accurate in order to secure the skies against terror attacks. Yet David Ford has said they're not sufficiently accurate to combat the "dissident" threat in Maghaberry, Hydebank etc. How can this be?

    Patrick Lynch - I have heard it said that the only thing gained from the GFA is an absence of violence - but there isn't even that, is there? What they should have said is "the absence of violence in the news in England and the stuff we don't hear about over here doesn't count"
    Best wishes

  8. Sarah.
    Reponding to your last post.
    86% of protestants say they will have no problem or at least accept a United Ireland If it is voted for.

    No doubt that will leave 14 %.
    The question is will within that 14% be able to sustain any sort of campaign against a UI? Even the dumbest Unionist must realize that If/when the Brit do go..Bombing and shooting isn't going to bring them back.
    Also, the Irish should either ask the UN or more likely the EU to send in an army. The EU is not going to like another Bosnia and will send support.
    Thirdly, The Free State takes in 6% of ALL Uk exports. The Brit Govt. isn't going to want to see a "long war" in Ireland. If one good thing came out of the collapse of the Irish economy It was a belated recognition of just how far the UK has sunk; that a small free State of less than 1% of the Total EU population takes 6% of Uk exports!!!!! How the mighty have fallen, eh?
    On that basis MI5 will be working extra hard to stop Unionists terror.
    Last point. The RUC. UDR and all the other state sponsored militas are disbanded.. There is no bite to the Loyalists bark.. These RUC/ B Specials and the UDR would have been a road block in a 32 County Ireland. They are no more.
    In short the often cited Unionist backlash is a myth. Just used to make the Free State cower. Although it is effective in that regard. That is it basically.

  9. @Sarah You should understand that there will not be a 32 county Ireland so your question as to what will happen when Stormont and the police go is irrelevant. Stormont and the PSNI will be here for a long time yet because the political establishment in Dublin do not want a 32 county Ireland. If there is a border poll, and if both jurisdictions vote for unity (highly unlikely) then Dublin will keep Stormont and the PSNI intact and Ireland will be a two entity state. Dublin does not want the bother of governing or policing the north and will devolve powers to Stormont.
    I also doubt that any loyalist insurgency will occur. The days of the south being controlled by the likes of Haughey and O'Fiaich are over.

  10. Sarah,

    I think the question of a united Ireland is pretty much an academic matter at this stage. I don't believe we are anywhere near it being explored as a policy option. Unionism will always vote against in any referendum and a swathe of nationalism will vote with them. Pretty much as it has always been.

    Women began to be interned around 1973 I think. The first woman was Liz McKee - now married to SF's Alex Maskey. There is a great book called In The Footsteps of Anne which is an oral history of the women in the jails.

    The GFA was the successful outworking of long term British state policy in Ireland which was to have the partition principle (or consent principle as it is better known) accepted by those who had previously used arms to frustrate it. The GFA reformed but not too much.

    Stripping prisoners was always less an exercise in security and more one in degradation. It was a demonstration of the penal institutional power: the regime letting those in its custody know where the power lies. I found that outside of the protest years most screws applied it in a disinterested sense. They went through the motions rather than the actuality. 'Shake your shorts' was the norm rather than the full strip.

  11. Sarah I think we are all learning about this, even those if us from here.

    AM, about the degradation of strip searches, one thing that came out in the discussion was how prisoners who are stripped search can view it as a sexual assault. Holding a man down and forcibly removing his clothes is a sexual assault, as stephen Murney says in the piece if you did that to a woman on the street, a bunch if men holding them down and removing their clothes think of the out cry there'd be!! That must leave psychological scars no matter what your gender?

  12. Gerard,

    that is a valid take on it. I recall Portlaoise prisoners state that prison staff digitally raped them. And this was said in conversation with me long after the event, not put out as some piece of propaganda at the time.

    The type of practice referred to by Stephen Murney has become the norm under Ford. It must be sickening to prisoners in Maghaberry now like Alec McCrory who came through the dark years of protest to see some of those they came through it having signed of on a political package that allows Ford to inflict this type of vile maltreatment on prisoners.

  13. Well said Anthony, I mean who would have thought at the time that Kevin hanna way arrested in Logan st would become a guinea pig for British state torture throughout the world, and especially in gitmo? It's easy to see why republicans in general side with the Palestinian people in Gaza because they see the same state repression there as they endured here...

    Sobering thought isn't it?

  14. Thank you so much guys for your patient and very informative answers - i really appreciate you all taking the time to reply.

    Going back to the discussion in the film re 'after all you had been through was it worth it?' do those of you who lived through those awful years and made so many personal sacrifices, do you feel it was worth it?
    If that's too personal please don't feel obliged to answer. I'm grateful for the opinions you have given already.
    Best wishes to all

  15. Sarah,

    I don't feel it was worth it, but I am not going to complain in personal terms. The gauge is political (and that involves concepts of justice and proportionality). I think far too much went in and far too little came out the other end in terms of political returns. In addition my views on war have changed over the years. War should be viewed as a disease, a phenomenon to be dealt with when it arrives but never something that we willingly inflict on society. It has to be a last rather than a first resort.

  16. I witnessed the return nationalists/republicans got from the farcical peace process yesterday.

    Loyalists went crazy in the town last year at the thought of nationalists/republicans marching through Royal Avenue. So this year the penis/ruc response was, the erection of waist high barriers to keep loyalists coraled and in front of these a line of the states paramilitary police force clad in florescent coats and their regular soft hats. Fair enough they achieved their aim of keeping the loyalists largely tame, but why did they feel it was necessary to face of peaceful marchers with their storm troopers, fully clad in riot gear and holding shields facing in the direction of the marchers. Not to forget the balaclavas they covered their faces with, or maybe some provos have made it into their ranks.

    A lot has changed over the years, some for the better, but the change required to become unbiased=objective is going to prove a real slow burner for some and at best a glacial pace for others.

    This place bamboozles logic.