WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
2 May 2015
(begins time stamp ~ 20:34)
JM: But right now we head over to Glasgow and we speak to Maureen Simpson. Maureen, can you explain: What is the organisation you're with and what was the event that you organised?
MS: Hi. The organisation that we represent is Independent Republican Bands in Scotland which was formed out of on-going censorship in Scotland. Like-minded Republican flute bands came together to highlight Republican injustices in Ireland and we agreed to have an open platform and take a fresh approach in Scotland for all groups who are continuously experiencing harassment from the British Establishment in occupied Ireland. We were holding our annual Easter commemoration on Saturday which is something we do every year.
JM: And who did you invite to speak and what happened at this event?
MS: We invite all groupings to speak - to attend our events - other events but as I said Jim McDonnell in particular was the one who was going to speak on Saturday.
JM: And what happened at this event?
MS: It was just like any normal other event we've had: we march where at the end of the march we usually do like a fifty minute rally where would have whoever was speaking make a speech. I myself read out The Proclamation and then we would play the national anthem. Before we even played the national anthem, after the speeches, the police approached Jim McDonell and took him to the side where he was questioned.
JM: Did he ever give the speech?
MS: Yes, he gave the speech – he gave the speech and it was after the speech that they approached him.
JM: Now did this make much news over in Scotland with any of the Glasgow papers?
MS: Not that I'm aware of. No. No.
JM: So you have someone arrested in Glasgow for giving a speech – he's arrested - and there's no coverage of it?
MS: No. None whatsoever.
JM: I mean, an Easter commemoration, particularly in Scotland there's always been strong links between the two, you have the ferry from Larne to Stranraer - I know a lot of the bands that you're affiliated with go over to Ireland and play there. Is this the first time someone giving a speech has been arrested at one of your functions?
MS: Yes. And it's very normal for us to have speakers at the march so it's not like it was anything unusual so – it's the first time there's ever been any arrest.
JM: And even during the height of The Troubles – I mean, you had people coming back and forth and giving speeches. I mean it just seems there's a new policy within the British government because you had Dee Fennell arrested just a couple of weeks ago for giving a speech in Lurgan and now that, what's going on in Glasgow. Now, do you plan on doing the same thing next year or does this put anybody off from celebrating the hundredth anniversary?
MS: No, not at all. We will continue to have speakers at other events. It certainly won't put us off because we are entitled to freedom of speech. So. In fact, we have one at the end of May, a hunger strike commemoration, which we will do the same thing again.
JM: With a different speaker?
MS: A different speaker, yes...
JM: Alright, we going to be speaking to Jim now in a couple of minutes and we'll get his take on that. But listen, Maureen, thanks for coming on and we'll stay in touch with you about the new commemorations and everything that's going on in Glasgow in Scotland.
MS: Okay, okay. Thank you very much for having me.
JM: Now we're going back to finish a little bit with Damien Dempsey. When we come back we're going to speak to Jim McDonnell, who was arrested in Glasgow, but to me - of major importance - is MI5 operating right here in New York City, in Manhattan, and you know that the FBI and the CIA had to know about this because this is not the first time that they've been operating here in New York City but this is the latest time and it seems to be all part of a new strategy that's going on. And we'll speak with Jim McDonnell when we come back.
(ends time stamp ~ 25:12)