NAMA & RECEIVERS EVICTING HOMELESS FAMILIES TO SELL MAIN STREET PROPERTY

Diarmuid Breatnach

Lynam’s Hotel in O’Connell Street is a building you could easily pass without realising what its business was. The hotel takes in mostly tourists on short-stay bookings but, as the homelessness crisis totally exceeds Dublin City Council’s minute stock and specific funded provision, DCC has also used it to place homeless families within it as with many other hotels around the city and county (and even further out).

When the owners of the hotel found themselves over-extended on loans, NAMA moved to take over the building; naturally the State agency would not wish to be seen evicting homeless families. Five families with a total of ten children were being placed there by Dublin City Council. The Hotel’s management at first wanted to cooperate with NAMA and force out the families but these, supported by Irish Housing Network, refused to leave as they had no suitable alternative accommodation (see their letter in the Appendix). One by one, the families won short extensions on their stay from the management.  Incidentally, eight workers’ jobs are also at stake.

Supporters and members of the public at campaign table outside Lynam Hotel during the week

Campaign supporters and supportive members of the public at campaign table outside Lynam Hotel during the week (photo: D. Breatnach)

During the week, the IHN set up a campaign table outside the hotel, staffed by volunteers on a rota and some additional helpers; they began to collect signatures to a petition demanding Dublin City Council take over the hotel and for NAMA not to evict the families.  They distributed leaflets (the IHN also have an on-line petition on their FB page) and by mid-week, had collected 1,000 signatures to the petition.

 

FAMILIES AND SUPPORTERS CONFRONT NAMA AND RECEIVERS

On Wednesday 27th, the families and supporters went to NAMA’s Head Office in Treasury Buildings, Grand Canal Street, D2 and from outside, asked to see the head of the state agency. Treasury Buildings management locked their building and called the police, who arrive in one squad car, then another, and then more of them on foot.

After talking to the police, NAMA offered to see one of the families only, accompanied by a supporter. The families discussed this and rejected it but offered the concession of two families plus supporter. The senior Garda officer seemed to be trying to persuade the families’ representative to accept the NAMA offer but they stood firm.  After rejecting that offer, NAMA PR spokesperson Martin Whelan came out to speak to the families and their supporters from the steps of the building. One of the campaigners speculated that this was the first occasion ever for NAMA to explain their actions to the public.

Families and supporters outside NAMA building during the week Supporters and members of the public at campaign table outside Lynam Hotel during the week (photo: D. Breatnach)

Families and supporters outside NAMA building during the week Supporters and members of the public at campaign table outside Lynam Hotel during the week (photo: D. Breatnach)

Whelan’s position was, in essence, that NAMA had no choice but to put the properties it received on the market and to sell them on. He rejected the accusation of one of the campaigners that NAMA “takes over properties and sells them at knock-down prices to vulture capitalists,” maintaining that all properties are sold at their market value.

With regard to the demand that the building be put under management as a homeless hostel by Dublin City Council, Whelan would say only that they had received no offer from the Council. That would be a decision for the Receiver, he said, in a statement that many saw as an exercise in passing the parcel.

To those who quoted him some lines from NAMA’s founding charter that its purpose was, in part “… to address the compelling need ….. to contribute to the social and economic development of the State …”, Whelan had nothing to say apart from repeating what he had said previously.

The families and campaigners presented Whelan with 1,000 signatures on petitions and indicated they would return with more and began to leave, the police also leaving as they did so.

Families and supporters confronting NAMA PR representative Martin Whelan (in blue suit) (Photo: D. Breatnach)

Families and supporters confronting NAMA PR representative Martin Whelan (in blue suit)
(Photo: D. Breatnach)

However, the families and their supporters were not finished yet and headed off for the

Some of the police that NAMA called to protect them from homeless families and supporters

Some of the police that NAMA called to protect them from homeless families and supporters with NAMA PR spokesperson Martin Whelan in the foreground (Photo: D. Breatnach)

Receivers’ office which, at Marine House, Clanwilliam Place, took some finding. Eventually located overlooking the canal in a very quiet section of the city, they entered and ascended to the 5th floor, to the business address of Crowe Howarth, a member company of the Swiss firm Crow Howarth International. The families and supporters asked to see the person in charge, Aiden Murphy, a partner in the Crow Howarth, who was allegedly outside the building and due back in ten minutes but who appeared from inside after keeping them waiting nearly an hour. Then he wanted to meet them in the lobby, which they refused and insisted on the respect of a meeting in a private office space, which Murphy eventually granted.

According to reports of that meeting, Murphy was civil to the families and assured them he would not be asking for their eviction prior to the court hearing on receivership of Lynam’s Hotel.

Some families and supporters in the lobby of Crow Howarth, Receivers (Photo source: IHN FB page )

Some families and supporters in the lobby of Crow Howarth, Receivers (Photo source: IHN FB page)

Upstairs in the Receivers' lobby (Photo: D. Breatnach)

Upstairs in the Receivers’ lobby

He was due to meet the families the next day but, apparently worried about meeting demonstrators, arranged a meeting with them in the Gresham Hotel instead (no doubt chargeable to the public). His reticence for meeting possible demonstrators was somewhat different to his previous arrival as reported by sources. with a takeover workforce, bullying staff, changing locks and issuing orders.

View down to the ground from the Crowe Howarth lobby. Ordinary people must look very small from here. (Photo: D. Breatnach)

View down to the ground from the Crowe Howarth lobby. Ordinary people must look very small from here. (Photo: D. Breatnach)

THE COURT CASE

In advance of the court hearing, hotel management seemed to be moving to place the families as a buffer between themselves and the Receiver and were reported to have asked the families for a letter stating that the accommodation offered by DCC was unsuitable. Judge Gilligan asked Dublin City Council to appear in court to answer whether they had alternative accommodation available.

On Friday 29th, DCC duly presented themselves at the High Court and assured Judge Gilligan that they had indeed alternative accommodation ready for the families. Judge Gilligan did not ask the DCC spokesperson to detail the type of accommodation they were offering nor its location and Crow Howarth made no move to do so either. The families themselves were not permitted to have a letter detailing their conditions and the type of “alternative accommodation” available (see Appendix) read out in court.

Some of the rota for the table outside the Lynam Hotel (Photo: D. Breatnach)

Some of the rota for the table outside the Lynam Hotel (Photo: D. Breatnach)

The outcome pf the case was that Lynam’s Hotel was wound up, ordered to cease trading beyond August 1st and the building is to be sold (if it is not, as rumoured, already sold) on behalf of the State to some unknown capitalist. The families will presumably be placed somewhere in the kind of conditions about which their letter complains, affecting not only the parents but the children now and into the future, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

And the housing crisis continues without any State agency or Dublin City Council making serious efforts to address it; according to the Irish Housing Network there are over 8,000 families homeless within the state and the total is growing daily.  This is in the centenary year of the 1916 Rising when that inspirational document was printed in Liberty Hall, signed in Henry Street (around the corner from Lynam’s Hotel by seven who would be shot later by firing squad) and read out and posted on Easter Monday outside the GPO in the same street as the Hotel, declaring that
The Republic guarantees equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally …..”

end

To help support these and other homeless families contact https://www.facebook.com/irishhousingnetwork

 

 

APPENDIX

 

LETTER OF LYNAM HOTEL FAMILIES TO HIGH COURT

Dear Judge Gilligan,

We the Lynams families would like to thank you for your consideration of our situation in this High Court decision. We are choosing to remain anonymous due to fear of being targeted as we are under threat to take offers that are not suitable or find ourselves with no accommodation what so ever.

We appreciate that you realise that we are extremely vulnerable at this time and are being used as pawns in the political maneuvers of the Hotel management, DCC, the Receivers and NAMA.

As a group we would like to highlight the situation in Emergency Accommodation we are currently finding ourselves in.

We are HOMELESS, yes we are lucky to have a roof over our heads but we are without a fixed abode. We are under the control of the whims of Hotel Management and the DCC.

The accommodation we can usually find ourselves in is one double sized room for one family, two rooms if you have a larger family not necessarily in the same building. Imagine if you will having to live your whole life within the confines of this room where there is:

No drinking water. No fridges to store milk for young babies. No cooking facilities. No laundry facilities to wash your own or your children’s clothes. No area for the children to play, do homework or socialise with others.

We have been offered Alternative Accommodation which is below the standard that we currently experience at Lynams and is still not suitable for our families needs. In fact there is no minimum standard for Emergency Accommodation.

Families that enter Emergency Accommodation initially start off their journey in shock with a loss of home, structure, security. Children sit in their school uniforms waiting for the hotel restaurant to open in order to grab a quick breakfast before they start their long journey to the only anchor they know which is the school they were enrolled in, before they became homeless. Families cling to this anchor, in order to enable their children to have some degree of normalcy in their lives.

Those children who do not have a home and proof of residence do not have any chance of enrolling in school, getting a doctors appointment, being referred to services or getting counseling.

Children spend their days trying to be quiet around adults that are stressed trying to find new accommodation for that night. Forbidden to associate with other children as per rules in certain establishments. They are hungry, as they wait for their parents to source food, often eating whatever food is left over from breakfast until they share one takeaway meal between the family. There is no money is left by the end of the week as it has been spent on transport. These children are disorientated, with some families ending up in hotels in Bray, Aughrim & Brittas Bay trying to get to school in north Dublin. These children lose any hope of being in a normal home, they cling to already anxious parents.

The average families moves every 5 days unless they are lucky to get a hotel/guesthouse that takes on DCC customers as permanent until placed, the length of time that takes can be upwards of 2 years. There is one family that was in Lynams for 7 months, and were informed by DCC with 4 days notice to move, they have been in hotels in several different counties in the space of 3 weeks since they moved.

We ask you to consider that this is our home, we are powerless to fight the combined forces of DCC, NAMA and the Receivers and the pressure they are putting on us. On July 22nd Management in Lynams continued to accommodate us when DCC failed us.

We ask you to consider that we are not just names on a list, we are real people, we have real lives, we have jobs, our children are being directly affected by the decision being made here today.

Even though we have no hope of a good outcome for our families we can only hope that you find it in your heart to consider all these issues of how the system for homeless families has failed us all and will continue to fail unless properly addressed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

The Lynam families

To help support these and other homeless families contact https://www.facebook.com/irishhousingnetwork/?fref=ts

THREE EVENTS IN ONE ON HOWTH PIER

Clive Sulish

Foreign tourists and Irish-based visitors looked on with curious interest at a gathering at the foot of the East Pier, Howth on Sunday 24th – the group contained a number in military-type uniform, some were carrying flags, each one of a different design and a number of people in ordinary civilian clothes were carrying floral wreaths.

The Asgard, Molly Childers and Mary Spring-Rice on board at Howth

The Asgard, Molly Childers and Mary Spring-Rice on board at Howth (photos from Internet)

Participants, Tourists and Visitors

Participants, Tourists and Visitors (photo D.Breatnach)

Most onlookers at that point would not have known that those gathered there had a threefold purpose:

  • to commemorate the landing of Mauser rifles for the Irish Volunteers

  • to commemorate the massacre of civilians by enraged soldiers later that same day on Bachelors Walk and to

  • launch the Asgard 1916 Society.

 

The men and women in uniform formed up with the flags as a colour party and led the procession the full length of the pier to its end. There the procession came to a halt in front of a plaque on the wall commemorating the landing of 900 Mauser M1871 single-shot rifles and 29,000 rounds of ammunition in 1914 by a crew skippered by Erskine Childers with his wife Molly and friend Mary Spring Rice. The arms were taken ashore and whisked away in an operation planned by Bulmer Hobson of the IRB and carried out by the Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann.

Colour Party Marching

Colour Party marching along the pier towards the ceremony (photo D.Breatnach)

The Dublin Metropolitan Police and British Army were mobilised by Dublin Castle authorities to seize the guns (unlike at the previous much larger operation by the Loyalist UVF at Larne) but only managed to get a few. As the disgruntled Scottish Borderers marched back into town, they were jeered by Dublin crowds and some cabbage stalks were thrown at them. On Bachelors Walk, very near the Ha’penny Bridge, an officer brought them to a halt and they faced the crowd with guns pointed, then opened fire. Three men and a woman were killed and 38 wounded, including the father of singer Luke Kelly of the Dubliners ballad group (also called Luke). One of the victims died of bayonet wounds.

Margaret McKearney speaking and chairing the occasion on the pier

Margaret McKearney speaking and chairing the occasion on the pier (photo D.Breatnach)

Margaret McKearney, who has had three brothers killed in the Six Counties during the 30-years war, stepped forward to address the crowd as tourists and visitors took photos or watched and listened. After giving a brief account of the Howth landing and of the massacre on the Dublin quays, also of the smaller landing at Kilcoole, McKearney called forward Pól Ó Scanaill of the 1916 Societies to read the 1916 Proclamation of Independence. After he had finished, McKearney called for the young bearers of two floral wreaths to make their presentations:
Ellen O’Neill, with a wreath in memory of those killed and injured by the British soldiers at Bachelors’ Walk;

Roibeard Drummond, whose uncle Michael Moore was a crew member of the Nugget, landing rifles at Kilcoole, laying a wreath for the Asgard 1916 Society to commemorate the landing of the rifles and those who carried them in battle in 1916.

Last of the wreath-layers was Denise Ní Chanain on behalf of the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland.

Ellie after laying wreath in memory of the dead and injured in the Bachelors' Walk massacre

Ellie O’Neill after laying wreath in memory of the dead and injured in the Bachelors’ Walk massacre (photo D.Breatnach)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOORE STREET SPEECH

Roibeard Drummond, after laying wreath on behalf of the Asgard 1916 Society

Roibeard Drummond, after laying wreath on behalf of the Asgard 1916 Society (photo D.Breatnach)

Niamh McDonald gave a short speech on the current situation in the struggle to save the revolutionary quarter of Moore Street. She informed her audience that NAMA had sold the debt of the Irish speculator company Chartered Land (Joe O’Reilly) to Hammerson, a British-based vulture capitalist company, who are continuing with the plan to build a huge shopping centre over the whole historic quarter. Meanwhile, the Minister for Heritage, Heather Humphreys, is appealing the High Court judgement that the whole quarter is a national monument. McDonald asked people to keep an eye on the campaign’s

Denise Ní Chatháin bringing forth the wreath from the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland

Denise Ní Chanain bringing forth the wreath from the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland (photo D.Breatnach)

Facebook page for updates and for calls to support actions.

McKearney then called on Diarmuid Breatnach to sing Me Old Howth Gun, pointing out that guns landed at Howth had been the first to fire on the Lancers in O’Connell Street on Easter Monday 1916. Breatnach introduced the song as having been written apparently in 1921, that is a year before the outbreak of the Civil War, by James Doherty, who also used the pseudonym Seamas Mac Gallogly.

Niamh McDonald speaking on behalf of the Moore Street 2016 campaign

Niamh McDonald speaking on behalf of the Moore Street 2016 campaign (photo D.Breatnach)

MAIN SPEAKER — JOHN CRAWLEY FROM THE MARITA ANN
The next speaker to be introduced by McKearney was John Crawley who was arrested on board the Marita Ann trawler, intercepted off the Kerry coast by the Irish Naval Service on September 29, 1984, when seven tonnes of arms were seized. The US heavy machine guns recovered on the Marita Ann had special mountings allowing them to be used as anti-aircraft weapons. Another of those detained on board – and later jailed for 10 years – was Martin Ferris who went on to become a Kerry TD for Sinn Fein, while John Crawley has taken a line of opposition to the Good Friday Agreement.

John Crawley giving his oration with the plaque commemorating the landing of the Howth guns behind him

John Crawley giving his oration with the plaque commemorating the landing of the Howth guns behind him (photo D.Breatnach)

John Crawley gave the main speech at Howth, in which he traced the history of the struggle for the Irish Republic from the Volunteers onwards, pointing out that many who fought the British in 1916 had different aspirations for the country, which explained why they parted ways in 1921. Crawley stated that the British have always been able to pick out those whose primary intention was to survive the struggle from those whose intention was if necessary to give their lives for the objective of the Irish Republic.

Pól Ó Scanaill reading the 1916 Proclamation

Pól Ó Scanaill reading the 1916 Proclamation at the head of the East Pier, Howth (photo D.Breatnach)

Crawley pointed out that some people had led a section of the Republican movement in accepting the right of a foreign country to decide the future of a part of our country; they had joined in the colonial administration and had accepted the colonial police force.

After the applause for the speech died down, McKearney thanked those who had participated and asked Diarmuid Breatnach again to step forward to sing the national anthem. Breatnach sang it in Irish, first verse and chorus (and noticeably sang “Sinne Laochra Fáil” instead of “Sinne Fianna Fáil”). Participants joined in with the chorus and then all made their way along the pier towards a local pub where refreshments had been made available by the new 1916 Society.

Diarmuid Breatnach singing Amhrán na bhFiann at end of the ceremony. Earlier he had sung "Me Old Howth Gun".

Diarmuid Breatnach singing Amhrán na bhFiann at end of the ceremony. Earlier he had sung “Me Old Howth Gun”. (Photo: Des Keane from Sean Heuston 1916 Society page)

end

Video of the event by John Rooney and put on Youtube by him, posted on FB by Mick O’Riordan (see below)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrG_7VLytfw

JOBSTOWN EIGHTEEN TO BE SENT FOR TRIAL IN THREE BATCHES

Diarmuid Breatnach

 

 The Jobstown Eighteen are charged with offences carrying maximum penalties of 10 years and life imprisonment: sixteen with “false imprisonment”, nine with “violent disorder” and some with both, arising out of a demonstration against the policies of the then Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, when she was attending a function in the area. The demonstration blocked her car allegedly for two hours. They were on their ninth appearance in court this week and had until very recently been the Jobstown Nineteen but co-accused Philip Preston died tragically at the age of only 36).

Jobstown Not Guilty Banner Crowd

(Photo from Jobstown Not Guilty FB page)

Some defendants and some supporters outside the court on the 13th

One of the Jobstown 19 in conversation and supporters of another unrelated case outside the court after the appearance on the 13th (Photo: D. Breatnach)

(Photo from Jobstown Not Guilty FB page)

The Jobstown Eighteen, with the exception of a few, including Paul Murphy TD who had been excused appearance for a number of reasons, appeared before Judge Melanie Greally in the CCJ building on Wednesday 21st July, their ninth court appearance since the Jobstown protest on 15th November 2014. Jobstown is a recent kind of suburb of Tallaght, itself a fairly recent population centre to the southwest of Dublin City. A few juveniles charged in connection with the protest are being dealt with separately in the Children’s Court and one was recently sentenced to six months imprisonment.

20160720_122308

A Jobstown Eighteen accused leaving the court as supporters of another unrelated case congregate outside (Photo: D. Breatnach)

Most of the morning was spent by arguments of the battery of defence lawyers against the State’s prosecutor, Mr. McGillicuddy, on the issue of separate trials. The State contends that those on separate charges have to be tried separately but that such a simple division alone would mean eleven on trial at once and that would be too many, according to the State, for the jurors to be able to follow the evidence and decide on the guilt or otherwise of each defendant. The numbers had to be broken down into three or four groups, the State contended.

The defence lawyers argued that some Prosecution witnesses would, in such a process, be called to testify in a number of separate trials and would become too used to their evidence as the element of surprise was removed. Mr Peadar Ó Maolain BL stated that “Prosecution witnesses will be very polished at this stage.”

Another defence argument was that those in last group would not face trial until possibly four years after the original incident. The whole morning was spent with these types of arguments and some lawyers also opposed the putting of their client into a particular group.

 

PICKING OUT “LEADERS”

The State also made it clear that it sought to try four of the defendants — Paul Murphy, Tommy Kelly, Mick Murphy, Declan Kane — in one separate group, alleging that they had been “in organising mode”, a clear attempt to put some in a leadership category with, presumably, heavier punishment for them should they be convicted.

 

NO RECORDING ON SMART PHONES”

Before the submissions began, Judge Greally told the packed courtroom that at the last hearing in May “persons were observed recording these proceedings” on mobile “smart phones”. She said that anybody seen doing this from now on would, at the least, be removed from the courtroom and would be in danger of being found in contempt of court. She did not explain why she objected to recording proceedings nor whether it was only video or including only audio recording to which she was objecting.

At midday Judge Greally said that she would allocate people to the groups and ordered those charged to return to court on October 3rd when presumably they will be committed for the different trials and a jury sworn in. Bail was continued under existing conditions.

 

DANGEROUS PRECEDENT – SOLIDARITY MOBILISATION NEEDED

These charges are in themselves repressive, seeking to free representatives of the Government and others from serious inconvenience in cases where the population feels that they have been acting unjustly and mobilises to show their dissatisfaction. Joan Burton was one of the most disliked Ministers of an unpopular government, partly for her abrasive manner but much more so for her policy of cuts to funding for social provision. She was also disliked for a controversial exchange in the Dáil when she seemed to be suggesting both that violent behaviour of police on demonstrations and anti-water charge pickets should not be videoed and that ordinary people having Ipads or phone cameras capable of filming those videos was a luxury that would not or should not be within the purchasing range of those protesting.

In addition, the maximum punishments possible on conviction of those charges are ten years and life imprisonment.

If the State succeeds in gaining convictions in these trials, even if the sentencing were fairly lenient within what is possible, it will be a serious setback for the right to protest effectively, to cause disruption to the schedules of Government Ministers and to confront them with strong demonstrations of the people’s anger at the measures being inflicted on the people by the policies of said Ministers.

It is therefore important for people to demonstrate their support for those charged in a number of ways but in particular by attending the trials and other public demonstrations of support.

 

LEGAL DEFINITIONS AND PUNISHMENT

The charge of “false imprisonment” is akin to kidnapping and has in the past been applied to cases where a person does not permit another to leave a building or an area, usually also preventing them communicating with others. Minister Burton’s car was surrounded by Gardaí as well as demonstrators, she had mobile phones to hand, had changed vehicles during the incident and never attempted to leave the vehicle at the end.

“False Imprisonment”, under the provisions of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997, can result upon conviction ‘on indictment’, i.e. which is what the court is doing here, to imprisonment for life.

The charge of “violent disorder” is similar to “riot” and came into Irish law as part of the Public Order Act of 1994; its provisions and explanation are identical to the British Public Order Act 1886 and it carries a maximum jail sentence of ten years.

End

 

Violent Disorder

Where—

(a) three or more persons who are present together at any place (whether that place is a public place or a private place or both) use or threaten to use unlawful violence, and

(b) the conduct of those persons, taken together, is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at that place to fear for his or another person’s safety,

then, each of the persons using or threatening to use unlawful violence shall be guilty of the offence of violent disorder.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) it shall be immaterial whether or not the three or more persons use or threaten to use unlawful violence simultaneously;

(b) no person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at that place.

(3) A person shall not be convicted of the offence of violent disorder unless the person intends to use or threaten to use violence or is aware that his conduct may be violent or threaten violence.

(4) A person guilty of an offence of violent disorder shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.”

FAMILIES BEING EVICTED ON CITY’S MAIN STREET

Diarmuid Breatnach

Five families with a combined total of ten children are resisting eviction from a building on Dublin’s O’Connell Street where they have been placed in emergency accommodation by Dublin City Council. The building in question, Lynam’s Hotel, has been taken over from its owner by NAMA and the families have been told that they must leave so that it can be turned into temporary accommodation for tourists.  Already there are many tourists renting the rest of the 43 suites.

Lynham's Hotel, O'Connell Street, Dublin on Wednesday

Lynham’s Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin on Wednesday

The families however have decided that they are not going to leave and Irish Housing Network has organised support for them. Volunteers were outside on Wednesday as one of the parents had been told that day to leave with her child, which she was refusing to do. She was then given an extension until Friday but on Thursday, another family were told to move and they too were holding out with supporters nearby. Towards the end of the day that family too was given an extension.

Some of the families in question attended the Dáil late on Thursday afternoon, where Thomas Pringle, Independent TD, asked a question regarding the situation of a junior Government Minister for Housing. Clare Daly TD reportedly had been trying to get a question asked since Monday. Presumably this question has as part of its purpose to draw media attention to the issue and to put pressure on the landlord not to evict the families.

Some supporters of the five families on Wednesday

Some supporters of the five families on Wednesday

NAMA was set up allegedly to recoup money from speculators who had overextended their credit and could not clear their debts. The idea presented to the public was that, as the Government had bailed out with public money the banks who had lent out to speculators sums far in excess of what was commercially justifiable, the State would take the properties and sell them, putting the money gained back into the public purse. What has in fact been happening is that NAMA has been selling these properties off to vulture speculators, who are snapping them up at prices well below their market value. One of these vulture speculators is Hammerson, a British-based property speculator company, which is rumoured to be looking to buy the hotel. Hammerson also has bought Chartered Land’s (Joe Reilly) property empire and with it, planning permission to demolish all but four buildings of the Moore Street quarter and to build a huge shopping centre over the historic battleground and national monument.

Many acknowledge that there is a housing crisis currently in Ireland and in particular in Dublin.  The Irish State that was created in 1922 has been since its inception in support of capitalists, including speculators, but against workers and lower-middle class people. Nevertheless in the past local authorities did build some social housing to rent but these days, Dublin City Council does not want the role of managing housing and has sold off most of its stock and not built any new houses for decades.

One of the people who fought against the State we have inherited was killed by Free State soldiers in O’Connell Street and a small plaque commemorates him on the corner of the building there now. Cathal Brugha had been wounded 25 times in the Easter Rising and beat the odds to survive, though he walked with a limp thereafter. In 1919 he organised the IRA from the Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army who were willing to join.  In 1921 he voted against the Treaty and in 1922 led a force of IRA against the new Free State in order to ease the pressure on the Republican forces who were being shelled at the Four Courts.  He was shot down in the street this month, 94 years ago, across the street from Lynam’s Hotel.

Cathal Brugha

Cathal Brugha

The plaque to Cathal Brugha across from Lynam's Hotel. Brugha was shot by Free State troops in the street there on 5th July1922 and died on the 7th.

The plaque to Cathal Brugha across from Lynam’s Hotel. Brugha was shot by Free State troops in the street there on 5th July1922 and died on the 7th.

On Friday 22nd, the IHN called a public protest outside the hotel.  Although at short notice and called for 1pm, therefore during office hours, up to 30 people supported the protest.  The event attracted considerable media and public attention.

Irish Housing Network is set to continue to support the families in resisting eviction and volunteers may wish to get in touch with the organisation to help maintain a support rota for the families https://www.facebook.com/irishhousingnetwork/.

IHN demonstration outside Lynam and the fundamental message on placard

IHN demonstration outside Lynam and the fundamental message on placard

20160722_135113

MARCH FOR MOORE STREET CONSERVATION FOLLOWS FOOTSTEPS OF 1916 RISING

The march called to save “the Revolutionary Quarter” of Moore Street followed the footsteps of the GPO garrison on Easter Monday but, upon reaching the GPO, continued on along the that week’s Saturday surrender route up to the Rotunda.  Wheeling left then, the march proceeded on to the junction with Moore Street, where the British Army had their barricade and machine gun on Friday Easter Week — the cause, along with the sniper in the Rotunda tower, of many deaths and injuries in Moore Street.  The march wheeled left again into Moore Street and proceeded to the rally outside the GPO, where speakers were to address them and artists to perform.

from Save Moore Street 2016 campaign

https://www.facebook.com/SaveMooreStreet2016/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1260539983971351

The Save Moore Street 2016 campaigners and supporters gathered well over an hour before the advertised time outside Liberty Hall where their wardrobe department was busy outfitting people while a steward organised people for photo shoots, leafleting and kept the crowd informed.

By the time the march set off from Liberty Hall it had gathered many, quite a few in period costume and some others joined it along the way. Many had come already dressed in period costume or were decked out by the wardrobe department of the Save Moore Street 2016 campaign and a solid group of them marched behind the new campaign banner.

Longish View March Abbey St Xroads DB megaphone

Section of march crossing to west side O’Connell Street in foreground; section of march in background passing Wynne’s Hotel in Lower Abbey Street. (Photo: )

Others marched behind the original Save Moore Street (from demolition) 2016 banner while others carried banners of some organisations supporting the march: the Cabra 1916 Society, O’Hanrahan Car1ow 1916 Society, Dublin Says No, Munster Anti-Internment Committee, Republican Sinn Féin, Dublin IRSP …..

Led by two people with megaphones and, at times, spontaneously, they shouted: “Save Moore Street from demolition!”

With reference to the Chartered Land and now Hammerson’s huge shopping centre plan for the area, the marchers shouted:

Do we need another shopping centre? No! Do we need our heritage? Yes! Do we need our street market? Yes!” Also, “What do we want? Hammerson out! When do we want it? Now!”

Other slogans included: “Our history! Our heritage! Our street! Our Rising!”

Moor St March passing 1916 Bus Tour.jpeg

Amy and Josh youth supporters flank a march steward as the march passes one of the many kinds of 1916 tours being run in the city this year. (Photo: B.Hoppenbrouwers)

Amy Alan Josh leading OConnell StUp Lower Abbey Street the marchers went, in the footsteps of the GPO Garrison on that Easter Monday morning, past Wynne’s Hotel where Cumann na mBan had been formed in 1913, past the former Hibernia Bank on the corner of Abbey and O’Connell Street, where Volunteers fought and where Irish Volunteer Captain Thomas Weafer, from Enniscorthy was killed and his body consumed by the flames caused along the street by British shelling.

Turning into O’Connell Street, the marchers passed the location of Bloody Sunday 1913 when, after Jim Larkin defied a court ban to speak, the Dublin Metropolitan Police ran riot beating Lockout strikers and onlookers down to the ground with their truncheons.

COUNCILLORS, TDs, PROMINENT CAMPAIGNERS, ARTISTS AND HISTORIANS MARCHING

A number of elected representatives supported the march: seen in the crowd were Dublin City Councillors Cieran Perry, Pat Dunne, Anthony Conaghy and former Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh, also TDs Joan Collins and Maureen O’Sullivan.

OSullivan Johnsons Ballagh Cooney

Section of the march in upper O’Connell Street, heading northwards, showing prominent supporters TD Maureen O’Sullivan in foreground and Robert Ballagh in middle section, flanked by Patrick Cooney, one of the founders of the 1916 relatives’ campaign Save Moore Street.

Among the artistic and dramatic sector whose participation was noted were artist and activist Robert Ballagh, drama director Frank Allen (who also organised the first Arms Around Moore Street event in 2009 — and has the T-shirt to prove it!), Brendan O’Neill — also an actor and long-time campaigner — and actor Ger O’Leary.

Relatives of prominent fighters in 1916 also participated and Jim Connolly Heron, great-grandson of James Connolly and among the earliest campaigners for Moore Street and Donna Cooney, great-grandniece of Elizabeth O’Farrell, who went out into the killing zone to organise the surrender, were both noted marching. Patrick Cooney, also of the specific 1916 relatives’ group that brought the legal challenge to the High Court marched along too and spoke from the platform at the rally. Gabriel Brady, grand-nephew of the printer of the 1916 Proclamation, Christopher Brady, was there too, as was Eoin Mac Lochlainn, a relative of the Pearse brothers and a relative of Seán Mac Diarmada was also present and in fact helped carry one of the SMS2016 banners.

A number of historians walked among the marchers, including Ruan O’Donnell, Dónal Fallon, Ray Bateson, Hugo McGuinness, along with local history activists such as Joe Mooney (of East Wall History Group) and Terry Fagan (of North Dublin Inner City Folklore Project). Ciarán Murphy, joint blogger and joint author with Dónal Fallon of the Come Here To Me publication marched along too. From the non-history world of academia, Paul Horan, lecturer of Trinity College (and who wrote the letter published in the Irish Independent on July 2nd denouncing the Minister of Heritage appealing the Barrett High Court judgement that the whole Moore Street quarter is a national monument) marched in period costume too.

THE SURRENDER ROUTE

Passing the General Post Office, the marchers continued along the route of the GPO/ Moore Street Garrison as they surrendered on the Saturday of Easter Week, up to the Gresham, where they laid down their weapons and on to the Rotunda, in the garden of which many had been kept for two days without food or water, while detectives of G Division from Dublin Castle came down to identify prisoners for execution. On the way the marchers passed the Parnell Monument, where British officers had displayed the battle-damaged “Irish Republic” flag upside down as a trophy for a photographer.

On this Saturday in 2016, volunteers (some in costume) accompanied the marchers along the route, handing out leaflets, which were eagerly taken by onlookers, while others – all in costume — collected donations along the way, distributing stickers in exchange. Well in excess of five hundred leaflets were distributed in the period of the short march.

SILENCE IN MOORE STREET

Minute Silence Moore St 9 July2016 T Byrne

The march stopped in Moore Street for a minute’s silence. (The building to the left is a section of the ILAC shopping centre; to the right may be seen a section of the hoarding in front of five buildings in the ‘1916 Terrace’ and the banner illegally placed on four of those houses (declared a ‘national monument’ since 2007) by the Department of Arts, Gaeltacht and Heritage.

Turning into and a little along Moore Street, the marchers were called to stop for a minute’s silence out of respect for the Irish Volunteers, Citizen Army and civilians who had been shot down in that street by British Army guns, for the six who had been shot by firing squad after they surrendered and for those who had risked their lives in an uprising against the biggest empire the world has ever seen.

All sound in the street died: marchers, street traders, bystanders, shoppers — all stood silent in a street which would otherwise be filled with the noise of a street market and busy shopping thoroughfare on a Saturday afternoon.

At the conclusion of the minute’s silence, the march recommenced, calling its demands with renewed vigour, out into Henry Street, right to O’Connell Street to form up for the rally by the stage in front of the GPO.

SPEAKERS AND PERFORMERS

The rapper Temper-Mental MissElayneous (Elaine Harrington) from Finglas was the first on the stage and performed her “Fakes and Manners” and “Buachaillí Dána” raps but continuous problems with the sound amplification at this stage of the rally meant much of what she was saying could not reach the audience (fortunately this was amended later).

Elayne Harrington torso stage

Rapper Temper-Mental MissElayneous (Elayne Harrington) from Finglas performing with bodhrán

Niamh McDonald, chairing the rally, welcomed the crowd and said that the campaign to save the Moore Street quarter was at a crossroads; developments had brought Irish property developers and the State into opposition to the appropriate conservation of the quarter but also now foreign vulture capitalists. “Save Moore Street 2016 will do what it takes to defend this historic quarter” she said, reiterating three basic demands of the campaign:

  • That a full independent expert assessment be carried out of the battlefield area

  • that all construction or remedial work be accessible to expert independent monitoring and

  • that the whole process by transparent to the public.

It was time for the campaign now to take the fight to the speculators and the next in a series of monthly events would be a demonstration against Hammerson themselves, McDonald told the rally.

Niamh Speaking, DB, Donal Fallon

Niamh McDonald, chairing the rally and speaking on behalf of Save Moore Street 2016 addressing the rally as one of the march stewards (in period costume) holds the megaphone for her. (Photo: )

The first speaker was then announced, historian and author Ruan O’Donnell, who reminded the rally that the Government of the time had been prepared to demolish Kilmainham Jail. The site had languished until volunteers took up the work of restoring it as a museum and now it is so successful that one has to queue to gain access to it.

Ruan O'Donnell speaking

Ruan O’Donnell, historian, lecturer and author addressing the rally. (Photo: )

O’Donnell castigated the attitude and thinking of successive Irish governments and pointed out that the GPO and Moore Street are sites of crucial importance in the struggle of the Irish people for nationhood.

O’Donnell’s speech, as did McDonald’s, received cheering and applause a number of times during their course as well as at the end.

Dónal Fallon, also author and historian, then stepped up to address the rally and also denounced the Gombeen state that had followed the struggle for independence, in which property speculators grew fat while the people suffer in a housing crisis.

Donal Fallon speaking

Donal Fallon, blogger, author & historian addressing the rally. (Photo: )

He reminded the rally of the struggle to save the Viking archaelogical site at Wood Quay and how, with Dublin City Council building over it, the writer and author of Strumpet City, James Plunkett, had said that Dublin had “shamed itself before the world.” Fallon said that Dublin needs to redeem itself and will do so in the struggle to save the Moore Street quarter.

Patrick Cooney (of the relatives’ group that took the High Court challenge against the Minister of Heritage) was then introduced and spoke of the recent Appeal Court appearance where the Minister’s team had been castigated by a Judge who insisted they had to specify against which part of Judge Barrett’s judgement they were appealing – her Department could not take a blanket position and say that they were against it all (SMS2016 comment: indeed, part of the judgement was that the banner erected on Nos.14-17 had been erected illegally, and the Minister has already stated that work would commence to remove it and to fill in the holes the builders put into the face of those buildings in order to fix the banner there). Cooney welcomed the announcement that the appeal would not be heard until December 2017, saying that this would give time for more pressure and perhaps a change of government.

Cooney also spoke of the long struggle to have the importance of the site acknowledged and to save it from property speculators and in passing also paid tribute to those who had occupied the building in January of this year.

Sean Doyle speaking

Sean Doyle, in period costume, addressing the rally. (Photo: )

Last to speak was Seán Doyle, speaking on behalf of the Save Moore Street 2016 campaign. Seán questioned whether we were worthy of the inheritance which had been bestowed upon us.

Referring to speculators and their facilitators, Doyle concluded by saying that “men in suits can be more dangerous than men in armour”.

All those speeches were enthusiastically applauded.

By this time the technical problems of the sound amplification had been overcome with the assistance of a member of the audience and Paul O’Toole stepped up to the microphone. He recalled that the best stage he had ever performed upon had been a couple of pallets drawn up in front of No.16 Moore Street in order to play at a rallying event there.

Paul O'Toole performing

Paul O’Toole playing and singing during the rally. (Photo: )

He then sang and played “The Foggy Dew” and “The Cry of the Morning”, followed by his own composition “We Will Not Lie Down”. The event could not end without Temper-Mental MissElayneous being given an opportunity to perform with the sound amplification in full working order and she launched into her “Fakes and Manners” rap.

The crowd having applauded the performers, everyone was thanked for contributing to the event, banners were rolled up and costumes packed back into cases.  Some people stood around chatting while the lorry that had provided the stage pulled out into the traffic, one of the organisers gave a radio interview to Newstalk and MissElayneous, on a roll now, performed for a small audience and video camera with the GPO as a background.

Across the road, outside the GPO, to which it relocated after some of its activists went to participate in the march, having earlier completed its 94th Saturday on Moore Street through which it has collected more than 50,000 signatures in support of Moore Street, the Save Moore Street From Demolition campaign table was also wrapping up.

And, despite threatening sky and pessimistic forecasts – it hadn’t rained once.

end

SPEECH BY REPRESENTATIVE OF CAMPAIGN TO SAVE MOORE STREET AT ANNUAL ANTI-INTERNMENT PICKET IN NEWRY 2nd July 2016.

A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE MOORE STREET HISTORIC QUARTER ADDRESSED THE ANTI-INTERMENT MEETING AFTER OTHER SPEAKERS, TO ASK FOR SUPPORT FOR THE FORTHCOMING CAMPAIGN MARCH IN DUBLIN.

Clive Sulish

Poster wall M St March 9 July 2016

A Chairde,

gabhaim buíochas libh as éisteacht a thabhairt dom agus buíochas freisin as cead cainte ag an ócáid seo ón Anti-Internment Group of Ireland.

A chairde, Níl saoirse gan stair. That is a saying in Irish which means “There is no freedom without history.” This is true in the sense that every struggle for freedom has a history but also in the sense that we cannot win freedom if we don’t know our history.

History is not dead; it is a living thing. We here today are all part of history, in our small way, part of the history of the struggle against the reintroduction of internment in our country, in particular in the Six Counties but creeping into the Twenty-Six as well.

DB speaking at Newry Annual AI 2016

History is not just about battles, although battles form an important part of the historical record. But more, history itself is a battleground! And there are historians who take their sides in that battle: some celebrate our struggles and relate the story of our heroes, while others lie about and twist our history, cast our heroes and martyrs as villains or even try to hide our history completely.

NÍL SAOIRSE GAN STAIR. Those who control the history of a people will find it much easier to control the people too.

On the Friday of Easter Week, as the GPO was in flames and the roof about to fall in, four evacuations from the GPO took place. There were two evacuations of Cumann na mBan, one of them taking the wounded under fire to Jervis Street Hospital. Then another two evacuations, one for a charge on the British barricade at the end of Moore Street, all of which were shot down, dead, dying or wounded. Another evacuation of more than 200 men and women occupied a terrace of houses, tunneling through the walls, from house to house and it was from there that they eventually surrendered on the Saturday.

For some reason that history was kept from us. As depicted in the Michael Collins film, where the GPO garrison is shown coming out from the GPO with their hands up, we thought that’s how it was. But it didn’t happen like that. The Moore Street history was kept from from us.

Decades later, in the 1970s, as property speculators crawled over Dublin and ripped it apart for their own constructions, a strong financial reason was created to conceal the Moore Street history. Then after 16 years of campaigning, the State finally granted a concession and nominated just four buildings as a National Monument. But their plan involved pulling down neighbouring buildings. This would then have facilitated the property speculator’s plan to demolish the rest and to build a huge shopping centre over and around those four houses, all the way from O’Connell Street down to Moore Street and all the way from Parnell Street down to Henry Street. Into that shopping centre, the four houses would be a shoebox museum, with a cafe inside and perhaps a Mac Donald’s on one side and a Starbucks on the other.

But they were stopped. They were stopped by men and women who occupied those buildings, and who blockaded it for six weeks.

Then there came that decision of a High Court judge, that the whole quarter was a historic battleground. Not just four buildings, not just a terrace, but other houses too, the streets and back lanes. He declared the whole to be a National Monument.

So of course there were great celebrations among the campaigners. But what happened next? The Minister of Heritage, which had been her title, announced she was going to appeal the decision. And the speculators asked for a seven-year extension on their planning permission, which it seems Dublin City Council will grant them.

NÍL SAOIRSE GAN STAIR. We are all a part of history. We need to know it. We need to defend it. Not for the past – or at least, not only for the past. But for our present. And for our future. The future of our children and of generations to come. A future free from colonialism. Free from speculators. Free from vulture capitalists.

As an aspect of that resistance, that defence of our history, we will be marching next week on Saturday in Dublin. There are leaflets here beside me on the table for you to take, not just advertising the event but also explaining the situation.

We would hope that you would all stand and march with us, shoulder to shoulder, in Dublin next week, in defence of our history against State and speculators, in defense of our heritage, our past and our future.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

THIRD ANNUAL ANTI-INTERNMENT WHITE-LINE PICKET IN NEWRY DRAWS WIDE SUPPORT

 

Line from river end

UP TO FOUR SCORE PROTESTERS LINED A MAIN STREET IN NEWRY ON SATURDAY 2nd JULY TO PROTEST THE CONTINUATION OF INTERNMENT WITHOUT TRIAL OF POLITICAL ACTIVISTS

Clive Sulish

This the event was organised for the third year running by the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland and was supported by a number of organisations, campaigns and independent activists. AIGI was formed some years ago to raise awareness of the reintroduction of internment without trial by the use of remand in custody and revoking of licences.

Republican activists are being arrested on trumped-up charges and then refused bail outright or sometimes offered it in exchange for acceptance of conditions limiting their freedom to live normally and, in particular, to be politically active. This in itself lays bare the real motivation behind the charges – one who was unable to support the event because of his bail conditions told this reporter that he has to sign at a police station every day including the middle of the afternoon on Saturdays, is not allowed to speak about political prisoners, to attend political meetings or to post or comment publicly on social media. If refused bail, activists may await trial for two years and, if then found ‘not guilty’ by the no-jury Diplock Courts, will already have spent two years in prison anyway.

Former political prisoners released on licence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement may be arrested and detained without trial, without charge, without even a police interview as happened to Martin Corey (four years without trial and released under gagging conditions). Currently Tony Taylor is in jail without charge under this system.

AIGI was founded to raise public awareness about these serious violations of civil and political rights. The Dublin branch of AIGI, the Dublin Anti-Internment Commitee, holds regular public pickets and meetings in the Dublin area and has facilitated other public events for other campaigns, such for example the framed Craigavon Two. Recently the Munster Anti-Internment Committee was also founded as another branch of the AIGI (both committees were represented at the Newry event).

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SPEAKERS DENOUNCE BAIL CONDITIONS, REFUSAL OF BAIL AND OPPRESSION INSIDE JAIL.

A number of speakers called attention to the repression of the Six County state in its arrests of political activists, refusal of bail or imposition of oppressive conditions if bail is granted, imprisonment on trumped-up charges and through revoking of licences. The case of the Craigavavon Two was mentioned by a number of speakers, as was the case of Tony Taylor. The Craigavon two are in jail convicted of the killing of a British soldier, even though the case against them is riddled with holes and depends on an eyewitness who came forward nearly a year after the event, whose evidence is contradictory, whose movements on the night in question are denied by his own family and who is described by his own father as “a Walter Mitty character”.

All the speakers called for continuous action and unity against repression and were vigorously applauded.

JOE CONLON WAS THE FIRST SPEAKER. HE SPOKE ON BEHALF OF THE DUBLIN ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS, a support group for political prisoners.

Joe Conlon speaking

In the course of his speech he pointed out that the struggle of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison has been going on for well over a decade. Commenting on a brutal prison regime, Conlon focused on the attacks onprisoners families and loved ones being refused visits without any warning and loved ones being banned for a couple of months at a time also without warning.”

Attacking the system of solitary confinement within the jail, Conlon picked out the case of “Gavin Coyle (who) has spent five years in isolation,” while, he pointed out, non-Republican prisoners usually spend at most up to three weeks in isolation, as a punishment. “The use of forced isolation is to try destroy the morale, spirit and mind of a prisoner. In Gavin Coyles case the British state are trying to break him down physiologically and MI5 have made several approaches to him in the Isolation block.”

Conlon went to assert that these exact same tactics are being used ……. across Europe to get Anarchist activists jailed and used against prisoners and their families to break them,” and recalled that the previous year several anarchist prisoner had gone on hunger strike.

Calling attention to the 39day hunger strike by Tasos Theofilou, who was sentenced to 25 years jail in 2014, Conlon said thathe was convicted of manslaughter, carrying a firearm and armed robbery, which he has always denied. The only evidence against him was DNA that was found on a moveable object, none of the witnesses in trial could identify him,” Conlon pointed out.

PAUL CRAWFORD OF CÓGUS AND REPUBLICAN NETWORK FOR UNITY ADDRESSED THE CROWD ALSO.

Paul Crawford RNU Cogus

Thanking the organisers for the invitation to speak and declaring it a privilege to address the gathering, Crawford addressed some remarks towards the terminology of “internment” and raised some questions regarding its accuracy with regard to some cases, the injustice of which however he went on to denounce.

The media and political class came in for denunciation too for ignoring the fact of framing of activists on flimsy evidence.

Crawford went on to speak of his comrade Carl Reilly who, he said “is another example of selective detention.” Reillly is arrested on a charge of directing terrorism and, Crawford informed the crowd, “this charge is based on secret recordings allegedly taken in the 26 counties yet passed to the state forces in the north to use as evidence to remand him there.”

Crawford told those assembled that he himself is Carl’s co-accused, released on bail. “I am forced to endure draconian and repressive bail conditions which are clearly designed to prevent me from carrying out my role within my political party in an effective manner. I am not allowed to send Carl a birthday card, to talk to him or even to have thirdparty contact with him.” Crawford said. “In essence,” he continued, I’m not even allowed to ask his wife to tell him I was asking for him. Many activists north and south are effectively interned on bail, in prison outside of prison walls.”

STEPHEN MURNEY, FROM NEWRY AND IN ÉIRIGÍ was himself a fairly recent victim of internment through refusal of bail for nearly two years, after which he was cleared of all charges.

Stephen Murney speaking Cabs

When republicans are targeted by the British occupation forces, backed by their political mouth pieces in Stormont,” Murney told the crowd, “they can expect to be held for anything up to five years in a British prison.” “Many of these cases are built on sand and eventually collapse before trial,” he continued, “although the end result is that those republicans are held in prison for several years despite being innocent.”

In the course of his speech, Murney pointed out that the families, whose battle is “largely unseen and unheard ……. are left to pick up the pieces”. Continuing, he stated: “I think it’s appropriate and important that today we acknowledge the struggle that women have to endure when their husbands and sons find themselves interned”.

Murney went to talk about the “living nightmare” that bail conditions impose on activists, making it “impossible to live anything that even remotely resembles a normal family life. Late night checks, daily bail signing, draconian curfews and being forced into exile are the order of the day.” He went on to say that those who are forced to wear an electronic tag “not only have to endure Crown force harassment, but they also find themselves being harassed by their lackeys In the G4S security company.”

Not even after completing there sentences are activists free from harassment, Murney declared, as “many find themselves with severe licence conditions being imposed and being unable to return to their homes to live.”

SPEAKER CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR DEFENCE OF MOORE STREET AND HISTORY

DB speaking at Newry Annual AI 2016

Last to speak was Diarmuid Breatnach, introduced by the chair as representing the Save Moore Street From Demolition campaign. He began by quoting a saying, “Níl saoirse gan stair” (‘There is no freedom without history’). Breatnach spoke of the importance of history, of knowing it well and how it is interpreted; how those who hide or control history do so in order to control the people. He pointed out that history is not dead but is constantly being made, “as those of us here today are in a small way part of the history against the reintroduction of internment”.

Speaking about the last Headquarters of the 1916 Rising, the terrace of houses in Moore Street occupied by the GPO Garrison, Breatnach related how the long years of people campaigning for their conservation had resulted in an Irish High Court judgement that the whole of the Moore Street quarter is a National Monument.

However, Minister Humphreys is appealing the judgement, Breatnach told the crowd and the property speculators have applied for a seven-year extension on their planning permission for a giant shopping mall, which involves the demolition of the whole quarter with the exception of four buildings.

Focusing on the forthcoming march on Saturday 9th in Dublin (organised by the Save Moore Street 2016 campaign), Breatnach encouraged all to take leaflets, inform themselves and others about the issues and to march with the campaign and supporters in Dublin, “not just for the past, nor just for the present but for …. a future free from colonialism, imperialism and property speculators.”

“A VERY SUCCESSFUL EVENT …. HIGHLIGHTING THAT INTERNMENT WITHOUT TRIAL HAS NOT GONE AWAY”

Police vehicles passed along the street keeping the demonstrators under surveillance a number of times but did not stop, nor did police on foot appear. They also took a turn around the car park noting vehicle registration numbers.

People driving past in cars almost without exception accepted leaflets and some tooted their horns in solidarity. The presence of large numbers of cars of expensive make passing through the street drew an expression of surprise from one Dublin participant. “Green diesel prosperity,” replied his comrade laconically. Clearly there is more than one kind of ‘cross-border initiatives’!

“This was a very successful event,” stated a spokesperson for the organisers, a sentiment echoed by many, quite possibly all of those in attendance. “As in past events, people from different Republican organisations and Republican and socialist independent individuals participated. We also distributed in excess of one thousand leaflets here today and highlighted that internment without trial has not gone away.”

Newcomers to this event were in evidence this year also, with the banner of the Anarchist Black Cross (support group for political prisoners) clearly to be seen.

The presence of Munster and Dublin branches of the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland reflect the growth of the organisation and interest in its core principles of active committees, democratically run by participating activists, independent of any political organisations but open to members of all and of none.

END