You’ve gotta fight for the right

As previously noted (SF and DUP seek to restrict right of Public Assembly) proposed legislation (not approved by Justice Minister) could seriously undermine the right to Public Assembly. This theme has been picked from two very different angles.

The News Letter reports, Rev Brian McClung, minister of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church has serious concerns on the impact to open air religious meetings:

Freedom of peaceful assembly, which our forefathers fought and died for, instead of being a fundamental right will now become a privilege that has to be applied for and by inference can and will be restricted or denied in certain circumstances.”

While éirígí have concerns over the repercussions for Union protests and campaigns:

The legislation will impact upon and restrict the ability of trade unions and others to mobilise demonstrations in support of workers. A case in point to illustrate this is the stance taken last year by trade unions, community groups and political parties of the left in mobilising rallies at very short notice in support of the workforce at the Visteon plant in Belfast.

Under the proposals set out in the draft legislation, entitled Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests, the state would have to be notified of such rallies 37-days in advance and the organisers would have to specify which trade unions or community groups would also be taking part. Failure to do so could result in jail terms of up to six months for the organisers and any participants.

Pickets of workplaces by trade unions which involve more than 50 workers will also find that these, too, come under the new laws.

White-line pickets, a feature widely used by many campaign groups and one that has been used almost exclusively by political activists within republican and nationalist communities in the Six Counties with great impact, to organise effective and spontaneous public demonstrations to highlight incidents which often require a speedy and immediate response at very short notice will also fall under the remit of the new legislation.

The DUP/SF endorsed proposal, which pays little regard to international standards on Human Rights including; Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 21 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is here and consultation responses can be emailed.

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Id be surprised if many there were many Eirigi members were in a trade union. It inplies they had a job. Last I heard Eirigi were staging a protest at bank offices in Dublin.
    There is really no need to use “Assembly” laws to deal with the problem.
    As yesterday was Workers Memorial Day……a ICTU sponsored event (not so far as Im aware attended by any Eirigi members as they probably couldnt get time off work)….health and safety legislation could be used to tackle the problem.

  • Mark McGregor

    Not too many people could attend the Union event for International Workers Memorial Day in the north as it was ticket only at Stormont.

    Not that that or the majority of your post has anything to do with the actual topic, no surprise there though.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yes I know it was. No tickets for Eirigi then.
    But then again Alban Magennis and Paul Butler were away on urgent Quinn business. Jenny McCann did the honours with Arlene Foster who made a surprisingly good speech about a friend from Ballinamallard who was killed when falling off a ladder earlier this year.
    A number of MLAs dropped in and out.
    Of course the whole programme was about reducing deaths….and possibly thats not something Eirigi is TOTALLY behind.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m sure at some point you’ll work out a connection between any of your comments and the subject of the blog.

    Until then I’ll just treat your contributions as typical, trolling from a one-trick pony.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well I was only trying to fill you in on what your ticketless friends missed being as they are all into Unions and all.
    …of course Eirigi might have been outside the building protesting. There were two Porsches in the driveway.

  • Neil

    Interesting. More laws for the PSNI to fail to enforce, (unless presumably they get a call from the Shinners or the DUP telling them to enforce it). Put another way, a man was murdered within 10 yards of a police station last week. Across the street from the same PSNI station for about half the week, every week, a crowd of tracksuited children from the age of about 13 and up, stand getting pissed (illegally, obviously) and taking drugs and the PSNI do nothing. Theys ee it, they drive past it. They don’t care about the law, the people, nothing but their big fat paycheck (very fat paycheck given I personally know of PSNI officers who failed each and every GCSE, currently on about 40k p.a. with o.t.)

    Continue up the same road to the very top, same thing happening. The PSNI have sat in jeeps watching teenagers well below the drinking age getting wasted. I personally know of two attacks having occurred recently, one on a man that had been drinking in the Roddy’s and was drunk, therefore easy to beat, and got a kicking. The other, a friend of mine’s son who has long hair, was on his way back from the bar and also got a kicking. The fact that someone else has now died (Harry Holland wasn’t that long ago, but the outrage fades fast) surprises no-one. Inevitable is the word I have heard used most commonly to describe the murder last week.

    Bottom line, the PSNI are piss poor at their job. They will gladly watch people break the law and do nothing. As a direct result of the laissez faire attitude a man lies dead. When these rules are introduced they are not used to protect the public, anymore than the millions of CCTV cameras, they are used when politically expedient to do so.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Correct. Theres been at least three that I can think of in the past couple of years.
    At least in this latest there has been a quick arrest and theres recently been a conviction in the McGrrevy and Holland cases.
    Prevention is one aspect of Police Work and Im sure Mr McGregor and you and I can all congratulate the PSNI on the detection and conviction of the murderers.
    Although the Courts are also pathetic at handing down meaningful sentences.
    More and better police. Tougher sentences. Something we can ALL agree on obviously.
    And as the PSNI do nothing….lets not forget that the parents do less.

  • Mark McGregor


    Of course it would be used as politically expedient hence the attempt to allow OFMDFM to change the number involved in an Assembly at will.

    McCausland’s comments were also revealing in trying to assuage the minister when he calimed the numbers were set with specific concern for religious events – not antiracism, union, anti-war, anti-sectarian or political protests. Specifically set he claims to in the hope that churches aren’t affected while all other legitimate activity is subject to restriction:

    “The core issue is that there is no requirement for notification for any static open-air meeting with less than 50 people.

    “I’ve been taking part in open-air gospel meetings for more than 30 years and can never recall one with more than 50 people taking part in it, so I anticipate no difficulties whatsoever.

    “We were very careful to set the figure at 50, knowing this would accommodate the gospel meetings that are held across Northern Ireland week by week, especially over the summer.”

  • Neil

    From what I can gather the arrested youth handed himself in, so not too much detection work required in that instance. As for the courts and the parents, who could argue. Pathetic is the word.

  • Michaelhenry

    read an older entry, GERRY McGEOUGH confronts GERRY ADAMS in which a late comment by T.S says that the continuity EASTER message denounced the REAL and EIRIGI has traitors and that apart from the DERRY JOURNAL every other media outlet said nothing, saw nothing, heard nothing, is the fall out of the DISSIDENTS going to come.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    michael henry,

  • RepublicanStones

    Isn’t that just typical, I click on a thread thinking its going to be about the Beastie Boys…..

    But seriously, the Shinners seem to be gradually learning to walk on just two legs.

  • wee buns

    FJH & MH
    you both sound like utter fools who are rarely say a word in context: no exception on this thread so.

    This legislation is a farce; a classic example of the establishment having it’s cake and eating it. The outlaw legitimate protest lresults in the increase of illigitmate protest..which is health for the state: disagreers criminalized.
    We are mere guinea pigs for post conflict Iraq etc
    Pity more people wouldn’t wake up & see it.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    wee buns….thank you.
    Personally I always find it useful when reading anything on (for example) History and Politics to look at the “source”.

    For example an article written by Nick Griffin on Race Relations or John Terry on Fidelity … is relevant to look at the source. Surely thats “standard” procedure.
    Therefore I think every word I say IS in context.

  • Michaelhenry

    WEE BUNS says that we are guinea pigs for post conflict IRAq, well the british army has being removed from IRAq streets, the same has here, maybe WEE BUNS is not that slow.

  • wee buns

    we have long been the guinea pigs of british policy, both at war & at peace, I have no doubt that whatever manipulations used here, will be replicated abroad, as is the norm. NI = training ground for Brits.

    while I may be convinced that you do ‘look at the source’ that does not equate to context. Contaxt is everything. You fail on that.

  • wee buns

    Just to show, the issue was raised; fight for the right to…party?
    Now I shall verily apply to the bla bla commisson for our Ladies night out fund raiser (for the kid’s school) A La Sex-n-da-city…cos apparantly 50 women walking down the street in frocks & stilettos could cause a threat to security….