Really ‘screw’ed? Do the splits..

The recent Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration was supported by people drawn from a range of republican groups including RNU, IRSP, éirígí, 32CSM but also independents and some even say a few individuals aligned with SF.

The associated webpage is now gone – cache here

One group seemed to withdraw their support and disassociate themselves with the event – RSF. It appears they rejected the idea of endorsing the march when they realised it had applied for and gained permission to proceed from the Parades Commission.

Many recent prison protests around Ireland have been organised by a loose group of ‘Families and Friends of Republican Prisoners’ and seem to have input from a broad range of republicans but no overall political control, though I’ve heard claims the IRSP recently disassociated themselves from a white line picket in support of prisoners and held a separate protest further along the road (both sides are very coy about the reason/s).

RSF have also decided to organise a protest themselves on 29th May and their ‘march’ from Dunville Park to Castle St is not listed on the Parades Commission website so I assume they haven’t and won’t be applying for permission. It remains to be seen if others will join this ‘parade’ that seems almost gauanteeded to end in confrontation with the PSNI when they were too ideoligically focused to consider supporting others’ protests.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Would any of these people consider getting a life?

  • Mark McGregor

    Doubt it. Seems to be an increasing amout of people across numerous strands of Republicanism that won’t just go away.

  • Republican dissidents have a point, there appears to be some victimisation, (the case against Gerry McGeough is to say the least flimsy) and prison conditions appear to be dreadful. Never the less all protests need to be peaceful. What is the point of protesting if the purpose of the protest is lost in the publicity engendered by any violence by the marchers?

    The white line protest not long ago was very successful. It got good publicity and the posts here showed just how much some people care about that.

  • jim

    pip if i can you that. now listen if peggy mitchell from eastenders shouts up the stairs GRAAAAAAAAAAANT all the scumbegs will come running wif their folders under their arms they dont give a fxxk whos in jail or not in jail these r the same 1s do u no hu i am bet peggy culd fix em.gra………………..nts

  • joeCanuck

    You have a knack of coming up with good headlines. This is another good one.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    So the partitioning of Ireland will end if the Falls Road is partitioned into picketing zones for various dissident nomarks.
    Perhaps traffic signs …obviously bi-lingual could be erected so that I know when Im leaving the RSF (even I know thats Republican Sinn Féin) zone and entering the RNU (a new one on me…sorry) zone.

    Presumably if they actually do have a parade…it will go around in circles…..or take place in a cul de sac.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yeah hes brilliant.
    Obviously a loss to sub editing on a tabloid.

  • jim

    I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    I have a confession: I have never watched East Enders. Not because I have any objection to it. It is just that I was always working and never had time to become addicted to the soaps!

    In the meantime a just cause is just that, regardless of religion or political allegiance.

  • jim

    is murdering somebody a just cause .like that child on the somerton road,maybe he should be released.maybe ian brady should be releaed. oh i forgot u dont know who ian is your too busy working n paying yer taxs.hope it never comes till yer door

  • joeCanuck

    Off topic; does anyone know how to add a picture to a profile or is that a reserved privilege?

  • jim

    I do not understand your attitude. This thread is about prisoners rights. If you think they should have no rights I disagree.

    One crime should not be replaced by another.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Those of us who are quite elderly realise that there is nothing new under the Sun.
    Back in the early 1970s the families of “political prisoners” routinely abused the SDLP……but always sought the help of Vincent McClosley MLA and Des Gillespie MLA when wee Johnny was lifted and taken to Springfield Road or Andytown.
    Of course you have to be a real anorak to know the names McCloskey and Gillespie. In some editions of some reference books they dont even get mentioned.
    But the support that McCloskey and Gillespie gave the families did not stop the same families picket their houses in Andytown and Gransha.
    “Legitimate Targets” as Mr McGregor might put it.
    So….2010……”Lurch” O’Dowd and the rest go to visit with the “prisoners” in Maghaberry. They really should know better.
    There will be no gratitude.
    Just the affirmation that they are “legitimate targets” by the apologists for the dissidents.
    Of course its a comfort to know that History happens twice.
    This time round…as with everything with the word “dissident” there is a high level of farce.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Here’s a mad idea — why not miss out on those ‘dreadful’ prison conditions altogether by not doing the crime in the first place?

  • Michaelhenry

    do you know history, the dissidents have never killed an armed brtitish soldier in there 24 years, SINN FEIN went to the prison to check if these people actually exist, well the bought media call them hardline for some reason.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    Fitz, RNU are the ‘Republican Network for Unity’ who are, dare I say it, one of my favourite ‘dissident’ groups. I, like Mark, am a non-aligned Republican so I can’t see how PSF can enjoy condemning actions which, just 15 years earlier, they saw fit to commit. I also believe RSF are simply being difficult for difficulties’ sake: they are happy to stand in local elections in the 26 counties but not in the 6 counties. One partioned state is another in my opinion. People have tried to persuade me to join PSF, RSF and éirígí but I won’t join any of them until they learn that ALL Republicans deserve the same recognition whether they are abstentionist or not and ‘dissident’ or not. I have heard numerous accounts about the conditions in Maghaberry being abysmal and this is simply not good enough. I can’t condone any actions or alleged actions which land people in jail but they DO have human rights like the rest of us. Not least the right to be free from cruel, degrading or unusual punishment which forced, repeated digital searches are. David Ford has shown his inability to fulfil the post of Justice Minister with his insensitive comments about the Maghaberry conditions and the Saville Inquiry. He seriously needs to buck up his act quite quickly. I fully support the GFA and want a move away from the usual green and orange politics in the north but this doesn’t require us all to leave our beliefs out. We simply need to have no fear for the beliefs of others and hope they don’t fear us for our position on the constitutional question. The usual suspects have been using nationalism/unionism as a tool to play us with. Oh sorry. I never realised I was getting so far off the topic of the OP.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    True MH an armed British soldier might actually shoot back — blowing up shoppers and GAA players is about their limit.

  • Seosamh913

    The sad crank reactionaries need to understand that even if there is an acceptance of their motivation as political, that recognition should puely be a technical one and not be attended by any – at all – additional priveleges to which OCDs aren’t already entitled. A message needs to be sent to these deluded elitist death cult clowns that the majority of citzens here have unalterable principles too and so they aren’t entitled to anything different unless or until we say so.

  • Argosjohn

    The only arguments against the so called dissidents here seem to be: mocking them with puerile humour (Fitzjames), attacking them for not creating mass murder (Michael Henry) and claiming they are only filthy Piope worshipping rabble anyway.

    It is good to see someone take up their cause and expose the hypocrisy of Adams and his heavies. By the way, has anyone any idea what will happen to RSF and its abstentionist policies when Les Relics pass into the grave with Romantic Ireland and O’Leary?

    I feeel these prisoners have been left holding the baby. They have been used by OBradaigh and his type and by McGuinness et al to distance themselves from their past. Such, I suppose, is life.

  • We don’t offer enough/any? support to ex republicans, there are stories of poverty, addiction and other glossed over ‘problems’.

    All republican prisoners should have access to representatives of the movement they belong to. If the crime they are convicted of can be properly described as a legitimate target, and not for eg. the murder of a widowed mother of ten, then the prisoners should be entitled to the status of their political group.

    It is not good enough to dismiss genuinely held beliefs, just because those in power no longer share those beliefs.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Everyone is entitled to their beliefs — they are not however entitled to use those beliefs as an excuse for murder.

    What would be your view on immigrants being targetted by the BNP, GPs by anti-abortionists or fox hunters by animal rights activists? All genuinely held beliefs but certainly not acceptable cases for extreme violence.

    Likewise the fact that some people would prefer a UI is not a justifiable reason to murder shoppers, blow up people in their cars or use taxi drivers as human bombs.

    The population of Ireland north & south voted overwhelmingly for continued partition as enshrined in the GFA. The provo murder campaign was an abysmal failure. The dissidents have virtually no support within NI and even less elsewhere.

    It is their right if they so wish to pretend that such a thing as a ‘legitimate target’ exists. It is also their right to rot in prison for decades. It is not their right to any special privledges while they are there.

  • Seosamh913


    No, no distinction should be made legally between the legitmacy or otherwise of targets. If the defendent/convictee wants to claim a politication motivation, fine, but they receive no additional privleges for doing so and no distinction in sentencing and should always be subject to due legal process including jury trials etc just as for ODCs. No additional priveleges post-conviction. And yes I think we can dimiss their beliefs if those beliefs include, or require, an expression of them which is explicitly violent. Or, if you like, criminal. If I claimed biblical warrant for murdering children, ought I to be entitled to respect for those beliefs assuming I am sincere in my convictions ? No siree.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    There is much in what you say, but no matter how much I despise the views of some. I respect their right to hold those views.

    Republicans and Loyalists are in a slightly different category. It is less than a hundred years since Ireland gained independence. In historical terms that is less than the blink of an eye. It is not surprising there are some people who sincerely believe we have not come far enough quickly enough.

    I believe the only legitimate targets are the military and their properties, and only then if all else fails. This has of necessity to be slightly elastic, but it certainly does not stretch as far as the murder of innocents or the terrorising of communities to gain and maintain control of those communities.

    It hurts no one if we recognise sincerely held views and respect the sacrifices of those who have given up so much for what we have today.

  • Seosamh913

    See above. In addition though, all prisoners are subject to due legal process, although there does appear to be a consdierable delay in that process when it comes to at least one republican.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Pippakin your term ‘the military and their properties’ would appear to be an extremely elastic one — does the ‘military’ include the PSNI for instance?

    The ‘military’ (however you define them) certainly haven’t done a fraction of the damage to Nationalist & Republican communities that their own paramilitaries have. You mention the murder of innocents. The so called Real IRA murdered 29 entirely innocent people on one day in Omagh. I would suggest that if you’re looking for a ‘legitimate target’ it might preferably be the people who carried out this act against their own people.

    As regards your statement that communities should not be terrorised, I’m sure you’re well aware that this is a basic paramilitary tactic in an attempt to gain support and influence. It has, like all the dissidents tactics, been used before. The difference is that the provos realised that their armed campaign was going nowhere.

    ”respect the sacrifices of those who have given up so much for what we have today.”

    Interesting statement Pippakin. Who might this include?

  • Gerry Lc

    No, I don’t think it should include the PSNI. I have no great opinion of them as a police force, sometimes I wonder why they are there at all… But I have on another thread condemned the attack on a young policeman.

    I know the subjugation of their own is the first target of the paramilitaries and I condemned that. I believe it should be treated as a straight forward criminal offence and I have said so, repeatedly.

    The only example I am prepared to give you, and that because he is dead, is Brendan Hughes. I disagree with many of the things he did, but if anyone said he did not sincerely believe it was all for a just cause, they would be lying, quite possibly to themselves as much as others.

  • Mr Crumlin

    where do the 170k people who voted SF recently fit into your analysis?

  • Mr Crumlin

    No matter the reason why anyone is in jail, they do not deserve to get beaten up by the wardens. The wardens are committing a crime as well you know.

  • Mr Crumlin
  • One the one hand I hope the Unionists splinter so much they disintegrate!

    On the other, is it possible republicanism is headed in the same direction…

    Contradicting myself? I don’t think so.

    I enjoyed the skit.

  • Seosamh913


    Completely opposed to any partiality either in favour of or to the detriment of republicans, consistency of treatment is the principle – no additional previleges and no moral or legal rationale for any form of special treatment or moral obligation to accept their political status just because theye insist this proviodes some legitimacy to acts many of the rest of us view as both unjustified and criminal.

  • Seosamh913

    I know, thats the temptation, and I believe it is wrong. If it can be proved the target and any victim was military, the justification as a military objective is proved. Obviously I have to extend that justification to the Loyalists.

    We have to remember many people, on both sides, have grown up with hatred of the other side. It is one thing to say they were misled and quite another to punish people for being misled.

  • White Horse

    Very apt, Mr Crumlin.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Pippakin you’ve already said you condemn the attack on a PSNI officer therefore you quite rightly don’t view the PSNI or it’s buildings as a legitimate target. You also condemn paramilitary attacks on communities, which I would like to think includes attacks on town centres, deliberate disruption of everyday life via hoax devices etc.

    This presumably only leaves army barracks as ‘legitimate targets.’ Considering the vast majority of such facilities have been dismantled and the British army are long gone from NI streets, how exactly are the British army any kind of threat to the NI community?

    Let’s face it the ‘dissidents’ of whatever grouping are every bit as archaic and out of touch as the TUV. At least Jim Allister had the balls to stand for election rather than encouraging people to blow things up and then whine about being incarcerated for it. Like the TUV, the biggest favour the dissidents can do for the rest of us is to pack up and move into the 21st century.

  • Alias

    The state-sponsored PIRA/Shinners created the propaganda that political acts and criminal acts are mutually exclusive.

  • Seosamh913


    We would not be punishing them for being misled, they would be being punished for the implications of their crimes. To give these guys a pass on the basis of some bizarre suspension of the conventional standards of morality is absurd. They possess free will and are responsible for their actions and this society has the right, indeed duty, to hold them accountable for that. The punishment befits the actions, not their motivation. We should no more indulge their immorality than we should Jihadist death cultists. Sorry, no accommodation with them either. Absolutely none whatsoever.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Move into the 21st century? that could apply to so many of us.

    The difference between the TUV and the dissidents is: unionists are still in power and they do not feel betrayed by the actions of those they trusted.

    There is a huge sense of betrayal among some republicans and which ever side people are on it would be foolish to ignore that.

    This thread has been about the rights of prisoners, and I support those rights generally, and political status when it can be proved that the target was political.

    Personally I am against any violence. It has not worked so far and any act of violence during demonstrations on behalf of prisoners will, more than likely, completely sidetrack the issue.

  • Alias

    Please explain?

  • Seosamh913

    You know don’t you these ‘new’ terrorist groups are the ones sounding the death knell for the republicans?

    Terrorism is world wide now and the main target is America, which just happens to be the main supporter of republicans. The UK is the main, if not only supporter of the Americans…

    The world has moved on, and as ever we are lagging behind in our own private battle.

    I say if the crime can be proved to be political rather than criminal, then political status should be an entitlement.

  • hodgie

    the dissident campaign is almost like the last kick of a dying horse, the days of armed struggle are over and the current crop of republicans incarcerated in maghaberry are the products of that last kick.
    these guys deserve a bit more sympathy for their plight, amongst the prisoners are inla people, the inla is firmly on ceasefire and has renounced armed struggle as being part of the way forward. amongst the prisoners are pro-adams ira people who followed orders to intimidate an anti-adams irritant into silence and ended up in gaol for it. and there are thoses too who went to gaol believing in the efficacy of armed struggle.
    irrespective of their motivations, irrespective of who they are or what they believe, they deserve to be treated as human beings as does anyprisoner.
    the christians can love the sinner but hate the sin, the rest of us can respect the dignity of man and not enforce upon those we dislike the very behaviours we profess to dislike them for.
    and for anybody interested there will be a protest at maghaberry prison in support of the prisoners plight at 4.00 tomorrow.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Pippakin — ‘Unionists are still in power’ — if by this you mean that they are in a power sharing executive with Sinn Fein, then you are absolutely correct. SF have acknowledged the right of NI citizens to determine their own future as regards a UI or remaining within the UK.

    Unionism is not however ‘in power’ in the sense of the old days of Stormont which ended in 1972. And Republicans certainly don’t have a monopoly on ‘feeling betrayed’ — this is the very reason that the TUV exists. Many Unionists were and still are disgusted by the DUP u-turn over going into govt with the political wing of the PIRA. However rather than turn to mindless violence, they have turned either to the TUV or simply turned off from the electoral process.

    I don’t deny that there is a deep sense of betrayal within both communities — it can’t be easy for members of the RM who have given years and in many cases family members lives for ‘the cause’ to see the likes of Gerry and Martin signing up to partition and administering British rule. It is equally difficult for many Unionists to see men indirectly responsible for the deaths of their loved ones to hold positions of power. It’s called compromise for the sake of the common good.

    As you correctly state, violence has not worked in the past and it most certainly won’t work in the future. The dissidents are merely a pale imitation of the provos. Most will end up behind bars, others will end up face down in a ditch following the inevitable in-fighting. Their ‘campaign’ will achieve nothing other than more deaths of innocent people and some PSNI overtime. They’re wasting their time and I honestly think most of them know that.

    As regards this thread, all prisoners have basic rights and that is exactly how it should be. But to suggest that certain prisoners should have more rights because their crimes were born from some outdated political motivation is entirely wrong, and considered such by the overwhelming majority of the public.

    It’s no coincidence that the SF vote has rocketed since the IRA gave up on violence. Whether this mandate can be translated into a UI is highly doubtful, but it certainly stands a better chance than blowing things up and then crying when you can’t handle life as a criminal.

  • hodgie

    I completely agree. You said it so much better than I no matter how many times I tried!

  • Gerry Lvs c

    Political status is the expectation of those convicted of a criminal crime. In the north the sentence has usually been a long one and no matter how people look at it: locked up is still locked up.

    All I say is regardless of republican or loyalist affiliation, if the crime is proved to be political then political status should be an entitlement.

    Our history is long and bitter. We need to move on and do our best to ensure everyone has the chance to move with us.

  • hodgie


  • Seosamh913


    Absolutely agree on decent and compassionate treatment and equality of treatment for political, pseudo-political and ODC prisoners alike and if there are indignaties in lay then they shoudl br eremoved forthwith. Also anyone convicted pre-INLA creasefire should be released as per GFA provisions, I’d disagree on anyone convicted after that, whether INLA or more particularly RIRA or CIRA.

    That said, any attempt to unduly dignify unreprentent elitist death cultists like RIRA/CIRA through special priveleges for what they say and insist we agree with them on are political offences, no. They need to understand that because they regard what they do as political is their own opinion, not everyone elses and it certainly does not entitle them to anything ODCs aren’t.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘Our history is long and bitter. We need to move on and do our best to ensure everyone has the chance to move with us.’

    I entirely agree Pippakin — however granting anyone (whether loyalist or republican) some type of special status for committing a crime which is both murderous and pointless merely gives their actions an unwarranted legitimacy. I would argue that the best way for all to move forward is to consign this type of special treatment to the dustbin of history.

  • hodgie

    absolutely no problem with that Seosamh913. politically, tactically, morally: what the dissidents are doing is wrong, they are swimming against the tide of the world we live in.

    i have no problems with the initiation of a proper humane and dignified regime with its benefits extended to all prisoners. when thatcher settled with the hunger strikers in 1981 the grounds she conceded were extened to all prisoners: david ford could do the same today and then the prisons would cease to be an issue.

  • Gerry Lc

    We are so close to complete agreement!! But I have to say the prisoners are a special case, there are older people whose ‘crimes’ were committed under the orders of those now in power. In the background and capable of growing stronger are the young brought up on stories of mistreatment and abuse. It is our responsibility to ensure such stories are confined to the history books.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Pippakin I would suggest that the ‘mistreatment and abuse’ are occurring principally from the dissidents themselves — towards their own community, the local police force and humanity in general.

    Rather than poisoning the young with tales of mistreatment in prison (real or fabricated) the older generation should be encouraging their kids to follow a path away from potential incarceration.

    Granting special status to certain prisoners merely gives their cause and methods legitimacy and gives their organisation unwarranted power and influence within the prison system. The latter was after all the main reasoning behind the provo demand rather than some lofty ideal.

    I daresay there will always be an underbelly of violent republicanism — even in the event of a UI there will be some who regard FF/FG as pretenders to the throne rightly belonging to ‘true republicans’ — there comes a point where ‘political status’ is no longer acceptable to the overwhelming majority — I believe that point has been reached and such a concession should never again be granted.

  • Gerry Lc

    I am sorry we are unlikely to reach agreement. We are so close to agreement! but however tempting or easy it is to condemn I cannot forget that republicans and loyalists prisoners are the product of their environment and the times. We are moving forward and I hope in time we will all benefit.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr McIlhennon,
    SF-IRA in 2010 do indeed condemn similiar actions to those which they themselves committed more than 15 years ago. Thats well spotted.
    Indeed they are the sorta things Fianna Fáil did 90 years ago. Well spotted me.

    Of course SF-IRA stopped this kinda thing having reached an agreement endorsed by the plain people of Ireland.
    The agreement was well reported at the time (1998). Perhaps you missed it.
    So sadly the dissident scum are the enemy of the people of Ireland. Simple as.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘I cannot forget that republicans and loyalists prisoners are the product of their environment and the times.’

    Agreed Pippakin — but it is up to that environment to change with the times and accept the new dispensation, rather than expect the criminal justice system to somehow treat attempted murder as excuseable because it was carried out in the name of a failed and discredited ‘armed struggle.’

  • Gerry Lc

    But we don’t all move forward at the same time. We don’t all learn the same lessons, and certainly not at the same time. And for those already in prison it is a bit late to start talking about the ‘mew’ times.

    We are approaching a time when the ‘political’ crimes can be consigned to the dustbin of history but we are not there yet, and for those already prisoners it is too far away too wait for.

  • Alias

    Well, the state murdering its own citizens by sponsoring sectarian murder gangs is a political act. It is also a criminal act since the state is bound to uphold its own laws that forbid murder. So, rather obviously, political acts and criminal acts are mutually exclusive.

    Bombing medical clinics in order to express your opposition to the state’s political policy on abortion is a political act and also a criminal act. Likewise, murdering the state’s police officers in order to express your opposition to the state’s treatment of its etho-religious minority groups is a political act and also a criminal act.

    The Shinners disguise their criminal acts as political acts, claiming that their inclusion in the latter category prevents them from being excluded in the former category. For example, Gerry Adams famously referred to a well-known godfather of PIRA organised crime: “Tom Murphy is not a criminal. He’s a good republican.” In that example, the state via its Criminal Asset Bureau had seized a large chunk of Slab’s property portfolio in Manchester as the proceeds of organised crime, and Gerry was running interference for him.

  • Alias

    Typo: “So, rather obviously, political acts and criminal acts are not mutually exclusive.”

  • Alias

    Thank you for your reply.

    I know some have taken advantage of the ‘political’ title, there is no doubt at all that they will continue to take every advantage available to them.

    It’s the ‘foot soldiers’ those who did as they were told because they believed and who are abandoned now because they are no longer useful, these are the people who are entitled to political status.

    A political ‘crime’ should have a political or military target, and thats it.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Pippakin correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that those jailed for paramilitary crimes prior to the GFA had been released, albeit on condition of future good behaviour.

    Crimes committed since then, whether politically motivated or not, carry a full sentence and most certainly should do. Groupings such as the RIRA, CIRA etc are slow learners — they are still operational and quite clearly should not be. The vast majority would support these misguided and dangerous individuals being taken off the streets and jailed as the criminals that they most certainly are. If they wish to pretend otherwise, good luck to them — their actions are not acceptable in the 21st century and they need to realise this basic fact.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Hodgie – its difficult not to agree with what you say but you know as well as I do that this is more than a basic human rights story.

    As you say no prisoner should be treated in any way that is inhumane – it wasnt right in 1980 and it isn’t right today. However, this is being seen by many as an attempt to legitimise the dissident campaign.

    Build the campaign on human rights alone – involve the Human Rights Commission, BIRW, Pat Finucane Centre. Be clear that your campaign is not about supporting the Real IRA, CIRA etc. Up to now that message is not being articulated.

  • I never missed it at all. I may have been young but everyone I know supported it, as indeed did the vast majority of Ireland. The thing that annoys me is the rank hypocrisy with which PSF can condemn such things yet still say ‘Oh look at us. We’re all good now. Themins aren’t’. I fully support the peace process but PSF need to recognise that their particular brand of Republicanism isn’t the only brand and certainly isn’t the ‘right’ one. Their education policy, for example, is abysmal. No one brand of Republicanism is right. Only by adopting the different policies of the different strands can Republicans be truly represented and PSF are the strongest medium for this representation. But they need to stop condemning every other party as ‘harking back to the past’ if they have the gall to disagree with them. The armed element is certainly not needed nor wanted by any but the smallest of numbers. We need an end to armed combat and a strong Republican political force. Not every party slabbering about the other for being abstentionist or not abstentionist, hardline or not hardline. If a Reunited Ireland is to be achieved then Nationalists need to work together instead of combatting each other.