” DON’T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE ” …….
First published in the booklet ‘ STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL’ , produced , in February 1984 , by ‘The London Armagh Group’ .
My first arrest set a precedent for the next few years of my life : every time I encountered a British Army foot patrol I was searched . My demands for the search to be carried out by a female British soldier always ended with my arrest . I was forced to leave school after being shot , and was arrested when I left hospital and told not to go to court or ‘ I’d get it right in the head the next time’ . I was at this stage seventeen years of age .
Eventually , a few months ago , the British forces of occupation arrested me at 5.30 in the morning . I was informed that I was being arrested under the infamous ‘Section 12 of the PTA’ and was taken to Castlereagh Interrogation Centre . There followed seven days of repeated interrogations by Special Branch detectives : I was told I could end my ordeal by ‘picking’ a charge , making a statement , such as – ” At an unspecified time , on an unspecified date , I was in possession [of a weapon] at an unspecified place..” ‘Evidence’ such as dates , times and places are trivialities in the Special Diplock Courts .
Your guilt is not established at your trial . Mine was established at birth . I was Catholic . Worse , I was a Republican . I refused to make any statements , I refused to speak one word , from my arrest . Four days later I became another victim of the Paid Perjurer System – a man ‘identified’ me as being a Republican activist ; they told me they knew I was innocent of the charges but that they were delighted at this opportunity to ‘stitch me up’ …….
THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE …….
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition – which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From ‘AP/RN’ , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .
From April 1981 , seven people were killed by plastic bullets – 3 children and 4 adults : none of them taking part in a riot . Several hundreds were injured and required hospital treatment , with injuries mostly to the head or chest , causing in some cases paralysis or blindness .
The beleaguered nationalist people were to experience in a few months the death of ten hunger-strikers , and of many more on the streets of the occupied Six Counties , callous British disregard for their democratic voice , and the closing of ranks of the Irish ‘establishment’ behind the British government .
Bobby Sands’ remains were carried on Thursday 7th May 1981 from his Twinbrook home in Belfast to the Republican Plot in Belfast’s Milltown cemetery , flanked by a huge crowd . Estimates ranged from fifty to one-hundred thousand people .
Through his sixty-six days on hunger-strike , Bobby Sands had become a household name , and his literary talent contributed in no little way to making the world understand what kind of people the British were keeping behind bars in the occupied Six Counties …….
IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN …….
The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party’s own ideoligical contortions .
From ‘ MAGILL’ magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.
On many building sites ‘lump labour’ is employed on a contractual basis ; the firms which provide this contracted lump labour are provided with tax exemption forms by the authorities , which means that workers do not pay PAYE (ie ‘Pay As You Earn’ : income tax stopped at source on a weekly basis) but rather their tax contributions are paid on an annual basis . The scope for abuse is considerable and this is exploited by paramilitary organisations all over the North .
The building sites on which the paramilitaries can conduct these rackets obviously can be only in those areas where they have a measure of control ; thus , for the Official IRA , the building sites where they operate the tax exemption rackets are in the Lower Falls , The Markets , Twinbrook and Bawnmore areas of Belfast . Actually their area of influence has diminished recently with the defection of one of their major racketeers to the IRSP .
When these rackets were working well for the Official IRA it was estimated that they were ‘earning’ up to £3,000 per week from them . They also got involved in another and more ‘exotic’ form of racketeering : the ‘massage parlour’ business . Up to about two years ago they were running three ‘massage parlours’ in Belfast ; one of these , incredibly , was run in conjunction with the UVF but this was closed down after a disagreement between the two organisations – the UVF and the Official IRA often co-operated in recent years and , reportedly , exchanged information .
Another of those ‘parlours’ was firebombed by the Provos and a third was closed down by the RUC . One of the candidates for Sinn Fein the Workers Party in the local elections of May last year was convicted of running brothels in the Ormeau Road area of Belfast …….