WHERE SINN FEIN STANDS…….
The following statement was issued subsequent to a meeting of the Caretaker Executive of Sinn Fein on January 17th 1970 .
We believe in vigorous local government representation and we have the support of the majority of Sinn Fein local councillors in our present stand . We seek to build an alternative 32-County State structure which will draw off support from the existing British-imposed partition system within which our objectives are unattainable .
A number of assumptions and impressions exist in the public mind due to speculative and inaccurate reporting :
(A) That we are militarists who will promote ‘border raids’ is untrue . We will , nonetheless , support all efforts to defend our people in the Six Counties .
(B) It is said that we are ‘wild men’ , whose policies are crude and old-fashioned , while those now in opposition to us are ‘reasonable people’ . To this we reply that while we adhere to basic principles we believe in forward-looking policies as have been outlined in this statement .
(C) The generalisation that those who intend recognising Westminster , Stormont and Leinster House are ‘progressives’ while we are ‘traditionalists’ is also false . They will at best end up in parliamentary blind alleys as have the other splinters from the Republican Movement – Cumann na nGaedheal (now ‘Fine Gael’) , Fianna Fail and Clann na Poblachta , not to mention the Northern Nationalist Party . (‘1169…’ Comment – …..and this crowd , too .)
This was the British intention in imposing the ‘settlement’ of 1921 and after 50 years the constitutional framework has failed and frustrated the Irish people . While we take our inspiration and experience from the past we are realistic as to what will strengthen the people’s will to resist British imperialism and what will weaken that will . Participation in the institutions designed to frustrate our people’s progress to full freedom is certain to weaken that will to resist …….
On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British ‘Lord’ Widgery was highly selective in the ‘evidence’ he used in his ‘official’ report on the matter – and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims’ families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in ‘MAGILL’ magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .
(Note – on Saturday 28th January next , a Commemoration to mark the 34th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday will be held at the GPO in Dublin between 1PM and 3PM . All Welcome.)
The 30 January 1972 march was scheduled to begin in the Creggan and to weave through the Bogside before proceeding to Guildhall Square in the city centre ; it promised to be the biggest in a series of marches* that had begun on Christmas day with a demonstration from the outskirts of Belfast to the gates of Long Kesh internment camp . (‘1169….’ Comment – * A fact usually overlooked by journalists commenting on ‘Bloody Sunday’ and , equally , ignored by Westminster , who have attempted to portray that particular demonstration as the one-and-only time that ‘the natives’ “broke the law…” on group protests .)
In the four weeks before Bloody Sunday there were nine ‘illegal’ anti-internment marches across the North : Brit ‘Supremo’ Brian Faulkner was constantly challenged on the issue by ‘dissidents’ within his own party , such as William Craig , and by the ‘Reverend’ Ian Paisley , of the recently-formed ‘Democratic Unionist Party’ . Internment , they complained , had not made the ‘State’ more secure – the ‘law’ was openly being flouted on a vast scale . If “…drastic..” action was not taken , warned Mr. Craig on 16 January 1972 , “…there will be determined loyalist action to sweep weak leadership away .. ” .
On 22 January 1972 , an anti-internment march in Armagh was scattered by British soldiers firing CS gas and rubber bullets ; on the same day , a march to a newly-opened prison camp at Magilligan in County Derry was beaten and kicked into disarray by British soldiers , including men of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment bussed-in from near Belfast . Civil Rights leaders complained about British soldiers ‘putting the boot in’ but , as far as Faulkner’s far-right critics were concerned , he was still ‘pussyfooting’ around ! As Armagh and Magilligan marchers nursed their bruises on the way home , the ‘Grand Amalgamated Committee’ of the Orange Order , the Royal Black Preceptory and the Apprentice Boys of Derry was meeting in Lurgan …….
ENTERING LEINSTER HOUSE – A VETERAN SPEAKS …….
By Comdt. General Tomas Maguidhir (Thomas Maguire) , October 1986.
Comdt. General Thomas Maguire’s Statement of 1969 :
We publish in full the text of a statement issued by Comdt. General Thomas Maguire , Cross , County Mayo , on the question of Republican leadership –
“ An IRA Convention , held in December 1969 , by a majority of the delegates attending , passed a resolution removing all embargoes on political participation in parliament from the Constitution and Rules of the IRA . The effect of the resolution is the abandonment of what is popularly termed the ‘Abstentionist Policy’ – the ‘Abstentionist Policy’ means that Republican candidates contesting parliamentary elections in Leinster House , Stormont or Westminster give pre-election pledges not to take seats in any of those parliaments .
The Republican candidates seek elections to the 32-County Parliament of the Irish Republic , the Republican Dail , or Dail Eireann , to give it its official title . The declared objective is to elect sufficient representatives to enable the 32-County Dail Eireann to be re-assembled . In December , 1938 , the surviving faithful members of the latest 32-County Republican Parliament , the Second Dail , elected in 1921 , delegated their Executive powers of government to the Army Council of the IRA .
This proclamation of 1938 was signed by S. S. O Ceallaigh (Sceilg) , Ceann Comhairle , Mary MacSwiney , Count Plunkett , Cathal O Murchu , Brian O’ Higgins , Professor Stockley and myself , Tomas Maguire ……. ”