Joint IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting: Report By Laurence Humphries.
22/04/2013 by socialistfight
This Meeting was in Conway Hall in London on 28 February. It called to:
· Free all Irish, and all Anti-imperialist Political Prisoners
· Political Status for all Irish Republican Prisoners
· Implement the August 2010 Agreement
· Free Marian Price, Martin Corey and Stephen Murney
Gerry Downing Secretary of the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group, opened the meeting to a lively audience of over 50 people. He stressed that the fight of the IRSP was to free all Irish Republican prisoners and to seek political status in their fight against Imperialism. The victimisation of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 was used to terrify the Irish community in Britain and to isolate them from supporters in the British labour movement. It was clear that they were innocent from the start, the Guildford 4 were not even republicans but the framing of clearly innocent people had an even more terrifying effect. That is the case with Marian, Price, Martin Corey and Stephen Murney.
Yasmin Cass next spoke on the campaign to free her father Mohammed Hamid and she explained that the campaign had woken up the community and the injustice and imprisonment against Mohammed Hamid. Yasmin made reference to the attacks on the Counihan- Sanchez family in Brent. She said she had ofter got more support from ‘the Irish’ than she had got from the Muslim community. —see below.
Diarmuid Mac Dubhglais the Ard-Cisteor of Republican Sinn Fein, next spoke—see below.
Graham Durham, the Labour Representation Committee London Organiser, who is a member of Brent LRC which also sponsor the meeting. He told how, as a Brent Labour Councillor in the early 80s, he had supported the hunger strikers and had gone to picket the Labour ministers who refused to support Bobby Sands.
Michael Holden Chair of the IRSP spoke about the arrest of Marian Price in April 2010 and how the activities of Sinn Fein leaders Adams and McGuiness had collaborated with the British state. Michael said that Martin Corey still remained a political prisoner. Stephen Murney was arrested last year. The IRSP has been active in campaigning on behalf of Republican political prisoners and has supported the Counihan-Sanchez campaign in Brent.
Isabel Counihan from the Counihan-Sanchez family explained that they had been made homeless by Brent Borough Council and they had been engaged in a fight for Housing Benefit in which they had won. It had been very hard on her children who have been disrupted by the whole affair. Isabel has an Autistic son in a school in England and Brent Council’s advice was to go and live in temporary Housing in Ireland which was not practicable as all her children are in schooling in Brent. Isabel herself was having hip surgery and it had been a very distressing time and no cooperation nor sympathy from the Labour controlled authority of Brent. She stressed that they are fighting for other families in Brent, particularly when the Con Dems are attacking the welfare state and Housing authorities like Brent who don’t care are just evicting families left right and centre.
Senake Rodrigo from the Frontline Socialist Party from Sri Lanka spoke about solidarity and the struggle to free Irish prisoners of war and the human rights issue. The Sri Lankan government runs Sri Lanka like a dictatorship and their attitude to the Tamil population is very bad. Prisoners are locked up for 48 hours. Tamils are still in custody, families are not allowed to visit them. No names are provided, in Sri Lanka there are no court appearances or charges against the detainees, many prisoners are tortured and hospitalised. I would like to draw your attention to this situation. This is a leftist movement for the oppressed in Sri Lanka. It is barbaric action against the Tamil minority; no one knows the number of prisoners incarcerated by the regime.
Martin Óg Meehan of the RNU, was unable to attend because of the serious illness of a close relation but he sent a message of support (see below). There was a very lively contribution from everyone in the room and a very successful Collection to aid the fight of the IRSP and others to fight for political status and the rights of prisoners all over the World. The call must go out to free all anti-imperialist prisoners.