12/03/2017 by socialistfight
Email from Kenneth Condon re aftermath of the Public Meeting on 17 February
Solidarity greetings Comrades
In this email, I going to reflect on the Public meeting and then what occurred after the meeting at the Cock Tavern: I do apologies in advance as this is a long email.
On reflection, I would like to say that the public meeting was very positive. Jim Cait and Steve chaired and spoke extremely well. I must state that it is always a privilege to sit with comrades of such calibre. Respect. I believe that the community centre is an appropriate place for future public meetings. Overall I thought that the comments from the floor were very good. I liked the points made by our Peruvian, Turkish and RCG comrades amongst others. I must also say thanks to Austin and Gerry for reading the solidarity statements.
Towards the end of the meeting I spoke to several people and it was positive of how things were proposed for future work. Before leaving the community, centre I was approached by Annette Potter (*Please see below) as she stated that she wanted to work together and unite. I took this on board but with caution.
After the meeting, some of us went to the Cock Tavern. Myself Terri **** **** amongst others. Bridget Power and Annette were also present. The first part of the evening was cordial, and I must say thanks to Gerry Downing who kindly offered to put me up for the night just like he has done in the past.
I must admit, I made the point of not speaking to Bridget Power. I do not apologies for this. I am not two faced and won’t speak to people who spread rumours about me and the late Michael Holden and never has apologised. In October after our public meeting I challenged her directly for what she said to Annette Potter that I use Terri for money.
On that evening, I reminded Bridget that I frequently travel to London and do Terri shopping amongst other things. I know that I didn’t have to justify myself but I did this to correct her. It was just after 10 30pm when Terri informed me that she wanted to go home. After dropping Terri home and assisted her into her flat, I returned to the Cock Tavern.
What took place afterwards was very disappointing. When I sat down, Annette Potter asked me when was I going to stop making trouble. I was taken back. Then I faced a barrage of abuse from Bridget Power what **** ****, described as very nasty. I know that she was under the influence of alcohol, but that is beside the point. She stated that it was my fault that Gerald that had been intimidated by four people including Annette and then questioned and the picket had been undermined.
Moreover, I was taken back when Bridget stated that RSF London had organised their picket in Barnet four months before, on the very same days as we held ours. On reflection it is obvious, that when Annette attended our planning meeting for the picket in Barnet, Annette had told RSF London which I said that I thought that Gerald was either a member of RSF or his political leaning were of that type of republicanism. We all know what happened after that.
Annette accused me of calling Gerald which I reminded her that at the time I did not have Gerald’s number to which Gerald confirmed. Although it was none of her business, I told her that it was **** **** who I called as I thought that he was going to attend our meeting. Bridge then asked who was ****. It got worse, Bridget stated that she was disgusted that I returned to Terri’s house after 11pm because I left my house keys and my coat after dropping Terri off, half an hour before. In my opinion this was all very petty, but all things considering it was used as ammunition for an argument. Having tried to calm things down I asked Bridget if she wanted to speak to me alone so we could get things sorted but she refused.
It got to a point where Pol (forgot his last name) shouted at Bridget and Annette and said that he was tired of in fighting and that we as republicans should be uniting. It was at this point that Rob (the landlord) told us to quiet down. It was soon after this that Gerald left, and then I with Gerry Downing. Then Gerry went into the pub to say good bye, and then shortly afterwards. I waited five minutes and then went back into the Cock Tavern and saw Bridget and Gerry talking. I heard Bridget say to Gerry that she would be in contact with him.
After we left the pub, we started walking down the road, I asked why he was in contact with Bridget and Annette*. In short Gerry, had been communicating with them and was made aware of the infighting that was happening within RSF. I reminded Gerry of the conversations that I had with **** **** and I took heed to what **** conveyed that no member of the IRPSG should be seen as interfering with that organisation.
What I recall when discussing this with Gerry, was the hope that members of RSF would leave that organisation and join the IRPSG. I reminded Gerry that the IRPSG are not like the SWP trying to recruit numbers. We are an organisation that endeavours to have comrades that are committed to highlight that plight of prisoners end of story.
On further reflection and I did not say this at the time to Gerry, the committee agreed at a meeting (not sure if it was our AGM or the one before) held at the Brent Labour club, that the IRPSG would not get involved in any RSF matters, and we would never invite them to any of our pickets or public meeting due to what had previously occurred, in fact we were going to ignore RSF.
Although in my opinion, RSF in England are insignificant, I do not underestimate what some of their members are capable of doing! I believe that the endeavour to recruit (which in my opinion was opportunism) may also be perceived as poaching members, and as a consequence may lead to trouble at future pickets. With the unsavoury history, e.g. what happened to Gerry when he was threatened at an Easter commemoration in London; what occurred in June 2016, I believe that trying to get such unsavoury characters into the IRPSG would be disastrous and would deflects from what the pressure group was set up for.
I would feel very uncomfortable if they attended any of our events including the evening tribute to Michael Holden and on reflection I did ask Gerry to remove the photo of Bridget from the flyer for the evening tribute to Michael Holden which was not done.
Due to the attempting recruiting of such people, I told Gerry on the morning 18th of February that I would resign as Liaison officer. I am disgusted with what has occurred and not willing to put up with such carries on.
The public meeting was very positive and showed that the IRPSG has the potential to grow with activist that have calibre. I believe that our organisation like all revolutionary organisations should be empowering. I know that members of the IRPSG have the same abilities that I have in coordinating pickets, liaising with prisoner’s organisation in Ireland and their families, anti-imperialist organisations abroad, and attending the international symposium. I know that.
Moreover, I am very aware of the implications of my decision, I know that I am one of the driving forces behind the IRPSG. But the following needs to be resolved.
Members of the IRPSG need to be assured that no further contact with Bridget Power or Annette Potter or attempts to recruit members of the said organisation. I believe that they are a security risk for the IRPSG.
I know that our comrades are mature and won’t use this as political scoring points as this is not my intention. I have always regarded the IRPSG as a collective of individuals who goal is to highlight the plight of political prisoners. I hope that the above will be rectified.
Please let me know when this has been rectified as until then I won’t be attending meetings, events or pickets. Moreover, when this has been rectified and if they attend any pickets and public meetings then I believe that it is necessary for them to be asked to leave. I place this responsibility on Gerry Downing.
I would ask that this not to be discussed on face book. I will continue to do what I do for Terri and liaise with you all and Sister Patricia of what is happening with Terri Gavin. I will continue to maintain contact with comrades in Ireland and develop the Midland Anti internment committee.
Until then in solidarity.
* On reflection, I remember Michael Holden’s conversations with me about Annette Potter and RSF, she was good back in the day. It was only because of Michaels friendship with Annette that I started to help her but after a short while, she became too demanding. Towards the end, I remember that I forwarded an email to IRPSG members from Annette, and then I stopped communicating with her. I should have never got involved with her in the first place as she is too unstable.
A ‘committee within a committee’
Report by Gerry Downing
Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group meeting of 7 March 2017 at 8.30pm at the Cock Tavern, Phoenix Rd, Nr. Euston
On 6 Jan 2016 13:59, Kenneth Condon
“Happy new year and solidarity greetings to you all comrades.
Just to let you know that just before Chrismas I was asked by our Turkish Comrades to see whether I could get a former POW to speak at the Anti Imperialist Symposium in Istanbul. I contacted **** **** Pol Macadaim and others in Ireland who gave my details to a ex POW I have been in contact with the POW (IRSPs) and it looks like Ciaran will be going on January 23-24.
I have also stated that although we in the IRPSG are not alligned I will keep the IRSPs and others updated on our work in 2016.
I am not sure when the next date for the IRPSG meeting is, or whether people are going to Derry at the end of the month, but lets synchronise diaries soon, and invite Stephen Kacynski and the Turkish Basque Free MUmi Palestinian comrades as well.
I believe that the conditions for POWS in the 26th and 6 counties are getting worse.
Michal Holden emailed me on 7 January 2016 expressing his opposition to this way of operating:
email@example.com , 07/01/16 at 1:36 PM
“Gerry – shouldn’t the Turkish comrades have asked IRPSG to find an former PoW to speak at the Symposium in Istanbul? Maybe they think Kenneth is the IRPSG secretary??
Did we ever appoint any member to liaise between us and any other group? If so I don’t remember.
I’m not making heavy weather out of this – and maybe it’s a good thing someone is willing to do it – but like I said a while back – we seem to be moving to a situation where we have a ‘committee within a committee.’ I get the feeling Irish PoW’s are no longer our main priority.
Also is it a good idea to invite Steve Kacynski, The Kurdish group, Free Mumia Campign and Palestinian group to our next meeting? I think we need to get our own house in order first! What do you think?
The next meeting should establish who the secretary is – and if we need to have someone to ‘liaise’ between IRPSG and other groups. We could then elect (or agree) someone to do it – maybe Kenneth. As things are we seem to have two secretaries and one is operating on his own without any consultation with the members!
The IRPSG is supposed to be a united front type organisation which includes Trotskyists, Maoists, Labour party members and everything in between who agree to make the Irish Republican POWs their priority and abide by our rules and constitution. As Secretary since its foundation in 2009 I have scrupulously sought to carry out this mandate and found Michael Holden a very close and understanding collaborator and leader in this work.
We were all aware his health was in decline in recent years, he could not attend the 2016 AGM. But as long as he was alive the organisation functioned along the lines of its original founding documents. In fact, Bernie McAdam intervened to strengthen and clarify those Rules and Aims in a document unanimously agreed at the 2016 AGM on 15 January 2016. There were tensions, as is to be expected in a united front type group but Michael and I dealt with them. In particular, Kenneth, which is politically sympathetic towards Maoism, was forever attempting to gather together international pro-Maoist groups and was presenting himself as negotiating with them as a representative of the IRPSG when he had no authority to do so. As Michael wrote above: “As things are we seem to have two secretaries and one is operating on his own without any consultation with the members!”. Nevertheless, as long as Michael lived and as long as Kenneth was the only problem member the situation was containable.
However, in about May 2016 the Revolutionary Communist Group showed renewed interest in the IRPSG. They had briefly participated in our activities in 2010, but had never joined as members and were not seen again until last May. I was initially delighted with their appearance, because I knew Jim McIntyre as an enthusiastic campaigner and anticipated that he would be of great assistance, which he was. Nicki Jameson also was a long-time acquaintance whose commitment I valued, although I did not agree with the RCG third worldism no more than I did with the Maoist variety of the same political outlook. Their aspiration to smash the Labour party and contempt for the British working class and their trade unions I identified as childish ‘Third Period’ Stalinist sectarianism. But it was a united front organisation so we could agree to differ if we put the struggle for the Irish POWs in the first place.
I was troubled by the fact the two new Committees were immediately set up by Jim McIntyre and Kenneth, the London Supporters of Tony Taylor (LSTT) and the Free the Craigavon Two Campaign (not sure if this was actually launched). Bernie told to me that the explanation given was that these campaigns were necessary because we needed to “broaden our appeal”. Events were organised by the LSTT without consulting the IRPSG. On enquiring, why this was so Kenneth answered me online that they were the “same thing”. If they are the “same thing”, I thought, why are there two, or maybe three different things? I realised later, of course, that the point of this duplication was to exclude me, Michael Holden and **** **** and that the “broadening” of the appeal consisted in holding meetings or at least arriving at decisions online that bypassed the Secretary and Chair of the Group. Michael, Charlie or I were never invited to any meetings or consulted about any decisions they took or invitations they issued. As Michael wrote above “As things are we seem to have two secretaries and one is operating on his own without any consultation with the members!” only we now seemed to have three secretaries.
A meeting of the IRPSG took place in June in the Cock Tavern, which Annette Maloney attended on Michael Holden’s request as both she and Peadar O’Hannain were strong supporters of his who had remained in Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) and they were fighting to clear his name of slanderous lying allegations put about by an RSF member in Liverpool and others (see Appendix 1 below). Annette attended because Kenneth had told Michael RSF were going to attend the meeting and he wanted to know who from RSF would attend as they were the main source of the slanders against him. Michael had expressed concern to me previously to unauthorised contacts Kenneth had made with those who were spreading lies about him, “Doesn’t he know who these people are?” he asked me in a phone call. Annette will present her own report but when a picket of Theresa Villiers’ surgery in Barnet was leaked to RSF they appeared to disrupt the picket. Jim McIntyre blamed Annette, Kenneth and Carol allowed this to pass although they knew the truth. Jim McIntyre’s minutes of 8 July meeting say: “Our plans had been leaked to RSF by a visitor at our last meeting and RSF mounted a picked at 10 am and behaved in a very sectarian way, refusing to talk or mount a joint picket – their only reason for attending was to disrupt our picket.” Jim was well aware that Kenneth had informed RSF about the picket.
The following email thread proves conclusively what happened:
Today (6-March 2017) at 0:22
Gerry, I found the email from Michael about the meeting of the IRPSG meeting where he says members of London’s RSF will be there. I phoned him and he said Kenneth had spoken to them and been told they were coming. Geronimo!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com
Sent: 07 June 2016 12:18
Subject: MEETING AT COCK TAVERN!
Hope all’s well with you. Can you make a meeting at the Cock Tavern pub (upstairs) this Friday June 10 at 7pm?
The meeting is to discuss the possibility of holding a protest at the surgery of the north of Ireland secretary of state Theresa Villiers in coming weeks.
Villiers surgery is in Barnet. I understand some members of London RSF will attend – as well as others from the RNU (republican network for unity). Hope you can make it. Love and best wishes Annette.
From: A Potter [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 07 June 2016 14:00
Subject: RE: MEETING AT COCK TAVERN!
I will definitely be there. Have you got a post code please as I do not know where it is?
I hope London RSF will attend as I had ructions with Sean at a meeting on Wednesday where a few home truths had to be told. He had been giving it the big ‘I am’ and dared to bring up informing again. I verbally and factually felled him and he was unable to counter any of what he had provoked. All 6 present were left ashamed of his claims and silently looked towards the floor as I had to expose them and enforce that he was the new kid on the block and did not know what he was talking about. He even tried then to deny saying what had provoked the outburst but it did not hold water with anyone.
I asked that London RSF start being a support to something, anything, but at the very least existing prisoners and that they stop listening to fantasy and fabrication either from Sean or Josephine Haden. Sean apologised in a covert manner but it was just as covertly observed by the others.
I look forward to seeing you one Friday. Love and best wishes to you and Kathleen.
These emails demonstrate beyond a doubt that Michael trusted Annette as much as he trusted me but he continued to be deeply suspicious of Kenneth’s motivation. Michael was too ill to attend that meeting. His deteriorating health gave confidence to the bureaucratic plotters that he would be unable to stop them. I now realise this is the confrontation Phil Parsons referred to told me about an argument between Annette and Bridget Power. I had assumed it had taken place in his pub but Annette has cleared it up. Bridget now realises all the stuff about Michael was wrong after Annette explained it to her in detail.
Michael Holden died whilst on a visit to Ireland in late September and our next public meeting was early in October 2016. Most of the work for it was done by Kenneth and Jim but I also participated in the preparations. Speakers were invited without consulting me but I still trusted Kenneth and Jim and felt that it was a problem that needed sorting but we could do that. A woman from the Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) spoke after me and criticised what I had said about Irish Republicanism and after the meeting led a drunken attack on the whole purpose of the meeting. Obviously Kenneth had invited her to speak on an opportunist basis, she was totally in support of the British Army in Ireland, but we were now surely becoming “broader”.
But Nicki Jameson intervened afterwards to complain about my speech, it was sectarian and it was attacking our ‘allies’ she thought. The attack in question was on Tommy McKearney’s book The Provisional IRA, From Insurrection to Parliament which I reviewed in Socialist Fight No 23. I strongly disagreed with his defence of the border and the Northern Ireland state saying:
“He is therefore profoundly wrong to conclude in his introduction: ‘If we were to argue, for example, that we will forever let our differences about the ‘Border’ (why do we need these inverted commas?) divide us, then prospects for a properly developed opposition to neo-liberalism will be hopeless’ (p.19). The total opposite is the case. We cannot develop a proper opposition to neo-liberalism, now enforced by Sinn Féin in alliance with the DUP, without workers’ equality and, given that the border is still there, that ensures Loyalist supremacy and continuing working class inequality and division’.
He also argues that the NI state is legitimate and democratic and I opposed that:
“McKearney tells us that even though ‘Northern Ireland’ became a ‘militarised society’ nonetheless it had ‘an indelible democratic hue’ (p.4) and then goes on to sympathetically evaluate the views of pundits O’Dowd, Rolston and Tomlinson on what was the differences between ‘Northern Ireland’ and ‘other bourgeois liberal states’ (p.6) and ‘most other liberal states’ (p.7) in apparent disregard that this is precisely what ‘Northern Ireland’ was not and is not. It was and is an illegitimate, artificial state, like colonial Algeria, Rhodesia and South Africa were and like Israel and some of the southern states in the USA like Alabama and Mississippi still are; states that are not nations but created artificially to defend the privileges of a religious or racial colonial minority.”
I make absolutely no apologies for this clear anti-imperialist defence of the general political lines of Irish republicanism. The attacks on me for these principles on the basis that we must “broaden” our appeal are opportunist and wrong.
Nicki also argued that I was using the IRPSG Facebook page for Socialist Fight propaganda. The Belfast Telegraph had attacked the IRPSG on 3 October in an article, Labour’s John McDonnell and the link to dissidents, and me personally as its Secretary. I responded by posing on the Facebook page on 12 October a general defence of my anti-imperialist positions because it was aiming to discredit the IRPSG and its Secretary. But obviously, this defence was not “broad” enough to be seen as generally acceptable to whom? Our enemies, obviously!
Following Michael’s death, a proposal came from Kenneth to replace him as Chair of the IRPSG at our December meeting. I argued that the AGM was due next month and we could re-elect all the officers there. Jim McIntyre was mooted as Chair and I welcomed this and expected this to be the outcome of the AGM. Carol Foster agreed to be the acting Chair until the meeting, set for 14 January. However, at the AGM Carol said she had to stand down as chair for the conduct of the elections. I didn’t understand the necessity but she insisted she had to. So she did and Kenneth’s partner stood in for her. Then nominations were called for Chair I nominated Jim McIntyre but Kenneth nominated Carol. Now the reason for the stand down was apparent; this had been prearranged and I was not in ‘the loop’. We moved on to the next nomination for Secretary, the position I had held since 2009. Nicki Jameson nominated Jim McIntyre. No one nominated me so I was forced to nominate myself; I had foolishly and naively failed to ‘pack’ the meeting. After a brief standoff Jim McIntyre was good enough to volunteer for the Treasurer’s position.
The Public Meeting on 17 February was agreed and we nominated speakers. I did not notice that I had not been agreed as a speaker. However, I did realise some time later and called a meeting of the IRPSG on 3 February to agree that I speak, which I thought would be a formality. However, Jim McIntyre insisted that I absolutely could not speak because the AGM had not chosen me, we had enough speakers already. The confrontation became very angry and he walked off in a huff. Carol Foster backed him up in every way she could, even insisting I run after him to bring him back and apologise for insulting him!
The public meeting on 17 February was very successful but there was an indication here just how “broad” some were intending we become when people from Peru’s Shining Path (the Sendero Luminoso, a Pol Pot fan club) spoke in defence of their imprisoned leader Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán). See Appendix 3 below. Kenneth, Jim and Carol had no problem with the Shining Path and said so online. At the NHS demonstration on 4 March the followers of the “Communist Collective Leader, A. Balakrishnan” produced a flyer which “historically defends his innocence, – framed and unjustly imprisoned by the fascist British state. Political persecution and cruel miscarriage of justice”. We are asked to believe that all those women were lying and the Maoist cult leader from Brixton was totally innocent. Many of their more cultist followers claimed that the WRP’s Gerry Healy and the SWP’s Martin Smith were also innocent though in fairness they did not achieve the heights of oppression of women of comrade Balakrishnan. We really are not so politically naïve as to reject every manifestation of guilt despite mountains of irrefutable evidence, like the infamous Grover Furr does for Stalin, on the basis that the bourgeois press exposed it and still use it against the left in general. And Jack the Ripper got a bad press and if he too had the nous to claim to be “anti-imperialist” we would be obliged to lie on his behalf now to prove our own anti-imperialism!
I then remembered that Kenneth had posted a letter from Annette Maloney in defence of Michael Holden on 23 January and I re-read it. It was not clear to me for whom the letter was intended and when it was written so I phoned up Annette, whose details were on the letter, for clarification. Remember Annette was the women we were all told had grassed us up to RSF London, Sean Houlihan, so was not to be trusted. I quickly learned from her the whole sorry tale. She had written the letter with Kenneth’s assistance and sent it on 17 October to the President of Republican Sinn Fein, Des Dalton in Dublin. As was his well-established practice Kenneth purported to be acting on behalf of the IPRSG behind our backs and without our knowledge. He conducted a whole series of increasingly insulting email exchanges on the subject which resulted in a rupture of relations. His reasons for doing this are now clear, he did not want us to find out that it was he who had ‘grassed us up’ to RSF, and not Annette. Then three months and a week later he sent us the email with Annette’s letter attached. Annette will provide the full details.
I think from this account it is clear that trust has broken down completely between these four; Kenneth Condon, Carol Foster, and the RCG’s Jim McIntyre and Nicki Jameson and the rest of the membership of the IRPSG. The purpose for which the IRPSG was set up and which Michael Holden, **** **** and Gerry Downing have worked for since 2009 is threatened by these appalling methods and by the RCG smash and grab raid. The interests of the Irish Republican POWs come nowhere for this crew, as Michael Holden alluded in his email to me on 7 January 2016 above: “I get the feeling Irish PoW’s are no longer our main priority.”
Finally let us deal with the memorial Meeting for Michael Holden in the Cock Tavern. The following online exchange shows what the problem is:
[25/02, 10:09] Jim Mcintire: I propose that we go ahead with the BBC picket on 18th March but that we postpone the memorial event for Michael until we can get a secure venue so that RSF can’t attend. I’ll confirm my free dates later today.
[25/02, 12:08] Gerry D: Sorry Jim. Venue booked, musicians arranged. We really cannot operate bans and proscriptions against those who want to honour the memory of Michael Holden
[27/02, 15:08] Gerry D: And we can get the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group to support it (the picket of the BBC on 18 March – GD) on the 7th.
[27/02, 15:11] Kenneth Condon, London Chapter Leonard Peltier: to be honest Gerry I don’t understand what you mean here. Isn’t the irpsg organising it as that is my understanding from the public meeting
[27/02, 15:12] Gerry D: I thought it was organised by the London Supporters of Tony Taylor.
[27/02, 15:12] Kenneth Condon, London Chapter Leonard Peltier: Same thing.
As I pointed out above it was the “same thing” minus Michael Holden, Gerry Downing and **** ****. Of course, we will support the picket.
Of course, we will not abandon the memorial for Michael Holden. Of course, we will not seek a venue to exclude the RSF or anyone else who wants to honour his memory and his contribution to the cause of socialist Republicanism and his tireless struggles for Ireland’s POWs. All those who want to attend will be warmly welcomed because it means that they accept the campaign against him was lies. Those who want to effectively cancel the meeting want to do so because they know the public memorial meeting will expose them. Those who attend are the comrades we truly value, despite confusion of the past.
Annette Maloney and Bridget Power will be honoured guests at the event.
Gerry Downing Secretary IRPSG 6 March 2017
This is the message Annette Maloney sent to the President of Republican Sinn Fein, Des Dalton on 17 October 2016, CCed to Kenneth which we were not allowed to see until 23 January 2017
Justice for Michael Holden
(1941 – 2016)
Solidarity greetings comrades
By now you will already have heard that Michael Holden sadly passed away. Attached with this email is his obituary and I would kindly ask for you to read it and then forward it to those who knew him.
In the obituary there is brief reference to the torment that he faced over his final years, and I cannot over emphasise how painful this was for him.
Michael was always a generous man with his heart and his time. He was always known to be there for those who needed to use his abundant abilities. He was a highly honest, honourable and unassuming man. As a comrade and friend I am so proud to have known him and to have been able to spend some very rewarding times with him and his wife Kathleen.
It is because I knew Michael well that I am not going to let those who falsely spread rumours about him off the hook. I am going to do all I can to try to summon support to do what Michael prayed for in his final and physically vulnerable years, that is to clear his name within a part of the republican movement of the vile and false claims that he was an informer. These scurrilous lies were initially put about by a mentally unstable individual but they were then to be used by others who I allege had and continue to have no right to call themselves republicans and I can and will support my claim of this with evidence when appropriate.
Over the time period involved Michael has been denied a hearing moreover, he endeavoured to meet people but they didn’t have the courage to and refused to hear his truthful and valid defence.
Whilst you kindly forward his obituary to those who have not yet received it – including those ex POWs, etc. etc. who knew him, there is a fundamental need within parts of the republican movement to find room so that the issue of Michael Holden being an informer can be refuted and addressed. I intend to ask for this personally with those who have already been made aware that a meeting is to be requested with those who hold high ranking within the organisation involved. However, I wish to go to this armed with as many of Michael’s superb references from those who knew him as possible which would immediately counter this scurrilous campaign of persecution towards his name and memory. Be assured these would not leave my hands but they would be shown to those who influence matters within this application.
The stigma of wrongfully being called an informer had caused Michael to feel deeply hurt and violated over recent years – to the detriment of his final medically fragile time with us and I ask you respectfully to consider how we can address this. I am now kindly asking his comrades to either contact me in an advisory capacity so we can address an appropriate way forward, and/or to kindly consider supplying reference to his indisputable integrity. Basically, I wish to challenge those who have publicly and privately attempted to assassinate this fine man’s character because this was left unchallenged before his death.
I would now kindly ask you to consider writing a brief but confirming few lines to correctly and fully endorse Michael’s honest, honourable and trustworthy character so that his wife Kathleen, myself and one or two other close friends of his might be able to proceed with gaining Michael’s reputation an overdue apology which in turn would allow him to rest in the peace and honour which he so very much deserves.
I would appreciate any ideas you might think appropriate to proceed with this to enable a speedy conclusion.
Thank you for your time.
Statement by the IRPSG in defence of Gerry Downing, drafted by Ollie Coxhead and unanimously agreed in March 2016:
Message from Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group in support of Gerry Downing against charges of anti-Semitism
The IRPSG strongly denounces the attacks in recent weeks against our comrade Gerry Downing. Gerry has been subjected to a barrage of false accusations of anti-Semitism. These slanderous labels has been thrown from both right and so called left of the political spectrum.
The ruling class is using such charges to not only to personally attack comrade Downing but also to attack all those who dare to take up the struggle against imperialism and colonialism and its modern forms such as Zionism.
There is no truth to these accusations. Gerry Downing has been a consistent anti-imperialist and anti-racist. It is those who brand him with the label of anti-Semitism who are the true racists, precisely because they defend colonialism, imperialism and Zionism!
The whole ruling class of British imperialism has united in this accusation and their defenders on the British left. Firstly, it was the arch imperialist Etonian David Cameron but he was soon joined in spreading these lies by the representatives of British reformism in the Labour Party. They are using these lies as a pretext to begin a purge of the Labour Party of anyone who dare oppose Zionism and imperialism in general. True to their function the Labour leaders defend imperialism and Zionism.
Disgracefully there are those on the left who in order to protect themselves from similar attacks have sought to line up with the ruling class to attack comrade Downing also.
We call on all people who genuinely oppose imperialism and Zionism to defend Gerry Downing against these lies and slanders. It is not just a personal attack but an attack on all those who support the liberation of the Palestinian people from unprecedented Zionist oppression.
A group of Peruvian comrades from the Communist party of Peru (Shining Path) spoke on the situation in their country at the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group meeting on 17 February 29017 and urged solidarity to free their leader, Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán), and sought support for their Declaration of Lima. Some disquiet was later expressed about this group, obviously for the reasons outlined here.
The Lucanamarca massacre By Tony Fox
In April 1983, Shining Path (SP) militants responded to the killing of one of their members by killing 69 people in Lucanamarca in the province of Huancasancos. They killed eighteen children, one only six months old, eleven women, some of whom were pregnant, and eight elderly people between fifty and seventy years old. 
Most of the victims died by machetes and axes but some were mercifully shot in the head. This was the first massacre committed by the Shining Path against the Peruvian peasantry. Countless others followed until the capture of Abimael Guzmán, the founder and leader, in 1992 effectively ending the reign of terror. Here he admits they carried out the massacre and justifies it by using the name of Lenin:
“In the face of reactionary military actions and the use of mesnadas (local defence squads against their SP ‘liberators’ – TF), we responded with a devastating action: Lucanamarca. Neither they nor we have forgotten it, to be sure, because they got an answer that they didn’t imagine possible. More than 80 were annihilated, that is the truth. And we say openly that there were excesses, as was analyzed in 1983. But everything in life has two aspects. Our task was to deal a devastating blow in order to put them in check, to make them understand that it was not going to be so easy. On some occasions, like that one, it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and gave instructions. That’s how it was. In that case, the principal thing is that we dealt them a devastating blow, and we checked them and they understood that they were dealing with a different kind of people’s fighters, that we weren’t the same as those they had fought before… If we were to give the masses a lot of restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, it would mean that deep down we didn’t want the waters to overflow. And what we needed was for the waters to overflow, to let the flood rage, because we know that when a river floods its banks it causes devastation, but then it returns to its riverbed. I repeat, this was explained clearly by Lenin, and this is how we understand those excesses. But, I insist, the main point was to make them understand that we were a hard nut to crack, and that we were ready for anything, anything”—Abimael Guzmán. 
They routinely assassinated state officials, trade union organisers, other leftists, including Maoists, voters in elections etc. On 16-7-84, a group of between 30 and 40 members of the Shining Path used pickaxes, hammers, stones and guns to slaughter around 100 villagers in several locations in the south of Ayacucho province, in a case known as the “bus of death”. They admired Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, the genocidal rulers of Cambodia ousted by Vietnam. Fujimori’s Grupo Colina death squads landed him in the same prison as Guzmán now— they deserve each other. The SP is a culturally and politically reactionary movement.
 LA MASACRE DE LUCANAMARCA (1983), http://cverdad.org.pe/ifinal/pdf/TOMO%20VII/Casos%20Ilustrativos-UIE/2.6.%20LUCANAMARCA.pdf, Accessed 20-2-17 (Spanish).
 Interview with Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán), 30-3-14 in El Diario, a pro-Shining Path Newspaper. http://lesmaterialistes.com/english/interview-chairman-gonzalo. Accessed 20-2-17 (English).
Complaint re Kenneth Condon from Annette Maloney
I am issuing a very serious complaint about some of the unacceptable events that have arisen since I first became aware of Kenneth Condon (CD), a member of the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group.
This had been at a celebration of the Easter Rising held by the Malcolm X Group on 13 May 2016. The event was in the Cock tavern and had as their special guest speaker, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. This was the first event to cause me concern and this was to see the beginning of CD’s very disturbing and unacceptable behaviours which I have become aware of to date. These include:
1) Harassment and Intimidation of activists
2) Trolling whilst sending me abusive emails
3) Compulsive lying and manipulation
5) The constant Interference and abuse of 2 female republicans (Bridget Power and myself) whenever CD sees them out in public places
6) Surreptitious accusations made by CD using secret emails, secret trials being held of the aforementioned female republicans whilst using fabricated evidence and not making the victims aware of his slanderous and/or libellous allegations
7) Attempted character assassination
8) Violence threatened and/or carried out towards other activists
On 13 May ‘16, on entering the Cock Tavern I spotted where Bridget Power and Terri Gavin were seated. I waved from the bar and then went over to them. Before I had a chance to sit down I was apprehended by Kenneth Condon. I wrongly assumed he was organising the event as he seemed imposing and asked who I was with. When I said I was meeting Bridget he snarled and walked away. A little later he approached again and without a word leaned straight across Bridget and I to speak to Terri in a manner that I thought was incredibly rude.
As the event ended I saw him capture Gerard McNamara as Gerard was trying to leave. It became clear that Kenneth wanted his phone number and email address and I heard Gerard say that he would take Kenneth’s instead. I followed Gerard outside and asked was there a problem to which he said no it was just that he had his own political affiliations and therefore did not want to compromise these. I was then approached by Kenneth who thrust a piece of paper into my hand asking me to contact him about joining the IRPSG. It contained his email and phone number which I did not want but even though I thought it very odd, I took it to keep him away and then went home.
On Monday 7 June 2016, I received an email from Michael asking would I be able to make it to a meeting of the IRPSG to be held on Friday June 10 2016 in the Cock Tavern. He had been told by CD that Republican Sinn Fein members would be attending. I sent a return email to him assuring him of my presence and I also phoned him to confirm this. We were both intrigued especially as I knew nothing of any members intending to be there. Michael said that he wondered what Kenneth had been up to now! We both laughed and I said not to worry as I would fill him in as soon as I knew. Ok Annette he said. I thought you would be interested.
I emailed Michael the following day to fill him in. The relevant section from that email follows:
… Last night there was nobody at the meeting from RSF but Kenneth kept saying
they would be there. The meeting was held up waiting for this person so
I asked who it was and he said it was one of the speakers who was at
the recent Malcolm X meeting where Bernadette Devlin McAliskey spoke.
The person Kenneth spoke of was not speaking as RSF at the Malcolm X event
as when he was leaving I had spoken to him! He is not in London RSF so
I do not know what was going on there and he definitely was not going
to be attending last night’s meeting of the IRPSG as London RSF….
On 10 June 2016, I had travelled from Watford to be at the meeting Michael had asked me to go to and when Kenneth saw me entering the pub he rushed towards me with his arms outstretched saying ‘Thank you for coming Annette and thank you for what you did for me over Bridget!’ I thought what is he playing at as his greeting was overly friendly and I did not know why Bridget’s name was being introduced into the conversation. Kenneth beckoned for me to pull up a chair which I did wondering why we were not upstairs where Michael had said the meeting would be.
I asked Kenneth where was RSF and he said they were on their way. ‘Who is it I asked and do I know them? Kenneth confirmed that I knew them but not who they were. I was irritated but let it go thinking they would be there soon anyway.
15 mins. after the meeting should have started and as they hadn’t arrived I asked Kenneth would he phone them to see where they were? He said he would and asked to use someone’s phone. He went over near the far corner to call. I heard him say hallo and ask would they be long and then he said alright then, it can’t be helped and ended the call. I immediately thought ‘what the hell is he playing at now?’ Kenneth apologised and said the person had to work late so would not be able to come as they were in Watford and it would be too far to come after work as they’d miss the meeting.’
I was now livid as I wasn’t well that night and thought ‘well I have made it from Watford!’ ‘Who are they?’ I asked again and he said you know them shrugging his shoulders. He then said it was ‘the man who gave the talk the night of the Malcolm X event.’ I asked who he was for a 3rd time and he said he had been given their phone number the night of the Malcolm X event. ‘Was it the big young guy I asked, the one you were following when he was leaving – the one with the beard called Gerard?’ Yes you have him, he said smiling but dismissing me deliberately failing to make further eye contact.
Someone then suggested moving into the public bar to start the meeting as there were more seats so we did. It was here that things went from bad to worse. Kenneth sat next to me and said, ‘Thanks again Annette for what you did for me over Bridget. If you hadn’t have told Michael what Bridget said about me getting money from Terri I would know nothing of these lies. Terri’s annoyed about it too aren’t you Terri?’ Then whilst a TV in the bar had a football match blaring he engaged in a terrible ordeal for Terri. I again refer to my aforementioned email to Michael from the following day:
…However, I was to find out something else about Kenneth that has left
me infuriated. There were several nice people there last night and I hope I run into them again soon. One thing is for sure is that it will not be at any event where Kenneth is as I will be avoiding him now like the plague. Due to his actions, I will also now be forced to stand down
from RSF. Please ask him not to approach me ever again as he has single-handedly undone any productive work I had achieved with them following me making Sean Houlihan look like a trouble maker.
Terri was at the meeting and she apologised for being contrary the last time I met her. I said it was all right, however, Kenneth then thanked me for what I had done to support him. A bit baffled I said nothing but he then went on to explain that Bridget had told lies about him and that Terri was angry about it too. ‘Aren’t you Terri?’ He then stated that he does her shopping and repairs and brings her out to
meetings and pickets to keep her mind active.
Now whilst that would appear to be well intentioned I would beg to differ as he then went on to ask Terri to tell me about the night he locked himself out of his car. ‘Did I ask you for money Terri?’ ‘You offered it didn’t you?’ Well if that had been my mother sitting there blind and unable to hear properly due to us sitting in pub bar with numerous voices and the TV showing a football match, I would have reminded him that what he was attempting was outrageous.
Even if it had been the case that Terri agreed with him it was unacceptable what he was attempting to do but if she hadn’t have agreed it was even worse. Was she honestly meant to say she disagreed with him after him carefully explaining to me and her that if he didn’t get her shopping, do household repairs and take her out to keep her mind active, along with him being only one of three people who she would let into her home, surely she would have been left at a massive disadvantage by disagreeing and thereby falling out with him?
I have now joined those who shun this idiot as he is a trouble maker of the worst kind…
Returning to the events at the meeting, I was by now aware immediately Kenneth’s intentions were not honourable.
His welcome was OTT and inappropriate and it soon became clear why.
He was deviously attempting to intimidate me by letting me know that Michael had told him about what I had shared with him in confidence.
He was also displaying annoyance borne out by his abrupt challenging of Terri in front of me in a demanding and wholly inappropriate manner.
I immediately knew that CD was letting me know that he felt sure he had something on me i.e. the ability to let Bridget know that she could not trust me with her confidences.
The main reason for the meeting was to arrange a picket at Teresa Villiers Surgery and the salient points I remember here were Carol Foster arriving and sitting near me. I had asked her did she know someone who had recently died that I knew of, Sherrl Yanowitz. She did. I mention this to prompt Carol’s memory. Kenneth was then referring to plans that had to be carried out prior to the picket such as publicity, informing the police and contacting RSF. He asked me would I inform Sean Houlihan (SH) and RSF to which I said I wouldn’t. He then said, ‘OK I will be able to do it then. I will phone him.’
My next experience of Kenneth was at the picket outside Teresa Villiers’s surgery in Barnet. I had not mentioned the meeting of the IRPSG to RSF beforehand as I just assumed Kenneth had informed Sean Houlihan. The only thing I had said to Sean was about Kenneth saying RSF would be going to one of the IRPSG meetings. I also said Kenneth had alleged it was one of the speakers at a recent Malcolm X event.
When I saw some members of RSF who I didn’t like speaking to Gerard, I immediately went over and listened in. It became clear that they were asking him about Kenneth’s allegation that he was RSF. I said straight away that it was Kenneth they needed to ask not Gerard. They then asked Kenneth who denied having ever said anything about RSF. I called him a liar and repeated what he had previously claimed. He then said that if he had said RSF he had made a mistake and had actually meant to say another group! I said are you saying both me and Michael Holden are making errors about what you have been saying?’
Another RSF member then came over then to Kenneth to ask him what right had he to have been previously telling people that RSF members needed to watch their backs? Kenneth denied this too but was again challenged about it when a witness came forward who had heard him say this. Then it descended into chaos as Jim McDonald (RSF) started to call Michael Holden and informer shouting that he had been in the police and seen this on their data base. I challenged him immediately and asked what was an ex policeman doing on the picket? The important issues here are:
Kenneth had told Michael Holden RSF were going to be attending the meeting on 10 June 2016.
Michael had sent me an email and phoned me to ask me to attend to see what Kenneth was up to.
Kenneth had alleged at the meeting that Gerard McNamara was the RSF member attending.
Kenneth had asked to borrow someone’s phone to (allegedly) call Gerard McNamara
Kenneth had asked me to inform RSF about the picket and when I said no he said he would – in front of other members of the IRPSG present – Carol included
I had emailed and phoned MH the following day to refute Kenneth’s claims
I knew that Kenneth did not have Gerard’s phone number
Kenneth then alleged that he had said RSF by accident when meaning to say another group all together.
Kenneth was challenged on the picket about his lies and threats made against RSF members present
I allege Kenneth is a trouble maker and a compulsive liar.
Following these events, there were to be many, many more, too numerous to mention so I will confine these to the most serious ones that display further disturbing traits of CD’s unacceptable behaviours.
In an email CD sent me dated 17/10/16 he referred to a very disturbing episode where he had used violence against a young activist:
I remember when I was spoken too, by a comrade and rightly so, when I threatened a guy from Workers Power who said that he had heard
that MH was what they allegded him to be. He stated that he had spoken to a person in Glasgow from RSF. My comrade told me off because I should have addressed it properly, and not just threatened him. Michael was told before that I was going to meet the young activist and asked me
to be cordial. I notified Michael what I had done after the meeting straight way.
On reflection the gentleman did apologies but he was naive at the time.
We have had appropriate conversations afterwards and I did apologies to him after a wee while.
Thinking of this episode just now, I am forced to reflect over a conversation I had previously had about the dangers of being out in pubs. It was where a comrade called Pol (mentioned at an RSF meeting) that he had previously been grabbed by the throat and pushed up against the wall whilst out. He reluctantly confided that it had been CD who had done this. I remember stating at the time that he had been assaulted! However, the conversation had moved onto something else so I never mentioned it again. I remember how shocked I was to hear this.
Another particularly disturbing incident took place in the Cock Tavern on 17 February 2016, following the meeting held at Marchmont Street Community Centre. After the meeting I had gone over to Kenneth and said it was a good meeting. I apologised to him for having to block him from my emails and telephone but said that I had been really been unable to cope with what I had perceived at the time to be some very unfriendly and quite bullying emails that he had sent me at a time when my friend was dying from leukaemia. Kenneth apologised and said he was sorry to hear she had died and that he really appreciated me coming over to speak to him. I said ‘we’re both meant to be fighting for the same thing so I would draw a line under it. I then left for the Cock Tavern with Bridget and Steve Hedley.
Once at the Cock Tavern, Bridget and I sat down near Gerry Downing and others who had been at the meeting. As the evening progressed Terri said she was going home and Kenneth went to get a cab and they left. Sometime later, Bridget and I were discretely discussing a very personal matter and we noticed Kenneth had returned all hot and bothered looking. He was sweating profusely as he pulled a chair up near us. We stopped talking as it had been clear we had been in close quiet and private conversation and were rather surprised that Kenneth felt it appropriate to pull his chair in so close to us. Kenneth in silence looked at me first, then across to Gerry, then onto Bridget and repeatedly carried out this action at least a dozen times more. It was apparent that he was enraged and feeling a bit paranoid over why we had stopped talking, however, as I have said, we had been discussing a private personal matter.
The next thing Kenneth looked straight at Bridget and aggressively said to her, ‘Why did you tell people lies over me taking money from Terri?’ Bridget ignored him but he persisted repeating what he had just said. He was obviously looking to cause trouble as he then abruptly suggested that Bridget go outside with him to sort it out. I was horrified and stood up and asked him when he was going to stop causing trouble. Bridget stood up too to get away from him. He then looked enraged and asked me when I was going to start taking my tablets. He was clearly trying to embarrass me but failed miserably, yet he would not stop. He told Bridget he didn’t like her and to ‘sit down’ like he was speaking to a small child. It was highly offensive as (yet again) Kenneth was starting an argument with Bridget and I whilst we were out in a public place. We had both had enough and told him so in no uncertain terms. Had he been someone else I would have asked the landlord to ask him to move on, instead of feeling harassed and intimidated by his actions.
I have now had enough of his interference with me and my comrades, especially given that even when we are in public places this has continued unabated. He has now moved on from trolling me using phone and emailed abuse, evidence of just one example of several is attached i.e. an email exchange dated 21/11/’16. In this horrible exchange Kenneth is clearly alleging (yet again) that I was involved in disrupting the Barnet picket. He is clearly trying to justify this untruthful and vicious claim by using alleged quotes from others. My response to this is self explanatory when I call him ‘a nasty, spiteful trouble maker.’
I am 57 years old and have MS, among numerous other physical health conditions. As I am now a member of the IRPSG, I feel it is more than appropriate to ask for assurances from its membership that I will be protected from further attempted harassment and intimidation from this man. I have been a republican activist since the age of 17 and absolutely refuse some 40 years later to become the victim of this man who I personally feel suffers from some form of mental instability and/or has a very serious problem with alcohol or possibly some other self medicating influences.
I close now by referring to one of the fundamental rules that is there to govern the Irish Republican Prisoner Support Group as it states: : Members of the group who speak in its name must represent the organisation and not seek to undermine or denigrate it.
I now accuse Kenneth Decanntun who – by his actions whilst he is professing to be representing the IRPSG – to be in actual fact leading this honourable and very necessary organisation into disrepute.
Message from Bernie McAdam from the Red Flag Group
I have also resigned from the IRPSG. I have also told resigned comrades that I won’t be joining any other solidarity group.
I did attend the meeting Gerry speaks of and I put the case for unity and due process of investigation of complaints. Every effort should have been made to stop the ridiculous splitting of our tiny forces. This was not done. Instead of discussing and deciding on the issue of our relationship to Annette and Bridget, whom we were just informed had just joined, we were presented with a fait accompoli. Gerry had no intention of a discussion necessarily in the absence of those two comrades. Clearly this was designed to preclude the three officers. The split had already taken place before the resignations.
Comrades will know that I have not taken ‘sides’ in the disputes and I was expecting a meeting to seek further clarity. This was dashed last night. It goes without saying I shall support events and activities that highlight the plight of Irish Republican prisoners on their merits whoever organises them.
Bernie McAdam 8-3-17
Formal Complaint against Kenneth Condon from Bridget Power
Gerry a chara
I am very sorry but I am left with no option other than to submit a formal complaint to the IRPSG in connection with Kenneth Condon
I will not bore you with the finer details of numerous occasions where this man has behaved in an unacceptable manner towards me and my personal company whilst I have been out in public. His behaviours have become more and more unpredictable and unacceptable over time and he is now a source of irritation and concern whenever I have occasion to be at the same public venues as he is.
I am now beyond annoyed over this and need to advise the IRPSG that he should not approach me ever again as not only do I not like the man but I am entitled to be out and about without any interference whatsoever from him. I will now refer to just 3 out of several incidents where he has approached me attempting to start arguments in public.
Approximately 6 months ago I was in company in the Calthorpe Arms in Camden when I was abruptly approached by Kenneth who was attempting to start an argument. He was trying to interrogate me about a conversation I had with Annette Maloney over my concerns for Terri Gavin. I reminded him that Terri was an elderly woman who should not under any circumstances be knocked up late at her home by anybody but even more so by himself who has plenty of other people to call on at night if he needs assistance; this related to an occasion when he alleged he had locked his keys in his car. I ended this intrusive conversation by telling him that if he did not move away I would have him moved.
On 13 May 2016 I was in the Cock Tavern at an event being held by the Malcolm X group. Kenneth Condon came over to the company I was in and kept speaking over me whilst I was trying to talk to Annette Maloney and Terri Gavin. Annette had a friend Patrick Murrihy with her and he said he was appalled by the Kenneth’s rude behaviour. Whilst I chose to ignore this, I was annoyed at him coming anywhere near me as I do not want to mix with him and I have told him this on many, many occasions.
The latest incident occurred on 17 February 2017 and followed the public meeting held for Tony Taylor and the Craigavon Two. I was in the Cock Tavern when Kenneth returned there having taken Terri Gavin home. He again started to confront me about my concerns over Terri. Annette had to ask him when was he going to stop causing trouble but he was continuing in his attempts to start an argument. Yet again he would not listen when he was asked to go away from me. His behaviour towards me was menacing and I am absolutely fed up with him gate crashing my company to cause trouble.
His behaviours have now become extremely serious and unwanted. He is carrying these out towards women republicans and this has been for way in excess of a year to my personal knowledge – how long exactly is unknown as he has also been using surreptitious means to forward his absolutely unacceptable campaign of attempted harassment and intimidation.
I consider that this is even more serious because of the fact that he is regularly sitting on public platforms representing the IRPSG – supposedly to publicly condemn the vile actions of the British government and their lackeys – whilst he is attempting to use the same or similar methods of oppression against women republican activists.
I am now asking for assurances from my comrades within the IRPSG that they will monitor Kenneth Condon a lot more closely in future and advise him to cease forthwith from his campaign of attempted intimidation and harassment against me.
In warm solidarity
The hijack of the IRPSG page:
You’re getting this email to confirm that you’re no longer an admin on Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group-London. You were removed on March 11, 2017 at 5:20am.
If you still want a role on Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group-London
- You can ask one of the Page admins to add you again.
- If you think you were removed because another admin’s account was hacked, Let us know.
The Facebook Security Team