Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group Statement on the Bloody Sunday Boycott

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28/01/2018 by socialistfight

Bloody Sunday 2018The Controversial Bloody Sunday 2018 poster

The IRPSG is opposed to the boycott of the Bloody Sunday march, despite recognising legitimate criticisms of the official poster produced for the march on Sunday 28 January. After all no one boycotted the march when it was led by Sinn Fein despite many serious and legitimate criticisms of their political direction by consistent Republicans.

A Facebook thread begun by Pól Ó Scanaill on 13 January debated out the issues. He and Mícheál Mac Lochlainn spoke for one opinion, with which the IRPSG would substantially agree:

“Walking away from the Bloody Sunday event is a mistake that will further marginalise Republicans. The Bloody Sunday committee has been slowly taken over by anti-republicans   Eamon McCann. The Bloody Sunday March for Justice has always been about exposing State-sponsored oppression in Ireland and around the world.

The Trotskyites have manipulated the committee and have influenced it to put events (like) Enniskillen on the same level as Bloody Sunday. Enniskillen, Kingsmill and the other non-state atrocities are not supported by Republicans, the issue here is the change in focus of the event away from a platform for oppressed people. The biggest mistake we can collectively make is boycotting this year’s Bloody Sunday march. It’ll be a disaster if Republicans don’t attend, we will just have handed it over to a bunch of anti-republicans.”

Michael Donnelly further emphasised the position:

“Who exactly is marginalizing you? William Best (the Catholic Irish man from Derry in the British army shot in Derry in May 1972) was in Derry with the full approval of the IRA and no one knows this better than Tony Taylor’s father.

He was rioting in the Bog all afternoon and was abducted by a pair of stickies who didn’t come well out of the Bloody Sunday enquiry. Get your facts right. The shinners and the Brits couldn’t stop the March and it won’t be stopped by sinister individuals putting out false information.”

Liam Mellows put the opposing case:

“The march started out as a civil rights march and it quickly turned into a justice march to bring British soldiers to account for the slaughter of innocent people in Derry in 1972. I understand some of the arguments that people don’t want to walk away as the shinners will have won as they want to put an end to this march and have done for years, nobody is bashing Kate and Linda Nash they took a courageous step and stood on and continued with the march and republicans stood on with them but this year’s march has CHANGED, it is a justice march and it is no longer about the victims of Bloody Sunday, the poster clearly has a multitude of IRA actions on if, asking people to support this march is asking people to abandon their principles, to support this march you are effectively supporting the IRA volunteers who carried out these actions to be brought to justice and no republican can support this,, it’s black and white. This is Eammon McCann’s march and sadly the Nash sisters have been used as pawns in his anti-republican agenda, to those who say they are still attending open your eyes, you too are being used as pawns. Republicans haven’t walked away from the march Republicans have been pushed away…”

James Murphy further elaborated:

“The objection to the poster is that it’s asking for justice for IRA actions, it’s has the name of an MI5 agent Mozzam Begg and several other issues including a call to repeal the 8th (Amendment, which criminalises a woman having an abortion) as well as the calling for justice for a dead British soldier (William Best).

Whoever is behind the poster is taking it upon themselves to attempt to speak on behalf of people without consent. The family of Tony Taylor and John Brady have also voiced concerns about both names being on the poster without anything being done to remove either name. A number of these issues are deal breakers for Republicans. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable marching on a parade advertising that it was seeking justice for Omagh, Enniskillen, and Shankill.

The IRPSG agrees with Padraig De Brun’s position:

“I don’t think this (boycott) is the solution. Taking control of the march by one political grouping to another. The march should have gone ahead as planned and a protest could break away from the main platform. There was no consultation with other Republicans, which only serves to further divide attendance. There should have been an agreed collective response, so that the main body of support being Republicans, could have remained intact.”

The IRPSG believes that the objections to the poster are absolutely legitimate, that equating the violence of the oppressed Republican forces with British state violence against the whole community with is fundamentally reactionary and wrong, despite criticisms we have of the methods employed.

They have a right to fight with the methods of their own choosing. In fact there is a great deal of evidence that British intelligence encouraged, facilitated and refused to warn civilians of the bombs in Enniskillen, Omagh and elsewhere, knowing the adverse effect these tragedies would have on the Republican cause.

Keep the unity of the movement, fight the pro-imperialism of McCann and others; if you could march under Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness until 2012 you can certainly march under Kate and Linda Nash, who have heroically maintained the march when Sinn Fein capitulated to the Saville Inquiry, which is yet to produce a single conviction or an ounce of justice for the 14 murdered.

Signed Gerry Downing Secretary

John Carty Chair IRPSG

PS Eamonn McCann is not a Trotskyist

 

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