Raids, arrest of councillor and damaging newspaper references . .

Up to a dozen homes of members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin in County Donegal and North Leitrim were raided by 26-County Special Branch on May 13-14 last.

In the case of Mary Ward, Vice-President, papers relating to a recent conference of Republican Sinn Féin in the Guildhall, Derry were seized. No doubt copies of these will make their way to the British Crown Forces (RUC).

In all cases lists of names and addresses and particularly telephone numbers used in the course of the organisation’s work were also seized. In pursuance of the collaborationist policy of the Dublin administration this material also will no doubt be handed over to the Occupation Forces north of the Border.

On Thursday, May 15, came the arrest under the Offences Against the State Act of Bundoran Councillor Joe O’Neill.

This Republican Sinn Féin public representative was being held in Sligo police barracks while some newspapers carried pointed and pejorative references to his situation which can only have been “leaked” by the Special Branch.

In a statement Republican Sinn Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said:

“This harassment and attempted disruption of Republican Sinn Féin will not impede its work but rather will strengthen our members’ resolve to continue working for a democratic Ireland based on national, provincial and local self-determination free of British rule.”

Councillor O’Neill was released without charge on Saturday, May 17, having been held for the full 48 hours under the OASA.

PDs ‘a throwback to Victorian times’

The policies and attitudes of the leader of the Progressive Democrats towards the less well off in society is a throwback to the times of the British Queen Victoria, the Limerick Branch of Republican Sinn Féin said on May 24.

Joe Lynch, Ard Chomhairle member said people are shocked by the awful disregard PD’s show for the plight of those less fortunate, from job seekers to unmarried mothers.

“Not content with attacking the long-term unemployed, the leader of the PD’s now has unmarried mothers in her sights.

“The fact is people want to work but the reality is that there is no real work available for the vast majority of people who are unemployed. They are not scrounging off the system: they are the victims of the polices advocated by the likes of the Progressive Democrats who have an “I’m All Right Mary” approach to the social problems of the community.

“Her proposed treatment of teenage mothers and suggestions of the State withdrawing allowance is a backward step and will only help to penalise innocent children.

“It is now obvious that the Progressive Democrats do not cherish all the children of the nation equally . . . only those lucky enough to have parents who own a house, hold down two jobs and vote for right-wing Thatcherite policies.”

Family targeted twice in a week

A north Belfast nationalist family were quietly asleep in their Wyndham Street home when a baseball bat-wielding thug smashed the living-room window at 4am on Sunday morning, May 25.

Mother-of-five, Bernadette Reilly told how she heard a loud bang and rushed from her kitchen to find her living room window smashed and a masked man fleeing with a baseball bat in his hand.

Just two days earlier, two of her children narrowly escaped injury when they were showered with glass as their bedroom window was smashed. “I was so afraid, that I just froze. After last week’s attack, I couldn’t sleep and that was why I was still awake so late,” Bernadette Reilly said.

Speaking of her worry for her children she said “Lauren and Paul could have been seriously hurt as the glass showered their quilt. I feel very nervous and don’t feel safe living here. I haven’t been able to eat anything since it happened.”

Bernadette Reilly has been living in the area for six years and claims their was never any hassle until Drumcree last July. “Since then we have had no peace,” she said. Both her children suffer from nervous attacks. “Lauren can’t sleep anymore. She is nervous and is wetting the bed because she is so scared. She keeps saying ‘someone is coming to get me mammy’ “.

In Derry City’s Waterside area a mother and her four-year-old daughter were forced to flee their home on Monday, May 27. Sharon Ferguson and her daughter Natasha were sitting in the house in the Clooney area when two masked men armed with batons burst in shouting “get out, you Fenian bastard”.

Her father and brother had been beaten in sectarian attacks and her windows had been smashed on several occasions. Sharon Ferguson said her greatest concern was for her daughter who keeps asking “Mammy, what’s Fenian scum?”.

London meeting’s support for Josephine Hayden

At a packed meeting of the Republican Forum in London on May 10 addressed by Irish and English Republicans it was unanimously agreed to send solidarity greetings to Republican POW in Limerick prison, Josephine Hayden.

The meeting sent its support in her “continuing struggle against the inhumane conditions under which she is incarcerated and for the self-determination, unification and national liberation of your country, Ireland. Your struggle is our struggle.”

The meeting also sent greetings to Róisín McAliskey, then still incarcerated in Holloway prison.

Held at the London Welsh Centre, the meeting was addressed by Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh, national publicity officer, Republican Sinn Féin and editor of SAOIRSE. In is speech he said that the Westminster election results would not change anything as regards British policy towards her first and oldest colony. “The new British Direct Ruler, Majorie Mowlam, gave a clear indication of this on April 17 last when she confirmed that the ‘Bipartisan’ policy on Ireland would continue under a Labour administration in Westminster. Republican Sinn Féin recognises, however, that attendance at Westminster changes Irish Republicans into British constitutional nationalists.

“None of the parties in the elections this year North or South of the Border are campaigning for an end to British rule,” he said. “Only Republican Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement of which it is part has a stated policy, ÉIRE NUA, which would cater for all majorities and minorities on the island in the event of British withdrawal. A constituent assembly based on a single 32-county election would provide a new constitution for the whole island. A four-province federation and local self-determination within the context of national self-determination is the way out of the impasse in the occupied Six Counties.

“A nine-county Ulster parliament in the context of a British withdrawal has generated favourable responses in the unionist community which is fearful of being dominated by Dublin rule. Instead of examining this proposal the Dublin administration seeks to entrench British rule and is thereby perpetuating conflict in the Six Counties.

The meeting was also addressed by Brian Higgins of the Republican Forum in Britain who pointed out that recent polls showed increased support for an end to the British monarchy: 37% support in England, over 50% support in Scotland and more than 41% support in Wales. Other speakers were Kevin McQuillan of the IRSP, Brendan O’Neill of the Irish Freedom Movement and a community activist from north Belfast.

Nationalist taxi-man’s lucky escape

Loyalists attempted to kill a nationalist taxi-driver in Milford, County Armagh on May 14. The incident happened around 1am when the taxi-driver was delivering a food order to a house on Monaghan Street in Milford.

The order turned out to be a hoax and there was no response from the house. When he returned to his car he was confronted by a masked man who tried to shoot him but the gun jammed. The taxi-driver jumped out of the car and struggled with the gunman who broke free and escaped.

Nationalist home sprayed with death squad gunfire

A loyalist pro-British death squad sprayed a nationalist home with gunfire on the northern outskirts of Belfast after failing to break down the door on May 12.

The occupant of the house, a pregnant mother of two, was taken to hospital suffering from shock after the attack. The attack started when a car was hijacked by masked men in the Rathcoole area before the assault on the house at Archdale Park, Carnmoney, near Glengormley shortly after 10pm.

The loyalist gunmen first attempted to sledge-hammer their way into the house, presumably to kill the occupants. However they were unable to break the door and instead fired shots at the house. At least six shots went through the living-room window. The woman escaped injury by diving on to the settee when the shooting started. Her two children were asleep upstairs.

‘Die you Fenian bastard’: victim of loyalist murder-gang dies

The nationalist victim of a sectarian loyalist assault on April 27 died at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital on Thursday, May 10. Father-of-two Robert Hamill (25) endured monstrous beatings in a horror attack by a gang of 30 loyalists when he and three relatives were set upon by the fascist mob as they were making their way home from a dance in Portadown, County Armagh.

According to an eyewitness Robert Hamill whose partner Caroline is expecting their third child in July, received a constant stream of blows and kicks from the mob who then “danced on” him and said “Die, you Fenian bastard” as his body was pinned to the ground at the junction of Thomas Street and Market Street. A cousin who asked not to be named accused the British police (RUC) of allowing the attack to occur unhampered, “The police could have done more. They stood by and watched. I am not politically motivated but they said they could not control that crowd. One plastic bullet would have broken up the crowd.” He said attacks on nationalists in the town had become regular weekend occurrences. “You will get them running about up the town any Friday or Saturday night. They are only looking for one thing, Catholics. There are boys attacked up there regularly. Some are lucky enough to get away, some don’t.”

The dead man’s sister, Diane, told a press conference on May 13 that the family wanted “a separate body set up totally independent of the police to investigate what happened to Robert and why the RUC didn’t get involved.” The family had little faith in the so-called ‘Independent Commission for Police Complaints’ conducting an inquiry, and Diane Hamill said “What is the point of the RUC investigating themselves?”

Her brother died because the RUC sat in a nearby jeep and did nothing to disperse the mob kicking her brother to death. “If they had got out of the jeep and put their gun up to the air and shot a bullet in the air . . . if they’d gone up to my brother and turned him on his side and held his airways open he would have been home today.”

She expressed her disgust at the RUC and questioned why they changed their initial statement, which said it was a clash between “rival gangs”. Later the RUC maintained they could not aid Robert Hamill because they “were under attack”. The family also want the RUC to suspend the paramilitary police members who were in the Land Rover that night.

Nationalists throughout Occupied Ireland live in terror of an unending stream of attacks some of them causing death as the British and their loyalist allies continue their expansionist terror campaign to gain a stranglehold on the Six Counties. The Provisionals handed them an opportune gift with a mindless ‘peace process’.

Meanwhile Garda Próiséas Síochána (the Provo Police) hold back nationalist youths who are trying to defend their neighbourhoods from British and loyalist attacks.

At a sitting of a special court in Lurgan, Co Armagh on Sunday, May 11, five men were remanded to Lisburn magistrates court on June 4 charged with the murder of Robert Hamill. A sixth man was charged with murder on May 12.

Murder of GAA official: no concessions to sectarian gangsters

A prominent Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) official was killed by a loyalist death squad in County Derry on May 13. Seán Brown (61), chairman of the Wolfe Tone Gaelic Football Club in Bellaghy, County Derry, was locking up the club premises on his own after a meeting. He was a father of six children.

It is believed he was abducted as he was locking the gates. A shot was fired at the gates, possibly during a struggle between Brown and his attackers. An hour after the abduction Seán Brown’s body was found beside a burning car near Randalstown, County Antrim, ten miles away. He had been shot dead.

In a statement on May 13 Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin said:

“Republican Sinn Féin deplores the sectarian murder of the chairman of the Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAA club in Co Derry and expresses sincere sympathy to the family and colleagues of Seán Brown.

“Similarly we deplore the several recent sectarian murders in the Six Occupied Counties and the many sectarian attacks including the destruction of churches and church property.

“But GAA members must not in the face of such killings back down or make any concessions to such attacks and those responsible for them – while at all times keeping the lines open to those not of their national and Gaelic tradition.

“They must remain calm and vigilant in the current situation and show by their steadfastness and dignity that they will uphold the best traditions of their Association. That service for well over a century has been an inspiration to Irish people at home and abroad.

“Sectarian gangsters with British Intelligence backing must not be allowed to deflect them from their noble work among the community or to cause them to compromise on their ideals.

“Irish people and sportsmen and women throughout the world stand by them when their officials and members are threatened and killed in the name of an outdated colonialism.”