STATEMENT FOLLOWING YESTERDAY’S LOYALIST ATTACK ON IRISH PUB IN LIVERPOOL

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool is appalled by the incidents recorded yesterday in Liverpool involving a loyalist parade through Liverpool and distributed widely though social media https://youtu.be/as9y83ME9wE. It is clear that the organisers (Apprentice Boys Of Derry supported by Loyalist bands) lost control of their supporters when they targeted the Liffey Irish Bar on Renshaw Street. During the past 10 years this bar is annually targeted by loyalists during this specific parade as almost every band plays the ‘Sash My Father Wore’ as they pass by https://youtu.be/jPxeROwGsAA. Footage clearly shows loyalists (women and men) making determined efforts to enter the bar and the doors having to be defended and then closed to prevent violence and injury to the customers.

 Cairde na hEireann Liverpool asks that any person subject to racist or sectarian abuse to personally report it via the STOP HATE UK helpline 0800 138 1625.

 Cairde na hEireann is also concerned that yet again Loyalists are allowed with impunity to carry flags of proscribed organisations, with no intervention from Merseyside Police. Yesterday at least one band carried the flag of the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force. At last week’s English Defence League demonstration in Liverpool the UVF flag was again carried without intervention from Merseyside Police, when local Loyalists supported the fascist organisation. As a parade organiser, Cairde na hEireann is regularly subject to continued scrutiny by Merseyside Police in relation to flags and emblems and in 2014 a ridiculous situation emerged where the flag of the historical Irish women’s patriot organisation Cumann na mBan was banned from being flown by Merseyside Police as part of a centenary parade through Liverpool www.anphoblacht.com/contents/2447 . Cairde na hEireann Liverpool calls on Merseyside Police to treat communities equally and apply the law equally. At present it is clear that Merseyside Police is far from impartial in the way it views and treats the Irish community and Irish community events.

 

CNAE Liverpool.

Communications Team.

General Election 2015 and the Irish Community

On May 7th 2015, the people of Liverpool/Merseyside will have the opportunity to choose their local Member of Parliament. For the Irish community in Liverpool/Merseyside, this represents an ideal opportunity to directly challenge all candidates on their position regarding the rights and needs of our community, especially in the areas of social care, recognition, culture and sport.

We in Cairde na hEireann Liverpool believe that the result of the General Election will directly affect Irish people in Liverpool/Merseyside and that the votes of the Irish community should not be taken for granted by any parliamentary candidate. We do not advocate a vote for any particular candidate or party that they may represent. However, we do feel that candidates should be challenged on their views and their support for the following issues facing our community at present:

  • Support for the Irish peace process and full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Support the setting up of public enquiries into the killing of solicitor Pat Finucane and the innocent civilians murdered by the British Army during the Ballymurphy Massacre 1971.
  • Support the rights of the Irish community to organise  events and parades that  commemorate our history, celebrate our culture and assert our political aspirations, free from the threat of attack from Far Right groups, including elements of the Loyal Orange Orders.
  • Support for Irish organisations in the city aiming to meet the welfare and social care needs of the Irish community including Irish elders and Irish Travellers.
  • Support and recognition for Irish community based organisations promoting the continuation of Irish traditional music, song and dance including support for Irish language groups.
  • Positive support for the maintenance and development of Gaelic games in the city including recognition of the needs of Irish organisations/groups promoting Gaelic sports in Liverpool.

While Cairde na hEireann Liverpool does not advocate on behalf of any particular candidate/political party and having recently seen the published list of candidates, we would offer the following caveat: There should be no votes for candidates linked to racist or far-right political parties. 

Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool notes that the list of candidates for Liverpool/Merseyside include the United Kingdom Independence Party. We believe that UKIP members were instrumental in the stoking up of racist and sectarian tensions that led to the direct attack on an Irish Community events during 2012 and 2013. UKIP and other right wing parties have nothing positive to offer the people of Liverpool and Merseyside except their own hate and prejudices that marginalises and divides the Irish community and other immigrant communities from the wider community.

We ask that our community take note of the above and ensure the needs of the Irish community are both recognised and acknowledged.

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Disproportionate & Punitive: Merseyside Police threaten Irish Commemoration to Liverpool Irish women with Terrorism Act

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On the 12th March 2012 the British Prime Minister David Cameron and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny issued a joint statesman stating their view on how British-Irish relationships during the next 10 years should develop. Within the statement there was recognition of the Decade of Centenaries, that period of Irish history between 1913-1923 that saw huge revolutionary change and would now be remembered a hundred years from 2013 onwards:

“2012 also marks the beginning of a decade of centenary commemorations of events that helped shape our political destinies.  This series of commemorations offers us an opportunity to explore and reflect on key episodes of our past.  We will do so in a spirit of historical accuracy, mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation.”

Today Merseyside Police literally tore the joint statement to pieces by its use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2000) which was used to place restrictions on this afternoons march and rally through Liverpool City centre to remember the Liverpool Irish women of Cumann na mBan (League of Women) who participated in both the Easter arising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence1919-1921. Organised by Cairde na hEireann Liverpool, the event had been advertised for several months and clearly stated its intention to remember in a dignified manner those women members of the Irish community in Liverpool who dedicated their lives to the cause of Irish independence and freedom between1913-1923 (statement)

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool as an Irish community organisation, dedicated itself in 2013 to ensuring that when forthcoming Centenaries were being commemorated in Liverpool, anniversaries of historic importance to the Liverpool Irish community would not remain untold and hidden but would be commemorated and remembered on par with both official and unofficial commemorations in Liverpool that have involved remembering the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force (a proscribed organisation under the PTA), formation of the Liverpool Pals and start of World War 1.

On the 29th September we received correspondence from Assistant Chief Constable Martland (see below).

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Letter from Merseyside Police

In the meeting that followed between Merseyside Police and Cairde na hEireann Liverpool we reiterated the following:

General theme: To support the campaign for the reunification of Ireland by solely peaceful political means. This year’s specific theme: ‘’To celebrate the centenary of the formation of Cumann Na mBan (League of Women) in 1914, and in particular its members from the Liverpool Irish community.

This themed event is being held solely to remember the role of the specific historic organisation known as Cumann Na mBan (which is no longer in existence), during the time period known as the ‘Decade of Centenaries (1913-1923)’ of events in Irish history.

These events are being commemorated by all traditions, including here in Liverpool. Such commemorations are recognised as being significant and legitimate by both UK and Irish governments, as part of international agreements integral to the cementing of the peace process and the promotion of shared understanding).

The event on 11th October is NOT being held in relation to inviting support for ANY contemporary proscribed organisation under the terms of The Terrorism Act 2000.

The event on 11th October is NOT being held in relation to inviting support for ANY contemporary proscribed organisation going by the name of ‘’Cumann Na mBan’’, or indeed any other name contained within the list detailed in the Terrorism Act 2000.”

However, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool received a final piece of correspondence from ACC Martland stating that:

“I am writing to advise you that the CPS has confirmed that, by wearing an item of clothing or wearing, carrying or displaying an article in such a way or in circumstances as to arise reasonable suspicion that they are a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation commits an offence, contrary to Sect. 13(1) of the Terrorism Act, 2000.

I must advise you that, in light of the above, if there are grounds to believe that an offence has been committed at the procession, then Merseyside Police will take action that is appropriate in the circumstances.”

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool believes that Merseyside Police’s stance is a deliberate attempt to restrict the Irish community’s rights to commemorate our heritage and history. We view Merseyside Police’s stance on this matter as vindictive, disproportionate and criminalises a whole generation of Liverpool Irish women and men who contributed to the foundation of an independent Irish state. We are left with no other opinion than to believe that the actions of a few senior Merseyside Police officers in dealing with this matter could be seen in the context of institutional racism by effectively denying the Irish community the right to remember and commemorate while other communities in Liverpool and public bodies are allowed to do so. Cumann na mBan is an organisation that exists only within the text books of Liverpool Irish history and poses a threat to no one in the community.

Merseyside Police’s decision to threaten march organisers with arrest and prosecution now sees the likes of Nora Thornton, Kathy Doran, Francis Downey, Peggy Downey, Anastasia MacLoughlin, Kathleen Murphy and Rose Ann Murphy, Liverpool Irish women who participated in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin as being a threat to the British State on par with the threat posed by Islamic State and Al Qaeda. 

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool thanks those marchers today who remembered with pride the brave Liverpool Irish women of Cumann na mBan and reluctantly agreed to adhere to the restrictions set out by Merseyside Police. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool will launch a campaign to challenge Merseyside Police’s attempts to both criminalise us as an Irish community organisation and the Irish community as a whole. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool will challenge any future attempt by Merseyside Police to demonise the Irish community as they have attempted to do so today. The right to be Irish in Liverpool/Merseyside and the right to express pride in our heritage and history will be central to our campaign.

Despite the actions of Merseyside Police today’s event was a huge success with several hundred in attendance and led by 6 flute bands through the city with a rally at Pier Head. The rally was dressed by Jennifer McCann MLA and Junior Minister for the Office for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
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The Irish Community on Merseyside and Elections 2014

This Thursday 22nd May 2014 see’s voting in Local Authority and European Parliament elections across the Merseyside boroughs of Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Knowsley. Irish people across Merseyside will have a chance to vote for local candidates from a broad range of political parties.

Cairde na Eireann Liverpool has a simple message for the Irish Community: Dont vote for racists and fascist political parties or their candidates. Political parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), British National Party (BNP), National Front (NF) and the English Democrats , have in recent years on Merseyside fermented anti-Irish sentiment through their active support for street based fascist politics and at times supported direct attacks against Irish community parades in Liverpool.

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urges a strong message be sent to these parties on election day that their message of hate and division is not something the Irish community supports and will be rejected. The Irish on Merseyside have a strong history of confronting and fighting fascism and racism. Please use your vote to send the racists and bigots packing, reject sectarianism and racism; promote diversity and tolerance.

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Liverpool Irish community group welcomes convictions

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool welcomes today’s convictions at Liverpool Magistrates Court of 5 individuals convicted for falling to comply with a Public Order notice Liverpool Echo Newspaper 27th November 2013. The convictions were in relation to the annual James Larkin March & Rally held during July 2013 when individuals with associations to both Loyalist and Fascist groups in Liverpool attempted to disrupt the event as it marched through Liverpool city centre.

The convictions represent a clear statement that intolerance and hate have no place on the streets of Liverpool. Since 2012, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool has worked tirelessly with both police and civic authorities to highlight ongoing attacks by both right wing extremists and loyalists aimed at Irish related parades and marches in Liverpool which have been both racist and sectarian in nature. These attacks have been fully detailed in Cairde na hEireann Liverpool’s 2013 report entitled ‘Under Pressure: A Report Into Far-Right and Loyalist Attacks Against Irish Community Parades/Marches in Liverpool During 2012’. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool regard today’s convictions as vindication of our view that a small group of racists and haters had made it their business to continually try to disrupt and harass members of the Irish community from organising peaceful, dignified and lawful public events. Their aim was to attempt to drive the Irish community off the streets of Liverpool, maintain loyalist and right-wing supremacy of civic spaces and in this they have failed utterly.

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool will continue to work positively to promote a positive sense of identity for the Irish community in Liverpool through promotion of work and events that seek to celebrate Liverpool Irishness, history and remembrance. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool also reasserts it’s commitment to working collaboratively with all statutory and non-statutory bodies to promote tolerance and anti-racist practice.

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Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urges Irish support for Liverpool March Against Fascism.

Saturday 12th October sees the Unite the Union organised ‘March Against Fascism’ in Liverpool. Speakers at the rally include – Salma Yaqoob, Colette Williams (BARAC/Chair of Unite Community), Len McCluskey (Unite), Billy Hayes (CWU), Bob Crow (RMT), Paul Nowak (TUC), Christine Blower (NUT), Dave Prentis (Unison) and Weyman Bennett (UAF) and Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool).

We in Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urge Irish community support for this important event that aims to send a message out to the haters that Liverpool is One Community and to reject the message of hate sent out by various fascist groups and individuals. The Irish community, more than any other community in Liverpool during the past 2 years, has faced an onslaught of attacks, threats and intimidation from far-right groups aimed at driving Irish community events/parades of the streets of Liverpool. These attacks were fully documented in our February 2013 launched document Under Pressure:  A Report Into Far-right And Loyalist Attacks Against Irish Community Parades/Marches in Liverpool During 2012.

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urges members of the Irish community to join in with the Irish contingent on next week’s march and send a clear message that we as a community will not be cowered by the behaviour and threats of fascists and to remember with pride the very real anti-fascist tradition inherent within the Liverpool Irish history and identity.

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Successful James Larkin March and Rally in Liverpool 2013

The James Larkin Society held a very successful James Larkin March and Rally in Liverpool yesterday to remember the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool were proud to support this annual event again this year and worked closely with the James Larkin Society, Trade Unionists, community groups, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police to ensure its success. Close to 500 people attended yesterday’s march and rally which was lead by the Liverpool Irish Patriots Flute Band. The event was addressed by Steve Higginson, Secretary James Larkin Society, Billy Hayes, General Secretary Communication Workers Union and Cormac O’Dalaigh, President of the Communication Workers Union (Ireland).

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James Larkin March & Rally

As opposed to last years parade which was targeted and attacked by a wide range of right wing fascist groups along with local Orange Order members, this years event passed of relatively peacefully and showed the real commitment by all parties to ensure that Irish community and Trade Union events are allowed to proceed unhindered and free from protesters involved in racist and sectarian abuse aimed at marchers. There were 11 arrests of protesters on the day with most not actually occurring near the event route. We note the positive approach in dealing with hate groups and individuals intent on disrupting this event by Merseyside Police, not only on the day itself but also in the weeks leading up to the March. This approach lead to a positive experience for all on the March, free from threats and abuse and we applaud Merseyside Police’s robust approach in dealing with lone individuals who attempted to disrupt the March along the route.

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool remains committed to working in partnership with local authorities on future events that allow Irish people in Liverpool/Merseyside to express themselves both culturally and politically. We also note that comments from Liverpool’s Orange Order prior to yesterday’s march asking their members not be involved in targeting the James Larkin March & Rally as being a  positive step  and undoubtedly had a big impact on right wing fascist organisations being able to mobilise on a bigger scale. It remains Cairde na hEireann Liverpool’s view that Liverpool’s streets should be a shared space for all communities and free from racism, sectarianism and hate, and any groups /individuals who promote such should have no place within civic society.

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Remembering the 10th Anniversary this week of the racist murder of 15 year old, Liverpool-based, Irish Traveller Johnny Delaney

On the 10th Anniversary of his death, please take time this week to remember 15 year old Johnny Delaney,an Irish Traveller murdered in a racist attack 28th May 2003. A beautiful short film of Johnny’s life was made afterwards and shows how loved he was. Please remember Johnny and remember all of the victims of hate crime during these times….

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Irish community group meets with Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy

PRESS RELEASE

17TH MAY 2013

Irish community group meets with Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy

pcc picIn a very positive and open discussion with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, a delegation from Irish community group, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool (pronounced Car-ja na air-ran) raised again our serious concerns regarding attacks on Irish community parades in Liverpool. Using this year’s published report into attacks by the far-Right and Loyalists on Irish community parades/marches during 2012 (Under Pressure) and its recommendations as the basis for discussion, Cairde delegates discussed the negative impact that these attacks have upon Irish community confidence, the need for a more robust response from Merseyside Police when dealing with loyalist and fascist demonstrators using racist and sectarian language and threatening behaviour aimed towards members so the Irish community, and recent figures released to Cairde under the Freedom of Information Act detailing anti-Irish hate crimes over a four year period for Merseyside.

Cairde were pleased with the Commissioners genuine and sympathetic response to our concerns and she reaffirmed our shared view that no community on Merseyside should be subject to racist and sectarian abuse or intimidation on the scale experienced by members of the Irish community in recent times. The Commissioner also gave an undertaking that the Irish community would be involved in community consultative forums which are currently being reviewed. The Commissioner affirmed that Merseyside  Police operational tactics for Irish parades/marches this year have been reviewed in light of the events of 2012 and should restore Irish community confidence.

The Cairde delegation specifically raised concerns about recent applications made under the Freedom of Information Act asking Merseyside Police to provide numbers of victims and incidents of hate crimes targeting Irish people across the Merseyside area, to include those specifically targeted as a result of either their Irish nationality or ethnicity for each year between 2009-2012. The Cairde delegation highlighted that over 20 individual reports of anti-Irish hate crime where reported to Merseyside Police from members of the Irish Community involved in parades/marches during 2012,  yet figures from Merseyside Police suggest there was only 1 incident reported and contradict a previous FOI request for figures between 2011-2012 which found over 11?? Full details of these requests are available via https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/cairde_na_heireann_liverpool. The Commissioner agreed to look into this and clarify how Merseyside Police are recording anti-Irish hate crime.

 

WHY ARE FASCISTS TARGETING LIVERPOOL’S IRISH COMMUNITY? http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/hanging-out-at-liverpools-unofficial-st-patricks-day-parade