Armed Forces Day Liverpool – A time to reflect on Britain’s murder of innocent Irish civilians

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This weekend Liverpool plays host to Britain’s annual armed forces day, a day that aims to celebrate and court support for the Britain’s armed forces ‘community’.

For the Irish community, the day is a time for remembrance and offer peaceful reflection on the victims of Britain’s armed forces. Between 1968 to the 1990’s literally hundreds of Irish civilians were mudered directly by soldiers of British Army Regiments, police officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary or more sinisterly by active collusion between loyalist paramilitaries, aided by inteligence and active support from Britain’s armed forces/police.

In recent years, several investigations by both the BBC and RTE have found mounting evidence of the extent of collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and British State Forces Britain’s Secret Terror Deals (BBC) Collusion (RTE). June 2016 saw the publication of the Loughlinisland Report by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman which found active collusion between members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Volunteer Force which left 6 civilians shot to death as they watched the Ireland Vs Italy World Cup game in a bar in 1994 BBC News Report.

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On armed forces day the truth is starting to unravel for Britain and its collusion with loyalists to kill its very own citizens. Liverpool says: Time for Truth – Time for Justice.

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Liverpool Irish pay tribute to Martin McGuinness

Last night we organised a short parade around the streets of the Liverpool Irish heartland, to remember Martin McGuinness in our own way. The following is a Statement read out on behalf of the Band & Cairde na hEireann Liverpool: 

‘ Martin McGuinness was born in 1950, in an Ireland forcibly partitioned by British Imperialism. Martin lived his life in the Bogside Estate, Derry, and grew up under the brutal sectarian Apartheid Orange State. This was a State where the Irish nationalist population were denied even basic rights to a vote, jobs and housing. Martin was active from his earliest youth, in the struggle for civil rights, which was brutally suppressed by Unionist police forces, paramilitaries and then directly by the British State. When armed struggle became the only means to defend the people and advance their rights, Martin lead from the front. When the huge sacrifices of IRA Volunteers, Republican activists and their families created the space for the Irish freedom struggle to be advanced by solely peaceful political means, Martin again led from the front.

In building a peace process based on equality and respect, Martin took great risks and developed many initiatives around outreach, reconciliation and shared understanding with the Unionist community in the north of Ireland, and in the rejection of bigotry and hate. Martin and his comrades built Sinn Fein as a progressive inclusive political party, which not only broke down the sectarian structures of the old Orange Statelet, but also prioritised the advancement of justice and equality issues for all communities. Martin never lost sight of the ultimate goal of a United Ireland, and his lifetime’s work hugely contributed to bringing us so much closer to that final outcome. Sinn Fein is on the rise across Ireland, and at the last Assembly Elections, it ended the Unionist overall majority at Stormont. The writing is on the wall, Irish Unity is coming.

Martin lived and died as a proud Irish Republican. His last social media comment, on 1st March, just before the Assembly Elections, stated:

‘’This election is about equality and respect for all our people, and integrity in the institutions. Vote Sinn Fein for the politics of hope not fear’’

The best way we can honour Martin’s legacy is to ourselves get involved in the political struggle for Irish freedom and Unity. The only fitting tribute to Martin is to build a United Ireland based on peace, equality and justice, an Irish Republic that in the words of the 1916 Easter Proclamation, ‘’Cherishes all the children of the nation equally.’’ ‘

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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Liverpool Good Friday Agreement meeting a success…

Thanks to everyone who attended last nights meeting discussing 15th Anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement at St Michaels Irish Centre. A great turnout from the Irish community and beyond.

Special thanks to our speakers, Francie Molloy, Member of Parliament Mid-Ulster; Nick Taylor, Chief Executive of The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace Warrington; Dr Kevin Bean, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and Martin Collins, Parliamentary Officer, Federation of Irish Societies for providing excellent insights into the Agreement itself and more importantly what needs to be done to maintain the peace.

Was also great to see Paul Maskey MP and Dr Kevin McNamara former Shadow Secretary of State for the North of Ireland at the meeting.

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool realises the important role that the Irish community in liverpool and Merseyside has in promoting dialogue and supporting the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. We pledge ourselves to continue to organise public events that contribute towards reconcilliation and dealing with the legacy of the past.

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Census 2011 shows dramatic increase in Irish-born population in Liverpool but recording of ethnicity only marginally up…..

During late 2010 through to March 2011 several Irish community organisations across Merseyside, including Cairde na hEireann Liverpool, ran a ‘Tick The Irish Box’ (TTIB) campaign in order to increase Irish community participation in the 2011 census and to ensure that Irish ethnicity was properly represented in the census figures throughout the Merseyside region.

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This week the Office for National Statistics published the results of the 2011 census relating to ethnicity, country of birth and national identity. The results showed mixed results as to the success of the TTIB campaign across Merseyside compared to the figures of the 2001 Census:

Ethnic Group: White Irish

Region/Local Authority

2001

2011

Percentage -/+

Merseyside Region

13,005

13,342

+2.5%

Liverpool

5,349

6,279

+20.5%

Knowsley

872

747

-16.7%

Sefton

2,665

2,312

-15.2%

St Helens

1,054

887

-18.8%

Wirral

3,065

2,667

-14.9%

Despite the TTIB campaign there was only a minimal increase of 2.5% for those who declared their ethnicity as being Irish for the Merseyside region as a whole. Four local authority areas saw a decrease in Irish ethnicity being declared, while Liverpool stood alone and saw a dramatic increase of just over 20.5% compared to the 2001 census. So was the TTIB campaign more successful within Liverpool compared to the other Merseyside Local Authorities? A look at the table below which shows ‘Country of Birth’ would suggest that the increase in Irish ethnicity being recorded had more to do with a new influx of immigrants from Ireland as opposed to any consciousness raising due to the TTIB campaign:

Country of birth (Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland combined)

Region/Local Authority

2001

2011

Percentage -/+

Merseyside Region

15,254

16,545

+7.8%

Liverpool

5,663

8,242

+31.2%

Knowsley

1,048

873

-20%

Sefton

3,288

2,888

-13.8%

St Helens

1,235

1,093

-12.9%

Wirral

4,020

3,449

-16.5%

Clearly, Liverpool has seen a massive jump in the numbers of Irish-born settling in the city with a 31.2% increase since the 2001 census, while Irish-born amongst the 4 other local authority areas has seen drops of between 12-20%. This is likely to account for the 20.5% increase in Irish ethnicity recorded in Liverpool. The Merseyside region as a whole has seen an increase in Irish-born of 7.8% which is remarkable considering the 2011 census found that numbers of Irish-born residents living in England and Wales has dropped by 24.5% since 2001.

While it is debateable if the TTIB campaign had any impact in increasing the recording of Irish ethnicity, it is clear from those organisations involved in the campaign that it significantly raised the profile of the Irish community in the local media and amongst local politicians. The last 4-5 years has a seen a huge increase in Irish community activity on Merseyside which has included the setting of up of two Gaelic Football Teams and the continuation of Irish culture through St Michaels Irish Centre,  Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, several Irish dancing schools, Liverpool Irish Patriots Flute Band, Liverpool Irish Festival and Conradh na Gaeilge, which continues to hold Irish language classes across Liverpool. In short, Irish presence on Merseyside remains strong and has increased. This is not only evidenced by the increased Irish-born population across Merseyside, particularly Liverpool, but also in the cultural and sporting life of the Irish community which continues to prosper and grow…..

Numbers of individuals and incidents of Irish victims of hate crimes across Merseyside

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/numbers_of_individuals_and_incid#outgoing-235951

Numbers of individuals and incidents of Irish victims of hate crimes across Merseyside

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool made this Freedom of Information request to Merseyside Police

Please answer the question above so we know whether the recent response contains useful information.

From: Cairde na hEireann Liverpool

13 November 2012

Dear Merseyside Police,

Could you please provide us with the numbers of victims and
incidents of hate crimes targeted against members of the Irish
community across the Merseyside area, to include those specifically
targeted as a result of either their Irish nationality or Irish
ethnicity during the 12 month period beginning 1st November 2011 to
1st November 2012?

Yours faithfully,

Cairde na hEireann Liverpool
www.cairdeliverpool.wordpress.com

Link to this

Merseyside Police

14 November 2012

Dear applicant

Reference No : DM242/12

Thank you for your application for information concerning anti-Irish hate crimes. This will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

Your request will now be considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject
to the information not being exempt nor containing a reference to a third party. In the event that we are not able to achieve this deadline you
will be informed at the earliest opportunity and given a revised time-scale.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information you have requested. If this is the case you will be
informed and the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment from you.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transfer to another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest possible
way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

Yours sincerely,

Mr D May
Disclosure Analyst
Information Bureau
Merseyside Police
PO Box 59, Liverpool. L69 1JD
Fax: 0151 777 7099
Email : [Merseyside Police request email]

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PRESS RELEASE – Election of Liverpool’s Police and Crime Commissioner and the Irish Community

PRESS RELEASE

10TH NOVEMBER 2012.

Election of Liverpool’s Police and Crime Commissioner & the Irish Community

This coming Thursday’s Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in Liverpool provide the ideal opportunity for members of the Irish community to cast their vote in a positive manner that reflects this year’s continued attack’s upon Irish community parades/marches in Liverpool by far-right hate groups and members of Liverpool’s loyalist/orange community.

Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool call upon all candidates to make the following commitments in the wake of the increased threat from hate groups in the city against the Irish community:

1.       The rights of the  Irish community to assemble and organise lawful and peaceful parades/marches should be defended in the face of threats, attacks and intimidation by far-right groups and members of the loyalist/Orange community.

2.       No community in Liverpool should be subject to racist or sectarian abuse, threats or intimidation, and we ask candidates to commit to ensuring that Merseyside Police are fully resourced to deal which such crime and that a specific  Irish dimension is included in any diversity/culturally sensitive training and education delivered to police officers.

3.       Establish a specific consultative forum between Merseyside Police/PCC and members of the Irish community & Irish groups/organisations in the City to allow dialogue and feedback on the experience of  Policing & the Irish community.

Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool reiterates our commitment to ensuring that intolerance, racism and bigotry are not allowed to blight the City of Liverpool and that all sections of our community are allowed to express themselves culturally, socially and politically in a manner that rejects the fascism and racism expressed by far-right groups.

STATEMENT ENDS.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

2012 has seen 3 Irish community parades/marches directly challenged by Far-right groups and individual members from the Loyalist/Orange community.

Volunteer Sean Phelan Commemoration Saturday 18th February 2012         

Organised by Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool, this annual event remembers the life of Sean Phelan, a Liverpool-born Irish volunteer who was killed at the Upton Ambush during the Irish War of Independence against Britain. No arrests were made by Merseyside Police on the day but one person was later given a caution related to racist abuse by the SIGMA Hate Unit.

UPDATE PRESS RELEASE 19TH FEBRUARY 2012

 RE: VOL. SEAN PHELAN COMMEMORATION – CLARIFICATION STATEMENT

 Following on from our Press Release of the 18th February 2012, in the wake of yesterday’s Annual Vol. Sean Phelan Commemoration. We in Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool would like to make the following points:

 Yesterday’s Commemoration was the target of a combined group consisting of the Combined Ex-Forces, British National Party, British People’s Party, Infidels of Britain, football hooligans, Independent Orange Order, individual members of Loyalist flute bands associated with the Orange Order in Liverpool, United Kingdom Independence Party, and a variety of ex-service British Servicemen Associations including ex-Kings Regiment.

 In the run up to the event the above groups and individuals led a concerted campaign aimed at Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police to ban this legal annual event on the misleading grounds that this was an ‘IRA MARCH’. 

 On the day of the Commemoration itself  a group of Loyalists (30-40) placed themselves at the assembly point waving Union Flags and at one point, blocked the road that the Commemoration was due to march down. Merseyside Police re-routed the Commemoration around this but half way through the proposed route into Liverpool City Centre, this group of Loyalists followed alongside the commemoration and for a sustained period launched a tirade of racist and sectarian insults at bands and marchers while Merseyside Police failed to intervene, make arrests or ensure that this group were properly dealt with by use of race hate laws. Instead, Loyalist were allowed to sneer and jeer during the route into Liverpool City Centre while being protected by a line of Police Officers.

 In Liverpool City Centre at the end point of the Commemoration, several hundred individuals/members of the above groups had occupied Derby Square, determined that the Commemoration would not be allowed to peacefully and legally finish. On the edge of Liverpool City Centre, the Commemoration was halted by Merseyside Police. After discussions with Merseyside Police that they feared that they would not be able to safely police the situation and threatening to proscribe the commemoration if we as organisers continued to proceed, and also hearing reports that windows of 2 coaches of travelling bands had been smashed, we decided to re-route the commemoration back through the Vauxhall area of Liverpool and end with an outdoor rally.

 It is Cairde Na hEireann’s view that all communities in Liverpool should be able to live in peace and harmony and that the right’s of the Irish Community in Liverpool to peacefully organise and assemble are protected by the Civil Authority’s and Police. Not to do so, increases the confidence of racists and bigots from within racist and far-right political parties/organisations, and increases the risks to other communities in Liverpool in the future and the wider community as a whole if race hate and intolerance is allowed to flourish and go unchecked.

 Yesterday’s events underline our view that the various protests were racist and sectarian in nature and that the cover used by racists to stop an ‘IRA MARCH’ was used as a means to increase tension and target the Irish Community specifically. Cairde Na hEireann urges those members of the public who attended the Commemoration who were victims of racist and sectarian abuse  to report the matter to Merseyside Police and ensure that the matter is dealt with as ‘hate crime’ when making statements. Cairde Na hEireann in the following days will be holding wide ranging discussions with Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council, Trade Unions and anti racist/fascist organisations to ensure that Irish Community rights to peacefully assemble and be culturally and politically active are respected and protected. We will also ensure that the Irish Community in the future is to the fore in any anti-racist/fascist activity – STATEMENT ENDS”

James Larkin Trade Union March Against Racism & Fascism Saturday 21st July 2012.

The James Larkin Trade Union March has been organised by the James Larkin Society since 2002 to commemorate the life and work of the famous Liverpool-born Irish Trade Unionist. The July event was themed around the need to challenge racism and fascism in a direct response to February’s attack by the far-right on the Sean Phelan Commemoration. Approximately 26 individuals opposed to the march were arrested during the day of the event with several convicted for public order related offences.

 Press Release 22nd July 2012

Hate Groups Fail in Attempt to Prevent Liverpool Anti-Racist/Fascist Demonstration

A combination of far right groups made up of organisations such as the Infidels of Britain, Combined Ex-Forces, National Front and English Defence League failed in their attempt to prevent the annual James Larkin Trade Union March & Rally reaching Liverpool City Centre yesterday. Themed this year on fighting Racism & Fascism in light of recent attacks by the Far-right on the Irish Community, Trade Unions and other progressive groups in Liverpool, the March is an annual event that remembers the life and work of Liverpool-born Irish Trade Union and Socialist and is  organised by the James Larkin Society.

Assembling at Larkin’s birthplace in Combermere Street, Liverpool the event was led by the Liverpool Irish Patriots Flute Band along with support from Unite Against Fascism, Liverpool Anti-Fascists, Merseyside TUC and Trade Union banners from Unison, Unite, PCS, RMT and NASWT. From the start, the marchers, which numbered over 200, were met with a sustained volley of racist and sectarian abuse, aimed mainly at the Irish Community contingent at the front of the march. It was very clear that the fascists attempt at framing this anti racist and ant-fascist march as an ‘IRA March’ had the desired effect and the numbers of fascists opposing the march were clearly swelled by members of Liverpool’s Orange/Loyalist Community who contributed their own particular brand of racist and sectarian abuse at the march by singing sectarian songs, and sectarian chanting with references to ‘Fenian bastards’, ‘paedophiles’ and ‘Irish Scum’ throughout.

Again, while Merseyside Police launched a wide scale operation at ensuring the march reached Liverpool City Centre, involving hundreds of officers, horses, dogs and the Police Helicopter, it was the case that a hate filled mob who were literally foaming at their mouths, were allowed to follow along the side of the march throughout its course, continually harassing, making verbal threats and more worryingly launch missiles at the front of the march which included coins, cans and other objects. As organisers, we in the James Larkin Society will express our concerns to Merseyside Police in follow-up meetings but we would again urge members of the public who attended the march and felt that they were a victim of racial or sectarian abuse to report this to Merseyside Police’s Hate Crime Investigation Unit (SIGMA 709 6010) to ensure that these levels of racist abuse are recorded as crime and action is taken against individuals.

Yesterday was a victory for Anti-Racists in that a national mobilisation by Far-right hate groups supported by local members of the Orange/Loyalist Community failed in their attempt to dictate who can and who cannot march on Liverpool’s streets. However, it is clear that work needs to be done to foster closer links between communities in Liverpool in highlighting the damage that fascists and racists can cause and we in the James Larkin Society are determined to play our part in that work – Statement Ends”

International Brigades Commemoration Liverpool Saturday 13th October 2012.

Organised by Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool, this march commemorated the approx 200 volunteers from the Merseyside area who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Connolly Column and International Brigades, many of whom were Liverpool Irish. 2 individuals opposing the march were during the event and were late convicted and fined with public order related offences.

Press Release Sunday 14th October 2012

 Successful Irish community march honours International Brigade Volunteers despite the presence of hate groups

Yesterday (13th October) up to 500 people accompanied by 7 Republican Flute bands from Liverpool, Scotland and Wales honoured the dedication and sacrifice made by the approximately 200 volunteers from Merseyside, many from the Liverpool Irish Community, who fought with both the Connolly Column and the International Brigades in the fight against Fascism in Spain 1936-1939. The event was organised by Cairde na hEireann (Friends of Ireland) Liverpool, an Irish community organisation campaigning for Irish Unity, defending and promoting Irish community rights and opposing fascism and racism.

Today in 2012 we are again seeing the rise of racist and fascist groups across Europe, including here on Merseyside. This is in the context of rising unemployment and increasing hardship for working people caused by an economic and political crisis brought about by the greed of corrupt financial institutions. Far Right groups are seeking to scapegoat vulnerable groups and individuals, with the aim of setting working-class people against each other, to prevent a unified fight-back against a failed economic system.

From the pseudo-constitutional racist political parties such as the BNP, British Freedom Party and National Front, through to violent paramilitary groups such as the EDL (English Defence League), NWI (North-West Infidels) and CXF (Combined Ex-Forces), the Fascist threat is growing. That is why the message of the solidarity and sacrifice of the International Brigades remembered yesterday is more relevant now than ever. Working-class people must stand together in defence of tolerance, diversity and democracy, in defence of our hard-won rights, and against the austerity measures imposed by a government representing the ruling elite.

Despite the best efforts of the combined effort of both Fascist groups (North West Infidels, National Front and the paramilitary group Combined Ex-Forces) and members of Liverpool’s Orange/Loyalist community to disrupt the event, the event made its way through Liverpool City Centre and successfully completed it route. As is now unfortunately common with Irish community parades in Liverpool this year, marchers were again subject to verbal racist abuse, threats and attempts to intimidate marchers at some points of its route. However, thanks to the positive working relationships that Liverpool Cairde Na hEireann (CnE) activists have with both Merseyside Police and other statutory bodies, a robust security plan ensured that all marchers remained safe and the march completed its proposed route. CnaE thanks the professionalism and dedication of Merseyside Police officers in managing yesterday’s event and the dignity maintained by marchers and bands in the face of hate filled individuals intent on violence and disorder, who again bring shame to the City of Liverpool by their behaviour and racism. CnE rededicates itself to organising and supporting legal and peaceful parades/demonstrations of a progressive, anti-racist and anti-fascist nature and promoting the development of Irish community confidence in the City.
The march was addressed at the by Aengus O’Snodaigh Sinn Fein TD (member of Irish Parliament) and a representative of Unite Against Fascism –Statement Ends”

Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool (Liverpool Friends of Ireland)

An Irish community organisation campaigning for Irish unification, defending & promoting Irish community rights and fighting racism/fascism and intolerance.

www.facebook.com/cairdeliverpool

@cairdeliverpool (twitter)

cairdeliverpool@gmail.com