Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Contributed by a recent visitor to Ireland

Ireland: A visit to the north OR MORE CORRECTLY THE OCCUPIED SIX COUNTIES


Published: New Age, No. 14, June 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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After arriving in Belfast city Centre, the first thing that strikes you is the fact that you are in the middle of a war.

British troops (known locally as Brits) patrol on foot, in open jeeps and in Saracens, the police (RUC) march around with rifles and machine guns, nothing like the traditional image of the British policemen.

Walking through the main shopping area, the failure of the security ring is obvious; this is shown the large number of shops displaying notices saying “we have moved to temporary premises at...” by the sudden gaps in rows of buildings where the premises just seem to have vanished....

Public buildings such as the court I walked past reminded me of the aviary at the zoo, because of the massive wire mesh fence with its own sloping roof as high as the roof of the court itself. The big concrete blocks in the road made me wonder if the IRA has tanks as well as M60 machine guns!

Police stations and British army barracks have the same defences of high wire-mesh fences, barbed wire and concrete blocks in the road to prevent cars from being parked. Across the roads approaching the barracks, there are high ramps to prevent cars travelling at even average speed, to lessen the danger of attack by car.

BEING SEARCHED

Being searched as you go through the security ring into Belfast town centre or Derry is bad enough the first time, but when you walk around the corner and are searched again, you begin to understand what life is really like for those living in occupied Ireland.

Walking through the streets in Republican Belfast, were stopped, questioned and searched twice in an hour and half, while the almighty computer checked us out. One Brit even expressed surprise because my Irish friend said that he had never been lifted for screening!

As well as the harassment on the streets, the Brits go in for the wrecking of homes. If you can’t get out of bed quickly enough at 5.00 am in the morning to let these vandals in, then they let themselves in by smashing the front door. Pipes are then torn from the walls, floor boards pulled up, children are forced out of their beds, while parents have to wake their babies while the Brits search their cots.

After wrecking the home, the Brits will often lift one of the men of the family and drag them off to a torture centre such as Castlereagh.

In the Castlereagh torture centre, the victim is likely to be subjected to being punched in the face, stomach and privates, and beaten on the soles of his feet. Often the victim is told he is going to be shot, a gun is then put to his head and something heavy such as a book is dropped on the floor. The victim might be told he is going to be handed over to the U.V.P. to be killed. Now there is a new depth of depravity in Castlereagh, with a youth being sexually assaulted by members of the R.U.C.

Obviously, this treatment often succeeds in getting people to make the statements which the R.U.C desire. These false statements extracted under torture are the only evidence in 80% of the court cases. But it is enough to get young men sentenced to long years in prison (10 years for I.R.A. membership alone).

COMPLAINTS

If the victim does not break down, he is released without being charged. But often he is told that he will be released only on condition that he makes no complaint against the R.U.C.

Amazingly, people do complain and this explains the recent court case of a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Ronnie Bunting. After being beaten up and having U.V.F. carved on his arm, he took out a complaint against the police.

The R.U.C. claimed the comrade had beaten himself up and carved U.V.F. on his own arm! They then charged him with “maliciously inferring that two senior police officers inflicted injury on him” and with “wasting police time.” He was fined 100.

The political situation in Ireland today shows the complete failure of Roy Mason’s war machine.

The policy of criminalization by which the British have attempted to have the national liberation war defined as criminal and the Irish Republican and Irish National Liberation Army soldiers defined as gangsters has failed. This is because of the courage of the 300 men on the blanket in H block, Long Kesh concentration camp and the mass support they have from working class people.

In the words of the leadership of the Republican movement, “The world should be in no doubt that the length of the war of national liberation and the strength which the Irish Republican Army can exert are proof that we command mass support in the occupied North. We wish to stress the determination of the Irish Republican Movement to continue the struggle for an end to British rule. Irrespective of how long it takes, our units will strike at enemy forces until England declares openly and honestly that she is withdrawing from Ireland.”

For those of us who are English, Scottish or Welsh revolutionaries, our task is clear. We must demand:

TROOPS OUT NOW

SELF-DETERMINATION FOR THE IRISH PEOPLE AS A WHOLE