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Peter Hadden

People in bullet proof houses

(March 1993)

From Militant Labour, March 1993.
Transcribed by Ciaran Crossey.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

If you think the trade union leaders have been silent recently on the question of sectarian threats and intimidation against workers – not so! Terry Carlin, Northern Ireland officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has sent a circular, dated 23rd February, to all full time officials headed ‘Personal Security’.

It spells out in block capitals the following advice on what procedure to adopt if members are threatened:

  1. Contact the local RUC station immediately. Ask for the duty sergeant or duty inspector who will take the necessary action.
  2. In the event of a specific terrorist threat, the above procedure should be adopted. This will result in the appropriate departments being informed with a view to positive action being taken.

Along with this letter is enclosed an RUC booklet on ‘personal security’. Among other things, this recommends security equipment such as close circuit televisions, security lights, electric locks, metal grills, and shatter resistant film on glass, Makrolon or Lexan (bullet resistant material for doors.)

Perhaps Terry Carlin is drawing up a special claim to cover the thousands of pounds of cost in installing such devices.

Twenty five years of bloodshed should have shown the ICTU leaders that phone calls to the police is no answer to sectarian intimidation. Last year the trade union movement rank and file forced the union leaders to begin a campaign to bring workers onto the streets against the killings. That campaign was begun and promptly dropped.

Now instead of wasting time, effort and money issuing useless advice the union leadership should be mounting a real campaign against sectarianism, against injustice and also against poverty and unemployment.

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Last updated: 21.7.2012