National Executive of Saoradh being voted in place
(Image tweeted by the party)
Its been an interesting week in Northern Ireland politics which has seen the official launch of Saoradh (Revolutionary Irish Republican Party) whose name stands for liberation and is based on the Falls Road. The party announced their arrival on the political arena at the Canal Court hotel in Newry with the Belfast Telegraph reporting, ” the stance of speakers was similar to that of Sinn Fein in the 1970s or 80s, their language utterly uncompromising. This conference was first and foremost the dissidents now offering a prominent public face which will articulate their position.”
New IRA prisoners incarcerated at Maghaberry top security prison and Portlaoise alongside other dissident republic detainees are giving their backing to Saoradh which condemns constitutional nationalism, the power-sharing arrangement at Stormont and opposes the peace process. This could ruffle a few feathers in Northern Ireland and will no doubt be monitored closely by the British government fearing reignition of old tensions.
Craigavon Two campaign
Thomas Ashe Mellon, a Derry republican who was found not guilty in June 2015 of directing the terrorist activities of the IRA and being a member of the organisation, read a statement from IRA prisoners supporting the formation of Saoradh. The message included, the rejection of “sectarianism and sexism which have been prevalent in the past” Also present at the event were representatives of the Free Tony Taylor campaign and the Craigavon Two campaign.
A national executive was elected and motions passed with Davy Jordan elected as Chairperson delivering his keynote speech at the first inaugural Ard Fheis. According to Irish News, Jordan “is currently on bail after being charged with trying to kill a Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer in a bomb attack in Castlederg in 2008.”
Jordan expressed his criticism of some politicians labelled “false prophets who have been defeated and consumed by the very system they claim to oppose”. He also referred to “the Irish habit of following personality rather than principles has been disastrous for political movements.” He attacked Sinn Fein leadership currently under Gerry Adams who has been president for 33 years stating,
Saoradh is formed by a “significant collective of Irish Republican activists” who highlighted their belief that,
“Ireland should be governed by the Irish People with the wealth and wealth producing mechanisms in the ownership of the Irish people.”
“This can not happen while British imperialism undemocratically retains control of Irish destinies and partitions our nation, this cannot happen while a neo-colonial elite in a subservient supposed indigenous administration sells the nation’s labour and natural resources to international capital.”
Saoradh statement also expressed that the party,
“Will seek to organise and work with the Irish people rather than be consumed and usurped by the structures of Ireland’s enemies.”
Regarding whether they would stand for election Saoradh said,
“Currently elections do not advance our strategic objectives, but remain a weapon in our arsenal when fought on an abstentionist basis with regards to foreign parliaments and partitionist assemblies.”
On constitutional nationalism, the party stated,
“our history is littered with the failures of successive ventures into constitutional nationalism, as they were subsumed into the very systems they set out to overthrow.”
See video of Chairperson, Davey Jordan, keynote speech,
Alan Byrne commenting on Saoradh Facebook page said, “I hate hearing about the formation of more Republican groups. Instead of fragmenting, we should be coming together. However, I am delighted this group has been formed with an abstentionist policy. Brilliant to hear I have to say and hopefully other groups might follow suit! All the best lads and lassys!”
Among those attending the launch were high-profile republicans Colin Duffy with brother Paul, Dee Fennell and Nuala Perry and a message of support for the party was read out by Provisional IRA founder Billy McKee.
Saoradh gave its support to others suffering oppression around the world with a former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) political prisoner invited to speak on behalf of Palestine.
Belfast Newsletter published several responses to the formation of the party, see following link,
Saoradh ‘follows well trod path’
Ardoyne residents oppose Orange Order parade
(Image via Saoradh, Facebook page)
Saoradh support for GARC
On Friday, Saoradh wasted no time in declaring support for Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) and the people of Ardoyne “in their protest tonight against sectarian parades and the continued harassment against the nationalist and republican people of the area by the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI)”. The demonstration against an Orange Order parade passed off peacefully though GARC spokesperson Dee Fennell could be seen on a video released via Twitter “telling Father Gary Donegan some home truths about sectarian parades being forced through Ardoyne.” Donegan responded by asking where were they when he stood on the road at night for two and a half years trying to keep young people out of harm’s way.
Orangemen from three lodges were given permission to march along the contested stretch from 8.30am (Image via RTE)
Martin McGuiness, Sinn Féin politician who has been deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland since 2007 tweeted, “the representatives of Ardoyne & the Orange Order deserve our deepest thanks & admiration for this morning’s moving example of Peacemaking.”
A supporter of Saoradh (who did not wish to be named) made the following comment,
“Let me put it in perspective SF made an agreement with the Orange Order and the Ulster Volunteer Force against the wishes of the residents of Ardoyne to allow this sectarian parade through Ardoyne this morning.
That would be like ex members of the Black Panthers working with the KKK and Aryan Brotherhood to allow a white supremacists parade to go through Harlem.
The catalyst for this deal was to unlock almost 30 million in community grants that will be ear marked for SF and UVF ‘community groups’ on each side of the divide.
Meanwhile North Belfast especially around Ardoyne tops the poverty charts for Western Europe highest levels of unemployment of child poverty of suicide and so on.
For 20 years now a ‘Gravy Train’ of Peace money has poured into these groups who buy into the political deal that concreted British rule in Ireland.
One of the ridiculous outcomes of the deal was the Catholic Church now back and anti Catholic organisation imposing itself on a majority Catholic area, it’s pretty mad.”
The following poem was also posted on Saoradh Facebook page minus the name of the author.
A bastion of resistance,
A collective of comrades.
A place where enemies fear,
And dare not tread.
Nearby neighborhoods have surrendered
Cut down and mulched like felled trees.
Bought and sold,
Traded for glorious nothings.
But not these,
Not a single tree has fallen in their green forest.
Roots strong like the mighty oak,
Their seeds disperse on the Irish breeze.
One fell outside my door,
Unbeknownst to myself
The cold winter could not kill it, although it tried.
And when the spring came the seed began to grow,
Quietly and defiantly it showed me how.
Summer bore rebellious fruits,
And we feasted on their efforts.
The place is Ardoyne, the winter the foe and the seed is the unabated resistance that grows within.
The seeds continue to quietly fall.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.