British army collusion in massacring Irish musicians

This 2013 video from Ireland says about itself:

UDR massacre innocent Miami Showband

The Miami Showband killings (also called the Miami Showband Massacre) was an attack by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) some of whom were also members of the UDR, on 31 July 1975.

The UDR, Ulster Defence Regiment, 1970-1992, was an infantry regiment of the British army.

By Bernadette Hyland in Britain, Thursday, August 30, 2018:

Book Review: Survivor of Miami Showband Massacre during Ireland’s ‘Troubles’ seeks justice
by Stephen Travers and Neil Fetherstonhaugh
(Frontline Noir, £9.99)

ON July 31 1975 the popular group The Miami Showband were travelling back home across the border into the North of Ireland. They were stopped by a fake army patrol made up of Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers and members of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force at a fake checkpoint outside Newry.

As the men were lined up outside the bus, the “soldiers” tried to hide a bomb on it. It exploded prematurely, killing the bombers. The rest of the gang then opened fire on the band, killing Fran O’Toole, Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy. Band members Des McAlea and Stephen Travers were the only survivors.

In this new book Travers, alongside journalist Neil Fetherstonhaugh, reveals the truth about that night — that “British soldiers were sent out to murder innocent people.” The truth that “collusion took place between the security forces and terrorists” and that “Britain colluded in murder and is therefore guilty of murder. She must answer the charges.”

The book is Travers’s story and it’s one of a young working-class man from the small town of Carrick-on-Suir who went on to to become a member of one of the most popular bands in Ireland. Like many people in the south of country in the 1970s he was unaware of the so-called Troubles — his life was his music, his wife and his family.

Made up of Catholics and Protestants, the band entertained audiences right across Ireland. It made no difference to them or their fans what their religion was, but religion was the deciding factor that led to the events of that night in July 1975.

Today, the truth about those murders is being played out in the courts as Travers and the other band members are suing both the Ministry of Defence and the Police Service of Northern Ireland over alleged collaboration between serving soldiers and paramilitary killers.

Travers has come a long way from the carefree musician of the 1970s. In the epilogue he reflects on past events.

“Every day, the British government accuses Syria or Iran or some other far-flung place of aiding terrorists. They should examine their own consciences”, he writes.

“They sent their trained soldiers out to murder a pop group on their way home from a concert. We cannot be complacent and believe it could never happen again.”

Telling words, indeed.


Pope Francis, homophobia and child abuse in Ireland

Pope doll shop in Ireland, photo Hollandse Hoogte | Niall Carson

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The World Meeting of Families Festival has started in Ireland, a Catholic conference on the importance of the family for society and faith. A visit by Pope Francis is planned as an absolute highlight.

And that is interesting, because the pope and the Vatican are no longer undisputed in the traditionally heavily Catholic Ireland. The series of abuse scandals in which the Catholic Church is involved, of course, makes the papal visit even more fraught. …

The organization of the family festival, which is funded by the Vatican, is known for its conservative standpoints: they are against abortion, contraceptives and same sex marriages. That does not go down well with the more progressive part of the Irish population, which is taking more and more distance from the church. …

Former President Mary McAleese is one of the most famous Irish critics of the pope and the Vatican. McAleese, herself a dedicated Catholic, thinks that the church is a bastion of misogyny and calls the way in which homosexuality is spoken about in the church evil.

McAleese is therefore not enthusiastic about the festival this weekend. “It’s always been essentially a right-wing rally… and it was designed for that purpose: to rally people, to get them motivated to fight against the rise of same-sex marriage, rights for gays, abortion rights, contraceptive rights“, she said earlier on Irish radio.

During the gay marriage referendum in 2015, McAleese was one of the most important people to campaign for the YES camp. McAleese has developed over the past years into someone who calls for modernization of the church. It is also no coincidence that tonight, two days before the papal visit, a documentary about her is broadcast by the Irish public broadcaster RTÉ.

She herself is a religious Catholic, and her son is homosexual. That does not have to bite each other, she says. …

Several action groups have also indicated that they will not be silenced for the next few days: a protest of clerical child abuse victims is planned.

At least 1,000 people gathered for a silent vigil in Tuam, Co Galway to remember the Tuam Babies this afternoon, while thousands also attended the Stand4Truth event in Dublin to show solidarity with victims of institutional abuse. A large crowd gathered for the silent vigil in Tuam to coincide with the Papal mass in Dublin: here.

This 8 March 2018 video is called Catholic Church ‘an empire of misogyny‘ – Mary McAleese.

Vatican tried to cover up Irish child abuse

This 9 March 2018 video from Ireland says about itself:

Mary McAleese: “The time is now for change in the Catholic Church

Mary McAleese grew up the eldest of nine children in a tumultuous time in Northern Ireland. Her family was forced to leave the area by Loyalists when The Troubles broke out. She was the first Irish President to come from Northern Ireland and the first woman to succeed another woman as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 – 2011. An outspoken advocate on many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation it was no surprise the theme of her Presidency was ‘Building Bridges’.

Mary graduated in Law from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1973 and was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1974. In 1975 she was appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and in 1987 she returned to her Alma Mater, Queen’s, to become Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Queen’s University of Belfast. In 2013 she received a master’s degree and licentiate in canon law of the Roman Gregorian University.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

Non-disclosure agreement‘ with Ireland

In 2003 the then number two man of the Vatican [just below Pope John Paul II], cardinal and secretary of state Angelo Sodano, tried to conclude a concordat with Ireland. By this agreement, all church archives would remain closed to the public and the Irish state. This said the former Irish president, Mary McAleese, last week. There were then two official investigations into sexual abuse [by priests in Ireland]. “I told him that was particularly inappropriate and that I wanted to stop that conversation right away”, McAleese revealed in the Irish Times. She called the incident the most ‘devastating moment’ in her term of office.

Vatican proposed Irish State indemnify it against clerical abuse claims. Dermot Ahern says Cardinal Sodano ‘was quite blunt’: here.

Vatican has never co-operated with Irish inquiries into clerical child sex abuse. Church has pattern of withholding relevant documents from Irish State abuse inquiries: here.

Now, Northern Irish women’s rights

A sign in Ireland advocates repeal in the referendum on Irish anti-abortion legislation

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, May 28, 2018

Now for Northern Ireland

IRISH women can be congratulated on the outcome of Friday’s referendum on repealing the ban on abortions in their country.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar will be hoping to take credit for holding the vote, using it to gloss over his government’s right-wing economic record with a progressive sheen, but the victory is the result of years of fearless campaigning by women who refused to be intimidated by the power of patriarchy.

In the Irish republic the struggle will now move to the implementation of the referendum result and our Irish sisters know they have the support and solidarity of the British labour movement in that struggle.

The overwhelming mandate for change highlights the anachronism of laws in Northern Ireland, where women are still denied the right to terminate pregnancies.

As Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth says, this situation is surely unsustainable now that women in the rest of Ireland are set to join women in Britain, which continues to rule the territory, in enjoying that right.

Nonetheless, Theresa May has made it clear she will resist any bid by MPs to vote on liberalising laws in the north.

She knows full well that a majority even in her own party would favour such a move — as has been made clear by Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt.

But she cannot risk the collapse of her shaky alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party, which has made it clear it will block any reform.

Hiding behind Westminster’s role as a “caretaker” administration in the north because of the continuing absence of a Stormont government is a poor excuse when May has done nothing to press the DUP to address republican concerns and restore power-sharing in Belfast.

The Alliance for Choice will be continuing its campaign to press politicians within Northern Ireland to change their ways, and is entitled to whatever assistance comrades in Britain can provide, including by confronting the issue directly in Parliament.

If that splits the Tory Party, ends the DUP alliance and forces new elections in Britain, so much the better.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, women's rights demonstration. AFP photo

Theresa May’s reliance on the DUP hobbles her response to the Irish vote: here.

Wales: UNISON assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie told the annual Merthyr Rising trade union rally today that victory in the Irish referendum to repeal restrictive abortion law was an object lesson for trade unionists. “This was a massive statement by the people of Ireland. People got up and organised themselves, their families and their work colleagues. This is the start of a process, not the end,” he said: here.

Irish midwives for abolishing anti-abortion law

SATURDAY was a historic day for Ireland. The 8th amendment introduced in 1983 has finally been removed and the face of Ireland is changed utterly. Contrary to what the Establishment political parties have already started to say, the credit for this victory rests squarely with the women of Ireland: here.

THE Catholic Church-dominated state of the Irish Republic was rocked to its foundations on Saturday when the results came through after the referendum on abortion. This showed that the 23 May 2015 shock for the state when a referendum agreed to ‘same sex marriage’, was not a one-off, and that the huge gulf not only remains between the Catholic Church and the masses, it has widened, with the mass of the working class, which has borne the full brunt of the economic crisis since the 2008 crash that destroyed their living standards, fighting back in every way that they can: here.

People attend a People Before Profit protest calling of for provision of abortion in Northern Ireland, at Belfast City Hall

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are incompatible with human rights, Britain’s Supreme Court rules: here.