Message to S Armagh/N Louth Criminals: Get Off Our Backs!

Francis McCabe Jnr

Francis McCabe Jnr

The attempt to kill Frank McCabe Jnr outside Crossmaglen on Wednesday represents a new, violent escalation in the activities of crime gangs in the South Armagh and North Louth region.  Some of those involved are also central to an unrepresentative militarist faction opposed to the Peace Process and Sinn Féin’s political strategy.  This latest escalation follows death threats against Frank Mc Cabe (senior) and Conor Murphy MP in recent weeks.

Other victims of these gangs’ activities include shooting Michael Bellew in Cullyhanna a year ago, and killing Garda Adrian Donohoe in Lordship just over two years ago.

Despite PSNI and An Garda investigations no one has ever been prosecuted for these crimes.  The policing response to this latest incident will be very closely scrutinised both within South Armagh and wider afield.

That reality carries huge implications for policing and community relations in South Armagh.  This area is a republican heartland and bedrock of support for Sinn Féin’s peace strategy.

The Party’s electoral strength in the area, and widespread respect for the local republican leadership was a central element in Sinn Féin’s decision to support policing in 2007.  Since then Party activists and representatives have worked tirelessly to build important relationships with the PSNI and also An Garda to make policing accountable, and to establish partnerships between both and the local community.

During this period, there has been a sinister and systematic upswing in criminality across the area.  Diesel laundering, cigarette smuggling, cattle rustling, vehicle theft, financial extortion of local businesses, and more, have all become a blight on the local community.  The gangs involved operate across the border, they co-operate with each other, and are inter-generational.

Most importantly, the police know their identities.  They are career criminals and yet both the PSNI and An Garda have failed to act against them, despite the active support of local people.

There is a widespread belief that the key figures among these gangs are acting with impunity.

An obvious corollary is that another agenda is in play.

It is no coincidence that a new propaganda offensive driven by some of the island’s most notorious “crime” and “security” journalists has begun to demonise South Armagh, in particular, by disgracefully attributing the upsurge in criminality to republicans.

The reality is that as the gangs operating have extended and expanded their range of criminal activities, the most prominent republican families associated with the Sinn Féin leadership from Ballybinaby, through Dromintee, to Cullyhanna, Crossmaglen, and Camlough have all been physically attacked, threatened and targeted.

A concerted effort is underway to try and deflect republican activists in South Armagh and North Louth from promoting Sinn Féin’s political strategy.  However, whatever agendas and, or, agencies are at work, they will fail.  The local republican leadership and support base is just as determined to succeed in this phase of political struggle as well.

It is for that reason these violent, destabilising, criminal actions are escalating.  Those responsible are a cancer within the local community, and a threat to the political and Peace Processes.  But the progress within our society in terms of democratic change and support for policing cannot be taken for granted.

The PSNI and An Garda have a responsibility to prove they are up to the task and root these criminal elements out once and for all.

The proud people of South Armagh and North Louth must stand united to demand these criminals and militarists get off their backs.

The surrounding border community should also mobilise in solidarity with their South Armagh neighbours against this criminal scourge.

On Sunday 1st March a commemoration will remember Óglaigh Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley in Cullyhanna.  Republicans from across Ireland should attend, and stand in solidarity and support with the Mc Cabe family, and all the republican families under threat from these criminals.

A resounding message needs sent to them to get off the backs of our people, and to get off the back of the Peace Process.

Louth Selects Two For General Election

Imelda & GerryLouth Sinn Féin have nominated two candidates to go forward in the General Election for the Louth Meath East constituency. They are sitting TD Gerry Adams who topped the poll in 2011 and Drogheda Councillor Imelda Munster who topped the poll in the council elections in May 2014.

Party President Gerry Adams was proposed by the Chair od Halpenny Worthington Watters Cumann in Dundalk, JJ Quigley, and seconded by Councillor Edel Corrigan.

Imelda Munster was proposed by the Chair of the Bobby Sands Cumann in Drogheda, Hughie McShane and seconded by Joanne Walsh.

The convention was held in the Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda and Imelda was a very popular choice. Imelda has been a councillor for over 10 years and is well known for her ideas against cronyism and her push for value for money on the Council. Within the last few months, she succeeded in getting the top-up payments awarded to chairs within the Council, abolished and the money added to the Housing Adaptation Scheme. Unfortunately this did not sit well with FG/Lab and they sought to have the decision overturned and their bonus top-up money given back to them. (One IND has since said he would give the payment to charity).

A spokesperson last night said “Imelda has been a constant thorn in the side of the other Parties on Louth County Council and we have no doubt she will carry that tradition through to Leinster House. Imelda has worked tirelessly over the years and is always looking for ways in which to improve ordinary people’s everyday lives. The people of Drogheda know that when Imelda is at a Council meeting, they are being represented at that meeting.”

Last night’s acceptance speech by Imelda Munster was greeted with great applause. After a number of requests, we are reproducing it here.

It is a great honour and privilege for me to accept this nomination to fly the flag for Sinn Féin along with our TD and Party President Gerry Adams, at the next General Election, whenever that might be!   I want to start by thanking each and every one of you for coming along tonight and for putting your faith in me. It’s an incredible honour. Thank you to Hugh Mc Shane and Joanne Walsh . As a party, we’ve made great progress in this constituency. Through the hard work and determination of our party activists and elected representatives we have seen huge growth. This has been a fantastic achievement. There isn’t a blade of grass in this Dáil constituency that hasn’t a Sinn Féin public representative representing it. That’s progress. And it doesn’t happen by chance. It’s the result of hard work. So thank you and congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to get us this far.

In the upcoming campaign we need to build on that hard work to ensure that we take a second Dáil seat in this constituency for the first time ever, because one thing’s for sure, Ireland needs a strong Sinn Féin team in Leinster House next time out. We need that strong Sinn Fein Team in Leinster house to ensure that the unfairness, the inequality, the protecting of the elite, and the cruel and devasting policies of austerity of FG/FF and Labour are banished in to the dustbin of history. You only have to look at Louth to see the misery this government’s policies have caused..

Seriously ill people lying on trollies or left sitting on chairs for days on end in OLOL Hospital here in Drogheda and patients having to wait years for operations or procedures whilst they close wards and theatres in in the Louth county hospital in Dundalk and surrounding hospitals. Elderly people denied access to basic housing adaptations, and home care packages and the removal of respite and long stay beds in the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda. The Local Property Tax that people have been forced to pay which the government said was to fund local services…Yet when they got it they did not give one cent of it for local services instead they pumped the 439 million collected in to the setting up Irish Water.

THIS YEAR, YES, this year they are taking our motor tax, the money that you and I pay for the upkeep of our roads and they are pumping two-thirds of it in to the quango that is Irish Water. Unemployment rife across our communities. 6473 unemployed in Drogheda alone. Super Minister for Jobs Deputy Ged Mash has not delivered as much as one job for Drogheda. Housing Crisis as Fr Peter Mc Verry has said “we are on the cusp of a tsunami of homelessness. We have 4325 people on the housing list in Louth, LPT, Emigration and Water Tax…. delivered by our other local ex minister Deputy O Dowd.

The only thing this government can rightly claim to have delivered is this list of misery that they have inflicted on their own people the ordinary working man and woman of Ireland.

This next general election is vitally important, it is vitally important for the politics of change on this island.

In my mind’s eye I can see the United Ireland of Equals we strive for. I can see it. It’s an all-Ireland socialist republic where your parents wage or education does not determine yours; where how much you earn does not determine the standard of public services you get; where your postal address does not determine the likelihood of a life of crime or addiction, suffering; or the right to a job and where all the children of the nation have the opportunity to have a full and prosperous life.

It’s an Ireland where those who can afford to pay more do pay more, and are willing to do so, because they know they’ll get greater public services and they understand that all of society benefits from equality. I will finish on this note In my mind’s eye too I can see the sacrifice that so many great Irish men and women made down through the years – a number of them are in this room tonight – a sacrifice they made so that people like me could deliver on their vision through politics.

Through the battle for hearts and minds. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. This movement, this struggle, this party and all that we stand for, means everything to me. I will do everything I can with your help and support to ensure I don’t let you the people down. Go raibh míle míle maith agaibh.

Sinn Féin only alternative to Austerity Parties – Adams

The Sinn Féin Louth selection convention will take place on Monday evening in the Westcourt Hotel, West St. Drogheda at 7.30pm.

The successful candidates will be available to speak to the media after the convention at approx 8.15pm.

Sinn Féin Party leader and sitting TD Gerry Adams will be allowing his name to go forward again and the party is expected to select a second candidate to stand for the constituency.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said:

“The local government election and European results of last year show a Sinn Féin party building in political strength across the island.

The constituency of Louth and East Meath has seen a particular rise in the Sinn Féin vote and following discussion within the party it was agreed to recommend a two candidate strategy for the constituency.

The next general election will see a clear choice between the austerity and conservative politics of Fine Gael and Labour, or a socially progressive Sinn Féin-led government.

Sinn Féin plans to grow our economy out of recession; create real jobs with proper terms and conditions; a decent health service accessible to all; deliver first class public services, including for those living in rural Ireland; work to bring back our immigrant children, and build a United Ireland of equals.

 

Dundalk Man Raising Funds To Volunteer For Special Olympics

Wayne Mooney 1St. Nicholas’ Avenue man, Wayne Mooney is working hard to raise funds so he can volunteer at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles this July.

Speaking at Ard Easmuinn during a bag pack on Saturday, Wayne’s parents Michael and Breda explained how much it would cost. “We have to raise a total of €4,750” said Breda “and thanks to the generosity of the people of Dundalk, we are halfway there already. When Wayne first said he wanted to do this, his father and I thought that was great. Wayne has always been a credit to us, kind, thoughtful and very giving. We didn’t realise however, that there was no financial help for volunteers. The athletes will get sponsorship and quite rightly so, but for volunteers like Wayne traveling to help out, they have to fund themselves.”

Wayne’s father Michael said “he even has to find his own fare for the taxi to the airport. We are supportive of Wayne doing this and will do whatever we can to help out and make it happen. The Special Olympics is a fantastic event and we are so proud to be associated with them in any way.”

Wayne said “I want to thank Dunnes Stores for allowing us to do this bag pack here today. The staff have been so nice and the customers are very generous. The minute people see our Special Olympics t-shirts, they are willing to drop money into the buckets and are more than happy to talk about Special Olympics in general. It is such a great organisation and I am looking forward to being a part of it in July.”

With just under five months to go and about half the funds raised, the Mooney family are asking anyone who wishes to donate to please do so through their charity account in the Permanent TSB.

The details are:

IBAN: IE54IPBS99061423712886     BIC: IPBSIE2DXXX

The family again would like to thank everyone for their kind generosity and words of support.

Mum Breda and Wayne

Mum Breda and Wayne

 

Dad Micklo, Niece Nicole, Wayne & Mum Breda

Dad Micklo, Niece Nicole, Wayne & Mum Breda

 

Garda Síochána confirms there is no information to support Cusack claims – Gerry Adams TD

Following a recent Sunday Independent article on illegal cigarettes in which Independent journalist Jim Cusack claimed that this illegal trade has become “one of the IRAs main sources of income, along with fuel laundering” and that it still retains its military structure, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD wrote to the Garda Commissioner.

In a letter received this morning from the Commissioner’s Private Secretary on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, it states; “An Garda Síochána hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion of Mr. Cusack that ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting.

The letter goes on to confirm that the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2009 confirmed that the IRA structures were disbanded, that some former members were engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support; and this was based on briefings from An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, and UK police and security agencies in the UK and America. 

Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams said:

 “There have been ongoing efforts by some journalists and political leaders to demonise border communities in North Louth, South Down and South Armagh.”

 “They have also sought to blame republicans on criminal activities which Sinn Féin has stood firmly against. The letter from the Commissioner disproves these spurious claims. Sinn Féin is working with the Garda and PSNI against criminality of all kinds.”

Teachta Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said:

“The letter from the Garda Commissioner contradicts the claims of the small number of journalists who have pedaled bogus accusations about republicans. It is a clear rejection of other allegations, including the disgraceful claim that republicans were poisoning the water system for Dundalk.”

SF Gerry letter from Garda Commissioner