35 years of British military presence
35 years of British military presence

By Gerry Coleman (Irish Northern Aid)

On the 14th of August 1969, thirty five years ago today, British troops were deployed on Irish soil for the first time in the current phase of the fight for Irish freedom.

They are still there.

At 5 p.m., Sunday, August 14, 1969, British soldiers began patrolling the streets of Derry City. Nationalists and republicans throughout the north soon came to know the British army wasnit there to protect them.

Today, almost TWICE as many British soldiers lurk in barracks, patrol streets and glens, and spy on Irish people from watch towers and helicopters in the north of Ireland as the British army have in stationed in IRAQ.

After 80 years of illegal partition, violence, and injustice for northern nationalists and 35 years of war, The Good Friday Agreement was supposed to provide a fair opportunity to right the abuses of the past and to allow for democratic change.

The simple fact is that the GFA has not been fully implemented by the British government, including its promises to establish a decent policing service responsible to the people, to provide freedom from sectarian abuse and attack, to provide equality of opportunity and justice, to provide the opportunity for non-violent political progress.

And they have failed to demilitarize their war apparatus as they promised in 1998. Approximately 15,000 British troops are still on duty in the 6 counties of northeast Ireland, compared to 8,000 in Iraq.

When you include the heavily armed, political and sectarian police force, which number 12,500, the one and a half million people of the north of Ireland are still under martial law conditions, complete with juryless courts and draconian emergency laws.

Thatis one member of the British army or armed police for every 5.4 man, woman and child!

This is a good time to contact the British embassy, your local consulate, or their boss Tony Blair. Tell them it’s about time to get the hell out. I’m sure you can think of something appropriate to communicate to them.

Contact Information

The British government: The British Embassy in DC can be reached by phone [202] 588 7800; fax: (212) 745 0359 or e-mailed at ppa@washington.mail.fco.gov.uk. The address is The British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Contact the Northern Ireland Office while you are at it: press.nio@nics.gov.uk

An easy way to contact Tony Blair is through the Prime Minister’s web site. They say these messages are all read and Blair gets a sampling and a breakdown of the topics. You can get to the web site easily enough: https://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page1.asp or go directly to the email section: https://ww.pm.gov.uk/output/Page821.asp

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© 2004 Irish Republican News