Responding to recent “inaccurate and dangerous media reports” eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson issued the following statement on Monday, clarifying that no member of the group has been arrested in connection with last week’s attacks.
Over the course of the last number of days we have witnessed what can only be described as a media frenzy with regard to the arrests carried out by British police in the Six Counties. Much of this reporting has been based on erroneous information.
A number of media outlets have already effectively tried and convicted those who have been arrested. We in Ireland have long experience of where such trials by media can lead. One needs look no further than the cases of the Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four for examples of miscarriages of justice that began with similar trials by media.
It is clear that some sections of the media are being manipulated by shadowy figures from within police and intelligence agencies in both the Six Counties and Twenty-Six Counties in a malicious attempt to secure the widespread demonisation of Republicans.
These same shadowy elements orchestrated, first the character, and then the actual, assassination of republicans and nationalists in the 1970’s, 1980s and 1990s. Today, as was the case in those years, through misinformation and black propaganda they are fomenting a climate of suspicion which is designed to demonise and vilify broad sections of the Republican community and individuals within that community.
Indeed, it is quite evident to many people that the PSNI, MI5, the Gardai and other state agencies are attempting to subvert and undermine internationally accepted principles of justice by refusing to acknowledge that individuals have a right to the presumption of innocence. This internationally accepted bedrock of justice has long been turned on its head when it comes to Irish republicans.
All of this is only made possible by the active support of a political establishment which has subverted the rights of the people instead of protecting them. It is also noticeable that the usual suspects from within that establishment have recently been joined by those who once spoke of maximum revolution but are now sated by minimal reform.
In addition to the despicable trial by media a farcical attempt has been made by some journalists to link eirigi to the recent armed attacks upon British military and paramilitary personnel. They have wrongly reported that one, or more, members of eirigi have been arrested over the course of the last seventy-two hours.
In reality no members of eirigi have been arrested in recent days - a fact that could have been easily established by contacting eirigi.
In another false claim a well known so-called ‘security correspondent’ has stated that pickets were held in recent days outside of the homes of eirigi supporters in West Belfast. I challenge this individual to print where and when these alleged pickets took place. The reality is that he cannot because no such pickets ever happened.
I want to once again state that eirigi is an open, independent, democratic political party which is not aligned to, or supportive of, any armed organisation. We in eirigi do not believe that the conditions exist at this time for a successful armed struggle against the British occupation.
“When eirigi was founded three years ago we asserted that our objective of a Democratic Socialist Republic can only be established through a new progressive social movement incorporating local communities, organised labour, cultural organisations, campaigns groups and political parties.
We still hold that the creation of such a popular movement represents the best potential to create the conditions which will make British rule and capitalist exploitation in Ireland untenable.
As much as our enemies may wish that republicans have only two options to choose from - that of accepting Stormont or that of a renewed armed campaign - we in eirigi are determined to offer another option for those who wish to see an end to British rule.”