By Stephen Murney
On the 15th October Saoradh, and the IRPWA, organised a perfectly legitimate and peaceful protest event in opposition to the extradition of Irish Republicans. This event took place at the Carrickdale Hotel in County Louth, close to the border with Occupied Ireland.
Scores of people, young and old, participated in a successful march, which included some street pageantry.
One particular activist from Newry attended with his three young children. Nothing strange about that at all, as activists bring their families to all kinds of events organised by the political party/group of their choice.
However since this event things have become rather sinister and disturbing.
Afterwards in a British court, North of the border, the activist was in attendance in regards to a family matter.
Amazingly a video was played to the court of the Saoradh extradition rally that he attended with his children. His kids could be seen walking along laughing and joking in the video.
The British judge told the activist that if he didn’t agree to not take his children to marches, rallies, or anything remotely related to Saoradh, or affiliated groupings, then he would have no further contact with his children.
A week after the rally the activist received a solicitors letter informing him he would indeed have no further contact with his children.
This is disturbing, this is sinister and this is a highly worrying time for political activists. This sets a dangerous precedent.
If the activist in question had of attended a protest rally organised by a more mainstream political party would this have happened, maybe one of those parties who once held similar protest rallies? Not a chance.
Saoradh is a legitimate political party, involved in various forms of political and community activism. From helping the homeless, welfare advice, highlighting state harassment, running soup kitchens, road safety awareness, anti-social, socio-economic and austerity issues.
We are organised across the country, North and South. We are unapologetically a Revolutionary Socialist Republican Political Party. Our business is revolution and we make no bones about it.
It is not a crime to be part of that. It doesn’t deserve punishment and It certainly doesn’t deserve our children being used as weapons by a foreign judiciary. It is a recognised human right that people can organise politically and form political opinions.
I can say without contradiction that this development is an attempt to stem this activists participation in political struggle. It is an attempt to deter him from agitating politically and It is a clear attempt to dissuade others from involving themselves in revolutionary republicanism.
Since the formation of Saoradh, little over a year ago, party members both North and South, have endured house raids, arrests, imprisonment, threats, assaults, stop & searches, extradition, supergrasses, MI5 approaches and intimidation.
The Saoradh Party office, in the heart of Republican West Belfast, was attacked in a vicious raid by RUC Crown Forces and several members of our National Executive, including our National party chairperson, have been arrested and questioned by enemy forces.
In the Free State, Craobh chairpersons are having IRA membership charges imposed on them on the word of a Garda. We are bearing the brunt of a clear clampdown on alternative politics by Free State and British Forces.
No other political party in the country would be treated the same way, and if they did there would be a major public outcry.
Both the Free State and the British State clearly fear Saoradh. They fear our politics, they fear our message and they fear the fact that our project is growing, gaining support and moving forward. As was stated at our recent Ard Fheis “our message has found fertile ground”.
In this latest development we have witnessed an activists children being used as a weapon against him. They care not for the welfare of those children. They aren’t concerned that those children now have to suffer the absence of their father. They are more concerned with attemping to stifle political activism. The British Judiciary knows no bounds or borders in regards to this.
We are living in dangerous times.