Monday, 27 June 2011
Sunday, 26 June 2011
The 18th began with the annual 'Displaying of the Glyndŵr Crown (the nation's symbol of Sovereignty) Parade'. The parade was welcomed at Y Plas by the Mayor of Machynlleth and a number of councillors and the crown was transferred to the mayor by its Custodian, Elfyn Rowlands of Cefn Caer, Pennal.
TRIBUTES: Glyn Rowlands had sadly passed away last year and this year saw the departing of Mr John Parsons, the long serving clerk of Machynlleth town council. Both these men had been very supportive and helpful to Embassy Glyndŵr in regards to our work with Machynlleth from the onset and a tribute was paid to both men by myself on behalf of Embassy Glyndŵr. During this tribute, I pointed out that there was another interesting connection between Glyn and Mr Parsons as Mr Parsons had been Glyn's Solicitor during the FWA trial of 1969. A minute's silence took place to remember the two loyal friends. Mr Parson's widow was present at this touching tribute.
Posted by Alan Jones at 11:54
Friday, 24 June 2011
e-Petition: Recall LDP’s
We the undersigned view all LDPs guided by the Welsh Government’s population projections as ill thought out, fundamentally flawed and detrimental to the communities of Wales.
This type of planning is not sustainable, is not needed and is not wanted by the people of Wales. In order to halt the damage that is already being done and to prevent further irreversible damage and devastation to our communities, environment and identity across Wales, we appeal to the Welsh Government to intervene immediately.’
(click on the button)
Posted by Alan Jones at 10:57
Saturday, 18 June 2011
From Gerry Adams
June 18, 2011
Sinn Féin is holding a major conference today in Dublin to promote the objective of Uniting Ireland.
The Dublin conference has attracted significant speakers. Among them are Rev. Gary Mason from East Belfast; Brian Keenan, former Beirut hostage; former UDP representative and Irish Times columnist Davy Adams; Dr. John Bradley, an economic consultant, who was formerly a Research Professor at the ESRI and regularly advises the European Commission, the World Bank and other international organisations and governments; Dr. Pádraic White, Former IDA Managing Director, Entrepreneur & Chairman Employers Services Board West Belfast and Greater Shankhill; Michael D'Arcy, a Dublin-based economic and business consultant and Norah Gibbon, Barnardos, Director of Advocacy.
Speaking this morning just before the conference commenced Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said:
“This conference and the one next Saturday in Cork are part of a strategy by Sinn Féin to raise awareness and encourage a national conversation around the goal of a United Ireland and create inclusive platforms for an engagement on this crucially important issue.
“It does not make sense on an island this small with just six million people to have two states and two governments.
“There is a significant duplication of public and private services, two sets of currencies, and two tax systems, laws and regulations.
“And at a time when every cent or pence is needed to rebuild the economy, this duplication of government and public services is wasteful and costly.
“The Good Friday Agreement provides a roadmap to build all-island approaches.
“Sinn Féin seeks to erase the border and its adverse impact on the lives of citizens, through practical co-operation and imaginative policies, including the full utilization of the all-island institutions that were created by the Good Friday Agreement.
“In the negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement Sinn Fein succeeded in getting the British to scrap the Government of Ireland Act through which it claimed jurisdiction over a part of Ireland.
“This was a significant development. Last week in his speech to the Assembly the British Prime Minister David Cameron repeated this position.
“He said, ‘as the Agreement makes very clear’, the constitutional future of the north does not rest in his hands or those of his government but in the hands of the people.
As a unionist Mr. Cameron made his preference clear but he was equally frank in his public declaration that the British government will always back the democratic wishes of the people whether ‘to remain part of the United Kingdom, as is my strong wish…or whether it’s to be part of a united Ireland’.
“The Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements have mapped out a legislative and democratic route toward uniting Ireland.
“A new Ireland must be fully inclusive. Sinn Féin believes that the interests of citizens and society on this island will be best served by a republican system of governance based on the rights of people.
“But that is a matter for the people to decide. There are other models which can be considered, including federal arrangements. They could serve transitional measures or as governmental systems in their own right.
“A key part of the debate about the future must be a discussion with unionists about what they mean by Britishness and how a new Ireland – whether or not it is a Republic - can accommodate this.
“It also means mapping out the steps necessary in the time ahead to progress toward uniting Ireland.
“The Taoiseach commissioning a Green Paper on Irish unity which would address all aspects of this national and democratic project including its political, social, economic, cultural, legal, administrative and international dimensions.
“A Joint Committee of the Oireachtas on Irish Unity to monitor, assess and report progress on its implementation should be established.
“And a new constitution – discussed and debated and agreed by all sections of people on this island, which would enshrine citizens rights in law.” ENDS
Posted by Alan Jones at 09:47
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Ten years ago, in 2001, the British and Irish Governments committed, at peace process talks at Weston Park, to adopt the recommendations of an International Judge in relation to a number of specific cases of collusion.
Canadian Judge Peter Cory was asked to look at the killing of Pat Finucane; Robert Hamill; Rosemary Nelson; Billy Wright; Judge Gibson and his wife; and RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan.
Cory worked diligently and in 2003 he handed his reports over to the two governments. The Canadian Judge concluded that there was no basis for an inquiry into the deaths of the Gibsons. He proposed that one should be held into the killing of the two RUC officers.
The Irish government published Cory’s recommendations in December 03 and announced that it would set up an inquiry, but the British stalled until April 04 before publishing his reports to them.
Seven years later of all the six cases investigated by Judge Cory only the Pat Finucane Inquiry has yet to commence. It is the opinion of this blog that the British government is deeply worried by the enormous political implications of the Finucane case which is known to involve substantial institutional collusion between British state forces and the UDA.
This concern was evident in the introduction by the British government in June 2005 of the Inquiries Act 2005. This legislation deliberately limits the scope of the inquiries proposed by Cory who criticised the British move saying it "...would make a meaningful inquiry impossible."
Meanwhile, the Smithwick Tribunal was established by Resolutions passed by Dáil and Seanad on the 23rd and 24th March 2005. It allows for immunity for witnesses.
Its purpose is to inquire “into suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on the 20th March, 1989.”
In May 2006 I was asked to meet the Smithwick Tribunal. This meeting took place a few weeks later in June.
The Tribunal asked if Sinn Féin could facilitate an engagement with the IRA about the killing of the two RUC men and claims that this action was possible because of collusion took place with members of the Gardaí.
We undertook to do our best. But we were mindful that the situation had changed significantly as a consequence of the IRA’s July 2005 statement in which the IRA leadership had “formally ordered an end to the armed campaign” and said that “all IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.”
The IRA restated its goal of achieving a united Ireland and in its statement it acknowledged that it believed that “there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage.”
The consequence of this was that the IRA had left the stage and there could be no engagement with it. However, we were advised that former volunteers might be prepared to engage with the Smithwick Tribunal on a voluntary basis.
The Sinn Féin leadership spent some time putting in place a process which would facilitate this. When this was achieved Sinn Féin stepped back and the process moved forward.
This week the Smithwick Tribunal opened for its first substantive public hearings. In her opening remarks Maura Laverty SC, a member of the Tribunal’s legal team, revealed that the Tribunal had met with former IRA volunteers.
She described it as a ‘very significant development’ and as an ‘unprecedented development’ and described how three members of the Tribunal’s legal team had met with three former members of the IRA. She said: “Those former members included former leadership at both national and local (south Armagh) level. One of the three former personnel had first-hand knowledge of the IRA operation of March 20th, 1989, and had a command role in that operation. The former personnel gave a detailed account of the events leading to the deaths of Chief Supt Breen and Supt Buchanan and replied to questions posed by the three members of the Tribunal’s legal team.”
The Sinn Féin leadership helped to facilitate this engagement because we sincerely believe there is a responsibility to assist families bereaved in the conflict if and when we can, though this may not be possible in all cases.
Republicans are very conscious of the hurt and suffering which has been caused through conflict in our country.
Sinn Féin believes that there needs to be an effective process for dealing with all legacy issues. Weston Park only dealt with six cases. But there are many more families who seek truth and closure.
Therefore, the British and Irish governments should invite a reputable and independent international body to establish an Independent International Truth Commission.
Sinn Féin has been consistent on this issue. Our proposition would be independent of any state, combatant groups, political parties, civil society and economic interests.
It should have a remit to inquire into the extent and pattern of past violations as well as their causes and consequences and would be dependent on the full co-operation of all the relevant parties.
Of course, such a process would not be easy. There are vested interests who do not want the truth and who will oppose the creation of a meaningful truth recovery process.
It will also be a difficult and painful process and experience, particularly for bereaved families. It must therefore be conducted in a sensitive and generous way. And there can be no hierarchy of victims. All victims must be treated on the basis of equality.
The closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that those who contributed to the conflict have to pledge ourselves to tell and to listen to the truth about the past. Over time this will contribute to genuine national reconciliation and an inclusive healing process.
For my part I would actively encourage republicans to co-operate with such a process.
Building a united harmonious society demands that these difficult issues are dealt with in an inclusive way as a necessary part of putting the past behind us. Looking after victims and victims’ families and survivors is a significant and important part of this.
Posted by Alan Jones at 23:35
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Posted by Alan Jones at 00:03