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Left Archive: United Irishman, Bealtaine (May), 1973, Official Sinn Féin September 26, 2022

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link:

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Fergus White for forwarding this to the Archive.

This is a very useful document, the long-running weekly newspaper of Official Sinn Féin, dating from May 1973. This was a particularly interesting period in the history of Official Sinn Féin since it was at this point well into a ceasefire it had called the previous year, albeit it had reserved the right to use defensive measures against attacks.

This edition carries at statement from the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau

The British Army has intensified its attacks on working people of the Six Counties and has deliberately murdered three members of the Irish Republican Movement in recent weeks. The civilian population of some ghetto areas has been the object of murderous onslaught and routine brutality by thugs belonging to the British forces, in and out of uniform, people innocent of involvement have been harassed, assaulted, murdered with callous indifference but careful intent.

The IRA has prepared a list of over 20 incidents in which British forces assaulted men, women and children, either while enfacing their homes or on the streets of their cities and towns. The Army Council of the IRA consistent with its policy of defensive and retaliatory action, directed its units to intensify their roles in defence and retaliation from these callous and deliberate assaults. Unites were ordered to exact retribution from both British soldiers and installations. Successful retaliatory actions have been carried out in Belfast, Armagh, Tyrone, Derry and Newry in which seven British solders have been killed and 20 injured. At least five British solders were seriously wounded when Gough Barracks, Armagh, was penetrated by an IRA action unit. 

It concludes:

The IRA is determined that the Republican Movement will not be manoeuvred by murder or persuasion into any position other than that which the movement, in response to the demands of the people, chooses. 

 

An article on page 2 carries a statement on ‘conditions in the Concentration Camp’ in the North.

There are a wide range of other issues mentioned including an editorial that complaint about the recent Senate changing hands and ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee fight out the presidential election over hundreds of miles, hundreds of gimmick and the disinterested body of the Irish people’.

Another piece asserts ‘The Betrayal of Labour’ by Fine Gael and Labour and concludes:

But what about the control of foreign companies, the protection of workers against monopolies, the campaign that has been promised to abolish poverty? The radical Justin Keating, when questioned about mergers and monopolies, first hedged, then admitted the govern­ment was reviewing the situation. The International capitalists can steep easy, resting assured that the coalition will live up to its promise not to tamper with their interests. The reason for all this is that a middle-class alliance, even if it includes pretenders to the party of James Connolly, cannot meet the demands of the working-class; it can only serve the enemies of the Irish people. Disillusioned rank-and-file members of the Labour Party are beginning to realise that they have been betrayed and that as time goes on the betrayal will become deeper. The Republican Movement’s role H the vanguard of revolutionary poll lcs In Ireland thus becomes even more Important. The Republican Movement alone of Irish political organisations offers the people of the Twenty-Six Counties and the people of the Six Counties a radical programme designed to meet only the demands of the working class. Alone of political parties, the Republican Movement is prepared to control and develop for the people of Ireland the wealth which is theirs. The work of organising the movement so that if can play this role must go on.

A short piece notes that

Friday, April 13th, saw the ex­tension of British repression of Republicans. Over 70 homes of Clann na hEireann members in England, Scotland and Wales were raided In the early hours of the morning. Entry was gained using warrants issued was under the “Eplosives Act” but the Interest of the raiders interest rested mainly on of Clann’s political flies and membership ledgers.

The Easter 1973 Commemorations take up the centre pages with quotes from various sites including Des O’Hagan’s oration at Glasnevin, Free Derry Corner and the Belfast parade. There’s also a piece on a commemorative tribute to Joe McCann. A page has Notes and Comments (later to be the name of the internal WP publication). Notable is the focus on Ireland although there is a piece on ‘the Second Battle of Wounded Knee’ and then recent actions by the American Indian Movement.

There’s also mention on page 2 of a fund to purchase the ‘present premises at 30 Gardiner Place’. This is planned to be a headquarters with ‘a modern walk-around bookshop, new offices for the United Irishman and SF Secretariat, a library room… a room for press conferences and cumainn meetings… in the rear of 30 Gardiner Place, an auditorium will be built nd the present printing shop expanded’.

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