jump to navigation

Joe McCann 1972 and the HET January 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.

From An Phoblacht… many thanks to the person who forwarded this.

Joe McCann commemoration – Report and Photos April 16, 2012

Posted by guestposter in Irish Politics, Republican Socialism, Republicanism, Socialism.

Many thanks to the person who sent this. With luck there will be further reports and photographs tomorrow.

’40 years to the day after his murder by British Paratroops, Official IRA volunteer Joe McCann was commemorated in Belfast. Hundreds of people attended a ceremony in Joy Street (where he was shot) organised by the McCann family. Members of the Official Republican Movement, the Workers Party, the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Sinn Féin (including Gerry Adams TD) were present. Many of those attending were veterans of the pre-split IRA, the Official IRA, the INLA and the Provisionals.

Ciaran McCann chaired the event while his brother Fearghal gave the main oration. Aine McCann read a poem in memory of her father while her sister Fionnuala sang a song about Joe originally written by Market’s woman Margaret Power. Joe’s widow Anne laid a wreath as did members of the extended family.

In his oration Fearghal read from a contemporary account of how Long Kesh internee Gerry Campbell reacted to news of Joe’s death. He then placed Joe’s murder in the context of the shootings by British forces of civilians in Ballymurphy and Derry. Fearghal recounted how Joe had become involved in republicanism as a teenager, collecting for internees during the Border Campaign. After firstly joining the Fianna he became an IRA volunteer in 1964. He was jailed in Crumlin Road during 1965 and on release became active again in the various republican political movements of the period. McCann was involved with the Belfast Housing Action Committee and took part in the first civil rights march from Coalisland to Dungannon in 1968. He embraced the idea of an ‘Army of the People’ and the need for the IRA to become involved in social struggles. In August 1969 he was active with the IRA in defence of the people in Belfast: was was arrested again shortly afterwards. McCann took part in the fighting during the Falls Curfew in July 1970 and in August 1971, as commander of the Official IRA in the Markets area defended the district from much larger forces of British troops. The RUC Special Branch and British Army made it clear that they would not take Joe alive and in April 1972 they murdered him.

The ceremony ended with the ‘Last Post’ and lowering of flags and the McCann family thanked all those who helped make it such a success.’

Joe McCann Commemoration April 14, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Repost from last week

Sunday, April 15th, Participants will from-up at 2:15hrs in Upper Stanfield St, in the Markets area of Belfast and march to the Hamilton St./Joy St. junction. Ciaran McCann will open and close the proceedings. These will consist of an oration on behalf of the family given by Feargal McCann and a song in memory of their father will be performed by Aine McCann. Joe’s wife Anne McCann will lay a wreath at the spot were Joe died.

Non party political, all groups invited to attend to remember Joe.
Organised by the McCann family

March to commemorate Joe McCann, Belfast, 15th April 2012, April 6, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Northern Ireland, The Left.
add a comment

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this…

‘The march to commemorate our late father, ‘Big Joe’ McCann, will take place on Sunday the 15th of April 2012. Participants will from-up at 14:15hrs in upper Stanfield St, in the Markets area of Belfast and march to the Hamilton St./Joy St. junction. Ciaran McCann will open and close the proceedings which will consist of an oration on behalf of the family given by Feargal McCann and a song in memory of our father which will be performed by Aine McCann. Final respects will be paid to a true ‘Working Class Hero’ when Anne McCann (Joe’s wife) lays a wreath on the spot were Joe died and the flags are lowered to the sound of the ‘Last Post’. All are welcome to attend this historic event and we look forward to seeing you there.’

McCann Family Press Conference on the HET Report January 31, 2013

Posted by Garibaldy in Justice.
add a comment

Full text of the press conference held by the McCann family regarding the release of the HET report into the murder of Joe McCann. Taken from here

Press Conference. Clifton House, Belfast. Jan 29th 2013
Paul –welcome & intro

First family member
On April 15 1972 our father, Joe McCann, was shot dead by members of the Parachute Regiment in Joy St, Belfast at approximately 3pm. Much has been written over the years about the circumstances surrounding his death. Some of what was written was incorrect, some was correct. Today we want to set the record straight.

In the Belfast of the early 1970’s the British Army and RUC made no secret of their intent toward Joe McCann. Death threats were issued on a regular basis through family and friends.

Joe was a member of the Official IRA, an Irish Republican who didn’t have a sectarian bone in his body. He worked within his community with regard to social justice, encouraging people to be active at whatever level they could. He was involved in numerous civil-rights marches, campaigned for better housing and set up co-ops. He drew admiration for his humanity from unexpected sources with Gusty Spence, the U.V.F. leader, paying tribute to him after his murder. He was a loving husband to our mother, Anne and a caring father to the four of us.

For some time we have engaged with the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) with the support of the Pat Finucane Centre. Today we intend to make public the preliminary findings from the HET into the events that occurred that sunny Saturday afternoon in April in the Markets. We still have a number of outstanding issues to be resolved with the HET as we differ on some aspects of the investigation. But where we do agree, is on the main findings in the report surrounding the legality, or not, of the actual shooting.

Second family member
Two plain clothes members of RUC Special Branch in an unmarked car claim to have spotted Joe crossing Cromac Square that afternoon. They then claim that they drove into May St where they encountered a patrol of the Parachute Regiment, 1 Para, at the junction of May St and Joy St. One of the Special Branch officers admits that he then briefed the ‘Para’ patrol that Joe was in the area. The version of events that unfolded – as contained in the statements of the Branch men and the Para’s who opened fire – are totally contradictory and self –serving, in terms of times, distances and whether warning shots were fired.

Policeman B, as he is referred to in the HET report, claims to have stopped Joe at the corner of Little May St and Joy St, to have identified himself as a police officer and to have then told Joe to take his hands out of his pockets. He claims that Joe pushed him away, turned and ran down Joy St. At this point all three soldiers, A, B and C opened fire and Joe fell, having been struck by three high velocity bullets. He was unarmed.

It has not been possible to question the Special Branch version of events because, incredibly, the RUC then and the PSNI now, claim not to be aware of the identities of the two Special Branch officers who were following Joe that day. According to the HET and I quote,
‘The lack of access to their identities has been a major inhibitor in being able to provide a full and comprehensive review of all the circumstances of Joe’s death.’ End quote

In the view of the family, a view shared by the PFC, the refusal of the PSNI even today to divulge the identities of these two officers is shameful and has denied us the right to an Article 2 compliant investigation. We do not accept that their names are not known. Special Branch knows who these two men are.

Third family member
As Áine has pointed out, the statements of the soldiers and the two Special Branch men are contradictory and self-serving. Times, distances and adherence to the ‘yellow card’ rules are all at odds. Nor was any attempt made at the time to investigate these contradictions. Nevertheless the HET has come to very clear conclusions regarding the central issue of the legality of the shooting. I want to quote the HET report on this issue.

“The law dictates that once the defence of self-defence is raised, it is incumbent on the prosecution to rebut it. No attempt was made by investigators to do so despite the fact that there was no doubt that Joe had been unarmed when he was shot and that he had been running away from the police and soldiers”.

“The HET considers that Joe’s actions did not amount to the level of specific threat which could have justified the soldiers opening fire in accordance with the army rules of engagement or their standard operating procedures. This meant that the important issues that required a thorough investigation and examination related to the lawful use of reasonable force, as defined in Section 3, Criminal Law Act 1967. No such investigation took place”. End quote

The shooting of our father was not justified. It was unjustified. David Cameron described the actions of the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday on January 30th 1972 as unjustified and unjustifiable. According to the HET the actions of the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment on April 15th 1972,a mere nine weeks later, were also unjustified.

We have always known this. Now it is the findings of an official report and we welcome that.

Fourth family member
So, the HET found that the soldiers were not justified in opening fire and that Joe posed no threat to them, I quote directly,
‘Joe was not armed and there is no evidence that he was doing anything other than trying to escape when he was shot.’ End quote

In the conclusions the report refers to the army rules of engagement, the yellow card in other words, and their standard operating procedures. This is highly significant.
The HET discovered a document in the archives of the First Battalion, the Parachute Regiment entitled, Standard Operating Procedures for internal security duties in Northern Ireland. This is the first time that the existence of this SOP, has been divulged.

It is significant, not only in Joe’s case, but also in other cases involving members of the First Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

It contains instructions on when soldiers may and may not open fire and I quote,
When not to fire: You may not fire at someone who either;
(A) Does not halt when you challenge him but is not yet causing any danger to anyone’s life or to the place you are guarding.
(B) Runs away when you challenge him or drives away in a car.
End quote

Why then, when it became clear that soldiers A, B and C had violated both the ‘yellow card’ and their own Standard Operating Procedures, was a criminal investigation not carried out as the HET makes clear should have happened?

The HET stated the following,
“The circumstances of the shooting must have been considered contentious at the very least. The full investigation procedure that should have been instigated by the RUC did not materialise and it is the view of the HET that it should have done.”
“The reality is that many important questions remain unanswered despite this review.”

Family member

In summation, the findings of the HET report into Joe’s killing have concluded that;

Ø The Para’s acted unlawfully by contravening not only the Army’s ‘Yellow Card’ rules of engagement but their own ‘Standard Operating Procedures’

Ø The Para’s were unjustified in their use of lethal force, as Joe was unarmed and was running away when shot.

Ø The RUC/SB and the RMP/SIB both failed in their duty to properly investigate the killing.

We will now leave the last word to Mrs Josephine Connolly, her contemporaneous eyewitness report was recorded just after the incident.

We would like to thank Clifton House for facilitating this Press Conference and we would especially like to acknowledge all the help and assistance afforded us by Paul O’Connor and all the staff at the Pat Finucane Centre over the last number of years.

And finally, we would like to thank you all again for taking time to attend.

Noooooo! May 6, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Thanks to Tomboktu and BH for pointing towards terrible news this evening about our Sunday media…

Long-time Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris will no longer be writing for the paper, with immediate effect.

The decision to terminate Mr Harris’s contract was taken by editor Alan English this week, after the former Senator admitted being involved in the running of an anonymous Twitter account set up in February 2020.



“This account was set up in February 2020 under the name of Barbara J Pym, mostly posting tweets about aspects of Irish politics.

“Many of the views expressed – such as opposition to ‘Sinn Féin pressure for a united Ireland’ are in keeping with those articulated by Eoghan Harris in his Sunday Independent column.


But… for there is a but…


“Having reviewed the account this week I found it frequently went far beyond what I would describe as fair and reasonable comment. Under no circumstances would such material have been published in our newspaper or on Independent.ie.

A nation races towards the twitter account. Too much for the Sunday Independent? Reading through it is an interesting experience. The fingerprints of a certain columnist are not very well disguised, but telling to read about Joe McCann that ‘ posed photo made him a poster boy for the Irish ultraleft – just like all those Che Guevara posters in grotty student bed sits in 1970s’, or the jibe of SFLP at an SDLP politicians article, or the obsessive to the point of mania focus on SF, or comments about others in the media… or the de facto unionism… 

Left Archive: Irish Socialist, July 1972, Communist Party of Ireland April 27, 2020

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
1 comment so far

To download the above please click on the following link. irish-socialist.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This edition of Irish Socialist, publication of the CPI, from 1972 has lead article that argues that on foot of the recent referendum on EEC membership:

IT didn’t take long after the Referendum for the take-overs to start. Even the fruit importing trade is heading for monopoly. These are the first steps on the road to the Common Market. The workers are sitting in at Crannac in Navan. The take-overs are going to mean more unemployment ( it’s over 13,000 higher than last year and we’re not in the E.E.C. yet, only in the Free Trade Agreement with Britain).

Another piece states ‘No’ to Civil War says Civil Rights Association:

The CIVIL WAR that has raged ·below the surface in this com­munity for some years now is 1blazing out into the open. In the light of the growing conflagration we can only point out that there is no fire ,brigade to extinguish the flames. Once again die fires of sectarianism will bum themselves out at the expense of each and every person, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter in this community.

Inside a piece examines the murder of OIRA volunteer Joe McCann and quotes Cathal Goulding, Chief of Staff of the IRA noting those at his funeral ‘come to pay tribute to Joe McCann, the man, the solider, the political activist, the revolutionary’.

Betty Sinclair writes on ‘Unionism; the Politics of Desperation’. Another piece argues that ‘Military victory in the North is Impossible’.

Please note: If files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We always wish to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Banned Christy Moore Songs June 1, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.
add a comment

Has there been an Irish artist to have ever had so many songs banned by RTE and other radio stations for their outspoken content?
Section 31 of the broadcasting act caused a number of his songs to be banned by RTE. “90 Miles from Dublin” as it expressed support for Republican prisoners. “Mcllhatton” and “Back Home in Derry” were banned too as they had been written by Bobby Sands. “The Time has Come” was banned by RTE as it was written about Bobby Sands. “Section 31” was banned due to it being a critique of Section 31.
“They Never Came Home” his song about the Stardust Tragedy was withdrawn from sale due to a judges findings on the lyrics.
St Brendans Voyage mentioned Gibraltar and due to the murder of the Gibraltar 3 the BBC banned it.
I couldn’t find if songs such as Joe McCann were banned too.

Left Archive: Ballymun News – Issue 1, April 1973 June 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
add a comment

To download the above please click on the following link. AP 1970

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive

This is an interesting publication which appears to be linked in some respect to Official Sinn Féin. It’s broad thrust is that of a community/residents/tenants newspaper and it has a lot of material in it ranging from news about the area to cartoons and ballads. Subjects addressed include school meals and attacks on the government.

The editorial board thanks ‘The Galway News’ ‘for their invaluable assistance’. There’s also a brief note on Joe McCann noting that ‘on the 13th of April, one year ago, the British paras shot Joe McCann dead in his native markets area of Belfast… one of the finest of our latter day revolutionaries’.

Any further information about it or those involved would be very very welcome.

An Phoblacht…latest issue January 12, 2017

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far


In the January edition:

  • Stormont: ‘There can be no return to the status quo’ – Martin McGuinness
  • Martin McGuinness resigns as deputy First Minister – What the leaders say and what the papers say
  • The 1972 killing of ‘Official IRA’ leader Joe McCann and the Tory fightback against Para prosecutions
  • Blanketmen – Remembering protesting POWs
  • The Kilmichael Ambush – Turning point in Tan War
  • Sinn Féin in Palestine – Speaking to Fatah and Hamas
  • ‘Fake news’ – Is it news?
  • Michael Mansfield QC delivers McGurk’s Bar Memorial Lecture
  • Bliain lán dúshláin, bliain lán dóchais 
  • ‘Farewell, Fidel’ – Gerry Adams in Cuba
  • European Parliament: Apple under fire, ‘super trawlers’, Britain’s Brexit agenda, militarising the EU
  • Do we really need another new party on the Left?
  • Féiniúlacht agus Cothromas á bplé ag an Slógadh
%d bloggers like this: