Apollo House – Conradh Ceilteach

January 9th, 2017

Apollo House support

News from Irish Branch of the Celtic League:

Members of Misneach Wicklow and Misneach Dublin yestereday assisted in the ongoing occupation of Apollo House ( a NAMA vacant office block)  which has been underway by housing activists for over a fortnight now.

There are up to 40 residents housed in the building, who would otherwise be sleeping rough on the streets.

To run a steady ship many volunteers are required day and night. It is clear immediately upon arrival that the general public are very supportive. Well wishers frequently arrive with donations of food, clothes and all sorts.

Representatives of Apollo House will meet with the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, today in an attempt to resolve the housing crisis.

Irish Branch, Celtic League posted 6 January 2017

http://www.thejournal.ie/apollo-house-a-look-inside-3161655-Dec2016/

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Released Papers Reveal UDR ‘Unease’

January 1st, 2017

One of the most vigorous strands to the Celtic League Military Monitoring campaign which began in the late 1970s was our opposition to the Ulster Defence Regiment.

The UDR recruited as a ‘Home Defence’ regiment to assist the Royal Ulster Constabulary was a replacement for the detested B Special Constabulary a sectarian force which had rum roughshod over the Catholic community in the six counties of the North of Ireland for decades.

Initially projected as a cross community force by the mid 1970s most members of the nationalist community in the North who had joined had resigned.

Celtic League saw the force as a sectarian body and more disturbingly believed within its ranks loyalist elements were using the facilities and weaponry to supply paramilitaries.

Subsequently a lot of evidence has been revealed that shows the force was just that a sectarian bolt-hole in some instances for British Army murder gangs.

As AGS to the then General Secretary of the League I wrote to EVERY member of the UK parliament in the mid 1980s calling for the force to be disbanded and enclosing a leaflet outlining our concerns. We also targeted selected members of the US Senate and wrote to the US Embassies in London, Dublin and Paris.

The UDR was eventually ignominiously wound up in 1992 and new papers revealed this weekend show that well over a decade earlier there were concerns about the body being articulated within the British government. A report from the BBC today says;

“State papers from the 1970s and 1980s have revealed how much the British authorities discussed the public image of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

This was just one issue among many aspects of social, political and sporting life in Northern Ireland, covered by the documents released by the Public Record Office.

The papers cover several different years up to and including 1990.

At present, state papers are released for public consumption twice a year.

The period of time for which they are usually kept secret is gradually being reduced.

They have been examined and analysed for BBC Northern Ireland by the historian, Dr Éamon Phoenix.”

‘Public image’

“Dr Phoenix said many papers discussed the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and the public’s view of it.

Most citizens saw its soldiers either as protectors from terrorists, or as a sectarian force which aided, or acted, for loyalist paramilitaries.

The regiment existed for just over 20 years and some of its member were convicted or murder, kidnappings and bombings as well as other offences.

Arguments followed the repeated calls for a tougher vetting procedure.”

A decade ago a document entitled ‘Subversion in the UDR’ compiled by British military intelligence services in the early days of the regiment was released it can be found at this Wikipedia entry (link):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Defence_Regiment…

Image: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher touring the North of Ireland in 1981 wearing a beret of the UDR, an infamous British Army militia responsible for scores of terrorist attacks and murder’s during its existence

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.

31/12/16

 

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The Police Report – Revisited

January 1st, 2017

What does the Celtic League do? It’s a question sometimes posed over the years by folk a tad irritated by our output of news and comment.

However the League ‘DO’ quite a lot and ‘HAVE DONE’ quite a lot over the years including of course the highly successful military monitoring campaign of the 1970-90s and are focus on environmental (not least marine) pollution and human rights which culminated in changes at National and International level.

There is also the continuous publication since the early 1970s of CARN our (originally quarterly now thrice yearly) journal which includes articles in each of the six Celtic languages in all issues

I was reminded of this broader agenda when I read this report on the Transceltic blog:

“Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority plans to embrace Gaelic language very welcome

Submitted by Douglas MacQueen on December 29, 2016

Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) have today (29th December 2016) unveiled their Gaelic Language Plans for the coming five years. It is a statutory requirement for all Scottish public bodies to have a Gaelic language plan. Under the plans Police Scotland officers will be encouraged to learn Gaelic and the service’s vehicles rebranded as part of an initiative to help promote the language within Scotland’s national force. Vehicles in Police Scotland’s N Division (Highlands and Islands), including the force helicopter, already carry the “Poileas Alba” branding.
Under the plan, which is very positive, officers who speak Gaelic or who want to learn the language will be identified. Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Cowie said: “Following a successful public consultation, I am delighted the joint Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority Gaelic Language Plan is being launched. “The importance of upholding traditional and native languages cannot be underestimated and as a police service we recognise Gaelic as an important aspect of Scotland’s heritage. It also has a significant role to play in the overall wellbeing of communities and the country as a whole. “I look forward with great enthusiasm to taking on the recommendations contained in the plan and developing the service’s involvement with Gaelic speakers and communities where Gaelic is the dominant tongue.”

http://www.transceltic.com/…/police-scotland-and-scottish-p…

It reminded me that it’s now almost a decade since General Secretary Rhisiart Talebot compiled the ‘POLICE REPORT’ into attitudes across a number of the Police Forces to the Celtic Languages including the Force in Mann (link):

https://www.celticleague.net/…/the-police-report-compiled-…/

Image: Police Scotland helicopter – bi-lingual Celtic language signage once prevalent only in Wales is now being used in other parts of Britain.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

30/12/16

 

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‘Hatred of Irish’ prompted language cut Sinn Fein asserts

December 28th, 2016

FORMER Sinn Féin arts minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, has described as “disgraceful” and “a hatred of Irish” a decision by a government department to withdraw funding for an Irish language bursary scheme.
Around 100 people a year received bursaries from the Líofa Gaeltacht scheme to improve their Irish language skills at classes in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
First piloted in 2012, it is understood that the bursaries were worth around £50,000 annually and enabled those on lower incomes to avail of the Gaeltacht experience.
However, the Department for Communities has now decided to withdraw funding, in an email sent from the Líofa office to the boards of the gaeltacht colleges just before Xmas.
Sent in Irish, its English translation reads: “Because of efficiency savings, the department will not be providing the Líofa bursary scheme in 2017. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year.”
Full story at this link:
http://www.irishnews.com/…/former-culture-minister-slams-d…/
Today another Sinn Fein colleague has echoed her concerns:
West Tyrone representative and gaeilgeoir Barry McElduff said the decision by Communities Minister Paul Givan to end the £50,000 Líofa Gaeltacht scheme reflected the DUP’s “active disrespect” of Irish culture and identity.
He said the decision was indicative of a “deteriorating relationship” between Stormont’s two biggest parties.
The axed bursary scheme is aimed at disadvantaged young people from both sides of the community in the North.
Full report at this link:
http://www.irishnews.com/…/sinn-fe-in-mla-warns-over-cuts-…/

Image: The Líofa bursary scheme was set up by former Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, pictured here with former Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

27/12/16

 

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Irish peacekeepers mark festive period on peacekeeping duties

December 28th, 2016

No Xmas break for the many Irish peacekeeping forces serving in a variety of roles as part of the wider UN global peacekeeping effort.

There are currently 605 Military Personnel serving in fourteen different countries around the world. The biggest troop missions are the 377 personnel serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the 136 personnel with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights in Syria.

They took a brief moment out to compile this montage of Xmas photos (link):

https://www.flickr.com/phot…/dfmagazine/…/72157676167819412/

Related link:

http://www.defence.ie/…/R…/D9127BDFFC235D5680258092004233C9…

Image: Irish Army UN Engineer Search and Clearance team on the Syria – Lebanon border.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.

27/12/16

 

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Sleazy Lagarde makes a joke of French justice

December 20th, 2016

THE OECD, IMF AND EU not to mention some Nation States in Europe – not least France – are always calling on the off shore tax havens like Mann to clean up their act.

We echo that view that’s why its ‘sticks in the craw’ when it’s demonstrated that some individuals appear to be able to get away ‘scot free’ over outrageous wheeling and dealing.

The case of Christine Lagarde is a case in point. Letting her off the hook the French courts cited her ‘good reputation and international standing’ but reading between the lines she is just a sleazy opportunist who has used her rank and position to avoid justice.

It’s a strange world where some one who approves an award of 404 million Euro can be found guilty of negligence and not punished.

The IMF seems to have a penchant for sleazy Chief Executives. Five years the previous IMF head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned. He was arrested as he was boarding an aircraft in New York over a suspected sexual assault, although – surprise surprise in that case the charges were dropped.

French courts are a joke and so is France itself!

Link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38369822

Image: Christine Lagarde

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

19/12/16

 

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So is the UK recruiting child soldiers

December 20th, 2016

As posted earlier the N. Irelands Children’s Commissioner responding to our query about the military cadet forces averred that her remit did not cover them because she said:

“My founding legislation restricts my powers regarding reserved and excepted matters, including defence and armed forces, and I have copied your correspondence to the Children’s Commissioner for England who holds remit in relation to excepted matters.”

To be fair the Commissioner did however refer the points we made on to other agencies.

However we were alarmed at the suggestion that the cadets were part of the UK armed forces because this would if true place the UK in contravention of International conventions which preclude the recruitment of child soldiers.

Although the UK invests considerable monies in the Combined Cadet Forces they go to great lengths to assert the Forces are not part of the ‘armed forces’ saying they simply ‘sponsor’ them. Here’s what the UK governments own web site says;

“The CCF is not part of the UK armed forces. While adult volunteers and cadets do wear uniform, they do not incur any liability for service or compulsory training in the armed forces as a result of being a CCF member”.

So has the NICCY inadvertently ‘let the cat out of the bag’.

If so we think the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child should be informed!

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

20/12/16

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Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela are people worth remembering

December 20th, 2016

Probably the most iconic figure in terms of the Anti-Apartheid movement other than the iconic Nelson Mandela was Steve Biko.

A student leader who went on to found the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) which empowered and mobilized much of South Africa’s urban black population, he died in police custody and has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement.

While was alive, his writings and activism had the goal of empowering black people. He was famous for his slogan “black is beautiful”, which he described as meaning: “man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being”.

Biko was never a member of the African National Congress (ANC), but the ANC nonetheless included him in the pantheon of struggle heroes, going so far as to use his image in campaign posters in South Africa’s first non-racial elections in 1994. Nelson Mandela said of Biko:

“They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.”

Yesterday Google remembered his birthday December 18th and his portrait was on their search page.

Coincidentally in a bizarre juxtaposition the Manx Radio news magazine programme noted for subjects that can sometimes be a bit ‘of the wall’ ran a feature on Phillip Moore a Manxman who lived in South Africa all his life and was a prominent politician for much of the Apartheid era albeit a member of the opposition United Party. Apparently a collection of Moore’s letters has been published.

The programme said of Moore that he was one of a number of Manxman that went out to Southern Africa to seek their fortune. (Here’s a link to an item about him):

https://books.google.com/books…

I see it differently from the late Nineteenth century quite a few Manxman went out to Africa as with other Europeans to exploit it. That exploitation to a certain extent goes on to this day only the Europeans are joined by other global predators from China, the US and Russia.

No doubt some will see Moore and others as having made a contribution to South Africa it’s said he was the architect of the currency the Rand.

I see it differently I see Moore and all the other adventurer from the UK, Mann and elsewhere as colonialists standing in the way of freedom for the continent – a freedom that has now come thankfully.

Give me Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela any day they are people worth remembering!

Image: Steve Biko.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

19/12/16

 

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Cadets ambiguity in NICCY Response – clarification sought

December 20th, 2016

I referred in an earlier post to a response from the NICCY about our query over cadet forces.

In the response the Commissioner said:

“My founding legislation restricts my powers regarding reserved and excepted matters, including defence and armed forces, and I have copied your correspondence to the Children’s Commissioner for England who holds remit in relation to excepted matters.”

Our understanding however is that the UK has gone to great lengths to assert that the military cadet forces are NOT part of the defences forces because if they were they would be in breach on UN Conventions.

We have written to NICCY to seek urgent clarification:

“Koulla Yiasouma
Commissioner for Children and Young People
NICCY
Belfast

via email

20th December 2016

Dear Commissioner Yiasouma

Thank you for your letter of the 19th of December responding to our query.

Can I first thank you for the detailed response and for taking the actions you have outlined.

I note your comment that:

“My founding legislation restricts my powers regarding reserved and excepted matters, including defence and armed forces, and I have copied your correspondence to the Children’s Commissioner for England who holds remit in relation to excepted matters.”

I would advise you to research this issue as my understanding is that the Cadet Forces whilst ‘sponsored’ by the MOD are NOT part of the ‘defence and armed forces’.

I am fairly certain that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child have pressed the UK on this very issue and the UK has specifically ruled out any such integral link.

I will confer with our General Secretary on this issue and if ambiguity exists in relation to N. Ireland I will ask him to write to the UNCRC and seek clarification.

The Celtic League is a fully accredited UN NGO (ECOSOC) so I feel sure UNCRC will provide us with the necessary information.

Once again thank you for your response and best wishes to you and your staff for the festive season

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)

pp Celtic League”

Related link:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1187411877974238&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

20/12/16

 

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N Ireland Childrens Commisioner responds on Cadet issue

December 20th, 2016

We have received a response from the NICCY to our concerns about military cadet forces and the payment of monies to hush-up abuse cases by the MOD

Our original query at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/805941286121301/photos/a.806379472744149.1073741828.805941286121301/1166469213401838/?type=3

Text of response below:

“Mr Moffat
Celtic League
3 Imman Stronnag
Peel
Isle of Man
1M5 IGP

19 December 2016

Dear Mr Moffat

Thank you for your correspondence dated 3 December 2016 highlighting concerns about the protection of children and young people in UK military cadet forces.

It is of the upmost importance that children in all sethngs are protected from abuse and that all organisations working with children have in place appropriate child protection arrangements ana robust procedures for responäing to any concerns or disclosures of abuse. You may be aware that the remit of my office was established in accordance with ‘The Commissioner for ‘Children and Young People (Northern Ireland) Order’ (2003) to safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children in Northern Ireland. My founding legislation restricts my powers regarding reserved and excepted matters, including defence and armed forces, and I have copied your correspondence to the Children’s Commissioner for England who holds remit in relation to excepted matters.

However, the matter of ensuring that children are properly protected from abuse is of course the responsibility of everyone seeking to promote children’s rights and welfare. I have taken due note of the concerns you have expressed and will also raise these formally with the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland who work to ensure the effectiveness of child protection practice across Northern Ireland. I will of course notify you of their response.

Yours sincerely

Koulla Yiasouma

Commissioner for Children and Young People

Copied to:

Children’s Commissioner for England
Commissioner for Children for Wales
Children’s Commissioner for Scotland
Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland”

We are grateful to the Commissioner and her staff for this prompt reply.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

20/12/16

 

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