Ireland: IRSP members arrested in Waterford

Some disturbing events have been taking place in the south of Ireland, where two IRSP members have been arrested and are being held under the notorious “section 30”. This is clearly a case of political victimisation and should be condemned by all socialists.

The true nature of the twenty-six county state has reared its ugly head as two members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, 26-year-old John O'Donoghue and 55-year-old James Butler were arrested for allegedly being part of an illegal organisation, the Irish National Liberation Army.

Both men were arrested under the notorious section 30 which has granted the twenty-six county state powers that add up to internment. Both comrades have denied membership of the INLA, but on June 20, and the only evidence against them being the word of one Gardai officer, they were remanded in custody none the less.

This bears a frightening reminisce to the days of internment of republicans by British imperialism in the six countries during the troubles. Internment was used as a weapon to smash resistance to British imperialism and weaken the movements of the working class in the six counties. It would not be the first time either that internment has been used by the twenty-six county state to stifle the movement of Irish working people.

In the aftermath of the formation of the twenty-six county state hundreds of republicans and socialists were interned in an effort to end resistance to both imperialism and capitalism in Ireland, to maintain British imperialism's domination of the island. Many leaders were executed. The ruling class will go to any length to maintain its political power, and as socialists we must organise against such detentions and demand the immediate repeal of section 30.

Rather than an effort to crack down on serious crime as it has been presented, "operation anvil" has amounted to no less than an attack on the IRSP by the forces of the Irish ruling class, as was quite rightly recognised by IRSP Ard Comhairle (executive committee) member Pól Little when he stated:

"This is clearly an attack on the IRSP as well as radical political agitation within the 26 Counties. Today we have two individuals who face substantial prison terms on the word of a single Gardai officer, all because of their political orientation."

These arrests amount to nothing less than an attack on working class militants in Ireland. The authorities are worried at the recent growth of the IRSP and the newfound success of its attempts to build a mass working class based movement. One of those arrested had only been a member of the IRSP for a few weeks and yet is allegedly a hardened fighter. Clearly rather than trying to fight crime the Gardai are yet again being used to attack the IRSP and prevent the growth of revolutionary socialist ideas in Ireland.

Yet these attacks will not prevent the growth of socialism in Ireland. The Cumman (branch) in Waterford that these two arrested men belong to is a recent addition to the IRSP. The Irish working class has long struggled against bitter repression both from the twenty-six county state and British imperialism. These arrests are a naked display of the brutality of the ruling class in Ireland and expose that their real interests lie in maintaining the status quo; they will continue to act as the gatekeepers of British imperialism. In the long run interment merely increases resentment and destroys any illusions that there exists any real form of democracy or free political association in Ireland.

As internationalists we must oppose this political repression and join the fight for the freedom of these Irish comrades.

- For the immediate release without charge of John O'Donoghue and James Butler.

- For an end to internment - scrap section 30.

- Build the forces of Marxism in Ireland.