Martin Galvin with a letter in today's Irish News. Martin Galvin is a US Attorney with a long history of campaigning on behalf of Irish republicanism and the rights of nationalists in the North of Ireland.
It seems contradictory to be called ‘anti-agreement’ under the Irish News February 5th headline (TUV leader and ex-Noraid member agree on parade). I can hardly agree when Jim Allister’s biggest argument against infiltrating the PSNI into New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, is outrage over the British constabulary following me, as an Aide to the Grand Marshal.
Recently Bloody Sunday families marched in Derry against the PSNI’s failure to arrest those who shot down their loved ones. CAJ’s report “Apparatus of Impunity?” put the PSNI center stage in gifting de facto immunity to crown force members for shoot-to-kill or collusion murders. SDLP member Dolores Kelly said the PSNI was shielding agents complicit in the 1997 murder of GAA official Sean Brown. A former Scotland Yard constable charged that the PSNI shelved his damning investigation into RUC and UDR collusion in 120 Glennane Gang murders.
Are we expected to applaud this disgraceful record in a parade celebrating our Irish heritage? Must the many relatives of victims who march or watch the parade stomach this!
There are fundamental issues at stake. The parade has a proud history that dates back more than 250 years. Many times, when freedom from British rule for any part of Ireland seemed a hopeless cause, the parade was a beacon of hope and support.
Last year Allister voiced unionist objections about a British constabulary marching amidst Irish flags and “England get out of Ireland” banners. The British dismissed his protests, pursuing old objectives of normalization, criminalization and Ulsterization.
If the PSNI were accepted, so British strategists thought, it would mean their constabulary was now viewed as a normal police force, that those it arrested like Gerry McGeough and Ivor Bell must therefore be criminals, and American scrutiny of British injustice was outdated. It would signal that Americans were starting to forget that six contingents in the parade represented counties where freedom from British rule is still unfinished business.
The British went to great efforts. Last year the PSNI was initially refused. They were permitted entry on the eve of the parade only after Irish parties interceded for them. Photos with Enda Kenny were arranged. It was claimed as a success.
Such claims were premature. They succeeded in reminding Americans about the six contingents which the British want forgotten. Draw your own conclusions about my being elected an Aide.
The PSNI told Allister that its members will not attempt to enter this year’s New York parade. They refuse to say why. Perhaps they will try a last minute u-turn. Perhaps they will try again behind next year’s Aides. It will not matter.
We will not let down those six contingents or the six counties they represent. There is unfinished business.