WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
7 February 2015
JM: And we'll do an interview with Saint Martin Galvin, because everyone know what went on with Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland - it took Saint Martin Galvin to drive the PSNI, who marched last year in the Saint Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue and now they've said they're not going to march on Fifth Avenue because Martin Galvin, a person who was banned from The Six Counties in Ireland by Margaret Thatcher, was arrested in The Six Counties in that part of Ireland and deported back to America - saying that they cannot march behind him. Martin, are you there with us?
MG: Yes, John – Sandy. How are you doing?
JM: Good. Good. Any more update? I mean – they're still not marching.
MG: This week another article appeared, this time in The Irish News, which is the largest selling paper in the North and it's the one that's read by virtually all Nationalists. And again, James Allister, who is the head of the Traditional Unionist Voice, had a press release of course and he was saying that he had put it to the constabulary – how that it was last year he put it to them and said that they should not be marching in New York in the Saint Patrick's Day - in what he calls an anti-British parade because we support freedom for all Ireland and they consider that anti-British - those arguments were set aside and last year was considered a great success. The PSNI was photographed with Enda Kenny, the head of the Dublin government, that was considered a great political success for them.
But this year they're not going to be there because Allister was able to say that it would be unfitting for them to march behind me, somebody that had been, as he put it, “on-the-run” in the North of Ireland and who was opposed to British rule and what he called a “hardline Republican”. And John, anybody who follows events – if you look at nuzhound, if you look at The Irish News - in this past week you've seen the week began with the Bloody Sunday families marching because the PSNI refuses to make any arrests for those murders - for the perjury that followed after Bloody Sunday.
There was a story about the Glenanne (gang) that was a book by Anne Cadwallader, there were a hundred and twenty Nationalists who were killed by Loyalists in collusion with members of the Crown forces. And last week they were in court – those families - and a member, a former constable from England who investigated them, said his report was shelved by the PSNI because they didn't want to make any arrests.
A member of the SDLP stood up at a policing board meeting - Dolores Kelly – and said that the PSNI was protecting people who had killed Sean Brown, a GAA, a Gaelic Athletic Association official – who had been murdered by Loyalists in conjunction with the PSNI because they were informers and agents - and a report was issued - apparatus of impunity by the CAJ Committee for the Administration of Justice, talking about the role that the PSNI plays in making sure that no members British Army, no members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, no members of the PSNI are arrested and charged for political offences, historic offences or more recent ones like that of the murder of Sean Brown.
So they want to say that this is a force that we should cheer and welcome in the Saint Patrick's Day parade in New York. That this is a force that we should pretend is different from what came before. And this is the same force that is covering up murder, brutality and torture in the North of Ireland! What's going on here is simply this: it's an exercise in normalisation.
They want to pretend and portray this as a normal force. They can go to Washington and tell that they're happy to Barack Obama or whoever else they meet with in the British Embassy, whoever else they meet with in Washington. But people on the streets of New York know better. We're not going to welcome this force which supports British rule. We're not going to face the victims – the people from those contingents who represent The Six Counties and some of whom who have been victims of the RUC in collusion or directly or by British forces - and say that we're going to welcome those who killed your relatives.
JM: (facetiously) Martin, shouldn't you be fighting about the Union Jack flying over Belfast City Hall – isn't that just far more important than worrying about who killed who during the past thirty years? C'mon.
MG: Well John, it seems that some of the same people fighting about that are quite happy to have the PSNI welcomed here. They want to portray that as a normal force. They want to portray that as no longer an issue. They say that people who amend to such things are political dinosaurs and yet - in the very newspapers which they read - it shows you how the PSNI, how that force, is still involved with protecting and covering up those who did those murders - is still part and parcel of what went on – a continuation of what went on. And in New York – around the United States - Saint Patrick's Day has always been a day – you know, we're gong to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising next year but a hundred and fifty years ago – two hundred years ago - people in New York – people around the United States – were marching, supporting the idea that one day there would be freedom for Ireland in times when it looked like that freedom would never come. People were raising and holding up England Out of Ireland banners and other banners for that. And for this force that upholds British rule to be welcomed here, for people that say they should be welcomed here, they should be a part in the parade, is an outrage!
If they come, and I don't guarantee wouldn't try a U-turn to get them back in again, they're going to see more banners that say England Out of Ireland than ever before. They're going to see more people on the streets who recognise what they are, how they have no part in a parade in which we celebrate our heritage and part of that heritage is the struggle that we've had to get all of Ireland free and in which six counties now must carry on and await for the day when their freedom will come to them.
SB: Martin, you're now with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and they did something very important this week: The Craigavon Two, who are wrongfully imprisoned – who were framed and are serving twenty and more years. Could you tell us a little about that?
MG: Well actually I can break some news for you, Sandy – I just got permission: Greg Sean Canning, one of the Freedom for All Island Chairs, national offices of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, put a very strong article – he was in touch with Angela Nelson and the whole committee on The Craigavon Two. They have now made this a special issue – this miscarriage of justice. They detailed all of the things that went into it, for example: a tracking device was erased – which would have proved these two men innocent but how they had to be convicted because it was a big public relations case and how their sentencing - they're facing those very long sentences. But in addition to that, in addition to that resolution - I'm very proud that the Ancient Order of Hibernians has come out against this miscarriage of justice as they have so many times - yesterday Teresa Villiers, the British Secretary for the North of Ireland, was in New York, she did meet with Irish-Americans, there were members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians there and they put this case to her. They put the case of Pat Finucane – the continued refusal to hold an inquiry. They brought up issues like the Glenanne gang and the issue of collusion. They brought up the mistreatment of political prisoners at Maghaberry which is causing more protest even this week. So members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians - Teresa Villiers came out to speak to Irish-Americans and try and calm us down and say that things have changed and members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians raised that case to her yesterday. Now I don't expect much to come out of the meeting but they will report back that this is a now a key issue for Irish-Americans – that this is something that must be done about that case – that that's attracting attention and concern.
JM: Well Martin, things have changed – you have Provisional Sinn Féin – or British Sinn Féin - now administering British rule in Ireland - so you can say that there has been changes – and very big changes - over there. But, you know...
MG: ...Well John, I do want to - before going off – I do want to say one other: a sad note. Tim Myles and Jim Sullivan contacted me. They said that Charlie McLaughlin, who was involved with Irish Northern Aid for many years, Friends of Irish Freedom, Seán Óglach na hÉireann - lives on Long Island – that he passed away. There are no details as yet – if that is true I certainly want to pass sympathy and everybody should sympathise with his family members. He was a longtime activist and should be remembered.
I also want to raise my own voice to appeal to people to support this show. When I was organising an event for Division 5 in Woodlawn - and one that brought in not only a lot of financial support but a lot of new members – WBAI was the first place I went and the fact that I was on these airwaves - that made that event a success. This issue – the whole issue of the PSNI in the Saint Patrick's Day parade – that was covered first - when it was put out by people at the Irish Voice and Irish Central attacking me - this station was the first place that I went to. They were the first ones to air how important this issue was. They were the ones who rallied people like Tim Myles and others – people up in Albany, Buffalo, around the state - talking about getting England Out of Ireland banners into the parade. About having people marching in the Bronx in support of me and how important this issue was that this was not a normal police force - that America has to look at what's going on – WBAI was the first place.
I read so many – that AOH statement - the first place that I saw it was on The Pensive Quill and that is also a place where they take transcripts of interviews on WBAI - publish them so people throughout Ireland – activists can read those transcripts. My interviews have been there. I've seen other very important interviews. I think this past week the interview that WBAI did a couple of weeks ago with Kieran Conway on his book, Southside Provisional, that was printed so that people across Ireland – activists across Ireland – can see what this station – what your programme - is doing.
So I am appealing to everybody. Don't just give seventy-five dollars. If you can try and give a donation on top of that. This station is important. It's one of the few places that we can talk about the real issues, the real problems that British rule in Ireland continues to create. This is the first place where we can go where real activists can raise issues like what's happening – like the attempt to get the PSNI back in the parade again - how important that issue is and how it's important that now more than ever people rally against them and remember that England Out of Ireland is an important theme in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
So I would appeal to everybody. When I hang up I'm calling in – I'm going to make my donation. This station – this programmme - It's important here in the United States. It's important to people in Ireland who listen to you by means of the internet – please – keep it going – show your support - show your gratitude for it. Let's keep this programme alive. And Gerry McGeough certainly – I've spoken to him – so I wanted to mention: this is one of the most important stations to him and to many activists that he knows in the North of Ireland. Keep it going. Please support this station.
JM: And thank you, Martin, for coming on. And that was the man – Martin Galvin - who drove the police, the British police, off Fifth Avenue this year.