- RSF Activist Arrested In Scotland: Republicans Will Not Be Silenced
On Saturday, April 25, 2015, Republican Sinn Féin member Séamus Mac Domhnaill was arrested at the IRBS Easter Commemoration in Scotland. He was taken to Dumbarton barracks, held for two nights and today April 27 appeared in Dumbarton Court charged with “encouraging support for a proscribed organisation.” Republican Sinn Féin condemns the arrest of its activist and a spokesperson said the action of the Scottish police is “an attempt to silence Irish Republicans.”
Members of the Sands/Devlin Cumann Republican Sinn Féin Nottingham travelled to Scotland to take part in the annual Easter Commemoration of the Independent Republican Bands Scotland (IRBS). The successful march assembled in Alexandria and marched to the Renton Football Park. Among those bands taking part in this year’s parade were the Vol John Brady RFB, the Coatbridge United Irishmen Flute Band, and the Vol Brendan Hughes RFB. Members of Republican Sinn Féin also provided a Colour Party during the parade.
In Renton, the chairperson of the Sands/Devlin Cumann, Séamus Mac Domhnaill, gave an oration. Immediately following his speech, Mac Domhnaill was approached by police officers and arrested for remarks he made in the course of the oration. Notably, he was approached and arrested even before the bands played Amhrán na bhFiann.
On Monday, April 27, Mac Domhnaill appeared before the Dumbarton Sheriff Court and was charged under Section 12/3 for “encouraging support for a proscribed organisation or to further its activities.” He has since been released on bail; no bail restrictions were imposed on him.
Noteworthy, Séamus Mac Domhnaill was charged for encouraging support for a proscribed organisation. In fact, rather than encouraging support for a proscribed organisation, MacDomhnaill encouraged those in attendance to become active supporters of Irish Republicanism. To underline his argument, he quoted Hunger striker Bobby Sands, saying:
Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.
While the exact passage which the charges are based on is not yet known, it seems that the police did not like Séamus Mac Domhnaill call for support of Irish Republicanism. Thus, by charging a Republican Sinn Féin member over these remarks, the police in Scotland try to criminalise calls for those in support of a democratic, socialist, united, and federal Ireland and Irish Republicanism in general.
A spokesperson of Republican Sinn Féin said:
The arrest of Séamus Mac Domhnaill for encouraging people to support Republicanism and a united Ireland is an attempt to silence progressive and democratic voices in Scotland. This is indeed a very worrying development and it should concern all Republicans, Scottish nationalists, and socialist activists in Scotland and abroad.
However, these unlawful attempts to harass political activists will not silence the voice of Republicanism in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Republican Sinn Féin will not be silenced and will continue to build strong Republican support in these areas and abroad.
In a separate statement, the Coatbridge United Irishman Flute Band, one of the organisers of the IRBS Easter Commemoration in 2015, also condemned the arrest of the Republican Sinn Féin activist. The statement said the activist was arrested:
by the sectarian Police force in Scotland at the IRBS Easter Commemoration in Renton for his speech in remembrance of Ireland’s patriot dead and also all her political POWs currently incarcerated in foreign and Free State prisons.