Sunday, 12 August 2012

Irish Law & Democracy Committee

In an earlier post I mentioned the presence of self-appointed and so-called 'human rights observers' on the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne during the Apprentice Boys of Derry parade and the protests by CARA and GARC on Saturday.

At that point I did not know who they were and indeed when one of them was asked to identify himself and his organisation he refused.  I can now understand why.

These individuals were from the Irish Law & Democracy Committee.  This organisation has its own blog and that gives us a good insight into who they are and what they are about.  The first post on the blog is dated 20 March 2011 and it says something about the formation of the ILDC:
The Irish Law & Democracy Committee was established by a group of Queen's University law students in September 2010 who came together as a result of a shared concern over the current failures in fundamental legal rights and freedoms in Ireland and beyond.

Quite a number of the early posts relate to the Justice for Michael McKevitt Campaign - McKevitt is the former leader of the Real IRA and is serving a 20-year sentence in Portlaoise for directing terrorism.  Other posts relate to dissident republican prisoner Brendan Lillis, PSNI stops and searches, Brendan Conway, another dissident republican prisoner, British Intelligence, the Republican Network for Unity, Pat Finucane, Magheraberry prison, Colin  Duffy, Brian Shivers, Marian Price, and Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton, who were convicted of the murder of PSNI officer Stephen Carroll.  It is therefore fairly clear that this committee has a special interest in issues relating to dissident republicanism.

The ILDC also has an interest in loyal order parades and in a post of 23 May 2012 it announced 'a new initiative for the monitoring of contentious parades':
The Irish Law & Democracy Committee has produced an initiative for the Monitoring of Contentious Parades through the use of its Independent Human Rights Observers.  Independent Human Rights Observers were common place in contentious parades across the North of Ireland throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, however in recent years these Observers are no longer visible at such parades. It is the opinion of the ILDC that the need for Independent human rights observers at such contentious parades is as necessary now as it was then.  As a result the Irish Law & Democracy Committee has initiated this process for the Monitoring of Contentious Parades. The ILDC will only be present at those contentious parades where the community have felt the need for Observers and as a result invites the ILDC Observers to monitor and observe the parade.  Such a process will encompass the monitoring and observing of those parades, in regard to the implementation of policing measures, the conduct of the police officers the conduct of those participants in the parade and those following the parade and the impact of the parade on the community it takes place in.  The monitoring process will be carried out in respect of the relevant international human rights standards in all aspects of the parade and policing operation. Likewise, the parade and the policing measures will be gauged against other domestic statutory measures in respect of the particular parade.

There is further amplification in a related comment:
Rather than negotiate or involve itself in any type of resolution the ILDC parade initiative has merely been put in place to protect the human rights of those persons who are subject to human rights abuses as a result of these parades, through state violence or otherwise. It also will assist any community groups who wish to oppose such parades with any legal assistance they require in regard to such a process. To involve itself in any political settlement of parades would breach our constitution as we are solely a human rights campaign group and do not involve ourselves in any political aspect of the actions.

The ILDC seems to have a special interest in North Belfast and that includes a propagandist post on Girdwood and housing.  However the main North Belfast focus is in relation to parades.

They start with a 30 June post on the Whiterock parade and state that the ILDC Independent Human Rights Observers were there on the day.  According to their post they 'appear to have witnessed the fact that a number of aspects of the Parades Commission determination appear to have been breached' and they promise a full report to follow.

The next post on 10 July is a press release stating that they will be monitoring the 'Ard Eoin/Ardoyne parade on the 12th July 2012 on both the outward and the return legs of the parade.'  The observers would actually be there from 11 to 13 July and people were invited to contact them.

On 14 July they posted about the detention of Martin Corey, who was convicted in 1973 of murdering two policemen, and it took until 18 July to post about the Twelfth.  They covered a number of issues but they omitted to mention the human rights of the car owner whose car was burned by republican rioters or the human rights of the policemen who were the targets of a dissident republican gunman.

There is also a post on 21 July about the arrest of GARC steward Alan Lundy who has been charged in relation 'allegations of disorder'.

A week later there is a post responding to an article by Sean Murray of Sinn Fein in the Belfast Telegraph.  The focus again is on North Belfast and the ILDC response is interesting and merits further consideration.  However they are clearly at odds with Sinn Fein and seem to be aligned with the stance of GARC and the dissidents.

There follows another post about dissident republican Marian Price but the most recent post is entitled 'Nelson McCausland launches attack on ILDC'.  The ILDC accuse me of 'making outlandish claims against the ILDC' on this blog.  In fact I hadn't mentioned the ILDC because at the time the post was written I hadn't heard of them.  I first heard of this group late yesterday when someone kindly sent me an e-mail and directed me to an article about them on the internet.  I will respond to them in a second post but at least we now know who the 'independent human rights observers' are ... and that makes it much easier to know how to respond to an organisation that seems to be 'GARC with brains'.


  1. Spot on, Nelson - good work. Not quite so Independent, eh ILDC? ;)

  2. Nelson, seems one of the observers was questioned by a group of men from Woodvale about who he was etc. Fearing for his life he videoed the second group who approached him, Hence the video. Once again you post a totally one sided picture of what has happened. Be surprised if you approve this to!!!!

    1. What a lot of nonsense - 'fearing for his life!' There was no threat to him at all. A genuine 'independent human rights observer' would have no hesitation about identifying who he was and what organisation he was from.

      Moreover he did not start videoing when someone approached him. He was approached because he was already walking up close to people to video them. Indeed I had already been videoed by him before that and I was certainly no threat to him.

      The fact is that he walked across the road to deliberately and provocatively video people who were just standing waiting for the parade. Most people who saw what was happening were of the view that this was harassment by the 'independent human rights observer'and was designed to provoke a reaction which would then be photographed for propaganda purposes.

      However now we all know the truth about this squalid little republican ploy there are a lot of options and it a ploy that has had a short life.

  3. "Other posts relate to dissident republican prisoner Brendan Lillis, PSNI stops and searches, Brendan Conway, another dissident republican prisoner".

    The statement is factually incorrect Nelson. There are no such republican grouping know as dissidents. This is a media prefix to deflect away from the true facts that they are republicans, no different form Sinn Fein.

    They are republican prisoners, republican terrorists or whatever, they are just republicans doing what republicans have been doing for years.

    Ad for the other the Irish Law & Democracy Committee they are nothing but a bunch of sectarian bigots.

    Now the main question is how did the PSNI let these non entities run around the area unchallenged??? You need to get the local PSNI commander to answer that as they were obviously part of the protest.

    1. A meeting with the PSNI has already been arranged.

      Yes they are all republicans but there are different strands within republicanism just as there are different strands within unionism, and that is nohing new. Back in the 1920s there were pro and anti-Treatyites and from 1969 on there were Officials and Provisionals. Moreover in any conflict it is important to understand the differences and the tensions between the various strands of our opponents. We ignore those at our peril.

  4. The Irish Law & Democracy Committee

    We, the Irish Law Democracy Committee (ILDC) would like to take this opportunity to respond to a number of assertions that have been made in regard to our Committee in recent days.

    Scurrilous and outlandish allegations have been made by Nelson McCausland MLA in respect of our Committee’s human rights activities.

    Our Committee wish to set the record straight.

  5. The so called human rights observers from ILDC giving their views (and many inacuracies)on this not so neutral video



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