[Marxism] IRSP: Irish Conference Speakers Called 'Security Risk' by Canadians

Danielle Ni Dhighe danielle at irsm.org
Tue Mar 2 05:58:39 MST 2004


1 March 2004
Irish Republican Socialist Party
International Department

Irish Conference Speakers Called 'Security Risk' by Canadians

A conference being sponsored by the Faculty of Social Sciences and
Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Community Engagement
Branch of the Correctional Service of Canada, and the Elizabeth Fry
Societies, which with other events was planned to take place the 8th
through 12th of March 2004 at the University of Ottawa has been
forced to be cancelled, as the Canadian High Commission in London
rejected the applications of the conference participants to enter

The five speakers planned for the conference included: Dr. Ella
O'Dwyer, Tommy McKearney, Dr. Lawrence McKeown, Brenda Murphy, and
John Nixon.

The Ottawa university conference was planned as a follow up to the
NEVA Conference, held in Dundalk, Ireland, last July, which was
hosted by Tommy McKearney and John Nixon. The conference was to have
focused on the resettlement of released prisoners and their
reintegration in their communities. Both McKearney and Nixon were
veterans of the 1980 hunger strike by republican and republican
socialist POWs in Ireland, while McKeown was a participant in the
1981 hunger strike.

Dr. Ella O'Dwyer and Dr. Lawrence McKeown had also been invited to
speak at Concordia University 'Peace and Conflict Resolution'
Academic Series in Montreal, March 15th.

Professor Gaucher, a key organiser of the conference, had this to
say: "We at the University of Ottawa are dismayed by the decision and
the lack of respect shown us by Immigration Canada bureaucrats. The
delay in reply to these applications has prevented us from
reorganising our agenda and has therefore destroyed our ability to
host this important academic event."

Mike Quinn, a Canadian activist in Regina who had sought the
intervention of Ralph Goodale, MP, in the affair commented: "It is
ironic that this discussion should take place on March 1st, exactly
twenty-three years to the day that Bobby Sands embarked on a hunger
strike to resist the British governments attempt to criminalise them
(republican and republican socialist prisoners). Sinn Fein via the
Good Friday Agreement successfully handed this hard won status back
to the British with the implementation of the 'Agreement'. I doubt
very much if John Nixon or Tommy McKearney would have been supportive
of this at the conference and I (personally) think this and other
issues would have came out at the conference and clearly embarrassed
others who are firmly in the Sinn Fein camp, not to mention
the 'Agreement' itself."

The Globe and Mail are said to have picked up the story and are
investigating the unusual circumstances which would have led to the
eleventh-hour visa denial from the Canadian High Commission in London
under Sections 31a and 34a, despite the intervention at least two
Canadian MPs.

The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America, who have
communicated with both Tommy McKearney and John Nixon in the past,
condemn the Canadian government's denial of entry to the intended
conference speakers. The suggestion that these five individuals pose
a threat to the security of Canada is absurd and clearly masks a
political agenda designed to spare the Good Friday Agreement, and the
related suspension of political status for republican and republican
socialist prisoners in Ireland and Britain, from criticism. This last
minute denial of visas to the conference speakers is an affront to
the Faculty of Social Sciences and Department of Criminology,
University of Ottawa, the Community Engagement Branch of the
Correctional Service of Canada, the Elizabeth Fry Societies,
Canadians of Irish descent, and all those interested in academic
freedom in Canada, and the rights of its citizens to engage in the
pursuit of a free exchange of ideas.

It seems that the government of Canada is increasingly coming to
resemble its frightened and reactionary neighbor to the south, or
perhaps has already become little more than a puppet of British and
American imperialism.


Republican Socialist Publicity Bureau
392 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6DH, Ireland
Tel/Fax: 028 90 330786

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