Derry Trades Council
opposes Supergrasses

Militant Irish Monthly, November 1983, No. 116

The use of supergrasses in Northern Ireland is now being taken up by some sections of the trade union movement. Only the trade union movement can take up such issues in a non-sectarian way, and from the standpoint of defending the common class interests of all workers. The following resolution was passed by Derry Trades Council on October 13th. Belfast Trades Council has also now opposed the use of supergrasses by the courts.

Since its inception the trade union and labour movement has been to the forefront in the struggle for democratic reforms with Irish society. Insofar as 'democracy', from a working class standpoint, can be achieved under capitalism and imperialism, this has long been discussed inside our movement. The introduction of the Emergency Provisions Act (1969), Internment without trial (1971) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the whole paraphernalia of repressive legislation in Northern Ireland demonstrates only took clearly that when capitalism and imperialism feel that their system of rent, interest and profit is under threat - from whatever quarter - they will not hesitate to cast aside their 'liberal/democratic' mask. The trade union and labour movement ignores this fundamental attack on democratic rights at its peril.

The Derry Trades Union Council, whilst taking up the issue of supergrasses, wishes to re-affirm its complete opposition to the paramilitary organisations and their methods. We condemn the conviction of suspects solely on the word of supergrasses. We consider that the failure of the state to produce real evidence for these convictions is an effrontery to normal standards of justice. We feel that the use of the supergrass system presents a dangerous threat to the trade union and labour movement and society in general. We therefore urge the trade union movement to campaign on the following demands.

1. That there should be an immediate return to the jury system and he abolition of the Diplock Courts.
2. An immediate end to convictions solely on the paid evidence of supergrasses.
3. The immediate release of all those prisoners who have been convicted on supergrasses evidence.
4. The speeding up of bringing 'suspects' to trial so that people are not held for months or years at a time before they are eventually brought to trial.
5. The ending of the system of remand/internment without trial

The Trades Council calls upon the leadership of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to express its clear opposition to the Court system which convicts people purely on the 'evidence' of paid informers. We further call upon the ICTU to undertake an urgent review of the whole workings of the 'judicial' system in Ireland, north and south. We believe that the leadership of the trade union movement should immediately commence a vigorous campaign around the above demands.

This series of articles on Northern Ireland from our archives
are available here.

The full range of articles from the Socialist Party
are available in our sitemap