|National Secretary||Stephen Murney|
|Headquarters||Junior McDaid House, 14 Chamberlain St, Derry BT48 6LR|
|Paramilitary wing||New IRA (alleged)|
Saoradh (Irish: [ˈsˠiːɾˠə], "Liberation") is a far-left political party formed by dissident Irish republicans in 2016. They are active in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The party are close to the New IRA.
The national executive was composed of republican activists, including:
- Nuala Perry (vice-chairperson and former Provisional IRA prisoner),
- Kevin Murphy (a former Real IRA prisoner),
- Risteard Ó Murchú,
- Sharon Rafferty,
- Dee Fennell,
- David Jordan,
- Mandy Duffy, a sister-in-law of Colin Duffy.
A third of the executive was female, while out of all 150 in attendance, men outnumbered women 10 to 1. Prominent republican dissidents were in attendance these included:
- brothers Colin and Paul Duffy,
- Sharon Girvan,
- Thomas Ashe Mellon.
David Jordan said being elected chairman of the party was "humbling, daunting, intimidating yet empowering". Chair of the Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland (APCS), Issam Hijjawi, also spoke.
On the same day Saoradh issued the following press release:
Today, Saturday the 24th of September 2016, we a significant collective of Irish Republican activists, who for a number of years have acted autonomously, have after a number of years of debate, consultation and organisation today in Ard Fheis organised, constituted and launched a Revolutionary Irish Republican Party, the Party's name is Saoradh.
Saoradh believes that Ireland should be governed by the Irish People with the wealth and wealth producing mechanisms in the ownership of the Irish People. This can not happen while British imperialism undemocratically retains control of Irish destinies and partitions our nation, this cannot happen while a neo-colonial elite in a subservient supposed indigenous administration sell’s the nation’s labour and natural resources to international capital.
Saoradh does not believe that British imperialism or capitalist exploitation can be confronted in the structures they have created to consolidate their undemocratic control of the Irish nation. As such we believe any assembly claiming to speak for the Irish People without being elected by the united people of the Irish nation to be illegal. Saoradh will seek to organise and work with the Irish People rather than be consumed and usurped by the structures of Ireland’s enemy's,
Standing on a long and proud revolutionary Irish Republican history of resistance, inspired by the actions and words of Tone of Connolly, of Mellows, of Costello and of Sands, upholding the founding documents of our forefathers – the 1916 proclamation, the declaration of independence and the democratic programme of the first Dáil, Saoradh hereby declares its commitment to the unfinished revolution, the liberation of Ireland and the social emancipation of the Irish People.
Reaction to its formation
SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon said it was "the first step in a journey that every militant group in the history of the Irish republican tradition has ever taken" and that "they should now take steps two, three and four to avoid unnecessary and unwanted violence that the people of Ireland have rejected at every opportunity".
Democratic Unionist Party MLA Lord Maurice Morrow said that the action showed that dissidents "realise they are failing to gain support in their campaign and have moved into the political sphere". He added that it "will be very interesting to see what, if any, support this new political party will have".
Ulster Unionist Party declared that it welcomed anyone engaging in the political process but that Saoradh have adopted "a tired and outdated abstentionist programme that has failed in the past and will fail again".
Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said that former IRA members have for years been "lauded as statesmen and elevated to the highest offices in the land after gaining their status off the back of the Provisional IRA terror campaign". He asked "Will Saoradh follow the trajectory of Sinn Féin and gain politically from violence?"
Junior McDaid House
In November 2016, the wife of IRA volunteer James "Junior" McDaid (shot dead by the 25th Light Regiment Royal Artillery in 1972) criticised Saoradh after they named their Derry offices on Chamberlain Street "Junior McDaid House" after her husband. She said nobody had invited her or told her the branch would be named after him, and added that she didn't know if he would have approved of it.
In April 2019; it was announced that the headquarters: Junior McDaid House was closed due to them being given a notice to quit by the landlord of the building Tracey Murray.
In August 2019; Saoradh chairman Brian Kenna announced that a continuation of dissident republican violence is 'inevitable'.
Shooting of Lyra McKee
On 18 April 2019, investigative journalist Lyra McKee was murdered while observing rioting in the Creggan district of Derry. Mobile phone footage was released showing a masked gunman opening fire with a handgun. Saoradh subsequently released a statement that "a republican volunteer attempted to defend people from the PSNI/RUC", after an "incursion" by "heavily armed crown forces", and that McKee was "killed accidentally".
Saoradh held an Easter Rising commemoration parade in front of the General Post Office, the main site of the Rising in 1916, in Dublin on Easter Saturday, 21 April, less than three days after the death of McKee. The parade featured members dressed in paramilitary-style clothing. It was condemned by Ministers in the current Dáil Éireann government with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan labeling it as "disturbing".
Four days after the shooting, friends of McKee gathered in protest at Saoradh's headquarters, Junior McDaid House, and used red paint to place handprints on the walls of the building to "show that the blood is on their hands".
Clashes with PSNI
Alleged mistreatment of children by the police
During a stop and search operation, the 10 year-old daughter of Saoradh member Damhnaic Mac Eochaidh was spoken to by the PSNI. Saoradh claimed the PSNI were "hyper-aggressive and heavily armed". Saoradh was outraged, saying that it was "state-sponsored child abuse" and called upon the commissioner for children and young people to meet with them to discuss the "ongoing abuse of our children at the hands of the state".
Alleged harassment by the police
Since Saoradh's foundation, party members allege they have been subject to regular house raids, stop and search, abuse, vehicle searches, heavy handedness and theft of personal items such as their children's Christmas presents and cars. They have called the PSNI draconian.
Policies and ideology
Saoradh seeks to establish a 32-county socialist republic across the island of Ireland, regarding Northern Ireland's status in the UK as an "illegal occupation". It is opposed to the current power-sharing government in Northern Ireland and is highly critical of Sinn Féin, whom the party's former chairman David Jordan describes as "false prophets who have been defeated and consumed by the very system they claim to oppose". The party also views the government of the Republic of Ireland as illegitimate as it is not elected by the people of the whole island. As part of this, Saoradh supports the release of all republican prisoners. It may in future contest elections, but candidates elected to Dáil Éireann or the Northern Ireland Assembly will not take their seats. As of November 2019[update] it has produced one position paper, on Brexit, and is discussing internally its stance on other issues.
A report in the Sunday Life claimed that Saoradh is linked to the "New IRA", a group formed in 2012 by the merger of the Real Irish Republican Army with several other paramilitary groups. However David Jordan has stated that the party is "stand alone" and has no links to any other organisation.
- 32 County Sovereignty Movement
- Irish Republican Voice
- Fianna Éireann
- Republican Network for Unity
- Republican Sinn Féin
- Paulie Doyle (22 March 2019). "Understanding the 'New IRA', Who Sent Explosives Around the UK". Vice. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- Gemma Murray (19 February 2020). "Saoradh release statement claiming Sinn Féin not under threat - after Michelle O'Neill asks all members to be 'vigilant'". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- "New IRA says border infrastructure would be 'legitimate target for attack'".
- "New 'revolutionary' republican party Saoradh launched". 26 September 2016.
- Young, Connla (18 October 2016). "Ex-republican prisoner hits out over PSNI stop and search of daughter's schoolbag". irishnews.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- "Hardline republicanism shows public face with Saoradh launch at swish hotel". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Thomas Ashe Mellon". 6 May 2019.
- "Why lax bail conditions are letting thugs like Damien Fennell laugh at legal system". Belfasttelegraph. BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Tyrone dissidents to the fore of new republican party". ulsterherald.com. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Dissident party Saoradh opens office in Belfast". Belfasttelegraph. BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Saoradh 'follows well trod path'".
- "IRA Volunteer Junior McDaid's wife hurt by Saoradh snub".
- McDaid House will allow us to rebuild: Mellon
- "Doors closed at Saoradh HQ in Derry following notice to quit". 30 April 2019.
- "Saoradh leader says continuation of dissident republican violence 'inevitable'". Belfasttelegraph.
- "Militant Irish Republican group linked to New IRA spark fury in Glasgow". 28 April 2019.
- "Journalist shot dead in Derry during rioting in the city". BBC News. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "New IRA and Saoradh face backlash over Lyra McKee murder". The Guardian. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "Ministers condemn march by republican group in Dublin as 'sickening' and 'disturbing'". Belfast Telegraph. 21 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "Protest: Friends of Lyra McKee tell members of Junior McDaid House 'there is blood on your hands'". 22 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "Friends of Lyra McKee place red handprints at Saoradh HQ in Derry". Belfast Telegraph. 22 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- Fitzmaurice, Maurice (23 November 2016). "PSNI defend stop and search op in which child snapped with officer".
- "Dissident republicans launch new political party". The Irish Times. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Reinisch, Dieter (15 November 2019). "Opinion: I went to the Saoradh party conference to see where radical republicanism is going". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 16 November 2019.