Troops Out activists detained after Dublin conference
Two long-standing members of the British-based Troops Out
Movement (TOM) were detained at Holyhead port last weekend as
they were returning from the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis. Mary Pearson,
the national secretary and Joe Glenholmes, former campaigns
organiser, were questioned for one and a half hours at the Welsh
Apart from the usual name, address, job, where travelling to/from
etc, they were questioned about their family, friends, car, trips
to Ireland, political beliefs and activities.
The Special branch took away Sinn Fein Ard Fheis papers and
personal notes, a T.O.M. leaflet on the war in Iraq, Columbia 3
leaflets, cards and fundraising sheet. They also, took away a
personal diary, medical documentation, a used Belfast flight
ticket and a tourist map of Dublin.
Joe Glenholmes expressed his fury at the arrest, he said
"I'm happy to talk politics as long as they like, my belief that
Britain has no place in Ireland is something I've expressed and
campaigned on for years. What the aim of my detention was, I'm
not sure. But if they think by harassment they'll stop me
campaigning , they had better think again".
An Mary Pearson was equally annoyed and said:
"My political activities and regular attendance at events in
Ireland is well known, I've been stopped before, but this
detention was like going back 15 years. I asked did they not
realise that there was a ceasefire and a peace process ongoing. I
was particularly annoyed about being questioned about my
children, even though they are grown up now. This seems to be an
age old tactic to make a woman feel deep concern and quite
One of the main area's of questioning was the Columbia 3. They
were particularly interested as to whether or not Joe & Mary were
involved in fundraising and why they were supporting the three
The detention meant that the coach Mary & Joe were travelling on
left them behind at Holyhead, and they were forced to take a
difficult, much longer train journey at considerable expense to
enable them to get home to Birmingham.
Mary and Joe are both active trade unionists and have called on
the unions, MPs, and the Irish community to support them in
challenging their detention.
* Anyone else wishing to support them should write to the Home
Secretary at House of Commons and Peter Hain at the Welsh Office.
If anyone wishes to contact Mary and/or Joe for further
information, email firstname.lastname@example.org