Coalisland victims of collusion lobby US Congress and Irish-America

RELATIVES of 4 IRA Volunteers killed at Clonoe by the SAS have raised the issue with the USCongress, Senate and influential Irish Americans.

Relatives For Justice, Belfast

They were part of a Relatives for Justice delegation which spent a week lobbying in the States accompanied by leading Belfast lawyer Niall Murphy of Kevin R Winters & Company.

The visit took place over the St Patrick’s week of festivities and included meetings in New York and Washington DC.

The relatives presented evidence that the 4 men, killed on February 16, 1992, were led directly to their deaths in an ambush and assassination operation and that ample opportunity existed for safe and effective arrests within the rule of law.

They presented a report into the killings which outlined that the men were under surveillance and that the authorities knew of the planned attack at least 4 days in advance yet did nothing to prevent it, rather they led the men directly into a trap and then ambushed them in hail of 514 bullets without warning or opportunity to surrender. The men had posed no threat at the time of the shooting. These families are still awaiting an inquest.

Róisín Ui Mhuiri, the sister of Barry O’Donnell killed by the SAS at Clonoe added: “The British authorities could have arrested my brother and the three other men. They could have prevented the planned IRA attack. They decided not to. A decision was taken to kill all four men and that decision was taken at the highest political and military levels.

“Misinformation was disseminated concerning the killings in that there was a gun-battle. This is untrue, not one shot was fired back as the four men were dismantling weapons and posed no threat at the time of the ambush.

“The actions of the British that evening constitute a policy of shoot-to-kill and contravene international law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It was a direct violation of Article 2 of that convention of which the British government is a signatory to.

“We have faced perfunctory investigative procedures in which the state determined that none of those responsible for the ambush and assassinations would face charges. This decision was made well in advance of the public prosecutor being in possession of all the material evidence and statements.

“We have also had an inquest into the killings postponed for the past twenty-years with delay, prevarication and refusal to provide evidence to the coroners court by the authorities.

“We hope that by bringing this to the attention of the international community that we can break through what can only be described as a barricade to the truth which has been erected by the British government to cover their actions concerning these killings.”

Human Rights lawyer Niall Murphy said: “These families have been to the fore in campaigning for justice and together with our practice of lawyers we have initiated groundbreaking litigation on these cases. Together with RFJ we will be updating a number of lawyers, judges and those who have a particular legal and professional interest in these and many other conflict related cases here in the north.

“It is our intention to further develop legal strategies and build international networks and relationships with all aspects in the field of law, human rights and transitional justice work on behalf of these bereaved families and those injured including our wider client base who have also been adversely affected by the conflict.

Concluding Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson said: “This is an important trip with huge significance in terms of legacy, truth and justice work. These three major incidents that claimed 15 lives and injured almost as many are symptomatic of the wider issues that are reflected almost daily in our society within the media by victims and survivors of all persuasions.

“For those bereaved and injured truth and justice are extremely important and especially so if the actual authorities with responsibility for upholding the law and protecting life are directly and indirectly implicated in these deaths.”

 

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Tyrone Times

Community tell drug dealers – Stay out of our town!

A packed house in the Cornmill Centre, Coalisland during the public meeting dealing with issues involving drugs in the area INTT1312-172JSA packed house in the Cornmill Centre, Coalisland during the public meeting dealing with issues involving drugs in the area INTT1312-172JS

THE COALISLAND community have turned out in force at a public meeting in order to send a strong message to drug dealers: You are not welcome in our town!

Organisers of the event, which took place on Thursday night in the Cornmill Heritage Centre, say they have been overwhelmed at the number of people who showed up to demand more action from the police to rid the streets of illegal substances.

The Tyrone Times exclusively revealed recently how dealers in Coalisland were routinely handing out free drugs, including types which are more addictive than heroin, to children as young as 13.

More than 200 people attended Thursday night’s public meeting, including representatives from local churches, youth groups and sporting organisations, with Claire Carleton from the charity Opportunity Youth present to provide information on types of drugs and symptoms which may indicate the use of such illegal substances.

One distressed local woman even told how she had “effectively lost” her son to the scourge of drugs, while others claimed police were lacking in their response to calls about suspected drug dealing in public areas.

Mid Ulster Assembly Member, Michelle O’Neill, attended the meeting along with Coalisland Councillor, Padraig Quinn, and told the Times people from the community were determined to find a solution to the ongoing drugs problem in the town.

“The strongest message that came out of that room on Thursday night was that 200 or more people felt strongly enough about what is happening in their town to come to a public meeting”, said Mrs O’Neill.

“But we need to do a whole lot more to tackle this problem. The strength of feeling at that meeting should send a strong message to the drug dealers in our town. They are not welcome, and there should be no place in our society for drug dealers to live comfortably.”

Michelle O’Neill said the problem facing the Coalisland community was a “collective” one, which required everyone to take responsibility for tackling the issue.

“We need to look at the policing element, what is being done to police the town and deal with the drug dealers”, she continued.

“It is very evident that people feel not enough is being done by the police. People at the meeting spoke about making reports about drugs being dealt on the streets and nothing being done, so we need more action and tougher sentences for those who are caught.

“We also need services for people who find themselves addicted to drugs, because those people are victims in all of this.

“This meeting was a first step in tackling the problem. We have a lot more to do. People want a meeting with police to talk about their role, and we plan to have a dedicated meeting for young people to speak about the issues.

“Parish Priest, Fr Paul Byrne, also plans to hold a meeting in St Patrick’s Hall this Friday night, March 30, which will be another opportunity for people to come together and speak about the problem.”

Cllr Padraig Quinn, meanwhile, encouraged anyone who would like to help organise efforts to tackle the problem of drugs within the community, to contact him directly.

He added: “A lot of people contributed to the debate, there were many suggestions and stories shared and we now have a platform on which to build. The underlining point of the night was that this problem affects everyone, not just an unlucky few.

“There are many aspects that we need to take into consideration when attempting to tackle the drug problem, but above all else, it is vital that we come together as a community and that we don’t simply ask what someone else is doing to help, but ask, what can I do to help? We need to work to secure a drug free future for our town.”

Details of future meetings will be made available to the local press in due course.

Cllr Padraig Quinn can be contacted on 07834 592 880.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : Tyrone Times

Anger as McGeough trial costs taxpayers £226,000

Gerry McGeough INTT0711-139JS

Gerry McGeough INTT0711-139JS

THE trial of former IRA man Gerry McGeough has cost the taxpayer £226,418 in terms of legal aid paid to his defence team.

 

The amount was racked up by solicitors and barristers during the four year-long trial, which eventually resulted in McGeough being found guilty of attempting to murder UDR soldier Samuel Brush in 1981.

The 53-year-old was also convicted of possessing firearms with intent and holding IRA membership.

The legal charges were incurred for McGeough’s counsel at the magistrates’ court, for three high court bail applications, advice provided under the police and criminal evidence act, representation at the crown court, a court of appeal application, and civil legal aid fees in respect of a judicial review.

DUP MLA Maurice Morrow requested the figures from the Minister of Justice at the Northern Ireland Assembly. Minister David Ford said that all claims have been received and paid in respect of McGeough’s legal aid charges, and that no additional bills were expected.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone representative branded the expense as ‘contemptible’ and the result of McGeough’s ‘numerous attempts to gain a reprieve’.

“Gerry McGeough’s legal aid expenditure is nothing short of a disgrace”, said the DUP peer.

“It has now reached disproportionate figures of almost £1/4 Million. That figure includes solicitor and barrister fees of £182451.00 and £8034 on disbursements. And there is no guarantee he is finished yet.

“However we now at least have it in black and white albeit by default, that McGeough wounded my colleague Cllr Samuel Brush.

“Whilst that is a much watered down version of attempted murder, at least McGeough’s supporters did more than him, by acknowledging his role in this despicable incident.

“Instead of facing facts McGeough made numerous attempts to play the beleaguered victim, constantly bemoaning his treatment and trying to set himself as a breed apart.

“He cares nothing for the real victim, and shows absolute contempt to the rule of law. It’s all about how he’s been supposedly hard done by. He made spurious remarks of being forced to return to prison whilst ill, which were proved to be rubbish.

“The sooner McGeough comes to terms with the fact he is a convicted terrorist who is benefiting hugely from only serving a fraction of the sentence he deserves, the better it will be for all concerned, including himself.

“It’s time the liberal and lavish dispensing of Legal Aid was curtailed on cases such as this. There was a time when Legal Aid was only granted if there was a reasonable chance of a favourable outcome.

“The system needs to be challenged on these issues. Whilst we often hear the cry of human rights that should not automatically mean an open cheque book. Such disproportionate pay-outs cannot be permitted to continue.”

WITH MANY THANKS TO : Tyrone Times

 

Change your picture to Stiliyan Petrov day.

Change your picture to Stiliyan Petrov day.

Wednesday

  •   Change your pic for a day of Stiliyan Petrov for a day to respect him. Change on April 4th. Get well soon Stan! HH
 
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Friends of Friends Event · By Oran Storrie.
 
 

£194,000 BILL TO KEEP MARIAN PRICE IN PRISON !

    
NEW Figures reveal it cost almost £200,000 to house Old Bailey Bomber Marian Price in Maghaberry Prison for a nine month period before she was moved to Hydebank women’s prison earlier this year.
 
The 58-year-old, who served time in jail in 1973 for her part in the bombing of the Old Bailey and Scotland Yard which killed one person and injured 200 others, was returned to prison last year for her involvement at a dissident republican rally in Derry.
Speaking after Price was accused of encouraging support for an illegal organisation at the event in the city’s cemetery, Secretary of State Owen Paterson said her licence had been revoked because the threat she posed had ” significantly increased”. Price, also known by her married name McGlinchey, had previously been arrested during the investigation into the 2009 murders of two soilders at Massereene Army Barracks.
 
Later she was charged with providing a mobile phone for the purposes of terrorism. A Freedom of Information request revealed that the total cost of holding her in Maghaberry – an all-male-prison-until February 17th was £194,537, Among the costs were  £693 for food, more than £3,000 for refurbishment of the wing and almost £190,000 to staff the unit.
Price had been sent to Maghaberry following her arrest last year but was then moved to Hydebank on the advice of health trust staff.
 
 
WITH MANY THANKS TO : SARAH FOX, BELFAST TELEGRAPH.
 
 
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How a noble exercise became a political act

How a noble exercise became a political act

A federal appeals judge will decide next week whether to overrule a court decision to approve the release of IRA statements made to a Jesuit university in the city

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR since the subpoena from the US attorney’s office arrived on the august campus of Boston College, an annus horribilis for the Jesuit university founded by Irish immigrants a century and a half ago.

Boston College has spent considerable time and resources building a reputation for being not just an academic observer but also an active facilitator of the Northern Ireland peace process. It has hosted, at its own expense, scores of politicians, civil servants, journalists and others from Northern Ireland and the Republic over the years. Its Dublin office, overlooking St Stephen’s Green, frequently welcomed visitors from the North. And among US universities its Irish studies programme was considered the most plugged-in and influential.

It was in that spirit, and with the belief that the Belfast Agreement of 1998 had ushered in a new era of reconciliation and reflection, that Boston College embarked on an ambitious effort to collect the oral histories of paramilitaries on both sides of the divide. Those former paramilitaries recorded their stories with the understanding that they wouldn’t be made public until after they died.

But that subpoena, delivered by US prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities, has put everything at risk, including Boston College’s well-earned reputation for being a force for good in the peace process. What began as an academic exercise with noble intentions has degenerated into the sort of fingerpointing and recrimination that dogged the North for so long.

US prosecutors want any and all information contained in the oral histories about the 1972 disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a Belfast widow whose 10 children were scattered after the IRA accused her of informing. At least two of the 26 former IRA members interviewed for the project accused the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of giving the order to kill McConville, a charge Adams categorically denies. A judge has ruled that seven other interviews contain information germane to a PSNI investigation into McConville’s murder and should be turned over.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Boston will hear arguments from the researchers Boston College hired to gather the oral histories.

It is, according to lawyers, the last, best chance to preserve the confidentiality that the former paramilitaries who told their stories believed they had. But it is a legal effort separate and apart from Boston College.

When the US government first demanded access to just two of the oral histories, the university and its researchers, the journalist and author Ed Moloney and the former IRA prisoner turned academic and writer Anthony McIntyre, were unified in their opposition to what they called a cynical government fishing expedition. The idea that an American university was being used as an intelligence or evidence gathering arm of a foreign government was widely considered outrageous.

But there were cracks in that unified front from the beginning. Boston College officials were keen to address the matter quietly, and were miffed when Moloney, the longtime Belfast-based journalist now living in New York, helped the New York Times break the news about the subpoena.

There was an even more fundamental disagreement. Moloney and McIntyre saw the demand for the records as a crass political act, one meant to embarrass if not prosecute Adams after his election to the Dáil. They believed the legal fight against it should be just as political, especially given the role the US played in brokering the Belfast Agreement. Boston College’s lawyers took a different tack, and when they agreed to let a federal judge review some of the records in private, the break between the two sides was irreparable. Moloney and McIntyre accused Boston College of folding without a fight, of abandoning them and those they interviewed without using its considerable resources to stand up to the US justice department and, by extension, the British government.

College officials say they had no choice, given that the initial demand was for the accounts of Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price. Hughes had died in 2008, and so with him did the pledge of confidentiality.

Price, meanwhile, had given an interview to the Irish News in Belfast, saying she had made her allegations against Adams known to Boston College, in effect outing herself.

Even before the college agreed to let US district judge William Young examine the archive in private to determine what should be turned over to authorities, Moloney and McIntyre had concluded the college’s interests were not theirs and mounted their own defence, stressing the danger they said McIntyre and his family, those interviewed and the peace process itself would face if the oral histories were made public.

Slowly but surely, Moloney and McIntyre have attracted a stable of prominent supporters. Earlier this year, McIntyre’s wife, Carrie, an American citizen, spent time in Washington DC, New York and Boston, pleading with politicians and Irish-American groups for backing. The lobbying paid off, nowhere more prominently than with Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee. Kerry has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to block the subpoena on the grounds that turning over the records to UK authorities undermines US foreign policy.

Last week, the New York senator Charles Schumer joined the chorus, saying the records grab contravenes “the spirit of the Good Friday Accords . . . Many have taken enormous risks in the name of moving Northern Ireland away from war and towards peace, and requests like this can have the effect of undermining that effort,” Schumer said in a letter to Clinton and the US attorney general, Eric Holder.

Kerry and Schumer say the treaty between the US and UK that authorities have cited in demanding information relevant to a criminal investigation “is not intended to reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement, or to impede any further efforts to resolve conflicts in Northern Ireland”.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has also filed a brief in support of Moloney and McIntyre. Harvey Silverglate, a well-known civil-liberties lawyer who first raised the prospect of the civil liberties union getting involved, is critical of the college. “Boston College’s haphazard and half-hearted defence of the fundamental importance of academic freedom has embarrassed the institution, threatens to harm academics everywhere and, not so incidentally, endangers the lives of people brave enough to reveal, for posterity, important historical truths.”

Silverglate suggests the problem in crafting a unified front is philosophical. He says no one at the college was willing to risk legal sanction, including jail, to defy government intrusion.

Journalists, he said, consider doing such things a badge of honour.

Moloney, in fact, stared down police in Northern Ireland when threatened with jail if he didn’t turn over his notes about a murder more than a decade ago. He refused, and the police eventually backed down.

Jack Dunn, a Boston College spokesman, declined to respond to Silverglate’s charges. He said the college had handed over the material of Hughes and Price because it had no legal recourse but that it was still fighting an order to turn over seven other IRA interviews.

It is unclear whether all this new-found support for Moloney and McIntyre will convince the appeals court to overrule the decision by a district judge to approve the release of the records to the British government.

But it’s their only shot.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : The Irish Times.com, KEVIN CULLEN in Boston.

My brother Gary became the latest victim of selective internment this week

 My brother Gary became the latest victim of selective internment this week. He was arrested after a family funeral on Thursday and is now being held in the MagHaberry Gaol hell hole on charges dating back to 1986. Gary dedicated most of his life to the republican cause. He spent many years (Sentences totaling 20 years)rotting in various gaols for being a republican activist and for taking part in… the resistance against the occupation of Ireland. There are those who will say things have changed in the North of Ireland. There are those who will say we have moved on in the North of Ireland. Well, my response to them is this… We haven’t really moved on and things haven’t really changed. Tonight, my brother, along with many of our brothers and sisters rots in a British gaol. Who will be next??

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Pol Mac Adaim