Former policeman blows the whistle on mudererous Glenanne Gang in new documentary

West Belfast film maker Sean Murry talks about the documentary Unquiet Graves and the Glenanne Gang to the Irish News Picture by Hugh Russell.

A DOCUMENTARY about the loyalist Glenanne Gang – who were thought to be responsible for more than 120 killings in an area of Mid Ulster once dubbed ‘murder triangle’ – took four years to complete.

West Belfast filmmaker Sean Murray said he could have made the film in two years but said it “wouldn’t have been the documentary he wanted to make”.

The film, which was funded from charitable donations, crowd funding and from the filmmaker’s own pocket, tells the story of a gang of loyalists, that included members of the security forces, involved in a sectarian campaign of terror from 1972 until 1978.

Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea, it finishes with a reading of the ‘Strand at Lough Beg’, the famous poem by Seamus Heaney he wrote in memory of his cousin Colum McCartney, who was shot dead by members of the Glennanne Gang dressed as UDR soldiers in Newtownhamilton in 1975.

“I contacted Stephen Rea probably about a year after we had started the film,” said Murray, the son of leading republican Sean ‘Spike’ Murray.

“The one condition he had was that he wanted approval from the Heaney family, which of course we needed to do anyway. Once we got that over the line Stephen was amazing and his voice really brings another dynamic to it.”

Catholic priests Fr Denis Faul and Fr Raymond Murray, who started to highlight the activities of the murder gang back in the 1970s, said at the time that the RUC had “a 100 per cent failure rate” when it came to convicting loyalists for murders in the area.

More than a decade ago the Pat Finucane Centre and journalist Anne Cadwallader started to research the activities of the Glenanne Gang.

The book, Unquiet Graves by Ms Cadwallader, provided the basis of the research for the documentary, which also takes the same name.

Howver in the course of the making of the film Mr Murray said he managed to uncover new details of how the gang operated after speaking to ex-RUC man and self confessed Glenanne gang member John Weir.

Former RUC man self confessed Glenanne Gang member John Weir.

That meeting happened after Mr Murray was put in contact with the former RUC man by Margaret Urwin of the Justice for the Forgotten group, who had previously managed to link the gang to the Dublin Monaghan bombings which claimed the lives of 33 people and a full term unborn baby in May 1974.

Weir, who was convicted for the murder of Catholic shopkeeper William Strathearn in April 1977, currently lives in South Africa, where Mr Murray travelled to interview him last year.

“I asked him at the end of the interview did he regret it, and he told me he didn’t regret anything and he’d be a liar if he said did, but he’s very, very frank.

“With any of the people I spoke to it was about leaving some kind of legacy. I think they’ve looked back at what they’ve been involved in and they want to do something positive before they go.”

With the consultation on legacy arrangements currently underway the west Belfast man says storytelling, like the Glenanne documentary, should be a part of that healing process.

“The process isn’t just about the film being released, it was about people putting their trust in others to tell their story, to leave an historic legacy and documented narrative behind for future generations.

“To include some victims in the documentary and not all 120 was a very difficult creative decision to make, but one story is all their stories,” he added.

* Unquiet Graves will premier at Galway Film Festival on July 11, before going on tour.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

Army veterans may be protected for alleged historic offences as MPs announce official inquiry

A consultation document drawn up by the Northern Ireland Office on how to handle legacy killings has ruled out protection for Armed Forces veterans.

MPs are to launch a formal inquiry into whether British Armed Forces veterans could be granted amnesty from prosecution for alleged historic offences, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The Commons defence select committee will investigate the possibility of introducing a time limit on prosecutions and will call on high-ranking officials, including the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, and the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, to give evidence.

Currently, veterans from the Troubles face prosecution for alleged historic offences committed nearly fifty years ago, and some MPs have claimed that recent prosecutions of former British soldiers amount to a “witch-hunt”.

The disclosure follows proposals made last month by the Northern Ireland Office on how to handle deaths during the Troubles that included ruling out a time limit on prosecutions of servicemen.

Theresa May has previously labelled the treatment of North of Ireland veterans as “patently unfair” but has so far refused to commit to introducing a statute of limitations.

Four senior Cabinet members have expressed their misgivings over the exclusion of an amnesty and Theresa May has labelled the treatment of Northern Ireland veterans as “patently unfair”, but has so far refused to commit to introducing a statute of limitations.

The inquiry, which is expected to last around six months, could put further pressure on the government to include such a provision in any proposals addressing the legacy of the Troubles.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, who has called for the introduction of a statute of limitations on a UK-wide basis which would also cover other conflicts including Afghanistan and Iraq, said he “welcomed” the inquiry.

Sir Jeffrey, a senior DUP member, said: “It’s appropriate that the defence committee should be looking at this rather than the Northern Ireland office … the MoD should be taking the lead in terms of putting in place the kind of protections armed forced needs when going into combat.”

Timeline | The Troubles

  • 1969

    The British Army deploys to Belfast and Londonderry after serious riots. The Irish Republican Army splits into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA.

  • 1971

    Internment begins. 7,000 people flee, 14 are shot dead and more than 300 arrested.

  • 1972

    Bloody Sunday: 13 civilians are shot dead by the Army during a civil-rights march in Londonderry.

  • 1974

    The Provisional IRA kill 21 in the Birmingham pub bombing, and five in Guildford. Prevention of Terrorism Act introduced.

  • 1975

    Ceasefire between Provisional IRA and UK government until July. Internment ends.

  • 1979

    Airey Neave, shadow spokesman on Northern Ireland, is murdered by an Irish National Liberation Army car bomb as he leaves the Houses of Parliament.

  • 1981

    Republican prisoners in the Maze prison go on hunger strike. MP Bobby Sands dies.

  • 1984

    Provisional IRA bomb the Conservative Party conference in Brighton, killing five.

  • 1985

    Anglo-Irish Agreement signed, accepting that the Dublin government had to have an input into Northern Ireland.

  • 1987

    Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen bombed.

  • 1994

    Loyalist paramilitaries announce a ceasefire negotiated by members and activists across Northern Ireland. It lasts for 17 months.

  • 1996

    Political talks at Stormont begin with Sinn Féin. A bomb in London’s Docklands kills two, ending the ceasefire.

  • 1997

    The Provisional IRA renews the ceasefire in July. Sinn Féin signs Mitchell Principles to start taking part in peace talks.

  • 1998

    Good Friday Agreement ends 30 years of violence. Ulster Unionist David Trimble is elected First Minister. The Real IRA kills 29 civilians in a bomb attack in Omagh. Small-scale violence continues.

Institutions to deal with the legacy of the conflict, including a Historical Investigations Unit to take forward outstanding investigations into Troubles-related deaths, were agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, although an amnesty was not among them.

However, the agreed proposals have been put on hold due to a small number of outstanding disputes and a public consultation was launched last month by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to try and break the political impasse.

With many thanks to the: Daily Telegraph for the origional story.

Backlash of the ‘betrayed’ squaddies.

THOUSANDS of British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles have been encouraged to brand themselves “betrayed” on social media as a row over prosecutions escalates. Many are taking to Facebook as they try to garner greater public support for their cause.

Campaigner Alan Barry posted a picture of himself serving in the Army, left, on Facebook

They have changed their profile pictures to photographs of themselves as young men on patrol in Northern Ireland. Stamped across the photos, in capital letters, is the word “betrayed”.

Alan Barry, who runs campaign group Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, and is fundraising to finish a documentary The Great Betrayal, about the treatment of those who served during the Troubles, said his group has more than 24,000 members.

“We have asked them to put as their Facebook picture a picture of themselves in NI with the word ‘betrayed’ as a banner across it,” he said.

“Quite a few have already done it.”

Former servicemen will gather outside Parliament on June 15, the same day as a reading of a Bill on an statute of limitations on prosecutions put forward by Conservative MP Richard Benyon.

OUTRAGE following Corbyn’s refusal to back NI staying in the UK

We have asked them to put as their Facebook picture a picture of themselves in NI with the word ‘betrayed’ as a banner across it

Last week the Sunday Express revealed that the group was sending white feathers, a traditional symbol of cowardice, to politicians in protest.

Among those targeted were Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley.

The row erupted after ministers dumped a proposed time limit on investigations for those who served during the conflict, which began in 1968.

Critics say that the clandestine nature of organisations like the IRA meant that it was easier to investigate former soldiers than terrorists.

But the idea of an amnesty for soldiers has been opposed by a number of political parties in Northern Ireland.

Some fear the policy could end up with protection being offered to former terrorists as well. But many former servicemen still say that they feel “hung out to dry”.

With many thanks to the: Sunday Express for the origional story.

British Army civil staff also face probe

MORE than 300 retired civil servants who served in Northern Ireland have been placed on a list of material witnesses as British veterans brace themselves for a raft of historic war crime prosecutions.

Conservative MP Richard Benyon served in the North of Ireland as a platoon commander

It follows Downing Street’s recent decision not to insist on a time limit for any prosecution of alleged offences – known as a statute of limitations.

It has also proposed a £150million inquiry into Army shootings in the province during the 1970s and 1980s.

The move was branded a “betrayal” by furious Tory MPs, who accuse the Prime Minister of “pandering to Sinn Fein” as she tries to find a way of reinstating the collapsed devolved government in Stormont.

Hundreds of civil servants, carrying equivalent military ranks ranging from Captain to Colonel, served alongside soldiers as they fought to retain control over the Province during the Troubles.

Many of these men and women, most of whom are now retired, were closely involved in operational matters, such as repairs of crucial communication masts after their destruction by the IRA.

Ireland veterans give out white feathers

Northern Ireland veterans deserve better than this – EXPRESS COMMENT
All of these cases were investigated by the authorities at the time, and those concerned cleared

Mark Francois

Though none were armed, all those sent on duty to the Province were closely involved in operational matters, often working closely with soldiers.

Sources say the list took more than six months to prepare, with staff at both ministries working hard to trace retired civil servants, implying the Government had full knowledge it would not be imposing a statute of limitation long before the surprise announcement last month.

Those on the list, some of whom may well be in their 80s, will be allowed to give evidence behind a screen if called upon – a luxury not afforded to veterans who are prosecuted.

Those who do not willingly agree, sources say, may be compelled to give evidence. Later this month Conservative MP Richard Benyon, who served in Northern Ireland as a platoon commander, will introduce a Private Members Bill to parliament calling for a 10-year statute of limitations for soldiers serving in any theatre.

With many thanks to the: Sunday Express for the origional story.

British Army Veterans protest at being charged with murder


BRITISH Army veterans staged a rally at Belfast City Hall yesterday claiming the government has “walked away from them”.

The veterans were protesting at the ongoing criminal investigations into the actions of soldiers during the Troubles.

The protesters, who were joined by DUP MP Gavin Robinson, called on supporters to attend a second rally at Belfast Laganside court on Friday when two former soldiers will appear in connection with the murder of republican leader Joe McCann in Belfast in 1972.

Mr Robinson is a member of the Westminster select committee that recommended a statute of limitations for investigations into former members of the military.

Veteran John Ross at Belfast

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story

Meeting honours Rosemary Nelson – “THE TRUEST OF LAWYERS”

“She (Rosemary Nelson) was the truest of lawyers because she stood for one of the fundamentals, that everyone is equal before the law.” (Article 20, “Everyone is equal before the law”, of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: https://goo.gl/GFJp5G )

‘”Her practice is a reminder to us lawyers that one of our functions is to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said.’

Chairman of the Bar Council Mr John McMenamin.

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Additional information relating to Rosemary Nelson can be found in the message-text of an email sent yesterday (April 4th 2018) to Dr David Cheyne GP.

A copy of the full message-text of the email can be found in the sections below.

A slightly edited copy of the full email, which was sent to, among others, a selection of public officials in the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the European Union, and the United States of America, can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrDavidCheyneGP/4April2018/Gmail.html

There is also an unedited “Gmail PDF” copy at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrDavidCheyneGP/4April2018/Gmail.pdf

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HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS PETITION ON BEHALF OF JULIAN ASSANGE

“Human rights activists including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Pamela Anderson have published an open letter demanding that the Ecuadorian government restore Julian Assange’s freedom of speech.”

RT Published time: 31 March 2018 13:48, at:
https://www.rt.com/news/422860-assange-open-letter-reconnect/

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“John Pilger: Blocking internet access for Julian Assange is a war on freedom of speech”:

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CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
(which came fully into force in December 2009)

Article 11

Freedom of expression and information

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

===

Article 41

Right to good administration

1. Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union.

2. This right includes:

(a)

the right of every person to be heard, before any individual measure which would affect him or her adversely is taken;

(b)

the right of every person to have access to his or her file, while respecting the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy;

(c)

the obligation of the administration to give reasons for its decisions.

3. Every person has the right to have the Union make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States.

4. Every person may write to the institutions of the Union in one of the languages of the Treaties and must have an answer in the same language.

=== === ===

PREAMBLE

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission solemnly proclaim the following text as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

The peoples of Europe, in creating an ever closer union among them, are resolved to share a peaceful future based on common values.

Conscious of its spiritual and moral heritage, the Union is founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity; it is based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. It places the individual at the heart of its activities, by establishing the citizenship of the Union and by creating an area of freedom, security and justice.

The Union contributes to the preservation and to the development of these common values while respecting the diversity of the cultures and traditions of the peoples of Europe as well as the national identities of the Member States and the organisation of their public authorities at national, regional and local levels; it seeks to promote balanced and sustainable development and ensures free movement of persons, services, goods and capital, and the freedom of establishment.

To this end, it is necessary to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights in the light of changes in society, social progress and scientific and technological developments by making those rights more visible in a Charter.

This Charter reaffirms, with due regard for the powers and tasks of the Union and for the principle of subsidiarity, the rights as they result, in particular, from the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to the Member States, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Social Charters adopted by the Union and by the Council of Europe and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the European Court of Human Rights. In this context the Charter will be interpreted by the courts of the Union and the Member States with due regard to the explanations prepared under the authority of the Praesidium of the Convention which drafted the Charter and updated under the responsibility of the Praesidium of the European Convention.

Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations.

The Union therefore recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out hereafter.

===

The full text of the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION can be viewed at:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012P/TXT

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RELATED GOOGLE LISTING:

UK Prime Minister Theresa May MP, CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, William Finnerty:
https://goo.gl/2WzFtz

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“IF YOU DON’T DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS
WHO WILL DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS?”
(Murdered Human Rights Lawyer Rosemary Nelson):

http://www.humanrightsireland.com/index.htm#26March2018

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Posthumous Award

“In 2004, the Cory Collusion Inquiry recommended that the UK Government hold an inquiry into the circumstances of Nelson’s death. Nelson was posthumously awarded the Train Foundation’s Civil Courage Prize, which recognises “extraordinary heroes of conscience”.[15]”

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Nelson

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“INCREASED DEVOTION TO THAT CAUSE”

” — that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead SHALL NOT have died in vain — ”

From: http://www.humanrightsireland.com/FACEBOOK/26February2016/GeneralElection.htm#TheGreatTask

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Human Rights Ireland: http://www.humanrightsireland.com

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ATTACHED:
(Photograph of Human Rights Lawyer Rosemarie Nelson RIP)

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END OF EMAIL TEXT

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RELATED FACEBOOK PUBLICATIONS
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/index.htm#4April2018

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RELATED COMMENTS FROM IRISH TIMES ARTICLE:

‘Mr John McMenamin, chairman of the Bar Council, said Rosemary Nelson did not represent the rich, the successful or the famous, but chose to represent those profoundly alienated from the state structures in Northern Ireland.’

‘”Her practice is a reminder to us lawyers that one of our functions is to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said. She was the truest of lawyers because she stood for one of the fundamentals, that everyone is equal before the law.’

From: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/meeting-honours-rosemary-nelson-1.196208

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Human Rights Lawyer Rosemarie Nelson RIP

With many thanks to the: Traitor Republic.

The story from the Irish Times.

Rosemary Nelson knew she was in danger, London-based solicitor Ms Gareth Peirce told a memorial meeting for the murdered solicitor…

Rosemary Nelson knew she was in danger, London-based solicitor Ms Gareth Peirce told a memorial meeting for the murdered solicitor in Dublin last night. The meeting was attended by the Minister for Justice, Mr O’Donoghue, and the Attorney General, Mr David Byrne.

“She knew what she was risking. She could have stopped,” Ms Peirce said. “She wasn’t sackcloth and ashes. She was funny, she was witty.”

Mr John McMenamin, chairman of the Bar Council, said Rosemary Nelson did not represent the rich, the successful or the famous, but chose to represent those profoundly alienated from the state structures in Northern Ireland.

“Her practice is a reminder to us lawyers that one of our functions is to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said. She was the truest of lawyers because she stood for one of the fundamentals, that everyone is equal before the law.

“Many people, including the Nelson family, are deeply sceptical that the RUC is the appropriate body to investigate the murder of a woman who was routinely and repeatedly threatened with death by members of that same force,” said Mr Pat O’Connor, president of the Law Society. He said that this was one of the factors which led the Law Society to call for an independent investigation into the murder of Pat Finucane, and to ensure that the investigation into Rosemary Nelson’s murder was carried out to the highest possible standards.

Mr Pat Mageean, a colleague of Rosemary Nelson on the Committee for the Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland, said she was not killed because of her politics or because of her religion, but because she was good at her job.

Mr Michael Farrell, co-chairman of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, which organised the event, said: “If the security forces are not prepared to accept the role allocated to lawyers in our system, we are very little removed from a police state.”

A billboard campaign demanding an independent investigation and judicial inquiry into the murder of Rosemary Nelson was launched yesterday in Belfast. A mobile advertisement toured the city bearing the words: “Mr Blair and Mr Ahern: If you don’t defend human rights lawyers, who will defend human rights?”

Last night at a dinner in New York, Ms Padraigin Drinan of the Rosemary Nelson Campaign accepted an award on Ms Nelson’s behalf presented by the International League of Jurists.

With many thanks to: The Sunday Times and The Times for the origional story.