McGuinness call over Derry schoolboy bomb victim Gordon Gallagher

Gordon Gallagher
Gordon Gallagher was killed when he accidentally triggered an IRA bomb left in his garden
The parents of a schoolboy killed when he triggered an IRA bomb in Londonderry in 1973 believe the deputy first minister knows who was involved.

Nine-year-old Gordon Gallagher died when the device exploded in his garden in Creggan.

Martin McGuinness was in jail at the time, but Billy and Pat Gallagher said he could help them get to the truth about what happened.

The IRA admitted to the family that a device had been left in the garden.

However, it claimed the detonator was added by soldiers.

The schoolboy was playing ‘Cowboys and Indians‘ in the garden with his younger brother when he tripped on the bomb which had been left there.

His mother ran to help him.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Mr Gallagher said he was not at home at the time of the explosion, but was nearby and heard the bomb go off.

He went to the hospital to be with Gordon, while his wife stayed at her mother’s house with their other children.

“I went to phone Pat to say he was conscious,” said Mr Gallagher.

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“Start Quote

She said: ‘We’re sorry about your son but these things happen in war.’ I said: ‘Sure my son wasn’t at war, he was only nine years of age.’”

End Quote Billy Gallagher

“He was wheeled past me into theatre when I was on the phone.

“He died at half past five. I was talking to him, I thought he was going to be alright but they said it was the loss of blood.”

Mr Gallagher said IRA members came to his home to admit leaving the bomb in his garden.

“Two boys came and lied about it at the start.

“They told me their unit put the bomb there, but no detonator, that the Army must have come back and put a detonator – it’s ridiculous.

“Shock or no shock, I never believed that for a second.

“One of the men who came to tell me the lies, about two or three weeks after it, his wife arrived at my door and she apologised.

“She said: ‘We’re sorry about your son but these things happen in war.’

“I said: ‘Sure my son wasn’t at war, he was only nine years of age.’

“I chased them from my door.”

A Sinn Fein spokesman said Mr McGuinness was in jail at the time and had no information about the killing.

A recent report from the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found that the IRA was solely responsible for what happened.

Billy and Pat Gallagher with a picture of their nine-year-old son Gordon
Billy and Pat Gallagher with a picture of their son Gordon

The HET said it had failed to find any new leads in the case.

Now the family believes their only hope of getting to the truth is through the IRA.

Martin McGuiness was, by his own admission, second in command in the IRA at the time of Gordon’s death. The family said he would know who was involved and they are appealing to him for help.

The Gallagher family said they did not want to see anyone jailed for what happened to their son.

Mr Gallagher said he forgave the man who left the bomb. What they want is the truth from the IRA not the lies they were told at the time. They want an explanation and an apology from those who were involved.

The family is also considering asking the attorney general for a new inquest which would examine what happened in more detail and could prompt new witnesses to come forward.


David Ford ‘actively’ pursuing alternatives to prison strip-searching

Justice Minister David Ford
David Ford again defended his decision not to publish a report into strip-searching
The justice minister has said he is actively pursuing other alternatives to full body searching in Northern Ireland prisons.
David Ford said his department was “actively following up on what the alternatives are”.

He again defended his decision not to publish the findings of a Prison Service study into other options to strip-searching at Maghaberry Prison.

He said the report contained sensitive material relating to security issues.

“If we were to publish it, it would have to be so heavily redacted that it really would be absolutely meaningless,” he added.

Mr Ford’s decision has been criticised by Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney and the SDLP‘s John Dallat.

Mr McCartney has urged the justice minister to find alternatives to the “humiliating and degrading” searches.

Mr Ford admitted the process was “not particularly pleasant for either the officers carrying it out or for the prisoners”.

But he said the searches were necessary until a suitable alternative was found.

Mr Ford said the use of an x-ray system was one of the options being considered.

Prison reform campaigners have argued that full body searches are fuelling support for dissident republicans.

Last year, a group calling itself “the family and friends support group for republican prisoners Maghaberry” protested about strip-searching at the jail.

The minister denied claims by those protesting against the searches that the external arrangements had been relaxed.

“An agreement was made and it related to the issues of searching within the prison,” he said.

“It did not cover the issue, which applies to every prison in the UK, that there must be full body searching on entry to and exit from prison.”

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Nine men cleared of murdering UDA man Tommy English

Some of the acquitted men and their supporters emerge from the court after the verdicts Some of the acquitted men and their supporters emerge from the court after the verdicts

Nine men involved in the UVF supergrass trial in Belfast have been acquitted of the murder of UDA leader Tommy English.

Nine men involved in the UVF supergrass trial in Belfast have been acquitted of the murder of UDA leader Tommy English.

They include the alleged former UVF leader in north Belfast Mark Haddock.

Thirteen men had been charged with more than 30 offences including the murder of rival loyalist Mr English, kidnapping, and UVF membership.

Twelve out of the 13 were acquitted of all charges. Neil Pollock, 36, was convicted of possessing items intended for terrorism.

He was also convicted of intent to pervert the course of justice.

The trial, which ended last month after 71 days, was one of the longest and most expensive in Northern Ireland’s legal history.

It relied on the evidence of so-called supergrasses, Robert and Ian Stewart.

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The accused

  • Mark Haddock (43), Maghaberry Prison
  • David Miller (40), Upritchard Court, Bangor
  • John Bond (45), Essex Court, Carrickfergus
  • Darren Stuart Moore (42), Mount Vernon Park, Belfast
  • Alexander Thomas Wood (35), Milewater Way, Newtownabbey
  • Jason Loughlin (36), Bryson Court, Newtownabbey
  • Ronald Trevor Bowe (35), Ross House, Belfast
  • Samuel Jason Higgins (36), The Meadow, Antrim
  • Neil Pollock (36), Fortwilliam Gardens, Belfast
  • David Samuel McCrum (32), Beechgrove Drive, Newtownabbey
  • William Hinds (47), Ballycraigy Gardens, Newtownabbey
  • Mark Thompson (37), Ballyvesey Green, Newtownabbey
  • Phillip Laffin (34), Bridge Street, Antrim

In his judgement, Mr Justice Gillen told Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday that the Stewart brothers had been “ruthless terrorists who had lived on a daily diet of lies”.

He said there were still “the same men in different suits”.

The judge said: “These are witnesses of very bad character who have lied to the police and to the court; on some occasions wrongly implicated a number of men who were clearly not present at the crimes suggested”.

Tommy English Tommy English was murdered on Halloween night 2000

He said that on “other occasions, at worst, (they) falsely embellished or, at best, wildly confused the roles and words of those whom they alleged were present, have clear difficulties distinguishing one crime scene from another and have given evidence which is flatly contradicted by unchallenged independent evidence throughout the process”.

Mr Justice Gillen said the ongoing advances in forensic science and the limited statutory abolition of the rule against double jeopardy might ensure that those who committed these crimes will “yet face their just desserts”.

Earlier, the court heard Pollock was convicted because a witness had seen him buying a sledgehammer and he admitted buying it. It was believed to have been used in the English murder.

The BBC’s Ireland Correspondent, Mark Simpson, said about 200 people were in the courtroom, including armed police.

Acquitted of Mr English’s murder along with Mark Haddock were David Miller, 40; Alex Wood, 35; John Bond, 45; Darren Moore, 42; Ronald Bowe, 35; Samuel Higgins, 36; Jason Loughlin, 36, and Philip Laffin, 34.

They were also cleared of other charges including UVF membership, wounding, possessing guns and hijacking.

The others acquitted of offences including assisting offenders and perverting the course of justice were William Hinds, 47, David McCrum, 32, and Mark Thompson, 37.

The trial began last September.

Much of it was taken up by the testimonies of Robert and Ian Stewart.

They admitted UVF membership, and already served more than three years for their part in the murder of Mr English on Halloween night 2000.

The Ulster Defence Association member was shot dead in front of his wife and children at his home on the Ballyduff estate at the height of a loyalist feud between the UVF and UDA.

Show trial

After the verdicts, Progressive Unionist Party spokesman Ken Wilkinson said the proceedings had been “a show trial”.

He said the Stewart brothers had been shown to be “blatant liars”.

Raymond Laverty, a spokesperson for the Families Against Supergrass Trials group, also criticised the trial.

“It’s regrettable that the use of uncorroborated, unsupported supergrasses is re-emerging in this jurisdiction,” he said.

“Throughout such show trials in the past, the evidence of such supergrasses has been demonstrated as unreliable, dishonest, contaminated, collusive and not worthy of belief.”


Davy Hyland – “British Army haven’t gone away you know”

Independent republican councillor for Newry and Mourne, Davy Hyland, has voiced his anger and concern over the continued operations of the British Army in the six-counties.

Davy was speaking after it was recently revealed that the British army’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) were responsible for planting a tracking device on a republican’s car.

Davy said “The British army are very active in the six-counties, people might not see them everyday but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here, lurking in the shadows. There are thousands of British combat troops garrisoned in military bases across the North. We are under foreign occupation, make no bones about that”.

The revelations that a covert British army unit, the SRR, was involved in planting a tracking device on a republicans car is a worrying development. This particular unit are closely linked with the SAS and the 14th intelligence company who are well skilled in colluding with unionist death squads. How many more covert operations are being carried out against the republican community?

Hyland continued “British soldiers have also been involved in raiding homes across the 6 counties, including nationalist areas here in Newry and this was exposed by éirígí last year. At the time there wasn’t a single word of condemnation from the establishment parties. The same people who try and portray the 6 counties as a normal society, yet we are far from normal, we still have armed British soldiers on operations regardless of whether we can see them or not. The establishment parties might be happy that everything is ok as long as you can’t see British soldiers, but for republicans the British army is not welcome in any part of Ireland, under any guise, under any circumstances. 


POSTED ON BEHALF OF : by Stephen Murney on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 at 17:17 ·


POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  by: Samantha Richardson

Statement from The Family & Friends of Republican prisoners Maghaberry. 22nd Feb 2012

Statement from The Family & Friends of Republican prisoners Maghaberry. 22nd Feb 2012 David Ford’s refusal to publish the findings of a prison service study into alternatives to the degrading practice of strip searches is totally unacceptable in light of the current crisis within Maghaberry prison. Numerous critical r…eports into the running of the prison have pointed to the fact that the prison service and, in particular, the POA have time and again used security reasons as an excuse not to implement recommendations, one can only come to the conclusion that Ford, instead of taking on and facing down the old guard within the prison service, is himself using the same excuse to hold back on change. At every turn in trying to justify the prison regimes position on the August of 2010 agreement with republican prisoners and, in particular, the issue of strip searching, David Ford has been found wanting. He has lost the argument and is now resorting to using security as a cloak to try and hide the truth. The fact being that not one of the reasons he has given for retaining the degrading practice of strip searches has stood up to public scrutiny. We the Friends and Family group call on David Ford to stop pandering to the DUP/NIPS axis and publish the report without further delay. Martin Rafferty PRO Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry. ……END…..

LENTEN NOVENA 2 prepare ourselves for Easter ~ Feb 22- Mar 1

LENTEN NOVENA 2 prepare ourselves for Easter ~ Feb 22- Mar 1

Today at 00:00 until Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 23:30
    Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, during the Holy Season of Lent You call us to a closer union with Yourself. Help me to prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with mind and heart r…enewed. Give me a spirit of loving reverence for You, our Father, and of willing service to my neighbour. As I recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, bring the image of Your Son to perfection within my soul.

    •This great season of grace is Your gift to Your family to renew us in spirit. Give me strength to purify my heart, to control my desires, and so to serve You in freedom. Teach me how to live in this passing world with my heart set on the world that will never end.

    •I ask for the grace to master my sinfulness and conquer my pride. I want to show to those in need Your goodness to me by being kind to all.

    •Through my observance of Lent, help me to correct my faults and raise my mind to You, and thus grow in holiness that I may deserve the reward of everlasting life.

    •In your mercy grant me this special favour: (Mention your request).

    •The days of the life-giving Death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Your Son, are approaching. This is the hour when He triumphed over Satan’s pride, the time when we celebrate the great event of our Redemption. The Suffering and Death of Your Son brought life to the whole world, moving our hearts to praise Your glory.

    •The power of the Cross reveals Your judgement of this world and the kingship of Christ crucified. Father, through His love for us and through His Sufferings, Death and Resurrection, may I gain eternal life with You in heaven.


POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Public event · By Novenas Daily