Cliftonville drop Jay Donnelly after image conviction
An Irish Premiership football club has dropped one of its most prominent players for a match this weekend after he was convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child.
Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly had continued to appear for his club after the allegation emerged.
The 23 year old admitted the charge last Friday and will be sentenced in January.
A separate count of taking or making an indecent photograph was withdrawn.
The north Belfast club said it is “dealing with a very sensitive and delicate matter” in relation to Donnelly.
‘Difficult to resolve’
It said its committee had been “availing of advice from all parties involved, as well as support organisations” because it wanted to make sure it acted “correctly when dealing with legal and employment matters”.
“We assure all that this situation is extremely difficult to resolve and ask our supporters and indeed the media to please bear with us as we seek a resolution,” the club added.
“Having spoken to all parties and Jay Donnelly, it has been decided Jay will not represent Cliftonville Football Club in [Saturday’s] fixture with Dungannon Swifts.”
The club added that it had received legal advice not to comment further on the case.
The Belfast Feminist Network was due to hold a protest against Donnelly’s inclusion in the team at Cliftonville’s Solitude ground on Saturday.
It has since called off the demonstration due to the club’s decision to drop the player.
‘Tackle misogyny robustly’
“We’re pleased that he’s not playing – that was our initial ask,” Elaine Crory from the organisation told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme.
But she said the club “could go further” by explaining what would happen next.
“Will he be playing in the coming weeks?” she asked.
“He won’t be sentenced until January so it remains to be seen what Cliftonville plan to do with him over the next couple of weeks and indeed into the future.”
Ms Crory said the Belfast Feminist Network sent a list of questions to the club about how it had handled the issue but did not get answers to all of them.
She called on all sports clubs to make sure they are “dealing with misogyny as robustly as they deal with sectarianism”.
On Friday, Cliftonville’s first team coach Neil Adair posted on Twitter that he had resigned from his role.
The Court Service has confirmed that Donnelly was convicted of one charge – distributing or showing an indecent image of a child on a date between June and October 2016.
Pre-sentence reports have been ordered before Donnelly, of Ardilea Drive in north Belfast, is due back in court early in the new year.
With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.
Devenish focuses particularly on the pig and poultry sectors
Representatives from a Northern Ireland agriculture firm are set to travel to Africa with the prime minister on Tuesday.
Devenish, which is based in Belfast, is one of 29 businesses from across the UK involved in the trip.
The company makes animal feeds and nutritional products with a particular focus on the pig and poultry sectors.
Number 10 said the delegation will visit South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
It will be Theresa May’s first visit to the continent since becoming prime minister in 2016.
Agriculture firm gets £26m European loan
During the trip UK business leaders will build “new investment, trading and export ties” with emerging markets, according to Number 10.
In a statement, Mrs May said she was “very pleased” Devenish are taking part in the trip.
“Devenish is an excellent example of the kind of forward-thinking company which is driving economic growth and prosperity both here in the UK and overseas,” she added.
Richard Kennedy, Group CEO of Devenish said Africa “represented significant opportunity” for his firm.
“We already have a presence in Africa which we are focused on growing, organically and through acquisition,” he said.
“It is important for us as both exporters and potential investors to build strong relations on the ground and this trade mission is a valuable opportunity to do so.”
With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original posting.
Theresa May was speaking during a visit to the North of Ireland on Friday
The prime minister made the remarks in Belfast on Friday, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.
The issue of the Irish border has been the key sticking point in Brexit talks so far.
The UK and EU have agreed that there should be no hard border in Ireland, but are at odds over how to achieve it.
IMF: Ireland faces hit from ‘no deal’ Brexit
Leadsom: Chequers plan is ‘final offer’
Barnier questions May’s Brexit plan
Q&A: The Irish border Brexit backstop
The backstop solution is effectively an insurance policy – to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if appropriate customs arrangements cannot be agreed by the EU and UK in time for the end of the transition period in December 2020.
The EU has proposed a backstop that would mean Northern Ireland staying in the EU customs union, large parts of the single market and the EU VAT system.
However, the UK said that would effectively create a border down the Irish Sea.
On Friday, Mrs May again repeated her opposition to that, saying: “The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and believe no British prime minister could ever accept”.
She also said both sides in the negotiation “share a determination never to see a hard border in Northern Ireland”.
“And no technology solution to address these issues has been designed yet, or implemented anywhere in the world, let alone in such a unique and highly sensitive context as the Northern Ireland border”.
However, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has questioned Mrs May’s plan for a future trade relationship with the EU, saying it could weaken the single market and create burdens for businesses.
Mr Barnier questioned whether plans for a common rulebook for goods and agri-foods were practical.
Earlier this week, the government backed an amendment to its Customs Bill that would make it illegal for the North of Ireland to be outside the UK’s customs territory.
Mrs May said the EU’s backstop proposal would be a breach of the Belfast Agreement – and that her plan, agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers earlier this month, was the best way forward.
Skip Twitter post by @simoncoveney
If UK Govt don’t support current EU wording on Backstop in draft Withdrawal Agreement, then obligation is on them to propose a viable and legally operable alternative wording that delivers same result: no border infrastructure. Clear UK commitments were made on this in Dec+March.
End of Twitter post by @simoncoveney
“What I’ve said to the EU is that the legal text they’ve produced is not acceptable, that’s why we proposed an alternative to that,” she said.
She said there now needed to be a renewed focus on EU-UK negotiations with “increased pace and intensity”.
The prime minister also met several of the political parties in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said the visit was “anything but reassuring”.
“In fact it’s now clear the British prime minister has come here to pick a fight with Ireland and to pick a fight with the EU,” Mrs McDonald said.
However, the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, defended the prime minister.
“What she has done is set out her agenda, that’s very important. She talked about working together to find solutions, and the need to work collaboratively,” she said.
Theresa May wants a backstop that would see the whole of the UK staying in the customs union for a limited period of time after the transition period – something the EU has said is unacceptable.
‘Do not accept that legal text’
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley told BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme the government was committed to getting a legal text for a backstop.
Earlier, the Irish Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney tweeted that if the UK did not accept the EU wording on a backstop in the draft withdrawal agreement, they would have to propose an alternative that would deliver the same result.
Reacting to his comments, Mrs Bradley said while the EU had put forward a legal text, “we do not accept it”.
“We’ve put forward a counter proposal and we’re now working on how we get a backstop that we are committed to delivering but it has to be a backstop that respects the integrity of the whole UK and does not put a border in the Irish sea.”
The PSNI and Gardaí (Irish police) stand exactly on the border in Belleek, County Fermanagh, ahead of Theresa May’s visit
The Shadow Secretary of State, Tony Lloyd, told the BBC Labour had always been “very clear” that the UK should be part of the customs union.
EU and UK negotiators have been meeting in Brussels this week to discuss the border issue.
Irish PM steps up Brexit preparations
Brexit: All you need to know
What do the EU’s ‘no deal’ preparations say?
Friday’s speech in Northern Ireland marks the prime minister’s first major attempt to sell the Chequers agreement since it was reached by her cabinet earlier this month.
She is due to tour other parts of the UK over the summer in an attempt to persuade businesses and citizens of its benefits.
Both the UK and EU are stepping up preparations for a “no deal” Brexit.
The two sides insist it is not what they want – and that reaching a deal by the autumn is still very much on the cards.
But they have yet to agree how their final relationship will work, with key issues around cross-border trade unresolved, and the UK’s official departure date of 29 March 2019 fast approaching.
The Republic of Ireland will remain within the EU and Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar has said his government is making contingency plans for “the unlikely event of a no-deal hard Brexit”.
Mrs May also addressed the impasse at Stormont.
Northern Ireland has been without a government for 18 months, after power-sharing between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin collapsed.
She added that until devolution is restored, the government would fulfil its responsibilities but warned interventions from Westminster were “no substitute” in the long-term.
With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.
Declaring to the BBC’s Andrew Marr that his struggle for a united Ireland was not a failure, Gerry Adams made an implausible claim: the target had not been missed as Sinn Féin had bagged half a million votes . . . and still counting.
Success having many parents and failure an orphan, it is perhaps not surprising that Gerry Adams would seek to adopt something that might be loosely called success even if the goalposts had to be moved right off the pitch.
As the Provisional IRA’s strategic primus inter pares for many years, it is a bitter pill for the alpha and omega of armed struggle to swallow that the IRA’s campaign considerably underachieved.
Sinn Féin now fully embraces the British terms for unity, only by the consent of a majority in the North: by implication, a stark repudiation of the IRA’s methodology of coercion throughout the Troubles.
Better known publicly in 1970 for his letters as a Sinn Féin cumann PRO, protesting British army harassment, Adams was at the same time assiduously developing within the ranks of the Ballymurphy IRA, where he was the local commander.
In a calculated bid to build up community resentment that would morph into support for a revitalised IRA, he smothered the impulse of armed IRA volunteers to engage British troops during serious rioting over Orange marches.
It was the type of tactical ingenuity that would repeat itself a year later when the Belfast IRA’s second battalion, which he now commanded, attacked the military and police in a bid to force Stormont’s hand on internment. The calculation was that the draconian measure might be introduced long before RUC Special Branch had mastered the intelligence terrain.
As anticipated, internment was an intelligence debacle. Most senior IRA figures evaded the dragnet. Its one-sided application, followed by torture in Palace Barracks and elsewhere, so enraged the nationalist community that the IRA found a surplus of eager youth from which they could recruit.
Already it was clear that the IRA’s capability for strategic intelligence and action during the early years of the Troubles was coming to reside within the circles peopled by Adams and his coterie.
With the removal through arrest of Billy McKee as Belfast Brigade commander, his replacement, Joe Cahill, valued Adams’s advice in a way that McKee was reluctant to, making the second battalion even more influential.
Arrested in March 1972, Adams’s release from internment in June of that year was secured only after the new leadership of the second battalion made clear that there would be no ceasefire if he was not freed.
That Belfast was now becoming the Provisionals’ powerhouse was to be seen in the presence of three Belfast IRA leaders in the six-man delegation that travelled to London for talks with then Northern secretary William Whitelaw.
On the return journey to Ireland, despite chief of staff Seán Mac Stíofáin preferring a prolonged truce, the Belfast delegation decided that it would be broken, as it duly was.
On his June release from internment, Adams moved into the Belfast Brigade adjutant slot, a position he held at the time of the Bloody Friday bombings the following month. The first of “the disappearances” also began in June.
‘They wouldn’t let you say a bad word about Gerry Adams’
Séamus Mallon: Adams legitimised killing of members of other community
Adams should admit to IRA role, says Enniskillen bombing victim’s daughter
Belfast IRA man Joe Lynsky was killed and secretly buried. More such acts would follow. The “smoking gun” was never found in Adams’s hand, but his handpicked squad, colloquially referred to as “the Unknowns”, was deeply involved.
The three people who accompanied Jean McConville as she stood trembling at her secret graveside were members of the Unknowns, including the man who led it and answered directly to Adams.
Prominent IRA figures Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, both now deceased, firmly contended that Adams was the architect of “the Disappeared”, as well as being the one who took the bombing campaign to London.
Martin McGuinness and Adams, however, has always denied involvement in “the disappearances”, just as he has always denied ever being a member of the IRA, unlike his longtime, now deceased, colleague Martin McGuinness.
By now, with the departure of Seamus Twomey to GHQ staff in October 1972, Gerry Adams was the Belfast Brigade commander. There, he won the unalloyed admiration of those who worked closely with him.
Despite being on a British army shoot-on-sight list, and billeted outside West Belfast in the evenings, each morning saw him travel into the heart of West Belfast – the area he would later represent as an MP – “to run the war”.
One colleague who later turned out to be an implacable opponent of the Sinn Féin leader observed that whatever attributes Adams lacked, “courage did not figure amongst them. He took serious risks.”
Running concurrent with much of this, Adams opposed IRA sectarian assassinations.
When Twomey was arrested towards the end of 1977, Adams moved into the vacant chief of staff spot, despite his denials that this occurred
He was particularly scathing of the killing in July 1972 in North Belfast of two Protestant brothers. The two men, Peter and Malcolm Orr, had gone out to meet their Catholic girlfriends. They were picked up by the Provisional IRA and shot dead.
Adams’s relationship with the man who led the killings was strained, though he later appointed that same individual, now deceased, to the heart of his personal security entourage.
This opposition to the targeting of Protestant civilians later came to the fore in 1976 when, from within prison, Adams fumed at the Kingsmill massacre of 10 workmen.
On release in early 1977 from prison, where he was a vehement critic of the 1975 IRA ceasefire, he went almost immediately to meet Seamus Twomey, by now serving a second term as chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, with his plans for a “long war”.
This was a military strategic vision for the most part put together by the late Pat Ward. When Twomey was arrested towards the end of 1977, Adams moved into the vacant chief of staff spot, despite his denials that this occurred.
His tenure came to be defined by the La Mon bomb attack which saw 12 Protestant civilians incinerated. The event brought his chief of staff spell to a close as he was arrested the following morning.
There is no reason to think Adams personally ordered the attack or knew about it. The most that can be said is that the operation was part of a wider incendiary bomb campaign that had been approved by the IRA’s army council.
Released from prison six months later, Adams’s return to the army council was delayed because there was by then no vacancy. Martin McGuinness was IRA chief of staff and Adams soon became his adjutant-general.
He retained the post until the assembly elections of 1982, by which time he had long since recovered his seat on the army council. It was an important period for the IRA and cemented the credentials of its increasingly northern leadership.
Major operations like the killing of Lord Mountbatten and the Narrow Water attack at Warrenpoint on the same day in 1979, which claimed the lives of 18 Parachute Regiment soldiers, signalled the military acumen of the Long War leadership that had resolutely positioned itself against any form of ceasefire.
Adams was IRA adjutant-general during the hunger strikes. He also developed a practice that would become most pronounced during the peace process: the authority of the army council was gradually usurped as its power incrementally haemorrhaged to committees managed by Adams.
Richard O’Rawe has persuasively demonstrated that the offer to end the hunger strike which Danny Morrison claims to have “described to the hunger strikers, including Joe McDonnell”, was rejected by Adams’s committee and the prisoners’ acceptance of the offer overruled.
The arrest of Ivor Bell and his subsequent detention in prison for six weeks was, according to British security strategists, the key moment in the ultimate defeat of the IRA campaign
After the assembly elections at the end of 1982, the IRA decided that its members holding elected office could not at the same time hold down “army briefs”.
This did not affect either Adams or McGuinness in respect of their army council roles. But it did bring to a close Adams’s hands-on day-to-day management of the IRA organisation in posts such as chief of staff and adjutant-general.
Gerry Adams helps carry the coffin of IRA man Brendan Moley at his funeral in 1988. Photograph: Pacemaker Belfast
At this point the balance of power in the army council was 4-3, with those not enamoured with the current electoral strategy in the ascendancy. That changed courtesy of the RUC’s supergrasses strategy.
The arrest of Ivor Bell and his subsequent detention in prison for six weeks was, according to British security strategists, the key moment in the ultimate defeat of the IRA campaign. With shifting allegiances, Adams now had five in favour of the electoral strategy.
With the sidelining of Bell and others in prison for two years, substantive obstacles to the emergence of a peace process had been removed. From that point on Gerry Adams’s position on the army council remained for the most part secure, up until 2005 when the IRA announced an end to its war.
The one serious challenge to his hegemony, from those who went on to form the Real IRA, was averted by a unanimous decision by the army council in February 1996 to end the ceasefire it had declared two years earlier.
The result was the devastation of Canary Wharf. Even though Manchester in the same year would be subject to a similar attack, there was only one direction in which the Provisional Republican Movement was headed, the road of peace.
Anthony McIntyre (pictured above) is a former Provisional IRA member, writer and historian, and a longtime critic of Gerry Adams. He was imprisoned for murder for 18 years in Long Kesh, spending four of those years on the “no-wash” protest.
With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the origional story
………..Court grants extradition of Damien McLaughlin from the 26 counties to the North Ireland
The High Court has ordered the extradition of a man to Northern Ireland in connection with the alleged murder of prison officer David Black.
Damien Joseph McLaughlin(pictured above, (40), with an address at Glenties Rd, Belfast, was arrested in Donegal on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Northern Ireland authorities earlier this year.
He is wanted to face allegations that he aided and abetted the murder of David Black on November 1st, 2012, and was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of murder.
Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was shot dead on the M1 motorway by dissident republicans as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail.
Mr McLaughlin is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and of being a member of a proscribed organisation.
His barrister, David Leonard BL, opposed surrender on grounds that Mr McLaughlin believed he would be exposed to inhumane and degrading treatment if he was surrendered to Northern Ireland.
Mr Leonard said full body searches were carried out in Maghaberry Prison with unwarranted force and Mr McLaughlin would be subjected to a large number of forced body searches during his trial.
In a written judgment last month, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly sought further information from Northern Irish authorities questioning the necessity for full-body searches in light of improvements in technology, such as was operated in Portlaoise Prison.
Ordering Mr McLaughlin’s surrender this evening, Ms Justice Donnelly said further information was obtained from Northern Irish authorities that showed, contrary to evidence before a Joint Oireachtas Committee, there was a necessity to carry out full body searches on the specific occasions of entry and exit to Maghaberry Prison.
In a five-page reply to the judge’s request for further information, the head of the Northern Irish Prison Service set out the “severe threat” to their staff from dissident republicans.
In about the last five years, two prison officer have been murdered, Ms Justice Donnelly noted.
She said the head of the Northern Irish authorities took issue with the term “strip search”. They said “full body” searching was the most effective method available to prevent illicit items being brought into prison while preserving the dignity of prisoners as far as was practicable.
Northern Irish authorities stated that prisoners were not required to completely strip naked or squat during such searches. They referred to full body searches being carried out internationally and stated that they were European Court of Human Rights or “ECHR compliant”.
The authorities went on to say they keep procedures under constant review and remain open to the possibility of adopting or deploying search methods which could prove as effective. However, to date, no available technology has proven to offer the same level of assurance, despite two tests on a range of available technologies in 2012 and 2015, northern Irish authorities stated.
Ms Justice Donnelly said the fact that Northern Irish authorities did not provide a detailed account of the testing was not a basis for rejecting the assessment.
She said the court had to assess the issue of necessity in the context of Northern Ireland. The fact that this jurisdiction had a “different standard of effectiveness” has to be viewed against what the High Court was told about the risk in Northern Ireland.
She said the Northern Ireland Prison Service explained how they operated in a very specific high risk environment, that they were conscious of the sensitivities around the issue of full body searches and the need to keep the requirements for this type of search under review.
Ms Justice Donnelly said the reply received from the Northern Irish Prison Service demonstrated that technology, as it existed at the present time, was limited in the context of security within the Northern Irish prison system and that full body searches were necessary on entering and exiting Maghaberry prison.
She said Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights or the related Constitutional provisions were not contravened. On that basis, she rejected Mr McLaughlin’s point of objection and accordingly, ordered his surrender.
With many thanks to: Stephen Murney for the origional statement.
Máire McAteer was born in Newry, Co Down on 22 November 1919 to a staunchly Republican family. Máire’s mother had been active in the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Máire enjoyed physical exercise, and was involved for most of her life in camogie (the female form of hurling).
Máire met James Drumm, whilst visiting Republican POWs, and they were married in 1946. When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 50s, James was again interned without trial from ’57 to ’61.
In 1940 Máire joined Sinn Féin. She was also a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. Moreover, Máire actively involved in the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, and worked vehemently on efforts to re-house the thousands of nationalists forced from the homes by unionist intimidation.
During her work as a Civil Rights activist, Máire became an eloquent speaker. She spoke on Republican principles and human rights issues at many rallies and protest meetings. She would eventually be elected to the Ard-Chomhairle of Sinn Féin.
Because of their dedication to the Republican Movement, Máire’s family was continuously harassed by the government of the occupying force, as well as by loyalist intimidation. At one point her husband and son were interned at the same time. Her husband, James, came to be known as the most jailed Republican in the six counties.
Máire was also jailed twice for ‘seditious speeches,’ once along with her daughter. Máire was one of the 30 female prisoners at Armagh Women’s prison, who participated along with their male comrades in 1980 to regain political status. The women went on a work strike, and later participated in their own version of The Blanket Protest. Because they were allowed to wear their own clothing, they used their own garments and items (namely, berets and black skirts) which most reflected IRA uniforms as a form of protest against criminalisation, and as a statement that they were indeed political prisoners. They also participated in the No-Wash Protest, and three of the women went on Hunger Strike.
After her release Armagh prison, raids on her house by so-called security forces escalated, and she and her family were under constant threat of death. Finally the constant strain took its toll; her health began to fail and she was admitted to Mater Hospital, Belfast. On 28th October 1976, as Máire lay in her hospital bed, loyalist thugs walked in and shot her to death. The scum who murdered her were both dressed as doctor’s and wore white coats (per Kevin Patrick Meehan whose father was a close friend of Maire’s and attended the hospital after the shooting).
One of the most-quoted excerpts from Máire Drumm’s speeches is:
“The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day, and die if necessary.”
And my favourite one is “We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever.”
Máire Drumm’s daughter Máire Og Drumm was in Armagh Gaol when her mother was murdered. For the book “In the Footsteps of Anne: Stories of Republican Women Ex-Prisoners,” she wrote, “I remember the morning after mammy got shot. The PO came in and said she was ‘sorry.’ She remembered her being in and told me she could have understood it if she had been shot when making a speech somewhere but not the way it happened when she was a patient in a hospital. She said, ‘We always found her to be a lady. She had her complaints, but we had great respect for her.’ Even now, talking about it, it’s like it happened to someone else.”
The prison only allowed Máire Og Drumm one-day leave and by the time she got there, her mother’s coffin had already been closed: “so I never got to see her” she wrote, adding that she was late getting back to gaol; and when she explained why, the brits who stopped the car said, “Well it’s not the end of the world” in reference to her mother’s death!
With many thanks to: Gréine Ni Dhochartaigh – Ireland’s Own.