Ex -monk convicted over further sex abuse

A FORMER monk who is serving a jail sentence for historic child sex offences has been sentenced after admitting further sex abuse charges. 

Vincent Lewis, 90, of Annagher Road, Coalisland, pleaded guilty to five counts of gross indecency with a child and a count of indecent assault.

Lewis was jailed for three years on Friday. He is also to remain on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

Remembering this week Martin McShane 16-years-old, Meenagh Park, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, shot dead near his home by members of the British Army’s Royal Marine Commandos on 14th December 1971.

Remembering this week Martin McShane murdered by the British army 14 December 1971

Martin McShane was the eldest of a family with six children. Members of his family described him as a quiet and industrious boy who despite his years still posessed a childhood innocence that was reflected in his love for make believe games. He played football for Coalisland Fianna minor team and was keenly interested in other sports. He was also a keen fisherman, and would often go fishing in Roughan Lough with his uncle.

On the evening of 14 December 1971, Martin had been playing with five other boys, all aged between eleven and sixteen years, near the youth club in the middle of the Meenagh Park housing estate. The youth club was part of MacRory Park Gaelic Athletic Association. The boys, two of whom were Martin’s brothers, were playing a game they had made up known as ‘jail break’. In the middle of their game Martin decided to go home and get his coat. He was only in his home a matter of seconds before returning to rejoin his friends. Directly after he returned he ran off towards the end of the road on which the youth club was situated and hid behind a gate pillar. It was dark and Martin called on his friends to come and get him. A few seconds after he shouted a number of shots rang out. Adults inside the GAA Club hearing the shots ran out to investigate. The other children pointed out where Martin had been playing and the men ran to the gate pillar. They found Martin lying just inside a field a few yards from MacRory Park. He was dead. He had been shot in the temple, the neck, and the body. Beside the dead youth lay a broken plastic toy gun. Locals quickly established that British soldiers hidden amongst some hedging in the field had shot Martin. After shooting the boy they immediately fled the scene and no Crown forces returned for some forty-five minutes.
It was over 24-hours before a British army spokesman admitted their forces were responsible for the killing. During the day following the shooting the British army’s Press Office released two versions of the incident. In their first statement they claimed a Royal Marine Commando patrol that was in Meenagh Park was fired on by three men who made off in a car. The men were seen by the army patrol throwing a rifle out off the car. The implication of the statement being Martin was shot in crossfire. A second statement later claimed the army patrol was near the Meenagh Park estate when they saw a person acting suspiciously. This person they said was carrying a weapon, and after climbing over a fence was seen to take up a firing position, where upon he was shot. The patrol fired a flare to light up the area and saw a weapon under the body. ‘A crowd gathered round so the patrol did not go near,’ and withdrew. Martin McShane’s father replying to the British army statements said his son had not been armed. ‘All his son thought about’ he said ‘was football and playing. He just thought of sport.
Martin was not in the IRA. He was in nothing. I call it brutal murder.’ An inquest into Martin’s killing was held in April 1972. None of the British soldiers who took part in the killing attended the hearing. A British army legal representative read out all their statements, and each soldier was identified only by letters of the alphabet-‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’. In their statements the soldiers claimed they were part of a patrol hiding in a hedge in a field when a figure vaulted over a fence. They said the figure spun round in a crouch position, facing in the direction where they were hiding. They said they then heard a metal click and opened fire. They all admitted they had fired without warning. The British Army’s representative during the hearing tried to connect Martin to a rifle reportedly found on the same night, but two miles from the scene of the killing. A forensic expert called by the British army representative said he had detected lead smears on his hands of the dead youth. Eyewitnesses and relatives disputed the British Army version of the shooting, as well as the forensic expert’s evidence. They pointed out that the fence the dead boy allegedly vaulted over was far to too high for anyone to have done so.
A Royal Ulster Constabulary officer who inspected the scene confirmed the fact. The toy gun seen by civilians who found Martin’s body, and recovered later by the British soldiers when they returned to the scene was revealed to have had no fingerprints on it. Martin’s family denied he had ever owned it. As for the lead traces found on Martin’s hands his relatives said the boy had been working earlier that day with fishing tackle along with his uncle. One of Martin’s young friends told the hearing they played near the youth club and the GAA grounds nearly every night. He said even older lads than Martin joined in the games. He said he had watched Martin going up the road and into a field and shortly afterwards heard a burst of automatic gunfire. This he said was followed by a single shot.
The jury returned an open verdict. Some years after Martin’s killing his family brought a criminal injury case against the British Ministry of Defence for the wrongful killing of their son. In July 1975 the claim was rejected. The judge at the hearing accepting totally the British army version of the shooting, adding that the British soldier who shot Martin McShane was justified in firing, and that his action was not unreasonable.
No British soldiers were ever charged in connection with the killing of Martin McShane.

With many thanks to: PH Pearse Galbally Cappagh for the original posting.

Follow this link to find out more: http://Remembering this week Martin McShane 16-years-old, Meenagh Park, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, shot dead near his home by members of the British Army’s Royal Marine Commandos on 14th December 1971.

Trial for alleged sexual offences against child.

A 68-year-old man has been committed for trial on multiple charges involving alleged long-term sexual abuse of a female child, including rape.

Appearing for a preliminary enquiry before Dungannon Magistrate’s Court was John Francis Devlin from Canal Place, Coalisland who is accused of a total of 21 offences.

These involve two counts of rape, twelve counts of indecent assault and seven counts of sexual assault. The offences are alleged to have occurred on various dates between May 2003 and March 2011.

A prosecution lawyer told the court there is a case to answer, which was supported by District Judge John Meehan. Devlin spoke only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges. He choose not to call witnessess or give evidence on his own behalf during the short hearing. Judge Meehan set bail at £200 and ordered Devlin to appear for arraignment at Dungannon Crown Court on 7th May 2017.

With many thanks to: Tyrone Courier.

IRA Volunteer Hugh Coney, a native of Coalisland, Co Tyone, was shot dead by the British Army while attempting to escape from Long Kesh on 6th November 1974.

Following the introduction of internment in August 1971, the internees were initially held in Magilligan Prison, Co Derry, and the Maidstone Prison Ship, moored in Belfast Lough.

Oglach Hugh Coney - Coalisland, Co Tyrone.


Maidstone Prison Ship - moored at Belfast Lough
Magillign Prison - 1970s.
Magilligan Prison - as it is today.

For more information on Oglach Hugh Coney, please click on the link below for more details:

Maidstone Prison Ship click on the link below for more details:

HMP Maidstone in the harbour of Algiers. Alongside HMP Safari and HMS Sahib


With many thanks to: Stephen Codd (Stiofán Mac Óda) :


IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers

HET findings published as Haass talks break up without agreement -into ‘Shot-to-Kill’ policy’s in the North of Ireland.

TWO IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers in Co Tyrone 30 years ago, a report has found. The families of Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) on Monday 30th December said they planned to sue the British government and wanted fresh inquests into their deaths.


The news came as US diplomat Richard Haass failed to make the party’s in the North of Ireland come to an agreement on dealing with the past, parades and flags. Among the issues holding up the progress have been mechanisms for giving evidence to Historical inquires by bodies taking over the functions of the PSNI‘s/RUC‘s Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman. The fresh report into the Co Tyrone killings was carried out by a forensic pathologist for the HET. It appears to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who claimed the pair were shot dead while pointing weapons towards them. Mr McGirr and Mr Campbell, who were members of the Provisional IRA, were murdered by the SAS in a  field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland, Co Tyrone, on December 4 1983. A third man was injured but escaped. Their deaths fuelled claims of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy by the British government against IRA members.

Testimony from the soldiers had claimed that the men were removing weapons hidden in the field and on being challenged “Colm McGirr turned and pointed a shotgun towards one of the soldiers who then fired several shots at him”. Forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd reviewed the postmortem examination scene photographs and statements from four of the six soldiers prescent. He said he did “not believe Colm McGirr would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” and “no shots had struck Brian Campbell from the front”. In his report, which the families have received, he concluded that because Mr McGirr was right handed, he did “not believe he would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” if he was holding a weapon. “In my opinion therefore it is more likely that [Mr McGirr] received shots to his right side and back as he was facing into or towards the bush,” he said. The SAS also claimed one of the squad, known as Soldier A, then fired towards Brian Campbell who was holding an armalite rifle and had also turned and was facing them” However, Dr Shepherd concluded that “no shots had struck Brian Campbell form the front”. “I cannot exclude the possibility that the injury to the left upper back was inflicted as he lay on the ground,” he said, without ruling out the soldiers’ version of events in both cases. The IRA men’s families have now called for a fresh inquest into their deaths/murders. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, acting on behalf of the relatives said they would also take legal action against the British government.

“This report raises serious concerns in relation to the original soldiers’ statements,” he said. “In light of the disclosure of the Dr Shepherd’s report the families have made an application to the attorney general to direct a fresh inquest into the deaths/murders of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell. “They will also be issuing civil proceedings against the minister of defence in relation to the unlawful actions of the soldiers.” Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, claimed the British army discovered the arms cache three days earlier on December 1, but the weapons were not removed or disabeled. “We have no doubt that a carefully planned ambush was set by undercover British security forces that evening,” he said. “Through the 30 years that have passed we have sought the truth of what happened. We were led to bbelieve that the PSNI’s/RUC’s Historical Enquiries Team would make every effort to achieve the truth. “As part of this, a second pathologist has confirmed that the shootings could not have happened as described by security forces. Both men, Colm and Brian, were shot in cold blood in the back.” Mr McGirr said the families have been informed that the HSE investigation “is at an end and will proceed no further”. “We lived with a charade of an inquest in early years with no evidence of any sort offered as to what occurred. The McGirr and Campbell families will continue to demand that a new inquest is held to fully investigate all that occourred on that evening.” Reacting to the findings on Monday nnight, Dungannon Independent Republican councillor Barry Monteith said he was “not surprised” by the pathologist’s review and accused the British government of operating a ‘shot-to-kill policy in the North of Ireland. However, Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush said he had no confidence in the HET. “There are dozens and dozens of murders around this area in South Tyrone that have not been looked at,” he said. “It baffles me that these things didn’t ccome to light then and can be turned up. “All we can do is work on reports as they come but is this report any better or any worse than the previous ones?”

With many thanks toto: The Irish News.

Related articles

Standing room only as accused appear

THREE of the most high-profile republicans in the North of Ireland appearing in court together was always going to attract a huge amount of attention and it was standing room only in court 10 at Belfast’s Laganside complex on Tuesday.


Co Armagh man Colin Duffy was joined in the dock by Harry Fitzsimmons, only recently released from Maghaberry Gaol after serving a sentence for abducting Bobby Tohill in 2004, along with Alec McCrory, a long-serving IRA prisoner and ‘blanket man’. The trio face a series of charges including involvement in a dissident Republican gun attack on police vehicles in North Belfast earlier this month. A Kalashnikov-style weapon was recovered during a follow-up search of the Ardoyne area following the shooting on December 5. The public gallery was packed to capacity with family members and supporters. Several loyalists charged in connection with July 12 violence appeared nervous as charges were put to them with such a large republican audience looking on. Recognisable faces among the supporters were Coalisland man Kevin Barry Murphy, North Belfast republican Brendan Conway and independent councillor Angela Nelson. Dressed casually when brought up from the court’s holding cells to the dock, the three accused remained impassive throughout the short hearing. They refused to stand while charges were read out and refused to answer when they were put to them. A detective said he could connect the accused to the offences. The men’s solicitors said they would not be applying for bail at this time. The hearing lasted less than five minutes, and as the three were taken back into custody supporters in the public gallery clapped and cheered. Magistrate Fiona Bagnall ordered the court be cleared. There was a heavy police presence outside the courthouse as the  three were taken from the court to Maghaberry Gaol in a blacked-out prison van.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News

Colin Duffy


Arguably the most recognisable face of anti-agreement republicanism, the Co Armagh man was acquitted in January 2012 of the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene army base in Co Antrim in 2009, having served a lengthy period on remand. In 1993 he was convicted of the PIRA murder of UDA man John Lyness but was acquitted on appeal. The 47-year-old was also detained followng the IRA murders of constable David Johnson and John Graham in Lurgan in June 1997, shortly before the second IRA ceasefire but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. In November last year he was arrested by detectives investigating the murder of prison officer David Black but was released without charge. His most recent arrest was in May of this year when he was qustioned about dissident republican activity before being released unconditionally. Once the most senior member of Shame Fein in the Lurgan area the hard line republican left the party prior to the decision to endorse policing. He was briefly a member of eirigi, but left the party shortly before his arrest for the Massereene attack.

Alec McCrory


The West Belfast man served two periods of imprisonment for the Provisional IRA. He was one of the youngest prisoners to join the blanket protest after being jailed in 1978 at the age of 17. He was imprisoned for a second time in the 1980s and served 14 years for possession of a bomb. In 2011 he was the first person in the North of Ireland to make an offcial complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal over what he claimed were repeated attempts by MI5 to recruit him as an agent. More recently he has acted as a spokesman for republican prisoners held in Maghaberry.

Harry Fitzsimmons


HE was released from prison in May of this year after serving a jail term for the abduction of dissident Bobby Tohill in 2004 from a Belfast city centre bar. Tohill was rescued by police who rammed the van he was being carried in, he later refused to give evidence against his abductors. The event nearly jeopardized the Peace Process as the Provos were on ceasefire at the time. Fitzsimmons and his co accused went on the run in 2006 while awaiting sentencing, he was extradited to the North after being arrested in Dundalk in November 2009. While in Maghaberry he spent most of his sentence on protest against the prison regime. He was arrested last month and questioned about the murder of drug dealer Kevin Kearney but was released without charge. Since being released he had been living in North Belfast, however, after receiving death threats his address was given on Tuesday as of ‘no fixed abode’.

Keady find was ‘part of wider terrorist plot’

High Court, Belfast 
The case was heard at the High Court in Belfast


An alleged bomb-making factory uncovered in Keady, County Armagh, last year was part of a wider terrorist plot, the High Court has heard.

Kevin Barry Murphy, 41, of Altowen Park, Coalisland, was in court on Monday.

He denies charges of possession of explosives and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

Police are set to make further arrests as part of their investigations, a judge was told.

Mr Murphy was refused compassionate bail to attend his son’s confirmation.

He was detained last year after searches in Keady led to the discovery of the alleged component parts for home-made bombs.

Timer power units, fertiliser, icing sugar and a detonator were all found.

Mr Murphy is allegedly linked through fingerprints on a coffee grinder also seized, according to the prosecution.

He denies any involvement and gave a statement to say he cannot quantify how many household coffee items he has touched over the years.

A prosecution barrister said Mr Murphy and others currently on remand are due to be questioned about other similar incidents.

She told the court: “Police now believe this bomb-making factory… was part of a bigger terrorist plan.

“Arrests are anticipated later this week.”

Mr Murphy’s barrister said that nothing had been disclosed about any police plans to carry out more interviews.

He said: “The case against this applicant is founded solely on fingerprints on a coffee grinder.

“These fingerprints cannot be dated in any shape or form. It’s a thin case.”