Supporters of the Loughinisland families today at Laganside court

To hear the final ruling in the judicial review taken by the Retired Police Officers NI (NIRPOA) against the Police Ombudsman (OPONI).

Late last year the court ruled in favour of NIRPOA and today the families will find out the implications in terms of their report that concluded that there was collusion with security force members in the murders of their loved ones. Today’s ruling may also affect other families awaiting reports from OPONI.
PFC is in court in solidarity with the Loughinisland families and will update as soon as we hear the ruling.

With many thanks to the: Pat Finucane Centre

Loughinisland: Judge delays ruling on report
 

A judge has delayed his ruling on a police ombudsman’s report into the murders of six Catholic men in 1994.

He said the ombudsman’s new legal representative needed time to read himself into the case.

The men were shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries as they watched a World Cup football match in a pub in Loughinisland, County Down.

In June 2016, the police ombudsman ruled there had been collusion between some police officers and the gunmen.

But last December, a judge ruled that conclusion was “unsustainable in law“.

The Heights Bar, Loughinisland

He said the officers accused of collusion had been “in effect tried and convicted without notice in their absence”.

Two retired officers are attempting to have the report by Michael Maguire quashed in a legal challenge.

A judge had been expected to make his final ruling on Friday, but that has now been postponed.

The victims were watching the match between Ireland and Italy when loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar and opened fire on 18 June 1994.

The men who died were Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 53, Barney Green, 87, Daniel McCreanor 59, Patrick O’Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.

Five others were wounded.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

The Tory government and Jeremy Hunt are destroying our NHS

Off-duty staff have been asked to work to deal with severe pressure on hospitals

Part of the health service in Northern Ireland has appealed on social media for its off-duty staff to work to ease pressure on its emergency departments.

The South Eastern Health Trust said its hospitals are under pressure after an extremely busy Christmas period.

It said the number of patients attending its emergency departments this winter has been “unprecedented”.

It made the appeals for extra staff on Facebook and Twitter on both Monday and Tuesday.

‘Incredibly busy’
BBC News NI’s health correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly described the move as “highly unusual”.

Facebook post by South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust: Tuesday………If any of our off- duty staff are available to come in to work this evening and overnight, they should…

South Eastern Health & Social Care TrustSOUTH EASTERN HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE TRUST
Report
The trust runs several hospitals, including the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, County Down, and the Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn, County Antrim.

It said its emergency departments were “incredibly busy, like any others in the North of Ireland at the moment”.

A spokeswoman said the trust contacts staff “internally” to ask them to work at times of need.

But she added that it uses appeals on social media appeal as a “back-up”, and the method is part of the trust’s “winter pressure contingency plan”.

‘Unprecedented pressure’
The South Eastern Health Trust is not the only one to feel strain on its resources over the Christmas and new year holiday.

Last week, Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital in the Western Health Trust implemented an emergency plan to cope with the number of patients with which it was dealing.

On Boxing Day, doctors in the Southern Health Trust said patients were having to wait for up to 34 hours to speak to an out-of-hours GP.

The trust sent a text message to its off-duty doctors, asking them to help.

In the text, the trust said its out-of-hours service was “under unprecedented pressure”.

With many thanks to: BBC NI for the origional story

Another former RUC/PSNI officer jailed after ‘dark web’ sting

Allen Kennedy, pictured after an earlier court hearing, was described in court as a “low-level community drug dealer”

A former police officer has been jailed for more than five years after being “caught red handed” trying to buy an untraceable gun on the “dark web”.

Allan Kennedy, 31, whose address was given as Strandtown police station, admitted possessing a 9mm pistol, 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition and a silencer with intent to endanger life.

The defendant was described as a “low-level community drug dealer” in court.

It heard that he bought the gun for his own protection.

 

Kennedy also pleaded guilty to a string of other offences.

These included possession of cocaine with intent to supply and perverting the course of justice.

Kennedy, who was a serving police officer at the time of the offences, admitted possessing 30g of cocaine, 50 diazepam tablets and 10g of class C amphetmines at a house in Newtownards, County Down.

He also admitted perverting the course of justice by crashing his car in March 2014 in Bangor, County Down, before deliberately setting it on fire.

Allan Kennedy used the ‘dark web’ to purchase the gun
The police said the conviction showed the PSNI’s “commitment to keep drugs and firearms off the streets of Northern Ireland”.

“Those intent on criminal activity should know that even with the perceived anonymity of activity on the ‘dark web’, we will continue to pursue criminals in whatever quarter they operate to keep people safe,” said Det Ch Insp Michael Harvey, from the PSNI’s cyber crime centre.

The judge sentenced Kennedy to five-and-a-half years in prison followed by five-and-a-half years on licence.

Passing sentence at Downpatrick Crown Court, the judge said the charge of perverting the course of justice alone could attract a life sentence.

 

He said he was satisfied that Kennedy had told “lie after lie” to evade responsibility for what he had done, by claiming his car had been stolen before being set alight.

The judge added that the case was aggravated by Kennedy’s job as a serving police officer at the time.

Downpatrick Crown Court
Image caption
Kennedy was sentenced at Downpatrick Crown Court on Thursday
He said that Kennedy’s attempt to purchase the gun two years after his first offence was in the context of his drug dealing activity.

“You intended to purchase it ready for use if, and when, the occasion arose,” the judge said.

“It is accepted that you were a user of class A drugs and were supplying others in order to feed your habit.

“It is accepted you should be treated as a commercial supplier of drugs.”

The judge rejected the defendant’s claims that he wanted to purchase the gun and silencer to end his own life due to the approaching court case for perverting the course of justice.

Undercover police sting
He said this “did tie in” with the fact that Kennedy was purchasing 10 rounds of ammunition with the weapon, which he had specifically requested to be “clean and untraceable”.

The judge said he was obliged to impose a “punitive sentence” because of the “insidious and corrosive impact” such weapons have on the community.

The court previously heard that Kennedy, a self-confessed cocaine addict, was unaware he was dealing with undercover police when trying to buy the gun on the “dark web”.

Following an exchange of messages and pictures of the gun, an undercover officer arranged for a meeting and handover of the gun.

In September 2015, Kennedy met another undercover officer in Belfast to discuss the gun and the silencer.

Drugs seized
Kennedy placed £260 in a folded newspaper on the table, which the officer took.

The court heard that it was arranged that the handover of the gun would take place later that day in the Annadale Embankment area.

The officer then met Kennedy at the location, opened the boot of his car and handed over a package that contained the gun, which had been stripped down.

The court heard that Kennedy then handed over a further sum of £240.

Police then converged on the scene and arrested Kennedy.

During follow up searches of the defendant’s car, cocaine and other drugs were found.

Dealer bags and mobiles containing text messages associated with someone involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.

Remorseful
Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation.

In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed, police found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists and documents linked to the use of the “dark web”.

The seized drugs had a total street value of up to £10,000.

Police also uncovered 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition, which were described in court as “dum dum” bullets that are more liked to be used in “big game hunting”.

Kennedy’s defence lawyer said he was remorseful for his actions and accepted he faced a “substantial custodial sentence”.

“There is no real risk of action harm to the public as the person he was trying to buy the gun off was an undercover police officer,” he said.

The defence lawyer said Kennedy’s life went into a “downward spiral” when he was struck by a stolen car while on duty and spent six months on sick leave after sustaining a fractured foot.

He added that Kennedy was now addressing his cocaine addiction through “one-to-one counselling sessions” in prison.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story

Just a question? Why?

How many people know why Donegall Pass has such a curious name? For whom was St. Anne’s Church named? It was not for Queen Anne. There were five Annes and five Arthurs in the Marquis of Donegall’s family and that explains why these names were so frequently used in Belfast. How many know why there is a King John’s Road in Holywood, and a King William’s Road on the Holywood Hill? Why is there a “Joy” Street in that particularly joyless neighbourhood, or a Fountain Street where no water is now seen?

Why should a road high and dry above the city be called The Falls? We shall find why these things are so in Belfast, and then see what is interesting in the places near us.

The first idea which suggested itself was to take the City Hall as a starting point, and in imagination take a walk along each road leading from it out to the suburbs. This is impossible, for in old times the place where the City Hall stands was surrounded with extensive fields and meadows for grazing, where we now have streets and houses.

We cannot go to the Lisburn Road or the Shore Road when there was no road there, so we must give up that plan and take the places as we can make the best out of them.

Belfast has no very ancient history as we know it in Ireland. Derry, Armagh, Newry, Carrickfergus and Bangor are richer in memories of the olden times, and these neighbouring places are filled with tales of thrilling interest.

Some one has truly said “Happy are the people who have no history,” and we know the best times are the years when nothing particular happens. So our fair city has been spared the bloodshed, the cruelties, and the destructions that were so painfully familiar to some more ancient cities.

It is mentioned in the “Four Masters”—a wonderful old book,—that there was a king’s residence about ten miles from Belfast and a great fort called Rathmore about the year 680. A little while before that time, Bel-Feirste was the scene of a battle which took place on the banks of the Lagan. St. Patrick was very near us when he was in County Down, but we are not told if he ever really came to Belfast.

The next mention of the town comes with the famous John De Courci, who arrived with a small army in the year 1177. He built a great many castles and churches, and lived in regal state in Downpatrick. He is said to have built the first castle in Belfast and a church where the old graveyard of Shankill is now. It was called the “White Church,” and the “Chapel of the Ford ” where St. George’s Church now stands was a minor building.

De Courci was made the first Earl of Ulster, and he built twenty strong fortalices round Strangford Lough, and great castles and churches at Ardglass and Greencastle, Dundrum, Antrim, and Grey Abbey all owe something to his masterful guiding hand. King John next came in 1210. He arrived at Jordan’s Castle in Ardglass on the 12th of July. He visited Dundrum, Downpatrick, and Carrickfergus and crossed the Lough to Holywood on the 29th of July, where the road he passed along is still known by his name. The O’Neills were for one thousand years great warriors in Ulster, and the story of that powerful family would fill volumes. One branch of the clan was intimately connected with Belfast, Clannaboy Clan-Aod-Buide—children of yellow Hugh O’Neill.

The principal stronghold was the Grey Castle, at Castlereagh, which was in existence long before the name of Belfast was on any document, and was once called “The Eagle’s Nest” from its situation and the powerful influence of Conn O’Neill. The coronation stone chair of the O’Neills is now in the Museum in College Square. It was found among the ruins of the Old Castle, and was brought to Belfast in the year 1755, but the chair of state had many adventures. It was built into the wall of the Butter Market. No doubt many a farmer’s wife found it a resting place. Afterwards for some unknown reason it was taken to Sligo. Then it was brought back, and has found a home in the Belfast Museum. King Conn O’Neill has left his name at Connswater and Connsbridge. Many a story is told of him, and his end was very sad. He was imprisoned in Carrickfergus, but he managed to escape to Scotland. In order to save his life he was obliged to transfer his property to Sir James Hamilton and Sir Moses Hill, for he was the owner of 244 townlands. In the year 1606, he gave seven townlands to Sir Hugh Montgomery and seven to Sir Fulke Conway. His vast estates were taken from him, and he died in great poverty in a small house at Ballymenoch near Holywood. All the land as far as the eye could see had once belonged to him, and, at the end of life, he could claim only a grave in the old Church that once stood at Ballymachan.

http://www.libraryireland.com/Belfast-History/Early-History-Belfast.php

http://ancientclanoneill.com/

With many thanks to: Ulster Clans of Ireland.

Corrupt prison officer arrested for supplying drugs – Maghaberry Prison

 
 A serving prison officer was among five people arrested as part of an investigation into trafficking banned items into Maghaberry Prison.

The 50-year-old was arrested at the prison on Tuesday morning.

A quantity of cash and drugs were seized in a joint operation carried out by the PSNI and the Prison Service.

Three properties were searched in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Kinallen, County Down.

The prison officer was questioned in relation to conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

A 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested in Newtownabbey.

A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast and a 50-year-old woman was arrested in Kinallen.

They were all released on bail pending further enquires late on Tuesday night.

The PSNI’s Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: “Detectives today seized £10,000 cash, a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and a number of mobile phones.

“This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to Keeping People Safe by removing harmful drugs from society.”

The head of the Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “I welcome the result of today’s joint operation with the PSNI and would take this opportunity to reiterate the zero tolerance drugs policy which operates within Northern Ireland’s prisons.”

MAN ACCUSED OF GROOMING TWO TEENAGE GIRLS BAILED

Accused denies seven charges including rape

AN ALLEGED rapist accused of grooming girls for sex has been banned from any unauthorised contact with children. The prohibition was imposed on Andrew Trevor Williamson as part of a series of conditions under which he was granted High Court bail.

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A judge also ordered him not to use the internet after hearing claims he used a social networking service to make contact. Mr Williamson (25) of Dromore Street, Banbridge, denies seven charges including rape, meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual activity with a child and trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation. The alleged offences were committed against girls aged 13 and 15 at locations in Co Down between June 2012 and January 2013. The younger of the girls said Mr Williamson forced himself on her after she was taken to different houses and plied with alcopops. Prosecutors said it was alleged that he spent a month chatting with the teenager through the Blackberry BBM mobile messaging service before suggesting a meeting. Mr Williamson offered her £15 to help pay for a friend’s birthday present on condition that she did something for him, according to the girl. The court heard the girl was taken to a garage where the first sexual contact took place.

She also showed police two houses in Banbridge where she claimed to have beenn raped. He allegedly brought bottles of WKD and Buckfast tonic wine for her to drink with him. The second alleged vvictim, who was aged 15 at the time, said she had consensual sex with Mr Williamson for months after they were introduced last summer. She claimed they meet twice a week either at his home or in his car. Defence counsel stressed that Mr Williamson categorically denies the charges against him. Mr Williamson accepted corresponding with the younger girl through BBM but said there was never any sexual contact. Ruling on Thursday on his bail application, Mr Justice Maguire decided that a package of condititions could be imposed to deal with prosecution concerns. The judge ordered that a £5,000 cash surety must be lodged and imposed an alcohol ban. He directed that Mr Williamson must be curfewed, electronically tagged and is to have no contact with either victim. The accused cannot use a mobile phone, computer or any device linked to the internet or social networking sites. Mr Justice Maguire also banned him from contacting anyone under 16 or being in a relationship with any woman who has a child below that age, unless prior consent has been given by a police officer. “I want to make it absolutely clear that I have given great attention to this application. He has only very narrowly obtained bail,” he said. “What has made bail possible in his case are a series of stringent conditions.”

With many thanks to : Irish News.

THE MICHAEL CAMPBELL CAMPAIGN APPEAL BEGAN TODAY ( 15th MAY )

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Cumann Sean MacEachaidh

The Michael Campbell Campaign. Michael’s appeal began today (15th May)

This campaign needs to escalate. Cohesion exists.

Internationally a lot of work is being done. A lot of lobbying of government agencies has been done over the past year, hundreds of letters, thousands it is not enough our international comrades are doing the bulk of the work.

At home the Newry/South Armagh Prisoners group are leading the way, at Easter a hugely successful function was held. Last week a full page article in the Newry paper was published. Posters of the same were printed and are being distributed and boards highlighting the campaign are being erected.

These efforts haven’t come cheap so we are all going to come together now and help each other out.

CSME would be particularly interested in our Comrades in Glasgow and Dublin getting in touch to hand out leaflets and posters in a central location. Materials provided.

We have provided Crafts made by Republican Prisoners for people wishing to pursue independent causes; we are prepared to do the same for anyone who would like, or thinks they would like to run a raffle or organise something for Michael.

Michael has a strong and supportive family that are assured nothing will be done without their approval.

We ask people now to really get this show on the road.

Contact ourselves here;

The Newry/Armagh Prisoners support group;

or write to

Sarah Murphy

Secretary Repatriate Michael Campbell Campaign

3 Carnagat Park

Hospital Road

Newry

Co Down

Ireland.

It is vital now to get this moving. The case has been made. Lets Go!!

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