It has been brought to the attention of Belfast 32csm that the much needed mental health facilities at the Everton Centre in Ardoyne are to be closed due to a lack of funding…….
Facilities like this are s necessity in the Ardoyne area which has a substantially high number of people with mental health issues, as do many working class communities. We totally condemn the closure of such services due to the lack of funding whilst at the same time British security forces including MI5, Special Branch,
SAS and the unreformed RUC are receiving millions of pounds of tax payers money to harass and oppress this small republican community. With the closure of Everton Centre many patients will have to travel to different unfamiliar facilities, in many cases these facilities are based in the heart of loyalist areas which would inevitably cause even more distress and anxiety.
Over the next few weeks we would ask everyone to highlight this issue and hopfully bring an end to the closure of this much needed service and show that we all support mental health treatment right across the board.
With many thanks to: Conchobhar Óbreaslain – 32 County Sovereignty Movement :
A 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a gun attack on police earlier this month. High-profile republicans Alex McCrory and Harry Fitzsimmons have already been charged in connection with the attack in North Belfast on December 5, in which a convoy of police vehicles came under aautomatic gunfire on Crumlin Road.
The man was last night being held at Antrim Serious Crime Suite. Properties were also searched in Ardoyne in North Belfast yesterday by police investigating dissident republican activity. Meanwhile, police are contnuing to question two teenagers arrested in South Armagh. The 19-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were arrested at a house just outside Forkhill on Wednsday. Items incuding a grinder and a quainty of fertiliser and suger have been taken away for examination. A 43-year-old man arrested by gardai in Dundalk, Co Louth, as part of the same operation, was still being questioned at Drogheda station. It was reported yesterday that gardai and the PSNI/RUC may have foiled a dissident republican plan to launch a massive bomb attack on the North. According to security sources, the attack was planned for Belfast.
Colin Duffy, Alec McMcrory, and Harry Fitzsimmons appeared in court this week accused of paramilitary offences. No details were given of the evidence against them. However, it is understood that all three have been under a lengthy period of sophisticated surveillance with MI5 assisting the PSNI/RUC in tracking their movements. The levels of monitoring were unprecedented in scale and included the placing of tiny listening devices in items of clothing. Tracking devices were also used and open spaces – including a green in Co Armagh were Duffy (46) was known to frequently walk – were fitted with hidden spying technology. Gardai have also been assisting the PSNI/RUC as part of a cross-border crackdown on dissidents, monitoring suspects when they travelled to the Republic.
A house in Co Louth visited by Duffy and former IRA prisoner McCrory (52) is believed to have been under surveillance and fitted with listening devices. Under Home Office guidelines authorisation for ‘intrusive ssurveillance’ must be given by the secretary of state and can be granted for periods of six months at a time, providing its use is in the interests of ‘national security’. Although covertly gathered evidence has been used in the North of Ireland in the past, the monitoring surrounding Duffy is on a level never seen before. During the trial of teenager John Paul Wotton for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll the court was told a military tracking device had been fitted to his vehicle. On Monday a workman in Craigavon, Co Armagh, found a military tracking device under the wheel arch of his van. This week Duffy, Fitzsimmons and McCrory were each charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzsimmons were also accused of involvement in a gun attack on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5 and possession of a firearm with intent. The offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year, although Fitzsimmons (45) was only freed from prison in May after serving a jail term for the attempted kidnapping of Bobby To hill in 2004. The trio did not seek bail.
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.
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’sLaganside 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
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.
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.
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’.
THREE of the North’s most senior dissident republicans have been taken off the streets after a second Belfast city centre attack. With a manhunt under way on both sides of the border for a firebomber injured by his own device, the three dissident chiefs were charged on Tuesday with an array of serious offences.
Colin Duffy, Alec McCrory and Harry Fitzsimmons all have a history of republican activism dating back to the Provisional IRA. Dissident republicans have been particularly active in the run-up to Christmas with shots fired at police in North and West Belfast, a bomb left in an entertainment area of the city on one of the busiest nights of the year and an attempt on Monday to firebomb a city centre shop. The trio, in their forties and fifties, were arrested on Sunday, 48 hours after a bomb exploded in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter while it was packed with Christmas parties. Duffy is accused of IRA membership and plotting to murder security-force members. McCrory and Fitzimmons are charged with attempting to murder police officers travelling on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5. All three are also charged with conspiracy to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzisimmons face further charges of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm. The alleged offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year.
Amid heavy security at Belfast Magistrates Court, supporters of the three accused packed the public gallery on Tuesday. At one stage the defendents declined to stand up as some of the charges were put to them. A detective said he could connect them to the charges and no applications for bail were made during the short hearing. The trio waved at friends who clapped as they were remanded in custody to appear again by videolink in four weeks’ time. Meanwhile, two arrests were made outside the court complex as tensions heightened briefly. There were minor scuffles amid a heavy police presence at the Oxford Street exit as supporters of Duffy, McCrory and Fitzimmions left the building. North Belfast men Daniel Lundy and Aidan Fergusion, both from Ardoyne, were arrested and taken to Musgrave Police Station and charged with assaulting police, disorderly behaviour and resisting police. They were released on bail to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on January 13.
‘A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police across the city – Alex Attwood.
The PSNI last night said they are not linking two similar gun attacks on polce vehicles carried out just a day apart in Belfast.
Two shots struck a Land Rover when gunmen opened fire on the Suffolk Road in West Belfast at around 11.45pm on Friday. A day eariler, a “Kalashnikov-style” automatic weapon was used to fire at least 10 rounds at three police vehicles as they passed along the Crumlin Road in North Belfast. It later emerged that gunmen had set up a makeshift platform to fire over a wall at the vehicles. No-one was injured during either attack. A 34-year-old man was arrested in North Belfast yesterday morning in connection with Thursday night’s attack on police. He was still being questioned at Antrim police station last night. It emerged last night that separate investigations have been launched into the gun attacks. A police spokeswoman said: “Police are not formally linking the attacks and both investigations are at a very early stage”. Dissident republicans are being blamed, with Chief Constable Matt Maggot warning recently that different groupings appear to in some form of competition with each other to ensure they have a profile. In recent weeks there has been a upsurge in republican paramilitary activity in Belfast.
In October ‘The IRA’, which was formed last year after the Real IRA, Direct Action Against Drugs and other independant republicans merged, claimed responsibility for shooting dead alleged drug dealer Kevin Kearney in North Belfast. Another group, Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), last month said it was behind an attempted car-bomb attack at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast city centre. West Belfast SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said Friday’s ambush could have resulted in fatalities. “Thosse engaged in this type of reckless violence are not advancing any political ideal, they are hurting the community they claim to represent,” he said. “A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police accross the city.” Shame Fein assembly member Jennifer McCann said those behind the attack “are not motivated by a disire for Irish freedom”. “If they were they would listen to their communities who overwhelmingly endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and a political path towards achieving that goal. “Instead they have endagered anyone in the area of the Suffolk Road at that time for their own agenda. Fortunately nobody was injured.” PSNI Chief Superintendent George Clarke described Friday night’s ambush as “reckless”. “For the second night in a row, dedicated community police officers have found themselves under attack from terrorists,” he said. “It is fortunate that we are not dealing with fatalities this morning and those responsible are to be utterly condemned for their evil and reckless actions. “These officers go out each day to serve this community and they should be free to do so without the threat of attack. “I again urge the community to support us. We need information from the community to help us defeat those who seek to take us back to the past by showing them that they do not represent the wishs of this community.”
‘These dissident republicans have absolute contempt for their own community – Will Kerr
GUNMEN built a makeshift platform to launch a carefully planned attack on police in a built-up area of North Belfast. A rifle found a short distance away from the attack in Ardoyne on Thusday night was thought to have been dumped by the gunmen as they fled.
The military issue Kalashnikov-style automatic weapon was taken away for forensic examination. It was found in an alleyway a short distance from Butler Walk where the gunmen had erected a platform from scaffolding at the side of a high wall. Shots were fired at a convoy of police vehicles at around 7.10pm as they traveled along the Crumlin Road en route to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in North Belfast. Police said three armoured vehicles came under fire, two of which were towing illuminated warning signs towards the Ardoyne interface. At least 10 bullets hit two of the vehicles. While no-one was hurt, Assistance Chief Constable Will Kerr said the officers were shaken by the attack. “These dissident republicians have absolute contempt for their own community”, he said. “They fired military grade weapons, in a highly built up area. “There is no doubt the principle target was police officers.” The senior officer said he beleived the weapon recovered was linked to the attack. A silver Passat car hijacked on Thursday morning in the Poleglass area of West Belfst was also found burning in Elmfield Street in Ardoyne.
The attack was launched out of range of the Twaddell camp occupied by loyalists protesting against a ban on parading through Ardoyne. Around 40 familes in the area were moved from their homes, with many not permitted to return until yesterday evening while police carried out follow-up searches at several locations. Holy Cross Primary School was also forced to close as a result of the police operation. SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said the people of Ardoyne want those responsible to “get off their backs”. “This is the latest incident to cause major disruption in the area,” she said. “Between the nightly protest parades and the car that was hijacked in Jamaica Street and used to transport the bomb into the city centre, people are concerned things are spiralling, that every time Ardoyne appears on the news it is for negative reasons and that is not an accurate reflection.” Shame Fein assembly member Gerry (the mouthpeice) Kelly said the attack “endangered the local community in Ardoyne”. “Anyone could have been in the vacinity of Holy Cross Chapel at this time which was the direction in which the shots were fired,” he said. “The PSNI were traveling to Twaddell Avenue where they are in place each night in order to prevent illegal marches past Ardoyne. The people of Ardoyne understand this. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions.” DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said: “This would obviously appear to be the work of dissident republicians and I would hope that the community in Ardoyne will stand against those responsible and with police as they carry out their investigations.”