Guildford Four’s Armstrong lays bare experience of prison and it’s aftermath.

ONE of the Guildford Four has described his struggles following his release from prison – and how he has come out the other side. Wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 15 years, Paddy Armstrong was one of four people (known as the Guildford Four), jailed for the Guildford pub bombings in England in 1975.



Almost 30 years after his release, the Belfast-born man has relieved his ordeal in a book, Life After Life, saying “we can’t let people forget, because there are still injustices in the world today”. Mr Armstrong said the book, ghostwritten by Journalist Mary-Elaine Tynan, “lays bare the experiences of those years and their aftermath”. “It took a year and a half to get this out of me, but I’m glad I’ve done It,” he told The Irish News. “My son and daughter had begun asking questions about what happened to me and I found it difficult to answer. “I live for my family and I want people to see I’ve come out the other side – that there is a life after life.”



Mr Armstrong was jailed for life alongside Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson in what was widely regarded as one of the UK’s worst miscarriages of justice.

I needed to do it for my children and their generation – people who don’t know our story. Because their are still injustices in the world today. – Paddy Armstrong.


Their convictions for murdering five people in two IRA pub bombings in 1974 were finally quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1989. Recalling a dark period of his life, Mr Armstrong said: “I didn’t have a clue what was going on when I was arrested.


“They asked me the same questions over and over again. One of the police said: “We know you didn’t do it but we’re going to do you for it”. When we were told we would serve 35 years. I thought I’d never see the outside world again. “But that time came and when I got out I lived with my solicitor Alistair Logan for nine months – he saved me as I didn’t know anything about the outside. I remember the first night I stayed in his house I ended up putting the mattress onto the floor as I wasn’t used to sleeping on a bed.


“That following morning, Alistair said to me: ‘I heard you moving about a lot in your room’ and I said I still had in my head the warders were coming into my cell. “He got two doctors to treat me – ones that help soldiers who came from war, and I think that helped get my head together. They helped me adjust to life outside again. “It was very hard and there were times I wanted to be back in prison because at least I knew the structure there.”


“Asked if his ordeal had made him bitter, Mr Armstrong said: “I’ve no bitterness at all, I’m not that type of guy. “I’m angry with the police. I always get asked ‘you must hate so many people’ but what’s the point?” On why he was publishing his memoirs now, he said: “I didn’t just want the book to be about my time in prison but also about my life since I got out, and how difficult it was in those early days. 

“I needed to do it for my children and the people of their generation – people who don’t know our story. Gerry Conlon and Carole Richardson are gone now, but I’m still here. And so is Paul Hill. “And we can’t let people forget because there are still injustices in the world today.” Life After Life, A Guildford Four memoir will be launched at Easons in Belfast’s Donegal Place at 6.30pm on Thursday night April 13th 2017.
#JFTC2 #JusticeForTheCraigavonTwo

#FreeTonyTaylor

With many thanks to: Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford_Four_and_Maguire_Seven

Daughter of woman murdered (Cumann na mBan) the female wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) shot dead with her sister to sue Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Maura Meehan (31) and her sister Dorothy Maguire murdered by the British Army in 1971 to sue MoD.

Daughter of shot IRA woman to sue British Army
Margaret Kennedy (Maura’s daughter) holds photographs of her mother Maura Meehan and aunt Dorothy Maguire who were shot dead at a British soldiers in west Belfast in 1971. Picture by Mal McCann
 THE daughter of an IRA woman killed along with her sister more than 45 years ago by the British Army is set to sue the Ministry of Defence. Mother-of-four Maura Meehan (31) was killed along with her sister Dorothy Maguire when soldiers open fire on a car ( pictured below) in which they were passengers in West Belfast in 1971. Both women were members of Cumann na mBan, the female wing of the IRA.
Picture’s of the car Maura and Dorothy were traveling in showing the extent of damage done in the double murder committed by the British Army.

Original examinations also found that swabs taken from Ms Maguire showed the presence of lead on one hand. However a recent ballistic forensic report commissioned by solicitors acting for the family has cast doubt on the origional findings saying they did not “provide any salient evidence to conclude that Mrs Meehan had fired a gun”.

The review added that the origional report failed to consider other sources of lead “an explanation for the presence of lead on the swabs taken from her hands”. Mr Meehan’s daughter, Margaret Kennedy (pictured above), last night welcomed the new findings.”It’s what we have said all along basically,” she said. Mrs Kennedy, who was aged nine when her mother was mudered by British Army, accused authorities of “stalling” on the case but said they would continue with their campaign until they get answers.

“All we are looking for is the truth to be told,” she said. The Ministy of Defence (MoD) did not respond to requests for a comment.

With many thanks to: The Irish News, Mal McCann (for the picture) and for the origional story.

Police probe online paramilitary images

POLICE are investigating after an image was posted online showing a masked man apparently firing shots in tribute to a Socialist Republican in west Belfast.

“The final salute to comrade Harry O’Hara” – IRSP.

Photographs posted on Facebook by the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) – the politicial wing of the Irish National Liberation Party (INLA) – show masked men posing on a street with a picture of Harry O’Hara. Mr O’Hara, from Norglen Drive in the Turf Lodge area, died on February 28th and was buried in the City Cemetery earlier this month following Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity Church. Among death notices expressing sympathy at Mr O’Hara’s passing was one from “Connor Hughes, Cogús Republican Prisoners” in Maghaberry Jail.

West Belfast – INLA

The IRSP’s Belfast branch posted photos on Facebook of a “final salute to comrade Harry O’Hara”. It said “Harry was a loyal republican socialist and he will always be remembered with honour and pride by the Republican Socialist Movement” (RSM). The images show masked men dressed in paramilitay-style uniform posing beside candles and a photo of Mr O’Hara (copy of picture above). In one, a member of the group raises a gun above his head in a firing motion.

The images have been condemned by SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, who represents the area on Belfast City Council. “These are scenes which belong in the past. There is no excuse for masked gunmen on the streets of our city, no matter what the context,” he said. “This was a reckless act and should be roundly condemned.” A RUC/PSNI spokeswoman said: “Police are aware of footage on social media showing shots apparently being fired by a masked man in west Belfast. An investigation is under way.”

With many thanks to: John Monaghan, The Irish News, for the origional story.

Online Irish passport renewal service

A New online Irish passport renewal service will be launched today amid an increasing number of applications.

The service, which will be unveiled by the Republic’s foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan, will allow Irish citizens to renew their passport books and cards online from the North of Ireland and wherever they are in the world. The facility is for adults who are over 18 only, with first time applicants and children unable to apply online.The Department of Foreign Affairs said the service will be “convenient, secure and it will offer faster and more predictable turnaround times”.

The new online initiative is part of the Dublin government’s passport reform programme, which aims to mordernise Ireland’s passport systems and controls. The department said it will bring further benefits to Irish citizens at home and abroad in the coming years. But it also comes amid increasing pressures on the Irish passport service following the EU referedum result. Since the Brexit vote in June, there has been an unprecedented spike in applictions from the North of Ireland and Britain. Recent figures show that applictions from the UK for an Irish passport were up 74 per cent in January compared to the same time last year. There were more than 7,000 applications from people from the North of Ireland in January, up from 3,973 in the same month last year. The passport service also recently employed more than 200 temporary clerical officers to help with processing the applications and responding to customer queries.

With many thanks to: Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News.

 

INLA men’s murders reconstruction

THE murder of two INLA men in Co Louth more than 30 years ago has featured in an RTÉ reconstruction broadcast.

SHOT: Thomas ‘Ta’ Power (left) FEUD: Hugh Torney (right)

Thomas ‘Ta’ Power (33) and then INLA ‘chief of staff’ John GerardO’Reilly (26) were gunned down as they sat in the Rossnaree Hotel, near Drogheda, in January 1987 by members of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO). The INLA men had been in the hotel to try and settle an internal dispute about the direction of the group and were due to meet other members. However, the potential peace summit ended up in bloodshed when gunmen wearing false beards burst into the hotel and opened fire as their victims drank tea.

Two other men were injured during the ambush including Peter Stewart and Hugh ‘cueball’ Torney, who was himself killed in another feud in 1996. Leading IPLO man Gerard Steenson has been linked to the double killing, although others claim he was not involved.

He and another man were shot dead weeks later in March 1987 by the INLA faction in west Belfast. It is understood that the renewed appeal for information comes after relatives of Power, who was from the Markets area of south Belfast, met gardaí recently.

Campaign group Relatives for Justice recently wrote to the Republic’s Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda commisioner Nóirín O’Sullivan on behalf of the Power family asking for a review of the case. It is beleived that at that meeting family members learned for the first time that three men were questioned after the ambush but later released. No-one has ever been convicted. Gardaí failed to respond to a series of questions put to them by The Irish News about the case.

A reconstruction of the attack was featured on RTÉ’s Crime Call programme on Monday. The broadcaster declined to release any details of the programme in advance. Mike Ritchie from Relatives for Justice said: “Families who have lost loved ones below the border face a difficult situation because they were not able to benefit from the Historical Enquires Team information and review,” he said. “It’s important that the Garda reviews these cases themselves.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

http://www.rte.ie/tv/crimecall/this_month.html

http://www.rte.ie/amp/860691/

Off-duty police officer arrested over fatal Omagh crash – The Irish News

image
The aftermath of the road collision on Dromore Road in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in which 49-year-old Paul Mills was killed.

http://www.irishnews.com/news/2015/10/12/news/off-duty-police-officer-arrested-over-fatal-omagh-crash-290884/

Campaigner to speak at ‘Craigavon Two event

THE mother of an English man jailed under joint enterprise laws spoke on Thursday night August 6th 2015 at an event organised by supporters of two men wrongly convicted of killing RUC/PSNI constable Stephen Carroll.

Jan Cunliffe traveled from England to Belfast to speak at the annual event organised by Justice for the Craigavon Two. Her son Jordan was given a life sentence after he was convicted under joint enterprise laws of murdering a man in Wigan in 2007. Ms Cunliffe is a member of the campaign group Jengba – Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association – and her story inspired award-wining filmmaker Jimmy McGovern to make the acclaimed film Common, Which explores the issue of joint enterprise. Constable Carroll was shot dead by a Continuity IRA (C.I.R.A) sniper in March 2009. Two Craigavon men John Paul Wootton (JP), and Brendan McConville (Yandy), were later convicted of his murder and lost their appeal. Both men deny any part in the attack that claimed the 48-year-old’s life. Jan Cunliffe said she wants to raise awareness around the issue of joint enterprise. “We want to wake people up and make them realise there have got to others,” she said. “We are aware of the evidence and there was no jury and I am not convinced by the convictions at all. “It’s typical of joint enterprise cases and there are hundreds that I know about.” Ms Cunliffe spoke at St Mary’s University at 7pm.