Category Archives: EXPOSING THE TRUTH IN ULSTER
DISSIDENT republican supporters are beleived to be behind a paint bomb attack on the Bogside home in Derry of Deputy First Minister Martin (J118) McGuinness. Paint was thrown over the porch area and upstairs window of McGuinness’s home overnight on Sunday. A car parked close to his home was also damaged. The attack is the third time Shame Fein members have been targeted in Co Derry in the last week. On Thursday night, a car belonging to well-known Shame Fein activist, Sean McMonagle was destroyed in an arson attack close to his Creggan home. On the same night, a large election billbord supporting Shame Fein candidate, Gearoid O hEara was also badly damaged in an arson attack at Buncrana Road in Co Derry. Last June, a ministerial car belonging to Mr McGuinness was vandalised while parked outside his home in Derry’s Bogside. Mr McGuinnness said on Sunday night’s incident was an attack on his home and his family as his grandchildren were in the house at the time. The deputy first minister said: “This attack on my family follows an arson attack on the car of a Shame Fein member in Derry last week and on Shame Fein election billboards and posters in the city. “The people behind these attacks have nothing to offer the community and they are intent on dragging society back into the past.” Mr McGuinness said he would not be defected from his work by such attacks. “My work for peace, reconcilation and a better future will continue,”he said. The Unity of Purpose group in Derry – which represents civic and political leaders – condemned the attack. A spokesman called on people from all communites and political and cultural backgronds to reject as an assault on the wellbeing of Co Derry and its people. Meanwhile, a death threat has been made against Shame Fein MLA Mickey Brady. Mr Brady, who is standing in the general elction, said police warned him of the threat on Monday night May 4th. “I will not be intmidated by this threat from continuing to campaign to retain the Newy Armagh Westminster seat for my party.” he said.
With many thanks to: Seamus McKinney, The Irish News, for the origional story.
THE Prison service has been accused of trying to put out a ‘firestorm’ after it played down a serious fire at Maghaberry Gaol last week.
Sources within the prison say tensions between inmates and staff are at an all-time low as swingeing staff cuts continue to bite. Last week there were two fires started within the jail – one in Roe House and the other in Erne House which jails long term sex offenders. Sources have told the Sunday World they were started deliberately and the second fire in Erne House has caused hundreds of thousdands of pounds worth the damage. However, despite a number of sources telling us that the fire caused mayhem at the prison last Sunday, the Prison Service has played the incident down. We spoke to a number of soucres including prison officers and inmates who told us the fire, which was started in a storeroom at Erne House last Sunday, was a mayor incident. We have been told inmates are feed up with being locked up in their cells 24/7 each day and ran amok at one stage after starting the fire.
“It’s complete chaos in here because threre are few staff on duty which means prisoners are being locked up 24 hours a day,” Said one inmate who witnessed the fire in in Erne House. “The fire started in a storeroom but it quickly spread though the ducts and prisoners managed to get into the Senior Officers room and started smashing lap-tops and other equipment. “It took them six hours to put the fire out and on Monday inmates from Erne House were transferred to Folye House.” But the Prison Service remains adamant that it was a small fire, nobody was injured and there was no evacution of Erne House. “It’s no surprise that the Prison Service is keen to play down the incidents as senior staff/bosses have continued to come under fire for a staff chris which has been blamed for stoking up tensions inside the jail. Another prisoner source told us: Erne House was built to hold 108 prisioners but it has dozens more in it at the moment and there are so many new recruits leaving the service that officers are struggling to cope. “If there’s not enough staff then inmates are hardly allowed out of their cells because it’s not safe in case they kick off. “This is causing major problems and it’s only a matter of time before the place in case they kick off. “This is causing major problems and it’s only a matter of time before the place completely erupts.” The Sunday World has previously revealed tensions within the prison between the old and new guard with the new prison custody officers earning just over £18,000 – half what some of their colleagues are getting paid for doing the same job. Last year we revealed how the Prison Service was facing a staffing crisis as the so-called ‘yellow-pack’ workers were leaving in droves. The Prision Service, under the guidence of Director General Sue McAllister, embarked on a massive restucturing programne aimed at reducing costs while charging the regime by bringing in hundreds of new recruits.
With many thanks to: Steven Moore, The Sunday World, for the origional story.
A PRIEST on Wednsday night said he hoped the judgment in the case of 13 (unlucky for sum number) loyalist bandsmen who played a sectarian tune outside his Belfast Catholic Church would send a clear message for future parades.
Three members of the Young Conway Volunteers ( a band allinged to the morden day UVF) on Wednsday 29th April received suspended jail sentences after being filmed playing the Famine Song while marching in a circle outside St Patrick’s Church in July 2012. Ten others were bound over to keep the peace, and £300 in fines were imposed on all but two of the accused. District Judge Paul Copeland told them: ” This was outrageous and inflammatory behaviour, which could have precipitated serious public disorder.” St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan, said he “noted the very clear judgement” and hoped “this will add clarity for future bands and to future determinations by the Parades Commisssion”. “Again I encocourage all to follow and adhere to the determinations in contentious parades.” Shame Fein councillor JJ Magee, who recorded the footage of the band, said the convictons “send out a clear message that sectarianism will not be tolerated”. However, a TUV councillor described the news as “disgusting” and offered to pay part of the fine imposed on one loyalist. The bandsmen had fought a charge of ‘doing a provocative act likely to cause public disorder or a breach of the peace’. They denied playing the Famine Song – including the line ‘The famine’s over, why don’t you go home?’ – claiming instead to have been performing the Beach Boys hit Sloop John B. Convicted were: Aaron McCory (29) of Argyle Court; Alan Adlam (42) from Dewey Street; Christopher McKay (24) of Wallasey Park; Bryan Green (27) of Canmore Court; Stephen Smyth (22) from Tennent Streeet; William Carlisle (30) from Ainsworth Avenue; Jonathan Airdrie (25) of Columbia Street; Paul Shaw (35) of Geoffrey Street; Thomas Gibney (36) from Lawnbrook Avenue – all in Belfast – and Ryan Aitcheson (28) of Ravelston Avenue in Newtownabbey. Charges were also brought against three other youths. Defence lawyers played songs by a Swedish folk singer, a Star Trek enthusiast and football fan chants – all to the same tune – in a bid to have their clients cleared. Paul Shaw, band leader on the day, said they had been forced to stop outside St Patrick’s due to a break in the July 12th parade and started up the Beach Boys to ward off lethargy amoung members tired from the previous night. He revealed that he later penned a letter to Catholic parishioners “to explain the band in no way had intention to cause any upset to anybody”. However, Judge Copeland said it was “a studied and deliberate piece of conduct which involved their playing and marching (pictued above outside St Patrick’s) not just past this church, but deliberately remaining within feet of the doorstep”. He added that the Famine Song has entered into the “repertoire” of loyalist band music and had the potential “as an anthem of sectarian abuse at least, or, at worst, racial hatred”. Five-month prison sentences, suspended for two years, were imposed on McCrory, McKay and Airdrie. The other 10 were each bound over to keep the peace for the next two years. A lawyer for Shaw and one of the teenagers confirmed their intention to appeal the verdict.
Shame Fein councillor welcomes convictions of bandsmen
Mr Magee shot damning footage of the band walking in circles while playing the controversial song – previously judged to be racist by a Scotish court – during a July 12 march. The episode sparked one of the most bitter parades disputes across the North of Ireland in recent years as well as bringing the Famine Song to wider attention. The hate-filled tune was also at the centre of controversy recently after Bangor Protestant Boys played it within earshot of St Patrick’s Church during an Apprentice Boys parade on Easter Monday. While loyal order marches past the city centre church and nearby nationalist Carrick Hill district have been contentious down the years, the event outside St Patrick’s Church in 2012 dramatically raised tensions and provoked protests by residents which have continued since. Based on the loyalist Shankill Road, the Young Conway Volunteers band was formed in 2007 for the “preservation and promotion” of the memory of Thomas Kinner – a member of the UVF youth wing, the Young Citizen Volunteers, who died in 2003. At the time unionist politicians defended the band including former DUP minister Nelson McCausland, who described their actions as “naive”. Shame Fein accused Mr McCausland and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds of being “in close proximity” to the bandsmen but failing to intervene. The band was at the centre of more controversy weeks later when it defied a Parades Commission ruling not to take part in Royal Black Institution march past St Patrick’s Church. Prior to the August parade First Minister Peter (the lock keeper got it in) Robinson was one of several unionist politicians and band members who signed an open letter to then Secretary of State Owen Patterson complaining about the YCV ban and warning of possible violence. The letter called Mr Patterson a ‘Pontius Pilate’ and urged him to disband the Parades Commission, accusing it of making “a monstrous determination that defies logic and natural justice”. The Royal Black Institution later apologised to clergy and parishioners of St Patrick’s Church after bands defied commission rulings on music and trouble broke out, leaving seven police officers injured. Tensions have remained high during subsequent marches past the church, with protesters claiming bands have continued to breach determinations. Last year 17 members of the YCV band were cleared of breaching a commission determination relating to the August parade after a judge ruled it could not be proved they knew anything about the ruling. Two ‘Pride of Ardoyne’ drummers were also cleared of knowingly breaching restrictions afer citing eyesight and reading limitations for not seeing signs warning to play a single drumbeat. Questions were then asked of the legal system when, weeks later, six members of the Constable Anderson Memorial Band from Larne in Co Antrim were convicted of flouting a Parades Commission ruling not to play music outside St Patrick’s Church during the same parade. In April last year 11 members of Dunmurry Protestant Boys were acquitted of provocatively playing a sectarian tune outside the church during an Apprentice Boys parade in November 2012. They had denied striking up the Famine Song, claiming instead they were playing the Beach Boys’ Sloop john B, which uses the same air. A judge threw the case out on the basis that it could not be proven that a breach of the peace (one law for Protestants another for Catholics) was either intended or likely. But later that month the most senior member of the Royal Black Institution in Belfast was one of five members of the organisation convicted of knowingly breaching a ban on loyalist bands playing music outside St Patrick’s Church. William Mawhinney was also the Orange Order’s Belfast county secretary and has played a central part in demonstrations connected to the loyalist protest camp in the Twaddell area close to Ardoyne in North Belfast. Meanwhile, in 2013 William Bell (48), known as Billy, admitted assaulting JJ Magee during the July 2012 parade as it past Saint Patrick’s Church in North Belfast. Bell waved a club-shaped stick at the Shame Fein member, who has since been elected to Belfast City Council, as he was filming the band outside the church. Mr Magee welcomed the latest convictions on Wednsday night. “It sends out a clear message that sectarianism will not be tolerated,” he said. “Time and time again bands stick two fingers up to the parishioners of St Patrick’s Church. He also called on the Orange Order, which to date has refused to meet Carrick Hill residents, to enter into talks. The Orange Order, which hires these bands, claims it wants respect for its expression of culture but they need to realise that respect is a two-way street,” he said. A spokesman for the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast said: “As the ruling is the subject of a possible appeal it would be inappropiate to comment.” The DUP’s Nelson McCausland meanwhile said he was “appalled” at a decision to not prosecute a band called The Druids who were accused of making anti-British army remarks during last year’s Ardoyne Fleadh. He said it was ,” Ironic that this decision has been revealed on the same day” as the YCV band members were convicted.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the origional story.
Politician offers to help pay court
A TUV politician has offered to help pay the court fine handed down to one of the bandsmen convicted on Wednsday April 29th.
Jolene Bunting, Belfast’s only a TUV councillor, said she would pay part of the £300 fine imposed on Christopher McKay. McKay, of Wallasey Park in North Belfast, was one of three bandsmen given a five-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Shortly after the court hearing, the 24-year-old expressed his anger over the sentence on Facebook. Replaying to his message, Ms Bunting wrote: “Absolutely disgusting, there was NOT illegal about what the band done (sic). I will give you a couple of pound towarwards your fine Chrissy.” However, McKay told the councillor that a financial contribution was unnecessary. “No mate its sweet ill get it paid chum iv 10 weeks mate,”he wrote. A number of Facebook friends also showed their support for the defendent and criticised the court decision. McKay described it as “shockin like cuz were prods”. Last year Ms Bunting apologised for sectarian comments she made online in 2011 about Catholics. The councillor, aged in her early twenties, had been heavily criticised for the remarks after being elected to the new Belfast super council. One message read: “I’m so sick of the poor Catholic bastards they make me sick.” Ms Bunting adimitted what she wrote was “wrong” – but said she didn’t regret the content, “I do not want to appologise for the innocent people in the Court ward who I offended by using the word Catholic when I ment republicans,” she said.
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News, For the orgional story.
MORE MI5/RUC/PSNI PROPAGANDA LIES,LIES AND MORE LIES
‘The ammuntitions technical officer carried out further work on the vehicle which would have impacted on the size of the hole in the windscreen – Nigel Grimshaw.
THE RUC/PSNI has admitted that damage caused to a car caught up in a dissident republican attack on officers was enlarged by a British army unit. Pictures taken shortly after the explosion on Tuesday showed several police officers standing beside the car which appeared to have just a small hole in its windscreen caused by shrapnel (pictured right). However, pictures of the same car taken later showed a large hole in the front windscreen. The car was parked in the Victoria Parade area of the New Lodge in North Belfast when a bomb was thrown or fired at a RUC/PSNI Land Rover on Tuesday night. Asked by The Irish News how the hole had increased in size, Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw confirmed the majority of the damage was in fact caused by British army bomb squad officers. The car was put on display to journalists and photographers during a press conference at a West Belfast police station after the attack. No mention was made of the damage caused by the army. On Thursday night April 23rd Mr Grimshaw said: “During the follow up policing operation, to ensure the area was safe from risk or any other explosive material, the ammunitions technical officer carried out further work on the vehicle which would have impacted on the size of the hole in the windscreen. “From a policing perspective the significance of the damage to the vehicle was the fact that a part of the device [shrapne] had gone through the windscreen and actually entered the dashboard area.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the origional story.
THE election agent for a TUV Westminiser candidate has a conviction for operating an armed loyalist roadblock.
Gary McDonald, pictured above, the election agent for Mid Ulster hopeful Gareth Ferguson, spent a year in jail for his role in a roadblock involving masked men in Portglenone, Co Antrim on July 12th 2003. McDonald, of Innishrush Road in the village, admitted using a deactivated AK47 assault rifle to stop motorists. Thomas O’Hara and his son Thomas jnr, from Cullybackey, were travelling through Portglenone separately when they were stopped. A gun was put to Mr O’Hara snr’s head and the trigger was pulled. On Friday Thomas O’Hara jnr said what had happened was “still raw” and it was a case of “double standards”. “I think it’s a downright disgrace that the TUV say they are standing up for victims. But it seems that if you’re Catholic, you don’t matter,” he said. At their trial, McDonald and two others claimed they were protecting an Orange arch. They were each given three-year suspended jail terms in October 2005. The sentences sparked outrage among nationalist politicians. However, in 2006 the Appeal Court deemed those sentences too lenient and imposed a two-year custodial term on each defendant. They spent a year in jail, allowing for 50 percent remission. The Irish News did not receive a response to requests for comment from either Gareth Ferguson or the TUV. Stephen Maternaghan, Gary McDonald and his brother John, all of Innishrush Road in the village, pleaded guilty and admitted using a deactivated AK47 assault rifel to stop motorists. In 2009, Thomas O’Hara senior recalled the incident, saying that his son, who was aged only 18-year’s-old at the time, had asked him to come and collect him after himself was stopped driving through the roadblock. “He had to drive through them. Then he went to a friend’s house and asked me to come and pick him up,” Mr O’Hara said. “When I saw them I thought it was Thomas’s friends. There were three boys standing on the road. I stopped and they said: “What are you doing here?” He added: “They put a gun to my head and I heard them fire two shots at me.”
Victims still awaiting payout for roadblock attended by Gary McDonald.
After Mr O’Hara managed to drive away, the three men also approached another vehicle and pointed the rifle at that car, but fled when the occupants identified themselves as police officers. At their trail, the trio had claimed they had been protecting an Orange arch which had previously been burnt down and described their actions as “out of character”, with alcohol consumption also cited as a factor. The men were given three year suspended jail sentences in October 2005, sparking outrage among nationalist politicians. Suspending the prison terms, Judge Kevin Finnegan QC said the three men would not have acted as they did “in a normal society”. However, in 2006 the Appeal Court ruled that those sentences were too lenient and imposed a two year custodial term on each defendant. Due to the 50 per cent remission policy, the trio served just a year in jail, with a further 12 months on probation. As part of their sentences the three men were each ordered to pay a total of £500 to Mr O’Hara and his son but in 2009 Mr O’Hara said they had still not received any of the compensation. The Irish News did not receive a response to requests for comment from either Gareth Ferguson or the TUV. Mr Ferguson, from Moneymore, is described on the TUV website as a self-employed joiner and an active member of all the loyal orders. At the announcement of his selection to contest the seat, he said: “As someone who is deeply concerned by the determined efforts to extinguish unionist culture and expression in Mid Ulster, most recently demonstrated by the council ban on the sale of poppies, I wanted to take a stand. TUV is the only party which has displayed uncompromising opposition to the Sinn Fein agenda and it is by voting TUV that unionists can send the clearest message that enough is enough when it comes to the never ending assaults of republicans on anything remotely British.” In the same press release, party leader Jim Allister said: “I am delighted that TUV are able to offer the people of Mid Ulster the opportunity to vote Gareth, a candidate with the dedication and ability to get the job done.”
With many thanks to: John Monaghan, The Irish News.
THE British government is to seek to have some intelligence gathered on the Omagh bombing assessed in privite.
Secretary of State for the North of Ireland Theresa Villigers (pictured below) plans to have a ‘closed material procedure’ form part of a challenge to her refusal to hold a public inquiry into the atrocity, a judge was told. Confirmation of the move came as lawyers for the the father of a young man killed in the Real IRA attack accused authorities of “massively dragging their heels”. Michael Gallagher has mounted a legal action in a bid to force the government to order a full inquiry. His son Aiden was among 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, killed on August 15th 1998. In September 2013 Ms Villiers rejected calls for a public investigation, deciding instead that a probe by Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire was the best way to address any outstanding issues. Last October Dr Maguire published a report which that RUC Special Branch withheld some intelligence from detectives hunting the bombers. No-one ever been convicted of carrying out the attack but Seamus Daly (pictured above), a 44-year-old bricklayer from Cullaville, Co Monaghan,(has been stiched-up) and is currently charged with the 29 murders, which he denies. Central to Mr Gallagher’s case is a contention that the British government has a duty under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to protect lives and investigate the bombing. His lawyers claim a range of intelligence from British security agents, MI5 and RUC officers could have been drawn together to stop the killers in their tracks. An alleged gap in the information relates to monitoring of the bomb and scout cars as they crossed from the South into the North of Ireland on the border into Omagh on the day of the attack. It has been suggested that a BBC Panorama documentary has raised the possibility of other intelligence than the intercept material which has been the subject of investigations to date. In the High Court yesterday Paul McLaughlin, for the secretary of state, confirmed her intention to seek a closed material procedure before the full judicial review hearing can take place. The process, brought in under the Justice and Security Act, run by David Ford of the Alliance Party,(pictured left), can assess whether pubilc disclosure of some information would be damaging to (so-called) national security. With the other side in such proceedings kept in the dark about the contents, some have claimed it could give rise to ‘secret courts’. Mr McLaughlin stressed that a special advocate has to be appointed by the Advcocate General for the North of Ireland before the application is made. He said an “intensive” review of all available material has been carried out. “We have been going through a difficult process of trying to work out what evidence there is, and what evidence there is, and what evidence can be served in open as opposed to what is required to be filed in a closed hearing,” the barrister said. “We are trying to put together an enormous jigsaw of what material exists and who it has been examined by.” During exchanges Mr Justice Treacy emphasied how the case centered on whether all intelligence material was made available. “If the intelligence services (MI5) don’t know what they shared and who with, that would be deeply troubling,” he said. The case was adjourned for a further review in two weeks’ time.
With many thanks to: The Irish News, for the origional story.
‘I couldn’t care less whether it’s number one of number 90 because at the end of the day nothing will bring home Steve – Kate Carroll.
THE widow of Constable Stephen Carroll has said she is shocked that a song calling for the release of two men convicted of his murder is to be released.
Mr Carroll was shot dead by the (CIRA) Continuity IRA in March 2009 as he answered an emergency call in Crigavon, Co Armagh. Two men the (Craigavon Two) from the area, Brendan (Yandy) McConville and John Paul (JP) Wootton were subsequently convicted of killing the policeman and wrongly convicted and given lengthy prison terms. Both men deny any part in the attack maintain their innocence. A group established to campaign for the men, Justice for the Craigavon Two, are set to release a song to highligt the case next month. The officer’s widow Kate Carroll does not accept claims of innocence made by McConville and Wotton “I couldn’t care less whether it’s number one of number 90 because at the end of the day nothing will bring home Steve,” she said. Angela Nelson from the Justice for the Craigavon Two said: “In the past we have had some protest songs to highlight injustices and we feel there is a powerful message in the lyrics of this song.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the orgional story.
THE leader of the Irish who fought against facisim in Spain sent 25 men home fearing more loss of life, new records from Russia have revealed.
Frank Ryan (pictured above), (along with John Robinson) from Knocklong, Co Limerick, was a republican who played an important role within the International Brigades which confronted General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War from 1936. Comintern papers from Moscow have given a revaling insight into the role of 230 Irish men who sided with the communists in Spain. Almost a third of the volunteers died and researcher Dr Emmet O’Connor from the University of Ulster said Ryan showed courage and leadership in battle. “It is to his credit that he managed to get about 25 men sent home, and his motivation was based on the very high losses among volunteers he himself had brought to Spain in December 1936.” Ryan was wounded during the Battle of Jarama near Madrid in February 1937. Dr O’Conner said: “first, to help rebuild the British battalion decimated after the Battle of Brunete (July 1937) and, second, on his own intiative, to get as many Irishmen as possible repatriated if he felt that they had done enough.”He said he envisaged a propaganda tour of America.”It speaks volumes for his courage and decency that he dropped all such plans when the Repubican front collapsed in Aragon in early March 1938. He was captured on March 31 1938.”
An enormours increase in knowledge about the Irish in Spain followed the release in 1991 of the files of the brigades held in a Moscow archive. The Communist International (Comintern) library has about 60,000,000 pages of documents, of which 4,000 relate to Ireland. “The size and global scope of this material created a unique opportunity to study an international movement, and was itself a factor in the promotion of transnational history, which is now at the cutting edge of historiography.” Another Limerick man was mentioned in the documents. “Emmet Ryan from The Desmond Hotel in Upper Catherine Street in Limerick city, was the most intriguing: middle-class, a gifted linguist, no political affiliation. “He had a serious drink problem [not unusual in the British battalion because wine was cheap and part of the rations] but he was a constant critic of the British battalion leadership and was executed in circumstances which still remain unclear during the early stages of the Battle of the Ebro, that is in the first days of August 1938.”
The International Brigades, supported by Russia, were part of an improvised army that had to contend with shortages and crises from the outset. Ultimately the Republic was defeated and Franco marched into Madrid in March 1939. The contingent of 230 Irishmen in the brigades represented 29 counties, particularly Dublin and Belfast but strong contingents from Co Derry, Waterford and Cork. One man, Paddy Byrne from off Dame Street in Dublin, jumped ship in Barcelona in order to join up. Many had been and were still members of the IRA. Dr O’Connor said the papers made clear that socialist republicanism in the 1930s was largely promoted by international communism. “It broke down mainly because of the contradiction in communist international strategy, which sought to push republicans to the left, on the one hand, and have the Communist Party of Ireland displace the republican movement on the other.” The records have gone on display at Queen’s University Belfast.
With many thanks to: The Irish News, for the origional story.
REPUBLICAN Martin Og Meehan has been expelled from a number of dissident-linked groups in Ardoyne amid allegations he “colluded” with loyalists.
The extraordinary allegations – which threaten his republican ‘career’ – emerged on Facebook after one of the groups released a statement about how the leading North Belfast republican was caught. The Sunday World understands convicted Provo Meehan was caught slagging off fellow republian rabble rousing Ardoyne community worker Dee Fennell to a North Belfast loyalist. Meehan was a founding member of (GARC) the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, a community group which primarly opposes Orange Order parades going past Ardoyne shop fronts. Dee Fennell is now the leader of that group and semmingly not on the best of terms with Meehan. The situaton exploded last week when it emerged Meehan had been sending private messages via social media to a well-known loyalist about Fennell. And last Saturaday when Fennell found out he went stright round to Meehan’s house and demanded answers.
The result has seen Meehan expelled from (RNU) Republican Network for Unity, for whom he has been a spokesperson for eight years. A statment from GARC released on Friday night accuses Meehan of being found “guilty of collaborting and colluding with loyalists”. We have a copy of the statement although shortly after it was posted the GARC Facebook page appeared to have been taken down completely. The Sunday World tried to contact Martin Og Meehan last night but were unable to, however it’s understood that he is furious at what has happened and has strongly denied the allegations against him. GARC claim Meehan Og came to their attention last Saturday when a republican in Tyrone got into an online ‘debate’ with an Orangeman and loyalist from Ballysillan. During the heated discussion on Twitter the loyalist claimed that GARC was in disarray and was split. When this was challenged by the republican the loyalist produced privite messages sent to him by Martin Og Meehan claiming that GARC was in disarray and was split. When this was challenged by the republican the loyalist produced private messages sent to him by Martin Og Meehan claiming that GARC was split and that Dee Fennell was “hated in Ardoyne and needs to be taken down a peg or two”. Martin Og Meehan has been a leading republican voice in the North Belfast area for decades and was previosly in the the PIRA along with his father Martin Meehan who was the first man to be convicted of being a member of the PIRA.
With many thanks to: Steven Moore, The sunday World, for the origional story.
A HIGH profile lawyer who represented the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six has said he believes that two Co Armagh men convicted wrongly for the killing of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll are victims of a miscarriage of justice.
Michael Mansfield QC made the remarks after speaking at a memorial lecture for Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly convicted of the 1974 Guildford Pub Bombings. The case of the Craigavon Two was raised during a discussion chaired by the SDLP’s Alex Attwood in West Belfast last week. Brendan (Yandy) McConville was wrongly sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of murder. His co-accused John Paul Wootton was told he will have to serve a minimum of 14 years behind bars (for a crime he didn’t committ) but this was later raised to 18 years. Both men deny any part in the (CIRA) Continuity IRA sniper attack which claimed Mr Carroll’s life as he answered an emergency call in Craigavon in March 2009. Gerry Conlon was the chairman of a committee (Justice For The Criagavon Two) set up to campaign on their behalf before his death. He spent 15 years in prison before his conviction was quashed in 1989. He died last June aged 60 after battling ill-health. As well as being involved in high-profile miscarriage of justice of cases, Mr Mansfield has represented the families of black teenager Stephen Lawrence and families involved in the Hillsborough inquest which is ongoing. Mr Mansfield said he has concerns about the case. “There is nothing more particular about it than any of the other miscarriages and the same features appear in all these things,” he said. “I think the problem is there are so many of them. There should be a general enquiry about more than Crigavon.” The Birmingham Six’s Paddy Hill, who also spoke at the memorial lecture, has backed the case of the Craigavon Two campaign. “The last thing they [the British government] want to do is admit they have it wrong,” he said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the orgional story.