Category Archives: EXPOSING THE TRUTH IN ULSTER
ULSTER’S top cops and their bosses stand accused of being ‘hood Winkied’ – yet again.
The latest row erupted after last Thursday’s meeting of the Policing Board for Northern Ireland. For weeks, the Sunday World has been asking the Board if Winston ‘Winkie’ Irvine, the top UVF Commander in the Woodvale area of North-West Belfast, was an appropriate person to be serving on a District Policing and Community Partnership. Our queries came after a catalogue of incidents, and after a BBC Spotlight programme which, literally, put Winkie Irvine and his UVF role in the spotlight. The Policing Board kept knocking back our queries. They said they would make their decision on Irvine public at Thursday’s ‘public’ meeting. Well, we had to go to them on Friday to ask what their verdict was. And we can reveal that Irvine WILL remain on the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership despite his UVF links. Last night, that left the SDLP, and their justice spokesman, barrister Alban Maginness, calling for anyone connected with paramilitaries to be ‘weeded out’ of anything to do with policing, and the Policing Board, in the North of Ireland. In their belated statement issued to the Sunday World on Friday, the Policing Board said of Irvine’s membership of the Policing Board and Community Partnership:– “The Policing Board considered the case at its March Meeting and decided that the PCSP Member’s circumstances do not require (Irvine’s) removeal from office” The Sunday World has previously asked the Policing Board why their reveiw was taking so long, to which they replied: “The reveiw is being progressed in line with the Board’s procedure and will be completed in due course.”
SDLP MLA Alban Maginness described how he was saddened at the decision: “It’s very disappointing that the Policing Board have arrived at this decision whenever it is generally perceived in the public mind that a member of the partnership has strong associations with a paramilitary organisition. “Surely this is unacceptable given the sensitivities around policing and community safety in north Belfast.” He added: “The Policing Board and the Department of Justice must now look at the representation on the Partnership Boards very carefully in the near future in order to weed out those who are associated with or who are members of paramilitary organisations or other organisations which would bring policing into disrepute. “Clearly the Policing Board hasn’t the power at this moment in time to robustly deal with this situation, but it must get this power in the near future.”
With many thanks to: Jamie McDowell, the Sunday World.
TWO letter bombs intercepted at postal sorting oofficers were addressed to serving prison officers in Maghaberry and Magilligan prisons, in ongoing disputes within the prisons, The Irish News has learned.
The first and deputy first ministers have condemned those responsible after the devices were found at Royal Mail offices in Lisburn and Derry. British army bomb disposal experts said the devices were viable and have taken them away for further examination. The Irish News understands the letters contained red phosphorus, which is toxic. Police would not be drawn on the contents of the letters or who they were addressed to. The first was discovered at Derry’s main sorting office in Great James Street on Thursday and the second was discovered on Friday at Linenhall Street in Lisburn. The letter which sparked the alert in Derry was in an A4 envelope and a stencil had been used to write the address. It followed a similar incident in the city last October when a viable device was delivered to the offices of the Public Prosecution Service at Limavady Road. Last month a number of letter bombs were sent to British army careers offices in England and dissident republicans claimed responsibility. In October 2013 a similar device in a package addessed to Secretary of State Theresa Villiers at Stormont Castle was intercepted.
With many thanks to: Maeve Connlly and Seamus McKinney, The Irish News.
FORMER PIRA MEMBER THOUGHT TO BE FIRST CONVICTION FROM DRONE DEVICE
DRONES are being used by the security services (MI5) to track dissident republicans from the skies, The Irish News has learned.
On Thursday a former Provisional IRA member became the first person convicted by covert surveillance evidence gathered from an unmanned aerial vehicle. Tony Taylor (45), of Bishop Street in Derry, was arrested along with Mark Anthony Kerr (26) in August 2011. They were sentenced at Belfast Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to possession of a rifle in January. It was not disclosed in court but The Irish News has learned that a British Army drone was used tracking Taylor’s movements prior to his arrest. Police had also been listening to live audio from a listening device fitted to the car of a third man who was arrested on the day but later released without charge. The court was told both men were being closely monitored “on the ground and in the sky”. Last year the PSNI purchased three aerial drones ahead of the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh. However, at the time of Taylor’s arrest they did not possess such technology and a military drone fitted with cameras is bbelieved to have been used instead. The level of surveillance used in the North of Ireland to combat the dissident republican threat is believed to be at a record high. The first sighting of the new PSNI/RUC drones was in Ardoyne, North Belfast, in November last year. A PSNI/RUC spokesman said at the time: “A limited aerial capability was required during in order to keep the community, police and army officers safe. These systems are flown in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority approval.” Police had previously attempted to withhold evidence from the men’s defence teams revealing Taylor was under secret surveillance. The drone observed him going into the Abercorn Bar and as he left recorded overhead footage of him walking down the hill and talking into the passenger window of Kerr’s Red Red Peugeot car. Republican Network for Unity (RNU) spokesman Carl Reilly said: “We are told the British army are no longer on the streets and that policing and justice have been reformed. Yet here we have a situation were some former prisoners are protected while Tony Taylor, who had not received so much as a parking ticket in the 16 years since he was released, was being followed by drones and jailed by a British Diplock court”. Levels of surveillance being used in the North of Ireland to combat the dissident republican threat are believed to be at record levels. In December Colin Duffy (46) from Lurgan and Belfast men Alec McCrory (52) and Harry Fitzsimmons (45) were arrested in connection with a shooting in Ardoyne in North Belfast during which a police convoy came under fire. The arrest was said to have been made following an unprecedented level of covert surveillance on the three who are currently remanded in custody.
Dissident republicans struggling in face of covert advances
TECHNOLOGY has advanced dramatically in recent years and with it so too has policing. Listening devices, GPS tracking and aerial drones just some of the tools now forming part of modern-day police investigations.
Covert surveillance has played a major role in almost every paramilitary-related arrest made in the past three years. This has involved both police and military intelligence forces using a variety of techniques to track suspects. Sources say that this has led to a complete rethink in the current direction of the two main dissident groups, the merger group known as the IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann. Senior figures have walked away after a series of arrests left them disillusioned. Sources say those remaining are actively recruiting younger members who have knowledge of technological advances. Since the Provisional IRA ceasefire dissident groupings have relied heavily on former Proviisionals to provide leadership and training. However, these older members who operated the IRA campaign in a different era and have little knowledge or understanding of technology are being considered more of a liability than an asset. Millions of pounds are being invested in combating the dissident paramilitary threat with vast sums being spent on technology. Being able to operate any kind of armed campaign when faced with such monitoring is proving increasingly difficult for the dissidents.
With many thanks to: Allision Morris, The Irish News.
TWO Derry dissidents caught with a rifle will be released before the end of the year having served the bulk of their sentence on remand.
Michael Anthony Taylor (45) known as Tony, of Bishop Street, and Mark Anthony Kerr (26), of Carrabane Walk, pleaded guilty in January at Belfast Crown Court to possessing the Magnum rifle with intent to endanger life almost three years ago. Taylor, a former Provisional IRA prisoner had been under surveillance by police in the run up to his arrest. He was sentenced to seven years, with three years spent in custody and four on licence after his release. He is due for release in August having served time on remand. Kerr also pleaded guilty to possessing a length of commercial detonating cord in suspicious circumstances on the same date on Tuesday, August 2 2011. He was sentenced to six years, with half in custody and half on licence. A prosecution lawyer told Judge Corinne Philpott QC that police stopped a red Peugeot 406 which was being watched by police, Kerr, was wearing white gloves. A search of the car revealed a red holdall bag containing a semi automatic Remington Model 597 Homady Magnum 117 rifle (pictured above). The court heard that unknown to both Kerr and Taylor, police had mounted a covert surveillance operation that evening and both men were being closely followed by police officers both on the ground and in the sky above Derry.
The prosecuting lawyer said that Taylor was observed going into the Abercorn Bar and as he left aerial police watched him walking down the hill. Taylor was later seen by police talking into the passenger window of Kerr’s Red Peugeot car. Police then moved in, arresting Kerr at the car, and Taylor was detained a short distance away. A search of the car revealed a metre-long length of detonating cord which contained PETN explosives inside. The judge was told Kerr had no relevant criminal convictions. However, the lawyer said that Taylor was jailed in 1995 at Belfast Crown Court for an explosives offence. The court heard that on January 27, 1994, Taylor was seriously injured in a bomb explosion in Derry. The force of the explosion knocked down a wall and in a follow up operation police recovered a Mark 16 mortar and fins which appeared to be the process of “setting it up to be fired” when the bomb detonated prematurely.
With many thanks to: The Irish News.
‘I have no doubt there was collusion. I don’t think there was a lot of investigating done into Gerard’s murder from the very beginning - Una Casey-Eakin.
THE family of an IRA man shot dead by loyalists using a gun linked to httphttp://i.ytimg.com/vi/-K_BNabqAjY/hqdefault.jpghttp://i.ytimg.com/vi/-K_BNabqAjY/hqdefault.jpg://i.ytimg.com/vi/-K_BNabqAjY/hqdefault.jpgish
army agent Brian Nelson believe there is clear evidence of collusion in the murder.
Father-of-three Gerard Casey was gunned down by the UDA/UFF as he slept beside his wife and baby daughter at their home near Rasharkin, Co Antrim in April 1989. It Gerard’srecently emerged that one of two weapons used to kill the 29-year-old was a Czechoslovakian-made VZ-58 assuault rifle. The same gun was used during the Rising Sun pub massacre which believed the lives of eight prople including the oldest man mudered during the troubles at Greysteel in Co Derry on Halloween night 1993. The weapon is one of several hundred bwithout d to have been smuggled into the north with the help of UDA member Brian Nelson, who was working for the British army’s Force Research Unit. The family’s solicitor, Fearghal Shiels, confirmed last night that he has written to the Ministry of D:-) ghter’ efence seeking compensation becaConstable, lson’s involvement. Relatives also want the case to be investiShield by the Police Ombudsman’s Office, which last montinterview ed officials ainvolvedng at the th:-) e Graysteel Massacre and murder oinconceivable Catholic workmen in Castlerock, Co Derry in march 1993. Four loyalists, Torrens Knight, Jeffery Deeny, Stephen Irwin and Brian McNeill, were convicted for their part in the Graysteel attack while Knight was also convicted in relation to Castlerock.
The Police Ombudmasman has confirmed it has “identified policing issues” in counties Derry and Antrim between 1988 and 1993. Mr Casey’s widow Una Casey-Eakin beleives security forces were involved in her former husband’s murder. She claims that while being questioned by police in Castlereagh several months eariler, he was told he would be shot and the killing blamed on loyalists. She also alleges that during an RUC raid on her home a legally-held shotgun was seized and a detailed sketch of the house was made. “I have no doubt there was collusion,” she said. “I don’t think there was a lot of investigating done into Gerard’s murder from the very beginning. “I was interveiewed on the night of his murder and several days later in Ballymoney and that was the last contact we had with them.” Mrs Casey-Eakin beleives up to nine people may have been involved in the murder, and it could be linked to other killings in the area at that time. Two people were arrested and later released wihout charge. “The same gun was used to shoot Gerard was used in Graysteel. Why were the people arrested for Graysteel not pulled for that?” In 2010 Attorney General John Larkin ordered a new inquest into Mr Casey’s death. The move came after his daughter Tara took the case against the Chief Constable, forcing police to disclose documents relevant to the case. Mr Shiels also raised questions about the RUC’s failure to interveiw some of those involved in the Graysteel about the Casey murder. “It is inconceivable that those persons could not be regarded as suspects, given their later possession of the actual murder weapon, and the failure to question those individuals is a matter which requires a rigorous independent investigation,” he said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
McGuinness and Shame Fein should re-evaluate their position in this so-called shared government and so-called shared space!!.
This letter appeared in the Irish News on Friday February 28 2014.
‘Twenty years after the ceasefire, 16 years after the Good Friday Agreement where is republicanism at – bending over backwards, abandoning long cherished principles and still being slapped down - Seamus McAloran.
I READ with iinterest Martin McGuinness’s interview in The Irish News (February 6). Martin wasincredulous about how his efforts to advance the political process are rarely reciprocated by his main partners in government.
“I’ve reached out the hand of friendship to everybody. I’ve bent over backwards and done everything in my power to try and bring the situation forward towards normal politics – but there’s nothing normal about this place” he said. I think your columinst, Tom Kelly, summed it up better when he wrote: “Shame Fein could do better than to resolve to stop conceding nationalist rights in an effort to carry establishment favour.” We all know there’s nothing normal about this place Martin, it’s an artificially created, dysfunctional state, created to give inbuilt Protestant, unionist majority. The late Charlie Haughey called it right when he said it was a failed political entity. Martin goes on to say more than three quarters of the DUP’s MLAs won’t acknowledge him when they pass on Stormont’s corridors. “We’re also a society where quite clearly within the politics of unionism and Orangeism there is a very determined effort being made to put a break on the development of Irishness within the northern Irish state”. It has been like that since the foundation of the state, Martin. Twenty years after the ceasefire, 16 years after the Good Friday Agreement and this is where republicanism is at – bending over backwards, abandoning long cherished principles and still being slapped down. No Irish Language Act, A5 upgrade scrapped and the Long Kesh Project tropedoed and more importantly British rule and the union copper-fastened. Martin says he is not a “giver-upper” and that he will continue on if there is no change in the unionist position. I think he means that Shame Fein will continue to change its position until unionists are happy. We saw this during the Haass talks. After months of talks Haass produced a draft for a possible deal. Nationalists were happy with it, unionists rejected it. This carried on up to a seventh and final draft. Martin finishes by welcoming recent indications that other republicans are “reviewing their strategy” he urges them “to re-evalute their position”. I think Martin and Shame Fein should reveiw their strategy and re-evaluate their position on this shambles of a so-called government because it’s quite clear that they and the GFA has not, will not and cannot deliver anything for republicanism.
With many thanks to: Seamus McAloran.
‘Elected DUP members were in court during the trial and were aware of this. They were up to speed - Gerry McGeough.
“There’s a DUP, Shame Fein and MI5 axis running this whole thing,” he said. “For the DUP to say they are surprised is play acting ahead of the elections.
PROMINENT Co Tyrone republican Gerry McGeough has claimed the DUP knew about the amnesty to republicans after details emerged during his trial in 2010 for attempting to kill a UDR man.
Speaking with The Irish News on Wednesday night the former Shame Fein member said details of the amnesty were made public during his trial for the attempted murder of Samuel Brush, who now sits as a DUP councillor in Dungannon. McGeough left Shame Fein in 2001 because he was opposed to the party’s position on abortion. During the 2007 assembly elections he stood against Shame Fein as an independent candidate in Fermanagh South Tyrone. He was arrested as he left the election count centre in Omagh, Co Tyrone, and was subsequently charged with attempting to kill the former UDR man in 1981. In 2011 he was convicted of attempted murder possession of firearms with intent to commit an indictable offence and IRA membership. Although sentenced to 20 years he was released after two years in January 2013 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. He has previously claimed he was given assurances by Shame Fein Policing Board member Gerry (the mouth) Kelly, pictured, in 2000 that he would not be charged with any offence if he returned to the north. “This vindicates our position,” he said. “We have been saying all along that these amnesties existed and I was being singled out for persecution because of my views.”
The former republican prisoner says during his trial his legal team revealed that 216 “pardons” had been issued to republicans. “For the DUP to say they were not aware is nonsence,” he said. “Elected DUP members were in court during the trial and they were aware of this. They were up to speed.” McGeough said that during his trial the Northern Ireland Office was asked for “disclosure” on the amnesty issue but “denied” they existed. He believes those who knew about the existence of the amnesties are involved in a “cover up”. “There’s a DUP, Shame Fein and MI5 axis running this whole thing,” he said. “For the DUP to say they are surprised is play acting ahead of elections.” The former Shame Fein ard comhairle member believes he was singled out for arrest in 2007 because of his opposition to Shame Fein in Tyrone. “This was a means to blocking me because I was a political threat,” he said. “It was a huge injustice done to me and my family.” On Wednesday night McGeough’s solicitor Aiden Carlin said the case would be referred to the Criminal Cases Reveiw Commission. “The disclosures made in John Downey’s case should have been previously made at Gerry McGeough’s trial, appeal or in other related proceedings,” he said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
UNIONIST politicians have voiced their “disgust” after a ‘rebel song’ commemorating 10 brave Irish republicans who died in the 1981 Hunger Strike reached number 24 in the UK singles’ charts.
The Roll of Honour lyrics
Read the roll of honour of Ireland’s bravest men.We must be united in memory of the ten. England you’re a monster, don’t think you have won.We will never be defeated while Ireland has such sons. In those dreary H-Block cages, ten brave young Irishmen lay. Hungering for justice as their young lives ebbed away. For their rights as Irish soldiers and to free their native land. They stood beside their leader – the gallant Bobby Sands. Now they mourn Hughes in Bellaghy. Ray McCreesh in Armagh hills. In those narrow streets of Derry, they miss O’Hara still. They so proudly give their young lives to break Britannia’s hold. Their names will be remembered as history unfolds. Through the war-torn streets of Ulster the black flags did sadly sway. To salute ten Irish martyrs the bravest of the brave. Joe McDonnell, Martin Hudson, Kevin Lynch, Korean Doherty. They gave their lives for freedom with Thomas McElwee. Michael Define from Derry you were the last to die. With your nine brave companions with the martyred dead you lie. Your souls cry out: “Remember, our deaths were not in vain. Fight on and make our homeland a nation once again!”.
The Roll of Honour rocketed up the ‘hit list’ this week after Celtic supporters in Scotland launched a campaign to see it reach number one by Sunday by downloading via the internet. The move came after the Scottish authorities outlawed the singing of Irish ‘rebel songs’ at Scottish football grounds under the Offensive Behaviour At Football Act. The campaign is being organised by a Celtic supporters’ umbrella group, Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC), which has been given permission to release the song by folk band, The Irish Brigade. Originally penned in the 1980s, the song pays tribute to 10 IRA and INLA members who died during the 1981 Hunger Strike. The song’s lyrics include the line: “England you’re a monster, don’t think that you won, we will never be defeated while Ireland has such sons.” And in the final line calls on people to “fight on” for a free Ireland. A number of people have been convicted for singing the song at Scottish football grounds while several are currently awaiting trial.
Despite this, last April a Celtic fan was cleared of inciting public disorder by a Scottish court after he was detected singing the song at a football game in Dundee. Ulster Unionist Party justice spokesman Tom Elliot said the FAC campaign was an “absolute disgrace and I condemn their actions without reservation.” He also urged Celtic Football Club to take action. “This is not an issue that can be swept under the carpet. Stern action is required so that the club’s good name is not tarnished by assocation with people who would seek to glorify terrorism,” he said. Loyalist victims’ groups have also condemned the campaign. Rebel songs have been sung by a section of the Celtic support for many decades. Other songs with an Irish theme regularly heard at Celtic games include The Fields of Athenry and the ballad of Aidan McAnespie – a young GAA player shot dead by the British army near Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone in 1988. A spokesman for FAC defended the download campaign. “The campaign is not about encouraging people to sing the song, it’s about saying this song should not be a criminal offence to sing,” she said. “It’s not a criminal offence unless you are a football fan. “The Offensive Behaviour At Football Act is a bad law which attempts to restrict freedom of expression and that is wrong.” A sectarian song associated with Rangers supporters led to months of unrest and the creation of a new parades flashpoint in Belfast after it was played by a loyalist band outside St Patrick’s Catholic Church in North Belfast. The anti-Catholic lyrics of The Famine Song instruct the Irish community in Scotland to “go home”. Loyalist Billy Hutchinson called the campaign “insensitive and childish.” The Progressive Unionist Party leader said: “Many people will find this initiative callous and insentive, particularly those who have been victims of republican violence and terror. “There seems to be an increase in sectarianism associated with fans of Celtic FC and I think it is time the club acted to address this. “This really amounts to nothing more than a pathetic and childish act, and those responsible need to grow up.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
‘[Republicans] should be aware that they and their families are being monitored and that British intelligence and the PSNI/RUC are using these devices to put people behind bars - Dee Fennell.
REPUBLICANS have claimed that “sophisticated” surveillance devices have been discovered in homes and cars across the North.
One ‘bug’ was said to have been discovered in a taxi when it was left in a garage in North Belfast. A former prisoner in Derry also said he found what he believes is a high-tech listening device in the bathroom of his home. It comes weeks after a Craigavon man claimed a mechanic working on his van discovered a tracking device. In recent months several high-profile republicans have been arrested amid claims that they were placed under close electronic observation by security forces. Surveillance evidence is also expected to feature strongly in some upcoming paramilatary trials. Last month former hunger-striker Gerard Hodgins claimed that advances in surveillance technology made the activities of republican paramilitary groups “exceedingly difficult”. Independent north Belfast election candidate Dee Fennell said he was recently approached by a local taxi driver after a mechanic found what he thinks is a listening device in an air conditioning vent of his car. It is believed the device, which was wired to the car battery, had been there for some time. Mr Fennell said the taxi driver, a former republican prisoner, was concerned by the development. “The person who found the bug is seeking legal advice to establish if this is an infringement on privacy. “[Republicans] should be aware that they and they and their families are being monitored and that British intelligence and the PSNI/RUC are using these devices to put people behind bars.” Meanwhile, a Derry man has criticised the security forces after claiming to have found a “sophisticated” listening device in the bathroom of his house near the Creggan estate. The 45-year-old, who lives wife his wife and four children said it was hidden behind a mirror in his bathroom and fell to the ground after he accidentally knocked against it. “It’s an invasion of privacy,” he said. “As a republican I am used to it, but I don’t expect people to be spying on my children.” A spokesman for the PSNI/RUC said they have “no knowledge” of the device.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
Candidate was part of IRA women’s group linked to Jean’s disappearance
A Shame Fein candidate in the forthcoming council elections is suspected of having played a part in the Jean McConville murder, the Sunday World can reveal.
Veteran republican activist Mary McConville (no relation), hopes to represent the area of Belfast which was home to the widowed mum of 10 before she was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA. The move is being seen by some West Belfast residents as highly insensitive and insulting to the McConville family. Jean McConville 37, is the best known of 15 IRA victims who became known as ‘The Disappeared’.
Extensive searches for her proved fruitless. Her remains were eventually discovered decades later by a man out walking his dog. Mary McConville, served two and a half years in prison for IRA related offences. She has consistently said on the record she has no regrets about her paramilitary past. But at the time Jean McConville was seized in her family home 41 years ago, Mary McConville was an active member of the female section of the IRA, Cumann na mBan. And the Sunday World has learnt that Mary McConville and other former members of Cumann na mBan will soon be the focus of a major new PSNI probe into Jean McConville’s abduction and murder. “The police are slowly but surely piecing together all relevent evidence relating to exactly what happened in the Divis area of Belfast on the night Jean McConville disappeared,” a security source told us. It is now widely accepted, members of Cumann na mBan played a central role in the ‘arrest’ of Jean McConville and five other young women from the Falls area on the night of December 7 1972. Their so-called ‘crime’ had been to attend a social function in a British Army Barracks at Mulhouse Street off the Grosvenor Road. At the time, the organisation was headed by Mary McConville’s mother Madge, who had been arrested along with IRA men Joe Cahill and Tom Williams following the murder of Catholic RUC man Constable Patrick Murphy after an ambush and siege on Easter Sunday 1942.
Although Cahill was widely suspected of firing the fatal shot, 19 year-old Tom Williams – who was seriously ill – took the rap for his IRA comrades and was later hanged and buried in Crumlin Road jail. The execution of the young IRA man caused outrage throughout Ireland and it also attracted widespread criticism throughout the world. Charges against teenager Madge Burns as she was then, were dropped although she was immediately re-arrested and interned without trial. Two years later, her brother Seamus Burns – also a member of the IRA – was shot dead during a gun battle with the RUC in Belfast city centre. After marrying her husband Tommy McConville and raising a family, the couple’s home at Cullingtree Road became a hive of republican activity and her children were encouraged to join the movement. With the outbreak of street violence in 1969, Madge McConville upped her republican involvment and she assumed command of Cumann na mBan in Belfast. It is believed that as many as 20 members of the organisation may have been involved in Jean McConville’s abduction prior to her murder and secret burial in an unmarked grave in Co Louth. It is understood the police are particularly interested in learning more about where Jean McConville was taken immediately after her removeal from her Divis flats home at the hand of Cumann na mBan. Now 60, Mary McConville openly admits “being involved in the republican movement since I was a child”. And older Falls Road residents can still recall seeing her dressed in the uniform of Cumann na gCaillini – the section of the republican movement young females joined before graduating to Cumann na mBan and in later years the IRA. She served a sentence in the women’s prison in Armagh Jail from January 1981 until her release on July 10 1983. During her time there, Mary McConville took part in a so-called ‘Dirty Protest’ which was part of a campaign by republican prisoners to gain officially recognised political status. Yesterday, the Sunday World contacted the Sinn Fein press office which was operating from Wexford, where the party is holding its annual Ard Fheis this weekend. A spokesman for the party said he was convinced Mary McConville would completly deny any involvement in the Jean McConville’s abduction or murder and he promised to get back to us with a statement. But at the time of going to print, no such statement has been forthcoming.
With many thanks to: Hugh Jordan, Sunday World.