We knelt at Mass with sobbing heart
Cold in the dawn of day.
The dawn for us, for him the night,
Who was so young and gay.
For more information on Kevin Barry please click on the link below:
For more information on Countess Markievicz click on the link below:
With many thanks to: Ireland Long Held in Chains Stair agus Cultûr na hÉireann.
Brian Stewart, 13-year-old boy murdered by the British army – died of his injurys on this day 10th October 1976.
MI5, the British army and the PSNI have colluded to perpetuate the injustice we ‘The Craigavon Two’ continue to face.
That much is clear from the facts that emerged during our ‘show trial’ and subsequent appeal. The deletion of information to cover up wrong doing, the intimidation of key defence witnesses and the withholding of evidence able to undermine the state allegations serve to prove that. Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd spoke recently of ‘war junkies in suits’ working to perpetuate conflict. What he has failed to comment on is the ways in which this has manifested itself. These very same people (Shame Fein) and organisations have directly contributed to the wrongful imprisonment of two of his constituents. If his concern is genuine, will he now commit himself and his party to calling for an investigation into the role of state actors, including the PSNI, MI5 and the British army’s special reconnaissance regiment, in the injustice for which we may now spend the rest of our lives in prison.
With many thanks to: Brendan McConville, John Paul Wootton, Maghaberry Gaol, Co Antrim.
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A JUDGE has rejected a bid to force an NIO minister to appear in court to be quizzed by lawyers acting for three Co Armagh men facing paramilitary charges.
Andrew Robathan, pictured above, a former member of the SAS who served in the British army during the 1970s and 1980s, including the North of Ireland, was appointed a minister of state in October last year. Paul Duffy, along with his brother Damien Duffy and cousin Shane Duffy, all from Lurgan, are facing a number of charges relating to republican paramilitary activity including conspiring to murder and cause explosions. Mr Robathan has provided a statement, known as a “certificate”, in support of anonymity applications by seven British secret service officers involved in an MI5 surveillance operation against the men. The accused argued their legal team should be given an opportunity to cross-examine the minister. Arrested in 2012, all three men have since been granted bail while they await trial. Paul Duffy’s wife Mandy expressed disappointment on Thursday night after district court judge Mervyn Bates dismissed the application. “As a family we are concerned at the decision to permit NIO minister Andrew Robathon to have a statement admitted against our loved ones,” she said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
Initial reports claim that staff at Maghaberry prison last week intercepted a letter written by the leadership of the IRA.
POLICE have taken the highly unusual step of charging a leading Derry republican with directing a terrorist organisation.
Thomas Ashe Mellon (38), from the city’s Creggan area, is expected to appear at Derry Magistrates Court this morning. Initial reports claim that staff at Maghaberry prison last week intercepted a letter written by the leadership of the IRA. She said that prison officers seized the letter, which was written on cigarette papers joined together, and wrapped in cling film, from a man known only as ‘Mr O’ at the prison last Thursday. Mr O, who police are seeking, walked away, and later on the same day he was seen talking to the defendant outside the Oakleaf on the Glenshane Road. Mellon, a member of one of the city’s best known republican families, is also charged with membership of a proscribed organisation. The charges follow Mellon’s arrest in North Belfast by the PSNI’s serious crime branch early on Friday morning. It is understood his arrest and charge is linked to a police investigation into dissident repubnorthwest vity in the Derry area. The legislation under which h hs been charged has been used sparingly in the north. In more recent years the charge of directing terrorism has been more commonly used in Britain against Islamist factions.
The most high-profile figure successfully charged with directing terrorism in the North of Ireland is former UDA leader Johnny Adair. Adair was charged with directing terrorism in 1995 after undercover police officers recorded months of discussions in which he boasted about his operations with the UDA. The taped conversations provided enough evidence for him to be convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. In the Republic, Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt was convicted of directing terrorism in 2003. He was jailed for 20 years after being convicted of membership of an illegal organisation and directing terrorism between dates in 1999 and 2001. Mellon is a veteran republican and has been arrested on numerous occasions. His most recent arrest was last year after police foiled a mortar-bomb attack in Derry. Mellon was arrested at a house in Derry during a follow-up operation after police intercepted four live and primed mortars in a van as it made its way into Derry in March last year. The roof of the van had been removed in preparation for the mortars to be fired. Police insiders believed one of the possible targets was the RUC/PSNI’s Strand Road station. Mellon was later released without charge. Another man arrested in connection with the same incident was subsequently charged and is awaiting sentence. In 1999 Mellon was charged after bomb-making materials were discovered in Co Donegal. He was charged in connection with the discovery at Manorcunningham but was later released when all charges were dropped. The charge of directing terrorism is a particularly difficult one for police to prove. Lawyers beleive for a conviction to be obtained police must either have a confession or use evidence gathered in covert operations. It is understood police in Derry have had access to intelligence material gathered through sophisticated means by the British Army’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), the intelligence wing of the SAS. The SRR has been active in the north-west since it was first deployed in 2010 and evidence gathered by the regiment has been used against dissident republicans in recent years. It is also claimed by a hand-writing expert has claimed the writing on the note was matched to Mellon and his DNA was recovered from the glue on the cigaratte papers.
With many thanks to: Seamus McKinney, The Irish News, for the orgional story.
HET findings published as Haass talks break up without agreement -into ‘Shot-to-Kill’ policy’s in the North of Ireland.
TWO IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers in Co Tyrone 30 years ago, a report has found. The families of Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) on Monday 30th December said they planned to sue the British government and wanted fresh inquests into their deaths.
The news came as US diplomat Richard Haass failed to make the party’s in the North of Ireland come to an agreement on dealing with the past, parades and flags. Among the issues holding up the progress have been mechanisms for giving evidence to Historical inquires by bodies taking over the functions of the PSNI‘s/RUC‘s Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman. The fresh report into the Co Tyrone killings was carried out by a forensic pathologist for the HET. It appears to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who claimed the pair were shot dead while pointing weapons towards them. Mr McGirr and Mr Campbell, who were members of the Provisional IRA, were murdered by the SAS in a field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland, Co Tyrone, on December 4 1983. A third man was injured but escaped. Their deaths fuelled claims of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy by the British government against IRA members.
Testimony from the soldiers had claimed that the men were removing weapons hidden in the field and on being challenged “Colm McGirr turned and pointed a shotgun towards one of the soldiers who then fired several shots at him”. Forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd reviewed the postmortem examination scene photographs and statements from four of the six soldiers prescent. He said he did “not believe Colm McGirr would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” and “no shots had struck Brian Campbell from the front”. In his report, which the families have received, he concluded that because Mr McGirr was right handed, he did “not believe he would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” if he was holding a weapon. “In my opinion therefore it is more likely that [Mr McGirr] received shots to his right side and back as he was facing into or towards the bush,” he said. The SAS also claimed one of the squad, known as Soldier A, then fired towards Brian Campbell who was holding an armalite rifle and had also turned and was facing them” However, Dr Shepherd concluded that “no shots had struck Brian Campbell form the front”. “I cannot exclude the possibility that the injury to the left upper back was inflicted as he lay on the ground,” he said, without ruling out the soldiers’ version of events in both cases. The IRA men’s families have now called for a fresh inquest into their deaths/murders. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, acting on behalf of the relatives said they would also take legal action against the British government.
“This report raises serious concerns in relation to the original soldiers’ statements,” he said. “In light of the disclosure of the Dr Shepherd’s report the families have made an application to the attorney general to direct a fresh inquest into the deaths/murders of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell. “They will also be issuing civil proceedings against the minister of defence in relation to the unlawful actions of the soldiers.” Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, claimed the British army discovered the arms cache three days earlier on December 1, but the weapons were not removed or disabeled. “We have no doubt that a carefully planned ambush was set by undercover British security forces that evening,” he said. “Through the 30 years that have passed we have sought the truth of what happened. We were led to bbelieve that the PSNI’s/RUC’s Historical Enquiries Team would make every effort to achieve the truth. “As part of this, a second pathologist has confirmed that the shootings could not have happened as described by security forces. Both men, Colm and Brian, were shot in cold blood in the back.” Mr McGirr said the families have been informed that the HSE investigation “is at an end and will proceed no further”. “We lived with a charade of an inquest in early years with no evidence of any sort offered as to what occurred. The McGirr and Campbell families will continue to demand that a new inquest is held to fully investigate all that occourred on that evening.” Reacting to the findings on Monday nnight, Dungannon Independent Republican councillor Barry Monteith said he was “not surprised” by the pathologist’s review and accused the British government of operating a ‘shot-to-kill policy in the North of Ireland. However, Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush said he had no confidence in the HET. “There are dozens and dozens of murders around this area in South Tyrone that have not been looked at,” he said. “It baffles me that these things didn’t ccome to light then and can be turned up. “All we can do is work on reports as they come but is this report any better or any worse than the previous ones?”
With many thanks toto: The Irish News.
- Link to Loughgall ambush sealed RUC officer’s fate (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- I’m Already Low on New Year Optimism (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Link to Loughgall ambush sealed RUC officer’s fate (irishtimes.com)
- ‘Old’ I.R.A ‘Not in My Name’ Part 2 (politics.ie)
- ‘Old’ I.R.A ‘Not in My Name’ Part 2 (politics.ie)
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’s Laganside 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’.
Letter which was published in today’s Irish News – Monday December 16 2013 – Martin Galvin, Bronx, New York.
FERGAL Hallahan was more right than he imagines (November 25) about the derision accorded anyone with the temerity to accuse Britain of deploying a Military Reaction Force (MRF) of plain-cloths British troopers who gunned down unarmed nationalists using non-military weapons.
During my years as both editor of the Irish People weekly American newspaper and national director of Irish Northern Aid, I was tasked with presenting such facts to the American public and especially congressmen. The contention we republicans repeatedly made was that the crown had sent out the MRF and later wiped British fingerprints from their killings by shifting from the MRF to having the shots fired by loyalist proxies. This tactic had obvious advantages, including avoiding British army ccasualties like those inflicted by the IRA at the Four Square Laundry. It allowed the British plausible deniability. Collusion in murders carried out by loyalists could be denied outright and blamed on a cadre of crown force bad apples, no matter how much targeting intelligence, agent control or safe passage the British had supplied. Britain’s answer to these charges never changed. British officials would declare, self-righteously that “Her Majesty’s government” would never stoop to deploy such a unit. The British army ‘yellow card’ rules were sacrosanct, they scoffed and this code was rigorously applied whenever British troopers opened fire.
These sanctimonious British denials were believed by the public, politicians and journalists to the extent that this handpicked death squard remained largely unknown to the public. Panorama’s Britian’s Secret Terror Force proves that republicans were right about Britain’s deployment of a terror force, the MRF. It proves that those high-ranking British officials who denied that the crown would stoop to such tactics were either deliberately misled by the crown or deliberately misleading others on the crown’s behalf. Members of this British terror squad have no worries that they will face justice for killing unarmed Irish civilians like Daniel Rooney or Patrick McVeigh. They freely boast of their misdeeds, for the television cameras. Confident that they enjoy a selective immunity and impunity, not granted to republicians like Gerry McGeough, Seamus Kearney or John Downey. We republicans were right about Britain’s tactical shift from the MRF terror force to doing their ‘dirty war’ work through loyalist proxies. Must we await another documentary before people face the facts about Britain’s complicity with loyalist killers in collusion murders?
With many thanks to: Martin Galvin.
- Amnesty International demands inquiry into British Army shoot-to-kill revelations (VIDEO) (irishcentral.com)
- Northern Ireland : Military Reaction Force (MRF): Time for Truth (democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com)
- Police urged to probe MRF claims (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Army unit members ‘killed civilians’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Revealed: Bbc Expose on Secret Army ‘Ghost Squad’ Which Hunted Down Ira Members (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Army ‘sanctioned shoot-to-kill policy’ in Belfast – Irish Times (irishtimes.com)
- #Panorama to show absence of very good tools to critique the state (sluggerotoole.com)
- Death Squad Britain – The Past That Won’t Stay Hidden (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Veteran reveals secrets of life inside British Army ‘ghost squad’ accused of murdering IRA suspects during the Troubles (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- British to investigate claims on 1972 shoot-to-kill policy (irishtimes.com)
The Czech-bought assault rifle, now linked to 11 other murders and two attempted murders, was first examined at the Weapons and Explosives Research Centre (Werc) – a previously unheard of unit located within the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory, the court was told. Mr Justice Weir, who is hearing the long-awaited inquest, said: “This is the first time it has ever come to my attention that there was a forensic system.” Ms Mallon (76) was gunned down as she watched television at a house near Dungannon, Co Tyrone on May 8 1994. The spinster, who had been staying with relatives because she felt vulnerable, was unable to escape when two loyalist gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow on Cullenrammer Road.
The UVF said its mid-Ulster brigade had been responsible (although it was widely beleived to be members of Billy Wright‘s LVF gang) and were targeting two of her nephews Christopher Mallon, who was not home at the time and Martin Mallon who lived half a mile away. In the wake of the shooting, British army spying equipment was found in a nearby field sparking claims of security force collusion. Last week it emerged that the Historical Enquries Team (HET) – a specialist unit set up to re-examine Troubles-related cold cases – had linked the murder weapon to the UVF killings of Charles and Theresa Fox at the Moy, Co Armagh, in 1992, as well as the murders of John Quinn, Dwayne O’Donnell, Malcolm Nugent and Tommy Armstrong outside a bar in Cappagh, Co Tyrone in 1991. But, Barry McDonald QC, who is representing the Mallon family, said the rifle was now known to have been involved in at least eight incidents that resulted in 11 murders and two attempted murders.
He said inaccurate information that the gun had no previous previous history was fed into the the system by Special Branch. Mr MacDonald said: “The practice seems to have been when cartrige cases were collected they were forwared to the Forensic Science Laboratory of Northern Ireland but it was the Werc who conducted their investigations and provided a steer. “The upshot is that these incorrect conclusions have been made by a section of Special Branch in circumstances where the object of this entire exercise – that’s this inquest – is to allay suspicion and rumour about the involvement of Special Branch.” Judge Weir told the court he had never heard of Werc despite a lengthy career as a defence barrister and judge. He also expressed concern that they were not ballistics experts and said he would be demanding a full explanation on how they operated and who took the decision to conceal their existence. Martin Mallon said the family had been left bemused by the latest revelations. He said: “We have had Special Branch hiding behind screens, we have heard evidence about burning notebooks and items being destroyed. We have consistently heard about Special Branch being a force within a force and now it appears that Werc was unit within a unit. Notorious killer Billy Wright and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned about Ms Mallon’s murder but no-one has ever been convicted. Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch, who sits on the Stormont justice committee and is a Mallon family friend, said: “It is obvious that the British state is covering up, delaying and prevaricating on vital evidence – particularly around ballistics.” The inquest has now been adjourned until May to allow the HET to complete its investigation into 24 murders in the East Tyone area between 1988 and 1994 – including Ms Mallon’s murder.
With many thanks to: The Irish News.
- Doubts over Mallon ballistics tests (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Roseann Mallon murder: Tests on UVF murder weapon questioned (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Roseann Mallon murder: Judge hits out over hindering of inquest (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Legacy inquest: Devout pensioner gunned down by loyalists (newsletter.co.uk)
- Roseann Mallon inquest: ‘RUC pressured boy, 10, into changing statement’ (newsletter.co.uk)
- Army Surveillance Tapes Wiped After Uvf Murder of Pensioner (belfastdaily.co.uk)