Now we know who pulls SF’s strings and if they didn’t sanction murder, they certainly turned few blind eyes – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
THE ongoing political talks will be successful “against the odds”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness told a meeting of his party last night.
He said the devolved institutions “are worth saving and I believe the vast majority of people share that view”. But he said the parties must agree to protect the most vulnerable and ensure Stormont (the big house on the hill) has “a workable budget so that public services are delivered to the standard the public expect and deserve”. The deputy first minister also called on the British government to accept they are part of the negotiations and are “not some kind of neutral arbitrator”. He also hit out at the government’s legislation on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles and said it is “in clear breach of the Stormont House Agreement”.
“The legislation proposed by Theresa Villiers and her cabinet colleagues has more to do with covering up the role of the British state as a central player in the conflict and its collusion with unionist death squads,” he said. He said that the executive had succeeded in blocking the worst of the Conservative government’s cuts, including the introduction of water charges. He said lower student fees, free prescriptions and lower rates bills were “rarely highlighted successes of the executive and local parties working together”. The Mid Ulster assembly member warned that a return to direct rule will result in an “unrestrained onslaught on public services and the most vulnerable in our society”. Ms Villiers repeatedly warned that if the parties cannot agree a deal on welfare reforms, the British government will take back welfare powers as a “last resort”. Mr McGuinness said as well as welfare cuts previously announced, new cuts to tax credits in April will affect 120,000 families in the north.
<strong>With many thanks to: Claire Simpson, for the origional story, The Irish News.
‘This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not – Sir Declan Morgan.
A DERRY man given a suspended jail sentence for being the masked flag bearer in a republican parade was never properly identified, the Court of Appeal has heard. Lawyers for Patrick John McDaid argued that experts in facial mapping and image comparison techniques were not certain he had been the man pictured in a balaclava.
McDaid is seeking to overturn his conviction for managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation. The 43-year-old, then of Beechwood Avenue in Derry, was sentenced in May to 16 months in prison, suspended for three years, after a judge decided he was ‘Man X’ carrying an Irish tricolour at the front of the march. A seven-strong, masked colour party had headed a parade close to republican graves in the City Cemetery in Derry on Easter Sunday 2011. The commemoration, organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32 CSM), involved a speech being made on behalf of the Real IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).
As well as the photographs and facial mapping evidence, the judge in the non-jury trail in Belfast Crown Court heard how police later seized a document which purported to be minutes of a meeting to organise the march. It included the reference: ‘Colour party – McDaid to get people sorted’. But judges in the Court of Appeal were told on Tuesday that nothing more than a surname was found. Kieran Mallon QC, for McDaid, also challenged the strength of the evidence from an expert who noted striking similarities in the lips and eyes of his client and Man X. “It’s our contention there was not established any form of meaningful identification,” he said. “On balance he cannot say the accused and Mr X were one and the same person, primarily because there was no statistical database against which he could test an individual with that type of eye colour or lip shape.” Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, sitting with Lords Justice Girvan and Coghlin, drew his attention to two other strands of the prosecution case: McDaids name being on the organising document and his participation in previous events. Mr Mallon accepted there would have been clear suspicions, but contended this fell short of proof. Sir Declan then alluded to McDaid’s failure to give any evidence at trial. “This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not,” he said. Judgment in the appeal was reserved.
With thanks to: The Irish News
- ‘Facial mappers’ ID man accused of being lead flag bearer in republican parade new Facial mappers used photograph comparison techniques to identify a masked man accused of being the lead flag bearer in a republican parade, a judge heard today. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Face mapping ‘identifies masked man’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Masked dissident and defendant the same, court is told (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Republican parade masked flag bearer never properly identified’ – court hears (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Senior officers were targets of ONH device
THE rebel IRA were trying to murder cops with a fireball bomb carried into Belfast city centre on Friday night. The sports bag bomb, packed with inflammable material according to police on Saturday, was abandoned short of its target, according to our sources.
Sources in Belfast’s Ardoyne, where the incendiary device originated, say the bomb, which partially exploded, was meant to mimic the IRA fire bomb attack on the La Mon House Hotel in February 1978 which murdered 12 people. The Sunday World learned on Saturday that a posse of top police officers – up to a dozen strong, were out for their Christmas ‘do’ just 100 metres from where the lethal firebomb in a Slazenger sports bag was left.
One source said: “They got an emergency call just minutes before a squad of police rushed in to evacuate the whole of the St Anne’s Square pub/restaurant area in the heart of Cathedral Quarter, packed with pre-Christmas party revellers. “They immediately left the premises. But they were the targets. The dissident bombers knew who they were, and where they were.” In fact, the explosive sports bag was abandoned just 100 metres from where the police officers were sitting down for a meal and a drink. On Saturday, the PSNI staged a hastily convened press conference where it was stated that the bomb which partially exploded could have killed anyone nearby. Dissident republican group, Oglaigh na hEireann, later said they were responsible. Police said the explosion at Exchange Street West at about a quarter to seven on Friday night could have caused multiple deaths. The bomb went off as the area was being cleared. No-one was injured in the attack. Police said the bomb was fully functional and consisted of explosives and flammable liquid. It was in a sports bag and was left on a street about 150 metres away from the spot identified in a warning call made to a newspaper office. That was also just round the corner from where the off-duty police officers were having their Christmas party.
Even when they evacuated the restaurant they were in, they would have walked straight into the abandoned bomb. About 1,000 people were affected by the alert in Cathedral Quarter, which is one of the main entertainment venues in Belfast. On Saturday First Minister Peter Robinson said this was an “attack on democracy”. “We are witnessing the work of a mindless minority who are intent on taking the heart out of the city and wreaking havoc on the lives and businesses of the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland,” he said. Deputy First Minister (J116) Martin McGuinness (The Fisherman) said the bombers showed “a complete disregard for life”. “Their actions have done nothing to move our society forward but, instead, have caused distress to local residents, disruption to Christmas revellers and loss of revenue for surrounding businesses,” he said. At Saturday’s Press conference at the PSNI’s Brooklyn HQ in Belfast, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said: “This device was fully functional. It could have injured or killed members of the public and it has similarities to previous devices used by dissident republicans. “I would like to make a direct appeal to people who were in the area on Friday night and ask them did they see a male wearing a black hoidie carrying a black Slazenger bag in and around 6pm. “If they saw this person or anybody acting suspiciously I would appeal to them to come forward to detectives. “We are working very hard to keep Belfast safe and we will continue to do that but we need the community to be vigilant. We want them to go about their normal businness and support the premises in the town but be vigilant and if they see anything suspicious in the town don’t hesitate to lift the phone and tell us.” On Saturday and Saturday night it was ‘business as usual’ in Cathedral Quarter.
Dermot and Catherine Regan, owners of the Potted Hen restaurant close to the scene of the eexplosion said they were grateful for public support. “Thankfully no one was injured and there was no physical damage to the area. We are back to normal service from lunchtime on Sunday and will be contacting everyone who had booked for last night and whose evening entertainment was ruined,” they said. And Storming Shame Fein Sports and Culture Minister Caral Ni Chilin certainly voted with her feet. She visited the Cathedral Quarter in an unofficial capacity on Saturday evening, had a drink in a bar there, and when asked if she was giving a vote of confidence to the area after the Friday night bomb fright, said: “That’s why I’m here.”
- Bomb explosion in Belfast as Christmas revellers evacuated from city centre (theguardian.com)
- Belfast City Centre Bomb Fully Exploded, Say Police (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- PSNI hunt man after Belfast explosion (irishtimes.com)
- Video: Police hunt suspect over dissident republican Belfast city centre bomb (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Dissident republicans claim responsibility for Belfast bomb (upi.com)
Petrol bombs and blast bombs thrown
Despite appeals for calm from police and politicians a pipe bomb was thrown at officers in north Belfast and loyalist rioters attacked police in south Belfast last night. Police fired at least one baton round and used water connon on rioters on lower Newtownards Road in the east of the city after attacks on homes in the nationalist Short Strand area. Masked men threw four blast bombs from the loyalist Pitt Park area at police on lower Newtownards Road. Noone was injured. Up to 50 rioters threw stones stones and other missiles at police in the Glenmachan Street and Broadway areas of South Belfast. In North Belfast hundreds of loyalists, many wearing Orange regalia, blocked Twaddell Avenue for several hours and up to three bands walked up the road playing The Sash. Loyalists threw petrol bombs and missiles at police near the Mount Vernon estate and a vehicle was set alight. Loyalist protesters blocked roads in the Corcrain area of Portadown, Co Armagh, including a junction with the nationalist Garvaghy Road.
In Derry officers seized 20 paint bombs during a whiteline protest by loyalists on the main Glendermott and Limavady Roads. Paint was thrown at two Protestant churches in Derry erarlier yesterday, an attack condemned by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Early yesterday evening police narrowly escaped serious injury after a pipe bomb expolded close to officers in north Belfast. The device was thrown from the nationalist Brompton Park area of Ardoyne at police on Crumlin Road at about 5pm yesterday. Noone was injured in the attack, which was swiftly condemned by nationalist and unionist politicians. A seven-year-old was on the street at the time of the attack, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said. Superintendent Emma Bond said the bomb could have badly injured officers. “We consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we are not dealing with a much more serious incident and that all the officers were able to walk away from the situation unharmed,” she said. Loyalists held demonstrations across Belfast and other towns last night in protest at the Parades Commission’s decision to block Orangemen and bands from parading past Ardoyne shops on the evening of the Twelfth. Protests were held on Shankill Road in West Belfast, Sandy Row and Castlereagh Street in east Belfast as well as in Dondonald and Antrim.
With many thanks to : Claire Simpson and Connia Young, The Irish News.
- Flames of Hate !!! – What a Weekend of Violence Means ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Child’s lucky escape after dissidents throw blast bomb (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- 27 Police Officers Injured and Six Blast Bombs Thrown in Fourth Night of Violence (belfastdaily.co.uk)
(Suzanne Breen, Sunday World)
Two of the most respected republican families in McGuinness’s native city say they’re disgusted that he has “disowned” IRA members who laid down their lives for the republican cause.
Martina Duffy, whose IRA father Patsy died in a hail of SAS bullets, said: “Martin McGuinness has abandoned the IRA and criminalised its members as he desperately tries to woo Southern voters in the presidential election.
“He says the Irish Army is the only Oglaigh na hEireann he supports. It’s a pity, he didn’t tell that years ago to the dozens of volunteers in another Oglaigh na hEireann who now lie dead in Derry city cemetery.
“They’re in their graves while he wants to live in luxury in Aras an Uachtarain.”
Duffy claimed IRA families in McGuinness’s own republican heartland in Derry were horrified at the “u-turns” he was doing during the election campaign.
She said McGuinness had “criminalised” her father and other IRA martyrs in a desperate attempt to get elected. “He should hang his head in shame for what he’s done,” she added.
Patsy Duffy (50) was shot dead by the SAS in 1978 as he checked an arms’ dump in a house in the Brandywell. “The SAS fired 36 bullets at him. He was shot in the back and the side. He was unarmed but our family never complained because, as an IRA volunteer, he knew the risks involved,” his daughter said.
Her father’s jacket, shirt, cardigan and trousers were riddled with bullet holes. Duffy washed the blood out of them but refused to part with the clothes. Today, they are lovingly stored in her Derry home. “I keep them to remind me what daddy went through for the IRA,” she said.
She told the Sunday World how McGuinness had attended her father’s wake and funeral. “He told us he was proud of IRA men like my daddy. He saw the Oglaigh na hEireann my father fought and died for as the one and only Oglaigh na hEireann. He didn’t even recognise, let alone, respect the Free State Army.
“Now he’s swearing allegiance to them and singing their praises. He’s got 40 faces – a different one for everybody he meets.” And Martina Duffy added: “Martin McGuinness has told voters he’s ashamed of some IRA actions and thinks they were murder.
“Well, genuine republicans in Derry are ashamed of him. He’s portraying himself as Ireland’s Nelson Mandela. He says he’s a man of peace and always was. Who does he think he’s kidding? It’s a joke, a sick joke.”
Accusing McGuinness of treachery, Duffy said: “For decades, he stood at the republican monument in Derry city cemetery giving orations as IRA men were buried and vowing the war would go on until there was a united Ireland.
“Hundreds of young men and women in this city believed him and ended up in graves themselves or the lucky ones were jailed. And those prisoners came out to wrecked marriages, children who grew up not knowing them, no jobs and no chance of a job.
“McGuinness has left us to cope with the wreckage of the war while he pursues power and position. All he’s out for is himself.”
Duffy’s mother struggled to cope after her husband’s death: “Mammy was left to rear six wee children on her own. I’m glad she’s dead now because it would have broken her heart to see Martin McGuinness do a u-turn and criminalise his old comrades.
“It’s not just IRA victims who are furious at McGuinness – republicans like my family are just as angry.” Duffy denounced the Sinn Féin presidential candidate for saying he’d meet Prince Charles, commander-in-chief of the parachute regiment which killed 14 civilians on Bloody Sunday. “It’s like a bad dream,” she said.
She added that she now respected John Hume far more than McGuinness: “People, including my mother, protested outside John Hume’s house years ago for saying a lot less anti-republican things than Martin McGuinness has since said.
“John Hume is a man of principle. I don’t agree with his politics but he stayed true to himself and his beliefs – he didn’t change them when it became opportune.”
Danny McBrearty, whose IRA brother George was killed in May 1981 by the SAS in Derry, said: “Martin McGuinness was at George’s funeral and wake. Had he said then that my brother was wrong and that the IRA wasn’t Oglaigh na hEireann, he’d have been thrown out of our house.”
George McBrearty is widely regarded as being one of the IRA’s most active members in Derry. He was responsible for killing several RUC men and British soldiers. “Martin McGuinness knew George very well army-wise,” said Danny McBrearty.
“He was fully aware of what George was capable of and he didn’t have a problem with it. Yet now he’s turning his back on men like my brother. George was 24-years-old when he was killed. He left behind three children – the youngest was only three weeks old.
“Republican families like ours are now asking what it was all for not just in terms of our own loss and sacrifice but on what we inflicted on our enemy. More than 3,500 people died in the war. As republicans, we thought we were fighting for Irish freedom. We certainly weren’t fighting to make Martin McGuinness head of the 26-county state.”
Danny McBrearty – himself jailed in Ireland, Britain and the US on IRA charges – has known McGuinness for over 40 years: “We worked together as young lads in Doherty’s butchers’ shop on the Strand Road.
“We were in the IRA together in the 1970s. We were very close. I always thought of Martin as a sound army man, totally committed to the struggle. Never in a million years did I think he’d end up where he is today. He’s a constitutional nationalist, not a republican now.”
McBrearty added: “People went to hell and back for the IRA in this city. Martin has turned his back on all that and he’s even trying to rewrite history and pretend he wasn’t part of it. The families of dead volunteers in Belfast, Tyrone and all over the North are very disillusioned at what’s happened. They feel hurt and abandoned.”
The Sinn Féin candidate has refused to rule out wearing a poppy on Remembrance Sunday if he’s elected President. “You wont find any republicans in Derry doing the same,” McBrearty said. “For us, the poppy isn’t a neutral symbol to honour the dead. It is, and always will be, a symbol of British oppression.”
The ex-IRA man said he personally knew no former comrades who supported McGuinness’s presidential bid. “The only ones backing it are MLAs and others who have well-paid positions in Sinn Féin or who belong to the party’s middle-management. The ordinary volunteers who put their lives on the line and fought the war are appalled.”
- OGLACH RAYMOND McCREESH 21 MAY 1981 R.I.P (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Butcher Of The Bogside: Ulster’s Deputy First Minister And His Bloody Past. (ulsternews.wordpress.com)
- Outrage at “Provos hero” comment (newsletter.co.uk)
- Seven Dublin men charged with membership of illegal organisation (irishtimes.com)
- Threat of terrorism in Northern Ireland ‘will last for years’ (independent.co.uk)
- Cartoon: The Queen’s Historic Handshake (englishblog.com)
ARTICLES: Police-issued photos of the car in which Thomas Maguire was traveling and the ammunition, gun and coffee-jar-bomb components which were recovered from the vehicle and during related searches.
A 70-year-old former paramilitary prisoner who “just can’t seem to let go of the past” has been jailed for six and a half years after police “fortuitously” found a coffee-jar bomb and guns in his car. Thomas Maguire, from Suffolk Drive in West Belfast – who was jailed for 20 years in 1975 for having explosives with intent to endanger life – was caught with the items when police stopped his Ford Mondeo after a high-speed chase in August 2011.
Kate McKay, prosecuting, told Belfast Crown Court that police uncovered a coffee-jar bomb, component parts of other bombs and a wide variety of guns, 100 rounds of assorted bullets and suspected shotgun propellant. Officers were led to Maguire’s home address after his fingerprint was found on the sliding mechanism of a semi-automatic pistol found during searches in Nearly in September 2010 when police raided a firearms workshop. In March Bryan McManus (56), from Aileen Terrace in Newry, was also jailed for six and a half years after the engineer admitted that he had been involve in reactivating weaponry for dissident republicans. Ms McKay said during two days of questioning, Maguire refused to answer questions but he later pleaded guilty to seven offences of having the firarms and explosives with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances, and having articles for use in terrorism on August 2 2011. He also admitted having a semi-automatic pistol which was found during the Newry searches, also with intent and under suspicious circumstances on dates between September 2007 and September 2010.
“Police would accept that if his print had not been found in the workshop [ of McManus ], effectively they would not have become aware but officers are concerned about the nature of the weapons and the use that they have been put to in recent years,” Ms McKay said, adding that although Maguire’s criminal record is old, “it is significant”. Frank O’Donoghue QC, defending, said it was a “most unusual and striking case” that a man “of his age if not his dotage is involving himself in something that’s really now beyound his capacity”. “He seems to dwell in the past,” Mr O’Donoghue said. He said Maguire had the weaponry more “to protect his ccommunity” rather than any attack on security personnel. The lawyer said Maguire had access to the weaponry through involvement with a west Belfast museum to commemorate the Troubles. Judge McFarland told Maguire he seemed “to be someone who just can’t let go of the past”. “This isn’t just a case of a pike in a thatch, that doesn’t apply to modern Ireland. We have now moved on but sadly, you are not moving on with the times,” she said. Following sentencing, Detective Superintendent Glenn Branch, from the Serious Crime Branch, said police would leave “no stone unturned in our efforts to bring before the courts all those involved in terrorist-linked offences, regardless of age”. Police yesterday released photographs of the items found in Maguire’s car but when asked for a photograph of the pensioner, a PSNI spokesman said they did not believe releasing a image “of the defendant is appropriate or proportionate in this instance”.
With many thanks to : The Irish News.
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- Appeal for Witnesses to 1975 Pub Bombing ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
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- ‘Onh’ Force Psni Retreat From Twinbrook. an Analysis on Recent Armed Actions ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
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- Pensioner jailed for firearms and explosives offences (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Family of docker killed in attack seek ‘closure’
John Doherty, who was known as Sean, was one of two men killed as a result of a bomb attack on the Harp Bar in Hill Street in Belfast city centre on August 30, 1975. The 29-year-old, who lived on the New Lodge Road and was a footballer for Crusaders, suffered severe head injuries and died 11 days after the bombing. He had gone to the Harp Bar following his brother Martin’s wedding and was drinking with friends – including Denis McAuley who was also killed – when the bar was attacked. At around 8pm, a man entered the premises and threw a bomb, killing Mr McAuley, fatally injuring Sean Doherty and injuring a number of others.
Following the publication of a report by the PSNIs Historical Enquires Team (HET) into the case, the Doherty family have issued a new appeal for witnesses. The report, which found that Mr Doherty had “no political interest and had no connection to any paramilitary group”, said the original RUC investigation had “correctly focussed on members of the UVF from East Belfast“. Some witnesses had told the origional investigation how one man had entered the bar with a brown parcel while another man armed with a handgun waited outside near a Ford Cortina car. One witness told how the armed man opened fire toward him at one point. He was later picked out at an identification parade and charged with the murders.
However they were later withdrawn when the witness said he would not give evidence in court. The HET report found there had been a previous attack at the Harp Bar 10 days before the bombing in which one man was injured in a shooting. It further found that the weapon uased on the night of the bombing had been stolen from the Forensic Science Laboratory in March 1973. Recovered in 1976 it was found to be used in six incidents including the attack on the Harp Bar. The Doherty family revealed yesterday that it had enlisted a solicitor to deal with a number of issues in relation to the report, including concerns about the origional police investigations into the previous attack on the bar and the circumstances of the stolen gun. Martin Doherty yesterday appealed for information about the attack which killed his brother Sean. The Andersontown man said the family had been left devastated by his death and were hopeful of any new leads which would “bring them closure more than anything”. Shauna Carberry, from Relatives for Justice, also appealed for witnesses.
With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCory, Irish News.
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