Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Peter Hain

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has quit front-bench politics.

The veteran Labour MP for Neath said he had stepped down as shadow Welsh Secretary to focus on making plans for a huge dam over the River Severn a reality. The project would create thousands of jobs around Port Talbot, Mr Hain said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to Mr Hain’s work in Northern Ireland, where he was Secretary of State between 2005 and 2007.

Mr Miliband said: “Peter Hain has made an enormous contribution from the front bench over the past 16 years.

“In Government, his ministerial career was extraordinarily diverse, including time in the Foreign Office, the Northern Ireland Office — where he played a crucial role in the Northern Ireland peace process — and at Work and Pensions.”

In a letter to Mr Miliband, Mr Hain said he intended to stay on as an MP and would fight Neath at the next General Election.


Marian Price and the lost document

week launch judicial review proceedings in the High Court in Belfast asking for her release from prison on the grounds that Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson had no authority to order her detention.

The veteran republican was detained in May 2011 when Paterson signed an order declaring that she had breached the terms of the licence on which she’d been released in 1980 from two life sentences and a 20-year term imposed for IRA bombings in London, including the bombing of the Old Bailey, in March 1973. Around 180 people were injured in the blasts, mainly by flying glass. One man died from a heart attack. Price’s elder sister, Dolours, and Gerry Kelly, now a minister in the Stormont Executive, were among the 10-strong IRA bomb team.

Lawyers for Price, who is 57, say that she was pardoned rather than released on licence and that Paterson exceeded his authority in sending her back to prison. Paterson’s barristers contest this, but have told a panel of parole commissioners that “extensive searches” have failed to locate a copy of the document on which she was released.

Price was the only female detainee in the high-security Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim from May 11th last year, when she was charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation. In recent days, she has been moved to the female wing of Hydebank prison. The charge arose from an incident during the 32-County Sovereignty Movement’s Easter commemoration in Derry city cemetery when she held up the script from which a masked man read the Real IRA’s “Easter Message”. The 32-County Sovereignty Movement, of which Price is secretary, is widely regarded as the political wing of the Real IRA.

Opposing bail, a detective sergeant told the court in Derry that the Real IRA statement had “threatened assassination against anyone from the nationalist or republican community who may be perceived by the IRA to be a traitor.” He agreed that Price had maintained during questioning that she had not known the content of the statement in advance. Granting bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said that there was no evidence that Price had had prior knowledge of the “vile and objectionable” nature of the statement, nor any record of absconding.

Price was rearrested as she left the dock on the basis of the order signed by Paterson the previous evening. In Maghaberry two months later, Price was further charged with “providing property for the purposes of terrorism” – allegedly supplying a mobile phone subsequently used in connection with the Real IRA gun attack in which two soldiers were killed outside Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009.

Price had been questioned for two days about this allegation in November 2009 and released without charge. Her lawyers say that there had been no change in circumstances in the interim and that no new evidence had emerged. They suggest that the charge was brought so as to pre-empt their planned challenge to the validity of the detention order. An attempt to have the Massereene-related charge ruled out as an abuse of process was postponed until the question of the extent of the pardon has been settled.

In a ruling on January 30th, the parole commissioners recounted that “Mrs McGlinchey (then Marian Price) was convicted on two charges of causing explosions and one charge of conspiring to cause an explosion. She was given two life sentences and a concurrent 20-year sentence on November 15th, 1973. She was released on licence on April 30th, 1980. Sometime shortly after her release, Mrs McGlinchey received a Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM), commonly referred to as a Royal Pardon. The issue is a simple one. Did the RPM cover only the 20-year determinate sentence or did it also cover the two life sentences? This should be a simple matter to determine by looking at the RPM. The difficulty is that the Secretary of State has informed the panel that the RPM cannot be located.”

Price’s lawyers have told the commissioners that, “It is difficult to fathom how, even exercising a modicum of care, this document was destroyed without someone, before destruction, ensuring that the original (or at least another copy) was still in existence. There is certainly a foundation for suggesting that this document may (and we can put it no higher) have been deliberately ‘buried’ given the embarrassment it might cause.”

The panel found that Paterson’s view was correct, that while the balance of Price’s 20-year sentence was remitted, her release from the life sentences was conditional on future behaviour. They cite a letter dated April 30th, 1980 – the day Price was released – from the private secretary to the Secretary of State to the private secretary to the Queen: “Her (McGlinchey’s) release involves release from the life sentence which means that she will always remain liable to be recalled to prison if her behaviour justifies this step.”

The commissioners supported this view with a quote from an Irish Times news story on May 1st, 1980: “The official announcement explained that the release was ‘on licence’, meaning that Price could be recalled at any time.” The panel goes on to note, however, that the Royal Prerogative of Mercy was issued “sometime very shortly after her release . . . although the precise date is uncertain.”

In an affidavit, Price says that, “In the wake of my release my solicitor Patrick Marrinan visited me to inform me that I had subsequently been granted the Royal Prerogative of Mercy which pardoned me of all of the 1973 convictions including the life sentence . . . He stated that I was as free as he was under the law [and] not on licence.”

MEMBERS OF PRICE’S family say that the “pardon” was negotiated with then-Northern Secretary William Whitelaw by Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich. In finding for the Secretary of State, the panel pointed out that “There is no contemporary material exhibited to the affidavit to confirm or support [her] claims concerning the scope of the RPM.”

Price’s lawyers say that it is unreasonable to expect her to have retained a legal document from 30 years ago and that the fact that she didn’t should not be used against her.

The judicial review proceedings are aimed at overturning the January 30th ruling. Lawyers for Price will ask the High Court to endorse instead their view that “the onus is on the detaining authority to prove the legality of the detention . . . Mrs McGlinchey should be discharged as the authorities cannot establish that she is, in fact and in law, on licence.” Price’s association with “dissident” republicans has deprived her of support from many who might in other circumstances have rallied against her detention on a minister’s say-so and the perceived lack of due process.

Little has been heard from civil libertarians or from women’s groups. Demonstrations have been tiny. There has been scant media coverage.

The bitterness of republican splits is seen in the fact that Price last month refused to meet a Sinn Féin delegation visiting the prison.Only a handful of SDLP members of the Assembly have taken up her case. Pat Ramsey of the SDLP, who saw Price in Maghaberry a number of times, says: “She is effectively in isolation – the only woman in a high-security male prison. Her health is bad and getting worse.”

The background

Marian Price first came to public attention in 1973 when, aged 19, she, her sister Dolours and eight others were charged with being part of an IRA unit which planted four bombs in London. Sentenced to life, she, Dolours, Hugh Feeney and Gerry Kelly – now a Stormont minister – spent more than 200 days on hunger strike seeking political status. She was force-fed 167 times.

From one of the best-known republican families in Belfast – her father Albert had been in the IRA in the 1940s – she was active in the mainly-student People’s Democracy before becoming one of the first women admitted as a full member into the IRA. Released in the 1980s, she remained politically uninvolved until the 1990s when she emerged as one of the most vocal republican critics of the Sinn Féin “peace strategy”.

Revoking her licence last year, Northern Secretary Owen Paterson said that the threat which she posed had “significantly increased”.


The Brendan Duddy Archive’s ( Part 1) -1975 Cease-fire !

NEW: The 1981 Hunger strike documents now include the full text of the ‘Red Book’ outlining in detail the progress of the secret negotiations between the IRA and the British government to end the Republican hunger strike of 1981. They also include a transcript of the text.
The selected documents are taken from the three main periods during which Brendan Duddy secretly acted as an intermediary between the British government and the IRA. The first was in the early and mid 1970s when Duddy acted as intermediary during a series of contacts over the release of hostages and the ending of hunger strikes. This contact culminated in the long IRA ceasefire of 1975 during which British government and Provisional Republican representatives held a series of formal meetings in Duddy’s house in Derry. The archive includes his diaries of negotiation in 1975 and 1976 as well as many handwritten and typed messages exchanged between the two sides.
In 1980 and 1981 Duddy acted again as intermediary during the Republican hunger strikes. In July 1981 he began to record these contacts, conducted by telephone, in a red hardbound notebook, the ‘Red book’. The handwritten formal messages that were dictated to Duddy over the phone are interspersed with sparse personal comments and notations indicating how these contacts sometimes stretched through the night and indicating the intensity of the tensions at this negotiating intersection.
Between 1990 and 1993 Duddy was again active at this intersection after a new Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Sir Peter Brooke, made the decision to try to incorporate the Provisionals in a political settlement, an effort continued by his successor Sir Patrick Mayhew. Duddy was called upon again to take up the role of intermediary and his archive includes the messages passed between the two sides as well as his own contemporary ‘narrative’ of the intense contacts of 1993. The selected documents highlight the secrecy and tension involved in this communication and negotiation and add significantly to our understanding of this crucial interface between the British state and the IRA.
Dr. Niall Ó Dochartaigh

1975 Cease-fire


We know the Provisionals fear we may be stringing them along, January 1975 Download image

In early 1975 British officials and Republican representatives secretly negotiated the terms of an IRA ceasefire that came into force in February and lasted for most of that year. Most accounts of the ceasefire argue that the British duped the IRA into calling a ceasefire and strung them along in order to weaken them militarily. This message, sent by the British in late January, contains the striking line ‘We know that the Provisionals fear that we may be stringing them along’. It indicates not only that the IRA was aware of this danger even before the ceasefire, but that the British were also aware of this fear on the part of the IRA. The final line reads ‘We are not at this stage able to meet Mr. David O’CONNELL [emphasis in original] himself. But we assume that he is now personally directing the dialogue. Is this so?’ O’Connell was a wanted man at the time. It indicates that even though the British felt it was too sensitive to talk to him directly, they wanted to be reassured that this key figure was personally directing the talks and that the Provisional negotiators had his support. If there was to be a settlement and a permanent end to the IRA campaign his support was essential.


(1) A letter from the IRA to the British Prime Minister, January 1975 Download image

The formal and courteous tone of the letter, addressed personally to the British Prime Minister of the time, Harold Wilson, is striking, indicating the desire of the Provisionals to behave in a properly diplomatic way during these contacts. But the letter is striking too for the emphasis on securing ‘an honourable and permanent end to this conflict’. Given the emphasis on the word ‘permanent’ after the IRA ceasefire of 1994, it is interesting to note that the word appears three times in this short message. There is no reference to Irish reunification or the political goals of the Provisionals but the emphasis is placed instead on their ‘sincerity to explore every avenue to secure’ a ‘permanent’ end to the conflict. Duddy’s personal diary for the period indicates intense and prolonged negotiation between the two sides over the twelve points included in this letter.


(2) A letter from the IRA to the British Prime Minister, January 1975 Download image

(3) A letter from the IRA to the British Prime Minister, January 1975 Download image

(1) Don’t call us, we’ll call you, February 1975 Download image


With Many Thanks To :Dr. Niall Ó Dochartaigh,  The James Hardiman Library.

And also many Thanks to : National University of Ireland Galway.


 Related articles

Free Marian Price now By Eamonn McCann

Free Marian Price now

By Eamonn McCann

Published on Wednesday 14 December 2011 03:11
The continuing imprisonment of Marian Price in Maghaberry is a scandal and would be seen more widely in this light were it not for her politics.
Ms Price is in jail on the order of Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, who signed a document last May ordering the police to put her behind bars.
She had been arrested on May 11th and charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation. This arose from an action at the 32 Country Sovereignty Movement’s Easter commemoration in Derry city cemetery: on a blustery day, she reached up to hold the script from which a masked representative of the Real IRA was reading the ‘Easter Message’.

Two days later Ms. Price appeared at Bishop Street, where she applied for and was granted bail. She was rearrested when she came out onto the steps of the courthouse.

Mr Patterson had signed a document the previous night purporting to revoke the licence on which she had been released almost 30 years earlier from a life sentence for the 1973 Provisional IRA bombing of the Old Bailey.

If the Derry court had remanded Ms Price in custody, the document would not have been produced. We might not know even now that it existed.

It is not clear whether the prosecution had been aware of the document as it argued against bail. What’s clear is that the bail application had been a farce. The role of the court had been rendered meaningless by Mr Patterson preparing the way in advance to have the decision set aside if it went against his wishes.

This was as blatant an abuse of process as can be imagined.
The offence is compounded by the fact that here is real room for doubt whether Mr Aoh Phila Patterson had authority to order Ms Price back to jail in the first place.
Her lawyers insist she had been freed from the Old Bailey sentence on the basis of a Royal pardon and that the terms of the pardon supersede the powers of the Secretary of State.

The lawyers have asked three times for the pardon to be produced. Three times, the State has maintained that no copy can be discovered.
At one point, her solicitor was told that the pardon must either have been lost or somehow been shredded.

Thus, Ms Price has spent the last seven months in Maghaberry, not on the basis of conviction for a crime but because Owen Patterson believes that the State is better off with her out of the way. She is imprisoned without trial – in everyday language, interned.

She is the only woman in an all-male prison and thus, for practical purposes, in solitary confinement. She is 57 years-old and in very poor health and in constant pain. But these are not the main reasons she should be released.

She should be released because it is an affront to justice and to the rights of citizens that she has been denied her liberty, and even denied sight of the evidence which Owen Patterson says he has seen and which he claims entitles him to deny
her her liberty.

Rights – or privileges

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the reason there hasn’t been more of a hullaballoo about this matter is that many of those who might have been expected to stand up for civil rights are repelled by Ms Price’s politics.
Which means in turn that the extent to which civil rights are defended in the political mainstream is to some extent at least determined by the political beliefs of whomever is being denied their rights.

This means that the rights we speak of are not rights at all, but privileges to be granted or withheld according to a politician’s judgment of where the State’s interests lie.

The only adequate response is for all who value civil liberties to tell Mr Patterson loudly and with one voice – Free Marian Price now.

Story posted on behalf of : Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh




Designed and owned by : Derry Doire

An excellent poster – now let us all share it around the globe. Lota Continua – 1972-2012. The pic was taken @ St. Mary’s Church, Creggan, on the morning of the funerals of the victims of Bloody Sunday massacre of Jan. 30th 1972. The demo was called by NICRA to protest against torture and internment without charge or trial.

Written by and posted on behalf of : Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


N.B Civil Rights Vets: From Alice Fleming’s ‘s FB Page:

Tony Taylor’s mum and sister were up seeing him in Maghaberry today and were shocked at his appearance. They were unaware that he was on the boards. Tony has problems which he incurred over 16 years ago and he has pieces of shrapnel in his body which causes internal bleeding. The screws are using the metal detector on him and then they are …rattling metal in front of it to start the bleeper going t…hus giving them the excuse to keep him in solitary. When is this going to end? We stood on the streets for the the likes of that MLA Raymond McCartney (I never missed a protest throuhout 1976 until the end of 1981)) Where or what is his stance on this behavior by the british establishment. Why are they not lobbying the debuy first minister master mcguiness? Is he not interested to what is happening to a fellow republican? Of course they are turning a blind eye to what is happening to a very innocent lady – Marian Price incarcerated in the same hellhole for nothing, but to hold a piece of paper; and they are intent on sentencing Colin Duffy, another innocent man to satisfy what??? Do they not know their Irish History? I ask all who read this to support them in this terrible fight for justice.

Posted on behalf of : Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

The civil rights veterans network was informed a few weeks ago that only 2 or 3 families were in favour of the MARCH FOR JUSTICE in Derry on Sun. Jan. 29th 2012, and therefore that we should respect the wishes of the ‘majority’ who allegedly were opposed to the demo taking place. This week-end, thanks only to a few relatives of those murdered on Bloody Sunday (1972) some nine other members of th…e 13 victims, and several of those wounded, have pledged their solidarity to the March for Justuce organisers. Let me state once again, this is not a civil rights march, although supported by NICRA veterans like myself, but a MARCH FOR JUSTICE primarily organised by the families of those murdered by the 1st paras, and surviving individuals wounded or injured during the original 1972 demo against torture and internment, without charge or trial.
Posted on behalf of : Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


NEW, 40 TH ANNIVERSARY BLOODY SUNDAY COMMEMORATIVE CD. Additional details via Facebook, or song-writer, Tony O’Doherty’s mobile: 07806882583 Performed by Steadfast. Cover photo by Peter Mckane.

Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh E.mail the song-writer directly. Mention my name. Inexpersive, just hopes to recover costs.He’s at No relation. Any probs get back to me via or FB message.




Victim’s brother backs Bloody Sunday march

By Alan Healy,
Deputy Editor, Derry News, 12/12/11

THE brother of a man shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday has said that the annual march commemorating the massacre should go ahead.

Mickey Mc Kinney was speaking at a public meting held in Pilot’s Row Community Centre on Friday night to discuss the Bloody Sunday ‘March for Justice’, which is set to take place on January 29, 2012, to mark the 40th anniversary of the killings.

The meeting was convened by the Civil Rights Veterans Association to invite public opinion on the march, after most of the families of the 14 people killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday said they would not be taking part in the event.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. McKinney, whose brother Willie was shot dead by paratroopers in the Bogside on January 30, 1972, said that any decision on the future of the march should lie with the people of Derry, not with the families.

“I don’t think it should be the families’ call-it should be the people of Derry’s call,” he said.

He added that the next anniversary should be marked with a ‘commemorative’ march.

“A dignified march, led by a lone piper, with no political trimmings, to commemorate the innocence of all those shot on Bloody Sunday,” he said.

“I think the march should go on for another 100 years if it needs to.”

Referring to comments made on Friday on Radio Foyle by a relative of one of the Bloody Sunday victims opposed to the 40th anniversary march, Mr. McKinney said: “I’m here, and I’m not giving the fingers to any of the families.

“I’m a taxi man – for my sins – and for the past year all I’m hearing from people is ‘what’s happening Mickey?”.

“The public needs to be asked here.”

Linda Nash, whose brother Willie was shit dead on Bloody Sunday, said that the ‘March for Justice’ would be an ‘all inclusive’ event, adding that they had made the decision to hold the 40th anniversary march before the publication of the Saville Report on June 15 last year.

She also thanked Vincent Coyle of the Civil Rights Veterans Association for the group’s support.

Ivan Cooper, a prominent figure within the civil rights movement and a founder member of the SDLP, was present at the meeting.

It was decided that another meeting will be held at Pilot’s Row Community Centre on January 6 to take forward the plans for the march.

Photo 1: Pictured are some of the wounded and relatives of some of those who died on Bloody Sunday at the announcement of the 40th anniversary ‘March for Justice’. From left are Mickey Bridge, Damien Donaghy, Kate Nash, Ivan Cooper, Linda Nash, Helen Deery, Tony Deery, Alex Wray, Emmett Donaghy, Michael Donnelly, Liam Wray and Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh.

Photo 2: Pictured on the panel of the 40th anniversary meeting are from left, Kate Nash, Linda Nash, Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh and Ivan Cooper.


Lots of e-mails to – civil rights network- complaining that one particular ‘Nationalist’ newspaper group, in spite of a few press releases being sent & their photographer being present @ Pilot’s Row on Friday evening last, seem to ‘deliberately totally ignore’ the proposed ‘March for Justice’ activities, over recent weeks. Several go so far as to accuse this newspaper g……roup of ”being in the back pocket” of certain political elements opposed to marking the 40th anniversary of the anti-torture & internment march held on Jan. 30th 1972, now globally referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’. In my humble opinion, calling for a boycott of this newspaper group, at this stage @ least, is a bit over the top. What do you think?????
 Related articles
%d bloggers like this: