WHICH HAS BEEN ABIDED TO SINCE 1953 – VOTE JEREMY CORBYN…
Theresa May: “Human rights laws could change for terror fight” What she really means is that she will abolish it completely and no longer abide by the ‘European Convention on Human rights’ this is bad for everyone. Including Ireland, Scotland and Wales!
Theresa May says she will change human rights laws if they “get in the way” of tackling terror suspects.
She said she wants to do more to restrict the freedom of those posing a threat and to deport foreign suspects.
The UK could seek opt-outs from the European Convention on Human Rights, which it has abided by since 1953.
Labour said the UK would not defeat terrorism “by ripping up basic rights”. The Lib Dems said it was a “cynical” move ahead of Thursday’s election.
Rival parties have been criticising the Conservatives over police cuts following the terror attacks in London and Manchester.
Live: Follow the latest developments in the campaign
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Speaking after Saturday’s London attack, Mrs May said “enough is enough” and that “things need to change” in the terror fight.
Nick Clegg tells Today Theresa May’s comments about human rights laws aren’t supported by evidence
Addressing activists in Slough on Tuesday evening, she did not make any specific new policy proposals but said: “I mean longer prison sentences for those convicted of terrorist offences.
“I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terrorist suspects back to their own countries.
“And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.
“And if our human rights laws get in the way of doing it, we will change the law so we can do it.”
Sources suggest if elected on Friday, Theresa May might consider ideas of curfews, controls on who people can visit and suspects’ access to communications.
Labour has immediately cried foul, claiming another manifesto U-turn, at almost the last minute of the campaign.
Tory sources deny that flatly, saying they would not pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights but instead, seek fresh derogations – essentially legal opt-outs.
Theresa May’s team say she is not, at this late stage, making up last-minute policy, but that the terror risk has changed so fast since the start of the election, that she wanted to make clear that if re-elected she is prepared to toughen the law.
Read more from Laura
In an interview with The Sun, Mrs May said she would also consider extending the time suspects could be held without charge to 28 days, after it was reduced to 14 days in 2011 under the coalition.
“We said there may be circumstances where it is necessary to do this. I will listen to what they [the police and security services] think is necessary for us to do.”
What powers do the police have?
What new anti-terror powers could be used?
The Conservative manifesto committed the party to remaining in the European Convention on Human Rights – which is separate to the EU and which the UK helped to establish after World War Two – for the whole of the next Parliament.
Conservative sources say they would not withdraw from the ECHR but would seek temporary opt-outs called “derogations” from certain aspects.
This could possibly include Article 5 – which guarantees individuals’ rights to liberty and security and the right to a trial “within a reasonable time”, while protecting against unlawful arrest and detention.
During last year’s Conservative leadership campaign, Mrs May said she personally backed leaving the ECHR, saying it made it harder to deport terror suspects and criminals. But she later said she did not believe there was enough support in Parliament for the move.
The Conservatives have said they will reconsider the UK’s human rights legal framework after leaving the EU but that the 1998 Human Rights Act will remain in place until that time. The party has long proposed replacing it will a British Bill of Rights.
Sir Keir Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions who is now Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, told Today the Human Rights Act “had not got “in the way of what we were doing” during his many years prosecuting serious crime.
He warned against “throwing away the very values that are at the heart of our democracy and everything we believe in”.
Media captionDamian Green tells Today it is possible to have derogations from the European Convention on Human Rights
Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said laws were already in place to deal with people, including foreign nationals, who presented a threat and that the government must always act “within the law”.
What is the European Convention of Human Rights?
Judges on the European Court of Human RightsImage copyrightECHR
The ECHR is a treaty between the 47 Council of Europe member states and is intended to protect the human rights of the 822 million people who live in its jurisdiction
All European states, except for Belarus, are members of the convention. It includes right to life, prohibition of torture, slavery and forced labour, and the right to a fair trial
Cases are heard in the European Court of Human Rights, which was established in 1959 in Strasbourg
The cases that European judges rule on include allegations of human rights abuses, discrimination, the improper conduct of trials and the mistreatment of prisoners
Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said the PM was making a “very cynical” attempt to appeal to UKIP voters, telling the BBC “attacking the principles of human rights legislation is not the right way to keep us safe”.
Speaking on Today, he denounced the “explosive claim, free from any evidence, that the problem lies with human rights legislation”, saying the prime minister had a “track record” of making “ludicrous” claims about the impact of the laws.
He said ministers’ focus should be on the fact that one of the perpetrators of the London Bridge attacks had been on a Italian terror watchlist and whether this information had been properly shared and acted upon.
Linking Brexit to security, he added: “I think we need to enhance our use of those EU-wide databases which are proving to be the most sophisticated pool of information about would-be criminals.”
“It would be illegal for 27 other countries in the European Union to share data with us if we in the future, under Theresa May’s plans, rule out abiding by European Union data protection rules.”
UKIP has already backed extending pre-charge detention to 28 days. Their immigration spokesman Jon Bickley said the UK had to “stop being so tolerant of other people’s intolerance”.
With thanks to the: BBC
Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuaina
Liam Campbell, an alleged Real IRA leader, will argue that he cannot receive a fair trial in Lithuania because his brother’s terrorism conviction was found to have been based on entrapment.
Campbell, 54, of Upper Faughart in north Louth, who was found liable for the 1998 Omagh bomb in a civil action eight years ago, appeared in the High Court in Dublin yesterday to contest his extradition to Lithuania, where he is accused of a Real IRA plot to buy large quantities of explosives and weapons.
Brian Gageby, his barrister, told the court that he wanted an adjournment while he sought an English translation of Michael Campbell’s trial and appeal in Vilnius. Mr Gageby is preparing to argue that Liam Campbell cannot receive a fair trial, which is required under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Campbell’s brother was convicted in Lithuania in 2011 of conspiracy to buy weapons and explosives, following a joint MI5-Lithuanian police operation. Michael Campbell was jailed for twelve years but his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2013 on the grounds that he was entrapped by MI5. Liam Campbell is now seeking a transcript of that appeal to use in his case.
Since Michael Campbell returned to Ireland the highest court in Lithuania overturned the appeal, finding that the appeal court erred in putting too much weight on entrapment defence. As a result Michael Campbell may also be extradited back to Lithuania.
Judge Aileen Donnelly agreed to adjourn Liam Campbell’s case for a month yesterday to allow the state and the defence to prepare documents.
Campbell is receiving free legal aid to fight extradition, claiming that he will not get a fair trial and also that prison conditions in Lithuania are so bad that they violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article prohibits extradition if there is a “substantial risk” that the person will undergo inhumane or degrading treatment.
He won on Article 3 grounds when Lithuania sought to extradite him from Northern Ireland, after which he was released by the High Court in Belfast and was rearrested in the Republic. Campbell’s co-accused, Brendan McGuigan, 36, of Omeath, Co Louth, was previously released by the High Court in Dublin, also because prison conditions in Lithuania would be a violation of his rights under Article 3.
Both men are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly organising a Real IRA explosives and weapons importation scheme. A Lithuanian arrest warrant read in court states that Campbell “made arrangements for illegal possession of a considerable amount of powerful firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and substances” to be exported from Lithuania to Ireland for use by a “terrorist grouping”.
The cargo was allegedly to include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand-grenades and Semtex explosives.
Campbell was allegedly a senior Real IRA member when the offences were committed in late 2006 and early 2007 and is alleged to have met with a British intelligence officer posing as an east European arms dealer.
with many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.
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)
Teachers in the North of Irerland are appalled by a ‘work till you drop’ culture and will fight plans to incrageease the pension age, writes Justin McCamphill
‘The NASUWT has been at the forefront of lobbying our MLAs to bring amendments to the bill in the interests of young and old, those in work and those unemployed.
THE British government‘s dchancellor of the exchequergovernment’s, George Osborne, was full of self-congratulation when giving his autumn statement on December 5. The statement included new attacks on working people – in this case, attacks on the young, but encompassing everyone.
In particularly, the autumn statement also included attacks on the pensions of all working people. The state pension age was already due to increase to 68 in 2046, but the British coalation government has brought that forward by 10 years, meaning that people who are in their mid-forties now will not be able to take their state pension until they are 68. The Westminister Pensions Bill, which applies to the North of Ireland, also allows the British government to increase the pension age every five years if it wishes – and the British government has already announced that, if its plans stay on course, people in their thirties will have a pension age of 69 and people in their twenties will have one of 70.
My union, NASUWT, which is by far the largest teacher’s union in the North of Ireland, is appalled by the ‘work till you drop’ culture that is now the British government’s vision for the people of Britain and the North of Ireland. Increasing the pension age during a period of unemployment and the worst recession for decades is utter madness, as it reduces already scarce job vacancies as those in work are being forced to work for longer. The people of the North of Ireland have no control over the Westminster Pensions Bill, but they do have control over the Public Service Pensions Bill, which is due to begin the consideration stage in the assembly after CChristmas. The Public Service Pensions Bill equalises the normal pension age and the state pension age for the majority of public service workers in the North of Ireland, including teachers, health workers and civil servants. This means that young Northern Irish teachers can expect to have to work until they are 70 to receive their teacher’s pension – unless the bill is changed. The NASUWT has been at the forefront of lobbying our MLAs to bring amendments to the bill in the interests of the young and old, those in work and those who are unemployed. We call on our MLAs to stand up for all public service workers who dedicate their lives to serving the public. When assembly elections are next held we will be calling on our members to vote only for those MLAs who defend them.
With many thanks to: Justin McCamphill, NASUWT uunion’s NI junior vice president, writing for: The Irish News.
- Almost HALF of teachers have considered quitting the job because of workloads, pay and pensions (mirror.co.uk)
- NASUWT members in strike action. (northbedsnasuwt.wordpress.com)
- NUT and NASUWT trade disputes (northbedsnasuwt.wordpress.com)
- What next for the NUT and NASUWT? (emmaannhardy.wordpress.com)
- Teachers say no to cuts in pay and conditions (socialistworker.co.uk)
- Teachers threaten more strikes as talks with Michael Gove stumble (independent.co.uk)
’66 tonnes thrown out in three years’.
2010 (Sept-Dec) 11,800kg
Total = 66,685kg
STORMONT is throwing away more than a tonnes of unused food every month. The assembly has thrown out over 66 tonnes of uneaten food over the past three years, figures obtained by The Irish News can reveal.
The huge amount of unused food (payed for at the taxpayers expence) is the equivalent of more than 16 full-grown African elephants or 148 polar bears. In some years the assembly produced more than three tonnes of waste in a single month. The alarming figures come as the executive continues to urge householders through environmental campaigns to stop wasting food. Leader of the Green Party in the North of Ireland Steven Agnew described the level of food waste as “scandalous”. The North Down MLA for the assembly to tackle the problem in 2014 by introducing new legislation encouraging unused food donations. “It is scandalous that at a time when so many food banks are opening because people cannot afford food, so much edible surplus food is simply being thrown away at the seat of local government,” he said. “The public are not only paying for that food to be bought, cooked and served but they are also paying for the costs of its disposal and I am very concerned that with the amount of food wasted, ttaxpayers money is not being spent wisely.” Not to mention also the public are paying the wages of the government MLA’s that are wasting the food.
Stormont was provided with more than £165,000 worth of food during 2013, according to figures obtained by The Irish News Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. It started recording its food waste in August 2010, with an average of 1,750kg of uneaten food being disposed of by parliament buildings and the wider Stormont Estate on average since then. In a FOI rresponds the assembly said its current waste management contractor was “not commissioned to recycle food waste” but was “committed to do so”. However, it said commercially produced food waste is recycled. Earlier this year The Irish News revealed hungry MLAs have munched their way through more than £180,000 worth of refreshments at assembly committee meetings over the past six years.
Stormonts committee meetings are supplied with trays of tasty snacks, from tea and coffee to sandwiches and variates of biscuits. In October Tesco sparked a food waste debate after the supermarket giant revealed it had thrown away 28,500 tonnes of food in the first six months of 2013. Mr Agnew said food waste was a major environmental problem which if tackled would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. “While there has been a reduction in the level of food wasted at the assembly over the last couple of years, the fact that so much food is still being thrown away certainly doesn’t set a good example or leave a good impression with the public,” he said. “We need a similar law to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act in place in the USA to enable organisations to donate excess food without the threat of liability.” A spokesman for the assembly said: “The assembly endeavours to ensure that food waste from all its outlets is minimised.”
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News.
- Shame Fein unaware of who damaged City Hall toilets (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Belated truth on MRF proves that republican claims were right!!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Sands ‘offered to suspend Hunger Strike to reach deal’ !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Cost of Food Wastage (Infographic) (business2community.com)
- Charity hands out 23 TONNES of food in Hartlepool during 2013 – and need even more for next year (hartlepoolmail.co.uk)
- Richard Haass: Irish Tricolour Should Fly Over Stormont. (politics.ie)
- Turning food waste into energy could be a milestone for the circular economy (theguardian.com)
Toiletgate who done it?
The party was responding after it was urged to provide a “full and frank public explanation” for the damage which was caused during a festive (knees up) function on December 20. DUP group leader Lee Reynolds said a urinal was pulled off a wall along with metal water pipes after a “confrontation” “spilled out” from Shame Fein’s “party room into the nearby men’s toilets“. The DUP man called for a “full investigation by council officials and the PSNI/RUC to ascertain what occurred and who was responsible”. Shame Fein councillor Jim McVeigh said “the celebration was enjoyed by all who attended”. “We do not know who was responsible for any damage or whether it was malicious or accidental,” he said. “Contrary to mischievous reports the toilets were not ‘smashed.’ “We will be only to happy to cooperate with any council investigation into the damage caused.” A spokesman for Belfast City Council said all enquires were being referred to Shame Fein. A spokesman for the PSNI/RUC said: “The incident has not been reported to police.”
With many thanks toto: Connla Young, The Irish News.
- Damage to Belfast City Hall toilet not caused by fight, says Sinn Fein (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- City Hall toilets ‘damaged during Sinn Fein Christmas party’ (newsletter.co.uk)
- Toiletgate: We Didn’t Wreck Urinals at Our Xmas City Hall Party, Say Sinn Fein (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Dup Calls for Police Probe Over Toilet Damage at Sinn Fein Xmas Party in City Hall (belfastdaily.co.uk)
THE mass escape of 38 PIRA prisoners from the Maze Prison, near Belfast on September 25 1983 in which a prison warder was stabbed to death, is detailed in previously confidential files. Like many files in this year’s releases, that relating to the prison escape is partially closed to 2069.
The official report claims that Gerry Kelly (Old Baily bomber), one of the PIRA escapees and now a Shame Fein MLA, shot a prison guard in the head. Confidential reports prepared for the Secretary of State Jim Priors shed new light on the event and the role of a British military guard at the prison. In a report on the events of that dramatic Sunday, penned the following day, W J Kerr, director of prison operations in the North of Ireland, described how at 16.45 hours he was informed of ‘an incident at the Maze’. He immediately proceeded to the prison where he ‘was informed that H7 Block had been taken over by armed prisoners who had hijacked the kitchen lorry and had proceeded to the main gate.’ There follows a diary of the events on that Sunday. The day began normally with prisoners unlocked for breakfast and exercise. At 11.15 Fr Rooney, the Catholic chaplain, celebrated Mass in the H Block with 54 prisoners in attendence. Dinner was served at 12.15 hours after which all prisoners were returned to their cells. Suddenly at 14.45 hours prisoners in H Block 7 overpowered staff on duty and took control of the block. Various weapons were used including guns.
The prisoners commandeered the prison meals delivery van and 38 prisoners forced the prison officer driver to drive the van from the block through segment gates one and eight to the prison main gate. The escapees then overpowered the staff on duty at the gate and, although eventually the alam was raised, they managed to get out of the prison proper. The prisoners at this point disappeared and fled in different directions.’ Among the prisoners in H7 were Gerry Kelly, aged 30, (the present Shame Fein MLA for North Belfast) and Brendan ‘Bic’ McFarlane who had been a spokesman for the hunger strikers during the 1981 Hunger Strike. Kelly had been convicted at Winchester in 1973, along with Marian Price/Mc Glincy and Dolours Price (The Price Sisters) and Hugh Feeney, for setting off car bombs in London. In all he had made four previous escape attempts. McFarlane (then 31), described in the file as ‘a PIRA leader deeply involved in the organisation’ was sentenced to five life terms for the 1975 bombing of the Bayardo Bar on the Shankill Road in which five people died. The sequence of events at the prison began when prisoner Mead overpowered a senior officer while ‘Prisoner Storey entered the principal officer’s office carrying a gun and pointed it at the senior officer’s head.’ Storey then took charge, “forcing the officer to answer the telephone in a normal manner”. Meanwhile, other officers were being overpowered and tied up throughout the H Block. “Officer Leak was in the toilet when he heard two shots. He left [to see] Prisoner 58 [Gerry Kelly] pointing a pistol into the control room. “Kelly turned the gun on Leak and forced him into the officers’ tea room. Leak was tied up and hooded. Kerr added at this point: “This would establish that prisoner Kelly shot officer Adams who was on duty in the control. It is not clear if the control grille was locked before Mr Adams was shot.” As the IRA inmates gradually seized control of the wings they approached the inner gates where ‘Bic’ McFarlane told the prison guard that he had been “sent to clean the sentry box”. The officer was then overpowered by armed prisoners. Meanwhile, officer McLaughlin was on duty as kitchen van driver and at 15.25 hours had passed through the lock gates of H Block to deliver afternoon tea. “As officer McLaughlin started to unload the meal from the van, prisoner Storey put a gun to his head and forced him into the medical inspection room.
“Whilst there he was threatened by prisoner [Gerry] Kelly who told him to do as he was told or he would be ‘blown away’.” McLaughlin was then forced to drive the van from the block to the main gate through the inner gates. According to the report the van proceeded through the first gate unchallenged to a parking lot where most of the uniformed prisoners ddisembarked. At the main gates they seized the controls and got outside. However, Kerr stressed, the staff in the Tally Lodge “resisted strongly and in the ensuing affray one officer was stabbed and died shortly afterwards. “By this time the alarm had been raised and two officers sitting in their cars outside the gate drove into the area, blocking the exit.” In the resulting melee 10 escapees were captured including a man called Murray who was wounded by an army sentry in a watch-tower. At the time of the report on 26 September, 21 inmates remained “unlawfully at large”. In his conclusion, Kerr highlighted a number of aspects of the PIRA escape which gave him concern. In particular, the fact that the inmates were in possession of firearms suggested that they and their supporters outside were able to breach the security measures at the Maze. He was particularly alarmed at the ease with which prisoners were able to gain access to the secure entrance into the blocks and the main gates. He also questioned how the escaping prisoners were allowed to drive a hijacked vehicle through two inner gates without being challenged and why five officers in H Block 7 were permitted to be off their posts at the same time. Claims by the DUP leader, Ian Paisley that the military guard had failed to open fire prompted a memo to the secretary of state from an NIO official, P W J Buxton on September 28 1983 on the reaction of the soldiers who formed a 150-strong prison guard. He reported that in the watchtower on the main gate had shot an escaper whom he had just seen shot a prison officer. The position of a soldier shooting escapers was quite clear, Buxton noted; ‘the Yellow Card’ applied. Thus, unless the escaper is presenting a direct threat to life, or has just killed or injured someone and there was no other way of arresting, he is not authorised to shoot.
With many thanks to: Eamon Phoenix, The Irish News.
- Gerry Kelly Shot Prison Officer During Maze Escape, Say Nio Papers (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- State papers: Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly told warder to obey or be blown away (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Sands ‘offered to suspend Hunger Strike to reach deal’ !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Confidential files released
TODAY sees the release of previously confidential files from Stormonta and the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) covering the two years 1983 and 1984. This marks a change as Public Records Office be gains to phase towards a new ’20-year rule’. In total 1,047 files are released today of which 225 are subject to full closure while 366 are subject to ‘redaction’ or blacking-out. Those partially closed include files on the use of baton rounds, ‘political developments’ and ‘compensation to innocent victims’. Many are of these files are partially closed until 2067 (I wonder what they are hiding about the Shame Fein sellouts). Reporting on the Belfast files for the Irish News is Dr Damon Phoenix, a political historian and broadcaster and author of Northern Nationalism 1890-1940 (1994) and co-author of Conflicts in the North of Ireland 1900-2000 (Four Courts Press, 2010). Irish government files are released today under the ‘30-year rule.’ Reporting from Dublin is the Press Association‘s Ed Carty. The next lot of pages will be dedicated to these newly released files.
STATE PAPERS Belfast and Dublin
ON March 14 1984 Gerry Adams, the new Shame Fein MP for West Belfast, and three companions were shot and wounded by the UFF while driving back from a court appearance in Belfast city centre. Mr Adams was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital for emergency surgery.
Mr Adams stay in hospital was the subject of a series of complaints by the Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast, Rev Martin Smyth alleging that Shame Fein leader was being ‘guarded’ by republicans at the RVH. In a note on file for the NIO uunder-secretary, John Patten on March 22 1984, R F Sterling, an official at the DHSS reported that Rev Smyth had phonened the minister’s office to complain about reports that Shame Fein members were gaurding the West Belfast MP and his colleagues. According to Sterling, Rev Smyth was “particularly indignant that these people were reported to be stopping and questioning members of the public within the hospital”.
Sterling explained to the minister that Adams and his companions had been housed in a secure ward and placed under the protection of armed police. All four, he noted, were material witnesses to an armed assault and “clearly their lives were at risk”. Questioned by Rev Smyth in the House of Commons on March 21, 1984 about the alleged ‘Shame Fein guard’ over Mr Adams, secretary of state Jim Prior insisted that the Shame Fein leader “was given medical attention under the protection of the RUC”. He also rejected a claim that British Intelligence had been aware of the murder bid on Mr Adams in advance. In a letter to Rev Smyth on March 22 1984 Mr Prior admitted that the hospital authorities believed that during Mr Adams ‘ stay at the RVH some members of Shame Fein might have been present but that they were confined to the public areas and “were not guarding” the Shame Fein leader.
With many thanks to: Dr Eamon Phoenix, The Irish News.
- Respected priest ‘wrote speeches for Gerry Adams’ (yorkshirepost.co.uk)
- Unionist ire at Adams hospital guard (bbc.co.uk)
- Government considered Sinn Féin ban (bbc.co.uk)
- Haass proposals doomed to failure (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- State papers: Republicans tried to guard hospital after Gerry Adams shot (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Smithwick’s significance is political ‘NOT’ legal !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Resolution possible says Adams (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Gerry Kelly Shot Prison Officer During Maze Escape, Say Nio Papers (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Gerry Kelly Shot Prison Officer During Maze Escape, Say Nio Papers (belfastdaily.co.uk)
‘Why would he make it up? It’s a private conversation and he relates to Humphrey Atkins – Thomas Hennessey speaking about Fr John Magee‘s version of events.
BOBBY Sands offered to suspend the 1981 Hunger Strike in order to reach a deal with the British, a new book has claimed. The claims are made in Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s Battle with the IRA, written by academic Thomas Hennessey.
As well as looking at the role of the former British prime minster, the book examines efforts to end the protest which eventually claimed the lives of ten brave republicans. Mr Hennessey reveals that Sands, who died in May 1981 after 66 days on Hunger Strike, made the offer to Co Down native Fr John Magee who had been sent from Rome to Ireland by John Paul 11. An account of the conversation between the priest and Sands was later relayed to the then secretary of state, Humphrey Atkins. In his book Mr Hennessey says Sands agreed to suspend his fast for five days to allow time for talks – “provided certain conditions were satisifed”. Some of the conditions set out by Sands included that an official from the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) would visit him, that two priests should be present as guarantors and that three other republican prisoners should be present. Details of the offer were later rejected by Mr Atkins who objected to the idea that the hunger striker was “setting conditions”.
According to the author Mr Atkins made it clear that the British government was not prepared to “negotiate” with protesting prisioners at that time. While he had “respect for the Pope” he said he would not be able to meet his representative again “because to do so would risk creating the impression that some form of negotiation was going”. Mr Hennessey believed Fr Magee’s account of the conversation he had with Sands was accurate. “Why would he make it up? It’s a private conversation and he relates it to Humphrey Atkins,” he said. “To me it’s genuine and does not undermine what Sands is trying to do.” The author backs up previous claims made by former H-Block prisoner Richard O’Rawe that a deal was offered that could have ended the Hunger Strike in July 1981. His account of how the deal offer was handled has been strongly contested by other Provisional republicans. “It is clear there was a deal offered that could have ended the Hunger Strike,” Mr Hennessey said. “I accept Richard O’Rawe’s analysis of that but there are other aspects you can’t prove.”
With many thanks to: Connia Young, The Irish News.
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