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Female inmate ‘forcibly strip searched’

BRITAIN STILL ABUSES IRISH REPUBLICAN WOMENSecond woman missed hospital appointment after refusing to remove clothes campaigners say.

REPUBLICAN prisoner campaigners have claimed a forced strip has been

out on a female republican inmate at Hydebank Wood Prison.


Sharon Rafferty, of Cavana Linn in Pomeroy, was forced to remove her clothes before and after making a court appearance in Omagh, Co Tyrone, last month. Supporters say the 38-year-old refused to take off her cloths voluntarily female prison officers forcibly removed them down to her underwear. Ms Rafferty is facing charges relating to republician paramilitary activity in Co Tryone. Since her arrest in May last she has been detained on a separated wing at Hydebank Wood Prison on the outskirts of Belfast. It has also emerged that a second republican prisoner, Christine Connor, missed a hospital appointment last month after refusing to be strip searched. The 27-year-old is facing two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on the PSNI in North Belfast in May. The Irish News understand both wimen have indicated they will not voluntarialy submit to strip searches in furture.

On Wednsday night Mandy Duffy from the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) sais Ms Rafferty felt like she had been “sexually assaulted” after the search. “She feels very strongly she should not have to remove her clothing,” she aid. The prisoner campagner says Ms Connor will also continue to resist strip searches. “Christine feels she is being denied the right to medicial treatment which is a basic human right,” she said. “She is on medication and needs to see a specialist.” The last high-profile female republican prisoner to be subjected to strip searches is believed to be Roisin McAliskey – daughter of former Mid Ulster MP Bernadette McAliskey – who was searched more than 70 times while pregnant in custody awaiting extradition to Germany in connection with an IRA mortar attàck in 1996. She was released wîthout charge in 1998.


In November last year male republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison ended an 18-month no-wash protest sparked by a number of complaints about the jail regime, including the use of strip searches. A spokesman for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said: “The Prison Service Full Search Policy for women prisoners has developed a two stage full search procedure. A stage one search requires the woman to remove her outer clothin; however she would not be requied to remove her underwear. If staff have suspicions or intelligence has been received to suggest that the woman could be concealing items in her underwear she would be required to proceed to a level two search. “This would require her to remove the clothing from her top half of her body, including her underwear. When dressed she would remove the clothing from the bottom half of her body, including her underwear. While we cannot comment on specific individuals, at no stage has a level two search been deployed in Ash House in recent weeks as is being claimed in some quarters.”

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

Man caught with loaded handgun shouted “tiocfaidh ar la”, judge told.

A MAN allegedly caught with a loaded handgun shouted out “tiocfaidh at LA” as police put him in their car, a judge has heard.


Belfast Crown Court also heard that when officers stopped the Ford Fiesta car being driven by 29-year-old Mark McGuigan close to a forest outside Omagh, he had to be pulled from the car and struggled throughout. Ciaran Murphy QC, prosecuting, told Judge Corinne Philpott QC, sitting without a jury, that having been restrained and put into a protective forensic suit, Mr McGuigan yelled out the republican mantra ‘our day will come’ as officers put him into a waiting police car. Inside the Ford Fiesta, officer uncovered two socks with one containing a loaded revolver and the other 33 assorted bullets. Mr McGuigan, from Sperrin View in OOmagh, denies possecessing the gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life under suspicious circumstances. Mr Murphy told the court the gun had been deactivated in 2003 but had been reactivated to fire live bullets. He added that the firing pin in the revolver was not long enough, although a small adjustment would have been enough to allow the gun to fire. Three other men who were also in the car, including two men who were hiding under a sleeping bag in the folded down rear seats, have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence. The trial continues.

With many thanks to : The Irish News.


A MAN who served time in jail for trying to smuggle an explosive twice the size of the Omagh bomb into the UK has been killed in a suspected assault. The. 56-year-old, named locally as Larry Keane, was found lying in a walkway near a housing estate in Kathy, Co Kildare, on Thursday night.

56-year-old Larry Keane, who died from head injury’s on Friday morning.

He had a wound to hishead. Keane, who lived in the area and was well-known around the town and regularly seen walking with a stick, was taken to Nass Hospital where he died early yesterday morning. The alarm was raised when officers were called shortly before midnight on Thursday with a report of a man lying in the walkway between St John’s Lane and GGreen hills. Keane was a father-of-six and a former soldier who was convicted of a major explosives offence in 1998. He was jailed for 15 years after yards stopped his BMW car packed with explosives and queued for the ferry in Dun Laoghaire two days before the Aintree Grand National.

The 980lb bomb was twice the size of the device planted in Omagh a few months later. People in the community said he was in very I’ll health in recent years after a serious car accident and had mobility problems. Garda sources said the victim died after a row. There was no initial suggestion that a firearm was used in the killing. It is understood the discovery was made by a young man who was walking his girlfriend home. Both were said to be shaken by the find. GArda sealed off the area where the man was discovered for a forensic technical examination and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

With many thanks to : Brian Hutton, Ed CaCarry, The Irish News.

Related articles


DISTRICT Judge Bernie Kelly sent shockwaves through the PSNI/RUC when she halted a criminal trial, dismissed all the charges and lectured the cops involved.


She severely criticised the officers involved in the incidendent which led to Anthony Kirk and his wife Shona being chargrd with a string of offences and nursing serious injuries. The Court was told the Police officers, including Sergeant Boyle of Omagh PSNI, approached Mr Kirk and the Sergeant advised the court that he wished to speak to Mr Kirk reference his behaviour likely to cause Breach of the Peace. Evidence was given by Sergeant Boyle that he approached the door of Mr Kirks property to speak to Mr Kirk, Mr Kirk attempted to slam the door closed but Sergeant Boyle was able to effect entry into the property. During the course of cross examination of Sergeant Boyle by Mr Joe McCann Barrister, instructed by Michael Fahy of Patrick Fahy & Company Solicitors, Sergeant Boyle was compelled to concede that there was no lawful basis for him being on Mr Kirks’ property.


Sergeant Boyle conceded that an offence of behaviour likely to cause Breach of the Peace or Disorderly Behaviour did not justify Police entering on to a person’s property without there being expressed permission to do so. Upon the conclusion of Sergeant Boyles’ evidence, the District Judge Mrs Kelly directed that all Police Officers who had previously been excluded from the Court, would enter the Court and listen carefully and take a concise note of her decision with regard to the subject matter. It was the conclusion of the District Judge that Sergeant Boyle and his fellow officers did not have legal authority to enter the Kirk’s property and therefore did not have any legal powers to do so. The Judge then made reference to the serious injuries sustained by both Mr and Mrs Kirk during the efforts by police to arrest them. She stated that the behaviour of Police in this particular incidence was very serious indeed in the absence of their lawful authority to enter on to the before mentioned property. The Judge went on to state that in her conclusion it was no doubt that Mr Kirk was met with serious violence to his person. As there was no legal authority to enter the property, the Judge concluded that the officers did not act in the due execution of the legal duty regarding their actions as, in her words, a serious violation of the person and person’s property rights. All charges were ultimately dismissed against both Defendants.

With many thanks to : Steven MooreSunday World.



HARK:Northern Ireland Human Rights Initiative

Yesterday at 12:22 ·

Michael McKevitt

Political Hostage

Portlaoise Prison


Co Laois


21st June 2006

It is an impossible task to name everyone who has helped in some way, let it be big or small with this endeavour to highlight the human rights breaches against my family and myself. So to all who have helped in any way I say thank you most sincerely.

However, acknowledgements should be singled out to those at the helm of this embryonic campaign and to those dearest to me who have always helped in every way possible.

I would like to thank Monsignor Raymond Murray, Fr Des Wilson, Fr. Joe McVeigh and Noelle Ryan all of whom are veteran human rights activists, who when approached had no hesitation in lending their support to this campaign. In particular I wish to acknowledge Fr. Des who before this campaign was ever mentioned had identified the human rights breaches while attending my trial as an observer in Dublin’s Special Criminal Court. He made no secret of his disgust during the super-grass trial in the non-jury court. I will always be grateful for his honesty, sincerity and his comforting support to my family at that time and since.

My thanks must go to all the members of the McKevitt and Sands families and also the extended families who encouraged me to proceed with this campaign when initially I was reluctant to allow it to advance. When this idea was first put to me I wasn’t overly keen on it as I felt those involved may be targeted unfairly by the tabloid press and their associates. However after long and careful consideration I was persuaded by those dear to me to give this campaign my full endorsement, which I have done.

I must thank especially Marcella, my sister-in law, for all her unwavering help and who penned the book with superhuman patience in a most resolute way, highlighting aspects of a vicious campaign waged against our family over the past number of years.

To each of my children who despite the vicious tabloid led campaign of vilification and the overt Garda harassment, came through it all with great strength and resilience. It is with pride that I acknowledge their individual help with this project.

To my devoted wife Bernadette, who has always stood shoulder to shoulder with me through these difficulties. She has been a tower of strength and I could never find the words to express my gratitude to her.

Finally, a special mention to two amazing people – John and Rosaleen Sands whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for. Their endorsement and support of this campaign has meant a lot to me. I will always cherish the solidarity and warmth, which they have shown to me during my incarceration.

Yours sincerely

Michael McKevitt.

Five face serious dissident charges

Five men will appear in court on Saturday on charges connected to a major investigation into dissident republican activity.

Three aged 41, 42 and 47 face counts of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, preparation of terrorist acts and collecting information of use to terrorism.

The 47-year-old has also been charged with directing terrorism.

What is unusual about this is that the police have thanked the Security Service – MI5. They rarely make any reference to the intelligence services, particularly at this stage in the process.

UTV’s Sharon O’Neill

The trio were arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, on Monday.

A PSNI statement said: “The charges, some of which have been used seldom in the past in Northern Ireland, are the result of an investigation led by police into dissident republican terrorist activity.

“Officers have worked closely with colleagues in the Security Service and, latterly, with the Public Prosecution Service to reach a point where charges have been brought.”

A further two men aged 33 and 34, who were arrested in Carrickmore and Omagh last Saturday, have been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, attendance at a place used for terrorist training and preparation of terrorist acts.

They will appear at court in Omagh, also on Saturday.

Police added that a 37-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man arrested in Pomeroy and Toome last weekend as part of the same investigation remain in custody.

The investigation is ongoing.


Seven charged with dissident offences

Seven charged with dissident offences

Seven people are due in court on Saturday, accused of terrorist offences (© UTV)

A woman, aged 37 and a man, 46 – who were arrested last Saturday in Pomeroy and Toome – are accused of directing terrorism and having a firearm.

They are also charged with attending ‘a place used for terrorist training.’

The man has also been charged with collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists.

They are due to appear in court in Omagh.

Meanwhile, three men aged 41, 42 and 47 face counts of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, preparation of terrorist acts and collecting information of use to terrorism.

The 47-year-old has also been charged with directing terrorism.

The trio were arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, on Monday.

A PSNI statement said: “The charges, some of which have been used seldom in the past in Northern Ireland, are the result of an investigation led by police into dissident republican terrorist activity.

“Officers have worked closely with colleagues in the Security Service and, latterly, with the Public Prosecution Service to reach a point where charges have been brought.”

A further two men aged 33 and 34, who were arrested in Carrickmore and Omagh last Saturday, have been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, attendance at a place used for terrorist training and preparation of terrorist acts.

They will also appear at court in Omagh, also on Saturday.



Another original uniform, this time we can see the skirt.

Another original uniform, this time we can see the skirt.

Original uniform with some newspapers.

Original uniform with some newspapers.

An original uniform.

An original uniform

Rose McGuiness 1916

Rose McGuiness 1916

Rose McNamara a Cumann na mBan leader.

Rose McNamara a Cumann na mBan leader.

Cumman Na mBAN circa 1916.

Cumman Na mBAN circa 1916.

Also noted standing on a British flag.

A tribute.

A tribute



Cumman na mBann, at Brookfield, near Omagh, in Tyrone

Cumman na mBann, at Brookfield, near Omagh, in Tyrone

Countess Markievicz with a group of Cumman Na mBAN.

Countess Markievicz with a group of Cumman Na mBAN.

Memorial Plaque, 1916 (Easter Rising) - 1921, ...

Memorial Plaque, 1916 (Easter Rising) –

July 23, 1921

1921, (IRAEast Clare Brigade, and Cumann na mBan).


Plaque (Photo credit: Edwinek)

Please feel free to add any photo’s you please but only to do with

Cumman Na mBan yours respectfully: Seachranaidhe1.


DISSIDENT REPUBLICANS Continue to threaten the stability of Northern Ireland with almost 60 bombing incidents in the last year according to figures released by the P.S.N.I.

The figure included the under-car bomb which claimed the life of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh in 2011. There were also 67 shooting incidents linked to Paramilitary groups, including 33 casualties from so-called punishment shootings, all carried out by dissident republician orgainisations.

Loyalist groups also continue to be active when it comes to vigilante justice with 31 Paramilitary-style assults carried out in the last 12 Months up to April. Arrests under the Terrorism Act decreased from 195 in 2010/11 to 159 during 2010/11. The number of people charged to appear in Court was just 39.

Drug offences meanwhile containued to rise with a 10 per cent increase on the previous year, the majority relating to seizures of Cannabis. There was also a dramatic increase in cases of domestic abuse, with over 25,000 reports of violence within the home to Police – the highest since the PSNI began keeping comprehensive records in 2004. It said the increase may be connected to a campaign to encorouge reports from victims.

Burglary and car crime were both down on the previous years, as were incidents of antisocal behaviour-bringing them to the lowest in 14 years. While crime was down overall by around 1.6 per cent, the clear-up rate-the number of cases either taken to court or disposed of by other means-fell by one per cent. ” I am pleased to report that crime is at its lowest level in 14 years, which is encouraging news, ” Cheif Constable Matt Baggott said. ” This should be seen alongside increasing levels of confidence in Policing. Togeather these show that Policing, with increasing support, is having an impact on a more postive future.”

Policing Board Chairman Brian Rea said: ” Detection rates have been subject of detailed discussion at the board over the last year. ” The figures published show some-improvement in a number of areas but in others the P.S.N.I. have not meet targets set. ” The board has recently expressed-major concern around the Police responce to punishment attacks and the need to improve clearance rates.” he said.


World Down’s Syndrome Day

Saint Patrick's Day Parade, Omagh - (49) Omagh...

Saint Patrick's Day Parade, Omagh - (49) Omagh and District Down's Syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Help strengthen the Celtic connection with Down’s Syndrome Scotland on World Down’s Syndrome Day (Wednesday, March 21). Find out more about the club and organisation’s work – and how to support it – by following the link to the official site.

TODAY, March 21, is World Down´s Syndrome Day and this year, for the first time, the United Nations has officially recognised the day. While there will be a big celebration in New York, Down’s Syndrome Scotland is celebrating with its third annual ‘Do a Dish for Down’s Syndrome’ fundraising and awareness campaign!

Celtic have strong links with Down´s Syndrome Scotland, through the club´s ongoing and successful Ability Counts Programme. And the forthcoming visit of the children from the Good Child Foundation aims to raise funds to help children with Down’s Syndrome in Thailand, and also support the work of Down’s Syndrome Scotland.

Supporters can get involved by donating online at, via text – Text CELT07 followed by £1, £5 or £10 to 70070 or through various initiatives that will be announced in the coming weeks.

Down’s Syndrome Scotland is currently celebrating its 30th year of providing services, support and information to people with Down’s Syndrome, their families and professionals. We work to help people with Down’s Syndrome reach their full potential.

Our Family Support Service provides home visits to families; training to teachers, coaches and carers; and support and information via telephone, e-mail and social media. Our new Down’s Syndrome Sports initiative provides sports opportunities to children and adults with Down’s Syndrome.

Supporters of Down´s Syndrome Scotland are being asked to bring awareness, equality and inclusion to their communities, workplaces, schools and hairdressers throughout March. Hold fundraising events and also teach the children about inclusion and equality at schools and ask your hairdressers to raise awareness by posting our Nine Facts about Down’s Syndrome fact sheet on each mirror of a salon.

These are great ways to raise some money for charity but to also have an opportunity to speak about Down’s Syndrome and dispelling the myths that surround Down’s Syndrome.

We have many supportive schools, supporters and hairdressers planning their own Do a Dish events throughout Scotland. We hope more people can join in to celebrate the day of recognition and awareness.

To find out more about our Do a Dish event visit our website at Or to get involved, e-mail Heather at

30 Courses in 30 Days Golf Challenge
To celebrate Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (March 19-25) and our 30th anniversary, Lesley Moffat, a single mum and member of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, is playing 30 Fife golf courses in 30 days, which started on Mother’s Day.

Lesley is playing golf to raise money for Down’s Syndrome Scotland. Lesley played her first course on Mother’s Day with her daughter Eve Crawford. To view the list of courses to play to join Lesley for a day e-mail To support Lesley’s challenge text GOLF30 £5 (or a sum up to £10) to 70070. Lesley will be tweeting updates of her challenge. Follow her @Golf30in30

Lesley said: “I first received support and information on Down’s Syndrome from Down’s Syndrome Scotland when Eve was born four years ago and I’ve been a member of the charity ever since.

“I’m raising money for Down’s Syndrome Scotland so that the charity can continue to provide support for families like mine. As a single parent, I will need more support from Down’s Syndrome Scotland’s Family Support Service as Eve grows up regarding choosing schools and even power of attorney, guardianship and independent living.”

Facebook & Twitter Q&A Session on World Down’s Syndrome Day
We know families are very busy, so to help, our Family Support Service Team will be on our Facebook and Twitter pages from noon to 1 pm on World Down’s Syndrome Day (Wednesday, March 21) to answer any questions you may have. This service is provided every month on the 21st or if the 21st falls on a weekend, the service will be held on the Friday.



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