DISSIDENT lone wolf Christine Connor was given the cold shoulder when she returned to prison this week.
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The Sunday World can reveal she was ignored by some inmates after it was revealed she had been slagging of members of Óghlaigh na hÉireann on social media for not murdering members of the PSNI/RUC. The 35-year-old called ONH out for failing to kill a cop, claiming they weren’t committed to the armed struggle, just making money. Connor was taken under the wing of the NIRA when she was first imprisoned with Soaradh campaigning on her behalf when she claimed she was being mistreated behind bars. She fell in with the then Real IRA, which is now the current day NIRA, after sharing a cell in Hydebank Prison with Sharon Rafferty who befriended a terrified Connor. Rafferty was was the first person to be jailed in the North of Ireland under terror laws brought in to combat home-grown Islamic extremism.
Rafferty, who now sits on the board of Saoradh, was one of a gang of four jailed for a string of terrorist-related offences including the setting up for a training camp at Formil Wood on the outskirts of Omagh, Co Tyrone. Sources say she is still supportive of Connor.
“Sharon has kept in touch and Soaradh has to because she is a prisoner of war, it’s their duty, but she is hard work, completely delusional.” Sources say Connor is already struggling inside and is unpopular with fellow inmates. And this time she is alone, with no fellow dissident to share her cell and offer her support and protection. The last time she was behind bars she was repeatedly threatened and attacked by a fellow inmate. “She is not on a republican wing, she is with (ODC) the criminals and the majority of them hate republicans guts and they hate her. “There are some very dangerous people in there and to some of them she is IRA SCUM.”
With many thanks to the Sunday World and Paula Mackin for the EXCLUSIVE original story
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An Irish News journalist has revealed that she was harassed by her former partner for four years.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Allison Morris called for stalking legislation to be extended to Northern Ireland.
It comes days after Fernando Murphy, of Balholm Drive, in Belfast, was jailed for 10 offences, including harassment and breaching a restraining order.
“I was full of anxiety, my hair was falling out with stress,” the security correspondent said about her ordeal.
Murphy, 42, was handed a 14-month sentence at Belfast Magistrates’ Court last Thursday. He will spend half his sentence in prison and the other half on licence.
During four years of abuse, Ms Morris was subjected to “humiliating” behaviour, including Murphy coming to the Irish News and “shouting and screaming”.
It was when the harassment began to impact her family that the journalist decided to act.
“I sort of broke after that,” she said.
“I could take the abuse when it was me but when it was my daughter it was different.
“He knew that saying horrible, sexual, things about me wasn’t getting a reaction so he moved on to my family, and the targets became my children and my father, who is very ill, and my work.”
‘A big step’
Ms Morris said going to the police was “a big step”.
“As someone who is a crime and security correspondent, I deal with the police on a professional basis quite regularly, often quite critically and I hold them to account in a lot of cases, and I just really didn’t feel comfortable,” she said.
“I didn’t want people to think that I was weak, I didn’t want, in a very Belfast way, for people to know my business.”
Northern Ireland is the only region of UK or Ireland without stalking legislation and Ms Morris says she hopes that sharing her experience will change things.
“It made me angry because I was struggling to navigate it and through my work, I know the legal system.
“I thought ‘what must this be like for someone who doesn’t have this knowledge or support or wouldn’t know where to go to complain or appeal or to push things along?’ It’s such an emotionally destroying process that is desperately in need of change.”
Writing on Twitter on Monday afternoon, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said it was “brave and courageous” for Ms Morris to “make her terrible experience public”.
The PSNI currently deals with stalking under the Protection from Harassment Order (NI) 1997.
The Department of Justice held a public consultation last year on the creation of a specific stalking offence.
Its report on the findings said that the majority of respondents strongly supported the introduction of stalking legislation.
The department said it was “determined to do everything it can to protect victims and to stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity”.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said she was “acutely aware of the distress that stalking behaviour can cause”.
She added that bringing forward legislation that offers the best protection for victims was a priority.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story
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LEGAL proceedings are to be launched against An Garda Siochana, after a sophisticated tracking device was discovered under the car of a member of Republican Network for Unity in Carlow.
The political group would be considered close to the thinking of Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), who called a ceasefire in January 2017.
At the time in a statement to the Irish News ONH said:”The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann are announcing that with immediate effect we will suspend all armed actions against the British state”.
The ceasefire is though to have came about following a lengthy period of debate within the group and was endorsed at the time by both the British and Irish governments.
Formed with a number of former senior members of the Provisional IRA, ONH was at one time the most active of the dissident groups, however, has maintained the ceasefire with no reported breaches since the announcement.
The man, who did not want to be named, found the GPS tracking and listening device, hidden in the undercarriage of his family car earlier this month.
He drove the car across the border to Northern Ireland where the device was removed and handed over to his solicitor Peter Corrigan of Phoenix Law.
Shortly after this a gardaí armed response unit arrived at the man’s house and said they needed to remove his car in connection with an ongoing investigation.
The man was told it would be taken to a garda station that was around a 30 minute drive from his house for examination.
However, after 20 minutes later the car was returned and the man told that it was no longer needed. He was not arrested and no other items were removed.
Eadhárd Ó Cuinn, national chairperson of RNU, said questions should be asked as to why their members were still under such “intrusive” forms of surveillance.
“This man is a member of a completely legitimate and legal political group”, he said.
“While members of RNU would have been subject to aggressive and intrusive surveillance in the past, we were told the justification at that time was a ‘security’ one.
“The man in question is new to RNU and is simply keen to involve himself in community enhancing work.
“There is no security risk from our members, we’ve made our position clear on that and you don’t need to take our word for it, it has been widely politically recognised.
“What we have here are people trying to justify their existence by intruding on the privacy of Irish citizens without any justification”, he added.
Peter Corrigan of Phoenix Law said they would be issuing proceedings in the Republic for breach of privacy. “This man is entitled to a private family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and we will be issuing legal proceedings on those grounds”.
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said they “would not be in a position to comment”.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Allison Morris for the original story
DISSIDENT republican group Oglaigh na hEireann has announced a ceasefire, saying the “environment is not right for armed conflict” at this time.
In a statement to The Irish News, accompanied by a recognised codeword, it said the decision followed a review and discussion with its membership.
“The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann are announcing that with immediate effect we will suspend all armed actions against the British state,” it said.
“The leadership of ONH remain unbowed and unbroken. We will continue to protect our membership and base as we move forward in a spirit of united determination to achieve our political aims”.
The group has been responsible for several high-profile attacks, including the attempted murder of Catholic police officer Peadar Heffron in 2010.
Captain of the PSNI Gaelic football team at the time, Mr Heffron spoke out last year for the first time about the attempt on his life that resulted him losing a leg and having to use a wheelchair.
Former PSNI constable Peadar Heffron who lost his leg in an Oglaigh na hEireann attack pictured last year with with GAA pundit Joe Brolly
Formed with a number of former senior members of the Provisional IRA, Oglaigh na hEireann was at one time the most active of the dissident groups.
Analysis: Armed republican group calls time amid a changing political landscape
Timeline of terror – the bomb and gun attacks carried out by ONH
As well as the attack on Mr Heffron, members were involved in the targeting of police officer Ronan Kerr, murdered outside his Omagh home in a 2011 bomb attack.
While it had previously hinted that it was in a transitional period in relation to its future, sources last night denied there had been any direct or indirect negotiations with the British government ahead of the ceasefire announcement.
The jailing of veteran republican Seamus McGrane in 2016, which coincided with the imprisonment of other leadership figures in Belfast and Derry, marked a dramatic slowdown in the group’s activities.
McGrane was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years by a non-jury court in Dublin for directing terrorism and plotting an attack to coincide with a visit by Prince Charles to the Republic.
However, talks about the future of ONH are said to have predated those high-profile arrests.
Prisoners linked to the organisation are said to have been consulted ahead of the announcement and while sources say they have not lobbied directly for early releases, there is an expectation that it will be followed by action to address issues linked to prisoner conditions linked to the separated regime in Maghaberry.
An official announcement by senior trade union figures – who have been involved in private talks around the group’s future – is expected later today.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin called on OnH to “meet people’s expectations and cease using violence immediately”.
“This includes all types of organised criminality within communities.
“The group has announced it is to suspend all actions against the ‘British State’, however, for years now, members have been heavily involved in extreme violence against people living in their own communities, including carrying out brutal beatings and shootings, as well as menacing acts of intimidation to create fear and control.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story
THE ‘ceasefire’ statement by Oglaigh na hEireann carried in today’s Irish News indicates a political maturity and realisation that the landscape for republicans has changed, potentially forever.
This isn’t a snap decision. There have been hints previously that the group was in a transitional period, with the community sector and senior trade union figures playing a key – albeit quiet – role in those discussions.
ONH has robustly denied any back-door channels with the British government and any possibility of decommissioning, as was the case with the Provisional IRA.
Disgruntled members of the provisional movement were involved in its formation in 2009, including ‘big hitters’ from Derry, Belfast, south Armagh and Co Louth.
That most of the leadership originated from the IRA meant it already had possession of large amounts of weaponry held back from decommissioning by hardline elements in south Armagh, along with contacts with arms dealers in eastern Europe.
Read more: Dissident group responsible for Peadar Heffron attack announces ceasefire
Timeline of terror – the bomb and gun attacks carried out by ONH
However, this also meant that many key figures were already well known to the intelligence agencies who invested huge amounts of time and money in monitoring their activities.
When Seamus McGrane was convicted in the Republic’s Special Criminal Court of directing terrorism in November last year, it was based on a covert surveillance operation.
The removal of other leadership figures in Belfast and Derry, either jailed or remanded, also brought about a slow-down of the group’s activities.
A nationalist re-engagement in politics, as seen by increased turnout in the two snap elections of 2017, and discussions around a border poll post-Brexit, has also opened up the political process to more republicans.
The remaining dissident groupings are fractured and disorganised, with attacks sporadic and activity largely concentrating on money-making criminal enterprises or paramilitary shootings within their own communities.
The older leadership of ONH were keen to distance themselves from that and taking themselves out of the equation will be seen as a way to put space between them and smaller organised crime gangs.
What this announcement does is place pressure on those organisations who remain to justify their continuing existence.
It also creates room for negotiations about prison conditions and the controversial revoking of licences without due judicial process.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement this is a significant development in the north’s slow transition from conflict to peace, with the republican agenda now firmly being fought on political and not paramilitary platforms.
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.
A hardline republican party RNU which previously indicated a possible end to Óglaigh na hÉireann’s paramilitary campaign has said it is stepping up its “process of modernisation”.
Prominent north Belfast republican Ta Cosgrove made the comments at a Republican Network for Unity (RNU) commemoration last weekend.
The party is viewed as the political wing of Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), which earlier this year said it is engaged in a “wide ranging discussion about tactics, strategy and the future of the republican struggle”.
Sources close to the organisation said that while no announcement has been made, it is currently on a “de facto ceasefire” while internal discussions take place.
ONH emerged from a split within the Real IRA around a decade ago.
It is believed the last significant attack carried out by the group was in January when a roadside bomb left for the PSNI in Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast, was defused by the British army.
The comments from ONH followed an earlier statement from RNU signalling a shift in strategy, which was read out at an Easter commemoration in north Belfast.
It is understood several people have resigned from the party since then.
Mr Cosgrove, who is a former republican prisoner, spoke at a commemoration to mark the 60th anniversary of five republicans killed in a premature explosion at Edentubber, Co Louth in 1957.
He said the “RNU family” has continued to debate “both internally and with our critical friends” and “the future of our movement has been the subject of intense activity”.
The movement, he said, has assessed its “strengths and weaknesses” and recognises “that we must move forward now – procrastinate any longer will only lead to division and uncertainty”.
“The coming weeks and months will see a gear change in our process of modernisation that was spoke of at Easter.
“Today we ask you here, and members and supporters unable to attend and to the wider republican base, to begin with us the debate around a republican movement that is credible, realistic and modern.
“In time those determined to advance the revolutionary republican position will attest to our reshaped movement and renewed direction.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News for the original story.