Sunday Life

'Don't rip my family apart, Mr President'

By Stephen Breen
21 December 2003

A FORMER INLA member last night pleaded with US President George Bush, not to deport him from the States.

Speaking to Sunday Life from his New Jersey home, Malachy McAllister said his family would be "ripped apart" if he was forced to leave his adopted country.

McAllister, who met with former US President Bill Clinton, during his time at the White House, to discuss his case, served three years of a seven-year sentence in the Maze, after he was convicted of a conspiracy to murder charge.

The builder, who is originally from Farnham Street, in Belfast's lower Ormeau Road area, was jailed after he signed a statement to cops, when he was implicated by republican supergrass Harry Kirkpatrick, in the 1980s.

But McAllister, 46, fled Northern Ireland in 1988, after a Red Hand Commando gang came within inches of killing his family.

The weapons used in the attack were later found - along with McAllister's personal details - in a loyalist arms dump.

The Ulsterman went to Canada for a short period, before moving to the States, along with his wife, Bernadette, and four children.

Although McAllister has worked as a builder in New Jersey, and employs up to 30 American citizens, he is facing expulsion because of his conviction.

Said McAllister: "Going back to Belfast is something you wouldn't wish on anyone who fled the city because of the people who tried to kill their family. I don't belong there anymore - America is my home now.

"I served my time in jail, and that was the end of it - I didn't get involved in anything, and my only concern was my wife and four kids.

"I came to America with nothing, and I had to work for everything I have today. I have been a good citizen to this country, and have helped put something back into the economy by employing US citizens.

"How can I be a threat to national security?

"I don't want to return to Northern Ireland because I honestly believe I could be targeted again, and I don't want to put my family through any more pain."

The Belfast man also said that he fears US judges will rule against him, in his quest to remain in New Jersey.

He added: "I just don't know what way this thing is going to turn out.

"But I think it doesn't look very favourable, and all I can think about is my kids who have grown up as north Americans - it is the only thing and country they know.

"If I do get sent home, I won't be returning to Belfast - that's for sure."

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