McKevitt 'kicked out' of RIRA


Joe Cahill: A lifetime in struggle


Last week, An Phoblacht's JOANNE CORCORAN interviewed Joe Cahill, lifelong republican and honorary vice-president of Sinn Féin. In his sitting room, enjoying the warm hospitality of himself and his wife Annie - we were never short of tea and sandwiches - Joe told us about his life. Most interviewers ask Joe about his involvement in the gunrunning on the Claudia, the ship that was captured with a cargo from Libya, or Tom Williams, the man Joe shared a cell with when the two were sentenced to death, and who, unfortunately, had his sentence carried through. But we wanted to hear something different from Joe - what it was like to grow up in the aftermath of Partition, what had happened to split the IRA in 1969 and other aspects of his involvement in all aspects of republican struggle over the decades.

Joe answered all our questions, throwing in amusing yarns he recalled as he delved deep into a mind that has, literally, seen it all. What follows is a glimpse into the life of Joe Cahill.


An Phoblacht: What was it like growing up in Belfast right after partition had taken place?

Joe Cahill: I was born in 1920, and partition happened in 1921, so it didn't hit me until I was about nine or ten.

What first struck me about partition was the amount of unemployment. Nobody had any work. So the government set up this scheme, unemployment relief they called it, and it involved getting people to dig up the streets. It was very heavy work and only paid about 15 shillings a week. That wasn't too much then, I can tell you.

Anyway, Labour was very strong then, and they wanted to bring people together through work. The bitterness and sectarianism of the 1920s seemed to have disappeared by the time this was happening, although there had been some bigotry at the 1932 Eucharistic Congress. Well, Labour got active and got people motivated, got them protesting, and they were successful enough. They got the wages raised to 30 shillings a week.

The beauty of this was to see Catholics and Protestants fighting together for their rights. The problem was that when Catholics tried to improve their standards of living, then sectarianism was brought into it, and brought in mostly by the unionist government.

I also remember that housing conditions were very bad.

I joined na Fianna Éireann, when I was about 16. I couldn't join the IRA because you had to be 18, but I wanted to.

You see, Catholics up the North felt let down by the government in the 26 Counties. They looked to them for support and help, and it wasn't forthcoming. Then when Fianna Fáil came to power, they thought things would improve. Obviously it didn't. So the IRA were the only support for the people.

The campaigns the IRA ran weren't all that successful. They didn't have any political backing, and that meant less support from the people. It was the same throughout the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s. I still believe that unless you have some political backup, you will never be successful in the campaigns that you run.

AP: What was it like working in Harland and Wolffe in the early '50s? Was the company as sectarian as it is made out to be?

JC: It was alright, but people thought I was mad to work there!

I'll give you some background on this. I had come out of prison in October of '49 and I went for a few weeks' holidays before I started looking for a job. I had done a course as a joiner, and I assumed, big-headedly, of course, that because I'd served part of a life sentence, I'd get a job with any of the Catholic builders.

But none of them wanted to have me, because they said I'd be an embarrassment to them because they were all doing government work. One foreman asked me would I do a job in Cork, and I said, "No way, Joe Cahill isn't going to work in Cork".

So anyway, that guy went on to own his company, and he got in touch with me, and said he'd give me a job no problem as a foreman. I told him I'd skills as a joiner, but he said, you'll probably be a bit rusty after eight years in prison, so take this job. He offered me great wages, a trade union card and everything, but then I heard him sacking two lads, without even giving them money they were owed, and his attitude turned me right off him. So I stayed away from him and kept looking.

A while after that I met this friend, and he said to me why don't you try the shipyard. I said to him "are you mad?" But he told me that it wasn't as bad as it used to be, so I thought about it, and said, well okay, I need a job, I'll go down.

So I went down on the Friday and they offered me a job starting on the Monday.

I was there for two periods altogether, nine months and then eleven months, and both times nobody ever said as much as boo to me. We worked in pairs then, and I worked with a Protestant and told him all about my background. He said that made no odds to him, and that we were workmates anyway.

Then one Easter I went to Milltown cemetery, and the paper carried a report about it that weekend. That Monday in work my mate heard something said at lunch and he told me that it was probably only gossip but I wasn't to go about the ship without him, or without my hammer and belt. That was the first time anything was strange, but most of the workers were friendly. There was one other incident, when I was promoted to this job that paid an extra £3, and one day the foreman said to me, "Back to the tools, Joe". I said "Why, are you not happy with my work?" and he said he was very happy and that it wasn't his decision. He told me that the problem was I "kicked with the wrong foot".

They were the only two times I had any trouble. You could do manual labour, but if you tried to rise, you'd always meet difficulty.

AP: What led to the split in 1969?

JC: Well I wasn't a member of the IRA then, I had resigned. It was obvious to everyone that something was going to happen. I was a member of the Civil Rights movement at the time; I did stewarding and the like, but I didn't think it was going anywhere. It was obvious to everyone that there were never going to be many benefits to Catholics.

Terence O'Neill was the PM then, and he was probably the most forward thinking of all the unionist PMs, but even then, he'd no desire to give the Catholics too much. He did have this idea that he could pacify them, though, by giving them a little. Well, he gave a little and the unionists weren't happy, so we knew there'd be a kickback and that came in him getting the push and Chichester Clarke being put in.

We had a feeling pogroms were about to start. You didn't have the British Army then, but you had something worse, the B-Specials. The IRA weren't doing anything to defend the people. They were making no preparations, because they had been getting more political and had been running down the military machine.

A lot of older hands could see what was happening, and they decided to start some training. That was doing okay but they didn't have long enough and eventually '69 came and there really was nobody there to stand up for the people.

Those of us who had been out of the IRA, and there were a lot of us, reported back, in the hope that we could do something. The feeling, particularly in Belfast, was that there should be a break with Dublin, and many of the rural areas thought the same.

I remember going to Lurgan and saying the North should break away and there was mostly agreement. There was a lot of opposition to the leadership in Dublin. So anyway, we decided to have this meeting on a Sunday in the International Hotel in Belfast. Representatives came from the south and the north and the purpose was to set up a separate command. We made a lot of progress at it, and shortly after we were drawing up plans, and some more people arrived from Dublin, among them Seán Mac Stiofáin. He was aware of what we were doing and supported it. He said that on the Saturday night there had been a meeting and the IRA had split, and the people who'd left Cathal Goulding's crowd had decided to set up their own army council.

Then we discussed how things should be developed and it was agreed that there should actually be an all-island body. So another convention was held, with the Provisionals, a temporary name that had been given at the first army council meeting, and the officials. It was planned that we would go away over six months and see where people's loyalty lay around the country, and that was the split. It was fairly bitter, but nobody was killed. And in the end the name the 'provisionals' stuck.

AP: What was the reaction to Bloody Sunday in the South?

JC: Prior to Bloody Sunday, you had internment, one of the biggest mistakes of the British. I've often said that much of our success was down to the Brits' mistakes, as well as our own hard work. Lots of meetings about internment had been taking place, and then on that Sunday they decided to have a massive march and meeting. What happened then is well documented. The Paras came in and got stuck into the people, and there were the murders.

Then of course there was the aftermath. Many have said that if we had had the political strength then, we could have unified the country and defeated the British. All over the South they were protesting. I never witnessed anything like the protests I saw in Dublin. Workers downed tools and came onto the streets to protest, it was amazing. People were furious. They wanted to show their sympathy for the people in the North.

The British Embassy was burned down, and I was there. Some people argued it was a bad thing, because what happened was many people felt that they had vented their anger, and then they went off satisfied. I thought it was a good thing, though.

But it was the same when Jack Lynch called a day of mourning. For many, that was the climax to the whole thing. People in the South walked away from the problem, feeling like they'd done something.

It wasn't the same for us in the North. We were left with the bitterness. Of course, everyone knows the story then of how volunteers flocked to the IRA and it didn't have the capacity to take them all in.

AP: You've been on several hunger strikes in your life. Each time, did you feel that this was the time you were going to die?

JC: Every time you went on a hunger strike, you always thought "I could die now". There was no point on going on it if you didn't. My first one was in Crumlin Road prison. It started off that lots of us were on it and then it was called off because there were only five of us left, and if we all died there would have been nobody left to take over. One of the senior figures, who had been taken to the hospital wing, gave the order and the message was brought to us. We got improvements but not immediately. That was the way it was with hunger strikes - if you lived, you got your demands, but later.

AP: Having been on hunger strike yourself, how did you feel about the 1981 Hunger Strike?

Joe: I remember how the leadership felt at the time. We knew they were going to die. We didn't want them to go on with it.

When they were conned into coming off the one in 1980, we felt that their demands were going to be met, eventually. I felt that if another one started they would die. I never anticipated that ten would die.

No amount of talking would make them come off it, though. I talked to Bobby Sands and I pointed out to him that they were going to die. Bobby said he couldn't see a way out of it. He thought if one died, then that would be the end of it. That didn't happen though. I'll never forget that conversation.

The worst thing about that hunger strike as well was that it was one of those where one lad goes on it, and then another, then another, and it meant it stretched out for such a long time.

Next week: Joe discusses his adventures in America, his brother Frank and the role of An Phoblacht

Irish Echo Online - News

Ferry hearing set in Denver
By Ray O'Hanlon

A Denver court hearing to consider the continued detention and immigration status of Belfast man Ciaran Ferry has been set for Friday, Aug. 22.

Ferry has been held without bail since Jan. 30 after attending a green card interview with his U.S. citizen wife, Heaven Ferry.

Ferry was questioned at the interview about a prison term he served in Northern Ireland for IRA-related activities in the early 1990s. He was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

Ferry, who is 31, was detained at the interview by immigration officers. He is facing a deportation order but countered with the asylum plea. Both will be considered at the upcoming hearing

Ferry's detention was specifically based on a charge that he had overstayed his U.S. visa. His attorney has countered that he had in fact obtained labor authorization and was permitted an extended stay in the U.S. pending his green card interview.

The Ferrys have a 2-year-old daughter, Fiona. The couple had lived in Belfast for a time but decided to settle in Colorado after Ciaran Ferry's name was found by police on a loyalist death list.

Random checkpoints call

Three remanded on terrorism charges

micheailin's Irish Republican Fenian Blog

**Keeping 2 blogs of the same thing is doing my head in, but when Xanga is up, there's nothing like it. Posts from May are there with photos.

Concern over paramilitary beatings in Derry


Relatives of the victims of the Omagh bombing have again called for a full cross border public inquiry into the Real IRA attack.


Sometimes I just go to bed and cry for Oran

(Sharon O’Neill, Irish News)

Five years after the Omagh bomb claimed the lives of 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins, Irish News Chief Reporter Sharon O’Neill spoke to Bernie Doherty whose eight-year-old son, Oran, was one of three children from Buncrana killed in the blast.

Buncrana – a small town on the banks of Lough Swilly in Co Donegal – is a haven for thousands of northerners escaping the normally turbulent summer months across the border. But as visitors enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, some of its residents will be rallying around families devastated by the indiscriminate hand of paramilitarism.

Buncrana, tucked away on the eastern shores of Inishowen and with a population of just 5,000, has suffered unimaginable pain inflicted by both loyalists and dissident republicans.

Sinn Féin councillor Eddie Fullerton was shot dead by the UFF in 1991 and ever since nationalist residents had feared their return.

But 12 years later the emergence of a dissident republican group, the Real IRA, cast another shadow over the town that has yet to lift following the murder of three children in the Omagh bombing.

Oran Doherty (eight), Sean McLaughlin (11) and 12-year-old James Barker were on a trip to the Co Tyrone town on Saturday August 15 1998, with a group of Spanish students when they were caught up in the horror that snatched away their young lives.

Spaniards Rocia Abad Ramos, a 23-year-old group leader and Fernando Blasco Baselga (12) were also murdered in the bombing that killed a total of 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, leaving hundreds injured – many permanently scarred for life.

Their deaths will be remembered in a small but poignant candle-light vigil in Knockalla Drive – where Oran and Sean lived just doors from each other.

Bernie and Michael Doherty still have a bag of sweets their son Oran left on the bus that took him to Omagh that day.

Five years on, Bernie recalls with distinct clarity the excitement of the eight-year-old as he was about to embark on a journey which unknown to everyone would end in carnage.

“Oran was hard to get up in the morning and the night before the trip he said ‘you better shake me hard in the morning’,” says Bernie, a mother-of-seven.

“When I woke him up I thought, for a split second,‘will I just let him lie?’ because I wasn’t happy about him going.

“He was only eight and had never been away before. It was his first time to go on a trip with students.

“But I thought no, it wouldn’t be fair not to let him go. When I called him he was up like a flash.

“He had a bath and I helped him to get dressed. His cousin Emmett called up to make sure he was still going. We only had punts and I had to get sterling. He was all excited when he saw the new £2 coin and kept looking at it.

“When Sean (McLaughlin) called they were sorting out the money for the bus and how much they had to spend.

“I remember him saying ‘ach, can I keep this (£2 coin)’. It was the last thing he said to me and I told him to watch himself.

“They were going to the Ulster American Folk Park. Spanish students would have a trip every Saturday and local children could go if they wanted to.

“They left here with one of the Spanish students my sister was keeping at the time. It was five boys and five girls from the town. When they got off the bus they separated from the girls. The five boys were caught up right in the middle of it.”

The 45-year-old full-time mother was unaware of the frightening events unfolding across the border until relatives of others boys on the trip came running to her door.

“Caoimhe (her daughter) was only eight months and sitting in her pram. I was standing in the front room looking out the window.

“They came running into the house and I just knew something was wrong.

“They said they were looking through text for football results and read the news that a bomb had gone off in the centre of Omagh.

“I lifted Caoimhe out of the pram and ran over to a neighbour’s, waiting for a call back from gardai.”

It was an agonising wait as conflicting news emerged about the boys.

“I kept thinking maybe they were still in the folk park, but then found out they were in Omagh,” says Bernie.

“I hoped the police would have them in a safe place. I kept thinking ‘I wonder what Oran is thinking. Is he frightened?’. Everybody gathered in Knockalla and my sisters who lived nearby came up.

“Some time later we were told some of the children were caught up in the bomb.

“Then we heard they left Omagh, they were on the bus and had got caught up in traffic but I still couldn’t content myself.

“At around 6pm my sister got a phone call to say Emmett (Oran’s cousin) had been taken to Enniskillen Hospital and had shrapnel removed from his bowel.

“There was still no news about Oran.

“Patricia Mc-Laughlin (Sean’s mother) kept saying ‘Oran will be all right, he is with Sean’. We just kept on hoping.

“Then we heard the bus was coming back, so my brother drove me up to meet the bus. There was no-one on it.

“My brother asked the driver if he knew where Oran and Sean were. He said ‘no. there are only Spanish students coming in on the other bus’.”

Several hours passed and the uncertainty was replaced by dread as more definite news started to filter through.

“There was still no word of them at 9pm, we were frantic,” says Bernie.

“My husband (Mickey) and Sean McLaughlin’s daddy and a lot of local people went to Omagh. We waited by the phone and gave descriptions to the RUC but still no word.

“Then at around 10pm a garda in the town rang and said ‘is your husband there?’ I said ‘no, he is in Omagh’. She said ‘I have to come back and talk to you, on your own’.

“I was expecting her to tell me my son was dead. She came back with a doctor from the town and told me three boys were missing, one was Oran. I let out an almighty scream.

“It was a long wait overnight. As the night went on, Mickey phoned and said he was at the leisure centre but there was still no word.

“He said: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll find the wee man and bring him home.’ I replied ‘please do’. I couldn’t sleep, the house was packed as we waited for word.”

By early morning the whole of Buncrana was immersed in grief for the loss of three young boys.

“At around 7am, I could see from my sister’s window that Patricia McLaughlin had some word through – there were people hugging each other outside.

“My sister’s phone rang, it was Mickey (her husband), He said ‘did you hear the news?’, I said ‘Ah, wee Sean is dead’, he then said: ‘Our Oran is dead too’.

“I just threw the phone to the ground.

“It is now all a blur to me. That night my brother and one of my sister’s took me up to the makeshift morgue to see Oran.

“It was late before we got to see him. It was so horrible. It was a cold place.

“His hair seemed to be all wet. There was a big bruise on his cheek and he had a lot of burns on his wee fingers and a deep cut on his forehead.

“His bottom lip was pushed out. I kept thinking he must have been crying when he died. I only found out at the inquest, two years later, that his lip was cut and had swollen.

“I looked at the body for a while and then returned home. It haunts me to this day that I left him there.

“When I feel low, I think I shouldn’t have left him.

“I still have the sweets he bought in the folk park. They were found on the bus with his wee bag. He was so innocent, he was hoping to come home and tell us all about his day.

“We still have his sweets, but not him.

“There was no need for this.”

Ex-Celtic star Mark Rieper helped carry Oran’s coffin and the young football fan was buried alongside his friends, Sean and James, whose body was later moved when his parents moved back to England.

“If we only had one child it would have been more difficult – they (the children) depended on me,” says Bernie.

“My family helped me, I have seven sisters. They were great.

“An unbelievable amount of people, Catholic and Protestant, came to visit and attended the wake.

“People have asked how did I cope but if there hadn’t been many people about I think It would have been far worse.”

Wall space in Bernie and Michael’s living room is at a premium with Oran’s smile lighting up the darkest of corners.

“Oran was full of fun – a real character. He loved his football and fishing with his daddy,” says Bernie.

“He wanted to either work in a sweet shop or play for Glasgow Celtic when he grew up.”

Oran is a regular topic of conversation after dinner with his death affecting the large family in many ways – but some emotions are too deep and too painful to expose.

“Not a day goes by when we don’t think about him. The girls talk about him but Gearoid (who was 12 when Oran died) doesn’t unless you bring it up,” says Bernie

“When something like this happens it is really the parents people think of, the children can sometimes be forgotten.

“I am very worried about Oisin. He was three-and-half at the time. He was there that day with me, he wouldn’t leave my side from the minute we heard the boys were missing.

“I didn’t want him to see Oran in the coffin because of what I thought it might do to him.

“I remember a few weeks later when we were going to see President Clinton in the leisure centre, I had the television on that morning and Eamon Holmes was interviewing someone at the bomb site, Oisin looked at me and said ‘mummy is that heaven’.

“I couldn’t tell him what happened. Later, someone told me to tell him as much of the truth as possible and I sat down with him and told him there had been a bombing and said God took Oran and Sean to heaven.

“I couldn’t tell him about Oran’s injuries, I was afraid of it affecting him. He wonders who did it and why would they do such a thing. It is so hard to explain.”

The youngest two in the family Caoimhe, who is five-and-a-half and Cillian, who is three-and-a-half, did not know Oran but are nevertheless inquisitive about their brother.

“Cillian knows Oran from his pictures. Caoimhe wouldn’t have remembered Oran, but she would talk about him and say: ‘Where did Oran go? Why is he dead, why won’t he come back’,” says Bernie.

“They talk away about him and laugh about the things he used to do. They have coped well.”

Cillian was born 12 months after Oran’s murder, but new life did not immediately bring fresh hope.

“The pregnancy wasn’t planned,” says Bernie.

“Cillian was great, he was a healthy baby but it didn’t help ease the pain over Oran.

“In fact, it was really sad at the time. I found it very hard, I wanted Oran to see him.”

It’s been a tough five years, but Bernie is slowly beginning to feel more upbeat.

“I now go out and enjoy myself like I used to. But there are times when you feel as sad as you were that day.

“Sometimes I just go to bed and cry my eyes out for Oran. Two daughters have got married since Oran died and there was a sadness on those days.

“It feels so long since I last saw Oran or spoke to him, but other times it seems like only yesterday.

“When I’m out walking I feel I have to walk to the graveyard or I feel guilty. For the first few weeks after Oran died I couldn’t go to the graveyard. I kept thinking Oran was with me anyway, I don’t have to remember him by going to the graveyard.

“Then one day I felt I had to go. I remember walking to the graveyard thinking ‘imagine, this is where I’m going to see my son’.

“I will always remember Oran, it doesn’t have to be in a graveyard. I wouldn’t say I will ever get over it but I will go on, I know I will.

“At the time, when it happened, I thought I would never do anything ever again. Anytime I saw a friend of Oran’s it was so hard but I have coped well.

“There is a big hole in my life. Rita Restorick whose son Stephen (a British soldier) was killed by the IRA wrote to me and said ‘the emptiness you feel now will be filled with memories as time goes on’ and I am now beginning to do that.

“Mickey found it harder. He would talk away about Oran but finds it very hard talking about the bombing itself.

“But we probably are a bit stronger, especially myself. I remember hearing my father saying at the wake to people ‘our Bernie is very weak, I don’t know how she is going to cope’.

“People in Buncrana, even to this day, say to me that they still think about it (Omagh). It was a big shock for the town.”

Although the Omagh families have the tragic events of that day in common, for Bernie other mothers whose children died in other circumstances, have been her source for healing.

“We are friendly but we don’t meet or discuss anything. Myself and Patricia (McLaugh-lin) cope in different ways.

“I meet up with a group of local women once a month who have lost children through sickness or accidents.

“We remember our children and light a candle for them. I find that a great help because none of us (the Omagh families) really got together.

“These other mothers share the same feelings even though our children died in different circumstances.

“It made me realise there are other people too, it is not just us that has lost a child, there are so many parents out there who have also suffered.”

Like many relatives Bernie is angry about the now well documented flawed original RUC investigation into the bombing.

While a number of those suspected of being behind the Real IRA attack are behind bars on unrelated offences, Bernie is adamant that only charges for murder will satisfy her quest for justice.

“They (police) know who they (killers) are. Police in Omagh that day were very good but I believe there has been a cover-up by those higher up. I still have questions,” she says.

“I can’t see them charging anyone with murder now. The punishment should fit the crime. These people should be convicted for murder.”

About the civil action by some families against those allegedly involved the bombing, she says: “It is a pity it had to be like that because so many people are running people down over the civil action because they don’t agree with it.”

The mother is scathing in her criticism of Sinn Féin.

“I think Sinn Féin could have helped to do more to bring these people to justice for they know who they are. Just because they don’t want to help the RUC/police,” she says.

“They seek justice for victims of loyalist and British killings, so why shouldn’t they want justice for ours?”

Asked for her thoughts about the Real IRA, she replies: “The two people who walked away from a car, left it in a crowded street full of people and children, I want to know how could they have done it.

“How would they feel if this had of been someone belonging to them? I would like to say to them how can they go on, being involved in an organisation.

“Stop this now, it is not worth it. Do you want to see more innocent people die?

“If they had stopped after Omagh, maybe some day I would have been able to forgive. But they are still a group, still together and still planning to take lives.

“If they are really sorry for all those innocent lives, they should stop now. If the Provos are willing to have a ceasefire, why can’t they? I can’t forgive them – I should as a Catholic, but I can’t. Maybe some day...”

Bernie had hoped that the bomb would have been a watershed in paramilitary activity but fears more innocent lives will be taken by those bent on violence.

“People were saying at the time ‘at least if there are no more lives lost now’, but I thought ‘why should Oran have had to die?’ ” she says.

“I kept thinking, I don’t care what happens any more, but as time went on I had hoped it had stopped. But now I see something happening again.

“I certainly don’t want anyone else belonging to me or any other innocent caught up in something like that again, but the way it is going....I can see it happening again...

“I can see more lives being lost.”

Should all paramilitaries disband? “Yes, all sides. I have no time for any of them, no right-thinking person does.”

“My daughter Amanda works in Derry and I would hate to think that she could be caught up in a bomb or anybody else killed by paramilitaries again.”

The conflict shattered their lives but Bernie wants nothing but permanent peace.

“We listened to the news about what was happening and sympathised but it wasn’t until it hit our own doorstep that we knew the suffering some people went through.

“I would just love to see lasting peace, Protestant and Catholics living together.”

August 15, 2003
This article appeared first in the August 14, 2003 edition of the Irish News.

IOL: Reception to mark Omagh anniversary
Reception to mark Omagh anniversary
15/08/2003 - 06:04:11

The town of Omagh in Co Tyrone is today marking the fifth anniversary of the Real IRA bombing which killed 29 people and two unborn babies in 1998.

A civic reception will be held in the town to remember the victims of the car bomb, which caused the largest loss of life of any single attack during the 30 years of the Troubles.

Only one person, 49-year-old Colm Murphy, has ever been convicted in connection with the atrocity.

Mr Murphy was jailed last year for conspiring to cause the bombing by lending two mobile phones to those who planted the device.

Some of the families of the Omagh victims are planning to take a civil case against five men they believe were responsible because of the failure of the police to bring criminal prosecutions.

**the convicted murdering bastards

The government has rejected new demands to dismiss two soldiers from the Army who were convicted of murdering a Belfast teenager.
Peter McBride was shot dead as he ran away from a foot patrol in Belfast's New Lodge area in 1992.

Two months ago the Court of Appeal ruled that Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher should not have been allowed back into the army after they were found guilty of killing the 18-year-old.

However, the court stopped short of ordering the army to dismiss them.

Mr McBride's family has condemned the decision.

The pair were sentenced to life for murder in 1995, but three years later were released from prison and allowed to rejoin their regiment.

The Court of Appeal stopped short of ordering the Army to dismiss the two soldiers, but made a legal declaration that the reasons adopted by the Army Board were not so exceptional as to permit the retention of the two soldiers.

At their trial, Wright and Fisher said they believed Peter McBride was carrying a bomb.

But the judge, Lord Justice Kelly, found they were lying as they had already stopped and searched him.

**and Peter is not the only child to be shot in the back in cold-blooded murder by brit bastard soldiers


**This is late, I know:

Press release

Mc Bride family calls for boycott until MOD responds

11 August 2003

Jean Mc Bride, mother of murdered teenager Peter Mc Bride, walked out of a meeting with NIO “Human Rights Equality and Justice” Minister John Spellar MP at Stormont today. The family later called for a boycott of his office until the Ministry of Defence responds to the June Court of Appeal ruling.

When he was Armed Forces Minister, John Spellar sat on a British Army Board which ruled that the Scots Guardsmen convicted of the 1992 murder could remain serving soldiers, contrary to internal army regulations. The Court of Appeal subsequently found that no ‘exceptional reasons’ existed justifying retention of the soldiers in the British Army. The ruling of an earlier Army Board had also been overturned in the courts.

At the meeting this afternoon in Stormont, Spellar, who was described by a spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre as “ill-informed and ill-mannered”, told Gene McBride that he had no information as to “if and when” the MOD would respond to the Court of appeal judgement. He then told the mother of the murdered Belfast teenager that the question was an internal MOD matter.

Mr Spellar was reminded that it was in fact a matter for Government and that he himself had sat on the Army Boards meetings. The minister’s refusal to provide any information to the family prompted Mrs McBride to ask why he had agreed to the meeting in the first place, before walking out herself.

After a heated discussion between Mr Spellar, Mrs McBride’s daughters and a member of the Pat Finucane Centre, during which Spellar insisted that there was no contact between his office and the MOD, one of his aides intervened to say that there had, in fact been such contact. The aide told the meeting that Spellar’s office had been in touch with the ministry three days ago, but that there was still no response to the court decision. The family then insisted that the Minister’s office contact the MOD to find out when such a response could be expected.

The meeting was suspended while John Spellar’s aides contacted the MOD.

The family were then informed that there was still no movement from the MOD.

After conferring with her family, Gene McBride then informed the Minister that she would be calling for a boycott of his office until such a time as the MOD finally made a decision. Outside the meeting she then told the assembled press that she was “calling on political parties and community groups not to cooperate with the Minister for Human Rights, Equality and Justice until such a time as the MOD finally responds to the Court of Appeal decision.

Speaking before the meeting, a spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre had said “John Spellar has the Equality, Human Rights and Criminal Justice portfolios in the NIO. If he doesn’t deliver in regards to the Mc Bride case then clearly he isn’t fit to hold office.”

Spellar had earlier refused to meet Mrs Mc Bride but agreed following a boycott of his office by the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

Further background at Pat Finucane Centre

IOL: Limerick gardaí extend detention of man


Know Your Rights Publication

After a nine year wait The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has published the 2nd edition of Know Your Rights.

The Know Your Rights information pack is intended to offer guidelines to members of the public, who find themselves in trouble with the Garda, in relation to their legal and constitutional rights.

The areas covered include
- Arrest
- Detention
- The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994
- Searches
- Search of the Person
- Property Searches

Copies of Know Your Rights are available from the Irish Council for Civil Liberies office at a cost of Eur5.00.
Tel: 01 - 8783136
Email: mailto:iccl@iol.ie

You can download the publication in pdf format at:
Know Your Rights 2003
related link: Know Your Rights 2003


THE INLA in Strabane have said that they will not be decommissioning any of their weapons and they have vowed to reserve the right to defend what they described as 'the most vulnerable members of our community.'

IRSP colour party

Impartial Reporter
14 August 2003

Continuity IRA denies part in Omagh bomb

The Continuity IRA has denied that it co-operated with the Real IRA in carrying out the Omagh bombing in 1998.

The claim that both dissident groups acted together was made by FBI agent David Rupert in the recent trial in Dublin of Michael McKevitt, the Real IRA leader found guilty of directing terrorism.

But the Continuity IRA says it "totally refutes" the claim it was involved in "tragic events at Omagh."

Describing the McKevitt case as a "political show trial in the Stalinist style." the Continuity IRA statement said: "We wish to totally refute these absurd lies uttered by this mercenary and, for the record, we wish to state that we played absolutely no part in the preparation or carrying out of this atrocity."

Pointing out that Rupert was "paid millions by a foreign power," CIRA claimed he was "prepared to do and say anything in an attempt to blacken the name of our organisation with the stain of Omagh."

"Unfortunately, he is not alone, since there are also some apparently subservient journalists who are prepared to engaged in the same sordid tactics," said the CIRA.


The Scotsman - UK - Cash to fight Omagh civil case 'a one-off '

GOVERNMENT funds for the families of the Omagh victims to take civil action against Real IRA terrorists will not open the floodgates for future cases, a government minister said yesterday.


by Anthony McIntyre


Belfast Telegraph

13 August 2003

Adair 'responsible for her own plight'
Homeless Gina battles Bolton council

Gina Adair: "I've as much human rights as anybody" The exiled wife of jailed Shankill loyalist Johnny Adair was today accused of being responsible for her own plight as she battled for a council house in Lancashire.

the lovely and provocative Gina Adair

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Loyalists linked to family attack

Loyalist paramilitaries have been linked to a pipe bomb attack on a family in Derry.


ic NorthernIreland - Prison Denies Assault on Republicans

Prison Denies Assault on Republicans Aug 11 2003

By Gary Kelly

THE Prison Service has denied claims from dissident republicans that three visitors were assaulted and detained at Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim.

The claim was made by Marion Price of the Irish Republican Welfare Association.

She said the assault took place when a brother and two friends of a republican inmate were refused entry to see him after a sniffer dog sat down in front of them.

Ms Price said that, when the men raised objections, they were assaulted by prison officers.

"Apparently, the riot squad were sent for and, immediately, when they arrived, they started to beat the three young men,'' she said.

A Prison Service spokesman said that three visitors were taken to the reception area when they refused to follow staff instructions but denied that they had been beaten up.

"When they refused, the visitors were removed by staff to the visitors' reception where they were detained by the police.

"The Prison Service absolutely refute any allegation of mistreatment.''

Earlier yesterday, a threeday rooftop protest at Maghaberry ended.

Staff removed one of the inmates at around 4am while the other two came down voluntarily just before 8am.

The protest began on Thursday as a Governmentappointed review team visited the jail as part of its inquiry into staff and inmates' concerns.

Tensions have been running high at the prison in recent months with demands for segregation by dissident republicans and loyalists.

A number of republicans are engaged in a ''dirty protest''.

Belfast Telegraph

11 August 2003
SINN Fein president Gerry Adams has accused the Government of doing nothing in response to revelations that members of the security services colluded with loyalist paramilitiaries to kill nationalists.

IOL: Mystery couple buy historic mansion

The Shamrockshire Eagle: Monday 11th August 2003

This link is to the analysis "OUTED" by Paul Dunne of the journalist whore Kevin Toolis. I am putting it in just in case you missed it in THE SHAMROCKSHIRE EAGLE, although you should make it a point of reading that particular blog every week because it is full of intelligent thought and origional writing.

And yes, this is a mirror-like effort to my Xanga site--micheailin's Irish Republican Fenian Blog--or at least it WOULD be mirror-like if I could actually reach my frigging Xanga site at all. It's been down for 2 days now, and I am having blogging withdrawal--even though all I do is post pertinent articles and don't actually think and write like other people manage to do. I changed over from Blogspot to Xanga because you could put pictures on your posts, but it doesn't much help when you can't frigging POST :@


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