Sinn Féin: Robert Emmet's speech from the dock on the eve of his execution.

Published: 19 September, 2003

Robert Emmet was a member of the United Irishmen. In 1803 he led an ill-fated rebellion in Dublin. After which he went on the run, but was later arrested. He was tried for high treason 200 years ago today by a British Court in Dublin. He was hanged the following day in Thomas Street, Dublin. We carry here the full text of his speech from the dock.

My Lords:

What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me according to law? I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination, nor that it will become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce, and I must abide by. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have labored (as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country) to destroy. I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it. I do not imagine that, seated where you are, your minds can be so free from impurity as to receive the least impression from what I am going to utter--I have no hopes that I can anchor my character in the breast of a court constituted and trammeled as this is--I only wish, and it is the utmost I expect, that your lordships may suffer it to float down your memories untainted by the foul breath of prejudice, until it finds some more hospitable harbor to shelter it from the storm by which it is at present buffeted.

Was I only to suffer death after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in silence and meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the sentence of law which delivers my body to the executioner will, through the ministry of that law, labor in its own vindication to consign my character to obloquy--for there must be guilt somewhere: whether in the sentence of the court in the catastrophe, posterity must determine. A man in my situation, my lords, has not only to encounter the difficulties of fortune. and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated. but the difficulties of established prejudice: the man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port; when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field, in defense of their country and of virtue. this is my hope: I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High-which displays its power over man as over the beasts of the forest-which sets man upon his brother, and lifts his hand in the name of God against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or a little less than the government standard--a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which it has made.

[Interruption by the court.]

I appeal to the immaculate God--I swear by the throne of heaven, before which I must shortly appear--by the blood of the murdered patriots who have gone before me that my conduct has been through all this peril and all my purposes governed only by the convictions which I have uttered, and by no other view than that of their cure, and the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long and too patiently travailed; and that I confidently and assuredly hope that, wild and chimerical as it may appear, there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noble enterprise. of this I speak with the confidence of intimate knowledge, and with the consolation that appertains to that confidence. Think not, my lords, I say this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory uneasiness; a man who never yet raised his voice to assert a lie will not hazard his character with posterity by asserting a falsehood on a subject so important to his country, and on an occasion like this. Yes. my lords. a man who does not wish to have his epitaph written until his country is liberated will not leave a weapon in the power of envy, nor a pretense to impeach the probity which he means to preserve even in the grave to which tyranny consigns him.

[Interruption by the court.]

Again I say, that what I have spoken was not intended for your lordship, whose situation I commiserate rather than envy-my expressions were for my countrymen; if there is a true Irishman present. let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction.

[Interruption by the court.]

I have always understood it to be the duty of a judge. when a prisoner has been convicted, to pronounce the sentence of the law; I have also understood that judges sometimes think it their duty to hear with patience and to speak with humanity. to exhort the victim of the laws. and to offer with tender benignity his opinions of the motives by which he was actuated in the crime, of which he had been adjudged guilty: that a judge has thought it his duty so to have done. I have no doubt--but where is the boasted freedom of your institutions. where is the vaunted impartiality, clemency. and mildness of your courts of justice, if an unfortunate prisoner, whom your policy, and not pure justice. is about to deliver into the hands of the executioner. is not suffered to explain his motives sincerely and truly. and to vindicate the principles by which he was actuated?

My lords, it may be a part of the system of angry justice, to bow a man's mind by humiliation to the purposed ignominy of the scaffold; but worse to me than the purposed shame, or the scaffold's terrors, would be the shame of such unfounded imputations as have been laid against me in this court: you, my lord [Lord Norbury], are a judge. I am the supposed culprit; I am a maemy should enter only by passing over my lifeless corpse. Am I, who lived but for my country, and who have subjected myself to the dangers of the jealous and watchful oppressor, and the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights, and my country her independence, and am I to be loaded with calumny and not suffered to resent or repel it--no, God forbid!

If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who are dear to them in this transitory life--oh, ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father. look down with scrutiny upon the conduct of your suffering son; and see if I have even for a moment deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instill into my youthful mind, and for which I am now to offer up my life!

My lords, you are impatient for the sacrifice-the blood which you seek is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim; it circulates warmly and unruffled, through the channels which God created for noble purposes. but which you are bent to destroy. for purposes so grievous. that they cry to heaven. Be yet patient! I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my cold and silent grave: my lamp of life is nearly extinguished: my race is run: the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom! I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world--it is the charity of its silence! Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them. let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.

CAIN: Mural Directory by Dr. Jonathan McCormick - Photo. No.742

**mural of the Castlerea Five on Divis Street in the Falls (no longer there)

The Case of the Castlerea Five

Castlerea Five



There are currently five prisoners in Castlerea prison who are serving sentences in relation to the killing of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare on June 7th 1996. They are:

Kevin Walsh
Manslaughter 14 Years

Pearse McCauley
14 Years

Jerry Sheehy
12 Years

Michael O'Neill
11 Years

John Quinn
Conspiracy To Rob
6 Years

Pearse McCauley is from Strabane, all the rest are from county Limerick.

Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed a total of 429 prisoners have been released in the North and 45 have been released in the South. This includes people convicted of incidents that happened after the Adare robbery. The five Adare men are the only prisoners convicted in relation to the incidents which happened before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Dublin Government

The Dublin government, through both Bertie Ahern and John O'Donoghue are on public record as stating that these five men will not benefit from the releases agreed in the Good Friday Agreement. They have never argued that they are not IRA prisoners, only that they do not come under the terms of the Agreement. Mary Harney stated in the run-up to the general election that the PDs would not be part of any government that released the men. The appointment of a Progressive Democrat Minister for Justice in Michael McDowell holds little hope of any real progress.

The reasons put forward by Dublin as to why the men will not be released have changed since the signing of the Agreement. In response to a letter from the Alliance Party in the Six Counties four years ago John O'Donoghue wrote to them stating that the release of the men was impossible as it might jeopardise the referendum on the Agreement.

They have continued to alter their explanations and their claims as time has passed. Their refusal to implement the Agreement has widespread repercussions. How can the Dublin government call on anyone to commit to the Peace Process when they refuse to implement the Agreement they signed up to and the Irish people voted for?

Myths and Facts

A number of myths, propagated by the media, establishment politicians and the Gardaí have been circulated about the men's cases and their conditions.

The IRA has denied involvement in the attempted robbery in Adare.

While the IRA at first disclaimed knowledge of the operation this position was reversed a week afterwards following an initial inquiry. All five men were accepted and treated as IRA prisoners while in Portlaoise prison and they were moved to Castlerea as part of the IRA unit. They continue to be seen as IRA prisoners by the Dublin government and the prison authorities.

The IRA was on ceasefire at the time.

The first IRA ceasefire ended in February 1996 and the second was called in July 1997. The Adare robbery occurred on the 7th of June 1996. The Good Friday Agreement was agreed in April 1998.

During negotiations the Dublin government told Sinn Féin negotiators that the 'Prisoners' section of the Agreement would not include anyone ever charged for the Adare robbery.

Dublin stated they would have difficulties if any of the men were sentenced, but Sinn Féin's position was that the Agreement must include all prisoners and no such exclusion was inserted in the final Agreement.

The men are convicted murderers.

None of the men were convicted of murder. Four were convicted of manslaughter, which is the unlawful and unintentional killing of a person. It means there was no intention to kill and the State and the Court accepted this.

The Good Friday Agreement

The 'Prisoners' section of the Good Friday Agreement states:

Both Governments will put in place mechanisms to provide for an accelerated programme for the release of prisoners, including transferred prisoners, convicted of scheduled offences in Northern Ireland or, in the case of those sentenced outside Northern Ireland, similar offences (referred to hereafter as qualifying prisoners). Any such arrangements will protect the rights of individual prisoners under national and international law.

Prisoners affiliated to organisations which have not established or are not maintaining a complete and unequivocal ceasefire will not benefit from the arrangements. The situation in this regard will be kept under review.

Both Governments will complete a review process within a fixed time frame and set prospective release dates for all qualifying prisoners. The review process would provide for the advance of the release dates of qualifying prisoners while allowing account to be taken of the seriousness of the offences for which the person was convicted and the need to protect the community. In addition, the intention would be that should the circumstances allow it, any qualifying prisoners who remained in custody two years after the commencement of the scheme would be released at that point.

The Governments will seek to enact the appropriate legislation to give effect to these arrangements by the end of June 1998.
This represents the sections of the Good Friday Agreement dealing with prisoner releases.

A number of points can be made in relations to this.

a) The definition of a 'qualifying prisoners' is very clear - someone convicted of 'scheduled offences' in the North and 'similar offences' elsewhere. The Adare case falls into this category.

b) The only clause that sets out who does not qualify for early release is in paragraph two which states that the only people who will not benefit are those affiliated to organisations that are not on cessation. As the IRA have maintained a cessation since July 1997, and the Agreement was signed in April 1998, the Castlerea Five clearly come under the terms of the Agreement. They are not excluded by any clause in the Agreement.

The Sinn Féin Position

Sinn Féin's position on this issue has been clear and unambiguous from the beginning. Shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said:

"There have been a number of inaccurate and misleading claims and media reports in recent days, namely that it was made clear to Sinn Féin during the Good Friday negotiations that the prisoners who were to go on trial for the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe would not benefit from the early release programme. This is not the case.

The facts are quite straightforward, The Good Friday Agreement covers all IRA prisoners imprisoned for incidents, which occurred before April 10th 1998, regardless of the jurisdiction they were or are jailed in.

Sinn Féin did raise the case of these prisoners, along with others. The Dublin government's representatives said that if these men were sentenced their early release would cause difficulties but we insisted there could be no exceptions.

The absence of any clause in the Good Friday Agreement excluding these particular prisoners is proof of how the negotiations closed.

I am very conscious of the pain of this for the McCabe family. Just as I am conscious of the pain for families in the North watching the release of prisoners here. The Castlerea prisoners are not prisoners apart. They qualify under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and they should be released."

Sinn Féin has continued to raise this issue with the government and call for the release of the men. Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of Coiste na n-Iarchimí, newly elected Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, himself a former prisoner stated:

"It is also fitting at a gathering like this to remember those who remain in prison. Today we send solidarity greetings to those who remain in prison. Especially those in Castlerea prison who are qualifying prisoners and who should be released immediately. Their continued imprisonment is contrary to the Good Friday Agreement. That agreement meant difficult decisions for many people. It is time for the Dublin government to face up to that and release these men."

Support The Castlerea Five

The Castlerea Five need YOUR support.

Contact your local elected representatives and demand that they support the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, with particular reference to the plight of the Castlerea Five, as part of the search for a meaningful resolution of the conflict.

Write to the incoming Minister calling on him to support the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement by releasing the Castlerea Five. Contact him at: Department of Justice,
72/76 St. Stephen's Green,
Dublin 2.

Write to the men, send them your messages of solidarity and support. The address is: Castlerea Prison, Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

Delegations to visit the men are always welcome. Anyone wishing to organise such a delegation can do so by contacting the offices of Coiste na n-Iarchimí.

CNN Specials - Northern Ireland

**Here is an older article about the Maze. If you click on the link above, you will also find other articles of interest.

Doors closing for last time at 'unique' prison

The Maze: Steeped in symbolism
(CNN) -- Only the annual standoff at Drumcree holds as much symbolism of the years of political and paramilitary conflict in Northern Ireland as that evoked by the Maze Prison.

For three decades this imposing collection of buildings near Lisburn, County Antrim -- 10 miles west of Belfast -- held some of the paramilitaries' most hardened killers and bombers.

The Maze is to be closed later this year after the mass release of most of its remaining paramilitary prisoners on July 28 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The effects of many of the events that occurred inside the prison reverberated far beyond the walls of its notorious H-blocks: the so-called dirty protest; hunger strikes; three mass breakouts; murder and riots (in 1973, the prison was set on fire and troops called in to restore order).

In 1998, Sir David Ramsbotham, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, summed up the institution as "unique within the prison system in the United Kingdom, and probably the world, in that it holds the bulk of the paramilitary prisoners from all factions who have been convicted, or are awaiting trial, for crimes committed in the course of a campaign of violence against the State."

He added: "In the eyes of those prisoners, they remain part of the campaign, and their imprisonment has been the catalyst for a variety of incidents over the years."

Internment camp
Originally an RAF airfield, the Maze (known locally as Long Kesh), was opened in 1971 as an internment camp. Five members of the current Northern Ireland Assembly are former inmates, including Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, who was interned in the early 1970s, and David Ervine, spokesman of the Progressive Unionist Party, who served a five-year jail sentence after being stopped by security forces in a car that contained a bomb. He was released in 1980.

Dubbed by inmates as the "university of terror," one former republican prisoner recalled: "We went in bad terrorists and came out good terrorists. We learned how to strip and handle weapons, how to make booby-trap bombs, how to stand up to interrogation and, basically, how to be a professional terrorist."

While it once housed 1,700 prisoners, the Maze faces closure following the controversial early-release programme negotiated as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

All inmates who were told by the Sentences Review Commission that they qualified for early release and who served two years or more of their sentence were freed, whatever their crime and with many only having served a fraction of their jail term.

Among almost 430 prisoners released under the scheme, 143 were serving life sentences. One of those was loyalist killer Michael Stone, who murdered six Catholics, three of them during his infamous lone gun and grenade attack on an IRA funeral at Belfast's Milltown Cemetery in 1988.

Controversial releases
Also released was IRA bomber Sean Kelly, who was imprisoned for planting the Shankill fish shop bomb that killed 10 people in October 1993; Michael Caraher, the IRA's Border sniper, who received sentences totalling 105 years in 1999 for a series of murders; James McArdle, who was sentenced to 25 years for the 1996 London Docklands bomb at Canary Wharf; and Torrens Knight, guilty of killing seven people at the Rising Sun pub in Greysteel, County Londonderry, in 1993.

The release of so many high-profile killers and bombers angered victims' families on both sides of the sectarian divide. Even Stone, who would have faced another 15 years in prison had he not been released, recognised the controversial nature of the process.

He said: "I realise those in the nationalist and republican community will view my release with anger. In a similar way the loyalist community will be saddened and angered at the republican prisoners who will be released.

"But times do move on and we now have to support the peace process. My war is over."

Violent history

Bobby Sands was one of 11 republican prisoners to die during the hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981
Now virtually empty -- the dozen or so remaining prisoners are to be moved to other prisons -- the story of the Maze is the story of Northern Ireland's violent history. Flashpoints during its volatile history include:

The "Dirty Protest": When the first IRA prisoners arrived at the prison in 1976, they regarded themselves as prisoners of war and refused to wear prison uniforms. In protest at the ending of "special category status," they began a four-year campaign during which they wore only a prison blanket and later escalated the action by refusing to clean out their cells and smearing excrement on the walls.

Hunger strikes: When the "dirty protest" failed, republican inmates organised two hunger strikes, in 1980 and 1981. In all, 11 men, including Bobby Sands, the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, starved themselves to death.

Mass breakouts: In 1974, 33 IRA prisoners escaped, of which one was killed and the rest recaptured. In an escape in 1975, nine prisoners evaded capture, while in 1983 38 inmates escaped. Some were recaptured but others were never found.

The murder of Billy "King Rat" Wright: In December 1997 members of the Irish National Liberation Army murdered Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright inside the prison. Wright was sitting in a prison van waiting to be driven to the visiting block when the three INLA inmates climbed across the roof of an 'H-block' and shot him several times.

Mo Mowlam's visit: In January 1998 then-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam entered the Maze in a political gamble to save the stalled peace process. She met with Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters prisoners who had threatened to end their support for the peace process and had warned that the loyalist ceasefire was "extremely fragile." After the meeting, the prisoners agreed that the Ulster Democratic Party, the political representatives of the UDA and the UFF, should continue in the talks.

'Knock it down'

Maze Prison was subject to many escape attempts during its three-decade history
The closure of the Maze leaves Northern Ireland with just three prisons -- Magilligan, Maghberry and a young offenders' centre. Although there is speculation that the 150-acre site will become a museum or even a sports centre, the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has no doubts what should happen to it.

"If its days are numbered I hope it is razed to the ground as quickly as possible after it is finally emptied, and confined to history, so that no one should be tempted to make expensive rehabilitation of its unsatisfactory structures," said Sir David.

Said one prison officer: "These are the last days of the Maze. It is a place with a history that will never be forgotten. If it becomes a museum, it should be a black museum."

Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein leader hints at joining Policing Board
McLaughlin condemns death threats to DPP members

By Jonathan McCambridge

20 September 2003
SINN Fein chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin today gave the clearest indication yet his party will take its place on the Policing Board in the near future as another District Policing Partnership member was forced to resign.

Moya Burns (35), a solicitor, stood down as an independent member of the Down partnership - she is the third DPP member to resign in the province in just over a week.

It is understood that no specific threat had been made against Ms Burns, but there have been a series of instances of threats and intimidation against DPP and Policing Board members recently from dissident republicans.

Eamonn O'Neill, vice-chairman of Down DPP, said: "Although all members of Down DPP will miss Ms Burns, it will not deter the partnership from its job of ensuring the community has a voice in establishing policing priorities across the district."

Mr McLaughlin was responding to recent comments from Policing Board vice-chairman Denis Bradley that Sinn Fein would soon join.

He said: "I happen to be confident we can resolve those difficulties and we will join the policing board when we get it right."

He also hit out at threats against DPP members, saying the intimidation was "cowardly, counter-productive and stupid".

Meanwhile, SDLP deputy leader Brid Rodgers has called on the IRA to make it clear they are not involved in any of the threats.

"I know there is still suspicion in one area that individual members of the IRA are involved; what would help would be for the IRA to make a clear statement that they are not involved and it is wrong."

A statement signed by 17 priests in Derry said the time had come for the Catholic people of the North West to speak out against the threats.

"This is not some other person's battle. This is our battle for it affects our lives and will affect the lives of generations to come.

"We cannot desert those who are struggling to create a safe and secure place for all of us to live."

Two other DPP members have also resigned in the last 10 days.

IOL: Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly

Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly
19/09/2003 - 21:48:43

The biggest prison break-out in British history could be made into a popular film, it was claimed tonight.

Senior Sinn Féin member Gerry Kelly said people would enjoy hearing the story of the mass IRA escape from the Maze Prison in Co Antrim 20 years ago.

Up to 800 republicans and their families gathered at the Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, Co Donegal tonight for a reunion dinner and dance to celebrate the escape from the prison.

In September 1983, 38 IRA men shot their way out of the top security jail. While some were swiftly recaptured, 19 got clean away.

One prison officer died of a heart attack after he was stabbed with a prison workshop chisel during the escape and another guard was shot and wounded.

Mr Kelly, an escapee who went on to become the Sinn Féin representative for North Belfast in the now suspended Stormont Assembly, said republicans were “rightly proud” of the escape.

“This was a massive event in republican history, the unionists might not like it, although if I may be so bold as to say, most people like an escape,” he said.

“I enjoyed the Colditz film, people would enjoy this if a film was made of it.

“It was high drama, it was a mass escape. In (Margaret) Thatcher’s own words, I think at the time, the biggest crisis in British penal history.

“That’s the context it’s in. It was a good experience for me, I got out of jail, I had been in jail 10 years, I got my freedom.

“People will have different views of this but the fact is that in republican folklore, if I can say that, or indeed in republican history, this is a very significant event.”

Mr Kelly was jailed for life in 1973 for the Old Bailey and Scotland Yard bombings and was eventually captured in Holland after his escape from the Maze.

IOL: Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly

Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly
19/09/2003 - 21:48:43

The biggest prison break-out in British history could be made into a popular film, it was claimed tonight.

Senior Sinn Féin member Gerry Kelly said people would enjoy hearing the story of the mass IRA escape from the Maze Prison in Co Antrim 20 years ago.

Up to 800 republicans and their families gathered at the Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, Co Donegal tonight for a reunion dinner and dance to celebrate the escape from the prison.

In September 1983, 38 IRA men shot their way out of the top security jail. While some were swiftly recaptured, 19 got clean away.

One prison officer died of a heart attack after he was stabbed with a prison workshop chisel during the escape and another guard was shot and wounded.

Mr Kelly, an escapee who went on to become the Sinn Féin representative for North Belfast in the now suspended Stormont Assembly, said republicans were “rightly proud” of the escape.

“This was a massive event in republican history, the unionists might not like it, although if I may be so bold as to say, most people like an escape,” he said.

“I enjoyed the Colditz film, people would enjoy this if a film was made of it.

“It was high drama, it was a mass escape. In (Margaret) Thatcher’s own words, I think at the time, the biggest crisis in British penal history.

“That’s the context it’s in. It was a good experience for me, I got out of jail, I had been in jail 10 years, I got my freedom.

“People will have different views of this but the fact is that in republican folklore, if I can say that, or indeed in republican history, this is a very significant event.”

Mr Kelly was jailed for life in 1973 for the Old Bailey and Scotland Yard bombings and was eventually captured in Holland after his escape from the Maze.

IOL: Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly

Maze breakout would make good film - Kelly
19/09/2003 - 21:48:43

The biggest prison break-out in British history could be made into a popular film, it was claimed tonight.

Senior Sinn Féin member Gerry Kelly said people would enjoy hearing the story of the mass IRA escape from the Maze Prison in Co Antrim 20 years ago.

Up to 800 republicans and their families gathered at the Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, Co Donegal tonight for a reunion dinner and dance to celebrate the escape from the prison.

In September 1983, 38 IRA men shot their way out of the top security jail. While some were swiftly recaptured, 19 got clean away.

One prison officer died of a heart attack after he was stabbed with a prison workshop chisel during the escape and another guard was shot and wounded.

Mr Kelly, an escapee who went on to become the Sinn Féin representative for North Belfast in the now suspended Stormont Assembly, said republicans were “rightly proud” of the escape.

“This was a massive event in republican history, the unionists might not like it, although if I may be so bold as to say, most people like an escape,” he said.

“I enjoyed the Colditz film, people would enjoy this if a film was made of it.

“It was high drama, it was a mass escape. In (Margaret) Thatcher’s own words, I think at the time, the biggest crisis in British penal history.

“That’s the context it’s in. It was a good experience for me, I got out of jail, I had been in jail 10 years, I got my freedom.

“People will have different views of this but the fact is that in republican folklore, if I can say that, or indeed in republican history, this is a very significant event.”

Mr Kelly was jailed for life in 1973 for the Old Bailey and Scotland Yard bombings and was eventually captured in Holland after his escape from the Maze.

IOL: RIRA-accused teen 'had bomb-making video'

RIRA-accused teen 'had bomb-making video'
20/09/2003 - 13:59:24

A teenager accused of Real IRA membership had a videotape used in bomb-making operations, a court heard today.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also allegedly possessed equipment used to assemble explosives when police swooped.

The unemployed youth, from Strabane, was among five people arrested in the Co Tyrone town by detectives investigating threats from the dissident terror group against Catholic members of policing boards in Northern Ireland.

Three members of the monitoring bodies have now stood down amid fears for their lives.

The accused made no reply as three charges were read out during a special sitting of Omagh Magistrates Court.

He was accused of either being a member of, or claiming to be in the Real IRA between December 1, 2001 and September 20, 2003.

The rogue republican outfit, which killed 29 people in the August 1998 Omagh bombing, has warned all Catholics on the district policing partnerships they are legitimate targets.

The court also heard he allegedly possessed a red electrical switch, a telescopic sight, four spent rounds of ammunition, a small lightbulb, screws and nails, Marigold gloves, a small firework and a number of blue plastic protectors.

A JVC camcorder cassette tape used in assembling explosive devices for terrorist purposes was also found when he was arrested by police on Thursday, it was claimed.

The court also heard he allegedly possessed a firearm or imitation firearm used to make residents in Strabane fear they were under threat of unlawful violence.

Constable Graeme Craig told the court the accused made no reply when charged but the detective said he believed he could connect him with the offences.

Questioning the detective, a defence solicitor asked him to confirm his client had provided an explanation for all the materials suspected of being used to assemble explosives.

The lawyer added: “He stated that he was not a member of any illegal organisation, he was not involved in any illegal activity and that the video shown to him was a joke.”

Mr Craig confirmed that was correct.

The youth was remanded in custody at Hydebank young offenders centre until October 7.


He hasn’t gone away you know

He might be stepping down as a North Belfast councillor, but he hasn’t gone away, you know!
For man of social passion Gerard Brophy who is resigning his council seat due to ill health, has vowed to continue fighting for housing for nationalists on the St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee, which he help to set up.
“This is the group that is going to push the Housing Executive to the wall,” he says defiantly.
“They have asked me to stay on in an advisory capacity. There’s unfinished business,” he growls.
Tributes from fellow councillors poured in for Cllr Brophy last week after he announced his resignation to the council.
He is on a hospital waiting list for a back operation, but said he would be delighted to return to the fray when he recovered from essential surgery.
And the North Belfast News looked back with fondness at the unconventional councillor’s illustrious career and as these pictures show a great sport and a cheeky article!
Cllr Brophy reflected on his six years of hard graft as an elected representative for Sinn Féin; years in which famously stood up to the RUC who unsuccessfully brought him to court, chucked out plans for a controversial hostel in Carrickhill and helped turn around the hell of the New Lodge tower blocks.
Gerard Brophy was also a leading light in trying to resolve tensions along North Queen Street interface, as was himself injured in the violence.
The 47-year-old father of two said he was “heartbroken” he had to step down and paid tribute to the people of North Belfast.
“The people have been superb. I haven’t always got them what they needed but there has never been a bad word to me.”
And what did he look back to as his best achievements in his tenure as councillor?
“The first thing I did with Joe Kelly was help set up the first housing office in the New Lodge. We had never had anything like that before. I have had good contact with the staff in the Housing Executive in district four and have built up a good working relationship with every member of it,” he said.
But in reference to his tireless work in dragging the Housing Executive through the coals on its North Belfast strategy Cllr Brophy was less complimentary.
“Though that’s not to say the Housing Executive itself is high on my list of favourite things,” he quips.
“I’m please I was involved in the setting up of the St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee and one of the first things we did was campaign for a concierge system in New Lodge flats. We then campaigned for the British army to be removed from Maeve House and we got them out. We set up residents’ groups and worked hard to get the Reccy at Victoria Barracks refurbished and we were out and about every day of the week dealing with housing complaints. Of course another great thing was the reopening of the Memorial Garden in the New Lodge for victims of the conflict.”
An emotional Gerard Brophy said it was with deep regret he was stepping down, but vowed he would still be out and about and involved in trying to relieve the chronic shortage of housing in North Belfast.
“It’s been a hard and heartbreaking decision. I’m only hoping when my back operation is over I can, if the people will have me, kick back in in a couple of years time.”
He thanked the North Belfast News for its support over the past five years.
“The North Belfast News took on stories that no other paper had the courage to touch. That has been very influential and it is a credit to the paper that we got those issues out there and challenged bodies like the Housing Executive.
“We have also exposed together RUC and PSNI brutality against nationalist families on the interfaces. I have had to witness terrible scenes of families being forced out of their homes and these have been heartbreaking. I have seen it all and my heart always went out to these people.”
But Cllr Brophy in his indomitable style said though he had helped much, he was disappointed about the work which needed to be done with the youth of North Belfast.
“There is a serious problem with young people and the lack of youth training and qualifications. There are particular problems with kids coming out of schools with a lack of qualifications.
“I would love to have had a rehabilitation centre set up for drink and drugs misuse in North Belfast because I think there is a big, big problem with teenagers and adults’ increasing dependence on drink. I think it is a big problem in North Belfast and a lot of agencies and people are burying their heads in the sand. We had drug and drink studies set up with terrible reports, but nothing has ever been done about it. Personally speaking the North Belfast Partnership Board is also a disappointment. I sat on it for three years, but it has failed to make any impact on North Belfast and has been very, very quiet. I don’t think if you asked anyone in North Belfast what it was, that any of them would know.”
And what was the most amusing time he had on the benches of Belfast City Council?
“The funniest thing has always been the DUP. I have to laugh when I hear them on TV screaming about this and that and the other. When there are no cameras they talk away to you. One of my proudest moments was to see Alex Maskey mayor of Belfast and I was also proud of Marie Moore. But most of all I am privileged to be involved with the people of this community. Sinn Féin topped the poll in the Oldpark ward and it is the people’s support that has been the most humbling. Thanks to everybody.”

Journalist: Staff Reporter

IrelandClick.com **from 19 Sept.

John O’Hagan refused bail for sixth time

North Belfast man, John O’Hagan, was refused bail yesterday for the sixth time in 18 months.
Justice Girvan heard Mr O’Hagan’s High Court bail application, before declaring that he didn’t have the discretion to issue a judgement in the case.
The judge told the court he would have granted bail if he believed he had the discretion.
After the hearing John O’Hagan’s solicitor, Phillip Breen, expressed dismay at the judgement.
“My client has been on remand for 18 months. Both John and I are very concerned at the treatment of his case and we are now examining a number of legal options.
“Justice Girvan indicated in July that he was concerned about the inordinate delay in processing John’s case and he further indicated that if John’s application for bail appeared before him again, then he would be sympathetic to the application.
“The reason for this was the failure of the court to provide an early date for trial,” said Mr Breen.
New Lodge man John O’Hagan was placed on remand at Maghaberry prison in March 2002, after he was arrested and charged with possession of documents that could be useful to terrorists.
Last Friday (September 12) Mr O’Hagan was informed that his trial is scheduled to start on December 1 – exactly 20 months after his arrest.
If John O’Hagan’s trial does start on that date he will have served 20 months in continuous custody – effectively a three and a half year sentence – without having been convicted of any offence.
Solicitor Phillip Breen yesterday hit out at the delays in relation to the case.
“The only evidence to substantiate the charges against John O’Hagan, which has been furnished to the defence thus far, has been depositions.“Despite assiduously and actively seeking disclosure from the Crown in relation to alleged fingerprint evidence, we have been consistently presented with conflicting stories and undue delays.
“And as of today the Crown has indicated that other applications we have made for disclosure of relevant information may be faced with ex-party applications for non-disclosure.
“In layman’s terms this means that the Crown will be seeking to ban the release of certain material to the defence team by applying in private to a judge,” said Mr Breen.
A member of John O’Hagan’s family yesterday voiced outrage at the treatment of John’s case.
“We have watched John go through six different bail refusals in 18 months.
“We feel like he has been kicked in teeth by the criminal and judicial system.”

Journalist: Staff Reporter


ic Derry - 'Watch Your Back, Denis'

'Watch Your Back, Denis' Sep 19 2003

THE REAL IRA in Derry have issued a chilling threat to the vice chairman of the Policing Board, Denis Bradley, warning him that if his recent remarks result in a republican feud he will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Real IRA sources spoke to the 'Journal' this week in the wake of a series of incidents in which members of District Policing Partnerships were targeted in Derry and elsewhere.

The sources said: "Our position on the DPPs and policing is quite simple and straightforward -these bodies are giving succour and support to the British forces in Ireland and, as such, they are collaborators. This being so, they must accept the consequences of collaborating with the British."

Referring to an offer made in Tuesday's Journal' by Mr. Bradley to talk to them, the republicans said: "We have no intention of talking to Denis Bradley as we have nothing to say to him unless he wants to meet us to discuss his resignation.

"This is a man who has been openly advocating 'mainstream republicans' to 'face down these people' and as far as we are concerned he is advocating a republican feud.

"If Denis Bradley thinks that a feud will solve his problem, with one side taking out the other, then he is badly mistaken.

"We can tell Denis Bradley that, as long as there is one republican left with breath in his body, then he had better not stop looking over his shoulder."

The republican group said it would be 'hilarious if it wasn't so ridiculous' for Denis Bradley to refer to the campaign for segregation in his appeal to the Real IRA.

The sources said: "Denis Bradley talks of his support for the campaign for segregation as if that should affect how we view the Policing Board and the DPPs.

"Is he forgetting that the very people who put the prisoners inside in the first place are the force that he is on the board of - the PSNI."

They added: "Denis Bradley has not been honest with the people who have joined the DPPs.

"He keeps telling them to hold their nerve as if this is something that is going to go away. Once again we reiterate the point. Anyone who collaborates with the British forces in Ireland must accept the consequences of their actions."

"I will neither be spooked nor bullied"

Speaking to the Journal last night, Denis Bradley had this to say: " The Real IRA cannot win this argument. The reason they cannot is the Good Friday Agreement and the referendum that followed that Agreement. The people of Ireland voted and the people of Ireland decided on the way forward. And in the true tradition of republicanism the voice of the Irish people is sovereign.

"If I were to follow the logic of the statement then it means that all people who have taken any part in the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement are collaborators -that includes the Irish government, the SDLP, Sinn Fein, President Clinton, the Catholic church as well as those who have taken part in policing partnerships.

"The Real IRA have to be asked and have to answer the question: Do they or do they not accept the sovereignty of the Irish people? And they must recognise that the Irish people cannot allow groups like the IRA to become sovereign otherwise we end up in chaos and mayhem.

"I do not want to see any more people hurt, in jail or dead. I have seen too much of all of that. I include in that members of the Real IRA. Neither can I allow myself to be spooked or bullied. I am very disappointed that they didn't have the decency or the courage to talk to me face to face.

"I would encourage all the people who have taken part in the new policing arrangements to continue if possible with what they are doing.

"I am more than aware that, ultimately, the only people who can protect the likes of me, Marian Quinn and those who sit on policing partnerships are the people of Derry. Personally, I think it's time that the community let its voice be heard but that's only for me to hope for and for the community to decide."

**from 15 Sept.

Tourist plan for infamous court in North
15/09/2003 - 15:37:35 Online.ie

A disused court where Northern Ireland’s most notorious terrorists were sentenced has more tourist potential than Alcatraz, it was claimed today.

As work began to remove heavy security fencing at the Crumlin Road complex in Belfast as part of a £10m (€14m) development scheme, the owner insisted it could rival the pulling power of San Francisco’s infamous prison.

Property developer Barry Gilligan has drawn up plans to turn 150 years of penal history into a world-class visitor attraction.

The Crumlin Road courthouse and jail – connected to one another by an underground tunnel – was the scene many high-profile trials during the Troubles.

But Mr Gilligan wants to return the listed building to how it looked on its opening in 1850, to unearth the full history.

Visitors could witness a mock trial and take an audio-visual tour of the courthouse and jail under the plans he is drawing up.

Even the hanging cell where many condemned men met their fate will be opened up to the public.

Mr Gilligan said: “I have been told there is more material in Crumlin Road courthouse and jail for a tourist attraction than Alcatraz.

“People think of it in terms of the recent conflict, but if you go back from 1970 there’s another 120 years of history before that.

“Just walking through the tunnel itself is an eerie but fascinating experience.”

A planning application has been submitted to turn part of the site into 65,000 square ft of new office space.

The rest would then be allocated to what the developer referred to as a “criminal justice trail”.

Britain's Environment and Heritage Service and tourist bodies in Belfast have backed his scheme.

In the first stage of his plan, workmen moved in today to bring down corrugated iron railings and metal gates erected to stop paramilitary gunmen opening fire on the courthouse at the height of the violence.

“This is a small but symbolic step,” said Mr Gilligan, who is also an independent member of the Policing Board which holds Northern Ireland’s new police service to account.

His main challenge is to secure a tenant. With the Public Records Office in south Belfast seeking new accommodation, he hoped to persuade its bosses to relocate on his refurbished premises.

Talks have also been held with British government officials about grant aid to restore the building to its former glories.

The future of the jail, which is owned by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland’s suspended Executive, has also come under discussion.

If these negotiations prove successful, Mr Gilligan claimed the whole project could be completed in just over a year and would be backed by all sides in Northern Ireland’s divided society.

“This is a shared history,” he stressed.

“The Crumlin Road courthouse and jail is not about one section of our community.

“They have both had bad experiences of it.”

IOL: Loyalist bid to seize keys at top security prison

Loyalist bid to seize keys at top security prison
19/09/2003 - 16:17:41

Loyalists today attempted to seize control of part of the high security Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.

They confronted staff and demanded keys to one of the blocks.

It happened as 12 prisoners, all loyalists, were being transferred to Magilligan Prison in Co Derry.

They were being moved as part of preparations to separate loyalists and republicans at Maghaberry, near Lisburn, following a series of protests by both sides.

Nobody was hurt during today’s incident which was described by the authorities as “potentially serious”.

It lasted for about 40 minutes. Staff refused to hand over the keys.

The decision to separate the prisoners followed a British government review into conditions headed by a former senior Northern Ireland civil servant John Steele.

Additional security measures are being introduced which required some of the loyalists to be moved temporarily from Bann House to Magilligan.

A prison service spokesman said: “Because of the quick thinking and professionalism of staff the situation was quickly brought under control and prisoners were locked up. There were no injuries and no significant damage to property.”

He said it was always anticipated that implementing recommendations for separation would be problematic and that paramilitaries would seek to impose their control.

The spokesman added: “The prison service will continue to exercise control and will not be dictated to by prisoners.”



Say Cheese: But don't smile

Jarlath Kearney examines the ongoing controversy over the
photograph of IRA prisoners with a party of Sinn Féin TDs

Last month a delegation of TDs visited a prison in Roscommon and met with four prisoners to formally discuss the treatment of their case and wider political developments.

In most western democracies such meetings are common practice – especially when the prisoners concerned have an organised campaign to raise complaints about their treatment by the courts system, the prisons service or the government.

But, of course, this is Ireland.
And in this case, the delegation happened to consist of Sinn Féin TDs, the prisoners happened to be IRA volunteers, and the men’s case happens to be a political hot potato.

Seven years ago, on June 7, 1996, a Special Branch squad car was fired upon during a botched armed robbery in the village of Adare, Co Limerick.

Garda detectives Jerry McCabe and Ben O’Sullivan were both hit by automatic gunfire – with Garda McCabe being killed at the scene.
The group of men involved in the attack carried automatic assault rifles; they operated to a chain of command; and – all are agreed – the attempted robbery was not conducted for personal profit.

The Gardaí immediately attributed the killing to the IRA. It subsequently emerged that one of the weapons recovered had been used in previous robberies in the area. Three of those charged in relation to the incident had previous convictions – one was well known for having broken out of Brixton prison in 1991.

The incident occurred during the course of the IRA’s resumed campaign in 1996-97 and all those charged were admitted to the IRA wing in Portlaoise prison.

Despite the widespread outrage being expressed throughout Irish society about the killing, this was not, by any standards, a ‘normal’ crime carried out by ‘normal’ criminals.

Those men involved in the incident, senior republican figures and, indeed, the IRA leadership, all subsequently expressed regret about Garda McCabe’s tragic killing – not least because it breached IRA General Orders that prohibit attacks on An Garda Siochana.
In 1999 four men were convicted of the manslaughter of Garda McCabe.

After it emerged that the Irish government was exempting the cases from the Good Friday Agreement early release programme that applied to political prisoners, the four were moved along with other IRA prisoners to Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon.

In the period since then, minor public outbursts have greeted the temporary and compassionate releases of the men, for events like weddings or family bereavement.
But without doubt the biggest furore so far relates to the visit to Castlerea by the Sinn Féin delegation last month.

One of those groups principally responsible for highlighting the case of the Castlerea prisoners has been Coiste na n-Iarchimi – the republican ex-prisoners’ group.

In its recent annual report, the group referred to the Irish government’s failure to release these men under the Good Friday Agreement as “a final indicator of the low priority status of ex-prisoners on the political agenda”.

Coiste believes the general facts of the case – and the specific reaction to the Sinn Féin meeting – are symptomatic of widespread institutional inequality towards political prisoners.

“A recent court hearing confirmed that these prisoners are indeed qualifying prisoners for release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Despite this, the judge said that the government was entitled to deny release.

The government should follow the logic of the judge’s ruling that these prisoners meet the criteria for release,” Coiste’s Director, Mike Ritchie, said.

Mr Ritchie highlighted the treatment of the Castlerea prisoners alongside other issues of discrimination against political ex-prisoners – for example, being banned from certain employment.

“In response to the discrimination and barriers facing our constituency – which also affect loyalist ex-prisoners – we have developed a straightforward policy platform: discrimination against political ex-prisoners should be made illegal; ‘criminal’ convictions attached to political ex-prisoners should be expunged; and a policy initiative should take place in both jurisdictions on the island to implement the commitment with regard to ex-prisoners contained in the Good Friday Agreement,” added Mr Ritchie.

Much of the controversy about the Sinn Féin delegation’s visit has been anchored around the party’s decision to publish a group photograph and news report in An Phoblacht.

The Progressive Democrat senator, John Minihan, called the publication of the photograph “another example of the a la carte version of democracy that Sinn Féin portrays to the Irish people.”

He went on: “The reality of the situation is that these people were convicted of the killing of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe.

“For members of the Oireachtas to be touting themselves as supporters and sympathisers of convicted killers to me is an affront to the majority of the Irish people and to our democratic system.”

Mr Minihan said that although the TDs had a right to visit the prisoners, it was wrong to turn the trip into “a propaganda coup”.

Defending the Sinn Féin delegation, Kerry North TD, Martin Ferris expressed “utmost sympathy” for Garda McCabe’s family, but said that the purpose of the visit was “to update the prisoners on the peace process, particularly in relation to where the talks situation is at this point in time”.

“As for the photograph, it appeared in An Phoblacht over two weeks ago, along with a report about the meeting and so forth.

“An Phoblacht is a republican newspaper bought and read by republicans and that was the purpose of the photograph appearing there. I think practically everybody that visits prisoners – loved ones, family members and so forth – have their photographs taken,” said Mr Ferris.

Speaking yesterday Coiste spokesperson Laurence McKeown expressed dismay at the reaction to Sinn Féin’s meeting with the prisoners.

“The Castlerea prisoners should have been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which gave recognition to the concept of early release. If this is a post-conflict situation then that must have implications for people who have, at some point, found themselves imprisoned due to the conflict,” he said.

“It should also be remembered that a large number of elected representatives on the island are ex-prisoners, and issues such as this controversy over the Sinn Féin delegation and subsequent publication of a photograph lead one to question the consistency of many commentators in this instance.

“One is also bound to question whether such controversies are genuine or whether they are manufactured for ulterior motives.

“The fact is that ongoing attempts to criminalise republican prisoners and ex-prisoners – as in this case – are continuing in a society where you can be an ex-prisoner and a Minister in the Assembly, an elected Member of Parliament in Westminster or Teachta Dala in Leinster House.

“It is disappointing to witness the undignified rush to condemn republicans in relation to a routine meeting that occurred over a fortnight ago, while at the same time issues such as the basic rights of the prisoners, and institutionalised inequality against ex-prisoners, are virtually ignored.”

Journalist: Jarlath Kearney

IOL: Bloody Sunday soldier to seek screening from public

Bloody Sunday soldier to seek screening from public
18/09/2003 - 12:31:52

A former British soldier facing contempt of court proceedings for failing to turn up at the Bloody Sunday Tribunal has said he will only give evidence if he is screened from the public.

The unnamed soldier, identified only as Soldier L, failed to turn up at the Saville Inquiry yesterday, despite being warned that he would face "serious consequences" if he did not appear.

The tribunal subsequently began High Court proceedings that could see the soldier being jailed for contempt.

IOL: Suspicious devices found at Catholic schools in Co Antrim

Suspicious devices found at Catholic schools in Co Antrim
18/09/2003 - 12:41:06

Bomb disposal experts are examining two suspicious devices found near Catholic schools Belfast and Larne this morning.

Pupils at St Comgall’s school in Larne were evacuated after an object with wires and batteries attached was found in the car park by a member of staff.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a separate device found outside the gates of the Dominican College in the Fortwilliam area of north Belfast.

Both incidents were later declared to be elaborate hoaxes.

Earlier this week, two pipe bombs were found in the grounds of Catholic schools in Co Derry.

The bombs are believed to have been planted by loyalist paramilitaries as part of their relentless campaign of intimidation against innocent Catholic civilians.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Five arrests in threats inquiry

Five arrests in threats inquiry

Mark Durkan has been meeting with Chief Constable Hugh Orde
Police investigating death threats against district policing partnership members have arrested five people in County Tyrone.
Four men and a woman were detained following a police operation in Strabane at about 0700 BST on Thursday.

Police said the people were being questioned about dissident republican activity over a period of time.

The arrests came ahead of a meeting between a SDLP delegation and Chief Constable Hugh Orde to discuss the intimidation, including a death threat against Policing Board vice chairman Denis Bradley.

The threat made by the dissident republican Real IRA came on Wednesday, hours after Mr Bradley condemned a campaign of intimidation against Catholic members of district policing partnerships in Northern Ireland.

Last month, Mr Bradley received bullets through the post, also thought to have been sent by dissident republicans.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the threat to Mr Bradley showed that intimidation was being stepped up.

"The fact is these faceless and gutless people are determined to make their presence felt," he said.

"They are determined to stand in the face of everything that is right and proper in terms of taking the Good Friday Agreement forward."

Early on Wednesday, a car at the home of Londonderry district policing group member Marian Quinn was destroyed in an arson attack.

The fact is these faceless and gutless people are determined to make their presence felt

Mark Durkan
SDLP leader
A breeze block was put through the back window of Mrs Quinn's disabled husband's car at Coshowen, in Galliagh. A petrol container was found on the back seat.

Mrs Quinn said the police warned her on Tuesday night that they had received a threat from the Real IRA that all Catholic members of the DPP throughout Northern Ireland were what they called "legitimate targets".

Mr Bradley said the attack on Mrs Quinn and others in the policing partnerships were reprehensible and must be totally condemned.

"This attack was an attack not just on Mrs Quinn and her family, but on the entire Catholic community by members of the Catholic community," he said.

"It is totally unacceptable and I know that the Catholic community will not allow itself to be threatened and bullied in this way."


Earlier, Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady condemned the intimidation, saying it was a "sinister attempt" to rid the organisations of Catholic representation.

Stormont Security Minister Jane Kennedy called the Derry attack "the lowest form of bullying".

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness condemned the threats as deplorable and unjustifiable and said the IRA was not involved.

He said dissident groups were responsible and should disband.
Denis Bradley: Received death threat

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble described those responsible for the recent attacks as absolutely despicable.

Mr Trimble said attempts to intimidate those involved in providing civic involvement in policing should be rejected by everyone.


The attack was the latest in a series of threats to members of policing partnerships across the province, which have led to two members resigning.

Teresa Rooney, a member of Cookstown DPP, stood down on Tuesday and last week an independent nationalist in Fermanagh resigned following a threat from the Real IRA.

Other attacks have included an attack on a car belonging to a DPP member in Strabane which was set alight outside the school where he was teaching and a hoax bomb which was left outside the home of a DPP chairman in Tyrone.

News of the incidents came as Policing Oversight Commissioner Tom Constantine said that threats from dissident republicans to kill community policing board members were the biggest test yet for the new arrangements.


IOL: Soldier may be jailed for Saville no-show

Soldier may be jailed for Saville no-show
17/09/2003 - 16:41:05

A former soldier who refused to give evidence about Bloody Sunday is to be reported to the British High Court for contempt of the inquiry, it emerged today.

Soldier L, who was due to give evidence before the Saville Inquiry at Central Hall in Westminster today could now face a jail sentence after ignoring a court order to appear before the hearing.

Inquiry chairman Lord Saville was told by the soldier’s junior counsel Alexander Milne that instructing solicitors had contacted him again today to try to persuade him to attend.

“There is no indication at this stage that he will be with us in the morning but we will continue to seek to persuade further,” Mr Milne said.

Lord Saville told the lawyer: “It seems to us that we have no alternative but to put in train the process of reporting your client to the High Court for contempt of this tribunal.”

The inquiry is investigating the events of January 30, 1972 when 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead by paratroopers during a civil rights march in the Bogside area of Derry.

Soldier L was due to give controversial evidence based on his statement, which included saying his intention on Bloody Sunday was to get Martin McGuinness “dead or alive”.

Mr McGuinness, who at the time of Bloody Sunday was a senior IRA figure in the city, is now a Sinn Féin MP and the party’s chief negotiator.

In his statement, Soldier L also said he saw another paratrooper, known to the inquiry as Soldier H, opening fire on a body at point blank range. He added that when soldiers lifted the body to put it on an army truck, it split in two.

He also claimed he saw two gunmen at the barricades near Rossville Flats and later witnessed former Bishop of Derry Edward Daly, then a parish priest, concealing two rifles inside his cassock.

Meanwhile, a former captain in the parachute regiment told the Saville Inquiry he was concerned about the number of shots being fired by soldiers on Bloody Sunday.

Soldier 200, who commanded a unit on the day of the civil rights march, said he had discussed the matter with a company commander who then gave the ceasefire order.

He told the inquiry: “I cannot remember the exact words but I did express concern at the amount of firing going on at that time.”

The soldier said he was certain that troops came under fire from automatic or semi automatic weapons in the Bogside before soldiers opened fire.

Asked if it was possible he had heard the sound of several SLRs being fired at the same time, the soldier replied: “I do not believe this to be possible.”

Soldier 200 who was in command of a support unit known as Guinness Force, added he saw soldiers firing shots at a gunman armed with a pistol inside Rossville Flats.

He also reported witnessing a paratrooper firing a plastic bullet into the back of an armoured vehicle.

“I remember this clearly, that he fired this baton round into the back of a vehicle. I might have made a comment to him because he then moved off and I did not see him again.”

Christopher Clarke QC, counsel for the inquiry, pointed out that two men held prisoner in the back of an Army Pig, have given written evidence that one of them was injured after a soldier fired a baton round into the vehicle.

Soldier 200 said he did not know if there were prisoners inside the vehicle that he had observed.

Mr Clarke added: “I assume that it would be unacceptable for a soldier to fire a rubber bullet into a Pig which contained two prisoners?”

The soldier replied: “I agree with that assumption.”

Earlier, another soldier insisted that he saw at least three gunmen on Bloody Sunday.

Soldier 1990 said he saw the gunmen in the area of the Rossville Flats, one of whom was sitting down with a rifle in his lap.

Seamus Treacy QC, representing the families, suggested to Soldier 1990 that he was a liar or a fantasist and accused him of being a drama merchant who had invented the story to put himself in the limelight.

“I suggest to you that your evidence about having seen three, possibly five gunmen is just absolute nonsense?” he added.

The soldier insisted he had a clear memory of seeing the gunmen.

The tribunal continues tomorrow.

IOL: SF denounce attacks on police board members

SF denounce attacks on police board members
17/09/2003 - 16:29:48

The Chairman of Sinn Fein, Mitchell McLaughlin, has said attacks on police board members are cowardly and despicable.

Mitchell McLaughlin said the intimidation of six members of the board was aimed at the "softest of soft targets" and should stop immediately.

He has warned that the attacks help no one to ensure accountability and transparency in policing.

Mr McLaughlin said, however, the time still isn't right for Sinn Fein to join the boards and insists this is a perfectly legitimate and democratic political position.

UUP leader David Trimble said the intimidation should be rejected by everyone.


Date is finally set for O'Hagan trial

20 months on remand for New Lodge man

After a delay of 18 months, a date has finally been set for the trial of North Belfast man, John O’Hagan.

John O’Hagan, who was arrested at his New Lodge home in March 2002, is scheduled to stand trial on 1 December.

He is charged with possession of documents that could be useful to terrorists.

John O’Hagan has been held on remand in custody at Maghaberry Prison throughout this entire period, and has been refused bail on five different occasions.

At a hearing in Belfast Magistrate’s Court last Friday, John O’Hagan’s barrister argued that there were two primary issues to be dealt with.
Firstly he requested that a trial date be set, and secondly, that all outstanding disclosure applications be quickly expedited. Defence counsel stated that John O’Hagan’s team have been “assiduously seeking disclosure” from the Crown on a variety of matters.

He said that the defence are “trying to concentrate the Crown’s mind” on the relevant issues. Crown counsel stated that a significant amount of material was now available to the defence, although both sides agreed that a disclosure hearing should take place in two weeks time in order to deal with any outstanding issues.

The magistrate declared that the trial should be completed by Christmas. A number of John O’Hagan’s family and friends were in attendance throughout the hearing, and the New Lodge man looked relaxed throughout.

If John O’Hagan’s trial eventually starts on 1 December, he will have spent exactly 20 months in custody – effectively a three and a half year prison sentence – without having been convicted of any offence.

John O’Hagan’s partner and family expressed relief that his case is finally to proceed.
The treatment of John O’Hagan contrasts with the treatment of North Belfast loyalist Andre Shoukri. Shoukri was arrested last September in possession of a Walther pistol and 30 rounds of ammunition at a PSNI checkpoint in North Belfast.

If Shoukri’s appeal takes place as scheduled tomorrow (Tuesday), then the previously convicted UDA thug will have been arrested, charged, remanded in custody, released on bail, tried, sentenced and making appeal, all within one year from the date of the original offence.

In a highly irregular incident following the hearing, this reporter was singled out by the PSNI officer in charge of John O’Hagan’s case and challenged in the courtroom.

The Andersonstown News terminated the encounter immediately and is currently taking advice on the matter.

Journalist: Jarlath Kearney

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**Found on the Danny Morrison board


Ciaran Ferry was rushed to the Emergency Room last Tuesday evening after he had eaten a dinner of chicken and rice. A meal that he has eaten countless times before. Shortly after his meal, he became ill and noticed his skin turning bright red. He called the guards and they acted immediately upon seeing his condition and took him to the hospital.

Ciaran was released from the hospital the same night but he has not been told the diagnosis or what may have caused this. Curiously enough only one other inmate, that we know of, also developed this same condition and that inmate resides in the cell next to Ciaran's.


Ciaran has since been moved to the general criminal population wing against all of his previous objections.

What is suspicious is that earlier that night the guards on the wing, that supervise Ciaran, got into an argument with the jail administrator. They found out that the adminstrator was planning on moving Ciaran to Building 6 which consists of the ODC (ordinary decent criminal) prisoners. They were disappointed because Ciaran had continually objected to being lumped into the general
prison population and knew that this was what the FBI and Homeland Security would want in order to bolster their case.

The jail administration has been continually pressuring him to move to
another wing. Ciaran has refused since he is not a criminal but a political prisoner and should not be housed with ordinary decent criminals who have been convicted of committing murder, rape, drug offenses, etc.

The other wings of the jail are extremely overcrowded. The Denver County Jail is originally designed to house 1,300 inmates but currently houses more than 3,000. There has been much concern in the papers regarding this overcrowding problem which leads to poor conditions of the prisoners and facilities.

When the guards expressed their objections to Ciaran being moved, they managed to keep Ciaran where he was held for another night in order for them to work something out with the administrator to not move him.

Mysteriously, that same evening Ciaran became ill after eating his dinner.

Deanna Turner
Irish American Unity Conference
Tel: 248-661-6989

"Working for Justice and Peace in a Re-united Ireland"


CIRA arrests shatter new "terror" unit

A CROSS-BORDER security operation by the gardai and the PSNI has smashed an attempt by the dissident republican group, the Continuity IRA, to set up a new terror unit.

The unit, which was comprised mainly of young members with no previous republican "form", was being established in the border region stretching from Newry and south Armagh to Dundalk.

The Continuity IRA, which opposes the Good Friday Agreement, has been involved in a major recruitment campaign north and south with new members sent to training camps with experienced activists.

However, the renegades have been disrupted regularly by a series of operational strikes by the two police forces, based mainly on intelligence gathering and leaks from informers.

Its re-organisation along the border had been more successful in the past couple of months as the leadership sought to replace key figures who had been arrested earlier this year with "new blood" who were not known to the Special Branch on either side.

The leadership set up a replacement unit of unfamiliar faces which up to now had been mainly involved in minor incidents such as bomb hoaxes.

But anti-terrorist officers from the two forces feared the unit was preparing for a more violent campaign and began focussing on its activities.

Intelligence reports indicated that the unit was short of weaponry and ammunition and sought arms from the logistics section of the organisation in the south.

One of the suspected key figures in the re-organisation is the brother of a former senior republican with the mainstream Provisional movement.

Officers were also concerned that attempts were being made to forge a closer alliance between the Continuity IRA and the other main dissident republican group, the Real IRA.

However, the main force behind the alliance campaign, a Real IRA suspect, has been arrested as part of an operation involving a number of police forces and this, at least temporarily, thwarted the liaison efforts.

Many of the experienced Continuity suspects in the Republic are currently behind bars in Portlaoise prison, but despite this, a number of units based mainly on the northern side of the border have managed to sustain a sporadic terror campaign, although they have not been involved in the recent efforts to intimidate Catholic members of the district policing partnership boards, which have been blamed on the Real IRA.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

© Irish Independent

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Coroner orders MoD disclosure

Coroner orders MoD disclosure

Inquests will examine deaths of ten people
The police and the Ministry of Defence have been told to produce uncensored documents and videotapes concerning the killing of 10 people including seven IRA men.
Coroner Roger McLernon made the ruling at Dungannon Court on Tuesday.

He has given them 21 days to produce the material,

However, both the police and the MoD have made it clear at earlier hearings that they will not produce the material unless ordered to by the High Court.

The coroner was speaking at the protracted inquest into the 10 controversial killings which took place in the early 1990s.

Pensioner Roseanne Mallon, 76, was shot dead at her home near Dungannon by Ulster Volunteer Force killers in 1994.

A legal battle over evidence began after it emerged that undercover soldiers had Mrs Mallon's home under surveillance at the time of her murder.

The legal team representing Mrs Mallon's family wants access to soldiers' logbooks and to video footage.

Part of the evidence has been given to the coroner, with some sections blacked out.


The inquest is being held alongside three other inquiries into the deaths of people killed in controversial circumstances in Northern Ireland.

Similar issues about disclosure have arisen in these cases.

The families of seven IRA men, shot dead by the SAS in two separate incidents, claim the uncensored documents and tapes will show there was a shoot to kill policy.

The families of Mrs Mallon and two other victims of loyalist terrorists say the uncensored material will give details of surveillance at the time of the killings, in which they allege there was collusion by the security forces.

Jack and Kevin McKearney were shot by a loyalist gunman as they worked in their family butcher's shop in Moy, County Tyrone, in January 1992.

Four IRA members - Kevin Barry O'Donnell, Patrick Vincent, Sean O'Farrell and Peter Clancy - were shot dead by the SAS in an ambush at Clonoe, County Tyrone, in 1992.

Three others - Peter Ryan, Tony Doris and Lawrence McNally - were killed in Coagh, County Tyrone, in June 1991 when SAS soldiers fired around 200 shots into the stolen car in which they were travelling.



Robert Emmet: enigmatic revolutionary


Historian RUÁN O'DONNELL assesses the real significance of one of Ireland's most iconic and misunderstood national heroes, the United Irishman Robert Emmet, who was executed 200 years ago in the wake of the failure of the 1803 Rising


JULY 2003 marks the bicentenary of the rising with which Robert Emmet is widely associated. Emmet's personal fame, fanned by his rousing `speech from the dock', has ensured a lasting place in the folk memory of Ireland and he was unquestionably the premier nationalist hero figure of the 19th Century.

A corollary of this ascendancy, however, has been the eclipsing of many important United Irishmen who fought and died in 1803, not to mention those who escaped detection.

As the series of United Irish commemorations since 1991 draws to a close later this year, it is perhaps appropriate to consider the position of Emmet.

Emmet remains something of an enigma 200 years after his execution in Dublin for high treason. His claim to prominence in the complex historiography of Ireland rests in the first instance from his leadership of the failed rising of 23 July 1803.

This attempt to remove Ireland from the United Kingdom by force of arms was far more serious than the government admitted. Persistent calls for a parliamentary enquiry were strenuously resisted as this would have revealed that the rising had surprised the Dublin Castle regime and exposed the weakness of British security. Britain was then in the grip of an invasion scare as the interminable war against France showed no signs of favourable resolution.

The rising, therefore, undermined the Act of Union which, from 1 January 1801, had incorporated Ireland into the UK. Emmet's role in re-cementing the United Irish-French alliance had not been anticipated and was poorly understood at the time of his death in September 1803.

Emmet's father was the State Physician of Ireland, and, ironically, the man responsible for the health of King George III in the unlikely event of a royal visit to Dublin.

The Emmets were wealthy and the future revolutionary graduated with ease from the socially elite academies of the capital, where he was born in 1778, to Trinity College, aged 15. Robert Emmet's youth coincided with the rise of the reform movement in Ireland, when pro-American `patriotism' gripped his family.

By December 1796, a French invasion fleet lay off Cork and Emmet was a United Irishman pledged to establish an independent Irish republic with their assistance.

His elder brother, Thomas Addis Emmet, was a member of the organisation's executive directory from 1797 but had played a key role in shaping its ideology from its inception in six years previously.

Although poorly documented, the younger Emmet's seditious activities in Trinity resulted in de facto expulsion in April 1798 but he remained in situ when the `Great Rebellion' erupted the following month.

What is known of Emmet's actions in 1798 points to his close workings with the rump leadership built around Lord Edward Fitzgerald's highly influential military committee. This coterie was, for all intents and purposes, the Dublin based headquarters of the United Irishmen. Its members included Philip Long, surgeon Thomas Wright, Walter Cox and others who connected the conspiracies of the United Irishmen in the mid-1790s to the rising of 1803.

Robert Emmet advanced to the executive directory in January 1799, by which time several of the original incumbents had been executed and many others jailed. Consequently, the August 1800 arrival of an emissary warning of

concern in Paris as to the commitment of the United Irishmen disposed Emmet to accompany Malachy Delaney on a mission to brief Napoleon Bonaparte.

He first travelled to Fort George in Scotland to meet the high-ranking United Irishmen interned there before sailing from Yarmouth to Hamburg. General PFC Augureau received the fiery Emmet/Delaney petition and forwarded it to Bonaparte.

Arrangements were made to receive the Irish plenipotentiaries in Paris. Foreign Minister Tallyrand introduced them to the staff officers drawing up plans for an Irish invasion and Emmet later met Napoleon.

Peace overtures from Britain, however, temporarily stalled these preparations and from March 1802 the treaty signed at Amiens postponed French assistance. Thus thwarted, Emmet waited for the resumption of war by touring centres of Irish emitters on the continent.

He returned to Dublin in October 1802 and assumed the position of chief military strategist of the United Irishmen. Associates arrived secretly from France and England to reactivate dormant cadres ahead of the predicted resumption of the Anglo-French War during the spring.

Cooperation was initially envisaged with British-based republicans led by Colonel Edward Marcus Despard and this had been discussed in Paris and London in talks attended by Philip Long and William Dowdall.

Any chance of simultaneous strikes was quashed by Despard's arrest in November 1802, although Dowdall and other militants based in Britain realigned with Emmet.

The conspirators hired numerous premises in Dublin, where war material was manufactured and stored. Sophisticated improvised ordnance such as rockets and mines were to be used against the garrison of the capital during the critical mobilisation phase.

This surprise onslaught was to be seconded by an influx of rebels from counties Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. Emmet believed that capturing or isolating the executive would gravely hinder its ability to repel a large-scale French invasion in the provinces.

Supporting uprisings were intended to assist the advance of the French in what was essentially a more efficient reworking of the strategy of 1798.

The majority of United Irish veterans in contact with Emmet's circle had undertaken to fight alongside the French, or without foreign assistance, if provided with modern weaponry. Failure to deliver either the French or muskets, therefore, was the fatal flow of the rising of 1803.

This was not intentional, as the hand of the leadership was forced by the accidental destruction of the Patrick Street depot, when loose powder ignited on 16 July 1803. Fearing that all the crucial dumps were in danger of discovery,

Emmet unwisely backed those who argued for an immediate insurrection in the hope that the French would sail to their aid without delay.

The date was fixed for 23 July with no provision for cancellation and insufficient time to acknowledge the concerns of regional leaders. Thomas Russell, James Hope, William Hamilton and other senior long standing radicals went to Ulster to warn their allies, while Dublin residents such as Miles Byrne and Arthur Devlin primed their fellow Leinster men.

Their reception was decidedly uneven and exceptionally so when the moment of truth arrived. It must be presumed that the whole effort would have been cancelled had Emmet realised sufficient forces to capture Belfast, Downpatrick and Ballymena would not be fielded on the 23rd.

The first wave of attacks in Dublin was entrusted to cells of heavily-armed men who gathering in private houses close to their objectives. The Castle, Island Bridge artillery barracks, the Pigeon House and other complexes were earmarked for assault. These sudden strikes were to be assisted by around 2,000 auxiliaries hidden in Costigan's distillery on Thomas Street.

The reserve consisted of thousands of rank and file followers from Kildare and Dublin who were told to mass in Thomas Street to await final instructions at 6pm. A series of ill-disciplined attacks on army officers, magistrates and loyalists, however, threatened to alert the government in the early evening.

Remarkably, misunderstandings between the civil and military command in the capital left Dublin more vulnerable

than anyone realised. No troops were deployed. Nevertheless, by 9pm Emmet decided to dismiss rebel units blocking the suburban roads and launched a solitary signal rocket to countermand his previous orders to rise.

The vast majority melted away unchallenged. Emmet then hastily read extracts from the Proclamation of the Provisional Government to ensure that those who had already turned out would be treated as political prisoners if captured. He then headed a feint on the Castle with a view to bringing his exposed junior associates into the Dublin mountains.

The veteran groups were deliberately not deployed and in their stead were low-level activists, unfamiliar with Emmet's rank and authority.

He and the senior officers present very quickly abandoned Thomas Street for Rathfarnham and the mountains beyond.

Several hundred organised rebels, however, refused to disperse without a fight and confronted companies of the 21st regiment in three linked and bloody skirmishes. Soldiers inflicted far more casualties than they sustained but, nonetheless, retreated to barracks where they remained until the danger had passed.

The rising of 1803 petered out in the capital long before the garrison flooded onto the streets to restore order. Even then, the military response was chaotic and undertaken without specific orders from CIC lieutenant-general, Henry Edward Fox. Rebel movements occurred in several counties, most notably Kildare (where two villages were captured), Antrim and Down but very little of the potential of the United Irishmen was manifested in 1803.

Stunned by the post-Union strength of the United Irishmen, the government shouldered the political embarrassment and considerable expense of remilitarising Ireland. Contrary to the ostensible objective of Union, the country remained (and to a degree remains in the North) a garrisoned colonial entity rather than an equal member of the United Kingdom.

Thomas Russell was one of the more prominent fatalities in the round of judicial executions which followed, but over 30 men perished in the treason trails of the Special Commissions.

Emmet, captured in Harold's Cross on 25 August, refused to make terms and was executed in Thomas Street on 20 September.

Thousands of his comrades then languished in the jails, provosts and prison tenders of the 32 Counties, where many were held until the spring of 1806 when the more liberal incoming government of Charles James Fox restored habeas corpus.

Emmet was already a hero-martyr and his demand to be vindicated by the sole means of Ireland taking its place `amongst the nations of the Earth' has resonated with periodic vigour ever since. His name, for this reason alone, will be associated with the final resolution of the national question in Ireland.

• Professor Ruán O'Donnell is a lecturer at the University of Limerick and the official historian of the Robert Emmet Association. He is also a member of the organising committee of the Desmond Greaves Summer School. His two-volume biographical study of Emmet was published by Irish Academic Press on 17 July:

• Robert Emmet and the Rebellion of 1798, 28.40 paperback In July, he launched another book, Remember Emmet: images of the life and legacy of Robert Emmet, 15 paperback.

• The Robert Emmet Association/ Emmet 200 is promoting a major programme of commemorative, cultural and historical events throughout 2003. For details visit the Robert Emmet Association website at http://homepage.eircom. net/~emmet200/ or write to Emmet 200, Pearse Family Home, 27 Pearse St, Dublin 2 Ireland or email emmet200@eircom.net

Times Online - Home

IRA to hold Maze prison escape reunion
By David Lister, Ireland Correspondent

THE IRA is to hold a reunion dinner and dance to honour the 38 men who escaped from the Maze prison in a van in September 1983.
Several hundred republicans and their families are expected at the Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, on Friday night for a celebration of one of the most notorious incidents of the Troubles. They are likely to include several IRA fugitives still technically wanted in Northern Ireland and among those offered an amnesty as part of a deal to revive the peace process.

One prison officer died of a heart attack after being stabbed with a prison workshop chisel during the escape and another guard was shot and wounded.

According to an advertisement in An Phoblacht, the republican newspaper: “The true story of the escape from Long Kesh will be told by Gerry Kelly, Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane and Bobby Storey . . . A special presentation will be made to honour those Volunteers who were directly involved with the escape and have since lost their lives.”

A night of dancing will be led by Derek Warfield, frontman of the Wolfe Tones. The tickets cost from £14.20 each.

When The Times telephoned one of two numbers in the advert, an event organiser said that tickets were selling out fast. “It’ll just be a bit of storytelling with a good bit of humour thrown in,” he said. “There will be a three-course buffet at some stage during the night and some dancing.”

A receptionist at the Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, just across the border in the Irish Republic, said that no additional security had been planned.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the Ulster Unionist MP, called upon police in the Irish Republic to watch the event closely in case any escapers still at large attended.

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