12 November 2003

Fighting for the vote takes Sinn Féin to pastures new

Gerry Adams always predicted the peace process would bring Sinn Féin closer to unionists — but the voters of Lisburn, Ards and South Belfast who have been canvassed by the party’s candidates this week didn’t think it would be this close.

For the first time, party stalwarts have been fighting for votes by going door-to-door in areas where republicans once feared to tread.

With Sinn Féin battling for the last seat in Lagan Valley and South Belfast, the party is chasing every last vote — and that means going into what were once regarded as unionist-only areas.

“In reality, there’s always been a strong Catholic-nationalist presence in towns like Lisburn and even Ards,” said one party strategist. “But until now, our activists didn’t feel ready to go into mixed areas and knock every door. But that’s exactly what they’re doing now.”

While Paul Butler’s canvass team was in the Lisburn street where David Trimble lives on Sunday, party activists were on the ground in the Rosetta area of South Belfast where former Lord Mayor Alex Maskey is hopeful of snatching a seat.

Meanwhile, electoral newboy on the block, Dermot Kennedy says he received a “very positive” response from voters in Portaferry on Friday. “This was the first time in two decades that the party had brought its message door-to-door on the Ards peninsula but there is a strong vote here if we’re willing to show people that we’re on the ground putting in the work on their behalf.”

The Belfast businessman is confident the party will poll well on 26 November. “The message from nationalist voters is, get stuck in and we’ll support you.”

Former West Belfast MLA Alex Maskey, now fighting for a seat in the south of the city, says he’s been received cordially by all shades of opinion. “There’s much more engagement now than ever before,” he said. “The extent of the canvass we’re carrying out is unprecedented and we really are criss-crossing the constituency.”

The former Lord Mayor believes old stereotypes are being challenged. “I won’t know how many minds we’ve changed until November 27 but I do know that we’re giving the voters something to ponder. Even speaking to unionist voters on the Upper Lisburn Road, the message on the doorstep was that ordinary ratepayers acknowledge the work carried out by Sinn Féin in government and during my term as mayor.”

North Belfast News
14 November 2003

UDA behind Holy Cross pipe bomb and death threat

The day after the screening of the BBC and RTE’s controversial drama Holy Cross, a pipe bomb was left close to the home of a parent whose children attend the Catholic primary school in Ardoyne.

Tina Gallagher, who walked the gauntlet with her daughter Tara during the 12-week dispute, discovered on Tuesday that a warning had been delivered to a Belfast newsroom from the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA, that her life was in danger.

The UDA statement she was being targeted because she was a spokesperson for the Holy Cross parents.

“I am completely outraged at the fact that my life is now in danger,” said Tina Gallagher.

“I thought that everything had calmed down and people who had been at the tunnel walking the gauntlet two years ago were slowly being able to leave it all behind, but obviously that’s not the case.

“I don’t know if this movie is the reason for the attack. I can’t think of anything other reason. I’m not even on the Parents Teachers Association, so why would they think I was?”
Earlier that morning a pipe bomb device was left at the junction of Kerrara Street and the Crumlin Road around 9.30am on Tuesday close to Tina Gallagher’s home.

Chairman of the Board of Governors Fr Aidan Troy who attended the scene said he hoped that that the pipe bomb was an isolated incident.

“I had really hoped there wouldn’t be any trouble, particularly after the screening of the movie.

“The children of Holy Cross, who are my main concern, have been through enough trauma for this type of activity to continue.

“I had expressed my reservations about the drama, and that is why neither the Board of Governors and the Parents Teachers’ Association attended the BBC preview of the movie last week.”

Slating the subsequent death threat on Tina Gallagher the Holy Cross rector branded the UDA threat as completely unacceptable.
“This is the work of a reckless paramilitary group, and that is worrying in itself.

“They are effectively capable of anything and I would hope that this incident will not up the ante in a very sensitive community at this time.”

Slamming the attack as unjustifiable, North Belfast Sinn Féin candidate Kathy Stanton said everybody knew which group was responsible for the attack

“The RHD, who have claimed the attack, is simply a cover name for the UDA.

“They have stated that they were specifically targeting a spokesperson for the Holy Cross Parents.

“This is a fallacy, because what they have actually done is to select the most vulnerable target and attack a mother and her children in their home.

“The UDA is a group that are not on ceasefire and who have been responsible for countless sectarian gun and bomb attacks against nationalists over the past two and a half years.
“In the run up to an election they may try to flex their muscle, especially in North Belfast, and use intimidation instead of politics.”

Irish Echo Online

--By Tom Madigan

What is it about Irishmen, the inside of prisons and freedom? If you asked Ciarán Ferry, currently being held in solitary in Denver, at the pleasure of the United States Justice Department and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he might start out with the following brief story.
Although I've never spoken with him, I have a good idea of how he handles the daily injustice that is his incarceration, that he sees his wife only through Plexiglas, or that hasn't seen his baby girl since he was hauled off in shackles and chains that fateful day back in January, the last of many, when he was cooperating fully with Immigration. If he's true to form, as the many other Irishmen that I've had the pleasure to speak with, he would greet you with a smile and a handshake and confront the situation with that indomitable spirit that is their hallmark, say that better days are coming, that this too shall pass and that we'll all be back together again.

Ferry was in the process of completing his residency application, was in full compliance with the immigration authorities and was in no way attempting to deceive them or surreptitiously gain entry to the United States. In fact, he had permission to work here and was actively seeking permanent residency. When he and his Irish-American wife went to a "meeting" in Denver, to what they thought was just another step in the immigration process, he was summarily arrested by the BICE (formerly INS) on Jan. 30, 2003 and hauled off in shackles and chains and, soon after, put in a maximum security jail cell. The official charge against him is "overstaying his visa."

The original offense the British authorities charged him with was "possession of weapons and conspiracy to murder persons unknown," when, in fact, his only offense was being a passenger in a car that contained automatic weapons in the trunk.

Ferry is the victim of a British Diplock court -- a system designed to obtain maximum convictions for the state, complete with no juries and biased judges, where the defendant is accorded little or no defense. Ferry was convicted in such a court and after serving seven and half years of a 22-year sentence, was subsequently released from the infamous H-Blocks of Long Kesh after the 1998 Good Friday agreement was brokered. It is now the very spirit and inspiration of this landmark agreement that the United States government, under the direction of the Bush administration using the specious rubric of "security," seeks to repudiate. They've already deported John McNicholl, another Irish political prisoner.

During his incarceration at Long Kesh, Ferry began corresponding with an Irish-American woman who would some day become his wife. After his release, they were married and moved to Andersonstown in West Belfast, Ferry's childhood home.

While living in Andersonstown, the Ferrys were warned repeatedly that they were targeted for assassination by loyalists. They decided to leave and move to the United States for their own safety and that of their baby girl, yet to be born.

There are two major reasons Irishmen come here: First, to escape persecution in the orphaned six counties of Ulster's nine, and secondly, because they love the United States. They're not terrorists and they don't come here to do harm to Americans or American interests. There has never been and probably never will be a single reported incident where an Irishman was responsible for orchestrating or participating in an act of terrorism against Americans on American soil. For the 850 long years they've been languishing under British misrule, most of them have barely been able to eke out survival. The prospect of doing immeasurably better for themselves and their progeny here in America looms large on their horizons.

They don't hate us for our freedom, as do al-Qaeda and the hyper-terrorists of 9/11. So why are Irish political prisoners being targeted now, only five short years after the Good Friday agreement that gave so many of them their long-deserved freedom?

What is so troubling about Ferry's case and that of other Irish political prisoners is the lack of accountability by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Justice Department under the direction of John Ashcroft. John McNicholl was a former member of the INLA and Ferry, the IRA, both of which are not on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. They have been observing the ceasefire mandated by the 1998 Good Friday agreement. So why was John McNicholl deported and why is Ciarán Ferry being treated worse than a prisoner of war?

Is every organization that stands against an unjust and unwelcome occupier considered a terrorist organization? Or is who they oppose a variable that enters the equation?

Ciarán Ferry and John McNicholl were associated in some capacity with organizations that stood against the systemic and institutionalized persecution and injustice so much a part of life for Catholics and native Irish in the North. Does that make them terrorists or defenders of their own? What's more, does that preclude them from a "welcome" from that Grand Lady in the Bay, beckoning:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

To agree with the assertion that Ferry is entitled to asylum and that McNicholl was illegally deported is to agree that the British government is largely to blame for the ongoing turmoil in the North of Ireland.

Let's not forget that the British army fought alongside the Americans in the ongoing war in Iraq. Could it be that the heavy-handed treatment of Irish political prisoners is a quid pro quo from George W. Bush to Tony Blair, his way of saying "thank you" and that these Irishmen are simply pawns in a larger military strategy that has yet to be concluded?

Contact your congressional representatives and let them know that you oppose the government's heavy-handed treatment of Ciarán Ferry, who simply wants to live out his life in peace and quiet with his wife and daughter and raise a family away from the injustice and hatred that grips his homeland.

(The writer is an associate editor and producer of the Wild Geese Today.)

The Shamrockshire Eagle: Monday 10th November 2003

Here's another link from THE SHAMROCKSHIRE EAGLE. Click on this one to read James Connolly's WHAT IS A FREE NATION? (compliments of the Marxist Internet Archive I would have left out that link and let you find it, but I see that Paul just finished telling us to link to good websites whenever we can :-)

The Shamrockshire Eagle: Monday 10th November 2003

Please read this excellent article written by Paul Dunne about Miriam Daly.


Sinn Féin Assembly Election: Election Home

Bookmark this link to get up-to-date election news from the Sinn Féin website.

INA/Action Alerts

Follow Sinn Féin Assembly Election Campaign on the IRM Website
Nov 12, 2003

Sinn Féin's online subscription news service, Irish Republican Media (www.irishrepublicanmedia.com) launched its Assembly Election web special on Monday November 10th in Belfast.

The web site has exclusive behind-the-scene video clips from the campaign trail three times a week leading up to the election, live elections results and video clips from the vote count centers.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams encouraged people to subscribe to the IRM news service.

"We are very excited at this opportunity to provide our supporters around the world with this unprecedented coverage of the Sinn Féin team on its way to success in the election."

"We will have extensive coverage throughout the campaign, on polling day (November 26th) and from the count centers across the north on November 27th. This will include regular updates from senior party figures, candidates and party activists at the count centers."

The IRM news service began on July 23rd 2003 with the launch of Sinn Féin's new website. The IRM offers email news updates three times a week, breaking news alerts, exclusive interviews with the leading republicans, video clips and An Phoblacht/Republican News newspaper available for download every week.

The IRM replaced the RM Distribution which was previously available from the old Sinn Féin site. Those who had a subscription to the RM Distribution will get four months free when they subscribe to the IRM.

Since its launch during the summer, the Sinn Féin website (www.sinnfein.ie) has been going from strength to strength. In three months there have been more than three million hits on the site and hundreds of people from right across the Ireland have joined Sinn Féin on-line.

Blogrolling Links


CIRA gun tribute

The Continuity IRA have taken the unprecedented step of firing a volley of shots over a picture of a recently deceased North Belfast volunteer, in what was a rare public show of strength for the organisation.

The Andersonstown News was given exclusive access to the brief tribute, which was carried out in the Lower Falls area this week.

Desmond McCormick from North Belfast died in October. The 41-year-old father-of-four was said to be a respected member of the republican organisation.

In a statement to the Andersonstown News the CIRA claimed the recently deceased man as one of their own: "Desmond McCormick was a committed republican, but more importantly he was a faithful republican. His sudden death was a shock to his comrades and his many friends in Ireland.

“Desmond repudiated English rule in his country and stood firm on the fundamental republican position."

Desmond McCormick’s funeral took place in Sacred Heart Church and he was buried in Milltown Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Karen and four children.

A spokesperson for the CIRA added: "On behalf of the leadership of the CIRA we offer our deepest condolences to his family."

Journalist:: Allison Morris


ic NorthernIreland


THE police were urged night to make a definitive statement on allegations that masked gunmen held a show of strength in south Armagh - days after the group's last act of decommissioning.




On the Campaign trail with Jarlath Kearney


Sinn Féin yesterday launched a head-on challenge to the dominance of the UUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson and anti-Agreement unionists in the Lagan Valley constituency.

Assembly election candidate Paul Butler was in confident mood on the canvass trail when he declared that Sinn Féin is set to be the "new voice in Lagan Valley politics".

"We want the voters of Lagan Valley to elect a Sinn Féin MLA for the area to counter the negative politics of Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP,” he said.

"Sinn Féin is the only party that can challenge Donaldson and his anti-Agreement stance in an effective way.

"We have shown that we are the only party to stand up for the rights of nationalists and non-unionists in the Lagan Valley constituency.

"It is important that the voters of Lagan Valley do not allow people like Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP to dominate politics in Lagan Valley for the next five years with their negative and uncompromising views," added Cllr Butler.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Antrim, hardline anti-Agreement unionist candidate David Burnside told a meeting at Ballyhill Orange Hall that he expects the elections to "return a majority of Unionist Assembly members who will not participate in forming an Executive with Sinn Féin/IRA when they have failed to stand down their terrorist and criminal organisation which was meant to be achieved in the Belfast Agreement by June 2000.

"If the voters return a sizeable SDLP representation in the election then I believe it is possible that unionists of all persuasions can form a cross-community administration at Stormont.

"In the unfortunate event Sinn Féin ends up as the largest nationalist party, and HMG say we can only have devolution with Sinn Féin in the Executive, then we, the Ulster Unionist majority will say to the government that is a price for devolution that is too high to pay.

"Let us be governed democratically with powerful local government like England or an administrative Assembly like Wales, but governed primarily by our sovereign parliament and government at Westminster.

"After all, that is what being a unionist is all about," said Mr Burnside.
Pressing for new measures to benefit the elderly after a spate of attacks on pensioners, the SDLP’s Patricia Lewsley called for "better protection, tougher laws and longer sentences".

"The well-being of older people is one of my main priorities.
"In my constituency I am only canvassing during daylight hours, as I am worried that a night-time call would only add to the terror and fear that many elderly people are suffering.

"Older people live like prisoners in their own homes. They have to pay for security measures themselves.

"People living on a state pension cannot afford the locks, bolts and bars that they now so desperately need.

"Elderly people need our help now. Playing at politics with sound-bites is not enough," said Cllr Lewsley.

Staying on the theme of the elderly, Sinn Féin candidate for West Belfast Michael Ferguson yesterday praised the Link Women’s Group in Andersonstown for “their sterling work on an annual basis on behalf of pensioners".

"Once again this year the group will provide support and advice specifically for pensioners at the Pensioners’ Information Day this Thursday, November 13.
"Not enough is done by the Social Security Agency to ensure that the needy, and particularly the elderly, get what they are entitled to.

"Link Women’s Group have an exceptionally skilled advice team who provide a first class service to the entire area, especially the elderly, and I am looking forward to supporting their efforts and the work of Age Concern, the NIHE, Bryson House and others who will be in attendance," said Cllr Ferguson.
Elderly matters were also the order of the day when SDLP South Antrim candidate Donovan McClelland hit out at the "culture of fear and terror that older people are living in".

"As I canvass, I have even noticed that elderly people are reluctant to answer the door.

"The SDLP is the party most committed to fighting for the rights of older people in government. Now, more than ever, older people need our help. Now, more than ever, we will fight their corner," said Cllr McClelland.


From the PAT FINUCANE CENTRE (see links)

There are many wonderful ways to beg for money without appearing to do so. At this point the most appropriate, and accurate, is the following. The PFC has no money! We are broke, skint, financially challenged, devoid of sources of income, bust, penniless, in the red!

The Pat Finucane Centre is largely dependent on voluntary donations in order to avoid compromising our core values, principles and actions. Our policy also means that we rely largely on donations from individuals and organisations in Ireland and abroad. As a regular subscriber you will e aware of our activities. We have not made an appeal to those on the email list for over a year. If you wish to support the work of the centre and help us in a time of crisis please send a donation now.

The Staff at the PFC

Donations can be sent to the PFC
1 West End Park
Derry BT48 9JF

Cheques in sterling, euros or dollars can be made out to the Pat Finucane Centre. If you live in Ireland or Britain and prefer to take out a regular standing order in sterling or euros please email us at pfc@iol.ie and we will email a standing order form.


Sunday Business Post

110,000 missing voters to hit Sinn Féin hopes

09/11/03 00:00

By Paul T Colgan

Sinn Féin's electoral fortunes in this month's Assembly elections in the North may be damaged by a huge drop in the number of registered voters.

The North's electoral office has confirmed that 110,000 voters failed to re-register following the introduction of an electoral fraud act last November. Many of those voters are in three key constituencies in Belfast: West, North and South Belfast. Sinn Féin is targeting extra seats in all three areas and says that the failure of many nationalist voters to re-register could have a major impact on its vote.

The electoral commission's figures represent a slight improvement on last year when about 130,000 voters had failed to claim their vote. However, as things stand, eight per cent of the North's electorate will not be voting in the Assembly elections.

"In going ahead with the elections, I can only assume that the government accepted that the fall in the electoral register did not affect one party more than any other," said Queens University politicslecturerDr Sydney Elliot. "However, I am very sceptical of such an assumption and will wait and see how the finished figures actually come out."

The electoral commission statistics indicate that most voters re-registered in the predominantly nationalist area west of the Bann.

But Sinn Féin will be concerned with the poor take-up in Belfast. The party is aiming to take an extra quota inWest Belfast at the expense of the SDLP. It also has high hopes for former Belfast Lord MayorAlex Maskey in South Belfast and an extra candidate in the tight North Belfast constituency.

West of the Bann, Sinn Féin is confident that most of its voters are registered. The return of two extra Sinn Féin MPs in 2001's Westminster elections saw the effective "greening" of the region, with nationalist MPs in Mid-Ulster (SF's Martin McGuinness), Fermanagh and South Tyrone (SF's Michelle Gildernew), West Tyrone (SF's Pat Doherty), Foyle (SDLP's John Hume) and Newry and Armagh (SDLP's Seamus Mallon).

Mid-Ulster, where Sinn Féin holds three Assembly seats, recorded the smallest drop in registered voters with only 3.8 per cent of a fall-off.

Following the first registration deadline last year, it was estimated that the names of one in five of those previously on the electoral register in West Belfast had disappeared. Sinn Féin claimed in January that 80 per cent of first-time voters had also missed the deadline.

Figures releasedinSeptember showed that while the electoral office has added 25,000 names to the North's overall list as part of a rolling registration process, serious deficits still remain in crucial areas. West Belfast has lost 13.6 per cent of its registered electorate, with South Belfast and North Belfast recording drops of 14.1 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively.

The commission has spent the lastyear informing voters of the pitfalls of not re-registering, and activists from the main parties have done much of the leg-work in ensuring their voters are not disenfranchised.

"There is no doubt that the legislation targeted a section of the community more likely to vote Sinn Féin. That is the working class," said Sinn Féin director of elections Danny Power.

"We calculate that 50 to 60 per cent of young voters who could register to vote actually haven't. The electoral office reckons that the figure is more like 33 per cent. But even at that, it is a huge number of voters.

"Some of the other parties may be a bit nervous at the moment, having wrongly calculated that it would only affect us. It probably will affect us to a greater degree, but it will also have an impact across the board."

Recent figures show that, since 1994 - the year of the IRA's first ceasefire - 80 per cent of new Catholic voters have supported Sinn Féin.

Their parents,who lived through years of paramilitary violence and were subject to the anti-Sinn Féin policies and propaganda of the 1980s, may still it find it difficult to vote republican, but their offspring have no such qualms.

The SDLP, whose core vote is among middle-class, middle-aged nationalists, is unfazed by the new figures. SDLP voters are traditionally regarded as civic-minded, committed voters with a background in the civil rights politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s.They prize their right to vote.

Problems are also anticipated at the polling booths.The new electoral act stipulates that voters need to show a recognised form of identification, such as a driving licence or passport.

For those who don't have either, the electoral commission can produce standard identification cards. However party strategists say a significant number of elderly voters have been unable to acquire such identification.

The delivery of registration forms to voters in rural areas was delayed last year. The commission also came in for criticism from Sinn Féin for a delay in advertising the new system.

The Ulster Unionists warned of "electoral chaos" if people were not properly notified of the urgent need to return the forms.


The Irish Republican Bulletin Board :: Book List: Women and Irish Republicanism

This excellent list of Women and Irish Republicanism was made in a post at the old IRBB by L. Ginnell.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Click HERE to view Crazyfenian's photo of the mural of women in the struggle.

A (Basic) Bibliography of publications / articles about Women and Irish Republicanism


When History was made: Women of 1916
By Ruth Taillon – Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications 1996
ISBN 0951422987

Prison Letters of Countess Markievicz
By Amanda Sebestyn. Virago Press 1987
ISBN 0860687813

Constance Markievicz – Irish Revolutionary
By Anne Haverty. Pandora 1988
ISBN 0863581617

Charlotte Despard – A Biography
By Margaret Mulvihill. Pandora 1988
ISBN 0863582133

Unmanageable Revolutionaries
By Margaret Ward. Brandon 1983

Revolutionary Woman: Kathleen Clarke 1878 – 1972
Edited by Helen Litton. O Brien Press 1991

Cumann na mBan and the Women of Ireland 1913 – 1972
By Lil Conlon. Kilkenny People 1969

Soul of Fire: A biography of Mary McSwiney
By Charlotte H Fallon. Mercier Press 1986

There is a Bridge at Bandon: A Personal Account of the Irish War of Independence.
By Kathleen Keyes McDonnell. Mercier Press 1972

Terrible Beauty: A life of Countess Markievicz
By Diana Norman. Hodder & Stoughton 1988.

Rebel Irishwomen
By RM Fox. Dublin – Talbot Press 1937

Daughters of Erin
By Elizabeth Coxhead. Secker & Warburg 1965.

Maude Gonne
By Sam Levenson. Cassell 1977.

Women, Ideals and the Nation
By Constance de Markievicz. Inighnidhe na h-Eireann, Dublin 1907.

Doing My Bit for Ireland
By Margaret Skinnider. New YORK – Century 1917.

6 Counties

Tell them everything : a sojourn in the prison of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
By Margaretta D'Arcy, - London : Pluto, 1981
ISBN 0861043499

Hard Time: Armagh Gaol 1971-1986
By Raymond Murray. Mercier Press 1998
ISBN 1856352234

Shoot the women first
By Eileen MacDonald. - London : Fourth Estate, 1991.
ISBN 1872180639

Peggy Deery: A Derry Family at War
By Nell McCafferty. Attic Press 1988
ISBN 0946211558

To Take Arms - A year in the Provisional IRA
By Maria McGuire. MacMillan 1973.
SBN 333145062

No Faith in the System
By Sister Sarah Clarke. Mercier Press 1995
ISBN 1856351602

Only the Rivers Run Free. Northern Ireland: The Women’s War
By Eileen Fairweather, Roisin McDonough and Melanie McFadyean. Pluto Press 1984
ISBN 0861046684

In Journals, Newspapers, etc.

"A Cumann na mBan Recalls Easter Week"
by Eilis Bean Uí Chonail.
In ‘The Capuchin Annual’, 1966.

"The History of Cumann na mBan"
by Eithne Coyle.
In An Phoblacht, 8th April 1933.

"The Women on Easter Week"
by Nora O Daly.
In "An t-Oglach" 3rd April 1926.

"Cumann na mBan in the GPO"
By M Reynolds.
In "An t-Oglach" 27th March 1926.

"Excerpts from the Diary on the Asgard"
By Mary Spring Rice
In "Sinn Féin" 26th July + 2nd August 1924.

Maire Comerford: Women in Struggle
Edited by Pat McGlynn
In ‘Eiri Amach na Casca’. Republican Publications 1986.

ic Derry - Angry McGuinness Rages at Inquiry 'Double Standards'

Angry McGuinness Rages at Inquiry 'Double Standards' Nov 7 2003

AN ANGRY Martin McGuinness told the 'Journal' last night that, despite the British establishment destroying thousands of photos relating to Bloody Sunday, destroying weapons used on the day, refusing to identify informants and seeking Public Interest Immunity certificates 'right, left and centre' with apparent impunity, he found it incredible that he was the one being publicly accused of having something to hide.

Describing the situation as 'ludicrous', Mr. McGuinness also pointed out that former British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, had refused to answer many questions put to him by the Inquiry but no action whatsoever had been taken against him.

Accusing the Bloody Sunday Inquiry of 'double standards'the Mid Ulster M.P. also said that it was ridiculous if anyone expected him to name IRA volunteers during his evidence.

Speaking exclusively to the 'Journal' the Sinn Fein leader said: "Most people in Ireland would raise their eyebrows in surprise to hear that Lord Saville seriously expected me to identify IRA volunteers.

"I was angry when it was suggested to me that I was not helping the families by not naming IRA volunteers but as I thought about it I realised it was a ludicrous suggestion.

"I think the whole situation was epitomised by an incident today when I was in Belfast. An elderly man approached me, shook my hand and said 'So they are going to send you to prison' then he grunted in derision.

"This man's reaction is representative of the reaction of the Irish people who have always frowned upon people giving information to British bodies."

Claiming that double standards were clearly in operation Martin McGuinness said: "Suggestions were made that I had something to hide. But then I was shown redacted documents in which 85% of the information was obliterated and asked to comment without even being told when the statement was made.

"The British military establishment, the Ministry of Defence and the PSNI have all sought to keep information away from the Tribunal with Public Interest Immunity certificates and the like.

"Thousands of photographs have been destroyed and indeed even weapons destroyed and yet they can accuse me of having something to hide."

He added: "Then under questioning Edward Heath simply refused to answer some of the questions put to him but there was no action taken by the inquiry so of course there is no doubt that double standards are being applied."

Mr. McGuinness said he firmly believed his two days of testimony to the Saville Inquiry had assisted the families in their quest for justice.

He said: "I think before I gave evidence there was a faint hope among some on the British side that the legal representatives of the soldiers could have shown that the IRA opened fire on Bloody Sunday.

"After my two days of evidence it is clear to all that they were not able to show that simply because this did not happen.

"I made it clear that during the Bloody Sunday killings not a shot was fired by the IRA, not a petrol bomb was thrown and not a nail bomb was thrown.

"The people of Derry have always known that just as they have always known the truth behind Bloody Sunday, the people of the rest of the world need to know as well."

The Sinn Fein leader went on: "I went to this Inquiry to talk about Bloody Sunday but it soon became clear the legal teams for the soldiers wanted to talk about anything but Bloody Sunday."

On the Inquiry itself Mr. McGuinness said that it was put to him that he had called for the establishment of such a body.

However, rejecting this suggestion Martin McGuinness said: "I always called for the establishment of an independent international inquiry and while there may be members of the British Commonwealth on this body I do not see it as an International Inquiry.

"But despite that I am hopeful that there have been that many lies told by the British in their attempt to cover up what happened that this Inquiry will have no choice but to find the British government fully responsible for Bloody Sunday.

"It was suggested that there are two sides at this Inquiry the British side and the Irish side and that the two accounts were contested.

"But what is not contested is that 27 people were shot on Bloody Sunday with 14 losing their lives and 13 others badly wounded.

"What is clear to me, clear to the people of Derry and clear to the people of Ireland is that every single person shot that day died at the hands of British soldiers."

Dismissing the allegations made against him at the Inquiry as 'not being worth a hill of beans' Mr. McGuinness said he had tackled head on allegations contained in Liam Clark's book and also those made by Paddy Ward.

He said: "I made it clear and I believe it was apparent that Ward's allegations are absolutely worthless.

"As for the contents of Clark's book much of this is based on Ward's testimony although not all of it.

"It is clear that even Ward and Clark are in dispute over what was said and not said.

"I do accept that there are a small minority of people in Derry who may class themselves as republican who may have co-operated with Clark in order to damage me, damage Sinn Fein or damage the peace process.

"These people and others with their own agenda made allegations but when they were put to me I simply asked who said this and of course I was hit with pseudonym after pseudonym. It seems that these people are not prepared to stand up and make their allegations but are willing to allow themselves to be used to attack me."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?