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28 December 2003

British soldier taken from ferry ‘had weapons in bag’

—by Tom Brady, Irish Independent

A BRITISH Army officer was taken off a B and I ferry by gardai at

Dublin port on the evening of the Dublin bombings and weapons were found in his bag.

This astonishing information is contained in an Irish Army

intelligence report examined by the Barron inquiry. But no reference

to the arrest or the find appears in Garda records and no further

developments were reported.

At lunchtime on the day of the bombings, a telephone caller told

gardai he was worried that a white van with an English registration

parked outside the Department of Posts and Telegraphs on Portland

Row might contain a bomb.

Garda records show that details of the alleged registration were

taken, but those numbers were shown later not to have been issued.

At around 5.10pm the gardai received a second call from the witness

and agreed to send a patrol to examine the van. When two gardai

arrived at the scene they were met by the witness who told them a

man had driven the van away towards Sheriff Street.

Shortly afterwards the bombs went off. The witness called gardai

several times after and at 6.30 he was taken by a garda car to the

docks. The witness saw the same van in the deep sea area of the B

and I ferry port. Gardai searched the van and found a British Army

uniform.

The Barron report shows that through allowing witnesses to examine

photographs of suspected loyalists, the Dublin investigation team

found three witnesses who identified David Alexander Mulholland,

described by the gardai as a member of the UVF with a history of

involvement in car bomb blasts as being in the green Hillman car

which contained the Parnell Street bomb.

Gardai received no specific intelligence warning although a general

alert for key-holders to watch out for firebombs was issued on May

15.

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online.ie: news

SF wants timeframe for Agreement review

online.ie

2003-12-29 16:20:01+00

The review of the Good Friday Agreement must be limited to one month, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said today.

As London and Dublin prepare for talks with all sides in Belfast, he also insisted the two governments had to make it clear there could be no renegotiation of the deal struck in April 1998.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, are hoping discussions in the new year will advance the process, even though Ian Paisley has ruled out a chance of his Democratic Unionist Party entering into a power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Féin at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

No timetable for the talks has been announced, but Mr Adams has called for them to be limited to four weeks followed by prompt publication of the review’s conclusions.

David Trimble’s Ulster Unionists and Mark Durkan’s SDLP will also be heavily involved, but the Sinn Féin leader said other political parties should be invited to take part as well, along with business, civic, church, equality, human rights and trade union representatives.

This process he said, was about a review of the operation and delivery of the Agreement and while the party welcomed the assertion by both governments that it would not be a review of the fundamentals, they were concerned some parties may seek renegotiation.

Mr Adams said: “There is an onus on both governments to make it clear that this will not happen or that anti-Agreement parties will not be allowed to use the review for their own ends.

“The review is not a substitute for working political institutions.”

It was disappointing and unfortunate that parties were considering their approach to the review in the context of a continuing suspension of the political institutions which, he claimed, could only serve to encourage those who seek to veto the Agreement’s implementation.

He said: “The suspension is itself a breach of the Agreement and undermines substantially any assertion by the governments that its fundamentals are not up for renegotiation.

“The suspension of the Assembly should be lifted immediately.”

online.ie: news

Former minister backs Barron report findings

online.ie

2003-12-29 18:10:02+00

A minister in the coalition government of 30 years ago today broke ranks with former senior colleagues, backing a critical report by a senior judge on the official handling of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974.

The Barron report, issued after an investigation into the background of the bombings by High Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron, directed criticism at then-Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and his government.

The then-Government was criticised for failing to pass on information received from British Prime Minister Harold Wilson about the suspected involvement in the bombings of the UVF loyalist para-military group.

Three members of the Cosgrave government, Dr Garret FitzGerald – who later became Taoiseach in Dublin – Patrick Cooney and Conor Cruise O’Brien have subsequently disputed the Barron findings.

But today ex-Labour Minister Justin Keating said he accepted and admired the contents of the report.

Mr Keating also supported a demand from families of victims of the bombings for a judicial inquiry into the incidents.

He said he believed the report was accurate, and added: “I don’t believe we showed the diligence in pursuing it that we should have done.

“And I think that there were political reasons which seemed good to the government of the time, but which did not, and don’t seem, good to me.”

Justice for the Forgotten, a group representing victims’ families, said they “very much welcomed” Mr Keating’s comments – particularly his backing for an inquiry.

A spokesman said that “a form of judicial inquiry” with full powers to compel both witnesses and documents was the “minimum” to which the families were entitled.

He maintained there was “an overwhelming case” for the families to know what had gone on and, as the the main players in 1974 were still around, they should “give evidence to such an inquiry and be tested on it”.

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Belfast Telegraph

Irish language for all Ulster schools – SDLP

DUP dismiss idea as ‘a stunt’

By Chris Thornton

cthornton@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

29 December 2003

THE SDLP called today for Irish to be made a compulsory subject for every Northern Ireland school – leading to accusations they were trying to be ‘greener’ than Sinn Fein.

The party’s spokesman on the Irish language, Assembly member Patsy McGlone, said the SDLP will introduce a new bill to make Irish an official language if devolved powers are returned to Stormont.

He said they will also “press” for the language to be introduced into all schools as a core subject.

But the DUP dismissed the plan as an unworkable stunt cooked up by the SDLP to compete with Sinn Fein.

“I don’t know when the SDLP are going to stop this stupid competition with Sinn Fein to see who can be more green,” said DUP Assembly member Sammy Wilson, a former teacher.

“It’s very wrong to use school kids as part of this.”

But Mr McGlone said the plan “means developing a cultural heritage programme in schools and establishing a Resource Unit in the Dept of Education to co-ordinate the position of Irish in English language schools”.

However, under present Assembly rules, neither proposal would be likely to succeed under unionist opposition.

Mr McGlone said the SDLP’s aim is to achieve the “same support and official backing” for Irish culture in the North as it receives in the Republic.

“We want people North and South to look upon Irish and English as their official languages,” the Mid Ulster representative said.

“We want people to welcome and rejoice in their national culture.”

Mr Wilson said it is important for young people to study languages, but said it would be better for them to learn languages that have “economic value rather than a dead language”.

“Even within the nationalist community the number of people who are competent at Irish or want to be competent at Irish is limited”.

He said schools should be concentrating resources on “numeracy and literacy in the language children use in everyday life”, rather than being forced to spread resources to another compulsory subject.

Mr McGlone said the proposed Irish Language bill would “give full legal recognition to Irish and create parity of esteem between Irish and English.

“This would allow people to deal with public bodies in Irish,” Mr McGlone added.

28 December 2003

INLA threat to end ceasefire after O’Hare is denied parole

—by Liam Clarke and Dearbhail McDonald, Sunday Times

THE INLA ceasefire is in doubt following the government’s decision to refuse Christmas parole to Dessie O’Hare, Ireland’s most notorious terrorist.

O’Hare, known as the Border Fox, wanted temporary release to spend Christmas with his wife Clare and family. The refusal of Michael McDowell, the justice minister, to allow O’Hare leave has provoked a furious response from the hardline republican terrorist organisation.

A senior member of the Irish Republican Socialist party (IRSP), the INLA’s political wing, warned that the government should be “concerned about the ceasefire in the medium term”. The IRSP is also considering a legal challenge to the decision not to allow O’Hare out.

Eddie McGarrigle, a member of the ruling executive of the IRSP, said the organisation was taking O’Hare’s case as a litmus test of the government’s good faith.

“When we were discussing plans for the INLA ceasefire with the Irish government we made it very clear that Dessie O’Hare and Eddie Hogan (his co-accused who was released three years ago) were high on the list of prisoners we wanted released,” McGarrigle said.

“The Irish government should now be concerned about the INLA ceasefire in the medium term, because if the people who are pushing peace-building efforts and initiatives walk away from the process who is going to take their place? I am considering doing that at the moment.”

O’Hare was sentenced to 40 years in 1988 for kidnapping and mutilating John O’Grady, a dentist. O’Hare hacked off two of O’Grady’s fingers with a chisel in an unsuccessful attempt to secure a IR£1.5m ransom from his family. The INLA, which was undergoing a split, disowned the kidnapping but accepted O’Hare back into the terror group when he was jailed.

He later became the officer commanding the INLA prisoners at Portlaoise, a post he held until he was transferred to Castlerea open prison last year.

Since he was affiliated with a paramilitary group on ceasefire, O’Hare was deemed eligible for early release under the terms of the Good Friday agreement. The government has, however, refused to implement the recommendation in the case of O’Hare, who is regarded as one of the most ruthless and volatile individuals to emerge during the Troubles.

His willingness to mutilate his victims is seen as evidence of psychotic tendencies. The IRSP points out that loyalists who attacked and tortured Catholics, including members of the Shankill Butcher gang, have been been freed in Northern Ireland.

In recent years O’Hare has been carving a new image for himself. His character appeared to change after he spent four years in the basement of Portlaoise prison speaking to nobody and becoming adept at yoga. When he emerged from this self-imposed retreat from prison society he became associated with the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. He has attended a conference there and has offered to meet his victims.

McGarrigle said that the IRSP blamed McDowell and the Progressive Democrat party for the failure to release O’Hare.

“Fianna Fail people have told us the PDs are the problem,” said McGarrigle. “McDowell made the release of prisoners commission send Dessie to five psychoanalysts. Dessie passed the tests with flying colours but he still hasn’t been released.”

The Observer | Politics | IRA bomber attacks Sinn Fein on abortion

IRA bomber attacks Sinn Fein on abortion

Terrorist who turned teacher demands a stronger Catholic line

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor

Sunday December 28, 2003

The Observer

One of the IRA’s most important gun-runners and bombers has accused his Sinn Fein comrades of being too politically correct about abortion and gay marriage.

Gerry McGeough, who was jailed in the United States for attempting to buy Stinger surface-to-air missiles for the Provos, said some Sinn Fein members were anti-Catholic on moral issues.

McGeough, a former Sinn Fein national executive member and key figure in the IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade, said: ‘You would never get a leader of Sinn Fein condemning abortion, homosexual “marriage” or anything of that nature.

‘I, as an Irish nationalist and Catholic, never want to see the day when there are abortion clinics in every market town in Ireland. But looking around there is no political grouping willing to take a stance against that.’

McGeough told the Irish Catholic that his faith sustained him while he was in jail on terrorism charges.

The gun-runner, who was prepared to ship missiles, rifles and explosives into Northern Ireland during the Troubles, said he was pro-life and militantly opposed to abortion.

He also sounds a conservative, Euro-sceptical note in his interview: ‘Many people, I believe, wish for a society where faith, decency, pro-life convictions and national self-determination within Europe can flourish; and not be swallowed up in a dictatorial EU bureaucracy.

‘What we need is a strong Church, led by strong church figures willing to stand up and say what the Church stands for.’

Referring to his past, McGeough said it was his ‘patriotic duty’ to join the IRA in 1975 and take up arms. He believed the IRA’s armed campaign was just.

‘I was a soldier. I came into contact with other soldiers and no civilians were involved. I believe it was a “just war”, and that peoples and nations have a right to defend themselves; that the English have no right to be in Ireland, or any part of it. Bear in mind that the Catholic Church has chaplains in almost every army in the world.’

McGeough was arrested in August 1988 while crossing the Netherlands-German border with two AK47 rifles in his car. He was charged with attacks on the British Army of the Rhine and held for four years in a specially built German detention centre.

His trial in Germany was interrupted by extradition to America, where he was charged with attempting to buy the surface-to-air-missiles in 1983. He served three years in American prisons before his release in 1996.

Now working as a teacher in Dublin, McGeough has just completed a history degree from Trinity College Dublin.

Although he has left the republican movement, McGeough remains committed to Patrick Pearse’s vision of a Gaelic Catholic Ireland, which stresses the cultural and religious aspects of nationalism.

‘I believe that we have a God-given duty to ensure that the faith is kept alive and passed on to future generations,’ he said.

Sunday Life

Murder suspect bolts to the country

By Stephen Breen

28 December 2003

THE Real IRA gunman suspected of blasting west Belfast man, Danny McGurk, to death earlier this year is believed to be in hiding, in Co Down.

Sunday Life understands the man – the main suspect in the killing – fled to the tiny village of Ballyhornan, after he was forced to flee Belfast.

Mr McGurk died when he was blasted five times by a dissident republican gang, at his Ross Street home.

The 35-year-old father-of-six, who had a conviction for manslaughter, was targeted after he was involved in a row with a leading renegade republican boss, from the Lower Falls Road area.

A priest at the funeral of the murder victim branded his Real IRA killers as “cowardly drug traffickers”.

The dissident republican – believed to be one of the terror group’s top bomb-makers – is from the Ardoyne area.

The thug is on the run from the Provisionals, and is now understood to be living in the home of another well-known renegade republican, in the south Down area.

It is also understood the terrorist has launched a Real IRA recruitment drive, after moving to the area.

Ballyhornan has been used as a base, in the past, by dissident republicans, but a notorious Continuity IRA gang, which was operating in the area, was smashed by the Provisionals.

A senior security source told Sunday Life: “Mainstream republicans are not too happy about this man coming to Ballyhornan.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

News special – Johnny’s year in the dog house…

By Stephen Breen

28 December 2003

IN just over a week’s time, ousted terror chief, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, will have spent the last year behind bars.

During his time locked up in the women’s and asylum seekers’ wing of Maghaberry Prison, Adair will have had 12 months to reflect on – what can only be described as – his “annus horribilis”.

It all started to go wrong for the former leader of the UDA’s notorious ‘C’ company, when he kickstarted his campaign to become the terror group’s ‘top dog’, in 2002.

Shortly following the launch of his crusade, Adair and his former sidekick, John ‘CoCo’ White, remained defiant, after they were expelled from the UDA for “treason”.

But Adair’s defiance was short-lived, when he was returned to prison, by Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, in January, as his feud with his former comrades threatened to spiral out of control.

Although the terror boss still held control over the lower Shankill, from his prison cell in Maghaberry, his fate was finally sealed, after the murder of bitter enemy, John ‘Grug’ Gregg.

The south east Antrim UDA ‘brigadier’ was gunned down, along with fellow terrorist, Rab Carson, by Adair’s men, in February.

The killing sparked a violent response from the UDA leadership, and the few remaining members of Adair’s ‘C’ company were forced to flee for their lives.

The caged loyalist was helpless in his lonely prison cell, as the terrorist and crime empire, which he had spent years constructing, crumbled around him.

Adair watched as wife, Gina, sidekick, ‘CoCo’, and his most trusted allies fled Northern Ireland under threat of death, to the sanctuary of Scotland, and later to the north west of England.

The former ‘C’ company leader was left even more isolated, as some of his former ‘steadfast’ comrades, including prominent west Belfast loyalist, Mo Courtney, refused to back him, in his war with the UDA leadership.

Adair was now being attacked from all quarters.

Even Milltown murderer, Michael Stone, got in on the act, when he spoke exclusively to Sunday Life about Adair’s behind-bars gay sex romps and drug-taking exploits, during their time in the Maze.

As the UDA leadership announced a one-year period of “military inactivity”, after the bitter feud with Adair’s men, the caged loyalist was left out in the cold.

But, during the year, Adair’s battered ego resurfaced from time to time, when he would verbally attack the men on the UDA’s ‘inner council’.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Adair vowed to go back to his old stomping ground, after his release from prison, in 2005, and promised to confront the men who he blamed for attacking his wife, Gina, when she defied a UDA death threat, to make a visit to her mother’s home.

We were also the first paper to travel to Bolton, to meet with Adair’s wife and his henchmen, to report on their new life away from the Shankill.

And we were the first to reveal how Adair had become embroiled in a bitter row with one of his former comrades, who he accused of being a top spy, during the 1980s and 1990s.

But, after the arrest of Adair’s pal, ‘Bolton wanderer’, Ian Truesdale, for the murder of Jonathan Stewart, and last week’s arrest of his wife and son, for alleged drugs offences, his Christmas and New Year is not going to be a happy one.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life Adair’s fall from grace had been “remarkable”.

Said the source: “The last year must seem like an eternity for Adair and his men. They really have been attacked from all quarters.

“Adair used the last year to refer to his enemies as ‘criminals’ and ‘pimps’, but everyone knows his own men are ruthless terrorists and gangsters.

“Everything seems to be going wrong for Adair at the minute, and it really is hard to see him going back to the Shankill – the word on the street is that he’s finished.”

It just goes to show you, what a difference a year makes . . .

Sunday Life

Don’t extradite my son, pleads Belfast mum

By Stephen Breen

28 December 2003

THE concerned mother of a former INLA man, who is facing deportation from the United States, last night pleaded with Ulster politicians to back her son’s campaign to remain in America.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Ellen McAllister, from Belfast’s lower Ormeau Road area, urged leading SDLP and Sinn Fein figures to lobby the US authorities on behalf of her son, Malachy.

A spokesman for former SDLP leader John Hume, who has built up an extensive network of contacts in the States, also said he would be happy to meet with Mrs McAllister to discuss her son’s case.

McAllister, who met with former US President Bill Clinton to discuss his case, is facing expulsion from his adopted country, because of a conviction in the 1980s.

The builder was jailed, after he signed a statement to cops, when he was implicated by republican supergrass Harry Kirkpatrick.

The 46-year-old fled Northern Ireland, in 1988, after a Red Hand Commando murder-squad came within inches of killing his family, when they fired more than 30 shots into his home.

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

The family has already been backed by US congressmen, Joe Crawley, Steve Rothman, and other senior politicians.

And, we can reveal the Washington-based Irish National Caucus group, which specialises in Ulster’s troubled peace process, is also set to plead with US politicians to support McAllister’s campaign.

The group’s president, Fr Sean McManus, told Sunday Life he would be writing to US politicians, in a bid to highlight the case.

Speaking for the first time about her son’s campaign, Mrs McAllister said any help provided by local politicians would be “greatly appreciated”.

She said: “My son is no terrorist, and should be allowed to live in the United States, because he has been nothing but an upstanding member of the community in New Jersey.

“He went to America, because loyalists fired over 30 shots into his living room and also his kids’ bedroom – what else was he meant to do?

“The reason he fled was because he wanted to protect his family, and he wasn’t going to stay in a place, where he knew he could be killed at any time, as they had his personal details.

“I am so proud of him, because he went there with nothing, and yet still managed to start his own business, and provide work for the Americans – what threat can he be?

“I don’t know what help our politicians could provide, but any help would be greatly appreciated, because if my son is sent home it will absolutely devastate him, and his family.”

South Belfast Sinn Fein Assemblyman,Alex Maskey, said he would also be happy to meet with Mrs McAllister.

Added Mr Maskey: “I have lobbied for other people, in similar situations in the past, and would be happy to meet with the McAllister’s to discuss their case.

“The vast majority of people who had a similar case to Mr McAllister were upstanding members of the community, and would not have been in that situation, had it not been for the conflict.”

sbreen@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

My Hero” – Dog saved my dad in IRA attack

28 December 2003



David with dad Johnson and another family pet in 1991

AN ULSTER dog lover wants his faithful Alsatian honoured – for saving his dad from an IRA assassin’s bullet.

David Hamilton believes his old dog, Rebel, deserves a posthumous medal for sinking his fangs into the gunman, who came to murder his father, Johnson.

Sunday Life is backing David’s campaign to have Rebel’s bravery recognised.

Said David: “If Rebel hadn’t been in the house, when the gunmen forced their way in, my father would certainly have been killed.

“I’ll be doing everything in my power to have him recognised with a medal or a bravery award.”

AN ANIMAL-loving Ulsterman is spearheading a campaign to have his old dog posthumously honoured – a quarter-of-a-century after it saved his father from an IRA murder gang.

Farmer, David Hamilton, opened his heart to Sunday Life, to talk about his crusade to obtain a bravery award for his old pet, Rebel.

The 49-year-old, from Dromore, Co Down, hopes the Alsatian will be honoured, for its courage and selflessness, when IRA gunmen almost killed his father, Johnson, in November 1979.

Rebel lost an eye, and was shot in the stomach, when it pounced on one of the gunmen, after they forced their way into Mr Hamilton’s Finaghy home.

Mr Hamilton, who died in 2000, was blasted in the arm and side, before the dog sunk its teeth into one of the masked gunmen.

The terror gang – who had targeted the lorry driver in a case of mistaken identity – panicked, and shot the dog, before fleeing.

Rebel never fully recovered from his injuries, and died in 1981.

Although the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) initially said it supported plans to honour Rebel, the dog has never received any recognition for its bravery.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Mr Hamilton said it would be a “great tribute” to his father, if Rebel received a bravery award.

He said: “The award for Rebel was mentioned at the time of the shooting, but, as the years went on, nothing ever came of it.

“This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and just thought it was a good idea to have the dog honoured now, because it would be a great tribute to my late father.

“I don’t know who or what organisation would honour the dog, but I will be doing all I can, in 2004, to have Rebel recognised with a medal, or bravery award.”

“Rebel was a great pet, and if it had not been in the house when the gunmen forced their way in, my father would have been killed.

“If a person can receive an award for saving someone’s life, I don’t see why an animal can’t. The incident may have happened a long time ago, but if any pet deserves recognition, it’s Rebel.”

The farmer’s campaign is being backed by Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson.

Said Mr Donaldson: “I very much support Mr Hamilton’s bid to have Rebel honoured with a bravery award.

“There are numerous examples of animals playing courageous roles in Northern Ireland, and Rebel deserves this, because he saved a man’s life.

“Dogs which worked for the security forces in the fight against terrorism have been honoured in the past, and I don’t see why this pet should not be honoured.

“I will do everything I can to assist Mr Hamilton in his campaign.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement

**Published 26 November 2003

World Socialist Web Site

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement

By Steve James

26 November 2003

Today’s second election for the Northern Ireland Assembly is another desperate effort to resuscitate the constitutional arrangements established under the power-sharing Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (Agreement).

Voters are being asked to choose representatives for a devolved Assembly and a governing executive whose every action has been characterised by bitter divisions. Northern Ireland is currently ruled directly from London, the Assembly having been suspended four times in its short history and put on ice for over a year by the British government following a manufactured spying scandal involving Sinn Fein. It remains to be seen whether these elections will lead to any agreement on the terms for its revival.

Such instability is the direct result of the Agreement, which was predicated on ensuring the interests of big business at the direct expense of the democratic rights of working people.

The Good Friday Agreement was patched together by the United States, Britain and Ireland as a means of creating a more stable economic environment for corporate investment in the North. Irish workers were excluded from any real say so over the future course of events.

The US in particular, which is the largest and most influential investor in the island, was concerned to replicate the success of the Southern Irish Republic which had been transformed over the preceding decades into a boom area for corporations seeking an avenue into European markets. But plans to extend the cheap labour economy north of the border depended upon establishing a stable political and economic framework for investment by ending sectarian-armed conflict, and enabling greater collaboration between London and Dublin.

For their part the British government had long concluded that the enormous cost of maintaining thousands of troops in a state of readiness along the border, coupled with a vast and complex apparatus of surveillance and repression, far outweighed the financial gains accruing from its military domination of the province.

The Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher had signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with Dublin in November 1985, establishing an Intergovernmental Conference providing for cooperation on political matters, security, legal matters and the promotion of cross-border economic cooperation.

The South recognised that the Northern six counties belonged to Britain and that any change would demand a majority vote that the Protestant Unionist majority could veto, but the agreement met opposition on all sides.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams condemned it for having “copper-fastened partition and Dublin’s recognition of the Northern Ireland state”, while the Unionists held mass protests culminating in a “day of action” on March 3 that closed down much of Northern Ireland’s economy. The North’s Stormont Assembly was dissolved in June 1986.

The two governments concluded that it was essential to secure the agreement of the Unionists and bring Sinn Fein on board if success was to be achieved—a perspective that was given added impetus following the election of the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997.

During the protracted negotiations that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement, the British and US governments sought to convince the Protestant bourgeoisie represented by the Ulster Unionist Party that cooperation was the only means of securing its economic future. The elite that had dominated political life in the North following the forced partition of Ireland in 1921-22 had seen its engineering and textile manufacturing operations decline and the transformation of the province into an economic backwater whose small, globally uncompetitive industries were dwarfed by the new outfits operating in the South. Unionism entered the Agreement seeking to attract investment while defending as much of the apparatus guaranteeing Protestant rule as possible.

But the plans of big business were dependent upon incorporating Sinn Fein and its military wing, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), into the proposed structures of British rule over the North. Sinn Fein depends on US backing for its survival. Under the urging of Washington, the IRA agreed to a ceasefire in 1995 and Sinn Fein made clear that it was seeking a political accommodation with London that would elevate them into government. As the representatives of an aspiring layer of the Catholic middle class, Sinn Fein allied itself to US corporate interests in the hope of emulating the economic success of its contemporaries in the booming South.

The coming together of imperialist interests with those of the sectarian formations was sold to the people of Northern Ireland as an equitable means to halt the civil war, end anti-Catholic discrimination, overcome the religious divisions which have plagued Northern Ireland for centuries and inaugurate a new era of peace and prosperity for all.

The referenda on the Agreement won the support of an overwhelming majority in the South and of Catholics in the North, and a narrow but significant majority of Protestants.

But the constitutional arrangements never offered a genuine prospect of meeting up to the grandiose claims made for the Agreement, i.e., that it would end sectarian hostilities. This prospect was not in the interests of the bourgeois powers that drew up its provisions. None of them were prepared to abandon a strategy of divide and rule that had been employed so successfully to prevent the emergence of coherent and unified political opposition to big business from the working class.

At the Agreement’s heart was a Stormont Assembly that institutionalised the sectarian divide. By defining every member of the Assembly as belonging to either a Unionist and Protestant community, or a Republican and Catholic community, the Agreement guaranteed that every area of political and economic life became an arena for turf wars between the sectarian factions.

Moreover, while a majority of ordinary Protestants supported the Agreement, a sizeable minority led by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and sections of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) opposed the Agreement as a sell out of Ulster’s interests. They found support in particular from within the province’s vast paramilitary and state security apparatus.

In its short life, therefore, every decision taken by the Assembly on investments, schools, hospitals, language rights and so on has been denounced by one or other camp as either a concession to “terrorism” or a capitulation to the British and Unionist hierarchy.

All the suspensions have their roots in factional feuding usually initiated by sections of Unionism opposed to the Agreement. Under the barest of pretexts relating to this or that aspect of the IRA’s disarmament, the anti-Agreement Unionists have succeeded in getting the British government to stall the Assembly in order to save the political skin of pro-Agreement First Minister and UUP leader David Trimble.

As a consequence the Agreement has been accompanied by the growth of ever-deeper sectarian divisions. While Northern Ireland is a safer place for business and the level of conflict between the paramilitary groups has been considerably reduced, there are daily reports of pipe bombings, punishment beatings and families forced out of their houses by paramilitary gangs. The initial reversal of the trend towards polarised housing in many working and middle class areas has been thrown back. So-called “peace walls” continue to be erected at “sectarian interfaces”. North Belfast now has 15 of them. Opinion polls suggest that the current election will see a historically low level of cross community voting—where nationalists vote for unionist parties, and vice versa.

At the same time the prosperity which the Agreement was supposed to bring has proved illusory. While a narrow minority are doing rather well, the experience of ordinary Catholics and Protestants has been one of continuing pressure on schools and social services. The recent “Bare Necessities” report produced by a pro-Agreement thinktank, conceded that 502,000 people, including many Protestants, were living at or close to a poverty line of around £156 a week.

Jobs have continued to disappear. In the last two months, 160 jobs were lost at Carpets International in County Down, 55 from hosiery firm Adria in Strabane and Derry, 80 from a Glen Dimplex electronics plant in County Down, 300 from clothing manufacturer Desmonds & Sons in Derry and 189 at Saintfield Yarn in County Down. This follows large-scale layoffs from the Shorts aircraft plant in Belfast and the end of shipbuilding at the Harland and Wolf shipyard.

The continuing growth of social inequality, in an atmosphere of existing sectarian divisions, is forcing working people into the arms of those parties perceived to be most aggressive in standing up for the interests of “their” community—Sinn Fein on the one side and the DUP on the other. Much commentary around the election has speculated on the likelihood of Sinn Fein and the DUP emerging as the largest parties in the new Assembly, a scenario that guarantees further tensions and instability.

The elections will resolve nothing. Despite the numerous parties standing in the elections, only two perspectives are on offer. Voters are being asked to either endorse a continuation of an Agreement that has only deepened divisions and done nothing to ameliorate the social difficulties facing working people, or support reactionary Unionist calls for a return to the past through a renegotiation of the Agreement aimed at marginalising Sinn Fein.

For all the worldwide parading of the Agreement, the “peace process” and its participants, as a global example of how conflict could be overcome to the benefit of all, none of the contending parties are capable of addressing the real concerns of the vast majority of the Northern Irish population. As a consequence, despite this only being the second election to the Assembly, predictions are for a low turnout, perhaps below 50 percent.

A new party for working people in the North and South of Ireland needs to be built based on the understanding that sectarian divisions and social inequality can only be reversed by offering high living standards, good education and the fullest expansion of democratic rights for all, regardless of their religion or community.

Improved housing, healthcare and full participation in political life for one section of working people cannot come at the expense of another. Rather it can only emerge through laying claim to the immense private and corporate wealth owned by a narrow elite in the North and South and reorganising all areas of economic life to meet the basic social needs of the masses instead of the selfish requirements of big business. The inevitable and bitter opposition such a perspective would meet from the Ulster, Irish and British bourgeoisie can only be overcome by a unified political movement of working people throughout Ireland and in Britain on the basis of such a socialist strategy.

Irish Echo Online – News

Colombia 3 still awaiting verdict

By Stephen McKinley

smckinley@irishecho.com

The three Irish men tried on charges of helping left-wing guerillas acquire terrorist know-how in Colombia will spend their third Christmas in a Bogotá prison this year.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and Jim Monaghan were arrested as they tried to leave Colombia in August 2001.

They are now awaiting the decision of Judge Jairo Accosta as to their fate, after the conclusion of their trail, which was attacked in a report compiled by international observers and lawyers from Ireland, the U.S. and Australia as being politicized, prejudiced and unfair.

No evidence was presented, the report says, linking the three to the charges of training guerillas.

Judge Acosta, who under Colombian law would normally be required to give a verdict within a few days of the trial’s end, asked for an extension for his deliberations, noting the exceptional sensitivities and complex issues raised by the case. He is expected to rule in the new year.

The observers’ report, entitled “Colombia 3: Judge for Yourself,” includes detailed analysis of the legal case and the trial process by a number of lawyers who attended the hearings including Irish barrister Ronan Munro and solicitor Pat Daly.

It also includes contributions by U.S. human rights advocate Natalie Kabaskalian and Australian lawyer Shaun Kerrigan, both of whom criticize what they claim were prejudicial statements by senior Colombian political and military figures during the trial.

There is further information at www.bringthemhome.ie

This story appeared in the issue of December 24-31, 2003

ira2

Army `spy’ in bid to expose agent’s life of crime

Impartial Reporter

18 Dec 2003

A man who admits spying for the British Army in Fermanagh in the

1990s is mounting a legal bid to “expose” another army agent still

living in Enniskillen.

Sam Rosenfeld, a Londoner, lived in Irvinestown for three years until

1993 under the assumed name of Tommy Doheny. He says he worked

undercover and passed intelligence information to his army handler.

The spy says he worked closely with another man, who is still

living in Enniskillen. Rosenfeld says he wants to expose this man who

has been involved in serious crime, including drug dealing, money

laundering and “bringing subversives into Northern Ireland.”

However, the man was allowed to continue his life of crime

because he was an agent for the security forces.

Even more seriously, Rosenfeld believes the man has questions to

answer over a person’s suspicious and violent death in the county.

“There was an investigation into that loss of life, and I believe

he was there that day the person died,” said Rosenfeld. “At the end

of the day, human life is sacred. Nobody has the right to take life,

and cover it up with the excuse of national security.”

Rosenfeld has given the name of the intelligence agent to the

Impartial Reporter, but we are not publishing it for legal reasons.

The former spy has been keeping his identity secret since leaving

Northern Ireland in 1993, but voluntarily emerged into the public eye

last week when he served a witness summons on alleged Belfast agent,

Freddie Scappaticci, alias “Stakeknife.” He says he is responding to

attempts by the Ministry of Defence to have him arrested to silence

him.

“I want to get these people into court to answer questions which

will clear my name,” Rosenfeld told the Impartial Reporter. “Another

man in Enniskillen is well-known and apparently respectable. But I

want to see him held accountable, he destroyed my life.”

Rosenfeld alleges that while in Fermanagh, he spied on terrorist

groups, passing on information. He worked solely with the Enniskillen

agent he is now pursuing through the courts.

“Stupidly, I trusted the Army,” said Rosenfeld. “I didn’t do

anything wrong, and everything they asked me to do he was involved

in. But then I discovered that he was involved in all sorts of crime,

which was swept under the carpet because he was gathering

intelligence for the Army.”

As Rosenfeld became increasingly disillusioned in the early

1990s, he claims he was ruthlessly dealt with. Firstly, his home was

raided by security forces, and his partner, pregnant at the time,

subsequently lost her baby.

Then he was charged in connection with a stolen car; charges

which he believes were fabricated to discredit him. When it came to

court in 1993, he was told to leave Northern Ireland.

“There isn’t a morning I waken up but don’t think of that little

daughter who is buried in Breandrum cemetery in Enniskillen,” says

Rosenfeld. “And before I go to bed at night, I think of her. I can’t

even go to see her grave.

“I have never been told the reason for the raid on my home which

led to her death. A police officer laughed in my face at my loss at

the time, and said `you’re next.’ I have suffered a great deal as a

result of all this.”

Rosenfeld insists: “That man in Enniskillen and all the others

must be exposed. He is not an innocent man; he knows who I am talking

about and I will not rest until I get him into a court of law.”

An emotional Rosenfeld went on: “I sat in an office in Aughnacloy

with an Army Colonel, who told me to forget what happened to me and

move on. How can I? I need answers, I need closure. I’ve been fobbed

off for 11 years; they can shoot me, they can cut me into pieces, but

as long as I have a breath, I’ll keep going until I see these people

in court.”

Claims of crime during undercover work by British agents in

Fermanagh during the “Troubles” are not new. Following revelations

that the Army’s “Force Research Unit” engaged in murky activities

throughout the Province have led to a file being sent to the Director

of Public Prosecutions on Gordon Kerr, a senior officer based at St.

Angelo barracks near Enniskillen. Sam Rosenfeld’s army handler was a

member of FRU, the group within the army responsible for tough

counter-terrorism measures. It has been alleged that this unit’s

activities resulted in collusion with loyalists involved in murder.

Irish News Online

**poster’s note: all indications are that the death toll is 5 times what is reported here and in other “breaking” stories

Government pledges €1m to earthquake victims

The Government has pledged up to €1m to help the victims of today’s earthquake in Iran, which killed at least four thousand people and injured thirty thousand in the city of Bam.

Many of the survivors are still trapped under the rubble.

Minister of State Tom Kitt says the next 48 hours will be a critical period and that it is essential to act as quickly as possible to prevent further loss of life.

The funding from Development Co-operation Ireland will be channelled mainly through the Red Crescent and other humanitarian groups, including the UN.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Emma’s Funeral

EMMA LYNCH



Emma’s schoolfriends led the mourners at her funeral

The funeral has taken place of an eight-year-old girl killed in a road accident in west Belfast at the weekend.

Emma Lynch was one of two children who died after being struck by a car near the junction of the Falls and Springfield roads on Friday.

She was walking along with her eight-year-old friend, two boys and their father when they were struck by a car.

Emma was taken to hospital where she died from her injuries on Sunday.

Emma’s cortege left the family home at Pollard Street on Wednesday for Requiem Mass at St Paul’s Church.

Her coffin was wrapped in the scarf of her favourite band Westlife.

The cortege paused briefly outside St John’s Primary School where Emma had been a pupil.

Hundreds of people lined the pavements as the mourners stopped at the spot where the crash happened and her father laid flowers.

Father Patrick Mulholland said it would be hard for any of the congregation to feel festive this year.

“I’d imagine that Christmas will forever hold painful and tragic memories for all in Emma’s family,” he added.

The community was also mourning the death of Christopher Shaw, 11, from Valleyside Close, who was killed instantly in the accident.

His older brother Darren, who was hurt in the same incident, is still in a critical condition in hospital.

Their sister and father escaped injury.

Christopher, who should have celebrated his 12th birthday on Monday, was buried at the City Cemetery after Requiem Mass on Tuesday.

A 42-year old man has been charged with causing the deaths of Christopher and Emma by dangerous driving and of causing grievous bodily harm to Darren.

IOL: Online Mass gives taste of home

Online Mass gives taste of home

24/12/2003 – 06:05:26

People around the globe will be able to enjoy a traditional Irish Christmas service in their own home for the first time this year.

Masses will be broadcast live on the internet on Christmas Day from the historic St Andrew’s Church in Dublin’s city centre.

Father Arthur O’Neill, the parish sdministrator, said the facility, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, was particularly poignant at this time of year.

“A lot of people who cannot come home for Christmas will be able to click home and feel as if they are part of the community,” he said.

“Many people who lived in this area have had to emigrate or move away so it’s nice that we can help them keep in touch with home.”

Fr O’Neill said the facility had received a very positive response from parishioners since its launch three weeks ago.

“People are excited about the possibilities,” he said.

“It offers a great contact point, especially at times like Christmas.

“People who unfortunately cannot make it home may feel a little closer when they can see the church and hear the choir in their living rooms.”

Fr O’Neill said the facility at the Catholic Church on the city’s Westland Row, which dates back to 1832, had already proved useful.

“On one sad occasion a relative could not get home for a funeral but was able to watch it online,” he said.

“Equally, it could also be used in the future by godparents or grandparents who cannot make it to a Christening service.”

Fr O’Neill was also very enthusiastic about the potential of the system.

“It is going to be extraordinarily important in allowing us to reach more people,” he said. “It is a sensible use of technology towards a good end and it is a natural progression on what we have already.”

Fr O’Neill said the Internet connection was the next step in the evolution of the parish radio system and a “loop” system which allowed the hard-of-hearing to listen to what was going on during services.

“This enables us to make contact with more people and surely that is what a Christian community should be about,” he said.

Not content with beaming live services across the world, however, Fr O’Neill said the parish had more plans in store.

The IT firm responsible for installing the Internet connection, Kilsheelan Technology International (KTI), have installed a radio-style transmitter in the belltower of the church.

Set-top boxes are to be supplied to allow those in the local area without Internet access, such as local nursing homes, to watch services on a specially tuned channel on their televisions.

“Older people or those too sick to attend who are not online could then still participate in services,” Fr O’Neill added.

The service is available on the web at www.westlandrow.dublindiocese.ie

RELATED URLS:

mass online

BBC

EMMA’S FUNERAL



Eight-year-old Emma Lynch died in hospital

The funeral of an eight-year-old girl killed in a road accident at the weekend is to take place on Wednesday.

Emma Lynch was one of two children who died after being struck by a car near the junction of the Falls and Springfield roads on Friday.

She was walking along with her eight-year-old friend, the child’s two brothers and their father when they were struck by a car.

Emma was taken to hospital where she died from her injuries on Sunday.

Emma’s cortege will leave the family home at Pollard Street at 1215 GMT on Wednesday for Requiem Mass at St Paul’s Church.

Christoper Shaw, 11, from Valleyside Close, was killed instantly in the accident.

His older brother Darren, who was hurt in the same incident, is still in a critical condition in hospital.

Their sister and father escaped injury.

Christopher, who should have celebrated his 12th birthday on Monday, was buried at the City Cemetary after Requiem Mass on Tuesday.

A 42-year old man has been charged with causing the deaths of Christopher and Emma by dangerous driving and of causing grievous bodily harm to Darren.

Irelandclick.com

She was a wee angel

The father of the little girl who was killed when a car struck her and a group of friends in West Belfast has described his only daughter as “a perfect wee angel”.

And the Christmas gifts bought for tragic eight-year-old Emma Lynch will go with her to the grave, he revealed.

New Lodge man Joe Caughey said he was devoted to his little girl and was dreading Christmas without her.

“Christmas is over. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Everything is over,” he said.

And in a cruel twist of fate a beautiful message written by Joe to his daughter inside a jewellery box will never be read by the little girl it was penned for.

The note in a Christmas present has an even more poignant and heartbreaking resonance in light of her death.

He explained how he had bought her a silver pendant adorned with an angel because “ she was always a wee angel”.

The message reads: “That’s who sent you from heaven sweetheart and keeps you safe forever. Love Daddy.”

Tragically little Emma never lived to receive the gift she would have been wearing on Christmas Day.

Instead the chain adorns her lifeless body as she was prepared to be laid to rest from her mum Eileen Lynch’s home in West Belfast.

The distressed father was speaking just hours after the life support machine that was connected to Emma was switched off.

Clearly devastated and trembling with emotion the stunned dad spoke of the harrowing moment the realisation came that he would never again speak to his daughter alive.

“Her mother had her in her arms and she just drifted away. We wanted to give her some dignity. We let her die in our arms,” he said as he fought back tears.

Little Emma was walking along Springfield Road with 11-year-old Christopher Shaw, his 13-year-old brother Darren and nine-year-old little sister Claire.

Darren Shaw was still fighting for his life in the Royal Victoria Hospital this morning (Tuesday) with doctors describing his condition as critical.

Emma was with the youngsters and Christopher and Darren’s dad Michael when the horror smash occurred.

Christopher, who was to celebrate his twelfth birthday on Monday died instantly in the crash.

The driver of the red Vauxhall appeared in court on Monday charged with dangerous driving. Wayne Johnston, 42, of Highfield Drive was also charged with causing grievous bodily injury to Darren Shaw.

Emma’s father revealed the little girl had the leash of a puppy the group were taking for a walk when the car ploughed into them as they stood at traffic lights. The puppy ran off in the aftermath of the accident.

“They were only walking because they were giving the wee puppy a walk. At any other time they would have been getting driven in the car.”

Just hours after the ventilator was switched off the devastated father said he was numb.

“For three days we had hope, she was coming back and then she wasn’t. At one stage she was breathing.

“We were anxiously waiting and counting every minute and then we were told there was nothing anyone could do. She had just wanted to walk the wee dog because her pet dog died a couple of weeks ago and I told her it was in heaven.

“She was a perfect angel and she just looked like an angel in the hospital. She just looked like she was asleep; there was not a bruise or a broken bone on her. That’s why we were hopeful because we didn’t see any marks or anything.

“It’s so unreal, it’s like a bad dream and I still can’t believe it has happened. She fought to the end and won the hearts of the doctors for she was a fighter and wanted to live. I know now she was too good to belong to this world and they had to take her back.”

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Funeral of crash victim

Funeral of crash victim

Hundreds of people have lined the streets of west Belfast for the funeral of the 11-year-old boy killed in a road accident at the weekend.

Christopher Shaw, from Valleyside Close, was one of two children who died after being struck by a car near the junction of the Falls and Springfield roads on Friday.

The little boy should have celebrated his 12th birthday on Monday.

His older brother Darren who was hurt in the same incident is still in a critical condition in hospital.

The brothers were walking along with their father, eight-year-old sister and eight-year-old friend Emma Lynch, when they were struck by a car.

Their sister and father escaped injury. Emma later died from her injuries.

On Tuesday, church bells tolled as the funeral cortege passed the spot where Christopher was knocked down.

At the front of the procession, a guard of honour was formed by his brother’s team, Newhill under-14s.

His sister Claire, who was with her brothers at the time of the accident, laid flowers.

During Mass at St Paul’s Church on the Falls Road in Belfast, prayers were said for Emma Lynch.

Her funeral is set to take place on Wednesday.

Father Martin Graham said every Christmas would bring the pain of memory for the Shaw family.

He said the loss of Christopher had shattered their hearts.

Christopher was buried in the City Cemetery.

A 42-year-old man has been charged with causing the deaths of Christopher and Emma by dangerous driving and of causing grievous bodily harm to Darren.

———————————

Boulder Weekly | NewsandViews | NewsSpin

Christmas behind bars

Ciarán Ferry’s deportation case drags on, as judge denies him amnesty

by Pamela White

It’s not the first Christmas Ciarán Ferry has spent behind bars, but it’s likely to be the toughest. Ciarán wasn’t married during the 7 1/2 years he spent locked up in Northern Ireland’s infamous Long Kesh prison, nor was he a father.

Now he’s faced with spending the holiday in Jefferson County Jail, separated from his American wife, Heaven Ferry, and their 2-year-old daughter, Fiona. Ciarán has been in jail since Jan. 30, when he was taken into custody by immigration officials for allegedly overstaying his visa.

“[Christmas] is such a special, magic time for children and by reflection for the parents also,” Ciarán writes from his jail cell. “In the past 11 months I have missed many special family occasions, but none compare to Christmas. For me to miss this would be a devastating blow to my morale. To suggest otherwise would be a delusion of my emotions. I live in hope.”

But Ciarán is unlikely to see his wish come true. Last month, he lost his bid for amnesty and is now one step closer to being sent back to Northern Ireland, where his name appears on loyalist death lists. He fears that if he is forced to return to Belfast, his life–and those of his wife and daughter–will be in danger.

Ciarán was taken into custody on Jan. 30, when he and his wife met with immigration officials for a routine green card interview. U.S. immigration officials claimed he had overstayed his visa but also pointed to his association with the Irish Republican Army, suggesting he might be a danger to the public.

However, the day after Ciarán was taken into custody, FBI agents offered to set him free–provided he agreed to help them keep tabs on an IRA splinter group operating on the East Coast. Ciarán, who says he came to the United States to get away from death threats and violence, refused.

“It’s really caught me off guard that they can hold him this way,” says Heaven Ferry, who got to know her husband by writing him supportive letters while he was in jail in Ireland.

His plight has captured the attention of Irish-Americans across the country, as well as the Irish and English media. He is one of several Irish republicans facing deportation as a result of an apparent shift in policy following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Several Irish families, some of whom have lived in the United States for years, are suddenly facing orders for immediate deportation because of past membership in Irish republican paramilitary organizations.

In a very similar case, Malachy McAllister was released after being locked up by immigration officials after Congressman Steve Rothman, D-NJ, intervened on his behalf. McAllister was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army as a young man and served three years in an British prison after plotting to kill two officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. One officer was wounded, but the attack on the other was never carried out. McAllister and his family moved to the United States seeking asylum after surviving an attack by masked gunmen, who fired 26 shots into their home one night. McAllister still faces deportation, but he will remain free until his case is decided.

Currently, a letter is circulating in Congress that could help Ciarán win his freedom, as well.

Deanna Turner of the Irish Deportees of America Committee said, “We are very hopeful with the recent developments on the McAllister family case and with a Congressional letter currently circulating on behalf of Ciarán Ferry that a positive outcome will take place.”

Ciarán’s attorney filed a habeas corpus in U.S. District Court, demanding government officials show just cause for keeping Ferry in jail, but the judge in that case was awaiting the outcome of Ciarán’s application for political and religious amnesty.

On Nov. 4, Immigration Judge James P. Vandello ruled that Ciarán was ineligible for amnesty.

“I find that the respondent’s offense constitutes a serious non-political crime,” Vandello said in his ruling. “I further find that having been convicted of this offense, he has participated in the persecution of others… I further find that if the respondent were not barred from receiving relief, he has the ability to relocate to another part of the British Isles in order to avoid any problems he might face in Northern Ireland.”

Heaven says the judge’s comments indicate to her that he doesn’t understand the political situation in Ireland. The family won’t be any safer in Dublin or London than they would be in Belfast, she says.

Heaven says they are in the process of appealing the amnesty ruling, a process that could take years, during which time Ciarán could remain behind bars. In the meantime, she hopes the court will rule on the habeas corpus, release her husband and allow him to await the final outcome of his deportation case in the comfort of the family’s home.

“It almost seems like they’re trying to discourage him from appealing by keeping him in jail,” she says.

Ciarán was arrested when he was 19, after police pulled over the car he and two friends were traveling in and discovered two guns and ammunition. He was tried under the British no-jury system, convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Authorities alleged Ciarán and the others had planned to kill loyalists.

British officials released Ciarán under the Good Friday Peace Accords after authorities determined he had no further ties to the IRA and did not pose a threat to the public. He had been out of prison only long enough to get married, when officials informed him they had discovered his name on two separate loyalist death lists. Ciarán decided to relocate to the United States with Heaven, who was then pregnant, in order to protect his family. He had lived in the United States for two years before immigration officials took him into custody.

“Irish immigrants have never posed a threat to the United States in any way,” Turner says. “In fact, they helped build this country into the wonderful place it is today and continue to make great strides within the political system.”

The United States has traditionally been the biggest financial supporter of Irish republican groups, including the IRA.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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'So venceremos, beidh bua againn eigin lá eigin. Sealadaigh abú.' --Bobby Sands