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Non-Conforming Republican Prisoners Maghaberry

In Feb 2011, we released a “position document” in which we gave an overview of how imprisoned republicans “struggled” in this new phase of attempted criminalisation – up until an agreement – involving all protagonists and an outside group of facilitators was thrashed out on 12th August 2010 and our reasons for taking action more recently. In it we explained how the two main issues within our human rights based demands; the end of “strip searching” and “controlled movement” remain unresolved due to gaol admin/NIO renaging on what was agreed and signed up to by all concerned.

Almost immediately after the agreement was signed and the protest ended and with the media and public spotlight taken of the gaol issues, those responsible for implementing the agreement unilaterally side-stepped the settlement and introduced a policy of forced strip searching-carried out in a way reminiscent of the H-Blocks in the 1970’s and 80’s.

To date almost 40 forced strip searches have been inflicted upon republican POWs by the gaol riot squad. This, we believe, is intended to intimidate and subdue our resolve to withstand and repel any attempts to criminalise us.

From the inception of this republican wing in 2003/4 never has such relentless brutality been inflicted upon POWs. We remain unbowed and unbroken!

Secondly, the “phased” introduction of controlled movement, being completely ended, should by now have been finalized and removed as an issue. This was to allow us unfettered access to our wing, which included cells, landings, classrooms, recreation room etc. This “phased” section was to consist of 3 phases. The first, commencing immediately upon the signing of the 12thAugust 2010 agreement. This was initially to consist of 6 POWs having access to the landings while others could be in the classrooms (10 plus at any given time), laundry room, kitchen, showers, recreation room and yards, etc and of course, cells.

Phase 2 was to be introduced in Dec 2010 which was to consist of an increase in numbers having access to the landing, etc. With phase 3, to be introduced in early March. March 2011 being the completion date for the 3 stages.

The reason given to the republican signatories of the agreement for the “3 phased approach” was so that the screws would not feel “intimidated” by the sudden “unlocking” of 30 POWs with them all having access to the landing, when up until that point they were never on the landing in more that 2’s or 3’s at any one time and only when there was at least 6 to 10 screws to control such a “large group” of “dangerous individuals”. It is worth noting at this point, paragraph 6, appendix 4: “staffing levels” of Dame Ann Owers, interim report Feb 2011, review of the “Northern Ireland Prison Service.” (PDF)

“The special secure unit outside Belmarsh prison holds exceptionally high risk prisoners, including alleged suicide bombers. It operates on a staffing level of 3 officers to 12 prisoners….this compares to a 5 staff – 3 prisoners ratio agreed (by POA and NIPS) in the separated houses in Maghaberry.” Dame Ann Owers, Feb 2011.

This unjustifiable ratio discrepancy gives us an insight into the power of the POA (prison officers association). This “trade union” has been rightly condemned and criticized in numerous inspection reports by the C.J.I.N.I, the H.M.C.I.P, 2 Pearson reports, a number of damning Prison Ombudsman reports and of course countless politicians and public and prisoner representative groups. This same “band of brothers’” fingerprints, we believe, can be found on the wreckage of what is left of the 12th Aug agreement.

In a retrograde step, and indeed a sign if one were needed and after numerous meetings with facilitators and discussions with the prisoner ombudsman, a regime was re-introduced which was in place pre-protest of April 2010 and is known as “inter-cell association” where up to 3 prisoners could be in a cell for a few hours per day – if they so wished. This was to be part of “phase 1” as it was something that didn’t interfere with the initial 6 on the landing rule and was already in place before the initial protest began on 4th April 2010. It has taken 7 months to bring this back into practice for those who wish to avail of it. The issue with this is that it is an irrelevance that is being portrayed by the “gaol admin” as a concession. At a stage (March 2011) when access to our wing should be unfettered and that obviously includes cells we should be able to be out of our cells for almost 12 hours per day with access to every part of our wing from classroom to yards and recreation room etc. This “concession” will only be in place between the hours of 9 to 12 and 2.15 to 4.15, even though we are out of our cells 8.30am to 8.00pm. Only an idiot would view this as something gained – a concession.

This inter-cell association is used in “ordinary decent criminal” (ODC) wings as part of an “enhanced” regime whereby those partaking in drug tests which are inevitably preceded by a strip search can earn extra “privileges” like inter-cell association and up to £15 “wages” per week. This along with “rehabilitation” courses and packages are common practice on the ODC wings. The gaol admin will at every opportunity try to introduce “regimes” such as those above into the republican wing. Indeed, an extension of this criminalisation approach is the use of tags/bracelets by the courts as part of bail conditions and probation. This is presently being employed and pushed to an extent not seen before in an attempt to rehabilitate republicans. We don’t need “rehabilitated” we will go back to our communities the same way we left them – as republicans. We will not allow the republican wing to be used as a “breakers yard” by a Brit sponsored “Justice Department” of the NIO.

At the end of the Feb 2011, the report by Dame Ann Owers, re the “review of the prison service of Northern Ireland,” numerous references were made to previous reports that were deeply critical of the NIPS, illuminating the fact over 1500 recommendations by the Prison Ombudsman have, years later, yet to be carried out. She also makes reference to the clear control the Prison Officers Association(POA) have at every level within the prison service, alluding to “good working practices” and disciplinary processes and procedures that are made impossible by the deliberate “inertia” of this “trade union” for prison officers. On page 54 and 55 of Dame Anne Owers report some paragraphs of her interim review are appropriate:

“separated prisoners, like all others, have to be held in decent and humane conditions – simple containment would be neither” it goes on “the currently agreed staffing levels are far higher than any reasonable risk assessment would demand – even now, they mean that it is in practise impossible to provide opportunities for free movement within the separated houses” On the subject of the Aug 12th agreement she states:

“there remain some unresolved issues about the strip searching on entry and exit from the prison and these need to be resolved in the light of evidenced essential security requirements – the regime available on the separated houses can and should be revised to allow for the freer movement of prisoners.”

It is an absolute disgrace that in 2011, this sort of situation is allowed to continue given the history of the POA towards republicans. There will not be a “settled” gaol if the POA are allowed to dictate gaol policy even after agreements are reached by all relevant parties from inside and outside the gaol.

Given past experiences vis a vis negotiation and agreements with gaol admin/NIO it would be of no great surprise that the dirty tricks department of the POA and gaol admin would scupper any deal reached with republicans at the first available opportunity. However, what made the difference with this agreement was that it was agreed and signed by all parties to the negotiations and agreement. What gave the more sceptical on the republican side the confidence to place their trust in this process was that the integrity of the facilitators was used to guarantee them “standing over” what they helped negotiate and agreed to sign up to. In fact, the idea for all the “negotiators and participants” to physically sign the agreement was put forward by the facilitators, obviously with the intention of making sure everyone would stand over what they had signed up to. Some of us though not enthusiastic about putting our names/signatures to such documents were persuaded this act by all (with integrities at stake) would copper fasten and guarantee that the integrity of the agreement itself would be solidified. At this point a small but pertinent section of the agreement is worth quoting: “throughout this entire phased process, independent assessments will be conducted by NIPS, JFG (facilitators) and minister’s representatives.”

Basically, the Justice Minister, David Ford set up a group of people to assess the agreement at regular intervals to make sure that the agreement was implemented in full. This group consisted of someone from NIPS along with one of the facilitators and someone appointed by the Justice Minister. They have made a number of inspection visits to the republican wing and have been made totally aware of the anger and resentment felt by republicans on the wing. Detailed descriptions of how the “phased” aspect of the ending of controlled movement is not being honoured and that the brutality used when forcibly stripping POWs is akin to what was happening to our comrades on the blanket in the 70’s and 80’s and that this was a recipe for continued protest and struggle in the gaol.

The fact is, that the Justice Minister set up/appointed this group of people to make sure the agreement was implemented in full. This is something that he has stated he wants on a number of occasions in both the oral and written media. We, as a group, which includes a majority of the remaining signatories of the agreement hereby call on the Justice Minister to publish the recommendations made by his appointed “implementation and assessment” team and then have any recommendations that would undoubtedly stabilize the situation, implemented. So what was signed up to in the 12th Aug 2010 agreement can finally be fulfilled.

A stark reminder of how the POA are blatantly and deliberately negatively affecting the forward movement of the agreement is probably best illustrated when – if only one of us even today (March 2011 – 7 months after the screws were supposed to be getting used to us being on the landing etc) is on the landing with 10 screws and wants into his cell, this will only happen if at least 2 of the screws go to the cell door together. This cannot be allowed to continue!!

We stated from the outset of the negotiations that there would be no resolution to the gaol crisis if we were to depend on the “good will” of the POA. Good will and the POA are a contradiction of terms. We again state that this group of people must be made aware that the agreement reached in Aug 2010 has to be respected and implemented in full.

The phased implementation time is continually being extended by a weak prison service to the point where protest is seen by many as the only way to resolve and bring pressure to bear on those with the power to settle this.

We believe the resolution to this is simple; the authority to carry this out already lies in the hands of David Ford. The group he appointed to oversee the full implementation have already given him their recommendations which will bring finality to these matters. He should use that authority immediately.

On a note of conclusion: several weeks ago we welcomed statements from both RSF and RNU regarding prisoners aligned to them, that they would no longer accept strip search under any circumstance. On welcoming those statements we called for immediate dialogue to help repair relationships and bring cohesion between republican prisoners. Although a small number of individuals from within these groups have no concept or experience of republican gaol struggle and how best to achieve our goals, we believe that the vast majority of them are of the same view as us and want to use our combined strengths to face our only enemy in here. Sadly to date there has been no reciprocation of our outstretched hand of friendship, so we call once again to all republicans on our shared wing to dialogue. We would hope also that those close to them on the outside would use their influence regarding these matters to clarify things for them and us.

Signed:

Colin Duffy — Brendan Conway

Gerard McManus — Harry Fitzsimons

Damien McLaughlin — Kevin Barry Nolan

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Belfast Telegraph
30 Mar 2011

Two Sinn Fein Government ministers are being investigated by police for taking part in an illegal parade in South Armagh.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Regional Development Minister Conor |Murphy addressed the commemoration for dead IRA men in the grounds of the Ti Chulainn Centre in Mullaghbawn.

Last week the Belfast Telegraph published photographs of children dressed up as paramilitaries and posing with replica guns at the centre in October.

Hundreds of Sinn Fein members and several bands took part in the parade to the centre the following day.

The organisers failed to give the mandatory legal notice to police. The PSNI and Parades Commission are both investigating the illegal event.

A Parades Commission spokesman said: “Police must receive 28 days’ notice of an intention to march — they then inform us. This didn’t happen, so the parade wasn’t legal.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police can confirm a complaint has been made and an investigation is under way into a report of this parade. No relevant paperwork from the organisers was received by police prior to the event.”

The illegal march was openly reported on the Ogra Sinn Fein website. It stated that Sinn Fein members from across Ireland took part in the march for the unveiling of a monument to 24 dead IRA men.

Martin McGuinness gave the oration. Conor Murphy made presentations to the dead IRA members’ families. A Sinn Fein spokesman yesterday confirmed the ministers had taken part in the parade, but claimed it wasn’t organised by Sinn Fein.

He said an “administrative oversight” by a “local commemoration committee” meant notification hadn’t been given for the march. Neither the Sinn Fein ministers nor anyone else taking part were aware that “the proper paperwork hadn’t been submitted,” he added.

The PSNI has adopted a hard line with other illegal republican parades.

In January police filmed those at a dissident republican prisoners’ march in Lurgan. Officers with loud-hailers warned marchers the parade was illegal and they could be prosecuted. Four people were later arrested and files sent to the PPS.

Prominent independent republicans were also arrested following an illegal commemoration in Co Tyrone last September.

Protestant victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer, who has raised the issue with the Parades Commission, said: “There can’t be one law for republicans in some parts of the country and another for Sinn Fein in south Armagh. Martin McGuinness and Conor Murphy must be immediately questioned by police.”

The matter was discussed yesterday at a meeting between the Chief Constable and TUV Assembly candidate Barrie Halliday.

UUP MLA Danny Kennedy said: “Martin McGuinness and Conor Murphy should be ashamed of themselves for taking part in this parade.”

“Given our divided history I believe that it is difficult to build a shared and united community while we continue to educate our young people separately. It’s not that separate education facilities are inherently unequal in Northern Ireland, it is just that they do not assist in the creation of the shared community here that we need and wish to see. This goes to the heart of our vision for the future.”

**Poster’s note: If ever anyone has said anything intelligent and insightful lately, THIS would be it.

Belfast Telegraph
31 Mar 2011

A roadmap towards a single education system must be produced within four years, Peter Robinson has said.

If the Executive does not agree then educational foundations and other interested groups could push the reform forward, added the Democratic Unionist leader.

Catholic schools are keen to preserve their “ethos” and the head of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) has defended the sector.

Mr Robinson said: “Given our divided history I believe that it is difficult to build a shared and united community while we continue to educate our young people separately. It’s not that separate education facilities are inherently unequal in Northern Ireland, it is just that they do not assist in the creation of the shared community here that we need and wish to see. This goes to the heart of our vision for the future.”

Last October he made a speech in which he suggested that the education system was a benign form of apartheid which was fundamentally damaging to society. Mr Robinson added that while he had no objection to church schools, he objected to the state funding them. But Martin McGuinness said Mr Robinson was making a mistake in taking on the churches.

Mr Robinson, during a visit to Down High School in Downpatrick on Thursday, said: “In the next four years I want to see a roadmap produced for a single education system. I don’t know exactly what shape it will take but I want to see all those interested and involved in education sitting down together to explore how this can best be achieved, while respecting the position of all sectors.

“I would like to think we will be able to convince the Assembly and Executive to come on board as this phase of the journey begins, but if they do not there are foundations and other interested groups who will facilitate this process.”

After the election he envisages a commission representing all interests established to map out a way forward.

“I hope that we will be able to agree terms of reference that will allow everyone to participate in a constructive and positive way and with no predetermined outcome,” Mr Robinson added.

“It may well be that in the initial stage we merely encourage greater sharing between schools and sectors, but ultimately I would hope that this could evolve to a fully integrated single education system. But that will be a matter for the future.”

Belfast Telegraph
31 Mar 2011

The family of a Real IRA member murdered in Northern Ireland has called on police to investigate an alleged secret service link.

That is despite the Government’s security adviser Lord Carlile deciding MI5 had no connection to the Derry death of Kieran Doherty, 31. No inappropriate or improper action took place, he added.

Mr Doherty’s body was discovered on the outskirts of the city close to the border with the Irish Republic in February 2010. He had been shot dead. The Real IRA said he had been killed because of links to the drugs trade.

Mr Doherty’s uncle Vincent Coyle said: “There is a case now for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to carry out an investigation into this.”

He added: “The security services seem to be left doing their own thing. The old Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch took huge pay offs on the Monday and were back as MI5 officers on the Tuesday.”

Lord Carlile spent four months investigating the family’s claims MI5 were involved in the killing and met relatives. He sent a letter to SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan. He said his conclusions must be broad because of potential national security issues.

“My conclusions are clear. No inappropriate or improper action took place. Kieran Doherty’s cruel death was not in any respect a consequence of any misbehaviour or infraction by anybody directly or indirectly connected with the public service,” the letter said. “Further, the PSNI have been able to carry out a full and unimpeded murder inquiry.”

Mr Coyle said the conclusion that the PSNI had not been impeded in their murder investigation left an avenue open for further investigation. He called on PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott to carry out a probe into the allegations made against MI5 by the the family.

In the months before he was killed, Mr Doherty told a local newspaper MI5 had tried to recruit him as an agent.

The Real IRA said it murdered the victim – a senior member of their organisation – over alleged involvement in drugs. But his family claimed MI5 was involved. Lord Carlile pledged to investigate the family’s allegations and report back to Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson.

Belfast Telegraph
31 Mar 2011

A convicted loyalist killer and one-time police informer has been jailed for three years after he had a fight in a hospital reception.

Jailing 46-year-old Philip Blaney at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Gemma Loughran told him “serious violence on repeated occasions is no stranger to you”, and that the fight he had with his brother-in-law in Belfast’s Mater Hospital was “disgraceful”.

Ordering that after he serves half of his sentence he will be subject to a three-year extended licence period to protect the public, the judge told him: “That the fight was in a hospital, where people come to be nurtured for their suffering, renders your behaviour quite deplorable.”

After a trial last year Blaney, from Westland Road in Portadown, was convicted of affray and possessing a weapon, namely a wheel brace, on August 8 2008.

The jury heard that Blaney became aware that his brother-in-law, armed with a knuckle-duster, was coming to fight with him so he made arrangements to get a wheel-brace.

The pair fought in the middle of the packed reception and Blaney struck his brother-in-law on the head with the metal bar. The offence happened when Blaney was still on licence for the manslaughter of grandmother Elizabeth O’Neill, who was killed in an LVF pipe-bomb attack in 1999.

In 2003 Blaney was jailed for 12 years for the killing.

He was also convicted of possessing an explosive substance with intent and two counts of causing an explosion.

Yesterday Judge Loughran revealed that Blaney has 64 previous offences including drugs offences, wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Loughran commented that she was “very surprised” to hear Blaney was in custody on another matter, but added that “I don’t think I should take that into account”. In sentencing Blaney, the judge said she believed an extended licence period was sufficient to protect the public.

By Connla Young
Belfast Telegraph
Thursday, 31 March 2011

Loyalists have ruled out meeting dissident republicans in a bid to defuse tensions at the Ardoyne parades flashpoint.

The north Belfast interface has seen repeated rioting around controversial parades. But representatives of marchers and nationalist residents are now in talks to avoid further clashes this summer.

The North and West Belfast Parades and Cultural Forum has confirmed it is in talks with the nationalist Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (Cara) and said the Parades Commission had been notified.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused in the area last July after violence flared following an Orange Order parade past the Ardoyne shops.

Dissident republicans were blamed for sparking the violence.

Winston Irvine from the North and West Belfast Parades and Cultural Forum last night ruled out the possibility of meeting dissident groups.

He said: “Their agenda is to see the destruction of parades and the existence of the Protestant heritage. Until they change their position I don’t see any chance of that happening. We have met with the leadership of Sinn Fein who are the people with the electoral mandate in Ardoyne and we have met with Cara who are a constituted body that has been put forward by the people of Ardoyne.”

Mr Irvine said the planned series of meetings, which began on March 21, are intended to bring calm to north Belfast ahead of the marching season.

He said: “We want to see a situation where local people are discussing local problems and we hope we get to a point where we address the needs of all the communities.”

Cara spokesman Joe Marley said: “We ask for space to develop this process and trust that these efforts will not be undermined.”

Background

The Ardoyne interface is one of the last remaining parade flashpoints in Northern Ireland. Last year violence erupted |between police and dissidents after republicans held a protest in opposition to an Orange Order march which passed the Ardoyne shops. The violence that followed was some of the worst seen in the province for years.

Belfast Telegraph
31 Mar 2011

The arrest of a woman who claims she was later interrogated by the man alleged to be the most senior British informer in the IRA was a sham to protect her Army agent husband, the High Court has heard.

Margaret Keeley only realised she was a stooge years after being held over the attempted murder of a senior detective and then taken for paramilitary debriefing after her release, her barrister claimed.

Peter Keeley/Kevin Fulton

The Newry woman is seeking permission to sue west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who denies allegations that he was the Army spy codenamed Stakeknife.

She was held for up to four days in 1994 following an IRA attempt to murder RUC detective Derek Martindale in east Belfast.

Mrs Keeley, whose ex-husband Peter Keeley is himself a former MI5 agent known as Kevin Fulton, was released without charge.

She says she was then taken with Fulton to a flat in Belfast’s New Lodge where she was interrogated by an IRA security team.

One of those involved in two debriefing sessions was Scappaticci, she said in evidence.

She told the court that a face she glimpsed during two debriefing sessions was Scappaticci.

Mrs Keeley claims to have been unaware of her husband’s own role as an agent, and that she only realised who Scappaticci was when he was exposed in 2003 as an alleged informer.

It is this date of her knowledge which will determine her application to be allowed to sue the man said to be Stakeknife.

Mrs Keeley’s barrister, Brett Lockhart QC, said yesterday that she didn’t know until 2007 that her 1994 arrest “was a sham and designed to protect her husband”.

The court heard how she went to solicitors after first contacting a human rights group. Mr Lockhart said she went to British Irish Rights Watch “because, as the full picture began to emerge, she realised that she had been a stooge”.

He said the novel and evolving nature of the case explained the delay in bringing proceedings.

But Michael Lavery QC, for Scappaticci, argued that the long delay was prejudicial to his client.

He said it would impact on his ability for provide an alibi for events, and that Mrs Keeley failed to establish the knowledge required to succeed in an application against Scappaticci.

Judgment was reserved.

News Letter
Thursday 31 March 2011

A MAN has been arrested in connection with the security alert in north Belfast, which was declared a deliberate hoax yesterday afternoon.

Police apologised for the inconvenience, after 40 homes and businesses were evacuated in the Oldpark area at the height of the operation, but said the precautions were necessary to stop lives being put at risk.

A controlled explosion was carried out yesterday morning, as officers co-ordinated phased evacuations, in a bid to make the area safe.

“Whilst I would apologise for the obvious inconvenience this caused, police cannot and will not take risks with the lives of people in our community,” said Superintendent Amanda Cooke.

“Had there been a device, there could have been devastating consequences had it exploded.

“Once again our community has been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by a cowardly element intent on causing as much disruption as they can.

“They have no regard for who may be affected by their actions and as a community we should be looking to blame this disruption on the person or persons who made the call claiming a device had been left in the area.”

The man arrested — under terrorism legislation in connection with the hoax call — was last night continuing to assist police with their inquiries at Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he was pleased that the prime minister, David Cameron, had pledged to support the police in “defeating the terrorist scourge”.

The alert came after a number of shots were fired in the Glenview Street area of Oldpark on Monday night.

BBC
30 March 2011

THE author of a best-selling book on the Shankill Butchers has rejected fresh claims the police could have stopped the killings much sooner.

Martin Dillon said the detectives tasked with catching the ruthless murder gang were “a very special group of people” who were “working in a very unusual and dangerous atmosphere”.

He was responding to Monday night’s BBC documentary on the string of barbaric murders carried out by Lenny Murphy’s UVF henchmen during the 1970s, which included claims the police failed to protect Catholics.

The officer who led the hunt, Jimmy Nesbitt, said his team of detectives did “everything possible” to catch every killer in Belfast “and religion didn’t come in to it”.

Praising the senior detective Mr Nesbitt who led the investigation, Mr Dillon said: “Nesbitt is a very special individual, there’s no doubt about it.

“Jimmy never really gives himself much praise but I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. I met him and the guys that worked with him when I was researching the book.

“It’s too easy to demonise the detectives involved and say they could have done better and more at the time but nothing was easy,” he said.

Before writing several Troubles-themed books — including Shankill Butchers: A Case Study of Mass Murder — Martin Dillon was a news reporter and BBC editor.

Rejecting the claims made by victims’ relatives that the police failed in their duty to protect life, the author said: “That’s just entirely untrue. This was such a brutal period and some people find it all very hard to contemplate.

“Can you imagine what it’s like to be a relative of one of the victims? Their emotions are very different than ours.”

The author said the case took an emotional toll on everyone involved including Jimmy Nesbitt.

“He had a lot to deal with. He was a man of great compassion and can you imagine going along and looking at some of those tortured bodies? This was never an easy thing.”

Also speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr Nesbitt said his team of detectives did “everything possible” to catch every killer in Belfast “and religion didn’t come in to it”.

The former investigator said the saddest aspect of the programme was hearing people say he could have done more to prevent the murder of their loved ones.

“Unfortunately there are people in our society who live with their historical myths and you’re not going to change their minds,” he said.

Commenting on the documentary’s interview with the daughter of victim Joseph Morrisey, Mr Nesbitt said: “The most sad thing I saw in the whole programme, unfortunately, was Charlotte Morrisey.

“It’s an awful, awful thing to have your father killed like that, but then to believe that it was allowed to happen, and that if it had been Protestants being killed then it wouldn’t have happened — that’s very sad.”

Lenny Murphy and his gang are believed to have carried out of over 30 murders between them.

The retired detective said the BBC editors left out much of his tribute to the officers trying to bring the “savages” to justice.

“I told them [the programme makers] that I worked with a team of totally dedicated, highly professional and experienced detectives who sacrificed their personal lives and their family lives to carry out these investigations — and that a seven-day working week was the norm and an 18-hour day not unusual, but that didn’t come out in it either.”

Referring to the attempted murder of Gerard McLaverty in 1977, Mr Nesbitt said it was hard to explain how people could watch the documentary’s reconstruction of the efforts to identify those involved and yet still say the police did nothing.

“We were professional detectives. If people are being murdered you give everything to try solve them and catch the killers. We weren’t interested in was killed — the religion part only came into it because it provided us with a motive.

“The people who believe we did nothing will continue to believe that, and the people who thought that we did a good job will continue to believe that.”

Another aspect of the documentary singled out for criticism was the claim by former Sunday World editor Jim Campbell that “everybody knew” who was responsible for the killings while they were going on.

“If he’d known at the time I wish he’d come and told me. There wasn’t even rumours going about. They were a tight, closely-knit gang who were terrified of Murphy,” Mr Nesbitt said.

“We couldn’t have done any more.”

BBC

An independent advisor has told the family of a murdered Real IRA member that MI5 had no connection to his death.

Lord Carlile investigated concerns about the shooting of Kieran Doherty in February 2010.

Kieran Doherty

He said there was no “misbehaviour or infraction by anybody connected directly or indirectly with the public service” in connection with the murder.

Mr Doherty’s family said they were disappointed with the verdict.

Lord Carlile is an independent government advisor on the activities of the security services and met the family of Mr Doherty in Derry earlier this year.

In the months before he was killed, Mr Doherty told a local newspaper that MI5 had tried to recruit him as an agent.

The Real IRA said it murdered the 31-year-old – a senior member of their organisation – over alleged involvement in drugs. But his family claimed MI5 was involved.

Lord Carlile pledged to investigate the family’s allegations and report back to the NI Secretary.

He has now written to Foyle MP Mark Durkan and told him that “no inappropriate or improper action took place”.

“Kieran’s cruel death was not in any respect a consequence of any misbehaviour or infraction by anybody directly or indirectly connected with the public service,” he said.

“Further the Police Service of Northern Ireland have been able to carry out a full and unimpeded murder inquiry.”
Kieran Doherty Kieran Doherty was killed by the Real IRA in February 2010

He added that the Doherty family could pursue other remedies through statutory procedures if they wished.

“My work on this matter is now closed. Because of its nature, I would not regard any further meetings on the subject as appropriate,” he wrote.

Mr Doherty’s uncle Vincent Coyle said that the family had been left “stunned”.

“I think from day one, we all believed that we were never going to get the full facts because of this story of national security but we had great trust in Lord Carlile.

“I do think he is a man of outstanding bravery, given the fact that he took this on at all. But his hands are tied and I think we realise that.

“From day one, we knew this would be an uphill climb.”

BBC
31 March 2011

Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the launch of RMS Titanic will begin on Thursday with the opening of a major photographic exhibition.

The ‘Titanic 100’ exhibition will be held at Belfast City Hall until May.

It will focus on the construction of the ship through the lens of R J Welch, the official photographer for Harland and Wolff.

Belfast City Council will hold two months of events, ending on 31 May, the centenary of the ship’s launch.

The date of the opening is also significant, as it coincides with the anniversary of the laying of Titanic’s keel, on 31 March 1909.

It is also the centenary of the opening of the Thompson Graving Dock, where the ship was built, on 1 April 1911.

As well as displaying photographs of the ship itself, the exhibition will attempt to give an insight into life at the Harland and Wolff shipyard and in Belfast more generally in 1911.

The exhibition will be opened officially at 1030 BST on Thursday by the Lord Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery and John Andrews, president of the Belfast Titanic Society and great-grandson of the Titanic’s designer, Thomas Andrew.

By Cormac Byrne
Herald.ie
Tuesday March 29 2011

THE Real IRA shot three men in revenge for a carbomb attack in Dublin.

The violent thugs targeted the three men in a city park after blaming them for the botched bomb attack.

David Morgan (21) and cousins Gary and Christopher Gleeson, both 26, were singled out for execution by dissidents to “lay down a marker”, gardai believe.

Drinking

The three were shot as they stood drinking vodka in Corduff Park, Blanchardstown, at 11.15am on Sunday morning.

The shootings took place days after an explosive device was placed under a car, in the wrong location, in Blanchardstown.

The device, which was intended to target a Real IRA man, was placed under the wrong car — but the dissidents organised a revenge attack.

They singled out the three young men, despite the fact that there is no evidence that they were involved in the bomb incident.

The device did not explode.

The men were known in the area for anti-social behaviour.

A source told the Herald: “The RIRA believed they were responsible. The lads were known locally for yobbish behaviour and the dissidents knew that few people would complain, and they could paint themselves as vigilantes dealing with local thugs.”

The motive for the initial bomb attack last week remains under investigation. A senior Real IRA member is believed to have been the intended target of the incident, but the bomb was mistakenly placed under the car of an innocent individual.

Bloody

Gardai have no evidence that the men were involved in the attack. But the main line of enquiry is that the RIRA targeted the three men in revenge for the car attack.

It is understood that the three men were caught in a bloody turf war between the RIRA and the INLA. INLA sympathisers are suspects for the car bomb.

The source added: “These three lads were no angels but they were not involved, and got caught in a dispute between the Reals and the INLA.”

They were shot by two masked gunmen as they drank a bottle of vodka in Corduff Park at 11.15am on Sunday morning.

Victim David Morgan (21) was shot twice in the head in the shocking incident. One bullet lodged under his right eye after travelling through his brain. Doctors fear he may suffer from permanent brain damage.

His condition has been downgraded to stable but he continues to be treated in the Intensive Care Unit of James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown.

Christopher and Gary Gleeson are both in a serious condition in the Mater Hospital.

Gardai are also investigating whether the gunmen were using faulty bullets in the attack.

Detectives believe that the dud bullets had weak gunpowder charges which may have saved the lives of the three men.

Gary and Christopher Gleeson were drinking vodka in the park with Morgan when the two armed men strolled up to them, pulled on balaclavas and opened fire with .38 Smith and Wesson Special revolvers.

The Gleesons managed to run to a nearby house at Edgewood Lawns, having sustained gunshot injuries, but Morgan fell and was shot in the head.

Christopher Gleeson has a history of violence and had been jailed for a violent assault.

Gleeson pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm during an attack in 2003 and was sentenced to seven years in jail with the final three suspended. He was one of a seven-strong gang who set upon Edward Fanning outside his home in Mulhuddart as his son enjoyed his first birthday party inside. He was left in a coma for several days.

The gardai in Blanchardstown are appealing for people in the locality to come forward and help the investigation.

Anyone with information on the crime is urged to call Blanchardstown gardai on 01-6667000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any garda station.

hnews@herald.ie

BBC
30 March 2011 09:48

A BBC TV documentary on the Shankill Butchers has heightened unionist fears that the IRA’s responsibility for more Troubles murders than any other group is being overlooked.

While there was universal agreement yesterday that the butchers were savage murderers — branded by the BBC as “the most prolific gang of serial killers in UK history” — there was concern that republican brutality also needed scrutiny.

On air yesterday, east Belfast community worker Jim Wilson told Stephen Nolan —who presented the documentary — that he had got it wrong.

“Those murders cannot be justified,” he said. “But the biggest mass murderers we have had were the IRA.”

During the Troubles, republicans claimed 2,148 lives, loyalists 1,071 and the security forces 365.

Mr Wilson said that despite atrocities such the Enniskillen, La Mon and Bloody Friday bombs, republicans had progressed to respectability at Stormont “and not a word is being said about them”.

He added: “And it is now my community that is being demonised.”

Stephen Nolan described his comments as worthy of consideration.

Former victims’ commissioner and UUP member Mike Nesbitt told the News Letter there was a perception that the review processes currently in place do not represent a level playing field.

“The prime minister apologised for Bloody Sunday, the secretary of state apologised for Claudy, the previous NI Secretary expressed regret regarding the shooting of Aidan McAnespie, this week Owen Paterson is apologising again,” he said. “The problem is there have been no apologies from republicans in reply in relation to the likes of the murder of Jean McConville, Bloody Friday, the La Mon bombing, and Enniskillen.”

Mr Nesbitt said that there had been silence over “events like the murder of a young mother, Joanne Mathers, shot dead by the IRA in 1981 whilst collecting census forms in Londonderry”.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson branded the Shankill Butchers as “deplorable”.

“But the Northern Ireland media needs to be careful it does not rewrite history so we forget that the most prolific murderers were the IRA,” he said. “The IRA killed as many Catholics as loyalists did. And the Dublin government has never fulfilled promises to hold inquiries about its collusion with the IRA throughout the Troubles.”

PUP leader Brian Ervine said what the butchers did was “horrible and vicious. But it is as if the Provos didn’t do anything — and now they are sitting in government”.

“Loyalists have apologised for the murders they committed but republicans have never reciprocated. They always justify themselves.”

Victims campaigner Willie Frazer also said a small gang of IRA men were responsible for around 100 murders, but that this had never been highlighted.

“This was the same small gang of IRA men who were responsible for the 15 murders at Kingsmills in 1976 and Tullyvallen in 1975,” he said. “About 40 bodies were dumped along the border like confetti.

“They would use a blow torch on your feet, smash your hands with a lump hammer, smash your kneecaps, partially drown you and then start all over again. This would go on for three to five days without sleep. Then they would shoot you in the back of the head and dump you on a road somewhere.”

Chris McGimpsey, a former Belfast councillor who knows the Shankill well, described the Nolan documentary as “a very good programme — it got to the depth of the problem and the horror of it”.

But he added: “I thought it should have linked the whole thing into what was happening in Northern Ireland. There were other Protestant gangs and other Catholic gangs roaming around killing people. You would think from the programme the worst sectarian killers came from the Shankill, so I think overall it did a disservice to the Shankill community. I thought Baroness May spoke well for the community.”

Mr McGimpsey added: “You understand the anger and upset of the victims. There were Protestant victims of the Butchers too, and the programme didn’t make any effort to expose their pain.”

The BBC responded that the documentary asked important questions of one of the most distressing periods in Northern Ireland and was set within the wider context of the time.

“We believe the programme captures some of the difficulties faced by all communities in Northern Ireland and importantly the distressing legacy left by these horrific events on everyone affected,” a spokeswoman said. “The documentary makers made every effort to ensure the difficult subject matter within the programme was presented factually and in a sensitive manner with a broad range of views and opinions sought from both sides of the community to ensure balance.”

It was one of a portfolio of BBC programmes which ask questions about the past, she said, including the Poppy Day Bomb, Bloody Sunday, Omagh.

Indymedia.ie
30 Mar 2011

Regardless of how many meetings C.A.R.A. and the North/West Belfast Parades Forum have now and in the future. They are meaningless without the consent and approval of the greater number of Ardoyne residents. As C.A.R.A. do not represent the majority of residents in this community.

A substantive survey was conducted by the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) towards the end of 2009, in which the majority of local residents clearly stated that Loyal Order Parades were not welcome through our community. The findings of this survey has been ignored by C.A.R.A., the North/West Parades Forum and a number of political Parties because of political agendas.

Without taking our survey into account and addressing the concerns of ALL residents in the Greater Ardoyne community. C.A.R.A. do not have the right to reach an accomadation with those who insist on marching where they are not welcome!

As part of those serious concerns, GARC will continue to peacefully oppose unwelcome sectarian marches through Ardoyne.

Related Link: http://greaterardoyneresidentscollective.blogspot.com/2….html

By Patrick Martin
WSWS
30 March 2011

It has been six days since Khalifa Hifter was appointed the top military commander for the Libyan rebel forces fighting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. His appointment was noted by reporter Nancy Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers, a US regional chain that includes the Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star.

Two days later, another McClatchy journalist, Chris Adams, wrote a brief biographical sketch of Hifter that left the implication, without saying so explicitly, that he was a longtime CIA asset. It headlined the fact that after defecting from a top position in Gaddafi’s army, Hifter had lived in northern Virginia for some 20 years, as well as noting that Hifter had no obvious means of financial support.

The World Socialist Web Site published a perspective March 28 taking note of both the McClatchy articles and earlier reports providing more details of Hifter’s connections to the CIA. These included a 1996 article in the Washington Post and a book published by the French weekly Le Monde diplomatique. (See ‘A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels’)

Both the McClatchy sketch of Hifter’s background and the WSWS perspective have been widely circulated on the Internet. The WSWS perspective has been linked to by a myriad of left-liberal and antiwar web sites, although, significantly, there has been no mention of Hifter in the press of the International Socialist Organization and other pseudo-socialist groups that adapt themselves politically to the pro-Obama liberal milieu.

Hifter has been interviewed and his appointment reported by the European press, including the Independent of Britain, the German weekly Stern, and newspapers in Spain, France, Italy and Turkey (with variant spellings, including Heftar and Haftar). But not in America.

Hifter’s name has not appeared in the bulk of the corporate-controlled US media. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times have all been curiously silent, despite having more journalists in the war zone than McClatchy. The US television networks have likewise kept quiet on the identity of the Libyan rebel commander, with the exception of a brief interview with Hifter on ABC News March 27, which made no reference to his previous long-term residence within five miles of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

There is no credible explanation for this silence from the standpoint of journalism. There is no security reason to keep the name of the Libyan commander secret—it was publicly announced by the Transitional National Council in Benghazi, and Hifter is certainly well known to Gaddafi, who employed him as a commander of Libyan-backed forces in the civil wars in Chad in the 1980s.

The obvious conclusion is that the American media is keeping silent in order to deprive the American people of information that would help clarify the nature of the US military intervention in Libya—and trigger opposition to it. The selection of a longtime CIA collaborator as commander of the rebels makes nonsense of the official claim that the United States is intervening militarily in Libya to protect civilian lives, rather than taking sides in a civil war in order to gain control of Libya’s oil assets and strengthen the position of American imperialism in the region.

Two words that were notably absent from Obama’s Monday night speech on national television were “rebels” and “CIA.” Both the Obama administration and the US intelligence apparatus want to downplay their role in the direction of the rebel ground forces. For the American media, that amounts to a direct order, to which the editors of the Times, Post, etc., salute and say, “Yes, sir, Mr. President.”

Only two months ago, Times editor Bill Keller penned a lengthy screed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the newspaper’s Sunday magazine section. In the course of his denunciation of a genuine journalist, this courtier of the American state declared that the role of “an independent news organization” was “to exercise responsible judgment about what to publish and what not to publish …” (See ‘The New York Times’ Bill Keller on WikiLeaks: A collapse of democratic sensibility’)

In the case of Khalifa Hifter, this responsibility “not to publish” extends beyond the concealment of the documentary evidence of American war crimes and diplomatic conspiracies uncovered by WikiLeaks. The American media is withholding from the American public basic facts about the war in Libya, widely reported overseas and easily available to those who know where to look. There is no other word for this but censorship.

:::u.tv:::
29 Mar 2011

A legal challenge is to be mounted to the integrity of the investigation against a dissident suspect charged with murdering a police officer, after it was disclosed that a prison officer planted a note in his cell.

The note planted in the cell of Brendan McConville, who is accused of murdering Pc Stephen Carroll in Craigavon in 2009, contained personal details about former Maghaberry jail governor Steve Rodford.

The findings were made by prisoner ombudsman Pauline McCabe, who completed an 18-month investigation into the incident at Maghaberry jail.

Mr Rodford resigned shortly after the discovery was made in September 2009 amid fears he was under threat.

Her report says: “On the balance of probabilities, a member of Prison Service staff planted the note found in Mr (Brendan) McConville’s cell.

“On the balance of probabilities, the note was planted in Mr McConville’s cell to try to encourage the governor of Maghaberry Prison to reconsider planned changes he was proposing to make at the prison.

“The fact that the note was found in the cell of a republican prisoner was not believed to be a coincidence, but no evidence was found that there was an intention to target Mr McConville’s cell in particular”. –Pauline McCabe

Kevin Winters, the solicitor who represents Mr McConville, said that Ms McCabe’s report “completely vindicates the case made by him that he was set up to suit some wider sinister agenda”.

Mr Winters claimed the findings raise serious questions, and he called on Justice Minister David Ford and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to carry out investigations.

He said: “My client doesn’t accept at all that one member of prison staff acted alone – he wants to know the full extent of the conspiracy to both frame him for a serious crime and at the same time remove a prison governor from office.

“This is a devastating blow to the credibility of the prison regime and we intend to raise the findings in the courts.

“The report will form the basis of an abuse of process application to challenge the integrity of the outstanding murder investigation against Mr McConville.”

News Letter
Tuesday 29 March 2011

A NEW era for Ulster policing begins this morning as the 50:50 ‘positive discrimination’ comes to an end – but Protestants previously rejected on the grounds of religion will see their hopes tempered by news of a recruitment freeze.

Unionists have welcomed an end to the controversial 50:50 policy, with one DUP politician calling on Protestants to re-apply in numbers when recruiting resumes, and the Alliance Party also saying it was unhelpful.

Alliance MLA Stephen Farry described a decade of 50:50 recruitment as a “source of deep grievances”.

A News Letter investigation last year found that almost 1,000 Protestants who reached the required entry standard had been rejected by the PSNI. During the same period (up until January 2010) not a single Catholic who passed the selection tests was turned away.

Following a decade of the Patten report-recommended initiative, which ensured that Catholic and non-Catholic officers were recruited in equal number, a major review is under way to find a suitable replacement model.

The 50:50 scheme has seen the percentage of Catholics rise from just eight per cent in 1999 to almost 30 per cent at present.

In contrast to the unionist welcome for the end of 50:50, several nationalist politicians claim the process should have been continued until a target of at least 40 per cent Catholic representation was reached.

Police recruitment is now at a temporary halt with a PSNI spokeswoman saying the whole process will be subject to “a review against value for money initiatives”.

The spokeswoman said it would include “an appraisal of pre-entry criteria” but would most likely still comprise an assessment, medical, vetting, and substance misuse testing stages, prior to offers of appointment based on merit.

Commenting on the plight of those who have already completed the current selection process, she said: “The police service still holds a list of suitable candidates from the last recruitment process in 2010, but there are no plans to make further appointments from this list after the temporary provisions are withdrawn at the end of this month (March).”

DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Bell welcomed the end of 50:50, saying: “State sponsored sectarian discrimination was unjustified when it began and the ending of this unjustifiable practice is a positive move for policing.

“Many of our young men and women bear the scars of having proven themselves worthy and achieved their place in the merit pool but received their rejection letter because they hung their hat in a Protestant church on a Sunday morning.”

Mr Bell added: I urge them to re-apply.

“We need their skills and expertise. Today the gates of fairness have been opened up. Today is a good day for the merit principle.”

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott also welcomed the end of what he called the “deliberate bias” of 50:50 selection.

“Nowhere else in the democratic world would have tolerated such discrimination for so long and I’m glad that the provisions have finally ended and the principle of merit restored,” Mr Elliott said.

“Our party was incredibly disappointed when the last Labour government decided to extend the provisions for a further year and we are glad the current administration has the common sense to see that these measures can no longer be justified.”

Alliance justice spokesperson Stephen Farry described the current process as a “source of deep grievances”.

Mr Farry said his party favoured other means to ensure balanced representation and added: “Alliance is committed to a professional and representative police service. 50:50 recruitment was never the best method to ensure this.

“It was a departure from the merit principle, and became a source of deep grievances.

“It was itself a blunt instrument that worked against the interests of women and members of ethnic minorities, and would never assure genuine balance right across the community.”

However, the SDLP’s policing spokesman said the secretary of state was “making a serious error” by ending the controversial scheme.

Dominic Bradley said: “The Patten report did not put any limit to the length of time that 50:50 recruitment should last and regarded 30 per cent as a floor, not a ceiling. We believe it should continue until we have a fully representative police service here.

“The SDLP believes that the percentage of Catholics in the PSNI should be between 40 and 44 per cent.”

Sinn Fein policing board member Alex Maskey said there was a “continued need” for the PSNI to be truly reflective of the broader community and added: “Twenty nine per cent representation of those from a Catholic background is not a satisfactory reflection.”

News Letter
Tuesday 29 March 2011

NEWLY released documents suggest Irish Free State founder Eamon de Valera covertly co-operated with Britain to crush the IRA.

The papers – revealed by BBC Radio Four’s Document programme last night – claim De Valera, whose entire cabinet in the late 1930s were former IRA members, asked London to help smear the organisation’s chief of staff as a communist agent.

BBC presenter Mike Thomson said tensions came to a head when the IRA began bombing Britain in early 1939.

Eamon de Valera

Under what was called the Sabotage or S-Plan, British cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry were targeted by IRA explosive teams. In one attack on Coventry five people died and 70 more were injured.

Dublin reacted even more forcefully than London.

The BBC presenter said De Valera’s government regarded IRA attacks against Britain as a threat to the Irish state itself.

Mr Thomson said with war looking likely, De Valera was determined that Ireland should remain neutral.

According to Mr Thomson, De Valera knew that a hard rump of republicans would never countenance being allied to the “old enemy” Britain, and such an alliance could push Ireland into another bloody civil war.

But he also knew that, if his country was seen as a threat, London might decide to invade.

The programme’s presenter said: “It seems hard to believe that this was the same militant republican who had been at the forefront of the Easter Rising against British rule in 1916.

“After becoming prime minister of the Irish Free State, he outlawed the IRA in 1936, and his commitment to pursuing Irish unification by constitutional means led him to part company with many of his former comrades-in-arms.

“Yet few would have guessed that he would soon be accepting British help to crush them.

“In 1939, as the documents show, De Valera’s government asked for assistance from London in smearing IRA chief of staff Sean Russell as a communist agent.”

Dublin also called on London to consult them on sentences imposed on IRA members convicted of the bombings in Britain.

According to Mr Thomson, De Valera was worried that those executed at British hands might become martyrs at home. But he had no such qualms over those convicted of bombings in Ireland.

“In fact, De Valera’s government executed more IRA members than Britain and even borrowed the UK’s most famous executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, to hang one of them.”

Some in Ireland may well have suspected at that time that their government was secretly co-operating closely with Britain, a country many still considered their enemy. Yet only now can such suspicions be confirmed, said the programme’s presenter.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, which oversaw the disarmament of paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland in the wake of the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accord, has announced that Boston College will become the repository for an archive of documents that chronicle the commission’s groundbreaking work.

Ed Hayward
Cisionwire
29 Mar 2011

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (March 2011) – Boston College will be the repository for an archive of documents that chronicle the decommissioning of Northern Ireland’s paramilitary groups — widely regarded as one of the most crucial steps on the road to peace in that troubled region.

The documents are from the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), appointed in 1997 to oversee the process of putting “beyond use” weapons used by combatants involved in the violence and aggression that marked the three decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles.”

Over the next decade, as the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was being implemented, the IICD worked with the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Loyalist Volunteer Force, Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defense Association and other paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland to verify that their weapons — including rifles, machine guns, explosives and missiles — were destroyed.

The Commission’s voluminous documents from this undertaking — which include both Commission deliberations, as well as a few personal notebooks kept by IICD members — will now be housed in the Special Collections of Boston College’s John J. Burns Library. The decision to donate the materials was approved by the Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Peterson and Director of the Northern Ireland Office Hilary Jackson. The collection will be curated over time, and possibly digitized so that the documents may eventually be available, at least in part, on the Internet for scholars everywhere.

Boston College University Professor of History Thomas Hachey, executive director of the Boston College Center for Irish Programs, worked closely with Sean Aylward, secretary general of Ireland’s Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, to help secure the archive.

Hachey described the documents as an incredibly valuable collection for future studies on the era of “The Troubles.” “What the contents of the archive will reveal are the subtle nuances in the recorded deliberations that reflect the personal dispositions, reasoning and strategic maneuvers of the various participants during the negotiations.”

Hachey said the real significance of the Commission’s accomplishment “lies in the fact that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, as well as the subsequent sustainability of the Northern Ireland Assembly and power sharing Executive, would have been fatally compromised without the IICD’s contribution to the peace process.”

Under Irish and British law, the archive could be inaccessible for a period of 30 years, a provision that comports with the embargo on government archives in much of the world at present, Hachey said. There will, however, be periodic review that may grant earlier access if approved by the appropriate Anglo-Irish authorities.

Given the controversy that would ensue over locating the archive in Dublin or Belfast, Hachey explained, Boston College represented a logical alternative, given its ties to Ireland and Northern Ireland: the Center’s Irish Studies Program faculty exchange program with Queens University Belfast; the Irish Institute’s federally funded executive leadership program for participants from North and South as part of the Department of State’s peace and reconciliation program; and the multiple initiatives in Northern Ireland overseen by the BC-Ireland office in Dublin.

In addition, Hachey said, Burns Library is recognized as having the most diverse and comprehensive holdings relating to Northern Ireland in the Western Hemisphere. These include the Center for Irish Programs’ oral history archive of Irish Republican Army and Ulster Volunteer Force participants; the private papers of various Northern Irish poets and writers; the Bobby Hanvey photograph archive on “The Troubles”; the William Van Vorris papers; the William F. Stout papers; the Canon Rogers pamphlets on Northern Ireland; and the new Ulster Movement Archive.

Derry Journal
Tuesday 29 March 2011

Those behind the Bishop Street bomb attack are “pathetically inadequate when it comes to the department of thought”, according to a founding father of Derry’s Civil Rights movement.

Eamon Melaugh, a founding member of the NICRA, was one of those who had to be evacuated from a sheltered housing project because of the attack. He called on those responsible to explain their actions.

Mr Melaugh said there should be an open debate with those behind the attack, who he described as having “the morals of Col. Gadaffi and intellectual capability of a maggot.”

A well-known charity fundraiser, 79 year-old Mr Melaugh was among the 46 residents of Alexander House on Bishop Street who were evacuated. as a result of the bomb attack.

“ This is the sixth time I’ve had to leave my house due to the insensitivity of others. We should be allowed a bit of peace and quiet at this stage in our lives.”

Speaking directly to the bombers, he said: “What have these people got to lose by coming and explaining to us their motives and what they hope to achieve? Where is this campaign taking us?”

He said those responsible should gauge support for their campaign by standing in the forthcoming local elections. “Let them fight every seat in the council elections. Let them put their campaign to the test of public vote. Everyone of them will lose their deposits.”

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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