You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.
Tue May 31 2011
A CHRISTIAN rally for reconciliation endorsed by the first ministers has drawn some 12,000 people from both sides of the border, it has been revealed.
A farmer and internationally-renowned communicator of the Christian faith, South African Angus Buchan, was the keynote speaker at the non-denominational rally at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast at the weekend.
His inspiring life story is told in the book and film Faith Like Potatoes and he has spoken to crowds as large as 350,000.
Musical performances on Friday and Saturday evenings were provided by the cross-community Omagh–Waterford Peace Choir.
First minister Peter Robinson and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness last week issued a joint statement warmly endorsing the event as one of hope and reconciliation.
One of the organisers, Brian Keys, said about 6,000 people attended on both evenings.
“There was good evidence of cross-community presence,” he said.
“It was non-denominational and we had Protestants and Catholics attending from as far afield as Tyrone, Fermanagh, Kilkenny and Donegal.
“I have emails from people on both sides of the community from all these areas thanking us for organising the event. It helped very much that we used what was seen as a neutral venue for today’s society.”
He said Mr Buchan was not a polished “tele-evangelist” but “a man’s man” who brought a sense of honesty to his craft. As part of his story he tells of the accidental death of his nephew on his farm.
Earl Storey, official spokesman for the event, said the South African presented a very unifying message. “Angus said ‘the one thing I do is to preach about Jesus Christ – and that is the uniting thing’.
“He was very clear that he was not talking about denominations or politics,” he added.
Tue May 31 11:57:45 BST 2011
FIRST minister Peter Robinson has voiced his concern over a Dublin tribunal set up to probe allegations of collusion in the murder of two RUC officers.
Chief Supt Harry Breen, who commanded most of south Armagh, and his driver, supt Bob Buchanan, were killed after a security meeting with gardai in Dundalk on March 20, 1989.
As they drove back across the border near Jonesborough, the IRA opened fire.
Supt Buchanan, a father of two, died at the wheel of the unmarked car as he attempted to put it into reverse.
Chief supt Breen, who also had two children, was found dead on the roadside. The IRA took security documents from the car.
Both men, with headquarters in Newry, were unarmed as they left their weapons behind before leaving for Dundalk.
Chief supt Breen was the highest-ranking member of the RUC to be killed by the IRA.
The Smithwick Tribunal was set up in 2005 to probe claims of collusion between the Garda and IRA. It is due to start public hearings next week but the Irish government has said it wants the tribunal to be finished by November.
The Breen family solicitor, John McBurney, hit out in fury last week at the November cap for the tribunal, pointing out the huge amount of evidence that could be accessed during the inquiry.
Speaking on internet site Twitter, Mr Robinson said he was shocked to hear Mr McBurney quote from evidence given by Lord Stevens to the Westminster joint committee on the draft detention of terrorist suspects bill last month that out of 210 people interviewed, only three were not agents.
“That represents more than 98 per cent of those arrested and questioned,” he tweeted.
“Am I right to wonder why, even if the percentage of agents involved overall was somewhat less, how the conflict lasted so long.”
A DUP spokesman told the News Letter yesterday that Mr Robinson has been keeping a “close eye” on the progress of the tribunal.
Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister has said he intends to lobby the first minister over claims the Dublin justice minister is interfering with the inquiry.
Alan Shatter confirmed last week that he has demanded that the tribunal be wound up by November, despite the fact that the public hearings phase has not even started.
Mr Allister points out that comparatively in Northern Ireland there have been several high-profile inquiries such as Saville which were not time-limited nor restricted by cost.
“Yet when the work of the one such inquiry in Dublin is about to go public, suddenly the Republic’s minister of justice seeks to cripple it by impossible time and cost constraints.
“Such political interference is deeply troubling.
“When the solicitor for Harry Breen says he fears a ‘Cinderella tribunal’, then it is time to ask just what is going on.
“In view of the serious situation which is evolving and the resulting threat to the unearthing of the uncomfortable truth, I intend tabling a priority written question to the first minister asking what protest his office has made to Dublin over this intolerable meddling by the Republic’s government in the due process of public inquiry into collusion between the Garda and the IRA.
“Getting the truth on this issue is an imperative. It must not be compromised.”
Ulster Unionist Colin Breen has said it is essential that the answers are provided to those questions the tribunal seeks to address.
“Our fervent hope is that it will be fearless in pursuit of the truth and be unafraid to say whatever needs to be said and not be constrained by political considerations.
“That is the very least that the relatives of the two murdered officers deserve 22 years after they were gunned down in cold blood.”
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
A decline in traditional values and morals has created a “broken Ulster” which is fuelling Protestant under-achievement in education, a DUP politician has claimed.
The remarks came as Stormont parties united behind an Assembly motion calling for efforts to tackle lower levels of attainment at school among pupils from Protestant working-class communities.
But while most speakers blamed deprivation and the decline of long-standing industries for the trend, the DUP’s newly-elected David McIlveen said the declining role of religion and “moral fibre” had to be considered.
He also, meanwhile, used his maiden speech to reveal his late grandmother’s Irish republican beliefs and dedicated his election success to the Co Cavan-born woman’s memory, despite not sharing her political outlook.
Mr McIlveen, whose father is the prominent Free Presbyterian minister of the same name, said educational under-achievement was a major issue in Protestant working-class areas.
“However, I think that what we have to accept is that whilst this is a debate that circles around education, the education aspect of it is really just the tip of the iceberg,” the North Antrim MLA said.
“As I have spoken to many people who work within the education sector, particularly in working-class areas, it is very clear that this debate spans into other departments.
“It really goes right to the very moral fibre of where Northern Ireland is at this present time.
“Because, whether we like it or not, in our schools and in our working-class estates, particularly in Protestant areas, there is a lack of parental guidance, there is a lack of pastoral guidance… and this is the biggest issue we have here, in working-class Protestant areas at the moment.”
He said that when Queen’s University Belfast was founded, the absence of a prominent role for religion saw it branded as one of a number of “God-less colleges”.
“Unfortunately our schools have followed that example,” he said.
“Unfortunately that is where we find that the biggest breakdown is, it is the breakdown of families, it is the breakdown of moral guidance within the home.”
He recounted a case of drunkenness involving two 12-year-old girls and added: “What we have to realise is that we have a much deeper problem than what is just happening within the schools.
“David Cameron, our Prime Minister, in the last election fought on the basis of ‘Broken Britain’ and I believe sincerely that we have a case of ‘Broken Ulster’ in this society at this moment of time.”
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said the issue of educational under-achievement was linked to deprivation across the community.
He cited figures from 2009-10 which showed that 59% of pupils gained five GCSEs or more, but the figure for attainment for children who receive free school meals was at the much lower figure of 31%.
Both he and Education Minister John O’Dowd were in the chamber for the debate and speakers from all parties said the issue required action.
The DUP’s Alex Easton said the decline in traditional industries such as ship-building was among factors that contributed to proportionately lower achievement rates for Protestant working-class boys at school.
The DUP objected to Sinn Fein claims that academic selection exacerbated the educational problems in Protestant working-class areas.
Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan, who also gave his maiden speech, said the lower levels of Protestant working-class involvement in third level education also underlined the need to avoid an increase in university fees, for fear of barring students from less well-off backgrounds.
Mr McIlveen, however, said the impact of popular culture on the ambitions of young people was also important.
He said young people had to be inspired and added: “We have to get away from this X Factor-like principle that everybody can be a star.
“The fact is that everybody can’t be a star. Everybody can work, everybody can be the best that they possibly can.”
31 May 2011
May 31, 2011: The British government is running into some big problems in Northern Ireland. The recent rise in terrorist attacks by dissident Irish Republican groups has highlighted the dangerous false sense of security into which the province, and the security forces, have fallen since the signing of the peace agreement in 1998. Many former British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers are worried that the anti-terrorism intelligence capabilities have been hit, and depleted, the hardest with respect to the trouble area of the United Kingdom.
With the end of the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s (PIRA) armed campaign over a decade ago and the decommissioning of IRA weapons, as well as the end of violent Loyalist paramilitary activities, the “Troubles” that plagued Northern Ireland since 1969 appeared to have ended. Because of this, the entire area has undergone a massive demilitarization. The most publicly visible sign that the campaign might be over was the end of Operation “Banner”, the British Army’s 30-year operation in Northern Ireland that, at its peak, saw the deployment of over 12,000 British troops in Ireland, backed up with Special Air Service (SAS) detachments.
But the most important achievement the British security establishment made during the “Troubles” was in the field of anti-terrorist intelligence gathering. During the 30-year conflict, the British became the undisputed masters of covert intelligence collection and deployed a plethora of covert units to combat the Irish Republican Army. Along with regular combat forces, the British Army Intelligence Corps was deployed in a big way in Ulster. The RUC’s Special Branch recruited and handled informants (“grasses” or, if you are really lucky, a well placed “supergrass”) along with running undercover operations. MI5, although often regarded as less effective than Army and RUC outfits, also participated in the intelligence gathering effort. Finally, a highly-secretive all-branches unit called the 14 Intelligence Company (“The Det”) conducted undercover surveillance and bugging ops against suspected Republican terrorists. During the height of the conflict, Ulster could rightly have been considered the most spy-infested area on the globe.
The need for such a massive, comprehensive intelligence collection apparatus was obvious. Why? Because the IRA were good, really good, at what they did (shooting people, blowing things up, and getting away with it.) Most professional veterans of both military and RUC intelligence arms who saw duty during the “Troubles” are often quick to remind anyone who will listen that, compared to the IRA, groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are pretty amateurish.
For one thing, the IRA were always far better-armed, for their time, than Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters have ever been. The IRA chose its weaponry carefully according to its needs, what it was likely to face, and how it intended to fight. Secondly, the IRA were far better organized and were experts at internal security, even possessing its own counterintelligence unit. A terrorist group doesn’t survive 30 years of intense military and police pressure, stay intact, successfully smuggle weapons and pull off attacks, and gain some measure of political legitimacy without some smart guys running the show. So successful was the IRA as an insurgent group that British Army analysts admitted that the conflict eventually, from a military standpoint, ended in a stalemate. The IRA could not win the conflict through violence because of the intense military, police, and intelligence pressure constantly exerted upon them, and the British Army and RUC simply couldn’t completely stamp out by force an organization that, by the 1990s, had become the most lethal, well-armed, and well-organized insurgent force in Europe. Depending on who you ask, both sides claim they won.
Unfortunately, a negative byproduct of the PIRA’s “defeat” was the dismantling of the ruthlessly efficient intelligence machine that had waged the covert war in Northern Ireland. RUC’s Special Branch was disbanded in the early 2000s. MI5 and MI6 have spent the last decade operating in the Middle East and conducting surveillance on Moslem (not Irish) terrorists. The 14 Intelligence Company was transformed into the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Libya). The SRR has been operating again in Northern Ireland over the last few years, but is still being dwarfed by the efforts against Islamic extremism. With Northern Ireland again becoming a problem, the British are scrambling to build back the enviable spy machine they operated for so many years.
Tuesday May 31 2011
The man tipped to be Ireland’s first openly gay president says his campaign has been sabotaged by the re-emergence of decade-old remarks about the age of consent and incest.
David Norris, a well-known senator and equality campaigner, accepted his hopes of being one of the world’s first openly homosexual heads of state have been badly damaged by the scandal.
Mr Norris, an academic and renowned James Joyce scholar, described as “the lowest blow of all” the resurfacing of an interview he gave 10 years ago, in which he was asked about his views on sexuality…
Senator Norris, a frontrunner in the opinion polls, is seeking the backing of TDs, fellow senators and local authorities to stand as an independent in the race to succeed President Mary McAleese when she leaves office later this year.
The controversy erupted after restaurant critic Helen Lucy Burke, who wrote the original article in Magill magazine, went on the national airwaves to oppose Mr Norris’s challenge for the presidency.
Mr Norris said he was “astonished” she chose to do so during this critical stage in his campaign.
“This is an attempt to sabotage my campaign. It’s a 10-year-old article, there is nothing new and I want to ask why is this being brought up now,” he said.
In the article, Mr Norris is reported as saying: “I cannot understand how anybody could find children of either sex in the slightest bit attractive sexually … but in terms of classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks, for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man to adult life, there can be something said for it. Now, again, this is not something that appeals to me.
“Although, when I was younger, I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, treating me with affection, teaching me about life.”
–Also, according to the Independent, Burke’s article also said Norris “did not appear to endorse any minimum age or endure any protest that a child was not capable of informed consent”, quoting him as saying: “The law in this sphere should take in to account consent rather than age.”
Tuesday May 31 2011
The 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s launch has been marked at a commemorative event in Belfast.
A single flare was fired above the city’s docklands to signify the exact moment – 12.13pm – 100 years ago when the ill-fated liner rolled down the slipway and touched the water for the first time.
The new Titanic Signature Project at the quayside in Belfast, where Titanic was launched 100 years ago
All boats in the area around the Harland and Wolff shipyards, where the pride of the White Star fleet was built, then sounded their horns.
In 1911, thousands of cheering well-wishers gathered at the same place to celebrate the historic moment. A century on, the mood was again one of celebration at the event on the Queen’s Island slipway which focused more on the ship’s construction than its fate.
After the flare was fired, crowds clapped for exactly 62 seconds – the length of time it took for the liner to roll down the slipway in 1911.
The Titanic sank on her maiden transatlantic voyage 11 months after her launch, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives, when she struck an iceberg.
Among the invited guests at the commemoration were schoolchildren and representatives from the four other cities and towns directly connected to the Titanic story – Cherbourg in France, Cobh (formerly Queenstown) in Co Cork, Liverpool and Southampton.
The Harlandic and Queen’s Victoria male voice choirs sang a number of hymns during the half-hour service close to the almost-complete £100 million Titanic visitors centre, which is set to open ahead of next year’s centenary of the liner’s sinking in 1912.
Descendants of many of the men who helped build the ship, some of whom sailed on the first voyage and died in the maritime disaster, attended the service.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Niall O Donnghaile, said Belfast’s role in the Titanic story had been overlooked in the past. He added: “Over the past few years, the city that gave birth to the ship, and many others, has finally and rightfully acknowledged her part in the tale, and today we are proud to celebrate the achievement, epitomised by this historic moment, and educate the world about our city’s role in the Titanic story.”
Tuesday May 31 2011
Survivors of a Second World War bombing – and some of their rescuers – have marked the 70th anniversary of the blasts at a poignant ceremony.
Some 28 people were killed and 90 left injured when four bombs were dropped by a German warplane on the North Strand area of Dublin.
Over three hundred houses were also damaged or destroyed.
Noel Brady was just 21 when, as a member of St John Ambulance Brigade, he risked his own life to save others.
Proudly wearing his Air Raid Protection (ARP) medal, the 91-year-old recalled how he ran to the scene after hearing the blasts from his home in Drumcondra.
“It was terrible scenes with people crying and broken bones,” he said.
“Anybody who we were able to help we brought to our first aid post.”
Hundreds attended a moving ceremony in a memorial garden in the grounds of Marino College, which has been restored by to give the local community a calm and restful space.
German Ambassador Busso Von Alvensleben, who unveiled a plaque to remember those killed on May 30-31 1941, said the North Strand bombing by a German aircraft brought death and suffering into the city and its inhabitants.
“My deep sympathy and respect are with the survivors and families and friends of the victims,” he said.
DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL has passed a motion with cross-party support calling for an independent public inquiry into the murder of Donegal Councillor Eddie Fullerton.
Eddie Fullerton (56) was shot dead in his Buncrana home in front of his wife, Diana, on Saturday 25th May 1991 in an attack claimed by the Ulster Defence Association but which is suspected of being orchestrated by British military and intelligence agencies.
Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn recently wrote in An Phoblacht: “Eddie was killed as part of a campaign of targeted assassinations in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the British state in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries of Sinn Féin elected representatives, Sinn Féin members, unarmed IRA Volunteers, human rights lawyers, and GAA officials.”
Eddie’s family have been campaigning tirelessly to uncover the truth about who was behind the assassination of one of the most prominent and popular Sinn Féin figures of the 1970s and 1980s.
Eddie’s inexhaustible commitment to public service and campaigning for jobs and civil rights won the begrudging respect of even Sinn Féin’s political foes.
Motion passed by Donegal County Council: “In support of the family of Cllr Eddie Fullerton on the 20th anniversary of his death, this Council calls for an independent public inquiry into his murder and calls for full co-operation from both the Irish and British governments.”
Welcoming the cross-party support for his motion calling for the public inquiry into Eddie Fullerton’s murder, Inishowen Sinn Féin County Councillor Jack Murray said: “Twenty years after the murder of Councillor Eddie Fullerton, his family have yet to see justice and find out the truth about his murder.
The huge crowd that gathered in Buncrana at the weekend for Eddie’s 20th anniversary was testament to the popularity and respect which Eddie had earned during his life.
It was a very emotional event and it was clear that Eddie is still sorely missed by his family and friends in Inishowen and further afield.
Many, many questions remain unanswered in relation to the circumstances which led to his death. The Fullerton family deserves these answers.
My motion received support from all parties in Donegal County Council. The Irish and British governments must now take heed and tell the truth about the murder of one of Donegal’s most highly respected representatives. All information they have in relation to this matter must be released.”
He added: “I want to pay tribute to Eddie’s family for their tireless campaign for justice over the last two decades.”
31 May 2011
Russia has arrested Rustam Makhmudov, the suspected assassin of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in 2006, federal investigators said.
Makhmudov was detained on Monday night in Chechnya at the home of his parents after being on the run for years, Russia’s federal investigative committee announced on Tuesday.
Makhmudov’s brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim, and former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov have been investigated for several years over suspected involvement in the killing.
All three were acquitted on a lack of evidence in a jury trial in 2009, but the verdict was annulled by the supreme court and a new investigation reopened with the same suspects.
Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother of two who published damning exposes of official corruption and rights abuses, was shot dead in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment on October 7 2006.
Reporting on abuses
Renowned for her opposition to the Chechen conflict, Politkovskaya also reported on the alleged human rights abuses of Russian military forces under the leadership of former Russian president Vladimir Putin. She also covered alleged abuses by Chechen rebels and the current Moscow-backed administration led by the Kadyrov family in Chechnya.
Her death came as her reporting was increasingly being seen as a threat to the Chechen government, which has been accused of the rampant torture, abduction and murder of opposition figures.
Politkovskaya wrote several books about the Chechen wars, as well as Putin’s Russia – in which she accused Russian secret services of repressing civil liberties to re-establish a Soviet-style dictatorship.
Politkovskaya received numerous prestigious international awards for her work and her murder was widely perceived as a contract killing, sparking a strong international reaction.
Dmitry Babich, a political analyst and journalist for the Russian International News Agency, or RIA Novosti, told Al Jazeera that Politkovskaya’s colleagues at Novaya Gazeta, a Russian opposition newspaper, belief that Makhmudov is likely guilty of her killing.
“So the biggest question is not who performed the murder, but who ordered it,” Babich said.
“You know that Novaya Gazeta is very much in opposition to the Russian government, so they suspect someone from the current leadership of Chechnya (which is pro-Moscow) is behind the assassination.
“The relatives of Politkovskaya and other fellow journalists agree that these two brothers were tracking her movements on the day she was killed. They were suspected of actually giving the signal to the killer who was waiting inside her (apartment) building.”
Preas Ráiteas ó RNU / RNU Press Release
Author: Carl Reilly
Contact: Martin Óg Meehan – PRO
THE REPUBLICAN NETWORK for UNITY (RNU) NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON, CARL REILLY has expressed serious concerns about the situation facing Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry Gaol. “In spite of repeated warnings from RNU and others who represent Political Prisoners in the Gaol, the Stormont Executive and its Justice Minister have completely ignored the suffering of Republican Prisoners in Roe House.*
Rather than using their influence to have last August’s Agreement implemented in full, Stormont Politicians have also ignored serious concerns about the situation facing Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry. In spite of numerous meetings, letters and statements from RNU and others who represent Political Prisoners in the Gaol, the Stormont Executive and its Justice Minister have completely ignored the suffering of Republican Prisoners in Roe House.
Rather than using their influence to have last August’s Agreement implemented in full, Stormont’s Politicians have also ignored the continued harassment, ongoing intimidation and brutal attacks upon Political Prisoners in the Gaol. In spite of lengthy negotiations between Republican Prisoners, RNU, other representative groups, Independent Facilitators and the Prison Service that led to last August’s Agreement, it soon became clear to the POWs that the Prison Administration and the Loyalist POA were not happy with the settlement and would do anything to undermine the entire agreement.
It was not long before, the belief and goodwill illustrated last August started to diminish due to the gradual mistreatment of Republican Prisoners. The Prison Service and LPOA soon placed obstacles in the way of prisoners, their families and representatives outside. It also seemed that the Stormont Justice Department had little interest in implementing the Agreement either. It was apparent that they too were being held hostage to the negative policies of the LPOA. Within months, the August Agreement had broken down and protest action by Republican Prisoners resumed”.
Mr. Reilly concluded: “At present, over 30 Political Prisoners are locked in their cells 24/7 under ‘Rule 32′. They have no access to education, adequate washing facilities or proper association. During the past few weeks, a number of POWs have had to be transferred to an outside hospital for medical treatment because they were badly beaten by the Screws. A few days ago, Harry Fitzsimmons’ cell was stormed by the Riot-Squad who smashed his glasses into his face and repeatedly punched and kicked the Belfastman to the floor. After a few minutes, they left Harry lying on the floor in pain. One of the Independent Facilitators and his family have since witnessed his many injuries. The current situation in Maghaberry is intolerable. RNU call on the Maghaberry Administration and Loyalist POA to end their failed criminalisation policy against Republican Prisoners and implement the August agreement in full. We urge Human Rights advocates and Politicians to ensure the dignity and respect for Political Prisoners in Roe House.
• Finally, our Network ask everyone Republican or otherwise to assemble at Maghaberry for a Rally on Sunday 5th June, 2011 at 3pm to demonstrate unity against this crisis and demand the implementation of the August Agreement”.
Monday, 23 May 2011
Thousands of people are taking part in around 150 events over the next few days to mark Community Relations Week.
These include a wide range of activities, including arts and sporting events, and the theme is to tackle sectarianism and to build cross-community and cross-border bridges.
This is important work in its own right, but there is also an economic imperative to try to tackle the harsh reality that sectarian and community divisions here are costing the community more than £1bn each year.
This is a staggering figure, which marks a sombre backdrop to the continuing sectarianism, particularly in some of the less affluent areas – though some individuals in the better-off areas also need to take a hard look at their own attitudes.
The lack of understanding between parts of our society is depressing, given the amount of time, effort and funding that has been devoted to trying to improve community relations.
However it would be unrealistic to expect a total change of heart in all places, given the backlog of history and the misunderstandings that are so rooted in the past.
Progress has been made, but much still needs to be done. Many institutions and individuals have played a positive role, including the Community Relations Council and its Chief Executive Duncan Morrow.
He has rightly called on the Northern Ireland Executive and the politicians in general “to seize the moment” in the improved atmosphere following the recent elections and the successful Royal visit to the Republic.
Our politicians should heed his call, but better community relations also need to be created and sustained by all of us in our daily life at work, at home and within our neighbourhood.
The gains we have made in the recent past need to be consolidated and built upon. Bridge-building must be everyone’s business.
Mon May 30 2011
THERE has been a mixed local reaction to the publication of the inquiry into the murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson, the legal adviser to the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC).
The inquiry, published on Monday, concluded that there was no direct state collusion in the car bomb murder in March 1999 of the Lurgan solicitor, but cites “failures” by the RUC to warn Mrs Nelson that she was in danger and to protect her.
It details how RUC members “had legitimised her as a target” by publicly abusing her and assaulting her in Portadown two years before her death, adding that within Special Branch and at RUC headquarters Mrs Nelson was regarded as a supporter of the IRA.
Statements from the GRRC and from former Upper Bann MLA Brid Rodgers, who was closely involved in the coalition’s anti-Drumcree protests, and from John O’Dowd MLA all condemn the non-collusion statement, claiming that the murder constitutes “collusion by whatever name”.
But the unionist side, in the form of David Simpson MP (DUP) and Samuel Gardiner MLA (UUP), welcomes the findings of no direct collusion and asks why “a few high profile cases” are granted these expensive inquiries “while other victims are left isolated and ignored”.
Mrs Nelson’s family claimed Secretary of State Owen Paterson had “seen fit to gloss over the findings”. Her brother Eunan Magee said, “Rosemary’s life was threatened and the response from the authorities was wholly inadequate and inefficient”.
Mrs Nelson died in hospital in March 1999 after a bomb was placed under her BMW near her Lurgan home. She represented high profile clients like Lurgan republican Colin Duffy and the GRRC, often sitting in on their press conferences and arguing their anti-Orange march case at the various courts and appeals. The Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the killing.
A statement from the GRRC – under the name of driving force Breandan Mac Cionnaith – rejects the claims of no collusion by the government agencies and by the RUC. Quoting Judge Peter Cory, the GRRC says that any “wrongful acts” by agencies in supplying information of encouraging others to commit wrongful acts add up to collusion “and this shows that there was indeed collusion in Rosemary’s murder”.
It highlights “the hostile attitude” (towards Mrs Nelson) of the RUC and NIO and adds that the report’s assertion that rogue members of the RUC, the British Army may have assisted those directly involved “is a totally discredited defence, rolled out by the British Government in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s”.
Brid Rodgers said that Mrs Nelson was “first and foremost a mother, a wife, daughter and extended family member who is greatly mourned and missed”. She added, “Rosemary was a caring human rights lawyer and took on cases that others would avoid – she really cared”.
Mrs Rodgers added that the security forces and the NIO knew that her life was at risk, “but they didn’t take it seriously, Rosemary was an irritant to them, they didn’t protect her and that is tantamount to collusion”.
However UUP’s Sam Gardiner homed in on the fact that the RUC was vindicated over the collusion claims. He said, “The key finding of the Nelson Inquiry, that there was no collusion by the police or any other government agency in the murder of Rosemary Nelson, is important.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson said, “We cannot tolerate a few high-profile cases receiving lavish amounts of government largesse and attention, while victims of other incidents are left isolated or ignored.”
Mr O’Dowd, the new Minister of Education, said, “Special Branch failed to co-operate in the investigation, members of the RUC assaulted and threatened Rosemary Nelson and nobody has ever been held to account for the murder.
“Nationalists do not buy into the ‘bad apple’ argument and no amount of disgraceful spin by Owen Paterson will alter the reality. The report clearly point to collusion.”
By Gráinne McWilliams
North Belfast News
30th of May 2011
A PROMINENT Belfast human rights lawyer who worked with the murdered solicitor Rosemary Nelson has said the inquiry into her friend’s death shows “no serious investigation into the murder itself”.
Pádraigín Drinan, who acted on behalf of Lower Ormeau Residents’ Action Group against the Orange Order’s attempts to march through the area, was speaking to the Belfast Media Group after the publication of the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry on Monday.
Ms Nelson was killed in a loyalist car bomb outside her Lurgan home in 1999 for what many believe to be her role in representing the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Association during the tense Drumcree stand-offs of the mid-1990s.
The report into her death found that there was “no evidence of any act by or within any of the state agencies we have examined (the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Northern Ireland Office, the Army or the Security Service) which directly facilitated Rosemary Nelson’s murder”.
However it admitted that it could “not exclude the possibility of a rogue member or members of the RUC or the Army in some way assisting the murderers to target Rosemary Nelson” and that there were “omissions by state agencies which rendered Rosemary Nelson more at risk and more vulnerable”.
In an address to the House of Commons on Monday, Secretary of State Owen Paterson said he was “profoundly sorry that omissions by the state rendered Rosemary Nelson more at risk and more vulnerable”.
“It’s not good enough for parliament to say we very much regret that nobody was ever caught, I think they have to do a bit better than that,” said Pádraigín Drinan.
“On the day of Rosemary’s funeral Mike Mansfield QC (the English barrister who fought on behalf of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six) called for two things – a thorough investigation into her death and an independent international judicial inquiry into the circumstances leading up to her death. What we got was an inquiry under the Policing Act.
“The reason that we called for those two things at her funeral was that it was important to have a proper, thorough inquiry into the murder itself, but it seems to me from that report that this was not done, that it was accepted that loyalists did it. It is telling that no-one has been charged with the murder.”
Ms Drinan said that claims at the time that Mark Fulton, a leading loyalist who died in 2002, had admitted responsibility for the murder were incorrect. She also stressed that more investigation was needed into why British soldiers and an army helicopter were spotted near her home on the day she was killed.
“How could Mark Fulton have murdered Rosemary when he was in jail at the time?” she asked.
“On the day of her death soldiers were spotted in the field behind the houses that were opposite her house in the cul-de-sac she lived in. There was also a helicopter overhead. There’s a whole section of the report trying to explain why the helicopter was there, none of which makes any sense. The conclusion was that they (British army) were not good at keeping logs and so could not adequately show why the helicopter was there on that day but it had nothing to do with Rosemary’s death.”
Ms Drinan said she was “pretty sure” she knew who was responsible for the murder of her friend.
“I was waiting to see when something could be done about what actually happened, but I don’t want to do something that will upset the family if they think it’s over,” she said.
“I need to wait to see how it goes, but there’s a lot more than just those who killed her.”
Speaking about her memories of her colleague, Ms Drinan said she remembered most the “absolute terror that Rosemary was living under”.
“One of the things that’s quite shameful to us as a society is that when she had to go and see the RUC about her fears for her own life she was afraid to go on her own.
“She wanted another member of the legal profession to go along with her and nobody here would go with her as they were too afraid. It took Ed Lynch to help her. He was head of the American Bar Association at the time and he flew from America to attend the police station with Rosemary. She did not ask me to go with her but I don’t think I would have been any help as I was equally scared and I don’t think I would have had any standing.”
Ms Drinan said that if anyone thought that the inquiry had done enough to make the Rosemary Nelson controversy go away then they were mistaken.
By Gemma Burns
North Belfast News
30th of May 2011
An exhibition commemorating the anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike was in North Belfast for a few short hours Thursday.
The collection includes a number of historical artefacts including Kevin Lynch’s hurling helmet and all Ireland medal; letters from Kieran Doherty to his family; a letter from Bobby Sand’s to Sile Darragh (Armagh Women’s POW) on March 1 1981 the day he embarked on hunger strike, and ballot paper from Bobby Sand’s election in Fermanagh South Tyrone.
The exhibition was held in Ardoyne Community Centre which is one of the venues the artefacts are being displayed throughout the year.
Tom Holland from the Ardoyne Commemoration Project said the exhibition is an important reminder of the lives of the ten men who died in the 1981 Hunger Strike.
“The exhibition has some very good important pieces relating to the hunger strikes,” he said.
“There are possessions belonging to the hunger strikers as well as artefacts from the H Blocks that have been saved. It’s a very interesting exhibition and it’s great it came to North Belfast today.”
By Kieran Hughes
North Belfast News
30th of May 2011
The grandson of a victim of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre has hit out at the Northern Ireland Office for “moving the goalposts” on collusion after the publication of the Rosemary Nelson inquiry report this week.
The public inquiry found that there was “no evidence” that state agencies directly facilitated the murder of the Lurgan solicitor in 1999 but that there were omissions by state agencies which made her more at risk.
Ciarán MacAirt’s grandmother Kathleen Irvine was one of fifteen people killed when the UVF blew up McGurk’s Bar on North Queen’s Street in 1971. In February a Police Ombudsman’s report into the McGurk’s atrocity found that the original police investigation was biased because the RUC were predisposed towards the view that the IRA were responsible for the bomb.
MacAirt said he was dismayed after reading the Nelson report because the failure of the RUC to act on information they received amounted to collusion.
“I listened to what the Owen Patterson had to say (on the Nelson report) and I was dismayed and then I read the report and was more dismayed than ever,” he said.
“There are plain facts that are being glossed over. It really is a damning, damning indictment not only of the RUC but of the NIO. They moved the goalposts for what qualifies as collusion.”
He said the recommendations made by Canadian judge Peter Cory on collusion have not been followed.
Judge Cory published a report into four deaths in 2003, including the murder of North Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
“The upper echelons of the British establishment haven’t been able to face up to the wrong doings of the past. We live in a society where the state still can’t face up to the truths of the past. Judge Cory’s recommendations as to what collusion is haven’t been followed, the goalposts have been moved.”
He also added that the McGurk’s families are still seeking a meeting with Chief Constable Matt Baggot to discuss the Police Ombudsman’s report on McGurk’s atrocity.
When the report was published in February Baggot refused to apologise and said all lines of enquiry in the case had been exhausted.
“We want to meet with him as soon as possible. Rest assured we have been chasing him and the sooner we meet with him the better.”
Asked whether he was confident that Baggot would apologise to the families he said, “an apology should be offered it shouldn’t be sought”.
A DUP MP has criticised Sinn Fein for choosing a convicted bomber to serve as mayor of Limavady.
Sean McGlinchey spent 18 years in jail for his part in a car bomb attack which killed six people in Coleraine in 1973.
He took up the chain of office on May 24 after being elected to Limavady Borough Council for the first time earlier in the month.
East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said the appointment was “reprehensible”.
He said it would cause anger and outrage among the relatives of those who died.
“It doesn’t lend itself towards a party committed to looking to the future whenever Sinn Fein keep appointing people who are a very stark reminder of the past,” he said.
“If we saw some remorse, regret or apology for what they did in the past that would be a start but we haven’t seen any of those things.
“It would be a clean break if the mayor of Limavady was to say I did what I did in the adjoining council area and I’m extremely remorseful and I regret deeply and apologise for the hurt and anger that I caused with that bomb.
“But there is no indication that he is going to say that,” he said.
Sean McGlinchey is the local Sinn Fein chairman and a brother of the former INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey who was murdered in 1992.
He said he did not want to speak about the matter “at this time”.
It is the second time Sinn Fein has been criticised for appointing a convicted killer to a high profile position.
Last week, Mary McArdle, 46, was appointed as a special adviser in the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.
She was part of an IRA gang who ambushed Judge Tom Travers and his family as they left Mass in south Belfast in April 1984.
Mary Travers, who was 22, was killed.
Her sister Ann said she had been shocked and felt physically sick when she heard McArdle had been appointed by the culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin.
With a workforce of almost 15,000, the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast not only created Titanic; it shaped the fortunes of the city and its people. But life was not easy for those who built the ship, writes ALF MCREARY
30 May 2011
Harland and Wolff workers leave the shipyard on Queen’s Road, Belfast in May 1911. Titanic is in background. Photograph courtesy of the National Museums Northern Ireland
THE EARLY 20th century was a golden age for shipbuilding and for Belfast, but for the men who made Titanic, it was a hard life – eight died in industrial accidents before it ever sailed. The ship was launched 100 years ago tomorrow, but would not make her maiden voyage for another 10 months. When it left Belfast on April 2nd, 1912 it carried with it the good wishes and pride of the shipyardmen who had worked under hazardous conditions and with poor pay to construct the greatest vessel the world had ever known.
This was not without its human cost, and during the construction of Titanic alone, there were 254 reported accidents, including the eight fatalities.
The Labour leader James Connolly remarked that a list of the maimed and hurt in accidents on any one of those big ships “would read like a roster of the wounded after a battle upon the Indian frontier”.
By the early 20th century 9,000 men were employed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, rising to almost 15,000 around the time Titanic was built. Conditions were harsh; shipyardmen worked from 6am or 6.30am, with only short breaks for breakfast and lunch. They were restricted to a maximum of seven minutes in the toilet each day.
They generally worked a 60-hour week, which included Saturday mornings – the Sabbath was sacrosanct in Protestant east Belfast, but the men were back to work first thing Monday morning.
They had only one week’s summer holiday (around the 12th of July), and one day at Christmas and Easter. Average pay was £2 daily, but this was stopped if the men were late, or damaged the firm’s property or otherwise broke the company’s rules.
The Belfast shipyard had a world-class reputation, after more than 80 years of experience in building vessels.
In the half-century from the 1850s onwards, Belfast grew more rapidly than any other city in the British Isles. This was partly because of the growth in textiles, engineering and shipbuilding which, by the turn of the century, employed around 164,000 people.
The completion of Belfast’s ornate City Hall in 1906 symbolised the contemporary sense of pride of the city and its people, and the feeling of grandeur emanating from its many achievements.
There was also a strong sense of pride in Titanic, which not only provided huge employment for the shipyard and ancillary businesses, but also symbolised the engineering skill and initiative of Belfast and its people in producing what would be the biggest and best vessel in maritime history.
Alf McCreary is the author of Titanic Port – The Illustrated History of Belfast Harbour , published by Booklink. See titanicport.com
At the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum tomorrow, a new £1 million exhibition – TITANIC: the Experience – will be launched, featuring more than 500 original artefacts
Descendents of some of the men who worked and died on ‘Titanic’ tell FIONOLA MEREDITH about the ship’s legacy
30 May 2011
“My great-grandfather, Thomas Millar, was in the unusual position of both having worked on Titanic and having sailed on her, on her maiden voyage.
“His wife died in 1912, and he was left to raise their two young boys alone. Thomas, then aged 33, decided to sail on Titanic to New York, where he would continue to work as an engineer for the White Star Line and build a new life for his family. So he took the post of assistant deck engineer on the Titanic.
“The boys – Thomas Jr, aged 11, and my grandfather, Ruddick, then aged 5 – were to be left in the care of their aunt, and then sent over to America once their father was settled, a matter of months at most.
“My great-grandfather brought the boys to the dock on April 2nd when the ship was getting ready to sail to Southampton, and he gave both his sons two shiny new pennies with the instruction that they weren’t to spend the money until they saw him again.
“They never did. Thomas Millar went down with the ship he had helped to build. My grandfather, Ruddick Millar, kept the pennies all his life, and I have them now.
“My great-grandfather was trying to do his best for his sons, but they were left impoverished. Their aunt brought them up until they were 16, using a meagre pittance from Titanic fund. But being a Titanic orphan didn’t hold my grandfather, Ruddick, back. He became a well-known author, playwright and newspaper columnist in the 1930s. He remembered a lot of detail about Titanic, and that was passed down through the family.
“I’ve known the story of the two pennies since I was a child, but it’s only recently that I’ve written about it.
“For a long time, nobody talked about Titanic in Northern Ireland. But now it’s different. I gave up my job as a journalist and wrote a book, The Two Pennies: a True Story from Titanic. Now I spend my days giving talks and tours about the ship.”
“My great-grandfather John Arthurs worked as a cabinet-maker on Titanic.
He lived off Divis Street in west Belfast. Titanic was always part of our family lore. I have a hexagonal marquetry chessboard at home, which we always called the Titanic chessboard. It was a Harland and Wolff ‘homer’, a beautiful piece of craftmanship made from lovely old pieces of wood brought home from the shipyard, mounted on a cheap piece of pine. We learned to play draughts on it as children, and to me it’s a physical connection with Titanic.
“There must be so many families that have bits and pieces connected to Titanic, all kinds of treasures that are worth nothing in monetary terms but which connect local people to Titanic and the shipyard. I would love to see these hand-crafted artefacts in a people’s museum of the ship. But we’ve never been good at blowing our own trumpet when it comes to Titanic.
“For decades, it was a taboo topic. There was almost a sense of shame that she had been built here.
“Yet there is so much to be proud of – we had the biggest shipyard in the world, the biggest gantry. In celebrating the launch of Titanic, we’re not celebrating a piece of steel; we’re celebrating the achievements, the craftmanship of the workers. We’re celebrating our wonderful maritime history.
“As chair and co-founder of the Belfast Titanic Society, this is my clarion cry: what happened to Titanic was a disaster, she herself was not. And Titanic was not the end of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. It continued for years afterwards.
“The centenary of the launch is an opportunity to get a different story about Titanic out. While the rest of the world will commemorate next year the centenary of the ship’s loss, only Belfast can use 2011 to celebrate the building of the ship and mark our shipbuilding heritage.
Here in Northern Ireland, you can take the story of Titanic into any school, and there will always be someone who pipes up that their great-great-grandfather worked on the ship. It’s a story that cuts across the religious and political divide.
“I’m glad to see the shipyard in Belfast [now known as Titanic Quarter] coming back to life with the Northern Ireland Science Park. That’s where they have the youngest, best brains from home and abroad.
Titanic was at the cutting edge of technology when she was built. It’s fitting that all these exciting new developments are happening in the birthplace of this great ship.”
“My father, John Parkinson, was very proud of owning the tools which his father, Frank Parkinson, had used when working as a joiner on the constuction of Titanic. There was a smoothing plane, a hammer, a chisel and a screwdriver. John himself was apprenticed to joinery in the shipyard and used the tools after his father’s death. We were a family of woodmen.
“Later, John became president of the Belfast Titanic Society, and he would go to historical societies and schools and tell the children all about his memories of his father and the ship.
“John described how his father would come home every night and tell the family how big and luxurious Titanic would be, how it was so well built that it would never sink. ‘How can a ship that big stay up in the water?’ asked John. His father said, ‘Johnny, that ship will always stay up in the water.’
The day the ship was launched was very emotional. It was so important to the shipyard, to the thousands of men who worked there every day. My father saw Titanic on the slipway and waved to her as she left Belfast. He remembered it in the book he wrote about his connection with the shipyard: how people called out ‘Rule Brittania’ and waved handkerchiefs.
“John wrote that, ‘less than a fortnight later, news reached of its tragic fate. My father couldn’t believe it. Later he broke down and cried.’
“John died in 2006, aged 99. We plan to put up a school’s competition in his memory next year, the John Parkinson Memorial Award. Even in his 90s, John was still telling people about Titanic. He always made a big impression.”
“My grandfather, Anthony Wood Frost – known as Artie – was a member of the ‘Guarantee Group’ [an elite trouble-shooting team of Harland and Wolff’s finest engineers, led by the ship’s designer, Thomas Andrews, who accompanied Titanic on her maiden voyage. All of the men perished].
“I am very proud of our family’s connection with Titanic. We have a great history of building ships with Harland and Wolff. Artie’s father, George Frost, made engines in the early days of the shipyard, and when he retired in 1907, Artie got his job. Between them, the pair built a lot of ships, mostly White Star Line vessels.
“Artie rose to one of the most prestigious posts in the shipyard: he was known as a foreman fitter. I have a copy of the letter my grandfather received when Titanic was to be launched. It was ironic that he was chosen to be part of the Guarantee Group as a reward for his hard work.
“When the ship sank, it was terrible for my grandmother, very painful. She never really spoke about it again. Her youngest child was only two the time, and it was days before she found out whether Artie had survived or not.
“It was hard for her to manage, the family had lost its only source of income. She did get a lot of support from Harland and Wolff, though. The worldwide relief fund for Titanic paid for my father and his brother to be educated.
“My dad and my uncle followed in the family tradition and joined Harland and Wolff too. I’m 74 now, but I suppose you could say I was a Harland and Wolff baby.”
By Anne Lucey
Monday, May 30, 2011
THE 1916 medal, awarded posthumously to a young Kerry radio operator who died on his way to seize radio equipment on Valentia Island to contact the arms ship the Aud on Holy Thursday of that year, was yesterday handed over to the Kerry County Museum.
In what is believed to be one of the first tragedies of the Easter Rising, four days later radio operator Con Keating, of Renard, Cahersiveen, along with Charles Monahan from Belfast and Donal Sheehan from Newcastlewest, drowned when their car took a wrong turning and went off a treacherous pier at Ballykissane near Killorglin, on the night of April 20, hours before Roger Casement was being brought ashore at Banna Strand just miles away.
Con, who was from a strong nationalist background, had joined the Irish Volunteers on October 25, 1914. The party were on their way from Dublin. The driver survived.
The medal, awarded to him posthumously, along with his volunteer belt, had been in the safekeeping of his nephew and namesake who lives in Australia.
The objects are being given on long-term loan to the museum in Tralee which is building up a collection from the period.
Mystery had surrounded the deaths for years, but it is widely accepted their mission was to seize wireless equipment from Valentia island, then an international radio and telecommunications centre.
The plan was to set up the radio equipment at Ballyard, Tralee to contact the German arms ship the Aud, which Roger Casement was attempting to bring into Kerry. The Aud was being tracked by British intelligence which had most likely intercepted radio messages to the German ship from Washington.
Con Keating, who trained as a radio operator, knew the area well.
Dr Griffin Murray, collections officer of Kerry County Museum said the medal and belt will go on display shortly.
Pat Finucane Centre.org
27 May 2011
Please email RTE, BBC and Channel 4 re interviews with General Mike Jackson
[Please tell your friends]
In the wake of the arrest on Thursday May 26 of Ratko Mladic, who is wanted for war crimes, Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, carried a series of reports on the arrest. One of those interviewed and asked to comment was General Mike Jackson. It is deeply inappropriate that one of the key individuals involved in Bloody Sunday should be asked to comment on the arrest of a war criminal. Jackson, a former Captain in the Parachute Regiment, was in Derry on Bloody Sunday and wrote up the infamous ‘shot-list’ which claimed that the dead and injured were gunmen and nail bombers. John Kelly, whose brother Michael was murdered on the day commented, ‘In my view Jackson himself should be facing a criminal investigation not commenting on the arrest of war criminals and certainly not on Ireland’s national broadcaster.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and lodge a protest-please keep the email non abusive and to the point. You might want to attach the Guardian article below.
Sample email -‘General Mike Jackson, then a Captain in the Parachute Regiment, wrote the infamous ‘gunmen and nail bomber’ shot list after the Bloody Sunday massacre and is a totally inappropriate individual to be interviewed about the arrest of war criminals. He should not have been deemed a suitable interviewee on the 9pm Evening News on Thursday May 26.’
Sample email– ‘General Mike Jackson has been interviewed a number of times on your news programme. We would urge you not to provide a forum for the Para Captain who wrote up the infamous ‘shot-list’ which was used to justify the murder of 14 men and boys on Bloody Sunday in Derry.’
Army chief questioned over ‘shot list’
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 16 October 2003
A document written by General Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the army, claimed that British soldiers shot at gunmen and bombers on Bloody Sunday, but failed to explain the death of 13 unarmed civilians, the Saville inquiry heard yesterday.
Gen Jackson was recalled to the inquiry after the discovery of a handwritten “shot list” he wrote on the night after the civil rights march in Derry on January 30 1972.
At the time, he was adjutant, with the rank of captain, of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment.
In the course of terse exchanges yesterday, Michael Mansfield QC, counsel for some of the families of the victims, told the general that there was a “serious question mark” over the list of shootings he had compiled.
“The big question mark, general, in everybody’s mind, and it may not have occurred to you, is that this list does not begin to explain any of the 13 civilian dead. Did you know that?”
Gen Jackson replied: “I am sorry, I simply do not understand the statement you are making. This list refers to people being hit and people being killed. It makes no attempt here to say civilian or whatever.”
The whole point of the list was to justify publicly why people had been shot, said Mr Mansfield. That was why they were described as “nail bombers”, “pistol firers”, and “carrying rifles”. He continued: “None of the 13 were carrying nail bombs, none of the 13 were carrying pistols, none of the 13 were carrying rifles, do you follow that?”
Gen Jackson replied: “I hear what you are telling me, but this is surely a matter for the tribunal”.
The list was found by a young soldier five years ago in an unlocked cabinet at the headquarters of the army’s 8th Brigade, the army group in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The soldier planned to send a copy to his brother, with whom he was engaged in debate about what happened on the day.
A copy of the document he made was found and the letter to his brother intercepted. The unidentified soldier was court-martialled, found guilty of prejudicing “good order and military discipline” and discharged.
Gen Jackson was recalled to the inquiry after a lawyer acting for a more senior officer at the time, Major Ted Loden, rejected a suggestion that the writing was that of his client. It was subsequently identified as Gen Jackson’s.
The general said he could not explain discrepancies between his list and a typed document later sent to the Widgery tribunal, set up a few days days after Bloody Sunday, based on what soldiers who fired shots later told him. Maps and grid references with markings by soldiers have not survived, the inquiry heard.
The inquiry was also told that the information on Gen Jackson’s list conflicted with claims later made to him by the paratroopers who fired shots.
He was also asked why no soldiers were named on his list. He said that the document was based on information given to him by Maj Loden. Though he said he could not explain why the names of the soldiers were not included in his list, he said the document was part of an “operational reporting process” which did not need the names.
Gen Jackson said that if his list was not comprehensive, or contained errors, he could not “provide an explanation. But I am sure that any errors or omissions are the result of oversight or some other proper and innocent reason.”
He added: “If it is to be suggested that there was attempt by anyone to sanitise … a true version of events, for whatever reason, I would emphatically reject such a suggestion.”
He could say “with complete certainty” he was not involved “in any attempt to distort or cover up what had happened that day”. Gen Jackson said he did not see anybody being shot on Bloody Sunday, and that he found the “whole incident very shocking”.
Final submissions to the inquiry will be heard after Christmas, and Lord Saville is expected to start writing his report in late spring next year, with its publication likely before the end of that year.
Gun battle report
‘Shot list’ by Mike Jackson:
Following engagements took place during gun battle from approx 16.17 to 16.35 hours:
1 Nail bomber shot. Hit in thigh (back of Chamberlain St)
2 Petrol bomber shot. Apparently killed (car park)
3 Bomber (at top floor flats) shot. Apparently killed
4 Gunman with pistol behind barricade shot. Hit
5 Nail bomber (lighted fuse) (at car park) shot
6 Nail bomber at car park shot
7 Gunman with pistol fired 2 rounds at soldier armed only with baton gun at alleyway. Soldier fired one round and withdrew swiftly
8 Nail bomber (William St) shot. Hit
9 Three nail bombers (at Glenfada Park) shot. All hit
10 Gunmen, pistols, (at G Park) shot at. One hit, one unhurt
11 Sniper in toilet window. Fired upon. None hit
12 Gunman, rifle, (at 3rd floor Rossville flats) shot at. Poss hurt
13 Gunman with rifle at (ground floor R flats) shot. Hit
14 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered
15 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered
• PFC note – General Mike Jackson was the most senior army officer to sit on the army board which decided that the soldiers convicted of the murder of Peter Mc Bride could remain in the British Army.