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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
February 26, 2005
02/26/05 – McBrides Want Killers Out of Army
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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
BB 02/26/05 McBride Family Want 'Killers Out Of Army'
IH 02/26/05 Ciaran Ferry: Deportee Returns To Belfast
IO 02/26/05 Twenty Hold Key To McCartney Bar Murder
BT 02/26/05 McGuinness To Attend IRA Service
UT 02/26/05 Tsunami Parade Route Row
RT 02/26/05 PSNI Arrests Man In Belfast –VO
RT 02/26/05 Political Reactions to Arrest –VO
RT 02/26/05 New Political Polls Support Govt –VO
PSNI arrests man in Belfast - Brendan Wright reports as a man is arrested in connection with the murder of Robert McCartney
Eileen Whelan reports on political reaction to the arrest and the IRA statement released last night
New opinion poll shows support for the Government
Peter McBride snr wants his son's killers out of the Army
Family Want 'Killers Out Of Army'
The family of a Belfast teenager shot dead by two soldiers in 1992 have again called on the Army to throw them out.
It follows the dismissal "in disgrace" of three soldiers who abused prisoners in Iraq on Friday.
In 1995 Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher were convicted of Peter McBride's murder. They rejoined their regiment when released in 1998.
Mr McBride's father, Peter snr, said the family cannot understand why the army allowed the soldiers back in.
"(General) Mike Jackson is contradicting himself if he is coming out and making the statement that they let the Army down and all. What about Peter?
"Did them two not let the Army down? I wish he would make a statement on that, I would like to meet him face to face and ask him what's the difference," he said.
Wright and Fisher were found guilty of killing the 18-year-old as he ran away from a military checkpoint in the New Lodge district of north Belfast in 1992.
The soldiers' claim that they opened fire because they thought Mr McBride was carrying a coffee jar bomb was rejected, and they were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
In June last year a military watchdog said that the Army had been wrong to readmit the men.
The Independent Assessor of Military Complaints Procedures, Jim McDonald, insisted the decision dealt a major blow to the forces' reputation.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/26 18:27:14 GMT
© BBC MMV
Ciaran & Heaven
Ciaran Ferry: Deportee Returns To Belfast
Ciaran Ferry Spoke With Francesca Ryan On The 'Hell' Of The Last Two Years
Ciaran Ferry returned home to Belfast a deported man after almost two years in a Colorado prisons. The Belfast born man had been legally in the US with his wife and child, who are both American citizens. He was arrested at a green card interview, which questioned a prison term he served in the North of Ireland -- he had been arrested and sentenced to 22 years after a gun was found in a car in which he was a passenger -- he was later released under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.
Ferry spoke to the Irish Herald to explain why he left the US and where his case now stands. "I cannot emphasise enough that the decision for me to come home has no way affected my case. The case is as alive as it ever was, in actual fact we have two cases running in the 10th Circuit of Appeal. We are contesting the writ of habeas corpus and the Board of Appeal decision to deny me asylum in the US."
So why did Ciaran leave the US? "My wife and I decided that my detention in the US could serve no further purpose and could in no way alter my case as it stands. I told the authorities that I would accept deportation and made a request to spend time with my family... However, I was denied the opportunity to say goodbye to [wife] Heaven and [daughter] Fiona properly."
His departure from the US did not pass without incident. "Five or six Port Authority agents marched on to the plane [at Newark] and took myself and my three escorts off the aircraft, several agencies agencies got involved including the INS and representatives from the Secretary of State's office. They basically argues with each other which resulted in us missing the plane," said Ferry.
Once they landed at Dublin airport, Ciaran was left to his own devices and traveled to Belfast to see his family, which was a bittersweet experience. "I was happy to see my family in Belfast but of course I was sad that my own little family weren't there," said a dejected Ferry.
Ferry hasn't seen his wife and child in over a month and hasn't had any physical contact with them in two years. "It was difficult leaving Heaven and Fiona. I last saw them at a visit on the Monday before I left and even though the visits were restricted and there was a screen between us. I miss them because the visits were the only chance we got to see each other."
While Ferry's lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, is doing all he can to get this case before the Court of Appeal's judges, Ferry doesn't know how long it will be before his case is heard. "Eamonn estimates that it could be anywhere between six months to a year. In the meantime I am working with Coiste, the ex POW's group and am looking on the bright side. Now that I am out I have more access to communications like the internet or even being able to talk to the Irish Herald."
So, what are his hopes? "What we need is to get something through Congress, a political template stating that the political offence exception to asylum should apply to people in the conflict in Ireland"
He concluded by asking the Irish Herald readers to help him lobby the US government for a change in the law that has divided his family and trampled on his constitutional rights.
"Someone else will be in the same position as me, we need the Irish in the US to help with this issue to set a precedent to prevent it happening to any more Irishmen."
Finally he thanked the people in California. "I want to sat thank you to my friends who have tirelessly worked on my case, especially George Trainor and Brianna in San Francisco. It was people like them that gave me hope when I was confined to a cell 23 hours of the day.
Twenty Hold Key To McCartney Bar Murder
Up to 20 people hold the key to whether the killers of Belfast father of two Robert McCartney will face justice, his family claimed tonight.
Relatives called on all people, including IRA members, present during the murder last month in a Belfast bar to turn themselves in to help get to the bottom of what happened.
Their appeal came as police confirmed a man was arrested in connection with the murder after turning up at Musgrave Street station in the city with his solicitor.
As the family waited to see if other people would come forward, Paula McCartney, a sister of Robert, said: "Up to 20 people were involved in the events of that night.
"Not all of them, as we understand it, were IRA members. We want all those people to be encouraged and persuaded to hand themselves in.
"They are the key vital witnesses to Robert's murder and the cover up."
Mr McCartney had been drinking with a friend, Brendan Devine, in Magennis's bar in Belfast city centre when a row broke out with IRA members.
They were both attacked. Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed and beaten to death.
The McCartneys allege that a clean up operation took place inside the bar and over the past month they have accused the IRA of intimidating people against giving information to the police.
The IRA and Sinn Féin have, however, been under intense political pressure in recent weeks on both sides of the Irish border to face up to allegations that it was shielding members of the organisation who killed Mr McCartney.
Over the past fortnight, the Provisionals have been eager to distance themselves from the attack, insisting it was not sanctioned by them and that criminality would not be tolerated in their ranks.
In an unprecedented statement the IRA also said last night it had conducted its own internal investigation and expelled three members, two of them in high ranking positions.
One of the three had made a statement to a solicitor while the other two were strongly advised to take responsibility for their actions and come forward with information.
It was unclear tonight whether the man under arrest was one of these three members.
Gerry Adams also piled pressure today on those present during the attack to come forward with information.
The Sinn Féin leader stopped short of asking people to provide the Police Service of Northern Ireland with information but said that had he been in the bar at the time, he would have gone to a solicitor.
Sinn Féin's reluctance to urge people to go directly to the police stems from its criticism of policing reforms in Northern Ireland and its refusal to endorse the new police service.
The West Belfast MP said: "I just think the situation is so serious that any self-respecting republican who got caught up in all of this because of drink or because of whatever else occurred, they have a responsibility to redeem themselves."
While the McCartney family welcomed the IRA expulsions, they insisted the only way they could get justice for Robert's killing or accept the IRA's account of what happened would be for all those involved to turn themselves in and for evidence to be considered in court.
"It has been exhausting but at the end of the day we are getting the strength from Robert," another sister Catherine said.
"We believe that we will get justice for Robert and we will take it to the grave if we don't.
"But as we say, the key to this is the people who helped clean up Robert's murder. Those are the ones who should hand themselves in."
McGuinness To Attend IRA Service
By Debra Douglas
26 February 2005
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness will attend an IRA commemoration service tomorrow, despite continuing pressure on the party to break its links with criminality.
Just one week after Gerry Adams appeared beside men and women in paramilitary uniforms at an IRA memorial in Strabane, Martin McGuinness will attend a parade and commemoration service for IRA volunteers Henry Hogan and Declan Martin in Dunloy.
The men were killed in a gun battle with undercover soldiers 21 years ago.
Local DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said Mr McGuinness's attendance at the rally was further proof of the intrinsic link between Sinn Fein and the IRA.
"This clearly indicates that there is no distinction between Sinn Fein and the IRA. Sinn Fein are unprepared and incapable of divesting themselves from their republican military wing, the driving force behind their political agenda.
"The IRA are the oxygen by which Sinn Fein lives, they need to remove the mask and learn to breathe without them.
"Sinn Fein tell us that anyone involved in criminal activity or subversive acts has no place in the republican movement but Mr McGuinness is happy to attend a service for two men who were on a mission to take out members of the security forces, that is illegal and immoral activity.
"Mr McGuinness has no conscience when he says their actions were honourable."
But Sinn Fein MLA and local councillor Phillip McGuigan said the commemoration service was important.
"People have not nor should not forget the sacrifices that the likes of Henry and Declan have made.
"In the current political climate I think it is more appropriate than ever to defend this struggle and send a very clear message that all attempts to criminalise the struggle or to criminalise the mandate of Sinn Fein will fail.
"It will fail because of the sacrifices of young men and women like Henry and Declan and because of the support that now exists to finally bring an end to the causes of conflict."
Tsunami Parade Route Row
Nationalist politicians have claimed that a parade by Whitewell Defenders in north Belfast in aid of a Tsunami appeal breached a Parades Commission determination on the route.
A police spokesperson said officers had prevented the marchers from going into the Gray`s Lane area, in line with the ruling by the Parades Commission.