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February 16, 2007

Obama Calls on DUP To Join Executive

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 02/16/07 Obama Calls On DUP To Join Executive
BB 02/16/07 Sinn Fein To Meet NI Police Chief
AP 02/16/07 Ó Caoláin 'Recovering Well' After Heart Attack
AP 02/16/07 Collusion: Finucanes Seek Independent Inquiry
AP 02/16/07 Collusion: Conference
AP 02/16/07 New Lodge Families Demand Justice
AP 02/16/07 Collusion Victims Fear Delay In Dáil Debate
IT 02/16/07 Stone Remanded Over Stormont Attack
DJ 02/16/07 Totally Vindicated Murder Convictions Quashed
CL 02/16/07 Demands For Brit Apology - Bloody Sunday
AP 02/16/07 Opin: Lift The Lid On Collusion
BB 02/16/07 Political Vision Of Wonder City
BB 02/16/07 Free Irish Roaming For Pensioners
IT 02/16/07 Dakota Decides Against Bono Honour


Obama Calls On DUP To Join Executive

Fri, Feb 16, 2007

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has urged the the
Democratic Unionist Party to commit themselves to power
sharing in Northern Ireland after the March 7th Assembly

The Illinois senator, who is bidding to become the first
black US president, welcomed Sinn F‚in's endorsement of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland in his first policy
statement on Northern Ireland.

Mr Obama said: "The IRA has abandoned violence and arms and
Sinn F‚in has now voted to support the PSNI. They have, in
the words of Tony Blair, made a commitment that 'has been
historic and has been real'.

"To seize this hopeful moment, the Democratic Unionist
Party should take the next step outlined in the St Andrews
Agreement - a commitment to a power sharing executive after
the March elections - so Northern Ireland can continue the
process of peace that its people so clearly wish to

Mr Obama claimed the gains that had been made in the peace
process had been assisted by the engagement of the United
States government.

"Going forward, we should continue the practice of having a
special envoy for Northern Ireland, and our president
should personally engage on where America can play a
constructive role, working closely with the Irish
Taoiseach, the British prime minister, and party leaders in
Northern Ireland."

In a bid to woo the Irish-American vote, Mr Obama also
insisted that new border security regulations in the United
States should not close the doors of opportunity in the
United States.

Drawing on his Kenyan father's experience as an immigrant,
he drew parallels with the experiences of Irish-Americans.

"My father's experience has informed my own views on the
issue and I've seen the enormous contribution that Irish
immigrants have made to this country," he declared.

c 2007


Sinn Fein To Meet NI Police Chief

Sinn Fein leaders are to have their first meeting with
Northern Ireland's police chief since the party agreed to
back the police service.

Gerry Adams is leading a delegation to meet Chief Constable
Sir Hugh Orde for what will be their first time inside PSNI
Headquarters in east Belfast.

Policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said the meeting would
provide an opportunity to discuss a number of key issues.

He said that the most vulnerable people in society had to
be protected.

"Policing with the community needs to be the core function
of any civic policing service and especially in relation to
protecting the most vulnerable sections of the community,"
he said.

The vulnerable, he said, included the elderly, women and
children, and those subject to homophobic, sectarian and
racist attacks and car crime.

He said the issue of collusion and the recent report by the
Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan in which she said there had
been police collusion in up to 15 loyalist murders would
top their agenda.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/16 06:56:53 GMT


Caoimhgh¡n O Caol in 'Recovering Well' After Heart Attack

Sinn F‚in has confirmed that the party's D il leader,
Caoimhgh¡n O Caol in TD, is "recovering well" after
suffering a heart attack at his home in the early hours of
Friday 9 February.

A party spokesperson said that Deputy O Caol in wanted to
thank all the hospital staff who had treated him and to
thank well-wishers who had contacted his home and his
offices in Monaghan and Leinster House.

O Caol in was taken to Monaghan General Hospital on Friday
and then taken to St James's Hospital, Dublin, where he
underwent surgery on Friday evening. The surgery was a
complete success.

The Sinn F‚in spokesperson said:

"Caoimhgh¡n is recovering well.

"He is looking forward to returning to work at both
national and constituency level after he has taken the
required time for essential rest and recuperation.

"He passes on his sincere appreciation to all the medical
staff who treated him and all the many well-wishers."


Collusion: Finucanes Still Seeking A Full Independent

Anniversary of Pat Finucane's murder marked in Belfast

By Laura Friel

Murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was remembered
this week with hundreds of people gathering at Beechmount,
West Belfast, for the unveiling of a mural to mark the 18th
anniversary of his death.

The tribute was painted by the renowned mural artist Danny
Devenney and unveiled by Pat Finucane's fellow solicitor,
Peter Madden. Members of the Finucane family - Pat's widow
Geraldine, son Michael and Pat's brother Seamus - attended
the unveiling.

The Finucane family said they are seeking a full,
independent inquiry into the killing. An inquiry held under
new restrictions imposed by the British Government would
not be able to get to the truth, they insisted.

Addressing the crowd, Clara Reilly, of Relatives for
Justice, described Pat Finucane as a man whose
determination to champion the rights of others ultimately
cost him his life.

"His reputation for going that extra mile in exposing the
corrupt practices of government and the security forces
often brought him into the media spotlight. The case of Pat
Finucane is significant in that it commands local, national
and international support."

Local Sinn F‚in Councillor Paul Maskey said that, after 18
years, the circumstances surrounding Pat Finucane's death
are still being covered up. "It is important that justice
prevails for the Finucane family."

Anti-collusion campaign group An Fhirinne marked the
anniversary by picketing the office of Alastair Frasier,
head of the Public Prosecution Service.

The group said it is in the public interest to bring cases
highlighted in the Stevens and O'Loan reports before the

"Unless these cases appear in court, you and your office
will be forever seen in the eyes of all law-abiding
citizens as being part of the problem."

UDA assassin found dead

Meanwhile, the body of UDA assassin Mark Barr, believed to
have been the second gunman involved in the murder of Pat
Finucane, was discovered in North Belfast last week.

The 38-year-old was found at a football pitch in Forthriver
Road last Wednesday week. The PSNI is not treating the
death as suspicious and it is widely believed that Barr
died as a result of suicide.

Barr was named during an application to the European Court
of Human Rights in 2003, along with convicted murderer Ken
Barrett, as one of two gunmen who burst into Pat Finucane's
home and shot him dead in front of his wife and children.
In 1999, following the Stevens investigation, Barr was
charged with possession of information likely to be of use
to terrorists.

In 1993, Barr escaped conviction for the murder of North
Belfast Catholic Dermot McGuinness despite the fact that
his then girlfriend gave evidence against him. Barr was
questioned but never charged in relation to the murder of
the father of three. McGuinness was shot six times as he
walked home along Rosapenna Street.

Barr died a short distance from where RUC Special Branch
agent William Stobie, also implicated in the Finucane
killing, was shot dead within hours of supporting the call
for an inquiry into the Finucane murder. Stobie stood trial
for the murder of Pat Finucane but the court case collapsed
after Stobie revealed that he was a Special Branch agent at
the time of the killing and the main witness pulled out of
the trial on health grounds.

Possible connection

Stobie and Barr aren't the only British agents to have met
an untimely end. Others include Billy Wright and Robert
Kerr, both of whom died in suspicious circumstances.

Wright is a focus of inquiries on foot of a recommendation
by the independent international investigator, Judge Peter
Cory. Unfortunately, the inquiry is subject to the
restrictions of the new Inquiries Act.

Meanwhile, new evidence suggests a connection between the
murder of Dundrum businessman Jack Kielty in 1988 and the
killing of Pat Finucane a year later. The gunmen who shot
Kielty are believed to have come from the Highfield estate
in West Belfast. Special Branch agent William Stobie lived
in the Highfield estate and was the UDA 'quarter-master' at
the time.

The guns used in the Kielty murder were later handed over
to a Belfast-based UDA member in the Shankill Leisure
Centre car park. The question is: was Stobie the man who
received the murder weapons to hide for later use by the
same gang again? According to the media, British agent and
UVF killer Mark Haddock and the man who killed Jack Kietly
shared the same Special Branch handler.

Pat Finucane's son Michael and widow Geraldine, standing
at the mural commemorating the anniversary of his


Collusion: Packed Conference Hears Of British Involvement
And Irish Inaction

Photo: Amanda Fullerton, daughter of murdered Sinn F‚in
Councillor Eddie Fullerton

Time for truth on state-sponsored murder

By Phillip Connolly

"What happened long ago has not been forgotten or relegated
to the past. Their wounds have not been healed. Their
suffering has not been alleviated." - Independent
International Panel on Collusion

A Sinn F‚in conference on collusion between British
Intelligence and unionist paramilitaries has called on 26-
County Justice Minister Michael McDowell to hold a proper
debate in the Oireachtas on the issues surrounding Police
Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's report and the standard of Garda
inquiries into cross-border attacks on nationalists.

Sinn F‚in's pokesperson on Justice, Aengus O Snodaigh TD,
told the conference:

"We now have the facts. We can prove that the British armed
loyalists to attack people in the Six Counties and in the
26 Counties.

"The government in the 26 Counties has a responsibility to
admit to a cover-up in their investigations.

"In any other jurisdiction this level of cross-border
attacks would be tantamount to a declaration of war and the
British would be hauled before the United Nations and
ordered to desist. Instead, all we get from this Minister
for Justice is silence."

Opening the conference, Sinn F‚in MEP Mary Lou McDonald
said that the aim of the event was "to shine a light on the
facts and expose the truth".

She paid tribute to the family of murdered solicitor Pat
Finucane, describing them as "a force of great strength to
the hundreds of families who have been left to pick up the
pieces of their lives which have been ruined by the British
state policy of collusion". This policy, she told the
conference, "was designed to intimidate one section of the
community for the sole purpose of maintaining the union
with Britain".

The Sinn F‚in MEP added:

"It is time for Fine Gael to come clean about their level
of culpability in the 1970s."

She demanded the names of the individuals who ran the death
squads and subsequent cover-ups.

"Why was there no co-operation forthcoming from the British
in the inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings? The
families deserve to know the truth, and the current
government in the 26 Counties is equally culpable if they
don't demand an international inquiry into the scandal."

The packed conference, which took place in a Dublin hotel
on Saturday morning last, was also addressed by Margaret
Urwin on behalf of Justice for the Forgotten.

Margaret addressed the burning issue of how the Free State
dealt with cross-border attacks by loyalist/RUC/UDR murder
squads. She referred to the recent Barron Report, which
found that "all investigations by the Garda had failed

"Forty-eight people have been executed in the 26 Counties.
There have been no convictions for any of these crime
because the RUC would not co-operate with the Garda -
and the Garda, for their part, didn't want to know.

"Of those 48 people murdered in the 1970s, we believe that
38 of those were murdered by the Glenanne gang."

The Glenanne gang was a group of unionist paramilitaries
who were all serving officers in the RUC and UDR throughout
the 1970s. Their base was a farmhouse at Glenanne, County

In an affidavit, former RUC Sergeant John Weir named
fellow gang members who the Justice Barron report found to
have "either participated in, or were aware of"
preparations for the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

Urwin added:

"Documents that we have found in the London archives tell
of a high-level security meeting between the two
governments, which was attended by Merlyn Rees, Secretary
of State, Minister for Justice Paddy Cooney, the British
Ambassador, the Garda Commissioner and RUC Chief Constable
James Flanagan, along with many other officials.

"No reference was made to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings
whatsoever - and this was just four months after the
atrocities in Dublin and Monaghan! The discussion was all
about republicans attacking the North from the South.

"Chief Constable Flanagan and the Garda Commissioner stated
that relations between the Special Branch in Newry and the
Special Branch in Dundalk 'could not be better'."

Margaret Urwin outlined the conditions at the time between
the British and the 26-County Government. She explained how
the British set up sophisticated channels of communication
between the Garda and the RUC and British Army. She also
told of documents discovered in London that show how
compliant the two-faced Fine Gael Government was with
British security demands. Garret FitzGerald was on camera
condemning the closure of border roads in the 1970s, while
documents found in London reveal he was at the same time
lambasting the British Army engineers for not building the
barricades strongly enough."

More importantly, unearthed documents relating to the
Dublin-Monaghan bombings show a callous disregard for the
victims by both governments. They include a letter from the
British Ambassador reporting Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's
view that the bombings were the fault of the IRA alone,
quoting him directly with this remark to the British
Ambassador: "It's all their bloody fault for starting it

Amanda Fullerton, daughter of murdered Sinn F‚in Councillor
Eddie Fullerton, spoke on behalf of the campaigning group
'Eddie Fullerton for Justice'. Eddie had been a Sinn F‚in
activist in Birmingham and moved back to Ireland in 1974.
In 1979, his hard work for the community was rewarded by a
seat on Donegal County Council and it came as no surprise
when he was re-elected in 1985 and again in 1991.

In early 1990, Eddie was arrested at a demonstration
against border road closures. He was held by the RUC for
three days but no charges were brought against him. In
March of that year, Eddie received a death threat from the
UVF, which he presented to the Garda. In 1991, garda¡
leaked a bogus story to the Derry Journal, pointing the
finger at Eddie for the death of a loyalist. One month
later, Eddie Fullerton was dead. Fianna F il County
Councillor Bernard McGlinchey sensationally stated two
weeks later:

"I say, and I am convinced, that the garda¡ in this country
have done a terrible injustice to Eddie Fullerton. Eddie
Fullerton would be alive today if that investigation hadn't
got the publicity it did."

Shortly after Eddie's murder, an RUC photo-montage, along
with information on Eddie Fullerton, was found in a rubbish
dump outside Derry - information that had been handed over
to a loyalist death squad.

The murder of Eddie Fullerton has been laid squarely at the
door of the RUC, its informers and British Military
Intelligence. But the Garda's role in the events leading up
to the murder also needs to be examined.

Four of the Garda team investigating the death of Eddie
Fullerton were discredited and exposed as corrupt by the
Morris Tribunal in 2004. The gun used in Eddie's murder had
been used in 13 others, some of which have resulted in
convictions - a fact that the RUC never disclosed until a
Garda review of the case was undertaken. The re-opening of
the case failed to win the confidence of the Fullerton
family, who insist that only a full, independent inquiry
will suffice. Amanda Fullerton told the conference that the
Police Ombudsman has now taken up the case.

In the years leading up to 1989, the RUC Special Branch in
Castlereagh Interrogation Centre repeatedly told
republicans that their legal representative, Pat Finucane,
was going to be murdered. The messages were interpreted by
Pat Finucane as an interrogation tactic against his
clients. Then, in 1989, in the House of Commons,
government minister Douglas Hogg - speaking completely out
of context to the matter being debated - announced that, in
his opinion, some solicitors in the Six Counties were
"unduly sympathetic to the IRA".

Pat Finucane's son, John, was eight years old when, three
weeks later, a loyalist murder squad burst into the family
home and shot his father dead. John told the conference:

"Hogg had been briefed by very senior members of the RUC.
His comments amounted to a licence for loyalists to kill
any and every solicitor representing republicans."

The Finucane family started a campaign for a fully
independent inquiry, a campaign that continues 18 years

Initially, an inquiry was set up under senior Metropolitan
Police officer John Stevens to look into the case. Then the
arrest of UDA intelligence offcer and British Army agent
Brian Nelson in 1991 opened up a can of worms in the search
for the truth about the murder.

Brian Nelson's brief was simple: arm and train loyalist
paramilitaries. Nelson was not a rogue element. He was
closely supervised, monitored and briefed as a top agent
for the highly secretive Force Research Unit (FRU), which
the British then denied the very existence of. He received
a lenient sentence, early release, and a generous
resettlement package from the British Government for the
crime of conspiracy to murder.

The Finucane family continued to gather a huge amount of
evidence of collusion, which they presented to British
Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1999. To avoid an independent
public inquiry, Blair called in the Stevens inquiry team
for the third time. Stevens announced in Belfast that
collusion was neither a republican slur nor a Finucane lie,
that it was not isolated and that it wasn't localised.

In 2001, the British and Irish governments agreed that six
controversial cases - four in the Six Counties and two in
the 26 Counties - would be looked at by an international
judge. The agreement promised that Judge Peter Cory would
have unhindered access and, if he thought there was a case
to answer, the relevant government would establish a public

When Judge Cory submitted his decision on the Pat Finucane
case, the British Government, in an act of extremely bad
faith, refused to share it with the Finucane family. The
family took the Government to court. In three other cases
(Rosemary Nelson, Billy Wright and Robert Hamill), the
British Government committed itself to full, independent
inquiries. In the case of Pat Finucane, the British said
they would defer the decision to a later date.

Finally, faced with the moment of truth, the British
Government reverted to type and introduced the Inquiries
Act 2005. This act puts control over public inquiries in
the hands of a government minister. The investigation of 30
years of state-sponsored murder is now to be controlled by
those whose policy it was to carry out those murders.

"So now the relevant minister - be it the Defence or Army
Minister, the Six-County Secretary of State, or the Home
Secretary - can dictate to the judge what papers can be
seen and which ones can't; when people are allowed into the
inquiry and when they are not; if an inquiry report can be
published or if it cannot.

The second session of the conference focused on the issue
of truth recovery.

Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said:

"We are in a very different place now to where we were even
six months ago. So much has happened in the few months that
has changed the nature of the debate, even the nature of
the discussion that we are having among ourselves. Even
senior police officers are admitting to the injustices of
the past."

Reading from what he described as the "devastating" D il
report of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on
collusion, Paul O'Connor said:

"There was a period of time in which there was significant
state collusion which was not limited to what might be
referred to as foot soldiers, bad apples or the occasional
wayward RUC officer or UDR member...

"This committee expresses its outrage that acts of
international terrorism could have been colluded in by all
levels of the British administration."

Paul told the conference: "Each case of truth recovery has
to be dealt with on two levels: individual truth recovery
and societal truth recovery. Each case that we deal with
has its own unique struggle and process."

Paul O'Connor described to the conference how papers they
found in archives in London show the nature of the dirty
war, including the designation of Armagh as a "Special
Emergency Area, allowing the SAS free reign in the area
north and south of the border".

Mark Thomas, from Relatives for Justice, spoke of the
central role of the British Government's Cabinet-level
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in driving the state
policy of collusion.

"Shoot-to-kill, plastic bullets and physical force were all
carried out with impunity. Everyone now knows that the JIC
made the decision whether to send out the SAS or loyalist
killer gangs to carry out British policy.

"The British justice system was rigged and the British had
to be taken to the European Court of Human Rights...
despite censorship, the very nature of the state was

The Relatives for Justice spokesperson said that they have
to go international to force the British into a process
that will take the power of inquiries away from them.

"The real obstacle to truth is the NIO, who want to control
the peace and the truth simply so that they can pacify the
argument and move on. Relatives for Justice need inquiries
to be independent and international. It needs to be driven
by the families."

Mark Thomas concluded:

"Despite claims by Peter Hain that up to ten people may
have been murdered, Relatives for Justice know that the
real figure in North Belfast is 23.

"Now former RUC Reservists and loyalists have now started
coming forward to aid Relatives for Justice."


New Lodge Families Demand Justice

Photo: Jim Sloan, Tony Campbell, Brendan Maguire, Jim
McCann, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy


The families of six north Belfast men murdered in February
1973 have demanded a probe into collusion following further
revelations by a British agent, known only as 'John Black'.

The agent, believed to have been recruited by British
military intelligence to work within the UVF, first came to
light in an article appearing in the Scottish Sunday
Herald. According to journalist Neil MacKay, Black's
unpublished memoir documents crown forces collusion with
the UVF in a number of bombings and shootings.

The killings took place within hours of each other on the
night of 3 February and early hours of 4 February in the
New Lodge area of North Belfast. The British Army claimed
all six were shot dead by troops during a gun battle but
local eye-witnesses have always contested the official
version of events.

According to local people, no gun battle took place and
none of the six men was armed. Shortly after 11pm, a car
carrying three men drove slowly through the area and shots
were fired at a group of men standing outside a local bar.

Drive-by shooting

Jim Sloan and Jim McCann, both aged 19, were shot dead in
what witnesses described as a drive-by shooting. The
vehicle used in the attack was a type commonly used by the
British military and was later found burned out in the

The third victim, Tony Campbell, also 19 and a close friend
of Sloan and McCann, ran to the scene and was shot dead by
a British soldier. All three were IRA Volunteers but none
was armed or on active service at the time of their deaths.

John Loughran (35) and Brendan Maguire (32) were shot dead
as they went to help injured people. Ambrose Hardy (26) was
shot dead as he made his way home from the Antrim Road.

Local people and a number of the victims' families have
always alleged the killings took place as a result of
collusion between unionist paramilitaries and the British
Army. The suspicion is that the attacks were intended to
draw the local IRA unit out onto the streets to defend the
area, allowing the British Army to ambush them.

In an article by Colm Heatley for the Sunday Business Post,
'Black' claims he was one of a four-man team firing from
Edlingham Street. Within moments of the drive-by shooting,
soldiers opened fire from British Army positions within the
New Lodge.

According to 'Black', Sloan and McCann had been under
surveillance by the British Army for most of the day and
targeted to entice the IRA onto the streets.


Collusion Victims And Relatives Fear Delay In D il Debate

Photo: Sinn F‚in TD Aengus O Snodaigh

Sinn F‚in TD Aengus O Snodaigh has called on the Taoiseach
to give a guarantee that a D il debate on collusion will
take place before the end of the Government's term of

O Snodaigh was speaking on Wednesday after Patrick McEntee
SC requested an extension of one month before he publishes
his report into the Dublin/Monaghan bombings of 1974,
sparking fears among the families of victims of collusion
that a debate will not take place before the end of this
D il.

The Sinn F‚in TD called on the Taoiseach to give a
guarantee that this will not be the case.

"The D il debate on collusion must top the agenda after St
Patrick's Day, by which time the McEntee Report should be
published. If that means calling a special sitting on a
Friday or during Easter Week, then so be it."


Stone Remanded Over Stormont Attack

Fri, Feb 16, 2007

Loyalist killer Michael Stone's claims to artistic
significance resurfaced today as he appeared before a
magistrate charged with trying to murder Sinn F‚in leaders
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

In court today he spoke only to confirm his identity during
a brief five-minute appearance. He told the hearing his
name was: "The artist Michael Stone."

The Milltown cemetery bomber, on crutches and suffering
arthritis, appeared by video-link system from Maghaberry
jail, near Lisburn, Co Antrim.

He was remanded back into custody until March 16th.

Stone (51) has been on remand since last November when he
dramatically stormed the Stormont Parliament in east

He was stopped and wrestled to the ground by security staff
as he tried to enter the main building where Assembly
members had gathered for a debate critical to attempt to
restore the devolved power-sharing Executive.

He was charged with trying to murder five people: Mr Adams
and Mr McGuinness, the two guards who halted him and an
unnamed person.

Stone was also accused of possessing an imitation firearm,
explosives and articles likely to be of use to terrorists.

During a bail application in December, the Northern Ireland
High Court was told the incident at Stormont had been an
act of performance art.

Despite a history of violence, including the gun and
grenade attack on an IRA funeral in 1988 which killed
three, Stone's lawyer said he did not intend to hurt anyone
at the Assembly building.

But with his early release under the Belfast Agreement now
revoked, he faces having to serve the rest of his life
sentence behind bars.

c 2007


'We Feel Totally Vindicated' Murder Convictions Quashed

TWO DERRY republicans whose murder convictions were quashed
in Belfast's Court of Appeal yesterday were last night back
home celebrating with their families.

Sinn Fein Assembly candidate and former Long Kesh hunger
striker Raymond McCartney and local journalist Eamonn
MacDermott were cleared of the convictions - for which they
both spent lengthy periods in prison - after three High
Court judges ruled evidence given by police officers at the
murder trials "may have been discredited by evidence which
is now available."

By Sean McLaughlin

One of the judges told yesterday's hearing: "In both cases
we are left with a distinct feeling of unease about the
safety of their convictions, based as they were on
admissions.The convictions must, therefore, be quashed."

Speaking after the convictions were quashed, Mr. MacDermott
said both he and Mr. McCartney felt "totally vindicated."

"From day one, both of us insisted our convictions were
unsafe," he said. "We were brutalised in police custody and
the confessions levelled against us were fabricated. Today,
after nearly 30 years, the courts have accepted this was
the case."

Mr McCartney was sentenced in 1979 for the murders of local
industrialist Jeff Agate and RUC Constable Patrick McNulty.
He has always maintained that, whilst being held in
Castlereagh holding centre in Belfast, he was repeatedly
beaten and the verbal admissions and written statements
about the 1977 murders - the only evidence against him -
were concocted by the police officers who beat him.

He said that, while in police custody aged 22, he was
slapped in the face and around the head, punched in the
stomach and was trampled on.

Mr MacDermott, who was 19 at the time of his arrest, was
also jailed for the murder of Constable McNulty.

He insisted he was ill-treated and assaulted by police
while in Castlereagh. He said he was repeatedly beaten and
was pinched, throttled and punched in the stomach.

During the hearing in the Court of Appeal, the three Judges
heard evidence which was not available at the time of the
original trial.

They were told John Donnelly, another Derry man who was
arrested and questioned about the murder of Mr Agate but
who was not charged, also claimed he was badly beaten
whilst being questioned at Castlereagh.

A subsequent investigation concluded Mr. Donnelly has been
assaulted by police.

Lord Justice Campbell told yesterday's hearing that, if the
judge presiding over the murder trials had known this at
the time "it is possible that it may have influenced his
decision to accept the Crown case that McCartney and
MacDermott, who had been interviewed by members of the same
team of detectives as Donnelly, had not been ill treated."

It also emerged during the appeal that another man who
claimed he was beaten in custody by one of the officers who
also interviewed Mr. MacDermott launched a private
prosecution concerning his treatment in custody.

Lord Justice Campbell concluded: "We cannot rule out the
possibility that the evidence of the police officers may
have been discredited by evidence that is now available. In
both cases we are left with a distinct feeling of unease
about the safety of their convictions based as they were on
admissions and the convictions must therefore be quashed."

Mr. MacDermott said the quashing of the convictions "showed
the Diplock Courts for what they were - mere sentencing
tribunals rather than courts in the accepted sense of the

"We were victims of a non-jury system designed to fast-
track the imprisonment of republicans," he said.

"In effect, at that time, the judiciary, in conjunction
with the RUC, played a crucial role in removing as many
republicans from the streets as possible. Along with
hundrerds of others, we were victims of a repressive
criminal justice system."

He said he was currently taking legal advice with a view to
suing the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

He added: "I'd like to thank, in particular, my family for
their constant support throughout this process. Today's
good news is somewhat tempered by the fact that my mother
and father, who both passed away in recent years, aren't
here to witness this."

Mr. McCartney added: "This is vindication for all those who
took to the streets and marched on behalf of prisoners at
that particular time.

"This has to be set in the context of RUC interrogation
techniques in Strand Road and Castlereagh and it also
highlights the willingness of Diplock courts to send
republicans to jail on the basis of confession-type
statements. It has to be placed firmly within the
criminalisation process of the late 70s and early 80s."

Expressing his gratitude to his legal team, he added: "I
also have to thank my family and Eamonn's family who have
been involved and have struggled alongside us."

16 February 2007


Demands For Brit Apology - Bklyn Recalls 'Bloody Sunday'

By Thomas Tracy

Brooklyn's 35th annual commemoration of the Bloody Sunday
massacre in Ireland was best summed up by a woman who was
asked if protestors were going to walk straight up to Our
Lady of Perpetual Help this year or if they were going to
follow tradition and walk around the church.

"We're going around the bend," the woman said, holding a
wreath of green, white and orange carnations, the crisp
February wind threatening to whip the petals off their
stems. "We've been going around the bend for some time."

Members of the Bay Ridge Irish American Action Committee
will tell you that they've been "going around the bend"
since 1972, when British paratroopers gunned down a group
of peace protestors attending a rally in Derry, Ireland.

Ever year, they demand peace in Northern Ireland, as well
as some form of apology from Great Brittan about the
massacre with every step. Sometimes they get closer to the
goal, sometimes they get farther away, but still they

According to the history books, protesters took to the
streets of Derry that year demanding the simplest things in
life - the jobs and homes the British were not allowing
them to obtain.

Back then, the Irish Catholic marchers followed the example
set by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as they let their voices
and staunch determination serve as weapons for change.

Claiming that the protestors were armed, British soldiers
opened fire on the crowd, killing 13 people in the process.
Nearly half of those killed were under 18 years old.

Thirteen more were seriously wounded that day, organizers
recalled. One of those victims died of his injuries days

To this day, the British government has not apologized to
the relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday.

The closest thing to an admission of guilt was made by
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said that their
paratroopers "shot indiscriminately into the crowd."

The British government appeased some by organizing an
investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday.

That investigation, known more commonly as the Saville
Inquiry, is expected to be released next year. When it
does, 10 years would have passed since the probe was first
formed in 1998.

In Brooklyn, the Bay Ridge Irish American Action Committee
remembers that horrible day with their annual march from
Irish Haven at the corner of 58th Street and 4th Avenue to
the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, where a
mass is held to honor the memory of the Derry 13.

Standing two abreast, marchers, many of who remember
exactly where they were when the bloodbath was reported to
the world, bear crosses containing the names of those
killed on Bloody Sunday.

This year, it was clear that another generation was taking
up the call for peace. Several of the cross bearers were
under 16 years old.

Still, those who had started the march back when Nixon was
president were still in abundance, leading the charge.

One of the original marchers found on the route was Tom
Hughes, who, now well into his seventies, continued to
strive for peace in Ireland, albeit this year he did it
with the help of a walker.

Bringing up the end of the march was Margaret Hughes, Tom's
daughter, and her son, four-year-old Thomas, who was too
small to carry a cross, although he wanted to, Margaret

"The kids are coming up," she said. "They'll keep it

As they walked closer to the church, everyone had their own
opinion if justice for the Derry 13 would come this year,
or not for another 35 years.

"They [the British government] may have made some policy
changes because of this, but they haven't done enough for
the families," marcher Ellen Murphy said.

A statement released from the families of the Derry 13 said
that there has been "constant questioning of the expense of
the Bloody Sunday inquiry."

These complaints, however, "have little to do with concern
about cost and everything to do with the uneasiness about
the truth."

"We never wanted, and no one we know ever wanted, to be
forced to wait 36 years for the truth about Bloody Sunday
to be acknowledged," the family members stated.

Many marchers believe that when the inquiry is released, it
will be a watered-down report that still doesn't hold
everyone accountable.

"Whatever they say it won't matter," said Mary Nolan, one
of the founders of the Bay Ridge Irish American Action
Committee. "We still know it was murder."

But, as they went around the bend once again, their
criticisms were laced with the hope of a brighter future.

"Demands for punishment and revenge haven't gotten us
anywhere," said Father Colm Campbell, as he gave his annual
homily. "What does work is reconciliation."

"Reconciliation and recognition is almost there," he said.
"We've reached the edge."


Opin: Lift The Lid On Collusion

This week marked the anniversary of the murder of human
rights lawyer Pat Finucane by unionist paramilitaries
acting in concert with the British state. The Finucane
family continue to seek a full, independent inquiry into
the murder. An inquiry held under new restrictions imposed
by the British Government cannot get to the truth behind
his death. Those restrictions underline the fact that the
British state still covers up the extent of its collusion
policy with unionist paramilitary death squads in Ireland
over several decades.

Sinn F‚in continues to confront the British Government over
its collusion policy. Republicans will not let up on the
campaign to get to the truth behind the deaths of hundreds
of Irish people through a policy of state-sponsored murder.

On Friday, Sinn F‚in will raise this issue directly with
PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde. The party will continue to
stand with the families of the victims in their demand for
the truth.

The Irish Government has a huge responsibility to help lift
the lid on collusion. It has to confront the British state,
which directed the collusion policy and which continues to
conceal the extent of its activities. Within the next week,
Sinn F‚in will put forward a D il motion calling for a
British/Irish governmental summit on the issue. It is also
time the Irish Government publicly backed demands for an
international inquiry into collusion.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has given a commitment to
schedule a D il debate on the upcoming McEntee report on
the Dublin/Monaghan bombings of 1974, one of many horrific
incidents in the 26 Counties involving collusion between
British state forces and unionist paramilitaries.

Relatives and friends of collusion victims fear that the
extension requested by Patrick McEntee before he publishes
his report will mean there will not be a D il debate this
side of a general election. The Taoiseach needs to
guarantee that this will not be the case.

Any D il debate must be free from any restrictive
Government guillotines as were applied in previous debates.

There are very serious questions, with potentially far-
reacing consequences, to be answered by both British and
Irish governments, including those Fine Gael and Labour
Irish Government ministers at the time of the
Dublin/Monaghan attacks.

It is time for the truth from those who sponsored state
murder, from those who covered it up and those who did
nothing even when they knew what was happening.


Political Vision Of Wonder City

All debts should be cancelled in a cash-free, self
governing Belfast, according to one party's manifesto.

The Make Politicians History Party, headed by George Weiss,
also known as Rainbow George, wants to make Belfast a
'wonder city'.

Standing in all four Belfast constituencies the only crime
on Mr Weiss's manifesto is bad acting.

However, he denied a vote for his party was a protest vote
and that direct democracy was the future.

"We are a direct democracy movement," he said.

"We believe that we don't need political parties, we don't
need politicians everyone should be able to register their
opinion on any given issue at any given time."

The party's manifesto calls for Belfast to become cash-free
trading in an electronic currency called the wonder, which
will be worth 100 gasps.

"Even though you may be down to your last gasp, wonders
will never cease," Mr Weiss said.

The main points of the manifesto, launched on Wednesday,

Self governing Belfast via direct accessible democracy

New currency called the wonder

Debts to become null and void

Found music based REEL religion - under which everything is
being filmed by cosmic agencies and when people go to
'rainbowland' they get a movie of their lives

Invite bids from Hollywood to make a movie of how Belfast
became a wonder city

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/14 16:22:31 GMT


Free Irish Roaming For Pensioners

Pensioners will be able to travel free on trains and buses
throughout the island of Ireland from April onwards.

Since 2002, senior citizens have been able to travel for
free around Northern Ireland and on cross-border services.

Translink said it would provide increased mobility and
independence for thousands of retired people.

Acting chief executive Philip O'Neill said the addition of
onward journeys would "provide extended possibilities to

He encouraged pensioners from the Irish Republic to apply
for a card to take advantage of the scheme in Northern

"We are confident our colleagues in the south will extend
an equally warm welcome to our senior citizens," he added.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/16 12:11:06 GMT


Dakota Decides Against Bono Honour

Fri, Feb 16, 2007

Bono has plenty of fans, but it appears North Dakota
politicians are not among them.

Members of the House defeated a resolution 58-35 yesterday
to honour the U2 frontman for his advocacy of debt relief
for Third World countries, saying the Irish rocker had no
connection to the state.

Representative Scot Kelsh, who sponsored the measure, said
he got the idea for the resolution from a magazine
published by the National Conference of State Legislatures,
which mentioned that no state at the time had approved a
resolution to honour the singer.

"This is something that does matter to us as citizens of
North Dakota, the US, and the world at large," Kelsh said.

Republican Representative Gil Herbel said he initially
thought the resolution referred to Sonny Bono, the former
singer, Republican congressman and husband of Cher.

c 2007

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