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 02, 2007

Parties at Loggerheads Over Justice Ministry

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 02/02/07 Parties At Loggerheads Over Justice Ministry
IN 02/02/07 SF To Sit On New Policing Board
AP 02/01/07 'Strength Through Unity' - Ógra
BT 02/02/07 McGuinness Appeals For Justice After Ordeal
IN 02/02/07 Dail Northern Committee A ‘Side Deal’
IN 02/02/07 McCord Ready To Meet Foster
DJ 02/02/07 I Want To Come Home - Raymond Gilmour
IN 02/02/07 ‘Viable Device’ Abandoned
BN 02/02/07 Polls Suggest Close Election
BT 02/02/07 Sinn Fein Gets Poll Boost In Republic
BT 02/02/07 Labour 'Falling Apart' As MPs Turn On Blair
AP 02/01/07 Bloody Sunday: 35th Anniversary Commemoration
BT 02/01/07 Ex-Prisoners Lose 'Political Bias' Jobs Case
IN 02/02/07 Opin: In Informing Timing Is Everything
IN 02/02/07 Opin: Another 30 Years Of Hell? No Thanks
IN 02/02/07 Opin: Paisley Will Play Hain’s Weakness
IN 02/02/07 Drowned Mother & Son To Be Buried Side By Side
MA 02/02/07 2nd Miracle Of Knock As Airport Gets US Links
PI 02/02/07 Pardons Board Delays Ruling On A Molly Maguire
PI 02/02/07 Pardon Sought For 130-Year-Old Crime


Parties At Loggerheads Over Justice Ministry

[Published: Friday 2, February 2007 - 09:17]
By Noel McAdam

The main political parties at Stormont have clashed over
the structure of a future justice ministry - but reached
consensus on a number of other issues.

Both the DUP and UUP favour a single minister for the new
Justice Department, while Sinn Fein suggests a 'job-share'
- two ministers sharing equal status.

It is a proposal similar to the co-equal nature of the
First and Deputy First Ministers office, which could see a
joint DUP and Sinn Fein ministry, such as Policing Board
member Ian Paisley jnr and Sinn Fein policing spokesman
Gerry Kelly.

There is no agreement, however, on how a minister should be
appointed, with Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the UUP supporting
the d'Hondt system, while the DUP is in favour of the
election of a minister by a 70% weighted majority of the

Predictably, there was also no agreement on the sub-group
over the timing of the devolution of policing and justice
to the Assembly. The St Andrews Agreement target date is
May, 2008.

Another group working on the controversial review of public
administration and rural planning has called for even more
unelected quangos to be axed.

Its report voices concern that the review, which reduces
the number of councils from 26 to seven, "had not resulted
in more significant cuts in the number of quangos and
considers that further reductions should be made."

With only Sinn Fein in favour of cutting the councils to
seven, the report says the committee agreed it would be
preferable for the parties to seek consensus on the number
of councils.

The reports are designed to help shape priorities and
policings so an incoming, power-sharing Executive - if it
is formed - can hit the ground running.

Thus the RPA group report called on the incoming Executive
to carry out a review of planning within Northern Ireland .

Similarly, the group probing the comprehensive spending
review, including water reform and rates charges, called on
the future Executive to " consider again all the potential
alternative models for reform".

The conclusions come in the reports of the six sub-groups
of the Programme for Government committee.

© Belfast Telegraph


SF To Sit On New Policing Board

By William Graham

The Policing Board will be reconstituted with the
restoration of the assembly on March 26 and for the first
time will include representatives of Sinn Fein.

Last weekend Sinn Fein voted at its ard fheis to sign up to
the new policing structures in the event of devolution
being restored.

It is expected that Sinn Fein could end up with perhaps
three seats on a reconstituted police board alongside
representatives from the DUP, SDLP and UUP.

All of this will of course depend on the devolved assembly
and executive as well as the other institutions getting up
and operating.

However, now that republicans have moved to back policing
structures it is anticipated that they will be involved
even under a situation where the governments in the absence
of devolution would have to move to the political plan B of
joint partnership arrangements.

Secretary of State Peter Hain has described the policing
board as one of the outstanding successes of the Good
Friday Agreement and has noted there is increasing support
from all sections of the community for policing.

The board’s powers include setting objectives and
performance targets, monitoring police performance against
the policing plan and monitoring the human rights
performance of the police.

The primary function of the board is to hold the chief
constable and police service publicly to account.

It has a key role in ensuring the provision of an
effective, efficient, impartial and accountable police
service, which will enjoy the support of all sections of
the community.

Yesterday Mr Hain confirmed that the Policing Board will be
reconstituted with the restoration of the assembly on March
26 and will have 10 political representatives reflective of
party strength in the assembly and nine independent


February 1, 2007

'Strength Through Unity' - Ógra

Hundreds of Ógra activists and dozens of Ógra delegates
attended the Extraordinary Sinn Féin Ard Fheis last Sunday.
In the previous week, Ógra organised an Extraordinary
National Congress at which the organisation adopted a new
policy calling for policing to be “decoupled from the state
and proposed the establishment of municipal policing

At the Extraordinary Congress, Ógra urged delegates to vote
against the Ard Chomhairle motion but to remain united
regardless of the outcome.

Speaking on Monday about the outcome of the debate, Ógra
National Organiser Barry McColgan said: “We had a very
comradely robust debate at the Ard Fheis. Many Ógra
activists from across the country spoke very articulately
in opposition to the Ard Chomhairle motion, stating many
strategic and practical reasons.”

“While the position adopted was historically
groundbreaking, the real test now is going to be in the
practical implementation of the motion, and it is now that
the real struggle on policing begins.”

Ógra activists spoke in favour of the alternative Ógra
policing policy which aims to decouple policing from the
state and to deal with policing in a revolutionary and
stand alone context. As one Ógra delegate said, “are we
going to support and endorse a force that actively works
against our objectives, or to approach the issue of
policing in a progressive way, not limiting ourselves to
the staid old model of a monolithic police force?”.

Colgan pointed out that Ógra had stated clearly it would
respect the outcome of the Ard Fheis and remain united.
“Ógra went into the Ard Fheis as part of the Republican
Movement, and came out as part of the Republican Movement”,
he said

He said the strength of the movement was its ability to
critically debate.

“Unity and cohesion is tantamount to the successful
conclusion of our struggle – regardless of the decision
that was reached – a mountain of struggle remains ahead
and only one movement are going to achieve our objectives.


McGuinness Appeals For Justice After Robbery Ordeal

[Published: Friday 2, February 2007 - 12:32]
By Noel McAdam

Martin McGuinness has warned that those involved in an
armed robbery in which a man was doused with petrol "must
be removed from our society" .

The senior Sinn Fein negotiator called on people with
information to come forward after what he described as an
"horrific" crime.

His condemnation comes after last weekend's historic Sinn
Fein ard fheis in which the party agreed in principle to
move towards support for policing and the courts system.

After the party leadership's motion was endorsed by an
overwhelming majority of almost 1,000 delegates, Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams made clear people should co-operate
with and join the police.

Mr McGuinness said: "The details of this robbery are
horrific. Armed men entered the home, doused the
householder in petrol, immersed him in a bath and proceeded
to steal his possessions.

"This sort of criminal behaviour needs to be tackled.

"Those responsible for this type of behaviour must be
removed from our society and I would urge people to bring
forward information to ensure this happens."

In the robbery, on which police released details yesterday,
the man in his 50s was also hit on the face and tied up at
his home at Ballygrooby Road, Moneymore.

The robbers, who wore suits and had shaved heads, made off
in a silver people carrier with bank cards, three firearms,
ammunition, foreign currency and a gold watch.

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said: "It beggars belief that there
are people out there who would do this inhuman type of

© Belfast Telegraph


Dail Northern Committee A ‘Side Deal’

By William Graham

Plans for Northern Ireland MPs to take part in a Dail
special committee have been welcomed as a step forward by
the SDLP and Sinn Fein but immediately rejected by the DUP
and UUP.

After a question from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, the
Irish government denied there was a ‘side deal’ between
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Sinn Fein to set up the Northern
Ireland Dail committee in exchange for the policy shift on

Tanaiste Michael McDowell, representing the taoiseach said:
“I was fully consulted in relation to the committee that is
being established.

“There will be full dialogue with all party leaders in the
Dail and all party leaders in Northern Ireland including
the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the unionist parties.”

It was announced that plans were being considered for a
multi-party body including Westminster MPs that would meet
in committee rooms in Leinster House in Dublin.

Ulster Unionists expressed concern about the proposals.

“It is very much outside the Belfast agreement,” the UUP’s
Danny Kennedy said.

“In fact it may well have emerged as a side deal from the
St Andrews Agreement.

“Those who negotiated that deal will have to reflect on how
successful it has been in the wake of this latest
development. A side deal is emerging in Dublin which is not
in the best interests of the union.”

“This is a non starter of little or no interest to
unionists,” the DUP’s Ian Paisley jnr said.

“It is a fantasy committee for nationalists, now there is
no hope of a united Ireland. It is a Fisher Price

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, however, welcomed the

“It is a positive step forward and we hope it goes ahead.
But our primary goal remains the achievement of a north
south parliamentary forum as promised in the Good Friday
Agreement and agreed again in the St Andrews deal,’’ Mr
Durkan said.

Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain said this was a
long delayed first step which must be built upon in the
time ahead.

Mr O Caolain said it was disappointing that the government
proposals fell short of what the taoiseach and other
parties had agreed.


McCord Ready To Meet Foster

By Staff Reporter

The father of UVF murder victim Raymond McCord jnr has
challenged the DUP’s Arlene Foster to meet with him to
discuss the police ombudsman’s report on loyalist
collusion. Raymond McCord snr, whose complaint to ombudsman
Nuala O’Loan prompted her report, said he was angry Ms
Foster had criticised the report without meeting any of the
victims’ families. “Arlene Foster is using victims to score
political points,” he said. “I would call on her to meet
with me and have a public debate.” A

DUP spokesman said party representatives had “met with
Raymond in recent days”.


I Want To Come Home - Raymond Gilmour Tells 'Journal'

Derry Supergrass Raymond Gilmour told the 'Derry Journal'
last night: " I want to come home. I'd love to return to

The Creggan man, who worked as a RUC Special Branch agent
inside both the INLA and the IRA in Derry in the 1970s and
1980s, says that, in spite of the "very real" dangers to
his life, he yearns to return to his home town.

By Sean McLaughlin

And in a direct appeal to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness,
Gilmour said: "Now that he and his colleagues have decided
to co-operate with and help the police - something I was
doing 25 years ago - perhaps it's time they told me that I
can come home. Can Martin McGuinness give me this
assurance? If he can, I'd love to come back. It is my home
after all. These are ties I can never lose."

Gilmour - who hasn't seen any members of his family,
including his ex-wife and children for more than 20 years -
was a Special Branch informer in Derry from his early

He first came to the attention of the public on August 24,
1982, when the RUC, aided by British Army units, carried
out a massive search and arrest operation in nationalist
areas of Derry. More than 50 people were arrested during
"Operation Ragwort", the largest joint British Army/RUC
action in Derry since Operation Motorman in 1972. Gilmour
had left Derry the previous week with his then wife and two

Based on his information, 35 men and women were arrested
and appeared in court in one of the North's biggest
supergrass trials. However, in December 1984, the case
collapsed when the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lowry,
dismissed Gilmour's evidence as "entirely unworthy of

Last night, in a candid interview with the "Journal",
Gilmour said that, given that the security situation in the
North had "changed beyond all recognition" in recent years,
he was "curious" about the "chances of being able to come
back to Derry."

"I have to admit, I never thought I'd see the day when Sinn
Fein would decide to support the police," he said. "After
all, they waged a war against them for decades and murdered
hundreds of its members. And, now, it appears they're going
to be brothers in arms. Unbelievable."

GIlmour insisted he would only return home if his safety
was guaranteed: "In this apparent new era, is it possible
for me to come back home? Now that the war is over and Sinn
Fein are friends with the police, can I come back? Am I
still a target? I want Martin McGuinness to tell me that
it's OK."

Gilmour also revealed that he is anxious to find out what
has happened to his family: "I haven't seen or spoken to
any of them since I left Derry.

Permanent exile

"There's been no contact whatsoever. This has been very,
very difficult for me and has resulted in some serious
problems. Imagine what it's like to be living in permanent
exile for so long."

He again insisted that he had no regrets about working for
the RUC. "If I had to do it all again, I would. The
information I provided saved many lives. I'm not ashamed of

02 February 2007


‘Viable Device’ Abandoned

By Allison Morris

Dissident republicans are thought to have been responsible
for what has been described as a “viable device” that
caused traffic chaos on the Grosvenor Road in west Belfast

The device was abandoned on the roadside close to the
Grosvenor Road entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital
during morning rush hour.

The road between the Westlink and Falls Road was closed off
for several hours while the device was made safe.

There was heavy traffic congestion in the area as vehicles
were diverted via the Falls Road until around midday when
the device was removed.

Police have described the device as “viable” adding that
they have removed material from the scene for forensic

It is believed that a dissident republican group was
responsible for the device, which sources say was intended
for the nearby Grosvenor Road PSNI station.


Polls Suggest Close Election

02/02/2007 - 07:08:23

The upcoming General Election will be a closely fought
contest between the two alternative Governments, the latest
political opinion poll revealed today.

The poll placed support for the current Fianna Fáil and
Progressive Democrats Government at 38%, one percentage
point ahead of the alternative coalition of Fine Gael and
the Labour Party.

The latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion poll found a
collapse in the PDs rating, and a doubling in support for
the Greens.

The poll found party support for Fianna Fáil at 37% down
three points, Fine Gael at 26% down one point, Labour
unchanged at 11%, Sinn Féin up two points at 9%, Green
Party up four points at 8%, the PDs down two points at 1%
and Independents unchanged at 8%.

The survey, carried out by TNS/MRBI on Monday and Tuesday
among 1,000 people, asked voters how satisfied they were
with the way the various party leaders are doing their

Voters’ satisfaction rating with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had
fallen three points to 56%, while Tánaiste Michael McDowell
was up six points at 44%. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny was
down two points at 41%, while Labour leader Pat Rabbitte
was up one point at 47%.


Sinn Fein Gets Poll Boost In Republic

[Published: Friday 2, February 2007 - 12:25]
By Noel McAdam

Support for Sinn Fein in the Republic has increased after
its historic ard fheis verdict on policing, it was revealed

A new opinion poll put support for Sinn Fein up to 9% - up
2% - after a period in which its vote appeared to be

But the poll, conducted for the Irish Times, showed a huge
personal boost for Gerry Adams - an increase of 7% of those
saying they are "satisfied" with how he is doing his job.

It came as the Government confirmed Sinn Fein will not be
able to take up seats on the Policing Board until after the
restoration of power-sharing.

The Board is to be reconstituted with restoration on March
26 and Sinn Fein will have two or three seats depending on
the results of the March 7 elections.

Secretary of State Peter Hain has made clear the board will
have 10 political representatives, reflective of party
strengths in the Assembly, and nine members.

It means Sinn Fein could not, however, take up seats on the
new Board, even if it was prepared to do so.

Its ard fheis motion, however, leaves implementation of any
move towards supporting policing structures to the party's
ard chomhairle (executive).

Meanwhile, it has further emerged a party delegation also
raised progress of the Irish Language Act, part of the St
Andrews Agreement framework, with Tony Blair yesterday.

But the primary focus of the Downing Street meeting was
collusion. The party asked Mr Blair to meet Raymond McCord.
His son's murder sparked the inquiry into collusion by
Policing Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

© Belfast Telegraph


Labour 'Falling Apart' As MPs Turn On Blair

[Published: Thursday 1, February 2007 - 11:45]
By Colin Brown

Labour MPs warned Tony Blair last night that the Government
was in danger of "falling apart" after the arrest of Lord
Levy over an alleged Downing Street cover-up in the "cash
for honours" inquiry.

The Prime Minister, in one of his worst days at the
despatch box, faced taunts in the Commons about the spectre
of Watergate, and was told by the Tory leader David Cameron
to quit "in the national interest" after Lord Levy's arrest
on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish Nationalists, the
party that triggered the police inquiry, gestured to Mr
Blair that he would be put in handcuffs before long. "The
Prime Minister has taken a vow of silence while his whole
house of cards in Downing Street is coming tumbling down,"
the SNP leader said later.

Dismayed Labour MPs said Mr Blair seemed "oblivious" to the
damage being done to the Government while he refused to
give a timetable for his departure. "There is a sense of
total frustration across the backbench," said a Labour MP.
"It is agony, like watching a car crash in slow motion.
Things are just falling apart."

Downing Street said the Prime Minister was standing by Lord
Levy, the party's chief fundraiser, and he would remain his
special envoy to the Middle East.

However, Lord Levy's role was being challenged by members
of the Cabinet. One senior minister questioned his value in
the Middle East, and said he had already caused upset among
senior figures in Israel.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said Lord Levy paid for his
own foreign travel but said he was given an office in
London and a member of staff at the expense of the Foreign
Office. It was not disclosed how much he is costing the
taxpayer but it is certain that MPs will be raising that
question. The official refused to be drawn on speculation
that a third Downing Street official would be questioned
under caution by police. Ruth Turner, the Prime Minister's
"gatekeeper", was arrested last week and police carried out
a second interview under caution of John McTernan, his
director of political relations. Labour MPs loyal to Mr
Blair accused the police of leaking information to the
media in the hope of panicking staff into incriminating
others. A Labour MP said: "If they had enough evidence to
prosecute under the 1925 Act [making it an offence to sell
honours] they would have handed a file to the Crown
Prosecution Service but they haven't. Instead, the police
are growing increasingly desperate. They are now throwing
dynamite into the pond in the hope of getting these
advisers to panic and incriminate each other."

However, rebel Labour MPs were privately discussing the
option of gathering MPs' names to hand to the Prime
Minister's parliamentary private secretary, Keith Hill, to
demand a clear date for the Prime Minister's resignation,
expected to take place in July.

Mr Cameron's aides said it was the first time the Tory
leader had directly told Mr Blair at Prime Minister's
Questions that it was time for him to leave. Mr Blair tried
to shrug off the assault but Mr Cameron told him to
recognise the "reality staring him in the face".

"The Government can't plan. Ministers are treading water.
They are all waiting for the Chancellor and not listening
to you," said the Mr Cameron."Your authority is draining
away. Why don't you accept what everybody knows - it is now
in the national interest for you to go."

Last night, the jockeying for position had already started
among candidates for the deputy leadership. There was
embarrassment for Peter Hain's team when his campaign
strategy was leaked on the internet

© Belfast Telegraph


February 1, 2007

Bloody Sunday: 35th Anniversary Commemoration

‘Arrogance of British rule’ will be broken

By Peadar Ó Faoláin

Many thousands of people from across Ireland, Scotland and
England turned out in Derry last Sunday 28 January to mark
the 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

On 30 January 1972, a day etched in the minds of many
people not just in Derry but throughout Irealnd and many
parts of the world, British paratroopers killed 14 civil
rights marchers and wounded a further 14 people as they
launched their assault on the people of Derry.

As Sinn Féin delegates debated the merits of critical
engagement with the PSNI, to ‘put manner on the police’
and uncover the full truth behind British state collusion
with unionist paramilitaries, the fact that 35 years on
from Bloody Sunday the families of the dead and wounded are
still fighting for justice is proof that the British state
does not give up its secrets easily.

As the marchers set off on their journey from the Creggan
Shops, following the original march route, to Free Derry
Corner many of their conversations centred on the
historical significance of the day that was in it. “How
would the Ard Fheis vote go”? many wondered. While a number
of republicans, concerned at the latest political
developments, marched behind their banner ‘Concerned
Republicans Against RUC/PSNI’ it was cear from
conversations that the majority of people on the march felt
that the direction in which Sinn Féin was going was the
right one.

The mood of the marchers was upbeat and determined.

Following the revelations in Police Ombudsman Nuala
O’Loan’s report into collusion between the UVF and the RUC
Special Branch and the obvious need for more campaigning
work to uncover the full truth it was no coincidence that
the theme of this year’s Bloody Sunday weekend was ‘Hold
Power to Account’.

Some banners carried on the march also marked that theme.
The unaccountable power of big business was the focus of
Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign who are targeting the US
armaments firm Raytheon.

The suppression of Basque nationalism by the Spanish state
was also recognised as was the unfettered military power of

Jamilla Asleh whose 17-year-old-son, who was shot dead by
Israeli troops in 2002 walked at the front of the march
with relatives of the Bloody Sunday dead and carried the
banner Tell the Truth.

Jamilla’s son was one of 13 Arab Israelis shot dead by
Zionists after the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to one
of Islam’s holiest sites the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem –
a massacre ignored by the international community.

The rally was addressed at Free Derry Corner by Sinn Féin’s
Martina Anderson, a Derry native and former republican POW,
who had returned early from the extraordinary Ard Fheis to
be at the commemoration.

“Holding Power to Account’, seems very apt given that Sinn
Féin delegates are discussing whether republicans are now
in a position to hold policing to account if policing
powers are transferred to locally elected representatives.

“The decision which the special Ard Fheis will take is
historic and is a result of the Sinn Féin leadership
engaging with vast numbers across the 32 Counties. Our
negotiators have engaged with you the people, who have
borne the brunt of this war – which brought the British to
the negotiating table.

“Just what they have managed to negotiate, they have shared
openly with all of us. Our negotiators and our Army have
won the framework we need to tackle sectarianism and break
the arrogance of unjust power, of British rule in Ireland”.

Anderson recalled how, as a nine-year-old, she returned
from Mass with her father to her home in Lisfannon Park and
saw the British Army deployed around the area.

She remembered her father’s sense of fear as he shipped her
and her two young sisters off to older sisters in

“Nor have I ever forgotten the panic in my older sister’s
house when the news from the Bogside reached us that the
Paras had run wild and civilians had been murdered”.

She cited the arrogance of the British army and British
establishment to the victims of Bloody Sunday and their
families, saying that that arrogance played a massive part
in shaping her political beliefs – and her life.

“It influenced and shaped the lives of many young people
right across this city and beyond. Since that day the
families of the dead and injured have sought not the truth,
we all know what happened on that day, but an admission
from the British government about its role in the murder of
14 innocent people in our city – and its role in the
subsequent cover up”.

Praising the families of the dead and injured the Sinn Féin
candidate for this March’s Assembly elections said, “your
campaign to uncover the truth, has shone a beacon light for
hundreds of families across the North whose loved ones were
murdered by the British State, whether they were in Derry,
South Armagh, East Tyrone or North Belfast”.

She went on to say that the conclusions of the Bloody
Sunday Inquiry will be examined across Ireland and beyond,
for the potential of a new beginning in the relationship
between the peoples living on these islands, a new
departure, where the wrongs of the past can be dealt with
in order to lay the foundations for a better future.

“There are times when history appears to take a great leap
forward before our very eyes. Today is such a day”.

Reflecting on her attendance at the Ard Fheis Anderson
said, “Republicans have never been afraid of hard decisions
and tough choices. We have never shied away from taking
risks – we are as fearless in our approach to this
decision, just as fearless as we have been in our approach
to decisions taken in the past.

“We campaigned and supported the families’ campaign for the
truth about Bloody Sunday when it was neither popular nor

“We highlighted and exposed collusion and the role of the
British forces in murders when no one was interested. We
have never been under any illusions about the nature of
Britain’s presence in Ireland, and that remains the case
today. We will remove that presence from Ireland – and
collectively we the people of Ireland will manage our own

Picking up on the interest around the O’Loan report into
collusion the former POW stated, “Nuala O’Loan’s report
highlighted the fact of collusion between loyalists and the
RUC. Of course we knew about this.

“Unionist politicians also knew about it and endorsed it,
the Dublin Government knew about it and did nothing about
it, other nationalist parties knew and did not care and the
British Government knew about it – because they sanctioned

“Republicans will guarantee that the days of partisan
political policing, of collusion and the days of an Orange
militia for an Orange state are over forever.

“We will put an end to sectarian policing, an end to the
historical function of policing in this state – where one
community policed another – and make it accountable to you
the people, ensuring that it serves you, your families your
neighbours and your friends – and not the state. So, let’s
go forth with confidence in the knowledge that where it is
found wanting, all of us standing as one, will challenge it
- and change it.


Ex-Prisoners Lose 'Political Bias' Jobs Case Against

[Published: Friday 2, February 2007 - 08:50]

By Chris Thornton

A Fair Employment Tribunal has dismissed a case brought by
two former IRA prisoners against a Northern Ireland charity
- but called for a change in the law that knocked down
their case.

In spite of the dismissal, the tribunal found that both men
had been unlawfully discriminated against by the Simon
Community - and criticised the charity for breaching its
own procedures.

The tribunal's decision means that the employment rights of
thousands of former paramilitary prisoners are about to be
tested in the Court of Appeal.

The two former inmates want the court to consider the law
that allows employers to reject applicants on the grounds
they once supported violence.

The Fair Employment Tribunal recently found that the Simon
Community had unlawfully discriminated against John
McConkey and Jervis Marks because of their political

But the tribunal cleared the charity because a provision of
fair employment law says an employer can discriminate if a
person's opinion "includes approval or acceptance of the
use of violence" in Northern Ireland politics.

The tribunal accepted that both men no longer support the
use of violence and dismissed their cases "not without some

But they said the "clear wording" of Article 2.4 in the
Fair Employment and Treatment Order required them to find
against the two ex-prisoners.

And they called for the law to change because of the
"changed environment in Northern Ireland" - noting that
"there may be good reasons to consider appropriate
amendments to the said article, or even its repeal, to
reflect those changed circumstances".

Mr McConkey (52), from west Belfast, and Mr Marks (40),
from Forkhill, Co Armagh, both brought cases for political

Mr McConkey had been offered a six-month job with the
charity in 2000, but the offer was withdrawn after they
learned he had been convicted of murdering a UDA man in

Mr Marks, who was jailed for conspiracy to murder and
explosives offences, applied for a job in Newry in 2002 but
was rejected.

Both men had acknowledged their convictions to the charity,
although they did not accept they were criminal.

In their decision, the tribunal criticised the Simon
Community's handling of the two cases.

They cited the charity for a "failure to follow their own
procedures" and found that Brian Clarke, Simon's human
resource manager, had deliberately omitted evidence.

A spokesman for the Simon Community said the charity is
"currently reviewing the detail of the decision".

"Simon Community NI is in receipt of the Fair Employment
Tribunal's recent decision, which unanimously found that
the organisation did not unlawfully discriminate against Mr
McConkey and Mr Marks on the grounds of their political
opinion, contrary to the Fair Employment & Treatment
(Northern Ireland) Order 1998," he said.

The two ex-prisoners are now bringing their case to the
Court of Appeal. Its decision could be influential, as a
working party on ex-prisoners, set up under the St Andrews
Agreement, is currently drafting guidance for employers to
be published later this year.

Mike Ritchie, director of prisoner's support group Coiste
na nIarchimí, said ex-prisioners "want to make a
contribution to their communities" through employment.

"We're going to be appealing this decision in the hope that
the Court of Appeal will be able to interpret Article 2.4
in a way that recognises the importance of the Good Friday
Agreement, the St Andrews Agreemement and the peace process
in general."

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: In Informing, As In Politics, Timing Is Everything

By Patrick Murphy

What is the difference between giving information to the
police and being an informer?

Gerry Adams is to be applauded for his leadership in urging
people to give information to the police on the Robert
McCartney murder. But his reasoned and responsible
sentiments may confuse some less experienced republicans,
who for years have been led to believe that giving
information to the authorities about republican activities
is called informing.

In the hierarchy of hatred in Irish history, the informer
has always been top of the pile. Best described in Liam
O’Flaherty’s novel of the same name, the fate of the
informer was inevitably death. The family’s sorrow at the
loss of a loved one was made worse by shame and social

For 30 years here life copied literature. Dozens of
republicans and others were murdered because the IRA
branded them as informers. They met gruesome deaths,
usually on lonely border roads, and many of their bodies
have never been recovered for a decent burial.

The republican movement’s new-found allegiance to policing
in Northern Ireland suggests that it is now time to re-
examine not just the concept of informing but the cases of
those alleged informers who were murdered for supposedly
pursuing what now appears to be Sinn Féin policy.

There are two problems in defining these victims as

The first is that most of them probably passed on no
information. Their judge, jury, confessor and executioner
was the British agent Stakeknife. The more he murdered, the
safer his own position became.

Describing these people as informers insults their memories
and offers support for his inhumanity and barbarity – and
his escape from justice.

The second problem is that if any of them did pass on
information, their alleged crimes must be judged in the
light of more recent developments.

Some were supposedly responsible for the loss of arms and
explosives. In recent years the Provisional IRA leadership
said “Not a bullet, not an ounce” and then promptly gave
away a complete arsenal. The loss of one gun is informing.
The surrender of an arsenal is a brave step.

Other alleged informers were accused of compromising the
IRA’s membership. IRA leaders dismantled the entire
organisation and told the British that they would never
again take up arms against them. The loss of one volunteer
is informing. The disappearance of a whole army is inspired

Jean McConville was supposedly guilty of informing by
speaking to a British soldier. Republican leaders have
spent years in cosy and highly secret chats with the
ultimate commander of all British soldiers, the British
prime minister. She found an unmarked grave. They found
seats in Stormont.

There was no debate on whether or not these people should
have been murdered. There were no party votes, no
extraordinary Ard-Fheiseanna, no back-slapping and hugging
– just hands tied with electrical wiring, mouths bound with
tape and bodies shrouded in bin bags.

Some died because they allegedly gave information to the
police. Now Sinn Féin urges us all to give that same type
of information because, they say, the time is right.

The time is right for two reasons, both related to politics
rather than policing.

It offers some hope for the tarnished political career of
Tony Blair, who has presided over what may be the most
corrupt government in modern British history. In return he
abolished the Assets Recovery Agency, the one organisation
which represented a challenge to Sinn Féin’s vast financial
resources for forthcoming elections.

The second – and more important reason – is that Sinn Féin
now has the opportunity to share power with Ian Paisley.
Thus the IRA struggle was not for the freedom of the Irish
people or the principles of Irish republicanism – it was
for party political power.

Those who were condemned as informers died because a
British agent decided that, having tortured them, they were
out of line with party political policy at that time.

For the IRA it would appear that in informing, as in
politics, timing is everything. Their victims’ deaths
represent an unresolved part of the conflict and, above
all, an appalling human tragedy.

It is time for the Provisional IRA leadership to either
apologise for killing them or apologise for being like


Opin: Another 30 Years Of Hell? No Thanks


Anyone wondering how dissident republicans would respond to
the Sinn Fein vote on policing had their answer yesterday.

An explosive device, described by police as viable, was
abandoned on the Grosvenor Road near the Royal Victoria
Hospital, although the intended target is believed to have
been a nearby police station.

The resulting security alert led to significant traffic
disruption and consider-able inconvenience for many people.

Of course, if the intentions of those who planned and
perpetrated this attack had been fulfiled, then the outcome
would have been much more grave.

And because the perpetrators failed in their plan, there is
a danger that this incident will not be treated as a
serious attack, which would be wrong.

A viable explosive device has the capacity to kill or maim
and this was a despicable attempt to do just that.

This week has a particular significance and not just
because of political developments.

This week also saw the inquest into the death of David
Caldwell, from the Waterside in Derry, who was murdered by
a dissident republican bomb left at a Territorial Army base
in August 2002.

Mr Caldwell was a working man who suffered a terrible
death. His family have suffered for the past five years and
their pain, like that of so many bereaved relatives, is
profound and neverending.

By their actions yesterday, the dissidents are showing that
what they are offering is more of the same type of
suffering which has destroyed lives for more than 30 years.

No-one in their right minds would regard that as an
attractive offer.


Opin: Paisley Will Play Hain’s Weakness For All It’s Worth

First Friday

By Denis Bradley

Some mistakes you never forget. Even though you know in
your heart of hearts that had you done everything right,
the outcome might not have been different. There remains a
lifelong regret that you did it wrong.

It was a long time ago and I was reasonably new to group
therapy. A cathartic moment was happening to a man who I
had known and liked. The reality of his drinking was
welling up and confronting him with an overwhelming clarity
that was extremely painful and healing.

He ran out of the room. I followed him.

The minute I did it I knew it was a mistake.

I should have stayed where I was and I think he would have
returned to stay with the realities and the pain that had
to be faced on his journey back to recovery from his
addiction. He never did return to that room and to that
moment of clarity.

He drank himself to death.

I am becoming concerned that too many people are leaving
the room to argue and persuade Ian Paisley.

The cathartic moment is getting closer and Ian Paisley has
the same two choices that every such moment presents. He
can either face the painful and healing possibilities or he
can reject them. The decision is now his. It would be much
more dignified, therapeutic and transforming if he is now
left to his own reflections. All that he needs to be
assured is that he has a certain time in which to face
those political realities and that in the wake of a
negative reply that the rest of us have a right to find
other political institutions to which we can give our

Something similar happened in the relationship with the
Irish government and Sinn Fein. After the first decision to
hold an ard fheis, Gerry Adams vented his anger that the
Irish had not done enough to get the British to give more
concessions. He wanted more negotiations and more input
from the Irish. But they refused to leave the room. The
moment of truth had arrived and Sinn Fein had to make their
decisions about what to do.

I would not be convinced that it was a cathartic moment in
itself but rather the result of the Irish becoming tired of
Sinn Fein’s tendency to over negotiate and over complicate
the issues.

Which brings us to Peter Hain.

Every secretary of state creates his or her own aura. Mo
Mowlam kicked off her shoes and had a chat. She was loved
and despised in equal measure. Paul Murphy was caring and
gentle and was judged as too nice for the job. John Reid
was seen as a bruiser but nobody’s fool. Peter Hain is seen
as suave and overtly ambitious. But he is growing a
reputation. It is clear that all the half sensible and half
neutral people are advising him to hold all the political
parties’ feet to the fire. These are the people who have
become weary of the dithering and procrastination.

He is doing it with a certain amount of aplomb. But his
test as an insightful and effective therapist and
politician is drawing close. His Achilles’ heel is that
when politicians don’t like what is happening in Hain’s
room, they run to another room in Downing Street.

Two therapists in a group session are like two queen bees
in a hive. It won’t hold. Paisley will play that weakness
for all it’s worth. Hain is going to have to persuade Blair
that, at the cathartic moment, one of them has to be the
chief therapist who sits tight and waits for Paisley to

Cathartic moments are not easy. The natural tendency is to
run away. The human instinct is to get past or around the
painful realities. Postponement is an attractive option.
Just as alcohol is a drug that produces addicted people,
fame, reputation and the adulation of people is powerfully

I would guess that Paisley is in and out of rooms at an
awful rate at the moment.

Some of it will be to vent his anger; some of it will be to
get reassurance.

The entries and exits are more than likely to accelerate in
the coming weeks and will come to a crescendo after the
election. Whoever is the therapist should be prepared for
the slamming of the door as he storms from the room.

That is the moment.

Don’t make the mistake. Stay in the room.


Drowned Mother And Son To Be Buried Side By Side

By Valerie Robinson

A tragic mother and son who drowned after falling from the
Cliffs of Moher will be laid to rest side by side in a Co
Cork graveyard tomorrow.

Large crowds are expected to attend the removal tonight of
the remains of single mother Eileen

Murphy (26) and her four-year-old son Evan.

The pair sparked a major rescue operation after they were
spotted floating in the water at the base of the famous
cliffs in Co Clare on Tuesday afternoon.

It later emerged that Ms Murphy, who had a history of
depression, had left a note at her home at Corrin Drive in
Ballyhea, north Cork, which was discovered by grief-
stricken relatives after they learned of the double

Gardai are treating the deaths as a murder and suicide,
believing that Ms Murphy travelled from her home to Galway
on Monday, and then onto the Cliffs of Moher by coach the
following day, with the intention of taking their lives.

The mother was pronounced dead after being pulled from the
water, however, frantic efforts were made to save Evan who
was still alive but he died a short time later.

Their remains were released to the Murphy family after
postmortem examinations were completed by State Pathologist
Dr Marie Cassidy at University College Hospital in Galway.

Evan’s father Simon, who was no longer with his mother, was
last night being comforted by his parents Jim and Pauline

Ms Murphy is survived by her

parents Eileen and Liam, a farming couple who live near
Churchtown, and her siblings Valerie and Liam.

The loss of the mother and child has sent shockwaves
throughout the close-knit community.

An avid soccer fan, Evan, who supported Liverpool, was
attending pre-school in Ballyhea while his mother worked at
the Kostal

automotive plant.

Their remains will be removed at 8pm tonight from
O’Keeffe’s Funeral Home in Buttevant to St Nicholas’ Church
in Churchtown. Following Requiem Mass tomorrow at 2pm the
mother and son are to be buried at nearby St Brigid’s


Second ‘Miracle Of Knock’ As Airport Gets Ready For US Links

by Fiona McGarry

A new deal which will see a transatlantic service from
Ireland West Airport to New York and Boston was hailed this
week as the ‘second miracle’ of Knock.

The airport, celebrating its 21st year in business, is now
on course to bring 35,000 American tourists into this
region in 2007 with an estimated spend of €28 million. Next
year the projection is for a spend of €45 million by US
passengers using IWAK. As well as boosting tourism and
employment in Mayo, the new service is tipped to develop
Knock Shrine into a major international pilgrimage

The service to be operated from May by Scottish low-cost
carrier Flyglobespan, was unveiled two years ahead of
IWAK’s target for the start-up of transatlantic links.
Announcing the service — which will operate three times a
week to New York’s JFK Airport and twice a week to Boston’s
Logan Airport — marketing and communications manager
Annette Kearney said IWAK had reached “another important
milestone”. She noted that in IWAK’s 21st year the airport
had succeeded in expanding its catchment area well beyond
Mayo into Donegal, Fermanagh, Westmeath, Clare, and Galway.
Ms Kearney also pointed to market research which showed
that seven out of 10 adults have friends and relatives in
North America, and that around half had visitors from the
US in the last year. With figures like these, she said
there was “no doubt about demand” for the new services.

The operators of the New York and Boston services,
Flyglobespan, were congratulated for taking up IWAK’s
offer, and the two routes will originate in Liverpool and
Glasgow respectively with stop-overs at Ireland West

The vision of IWAK’s management team, under MD Liam
Scollan, in signing the five-year deal with Flyglobespan
was praised by Minister for Community, Rural, and Gaeltacht
Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív who said his Department would maintain
a deep commitment to the airport. He said that while people
had been doubtful 21 years ago about the viability of an
airport in Mayo, the critics had been proven wrong. He said
a “big dream” had come true in small steps, and he paid
tribute to the perseverance of Monsignor James Horan.
Minister Ó Cuív noted that the recently-unveiled National
Development Plan had a number of aspects which would be
beneficial to IWAK, including the funding allocation for
regional airports, the Atlantic Corridor, and the re-
opening of the Western Rail Corridor. He also noted
progress with the Charlestown By-Pass on the N5, saying
that each new development makes the others grow. He said
that, notwithstanding an objection to the project, he hoped
that his Department would be on site at its decentralised
office close to IWAK before the end of 2007.

Minister Ó Cuív noted that while Ireland’s population had
seen accelerated growth, that of Mayo had beaten the
national average with a boost of 8.4 per cent between 2002
and 2006. “The market is there,” Minister Ó Cuív said. In a
thinly veiled reference to the other airlines approached by
IWAK with a view to providing transatlantic services, the
minister said “it’s easy when it works for the rest to come
in”, and he predicted that the new services would herald a
major shake-up in the aviation industry.

The emotion of the occasion was clear in the address by
chairperson of IWAK’s board Joe Kennedy. Mr Kennedy thanked
Liam Scollan for his “unswerving optimism and dogged
determination”, and said that the management team had moved
“a mighty big stone that needed pushing up a big hill”. He
said he was glad to have been “the instrument put here by
Monsignor Horan and God to fulfil Monsignor Horan’s dream”.

Shay Kenna, MD of Globespan Ireland, said the services
marked “the start of a long and happy association with
IWAK”. He noted that prices on the New York route, which
opens on May 27, start at €157 plus tax each way, with a
choice for the passenger of economy, premium economy, and
business class tickets available. Underlining the business
case for the new transatlantic routes, Jim Kelly, president
of Crystal Travel and My Guide Ireland, a Boston-based tour
operation, said he had already made group bookings for a
number of Boston golfers. He said the “access issue” had
been overcome once and for all, and that his organisations
were delighted to be associated with another “miracle of

The new transatlantic links are about more than economic
development, as IWAK board member and Knock PP Monsignor
Joe Quinn remarked. He said that the dream of Monsignor
James Horan was to create a major piece of infrastructure
and to facilitate pilgrims visiting Knock Shrine. He said
the new US routes were a milestone in “the success and
resurrection story” of the airport. The monsignor said he
was particularly looking forward to new joint marketing
initiatives between the Knock Shrine Association of America
and the Mayo shrine. He looked forward to huge numbers of
US visitors to Knock Shrine and to the other Christian
heritage sites of the west. “Our Lady of Knock will be
looking after all those involved in the venture,” the
Monsignor concluded.

IWAK MD Liam Scollan noted that there are more than 35
million Irish Americans in the US, 10 million of whom live
in Boston and New York. He said that while those statistics
made a powerful argument, there was “a much deeper and more
heartfelt argument” in the potential to restore connections
with the west’s emigrant diaspora. He paid tribute to the
efforts of public representatives on both sides of the
Atlantic, including Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and
Transport Minister Martin Cullen, who had shown “a great
deal of political will” in facilitating the service. He
noted that the transatlantic routes would also boost job
growth in the west and would highlight the islands as
unique tourist destinations. Mr Scollan said that after 160
years of emigration, people on both US and Ireland were now
“just a travel agent away from long lost relatives”.

Welcoming the new service, FF Deputy John Carty said they
marked “a new age of tourism for the west and northwest of
Ireland”. He said the development should have “a positive
effect on industry on the west coast, opening it up to US
investors and multinationals” and he congratulated the team
at IWAK.

Deputy Beverley Flynn said she was sure the services would
be supported by the people of Mayo and beyond. “The focus
of Liam Scollan always was to attract in transatlantic
flights, and while we all hoped that would happen, nobody
expected that by 2007 this would have been achieved,” she
said, “direct routes of New York and Boston at a very
competitive price is wonderful news”. In terms of jobs,
Deputy Flynn said she was hopeful they would run into
thousands with a massive spin-off potential for tourism and
start-up businesses. “The access issue has been dealt with
once and for all, and the potential for the future is
boundless,” she said.

Opposition politicians from across the political spectrum
have also welcomed the new transatlantic routes, hailing
them as a welcome boost for tourism and industry across the
western region.

The new services have also been warmly welcomed by the
business community. The West Regional Director of employers
group IBEC said that “in the future the airport has the
potential to provide a massive boost to the economy in the
region”. John Brennan said that the services would see IWAK
“potentially attracting new business and providing cost
effective international access for companies located in the
western area.” Gillian Buckley, chief executive of the
Western Development Commission said the services would open
up “opportunities for additional inward investment from US
multinationals, allow companies based in the region to grow
exports and help grow tourism to the west and north west
from the important North American market, and further
facilitate Irish people who emigrated to the US to consider
moving back to the region.”

The Flyglobespan service to JFK Airport, New York, begins
on May 27 and will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and
Thursdays. The service to Logan Airport, Boston, begins on
May 30 and will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays. Further
information on the services will be available from and


Pardons Board Delays Ruling On A Molly Maguire

By Mario F. Cattabiani
Inquirer Staff Writer

Harrisburg - After 130 years, what's another year or so?

Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons yesterday unanimously and
indefinitely postponed a pardon request for John "Yellow
Jack" Donahoe, a member of the infamous Molly Maguires who
was convicted of killing a mining boss and hanged in 1877
after a trial that many historians believe was rigged. His
great-great-granddaughter Margaret Mary Juran, who lives
outside Harrisburg, is trying to clear his name.

Attorney General Tom Corbett, a board member, recommended
holding off at least until the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit decides a case that could have great
bearing on how the board handles some murder cases.

At issue is a 1995 law requiring a unanimous vote of the
four-member pardons board before a clemency request can go
to the governor in a murder case. Before that, only a
majority vote was needed.

The federal court is considering whether unanimous votes
should be required for clemency requests that concern pre-
1995 crimes but that were filed after the law was enacted.

Until that case is decided, Corbett said, "it's like not
knowing what the rules of the game are."

Donahoe was one of 20 Irish miners, known as the Molly
Maguires, hanged for murders of 16 coal company officials
in the anthracite region of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties.

Many credit the Mollies with trying to jump-start a labor
movement in the 19th century by fighting for the rights of
miners in a time when digging coal meant working long,
dangerous days for little pay. Donahoe and three others
were convicted of killing mine boss Morgan Powell. All four
were hanged simultaneously at the Carbon County jail in
Mauch Chunk - now Jim Thorpe - on June 21, 1877.

The pardon request hinges on what historians say was a
trial dubious even by the court standards of 13 decades

Juran and her lawyer had argued before the board in March
that Donahoe's due-process rights were trampled. Coal-mine
operators and railroad owners handpicked prosecutors to
help try Donahoe; his jury contained no one of Irish blood
and four people who spoke little, if any, English.

Carbon County's District Attorney, Gary Dobias, has opposed
the pardon request, arguing, among other things, that
Donahoe received a fair trial for his times, and that
today's court rules should not be applied to 19th-century

Corbett said yesterday that it likely would be at least a
year before the board considered the Donahoe pardon, and
longer if the federal case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Juran declined to comment yesterday. Her lawyer, C.
Grainger Bowman, said he was not troubled by the board's
delay. "They want to get this right, and so do we," he

Pardons officials believe that a pardon for Donahoe, the
father of eight, would be only the second posthumous pardon
in Pennsylvania history. In 1979, Gov. Milton Shapp granted
one to the Molly Maguires' leader, John "Black Jack" Kehoe,
who was played by Sean Connery in a 1970 film, The Molly

The Donahoe case is being watched closely by Irish American
groups and by other descendants of the men hanged in 1877.
Some descendants have said that, depending on the outcome,
they, too, might seek pardons for their ancestors.

Contact staff writer Mario F. Cattabiani at 717-787-5990 or


Pardon Sought For 130-Year-Old Crime

A descendant told the modern-day pardons board that a
Molly Maguires miner hanged in 1877 for murder didn't get a
fair trial.

By Mario F. Cattabiani
Inquirer Staff Writer

Nearly 130 years after John "Yellow Jack" Donahoe was
hanged for killing a coal-mine boss, state officials heard
testimony yesterday on a request to grant a pardon to the
member of the infamous Molly Maguires.

"People often ask me, 'Why are you doing this?' My answer
is simple: 'Because it was wrong, and it needs to be made
right,' " Margaret Mary Juran, Donahoe's great-great-
granddaughter, told the Board of Pardons in bringing her
unusual case, which involves disputed facts from a bygone

The board heard an hour's worth of testimony, including
comments from Carbon County District Attorney Gary Dobias,
who opposed the request, saying: "I'm asking the board to
not rewrite history." The panel took the matter under
advisement and did not rule yesterday.

Donahoe was one of 20 Irish miners, known as the Molly
Maguires, hanged for a series of high-profile murders of
coal officials in Pennsylvania's anthracite region of
Schuylkill and Carbon Counties.

Many credit the group with trying to jump-start a labor
movement in the 19th century - a violent era when digging
coal meant long, dangerous days for little pay.

Donahoe and three others were convicted of killing mine
boss Morgan Powell. All four were hanged simultaneously at
the Carbon County jail on June 21, 1877.

Juran, who lives outside Harrisburg, said her research
shows that her ancestor was a man of "character, loyalty,
integrity and courage" who was strangled by a "poisoned

Her case hinges on what local and national historians
widely agree was a trial dubious even by court standards of
13 decades ago.

Her attorney, C. Grainger Bowman, argued that the due
process rights of Donahoe were trampled. Coal-mine
operators and owners of the region's railroads appointed
prosecutors to help try Donahoe, he said, and the jury
contained no one Irish and four people who spoke little, if
any, English.

Requests for a change of venue from Carbon County - where
local media accounts routinely referred to Irish immigrants
as thugs - were also denied.

All that, Bowman said, "cries out for a cleansing of the

The Carbon County prosecutor argued that Donahoe received a
fair trial for the day and that today's court rules should
not be applied to those in the 19th century, as he said
proponents of the pardon were trying to do.

Several witnesses, purported friends of Donahoe, testified
that he was the triggerman, said Dobias, who has researched
the case from old transcripts. What's more, Dobias said,
Donahoe's conviction made it all the way to the state
Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict.

Dobias presented the Board of Pardons with affidavits from
three distant relatives of Powell, who, while sympathetic
to the plight of the Irish at the time, wrote that they
believed Donahoe got a fair trial.

However, Bowman presented affidavits from seven other
Powell descendents who supported the pardon.

Pardons officials believe that, if granted, Donahoe would
become only the second known posthumous pardon in
Pennsylvania history. In 1979, Gov. Milton Shapp granted
one to John "Black Jack" Kehoe, the leader of the Molly

If the board approves the request, Gov. Rendell would have
the final say in granting the pardon. To get to the
governor, however, the four members on the panel have to
agree unanimously.

If pointed questions from State Attorney General Tom
Corbett, a Pardons Board member, are any indication, it
might not clear that hurdle.

Corbett said that no one involved in the debate, not even
Juran, is contending that Donahoe was innocent. Corbett
also questioned whether granting such a pardon would open
the doors to a slew of other applications and transform the
board into "a super history court."

Asked by Corbett why she was seeking a pardon, Juran said
that, for the family, it "would close a bad chapter."

The board heard the case yesterday after clearing its
docket of other less-noteworthy pardons requests involving
prostitution and shoplifting charges. Such cases make up
most of the work of the board, an obscure panel that rarely
draws a crowd.

But at Donahoe's hearing yesterday, 10 members of the
Ancient Order of Hibernians, a historian writing a book on
the Molly Maguires, and seven reporters looked on.

Earlier in the day, Philadelphia artist Zenos Frudakis
displayed a 7-foot-tall sculpture of a Molly Maguire figure
awaiting execution - hands tied behind his back and a hood
over his head - on the steps of the Capitol.

The statue represents all of the hanged Molly Maguires,
who, Frudakis said, "fell through a trapdoor of injustice."

Contact staff writer Mario F. Cattabiani at 717-787-5990 or

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click
(Paste into a News Reader)

To February Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?