|Tiocfaidh Ar La|
Saturday, May 03, 2003
( 11:32 AM ) Wild-Irish
Tiocfaidh Ar La
Has Moved To:
Friday, April 18, 2003
( 12:11 PM ) Wild-Irish
NIO won't pay out on quashed conviction
A 38-year-old County Antrim man who spent ten years in jail has been refused
compensation by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) despite the fact that his
conviction was quashed by the North's top judge, Judge Carswell.
Gerard Magee was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 1991 on the basis of
statements he made during 30 hours of RUC interrogation in Castlereagh
interrogation centre in Belfast in 1988. During his detention, Magee was
refused access to his solicitor.
In 2000, the European Court of Human Rights found that the British
government had broken article Six of the European Convention by denying
Magee access to his solicitor, and his appeal was referred to the Court of
Appeal in 2001. Hearing that appeal, Carswell said Magee's conviction could
not be justified in light of the ruling of the European Court and overturned
But now the NIO has now refused Magee's claim for compensation.
In a letter, the NIO's Criminal Law branch told Magee that although the
conviction had been overturned by both the European Court and the Court of
Appeal, he was not entitled to compensation because the quashing of his
sentence had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that there had been a
miscarriage of justice, and he was still not an "innocent man".
Magee has, however, been granted grounds to launch a judicial review against
Commenting, Gerard Magee said that money wasn't an issue that it was about
the British government refusing to admit they sent an innocent man to
"My case is like many other Irish people who have been unfairly convicted
and even when the British government have been forced to admit they sent
innocent people to prison, they still won't change their attitude."
Magee was released from prison in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement, having spent ten years in the H Blocks.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
( 3:14 PM ) Wild-Irish
Adams: IRA statement 'clear and unambiguous
The IRA statement sent to the British and Irish governments is "clear and unambiguous" Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams insisted last night.
Speaking at a party meeting in the border town of Newry, Co Down, he said the statement was "unparalleled".
While London and Dublin still try to wring further concessions out of the IRA, Mr Adams told activists that the IRA statement "contains a number of highly significant and positive elements unparalleled in any previous statement by the IRA leadership, either in this or in any other phase of their struggle".
Tony Blair and his Bertie Ahern continue contacts with republicans in an apparent effort to get them to spell out more clearly exactly what they have on offer.
Their governments joint declaration of a route map due to have been delivered to get devolution restored in Northern Ireland was to have been delivered last Thursday.
But it now seems likely it will be put off until after Easter.
Officials in London and Dublin are working around the clock to try to get the IRA to make an unambiguous statement that the war is over and weapons will be decommissioned.
But Mr Adams insisted that the importance of the IRA's last statement to the governments – so far not published – was not lost on the two administrations.
"Why otherwise, did the two governments publicly commend the Army statement as proof of the IRA's desire to make the peace process work," he said.
"I find it incredible therefore that they have not yet acted on the basis of this unprecedented contribution."
Given 30 years of conflict and almost a decade of peace making, said Mr Adams "why the huge effort to wring different words out of P.O'Neill?".
He added "Why not let people use words of their own choice. Actions or lack of actions speak louder than words.
The republican leader said the IRA statement was clear about its willingness to put arms beyond use.
"So what more do they want? Who is setting the agenda? Are the lessons of conflict resolution lost? Or have those who never learned it back in the ascendancy?," said the Sinn Fein leader.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
( 6:49 AM ) Wild-Irish
This is the full text of last night's IRA statement:
``Following approaches from others, the leadership of the IRA undertook to
draw up a statement setting out our views on recent developments in the
We did so because of our commitment to this process and our desire to see it
In this context we decided to give our attitude on:
:: The current disposition of Oglaigh na hEireann (the Irish Republican
Army) and the status of our cessation.
:: Our future intentions.
:: Our attitude to a re-engagement with the IICD (the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning) and engagement in a process of
putting arms beyond use.
:: A third act of putting arms beyond use to be verified under the agreed
We shared concepts and draft elements on these matters with others and now,
following an internal consultation, we have closed on a statement which will
be passed onto the two Governments. We stand ready to issue it in due
Signed - P O`Neill.
Monday, April 14, 2003
( 1:15 PM ) Wild-Irish
IRA clarifies Good Friday statement
The Irish and British governments tonight received clarification from the IRA on its confidential statement regarding its future.
Irish government sources confirmed that the IRA had responded to queries from London and Dublin on three aspects of a statement passed to them on Sunday night by the Provisionals.
The spokesman said: "They have received clarification and they are currently looking at it."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern called off a planned visit to Northern Ireland to unveil proposals for moving the Good Friday Agreement forward until they received clarification from all sides in the peace process.
Their package of proposals designed to create the climate for an historic IRA move ending paramilitary activity covers a range of issues from the scaling down of the army presence in Northern Ireland, policing, justice, equality, human rights, the stability of the political institutions and a scheme for enabling IRA fugitives to return home without being arrested.
On Sunday night, the IRA confirmed that it had drafted a statement which had been passed confidentially to the British and Irish governments dealing with its current position on the peace process, its future, re-engagement of the decommissioning body and a third act of disarmament.
As a frantic round of meetings took place in London, Dublin and Belfast, speculation mounted throughout the day that the IRA was poised to make a significant gesture on weapons decommissioning.
Canadian General John de Chastelain, the head of the decommissioning body, was in Belfast earlier in the day as was US President George Bush's special adviser on Northern Ireland, Richard Haass.
( 7:49 AM ) Wild-Irish
Sinn Fein remain positive despite setback
Sinn Fein has said the IRA is likely to give "reasonable answers to reasonable questions".
The comments come after the British and Irish governments asked for clarification of a statement by the Provisionals.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair are delaying new proposals for implementing the Good Friday Agreement until the IRA responds.
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin is optimistic. "I have seen the problems when people attempt to write or re-write IRA statements. They have made their vision clear, what I take comfort from is that both governments have acknowledged that the IRA's bona fidas in terms of the peace process are genuine and I think on that basis then we can proceed."
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
( 8:28 AM ) Wild-Irish
Sectarian assault on Antrim schoolboy
An Phoblacht 3rd April 2003
Paul Turtle, a 15-year-old schoolboy and the child of a mixed marriage,
suffered a broken nose and bruising when he was attacked by crowd of
loyalists as he was walking to St Malachy's School in Antrim Town on Friday
The gang shouted sectarian abuse as they assaulted him. Jacqueline Turtle
said her son had been singled out because he had Catholic friends and lived
in the nationalist Rathenraw estate in the town.
"He was going to school when the crowd started beating him and calling him a
Fenian lover," she said. "The doctors at the hospital said his nose was
broken and he has a sore cheekbone where they punched him. He was very lucky
he didn't receive a serious eye injury as his glasses had been smashed."
The schoolboy is very worried about his safety as he spent two days in
hospital last year after he received a death threat from the UVF.
Ironically, the family moved to St Malachy's as a result of sectarian
attacks and abuse elsewhere.
"It's at the stage he is scared to go out on his own and if he is going into
Antrim town centre he wants an adult to go with him," said his mother.
Sinn Féin South Antrim councillor Martin Meehan said Sinn Féin has been
working on the ground for some time now to put an end to these sectarian
attacks. "They have to stop now before it is too late and someone is
Racists target Ballymena family
A County Antrim family has been targeted in the latest of a series of
racially motivated threats in Ballymena orchestrated by white supremacists.
A leaflet was pinned to the door of the family home saying "this is a white
area, not for blacks". The note was accompanied by a sticker from a racist
group calling itself the White Nationalist Party.
In February, two Filipino nurses had their windows broken and stickers with
the slogan of the British National Party were stuck to their door. The
nurses were targeted for the second time in six months in what was described
as an orchestrated racial attack.
Patrick Yu of the Council for Ethnic Minorities said he was saddened that in
today's society a family should be targeted for the colour of their skin.
Sinn Féin councillor Philip McGuigan said all racially motivated threats
should stop forthwith. "Ballymena is home to a large Chinese community as
well as Filipino nurses who should not have to suffer this abuse coming from
brain dead morons," he said.
The White Nationalist Party has also been behind a campaign to halt the
building of a Mosque in the Bleary area of Craigavon and has posted a
leaflet on its website castigating the proposal, claiming the Mosque could
be become a base for 'Islamic terrorists'. #
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
( 7:58 AM ) Wild-Irish
Army knows McGuinness didn't fire on Bloody Sunday
The British army has known all along that Martin McGuinness did not open fire on soldiers on Bloody Sunday, it was claimed today.
A former British army intelligence officer said he saw documents which showed the Sinn Fein MP was under surveillance on Bloody Sunday and did not fire a weapon.
The evidence of the ex-soldier, known by the pseudonym "Martin Ingram", contradicts allegations by an IRA informant codenamed "Infliction" who claimed Mr McGuinness told him he fired the first shot on Bloody Sunday.
In a new statement to the Saville Inquiry, it is understood Ingram stands by his assertion that he saw no evidence that Mr McGuinness opened fire on soldiers on Bloody Sunday.
Ingram said he saw intelligence reports that Mr McGuinness was under surveillance but was not seen using a gun on January 30, 1972 when 13 civil rights marchers were shot dead by soldiers in Derry. A 14th man died later.
The former agent, who is due to enter the witness box on May 12, also said he doubted the accuracy of Infliction's allegations against Mr McGuinness.
However, after originally questioning Infliction's existence, Ingram's third statement now accepts it after it was confirmed to him by a senior police officer via a journalist.
The agent has also claimed there was intelligence available to show neither the Official or Provisional IRA intended to indulge in violence on Bloody Sunday.
Mr McGuinness, who has admitted to being the IRA's second-in-command in Derry, has denied he fired any shots on Bloody Sunday.
A special hearing at Methodist Central Hall in London today considered applications from Ingram and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon for Ingram to give his evidence from behind a screen.
Mr Hoon called on the Saville Inquiry to ensure Ingram was not questioned about any secret intelligence matters and insisted his real name and identity must not be disclosed.
He said Ingram would be an attractive target for republican paramilitaries who would be keen to seize, torture, interrogate and murder him.
Ian Burnett, QC, representing the Ministry of Defence, claimed it would be helpful to take a fourth statement from Mr Ingram and to have questions given to him before he entered the witness box.
"Mr Ingram has thus far made three statements, I think. His second and third statements, it may be thought, represent something of a rowing back from the position that he adopted in his first statement," Mr Burnett added.
David Waters, QC, representing Mr Ingram, agreed that prior notification of the questions to be asked of his client would be helpful.
However, lawyers acting for the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday said this would not be fair and insisted they should be able to question the former agent freely.
Meanwhile, a fresh application from Mr McGuinness to the Saville Inquiry to dismiss any information gained from Infliction was also rejected during today's hearing.
Peter Cush, representing the Sinn Fein MP, said: "It may be cynical but nonetheless not necessarily incorrect to suggest that those organs of the state may well take the view that it would be very nice if the spotlight which has been turned on the soldiers was turned on someone else, ie Mr McGuinness.
"Is it not somewhat fortuitous that at this time this bit of information about Mr McGuinness which apparently has been secret since 1984, somehow falls into the lap of the Inquiry?"
Mr Cush said the "organs of the state" had put every obstacle in the way of Mr McGuinness and the other interested parties in cross-examining the peripheral witnesses.
"We say, in those circumstances, the tribunal, at the very least, should revisit this issue and determine whether or not they should have any regard whatsoever to the material in question," he added.
Lord Saville said he could not accept Mr Cush's application to overturn an earlier ruling which allowed material relating to Infliction to be used by the Inquiry.
"It seems to us that the submissions we have heard are submissions that can, and should, properly be made when all the evidence is available to the inquiry at the end of the day," he added.
Lord Saville said he would give a ruling on Ingram's application for screening and anonymity as "soon as we possibly can".
It is expected it would be delivered next week.
Colonel Derek Wilford, the officer commanding paratroopers on Bloody Sunday, will return to the witness box tomorrow to continue his evidence on the 320th day of the inquiry.