Tuesday, May 31, 2005


By Gene Kerrigan . Four years ago this month the RUC began trying to put JOHN O' REILLY away . Four 'Supergrasses' failed to do the job . O' REILLY is now in Michael Noonan's custody . The RUC have demanded that Noonan "...bring him forthwith .. " to answer the accusations of HARRY KIRKPATRICK . From 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .

John O' Reilly was lifted by the gardai while passing through Portlaoise on October 9 , 1985 . They used the Road Traffic Act to take him into the local garda station , ostensibly to check his identity . After a while a Garda Sergeant came into the room and said there had been a phone call from Dublin and O' Reilly was'nt to be questioned about anything . He was taken to a cell , " ...until we can establish your identity . "

Two hours later , John O' Reilly was ostensibly released ; he was no longer being held under the Road Traffic Act . The Gardai were now satisfied of his identity . As O' Reilly left the Garda Station he was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against The State Act 1939 . Section 30 is the 'catch-all' law under which the gardai can jail anyone at anytime for two successive 24-hour periods .

In the period 1980-1984 a total of 11,035 Section 30 arrests were made ; this compares with a total of 2,724 arrests in the period 1972-1976 , the most violent period in the present round of the Northern conflict . Only a small fraction of the people thus lifted are charged - Section 30 is primarily a 'fishing net' , hauling in shoals of people for routine interrogation .......

The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

'The Irish Times' newspaper went mad over Gerry Fitt with " ... his sailor's roll , his malapropisms , his Belfast turn-of-phrase which makes stiff upper lips wince , his yea-saying to life .. " but oh! - Bernadette ! : starting sonorously with "... youngest MP ever elected to Westminster .. " , journalists trundled down the Thesaurus runway and took off into the wild blue yonder ! She arrived , an orphan in a miniskirt , a real live Left Winger , a megastar , in the Commons , on her birthday , April 22 , 1969 .

" That made me 22 , which spoiled the script so nobody mentioned it " , she recalls tartly . She represented the newly militant civil rights movement , no longer prepared to turn the other cheek to British batons , if Britain was going to turn a blind eye to the facts . It was one thing being beaten from Belfast to Burntollet , quite another to be pursued on arrival all the way into the Bogside which the RUC now frequently did .

Sammy Devenney had been beaten by the RUC in his own home , in front of his family , and died from his injuries ; a Scotland Yard enquiry subsequently found a conspiracy of silence among the RUC and no one was charged . The 'barricades' were going up . Bernadette Devlin recalls -

- " The Devenney death was being raised at Westminster and Gerry Fitt wanted me over for it . I had won the by-election only a few days before and I had'nt a penny . He gave me fifty pounds for the fare and to buy myself something to wear . Things went wrong right from the start ; I had decided that the youngest MP should be introduced by the oldest MP , Manny Shinwell of Labour , and , of course , Gerry . But Gerry had decided I should be introduced by himself and Paul Rose , one of the leaders of the Campaign for Democracy .
We had'nt consulted on it , and Gerry found himself having to withdraw the invitation to Paul Rose . " The 'slight' and unintended erosion of Gerry Fitt's 'authority' was compounded by the events of the day .......


A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP .......Bernadette Quinn looks at the development of SECTION 31 of the Broadcasting Act , used by the Free State government to suppress the Republican viewpoint on state radio and television - and extended by Radio Telefis Eireann itself into a regime of self-censorship . From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

There have been a few other protests by some principled journalists , and in March this year (ie 1983) the 'Committee for the Freedom of the Press and Broadcasting ' was set-up , whose main objectives are the abolition of Section 31 along with the repeal of the laws on libel and contempt of court . Most RTE journalists , however , not only accept the ban but reinforce and extend it themselves .

The 'Code of Conduct' in the NUJ ('National Union of Journalists' ) rulebook includes the following -
Rule 2 : ' A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism . He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion , news suppression and censorship .'
Rule 3 : ' A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate , avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact , and falsification by distortion or misrepresentation ... '
Rule 9 : ' A journalist shall not lend himself/herself to the distortion or suppression of a truth because of advertising or other considerations . '

Clearly , journalists on RTE are in breach of their own rules , as suppression of views and distortion of facts is part of the everyday running of RTE ....... ('1169... ' Comment - and it is still is today ; this scribbler has personally attended dozens of political marches , protests , parades , commemorations etc , alongside thousands of other people , which have brought Dublin city centre to a standstill . If RTE acknowledges the event at all , it is by way of a traffic report only ! )