FETCH ....... !
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 remained in jail on Harry Kirkpatrick's say-so , awaiting 'trial' . Again and again he was refused bail . By October 1984 he had served two years and nine months - this was equivalent to a sentence of over five years , yet he had been convicted of nothing !
In October 1984 John O' Reilly finally got bail ; he was due to appear in court in Belfast on January 28 1985 . When he did'nt turn up a bench warrant was sworn out for his arrest . He had crossed the border to the South .
When he had been almost twenty-four hours in custody in Portlaoise Garda Station a Garda read out an extension order , holding him for another twenty-four hours under Section 30 - John O' Reilly was not then and is not now wanted for any crime in the South of Ireland . The questioning continued : at around 10.30 pm on the second day O' Reilly was allowed to see a solicitor , Henry Kelly , and a barrister , Michael Gray . He spent a second night in the station and was again questioned the following day .
At about 5.30 pm , after forty-eight hours in detention , John O' Reilly was released ; sometime that day , October 11 , 1985 , Assistant Commissioner of the Garda , David Leahy , signed a one-sentence authorisation for "...the execution of this warrant in the State by any member of the Garda Siochana . " That warrant was the one from Belfast . It was now the responsibility of the 26-County Gardai to " ...bring him forthwith .. " before the Northern court .......
TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
While Irish Republicans formulated their own disorganised and poorly armed response to matters (starting with a split in January 1970 !) , the Civil Rights MP's came together in a broad political front : " We met in Donegal and Toome and John Hume favoured the 'Social Democratic' approach " , said Austin Currie , " because he was into the ' European' perspective , and Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt favoured the ' Labour ' approach . Fitt had the senior political experience so ' Labour ' was given priority .
The 'Labour and Social Democratic Party' was the agreed name and we started drawing up policy . Around three in the morning Paddy Devlin sat straight up and said - 'Jesus Christ - the 'LSD' Party ! They'll think we're spaced out capitalists !' " The SDLP was 'born' in August 1970 with Gerry Fitt as titular head , and his political currency still shrinking in value , from 'Republican Labour' to ' Social Democratic Labour' , to a party identified more by initials than policy .
Paddy Devlin and Ivan Cooper visited Bernadette Devlin in jail and informed her that , among other things , reform not resistance was to be the future order of the day ; if she did not fall in step with SDLP policy they would oppose her in future elections , splitting the vote rather than let a unity candidate take the seat . Her Westminster colleague , Gerry Fitt , did not come to see her in jail .
Gerry Fitt had stated when the SDLP was launched - " It's a miracle that a party which includes elements from west of the Bann and the Falls Road should come together ... " ('1169... ' Comment - those that 'came together' to form the SDLP may not have realised it at the time , but the Party was formed to "reform" [ie 'tweak'] the existing system , not change it.) While Fitt became embedded in the 'stable body politic' of Westminster , the political and military landmines detonating all over the North of Ireland caused the SDLP to step in , step out again of Stormont and the moves they took were indeed dictated by the areas in which they lived .
With violence breaking out on all sides in Belfast , Gerry Fitt called in February 1971 on the British Army to raid the homes of Protestants as well as Catholics , so that it would not be seen as an agent of Stormont ....... ('1169 ... ' Comment - the Republican response to those raids would have been to condemn the British Army for being there at all , not to demand that they attack your neighbour as well as you .)
UPS AND DOWNS FOR RUC's PERJURER STRATEGY .
SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .
Even by North of Ireland standards , where dramatic political developments have a tendency to follow one another with un-nerving rapidity , Wednesday 19th October 1983 and the week that followed was an unusually active period in the psychological warfare between the British government and the Republican struggle that continues to focus around the use of paid perjurers .
It was a week which , at least in terms of propaganda , Republicans won on points - but it also heavily underlined the British government's commitment to the perjurer strategy in the face of mounting opposition .
The retractions by Robert Lean (Belfast) and Patrick McGurk (Dungannon) of their incriminating statements against a total of 37 people accused of republican activities , by Lean on October 19th and by McGurk on October 24th , was a crushing embarrassment to the RUC .
Robert Lean , in particular , had been portrayed in 'leaks' to a sensationalist media to be the IRA's No. 2 in Belfast , and in a classic exercise in 'trial by media' the RUC claimed that his evidence had secured the imprisonment of the IRA's Chief of Staff and its Belfast Brigade Officer Commanding ; both of the individuals against whom these claims had been made were among those released two days after Lean's retraction .
McGurk's retraction a few days later was equally damaging to the image cultivated by the RUC around its use of perjurers .......