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 .
There was evidence that the informer Harry Kirkpatrick was coached by the RUC ; British Justice Carswell solemnly advised himself that it would be unsafe to convict on such evidence - he then rejected his own advice (!) and gave ten of the defendants life sentences . The rest got between eight and twenty years apiece .
Harry Kirkpatrick's accusations against John O' Reilly are that he was a member of the INLA and that in April 1981 he conspired to murder Kenneth Schimeld , a civil servant . A bomb was attached to the bottom of Schimeld's car , fell off and was safely detonated by the British Army .
Kirkpatrick alleged that O' Reilly attended a meeting at which the murder was discussed . He also said that someone else later told him that someone else had in turn said that John O' Reilly placed the bomb under the car . There is no other evidence against O' Reilly . If someone says you did something you go to jail ; if someone says someone else told them you did something you go to jail . Then , after two or three years in jail , you can receive a long sentence , even when the person pointing the finger is known to have an intimate relationship with the RUC and has a vested interest in putting you away .
Proceedings which accept such evidence , from such a source , in a mass trial format , bear only a satirical resemblance to due process of law and have been condemned by lawyers here and in Britain . The 'supergrass system ' of jailing people has been condemned by all political shades on the island , unionist and nationalist . The Southern government , through its representative at the Anglo-Irish Conference , Peter Barry , has repeatedly criticised the system .
Nevertheless , the Free State Minister for Justice , Michael Noonan , has already given the nod for the extradition proceedings to proceed against John O' Reilly . In the next few months the case will be appealed through the Free State High Court and almost certainly into the Free State Supreme Court .......
TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
'Bloody Sunday' , January 1972 : " It's a United Ireland now or nothing . " The words of John Hume , as he ' raised' the first green flag ('1169...' Comment - verbally , only ... ) . Bernadette Devlin punched Reginald Maulding in the face on the floor of Westminster and nationalist politicians withdrew even from the lowest form of political engagement , local government , in the North . It was all too much for Gerry Fitt , the 'political in-fighter' , to bear : never an electoral pacifist , he hated seeing Unionists step into uncontested City Council seats as one by one the anti-Unionist Councillors withdrew from the 'ring' or were counted out for non-attendance .
He dashed down to City Hall , signed the attendance sheet , made a token attendance and dashed home . Paddy Devlin persuaded the SDLP to ignore this breach of the rules , but even he had to restrain Fitt publicly when Unionist jeers about Fitt's token presence in City Hall provoked Fitt to throw down a challenge that he could resign altogether , fight as an abstentionist and still beat them .
When the other Dock seat fell vacant , with the prospect of a Unionist setting foot in the the political 'birthplace' of Gerry Fitt , he " ... went mad with frustration altogether and walked that floor like a lion .. " , his wife Anne recalled . " He and (Stormont) Senator Paddy Wilson set off down town to scour the pubs . Gerry swore he would find somebody to fight the seat before the night was out . Towards closing time I got a call from him . " " I've found someone , Anne " , he said : " Great ! " , I said . " It's a women , Anne , " he said . " Even better , " I said . " It's you , Anne ... " , he said . Unable to wiggle out of the party bonds that tied him down , Gerry Fitt watched with delight while Anne toured the streets handing out the election address which she wrote herself -
- " When elected I will not be attending City Hall but I will be preventing a bigoted Unionist from doing so in your name . " Anne Fitt won by 2536 votes to 288 , obtaining a larger vote than her husband ever did in that ward . But a battle of a different kind was about to commence .......
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 .
The informer Robert Lean escaped from RUC 'protective custody' but was arrested under Section 12 on leaving a press conference ; he was held in Castlereagh for seven days . Apparently the RUC seriously intended to charge him with a killing on 'new evidence' obtained from the perjurer , William Skelly , who had originally implicated Robert Lean , in a revenge act for his retraction , but the RUC finally changed their minds . It is highly improbable that the (British) Crown Prosecutor could have persuaded even a Diplock Court that the informer William Skelly had forgotten this 'evidence' until after Robert Lean retracted , and then miraculously remembered it !
The inference that the RUC had been aware of 'evidence' linking Lean to a killing at the outset , but had suppressed it in order to do a 'deal' with him , and so imprison prominent Republicans , would have been unavoidable . Most damaging of all from the RUC's viewpoint was Robert Lean's assertion that his 'deal' for immunity was to sign statements already prepared by the RUC incriminating specific individuals wanted 'out of the way' by them . Top of the list was Gerry Adams , but it seems the RUC were unable to charge him because Robert Lean refused to co-operate with a face-to-face confrontation .
On their release , two of those actually imprisoned on Lean's statements - Edward Carmichael and Ivor Bell - confirmed that they had also been offered immunity if they would incriminate Sinn Fein elected representatives , Adams , Danny Morrison and Martin Mcguinness . Additionally , Edward Carmichael had been offered £300,000 and Ivor Bell was told to "...name my own figure .. " .
The RUC were not having a one-hundred per cent success rate with their informer/perjurer strategy : but they were not prepared to give up on it .......