Thursday, June 09, 2005

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 .

The (Free State) Supreme Court has a little egg on its face from its involvement with extradition : the policy of Southern governments since at least the fall of Sunningdale has been to de-politicise the Northern conflict and treat its paramilitary violence as simple 'criminality' . Occasional doubts about the RUC and the Northern courts were voiced , but these were pragmatic attempts to placate Northern nationalists and combat the drift to Sinn Fein .

A (Free State) Government source was quoted in 'MAGILL' magazine in November 1984 as saying - " It's a side road for a year or eighteen months or so to pick up a problem . Once we've dealt with the repairs we'll be back on the main road again . " ('1169... ' Comment - that same attitude , as expressed 21 years ago , is prevalent today from those in Leinster House ; they will occasionally pay 'lip service' to events in the Six Counties [depending on the event] but will not push the issue . There are no votes in it for them .)

The "...main road .. " was the depiction of the RUC and the Northern judicial system as 'normal bodies adhering to accepted standards' - the same political 'wind' was blowing through the (FS) Supreme Court and the door to extradition was opened . The Dominic McGlinchey case was the 'jemmy' that opened the door .......


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

On March 24 , 1972 , Stormont was prorogued to the sound of guns and bombs as the North of Ireland was engulfed in the cross -fire between the British Army , the UDR , the RUC , UVF , UDA , UFF , Official IRA and Provisional IRA ; Gerry Fitt and Bernadette Devlin were the only two anti-unionists left with political status , and even they were forbidden from negotiating with anybody .

While the politicians chaffed at redundancy , people who were in jail as a result of the war chaffed at their criminalisation : a hunger strike was called and Gerry Fitt was instrumental in persuading Northern Secretary Willie Whitelaw to grant , in June , 'special category status' to prisoners convicted of political offences . This , coupled with a mass release of internees , and the famous talks in London with IRA leaders , who included Gerry Adams (specially released from internment for the talks ) , broke the political deadlock . ('1169... ' Comment - Gerry Adams has since publicly declared that he is not now , nor was he ever , a member of the PIRA . As he gave that statement , a cock could be heard crowing for the third time in the background ... )

The IRA declared a ceasefire and the way was open for the SDLP to return to constitutional politics : the IRA ceasefire lasted nine days . Within a month of the granting of 'special category status' , the Provos were responsible for the bombing of Belfast on 'Bloody Friday' and the bombing of the village of Claudy . Many civilians died . The Shankill Butchers were also out that July with knives and many Catholics died . It seemed to Gerry Fitt , who lived in the 'Murder Mile' that stretched from Carlisle Circus up along the Antrim Road where he lived , that every time he opened his front door , or his newspaper , somebody was dead .

Whatever sympathetic links had ever existed between him and 'the people' who defended the area where he lived - "...the vigilantes only ever stood in my front garden with big sticks , in 1969 and 1970 .. " - were well and truly broken . The year 1973 opened with an offer from the British .......


SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

But if the RUC's optimism for the potential of their perjurer strategy has been tempered by a series of retractions in recent months - Walter McCrory (Derry) , Charles Dillon (County Derry) , Robert Lean and Patrick McGurk - and if they have been forced to the realisation that it will continue to be an imperfect strategy , with perjurers as much subject to the persuasion of the nationalist community's abhorrence of their actions as they are to RUC threats and inducements , nevertheless the third major event in this momentous week ensured the continued successful use of paid perjurers as a means of securing convictions .

It was an event that marked a further and fundamental diminishing in the standard of evidence required in Diplock Courts for conviction : (British) Lord Chief Justice Lowry's sentencing of seven men on IRA charges , in Belfast Crown Court , on Wednesday 26 October , on the uncorroborated evidence of Kevin McGrady , was incredible even by Diplock 'standards' . Three weeks earlier , on October 5th , he had released two of the ten defendants and thrown out 13 of the original 45 charges (including charges of murder) , saying that in respect of those he found Kevin McGrady's evidence " unsatisfactory and inconsistent that I could not contemplate allowing myself , as a tribunal of fact , to say that guilt has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt . "

Yet in his final summation on the 25th , despite acknowledging that McGrady's evidence had contained "...some glaring absurdities .. " and was "...contradictory , bizarre and in some respects incredible .. " , and despite finding the remaining eight defendants innocent of a further 19 charges , Lowry nonetheless returned verdicts of guilty against seven of them on the remaining 13 charges .

In one case , the former Sinn Fein National Organiser , Jim Gibney (28) , was sentenced to terms of 12 years and 5 years on two charges , even though he was cleared of no less than 20 other charges on Kevin MGrady's " bizarre " 'evidence' .......