Tuesday, June 14, 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 attention to his various duties and rights under the 1965 Extradition Act was never acknowledged by the Fine Gael Minister for Justice in the Free State , Michael Noonan ; this can be gauged by the reply from his Office to an inquiry about the John O' Reilly extradition case by Brian Lenihan (Fianna Fail) :

: the reply notes that John O' Reilly "...is at present serving a prison sentence in Portlaoise Prison .. " - John O' Reilly has not , of course , been convicted of anything , and is jailed awaiting extradition appeals ; the fact that the Free State Department of Justice could be so ignorant of the facts of the case indicates that the extradition process , despite the succession of embarrassments , is running on automatic .

[END of ' FETCH ! ']
(Tomorrow - 'THE DEATH OF FRANK HAND' , from 1986.)

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

The gap between Gerry Fitt's house on the Antrim Road and Stormont , four miles away , was bridged by the RUC which provided him with a car and armed driver ; Paddy Devlin , too , was given an armed escort for travel through loyalist areas on his way to Stormont but he always drove his own car , and was followed by the RUC in theirs .

" I kept my distance from them in all ways , " Devlin said , " once you step into an RUC car you have to surrender a bit of yourself . "

Austin Currie had RUC men living in his garage in Mid-Ulster , but he criticised the force when he thought necessary , leading the ' Police Federation ' at their annual general conference to speak bitterly against him . ('1169 ... ' Comment - at best , on his strongest day , Currie was an 'outlaw pet' . After trying to build a career for himself with the SDLP , he joined the Fine Gael party in the Free State . Enough said . ) The Executive and the Assembly lasted a mere five months ; it was brought down by the Protestant workforce who held key positions in energy , transport and engineering , and who paralysed the North of Ireland by withdrawing their labour in unofficial action . Frantic calls to Westminster to order the British Army to step in yielded only the sour televised response from London that Northerners were "spongers" !

Gerry Fitt stated - " The (British) Labour Government were afraid to shoot the Prods , which is what it would have amounted to . They told me that if they established the precedent of using the British Army against workers , they'd be handing the Tories a stick to break the trade unions with next time the Tories got in . Edward Heath was just waiting to get back at the miners . "


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

British judges in the North of Ireland were defending the use of informers to obtain convictions at the same time as that perjurer system had started to come under attack from a variety of directions , while among the Nationalist community itself - buoyed by the retractions and less open than it initially was to demoralisation over the issue (since it has seen the IRA's continued ability to inflict losses on the British) - there have been the unmistakeable signs of a 'fight back' .

The first clear example of this was the mass rally at Beechmount Avenue in West Belfast on September 11 , 1983 , which announced the holding of an open conference in Dungannon on October 2nd 1983 to establish a broad-based committee on the non-exclusive lines of the National H-Block/Armagh Committee established during the hunger-strikes of 1981 . Up until that point public protest action on the perjurer issue had mainly been confined to small and isolated groups , such as Relatives For Justice and Campaign Against The Show Trials (CAST) , which although active had drawn support primarily from relatives of the victims - in much the same way as the Relatives Action Committee had campaigned between 1976-79 on the H-Blocks .

The Dungannon conference announced the setting up of a new 'umbrella' organisation , the 'Stop the Show Trials Campaign ' , calling for an end to the use of perjurers , an end to show trials and the release of all the (sentenced and remanded) victims of perjurers . It voted to mount a campaign of political opposition to the perjurer system , at the same time embracing those sections of the community whose opposition to the use of perjurers is based on humanitarian or civil liberties motives and who endorse the campaign's central demands .

It is inevitable that the campaign structure , and mobilisations , will focus heavily on the North , though it is envisaged that support groups will be established in the 26 Counties and abroad . However , not all Irish Nationalists were opposed to the perjurer system .......