Monday, December 11, 2006

There is substantial evidence that a major crime was perpetrated within the Garda Siochana five years ago .
The evidence for this crime has certainly been available to senior Gardai ever since then , but no enquiry whatsoever has taken place , let alone any Garda being disciplined in connection with that crime .
By Vincent Browne and Derek Dunne .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , September 1983 .

MAGILL' magazine asked the (State) Department of Justice if there had been any other such cases of a remand from the District Court to Garda custody : the Department referred us to the Garda press office where , at first , we were informed by Sergeant Jim Quinn of the press office that " prisoners are never remanded back into Garda custody . We can't hold a prisoner for longer than is absolutely necessary . If we have occasion to interview a prisoner further , then we go into the prison to see him . " That seemed unambiguous .

But then , three days later , another official of the Garda press office , Breege Wymes , went to considerable pains to make contact with 'MAGILL' to offer additional unsolicited comment - she maintained that remands into Garda custody were commonplace , it happened every day , she said . We contacted Sergeant Jim Quinn again and asked for clarification as to the point at issue and for an explanation as to why we should be told such contradictory stories : he reverted to us following enquiries and explained that remand into Garda custody did take place in the circumstances outlined above (ie in remote areas) but although he had been stationed for a while in the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin he was unaware of any occasion in which this had taken place !

Lawyers , dealing with criminal cases to whom we have spoken , said that the procedure was unheard of in the Dublin area . As Sergeant Jim Quinn had suggested to us that a remand into Garda custody might take place if the District Court had sat very late at night and Mountjoy Prison was closed , we contacted that prison and enquired up to what time they would admit prisoners - they replied that they would admit prisoners up to midnight and later if necessary if they were given notice that this was going to take place.......

From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine , October 1983 .

Among the abuses of the judicial process in the North of Ireland is the mass trials at which the only link between the charges against the defendants is that they are based on the word of the same supergrasses : that RUC 'witnesses' are allowed to cite statements from former supergrasses which have since been retracted : and the absence of a defence of entrapment against RUC informers who themselves recruit people into illegal organisations and encourage them to commit 'terrorist crimes' .

Many Nationalist lawyers have lost what faith they had in the 'fairness' of the Diplock non-jury court system in the light of such abuses . The alienation among the IRA's potential supporters in the urban Nationalist ghettos and country areas must now be almost total . How can Jim Prior even begin to contemplate any further political initiative to win moderate nationalist support for the North's institutions when the right of so many ordinary nationalists to a fair trial , surely one of the foundation stones of any democratic society , is under such unprecedented threat ?

As one visiting New York lawyer remarked earlier this month , the British seem to have become like the Americans in Vietnam - they seem intent on destroying democracy here in order to 'save' it !
(Next : Interview with veteran Irish Republican , Lily Moffatt - from 1982.)

By Michael Farrell .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , June 1983 .

Denis Haughey (SDLP) : Dr. Aidan Lagan (Alliance Party) : Danny Morrison (SF) : Rev. William McCrea (DUP) : Tommy Owens(WP) : William Thompson (OUP) .

This is Bernadette McAliskey's old seat : it used to have a nationalist majority of about 3,000 but was held by a Unionist because of a split nationalist vote . It has lost nationalist Strabane to Foyle and the mixed Magherafelt area to East Derry and has gained a republican area around Dromore in Tyrone from Fermanagh-South Tyrone .

It is now absolutely marginal in 'religious' terms but with a split Unionist vote , a nationalist may win . The SDLP had a small majority over Sinn Fein in the Assembly elections but Sinn Fein may be able to reverse that this time and Danny Morrison may win .

Assembly Elections 1982 :
(First Preferences) SDLP 15,244 , two seats : DUP 14,426 , two seats : Sinn Fein 12,690 , one seat : OUP 10,689 , one seat : Alliance 2,872 : Workers' Party 2,054 .
Next : Armagh-Newry.......