Wednesday, May 23, 2007

'Turn The Spotlight / Derry Besieged / Death And Mystery' .

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

Do the citizens of the 26 Counties even know what is happening here ? Among our tourist attractions we can now boast of a Concentration Camp at the Curragh , County Kildare: we may not have a plan to end unemployment or emigration but we have a Concentration Camp . And we have semi-secret 'trials' . Indeed , that is not the end of the list of the things we have - we have a secret police force working in conjunction with Britain's security forces in Occupied Ireland .

We have given the power to some minor police official to seize newspapers and to haul men off to jail for the 'crime' of putting up posters demanding the release of political prisoners. And we have the shameless hypocrisy of men who pay tribute to our Republican dead while they hound and jail our Republican living . There are men in this country with influence in high places who know these things but who haven't the moral backbone to stand up and condemn them . There are men who march in processions under banners proclaiming their part in the struggle against the Black-and-Tans almost forty years ago .

Have they spoken out for the youth of this generation who have taken over from where they left off ? Some , perhaps , have . But too many who march in processions to honour the dead of forty years ago appear to have closed their eyes and stuffed their ears to the sights and sounds in Occupied Ireland.......


Derry , once the cockpit of the Northern Irish conflict , has become quarantined in apathy , grimness and deprivation , writes Seamus Deane , the Derry-born poet and writer . In a return look at his native city he finds that its demoralisation has disturbing implications .
From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine, 1983.

The architecture was then remarkably organised to picture forth the situation . The handsome and plain architecture of the Protestant cathedral made an appropriate contrast with the pseudo-Gothic pretentiousness of its Catholic counterpart . Even coming up the Strabane Road was then a lesson in political perspective , for the two cathedrals , which from six miles away appeared to be on the same side of the river , gradually seemed to separate as the distance decreased until they were seen to be on opposite sides .

The Protestant cathedral was girded by the city walls , Governor Walker's monument towered over the small , huddled houses of the Bogside: one proclaimed the defence of the Protestant tradition , the other the authority of the Roman tradition . There were , then , many such examples of what seemed to be a perfectly organised symbolism . Marches , bonfires , schools , accents , gardens - all contributed to it . But this shining clarity has now become muted and has in some instances almost disappeared .

Derry's loss of charisma is ominous for the whole area , for it represents the loss of possibility which was once there . I don't say this in any exclusive or sectarian spirit ; it is not only the Catholic community which has lost its rebellious radiance , the Protestant community has also lost its defending radiance : each has been replaced by a woeful grimness . Each community has seen the disappearance of its respective hopes for total change or for total preservation but both communities retain the will to behave as though these hopes had not disappeared.......

John O Shea was a small farmer and republican . He died at his Kerry home in October 2001 within hours of being released from Garda custody . The inquest into his death raised more questions than it answered and now Kerry County Council has backed calls for a public inquiry . Did John O Shea die from natural causes or is there a more sinister explanation ?
By Mairead Carey.
From 'MAGILL' magazine, May 2003 .

After examining Garda photographs , the jury pointed out that John O' Shea also had marks on his neck : Dr. John Harbison said he hadn't noticed them and couldn't explain them or other marks on the body . The laceration on the bridge of his nose could have been caused by falling on a pointed object or by being struck with a pointed object , he said .

Listowel , County Kerry , Fine Gael councillor Jacqueline Barrett was one of the jurors at the inquest - " What made us suspicious were the markings on him , particularly on his neck . There were no explanations for them . We weren't satisfied with the answers we got to some of our questions . I certainly had doubts, " she said . Another juror , who did not wish to be named , told this magazine that she believed someone had killed John O' Shea and suggested that someone may have been waiting for him when he got home .

Jacqueline Barrett believes the case should be reopened - " The exact cause of death has still to be determined . For everyone's peace of mind , it should be an independent inquiry as opposed to a Garda one ." But the State Minister for Justice , Michael McDowell, speaking in Leinster House , ruled out such an inquiry , stating that John O' Shea's injuries were "...consistent with a number of falls with no evidence of assault.." . McDowell stated that the circumstances of John O' Shea's death were "...exhaustively investigated.. " , first by the Garda and then at the inquest , according to McDowell . " I should mention that the person in question had been released from Garda custody the previous day , but I am not aware of any evidence that his unfortunate death was in any way connected with this , " he added .......