Monday, November 12, 2007

THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland.......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

At 12.10AM on the morning of Wednesday , November 20 , 1957 , the four young men - Kevin Mallon , James O' Donnell , Francis Talbot and John O' Neill - were taken from Dungannon RUC Barracks and informed they were being moved to Belfast . They were then handcuffed . Somewhere between Lurgan in County Armagh and Lisburn in County Antrim the cars they were in swung up a by-road and stopped . The four lads were removed from the cars and beaten on the side of the road .

In Belfast they were taken to Crumlin Road RUC Barracks ; the time was about 2AM , Wednesday , November 20 , 1957 . Relays of interrogators now pounced on them , with their questions couched in the foulest language . They were threatened that their homes would be destroyed and their families thrown on the streets ; that their brothers would be put away for 20 years ; that it made no difference to them who was 'got' but that "...someone was going to be got for the Brackaville job and it might as well be them.." The interrogation took the following form -

One of the four prisoners would be returned to a cell after about three-quarters of an hour of beatings combined with threats and questions . He would hear clearly the screams of the other lads and the shouted oaths and threats of the RUC , who were roaring the following - " are a dirty rotten communist....your mother is nothing but a killed Sergeant man ever went through our hands that we didn't break , and we're going to break you .." When one of the young men was brought back to his cell in the dark , he lay on the bunk : the pillow was wet . It was covered in blood . An RUC detective entered and told him - " That is the sheet that covered Sergeant Ovens . It will cover another body soon......."


Dessie O'Malley would expect to draw his support almost exclusively from middle-class areas , but if he is to succeed in getting the twenty seats he hopes for that support base would also have to include working-class areas , especially in Dublin . On the evidence of one day spent with PD leader O'Malley ,that working-class support is unlikely to be forthcoming.
By Derek Dunne.

Sometimes it can be acutely embarrassing to be in the company of Dessie O' Malley. Like when he is posing for the photographers , for instance . In order for a particular photo opportunity to be exploited fully , it is necessary to smile when posing , whether it be with a shovel , an old woman of the King of Denmark ! But Dessie has this problem - it appears that he cannot raise the necessary smile without an accompanying laugh . His laugh begins someplace deep within the man and comes out as a sort of guffaw that one might hear in a rugby club very late at night when 'the boys' are filling up the toilet bowl with beer and someone notices that the water is flooding out the door...

The laugh and smile are embarrassing , but they are all part and parcel of electoral work in what passes for elections in this part of the world . Dessie's style often leaves a lot to be desired . He will walk past people and is never totally comfortable shaking hands or making small talk - he appears to consider the whole exercise a huge bore . On this day , a private coach has been hired and this is in keeping with the spirit of private enterprise that the Progressive Democrats would say they wish to foster . A parking ticket is placed on the bus before it even moves off . The vehicle itself is splattered in posters and slogans - 'Dessie Can Do It' . Nobody bothers to ask what it is he can 'do' . 'Put Your Foot Down' , reads another poster . The driver of the bus looks at the poster , and tells us he is a supporter of Charles J. Haughey!

When the coach starts off , Dessie is not on board . He is in RTE talking to John Bowman on the 'Day By Day' programme . Listeners can phone in with comments , and one does , asking about the time that Dessie said that Charlie Haughey was unfit for Office and how he squared this with the fact that he served as a minister under the same man.......

Eamon Byrne , a 19-year-old Dubliner , was shot dead by a garda detective during an attempted robbery at the B+I terminal in November 1982 . For his family , obtaining justice , or simply the truth , could be a long and expensive process.
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , July 1983 .

The gun which killed Eamon Byrne , a .38 Smith and Wesson police special revolver , had never been properly tested and a garda ballistics officer confirmed its hair trigger action rendered it unsafe and unsuitable for police work . Also , the officer who fired the gun admitted that he had only received four days instructions in the use of firearms .

The case had other unusual dimensions , only one of which emerged in court . The gardai admitted that they were keeping watch on the B+I terminal because they had been tipped off that an attempt would be made to rob the car ferry when it docked . In fact there is strong evidence to suggest that the robbery was the work of an agent provocateur . It seems that Eamon Byrne and the two Conroy brothers who were captured with him were set up .

No evidence involving the robbery was allowed in the coroner's court , nor was the fact that , prior to his death , Eamon Byrne had approached journalists and the Prisoners Rights Organisation , to say he had been threatened by garda officers , and he subsequently gave a statement to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties detailing the threats . Subsequent to Eamon Byrne's death , several of his associates gave sworn affidavits alleging they had been offered inducements to 'stitch him up' . None of this emerged at the inquest.......

(Thank You , 'O Neill' , for your words of encouragement - hope we have been of some assistance to you !)