Irish Republican Information Service (no. 320)

Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie
Date: 28 Samhain / November 2013
 
Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom
 
http://saoirse.info

In this issue: 
1. Statement from Release Martin Corey Campaign 
2. Kevin Barry remembered in Rathvilly; Frank Driver in Ballymore
3. Six-County AG calls for an end to pre Stormont Agreement prosecutions
4. Amnesty call for inquiry into British shoot-to-kill policy in Six Counties
5. Roseann Mallon inquest – British army had house under hi-tech surveillance
6. Victims’ families sue over UVF Glenanne loyalist death squad collusion claims
7. RUC drone used for first time in Belfast
8. Nationalist targeted in sectarian attack
9. McGurk’s Bar massacre: Police get two weeks to edit file
10. Air pollution at Wicklow landfill
11. Confirmation: Shell handed out free drink in Ireland as festive gifts
12. More than 118,000 behind in mortgage payments

1. Statement from Release Martin Corey Campaign

THE Spotlight Programme screened on Tuesday, November 12 was, in part, concerned with the case of political internee Martin Corey. Ciarán Tracey, journalist for the BBC, visited Martin in Maghaberry prison, Co Antrim and conducted an interview with him. During the course of this interview Martin stated that he believed that he was in jail because he refused to become an informer, he stated he had been approached prior to his incarceration and told that he should cooperate with the security forces or else he would find himself in jail.

And that is where Martin Corey found himself, in Maghaberry Jail, he has been there for over three-and-half-years. He faces no charge and no trial, he has no release date, his release had previously been directed by the courts but then overturned by the British secretary of state. Three British secretaries of state have allowed Martin’s internment to continue with secret evidence quoted as justification for this.

This blatant disregard for the judicial system exposes the true nature of British rule in Ireland and how it serves to persecute political dissenters. It is now time that Martin Corey is released once and for all with no interference from unelected British officials who seek to protect those who recruit informers and put Irish citizen’s lives in danger on a daily basis.

On Monday, November 11 and Tuesday, November 12, the Release Marin Corey Campaign loosely organised an attempt to highlight Martins case on social networking site Twitter. The result was overwhelming and exceeded expectations throughout the course of those two days.

Republicans and human rights defenders continuously tweeted ?#?releasemartincorey? and due to their hard work this trended at number two on Monday (November 11) and number one on Tuesday (November 12) in Ireland. The committee would like to thank all those who took part and congratulate you on your success.

We are weeks away from knowing the outcome of Martin’s case but we must not now sit back think that here is no more to done, we must keep the pressure on. In September Human rights organisation, Justice Watch Ireland released a report on their findings into the incarceration of Martin Corey. A full copy of this report has now been published on http://www.releasemartincorey.com

The Release Martin Corey Campaign once again reiterates its demand for the release of Martin Corey, who is in jail solely for his political views. The British government and their security must not be allowed to continue down this path of political persecution unchallenged.

 

2. Kevin Barry remembered in Rathvilly; Frank Driver in Ballymore

ON November 10 members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin from Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow, Athlone and Dublin gathered in Rathvilly, Co Carlow for the annual commemoration to Kevin Barry and led by a colour party from Co Wexford marched to the memorial in the centre of the town.

At the Monument proceedings were chaired by Jimmy Corcoran of the Myles Shevlin/Tony Ruane Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Carlow. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Cumann and also on behalf of Wexford Republican Sinn Féin and Wexford Republican Graves Association.

The oration was delivered by Ard Chomhairle member Seán Dolan, Iar Mhí, who gave an account of Kevin’s life and of the circumstances which led to his death by a British hangman in Mountjoy jail on November 1, 1920, at the age of 18 years. He went on to say:

“The greatest tribute we can pay to the lasting legacy of Kevin is to ensure that his vision of a Free Ireland becomes a reality so that future generations can live in peace and harmony, so that the citizens can reach their full potential and where the most vulnerable are not slaves to an economic elite but where they are put before all profit to live a worthy life. We hear so much today about the ‘economy’ … indeed to the ruling elite the nation is nothing, the state itself is not there to serve the people but is there as a mechanism of the ‘economy’.

This is a far cry from what Kevin gave his young life for. At just 18 years of age to give your life so selflessly for a cause is something most inspiring.

“Kevin is reported as saying and I quote, ‘It is nothing, to give one’s life for Ireland. I’m not the first and maybe I won’t be the last. What’s my life compared with the cause?’ This sums up the immense courage of one of Ireland’s bravest sons and Kevin has always stood as a inspiration for the Irish people. If Ireland is a young as its youngest Martyr then we have nothing to fear for the youth of Ireland will continue to rally to the standard of such a noble sacrifice. Beyond the falsity of modern trivia and historical revisionism nothing can cover up the fundamental truth of what men like Barry stood for. He was a soldier of Ireland, and in the face of death he has thought us how to live; with principles and integrity.

“There are those of course who have their agendas. As time progresses our enemies agendas will come into the public domain and we must be preparing in advance to counter what they might be.

“Thus far Free State has invited the British Royals to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising in Dublin. This is a calculated insult. Even people with no affinity to Irish Republicanism can see the horrendous double standards at play here. By inviting the British Royals to the 1916 centenary commemorations the Free State has in effect declared war on the legacy of 1916. Comrades, we have two and half years to show our worth and to ensure the legacy of 1916 is not disgraced before the world. It’s a simple as that. As Bobby Sands once said, ‘Everyone has his or her own part to play.’

“This policy of normalisation runs throughout the 32 counties and this year Derry was a direct target with the City being name UK City of Culture. With the Brits it’s always give a little and take a lot. They apologised for Bloody Sunday and then in return they got UK City of Culture. They and the Provisionals must think we are all fools. Chomhairle Uladh, Sinn Féin Poblachtach need to be congratulated for getting into Derry on two occasions to hold counter protests. They were worthwhile and absolutely necessary.

“Nothing has changed in Ireland, the RUC/PSNI has increased their surveillance and heavy handed oppression continues and they are backed up by the usual safety net of that occupation, blatant sectarianism which has been on the rise. They are further backed up by 5,000 British troops in our country who can be called on by Westminster at any time. The move into an overt police state is obvious as was seen last week in Ardoyne when a Spy Drone was filmed flying over a local estate.

“We owe a lot to those who stand in defiance against this occupation and with this consideration we must never forget our prisoners, languishing in British prisons. They are engaged in a battle which is symbolic of Ireland’s history of resistance, their existence and opposition in Gaol matched by the activity of their comrades on the outside sends a clear message to the world that Ireland is not for surrender. As James Connolly once put it, ‘Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.’

“This crime against human progress could not be better explained than in explaining the usurpation of Martin Corey’s freedom. As Martin’s comrades in Republican Sinn Féin we need to make our voices heard on his behalf and at every juncture. The reality it seems when the facts are analysed that Martin has had his license revoked by the Brits in some sick game for the Brits to test the water on the one hand and gage public opposition and on the other hand to send a clear message to former POWs who were released from jail on licence, not to step out of line or you will be next.

“Every day Martin Corey spends in Prison is a crime against humanity and I would like to make an appeal to each and every one of you here today to make an extra effort coming in December, prisoner’s month to raise awareness and finance for our POWs who are relying on us.

“I thank you for your time and the opportunity to speak here, it has been an honour to visit this sacred place and again I reiterate the greatest way we can pay homage to the legacy of Kevin Barry and all who died for Irish freedom and to those currently interned and imprisoned is to spend ourselves in service of the cause until we have achieved what was Kevin’s objective and what is our objective, the 32-County Sovereign Irish Republic.”

Earlier, a commemoration was held in Ballymore Eustace, Co Wicklow to Frank Driver.

Speaking at Frank Driver’s grave Seán Dolan said:

“Frank Driver was described as a ‘lodestone to whom all supporters could gravitate’ by the late Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in his funeral oration in 1981. Frank was born in 1906 and it was not long until this man began what was to be a lifetime of dedicated service to the Republican cause. At the early age of 12 during the 1918 General Election, Frank worked as a tally clerk for Sinn Féin during that faithful year. He went on to join the Army of the Republic and at just 16 years of age he was to face his first stint of internment.

“After the suppression of the Republic by the Free State, Republicanism faced what was low ebb but in the 40s thanks to the efforts of men like Frank the Movement was starting to take shape once again. This period of consolidation and reorganisation led to the 1950s Resistance Campaign and it was around this period that Frank Driver was forced into a second stint of internment. But such was the character of this brave Fenian that his hearty reaction was not to lie around the Curragh, no instead he was part of a group that organised a mass break out of Republican prisoners. As Republicans today we can learn so much from this brave man who despite the hardships encountered never gave in to the enemy.

“During Franks funeral in 1981 and I quote from the Leinster Leader of the time, ‘A most notable feature of his funeral was the presence of over 100 Gardaí and detectives including members of the Special Branch. Some took up duty on all approach roads, and scores flanked the cortege and later encircled the hillside cemetery where he was laid to rest.’

“Fast forward 32 years and nothing much has changed, we laid to rest in June the man whom delivered the oration at Frank’s funeral, and that quote could have been from any paper in the days after Ruairí’s funeral.

“The reality here is, is that this corrupt Free State is terrified of men like Frank and Ruairí, of what they stood for and of the legacy they left behind. And although they say we have all moved on, that Ireland has moved on, in essence the revolutionary tradition is in reaction to their corrupt existence. Nothing has changed and it is a revolutionary tradition that will not be purchased or intimidated by lackeys of the State.”

3. Six-County AG calls for an end to pre Stormont Agreement prosecutions

ON November 20 the British Attorney-General in the Six Counties John Larkin said that there should be no more investigations, inquiries or convictions into any killings that occurred before the signing of Stormont Agreement.

John Larkin QC, the chief legal adviser to the Stormont Executive, said he favoured ruling out further inquests and other State investigations into the crimes committed during the 30-year conflict, insisting a line should be drawn on offences perpetrated before the signing of the 1998 Stormont agreement.

This would mean that no member of the British army would ever be prosecuted for the deaths of 14 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday 1972, not to mention the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 and the many other shoot-to-kill incidents in which British Crown Forces were involved. It would also mean that Crown Forces who colluded and indeed in many cases were involved in loyalist death squad attacks on nationalists, such as the Glenanne gang, would also be free from prosecution.

If it was agreed then the many inquests into victims of British State murder and loyalist death squad killing of nationalists, some of which have been pending for more than 25 years, would not take place.

Mickey McKinney, whose brother William was killed by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972, said that John Larkin’s proposal was “ridiculous”. The RUC are currently re-investigating Bloody Sunday, with relatives of those killed having long campaigned for the soldiers involved to be prosecuted. “I think this man’s comments are totally ridiculous,” he said.

Michael McKinney said any suggestion that the investigation into the deaths of his brother and the other victims would be halted would cause great anger.

“I would be very angry, my brother and everybody else who was shot dead on Bloody Sunday was murdered, it was State murder, it would cause outrage,” he said.

“My family, and I am sure all the other families, would be very, very angry at this. I think it would change things a whole lot.” He added: “What they [the soldiers] did that day, they have to be held accountable for.”

Larkin said that his proposals did not amount to an amnesty but that the time had come to halt prosecutions.

 

4. Amnesty call for inquiry into British shoot-to-kill policy in Six Counties

ON November 15 Amnesty International called for an independent investigation into claims made in The Mail on Sunday newspaper that British troops tortured Republican ‘suspects’ and operated a shoot- to-kill policy in the Six Occupied Counties.

Republicans have been aware of these for decades but they have now been confirmed in a book released by a former member of the mysterious Military Reaction Force (MRF). In his new book the ex-soldier describes the secret unit as ‘a deadly ghost squad…a shadow troop’. He says the unit had a list of targets they were ordered to ‘shoot on sight’.

Patrick Corrigan, programme director of Amnesty in the Six Counties said the new revelations underlined the need for a full inquiry led by a judge.

He said: ‘The UK (sic) Government should establish a new, overarching mechanism to investigate allegations of extra-judicial executions by the security forces and human rights violations.

‘Bereaved family members have a right to truth and justice. Such a process must focus not just on those who pulled the trigger but also those in positions of authority who pulled the strings.’

In 2005, the RUC/PSNI established a Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to re-examine 3,260 suspected murders by British troops and loyalist death squads. Amnesty called for the HET to be replaced by a legacy commission headed by a judge with powers to compel witnesses and obtain government documents.

These claims were first made in the Mail on Sunday in December 2012. A former British soldier who belonged to an undercover unit in the Six Occupied Counties said he and his colleagues resorted to ‘murder and mayhem’ during a secret campaign against the IRA.

Simon Cursey (not his real name) was a member of a 30-man team which would ‘shoot first and ask questions later’. They shot at least 20 people and breached the British army’s rules of war. He claimed that he never once cautioned a suspect or fired a warning shot before himself engaging with lethal force.

In support of his allegations, he provided the Mail on Sunday with detailed descriptions of a number of shoot-to-kill operations he had been involved in.

Cursey says these shootings were carried out by the Military Reaction Force (MRF), a clandestine Army team sent into Republican neighbourhoods to eliminate members of IRA.

Cursey returns to the subject in a draft of a new book based on his experiences. He writes: “If the IRA believed they could get away with murder and mayhem, it was the MRF’s job to make them see how they liked a taste of their own medicine.

He told the Mail on Sunday how the MRF operated. He said: “At night we would patrol the streets looking for our special bad boys – they were wanted for terrorist (sic) activities or murder.

“We simply dealt with them, very severely, and then dropped them off at the roadside for the uniformed forces to pick up later. We never discussed these few incidents outside our sections and we never asked what other MRF sections were up to.

“What does ‘dealt with’ mean? What do you think it means? I am not going to tell you, so don’t even ask. But occasionally people turned up with broken arms and broken legs.”

His account also includes incidents when he and his colleagues visited IRA pubs in the Crumlin Road and Falls Road areas of Belfast.

On both occasions, he says members of IRA active service units were eliminated. Cursey said MRF soldiers adjusted their “standard operating procedures” based on their experiences in Republican neighbourhoods, and in variance to the Rules of Engagement that British army personnel were supposed to follow.

“I would say that we operated on the edge of the law, and only because we had to, because the situations we found ourselves in required us to act quickly and lethally.”

He said: “The Rules of Engagement in Northern Ireland (sic) were very clear: you were only allowed to open fire at a person actively shooting at you or someone you are with. Also, you could open fire at someone aiming a weapon but who hadn’t fired yet. We had our own slight variation on these rules. We opened fire at any small group in hard areas, neighbourhoods that even looked suspicious, armed or not – it didn’t matter. We targeted specific groups that were always up to no good. These types were sympathisers and supporters, assisting the IRA movement.

“As far as we were concerned they were guilty by association and party to terrorist activities, leaving themselves wide open to the ultimate punishment from us. If someone was picked up and it was discovered that they were illegally armed, or that they were on our “special” wanted list of IRA killers, they could be dealt with right there in the countryside: neutralised.”

Cursey left the MRF in 1974, the same year the unit was disbanded and replaced by the larger 14 Intelligence Company, also called ‘The Det’.

The sections were commanded by sergeants or sergeant-majors who had previously served in elite units such as the SAS, SBS, the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines. The MRF was based at Belfast’s Palace Barracks.

 

5. Roseann Mallon inquest – British army had house under hi-tech surveillance

THE inquest into the murder of Roseann Mallon (76), from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, 19 years after she was murdered, was told that she was hit multiple times when loyalist gunmen opened fire on a house belonging to her sister-in-law in May 1994.

Roseann Mallon was staying with her sister-in-law Bridget Mallon because she was afraid of being robbed, died almost instantly when bullets hit her heart, as well as her lungs and intestines, the court heard.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr John Press, in a statement read to the court, said: “The combined effect of these injuries would have been rapid death.”

The inquest into Ms Mallon is being heard by High Court Judge, Justice Weir at Laganside Courts in Belfast. No one has ever been charged with her murder.

The UVF claimed that its Mid-Ulster Brigade carried out the attack in an attempt to target relations of Roseann Mallon, who they claimed had ties to the IRA.

Two months after the shooting, British army surveillance equipment, including a hidden camera, was found in a field overlooking the house. At the time of the murder there were claims of Crown Forces collusion in the killing. It is believed that the unmanned camera transmitted footage to soldiers stationed in a nearby wood, the court was told.

Roseann Mallon’s nephew and godson Martin Mallon told the court he had the equipment tested by a professional cameraman, and was told it had been fitted with a night-sight and was capable of filming close-ups of his mother’s house and an adjacent engineering workshop he owned.

He also said he had seen a green car close to his mother’s house earlier in the evening and has always maintained that the camera could have recorded the identity of the driver.

The inquest was told that in the hours after the shooting on May 8, 1994, Billy Wright and two others known only as ‘suspect four’ and ‘suspect six’ were stopped in a car 15 or 20 miles away from the scene.

They were taken to Gough Barracks in Armagh and questioned, but were released without charge several days later.

Three other men who were travelling in a Ford Sierra car were also arrested after the RUC saw the occupants hurl items, including masks and gloves, onto the road, before two of the men ran into a wood. None of them were charged.

The killing took place in an area — Dungannon, Lurgan and Armagh City — which became known as the ‘Murder Triangle’ as loyalist death squads claimed dozens of victims.

In 2002, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the hidden camera which may have filmed the murder was placed there by the British army to monitor Republican activity in the area. The paper revealed how undercover soldiers in the area were allegedly told to “hold back” when they reported the UVF shooting.

Logbooks used by the soldiers who operated the secret cameras, which were submitted to the preliminary inquest hearing in 2002, had large sections blacked out.

And eight years after the killing the RUC had not submitted papers to the coroner on the secret British army stakeout near where Roseann Mallon was shot.

It also later emerged that the RUC had not told the coroner about the soldiers or their statements describing the UVF attack.

Giving evidence at Belfast Coroner’s Court, SDLP councillor Anthony McGonnell, a former teacher, said there had been a spike in the number of complaints about Crown Forces activity in the weeks leading up to the killing, but afterwards the councillor received no complaints. In the two weeks before Ms Mallon’s death eight people were killed. He said locals were aware that a specialist Army unit had set up a base in a wood not far from the Mallon family home.

On November 11 it was reported that a British army liaison officer – who would normally have facilitated requests for footage – told the inquest into the 1994 killing that until it was revealed in court, he did not know tapes had been removed from a secret British army post.

“I was not aware tapes were extracted,” the former Parachute Regiment warrant officer known only as Soldier A said. The court has been told that surveillance tapes had been wiped.

Soldier A, who operated out of a base in Portadown, Co Armagh, said he would have been the link between Special Branch and soldiers on the ground. “If Special Branch had a task it would come to me,” he said.

He said he only received a request for tapes from an RUC detective inspector investigating the removal of the military camera two months later.

Barry Macdonald QC, barrister for the Mallon family, said: “If Special Branch want something from the military people who are involved in this operation, is it you they would contact as liaison officer?” Giving evidence from behind a screen Soldier A replied: “Normally, yes. In this instance, no.”

The court also heard that undercover soldiers monitoring the camera were hiding out in a post close to the Mallon house. They reported hearing machine-gun fire on the night of the murder but were told not to react because there were no military casualties.

Soldier A said: “I was paged and I rang the COP (close observation platoon) immediately. They said they heard gunfire. I said, ‘Are you involved, are there any injuries?’ They said no and I said, ‘OK, stay there and give an update in the morning’.”

Three separate British army regiments – the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Anglians and the Scots Guards – were involved in the security operation codenamed Op Paucity Two.

The secret camera, which was covered in camouflage and wrapped in Army-type cloth, was only capable of operating in daylight and did not record at night, or if there was poor visibility.

On the day of the murder, the camera was switched off at 9.28pm – almost two hours before the fatal shooting – and was not switched back on until 4.31pm the next day.

Ground logbooks written by soldiers stationed at the remote outpost suggest it was because of poor weather, but Soldier A acknowledged it may also have been because there was so much police and Army activity in the area after the fatal shooting.

 

6. Victims’ families sue over UVF Glenanne loyalist death squad collusion claims

THE families of 20 people killed by a loyalist death squad which included members of the RUC and UDR are to take legal action against the British government and the RUC.

They claim the authorities knew about the activities of the UVF death squad based at a farm in Glenanne, south Armagh. The gang has been accused of carrying out 120 murders on both sides of Britain’s Border during the early 1970s. The families say there is clear evidence of collusion between members of British Crown Forces and the death squad.

They are suing for damages, alleging a failure by the British government, the Ministry of Defence and the RUC to fulfil their legal duties to protect life and take action against those involved.

Their solicitor, Peter Corrigan, said: “These cases are taken against a background of a continued failure by the state to front up on its role in facilitating collusion in mid-Ulster in one of the darkest periods of the conflict here.”

Nine years ago, the BBC’s Spotlight programme investigated the activities of the gang. John Weir told the BBC’s Spotlight the farm in Glenanne was central to the death squad’s activities.

A former RUC sergeant and convicted killer, John Weir, told the programme he was a member of the gang, and that the farm in Glenanne was central to its activities.

“Things would have been planned there because it was a safe house in every respect of the word,” he said. “That house was always, I mean, always watched. Special Branch, military intelligence even went to that house, you know. So it wasn’t as if it was a secret house or anything because basically everybody knew what was going on from there.”

A book published last month claims there was collusion on a huge scale between the security forces and the gang.

Lethal Allies, by former journalist Anne Cadwallader, includes extracts of previously unpublished reports by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

In one report, the HET said there was “indisputable evidence of security forces involvement with loyalist paramilitaries, which should have rung alarm bells all the way to the top of government”.

The families involved in the legal action have also lodged complaints with the Police Ombudsman, alleging that the RUC failed to properly investigate the killings.

 

7. RUC drone used for first time in Belfast

ON November 4 the RUC/PSNI confirmed last that a drone aircraft technology was used during a ‘security’ alert in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

Known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), three of the small remote controlled aircraft were purchased by the British colonial police at a cost of £1m ahead of the G8 summit in Fermanagh last June. They were used to fly over the area around the summit venue to ensure the protection of the visiting dignitaries.

A number of homes were evacuated during the alert and the road closed when a suspect device was reported to the RUC at around 2.30pm.

The drone aircraft, operated by a member of the RUC/PSNI Air Support Unit, flew over the device for an aerial inspection, relaying images back to bomb disposal unit before it was defused.

Following this latest spying mission, it is believed the UAS is being used in both urban and rural environments for traffic management, searches for missing or wanted persons, public order situations and for evidence gathering, as there were unconfirmed sightings recently of the drones in the Belfast area over the River Lagan.

Concerns have been raised at the privacy issue for individuals over the use of the aircraft, particularly in relation to the retention and the disposal of images.

 

8. Nationalist targeted in sectarian attack

ON November 4, Martin Bradley, a nationalist living in the predominantly-unionist village of Garvagh in Co Derry had both his cars burnt out in a sectarian attack.

It is the second time he has been attacked – on Easter Sunday two years ago another two of his vehicles were set alight.

Martin Bradley said he was alerted shortly after midnight to what was happening by his 19-year-old daughter who heard an explosion outside their family home.

“My youngest daughter woke me up shouting ‘daddy, daddy, the car is on fire’. I went outside and saw that both vehicles were burning.

“We haven’t done anything wrong and we just want to be left alone. We are being targeted because we are Catholics. I am the fourth generation of Bradleys to have lived here and I am seriously considering selling up.”

 

9. McGurk’s Bar bombing: RUC get two weeks to edit file

IT was reported on November 6 that the families of victims of those killed in the 1971 loyalist bombing of McGurk’s bar in Belfast may be allowed to see an edited version of a long-awaited report into the killings.

The High Court in Belfast granted lawyers for RUC Chief Constable Matt Baggott a two-week adjournment to carry out further work on the possible release in redacted form of the dossier on the McGurk’s Bar massacre.

Fifteen people were murdered when the north Belfast pub was blown up by members of a loyalist death squad in December 1971.

A review by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of the police investigation into the bombing was completed in December 2012. The findings were withheld from relatives of those killed in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) attack.

Judicial review proceedings have been issued against the Chief Constable, claiming he is under a public law duty to disclose the report without delay.

The legal challenge, brought by Bridget Irvine, whose mother Kitty was among those killed, contends that the ongoing failure to hand the dossier over is irrational, unlawful and in breach of their human rights. In court her barrister confirmed lawyers for the RUC/PSNI were seeking more time to consider whether to release a redacted version.

Frank O’Donoghue QC said the families were prepared to “acquiesce” to a short adjournment but would not consent to a suggested four-week period.

“Frankly we are now approaching the 42nd anniversary and my clients, most of them are very elderly,” he said. “They just want some finality to this stage of the process before they move on to the next stage of the process.”

The legal challenge follows a Police Ombudsman probe in 2011 that claimed the original RUC investigation was biased. It said police failed to properly probe loyalist responsibility for the bombing because they were so focused on the idea that the IRA was to blame.

At the time, Matt Baggott pointed to different conclusions reached by other reports.

The High Court case will be heard again on November 19.

The League of Empire Loyalists, a cover name used by the UVF, admitted responsibility. In 1976, from the organisation in west Belfast Robert Campbell was given 16 life sentences for his part in the murders.

 

10. Air pollution at Wicklow landfill

THE following press statement was issued by Cumann Ruairí Ó Brádaigh /Maolmhuire Ó Raghallaigh, Republican Sinn Fein in Co Wicklow on November 1:

“Members of the Cumann have been approached by disgruntled householders living in the areas surrounding the Ballynagran landfill in Co Wicklow. The air pollution and foul smell arising from the landfill has been causing serious problems in their daily lives since its inception in October 2006. With 150,000 tonnes of waste accepted annually by the landfill any locals with complaints regarding odour problems have been told by Wicklow County Council to contact the EPA.

“Locals have told us of there frustration at the enforcement procedures within the EPA in the policing of the Dump. An EPA representative arrives up to ‘observe the running of the dump’ every couple of weeks. Those running the dump have prior knowledge of the exact timescale of these visits. It is in this context that locals are aggrieved.

“One local woman said ‘If I was running a restaurant I could expect random spot checks from Bord Bia regarding the running and hygiene provisions in place in my restaurant. I would not be contacted by Bord Bia and informed of their next visit. If that was the case kitchens in every restaurant in Ireland would be spotless.’ Local people feel let down and in many cases abandoned by the local authorities and the EPA.

“If we look at the example of the landfill in Knockharley Co Meath we can see just how quickly a landfill can become a ‘super dump’, remaining in an area for decades. “We of the Ruairi Ó Brádaigh/Maolmhuire Ó Raghallaigh Cumann implore those living in the area to lodge a formal complaint to the EPA every time they are faced with odour problems from the landfill. We urge them to keep a log of all complaints made and build up a database. As the people of Knockharley will testify to, it is through this method of protest that the chances are most likely of preventing the expansion of the landfill. It is the future generations that will thank us now, for making a stand and preventing irreparable damage to Co Wicklow’s environment.”

 

11. Confirmation: Shell handed out free drink in Ireland as festive gifts

ON November 13 Shell-to-Sea said that the Irish public awaited news of the Garda Ombudsman investigation into allegations made by OSSL, Shell’s “Mr Fix-it” company on the Corrib Gas Project.

“OSSL claims that it purchased and distributed on behalf of Shell E&P Ireland a river of free booze as festive gifts to Irish cops who were policing protests against the controversial pipeline. The cops were so thirsty that at least one senior officer helped to unload a van load of free booze sponsored by Shell.

“When The Observer and The Sunday Times published articles on the subject, James Laffey, editor of the Western People newspaper revealed that he received a festive gift of free booze direct from Shell E&P Ireland. Mr Laffrey returned the gift (six bottles of wine) as he thought it would be improper to accept.

“I subsequently received information from a third party investigating the allegations, that a number of Irish news organizations received wine as festive gifts from Shell. I now have written confirmation from another source.

“Liamy McNally, a former broadcaster on Mid-West Radio has revealed that Shell did send free booze to the radio station as a festive gift at Christmas. He does not recall that it was returned to Shell.

“This provides confirmation that it was routine for Shell E&P Ireland to hand out free booze at Christmas time to those it wanted to influence.

“It is noticeable that in the press statements issued by Shell on the subject, it has never admitted its policy of giving out alcohol as festive gifts in Ireland. The new evidence further undermines its denials of such activity.

“Shell did not just want to corrupt the police. It also wanted to encourage (buy) positive news coverage for a project dogged by bad publicity.”

 

12. More than 118,000 behind in mortgage payments

ABOUT 77% of loans 90 days in arrears have yet to be restructured, new figures published on November 13 show.

Almost 20 per cent of mortgage holders are still unable to meet their full mortgage repayments, and 81,156 are more than 90 days in arrears, according to new figures from the 26-County Department of Finance.

While the six main banks upped their pace of permanent mortgage restructures in September, more than three-quarters of mortgages more than three months in arrears have yet to be restructured.

The figures cover 698,809 mortgages at AIB, Bank of Ireland, ACC Bank, Permanent TSB, KBC Ireland and Ulster Bank, and show 118, 438 were in arrears at the end of September. That marks a slight improvement from the end of August when 120,754 mortgages were behind in their payments.

While 18,513 mortgage holders more than 90 days in arrears have entered into permanent or temporary restructures, 62,643, or 77 per cent, have yet to be restructured. While the banks increased the total number of permanent restructures by 3,900 in September, the number of temporary restructures granted was down by 1,485 between August and September.

Including those with arrears of less than 90 days, 45,177 homeowners had been granted a permanent restructure of their loan while 28,365 had been given a temporary restructure.

Details of restructurings that have been agreed show that banks remain loath to write off mortgage debt, preferring to extend the term of the loan or grant a period of interest-only payments. Furthermore, the number of repossessions were absent from the figures.

Of those borrowers who had agreed a permanent restructure, an extension of the term of the mortgage was the most popular solution agreed. Some 14,914 (33 per cent) of those who had their loan restructured had the term extended.

An interest-only period was agreed with just 3.5 per cent of restructuring homeowners while split mortgages were agreed with 3,688 mortgage-holders (8.1 per cent).

With regard to temporary restructures, some 52 per cent of homeowners opted for interest only repayments, while 2,497 were granted payment moratoriums.

The Department of Finance said the number of accounts in arrears had fallen by 2,316 (2 per cent) between August and September. The number of mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days fell by 1,468.

However, the number of mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days that have not been restructured increased between August and September.

Under the Central Bank’s mortgage arrears plan, Ireland’s financial institutions have until the end of December to reach “concluded arrangements” with 15 per cent of customers more than 90 days in arrears. The banks can write down debt, reschedule the loan, put a new payment plan such as a split mortgage in place or repossess the home.

The Central Bank has also set targets for the end of March 2014 for banks to offer sustainable solutions to 70 per cent of customers in arrears of more than 90 days and concluded solutions to 25 per cent.

ENDS

 



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