1. Vote NO 1 for Pádraig Garvey!
Republican Sinn Féin Candidate in South & West Kerry
SINN Féin Poblachtach Chiarraí is to contest the upcoming local elections to Kerry County Council. At a convention on February 13 in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, the Maurice O’Neill Cumann selected Pádraig Garvey to contest the South and West Kerry constituency.
Pádraig is a member of Republican Sinn Féin since 2001 and has held many positions in the organisation. He is a member of the Ard-Comhairle (National Executive) and is the Chairman of Comhairle Ceantair Ciarraí.
He is active in the local community through the Iveragh Young Farmers Group and the Foilmore Drama Group. He runs Cha Healy’s bar in Cahersiveen. He is a carpenter by trade, and he also works on the family farm in Foilmore.
2. Man arrested by RUC in raids in Lurgan
ON February 24, 2014 houses in Meadowbrook, Craigavon, Co Armagh were raided by the heavily armed Tactical Support Group of the RUC/PSNI on the ground while helicopters hovering overhead. It is believed that at least one man was arrested.
On February 10 a viable explosive device was allegedly found in the Crozier Park area of Lurgan, Co Armagh. A number of homes were evacuated for some hours as a search of the area took place.
3. Stephen Murney acquitted of all charges
ON February 24 Stephen Murney, a political and community activist from Newry, was acquitted of all charges in Belfast’s High Court. Stephen was interned for fourteen months in Maghaberry Jail on the basis of politically-motivated charges, including the posting of photographs of political protests on Facebook.
4. RUC patrol cross border into Donegal
ON February 12, 2014 an RUC/PSNI patrol vehicle was photographed driving in Lifford, County Donegal, after crossing the British imposed Border into Co Donegal.
A member of Republican Sinn Féin in Donegal condemned the incursion but said this was hardly surprising as this was not an isolated incident. Luckily someone with a camera was able to photograph them and provide the proof of this happening. We would like to draw peoples attention to the unprecedented level of co-operation between the RUC/PSNI and the Gardaí who no doubt are well aware of the trips across the Border by the Occupation forces.
The RUC/PSNI and the Gardaí regularly hold meeting both in the 26 Counties and the Occupied Six trading information. It was not so long ago we read that members of the Gardaí were patrolling in Belfast with members of the RUC, no doubt this was replicated in Dublin or elsewhere in the 26 Counties.
5. Pipe bomb left at GAA club
ON February 7, 2014 a pipe bomb was left in the grounds of Clooney Gaels GAA club on the Crosskeys Road in the outskirts of Ahoghill, Co Antrim which exploded in the middle of the night.
The device caused scorch damage to an outside wall of the clubrooms and a broken window to the Acorn Centre building which is used by the Cloney Rural Development Association.
Three days later GAA supporters defied the loyalist pipe bombers and turned out in their hundreds for an inter-county match in Ahoghill as the first-ever National Football League game to be staged at Clooney Gaels’ ground went ahead.
A club spokesman said there was never any consideration given to the Division Four match between Antrim and Wicklow not going ahead. It was the first time the club hosted a senior county football match.
We knew very quickly because of where the pipe bomb was placed and damage caused that it wasn’t going to have any affect on the game, he said. The club has been attacked numerous times before but the club official said they won’t let it stop us.
I don’t know what they were trying to achieve. The building is used by all sides of the community, he added.
6. MI5 follow Derry man to Lithuania
IT was reported on February 16, 2014 that a Derry businessman claimed he was approached by members of MI5 whilst visiting Lithuania early in February.
Gerard Doran, proprietor of GD Textyles in Derry, was preparing to meet with clients in the lobby of a hotel in Vilnius when he claims two men approached him and asked him to supply information on dissident republican activity in Derry.
He said it left me in complete shock. I was sitting in the lobby waiting to meet with three clients when these two men, one with an English accent and the other with an Irish accent, came up to me and addressed me by my first name and by my nickname.
Id never met these two individuals before…they were able to tell me where I had been and who I had been meeting over the previous three days. This meant they were following me and how did they know I was going to Lithuania? This is nothing short of harassment. All I want to do is get on with supporting my family and making a living. I wish they would just leave me alone.
Gerard Doran, who said he has no links to any political groups or Republican organisations, said that the encounter in Lithuania is not the first time he suspected MI5 of contacting him.
It was around about this time last year when I received a phone call. It was a man with an English accent and he explained to me that he wanted to talk to me about certain individuals in Derry. I told him I didnt know what he was talking about and politely asked him to leave me alone.
He said that after arriving back in Derry last week he received another phone call from one of the men he encountered in Lithuania.
After the encounter with the two men in Vilnius, I took the battery out of my mobile phone in case they were using it to follow me. As soon as I got back to Derry I put the battery back into the phone, charged it and a few hours later one of the men rang me.
He repeated himself over and over again. He wanted to talk to me about certain individuals in Derry and said he could help me. He even said the three Lithuanian businessmen Id gone to meet in the hotel lobby in Vilnius werent actually Lithuanians. He said they were Russians and I should stay away from them.
That phone call really spooked me. Thats why I want to tell my story. Ive nothing to hide whatsoever. but I just want these people to leave me alone.
I am just a businessman trying to support his family and make his way in the world.
This is not the first time IRIS reported on MI5 following Irish citizens abroad and approaching them. Several men have been subjected to this intimidation to become informers while abroad which is spooky as it proves Big Brother is indeed watching you.
7. MI5 decide if victims get home protection
A REPORT on February 16, 2014 revealed that the British intelligence service MI5 is responsible for deciding if victims of sectarian attacks in the Six Occupied Counties receive special measures to protect their homes.
It had been previously thought that the RUC/PSNI were responsible for assessing if people qualified for inclusion on the Home Protection Scheme, which is operated by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).
It has now emerged that a nationalist family from Co Derry, which has reported 18 incidents of sectarian intimidation since 2006, were refused access to the scheme after their case was assessed by MI5. The most recent incident was delivered to the family at their home in Garvagh by the RUC in late January – the NIO claimed the Garvagh family have not been assessed to be at substantial or severe threat.
A spokeswoman for the NIO confirmed that “applicants to the Home Protection scheme are subject to a rigorous threat assessment which is undertaken by MI5.
MI5 has the lead responsibility for national security in northern Ireland as in the rest of the UK (sic). They are therefore responsible for providing the threat assessment for those making an application to the scheme.
8. John Moran remembered in Enniscorthy
ON February 9, 2014, Cumann Rafter/Mellow, Sinn Féin Polachtach, honoured Enniscorthy native John Moran with a graveside wreath-laying ceremony in St Marys Cemetery, Enniscorthy. Kevin Kavanagh laid the wreath on behalf of Wexford Republican Graves Association.
John Moran met his death far from his native town. A captain in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), he was taken from his bed in Drogheda where he worked and murdered on the banks of the Boyne River along with Alderman Thomas Halpin of Drogheda.
John Moran had taken part in the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy and was interned in England afterward. Having completed his apprenticeship as a printer with The Echo in his home town, he moved to a new post with Cahills of Drogheda.
He was married to an Oylegate girl and they had one child. His murderers wore masks when they hauled him from his home and it was said that his death was a reprisal for the killing of a man named Percival at Ballycanew. John Moranwas 38 at the time of his deatth. His remains were raised from a temporary grave in Drogheda and re-interred in Enniscorthy by Fianna Éireann with a Fianna Officer delivering an oration.
Wexford will never forget its fallen sons.
9. First Co Wexford soldier to fall in War of Independence
ON February 12 Wexford Republican Graves Association honoured the first Co. Wexford man to fall in the War of Independence, Séamus OBrien of Morriscastle, with a wreath-laying ceremony at his graveside in Ballyvaldon.
Séamus was a Commandant in the IRA and a grocers assistant by trade who wroked in Enniscorthy prior to 1915 when he left to take up employment in Rathdrum. He was at home in Morriscaslte, near Kilmuckridge, when the 1916 Rising started, and went to Enniscorthy to play an active part in the actions there.
Following the surrender he was deported to England and on his return from Frongoch in 1917 he set up business with a partner in Rathdrum. He was shot dead by British Forces when his shop was raided on February 12, 1920. His partner, a man named Walshe, was on the run at the time.
10. POW picket in Wexford
ON February 8, 2014 Cumann Pádraig Ó Pearaill, Wexford town held a very successful picket in the Bullring. Many leaflets were handed out highlighting the situation of the POWs. Wexford Cumann would like to thank those who attended the picket including those who travelled from Carlow and Enniscorthy.
11. Documents ‘prove man shot by British army was unarmed’
IT was reported on February 6 that the family of Éamonn McDevitt (28), who was shot dead by the British army at Fountain Street, Strabane, Co Tyrone, on August 18, 1971 following an anti-internment march, have documents that prove he was unarmed when he died.
Éamonn was deaf and could not speak. At the time, the British army claimed he was waving a gun when he was shot. People who were at the scene said he was waving his hands about and that that was his way of attracting attention.
The McDevitt family have fought a campaign to establish his innocence. The documents they have in their possession now were uncovered with the help of the Pat Finucane Centre, Derry.
Eamonns brother Sammy said that after Eamonn’s death, the family was never the same.
When they shot my brother, they may as well have killed my father and mother. It was devastating. I would just like a verbal and written apology for what the Army did. At this stage, I am not seeking a prosecution. I feel that we have been let down. We have been lied to all down the years,” he said.
I would just like a verbal and written apology for what the Army did. At this stage, I am not seeking a prosecution, he said.
We could not get the documents for more than 30 years. They were locked away. This document has proved our point in no uncertain terms. It shows my brother was not a gunman. It has proved us right all down the years. They knew, there was nothing, no forensics, no nothing and we are happy that the document shows this.
Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre said the document was uncovered in the Ministry of Defence’s national archives at Kew in England.
He said that the paper showed that the British army, crown counsel and the British MoD, were all of the opinion that the overwhelming evidence from civilian witnesses was that Éamonn McDevitt had nothing in his hands when he was shot by a soldier from the Royal Marines.
I think that the document is conclusive, he said At the inquest, the coroner found Éamonn McDevitt was not armed at the time he was shot.
He said the onus should not be on families to instigate extensive research to establish the truth of what happened to their loved ones.
11. McGurk’s Bar massacre dossier rewritten
The relatives of those murdered by the UVF in the McGurks Bar bombing of December 1971, in which 15 people lost their lives, have been re-traumatised when they learned on February 3, 2014 that a report into the bombing may have been rewritten.
The families received a finalised version of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) review after mounting a High Court challenge. However their lawyers argued that instead of getting the redacted report, a different version may have been supplied.
Counsel for the RUC/PSNI Chief Constable acknowledged amendments were made to the remodelled dossier but insisted nothing has been held back.
Barrister David Heraghty said: We have not had the redacted report. We have had a rewritten report.
Outside court Kevin Winters, solicitor for Bridget Irvine who brought the legal challenge, said: All of this has served to re-traumatise them.
13. Pat Finucane: Belfast vigil marks 25th anniversary
A CANDLE-lit vigil was held on February 12, 2014 to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, shot dead by loyalists in front of his family at his north Belfast home on February 12, 1989. Around 100 people attended the vigil.
The vigil was held near the scene of the shooting at Fortwilliam, Belfast.
The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a loyalist paramilitary group with links to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), admitted the murder.
In December 2012, a 500-page report into the solicitor’s death – ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron and headed up by Sir Desmond de Silva QC, confirmed there was “shocking” levels of state collusion in the killing and that it could have been prevented.
Pat Finucanes widow, Geraldine, who was injured in the gun attack, has campaigned for an independent inquiry for more than two decades and did not want what she described as a behind-closed-doors review of documents.
She is due to travel to the United with her son Michael to again call for a public inquiry into the murder. Michael said himself and his mother were travelling to New York to join up with some friends and supporters who’ve been very active and very much involved in the campaign for a public inquiry into my father’s murder for all of the last 25 years.”
14. Delays in Six-County inquests could see dozens of damages lawsuitsFAMILIES of five men killed by either the RUC, British soldiers or loyalist death squads were, on February 11, 2014, given a High Court date for compensation claims. Their lawyer predicts that a successful outcome could pave the way for other so-called legacy cases.
Relatives issued proceedings against the coroner and either the RUC/PSNI, Police Ombudsman’s Office or Ministry of Defence. They claim their human rights have been breached by the failure to examine the circumstances surrounding each death as soon as possible.
The families are seeking a High Court declaration that systemic delays have occurred and an order that immediate dates be set for the inquests.
The five cases are:
* Michael Ryan was one of three Volunteers ambushed and shot dead by the SAS in Coagh, County Tyrone, in June 1991. A car the trio were in was riddled with gunfire and burst into flames. Their bodies were found inside the burnt-out vehicle.
* Fergal McCusker (28) was kidnapped and shot dead in Maghera, Co Derry, by members of a loyalist death squad in January 1998.
* Neil McConville (21), from Bleary, Co Armagh, was shot following a car chase in April 2003.
* James McMenamin (29) died after he was knocked down by a RUC/PSNI Land Rover on Belfast’s Springfield Road in June 2005.
* Steven Colwell (23) was shot dead by police after he failed to stop in a stolen car at a checkpoint in Ballynahinch, County Down, in April 2006. A subsequent police ombudsman’s report into the incident found the actions of the officer who opened fire to be critically flawed.
In each of the cases it is claimed that the state and the coroner breached their obligations to ensure prompt human rights-compliant investigations into the deaths. A potential resolution to the joint judicial review challenge is now understood to be close to agreement.
Pádraig Ó Muirigh, solicitor for all five families, said: We will be seeking damages at the next hearing for the delay in holding these inquests. If this is successful it might have wide-ranging implications for other legacy cases.
One of those close to the proceedings predicted the outcome of that hearing could have consequences for more than 70 other deaths stretching back into the 1970s.
15. Samuel Devenney death: documents to stay secret
The family of Derryman Samuel Devenney, who died after he was attacked in his home in William Street by the RUC, said they are disgusted that files about his death will be kept secret for another eight years, according to a report on February 11.
Samuel Devenney died three months after he and his family were assaulted by members of the RUC in 1969. His family have always maintained he died as a direct result of the injuries he sustained on the night. He is regarded as the first person to be murdered by British Crown Forces in this phase of the struggle.
The Metropolitan Police have turned down a Freedom of Information request y the family, according to the Devenney family and the Pat Finucane Centre.
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent, Kenneth Drury conducted an independent inquiry in 1970. The report established that the attack on the Devenney family was carried out by RUC members but was unable to identify them according to a Police Ombudsman’s investigation in 2001.
Harry Devenney, Samuel’s son who was in the house at the time of the attack, said it was a shocking night for the family.
My father was beaten very badly about the head, chest and face. He was choking when I went into the living room and there was blood everywhere. I had to pull teeth from his mouth. I had no time to think at the time. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
It’s a disgrace that the documents are being kept secret. It’s in the public interest. We are disgusted. We would like to see the full report.
16. Lá Mór na Gaeilge – thousands march for language rights
ON February 15, 2014 some 10,000 people took to the streets of Dublin city centre to protest against the treatment by the Administrations north and south of Irish-language speakers and Gaeltacht communities.
The crowd, with many wearing red under the slogan Dearg Le Fearg (red with anger/rage), marched from The Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square to Leinster House in Kildare Street, heard from a number of speakers who condemned the lack of public services available as Gaeilge (in Irish).
Billed as a celebration of Irish on the streets of Dublin, Lá Mór na Gaeilge attracted participants from all parts of Ireland and was the largest such demonstration since the 2005 campaign to elevate the status of Irish in the European Union.
Citing the decision in December by language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin to resign in protest over the failure by Government to implement legislation protecting the rights of Irish speakers, Conradh na Gaeilge general secretary Julian de Spáinn said Irish language speakers were red with rage at how speakers are being treated by the State.
We will continue to campaign our public representatives until we achieve fairness and equality for the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities throughout the island of Ireland.
We are planning a march on Sunday week in Conamara and in Gaoth Dobhair to coincide with the resignation of the Coimisinéir Teanga and on the 12th of April we are planning a large demonstration in Belfast, Julian de Spáinn said afterwards.
In addition we are going to focus on the local and European elections. There is a lot to do but today was just a beginning.
On January 16, 2014, The Council of Europe said that there is a “persisting hostile climate” towards the Irish language in the Northern Ireland (sic) Assembly.
It said growth and promotion of the language in Northern Ireland is being blocked by hostile attitudes in Stormont and a lack of support for its use in the courts and in education.
European chiefs have warned authorities they may also be in breach of a charter of rights because of delays and attempts to block requests for bilingual street names.
17. Dublin City Council votes to take back waste management
ON February 3 Dublin City Council voted unanimously in favour of an emergency motion to return authority over waste management to the Council.
Cllr. Brid Smiths motion expressed grave concern at the consequences of the recent fire at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount. The Council also voted unanimously to return decision-making authority over waste management to the locally elected Councillors.
18. Complaint filed at International Criminal Court over NATO allies complicity in US drone strikes
Drone victims are today lodging a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing NATO member states of war crimes over their role in facilitating the US covert drone programme in Pakistan.It has been revealed in recent months that the UK, Germany, Australia, and other NATO partners support US drone strikes through intelligence-sharing. Because all these countries are signatories to the Rome Statute, they fall under The ICCs jurisdiction and can therefore be investigated for war crimes. Kareem Khan – whose civilian brother and son were killed in a 2009 drone strike is at The Hague with his lawyers from the human rights charity Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who have filed the complaint on his behalf.
The CIA has launched more than 300 missiles at North Waziristan since its covert drone programme began and it is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians including children.
The US has immunised itself from legal accountability over drone strikes and the UK has closed its domestic courts to foreign drone victims. In a recent decision, the Court of Appeal in London ruled that it would not opine on the legality of British agents’ involvement in the US drone war in Pakistan, for fear of causing embarrassment to its closest ally.
Kat Craig, Reprieves legal director, said: There can surely be no doubt that facilitating the deaths of thousands of civilians as NATO allies are doing in a plethora of ways – constitutes war crimes. The International Criminal Court, established specifically to hold overwhelming state power to account, is in a unique position to offer some semblance of justice to individual drone victims with nowhere else to go. They must take this complaint seriously and investigate.