Stormont talks farcical: RUC head acts as loyalist spokesperson

The following statement was released by a meeting of Comhairle Uladh (Ulster Executive) of Republican Sinn Fein in Monaghan on July 1:

“1. One month subsequent to the contrived election in the Six Counties the Stormont talks have reached farcical level while British withdrawal from Ireland is not even a serious subject for discussion.

2. The head of the RUC has appeared before the media acting in effect as a spokesperson for the British-backed loyalist death squads by publicly guaranteeing a bloody reaction from them in the event of further resistance to British rule.

3. Meanwhile Mr Major is pushing a new Stormont on the Irish people while denying Scotland an assembly. Apparently he fears the development of an independent Scotland but is satisfied that a privileged local majority in a partitioned Ireland will hold on to British rule as the guarantor of their local power and ascendancy.”
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British royal visits aim to perpetuate British rule in Ireland

IN a statement commenting on the visit of the heir to the British throne, Charles Windsor, to the Occupied Six Counties commencing on May 25 Ruairi O Bradaigh, President, Republican Sinn Fein said:

“In view of the visit by the heir to the British Crown to the Six Occupied Counties, it is necessary to point out the increasing frequency of these British Royal visits.

“In the context of the present ‘multi-party’ talks at Stormont such intrusions – five in the past six weeks – can only be seen as underlining Britain’s intention to retain possession of these Six Irish Counties. The talks will be used to solidify her unjustified claim to sovereignty in Ireland.

“Further, occasional British Royal visits to the 26 Counties and Mrs Mary Robinson’s recent official visit to England with her invitation to Queen Elizabeth to officially visit the 26-County State, indicate clearly that as far as the Dublin government is concerned the matter of British rule in the Six Counties is accepted as finalised and relations are completely normalised.

“The ultimate objective of the current process is clearly to stabilise and to accept in perpetuity the partition of Ireland and British rule in the Six Counties.”
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RIR collusion soldier gets suspended sentence

AN RIR British soldier was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for three years, for possessing British army documents giving details of alleged members of the Provisionals in Belfast Crown Court on June 27.

The court heard that after Mark Ashley Black was arrested in Cookstown the RUC searched his home in Dunmurry where they found sheets of paper and notebooks with details of Provisional members on them.

Black admitted that he was in breach of British army regulations by having the papers but said the information was for his own personal use “in combating terrorism”. He said he did not pass on or intend to pass on the information to loyalist death squads.

Judge Anthony Hart said there was no evidence to suggest that the documents were passed to a death squad.

Earlier the court had heard that also found in Black’s house was handkerchief with a UDA death squad emblem on it, surgical gloves, a green woollen hat, a ski-mask and a cleaning instrument for an SA 80 rifle.
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Survey shows low level of trust by Catholics in RUC

THE annual report of Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland published on June 27 found that 73% of Catholics in the Six Counties believed the British RUC paramilitary police would be prepared to “bend the rules” (ie pervert the course of justice) in order to obtain a conviction. Thirty-six per cent of Protestants also felt the RUC would “bend the rules”. A spokesperson for the British police authority in the Six Counties described the report as “interesting”.
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British Paras return to Six Counties

IT WAS offically confirmed on July 1 that the British Paras are to return to the Six Counties. The 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment are going to be sent to Newry and to South Armagh within the next few months.

This regiment is remembered for the cold-blooded killing of 14 anti-internment marchers in Derry in 1972 as well as for the release of paratrooper Lee Clegg in 1995, having served only two years in prison for the murder of Karen Reilly in Belfast. In 1992 the Paras sealed off the town of Coalisland in County Tyrone, attacked civilians and ransacked bars.

The Paras later paid dearly for these acts, most notably in the Narrow Water ambush of 1979 when 18 of them were killed in an IRA ambush.
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£100 a day for Stormont talkers

THE Stormont talks delegates are claiming a basic “loss of earning” allowance of £ 100 per day, plus subsistance and travel expenses at the standard British Civil Service rates.

In addition to this, each of the nine political parties involved is given a flat allowance of £ 300 per day they are involved in the talks.

Also, each party can claim a “research grant” of up to a maximum of £ 6,000 per quarter year.

It is not suprising therefore that after three weeks of “negotiations” at Castle Buildings, Stormont, there is no agreement on the rules and procedures of the multi-party talks. And that the parties were predicting a ‘long haul’. On July 1 there was some discussion of adjourning for a summer break but the talking continues at least until July 4 — the day after that the Forum was due to be in session at the Interpoint Centre in Belfast!

It seems the discussions at the talks during the first week of July revolved around trying to arrive at an agreed timetable for summer holidays.

Whether they will be paid holidays remains to be seen.
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Nationalist homes damaged by loyalist attacks

EARLY on Sunday, June 30 loyalists smashed the windows of every nationalist home in Bleach Green Avenue on the Fernagh Estate in Newtownabbey, north of Belfast. Nine out of the 11 nationalist homes on the estate, which is also on the outskirts of Rathcoole, were targeted.

Front room and kitchen windows were broken in a co-ordinated attack around 2am and residents reported seeing two cars speeding away from the scene shortly afterwards.

In another sectarian attack at around the same time on June 30 Anne-Marie McIlroy’s home was set upon by a loyalist gang in North Queen Street in north Belfast. She was asleep in the house with her three children, one of whom is six months old, when the gang tried to kick in the door and then smashed the windows. Similar damage was caused to a car parked outside the house. A gang of youths were spotted running away into the loyalist Tiger’s Bay area.
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Colin Duffy appeal — judges sit in secret to examine evidence

THREE Belfast High Court judges sat in secret on July 1 to consider whether to ban “sensitive matters” at Colin Duffy’s forthcoming appeal against his conviction for killing a former UDR British soldier in 1993. Only people connected to the prosecution were allowed into the court. Lawyers for the defence were excluded. The media have also been banned.

The court which is expected to sit for several days will consider an application by the British DPP in the Six Counties to ban British intelligence documents which would discredit the evidence of the convicted loyalist gun-runner Lindsay Robb at Duffy’s trial. Duffy was convicted on the basis of Robb’s evidence.

A spokesperson for the Friends of Colin Duffy said: “We are absolutely disgusted that even at this late stage the prosecution is seeking the sanction of a court to suppress evidence which should have been available at the original trial.” She said that Duffy had so far served the equivalent of a six-year prison sentence for an offence he was innocent of.

If the British Crown is successful in having the evidence barred the defence will not know the nature of the papers to which they will have been denied access.
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Jim Smyth loses extradition appeal in US

ON June 25 the US Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Belfastman Jim Smyth (42), who escaped from Long Kesh in 1983, against his extradition to Britain.

In a further reversal for Smyth on July 2 a judge in San Francisco’s District Court rejected an attempt by lawyers to invoke a UN treaty against torture which band extradition of people likely to be abused.

Judge Charles Legge said he would sign the certificate authorising Smyth’s extradition and ordered that he be taken back into custody. His lawyer, Karen Snell, is appealing this decision to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal. If that failed US Secretary of State Warren Christopher would have 30 days to review the case and make a decision.

In that situation Smyth will appeal directly to US President Bill Clinton to stop his extradition.

TheUS Supreme Court rejected his appeal without any comment or dissent. Smyth’s lawyer said after the decision that it would have “far-reaching consequences”.

Smyth’s lawyers argued that he would suffer political persecution based on his religious beliefs and political opinions if he was sent back to the Six Counties. His extradition would be “a travesty of justice,” they said. Smyth was appealing an extradition order by the San Francisco Appeals Court in 1995, which over-turned a 1994 decision by a lower court to reject the extradition request by Britain.

A native of Ardoyne, north Belfast, Smyth was sentenced to 20 years by a British court in 1978 in relation to the shooting of a prison guard in Belfast. In 1983 he and 37 other Republican prisoners escaped from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh jail outside Belfast. He went to San Francisco where he presented himself to the authorities in 1992. He faced extradition warrants from Britain along with fellow- H-Block escapees Kevin Barry Artt and Paul Brennan.

In 1993 he was granted bail at a record level of one-and-a-half million dollars in a San Francisco court. He was released on medical grounds, having a kidney problem. At the bail hearing the British authorities refused to hand over copies of documents, including the Stalker/Sampson Report, claiming “national security”, according to a letter to the court from the British secretary in the Six Counties, Patrick Mayhew.

Jimmy Smyth has an American wife, Maggie Lynch. On June 25 Smyth’s lawyer, Karen Snell, lodged a new lawsuit in a US federal court involving the UN Convention Against Torture that was ratified by the US Senate in April 1994. The UN treaty bans the extradition of people who are likely to be tortured and the US would be in violation of its obligations if it extradites Smyth, she said. Karen Snell referred in the lawsuit to findings by the US judge at the extradition hearing. It was found that Smyth was threatened with death by a prison guard who may still be working at Long Kesh; the warden has acknowledged that he cannot guarantee Smyth’s safety; and that other 1983 escapees who were recaptured were beaten by guards, bitten by dogs and denied medical care. “After his release Smyth is likely to suffer further torture and inhumane treatment during arrests, detentions and interrogations,” Snell said in the lawsuit. Prison guards also notify loyalists of the impending release of nationalist prisoners, she added.
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Loyalist killings in Tyrone, Belfast

TWO killings of nationalists during one week in June are believed to have been carried out by loyalists.

The first to die was Niall Donovan (28), a bank official based in south Belfast, originally from Dungannon, County Tyrone. He was last seen alive around 2.30am on June 23 in a fish and chip shop in Lower Scotch Street, Dungannon, a largely loyalist part of the town.

His body was discovered two hours later by a passing taxi driver on the Manse Road with a large knife wound to the stomach.

Local people suspect that Donovan’s body was dumped on the Manse Road after he was assaulted somewhere else, because there were no blood stains at the spot where he was found, which would indicate loyalist death squad involvement. The knife is a favoured weapon of loyalists to kill Catholics.

The second victim, Gareth Parker (23) died on June 25 after an attack he suffered in Belfast on June 21. He was seen along with his friend Thomas Williamson, in the Shaftesbury Inn near the Antrim Road “in a verbal altercation” with a number of loyalists drinking in the bar following the riots at that night’s Orange march in the Cliftonville Road area of the north of the city. He was later attacked by the loyalists as he left the bar and was then run over by a car as he lay on the road.

He was put on a life support machine until June 25 when it was switched off. Belfastman Gareth Parker was one of Ireland’s up-and-coming tennis players and was due to travel to the south of France to take part in the tournament circuit there during the summer.

He had been living in Dublin for the past five years on a tennis scholarship at the Riverview Club in Clonskeagh. He had gone home to visit his family in Belfast for the weekend.

On June 27 Andrei Shoukri, a 19-year-old youth from the loyalist Westland area, was charged with the manslaughter of the professional tennis player and another man Gary MacKenzie was charged with assaulting Gareth Parker’s friend, Thomas Williamson in the same attack. Both men were released on bail by Lord Justice Carswell in the Belfast High Court the following day. Carswell told them “to lead quiet and orderly lives pending your trial.”
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Police in Cork accused of ‘appalling misbehaviour’

A MAN charged with murder walked free from the Central Criminal Court in Dublin on June 28.Frederick Flannery (35), was charged with the murder of Denis Patrick O’Driscoll (33), Cork in December 1994.

The trial collapsed on June 28 when Judge Barr said Flannery’s right to a fair trial now or at any future date had been irreparably damaged because of the “mendacious” conduct of the investigating police.

The trial was “so tainted by the appalling misbehaviour of Superintendent Patrick J Brennan and his investigating team that it cannot be satisfactorily retrieved,” he said.

It emerged during the trial that statements which conflicted with the testimony of the prosecution’s main witness had been “misfiled” by the investigating police and hadn’t been shown to the DPP.

A statement which suggested that the witness was on an hallucinogenic drug during the period he was giving evidence in relation to was also “misfiled.”
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Starry Plough

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