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4th-Oct-2015 07:40 am - Freddie Scappaticci: Bid to hear legal action against alleged IRA army agent set for 2016
By Vincent Kearney
BBC News
2 October 2015



Margaret Keeley claims Freddie Scappaticci interrogated and falsely imprisoned her in Belfast in 1994

An attempt to have part of a legal action held in secret against a man alleged to have been the most high ranking agent within the Provisional IRA will be heard early next year.

A woman claims she was interrogated and falsely imprisoned by Freddie Scappaticci.

He is alleged to have been an army agent codenamed Stakeknife.

Margaret Keeley is suing him, the Northern Ireland's police force and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for damages.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the MoD want some of the court hearings to be held behind closed doors for "national security" reasons.
Sensitive

Margaret Keeley claims the police and MoD both knowingly allowed her to be interrogated and threatened by a man working as an agent for the state over a two-day period in the New Lodge in Belfast in 1994.

She is claiming damages for personal injuries, false imprisonment, assault, battery, trespass to the person and misfeasance in public office.

The PSNI and the MoD are seeking to use what are called "closed material procedures" for the first time a civil case in Northern Ireland.

This would allow their lawyers to introduce sensitive information that could only be seen by the judge and a security-vetted "special advocate" who would be appointed to represent Margaret Keeley.

The advocate would not be allowed to give her or her legal team precise details about the sensitive material introduced during the secret section of the trial.
Overturned

The police and the MoD argue that closed hearings are essential because some of the material is so sensitive it could potentially damage national security.

At the High Court in Belfast on Friday, Mr Justice Stephens said the application will be heard in February.

Freddie Scappaticci, the grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to Northern Ireland in search of work, denies he was an army agent.

An initial request to include him in the legal action was refused, but that decision was later overturned on appeal.

In his judgement overturning the initial decision, Mr Justice McCloskey said the allegations being made gave rise to "acute public concern and interest... and raise the spectre of a grave and profound assault on the rule of law and an affront to public conscience".
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3rd-Oct-2015 07:29 pm - This day forty years ago: Nation held its breath as abduction by rogue republicans played out
DAMIEN CORLESS
Independent.ie
3 October 2015

Forty years ago, on October 3, 1975, Dutch industrialist Dr Tiede Herrema was flagged down at a garda checkpoint as he drove to an early morning meeting at the Ferenka steel plant at Annacotty, Co Limerick.

When the chief executive of the factory complex confirmed his name, the 'guard' whipped out a revolver and bundled the 54-year-old into a getaway car. A phone call to the Dutch embassy demanded the release of three republican prisoners from prison. Failing the release of the trio, the industrialist would be "executed" in 48 hours.

It quickly became apparent to the authorities that the daring crime had been committed for largely personal motives. The bogus garda was rogue republican bomber Eddie Gallagher, on the run from the law north and south, and from ex-IRA pals now gunning for him.

Abduction victim Dr Tiede Herrema

One of the three Gallagher wanted set free was his partner in crime, Rose Dugdale, who'd given birth to their son in Limerick Prison 10 months earlier. Gallagher's young accomplice, Marian Coyle, sought the release of boyfriend Kevin Mallon, who was serving time for IRA crimes.

The immediate response of Liam Cosgrave's FG/Labour government was that there would be no deals with terrorists, although they left open the suggestion that they wouldn't stand in the way of anyone - meaning Ferenka - that wanted to try paying a cash ransom.

The economy was on its knees after six years of Troubles and the ongoing slump from the 1973 oil crisis. Quite apart from the human tragedy, the kidnap and threatened murder of the boss of one of Ireland's biggest employers would surely send foreign firms packing and lower the boom on any future inward investment. The fate of the nation hung in the balance.

Industrial strife was the scourge of the time and the fitters at Ferenka abandoned their current unofficial strike to join a mass march through the streets of Limerick to demand Herrema's safe release. The city's Lord Mayor pleaded with the republican movement - who'd denied any involvement - to make a truce with the State and use their resources "to find this man and bring him back, otherwise 1,200 people will be out of work".

The 48-hour deadline passed and in the eternity that followed everyone feared the worst. Then, as hope was fading, fresh demands came through, including the shut-down of the strikebound Ferenka factory. The kidnappers hoped that the factory's giant parent company would lean on the Irish government to grant their demands, secure Herrema's release and get production rolling again. That hope was wildly misplaced.

The plant was shut down and the Army and Gardaí focused on the greatest manhunt in the history of the State, with troops posted at every port, airport and border back road, but all to no avail. In the absence of any hard leads, wild rumours filled the vacuum, including groundless whispers that the kidnappers were threatening to cut off one of their victim's feet.

Finally, after two weeks gone to ground, the kidnappers released a tape of Herrema's voice. He confirmed he was in good health. It was accompanied by new demands for a £2m ransom and a flight to the Middle East.

After two weeks in the dark, the nation awoke on a Sunday morning to radio bulletins of a dawn raid by Special Branch backed by snipers on a terraced house in the Kildare town of Monasterevin. As the guards smashed down the front door, Gallagher and Coyle retreated, shooting wildly, to an upstairs bedroom with their hostage. By early afternoon the sleepy estate in Monasterevin was swamped with security forces and media. One paper wrote: "The Hazel Hotel nearly ran out of food and by 2pm the only fare on the menu was haddock." That flippancy quickly flagged after a haggard Tiede Herrema came to a window and told the police to stay away. Everyone settled in for what would be a long siege.

After several days the kidnappers began accepting food placed in a shopping basket hoisted on a lowered rope. Days crawled by into weeks. When a demand came for fresh clothes, including three pairs of underpants and a petticoat, speculation mounted that they were sprucing themselves up for surrender. It turned out they just wanted clean undies. A failed attempt at another dawn raid through a back window left one detective wounded in the hand.

Then, on Day 17, the kidnappers asked for headache tablets. Hours later they threw their guns out the window and came out. Gallagher thought he had meningitis and asked for medical help. Herrema seemed in fine fettle. He flew home to the Netherlands, where he forgave his captors, saying: "They could have been my own children. They must have been through desperate times to come to this."

Now aged 94, Herrema has maintained close ties to Ireland, having been made an honorary Irish citizen shortly after his ordeal.

The kidnappers and their accomplices received a total of 71 years behind bars. Gallagher was reunited with his lover Rose Dugdale in Limerick Jail, where in 1978 they became the first convicted prisoners in the history of the State to wed behind bars. Dugdale was released in 1980, 10 years ahead of her husband.

In 2005, Gallagher recalled those turbulent times as "a bit like taking a stroll through a reptile pit".

17th-Sep-2015 04:54 am - Mourners attend funeral of ‘disappeared’ IRA victim Séamus Wright
Wright is believed to have been abducted, interrogated, shot dead and buried in secret by the IRA in 1972

Henry McDonald
The Guardian
15 Set 2015



Friends and family carry the remains of one Séamus Wright. (Photograph: Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters)

The tragedy of Northern Ireland’s “disappeared” was all the more painful because so many of these victims were young, a priest has told mourners at the funeral of an IRA victim missing presumed dead for more than four decades.

After 43 years ex-IRA member Séamus Wright was finally laid to rest in his native Belfast on Tuesday.

He vanished in 1972 alongside Kevin McKee after the IRA suspected the pair of working as undercover agents for a secret army unity known as the Military Reconnaissance Force, which was carrying out a covert war against the IRA in Belfast during the Troubles’ bloodiest year.

They are believed to have been abducted from their homes in west Belfast, driven across the border, interrogated, shot dead and buried in secret.

DNA tests confirmed that remains found this summer at a bog in County Meath in the Irish Republic were those of Wright and McKee, whose funeral took place in Belfast on Monday.

At a requiem mass for Wright at St Agnes’s parish church in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast on Tuesday, mourners heard that Wright was a “deeply committed” family man with a “strong religious dimension” to his life.

The parish priest said: “He died a young man – just 25 years of age – and the death of a young person seems to hit us harder.” In his homily during mass Father Brendan Callanan added: “It has taken a long time for us to come to this point but we are here.”

Digging is continuing at the site where their remains were found. The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains believes the remains of another victim, the former monk turned IRA activist Joe Lynskey, are also in Coghalstown bog.

The most notorious case of the disappeared was that of Jean McConville, a widow and mother of 10 who was kidnapped, taken in a car from west Belfast across the border to the republic, shot dead and buried at a beach in Co Louth.

The former Belfast IRA commander and hunger striker Brendan Hughes claimed the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, had given the order for McConville to be killed and buried in secret to avoid political embarrassment for the republican movement. Adams has always denied any connection to the McConville murder or even being in the IRA.

Four people remain on the disappeared list, three of them believed to have been kidnapped and killed by the IRA. The missing presumed dead include SAS Captain Robert Nairac, who vanished while on a covert mission in South Armagh.

The other person on the list is Séamus Ruddy, a County Down schoolteacher and member of the Irish Republican Socialist party. He was abducted, tortured and killed by a faction of the Irish National Liberation Army in Paris in the 1980s. Despite searches in the French capital and in a forest in Normandy, Ruddy’s remains have never been found.

14th-Sep-2015 01:10 pm - Funeral of Disappeared victim Kevin McKee ends '43 years of pain' for family
Belfast Telegraph
14 Sept 2015


Relatives of one of the "Disappeared", victims of Northern Ireland's Troubles, have given him a Christian burial more than 40 years after his murder.

Kevin McKee's remains lay in bog land in the Irish Republic for almost 43 years before they were found earlier this year along with another man the IRA shot and secretly buried during the conflict.

IRA men Mr McKee, 17, and Seamus Wright, 25, both vanished in Belfast in October 1972.

The IRA shot them on the suspicion they were working as British agents.

Fr Michael Murtagh, former Rector of Clonard Monastery, told mourners who had packed into St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast: "We are here to give Kevin McKee a Christian burial. This is happening 43 years late but it is still important that we do it.

"It is important for Kevin and for his family that they are given the chance to grieve publicly and acknowledge the awful tragedy his murder and secret burial was."

Funerals for both men - Mr Wright's will take place on Tuesday - were arranged after a summer-long wait for confirmation of DNA tests.

Their bodies were recovered from the same shallow grave on reclaimed bog land in Coghalstown, Co Meath, in June during a dig to find a third man killed and "Disappeared" by the IRA.

Mr McKee's disappearance took its toll on each family member, the priest said.

"We remind ourselves how this affected each of his family members, those living and those dead, especially his late mother Mary.

"We acknowledge 43 years of pain, of wondering, of uncertainty and not knowing what had happened.

"We acknowledge that at times there were very few to turn to and it was a lonely road for them to travel."

The hunt for the Disappeared has been overseen by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) - an independent body set up during the peace process to find 16 victims secretly buried by republicans.

The ICLVR was on site for several months this year searching for the remains of former Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey when the two other bodies were found.

It is also only a few miles from where the body of Brendan Megraw was discovered last year following searches at Oristown, Co Meath.

The searches for Mr Lynskey have to date been unsuccessful.

Fr Murtagh commended the process set up to locate the Disappeared.

He said: "It is part of our sometimes faltering peace process that is working."

Mr McKee will lie beside his mother at Blaris cemetery in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

13th-Sep-2015 09:12 pm - IRA murdered McGuigan over killing of 'supremo'
**There are many who will find Cusack's story below entertaining. What I find equally amusing is Bobby Storey's urging of citizens to give any information concerning the 'criminal' killers of Davison and McGuigan to the PSNI although he himself intends to sue the PSNI for arresting HIM for questioning. (See this RTÉ story)
_____

Jim Cusack
Independent.ie
13 Sept 2015

The Provisional IRA was about to appoint multiple murderer Gerard 'Jock' Davison as its so-called 'chief of staff' before he was shot dead in May, it has emerged.

Davison (48) is believed to have already held a place on the IRA's 'supreme' governing body, the 'Provisional Army Council' (PAC) and was the most senior figure in the Provos ever to have been shot dead.

Sources say he had been proposed as 'chief of staff' by a fellow Belfast member of the PAC and was awaiting elevation to the top spot when he was shot dead on May 5. No other 'Army Council' man had ever been killed before him.

Garda sources confirmed to the Sunday Independent that Jock Davison was 'there or thereabouts' at the top table of the Provisional IRA leadership when he was shot.

Ironically, it is also believed that Davison had been an agent for British security services who may also have been supporting his elevation to the top spot. This may have been part of a long-term plan to ensure that a figure like Davison would ensure the IRA kept to its ceasefire.

Gerard 'Jock' Davison

In another twist, the PAC member who was said to have been promoting Davison as 'chief of staff' was also once suspected of being an agent working for British military intelligence. At one stage in the early 1990s, this man was being secretly filmed by an undercover RUC squad when he met his British Army handlers in a south Belfast park. During the meeting, the man was handed a briefcase stuffed with cash. A large IRA arms dump in west Belfast was seized shortly after.

Davison's role as a 'tout' was exposed in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome murder of innocent Belfast man Robert McCartney (33) in a Belfast city centre pub in January 2005. Davison ordered his men to butcher McCartney and his friend Brendan Devine following a drunken row, giving the order by running his forefinger across his throat and motioning towards the pair.

In the stabbing and beating frenzy outside the pub Davison slashed his own arm and went to the A&E at the Ulster Hospital in Dondald in east Belfast. There he was witnessed speaking to two men wearing suits and speaking in English accents.

Davison was never charged over the McCartney murder but continued his rise up the ranks of the Provisional IRA leadership. He was previously implicated in the murders of nine alleged Catholic drug dealers in Belfast but never played any significant role in fighting British forces in Northern Ireland.

Sources in Belfast say one of the reasons Kevin McGuigan decided, after years of simmering hatred, to murder Davison was because he had learned he was about to be elevated to the top job in the IRA. McGuigan had, it is said, referred openly to Davison as a 'tout'.

The Provisional Army Council, which officially doesn't exist any more, largely consists of Northern and specifically Belfast men. All are millionaires from 'dipping' into the organisation's massive criminal machine.

The Army Council members include:

The remaining chief of staff, a west Belfast man in his fifties who still occasionally lives in the back streets where he grew up but has several other houses and whose wife and children live openly ostentatious lifestyles.

An Armagh man once known as a dole cheat who is said to own a house on which up to €3m has been spent, paid for with money from diesel laundering, along with many other properties.

The Belfast man who was proposing Davison as 'chief of staff' and who still lives in a modest family home in west Belfast but is secretly wealthy.

Another Belfast man, a member of an IRA 'aristocracy' family, who once ran a multi-million euro illegal rubbish dumping business.

Two other Belfast men who were released from the Maze jail as part of the prisoner release deal after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

A prominent member of Sinn Fein from the Republic.

13th-Sep-2015 04:23 am - Death of an assassin: how the killing of Kevin McGuigan reawakened Belfast’s political strife
The claim that the former IRA gunman was shot by his ex-comrades has thrown Stormont into turmoil. But the manoeuvring is far from over

Henry McDonald
The Guardian
12 Sept 2015

Bound, blindfolded and with a broken jaw, the terrified Territorial Army soldier must have thought he was about to die at the hands of the Provisional IRA in the republican north Belfast redoubt of Ardoyne.

It was 11 July 1986, the eve of “The Twelfth”, when Protestants celebrate King William’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne. But instead of ending up at one of the bonfires lit at midnight to mark loyalists’ and unionists’ most important day, the army reservist from the Protestant West Circular Road had strayed too close to Ardoyne and had been kidnapped by local republicans.

As the soldier awaited his fate in the early hours of the 12th, having sustained a savage beating at the hands of his two IRA captors, a pair of joggers approached the house, apparently on a morning run. Yet when the two men, dressed in tracksuits, stopped at a house in Holmdene Gardens, they turned to the door and kicked it in. Once inside, they drew their guns and went searching for the missing soldier. The reservist was about to be rescued by the SAS.

His two IRA guards bolted but were captured shortly afterwards in a joint army-police operation after hiding in the loft of a house in the street behind. The IRA men were veterans of the Provisionals: one was the late Martin Meehan, a street fighter famed for prison escapes and gun battles with the British army. The younger man, still in his 20s, was Kevin McGuigan, whose death in August this year has brought the power-sharing process in Northern Ireland to the brink of collapse.

It is this killing, which the police say was carried out with the involvement of the Provisional IRA, that has plunged the province into its worst crisis for a decade, raising the critical question: is the IRA still a functioning and deadly force?

For kidnapping the TA soldier, Meehan and McGuigan were sent to the Maze maximum security prison outside Belfast, where they joined their imprisoned IRA comrades in the H-Blocks. When both were eventually released in the early 1990s, Meehan moved into politics, eventually becoming a Sinn Féin councillor. The republican movement, however, had a different role for McGuigan to play: he would become one of their most feared and ruthless assassins.

Martin Meehan in 1975

When the IRA declared its ceasefire on 31 August 1994, the organisation remained on a war footing. To keep its footsoldiers busy and the fighting machine oiled, the organisation spent most of the early part of 1995 gathering intelligence on a new generation of criminals who were amassing fortunes selling drugs in Catholic working-class areas of Northern Ireland.

Operating under a flag of convenience – a campaign group called Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD) – the IRA selected McGuigan for an assassination unit that would target alleged drug dealers in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland. Another even younger activist who was being groomed to become Belfast IRA commander – and ultimately, perhaps, the organisation’s overall chief of staff – was drafted in to run the DAAD murder campaign. His name was Gerard “Jock” Davison.

DAAD’s offensive began in April 2005 when they shot dead drug dealer Mickey Mooney in a downtown Belfast pub. Between 1995 and 2001 the group killed up to a dozen men. Security sources have told the Observer they are “absolutely certain” that McGuigan killed at least one of the victims of this vigilante campaign – Brendan “Speedy” Fegan in May 1999.

The death of Fegan, at a bar in Newry close to the border with the Irish Republic, demonstrated McGuigan’s prowess as a murderer. As he entered the Hermitage Bar in Newry city centre, McGuigan, wearing a wig and fake moustache, fired a number of shots into the roof of the pub, causing panic and chaos. McGuigan singled out the 24-year-old drug dealer, shooting Fegan about 16 times.

Kevin McGuigan

The unit of McGuigan and Davison became an object of fear among the IRA’s many enemies, and its activities led to the latter’s promotion to head the Provisionals’ Belfast Brigade. Yet in a world of volatility, suspicion and daily violence, the fellow IRA killers would eventually fall out.

Both men had grown up in the Market area of central Belfast but spent a lot of their adult life just across the river in the Short Strand area – a Catholic district bordered on three sides by the mainly loyalist east of the city. Although a family man and a passionate follower of Gaelic sports, McGuigan’s volatile nature meant that even neighbourly disputes could end in violence. One such attack on a veteran republican family resulted in the IRA’s internal discipline unit being called in.

McGuigan was sentenced to a “six pack”, which, translated from Belfast street parlance, means gunshot wounds to the feet, knees, hands and elbows. McGuigan was bitter for years and believed one man was to blame for his punishment – Davison.

One former comrade from the time they were in the H-Blocks together was the IRA prisoner turned author and critic of Sinn Féin, Anthony McIntyre. McIntyre, who visited McGuigan in hospital after the six-pack shooting, recalled: “He was an ‘army man’ who believed strongly in the office of the leadership. I think his deep sense of loyalty to the army led him to resent Jock, who he felt hijacked the army and punished him for reasons that were unfair – the result of favouritism and personalities.”

For a decade, McGuigan nursed a dark grudge, which the IRA in Belfast now believe led him to kill Davison on a rainy Tuesday morning in May. The description of the gunman fitted McGuigan’s profile: diminutive, wiry, fit and professionally covered-up.

In the weeks and months following Davison’s murder, the 53-year-old father of nine issued statements through his solicitor denying any role in the killing. Over the summer McGuigan was warned three times by the Police Service of Northern Ireland that his life was danger, but he chose to remain in the Short Strand with his wife, Dolores.

Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison

While the police appeared to be making no progress over the murder, Davison’s closest comrades were holding their own secret inquiry. They set up a unit that carried out interrogations and put a surveillance squad on McGuigan. Inside the Belfast IRA, meanwhile, debate raged over whether to strike back at whoever killed Davison, with some close to the Sinn Féin leadership fearing that bringing IRA footsoldiers back onto the streets would create a huge political crisis.

According to sources close to senior republicans, what swung that debate over to the side of those urging a brutal response was the surveillance team. They reported first to a one-time Belfast Brigade commander that they had seen McGuigan at Davison’s home. This IRA veteran, who once directed the Provisionals’ bombing campaign in Belfast and was close to Davison, then persuaded other senior republican figures to act – or they might be next.

Around 9pm on 12 August, as McGuigan was pulling up in his car with his wife at their home in Comber Court, two men clad in dark clothing ambushed him. They wounded him with a volley of shots and, as he tried to escape, killed him on the ground in front of his wife.

Ed Moloney, a veteran IRA-watcher and world authority on the Provisionals, is in no doubt that the leadership gave the go-ahead for the killing. “If this had been a genuinely freelance action, it would have been met with a ferocious response from the IRA against those responsible, and we haven’t seen that at all,” he said. “The unauthorised use of weapons, especially in a politically controversial killing, would merit a court-martial and a death sentence. In practice, nothing happens in the IRA without the approval and knowledge of the IRA’s military and political leadership.”

The Democratic Unionist party has threatened to pull down Northern Ireland’s coalition due to the alleged role of the IRA in McGuigan’s death. But Gary Donnelly, a former prisoner and Independent Republican councillor in Derry, said he didn’t believe unionists really cared about an ex-IRA gunman who, if ordered to do so during the Troubles, would have assassinated any unionist politician.

"I have no doubt Stormont will be back soon and will continue to yield a political dividend for the British government". --Gary Donnelly, republican councillor

“Bodies in the street and high-profile arrests are optics to deflect the electorate from substantive political issues. I have no doubt Stormont will be back soon and will continue to yield a political dividend for the British government,” Donnelly said.

Northern Ireland is unlikely to return to the sort of society it was back in 1986. The community from which McGuigan emerged doesn’t want to go back to war. While power sharing remains in peril, there will be no return to the 24/7 conflict of the Troubles past. Yet the murder of the former IRA gunman illustrates how that past continues to haunt the politics of the present.

Republican sceptics might be correct in suspecting unionists are using the killing to crash the current power sharing arrangement and, after elections later in the autumn, restore devolution on a basis that is more favourable to them. But past grudges, bad blood and one-sided folk memories of the Troubles still pollute the atmosphere in the region – not only at the parliament on the hill at Stormont but far beyond, in the old war zones where the conflict once raged.

4th-Sep-2015 02:19 am - US gunrunner agrees to testify against Sinn Fein man in Belfast court
Suzanne Breen
Belfast Telegraph
3 Sept 2015

An American gunrunner is set to be flown to Northern Ireland to give evidence in court against a senior Sinn Fein strategist, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

In what would be one of the most high-profile trials in years, Florida stockbroker turned gunrunner Mike Logan has agreed to testify against Sean "Spike" Murray, once a prominent IRA member, in Belfast Crown Court.

Logan claims he sent Murray hundreds of weapons during his five-year gunrunning career which began after the IRA ceasefire and continued following the Good Friday Agreement.

Murray is one of Sinn Fein's most senior officials in Belfast. Less that a fortnight ago, he was a member of the party delegation which met the Chief Constable at PSNI headquarters to deny IRA involvement in the murder of Kevin McGuigan and to insist the IRA no longer existed.

Mike Logan will give evidence against a one-time prominent IRA member in court

The deadly cache of weapons that Logan sent the Provos included around 200 handguns which were used in several murders including the killing of two police officers in Lurgan in 1997.

Spike Murray has continually denied any involvement in the gun-smuggling plot, describing the allegations as "without foundation".

But Logan (56) claims he worked for the IRA, reporting directly to Murray, who has served seven years in the H-Blocks for explosive offences and is a regular visitor to Sinn Fein offices in Stormont.

The Belfast Telegraph can exclusively reveal that a high-powered PSNI delegation travelled to the US last month to ask Logan to give evidence against Murray. They included Det Chief Supt Tim Hanley, Head of Serious Crime Branch.

The detectives held a three-hour meeting with Logan in a Florida Hotel. His lawyer spoke to them on the phone in advance to ensure he had immunity from prosecution.

Logan initially refused to co-operate with the PSNI. However, they remained in regular contact with him. Logan changed his mind a fortnight ago and told the police he was willing to help the investigation and to give evidence against Murray.

Three detectives and a PSNI camera operator are due to meet Logan in Florida in early October to formally interview him and record his evidence on video.

Sources say that if a prosecution case is successfully constructed, detectives have told Logan he will be flown to Belfast for the trial and housed in secure accommodation. He has been promised "total protection" in court and when travelling to and from court.

Sean 'Spike' Murray

When asked about the dramatic new developments in the case, a PSNI spokesman would only say: "Inquiries are continuing. This remains a live investigation and as such we can't comment."

Apart from sending the weapons used to murder Constables John Graham and David Johnston in Lurgan in 1997, another gun Logan sent the IRA was used to kill Real IRA Belfast commander Joe O'Connor three years later.

Logan believes a third was used in the IRA's attempted murder in England of former Special Branch agent Martin McGartland in 1999.

McGartland was shot six times outside his home in Whitley Bay. His life was saved by neighbours using cling film to stop the blood flow from his wound.

Two months later, the Czech-made Luger pistol used in the attack was found in undergrowth along the River Tyne. McGartland claims there has been "a massive cover-up" about the gun's origins as the authorities want to avoid blaming the IRA for the attack.

Logan was first interviewed in April last year in a BBC Spotlight programme which suggested that the British authorities, at the highest level, knew the full details of Spike Murray's involvement in the arms' importation but turned a blind eye in order to protect the peace process.

The day after the programme, the DUP met the PSNI to raise concerns and, hours later, it was announced police were investigating the Florida gunrunning operation.

Until our revelations today, details of that investigation had remained secret.

Logan was given immunity from prosecution by the US authorities in 2002 in return for giving them information about the weapons he had bought for the IRA.

26th-Jun-2015 05:12 am - Bodies found during search for 'Disappeared' victim Joe Lynskey
Suspected remains of former monk and one other unearthed on land that was believed to be secret burial place of IRA victims who went missing in 1972

Press Association
The Guardian
25 June 2015

**Please see also this article by Ed Moloney at The Broken Elbow for further insight: Have The Remains Of Seamus Wright And Kevin McKee Been Found In Co. Meath Bog?




The scene in Coghalstown where human remains have been found on reclaimed bogland. (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA)

The remains of two bodies have been found on reclaimed bogland in the Irish Republic where three of the so-called IRA Disappeared are believed to have been secretly buried.

A dig on the farmland in Coghalstown, Co Meath, as part of the search for the remains of former monk Joe Lynskey unearthed one body on Thursday morning, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) said.

A second body was discovered as further examinations took place at the site and preparations were made to take the first body out the ground.

IRA victims Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee are believed to be buried in the same area, the ICLVR said.

“We have always said that we think three bodies are in that area and until there is further identification we just don’t know,” a spokesman said.

It is understood the second set of human remains was unearthed as specialists cleared ground around the first body to prepare it for removal.

Lynskey’s family, who have endured a 43-year wait to give their loved one a proper burial, were notified of the initial discovery and were said to be shocked but relieved at the discovery.

The former Cistercian monk was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972. The group only admitted his disappearance in 2010. Wright, another of the Disappeared believed to be dumped in the bogland, was also from Belfast.

Joe Lynskey, a former monk who was executed and secretly buried by the IRA. (Photograph: Wave Trauma Centre/PA)

He was in the IRA and was murdered in the same year by his former colleagues, who accused him of being a British army agent and a member of its Military Reaction Force – an undercover unit.

Wright was married and 25 years old when he went missing in October 1972. He worked as an asphalt layer. McKee, again from Belfast, and in the IRA, he was also murdered in the same year.

He was also suspected of being in the British army agent and the Military Reaction Force. He was interrogated and murdered by the terror group.

Lynskey’s niece, Maria, had been expected to visit the site after the discovery and said her thoughts were with other families awaiting news.

“We would like to thank the [ICLVR] and those who have engaged with the commission in the search for Joe,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with the other families whose loved ones remain disappeared.”

Extensive searches have been carried out at the site for both Wright and McKee, but this year was the first dig for Lynskey’s remains.

18th-Jun-2015 10:29 pm - Philip McMurray to take legal action over wife Colleen's murder
BBC
17 June 2015



Philip McMurray is taking legal action against the Chief Constable, the secretary of state, the Ministry of Defence and an IRA informer

The husband of an RUC officer murdered by the IRA is to take legal action over his wife's death.

Philip McMurray believes it is the only course of action he can take, after a BBC Panorama programme highlighted allegations of collusion in the attack on his wife's patrol vehicle.

Colleen McMurray was killed by an IRA mortar bomb

Constable Colleen McMurray, 34, was killed when a mortar bomb exploded in Newry, County Down, in 1992. A colleague lost his legs in the attack.

Mr McMurray was also an RUC officer at the time. The couple had been married for 18 months.

He is taking action against the Chief Constable, the secretary of state, the Ministry of Defence and an IRA informer.

Peter Keeley, allegedly an undercover agent in the IRA, told the programme that he had helped design the technology that fired the rocket remotely.

He said he had passed that information onto his handlers and also told them the IRA was planning an attack.

Peter Keeley

The programme shown in May, examined the extent of security force collusion with paramilitary agents during decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said that since the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIPA) Act 2000, the conduct of covert operations by UK security forces is heavily regulated and scrutinised.


1st-Jun-2015 08:07 am - Families demand justice over IRA victims 'executed' as informers
Relatives believe victims sacrificed to preserve position of British army agent Stakeknife

Owen Bowcott
The Guardian
1 June 2015

**Photos and links onsite

Relatives of people “executed” by the IRA for allegedly betraying the republican movement by acting as informers have begun legal action to discover the truth, as they prepare to tell their harrowing stories to an official investigation into at least 20 murders stretching back to the 1980s.

The revelation in April that Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman is conducting an investigation into whether the murders could have been prevented has triggered legal claims against the Ministry of Defence and the man identified as the army’s highest ranking agent in the IRA.

Detail of a mural on the corner of Falls Road, west Belfast, with an IRA warning for informers, in 1985. (Photograph: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

At the heart of the tortuous history of double-crossing is Freddie Scappaticci, known as Stakeknife, who fled Belfast after being unmasked as a senior IRA commander during a terrorist trial in 1991. Scappaticci was later identified as an agent for British military intelligence, but has consistently denied being Stakeknife.

For decades, the victims’ families – smeared by accusations of disloyalty and reluctant even after the end of the Troubles to talk to the police – were left alone with their grief and disbelief.

That their relatives may have been sacrificed to protect the army’s most productive agent – Stakeknife – inside the IRA’s Internal Security Unit, or “nutting squad”, has begun to emerge only recently.

The ombudsman’s office is investigating about 300 cases of alleged collusion. The key issue is whether double agents within the IRA were permitted to commit crimes – even murder – in order to gain the trust of paramilitary organisations or sacrifice IRA members to protect their own position.

Among the victims were:

• Joseph Mulhern, whose bullet-pierced body was discovered in a ditch beside a remote border crossing in County Tyrone. The IRA volunteer’s hands had been tied with wire. Three weeks later, in July 1993, his father was handed a tape of the 22-year-old supposedly confessing to informing on IRA activities.

• Caroline Moreland, 34, a single mother of three, was last seen alive ironing in her kitchen. Six weeks before the IRA announced its 1994 ceasefire, she was abducted, tortured and shot dead in County Fermanagh. The family received a recording in which she admitted betraying the location of a hidden IRA rifle.

• Paddy Trainor, 29, disappeared from a drinking club in February 1981. He was blindfolded before being shot in the back of the head; his body was marked by cigarette burns. His sister could not bear to listen to the cassette tape.

Weeks after burying his son, Frank Mulhern said, Scappaticci came up to him. “He shook my hand and asked how things were,” Mulhern said. “He was asking if anyone was giving me hassle.

“I knew he was with the nutting squad. He told me he had been up [in Donegal] where my son was being held. When he got there [Joseph] was only wearing a cross and chain – no clothes. He said my son looked really tired and ordered he be given a wash, a shave and something to wear.

Freddie Scappaticci - 'Stakeknife'

“Scappaticci knew about the two bullet wounds – to my son’s neck and head. I felt sick. Scap could have had me taken out and shot me if I did anything. He was a very powerful figure. If you were in the IRA and Scap was looking at you, your knees turned to water.”

The voice on the tape handed to the Mulhern family alternates between anxiety and resignation. Such recordings were meant to prove treachery but Joseph Mulhern’s statement was reminiscent of newsreel clips of a Stalinist show trial. In the confession, clearly extracted under duress, the young man introduces himself in a hesitant voice: “I’m a volunteer. My name is Joseph Mulhern. I’ve been working for the Special Branch this past three years.”

The tape stops and restarts several times. It ends in what sounds like a scripted plea: “I bitterly regret this past three years. I would urge anyone in this same predicament to come forward as there is no other way out.”

His father dismisses the recantation as fictitious. “I did not believe it,” Frank Mulhern said. “A few weeks earlier, Scappaticci had called around to see my son and had taken him to places where there were arms and explosives. The army later seized them.

“The IRA launched an investigation. The last two people to see the weapons had been Scap and my son. Obviously Scap did not fall under suspicion but my son did. His comrades in the IRA didn’t believe it. They all turned up for his funeral.” Some people nevertheless called his son a “tout” – slang for an informer.

Even after Stakeknife was exposed, the republican movement made no public apology. “The IRA will never admit anything,” Mulhern said. “They are like the British army; they are never wrong.”

He believes that, with an agent inside the IRA’s counter-intelligence unit, his son’s life could have been saved. “[Joseph] was held for two weeks, across the border. Why didn’t the handlers notify the Garda Síochána? They could have saved others’ lives, too. British intelligence was that far into the IRA, you wouldn’t know who was working for them.”

As evidence emerges, the scale of the security forces’ penetration of the province’s paramilitary organisations grows ever more astonishing. One informed source has estimated that by the end of the Troubles as many as 90% of loyalist and 50% of republican active paramilitaries had been recruited as informants.

The most thorough investigation into collusion, the De Silva report into the loyalist killing of the Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane, published in December 2012, described agent-handling guidelines for the army’s Force Research Unit (FRU) – which controlled Stakeknife – as “contradictory”.

MI5, Special Branch and the FRU operated separate regimes, Sir Desmond de Silva said. “Agent-handlers and their superiors were expected to gather intelligence without clear guidance as to the extent to which their agents could become involved in criminal activity,” he concluded. “Intelligence officers were … asked to perform a task that, in some cases, could not be achieved effectively in ways that were lawful.”

Scappaticci was allegedly not the only agent operating inside the provisional IRA’s security department. Other names have surfaced. An informer who survived an IRA execution squad, Martin McGartland, has alleged two of the guards who held him were also from “a protected species”.

Kevin Winters, at the Belfast firm KRW Law, which is coordinating relatives’ compensation claims against Scappaticci and the Ministry of Defence, suspects the absence of a legal framework was deliberate. “De Silva confirmed that collusion as a state practice did exist,” he explained. “It showed there was no oversight, no protocols and the cynical view was that that allowed agents to thrive.

“By killing people at a low level in the organisation, they were ingratiating themselves into the paramilitary structure. The families of those shot dead as informers felt they were beyond victim status because of the stigma attached to the deaths. That has now changed.”

Shauna Moreland, 30, last saw her mother ironing in the family’s kitchen in west Belfast. “My mother had trained as a nurse so if anybody [in the IRA] was injured and couldn’t go to hospital, they would be brought to her,” Shauna recalled.

“I said ‘cheerio’. She gave me a hug and a kiss. I went off to my grandmother. She said ‘See you tomorrow’. She was missing for 15 days. They tortured her. I was first told it was a case of mistaken identity. I never felt the stigma because I was too young. Years later I found letters from IRA men in prison sending condolences; they knew it was an injustice.

“I want answers. I’ve listened to the tape they sent. It keeps stopping and starting. I don’t believe she did it. Why didn’t the police go and free her? [Stakeknife’s] handlers must have known. MI5 made the bullets and the IRA fired them. She was a sacrificial lamb.”

Her older brother, Marc Moreland, 34, understood more at the time. “I was heartbroken,” he remembers. “It was born into us that we were republicans. You hated the army, you hated Protestants, you hated the Brits. The IRA was meant to be on your side; they were meant to protect you.

“I went round to the house of a local IRA man after my mother was killed. He had steel security gates at the bottom of his stairs. I must have been 14 or 15. He wouldn’t come out but his son, who was 18, did. I [hit] him. The next day, four or five guys in balaclavas came round and told me to get out of the area.”

Eileen Hughes, 68, remembers snow falling the day the body of her brother, Paddy Trainor, was found. “My mother was in hysterics,” she said. “Another brother went to identify him. He said [Paddy] was covered in cigarette burns.

“He was shot to cover up for someone else. My brother listened to the tape. It was Paddy’s voice but we didn’t believe it. They accused him of being an informer. He had been lifted a few times by the police and may have got the price of a drink off them but he was not an informer.”

Hughes’s son, Tony Kane, was shot dead in 1995 by a republican group linked to the IRA, supposedly for drug dealing. She had been summoned to a meeting some time before at which, she said, Scappaticci told her: “The next complaint I get about your son, I will put one in his head.” She added: “I would like to see Scappaticci charged. I used to know him; my best friend used to go out with him. His father sold ice-creams around the area. I blame the police and the government. They knew these kids were getting shot to cover for [Stakeknife].”

The MoD declined to comment on the allegations. Lawyers for Scappaticci did not respond to requests for comment. Scappaticci’s whereabouts is unknown.

The dead have a habit of haunting Northern Irish politics. “If a truth and reconciliation process had been delivered years ago,” said Winters, “we wouldn’t have all this civil litigation. If the government had said: ‘Yes, we saved lives, but we got things wrong as well … ’ It’s the blanket denial that’s the problem. The families just want to know what happened.”

19th-May-2015 02:49 am - Mountbatten blast victim’s mother tells IRA man: Apologise for killing innocents
• Mother of teenager killed in IRA bombing demands apology from murderer
• Paul Maxwell was a crew member on Mountbatten's Shadow V when killed
• Request from Mary Hornsey comes ahead of Prince Charles's visit to site

**Please use the SITE SEARCH in the links to your right and type in 'Paul Maxwell' to see many more articles on this tragedy.

By Nicola Byrne
Daily Mail
16 May 2015

The mother of a teenage boy who died in the IRA bombing that killed Lord Mountbatten has asked his murderer to apologise for ‘the slaughter of children’ just days before Prince Charles’s visit to the site of the attack.

Paul Maxwell, a member of the crew on Mountbatten’s boat Shadow V, was 15 when he died in the 1979 attack. The other victims were Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and the Dowager Lady Brabourne, who was 83.

Mountbatten’s daughter Lady Brabourne and her husband Lord Brabourne were both injured but survived the blast, as did their son Timothy, Nicholas’s twin brother.

Bomb-maker Thomas McMahon is the only person to have been convicted for the attack, which happened after the boat party had set off from the fishing village of Mullaghmore in Donegal Bay.

McMahon served 18 years before being released in 1998 under the Good Friday peace agreement.

Paul Maxwell (left) was 15 when he died in the IRA bomb explosion

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday from her home outside Belfast, Paul’s mother, Mary Hornsey, said: ‘I would like him to apologise. I feel that if he has a conscience, he must have a great deal on his conscience because he killed two innocent boys.

‘What cause is great enough to warrant the slaughter of innocent children? It’s hard to know what is in Mr McMahon’s heart. If he were to lose one of his own children in such a sudden barbaric way, then maybe he would realise what an awful, heinous act he committed in taking my son from me.

‘I would like to ask him why he murdered my son – what purpose did it serve?’

At the time, Mrs Hornsey’s family lived in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland but had a summer house in Mullaghmore, where her son worked as a deckhand for Mountbatten.

She says Paul was a kind and gentle boy with friends from both sides of the religious divide in Northern Ireland.

Although Charles’s visit comes 36 years after the bombing, it is believed he has wanted to visit Mullaghmore for some time. He and the Duchess of Cornwall will arrive on Tuesday when they fly to Galway for a reception at the city’s university to celebrate the area’s links with Britain. Later they will be at a private dinner hosted by the Irish president, Michael D. Higgins, in Lough Cutra Castle in South Galway.

On Wednesday they will attend a service of peace and reconciliation at Drumcliffe church in Sligo.



Mary Hornsey (right) and Donna Maxwell (left), the mother and sister of Paul Maxwell pictured at his funeral

Welcoming the Prince’s visit, Mrs Hornsey said: ‘He is extending the hand of friendship and showing a great deal of trust. I commend him.’ McMahon, who lives with his wife in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, works as a carpenter. He has ignored two requests from Paul Maxwell’s father, John, to meet.

Yesterday Mr Maxwell extended the invitation again, saying: ‘I’ve been asked do I forgive him? A lot depends on what he would say to me if I met him, which I would still consider doing.’

He added: ‘The Royal visit brings hope for the future.’

The Mail on Sunday tried to interview Mr McMahon last week. As he was leaving a hardware shop in Carrickmacross, our reporter asked him whether he had any regrets about the 1979 bombing.

He replied, ‘Good for you’ and walked back towards his car. He refused to comment on the Prince’s visit, before driving off at speed.

Bomb-maker Thomas McMahon (right) is the only person to have been convicted for the attack

A massive security operation is under way in preparation for the Prince’s arrival, as reported in The Mail on Sunday last week.

On Thursday, Irish police revealed they had foiled a suspected Real IRA bomb plot that could have led to explosives being planted near an Army base north of the border.

Charles enjoyed a close relationship with Lord Mountbatten, his great-uncle, whom he looked upon as a father figure and mentor.

It emerged yesterday that MI5 believed the IRA planned to shoot down the Navy helicopter carrying Mountbatten’s body back from Ireland after the bombing.

One of the helicopter’s crewmen revealed that they were warned of such a plot. Colin Douglas, who was a lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm, said: ‘The Security Service threat assessment for our task that day [was] “likely to come under attack.” ’

In March 1979, an Army helicopter was nearly downed by the IRA when it came under heavy machine-gun fire in South Armagh.



Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma his two son-in-laws , grandchildren and Paul Maxwell returning from fishing at Mullaghmore, County Sligo

6th-May-2015 02:08 pm - Man arrested over murder of former Belfast IRA commander
Detectives investigating shooting of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison in central Belfast detain 41-year-old man

Henry McDonald
The Guardian
6 May 2015

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the murder of former IRA commander Gerard ”Jock” Davison.

The man was detained in Belfast on Wednesday morning. Police also searched a flat in the north of the city on Tuesday night in connection with the killing.

Within hours of the fatal shooting in the Markets area of central Belfast, detectives ruled out involvement of hardline anti-peace process republican organisation or loyalist paramilitaries.

Murder scene of Gerard ”Jock” Davison

The murder took place at the corner of Welsh Street and Upper Stanfield Street, close to an office where Davison was employed as a community worker.

Local people reported children screaming, with one shouting: “Daddy, Daddy” when the gunman fired at the ex-IRA activist. The gunman, who witnesses said was wearing a hooded jacket that concealed his face, escaped by running up an alleyway.

Shortly after the shooting several senior republicans from across Belfast visited the inner-city area to support Davison’s family and friends.

Davison is the most senior pro-peace process republican to have been killed since the IRA ceasefire of 1997. Security sources said it was unlikely that any Ulster loyalist group was behind the murders, adding that the killer may have come from the nationalist community and possibly had a longstanding grudge against the victim.

The investigating officer, DCI Justyn Galloway, issued a fresh appeal on Wednesday for information about the killing. “This was a cold-blooded murder carried out in broad daylight in a residential area and it has no place in the new Northern Ireland. The suspect was detained in Belfast this morning and is being questioned at a police station in the city. A property in north Belfast was searched last night as part of the overall investigation,” he said.

“I would again appeal to people who were in the Welsh Street area at 9am yesterday, and who have information about the shooting, to talk to detectives at Musgrave police station.”
5th-May-2015 01:16 pm - Ex-IRA man linked to 2005 slaying shot to death in Belfast
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
Associated Press
5 May 2015

**Please see this search page to find results for past stories about Robert McCartney on this journal: GOOGLE SITE SEARCH



Gerard "Jock" Davison was shot several times on Tuesday morning (Pacemaker)

A central Irish Republican Army figure in one of the outlawed group's most notorious killings has been shot to death in Belfast, residents and police said Tuesday.

No group claimed responsibility for shooting Gerard "Jock" Davison at short range outside his home in the Markets neighborhood of south-central Belfast.

Davison was a Belfast IRA commander when he allegedly ordered IRA comrades in 2005 to attack a man, Robert McCartney. McCartney's widow and four sisters took their demands for justice all the way to the White House, and their embarrassing campaign helped spur the IRA to renounce violence and disarm later that year.

Davison was arrested on suspicion of ordering the killing but not charged. Two others, including his uncle Terence Davison, were charged with McCartney's murder but acquitted in 2008.

McCartney's sisters accused Gerard Davison of making a throat-slashing gesture to his IRA colleagues in the crowded pub shortly before McCartney, 33, was fatally stabbed outside the pub. IRA members confiscated the pub's surveillance video footage, cleaned up the forensic evidence and ordered pub-goers to tell police nothing or risk IRA retaliation, according to police and court testimony.

IRA representatives met McCartney's widow and sisters and offered to have the IRA members responsible killed as punishment, an offer they rejected. The IRA and its allied Sinn Fein party later announced they had expelled three IRA members and eight Sinn Fein members over their alleged role in the assault on McCartney and the evidence cover-up.

Davison's body lay in the street Tuesday outside his home until police covered it with a sheet, then constructed a tent around the scene of the killing to preserve forensic evidence.

Most IRA members are observing a 1997 cease-fire in support of Northern Ireland's peace process. But splinter groups continue to mount bombings and shootings and feuds within their fractured ranks can turn deadly.

In Northern Ireland's last fatal shooting, a former Belfast commander of a faction called the Continuity IRA was killed in April 2014 in Catholic west Belfast.

25th-Mar-2015 05:13 am - IRA veteran: Republicans’ McConville jibes are shameful
News Letter
24 March 2015

A veteran former IRA man has said it is “shameful” for republicans to still defend the murder of Jean McConville.

Brendan Curran, who was Sinn Fein’s first councillor in Newry in 1985, said that the party needs to “honourably” accept that it “got things wrong”.

Mr Curran quit Sinn Fein a year and a half ago and last week he resigned from the council with a heated speech in which he claimed that there was a “Stakeknife-like” figure within Newry Sinn Fein, a reference to the notorious IRA informer from Belfast.

In his speech, Mr Curran alleged that he had warned the party of a paedophile priest (who is now dead) who was abusing children on a large scale, but he was told to stop talking about the issue.

Yesterday Mr Curran told local radio station Q Radio: “I know things have happened in the past which were bad, and things which maybe we all took part in and that was the way it was. But you know what? Now is not the time to call people like Jean McConville an executed tout. And nobody – particularly republicans – can stand by a remark like that.

“I’m simply highlighting something which is common currency in Patrick Street in Newry. Executed touts? Shameful. What happened to that woman was shameful.

“And I realise that it happened, I realise, in the whole darkness of the war. But you see now that we’re standing back and the smoke has cleared, we should be able to honourably turn round and say ‘You know what? Sometimes we got things wrong’.”

25th-Mar-2015 05:08 am - Gerry Kelly: I was given Royal Pardon
News Letter
24 March 2015

**Awww...from the QUEEN!



A high-profile Sinn Fein politician has revealed he received a Royal pardon from the Queen during the Troubles.

Gerry Kelly, who was handed two life sentences after being convicted for his role in the IRA’s Old Bailey bombing in 1973, said he was given a Royal Prerogative of Mercy in the mid-1980s as part of a legal deal to secure his extradition back to the UK from the Netherlands.

Now Assembly Member for North Belfast, Mr Kelly was arrested in Holland three years after his 1983 escape from the Maze paramilitary prison in Northern Ireland.

He was extradited back to Northern Ireland in 1986 and spent three more years in the Maze before his release in 1989.

The disclosure about the Royal pardon came during a radio exchange with Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister over the contents of a Westminster report on on-the-run Irish republicans.

While the inquiry by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee dealt primarily with those on-the-runs outside the jurisdiction who had not yet been charged with an offence, it also touched on those convicted of offences who were able to return after securing a Royal pardon.

The committee had expressed concern that the names of those who had received such pardons had not been made public.

When Mr Allister challenged Mr Kelly on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback show about whether he had a Royal Prerogative of Mercy, he replied: “Actually, I have.”

Mr Kelly stressed he was not dealt with under the scheme for on-the-runs, that saw around 190 letters of assurance sent to republicans.

“It was after an escape but it wasn’t a letter to do with on-the-runs or to do with this scheme at all,” he said.

“The Dutch said they would not extradite me unless the British quashed the sentences - it was up to the British to quash the sentences whatever way they wanted to quash them.

“If they chose to produce a prerogative then that’s the way it did - I didn’t care what way it was done.

“The point was I came back to Ireland as a remand prisoner as opposed to someone who was doing this length of sentence because the Dutch - their courts - came to the conclusion that it was unjust.”

The Government has previously acknowledged that a number of pardons were issued in terrorism-related cases during and after the Troubles.

Mr Allister said he had written to Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers to demand details about how and why a pardon was issued to Mr Kelly.

“This is the first time that this information has come into the public domain and I have today written to the Secretary of State demanding answers on what exactly Kelly was pardoned for,” he said.

The TUV leader added: “This latest revelation is yet another reminder of the peace process’s “heart of darkness”.

7th-Mar-2015 05:44 am - Family of murdered British army wife still seeking justice, 25 years on
Woman was killed by the IRA outside her married quarters in West Germany. Now her niece is to address Stormont in her fight to have the case reopened

Kate Connolly in Morsum
The Guardian
6 March 2015



Heidi Hazell, the wife of a British army sergeant, was killed in a Dortmund suburb (Photograph: Facebook)

Just days after burying her daughter Heidi in a coffin decked with roses and chrysanthemums before hundreds of mourners at a Bremen cemetery, Annaliese Schnaars received an unexpected knock at her door.

“I remember it vividly,” her daughter Barbara, 59, recalls. “It was a woman from the crime squad, bringing Heidi’s jewellery back. Her necklace and trinkets were returned to us in a bundle that was clumped together in her dried blood.”

That, she says, was “probably the worst moment of it all”.

Days before on 7 September 1989, Heidi Hazell, 26, the German wife of British army sergeant Clive Hazell, had been killed outside her married quarters in Unna-Massen, a Dortmund suburb.

Now, 25 years later, Hazell’s family are seeking to have her murder case reopened, claiming the German authorities have done next to nothing to solve the murder. They are travelling to Belfast this weekend to pursue their cause.

It was a balmy autumnal evening when a man in British army fatigues approached Hazell’s British-registered dark blue Saab as she was parking it. Within seconds, he had pumped 14 bullets from a kalashnikov through the car door and window, 12 of which went straight into her upper torso.

An army sergeant who was watching the television news in his flat at the time, recalled hearing “high velocity rifle shots … spread over a period of 10 seconds or so”. During the attack the car shot backwards, mounted the pavement and hit a tree. By the time the sergeant had rushed out to help, the gunman had escaped in a getaway car.

Spent cases littered the ground. “The front passenger window was shattered … I peered inside the vehicle and saw a woman whom I later realised was Mrs Hazell, slumped at the steering wheel,” he told police.

The following day the IRA claimed responsibility for what was its first and only murder in West Germany of a British soldier’s wife.

In a statement the organisation said she had been mistaken for a soldier. “An IRA active service unit carried out last night’s shooting,” it read. “The outcome of last night’s attack reinforces a warning we gave [in 1988] for civilians to stay well clear of British military personnel.”

Margaret Thatcher, the then prime minister, and opposition leader Neil Kinnock led condemnation of the killing.

“The warm weather that night meant many people were out walking dogs or sitting on their balconies,” said Melanie Anan, 41, Hazell’s niece. “Between 30 to 40 people are known to have witnessed the crime, or the runup to it, some of whom have never even been questioned.”

Speaking for the first time about her family’s struggle to come to terms with Hazell’s death, Anan said: “We want a new investigation. We feel that many aspects of the initial investigation were blocked and we’d hope that a new look at Heidi’s case might have something of a domino effect for many other families who are also looking for answers.”

They are soon to lodge a request with Germany’s attorney general to reopen the inquiry and have been advised that with so many holes in the original investigation, they can be confident of success. They possessthree binders from the federal prosecutor’s office containing almost 700 pages of evidence gathered by German investigators of a case that has never gone to court.

Anan is due to address Stormont on Monday, European Day for Victims of Terrorism, after which she and her husband Joe are due to meet investigators from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The family have called on the PSNI to question the convicted bomber Donna Maguire, 57. She was involved in the IRA’s active terrorist unit operating in Germany at that time. They would also like the police to interview all the other suspected members of the cell, including Paul Hughes, Sean Hick, Roísín McAliskey and Gerard Harte. Dessie Grew, who assembled the group and was responsible for their logistics, was killed by the SAS in 1990.

The Anans have contacted Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Féin, once the political arm of the IRA, who in an email sent his condolences but said he had no information related to Hazell’s killing. He referred to the September 1989 statement in which “the IRA acknowledges that it carried out the attack in which Mrs Hazell, a non-combatant, was killed” and said that in 2002 “as an important contribution to the peace process, it offered its ‘sincere apologies and condolences’ to the families of all of those non-combatants who were killed or injured by it”.

While wishing the family well in their “endeavours”, Adams said that under the terms of the peace process they would have no success in their attempts at legal redress in Northern Ireland.

Anan has responded with scorn, saying: “If he would like to consider Heidi as a ‘non-combatant’, and the person who killed her as a ‘soldier’, then according to the Geneva Convention, the soldier has committed a war crime. And Northern Ireland is obliged to put those responsible before a court.”

Anan and her mother Barbara pored over newspaper cuttings of the murder, as well as family photographs of Heidi at their home in Morsum, near Bremen, last weekend. They showed a carefree schoolgirl, at her confirmation, in carnival dress, and then in an open casket flanked by candles, laid out in a white dress, clutching flowers..

“People will ask ‘why now, so many years later?’ said Anan, who was 16 when her aunt was killed. “They need to understand that for years we’ve been imprisoned by our feelings of grief, anger and fear – they have ruled our lives up until now.

“Now it’s time to put those feelings behind us, and to start fighting so that Heidi doesn’t just end up as a footnote in history or a statistic, and to see justice done for her. We need to know precisely who her killer was – it’s not enough to know it was the IRA.”

Looking on was Annaliese Schnaars, Anan’s 86-year-old grandmother and Heidi’s and Barbara’s mother, who has dementia. “I can no longer cry,” she said, reaching for her granddaughter’s hand.

“But sometimes I think my heart is going to explode. It never goes away. It’s like a pain that shoots through my body from top to bottom.” The family said they had been offered no support over the years, either from the British military or from the German authorities.

“Irrational and petty though it might seem, often the only outlet for our anger has been to hate everything Irish,” said Anan. “We would never buy Irish butter and I boycotted my favourite singer, Sinéad O’Connor.”

Barbara recalls storming into an Irish pub in Munich in 1994 to vent her anger, and the altercation with a group of IRA sympathisers drinking there. “I laid into them – until the police were called. But the officers knew of Heidi’s case and talked to me for two hours. It was very therapeutic – the only sort of therapy I’ve ever had.”

The family has many questions to ask investigators in Germany and Northern Ireland, such as: why was the hire car used in the murder not checked by forensic scientists until two and a half years after the crime? And why were the details of witnesses who reported suspicious sightings to the British military police, not passed on to the German authorities?

The family’s Facebook campaign page is garnering support. It has attracted responses from witnesses who, despite their willingness to be interviewed, were not questioned at the time. IRA sympathisers are also following their quest for justice.

One plausible reason as to why the Hazell case stalled in 1989 was the lack of trust between British military intelligence and their West German equivalent when Europe was still in the grip of the Cold War. The fear was prevalent amongst British authorities that any information they gave to the West Germans could end up in the hands of the East Germans who, via the Stasi, had close links with some elements of the IRA.

As they leafed through the case files they received last week, finding information that gives them a far more detailed insight into the case than they have ever had, Melanie and Joe Anan repeatedly stumbled across details that make them sit up. Such as ballistics experts proving that the AK-47 rifle that killed British army major Michael Dillon Lee in Dortmund in June 1990 and which before that was used in the attempted murder of an unarmed guard in Langenhagen in May that year, was the same weapon that killed Hazell.

“We did not know this before. Such pieces of information are vital in piecing together who did this,” Melanie said. They have also seen pictures of the autopsy for the first time, showing Hazell’s body “riddled with massive holes, like a Swiss cheese”, said Joe.

There are some seemingly mundane details, such as discovering that the getaway car was not as they had been told, a black Capri – information given to the police by a dog walker who disappeared and is suspected of having been an IRA plant – but a VW Golf. “Over the years, every time I’ve seen a black Capri it’s sent shudders down my spine,” Melanie said. “We are now seeing this whole case anew”.

They are satisfied that German investigators had been piecing together a convincing case. “They were doing a really good job of creating a timeline, but it looks like they were repeatedly blocked from accessing vital pieces of evidence or pursuing certain suspects that might have helped them take the case to court,” she added.
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26th-Feb-2015 08:16 am - IRA victim’s father calls for Scappaticci probe
Story by UTV Staff, Belfast
:::u.tv:::
25 February 2015

**Video onsite
More links and information on Scappaticci here at Cryptome



Frank Mulhern's son was killed by the IRA in 1993

A man whose son was murdered by the IRA in 1993 has called on Freddie Scappaticci to be investigated for his alleged involvement in the killing.

Frank Mulhern's solicitor Kevin Winters, who is representing a number of victims' families in civil cases against the alleged Army agent, the Ministry of Defence and the Chief Constable, is urging more people to come forward.

Joe Mulhern was just 22 years old when he was abducted by the IRA.

He was accused of passing information to Special Branch, interrogated for 10 days, shot and his body dumped near Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Joseph Mulhern (Photo: CAIN)

No one has ever been charged or convicted of the murder.

Six weeks after he was buried his father Frank – who first spoke to UTV’s Insight programme in 2013 – said Freddie Scappaticci, who at the time was alleged to be a senior member of the IRA's internal security unit, told him about his son's murder.

Frank Mulhern said: “I asked him again how he died and Scap said that the first shot had hit my son in the back of the neck and he told the guy whoever shot him to shoot him again, so the second shot hit him on the back of the head and apparently that’s what killed him.”

Scappaticci was named in 2003 as the highest ranking Army agent working inside the IRA, a claim he consistently denies.

Freddie Scappaticci (Photo: Cryptome)

Frank Mulhern is convinced the security forces could have saved his son but chose to protect their spy codenamed ‘Stakeknife’.

“It’s about time Scap was brought to court and that’s all I really want,” he said.

Frank Mulhern, together with a number of other families, are now taking a civil action against Freddie Scappaticci, the Ministry of Defence and the Chief Constable.

Their solicitor Kevin Winters believes all the abductions and killings allegedly linked to Scappaticci, along with the role of the state in protecting the agent from prosecution, need to be fully investigated.

Frank Mulhern continued: “The PSNI have files which could solve a lot of these murders but for one reason or another they’re not acting on them, probably because Freddie Scappaticci is involved.

Scappaticci, also known as 'Stakeknife'

“I say my prayers at night and one of the prayers includes Scap, that he is brought to court and charged or whatever. I mean all I want is my day in court with Freddie Scappaticci – I want absolutely nothing else.”

The PSNI said it would not be making any comment.

12th-Jan-2015 08:10 am - Prime Minister snubs Birmingham pub bombings campaigners
David Cameron tells Justice4the21 he is too busy to meet due to 'diary pressures'

Andy Richards
Birmingham Mail
12 January 2015

**More links and photos onsite



Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a plea to meet with Birmingham pub bombings campaigners, telling them he is too busy.

His snub comes just over a month after he told the House of Commons that those responsible for the massacre of 21 people in the city in 1974 had to be found.

Encouraged by his words, Justice4the21 campaigners wrote to the Prime Minister to thank him and to ask to meet him.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was one of those murdered, said in the letter “Please agree to meet us Prime Minister. You can have no idea what that would mean for us.”

Now the Prime Minister has replied offering his sympathies, but nothing else.

“Unfortunately due to the pressure of my diary I am unable to offer you a meeting on this occasion, but I do thank you for writing to me on this important issue,” he has told them.

Read the full reply from Mr Cameron here

On Monday, Julie said: “We feel absolutely insulted, but not surprised.

“All we wanted was to meet for a few moments and for our Prime Minister to look us in the eyes and tell us he really was with us on this.

“But I suspect he can’t do that because it isn’t true.

“It’s interesting to see that, among those he has copied into this letter is the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Chris Sims whose force last year rejected any new inquiry into the bombings.

“It just bears out what we know - that neither the Government, nor the police have any real intention to pursue those who attacked the Tavern in The Town and The Mulberry Bush.

“Mr Cameron has had numerous meetings with the McCanns over Madeleine - and we don’t begrudge them that in any way.

“But there are 21 families in Birmingham who lost loved ones, and despite what he told the House of Commons, he can’t spare us 30 minutes? He should be ashamed.”

In the letter Mr Cameron describes the bomb attacks as “appalling and devastating” and says he hopes that, although West Midlands Police will not launch a new inquiry into the bombings, the force’s efforts will offer them some solace and demonstrate that “all that can be done is being done.”

He goes on to say he hopes he has reassured them that “considerable effort has been, and continues to be, made to bring those responsible for this awful crime to justice.”

“How absolutely ridiculous, “ said Julie. “It’s almost laughable.

“It just shows how out of touch he is.

“The police review didn’t find any new evidence because they have admitted that they are not looking for any. They are waiting for someone, anyone, to hand deliver it to them.

“Amongst other things the Prime Minister also talks about financial support.

“Clearly he knows nothing about us at all really because, if he did, he would realise how particularly insulting that is.

“We are not interested in money and never have been. We just want the truth and justice for the victims of this terrible crime.”

Within days of Mr Cameron’s House of Commons statement, the IRA’s former intelligence chief Kieran Conway confirmed for the first time that the terror attacks were in revenge for the death a week earlier of IRA bomber James McDaid.

McDaid, a lieutenant in the Birmingham Brigade of the IRA, blew himself up while trying to attack Coventry Telephone Exchange.

But Conway and other “furious” IRA officers felt the Birmingham attacks were immoral and said they had left him ashamed.

Conway makes the admission in a book of memoirs.

His name and details were passed on to West Midlands Police by the Birmingham Mail on Thursday, December 9.

The force said it will review the book before deciding what action to take.

The Mail has heard nothing from West Midlands Police on this issue since.

*After Mr Cameron’s House of Commons statement the Birmingham Mail started to run the Cameron Clock, to see how long it took him to take action.

The clock is still ticking...
19th-Dec-2014 03:33 pm - “Gerry Adams was a lying b*****d; Martin was the one we all respected.”
Suzanne Breen
Newshound
From: Sunday Life - 7 Dec 2014

A former top IRA man has branded Gerry Adams a "mendacious, lying b*****d" while praising Martin McGuinness as "a natural leader whom everybody respected".

But Kieran Conway, who was director of intelligence on the IRA's GHQ (General Headquarters) staff accused both men of "selling out republican goals and implementing British rule".

And, in an interview with Sunday Life, he said the peace deal for which the Provos settled "wasn't worth a drop of anybody's blood".

In his explosive new book, 'Southside Provisional', Conway- who is now a Dublin solicitor – gives an insiders' account of life in the IRA and the leadership figures with whom he rubbed shoulders.

He saw Gerry Adams as a cold, detached personality: "He was someone to whom I never warmed. If you were stuck in a room with him, he tended to flick through a newspaper rather than chat to you.

"Almost single-handedly, he pulled the movement in a certain direction by telling a lot of lies. It's clear now that the path he followed was a sell-out of republican ideals."

Conway – a law student from a middle-class Dublin family – dropped out of college to join the IRA in 1970. He left in 1975 but rejoined after the H-Block hunger-strike, remaining active until 1993.

As well as heading the IRA's intelligence department, he carried out armed robberies in Britain, and ran training camps in the use of firearms and explosives. He also engaged in paramilitary activity along the border and in Derry where he first met Martin McGuinness.

"Martin was a natural leader, a very impressive individual who cut a striking figure. I respected him hugely and looked up to him, everybody did," Conway said.

"There was a prissiness about Martin – he wasn't the sort you'd tell a dirty joke to – but I liked that. He kept a beady eye on our behaviour.

"He insisted on absolute politeness when we were mounting (IRA) roadblocks. We were under strict instructions to always say 'please' and 'thank you'."

Conway wasn't impressed with Provisional IRA founder member and former chief-of-staff, Joe Cahill.

"He couldn't make a decision to save his life. He was tight-fisted with the IRA's money to the point where it endangered volunteers' safety.

"I viewed Joe Cahill as a place seeker and a yes man who held onto power and prestige so long by always voting with the majority.

"In the 1980s and 90s as other veterans died, or followed Republican Sinn Féin, he became a virtual mascot behind whom the leadership could take cover before the older generation and Irish-America."

Conway served three years' imprisonment for arms' possession. In Crumlin Road jail, he knew Denis Donaldson, the Sinn Féin official turned spy who was shot dead in 2006.

"I liked Denis. In jail, he was on the extreme left of the republican movement like myself. I was greatly surprised when he was outed as a British agent. The word in republican circles was that he'd been blackmailed over sexual misbehaviour."

Conway said the Crumlin Road regime was remarkably relaxed with inmates making hooch and drinking smuggled vodka.

The situation got so out of control that Billy McKee, the IRA's prison commander, banned alcohol "after a couple of men were so drunk at our weekly film that they asked the screws to call them a taxi".

On another occasion, McKee – a devout Catholic – had to prohibit Ouija boards and bring in a priest to "decontaminate" cells where prisoners had used them.

"The game was judged a security risk because some prisoners were 'communicating' with dead soldiers who were supposedly naming other prisoners as their killers," Conway said.

As a member of IRA "staff" in Long Kesh, Conway held meetings with the UVF's Gusty Spence and the UDA's Jim Craig.

"I found Spence a pompous bigmouth. I despised his grandiose style. He called himself 'General Spence' and created dramatic situations, upping the ante, before capitulating meek as a lamb.

"I don't understand why the media or loyalists held him up as deep thinker. I'd much more time for Jim Craig. He was a wide boy who used his fists but he was likeable with none of Gusty's pretensions."

Conway left the IRA in December 1993 after Gerry Adams told republicans they could work with the Downing Street Declaration.

"That declaration, the Good Friday Agreement, and the Stormont power-sharing executive – they're not what people killed and died for," Conway said.

"I'm deeply disappointed that Martin McGuinness is Deputy First Minister, helping administer British rule."

(Newshound - 16 Dec 2014)
19th-Dec-2014 03:09 pm - Birmingham pub bombings: Ex-IRA chief admits 'we did it - and I am ashamed'
Four decades after the atrocity former senior IRA officer Kieran Conway admits the terrorist group carried out the Birmingham pub bombings

By Andy Richards
Birmingham Mail
9 December 2014
**Photos, links and video onsite



The Mulberry Bush after the attack

One of the IRA’s most senior former officers has admitted for the first time that the terror group is responsible for the Birmingham pub bombings.

Kieran Conway, who was head of the IRA’s intelligence-gathering department in the 1970s, broke a 40-year silence by the organisation to make the admission.

He admitted he was “appalled and ashamed” because he claimed the bombing of civilians went against everything it stood for.

He said the attacks on The Mulberry Bush and The Tavern in The Town had been in revenge for the death of IRA bomber James McDade.

At first he feared that the timing of the attacks - with very little warning - had been deliberate because “tempers were high”.

But he was later told that the IRA unit involved had tried to use “a succession of phone boxes” which were out of order, significantly delaying the bomb-warning call.

Conway, who makes the admissions in his new memoir, also revealed that soon after the bombings the IRA’s England Operational Commander and his adjutant “made it back home” to Dublin for an urgent de-brief and to assess the impact of the disaster as far as the terrorists were concerned.

Funding for the terrorists dried up almost overnight and the bombings, which left 21 dead and almost 200 injured, including many maimed for life, cost them hugely in the propaganda war.

And in an interview he confirmed that the IRA hierarchy in Dublin knew all along that the six Irishmen arrested for the explosions were innocent “from the get go, from the very start.”

Now, Julie and Brian Hambleton, who lost their sister Maxine in the bombings and lead the city’s Justice4the21 campaign, called on West Midlands Police and David Cameron to take immediate action.

Julie said: “I am expecting West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims and West Midlands Police Force to interview with Mr Conway with immediate effect.

“And I hope that Mr Cameron, who a week ago told The House of Commons that the pub bombers must be found, takes note of this development and ensures that the police follow this through.”

Brian added: “The police keep saying they won’t do anything because there is no fresh evidence. Well, here it is in black and white. It’s an admission. They have got to do something with this information.”

Mr Conway, now a criminal lawyer in Dublin, says in the book that where off-duty soldiers were the targets of bombings “I had little sympathy for either the soldiers or the unfortunate civilians who had been sharing their drinking space.”

He continued: “The Birmingham bombs were another matter. The bombings came after British police disrupted funeral arrangements for James McDade, a volunteer who had himself died in a premature explosion in England."

“Tempers were high and I, for one, certainly at first feared that the local IRA had knowingly caused these dreadful casualties – 21 people were killed and a great many others injured.”

“I was appalled and personally ashamed of the bombing, which went against everything we claimed to stand for.”

He said he told two other senior IRA figures, Dave O’Connell and Kevin Mallon “exactly what I thought” when they met up.

“In fact, both men were themselves furious, fully recognising not just the damage the bombing had caused to the IRA but its immorality as well.”

McDade, a lieutenant in the Birmingham Brigade of the IRA, blew himself up while trying to plant a bomb at Coventry Telephone exchange a week before the pub bombings.

Neither The Mulberry Bush nor The Tavern in The Town had any military connection.

Normal IRA procedure at the time for any attack on non-military targets was to give a 30-minute warning in order for full evacuations to take place.

The Birmingham Mail received an ambiguous call at 8.11pm on November 21. The caller did not identify either pub, referring instead to The Rotunda, above The Mulberry Bush and the New Street Tax Office, which was above the underground Tavern in The Town.

The first bomb destroyed The Mulberry Bush just six minutes later. The Tavern was destroyed at 8.27pm.

Conway was not directly involved in the debrief with the England Operational Commander.

But he said he was later told “that the early indications were that the casualties were the result of yet another failure in the warning system, a succession of phone boxes from which the warning might have been relayed having proved to be inoperable.”

In an interview with a national newspaper he described the Birmingham pub bombings as “a total disaster.”

He added that the secret ‘Feakle Talks’, held a couple of weeks after the bombings, were used by the IRA to try to start to repair its image after the Birmingham and the Guildford pub bombings.

The talks, in Feakle, County Clare, involved senior IRA officials and Protestant clergymen and ended abruptly after a tip-off that Irish Special Branch officers were on their way to arrest the republicans.

But they set in train a process that eventually led to a brief ceasefire that began on December 22, 1974.

Conway had been recruited in 1970, having been radicalised during the 1968 student protest movements.

He met with senior republicans, including future deputy first minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

Adams continues to deny that he was ever in the IRA.

Conway was later jailed in Belfast’s notorious Crumlin Road prison and went on hunger strike to achieve political status.

Although he left the IRA in 1975, he rejoined during the 1981 hunger strike, then finally broke with the republican movement for good in 1993 when the British and Irish governments announced the Downing Street Declaration.

He claimed the declaration basically reinforced partition.

“The IRA went on ceasefire, it decommissioned and did all the things they said they would never do, and disappeared into history,” he said.

“It was a complete and utter defeat, absolutely.”

In his book he also claims that rogue Irish police officers colluded with the IRA throughout the Troubles and that members of the Dublin establishment, including several mainstream politicians, aided the Provisionals in their armed campaign.
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