17 VICTIMS OF BRITISH JUSTICE .
Last month PATRICK MAGUIRE was released from an English jail after serving 10 years for a ‘terrorist’ crime he insists he did not commit . A wide range of prominent people , from Cardinal O’Fiaich to Sir John Biggs-Davison , believe him .
DAVID McKITTRICK , London Editor of ‘The Irish Times’ newspaper , re-examines the evidence .
From ‘Fortnight’ magazine , May 1984 .
There are two main types of Irish prisoners in British jails – those who say they are members of the Provisional IRA and those who say they are innocent . The recent release from Wakefield Prison of Patrick Maguire will focus attention on the second type .
The phenomenon of prisoners who go on protesting their innocence is virtually unknown in the North of Ireland and the 26 Counties , with the obvious exception of the Nicky Kelly case . Yet in Britain three separate sets of Irish people have been jailed on murder or bombing charges , who for almost a decade have maintained that they were wrongfully imprisoned .
In ten years of reporting in Northern Ireland (sic) , I never found a case where an innocent man or woman was sentenced to imprisonment . There were , of course , many criticisms that could be levelled at the justice system , but locking up the wrong people was not one of them . ( ‘ 1169 … ‘ Comment – How many of the so-called ‘Supergrass Trials’ did the author attend … ? None , apparently … )
In England , however , serious doubts surround the convictions of a total of 17 people jailed in connection with the IRA bombing campaign of 1974 – six for the Birmingham pub bombings , four for pub bombings in Guildford and Woolwich , and seven in the ‘Auntie Annie’s Bomb Factory’ case …….
THE IRA HAS TO DO WHAT THE IRA HAS TO DO …….
The Sinn Fein electoral wagon is slowing down . As a result , the IRA is likely to begin stepping up its war against the Northern State . GENE KERRIGAN reports from Belfast and also interviews Sinn Fein’s DANNY MORRISON on the party’s recent successes and failures .
From ‘ MAGILL ‘ magazine , September 1984.
Danny Morrison : ” Britain has dictated the political complexion of the 26 Counties . It’s a neo-colony . You’ve got them talking , for instance , about ‘National Wage Agreements ‘ – they’re not ‘national ‘ , they’re 26 counties . The ‘nation’ stops at Dundalk . You’ve this attempt to become insular and to try and create a nation out of 26 counties – which is a bigger contradiction than we face . ( ‘ 1169 … ‘ Comment – …and now we have Mr. Morrison and his colleagues sitting in , and/or supporting those that sit in , an assembly in this Free State which refers to itself as ‘ the Parliament of Ireland’ : Leinster House . Note that ‘Ireland’ , for that ‘Parliament’ at least , “stops at Dundalk.. ” . )
Sinn Fein faces massive problems in the 26 counties because obviously if the public considers the institutions of the State as being legitimate , and you’re trying to appeal to the public , surely you have to follow suit . And that’s a big problem for us , because our republican tradition says that we can’t follow suit – and I quite honestly don’t know how we are going to overcome the problem , but I just know that , as revolutionaries , as republicans , who have the responsibility to plot a political way forward … I think that we will do it , but we will do it by degrees . ” ( ‘ 1169 … ‘ Comment – …or it could be done by securing the votes of new members ; you know – the ‘militant nationaists’ we mentioned earlier … )
‘MAGILL’ Magazine : ” To what extent is Sinn Fein embarrassed by the IRA’s activities in the South – the kind of thing that the majority of people disagree with , armed robberies and the like ? ”
Danny Morrison : ” The IRA , in doing things , has the potential to electorally hurt Sinn Fein . Having said that , the IRA has to do what the IRA has to do . For example , in the abduction of Don Tidey – which obviously arose because the IRA needed finances to wage struggle in the North , it was directly related to the struggle in the North . If Dublin governments were proving to the ordinary people in the Six Counties that there is a constitutional , or a pacifist , negotiable way out of this crisis – well then , surely they would be undermining the IRA ? But they don’t do that . They ignore what’s going on in the North , they are part of the problem , they have actually perpetuated the problem by collaborating and giving the Brits hope that there can be a repressive method of killing this political crisis . ( ‘ 1169 … ‘ Comment – “..collaborating and giving the Brits hope … ” – like sitting in Stormont , you mean ? Like stating your intention that you are ….” prepared to administer British rule in Ireland for the foreseeable future … ” , as your colleague Francie Molloy did , in 1999 ? “…revolutionaries.. ” , Danny ?)
And so therefore , you have the nationalist people in the North , you have the IRA linked in to their interests and fighting for them – the IRA has to find funds somewhere and it’s obvious that it’s going to try and raise money in the 26 counties . It’s obvious ……. “
THE INTERROGATION OF STEPHEN MOORE ……. .
On 11 July 1986 , Stephen Moore , from Clones in County Monaghan , accepted £25,000 plus costs to settle an action out of court .
He had sued ‘Ireland’ and the Attorney General for injuries he had received in garda custody in Monaghan Garda Station in March 1983 .
In that same year , John Milne received £51,900 for injuries sustained at the hands of two named gardai in that same garda station . He was also awarded costs .
Despite the fact that more than £75,000 has been paid out as a result of garda activity in Monaghan Garda Station , no garda has been charged with a criminal offence . In fact , some of the gardai who were accused have been promoted .
Stephen Moore ; two Detectives : in his own words , this is what happened …
” My solicitor , Plunkett Taaffe , called for a doctor . She came . Examined me . She saw my hair was burnt and the state I was in . She gave me tablets , told me that I should be put back in my cell , that I should’nt be interrogated anymore . I was put back in my cell . A Detective who had hit me earlier came into my cell and he asked me would I see a doctor representing them . I said yes , of course . A doctor came in . Just as he was about to start the examination , I said to him that Doctor Caraher had been in a few minutes beforehand . He did’nt start the examination . He picked up his bag and he left . As far as I’m concerned , he did’nt want to be put in the position of conflicting doctors’ reports . When he left , I had no more interruptions . I was left in my cell .
On Monday morning , I was brought out of the cell . My father was at the station . They gave me breakfast . I went to the toilet . I noticed bruising to my groin and left thigh . I immediately called for Doctor Caraher again . She came and examined me . She saw the bruising . After the examination , she left . After she left , they said I could go . They wanted me to sign for my possessions that they had taken , which I refused . They gave me back my watch , my shoes , money , and released me without charge . That was roughly around half ten or that . ”
Stephen Moore was in the charge of at least 19 gardai during his arrest and detention . These included eleven Detectives . Some of those who assaulted him he can definitely identify . In other instances , he could , he says , put names to faces if he saw them again . Stephen Moore was never charged with anything . He had spent about 40 hours in custody under Section 30 . The gardai could have held him for 48 hours . He had been arrested once before , under Section 30 – that was during the H-Block hunger strike and around the time Bobby Sands MP died , in 1981 . He was arrested in Clones , County Monaghan , and held for 14 hours .
At that time , the gardai were making widespread arrests under Section 30 . Stephen Moore was not charged with any offence …….