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 .

In the ‘Auntie Annie’ case , Patrick Maguire , his wife Annie , two of their teenage sons , two other relatives and a friend were all jailed . Only Annie herself now remains in prison and although she is due for release next year the momentum of the campaign to clear the names of those found guilty seems to be growing .

The story began in late 1974 , following IRA bombs at pubs in guidford and Woolwich which killed seven people and injured a hundred more . The police picked-up two young Belfastmen , Gerry Conlon and Paul Hill , and interrogated them . Conlon is said to have confessed to bombings , adding that Annie Maguire , his aunt , showed him and others how to make bombs in the kitchen of her London home . Paul Hill is said to have confirmed this .

The police raided the Maguire house , arrested the occupants and searched the place : nothing was found in the search and none of the people would admit to knowing anything about bombs . But forensic tests on the fingernails of six of the people , and on a pair of kitchen gloves used by Annie Maguire , were said to have yielded traces of nitroglycerine . On this ‘evidence’ , the seven defendants were found guilty of handling explosives .

Patrick and Annie Maguire were sentenced to fourteen years , the judge remarking that he wished he could jail them for life . Annie’s brother , Sean Smyth , also got fourteen years . Annie’s sixteen year old son Vincent got five years , and her thirteen year old son Patrick got four years . Her brother-in-law , Guiseppe Conlon , and a family friend , Patrick O’Neill , both got twelve years …….


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 : ” Now , the way to get rid of the IRA is to solve the problem , not try and crack down on the IRA . Because the IRA is popular , it has support , and the Free State government needs to recognise that . Otherwise they would have beaten the IRA twelve years ago . But the IRA continues to exist .

Even if they introduced internment , even if they introduced capital punishment , even if they rounded up everybody , the problem still would’nt go away . They have to face up to the problem – and the problem is that in this country Britain claims that it has the right to occupy a certain amount of the territory on behalf of the national minority , the loyalists . Now , it would be quite different if loyalist politicians were very , very broad-minded , decent people who wanted to share power , give us jobs , give us decent housing – ( ‘ 1169 …. ‘ Comment – …that ‘stay if you want , just treat us better’ attitude is now in control of Provisional Sinn Fein . Republicans , on the other hand , are opposed to the jurisdictional claim from Westminster over six Irish counties ) as it is the loyalists are sectarian , almost racist – when you consider George Seawright , who was only speaking his mind , he’s being an honest man .

Britain is in here with guns , with finances , protecting the national minority , which is screwing and trying to make second-class citizens of us . And what does Dublin do about it ? Dublin , which has a constitutional claim , a territorial claim , over the North , Dublin which claims to be the inheritors of the 1916 men – it does nothing , except collaborate and perpetuate the problem . That is why you get the IRA , out of desperation , raising finances , using the methods that it does , in the 26 counties . And that is the tragedy of the situation . I would prefer that the IRA was handed money from somewhere else , that it did not have to go out and carry out armed raids – it would certainly make life easier for Sinn Fein ……. “


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 was again arrested in 1984 . Of a total of three Section 30 arrests , no charges were ever preferred . Neither were any charges brought against Fintan MacPhillips . He and Stephen Moore were friends ; MacPhillips was also arrested on 12 March 1983 , six hours before Stephen Moore . Both were 21 years old at the time .

Fintan MacPhillips was arrested around 12.45 pm that afternoon by two uniformed gardai ; he was taken to Clones Garda Station and his pockets were emptied . He was placed in a cell and a couple of hours later , two gardai interviewed him . They accused him of having been involved in hi-jacking the Post Office van in the North ; he was ‘pushed around’ slightly and then put back in his cell . Around 5.30 pm he was taken out and photographed and swab tested .

He was put back in his cell and then taken out to a different room . He was interviewed there by two Detectives : in his own words , this is Fintan MacPhillips’ description of what happened then … ” A Detective hit me a box on the shoulder and started a tirade of abuse . I was hit in the stomach and there were thumps to the back of my head ……. ”


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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