Twenty-six men were convicted on the word of Harry Kirkpatrick. On their appeal against those convictions could well rest the future of the ‘Anglo-Irish Agreement’
(‘The Hillsborough Treaty’)
. Based on a full transcript of the Kirkpatrick trials , the story of how these convictions were obtained shows why the ‘Supergrass System’ is a pale shadow of justice.
By Derek Dunne. From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, February 1986.

Henry ‘Harry’ Kirkpatrick was a bit of a tearaway . He had been up for joy-riding , and often took off to Dundalk , Dublin and Cork without telling his father . The feud between the Officials and the PLA resulted in young Henry being fired at a couple of times and then the RUC found a sawn-off shotgun , which belonged to the PLA , hidden up his father’s chimney . Henry lied through his teeth when he made a statement about the shotgun , ending his account with the words – ” I am as white as the driven snow” !

He got bail , robbed a bank with his friend Gerard Barkley, got caught , made another statement , told more lies . He produced his father and two alibi ‘witnesses’ in court , said the statement he gave was induced and that he had been slapped around the place by the RUC . He claimed that the only part of the statement that was true was his name ; but the court was not convinced of his innocence and he was convicted of possession and robbery and got nine years for the robbery charge . It was 1975 that this happened , when he was only eighteen years old . He would spend five years in what he would later call ” a paramilitary cess pit.”

That “cess pit” was Long Kesh. Kirkpatrick was a keep fit fanatic , doing training and weight lifting etc five or six hours a week , every week . He was sworn into the revamped PLA – the INLA, which ran its prison compound in a highly structured manner , along army lines , and Kirkpatrick was quick in picking-up tips on guerrilla warfare . He read Trotsky , Stalin , Marx , Lenin and an assortment of communist literature , and went to prison meetings and lectures on politics and military violence . He rose to the rank of Compound Quartermaster…….

Customs Officers in England have arrested a man who could blow the lid off an embarrassing British Intelligence operation against the Provisional IRA , when he answers drug smuggling charges in London later this year.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, July 1980.
By James Curtis.

A member of Britain’s ‘Independent Broadcasting Authority’ has since told a ‘London Weekend Television’ producer that they would have banned the LWT programme on Howard Marks anyway , had Michael Grade not already done so , on advice from MI5 , the British internal security agency. LWT knew “only a twentieth of the whole story” , the IBA member said cryptically : the Howard Marks programme would have “jeopardised current operations” .

Information about Marks’ precise role with MI6 is naturally scarce ; he told his parents that drugs were being sold to raise money to buy arms for the Provisional IRA and his job was to find the banks where the money that was made was being kept and he also claimed that MI6 blackmailed him over his drug dealings to get him to co-operate with them !

MI6 has admitted to police investigating his disappearance only that Marks worked as an agent for a while in 1973 , collecting information about the PIRA , but James McCann who associated with him in 1973 (and perhaps after) has claimed that Marks was a double agent , betraying information about British Intelligence . If this is true , then there is all the more reason for the British authorities to keep the lid on the story…….

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEROIN IN DUBLIN……. The drugs crisis is one of the major problems facing young people in Dublin today. In large areas of the city it has now reached massive proportions , while in the inner city there is estimated to be a higher percentage of drug addicts and drug abusers than in Harlem in New York . But it has been only recently – 5 years after this epidemic began in earnest – that any notice has been paid to the problem. And even now the Free State government has failed to confront the crisis in a meaningful way . Tony Barry of Na Fianna Eireann has been looking at the issues for ‘IRIS’ magazine.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, December 1984.

Just how rapid the drug growth can be is illustrated by the fact that in one Dublin inner-city parish , between 1979 and 1983 , the number of young people taking drugs and looking for treatment shot up from 300 to 1,500 , but no-one knows exactly how many heroin users there are in Dublin . Estimates vary from a conservative 1,500 to an unofficial figure of 6-7,000 , although the real figure is probably somewhere in between.

A survey on drug abuse among teenage schoolchildren in the greater Dublin area , conducted by the Medico-Social Research Board in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Community Medicine, found that “…at least one fifth of the 5,178 children surveyed in the 16-18 year old groups had taken drugs . Four times as many children under 16 years of age had taken drugs than was the case 10 years ago and up to 35% used marijuana occasionally , 1% admitted using heroin – half of those said that they used it on a weekly basis.”

The children were also asked if they had been offered what they thought were addictive drugs : ” 11% of girls under 16 years of age said they had , and 23% of boys under 16 said the same . Over 25% of girls over 16 years of age and nearly 39% of boys in the same age group said they had been offered hard drugs……. “

About 11sixtynine

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