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.

Harry Kirkpatrick tells how he used his father’s driving licence to hire cars for military operations , and names his sister as being involved . And also names his brother-in-law and his best friend Gerard Barkley. For more than twenty days the namings go on , followed by court examinations and cross-examinations , during which Kirkpatrick refuses to turn around to look at his questioners . But occasionally he smirks.

He describes the most appalling killings with a casualness that is unreal but , again and again he is caught out for telling lies . He again and again refuses to accept that he said certain things to the RUC but , when documents are produced to prove otherwise he accepts the contents of those documents and claims that he remembers very little about the interviews he had with the RUC but states that the only thing he is really clear about are the events themselves .

But , again and again, he is wrong about crucial details – for example , when he names Henry McNamee as being involved in a ‘job’ , McNamee was actually in jail when it was supposed to have taken place . Overall , his ‘evidence’ is far from satisfactory . The nervous twitch he has in his right eye gets worse as the ‘trial’ wears on , and it is noticable that he claims to remember very little from the time of his arrest to now…….

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.

In March 1974 , the Littlejohn brothers broke out of Mountjoy Prison : Kenneth fled to Holland where he gave his famous interview to the BBC which caused such a rumpus. Shortly afterwards , Howard Marks disappeared . A man who claimed to be with ‘Customs and Excise’ called at his Oxford lodgings where Marks was babysitting while his girlfriend was out . He handed the child to his landlady and , without even taking a jacket , fled the house.

He went to the USA and then Canada , where he was caught up in deportation proceedings . Whilst his appeal was on-going , he surfaced in France and , in April 1978 , was arrested there by French police near Cannes . He now faced extradition.

Then the West German government announced that they wanted him for questioning over the bombing of a British Army computer centre at Moenchengladbach in September 1973…….

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.

A few drug treatment centres do exist , but their already overstretched facilities are painfully inadequate to deal with the growth of the problem. The Jervis Street unit in Dublin has only nine beds available in the detoxification ward so that the vast majority of people it deals with are forced into the position of being ‘outpatients’ .

Jervis Street Hospital is due to move to a new site at Beaumont , on the north side of Dublin, where there will be ten beds in the new detoxification ward . In addition , the Task Force report has said that the drugs unit at Jervis Street will be maintained and a further unit set up at St James’ Hospital, but has given no concrete outline of how and when this will be done.

The only residential treatment centre in the State is the Coolmine Therapeutic Community : its importance lies in the fact that while centres like Jervis Street can try to wean addicts off heroin by administering smaller and smaller quantities of less addictive drugs over a period of weeks , the psychological dependence on heroin runs so deep in addicts that they additionally need the supportive counselling and full-time care that only a residential centre can provide . Coolmine , however, has limited facilities and a long waiting list…….

About 11sixtynine

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