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.

One week after turning ‘Supergrass’ , Harry Kirkpatrick found out that he wasn’t getting immunity . He changed solicitors and prepared to challenge the statements he made and was examined by a psychiatrist. He said that the statements had been extracted by threats and abuse , that he had been offered bribes and immunity , that statements of informers had been put in front of him.

He also said that he hadn’t got valium at Castlereagh Interrogation Centre , as he usually did, and that he cried . Then Harry changed his mind and , also once again , changed his solicitor . He decided to plead guilty and give evidence against his friends . This happened on 19th January 1983 ; between 2.30pm and 3pm that day , Gerard Barkley came to see him . As Barkley left , his RUC friends arrived and he told them of his change of mind and denied that he told Barkley that he was going to turn and to get off side . He also denied passing a note to his wife which read – “things are going my way now.”

In the following months , his wife was kidnapped by the INLA to try and get him to retract , and his step-father and sister were also held by the INLA . In June , he pleaded guilty to seventy-seven counts , including five killings . He received five life sentences , with no recommended minimum . Twelve days later he was again back in court , apparently at his own request , to clear one outstanding matter – the killing of UDA member William ‘Bucky’ McCullough. British Crown counsel got up and said that since Kirkpatrick was in prison at the time of the killing of William McCullough , all charges were being dropped against him . Kirkpatrick now had a clean slate regarding that issue but the strange thing about that is that Kirkpatrick was not in prison at the time . Nonetheless , the British decided not to proceed with charges in that case , meaning that there were now no outstanding charges against Kirkpatrick…….

A Dublin District Justice was accused by American embassy intelligence personnel of encouraging left wing agitators and tolerating hostile acts against the United States…….
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, ‘Christmas Special’ 1980.

The telegram is just one of over a hundred secret documents recently obtained from US intelligence agencies under the Freedom of Information Act : the documents give an amusing and sometimes incredible picture of the absurdities indulged in by the intelligence agencies while trying to justify their budgets and assuage their fear of dissidents. They also demonstrate that the US tax payers are getting lously value for their money!

In September 1972 Mairin de Burca , then Joint Secretary of Official Sinn Féin , sought a visa to go to the United States but was refused on the grounds of “moral turpitude” . It subsequently dawned on de Burca that she didn’t need a visa – her parents were naturalised US citizens and she could therefore claim American citizenship . This she did and she was thus able to visit the US in 1976 and to speak at a number of meetings there .

In 1977 she left Official Sinn Féin , dropped out of politics and shortly afterwards became a journalist . Some time ago , on a whim, she wrote to Washington demanding access to any files that might have been kept on her political activities in the 1970’s . Under the Freedom of Information Act , which was passed after the agencies had been caught breaking the law once too often while snooping , any US citizen is entitled to scrutinise copies of any files being kept on her or himself. While refusing to release 40 of the documents and heavily censoring most of the rest (usually in order to protect informers) the spooks released enough information to show the determination with which they keep files on Irish individuals and politicians – and their level of incompetence at so doing…….

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.

The IRA spokesperson then drew a clear line between local pushers and those who organise and finance the distribution of drugs : ” There are , however, some characters operating who will never be affected by community action since they do not live anywhere near where the problem has taken hold. These are totally cynical and callous business people who will exploit unscrupulously to fill their own pockets. We issue a strong warning to those people that they will not be safe , no matter where they live. They are the ones who are making vast profits from the misery of young people, and we are keeping a constant watch on them.”

Four Dublin men are currently serving sentences of up to nine years in Portlaoise Prison, related to a kidnapping that was aimed at combatting gun attacks on anti-drugs committees by organised drug pushers. Meanwhile , dozens of well-known heroin pushers are permitted by the gardai to walk the streets of Dublin freely plying their trade of death.

There are now 62 gardai assigned to that force’s Drug Squad , compared with 45 up until September 1983 and only 20 in 1981. There is precious little evidence , however, that this extra manpower marks a serious commitment to dealing with the source of the problem – the organisers of the drugs racket . Indeed , what little success they have had serves better to illustrate the increase in drug abuse that is exploding in all major cities…….

About 11sixtynine

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

    I love supergrass..they are fantastic¡¡..I love it¡¡

  2. Hi Cursos!
    I presume it’s the ‘Supergrass’ article you like , and not the actual ‘Supergrasses’ themselves ?

  3. Hi UK Assignments!
    You are most welcome – we’re glad to be of some help to you.
    Thanks for visiting!

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