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 gave ‘evidence’ about a post office robbery in 1980 in which he claimed to be involved ; he said he wore a scarf and his companion wore a mask , but witnesses contested this. So Kirkpatrick changed his ‘evidence’ saying that he was wearing nothing on his face and that the second man was wearing the scarf !

One woman claimed that one of the robbers had put his arm around her neck and that the burglar alarm had gone off , yet Kirkpatrick never mentioned these incidents – so British Judge Carswell ruled that the woman was mistaken. Gerard Steenson and two other men , Conway and McGrann , were nevertheless convicted.

Kirkpatrick said that the Carroll brothers and Oliver Grew were involved in the killing of a British Army ‘Territorial’ soldier in Armagh in 1980 , but then Kirkpatrick forgot all about the involvement in this incident of Oliver Grew in subsequent statements he gave to the RUC and, when this was brought to his attention, he simply said that he forgot about his involvement! The forensic evidence did not tally with the account given by Kirkpatrick of that incident , but Gerard Steenson was still convicted , while Oliver Grew was acquitted…….

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 original refusal to give Mairin de Burca a visa to enter America is understandable in the light of the information in her file , on which that decision was based . It would appear, from this file, that as a danger to society as we know it , de Burca ranks about equal with the destruction of the ozone layer !

The file lists , from information supplied by the Gardai, a number of convictions – all minor and stemming from demonstrations against the Vietnam War , the housing scandal and other such occasions of ‘sin’ . Given the contemporary view of that period, such convictions can be proudly regarded as ‘campaign medals’ in the fight for a less murderous world , but in that file they amounted to ‘proof’ of the “moral turpitude” of a person who was “…a well known fanatic agitator who was once described in a local press interview as “sracastic (sic) , sharp tounged (sic) , stubborn gritty and sometimes severe…” “

“Sracastic” and sharp “tounged” , and even ‘sarcastic’ and sharp ‘tongued’ , Mairin de Burca may be on occasion but anyone with more than a gnat’s knowledge of Irish politics knows that she was never involved with the militarist aspects of republicanism. It is interesting , however, to see how a case is built up by the ‘spooks’…….

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.

What is very clear , however, is that Barry Desmond’s ‘concern’ with the heroin crisis, like the ‘concern’ of many other establishment politicians , has cynically manifested itself only in the wake of the establishment’s very real concern about (P) Sinn Féin’s growing popularity within Dublin’s working-class communities.

Barry Desmond has consistently directed his hostility against the Concerned Parents Against Drugs group and what he terms republican/’subversive’ involvement in the fight against heroin. Instead of genuinely trying to combat a problem that has killed young people and ruined the lives of hundreds more, and torn families and whole communities apart , Barry Desmond has instead played party politics and refused to meet delegations from the various ‘Concerned Parents’ groups which contained individual (P) Sinn Féin members.

The ‘CPAD’ movement, representing groups in 24 Dublin communities , has identified the importation of drugs as the key problem to be dealth with ; individual CPAD groups can rid their own communities of drug pushers , but as long as heroin is available the problem will only shift elsewhere. The State Customs service is aware of that fact , but the politicians in Leinster House will not listen to them , either…….

About 11sixtynine

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