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 claimed that a two-door car had been hijacked for a killing in 1981 and that it had been dumped in the Markets area of Belfast afterwards. It was a two-door car , but had been left back to its owner after the operation, and a witness description of the gunman involved corresponded more to Gerard Barkley , a friend of Kirkpatricks and his brother-in-law, than it did to the man named by Kirkpatrick, and Seanie McConkey , another RUC informer, claimed that different people altogether had taken part in that job. However , Gerard Steenson and two other men, Fitzpatrick and Power, were convicted of ‘murder’ .

Kirkpatrick had claimed that himself , Carroll , Grew and Steenson planned to kill a man in Armagh in 1981 ; he said they waited for twenty-five minutes before calling the operation off even though he had previously stated that they had allowed for a four hour wait. Kirkpatrick claimed that Grew had held a full household of people hostage as part of that operation , even though he admitted that Grew was not armed. Grew and Steenson were reluctantly acquitted.

Kirkpatrick claimed that Henry McNamee was involved in an attempted killing of a UDR soldier in 1981, but McNamee was in jail at the time and couldn’t have been involved – but Kirkpatrick was dogmatic about McNamee , to the extent that British Judge Carswell stepped-in to declare that Kirkpatrick was obviously “mistaken” rather than it being a case of him “deliberately falsifying” his ‘evidence’ . A man named Molloy was supposed to have given an account of the operation to Kirkpatrick , but that account was inaccurate . British Judge Carswell couldn’t resolve whether that was the fault of Kirkpatrick , Molloy or another man , named Fox – but nonetheless he convicted Steenson and a man named Power of ‘attempted murder’ on the ‘strength’ of that ‘evidence’ !

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.

One section of the CIA file on Mairin de Burca (it should be noted that the FBI deals only with occurrances within the USA , whereas the CIA deals with ‘enemies’ abroad) is composed of a number of newspaper clippings , one of which – from ‘The Baltimore Sun’ of April 1972 – carries an interview with Thomas MacGiolla, President of Official Sinn Fein . MacGiolla remarks that the party’s recent activities included sending its Secretary , Mairin de Burca , “…to the Middle East to attend some big conferences organised by Al Fatah last year…” Five months later , this turns up in de Burca’s file as – “…has several times visited Arab guerrillas in the Middle East , presumably for training in revolutionary tactics..”

From such little acorns grow the oaks of visa refusals , phone tapping , special courts and the like. It is important to remember that when the cops here stand up in court and swear that “to my knowledge” so-and-so has done this or that , their knowledge is like as not gathered on the same basis as the above !

5th October 1970 , Dublin : Richard Milhaus Nixon waved and smiled , waved and smiled , smiled and waved and smiled . Then he ducked as an object came hurtling towards his head…….

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 frustration existing on this score can be well illustrated , however, by the State Customs and Excise Union’s submission to the State Oireachtas Select Committee on Crime , Lawlessness and Vandalism in April 1984 : they pleaded for the provision of such basic drug detection facilities as sniffer dogs, baggage x-ray equipment and vehicle examination bays . Virtually every customs service in the world possesses such facilities , yet with a major drugs importation problem this State does not !

In addition , the CPAD groups have called for the provision of drop-in centres in each drugs-affected community to give kids who have kicked the drugs habit the encouragement to stay clean : at present there are only two such centres in Dublin.

These demands were put by the CPAD groups to Fianna Fail opposition spokesperson on health , Michael Woods, in September 1984 and he at least listened to them – but then he would , wouldn’t he , as he’s not in power and can’t actually do anything! The person who could do something is the State health minister , Barry Desmond. And he wouldn’t even listen to them…….

About 11sixtynine

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