Kate Nash RFÉ 27 August 2016

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Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to Kate Nash (KN) via telephone from Doire and gets updates on the Bloody Sunday cases. (begins time stamp ~ 39:48)

MG: With us on the line we have Kate Nash whose brother was one of the victims murdered by British troopers on Bloody Sunday and is still fighting to have those troopers brought to court and be publicly charged for the crimes that they committed that day. Kate, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann – I know you’ve been doing this programme a lot longer than I have.

KN:  Oh, thank you, yes, and thank you for inviting me.

MG:  Alright, Kate. Now we now have another milestone in the Bloody Sunday, in your fight to bring those British troopers to justice for the murder of your brother, the wounding of your father, the killing and wounding of so many other people. What is the latest that has happened with your fight for justice?

KN:  Yes well, we got an update eight days ago from the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) to actually say that they had finished questioning soldiers and that will be the end of questioning when this is all together so that’s very significant in our fight for justice and especially in this murder investigation because it’s taken four years to get this far so yes, you’re right, it’s a very significant milestone.

However, they have also told us that they will now sit and consider and see about compiling a case to present to the Public Prosecution Service. But however, there’s a little fear there, too – because they did warn us, the leading detective on this case, did warn us four years ago when it started that it could possibly be – they might not prosecute using that term ‘public interest’. It’s a (inaudible) term you know so they might not think it’s in the public interest to prosecute these soldiers.

MG:  Alright Kate, I know it seems – four years for this investigation, they’ve been through so much, you had a Saville Inquiry, you had the original investigation – for most of these troopers, they said they had to be questioned – all they did is said they wouldn’t answer any questions. Why did it take four years to get to this point and why is it you still – you and the other families have no idea whether they will even recommend that charges be brought and of course, that recommendation would have to be approved or disapproved by the Director of Public Prosecutions like what we would call a District Attorney here in New York.

KN: Well, we also have to remember that at the Saville Inquiry – Saville had the powers of a High Court and he himself could have recommended prosecutions at the end of that. He chose not to do that. And if fact, there was a lot of perjury committed by soldiers at the Saville Inquiry and he could have recommended even arrests for that and he didn’t do it. So I think just…I mean the delays in this case and the unwillingness, really, to actually prosecute soldiers – it’s been that way all along. We have fought from the very start and it seems, really, that before they get soldiers into court the idea really is for us to die off, you know, that seems to be – the judiciary here, as you know, Martin, the judiciary here have been unwilling to deal with any of these cases, any of these state murders, and that’s the way it is. We’ve become used to that. So it’s another wait for us now to find out if they will actually, if the Public Prosecution, will actually prosecute.

MG: But Kate, this case – we’re talking with Kate Nash whose brother was one of the Bloody Sunday victims who was killed, whose father was wounded on Bloody Sunday and is actually one of the people who leads the Bloody Sunday Marches each year – in this case you had a British Prime Minister say that this was ‘unjustified and unjustifiable killings’ – that’s a legal definition of murder if I ever heard one. You had Saville talk about how the testimony under oath was knowingly not truthful which seems to fit, pretty much, a legal definition of perjury. How is there any hesitation, how is there any hold up, how is there any doubt as to whether they would recommend charges of murder or manslaughter or perjury against those troopers?

KN: Yes, well the fact of the matter is there has been political interference from the start and went all through – not just in the case of Bloody Sunday – in other cases as well. And the fact is they simply don’t want to put soldiers in jail. I don’t know if it’s because there’s been deals made, I’m pretty sure there has been, the Good Friday Agreement – and I think they probably all decided that an apology would be enough. As a matter of fact it’s not enough. An apology certainly wouldn’t take the place of justice for anybody and it certainly won’t take the place of justice for us or most of the families. I believe there is one or two families who would be involved with Sinn Féin who are happy enough with this apology. However, we’re not – most of the families aren’t.

MG: Alright. Now, how far up do you expect, if there are charges at all, is it just going to be…

KN: …Yes, well if there are charges I would expect – I have asked, on many occasions, I’m in touch with the PSNI at least once a week by email. And I have asked have they questioned General Sir Michael Jackson, who took a leading role on the day of Bloody Sunday. He was the man who compiled the famous ‘shot list‘ where bullets went and also the man responsible for putting the story around the world in fact within twenty-four hours that those who were shot that day were bombers and gunmen and indeed, they did try to allude to the fact that my brother was one of those people.

MG: Now Mike Jackson is a senior British officer at this time. But it’s clear: British soldiers were brought together. They were given a scenario to comply with, to tell a story to try to justify what happened and concoct it – you don’t get that many different stories from that many different people. They all say the same thing and they all say something which is so different from what everybody saw on Bloody Sunday itself. They couldn’t have done that unless there was a concerted effort to concoct and stick to and give out a cover story.

KN: Oh, absolutely!

MG: Do you think that there’s any possibility of somebody, British officers who did that, who concocted the cover story, who started it and put out the cover-up of them being charged for perjury and for perverting the course of justice in a murder investigation?

KN: Well absolutely! I feel that General Sir Mike Jackson should be one of those who’s charged with perjury. There’s a very strong case actually for it. He actually appeared back at the Saville Inquiry and had to be called back a second time because of lies he told the first time. So absolutely there’s a case for it. However, when we do ask the PSNI about this they tell me: It’s inappropriate for us to answer these questions and you know, you’ll find, eventually, whenever the time is right, you know so – I don’t know. But certainly they won’t even actually confirm that they’re questioning General Sir Mike Jackson – but however and indeed the soldier who led them in, Derek Wilford, Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford, so we’ll have to just wait and see.

MG: He was knighted, of course. But in, for example…

KN: …Yes, he was. He was given an OBE at the end of 1972.

MG: …In the United States, if you had a case like this, the District Attorney, the police would attempt to liaise with the families of the victims. They would speak to them, they would keep them updated, they would brief them. Does any of that happen with you and the other Bloody Sunday families on any sort of regular basis?

KN:  No. We have probably met with the PSNI in four years probably about six times. Now last time we met with the PSNI was actually – and I’m talking the families – was actually almost a year ago – September – it will be a year since we met with them. Although my Liaison Officer, who is somebody who forwards my messages to the leading detective – you know, she’s what we have – a buffer – she told me that she didn’t think the PSNI would be meeting with the families soon so it’ll be interesting to see.

MG:  Just to show you how this is not something that just happened once on Bloody Sunday: During this past week there was something very poignant: Mary Murphy, whose husband, Joseph Murphy, was shot down in Ballymurphy in 1971, in August of 1971, in what is called the Ballymurphy Massacre and what happened the same regiment, the Paratroop Regiment which would fire on civil rights marchers and shoot down people on Bloody Sunday in Doire in January of 1972. In August of 1971 during internment they shot down a number of people. Mr. Murphy who was killed so many years ago – actually his body was recently exhumed. They found that he was shot twice and he had to be re-buried along with his wife. But those families, the Ballymurphy Massacre families, who are also a victim of injustice, also victims of British murder at the hands of the Paratroop Regiment, they haven’t even got to the point where you are, they haven’t even got an inquiry, they haven’t even got to the point where their cases will be taken up and there would be any consideration given about murder charges against the troopers?

KN:  Joseph Murphy, as you rightly pointed out, Joseph Murphy was shot between the ninth and the eleventh of August in 1971. That’s six months before Bloody Sunday and rightly you said, too, by the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. Now Joseph Murphy’s story is very sad: He was a forty-one year old father of twelve and Joseph was actually shot over that three day period in the leg. Now Joseph maintained – Joseph lay in hospital for thirteen days before he actually passed away and Joseph maintained to his wife, Mary Ellen, that they had actually him after they shot him the Army had actually taken him to the Henry Taggart Hall, which they were using you know, as a stop-gap, and they’d actually shot him in the same wound a second time! Now, how cruel is that? And he maintained that so his wife disputed that evidence all those years and finally Joseph was exhumed last year and lo and behold! There was the bullet! The family had known all along. Now the families of Ballymurphy are expecting inquests and I’m told that some day they actually – it was actually her lawyer, Michael Mansfield from London, is going to represent some of those families so I wish them all the best I really do. They’ve some struggle, the really had and they’ve had all along – they’ve gotten absolutely no where so they’re just putting everything they wish for on these inquests but it’s not prosecutions – it’s just going to get the truth out there – hopefully. Hopefully.

MG: Alright now Kate, you have been one of the leaders in the annual Bloody Sunday March which continues every year and I know you’re expecting to be marching next January again…

KN: …Absolutely!

MG: …which you have so many years. Why is it that it’s so necessary to march, to put pressure on the British government, to go forward if you’re ever to get justice in this for your brother’s murder?

KN: Martin, we just don’t actually do the march. We have a whole week of events and it’s raising and highlighting other injustices and many other victims of state killers actually. And indeed and for instance like Stakeknife. You’ve heard of him – he was a double agent. He worked for the IRA and the British government or MI5 and those are the kind of cases that we’re – because there was a lot of collusion in our wee country, an awful lot of collusion. And although the British say that they feel they were only responsible for ten percent in actual fact, with the undercover groups that worked in Ireland and just behaving as paramilitaries, really, and just the shoot-by-killings and stuff like that I mean, I would imagine they’ve killed many, many more people. And it’s incumbent upon them, you see, to cover that up. They don’t want to be disgrace in the world by perpetuating a war – and that’s what they did in Ireland – they perpetuated a war by their acts of aggression and their acts of murder and undercover, of course, and that’s what they don’t want to world to find out – what they have done in Ireland. Really they should be facing a war crimes tribunal, they really should.

MG:  Well what they did on Bloody Sunday was still – there were civil rights marches, there was internment and by shooting people down on Bloody Sunday they convinced many people that you were never get civil rights, you were never going to get any kind of justice from a British government that was prepared to answer marches for justice and appeals for civil rights with Bloody Sunday and shooting down civilians and lying about it.

KN: …And of course, we still have internment. Of course, we still have internment. And we still – there’s still political interference in the law. You know of the case of Ivor Bell. There’s one grand example and also the latest example would be Tony Taylor, a man who got out on licence and who was living his life and helping in the community, raising his family, one of his children is special needs, and Tony, who only has one kidney actually and a spleen – doesn’t have a spleen – Tony was arrested again and put in jail and he’s been there for five and a half months and there has been no evidence put up to show that this man should be in jail again. They’ve absolutely nothing at all and so they have him there – they won’t let him out.

I mean this is supposed to be a democratic country we live in. You know, this sort of thing? This is what we fought against forty-five years ago. This is why my brother died. And here it is all these years later and we still have that kind of thing hanging – that kind of dictatorship hanging over our heads.

MG:  Well one of the sad things is that Martin McGuinness and others with Sinn Féin have publicly said that Tony Taylor should be released. They have representation on the policing board. They’re there, they say they have political power within the Six Counties as Deputy First Minister and yet that means absolutely nothing – a British Secretary keeps him in jail.

KN: That’s right. Well, that shows you really who’s running the show.

MG: Alright, Kate. We’ll let that be the last word. And thank you again for being with us.

KN: Well, thank you for having me. Thank you very much. (ends time stamp ~ 55:47 )

Padraig McShane RFÉ 27 August 2016

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Martin Galvin (MG) interviews Independent Councillor Padraig McShane (PM) via telephone from Co. Antrim about the gates of the GAA and the altercations that occurred at the recent Ballycastle Orange Order parade. (begins time stamp ~ 10:49)

MG:  We now have Padraig McShane. Padraig, welcome to Radio Free Éireann. I believe this is your first time with us.

PM:  Thank you very much. I’m very honoured to be here.

MG:  Padraig, I see in the Irish News a picture of two gates – McAllister McVeigh Memorial Park – background to the park is that it was named that in 1947 – that’s even before I was born, they had that name, they had those gates and it’s there to honour two men who died in 1922 – that’s nearly a century ago. Why is it that those two names, McAllister McVeigh Memorial Park, why is it that they are causing such a controversy when money was voted to that community, to that park, that there is pressure to take those names, those gates down – those names off it and to put them where – to hide those names so they would no longer be in an honoured place in the park?

PM:  Yeah, first of all I’ll explain the background to you: The allocation of funding would be based on need, there had been needs analysis done and where there’s an identified need funding would go to that area – support them communities and help them to bring projects which support communities, support sport and support health and well-being. Obviously, the games was an area of neglect for years in the Nationalist community in The Glens of Antrim and it was neglected for years by local councils. When the opportunity arose with the new council it was immediately flashing red lights – these projects were bringing up red lights in this area here saying that money had to be spent and communities had to be supported in our area. The Council themselves had no grounds, no facilities whatsoever, so the GAA club offered to step in and facilitate a community group in the area and the community group applied for funding after leasing part of the grounds from the GAA club, the local GAA club in Glenariffe.

Whenever they had obtained the funding there was a caveat put on it and the caveat was by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) who called for the removal of the gates to two IRA Volunteers who were shot in 1922 during the Tan War.

MG:  Alright. That was Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh. And you’re saying the Democratic Unionist Party, the party headed by Arlene Foster, founded by Ian Paisley, previously headed by Peter Robinson, then they objected to funding this park that had been named in the 1940’s. What was their reason for doing that?

PM:  The reason for doing it was fairly simple: If I look at any funding that has went to Nationalist communities in the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council area, there would have been no gates, there would have been no IRA members here but what we’re seeing we’re seeing a pattern of blockage of community infrastructure funding the maintain area to support communities, to help with like chances, to help get them facilities. Now we would have seen them blocked in the past. I can think of one example in Dungiven where a major funding project was to go ahead and the Council themselves obtained eighty percent funding and had to submit twenty percent support funding to obtain a two point three million pound project. They refused. And they refused on the basis of nothing more than Dungiven would be seen as a strong Nationalist and strong Republican part of south Doire.

MG:  So do you feel that it was really because of the gates or do you feel that it was more just because they didn’t want to fund a Nationalist area like this and this just gave them an excuse for doing so?

PM:  The gates were one hundred percent were an excuse. Now obviously, the Democratic Unionist Party wouldn’t be renown for supporting Republicans and certainly Republican martyrs and the gates were to give them and their supporters an ideal opportunity to attack Republicans and Nationalists in the Causeway Coast and Glens area. That said, the Council took legal opinion and that legal opinion came back to suggest that there was actually nothing that could be done to block the funding. As I said before we had done quite a number of surveys and done needs analysis in that area and the money was needed in that area. The GAA did step up to the plate in Glenariffe and for that we were very thankful because the Causeway Coast and Glens never invested in the area. They do not have lands in the area when they should have lands and they should have public facilities in the area but they did not have that – the Friends of Glenariffe, which is a group set up to deliver support networks in The Glens ward obtained lands from the GAA. Subsequent to that the demand to removed the gates with the two Volunteers names on it stirred up a hornet’s nest as you could imagine and left a very bitter taste in the mouth of a lot of Republicans and Nationalists within the Glens community.

MG:  Well, these are not just patriots who were killed almost a hundred years ago, May of 1922. They, Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh, they were actually from the local area and have families in the local area. Is that correct?

PM:  They have families in the local area to this day. They would actually have family members part and parcel supporting the club itself so you can imagine it’s very small rural community but at its epicentre is the GAA and the epicentre of the GAA is obviously the sports grounds and the field itself named after these two Volunteers.

MG:  Alright. Where does the funding stand? There was a meeting – I believe it was passed by a very small – by a vote of one vote. Is the club going to get this funding? Will they have to remove the gates in order to get it?

PM:  The club will get the funding. The club will not have to remove the gates. If it’s the choice of the club to remove the gates to avail of a far bigger and more substantial entrance into a far bigger complex they will do that but trust me, the gates, or similar, will go back up in the memory of the two Volunteers.  The Glenariffe area and The Glens area in general are very, very proud of the two Volunteers and their sacrifice and while we’re not where we want to be specifically today we are in a position where we can obtain funding from the likes of local governments that would have been unthinkable at the time the two Volunteers were shot.

MG:  Alright, we’re talking to Padraig McShane; he’s a independent councillor from that area. Padraig, we want to just move on to something else: You are a councillor in that area. There was a parade last month, an Orange parade, on July Twelfth. You were out on the street trying to monitor that. You and some other councillors had applied to protest that parade and it turns out that you, other councillors, Gary Donnelly, who’s been on this programme from Doire and some other councillors are now being told you’re being summoned, or arrested, as a result of just simply being on the streets watching the Orange Order. Can you tell us what happened?

PM:  Yeah, I’ll be more specific – there was an application put in to protest – and that application is an eleven bar three form which is usually submitted to the Parades Commission and it was actually young people in the area that submitted that form and not ourselves. I, as an elected representative, I would be agreeing to go and monitor parades and make sure that anything that was happening at them parades, they are an unsavoury occasion for a place like Ballycastle. We have an Orange march in an eighty-five to ninety percent Nationalist and Republican community so these parades would be most unwelcomed to the local community. We monitor them parades as is our right as elected representatives. Others chose to protest which is their right as well. And I think there’s at least four individuals who have been notified of prosecutions coming out of what has been deemed an illegal protest. And…

MG: …Well, I’ve actually seen some YouTube of you just standing on the street. Somebody spits – one of the members of the parade appears to spit at you it – you complain about this – obscene gestures by band members, they obviously recognised you  and played music loud – they keep going by and then you got arrested as well as Gary Donnelly and others who just simply standing on the street watching this Orange parade in your town.

PM:  That’s correct. The Orange band was Dervock who support a proscribed organisation – they have on their own website support for a proscribed organisation. The idea that an organisation like that can march is – it’s unfathomable to me but it’s a regular occurrence in The North. What happened that day was:  Yes. The band had passed. I had complained about a Union flag flying in a Catholic chapel at the edge of the village and the chapel itself would be under siege by Loyalists in the Dervock Village. I had indicated that the flag was unacceptable and should be removed. I indicated that in 2013. Subsequent to that there were attacks from Unionist representatives, Unionist Councillors, Loyalists – quite sustained attacks – so they would know me well and they’ve indicated their displeasure at my complaining about the Union flag in the Catholic chapel. And on the day itself I was spat on. I objected and complained to the police. The police then moved in and instead of facing off at the band they immediately faced off at me wrestled me to the ground and arrested me. And that was pretty much the story of that day but as far as the media was concerned a councillor had been arrested. But the real story of the day was that a town, an eighty-five percent Nationalist town, was held under siege by heavily armed police and Loyalist (inaudible) and the Orange Order.

MG: …Just to break in: When you say a ‘proscribed organisation’ you mean an illegal organisation – are you referring to like the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) or the Ulster Defence Association (UDA)?

PM:  Ulster Defence Association. The band explicitly offers support to the UDA on their website – on the band website.

MG:  Alright. And you had mentioned, in 2013 this band, or members of the UDA with whom they’re affiliated, had put a British flag onto the church grounds of a Catholic church and you had protested against that. And a number things have happened to you, your home since then. What has happened since then?

PM:  Well since 2013 I would have been appearing in derogatory comments, would have been appearing graffiti throughout the area, also I would have been appearing on bonfires, election posters, messages scrawled on blankets, etc and placed on bonfires also then in 2014, October 2014, my house was firebombed and the messages of hate, etc continued. And it has continued right up until the Twelfth of July 2016 after the aforementioned parade took place.

MG:  And that ends up with you protesting about this band, protesting about being spit on by an Orange band in a Nationalist area and then you being the ones arrested by the British Constabulary, the PSNI. Alright, Padraig, we’re going to follow that story…

PM:  (inaudible)

MG: …We’re going to follow that story – we have to have to move on now. We’re going to follow that story – what happened to you, what happened to Gary Donnelly, who’s also been summoned, for simply protesting, monitoring a parade, an Orange bigoted parade like this – a sectarian, triumphal parade in your area having to face bonfires, your name put up on bonfires and burned in effigy in your own area and when you’re spit on, when you monitor a parade like this, you end up being the one who’s arrested by the British Constabulary, the PSNI. Alright. Thank you for being with us – bringing this out and we’re going to follow this and hopefully – this is your first but not last appearance with Radio Free Éireann.

PM:  Thank you. An absolute pleasure to talk you you and good luck. (ends time stamp ~ 24:19)