Friday, March 28, 2014

The Faces of True Heroes

With heavy hearts, we join our firefighters in mourning the loss of their brothers, Lt. Eddie Walsh and Firefighter Mike Kennedy. The thoughts and prayers of the entire City of Boston are with the families of Eddie and Mike as well as with all of our firefighters and their families.

Be safe, be strong and know that the people of Boston are there for you, just as you prove day after day that you are there when we need you!

“Greater love hath no man than he who would lay down his life for his friends”

Sunday, March 23, 2014

IRA leader is charged in murder case on evidence from Boston College tapes

Patrick Counihan March 23,2014

A former IRA leader has been charged in connection with the murder of mother of 10 Jean McConville based on confessions he made during the Boston College tapes recording sessions.

The Boston College project begun in 2001 and was aimed at securing the recollections of key figures in The Troubles to the events of The Troubles.
Critics claim that witnesses were falsely told their testimonies would only be released after their deaths. Sinn Fein have claimed that the tapes were biased against their members and overseen by key researchers who were out to get Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

A Belfast court heard on Saturday that the police case against 77-year-old Ivor Bell is based on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers at the US college.

The prosecution claimed the transcript actually indicated Bell had ‘played a critical role in the aiding, abetting, counsel and procurement of the murder of Jean McConville’.

McConville was abducted and killed in 1972 by the IRA amid allegations she was a police informer a charge her family has always denied.
Bell was refused bail and remanded in custody by a district judge in Belfast accused of aiding and abetting in the murder as well as membership of the IRA.

His lawyer alleged that the prosecution case was that an interviewee on one of the Boston tapes, referred to only as ‘Z ’, was his client.
Boston College interviewed a number of former paramilitaries about the Troubles on the understanding transcripts would not be published until after their deaths.

The project was headed by journalist Ed Moloney a fierce critic of Gerry Adams and researcher Anthony McIntyre who opposed the Sinn Fein peace strategy. Moloney also published a book “Voices from the Grave” which contained allegations by two of those interviewed who had died against living figures in SInn Fein.

The undertaking that no tapes would be released until the participants died was rendered ineffective when a US court last year ordered that the tapes be handed over to PSNI detectives.
Boston College and the two principals, Moloney and McIntyre have been sharply critical of each other since the tapes were seized by British authorities.

The interviews included claims about the 1972 murder of McConville, one of the so called Disappeared whose body was found on a County Louth beach years later.

She was abducted by the IRA at her home at Belfast, shot dead and then secretly buried.

Lawyer Peter Corrigan told district judge Amanda Henderson: “During those interviews Z explicitly states that he was not involved with the murder of Jean McConville.”

The report adds that Corrigan also questioned the evidential value of the interviews, pointing out that they had not been conducted by trained police officers.

He added:“The defence submits that the evidence does not amount to a row of beans in relation to the murder of Jean McConville.”
Bell sat impassively in the dock wearing a grey jumper as his lawyer made the claims.

Some of Mrs McConville’s children watched on from the public gallery.
A PSNI detective inspector told the court that he can connect the accused with the charges but rejected Corrigan’s interpretation of the Boston College interview.Police opposed bail on the grounds that the defendant would likely flee the jurisdiction as he had previously used an alias to travel to Spain and could use contacts within the IRA to travel beyond Northern Ireland.
Corrigan refuted that claim.

He said: “Are the prosecution seriously suggesting that a man in this serious ill health, who can’t walk up steps, is going to abscond for an offense where he has every incentive to attend court?”
Bell was remanded in custody to appear before court again next month.
After the hearing, Mrs McConville’s son Michael said the family’s thoughts were with their mother.

He said: “The pain of losing her has not diminished over the decades since she was taken from us murdered and secretly buried.
“She is in our hearts and our thoughts always. Whatever the future holds nothing will ever change that.”
Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if he kept his mouth shut. Any “self styled hero” who would kidnap, torture, murder, and bury the mother of ten children in a grave known only to the perpetrators, deserves the severest punishment that he can be sentenced to. Assuming that the allegations of collusion against her were true, why wasn’t she given a lighter sentence such as being banished from Belfast. At least then, ten innocent children could have been brought up by their mother instead of in an orphanage. It appears to me that those who suffered the most from this act of sheer barbarism were ten innocent children who saw their mother taken violently from them never to be seen again.
Jack Meehan, National President Emeritus
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taoiseach urges action on US immigration reform

Simon Carswell, Arthur Beesley
Last Updated: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 08:03
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has issued a direct plea in Capitol Hill to the speaker of the US House of Representatives to quickly forge a deal on immigration reform.
Mr Kenny’s uncompromising remarks to John Boehner came as US President Barack Obama urged political leaders in Northern Ireland to return to talks to break the political deadlock over flags, parades and the past.
“I was disappointed, the US government was disappointed that the all-party talks could not arrive at a final conclusion and agreement,” Mr Obama said.
On a busy day of political meetings in Washington to mark St Patrick’s Day, Mr Kenny reiterated the message that undocumented Irish immigrants are treated badly under decades-old legislation and wish only to play their full part in American society.
The remarks stand as his strongest intervention on US immigration law, one of the most deeply divisive questions in US domestic politics.
At the shamrock ceremony in the East Room of the White House last night, the Taoiseach noted St Patrick himself was an immigrant when he came to Ireland. “We know America will sort this out,” Mr Kenny told the gathering.
He had pressed the message earlier in private talks with Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the White House and used the platform of a Capitol Hill lunch hosted by Mr Boehner to say a renewed effort was urgently required. Mr Boehner, who is a staunch opponent of Mr Obama’s political agenda, is a pivotal figure as his control of Republican votes in Congress can determine the fate of draft laws to overhaul immigration rules which have already passed the Senate.
According to Mr Kenny’s official spokesman, the Taoiseach departed from his prepared speech to tell the lunch gathering that it was well past the time for action.
“It is unfair. They want to earn their money. They want to pay their taxes,” the spokesman reported he said.
“They want to sing their national anthem and when they sing they want to sing in the land of the home of the free and the brave which they aren’t at the moment.”
The Taoiseach said Mr Obama wants Irish Ambassador to the US Anne Anderson and other Irish representatives to engage with all parties in the debate.
“There are a number of propositions before the legislature at the moment,” Mr Kenny told reporters.
“The important thing, however, is that there would be a process of legalisation for people who are here undocumented, that they could pay their taxes, contribute to American society, raise their families, and have the freedom to travel over and back,” said Mr Kenny.
Please pay particular attention to the last part of the Taoiseach’s statement. He states very emphatically that the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals currently living here in the U.S. should be addressed first. There is no such mention of a so called “Irish E-3 temporary work permit” for  prospective emigrants from Ireland. As we have said from the start, the issue of permanent visas (not temporary work permits) for those wishing to emigrate in future can be addressed after the immediate problem is resolved.    
Jack Meehan, National President Emeritus
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Boston Irish Group – Board Member