Why Should Americans Fund British Persecution in Ireland?

Today TPQ features guest writer Helen McClafferty in which she raises substantive concerns about British State injustice in the North of Ireland.

Since the signing of the GFA Americans have been asked to invest tax-dollars in the British controlled north of Ireland. Most recently, DUP Minister Arlene Foster spent £4,285 'enhancing relationships with companies and potential investors' under the pretense that everything is just fine now that the GFA is in place. Yet, what the British government and the DUP are not telling us is that the "Troubles" in the north are not completely over, at least not for Irish republicans.

Gerry McGeough, five years ago, stood as an Independent Republican candidate during the March 2007 Assembly Elections. As he left the count center in Omagh, following the poll, McGeough was arrested in a major RUC/PSNI operation. That very public arrest was an act of blatant political intimidation.  Gerry was interrogated and charged with the wounding of a UDR man during the Hunger Strikes in 1981 and membership in the IRA. In February 2011 Gerry was found guilty of these alleged charges by a Diplock court judge and sentenced to 20 years in Maghaberry prison.

Marian Price has been imprisoned in Northern Ireland for more than a year on the basis of secret evidence neither she nor her lawyers have been permitted to see. She is effectively interned without a trial, sentence, or release date and unless the courts intervene she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Marian Price has appeared in court twice and two different judges released her on bail. Each time the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, has overruled the judge and ordered her back to prison. Now the original charge has been dismissed but Marian Price is still in jail.

Paterson says that he has revoked her “license”. Price and her legal team insist that she wasn’t on license because she received a full pardon “the Royal Prerogative of Mercy” when she was released from prison in 1980. The Northern Ireland Office has been unable to produce the pardon, claiming that it has either been lost or shredded. Price's lawyer, Peter Corrigan, says that this is the only time in the entire history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy that a pardon has gone missing.

There are grave concerns for Marian Price’s health. She was too ill to appear at a court hearing on May 11th even by video link. The prison doctors say she needs to be either in a hospital or at home with her family.

Martin Corey was arrested on April 16, 2010, almost 18 years after his release from Long Kesh in 1992. Martin has been put under arbitrary arrest and imprisoned without charge and without trial.

However, four years prior to these arrests the British government announced that none of its soldiers or police operatives would ever face prosecution for their involvement in the killing of Catholic civilians, either directly or through collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, during the period of conflict known as the Troubles. Fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, when everyone has been asked to “move-on”, the British government continues to hound and attempt to prosecute Irish Republicans for incidents that allegedly occurred decades ago during those same Troubles.

Boston College Subpoenas. The Belfast Project was an oral history of Irish Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries gathered between 2001-2006 and archived in the Burns Library at Boston College.

In 2010, the first interviews from the archive were published in the book Voices from the Grave, and featured in the documentary of the same name. These interviews, with former IRA leader Brendan Hughes and former UVF member David Ervine, were made public upon the death of the interviewees as per their agreement with BostonCollege.

In March, 2011, the British Government contacted the US Department of Justice to initiate proceedings which led to the issuing of a sealed subpoena for all materials relating to two interviews in the archive, those of Brendan Hughes and former IRA member Dolours Price.

In August, 2011, a second subpoena was served seeking 'any and all interviews containing information about the abduction and death of Mrs. Jean McConville.'

Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre also sought leave to intervene on their own merits in the “Boston College Tapes” action, in support of Boston College’s Motion to Quash. If successful, they will be granted leave to join the action as plaintiffs, seeking to compel the Attorney General to abide by his obligations under the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. They will ask the Court to order the Attorney General to take cognizance of solemn promises made by the U.K. Government to the U.S. Senate that it would not ‘reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement, or impede any further efforts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland.’

How do any of these unjust incarcerations and the British governments subpoenas of the Boston College Tapes help the peace process? By nurturing such vengeful injustice the British are sowing the seeds of future Rebellion. Why should Americans invest-in and continue to fund this kind of misrule?

If you believe in justice, civil and human rights, then join forces to end the unjust incarceration of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey and help to put a stop to the British governments subpoenas of the Boston College Tapes.