The Slaying of John Downes

Guest writer Martin Galvin with a letter submitted to the Irish News on the 4th December 4, 2012 but which was unpublished.                                                                                                  

A chara

While reorganising my bookcase, I came upon a pamphlet, in which I have some personal interest, titled: The Slaying of John Downes. This pamphlet includes vivid photographs of more than a score of smiling constabulary, busily clubbing, dragging or shooting plastic bullets at innocent nationalists in front of Connolly House during the Internment March of August 12, 1984. Among the memorable photographs is one of a constabulary member taking direct aim to shoot John Downes, which demolished the ricochet cover story foisted on the public by the self-righteous constabulary chief.

After reading your report about the nature of the charges against Eirigi activist Stephen Murney, I must ask whether this pamphlet has now been outlawed, together with all attempts to document present or past crown force misdeeds in film or photographs.

While most of the constabulary members pictured in the pamphlet have presumably retired, some may remain as commanders, or civilian consultant Patten rehires, training their successors in the handling of Republican suspects. Perhaps some are members of the HET. All would be uniquely qualified to insure that those who committed the unjustifiable killings of Bloody Sunday or the Ballymurphy Massacre enjoy the same brand of ‘British justice’ gifted those filmed killing John Downes or Nora McCabe.

The political motives for arresting and charging Stephen Murney are patently obvious. It will be much safer for constabulary to commit perjury about assaults, stop and threaten street searches, or home invasions if they need no longer fear film or photographs surfacing to demolish their cover stories .It will be much easier for constabulary boards and partnerships to acclaim progress if only activists and photo-journalists can be made to stop filming and documenting examples of repression.

The pamphlet was issued by the Sinn Fein Publicity Department. In those days any British moves to charge anyone like Stephen Murney, who compiled film or photographs of British repression, would have been beaten back by a major campaign. The party I supported would have mobilised against such blatant censorship and repression. It would have branded any nationalist politician, who sat still inside British assemblies swallowing such an injustice, as accomplices in British repression. Where will we find such badly needed leadership now?


  1. Martin was banned from Northern Ireland as head of Noraid ,and was there on the day of John Downes Murder, RUC were trying to lift Martin but they couldn't arrest Martin.

    two days later this is came out from the British.

    James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that the decision to ban Martin Galvin, then leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), from the UK had been "a bad mistake". [The decision and subsequent police action had led to the death of Sean Downes on 12 August 1984.]

    If that is not proof of Guilt what is?.

  2. I to was there that day on the gate of Connolly house,when the RUC had withdrawn,we were left with the sight of the paramedics working on the lifeless body of John Downes,the brutality of that attack on the people in their fruitless attempt at arresting Martin on minor charges was an example of the way the so called justice system here works,we knew then how corrupt and cruel it was, and almost thirty years later we are heading back to 1984 this time the state is aided and abetted by the very people who brought so many out on to the streets so long ago and put them in harms way just as we have since found out with the discovery thanks to Richard O Rawe that six brave hunger strikers were needlessly allowed to die,just to advance their personal political ambitions,.the sight and sounds of people who should know better sitting in partnership with bigots in administering Brit rule here which is not of the slightest benefit to the nationalist people here, rather we are heading into very real hardship in social welfare terms,housing and employment, and a justice system reminiscent of the seventies with the reintroduction of internment, and secret courts,quisling $inn £ein has proven that old saying that when it came down to the wire Adams and his cronies are just politicians with bombs, John Downes was murdered that day and there is no doubt about that,and those who brought that young man onto the street are now more than happy to praise those who murdered John,and call everyone else gangsters ,drug dealers,traitors and scum,

  3. Well put Marty. The only thing I would take issue with is that we are not heading back to 1984. The Bspecials/RUC/PSNI have never advanced from thier biggoted and one sided policing policy from thier inception. I cant use the language of someone that believes or believed there was ever a change in the use of state forces against republicans. The only difference that is apparrent to me is that SF have gave legitamicy to the state for thier wrong doing, by endorsing brit state forces and therefore thier actions.

    It was great to see that SFs vote was slashed by over ten thousand votes in the mid Ulster by election. SF has hit it,s electoral ceiling some time ago and this is the first clear indication that nationalist/republicans are wising up to the magnitude of the deception they have been involved in for thier own personal gain.

    There was a good letter in the Irish news paper today from a Prioncias OCuinn. To me it encapsulates a sentiment that is growing. All the SF politicking over the last few months over Flags and protests,is about SF trying to stop the substantial loss of support amoung the republican community and again for SFs benefit. A good lad I knew from tyrone used to say, talks cheap,it takes money to buy beer. SFs problem is they are trying to buy it with the the wrong currency.

  4. SF had no problem retaining their seat in mid - ulster, a strongly nationalist constituency. Galvin has nothing to offer, why doesn't he criticise American brutality in Guantanomo , Afghanistan and Iraq I smell hypocrisy, or is it bullshit ? He had no problem with the bombings in Enniskillen and Warrington.
    Who will be the first to retire, Fergie or Grizzly ? When he matches BP's 3 Euro cups the former will call it a day, could be a long wait. LOL.

  5. Feel to love-

    " SFs vote was slashed by over ten thousand votes "

    Nope- there was one agreed unionist
    in this election compared to 3 unionist partys at the last one when the DUP got 5,876-the uup got
    4,509 and the TUV got 2995- the joint unionist candidate this time
    got 12,781-dont be a idiot do the maths-the compined unionist vote was down-dont expect the media to tell you this-

    " There was a good letter in the Irish news paper today from Prioncias OCuinn "

    Have you left your wit at home along with that letter writer- Prionsias states that he wants the
    same rights has scotlands vote for
    independence-but even if the scots vote yes in this election the Queen will still be their head of state and the crown oath would still stay in the scottish assembly-Prionsias has made it clear that this is what he wants for Irelands future- yet you support this-

  6. MH; 'nope'??

    Are you saying SF vote wasn't down 10,000?

    Also, looking at your figures it looks like the combined unionist vote was only down about 500 or thereabouts. Not bad for fielding a new candidate and combining the vote in the midst of what could actually be described as chaos among unionism right now.

    What's the point of your post?

  7. couldn't make much sense of that Michaelhenry comment either. But then I am not fluent in gibberish

  8. Sinn Fein are now happy to engage and work with the very man on the RUC DMSU who helped plan and orchestrate the shoot-to-kill SAS ambush of Kevin Barry O'Donnell, Paddy Vincent, Sean O'Farrell and Peter Cleary in St. Patrick's Churchyard, Clonoe. So it's no wonder Martin Galvin is angry at how things have turned out. The fact that this man now works for an entity calling itself the PSNI is neither here nor there, he's still as guilty as he was that terrible February night when those young lads were executed for daring to defend their people. There's no doubt that, like those who helped kill Barry O'Donnell and the lads, the RUC murderers of Sean Downes will never be acceptable to the Irish republican community. So it's no wonder, as Feel te Love asserts, that same republican community is now beginning to realise the magnitude of the deception he/she speaks of and the fact that it is Michael Henry's party, rather than Proncias O'Cuinn, who have made it clear what they want for Ireland's future, despite their protestations otherwise. People are now realising that, as Marty has aptly termed them, Quisling Sinn Fein are happy enough with the crumbs from Britain's table so long as the Stormont gravy-train keeps on rolling. Their version of Ireland's future, whether they care to recognise it or not, is British Stormont and the partitionist status quo now enshrined in the "Got Fuck All" on a permanent basis - with the notion of a future reunified Ireland held up to maintain the pretence that this is somehow still on any realistic agenda his party pursues. You can't fool all the people all the time and the republican people are no fools, they are indeed beginning to appreciate the magnitude of the deception and are starting to reorganise accordingly. Long live the day

  9. Belfast Bookworm-

    In the last westminister election in mid-ulster
    Martin McGuinness got 21,239 votes-
    in this by-election Francie Molloy of Sinn Fein got 17,462- i might be fluent in gibberish but that is not 10,000 votes lost-i can count unlike others-i like to tell the truth on those that lie-

  10. MH; I'm no electoral buff but are those 10,000 votes not calculated and weighed against turnout also at the polls?

    4000 less votes for Molloy but an 8-9% drop in turnout at the booths? The alliance, sdlp and the unionists didn't lose out much, in fact in each case their vote had marginally increased. So who lost out? Who didn't turn out?

    Perhaps you're not that great a counter after all?

  11. michaelhenry:

    you forgot to use the number who turned out to vote this time, ie, the percentage!

    Try entering that into your equation , you will get a different number.

    But I understand how you got to your figures ,by basic subtraction comparing what deputy second minister got and take away what Molloy (who stated he would sit in westminster) got. (21,239 - 17,462) = 3,777 less votes.

    It doesn't work that way michael.

  12. Mickeybroy one part of the equation I guess we will never know is just exactly how many of Franciebroys votes were impersonated or from the dead,now please dont tell me a cara it doesnt happen ,some of us know better!

  13. I'm still laughing about this. And from a councillor too.

    It's all about the swing mick.

  14. Marty-

    Its not the good old days as ones talk about-[ hope there are plenty
    of good new days in front of us all ]- sounds like you have not voted in a while because then you would know that every person needs to have a certain photo ID to vote-
    we cant impersonate with that rule-

    The RNU will find out this when they take part in the next local elections-and a few other things-

  15. itsjustmacker-

    Molloy (who stated he would sit in westminister}

    I have never asked this Question to anyone before but you often show
    us links-why none this time-

    Are you talking about actually taking the seat on the green benches or just going to westminister where Sinn Fein has a office-

  16. Is this not this was all about MH? Westminster?

    That's what it's looking like from where I stand but since you're part of the 'inner circle' are you denying it?

    If so, ill take your word for it.

  17. Michaelhenry:

    I have that many limks on all SF I seem to get lost at times, but this one I do Remember.

    Francis molloy a spy?, sex pervert?

    When i find the link you ask for i will post it, i have over 2000 on SF, When i find it, you have my word, i will post it.

  18. Mickeybroy your comment about photo I.D got me thinking is that what they mean by a "dead ringer"

  19. Marty-

    Get your ID sorted out for the All Ireland election- [dont crack the camera with your smile ]


    Your word is good enough-i dont need any links-but if i had of read what you said i would be the first one on the Quill about it-

  20. Michaelhenry,

    you should be off on a day like this treating the special women to a special day!!

  21. Anthony; every days a special day with Michael Henry!

  22. Itsjustmacker,

    a 'sexual indiscretion' hardly makes Francie a sex pervert. As for the spy allegation - nothing other than the allegation of a political opponent. I don't know if he is or is not but have seen nothing persuasive. Why are there no contact sheets leaked to the press or sombody from the Intelligence services coming out to back this up?

    Not liking the politics of Francie is not a licence to smear him.

  23. Anthony:

    I just put the link on.

    Probably from the Intelligence services leaked as disinformation for all we know!.

  24. Itsjustmacker,

    I know you put the link on but you also seemed to refer to him or suggest he was a sexual pervert rather than a chaser.

  25. Anthony is arselicking not a sexual perversion? or in quisling $inn £ein is it seem as the norm?

  26. Marty,

    but it would apply to them all then, not just Francie!!

  27. True a cara then they are all pervs not just Liam !

  28. Anthony:

    "Not liking the politics of Francie is not a licence to smear him."

    I don't like the politics of the whole SF, I have never met Francie, and on reading the piece, although , given under British Parliamentary privilege, Which I do not agree with, to me its the cowards way out.

    "you also seemed to refer to him or suggest he was a sexual pervert rather than a chaser."

    The way I read it, to me, deemed to mean just that, but as you have stated, "Just a Chaser", then you know more than I do, If by being a chaser means, OTHER WOMEN , then he is not fit to hold office because he is married with two Daughters and two Sons, to me that is a pervert.

  29. Itsjustmacker,

    I take it that chasing is at the heart of the allegation. If we are to punish all the adulterers and adulteresses how many would be in public life? Its totally legal: might be a sin for those who believe in religion, but that's a private matter not to be foisted on society. It is certainly not a crime. The definition of pervert would need to be stretched very far in order for it to catch chasing under its rubric.

  30. The Clonard confraternity and the legion of Mary and fr Ted all shouted in one voice "Down with that sort of thing" ,itsjistmackers a cara what I really want to know is ,what would Francie (the chaser) do if he had caught him /her /it.?I thought they had decommissioned all their weapons.

  31. Marty:

    Seems all the weapons have not been decommissioned , Francie has found multiple uses for his one!.

  32. LOL itsjustmackers a cara Im conjuring up all sorts of diabolical mental images here for Francie,s multiple use weapon.

  33. Anthony:

    I know its not a crime, but when a spouse applies for divorce he/she states legally Adultery as the reason for the divorce.

  34. Itsjustmacker,

    which means?

  35. Anthony:

    We could go on and on with this one.

    It simply means, as, I'm sure your aware, It is accepted in a civil court of law as a legal reason for divorce.

    I think we could it at that.


    you will get brain damage thinking about it, maybe putting out fires?. lol

  36. It was the value of it I questioned not the literal meaning