Thursday, 30 October 2014

Resist Tory Cuts they said!!!!

Presenters of Rip off Britain!

Dear Rip Off Britain

I would like to draw your attention to a situation that I believe warrants your immediate attention and expertise. On an annual basis here in the North of Ireland millions of pounds via the British treasury are wasted by a group of cowboys acting as a government known as the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Between them these cowboys are representative of just over 50% of the population. And thanks to system known as proportional representation, a complex mathematical equation designed to get as many undesirables elected, we have 108 undesirables who are about as useful as Captain Hook in gynecology clinic.

Over the past few months one section of this Assembly known as Sinn Fein have been asking ordinary people (including those who don't even get an average industrial wage) to join them in their alleged campaign to Stop Tory Cuts.

Additionally this request has been delivered door to door in the form of colourful literature which contains statements such as“ If implemented these cuts will drive thousands into poverty, homelessness and desperation. Sinn Fein will continue to stand up for all communities being targeted by the Tories.” On the flip-side of the literature it also states that “the Assembly and the Executive MUST defend your rights.” Followed by “the Assembly and Executive MUST defend families, children, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.”

The above suggestions are all fairly admirable however just this evening it was announced that Sinn Fein and their counterparts the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) have voted in support of a draft budget which is estimated to slice £870 million out of our already crumbling economy. Then to add insult to injury these cowboys have raked up another £100 million in debt that will be added to their debts accrued through the use of Private Finance Initiatives which is a staggering £250 million per annum. That said with members of the Assembly earning over 40 thousand quid + expenses + perks and the Dawg and deputy Dawg earning £71,434.00, they can afford to be a bit flash with the cash.

This acceptance of the draft budget not only completely negates the Sinn Fein stance but showed that their party president's (Gerry Adams) recent comments that Sinn Fein would be willing to allow the Executive to fall before it imposes budget cuts were meaningless.

Since the announcement today that Sinn Fein have begun the process of implementing those Tory cuts, sources say they are also involved in fund-raising to get Gerry a new spine. It is envisaged that Gerry may or may not have this procedure carried out in the private Manhattan clinic where he had his arse done.

During a televised news interview with the BBC, Martin McGuinness a senior Sinn Fein Minister and Deputy First Minister of the North explained that a failure to implement the draft budget would lead to the collapse of the current administration and that anyone who believes otherwise would need to give themselves a shake, maybe Martin should have told Gerry that before he went shouting the odds about bringing the institutions down.

What's even more astounding is that today as Gerry forgot himself and praised the cuts as leadership, Dathai McKay was complaining on the Sinn Fein website that the cuts would result in a hospital closure. Dathai said '“The DUP is targeting front-line services in the health service, and that is shameful.' Yet this totally contradicts Martin McGuinness's claim on the very same Sinn Fein website also published today that front-line services are protected in budget agreement.

Competition time - spot the odd one out!

It is clear these people are incapable of making decisions or standing over them nor are they capable of ensuring value for money. So Rip Off Britain as your show is funded by public money  I'd like you to give me value for money and have your best crack team of investigators, investigate these crackpot cowboys and provide me with answers to the following questions:

Do we the downtrodden have a case under the Sales of Goods and Services Act 1982?

Do Sinn Fein have a case to answer in terms of false advertising in respect of the  promises contained in their recent campaign literature?

Lastly it is common knowledge that you can get into trouble with the law for impersonating a police officer, taking this into consideration I would query if those involved in impersonating a government at Stormont are breaking any laws?

I look forward to your response

Thank you in advance

A Derry Mother!

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Lonely Parapet!

Anthony and Carrie
Today I read a very thought provoking and disturbing article penned by Carrie McIntyre who amongst other things is the wife of political commentator and former political prisoner Anthony McIntyre.

In her article Carrie draws comparison between her personal experience and the suffering and anguish felt by Maria Cahill, with Carrie having been vilified for her vocal stance on injustice and for her involvement in Boston Oral history project. It is clear to any objective individual that the Boston History project was carried out in good faith with it's purpose to gather testimonies from republican and loyalist paramilitaries to ensure their side of the story is told in the future.

I first met Carrie McIntyre whilst I was propping up a large picture board in support of Marian Price during the 2013 annual March for Justice in Derry. As I waited for fellow campaigners to get off the bus which had arrived from Belfast Carrie walked towards me, introduced herself and then to my delight thanked me for my efforts in the campaign for Marian Price which for me was somewhat of an unexpected and rare occurrence.

At the end of the march Carrie again approached me to say goodbye and wished me well. The next time I met Carrie was in her home last year in the company of mutual friends. During the short visit I could sense that both she and Anthony were under extreme pressure despite the brave faces they put on it.

As someone who has highlighted human rights and social justice issues I have the utmost respect for the McIntyres who not only raise their heads above the parapet but when needed stick their heads through it. I am today deeply saddened to learn of the severe impact the continued vilification of this family has had on them, particularly Carrie. Anthony who spent years in prison for troubles related offences spent a large part of his prison sentence on the blanket protest which has no doubt taken it's toll both mentally and physically. Sadly years on it would appear that he is now suffering at the hands of those he once called comrades, something that has been ongoing since he and Carrie spoke out against the murder of Joe O'Connor in broad daylight in Belfast.

Admiration is all well and good but it is clear Anthony and Carrie are in need of more than admiration they are in need of what they have given and continue to give to others and that is full support. I must stress this is no attempt on my part to dismiss the support they have and continue to receive. No family should have their name dragged through the mud or plastered on walls for avoiding revisionism and telling the truth.

No person should be reliant on medication as a consequence of living in fear for speaking their mind and fundamentally no woman or man should fear to sleep because of veiled threats from those who ought to know better. Those who pay tokenistic lip service against such behaviour, those who vilify and criminalise murdered teenager Paul Quinn, and those who belittle the bravery of Mairia Cahill.

Those involved in this endless vilification of the McIntyre family are merely justifying and fueling the malevolence of British establishment who I would add were relentless in their quest to access and compromise the Boston project. With these tapes said to be worthless in a court of law we can only assume these efforts were made to either strengthen their hold in the north, cause further division or to ensure that history is written by them as the victors. My guess is they will be successful with all three.

For those blind to the above factors I would add that the British establishment are now in a privileged position in that they have mastered their age old art of divide conquer and employed it to great effect here in the north as they continue to peddle their part as a neutral buffer between warring sectarian muck savages. Further to this and to reinforce their position they present to the world the hilarious ongoing comedy of the numpty narcissists in Stormont as democracy in action. And if I'm honest each time I see the footage on TV of the Carson statue on the long drive up to Stormont i'm always waiting on Woody Allen or Mel Brooks to come tumbling out from behind Carson in a fit of laughter at how we've been had.

But this is no comedic farce, yet it remains a farce nonetheless and the sad truth from reading between the lines in Carrie's statement is that it is clear that she continues to knock on doors for support. So the question is do we sit back and allow her to continue down a lonely path or do we join her to ensure her knock is heard and her call is answered? Do we ignore the plights of the Quinn family in South Armagh, Mairia Cahill, or the next victim of injustice who has the courage like the McIntyre's to raise their heads above that lonely parapet?

These people cannot and should not be held accountable for the action or in-actions of the British State, irrespective of how their cohorts try to justify or spin it.

Ironically as the McIntyres continue to suffer and lose sleep the members of Northern Ireland Assembly who have remained silent on the issue are currently involved in promoting a new initiative in an attempt to deal with the past. This initiative known as a truth recovery process will involve encouraging former paramilitaries to come forward and have their version of events documented in order to shed light on the past. Sound familiar?

The difficulty with this truth recovery commission is depending on the immunity offered and secured, the submission of statements for some could result in a two year prison sentence as was agreed under the Good Friday Agreement. Were as with the Boston tapes there is seemingly less chance of securing a conviction.

So lets say we apply the logic of those involved in demonising the McIntyre family to the proposed truth recovery process, with this logic it could be argued that those behind the initiative are engaged in attempts to initiate a type of touting programme? Yet I doubt these names will ever appear on any wall.

Maybe if some of those involved in vilifying the McIntyre family would take time and form an opinion of their own they would realise that they too could find themselves in a similar position and for merely formulating a different opinion. 

Onwards and Upwards!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Two sides of the same coin!

Maria Cahill

I have been following the bravery of Belfast woman Mairia Cahill closely. The recent revelations that came via the BBC Spotlight programme have sparked a lot of interest but mostly fury.

I met Mairia Cahill two years ago when she came to live in  Derry.  Prior to that, through a mutual friend we became acquainted via Facebook. Through our chats  I could sense that Mairia was somewhat of a solitary person who took comfort in the company of her family and a select few, which was hardly surprising considering her suffering and the struggle she faced. On a personal level I have always been moved by Maria's courage, persevering spirit, strength of character and  indomitable spirit. 

 Mairia Cahill was let down by members of the Republican Movement, the State and those in the community who turned their backs on her. It is exactly these attitudes that keep and kept the perpetrators of such monstrous acts free to hurt again.

Furthermore some including those who claimed to be representative of the people felt it best to keep Maria's issue hidden, or depending on your view, in house. It is unbelievable that anyone could feel it was appropriate to take an abused child to 'face' her alleged abuser? But then this type of activity was exposed before in the case of Aine Tyrell. I would also add that it defies logic that someone could feel it appropriate to advise an abused child to seek counseling and then fail to inform the police or take action themselves? And the two people I'm referencing in these instances are both elected representatives!

Now just when you think you've heard it all....

It was announced a few days ago that the investigation into abuse that took place in the Kincora boys home in Belfast will not be part of a UK wide investigation. What needs to be questioned is why this case is subject to exclusion with Belfast supposedly part of the United Kingdom?

The Stormont assembly recently backed a motion that said allegations MI5 had been involved in covering up abuse at the Kincora boys home could not be adequately investigated in any way other than by a Westminster-led UK inquiry.

However, British Secretary of State Theresea Villiers stated on Tuesday that as child protection is now a devolved matter, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, currently sitting at Banbridge courthouse was the better forum to investigate the allegations. Theresa Villiers also said the UK government and its agencies, including the Ministry of Defence and the security service MI5 would give the HIA inquiry "the fullest possible degree of co-operation". The fullest possible degree of co-operation, doesn't really inspire confidence, and really don't be surprised if a public immunity interest certificate appears.

With MI5's alleged involvement in the cover up of this scandal how can there be a thorough investigation? MI5 are unaccountable to the institutions set up under devolution therefore these claims cannot be investigated by anyone outside of the British Government. And if by a chance Mi5 was found culpable in the abuse that took place through Kincora, I feel I can safely say that there is a snowballs chance in hell of anyone being taken to task for it.

The question now is how far will the state and those now is positions of power go to protect themselves? People have always known that the there was a dirty war taking place in the North, the terrifying thing is that we will never know the extent of it.

Clint Massey
What we do know and take some comfort from is that through the bravery of people such as Mairia Cahill and Kincora survivor Clint Massey, the innocent victims who were caught in a crossfire that didn't contain a single bullet do have some hope of getting justice and closure they deserve.

And for that I am grateful for their courage, as for the others, who covered up abuse, protected abusers and terrified the survivors of abuse, they're just two sides of the same vile coin.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Carr, driven by you!!!!!

Councillor Sean Carr
Over the past few months I like many others have watched with great unease as a local family have fallen foul of what appears to be an SDLP witch hunt. The Carr family are a well respected bunch from Abbey Park in Derry. Councillor Sean Carr, a local undertaker, is known throughout this city for his tireless efforts and commitment to the people of Derry. On a personal level Sean Carr is one of the few Councillors I would contact, as is the case with my wider family members.

A few years ago as part of a residents group myself and others were faced with the impossible task of seeking answers from Derry City Council, answers which should have been readily available to us as ratepayers. During this time Sean Carr was the only Councillor to speak out and provide answers to our questions.

Additionally when I fell foul of an SDLP bully with an allergy to questioning, Sean during a heated meeting with the SDLP Chief Executive Michael Savage spoke out on my behalf when others were content to sit back and say nothing.

Just this year the Carr family came under the spotlight when Sean's son Jimmy, who at that point was a sitting Councillor, was informed two days prior to the local election that the SDLP had withdrawn their support for him as a candidate. This followed allegations of inappropriate messages which were alleged to have been sent via a council iPad. The situation was further exacerbated when Sean Carr's name mysteriously disappeared from a sample ballot paper which had been circulated in the Bogside by the SDLP.

In fairness Jimmy Carr and myself have had a bit of a turbulent relationship but in the grand scheme of things Jimmy is generally a good kid with a good heart, who I should add was later cleared of the allegations against him. Despite this Jimmy has never received an apology from the SDLP who treated him in a manner worthy of Stalin.

I have just today contacted the SDLP to air my grievance and to advise of the knock on effect the treatment of the Carr family  may have on the party particularly in the run up to the Westminster election. My views were listened to however I doubt they will contribute in any way to resolving this issue as i suspect the primary focus for some within the SDLP is to ensure the mayor gets a seat!

I would further add that the SDLP members behind this latest fiasco have as much interest in the truth as I have in shark fishing..

In the event this issue cannot be sorted within the SDLP I personally vow to support Sean Carr if he later chooses to continue his work as a Councillor on an independent basis. Furthermore it must be acknowledged that the Carr family clearly have the support of a broad range of people in the wider community. As such I would take this opportunity to remind the SDLP as they approach the next election that people do not take kindly to decent people being treated like dirt. 

The SDLP should be doing what it can to keep the Sean Carr's of the party as anything else defies logic. But then again this is the party who refused accept the outcome of a report they commissioned in relation to the public perception of the party.

On a separate note here are two facts for you to think about:

Emile Durkheim, a French Sociologist, was a major proponent of structural functionalism, a macro perspective which acknowledges the need for inequality.

Lastly, Clint Eastwood was a Cowboy!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

What's past is prologue.

What's past is prologue.

Over the past few years I would contend that we, the great unwashed have been spectators to a rail roading process as opposed to a peace process. As the past slowly but surely creeps up with Cruel Britannia and it's cohorts there appears to be an endless drive in the pushing of agendas from different quarters and a game of brinkmanship with the aspirations of the ordinary person relegated to the equivalent of a poker chip. In the midst of all this what concerns me most is the continuous attempts to sever the chains that hold the scales of justice.

When recently sifting through the various pieces of correspondence I noticed a real emphasis being placed on the need for a new body to deal with the past in the North of Ireland. The suggestions outlined in the correspondence are in direct correlation with those contained in the Hass proposals. This proposal involves the collective efforts of a proposed Historical Investigations Unit and Independent Commission for Information Retrieval. The HIU would have use of full police investigative powers whilst the ICIR would have the power to grant limited immunity.

In an ideal world the above proposal seems perfectly acceptable in that it would make things more maneuverable, but then we don't live in an ideal world. If the HET was unsuccessful then who is to say a Historical Investigations Unit would be any better? The idea of the Independent Commission for Information Retrieval really cracks me up, which is no attempt on my part to dismiss or underestimate the power of the truth. However what cracks me up is there are those who will be called to give evidence who are completely oblivious to the concept of truth.

In relation to the above proposals I would ask the following questions:

Will the proposal put the British Government on an even par with loyalist and Republican paramilitaries?

Will they be subject to the same scrutiny?

If not, why not?

If yes, is this proposal an acknowledgement that the period of conflict known as 'The Troubles' was more than a squabble between rival factions and will all sides claim legitimacy to their actions?

If yes and the parties involved can claim legitimacy for their actions will the British government admit that their criminalisation policy was a reactionary measure and wrong?

If yes will this mean that those who have criminal records as a result of their role have their slate wiped clean?

Will the British Government be forced to reveal their role in fueling Loyalist paramilitaries and turning a blind eye to the actions of agents in both Loyalist and Republican organisations?

If the answer is yes to the above four questions will there be a public acknowledgement of how the British State are not a neutral party between two sectarian factions in the north but part of the problem?

Will the powers given to this proposed bodies dictate whether the outcome of each case remains within the remit of the justice system?

Will this be a voluntary or mandatory process?

Will this process have international oversight from neutral parties?

If the process is operated evenly then where does this leave the innocent victims of Claudy, Ballymurphy, Kingsmill, Bloody Sunday, Greysteel, Loughanisland, Enniskillen and the Good Samaritan bomb and many more?

Will it render these victims as mere casualties of war?

If the British Government continue to claim the moral high ground then will this process be regarded as yet another exercise in lip-service and deflection? 

With the emphasis being on moving forward I for one would question the failure to address the continuous use of practices from the past.

Practices which shaped our people, our past and continue to shape our future. Issues such as internment, which in the past saw thousands take to the streets under the Civil Rights Banner as was witnessed in Derry in January 1972. A day remembered for the murder 14 innocent civilians in a bid by the British establishment to silence the Civil Rights Movement by instilling terror and fear into our people.

It would seem in their rush to paper over the cracks and erase their wrongdoing the British state in conjunction with its parasitic offspring known as the Stormont assembly continues to allow the use of Diplock courts, the use of paid informants, secret courts and closed material proceedings. Some of those in Stormont would have been subject to measures like these, yet fail to have learned from what they and their communities suffered.

Lets get real how can we move forward when the problems of the past are still as large as life and twice as ugly, which I should add is no reference to the Stormont Assembly.

In the midst of all this the assembly leaps from crisis to crisis, the warning sirens about the economy are sounding out from every sector, and at one point it has been stated that Stormont could be in the red before the end of the year, if those in power cannot deal with the past, and cannot deal with the present, then what hope do they give for the future?

 If they were a private company they would have been wound up by now.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Fitting Epitaph!

To all those elected to Public Office.

You will have learned yesterday of how the Public Prosecution Service have been successful in their bid to increase the sentence given to John Paul Wooton. John Paul who was originally sentenced to fourteen years for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009 has had his sentence increased to eighteen years.

In reading my first paragraph I am confident some people may see the increase in John Paul's sentence as a positive move. If this is the case then I suggest you familiarise yourself with the facts of this case. When giving his decision yesterday the judge in the case stated there was no suggestion that John Paul planned the attack or fired the weapon. He further added that "The precise nature of his role in the offence has not been established." 

In the absence of substantive evidence John Paul Wooton and Brendan McConville were given lengthy prison sentences on the strength of circumstantial and missing evidence and on the word of an informant. 
I ask that you take an objective view and read the campaign literature and court judgements and maybe then you will take a completely different view on what passes for Justice here in the North of Ireland.

It would seem that despite 'our' new dispensation the foul spectre of British Justice remains inherently unjust and that being innocent until proven Irish is not only a relic of the bad old days.

The case against the two men who have become known as the Craigavon two is a prime example of political expediency, in that a conviction has been secured on the most questionable and flimsiest of evidence as was also witnessed in the cases of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six.

Furthermore it has been confirmed that the British Security Services had surveillance equipment planted in John Paul's car yet crucial data from this device was wiped, would this data have confirmed John Paul's innocence? This is something we'll never know courtesy of British spooks who have their own nefarious agenda.

With these factors in mind we can only conclude that this case demonstrates an element of malevolence and exposes the inbuilt weaknesses in the so called British justice system. It also evidences the failings of the PSNI to carry out a robust and comprehensive investigation into the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll.

The silence of the political mainstream on the issue of the Craigavon two can only be considered as acceptance of this travesty of justice.

It has recently been said that in the case of the Guildford Four with the exception of a few, most politicians remained silent  until the point where all legal loopholes had been exploited, lives had been ruined and life sentences had been served. These people were just like Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton.

Gerry Conlon who passed away this year after a short illness was a leading campaigner for the Craigavon two. Gerry Conlon knew first hand the brutish beast that is British justice, he faced it down and through perseverance exposed the fallacy of so called British Justice to the world.

Weeks before he died Gerry Conlon publicly called for the support of the nationalist and republican parties. “Those politicians who claim to represent and speak for nationalist, republicans and the working class should be outraged by this judgement, they now have an opportunity to voice their concern and outrage at this blatant injustice.”

It's time those of you elected to public office continue Gerry Conlon's work and help secure the release of the Craigavon two, for if you fail John Paul and Brendan, you are once again failing Gerry Conlon.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Like a mushroom.

"The Trust affirms that Julieann, Robin and Adrian acted in a manner expected of them as representatives of the Trust."

This is a very telling line in a response to a complaint I made against members of the Bloody Sunday Trust in relation to their conduct at a meeting I attended.

Why is this line significant?

What's this all about?

At the request of and in the company of Vincent Coyle and a Bloody Sunday family member I attended the meeting with representatives of the Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum of Free Derry employee on August 19th in DaVinci's hotel, Derry.

I had been asked to attend the meeting in DaVinci's having previous experience of chairing public meetings, and was considered to be someone with no political affiliation. In spite of this, those representing the Museum of Free Derry and Bloody Sunday Trust refused to accept my role as chairperson. So at the request of other attendees I continued to record the meeting, then circulated the draft minutes. At no time did the representatives from the Bloody Sunday Trust ask me not to take the minutes, and at one point point in the course of the meeting Mr Percival asked me to ensure I had taken note of a point he raised.

Three weeks after the meeting the Bloody Sunday Trust representatives refused to accept the minutes as in their opinion they did not provide an accurate account of what was discussed. Bloody Sunday Trust Vice Chairperson, Robin Percival went as far to allege the minutes contained 'serious inaccuracies'. As these were merely draft minutes all attendees were afforded ample opportunity to provide amendments to the minutes, yet despite this Bloody Sunday Trust representatives including Mr.Percival chose not to avail of the opportunity.

Having fulfilled my obligation with regards to recording the meeting I circulated the 'completed' minutes. Following this I felt it necessary to address a number of concerns I had about the conduct of those representing Bloody Sunday Trust during the meeting on Aug 19th.

My initial complaint to the Bloody Sunday Trust

When questions were being asked of Bloody Sunday Trust/Museum of Free Derry representatives in relation to the redevelopment of the museum the Vice Chairperson Robin Percival interjected accusing attendees, including myself of having an Anti-Sinn Fein agenda and of attempts to obstruct the museum's redevelopment. These allegations were immediately challenged and dismissed as the comments were not only untrue but inappropriate and irrelevant to what was being discussed.

For the sake of clarity I would point out that Sinn Fein was mentioned once briefly at the start of the meeting in relation to a request sent to the Bloody Sunday Trust. The request sent to the Chairperson prior to the meeting was for a copy of a paper/proposal written by Robin Percival and presented to the ruling body of Derry Sinn Fein in 1989.

The name of this document was 'The Bloody Sunday Trust', it's also worth noting that Robin Percival is on record as saying that this document was “an attempt to create a broad-based organisation containing members of Sinn Fein, but also others, who were not members. If you look at the checklist in that paper, pretty much everything on it has since happened. It even mentioned setting up a museum to house the archival material being collected, even though back then it was described as an interpretive centre.”

In response to Mr Pervical's allegation of an anti Sinn fein agenda I stated that I had no affiliation to any political party or organisation and advised him of my healthy unease with all political parties. Mr Percival then claimed that I had stood as an electoral candidate for the People Before Profit Alliance. I suggested Mr Percival check his facts as I had not. I still question the relevancy of this inference, as if I had ever been a member of any political party it should be of no consequence to Mr Percival, just as Mr Percival's affiliation or former affiliation to Sinn Fein is of no relevance to me. Personally I wouldn't care if he was a member of the Raving Monster Loony Party!

Brian 'anti sinn fein' Tierney SDLP
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney is a member of the Bloody Sunday Trust board and recently stood as a candidate in the local government election, so it stands to reason that as a political opponent of Sinn Fein, Brian Tierney has an established anti Sinn Fein agenda.

If Mr Percival was to question Brian Tierney's political beliefs would this be considered appropriate under the Bloody Sunday Trust constitution? Would Brian Tierney feel this appropriate?  If not then why was considered appropriate for Mr Percival to question me? Furthermore I would question what if anything having an anti-Sinn Fein agenda had to do with that meeting or the Bloody Sunday Trust?

Maybe Robin Percival doesn't understand that freedom of expression and the right to political opinions are protected under article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. If this is the case, this is a matter of great concern as Mr Percival is not only the Vice Chairperson of the Bloody Sunday Trust but the Chairperson of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry and a member of the Parades Commission and should hopefully have an understanding of Human Rights.

If Mr Percival does have difficulty in comprehending basic principles and concepts of Human Rights Legislation then he should evaluate his positions accordingly. Furthermore he should give consideration to how these remarks could be construed as an attempt to demonise those asking questions or as part of a Pro-Sinn Fein agenda.

Over two weeks after registering my complaint I presented the Chairperson of the Bloody Sunday Trust with a copy of my complaint in person. The following day I received the following response which could be considered a whitewash worthy of Widgery.

The response from the Bloody Sunday Trust at least one member of the board knew nothing about!

Additionally my local Councillor and Bloody Sunday Trust member Brain Tierney assures me that he was unaware of the letter despite it being signed from the Bloody Sunday Trust. Considering my complaint was in relation to the conduct of the Chair, Vice Chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust I would ask the following:

When did the full board meet to discuss the issue?
Who composed the response?
Which Bloody Sunday Trust board members were present during this meeting?
Why was the SDLP representative not only unaware of the meeting, but the response I received until I raised the issue with him?

They consider the matter closed, I don't, they may as well have said F**k you, we're the Bloody Sunday Trust! Now go away!

So the bottom line is how can the Bloody Sunday Trust affirm anything when members of the Board were unaware of any discussion and unaware of my complaint.
Generally statutory and voluntary organisations normally adhere to a complaints procedure which they follow and use to remedy concerns or reach amicable solutions to an issue. Not only does the Bloody Sunday Trust not have a published complaints or appeals procedure in their correspondence they state that the matter is 'closed', whether this be to your satisfaction or not.

If there can be one good thing to out of all this, I would suggest that the Bloody Sunday Trust undertakes quality and customer care training with a specific focus on complaints handling and quality assurance methods. I am sure through their various funding bodies they would have no problem this resourcing this.

Then again if the performance of the Bloody Sunday Trust in completely failing to address concerns is anything to go by they'd probably issue a statement affirming they went to the training and found it worthwhile, but in actual fact hadn't bothered their arse and decided it was a tick-box exercise, much like their consultation methods.

It would seem that the Bloody Sunday Trust feel it's best to keep people like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed sh1t!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Just Like Pontius Pilate.


In November 2013 Attorney General John Larkin suggested there should be an end to prosecutions for Troubles-related killings. He also suggested that there should be no further police investigations, inquests or inquiries into related killings that took place prior the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. This suggestion came as former US diplomat Richard Haass tried to broker an agreement over how to deal with the past, amongst other issues.

From that time former PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott is on record as saying that the cost of policing the past was having a massive impact on how the PSNI deal with present issues. Mr. Baggot has been quoted as saying "Whilst we are committed to meeting our current legislative responsibilities, dealing with legacy issues continues to place significant pressure on our organisation and financial resources."

In recent days it has been announced that the Historical Enquiry Team is to be abolished and that the  investigation in to the Bloody Sunday murders is to be scaled back. This announcement has horrified many of the victim's families which is hardly surprising as this move has been justified on the basis of cost saving.

Some may argue that the PSNI find themselves in an awkward predicament in terms of the cuts to the annual budget, but surely murder investigations past and present should take precedence?
This revelation comes just one week after the screening of a documentary by Peter Taylor entitled 'Who the War?' During this documentary a former member of the British Parachute Regiment who was present on Bloody Sunday spoke of how he felt no remorse adding that he would do it again. It would seem that despite the apology proffered by David Cameron in 2010 that the British Army foot soldiers who participated in mass murder, feel neither remorse nor shame.

On June 15th 2010 following the presentation of the Lord Saville's findings the British Prime Minister David Cameron had this to say in full view of the world's press. “ There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable." It was wrong. Followed bythe government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.”

With the British Government responsible for the conduct of the armed forces surely it is their responsibility to ensure justice is served as  David Cameron confirmed that members of the armed forces had acted “wrongly.” He also stated that “the families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and the hurt of that day and with a lifetime of loss." Reflecting on those words the onus is clearly on the British Prime Minister/ British Government to ensure justice is done and to ensure that the families of those murdered and the people of Derry get the closure that is needed.

If David Cameron fails to oblige then his apology was nothing but hollow words. That said this was the man who in is his apology never once mentioned the Parachute regiment by name, merely referring to them as a 'support company' as if this would somehow detract from the murderous and brutal legacy of the Parachute Regiment, in Derry, in Ballymurphy and in other locations across the world.

And it is to the involvement of the British Government in 'conflicts' across the world that we must look if we are to question the rationale that there is no money for the Bloody Sunday and other conflict related investigations.

In April of this year it was revealed the cost of military conflicts to Britain since 1990 could reach approximately £42 billion. The bulk of the money was spent on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which were later deemed strategic failures, and the motives for their involvement questionable. With these figures in mind the cost of bringing those responsible for the murder of innocent civilians to justice is minimal.

The truth is the British state needs a clean slate in the North, it's legacy beyond Bloody Sunday involves funding, arming and providing intelligence to loyalist terror groups, the torture of internees, the running of agents such as Mark Haddock within armed groups who were responsible for multiple killings. All those things and more are beginning to raise their heads as the past is starting to catch up with the British state.

The problem for the British state is that there are many people here from a range of backgrounds who have suffered because of the conflict and because of the actions of the British state and its lackeys. Their suffering can't just be wiped out because its convenient now for the state.

Pontious Pilate may have washed the blood of Christ from his hands, however the British state should not be allowed to try and do the same.