Only Six working days left for Government decision on ‘Hooded men’ case

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to urgently conclude the government’s deliberations on a decision to reopen the ‘Hooded men’ case with the European Court of Human Rights.

In a letter to the Taoiseach on Wednesday the Sinn Féin leader pointed out that there is a December 4th deadline – only six working days – left for the government to seek to have this case reopened.

Gerry Adams described the decision of the European Court in 1978 as ‘a landmark judgement. The 14 men were denied justice. The Irish government lost a case it should have won. And because of British lies the ECHR judgement in 1978 facilitated the use of these torture techniques in other conflict situations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a grave onus on the Office of the Attorney General and the government to conclude its deliberations and seek a reopening of this case’.

The text of Gerry Adams letter to An Taoiseach.

Taoiseach a chara,

In 1971 the Irish government took a case to Europe on behalf of ‘The Hooded Men’. These were 14 Irish citizens who were arrested by the British Army following the introduction of internment in August 1971.

In the course of seven days they were hooded and subject to brutal in-depth interrogation techniques by the RUC Special Branch and the British Ministry of Defence’s Joint Services Interrogation Wing (JSIW).

The European Commission on Human Rights in 1977 ruled that this was torture. The British government appealed and the following year the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the men had not suffered torture but inhuman and degrading treatment.

Taoiseach, evidence has now emerged that the British government lied to the Irish government; lied to the lawyers acting for the ‘Hooded Men,’ and lied to the ECHR.

Lawyers acting for ‘The Hooded Men’ wrote to the Office of the Attorney General last October. 

They provided a range of new material in respect and asked that the Irish government ‘urgently review the ECHR judgement marked in the case of Ireland v the United Kingdom, Application no. 5310/71, 18th January 1978 with a view to reopening the same before the Court through their capacity as a member state under Article 33 of the Convention.’

In March the Attorney General concluded that she could ‘find nothing new in the documentation’ and concluded that it did not meet ‘the threshold which would warrant this state bringing an application to reopen the case before the ECtHR.’

I expressed my disappointment and called for a reversal of the decision.

In June a major documentary by RTE – The Torture Files – reported on additional new evidence which it and the Pat Finucane Centre had uncovered.

This revealed that the British government lied to the ECHR about the use of the so-called five techniques for in-depth interrogation; lied to the ECHR on the severity of the interrogation methods employed and the detail of this torture, including its location; lied to the ECHR about the medical and psychological consequences on the 14 men tortured; and failed to inform the ECHR that this torture had been cleared at British Cabinet level by the then Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington.

It is clear from all of the documentation now available that the use of torture against these 14 men was a matter of administrative practise by the British government.

I immediately wrote to the Attorney General on this. In his response to me in July the Attorney General’s Private Secretary confirmed that the ‘process of giving detailed and careful consideration to the material is in hand and could take some time.’

Taoiseach, there is a December 4th deadline for the reopening of this case. Time is quickly running out.

This was a landmark judgement. The 14 men were denied justice. The Irish government lost a case it should have won. And because of British lies the ECHR judgement in 1978 facilitated the use of these torture techniques in other conflict situations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a grave onus on the Office of the Attorney General and the government to conclude its deliberations and seek a reopening of this case.

When do you expect that the government will conclude its deliberations and take its decision?

Government must guarantee St Joseph’s Upgrade Funding

Gerry Adams TD, Cllr Pearse McGeough & JJ Quigley

Gerry Adams TD, Cllr Pearse McGeough & JJ Quigley

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Gerry Adams and Councillor Pearse McGeough paid a visit to St Joseph’s Nursing Home on Thursday 27th November.

Speaking from Louth Deputy Adams said,

“Sinn Féin has always been supportive of the campaign to retain and enhance St Joseph’s. As part of this on-going campaign I have been in communication with the Minister for Health to ensure that funding is available for essential capital and refurbishment works.

“St Joseph’s must achieve HIQA Environmental Standards by 2015 and the Minister had previously committed funds in the region of €750,000 to realise this.

“There is an onus on the new Health Minister Leo Varadkar to honour this commitment and I will continue to press him to do so.”

Commending the staff of St Joseph’s Gerry Adams said;

“I always enjoy the craic with the staff and residents of St Joseph’s.  It is a wonderful facility with an obvious caring and gentle ethos towards vulnerable elderly people.

“Both myself and Councillors Pearse McGeough and Tom Cunningham will maintain regular contact with the staff and management of St Joseph’s to ensure that the service provided there continues into the future.”

Cllr Flood Hails Results Of Emma’s Voice Campaign ‘A Huge Step Forward’

SF Kenneth Flood SpeakingSinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has warmly welcomed the latest Developments in the campaign to raise awareness of EpiPens and Anaphylaxis.

Yesterday, Drogheda Councillor Kenneth Flood and Dublin Councillor Greg Kelly joined Emma Sloan’s mother and friends as they handed in a petition with over 115,000 names which were collected over the summer under the Emma’s Voice Campaign.

The Campaign was named after 14 year old Emma Sloan who tragically died on O’Connell Street, Dublin in December last year after her mother was refused an EpiPen by a pharmacist as she didn’t have Emma’s prescription with her.

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It may start suddenly within seconds or minutes, or take a few hours to develop following contact with an allergen which is a substance that is capable of producing an allergic reaction. A severe anaphylactic reaction is sometimes known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis can cause the blood pressure to drop quickly, resulting in fainting or even sustained loss of consciousness. It can also cause severe breathing difficulties.

Councillor Kenneth Flood has been working tirelessly on this issue since Emma’s death. Kenneth said “I asked one of our Councillors, Edel Corrigan, to put forward a motion in February this year which she did and the motion was passed. The motion was ‘calling on the HSE and the Minister ‘to ensure legislation and codes of practice be put in place to ease the restrictions on the availability of Epinephrine auto injectors (commonly known as EpiPens) and other Anaphylaxis medicines.’ I had not been elected at that time.”

Dublin Councillor Greg Kelly who was present yesterday got a similar motion passed in Dublin Council.

Flood continued, “I have been in regular contact with Emma’s mother Caroline and Gerry Adams TD and I have met with her to get legislation in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Caroline is to be commended for everything she has achieved so far. She described herself to me as ‘an ordinary mother’ and yet she is anything but.”

The Drogheda Councillor explained “following PQs submitted by Gerry Adams TD, the HSE confirmed there were just under 10,000 citizens with EpiPens taking part in the Community Drug Scheme. Full statistics were not available so this could be just the tip of the iceberg. We all seem to know someone who needs to carry these EpiPens so the danger is more common than you would think.”

“This recent development in the campaign is a huge step forward for anyone who is vulnerable to Anaphylaxis. Minister Varadkar has committed to big changes in the next six months which includes educating and providing more information on EpiPens and making them more freely available with people trained in how to use them. The Minister also spoke about grouping this training with training on other injectables such as diabetes medications etc.

“Sinn Féin are delighted this campaign has achieved so much over this past year. We want to thank everyone who was involved and especially Caroline Sloan for her persistence and want her to know that we will continue to support her and the campaign until such times as we see a change in legislation that will hopefully prevent further deaths like that of Emma.”

Remembering Colum Hegarty

Colum Hegarty 3It is with a heavy heart that we write this for our friend and comrade Colum Hegarty who passed away this morning.

Colum was 86 years old and a life-long republican. He was born in 1929 in Desertmartin, Co Derry and lived and worked on the family’s dairy farm. His mother was a member of Cumann na mBán and his father, chair of the local GAA club so he came from good stock.

In 1954 Colum married his beloved Eithne, who was the love of his life but sadly Eithne passed away at Christmas 2007 but there wasn’t a day went by when he didn’t talk about her. His face would always light up when he did so.

Colum and Eithne had 5 children; Paidin, Catherine, Brighin, Colum and Eithne and they suffered heartbreak when their son Paidin passed away in March 2000 and this passing seems to have served to bring the rest of the family closer together. Their closeness and love for each other was always obvious and evident.

Colum Hegarty 2Colum Pictured with his daughter

Colum became a member of the Civil Rights Movement at the very early stages and when the military campaign began he recognised the necessity of the armed struggle to achieve our goals at that time. Colum’s house was a well-known safe house for Republicans and it was Colum’s commitment and dedication to the cause that made him a target for the British State Forces and Unionists. He was harassed, intimidated and threatened and thankfully survived a number of attempts on his life.

In 1979, under severe pressure and with a growing family, Colum and Eithne had little choice but to move to Dundalk where he owned and ran the Dundalk Bar until his retirement in 1990. Colum, being a committed Republican, joined the local Worthington/Watters Cumann and later the Watters Brothers Cumann of which he was an active member until he died this morning. Colum was one of the founder members of the anti-extradition and H-Block committees and would talk fondly of those days. He was proud and honoured to be a part of that.

Colum was also an experienced canvasser and enjoyed going around the doors to promote candidates. He always enjoyed the craic of meeting people, like-minded or not. He canvassed strongly for our current TD Gerry Adams and in May of this year, the Cumann had to ask him not to canvas as he was 86 years of age and his health wasn’t what it was, not to mention that he was showing the rest of us up with his enthusiasm! That didn’t stop him putting a poster of Jennifer Green and Matt Carthy in his window and stopping neighbours as they went by to explain who they were and why they should vote for them.

When Gerry Adams TD was released from Antrim Barracks in May this year, Colum and some of the rest of Watters Brothers Cumann piled into two cars and headed to Dublin for the big welcome home. Colum was in fine form and spent the journey giving out about the political policing and “how dare they arrest our TD” so by the time we got to Dublin, we were all revved up and could have happily gone to the GPO and staged another Rising. Colum was always great craic.

Colum Hegarty

Colum and the Cumann on their way to Dublin

When you first met Colum the thing that struck you was that he was a true gentleman. He was dedicated to the Cause, his Eithne and his family. It was a pleasure to have Colum in our Cumann and he will be greatly missed and it will be a poorer Cumann for him not being there. He was always the first to arrive and attended every event no matter what it was or where. He never missed an Ard Fheis. If we asked for volunteers his hand would always be the first up. We are very proud to call him a friend and a comrade.

To Colum’s family Catherine, Brighin, Colum and Eithne and to all the extended family which now includes grandchildren and great grandchildren we send our sincere condolences. He is back with his beloved Eithne now and Paidin and we are sure he is at peace.

RIP Colum.


Colum’s house is open from tonight at 7pm

Funerals will be in the Holy Family (Muirhevna Mór) on Friday morning at 10am

Colum will be buried in Desertmartin, Co Derry.

Corrigan: Irish Water Obstruct Cycle Lanes And Disregard Residents

Cllr Edel CorriganSinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has hit out at Irish Water workers who are endangering the lives of cyclists.

Several citizens have contacted Cllr Corrigan about the issue and Cllr Corrigan is concerned. “This is a safety issue. I have contacted Irish Water and the Council about this asking if the contractors had sought a permit to close the cycle lanes. No alternative access routes have been provided for the cyclists and this has had a knock on effect on the traffic and pedestrians alike.”

Councillor Corrigan continued “I am sure Irish Water have informed their contractors that it is illegal to block cycle lanes, if they have, then they are being ignored by their own contractors. Well they are not the only ones being ignored by the contractors. Residents are supposed to receive advance notice of when works are commencing. That is not happening and I have logged this concern with Irish Water also who informed me the contractors must give this advance warning as part of their contract. Unfortunately the only notice some residents get is when they are awoken at the crack of dawn by loud drilling and hammering.”