Victims of conflict


Cead mille felaiteto the latest "Victim of conflict".  Least we forget Eirnan's brave sons:

Dessie O'Hare, known as the "Border Fox," was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), one of the most militant republican breakaway groups in the Northern Ireland conflict.

He remains the last INLA member, north and south of the border, in prison for crimes carried out before the 1998 Good Friday agreement aimed at ending three decades of strife in Northern Ireland.

The prison service spokesman said O'Hare had been transferred from the high-security Portlaoise Jail, which is guarded by armed police and army units, to the semi-open Castlerea Prison.

At Castlerae, O'Hare is to be held in the Grove section, where inmates live in houses prior to release.

O'Hare was jailed for kidnapping dentist John O'Grady in Cabinteely, County Dublin, in October 1987.

He had been a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, but later joined the INLA, which split from the Official IRA in 1974 and became infamous for its bloody internal feuds and extremist violence.

O'Grady's abduction, and a 1.9 million euro (dollar) ransom demand, triggered one of the biggest manhunts seen so far in Ireland, with security forces setting up extensive checkpoints.

The little fingers on both of O'Grady's hands were hacked off with a hammer and chisel while he was held, initially in a basement in Dublin and later in a container in Cork.

In a gruesome gesture, the fingers were left besides a statue of a saint in a Roman Catholic cathedral. But O'Grady himself was eventually freed after a shootout with police.

Following trial, O'Hare was found guilty of false imprisonment, wounding with intent and possession of firearms. At the time, the kidnapping was disowned by the INLA.

Two other men who were convicted with O'Hare have been released, and in 2000 O'Hare sought a judicial review, saying he fully supported the peace process and that he was in unlawful custody.

In November 2000, then justice minister John O'Donoghue "specified" O'Hare as a qualifying prisoner under the Good Friday peace agreement.

The case was subsequently referred to an independent Release of Prisoners Commission, which forwarded its recommendations to the current justice minister, Michael McDowell, last July.

Willie Gallagher, a spokesman for the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA, who runs a project for ex-prisoners from both sides of the border, said he did not expect O'Hare would be given parole this year under the regular Christmas arrangements for prisoners.

He expected O'Hare would begin to be given temporary release next July with the intention of freeing him the following year.

Gallagher said his group was not very happy with the situation. "Basically, they have made Dessie jump through all sorts of hoops. We thought he should have been allowed out on Christmas parole," he said.

He said the INLA would not have endorsed the kidnapping, as such actions were "taboo" but in the late 1980s there was a major feud in the organisation.

"The INLA were factionalised and Dessie hadn't a clue who was who and went his own way. Since then he has come back on board. Dessie was a"victim of a conflict."

Gallagher said that while the IRSP does not see the peace process as a solution to the Northern Ireland's problems, it accepts its endorsement in referendums north and south of the border. That was why the INLA had called a ceasefire in 1998.

"Dessie accepts that position. Basically his war is over," he said.

( poor wee lad)
Very well....

Due to popular demand (see, I'm not a dictator after all ;) ) this thread is opened again - but will be moved to Current Affairs.

My reasons for locking it are simple: as it was posted in the NAAFI Bar, I saw it as a wind-up and thought it would probably cause a massive ruck.  If you want serious discussion please post topics like these in The Int Cell or Current Affairs.

Cheers! :)