BODY OF TEEN KILLED IN US TO BE LAID TO REST 180 YEARS LATER

THE body of a Donegal teenager killed in the US more than 180 years ago is to be finally laid to rest today in his native parish. John Ruddy (18) was one of 57 workers killed or possibly murdered while working on a railway in Philadelphia in 1832.

Last year's burial service for the Duffy's Cut victims in Pennsylvania

Last year’s burial service for the Duffy’s Cut victims in Pennsylvania

In a poignant homecoming, the teenager’s remains – which have been positively identified through DNA testing – will be buried in his native Ardara today. With workers from Donegal, Derry and Tyrone, Ruddy sailed from Derry for a new life in the US in May 1832. Just three months later, he was dead and had been laid in an unmarked grave at Duffy’s Cut, just outside the city of Philadelphia. In the 1990’s, two brothers, Professor William Watson and Lutheran clergyman, Rev Dr Frank Watson started to research the deaths of the 57 workers. Seven remains were eventually exhumed, all of which showed signs of a violent death. It is believed the workers either died in a cholera outbreak or were murdered to prevent them leaving Duffy’s Cut. Of the seven remains exhumed, the body of Mr Ruddy was the only one positively identified. The six other bodies, including a women, were re-interred following a funeral service in the US. The teenager will be buried in a grave at the Church of the Holy Family in Ardara. The grave was purchased by Donegal native Vincent Gallagher. Mr Gallagher, who lives in the US, said the teenager and his co-workers were treated like ” garbage “. The re-interment funeral service will take place at 2pm. Prof Watson and Rev Watson are expected to travel from the US for the service.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : SEAMUS McKINNEY,IRISH NEWS.

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MASKED MEN TAKE CCTV FOOTAGE FROM SCENE OF SHOOTING

  • MASKED men removed CCTV footage from the scene of the paramilitary-style shooting which led to Sean Kelly‘s arrest. The detention of the Shankill bomber – who was released unconditionally yesterday – sparked a public row between the first and deputy first ministers and angry criticism of police by Sinn Fein.
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    Mr Robinson clamed the 39-year-old’s arrest raised ” potentially grave consequences ” for the political process – a claim Mr McGuinness said was ” frankly ridiculous “. Sinn Fein claimed Kelly was released within an hour of detectives being granted a 24-hour extension and described the episode as ” an example of shoddy policing “. UUP justice spokesman Tom Elliott questioned why police initially described the sh.yooting as paramilitary-style, only to say it was not paramilitry-related and then revert to the original position. The mother of 18-year-old victim Padraig McAleenan said yesterday he had been in the operating theatre for 10 hours and called for those responsible to be ” locked up and put down “. However, it has emerged that security footage from Flax Centre in Ardoyne, close to where the teenager was shot three times, has been removed. The Irish News  understands that as staff arrived for work yesterday morning, two masked men entered the complex, locked them in an office and took the material away. Police confirmed that they were ” aware of an incident ” and were investigating the circumstances. Staff were locked in an office and warned not to make statements to police. It is not known if detectives had gathered forensic evidence or security footage prior to the removeal of the  mmaterial. Padraig McAleen, known as ‘Doot ‘, was shot three times at the entrance to the centre at around 8.30pm on Tuesday. From the OOld park area of North Belfast, he spent 10 hours  in the operating theatre of the Royal Victoria Hospital after one of the bullets passed through his bladder. With a lengthy criminal record for theft, assault and riotous behaviour, has received death threats from dissident republicans in the pa past. More recently his name was linked to an attempted armed robbery at the Flax shooping complex. His mother Margaret McAleenan said yesterday that his pelvis has been damaged and he is likely to remain in hospital for some time. She denied accuastions that her son was involved in the distribution of drugs but confirmed he was recently released from prison after serving a jail term for rioting. Police said yesterday that the investigation into the ” suspected paramilitary ” shooting was still ongoing. North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly last night strongly criticised the arrest, described it as ” an example of shoddy policing “. ” At no time during any of the interveiws  was any evidnce either forensic, eyewitness statements, anything, put before Sean Kelly to explain why he was arrested,” he claimed. ” In fact when the PSNI went to court to seek an extension of his arrest they admitted that there was no evidence whatsoever against him. ” Within an hour after getting a 24 hour extension from the court, and without further questioning, Sean Kelly was released unconditionally.” Gerry Kelly said the PSNI Serious Crime Branch has ” qquestions to answer in arresting a high-profile republican who has always supported the peace process “.

  2. WITH MANY THANKS TO : ALLISON MORRIS, IRISH NEWS

FIRE SERVICE FINANCE CHIEF AT HEART OF WHISTLE-BLOWING ROW RESIGNS !

A SENIOR fire service manager at the heart of a whistle-blowing controversy has resigned. According to sources, Terry McGonigal, director of finance and performance management, has decided to leave the service.

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There have been three investigations into NI Fire and Rescue Service after whistle-blowing allegations

Three years ago, whistle-blower employee Linda ford, was suspended from her high-profile accountancy role for almost a year after she had raised the alarm on financial wrongdoing. Last year she received a record £20,000 compensation payout from the fire service. The mother-of-one also received a personal apology from the most senior civil servant at the Department of Health, permanent secretary Dr Andrew McCormick, for the ” unacceptable ” handling of her case. An independent investigation last year found Ms Ford and a second senior finance worker had been moved to other jobs or locations over the previous three years after launching grievance cases against Mr McConigal. The investigation reported that internal correspondence sent by a former acting chief fire officer, Louis Jones, in July 2010 recommended that Mr McConigal receive a precautionary suspension until both cases had been resolved. Following Mr Jone’s retirement, his successor Peter Craig decided that the finance chief would not be suspended – a move criticised by the investigators who said it was based on ” unsound logic “. Ms Ford has returned to the fire service but has not gone back to her previous accountancy role because some of her grievances remain outstanding. Mr McGonigal’s resignation comes before former fire service chiefs are to appear before Stormont’s health committee in the coming weeks.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : SEANIN GRAHAM, HEALTH CORRESPONDENT, IRISH NEWS.

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BRIAN SHIVER’S CONVICTION OVERTURNED

Brian Shivers’ conviction overturned

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A terminally ill man jailed for a Real IRA attack on a British Army base has had his conviction overturned.

The Court of Appeal ruled today that the guilty verdict returned against Brian Shivers was unsafe because no finding was made on when he allegedly became aware of the so-called murder plot.

Two British soldiers died at the gates of Massereene Barracks in March 2009.

The 47-year-old, from Magherafelt, County Derry, was arrested alongside prominent Lurgan republican Colin Duffy, amid an intense police effort to bring charges in the case. It became one of the most highly controversial cases of recent years.

After being held unjustly for almost three years, Mr Duffy was ultimately freed early last year. But there was considerable shock at the murder conviction of Brian Shivers, a man with advanced cystic fibrosis. While Mr Shivers was never linked with the actual killings, DNA evidence found on a matchstick was used to claim a link to the getaway car.

The judge at the time found he had ‘common cause’ with those who carried out the attack. Shivers, who has only a few years to live, was ordered to serve a minimum 25 years in prison.

Shivers’ lawyers have argued that it was legally impossible for him to be convicted of murder because there was no ‘actus reus’, or guilty act, prior to the murder.

Delivering judgment this afternoon, Chief Justice Declan Morgan said the trial judge had not dealt with the concept of a joint enterprise.

“The issue for the court was whether it should be inferred that there was a common enterprise to which the appellant agreed prior to the attack to carry out a shooting attack with intent to kill,” Sir Declan pointed out.

“The learned trial judge made no finding on this issue.”

Morgan, sitting with Justices Higgins and Girvan, held that the test applied by the trial judge required no prior knowledge of the attack.

On that basis he stated: “We do not accept that a person who provides assistance after a murder with full knowledge of what has happened thereby becomes guilty of murder.

“There is no authority to support such a proposition. The learned trial judge made no findings as to when the appellant had the relevant knowledge.”

He added: “We conclude, therefore, that the appeal must be allowed.”

Shivers, who maintains his innocence, appeared by prison video link to hear the outcome of his appeal. He remains in jail at the moment while prosecutors decide his fate.

His lawyer said he was relieved by the verdict but expressed concerns about his health.

Niall Murphy, of Kevin R Winters and Co, said: “This is example of the justice system working, however we are gravely concerned at our client’s ongoing acute medical condition.

“He has been admitted to hospital for 56 days across three separate admissions since the hearing of his appeal in May and he is routinely refused access to his medication.

“Mr Shivers has been through a terrible ordeal whereby he has been repeatedly assaulted /abused whilst in prison and in hospital where he is continuously under armed guard.”

He added: “Mr Shivers looks forward to the end of this ordeal and hopes that this judgement is the first step towards that.”

£9.5m PAID OUT FOR OVERTIME IN NORTH’S PRISONS SINCE 2009 !

THE Northern Ireland Prison Service has spent more than £9.5 million in overtime since 2009. The payments, which have risen year on year, equate to more than £183,ooo a week on average.

Some prison officers have increased their annual salary by up to £16,ooo by working additional hours. Finlay Spratt, chairman of the Prison Officers ‘ Association in the north, said : ” These figures clearly demonstrate that the staffing levels across the Northern Ireland Prison Service are far too low. ” They are paying overtime but, speaking as a trade unionist, they should be cutting out on overtime and recruiting more staff. ” But it’s cheaper to pay the overtime. ” Let’s be honest – nobody in the current economic climate is going to say no to a bit of extra cash. ” They are not objecting to overtime but I, as a trade unionist, am – I think they should be getting more people into employment.”

Finlay Spratt says the continued dissident threat against prison officers is increasing incidents of stress and depression

The figures were released under freedom-of-information legislation. They show that since 2009, staff at the high-security Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim, where murdered prison officer David Black was employed, worked the most overtime. A total of £5.6m was paid out – almost four times more than any other facility. Payments peaked last year when £1.7m was spent between March and October. Until recently more than 40 dissident republicans at Roe House in Maghaberry were engaged in a dirty protest which involved mixing urine and excrement and spreading it on cell walls. The protest over strip searches was called off last month. The Department of Justice said overtime was a normal aspect of running a 24-hour-a-day ‘ business ‘. ” This analysis shows that additional hours are worked by staff across NIPS but particularly in the three prisons and the Prisoner Escort and Court Custody Service,” it said. ” This approach has been in place over many years and is a normal aspect of running a 24/7 operational business.”

Workers at Magilligan prison in Co Derry were paid £1.3m in overtime since March 2009. At Hydebank Wood which accommodates women and young offenders, the overtime bill reached £1.2m. The Prisoner Escort and Court Custody Service generated an overtime bill of £2.7m during the same period. There are 1,591 prison officers in the north. In February the prison service launched its first recruitment drive in 20 years. The first tranche of 20 custody officers earning £18,000 a year started work in October. A further 140 recruits are expected to start work in the coming weeks. SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone, who sits on the justice committee, at Stormont, said  prison management might need to reassess how resources were deployed. “Having been to Maghaberry on a number of occasions it never ceases to amaze me how many prison officers it takes to escort a prisoner,” he said. ” I understand some of these guys are high-risk but it does puzzle me as to why, as I have seen, it takes five prison officers to escort a prisoner. ” If overtime is being spent unnecessarily it really has to be looked at again.”

WITH MANY THANKS TO : LESLEY- ANNE McKEOWN, IRISH NEWS.

Páirc Réamonn Mac Raois (Raymond McCreesh Park), Patrick Street, Newry.

Raymond Mc Creesh Park

Páirc Réamonn Mac Raois (Raymond McCreesh Park), Patrick Street, Newry.
“Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” ~ Óglach Bobby Sands ~ — with Vol Brendan Hughes Rfb,

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  James Connolly

IRISH-SPEAKING FAMILY NEEDED FOR TRIP BACK TO 19Th CENTURY !

FILM COMPANY TO RE-ENACT ‘ CARROWMENAGH EVICTIONS ‘

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FANCY abandoning those home comforts and taking your family back in time to the late 19th century ? A Newry-based film company is looking for an Irish-speaking family from Ulster to help re-enact one of the most shameful episodes in Ireland’s history.

On December 26 and 27 1881 landlord Hector Frederick McNeill evicted 13 tenant families from their homes at Carrowmenagh in North Inishowen, Co Donegal. According to Sean O Cearbhaill of Big Mountain Productions, McNeill would have had them thrown out on Christmas Day were it not for the fact that the law forbade it. What became known as the ‘ Carrowmenagh Evictions ‘ happened at the height of the Land War when Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell led a campaign against extortionate ‘ rack rents ‘ imposed on tenant farmers.

RIC and Hussars at an eviction

Appeals by the parish priest of Moville, Fr Michael Farnan, to McNeill to accept a portion of the rent fell on deaf ears and he ordered his agent, James GH Harvey of Derry, to proceed with the evictions. Accompanied by a troop of the ( RIC ) Royal Irish Constabulary and the British Army, the tenants were forced from their homes, which were then destroyed. Many families found shelter with friends in neighbouring areas but some were forced to brave the elements. Now those scenes will be re-enacted in The Lost Village, which is due to be broadcast on RTE in March. The billingual programme will be screened as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge ( Irish Language Week ).

Big Mountain Productions wants two families to spend three days in a traditional thatched long-house at Omagh’s Ulster American Folk Park – a similar residence to those in which the evicted families lived. Mr O Cearbhaill said one family has already been signed up but a second which speaks Ulster-Irish is needed for filming from January 12 to 14. After the traditional overindulgence of a 21st century Christmas participants will revert to clothing from the time and eat a meagre 1880’s diet. The film-makers have already uncovered an amazing link between the evictions and the family already signed up for the production.

” They are a US family who were originally from Carrowmenagh and are coming over as part of The Gathering [ the Irish government’s Diaspora reunion next year ]. They are coming to retrace their ancestors ‘ daily lives in Donegal,” he said. Mr O Cearbhaill said the ideal family would include parents and children over the age of 12. However, the group could also be brothers or sisters or in-laws or indeed any family connection. For the successful family, three days of authentic 1881 living is promised – free from smartphones, computers and even electricity. However, the producers have agreed to give in on one front – the children will not have to go barefoot as they probably did in 1881. Any family interested in taking part can contact Mr O Cearbhaill by calling 028 3083 4046 or emailing sean@bigmountainproductions.com

WITH MANY THANKS TO : SEAMUS McKINNEY, IRISH NEWS 0r email : derry@irishnews.com