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The family of the Quinn children who were murdered by a British-instigated death squad are outraged by the verdict and remarks of the top British judge in the Six Counties when clearing a man of the murders.
The three children were killed in a petrol bomb attack on their Carnany Park, Ballymoney home on July 12, 1998 during that year's Drumcree stand-off.
Garfield Gilmour (25) from Newhill Park, Ballymoney, was cleared of the murder of the three children and convicted of the manslaughter of the Quinn brothers at the Belfast court of appeal on June 5.
Passing his judgement, Lord Chief Justice Robert Carswell said: "Throwing petrol bombs at dwelling houses is regrettably common. It is right to say, however, that it has fortunately been only a rare occurrence that occupants have been injured in such attacks."
He said it would be difficult to be certain Gilmour intended the attack to cause any more than a "blaze which might cause some damage, put the occupants in fear and intimidate them into moving from the house".
Clearing Gilmour of murder is bad enough as he ferried the UVF killers to the Quinn home. But surely such remarks are reminiscent of a Nazi jurist excusing the firebombing of Jewish family homes.
If a petrol bomb is lobbed into a house where young children are sleeping there is every likelihood that death or serious injury will result.
On June 14 Gilmour was jailed for 14 years by Carswell, Lord Justice Nicholson and Mr Justice Coghlin. He has served two years already and with 50% remission he will be released in 2005.
The Quinn family were outraged by the decision and the remarks of Lord Chief Justice Carswell.
Frankie Quinn, an uncle of the three children, Richard (11), Mark (10) and nine-year-old Jason, said Gilmour should have got three life sentences.
In relation to Carswell's remarks, Frankie Quinn said: "The judge should have been there that night. He wouldn't have said what he said.
"They didn't throw an ordinary petrol bomb, they threw in a gallon of petrol. That was thrown in so that it killed everyone in the house. They tried to murder everyone in the house. It was a planned operation by the UVF."
Carswell and the other British appeal judges also quashed Gilmour's convictions and concurrent sentences of 12 years on charges of causing grievous bodily harm to the boys' mother Christine Quinn, her former partner Raymond Craig and family friend Christina Archibald.
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The European court of human rights ruled on June 6 that the British government breached the rights of a man by holding him under arrest for 48 hours without access to a lawyer.
The case, which was taken by former political prisoner Gerard Magee over his detention at Castlereagh interrogation centre in December 1988 is potentially the first of many.
During Magee's detention a statement was extracted from him which was the only evidence used against him during his subsequent trial.
The judgement from the European court said that in their opinion "to deny access to a lawyer for such a long period and in a situation where the rights of the defence can be irretrievably prejudiced is, whatever the justification for such denial, incompatible with the rights of the accused."
Magee, who was conditionally released under the terms of the Stormont Agreement in 1998, was awarded £10,000 costs and legal expenses.
The court also ruled on June 6 that Long Kesh escaper Liam Averill's rights had been violated because he was refused access to a lawyer during the first 24 hours of questioning by the RUC. However the court rejected his bid to declare he had been denied a fair trial.
Gerard Magee's application was lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights on June 6, 1994. The case was transmitted to the European Court of Human Rights on November 1, 1998 and declared partly admissible on September 14, 1999. Judgement was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows: Jean-Paul Costa (French), President, Willi Fuhrmann (Austrian), Loukis Loucaides (Cypriot), Pranas Kuris (Lithuanian), Sir Nicolas Bratza (British), Hanne Sophie Greve (Norwegian), Kristaq Traja (Albanian), judges, and also Sally Dollé, Section Registrar.
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. On November 1, 1998 a full-time court was established, replacing the original two-tier system of a part-time Commission and Court.
Under Article 43 of the European Convention on Human Rights, within three months from the date of a Chamber judgement, any party to the case may, in exceptional cases, request that the case be referred to the 17-member Grand Chamber of the Court.
In that event, a panel of five judges considers whether the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or its Protocols, or a serious issue of general importance, in which case the Grand Chamber will deliver a final judgement.
If no such question or issue arises, the panel will reject the request, at which point the judgement becomes final. Otherwise Chamber judgements become final on the expiry of the three-month period or earlier if the parties declare that they do not intend to make a request to refer.
Six workers at the Aldi supermarket have been on strike since June 3rd. When the workers joined MANDATE (the union for shop and bar staff) management responded by refusing to talk to the union.
They then sacked two union workers for "poor performance" (despite having offered one of them a management job only days previously because his work was so good!) and suspended three others for refusing to carry out heavy duty cleaning, such as toilet cleaning, as well as being cashiers.
At a meeting of Dublin Comhairle Ceantair of Republican Sinn Féin on June 6 a resolution was agreed to support the Aldi workers in their fight for trade union recognition.
The workers joined the union because of things like:
Aldi recognises unions in Germany, Denmark and Britain. If they get away with smashing the union here, other bosses will try to copy them, and Aldi themselves will almost certainly try it on in other countries.
This week Aldi have an advertisement seeking staff on a "self-employed" basis. This means no sick pay and no holiday pay.
Business has been halved since the pickets went on. As a cheaper shop, a lot of their custom comes from people with little cash. Among these are many asylum-seekers.
With the assistance of the Anti-Racism Campaign the strikers have had their leaflets translated into Chinese, Yoruba, Arabic, French and Romanian. Local community, Traveller and immigrant organisations are presently being asked to sign an appeal to boycott the store until the strike is won.
A benefit gig in the INTO club brought in £1,000 for the strike fund. Members of MANDATE, CPSU, SIPTU and INTO met at the end of June to form a support group to assist the strikers.
The next meeting of this group will be on Monday July 2 at 7pm in the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
In a statement on June 18 the Secretary-General of the Celtic League, Bernard Moffat, said that the Manx parliament (The Tynwald Court) were to hear a resolution the following week calling for support and co-operation for calls by Ireland and Denmark to suspend or cease the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
The initiative by a Manx back bench MHK (MP), Brenda Cannell, put pressure on the Isle of Man government to further develop an independent line over opposition to the nuclear plant. Support for the move would also embarrass the British government which claims the constitutional right to act for the Island on International Treaties and Conventions.
Throughout recent years agencies in Ireland and the Isle of Man have plotted levels of radioactive pollution including new dangers such as the detection in the past decade of technetium-99 pollution in shellfish which are being carefully monitored. Additionally, three years ago research in the UK produced the worrying statistic that the closer children lived to Sellafield the higher the concentration of plutonium found in their teeth and a fierce debate has raged about the incidence of leukaemia caused in children who live in coastal areas near to nuclear plants. The uncertainties make it vital that a broad coalition of groups keep up the pressure.
Environmental groups, such as the Celtic League, who have campaigned for closure believe that a clear vote of censure, at the Ospar meeting, of the British governments re-processing operation could spell the death knell for Sellafield and de-rail attempts to privatise the accident prone plant.
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