WE look back at the stories that were making the headlines this week in the Andersonstown News in 1982
No charges brought against RUC and British Army killers
THE Director of Public Prosecution has ruled that no charges be brought against members of the RUC and British Army responsible for five of last year’s seven plastic bullet murders. Two other fatal shooting, those of Nora McCabe and Carol Ann Kelly are still being investigated by the DPP. This information was disclosed in a letter last Friday to Armagh priest Fr Raymond Murray.
On Sunday morning, 14th March, the RUC arrived at the Livingstone home in Lenadoon and told the parents of Julie Livingstone that “no further action” was to be taken against the British army for the killing of their daughter. 14-year-old Julie died on 13th May last year after being struck on the head by a plastic bullet. She was on her way home up the Stewartstown Road, where British soldiers indiscriminately opened fire as they passed a bin-lid protest to mark the death of hunger-striker Francis Hughes.
The shooting of Julie Livingstone has always been regarded by the Association for Legal Justice as one of the most blatant plastic bullet murders. The news that no charges are to be brought against the soldiers responsible has come as a shock to even the most cynical.
The decision by the DPP not to prosecute is, however, in line with the RUC’s treatment of people involved in, or witness to, plastic bullet shootings. Their treatment indicates a wish by the government to cover-up the reckless and indiscriminate use of plastic bullets in the North. Several innocent people who have been injured by plastic bullets have been charged with riotous behaviour. Recently, a Short Strand man who was struck on the head by a plastic bullet, received a two-year suspended jail sentence on a trumped up charge of throwing a petrol bomb. After the shooting of Julie Livingstone four witnesses who went to Woodbourne Barracks were told that they were free to make statements about the incident, but that if they did, they would be charged with rioting.
The DPP’s ruling on prosecutions comes hard on the heels of a ruling in the High Court last week against a claim for damages by the mother of Brian Stewart. Brian, a 13-year-old Turf Lodge child, died in October 1976 from his injuries, after a plastic bullet smashed in his skull. At the time of the fatal shooting, Brian was returning home alone from local shops and there was no rioting in the locality.
Three Ministry of Defence officials were present at last week’s court hearing to ensure, according to the ALJ, that Lord Justice Jones “didn’t slip up”.
Long Kesh in contest for most ‘Irish’ district
ALTHOUGH an application by republican prisoners at Long Kesh for entry to a national competition between communities trying to promote the Irish language has been rejected, prisoners’ supporters – encouraged by the hopeful words of the competition director – are optimistic that the application may yet be accepted.
In early December, the cultural officer of the H-Block prisoners wrote to the organisers of ‘Glor na nGael’, an annual competition in which over 70 town, city and area communities participate to apply for entry. Last week a reply in Irish from the Dublin-based manager of the competition, Cearuil Page, started that the prisoners were not acceptable for entry.
“It is true,” the letter read, “that applications come from institutions from time to time, from colleges, hospitals, etc which are doing their utmost to promote the Irish language, but we cannot accept them because their attempts are not suitable for the competition.”
When contacted by the Andersonstown News, An t-Uas Page said that his rejection of the prisoners’ application had been based on the rules.
“The competition is primarily based on towns and villages and there is no application made for ‘institutions’ such as schools, prisons etc,” he said.
He did concede, however, that there were ways round the rules.
“If an area of Dublin around Mountjoy Prison entered the competition we would accept that they might try to ‘Gaelicise’ the jail.”
When asked if it would be possible for the prisoners to participate in the competition if Lisburn or Hillsborough entered, An t-Uas Page said that he saw “no problems” with such a scheme.
Brand new Church for St Teresa’s
WORK on a new church for the parish of St Teresa’s is nearing completion. The new chapel is situated off the Glen Road and beside St Clare’s Youth Club. With both floor and ceiling installed, the workmen are concentrating on the finishing touches such as windows and doors.
Parish priest Fr McKillop is confident that the “church of the Holy Spirit” will be operational by the end of May. Dr McKillop sees the church, which is the only one in the diocese dedicated to the Holy Spirit, being a great advantage to people in the upper end of St Teresa’s parish. Until now many of these people had been attending Mass in St Michael’s Church.
A large imposing cross has been commissioned, and will be erected adjacent to the church.
Building contractor for the church is PF Kerry and the architect is DJ McRandall.