Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Dear Mrs. O'Loan,
appreciate your telephone call to me on Friday, May
28 2004, and I have now received your e-mail.
am pleased that you have finally appointed an investigator
to investigate the Mc Conville family claim that Neil
was threatened by the PSNI. (In your letter, I notice,
you refer to this as "a new allegation",
but the Mc Conville family continues to insist that
it is an old allegation, that they had, indeed, previously
verbally told your Family Liaison Officer that the
PSNI, themselves, had threatened Neil. In your letter
you say "No member of the family made any reference
to any threat by police to Mr McConville in any written
statement made to the Office". Of course, the
family never said they made the claim in "any
written statement", but in oral testimony when
being interviewed by your Family Liaison Officer).
the unfortunate delay of thirteen months - and I pray
it does not prove to be a fatal delay, for justice
delayed is justice denied - it is my hope that the
Mc Conville family will still receive just treatment.
this brings me to another issue, which I know is going
to outrage Irish-Americans and our friends in Congress:
Two weeks ago, or so, according to the Mc Conville
family, Caoime Mc Cann - Neil's partner and mother
of his baby - was in her car along with her baby when
she was stopped and questioned by the PSNI. She rhetorically
asked the PSNI, "hadn't they done enough to her
and her baby by killing the baby's father?" and
one police officer replied, "we didn't shoot
him soon enough".
does not have to be from Kinawley to know that such
a police-reply, if true, is the classic B-Special/RUC
treatment meted out to Catholics since the State of
Northern Ireland was created in 1920. Is this the
kinder, gentler police Hugh Orde promised us and Dr.
Mitchell Reiss, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland,
in your presence at the State Department on March
the way police act after a wrongful killing can tell
us almost as much about their attitude as does the
actual killing itself. For example, on April 22, 2004
we arranged for Diane Hamill , Robert's sister, to
testify before the House International Relations Committee.
She informed the stunned audience that some time after
Robert was kicked to death in Portadown on April 27,
1997 by a Unionist mob (as the police looked on) a
policeman came up to her, cocked his hand in imitation
of a gun and pretended to "fire" at her.
is the difference between the way the RUC treated
Diane Hamill and the way the PSNI treated Caoime Mc
O'Loan, I may be wrong, but I feel the Neil Mc Conville
case - among others - may well prove to be the acid
test for your Office, and, maybe, Hugh Orde's Achilles
1964 African-Americans could not trust the FBI - for
the very good reason that the FBI could not be trusted
as J. Edgar Hoover was dedicated to the destruction
of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and its leaders.
It is my fervent hope that your Office and Hugh Orde
will give proof in abundance - a thousand times over,
for that is what is required - that Catholics can
at last trust the police in Northern Ireland. For
without such abundant proof, overwhelming and compelling,
there will be no "new beginning" to redeem
the past police record of racism and sectarianism.
wish you Godspeed.
Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849
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