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Can't get a picture uploaded here at work,but it reads SAVE BRENDAN LILLIS.

 

 

 

ALEX KANE: Should Lillis be shown compassion?

 

 

Published on Monday 8 August 2011 08:38

 

IN 1977 Provisional IRA member Brendan Lillis was sentenced to life imprisonment. Passing sentence, the judge said: ââ?¬Å?No doubt if you had not been caught you would have continued your bombing campaign for an indefinite period.ââ?¬Â

 

As a member of the Provisional IRA, Lillis would have read and signed up to the terms and conditions of the IRA Green Book; conditions which embraced paragraphs about the moral and political superiority of their terror campaign, loyalty to the IRA and particularly the paragraph which said: ââ?¬Ë?It is these strong convictions which bond the army (the IRA) into one force and before any volunteer decides to join the army he must have these strong convictions. Convictions which are strong enough to give him confidence to kill someone without hesitation and without regret.ââ?¬â?¢

 

How much compassion should society show to an ill prisoner who was a member of an organisation whose members had the confidence to kill without hesitation and regret?

 

How much compassion should it show to an emaciated cripple who is probably physically incapable of posing a threat to anyone? In the case of Brendan Lillis, the answers are not as clear cut as you might think, for in 1993 he was shown some compassion and clemency when he was released from prison on licence after serving only 16 years of his life sentence.

 

Yet in October 2009 his licence was revoked after he was arrested in a field behind a house where police had just foiled a tiger kidnapping. He was charged with conspiring to kidnap, falsely imprison and rob three people in the house, two of whom were employees of the Northern Bank. Ill health since then has left him unfit to stand trial. But it�s worth bearing in mind that no-one campaigning for his release is doing so on the grounds that he is an innocent man, unlawfully and unfairly detained.

 

I am not a vindictive man. If I were an MP I would not be voting for the return of capital punishment, even in the cases of terrorism or child killers. I accepted the early release of republican and loyalist prisoners at the time of the Good Friday Agreement because I believed that it would probably help to create a more stable and peaceful Northern Ireland. It was, of course, a calculated risk and I said so at the time. I also accepted the possibility that some of those released from prison would end up in the assembly and executive.

 

To my mind Lillis was given the opportunity to begin a new life back in 1993. He knew the terms and conditions of his release, just as he knew the terms and conditions of the IRA Green Book when he joined it back in the early 1970s. I have no idea if he was involved in any criminal activity between his early release and his re-arrest in 2009, although it seems reasonable enough to conjecture (if he actually is guilty, of course) that he didn�t just get a phone call out of the blue asking him if he fancied going back to a life of crime and risking having his licence revoked.

 

So, let�s go back to the earlier questions. How much compassion should be shown to someone who seems to have turned his back on the chance to reform and rehabilitate himself? How much compassion should be shown to a man who has been confined to a bed in the hospital ward at Maghaberry prison since January and who has been, so we are told, increasingly frail since he was returned to prison in October 2009? Others have posed another question: isn�t there the risk of creating another republican martyr if Lillis is allowed to die in prison?

 

Compassion has a role to play in every area of life: it is one of the civilising aspects of our existence. But compassion has to be earned. It isn�t a right (although the ninnies of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission would probably love to make it so!). Compassion cannot be guaranteed just because someone is too physically ill to remain an active or potential threat to individuals in particular or society in general. Early release should never be an expectation for those who become ill while serving a sentence. Just look at the remarkable recovery made by the Lockerbie bomber after his release! And there are other examples, too.

 

What about the prospect of making a martyr for republicanism? The 10 dead hunger strikers achieved absolutely nothing. They may be venerated in some republican circles, but the sight of a hobbled Sinn Fein shackled to the DUP makes a mockery of their so-called sacrifice. Anyway, for Sinn Fein and dissident republicans, martyrs tend to be two-a-penny: capable of being invented, elevated or simply hijacked as and when the occasion demands it. To be brutally honest about it, I have absolutely no doubt that some of those campaigning for early release are doing so for their own ends rather than for his. And there are probably others who hope he does die inside, hoping to exploit his death and funeral for political and propaganda purposes.

 

David Ford has a very difficult decision to make. If the decision were mine, I would have huge reservations about a ââ?¬Ë?compassionateââ?¬â?¢ approach, not least because Lillis himself and some of the people supporting his release have displayed no compassion in their own previous activities. Similarly, releasing him because of the possibility of martyrdom sends a very dangerous message.

 

It may well be the case that Lillis needs specialist treatment. So be it, transfer him to a hospital where he can get 24-hour supervision and attention. But that doesnââ?¬â?¢t require his ââ?¬Ë?releaseââ?¬â?¢, pardon, freedom or a get-out-of-jail-free card: if he can be made well enough for trial then let him be tried. Surely clearing his name and proving his innocence is just as important to him and his family as getting him back on his feet again?

 

Illness and death are inescapable facts of life and in this case it seems to me that Brendan Lillis�s circumstances and present location are mostly of his own making. His illness is not linked to his offences (proved or alleged) nor his imprisonment. Personally, I cannot make a credible argument for either compassion or freedom in his case. Neither the cause of justice or mercy would be served by releasing him.

 

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/community/columnists/alex_kane_should_lillis_be_shown_compassion_1_2942637

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Lifted from FF:

 

 

Reply from SFA Re Celtic Display

I emailed the SFA with pictures of the display at the weekend and explanations of what I thought the display was representing.

 

I got this reply:

 

Quote:

Dear Sir

 

Thank you for your e-mail message regarding flag displays. The particular match you refer to was an SPL fixture and as such the SPL Delegate would report on any such incidents to the SPL, you may wish to contact them with your issue.

In general I would add that football clubs and the police are well aware of what is not allowed to be displayed in stadiums and will take action against persons who fail to comply with the ground regulations.

 

I trust this is of assistance to you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Derek Kirkwood

Security Dept.

Scottish Football Association

Hampden Park

Glasgow G42 9AY

+ 44 141 616 6000

I have replied with two points. 1. Who was the SPL delegate and how do I get in contact with him? 2. By saying "In general I would add that football clubs and the police are well aware of what is not allowed to be displayed in stadiums and will take action against persons who fail to comply with the ground regulations." Are you saying the the display that went ahead infront of police and stewards was deemed acceptable?

 

I await your reply

 

blah blah blah.

 

Still waiting on a reply from Police, FARE, NilByMouth, Uefa, Alex Salmond, Celtic, and all media oulets.

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