[Marxism] Former IRA Volunteer Lambasts Australian Govt Over Visa Hurdles

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Thu Jan 19 22:41:36 MST 2006

The following piece, which appeared in an Australian newspaper, doesn't even 
attempt to try and hide its bias against the subject and the IRA overall (note 
references such as 'hardman' and 'convicted murderer'). I'm not familiar with 
the paper, but perhaps some of the Australian comrades could provide details 
as to its political orientation.

There have been similar instances of visa refusals for former IRA volunteers 
and prisoners in recent years with regard to the US as well. So much for the 
so-called peace process.

The Australian

Rick Wallace
January 20, 2006

FORMER IRA commander and convicted murderer Tommy McKearney has accused the 
Australian Government of taking sides in the conflict over Northern Ireland 
after he withdrew a visa application to visit Australia.

An angry Mr McKearney, who planned to visit Tasmania to address a prisons 
conference, released a statement yesterday accusing immigration officials of 
placing "enormous and unnecessary" hurdles in his path.

"Protracted demands for police records by their immigration officials 
indicates that the Australian authorities still hold the view that the Irish conflict 
was an illicit conspiracy, rather than a widely supported insurrection 
against British misrule in Northern Ireland," the former IRA hardman said.

"It is unfortunate that the Australian public will not now have the 
opportunity to hear from those of us who can testify to the futility of governments 
attempting to address political issues via a security response.

"Personally, I would have liked to visit your beautiful country, not to 
mention seeing a place where once my captors also held so many other Irish 
republicans. That this will not now happen is a pity but it won't persuade me to 
change my political opinions." Mr McKearney and several other speakers who have 
spent time in prison were locked in a struggle with immigration authorities to 
secure visas in time for the International Conference on Penal Abolition next 

Legislation gives authorities the right to refuse a visa to anyone who has 
been in prison for more than a year, although there is a power of discretion.

Mr McKearney spent 16 years in the Long Kesh prison near Belfast for the 
murder of part-time soldier Stanley Adams during the Troubles.

Mr McKearney, now project director for an ex-prisoners' support group, was 
one of a number of foreign speakers at the conference, which is calling for the 
complete abolition of prisons.

Conference organisers Justice Action, an Australian prisoners' support group, 
has accused the Government of dragging its heels on visa applications for Mr 
McKearney and fellow Irish republican activist Brenda Murphy, as well as 
Canadian professor Bob Gaucher. A spokesman for the Immigration Department said Mr 
McKearney had been advised of the criteria for entry and had been asked to 
provide "additional information" to assist his application. 

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