[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.
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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