An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Wednesday, July 16, 2003  

From Monday's (July 14th) Irish Independent

"AN IRA dissident, reported to be training Palestinian militants in the use of explosives, has been arrested by Israeli police in the West Bank town of Ramallah.....The man, who has not been named, is believed to have entered Israel last month on a British passport.

He is said to be a former Provo who had switched to the Real IRA."

This report and far more damning ones were broadcast earlier this week. The details given in various reports were:

- The accused had travelled on a false passport
- He had several passports on his possession
- He had been 'underground' for 3 years
- He was a member of the Real IRA
- It was suspected he was training Palestinian militants
- He had been sought by security forces for some time

On RTE's 9pm news on Tuesday 15th, Tommy Gorman reported that

- He was a well know Irish language activist and freelance journalist
- He worked for TG4 and showed him appearing on TV here recently
- He was travelling on his normal British passport but also had an Irish passport with his Irish name on it
- He was a member of the Palestinian Support Group and was working with a schools project out there while waiting to take up a teaching job in a Gaelscoil here

So, pretty obvious, the media got the whole thing wrong.

The next morning on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland a report interviewed the editor of 'La' the
Irish language paper which Morgan worked for. I listened to the interview and expected the following questions to be asked:

- Who was briefing the media over the previous 24 hours
- From what sources had all these 'details' emerged
- What were the Irish government doing to make contact with him
- What were the Brits up to?
- Was he having the crap beaten out of him during the 'interogation' and had anyone, even the Red Cross been able to contact him?

Instead the interviewer said:

- Sure that's a very dangerous place to going to, why was he there?
- Does he have Republican connections?
- Why didn't he register as a member of the press (answer: he was there on the schools project)

The whole implication was that he was up to no good and they can't prove it, but sure if he's into the Irish language he must be dodgy. This is outrageous! Israeli authorities are admitting today that the Brits tipped them off and there appears to be no proof that he was doing anything wrong.

Major law suit I think.

SUPPORTERS of a west Belfast man arrested by Israeli security forces demanded his release yesterday.

Sean O Muireagain (40) was arrested near Ramallah on Saturday on suspicion of being a bomb expert helping to train Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank.

But according to Israeli radio, security officials are now admitting that Mr O Muireagain is an Irish language activist and was a victim of mistaken identity.

It was being reported that the Israelis were blaming British intelligence for the error. Mr O Muireagain, who is known in his native west Belfast as "John Boy Morgan", was apparently mistaken for another man who is known to British security services.

Ciaran O Pronntaigh, editor of the Irish language paper Lá, for whom Mr O Muireagain was working as a correspondent, said it was encouraging that the Israeli authorities were now admitting his story was standing up.

"We have had no official word but we are being told that the Israelis are saying they have been sold a pup.

"What we do know is that a colleague is still in prison. It is still a very trying time.

"It is good news coming out of Israel if they are admitting publicly they have someone in custody they should not have," he added.

Gary Kelly

posted by Sarah | 17:33 0 comments
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