Irish Republican News · October 24, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Case reopened into drowning of republican activist
Case reopened into drowning of republican activist

A new investigation is to be held into the mysterious death of a republican political activist three years ago.

Mary Reid was a lecturer in political science and a former member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. She was found drowned on a Donegal beach in January 2003, her clothing torn.

Ms Reid was a one time member of the Official Republican movement and later joined Irish Republican Socialist Party, the party allied to the Irish National Liberation Army.

The Reid family believe there is a strong possibility Ms Reid was murdered and that the original investigation following the discovery of her body on a beach in north Donegal in January 2003 was deeply flawed.

They questioned why the scene was not preserved, why no forensic evidence was collected at the site, why the State Pathologist was not called and why gardai appeared to assume from an early stage that there was nothing suspicious about the death. Her movements were not tracked on the day while the car, which she used as an office, appeared to have been cleaned out.

Mary Reid’s brother said the Gardai now accept there “exists no evidence of accidental death or suicide.”

The time lapse since Ms Reid’s death gives the investigation team an impossible task, her brother said.

Arrested with two other republicans in Paris on suspicion or radical activities, the case of the Vincennes Three became one of France’s biggest political controversies. There was evidence of an attempted frame-up when she, along with, Mick Plunkett and Stephen King, were arrested in Paris after an informer had told the police that the three had worked with Palestinian militants.

Though the three, who were all linked to the INLA and its political wing the IRSP were charged with possession of two weapons and a small quantity of explosives. However, it subsequently emerged that the police had planted the guns and explosives in the apartment during the search, and the three were released.

Charges were brought against several of the officers involved, and the legal ramifications dragged through the French courts until recently, when a claim for compensation was rejected.

DEATH OF REPUBLICAN PRISONER

A republican prisoner found dead in his prison cell at the weekend had cut links with the Continuity IRA in recent months.

The 35-year-old, County Limerick republican John O’Halloran, was found hanged in his metal prison wardrobe on the E4 wing of Portlaoise jail, in the Irish midlands.

Medical staff at the prison were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead at 12.30pm. initial reports suggest he took his own life, probably by hanging.

He was found dead in his cell by the head of the INLA prisoners in the wing. Prisoners on the block said that O’Halloran was turned down last week for temporary release to visit his sick mother and “wasn’t his usual self over the past few days”.

Mr O’Halloran had been in jail since February after being arrested at a CIRA training camp in County Waterford in 2003. He faced a five-year prison sentence after being found guilty of receiving military instruction at the camp.

A spokesman for Republican Sinn Fein said Mr O’Halloran had recently severed links from republican organisations.

© 2005 Irish Republican News