Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

The Framing of Michael McKevitt

Campaign Launch – Opening Address by Marcella Sands

June 22nd, 2006

“Monsignor, Reverend Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen  I would like to thank you all for coming today. I know you have busy schedules and it is much appreciated that you have taken the time to attend  today.  My name is Marcella Sands, I am the sister of Bobby Sands and sister-in-law of Michael McKevitt.

I would like to make it clear that I am speaking on behalf of the Sands and McKevitt families and not any political party or organisation. We are purely interested in justice for Michael who has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on the word of a paid Supergrass.

What is taking place today is not only the launch of my booklet “The Framing of Michael McKevitt” but also the launch of ‘The Michael McKevitt Campaign for Justice.’   To enable us to reach as many people as possible we have set up a web site to let the people of Ireland and the rest of the world know of the calculated campaign of injustices that have been orchestrated against Michael and his family.

I would now like to introduce you to our panel of highly esteemed people who for many years have campaigned against political injustices –  Monsigner Raymond Murray, Fr. Desmond Wilson, Ms. Noelle Ryan, Fr. Joseph McVeigh, also Michael’s daughter Carol and of course my sister Bernadette.  In addition to the panel, Michael’s family and my family are here today to lend their support to our campaign.

The family was at a loss to know how to begin to alert people to the full and honest facts such was the stage managed complexity of the case.  I approached Fr. Des Wilson who suggested that I should present an overview of the facts in written form so that reasonable people would see for themselves the injustice that has taken place.

I have endeavoured to put the pieces of the jig-saw together in chronological order to give people the opportunity of reading about this appalling injustice, so that in the future they cannot say they were not aware that Michael McKevitt was framed.

Michael McKevitt is now in his sixth year in Portlaoise Prison. The jailing of Michael McKevitt is obviously a political decision.  Michael’s fate was decided upon long before his arrest.   The Chief Prosecutor’s opening remarks to the Court of Criminal Appeal in November 2005 was to remind the court that “International Agreements could be affected if Michael McKevitt was freed.”    No-one has ever questioned this sinister statement.  People must question the role of Assistant Garda Commissioner Dermot Jennings who colluded with MI5 to withhold vital evidence. Questions also must be asked about who sanctioned the harassment and persecution of the entire McKevitt family – including their  3 youngest children.   The Irish people must also ask why MI5 has been allowed to freely operate within the Irish State and take control of an Irish court against an Irish citizen – especially when The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern admitted when questioned that neither he nor the government had any knowledge of MI5 operating in Ireland

It is our intention to leave no stone unturned to gain answers to these very serious questions which arise out of the show trial of Michael Mc Kevitt and the unprecedented events which preceded it. Our families are no longer prepared to sit back in the vain hope that Michael will have a chance of a fair hearing in this country.  We are fully prepared if necessary to take this fight to Europe to get justice. We are encouraged by the response of eminent Human Rights campaigners and European Human Rights organisations to our appeal. However, we have always had faith in the integrity of the Irish people especially those who have supported my family in the past. We call upon them to lend their support to this campaign in whatever way they can.  We call on politicians to support a public enquiry into this travesty and in particular the activities of MI5 in this country.

We know there are certain people who have information regarding the criminal background of David Rupert and we call upon them to come forward and assist our family.”