Matt Morrison, a former Irish republican political prisoner and current Political Action Chair of the Irish American Unity Conference, issued this statement in response to the announcement that Malachy McAllister and his sons may be deported in 2 weeks time:
A Chairde, As a former Irish Republican POW and deportee, I abhor the planned deportation of Malachy Mc Alliister and his family members by the United States Government. It was not many years ago that I and my family along with a number of my comrades and their families, were in a similar predicament.
For many years, the “peace dividend” was held out as an incentive to engage in the process which ultimately resulted in the current peace in Ireland. The United States Government, in pursuing Malachy Mc Allister’s deportation, is undermining the concept of the peace dividend, and is sending out a message that is driven by a desire for retribution that is dangerously irrational and anachronistic. The United States Government has placed itself at odds with the people of Ireland who are working hard to achieve a lasting peace based on the twin foundations of democracy and equality. The United States Government is undermining the new powersharing assembly and is thwarting the efforts of the Irish and British Governments and the numerous political parties who have engaged in peace building efforts.
You cannot say that you are for peace in Ireland and yet remain silent or inactive in the face of the imminent McAllister deportation.
Here is some background on the McAllister case for those of you who are not familiar:
The McAllisters are a Catholic family from Northern Ireland who have been seeking political asylum in the United States since 1996. On October 2, 1988, two masked loyalist gunmen smashed the front window of the McAllister home and fired 26 shots into the house narrowly missing three of the McAllister children and their grandmother, who was minding them. Malachy and his wife, Bernadette (who has since died of cancer in 2004), were not home at the time. They were later notified by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that Malachy’s security information was found in a loyalist ‘safe house’ along with the guns used in the shooting. This information confirmed that the McAllisters were being deliberately targeted and that the loyalist attack had been planned in collusion with the security forces. Other members of the McAllister’s family had also been targeted. Theresa Clinton, a relative, was murdered when loyalists fired shots into her living room. Bernadette’s family members had been warned by the RUC to take security precautions because, like Malachy, their personal details were in the hands of paramilitary organizations. The threats have followed the McAllisters even here to the United States. In 2005, a loyalist terror group called the Red Hand Defenders emailed a threat against the McAllisters to the Irish Echo newspaper stating that, “We won’t miss next time.”
It is not clear why the government has chosen to proceed in the McAllister case, while suspending action on many of the other Irish ‘deportee’ cases. The McAllisters have had the constant support of a number of our congressmen and senators, whose intervention resulted in a ‘suspension of order of removal’. Unfortunately, that stay expires in early September. Congressman Steven Rothman introduced a private bill in the House and now the McAllisters only hope may be if Senator Menendez will introduce legislation in the Senate to delay or suspend the McAllister’s deportation.
Act now to prevent this injustice by contacting Menendez and urging him to introduce legislation to protect the McAllister family and prevent their deportation. Cut and paste the letter below and send and/or fax it (202.228.2197) to Senator Menendez’s office today. You can also call his office directly at 202.224.4744.
Dear Senator Menendez,
As a member of (insert name of org. if applicable) I am well aware of the invaluable support you have given to many important Irish issues and express my gratitude for your constancy and courage. I am particularly grateful for the leadership role you assumed in defending Malachy McAllister and his family when they were first threatened with deportation some years ago. Sadly, that threat still looms over the McAllister family.
Malachy and his two youngest children are facing deportation when the suspension of their order of removal expires in early September. They have been advised by Congressman Steven Rothman that a private bill in the Senate, similar to one attempted by Mr. Rothman in the House, would be their only hope to remain in New Jersey with the older McAllister children and their families. This legislation is crucial to secure the safety of Malachy and his children.
The blatant threats of violence that have been made against the McAllister family still stand. Despite the many welcome improvements brought about by the Peace Process, the reality is that loyalist paramilitaries have refused to decommission and are still armed and threatening. Many believe that if forced to return to Northern Ireland the McAllisters will once again be the targets of violence.
I respectfully request that you give this matter your immediate attention and introduce legislation in the Senate as soon as possible. Again, I thank you for the courage and leadership you have shown over the years in addressing many vital Irish issues.