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Pro-IRA American Seized in Ulster; Had Been Barred

August 16, 1989|From Associated Press

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland — An American pro-IRA activist was arrested Tuesday for violating a five-year-old order barring him from British territory, police said.

Lawyer Martin Galvin, publicity director of the New York-based Irish Northern Aid Committee, or NORAID, was bundled into a police jeep and driven away after taking a high-profile walk through Northern Ireland's second-largest city.

The British government said Galvin would be deported after being flown to London's Heathrow Airport and handed over to immigration authorities there.

Home Secretary Douglas Hurd "has no reason to alter his decision in relation to the exclusion order made in July, 1984," the Home Office said. "As an illegal entrant and the subject of an exclusion order, Mr. Galvin will be removed from the U.K."

Rocks and Bombs

Galvin's arrest came only hours after masked rioters marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of British troops in Northern Ireland by throwing rocks and homemade bombs at police. Riot squads fired plastic bullets, slightly injuring two men, police said.

Galvin, 39, has visited Northern Ireland at least four times since 1984 despite being under a British exclusion order. He said he arrived for this latest visit three days ago.

"It would have been unconscionable for me not to have been with the nationalist people on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the troops," he told reporters.

The exclusion order against Galvin was signed in July, 1984, following a speech at Toomebridge, County Londonderry, in which he encouraged violence the day after a soldier was killed in Londonderry.

A month later, police tried to arrest Galvin when he appeared on a platform of speakers in West Belfast. Police killed a young man with a plastic bullet when fighting broke out in the crowd of thousands of IRA supporters. Galvin was lifted over the heads of people in the crowd and vanished up a back street.

The ban is difficult to enforce because movement between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is easy. There are many unpatrolled roads across the border, no passport requirements and only random checks of cars.

In the latest incident, officers grabbed Galvin as he stood with officials of Sinn Fein, the outlawed Irish Republican army's legal political wing, at Free Derry Corner, a symbol of Irish nationalist resistance to British rule.

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