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Political Prisoner Found Dead: Solidarity Vigil for John Brady

category tyrone | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Monday October 05, 2009 21:59author by Justice for John Bady Report this post to the editors

There was a large turn out in Derry today outside Stand Road PSNI/RUC station following the suspicious death of Strabane political prisoner, John Brady. A white-line vigil gathered together many shades of republicanism represented, many held black flags.

There was a very good turn out in total solidarity with the Brady family who were also there. Supporters held a white line picket on the road outside the barracks and there were plenty of PSNI/RUC keeping a close eye on proceedings with a large contingent of them on all roads around the barracks.

Despite the provocation activists held a very dignified vigil. Again, thanks goes to all those family, friends and republican activists who turned out which was greatly appreciated by the Brady family.

A bbc report on the vigil today:

Justice for John Brady protest:

Vigil held for John Brady:

author by Brógpublication date Mon Oct 05, 2009 22:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Protesters outside Strand Road PSNI station. The picket ran from Lawrence Hill to Clarendon Street
Protesters outside Strand Road PSNI station. The picket ran from Lawrence Hill to Clarendon Street

White line Picket, which at its height had an estimated 200 people
White line Picket, which at its height had an estimated 200 people

protesters were in the main mobilised by "dissident" groups as well as the Republican Socialist Movement. But there were also non-armed struggle groups, such as the SWP
protesters were in the main mobilised by "dissident" groups as well as the Republican Socialist Movement. But there were also non-armed struggle groups, such as the SWP

John Brady "Found Hanging" in a solicitors interview room
John Brady "Found Hanging" in a solicitors interview room

author by Jasonpublication date Mon Oct 05, 2009 22:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A sinn fein sokesperson on the six one news said he "took his own life" whats suspicious?why was he arrested, it appears the family now calling for justice called the police to arrest him! there may be a handy few bob if they kick up!!! R.I.P but spare me the crap!!!!

author by Orange Manpublication date Tue Oct 06, 2009 02:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors





Anguish as son's body found in police station
Monday, 5 October 2009

Related Articles
]* Further probe into prison hanging
* Brady not on ‘suicide watch’ when he died
* Police: Don’t blame us for cell death

The mother of a dissident republican found dead in a police station in Londonderry has said her son’s war was over.

Lorna Brady was was speaking after John Brady (40), jailed in 1991 for the murder of a RUC reserve constable, was found hanged in a lawyer-consultation room in Strand Road PSNI station in Londonderry on Saturday.

A post-mortem due to be carried out today is expected to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the convicted killer’s death.

Brady’s grieving mother said she believed her son had left his past behind.
“John stated his war was over and I believe in my heart of hearts John’s war was over,” she said.

Terry Spence, chairman of Northern Ireland’s Police Federation, said: “At this early stage it looks like there was nothing at all to suggest the police were responsible for his death.”

Related Link:
author by Tracey Adamspublication date Tue Oct 06, 2009 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think we should have the truth on this issue. Firstly, there should be a full enquiry into this death in custody. Secondly, people calling for such an enquiry should not say it was a death of a 'political prisoner'. Indeed, he WAS a prisoner that was convicted for actions that were in his mind political. But he was arrested in this case for suspected domestic violence. I stress suspected. There was no full inquiry/investigation to prove any allegations of domestic violence. But that is what he was arrested for.

author by Ciaran C - Friend of John Bradypublication date Wed Oct 07, 2009 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly Johns family didnt call the police during a 'domestic incident' as another contributor has suggested (disgracefully suggesting monetary gain).
It has now been verified by at least 4 independent witnesses that John was attacked by his 'brother in law' who is a member of Sinn Fein.
At the time John was picking children up from school. After getting the better of his attacker John himself called Maghaberry prison authorities as he was still a Maghaberry prisoner out on temporary release and he wanted to know what steps he had to take to avoid further complication.
In the meantime John's Sinn Fein attacker called the PSNI in full knowledge that this would seriously damage his prospect of eventual release which was due to happen in 3 weeks time.
John was most certainly a political prisoner at the time of his death. He was on temporoary weekend release following five years in Maghaberry as his life licence for executing an RUC man in the early 90s had been revoked by secretary of state Paul Goggins.
John had spent 18 years of his life in prison for political acitivism, still as was his right, he declared that his own war was over. There are nevertheless ample reasons why the British state would both harrangue or indeed murder a lifelong activist even after declaring that he was opting out of the conflict.
Now would the ill informed vultures who came out with this other tripe have some respect for a life long political activist who met an untimely death in PSNI custody.

author by Diarmuid Breatnach - Personal capacitypublication date Wed Oct 07, 2009 14:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks, Ciarán C for the contribution. Certainly there has been some confusion generated around this tragedy. However, what would be useful would be to get an independent investigation to establish some of the basic facts. You laid out some but at the moment these may be seen as merely assertions of one individual and also one who had a personal relationship with the deceased.
When the basic facts have been verified we can then see what we should be calling for and where the blame should be laid.
It was good to see the reported solidarity extended across a number of ideological barriers.

author by Jerry Corneliuspublication date Thu Oct 08, 2009 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

John Brady RIP. Vid at the link.

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.
In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Fairy strains of music fall,
Every sense in slumber dewing.
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more:
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking.

A volley of shots have been fired over the coffin of the dissident republican who died at a PSNI station on Saturday. Four men dressed in paramilitary style uniform and black masks flanked John Brady's coffin at his sister's home on the Drumrallagh estate in Strabane.

One man shouted orders in Irish and three fired shots into the air over the coffin which was draped in a tricolour with a black beret and gloves on top.
Several hundred mourners clapped and cheered after the shots were fired and a police helicopter flew overhead.

Three Volunteers fired shots in the air over the coffin
Three Volunteers fired shots in the air over the coffin

Related Link:
author by Shane OCURRY - W.S.M. - personal capacitypublication date Thu Oct 08, 2009 15:38author email shaneocurry at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

There has been something - quite a few things - very odd about this whole case from the outset.

For starters, as it is in the nature of these things, the rumour machine was already going full tilt as soon as the story hit the streets. This is because it had been kick-started by the PSNI statement that John Brady had been arrested on an (unspecified by the police and rumour-mongers) "Domestic" assault charge. When we hear the word "Domestic" all of us assume that to mean "wife beater" with all the implications including the suggestion of the kind instability and self hatred that would lead a man out on license from a life sentence to kill himself. I'm inclined to assume that it was the intention of the cops and others to have us believe that "wife beater" is what John Brady really was. "Wife beater" is of course the kind of label also that lessens someone's perceived worthiness of solidarity in a case of wrongful arrest, or death in police custody, although nothing at all ought to. Then there were the rumours very early on in the Bogside that PSNI Special Branch had "turned" John Brady while in custody, that he had informed on his comrades and that's why he had killed himself. This of course was unprovable and pre-empts the Ombudsman's enquiry in the same way as the Police Federation's statement exonerating any cops of any blame (would they say anything else?) also pre-empts a proper verdict. Nevertheless many of us would now forgive ourselves for assuming that the truth is something on the lines of "wife-beating, gone-off-the-rails dissident informer commits suicide", and thus completely unworthy of outrage, particularly if that view is reinforced by our peers, especially if those peers carry the weight of authority of officialdom or of the mainstream (Provisional) Republican Movement.

However, If Ciaran C's contribution proves to be factual then a very different picture of the circumstances surrounding the arrest and death of John Brady begins to emerge, one that contrasts with the bilious invective and unsubstantiated claims made by anonymous contributors both here and in the wider community in Strabane and Derry. Without having all the facts I will not speculate here about what the full implications are of the version forwarded by Ciaran C and others. Let's get all the facts first, and to do that we need proper scrutiny. There needs to be an independent investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the death of John Brady, at the very least one that John Brady's family are satisfied is sufficiently independent.

"Man dies in police custody" - No matter what the circumstances of John Brady's death are, this is the only fact we know and it ought to be enough to mobilise everyone who claims the mantle of human rights, of social justice, of the civil rights movement and of republican ideals, whatever their faction, civil libertarians and even liberals, to demand that a spotlight be shone on all the circumstances of his death. It was therefore shocking, although not surprising, to find no senior republicans of the mainstream kind at all at the protest outside Strand Road barracks last Monday. There were no hoards of right-thinking academics either, nor of human rightsies. Instead I joined the handful of lefties resigned to weathering the accusations of being fellow-travelers to the dissidents and a crowd of 200 odd protesters some mobilised by the various "dissident" groupings as well as the IRSM, a good crowd, given the political climate.

And that's the rub- I've seen the kind of death-by-a-thousand-cuts inflicted by rumour-mongers with vested interests on anyone who dares to suggest that the movement’s perceived opponents have rights, that we should all hear their criticisms, that we should all engage in dialogue with them. I've seen lifelong pacifist republicans branded as peace-process wreckers and closet dissidents for organising forums where it would be safe to question the strategy and means of the republican leadership. I've seen socialists whose position against the armed struggle is a matter of record branded as dissident sympathisers for engaging in non-violent anti-war action alongside republicans whose organisations are aligned with dissident factions.

In calling for justice for John Brady, it is tempting under the kind of pressure described above, to be drawn into a discussion about one’s position on armed struggle. But that’s as irrelevant here as it would have been for someone calling for full human rights to be extended to republicans 20 years ago. What’s relevant here is the fact that a man died in police custody. That ought to be alarming to all who profess to be motivated by human rights and civil liberties.

author by Alecpublication date Thu Oct 08, 2009 17:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

War is not over in the North !

Who has gained from the death of John Brady ?

How many deaths masked as suicides have we seen in the North history ?

Believe me when I say that it is the same old story.


author by Angrypublication date Thu Oct 08, 2009 23:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seems It's still business as usual but using different tools to get the job done. They have the whole character assassination of dissidents / protesters down to a fine art.

I for one hope that there is a proper investigation of this matter although I won't hold my breath. My Condolences to John's family. It seems patriotism / activism is a thankless position to take in this current climate. But then again was it ever any different? Luckily thats not the reason principled people take a stand.

author by greenflagpublication date Fri Oct 09, 2009 21:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the Brady family at this terrible time and fully support their right to demand the full truth about how John met his death in Strand Road Barracks on Saturday afternoon. There are many questions that require answers.

I do not want to add anything to the speculation as I do not believe it helps the Brady family in any way. I would ask everyone to respect the sensitivity that is required at this time.

However, I believe it is only right to correct a falsehood that Ciaran C posted as a fact. He stated that John's brother in law was a Sinn Fein member. As everyone in the Strabane area knows there could be nothing further from the truth. Not only has this individual never been a Sinn Féin member but he has also been a strong critic of Sinn Féin. I don't think mis-information such as this is helpful in establishing the full truth about how John me his death.

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