Short clip from an interview I recorded with Sean Garland as part of the Irish Left Oral History Archive.
Sean is currently fighting extradition to the United States. The following is taken from a letter of support which is signed by Jack O’Connor, General President, SIPTU; Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary, UNITE; and Eamon Devoy, General Secretary, TEEU.
We wish to make clear our commitment to the campaign to stop the extradition of Sean Garland. There are very clear humanitarian, legal and political reasons why the threat of his extradition to the US should be immediately lifted.
Sean is 77 years of age and in poor health. He suffers from angina and diabetes and has also been diagnosed with bowel and prostate cancer, conditions which require regular medical review. His medical condition is well documented. Over the last six years the strain which this extradition attempt has placed upon Sean has been immense and any attempt to transport him from Ireland to be incarcerated within the brutal US prison system would likely amount to a death sentence, whatever the outcome of the legal proceedings against him.
Legally as an Irish citizen, Sean is guaranteed certain rights under the Irish Constitution, which, we believe, he would be denied in the US. If extradited, Sean can expect to be remanded in custody without any option for bail for a prolonged period and due to the allegations made against him by the US authorities may also be denied proper access to legal representation and be subjected to inhumane treatment.
We are also concerned about the impact that the US’s Classified Information Procedures Act [CIPA] will have on any possibility of Sean receiving a fair trial in the US. The CIPA allows the US government to designate information as classified on the broad basis of “national security” and there is a real possibility that, if extradited, much material relevant to the case and vital to the defence would be withheld from Sean and his lawyers on these grounds.
We also believe that the attempt to seek the extradition of a political activist who has for many years peacefully opposed the foreign policy of successive US governments, including the illegal invasion of Iraq, is politically motivated and further rules out any possibility of a fair trial in that country.
Notwithstanding the differences many have with the political positions Sean has taken over the decades few doubt that he has been driven by a wish to assist in the creation a better, fairer and peaceful society in Ireland.
He played a crucial early role in promoting the adoption of peaceful political struggle by Irish republicans driven by a longstanding moral commitment to the concept of unity between Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter. The progressive role that Sean has played in Irish political life has resulted in the campaign to stop his extradition receiving support from over 50 TDs, including members of all the Dáil parties, Irish and international trade unions as well as numerous civil society organisations.
Each of the above matters individually present a compelling reason for the immediate ending of the extradition proceedings against Sean, based as they are on unsubstantiated allegations which emerged during the US presidency of George W. Bush.
We believe that taken together they mean that any continuation of extradition proceedings would lead to a very public and grave miscarriage of justice.
Jack O’Connor General President SIPTU
Jimmy Kelly Regional Secretary UNITE
Eamon Devoy General Secretary TEEU
The video clip is about three minutes long, and in it Sean talks about life in Belvedere Place, Dublin, where he was born in 1934.
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