Galway Advertiser 1980/1980_12_04/GA_04121980_E1_004.pdf
IVurxburg South Germany
VIA Air Mail LONDON
Croydon at 11.35 a.m. having called at Baldonnel and Sealand near Liverpool. There was no official flight prior to this experimental one on August 26th, 1929. The cachet was supplied to the Post Office by the G a l w a y C h a m b e r of Commerce who sponsored the flight in conjunction with the North German Lloyd Steamship Company, Col. Russell, and Vickers Aviation Ltd. Only a few covers were backstamped in London. This cover was a u t o g r a p h e d by t h e Parliamentary Secretary to the Dept. of Posts & Telegraphs, by Col. Russell, and by Arthur Tutty of the Post Office Secretariat, who was entrusted with the a r r a n g e m e n t s for t h e p r o j e c t , as was J a c k Browne. Our second illustration shows a first day cover from the first flight from Galway to Berlin. M r . O. E. Armstrong, flying a FoxMoth plane left Galway at 6.33 a.m. on the 22nd of October, 1932 for Dublin. There the mail was transferred to a waiting Dutch Air Liner, piloted by Col. Charlie Russell, and it left from Baldonnel at 8 a.m. for England. The flight arrived at Croydon at 10.55 a.m., refuelled and left 45 minuted later. Rotterdam was the next stop and the plane departed at 1.45 p.m. for Berlin where it landed at 4.30 p.m. (5.30 German time), and all the covers were backstamped. The Berlin Luftpostampt was applied to the cover fronts and this particular one was signed by Capt. Armstrong. These two covers will probably be on show in the Great Southern Hotel this
EmmlmeiiUi GALWAY TO
Mr. Bill Noonan of 40 Wainsfort Park, Terenure in Dublin worked in the Post Office here many years ago and he kindly sent us these two envelopes that travelled on very early air-mail flights from Galway. That on the left was on the first flight that involved transatlantic mail. It was taken off a liner in the bay, driven to the aerodrome in Oranmore, and put on a Vickers-Vixen airplane piloted by Colonel Charlie Russell and Flight Officer J. Summers. The flight left at 7.30 a.m. and arrived at
week-end where the Federation of Philatelic Societies of Ireland are holding a stamp exhibition. It will be open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. As this is the first exhibition of its type in the West, there has been a great d e a l of e n t h u s i a s m generated. A large number of Dealers will be there as well as collectors, so if you are a stamp buff, or if you are not, you should go along to this unusual show. Also, if you have any stamps to be
valued, this is the place to do it. There will be some coin dealers there too. And finally, congratulat ions to Gary Hartmann on his new shop in William Street with it most attractive decor and frontage, -- a fine addition to the street and a very good example of what can be done when shopkee pers are modernising there shop fronts. T.K.
T h e s h a d o w of t h e gallows has been raised in Ireland again. For as the term clearly implies, capital murder involves, at least in legal t h e o r y , c a p i t a l punishment for those who are found guilty of this crime. And capital punish ment, in the form of death by hanging, remains on the statute books of this state, long after it has been totally abolished in most European countries and some 16 years after the then Minister for Justice, Charles Haughey, now Taoiseach, abolished the rope for those involved in most types of "ordinary murder". PROGRESSIVE AT TIME In fact the last time a person's life was taken by the state was in the early 1950s. In most cases, in recent decades where sentence of death was passed by t h e c o u r t s , t h e Government, in accordance with t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n , agreed t o allowing the President to commute the sentence, to life imprison ment. Such a process was already almost semi automatic by the 1950s, when the vast majority of murders were crimes of passion, with no political undertones, and tried before a jury in the ordinary criminal courts. Then in 1964, Mr. Haughey, the newly appointed Minister
for Justice in the Lemass Government, abolished the death sentence for most types of murder -- thus removing the onus which used to rest with the G o v e r n m e n t in any particular case, to hang or grant a pardon, with all the personal and political pressures that such s i t u a t i o n s can e n t a i l . However, the Haughey legislation, which was fairly progressive at the time, and was probably designed to bring Ireland more into line with the majority of Council of Europe states, retained the death penalty, for the killing of three specific types of persons. These were Ambassadors or foreign dignitaries, members of the Garda Siochana and prison staff. The only reason for retaining the rope in this small number of specific cases seems to have been the old deterrent argument, the rejection of which lay at the base of the original decision to abolish hanging in general murder cases. But it was also probably included in order to re-assure some more conservative members of the cabinet at the time who might have opposed a move towards total abolition. In fact, Mr. Haughey who steered the legislation t h r o u g h the Oireachtas is On record as being personally opposed to
the present legal set-up. He even went on record as believing that it was time to go the whole way towards total a b o l i t i o n , in the difficult circumstances of the mid-1970s, after a husband and wife, N o d and Marie Murray were sentenced to die by the non jury Special Criminal Court in what had been the second capital trial since the law was changed in 1964. THE MURRAY CASE The first such trial took place following the murder of Guard Richard Fallon in 1970, but as the person charged with the offence was found "Not Guilty" the issue of the gallows did not arise. When the Murrays were sentenced to death in connection with the murder of a n o t h e r G u a r d , a provisional date was set for their execution, and they zpent several months in the uncertainty of the death-cell before their appeal resulted in a substitution of a sentence of life imprisonm ent. The appeal court ruled that as the Murray couple, who had been involved in a bank robbery, were not aware at the time that Guard Reynolds -- who had tried to apprehend them while off duty and in plain clothes -- was in fact a Garda, the question of capital murder could not arise. Thus, the death sentence was set aside in this case, before it became necessary for the Fine Gael/Labour coalition to make the final decision on the matter. But the fact was that an Irish court had sentenced two persons to death, and that if the appeal had not been successful, the Irish Government would be faced with the always difficult political choice which has to be made as long as the death penalty remains
on the statute books in any form. We do not know if the Cosgrave Government of the day would have allowed the hanging of the Murray husband and wife, given the strong "law and order" stance of that administrat ion. We do know that there was strong pressure from some Garda opinion at the time which insisted that the "law be allowed to take its c o u r s e " , while o t h e r subversive outrages at the time made it difficult for the Government to be seen to be weak. Indeed Dr. Conor CruiseO'Brien, a Labour member of the cabinet at the time, has since let it be known, in an article in the London Observer newspaper of which he is currently Editor in Chief, that while he was personally opposed to the death penalty, in any form, he would have gone along with a cabinet decision to execute, if, in fact, it had gone as far as being a matter for final decision by the Government -- in the i n t e r e s t of c o a l i t i o n solidarity. NO OFFICIAL HANGMAN It was in this context that Mr. H a u g h e y , then in opposition, let it be known in a radio interview that he favoured total abolition of the gallows. Now, he finds himself, as Taoiseach, in the hot seat at a time when his Minister for Justice, Mr. Gerry Collins, "is not ruling out anything", and a rising n u m b e r of attacks on Gardai has brought renewed calls in some quarters for allowing "the full rigours of the law" as it stands at present.
g e n e r a l a t t i t u d e of professionals in the area suggests that taking life by the state can be counter productive in terms of public attitudes, regardless altogether of moral issues or practical arguments about the return of the rope. For one thing, Ireland does not have an official hangman. Nor can one be borrowed from the British penal system, as used to be done once upon a time, before the U . K . finally a b o l i s h e d capital punishm-ent altogether, and their official hangman went out on pension to write his m e m o i r s . One or two attempts have been made by the British Tories to bring back the rope, particularly in the case of political murders arising mainly from t h e N o r t h of I r e l a n d troubles. But these moves have always been defeated by those forced with the difficult decisions in such c a s e s , like t h e H o m e Secretary, Mr. William Whitelaw who made a devastating attack on the "Hang Them" lobby within his own Conservative back benchers the last time the i s s u e w a s r a i s e s in Parliament. Curiously enough, it was the same Mr. Whitelaw who was Tory Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles in 1972--"73, when the death penalty was still allowed in the North, and there was a g r a v e t e m p t a t i o n for politicians to allow some hangings if only in the hope that the level of violent resistance and in particular sectarian murders, might be reduced by "making an example" of a few persons. Some of this pressure is As it happened, the first coming from the Gardai person to be sentenced to themselves, who are in the d e a t h u n d e r t h e new front line against armed Whitelaw regime, which criminals, but the more
replaced Stormont in the North, was a member of the U.D.A. -- a factor which may h a v e h e l p e d t h e decision to commute, and later to end the spectre of official taking of human life by d u e legal p r o c e s s , altogether, in spite of the particularly difficult and violent nature of life in Northern Ireland. DIFFICULT AREA It has been suggested that if Ireland decides to use the rope again, it may be necessary to go as far as South Africa to get a person who is fully trained to do the job. The former White regime in what used to be called Rhodesia employed a professional hangman until recently, whose skill and experience would outweigh anything in Europe where any hangpersons there are, lack the experience that comes with regular practice. It has also been suggested that I r e l a n d ' s growing contacts with Iraq might lead to the employment of a professional legal killer from that country, if the p r o s p e c t s of a w h i t e hangman from Rhodesia might be embarrassing. But the latest war with Iran probably means that the Iraquis have enough problems at home! In which case, it might be rather difficult for the Irish penal authorities to re-enter the hanging era, even if political pressures and public concern about law and order at the moment makes it difficult for Mr. Haughey to follow Britain, and most other European countries, and end capital punishment altogether. Compiled by Nollaig O Gadhra