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For those that could not attend the reception yesterday, below is the speech read out.
We stand here today, on behalf of the Justice for Smallhorne and Barrett campaign, humbled by the task we undertook and grateful for the trust you have shown in us.
Our names are Phil Brennan, Robbie Masterson, Andy Shaughnessy, John Shanahan, Pat Keane and Paul Clarke.
On this day, the 18th of April 2015, we gather to remember Derek, Tom and John, who were so brutally gunned down 35 years ago as an act of revenge by Mahmoud Bazzi.
This campaign came about when Steve Hindy, an AP (Associated Press) reporter on the patrol, wrote an article in the Irish Voice outlining that Homeland Security agents had contacted him about Bazzi’s application for US citizenship and that the DHS had found irregularities with his documents. This was seen as the opening so many of us had waited for and we grasped it with both hands.
The Justice for Smallhorne and Barrett campaign was setup and our meeting place was agreed on, The Halfway House on the Navan Road and it was there on many occasions that we planned and plotted our strategies and targets. The mission statement was penned and the main paragraph was to be that;
"The Justice for Smallhorne and Barrett campaign are a non-aligned coalition of, former colleagues of the Irish Defence Forces, friends and families of John O’Mahony, Derek Smallhorne and Thomas Barrett. The group’s primary aim is to seek justice for the murders of unarmed Irish peacekeepers, Pte Derek Smallhorne, Pte Thomas Barrett and the serious wounding of Pte John O Mahony and request that the United States Authorities act on the information the Department of Homeland Security investigation into Mahmoud Bazzi uncovered in 2013"
We wrote, emailed, lobbied and phoned numerous “persons of interest” in order that we achieve our Mission. We were getting there slowly on our home turf, but needed to penetrate the US. Then came, as if Derek and Tom had seen us faltering, our man who would be our emissary in USA, John Shanahan, of the American Legion, made contact and brought with him, not only the direction we should take in the US, but the contacts and details of those who should read our documents;
John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America.
Ambassador Stephen Rapp, Director of the Office of Global Criminal Justice,
Director James B. Comey, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice
The Human Rights Violators & War Crimes Unit, ICE, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric Holder, United States
Secretary Jeh Johnson, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
John Shanahan not only delivered our requests and information, he did it by hand, he is inspirational and a true friend to the Defence Forces and Ireland. We thank you, John
We held our very successful Vigils, lobbied Irish & American politicians vigorously, we remained solid in our resolve and the pinnacle of our lobbying was when we met and briefed the Charge dé Affaires at the US Embassy. John O’Mahony recounted his story as he had done at previous lobby meetings and radio interviews in such a concise, exact and heartfelt manner, the Chargé was left with no wriggle room by Robbie Masterson who countered and answered every response, Robbie cited numerous precedents of “Operation No Safe Haven” in relation to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated by the US government themselves.
The amount of man-hours of research that Robbie has put into this campaign is immeasurable, working late in the night and into the early hours of the morning
Robbie Masterson we owe you a debt of gratitude.
Just as an aside to our US Embassy meeting, I would like to single out one of many persons who had kept pressure on our government over the years. At our first vigil I received an album of documents to read and see if there was anything in it we could use, there was one letter, a reply from the US Ambassador to Charlie Hennigar that gave us a boost at our Embassy meeting, thank you Charlie.
On 15th July 2014, Bazzi was arrested and appeared before a deportation hearing that eventually led to his deportation to Lebanon. He was finally deported on 30 January 2015. On arrival in Beirut, Bazzi was arrested and detained by agents, where he remains in custody. The Irish Government has a Legal Representative monitoring the case in Beirut.
To the families of Derek & Tom, John O’Mahony and your family, we thank you, for allowing us to take this campaign for Justice to it’s successful conclusion and on behalf of everyone here today we wish you well in the future.
Comrades, ladies & gentlemen, today we have laid wreaths in memory of Derek & Tom and with John remembering this sad day 35 years ago by also laying a wreath for his 2 friends, we have shown that we never forget our fallen comrades.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all those that have served and are serving here in Ireland or overseas, the nations we have served alongside in UNIFIL, such as the Dutch with Kees Groeneveld parading the Dutch Flag and the Norwegians NVIO who sponsored their Flag to carried, both of whom we have a close relationship with, those who have supported this campaign in so many different ways, be it financial donations, advice or the act of stewarding, Piping, sounding the Salutes at our vigils and parade along with the medics and the Photographers, Videographers who have captured these memorable days, the IUNVA Posts, O.N.E. Branches, the Associations and the IDFVA, to the members of An Garda Síochana who have always shown their individual and collective respect and support, but most of all, YOU, who have backed this campaign, paraded, marched, stood tall and strengthened the bond of the Military Family.
Over the coming days, when we look at all the photographs and read the posts and slaggings, we and those looking on will see a dedicated, disciplined and dignified group of veterans who NEVER forgot their comrades.
Derek & Tom, Ar dheis Dé go raibh an Anam.
Justice for Smallhorne and Barrett" performed live for the first time at Dublin's Davenport Hotel. Composer Joey Bracken. Violin, Sharon ,Guitar Joey Bracken and Tin Whistle Christy O Brien.