Saturday, November 12, 2005


Free Padraig Nally!

This issue is certainly the most controversial in Ireland right now and was debated last night on the Late Late Show. It bears alot of similarities to the Tony Martin case in Britain a few years ago. To those unfamiliar with it, allow me to explain it.

61-year-old Co Mayo farmer, Padraig Nally, has been jailed for six years for the killing of a Traveller, John Ward, at his farm in October last year.

John Ward and his son Thomas had gone to Padraic Nally's farmhouse near the village of Cross just after lunch time on October 14.

It was heard in court that Thomas Ward asked Mr Nally if his white Nissan car was for sale.

John Ward was seen by Mr Nally entering his home by the back door.

The farmer got his loaded shotgun from a hay shed and the Traveller was shot in the hip and hand as he emerged from the house.

In a violent struggle, which followed, Ward was hit 20 times with a thick piece of ash.

As he made his way from the farmyard, Nally returned to the hay shed, reloaded and followed Ward down the road.

John Ward was shot a second time and died at the scene. Padraic Nally pulled his body across the road and put it into a field.

Sgt Carroll told Mr O’Higgins SC that Mr Nally is a bachelor who lives alone and has never come to the attention of the gardaí before this incident. He said Mr Nally is a small farmer who is "well regarded by his friends and neighbours in the Funshinagh and the surrounding area".

Sgt Carroll agreed with defence barrister Mr Brendan Grehan SC, that Mr Nally had been living in fear after being robbed and unwelcome strangers had come to his house.

Sgt Carroll agreed with Mr Grehan SC that Mr Nally was "out of his mind with fear" on the day of the fatal shooting.

Sentencing Nally, Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was the most difficult matter he had to deal with in more than 14 years on the bench.

My take on this is that Ireland has witnessed a grave miscarriage of justice. Should Padraig Nally be in jail? Certainly not!

The most important right a person has in society is the right to defend themselves. When the English political scientist Thomas Hobbes outlined his views on the social contract (which detailed how a society ought to be governed), he was in favour of giving up all rights to the Sovereign with the exception of one right which he believed could not be sacrified under any circumstances - the right to defend oneself.

People have argued that Mr Nally should be locked up as he went too far in the way he acted towards Mr Ward. Well isn't hindsight a beautiful thing? The fact is, when faced with a situation akin to the one Mr Nally faced, reason and rational thinking go out the window. Something primeval takes over, based on instinct. It's unfortunate that nowadays in society more concern is shown to the perpetrators of crime than the victims themselves!

If Mr Ward had not set out to commit a crime in the first place then none of this would have happened. In my opinion, when you set out to commit a crime and to deny people their rights, you should automatically forfeit your rights!

Mr Nally was under tremendous psychological strain. What about showing some consideration to him? A man who had never had trouble with the law previously?A suspended sentence would have been far better than six years in jail.

Right now a man is in prison who shouldn't be there. A man who was imprisoned pyschologically by perpetrators of crime, who found himself compromised and who took action to defend himself, now is literally imprisoned at the behest of the judicial system we have in this country.

It seems to me that the majority of popular opinion in this country is on the side of Mr Nally and the elected representatives of this country would do well to take notice of that.

Criminals get a slap on the wrist in modern society whilst the men who take action to defend themselves and their property against criminals get locked up! Utter madness!

Free Padraig Nally now!


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