US Seeks Garland Extradition

Former Workers' Party leader Sean Garland was arrested in Ireland on Friday, January 30, on the back of a U.S. extradition warrant claiming he laundered millions of dollars from North Korea. Garland, 74, was arrested outside the party's headquarters in Dublin on Friday. Dublin High Court Justice Michael Pear ordered Garland held without bail pending a court appearance this Wednesday. This was Garland's second arrest on an extradition warrant. On October 7, 2005, Garland, who was attending an annual Workers Party Conference in Belfast, was arrested after the first extradition application issued by the U.S. authorities was filed. U.S. authorities allege that Garland has been involved in a massive counterfeiting operation involving almost perfect copies of U.S. dollars, so-called "superdollars." They also alleged that the counterfeiting involved the government of North Korea. Garland was released on bail and he fled to the south of Ireland in expectation that the U.S. would not pursue extradition from the Republic. In December 2005, the High Court in Belfast issued a warrant for Garland's arrest after he failed to appear for an extradition hearing. Michael Finnegan, Garland's successor as Workers Party leader condemned his arrest. Finnegan said, "The rd Comhairle (executive) of the Workers' Party condemns this heavy handed and blatantly political act. Some time ago Sean Garland had been in touch with Gardai (police) through his legal representatives and had made it clear that he was willing and available to speak to them at any time." He continued, "There was absolutely no need to arrest Sean Garland outside the party offices and the decision to do so only serves to reinforce the political nature of this arrest." It is unclear if the latest extradition request comes from the Bush or Obama administrations. Ireland has only approved one out of the last 24 extradition requests from the U.S. Justice Department. Extraditing an Irish citizen to another country outside of the European Union is generally opposed by Ireland, citing the U.S.'s harsher penal system as the reason. Garland, who became a member of the IRA in 1953, briefly joined the British Army in 1954 to gather intelligence on Gough Barracks in Co. Armagh, later that year, enabling the IRA to carry out a huge arms raid with Garland's active involvement on site. Garland left the British Army in October that year and became a full time IRA training officer. Garland was wounded during a botched gun attack on a Northern Ireland police barracks on January 1, 1957. Sean South and Fergal O'Hanlon, two of his comrades, were shot and fatally wounded. Garland, who tried to save South by carrying him on his shoulders, was seriously wounded. After spending several weeks in hospital recovering, Garland was subsequently jailed in Mountjoy prison for two years. Upon his release, Garland returned to the IRA and after liaising with a group of IRA members in Belfast, he was arrested again in Dublin and sentenced to four years in Crumlin Road jail. During the 1960's, after becoming a Marxist, Garland attempted to steer the IRA away from violence and into left-wing politics. He worked closely with political figures like Cathal Goulding and Tom?s MacGiolla. Garland opposed the creating of the 1969 Provisional IRA. In 1975 he survived an Irish National Liberation Association (INLA) assassination attempt while returning to his Dublin home with his wife Mary. He was badly wounded in the attack but survived. Garland was elected general secretary of Official Sinn Fein in 1977 and during that same year successfully proposed to rename the party Sinn Fein the Workers Party. In 1982, the name was changed to just the Workers Party. During his time as general secretary of the party Garland contacted the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to ask for $1 million in aid for his party. In 2000, Garland was elected president of the Workers Party. While living an open life in Dublin, Garland was re-elected president of the Workers Party on April 1, 2006. During his keynote address to party members, Garland said he promised to fight any attempt to extradite him to the U.S. Garland gave up his presidency in 2008 and was replaced by Mick Finnegan. Garland still remains as the party's national treasurer and a member of the party's Central Executive Committee. If extradited and convicted, Garland, who suffers from diabetes and bowel cancer, could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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