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October 26, 2004

News 10/26/04 - Bradley Policing Row Rages

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/26/04 Bradley Policing Row Rages
BT 10/26/04 Opin: Mr. Bradley Must Clarify His Remarks
BB 10/26/04 NI Deadlock On Talks Agenda
BT 10/26/04 Workmen 'Not Forced Out By The UVF'
IO 10/26/04 De Rossa And McDonald To Vote Against Commission
BT 10/26/04 Opin: Can Window Of Opportunity Become An Open Door?
UT 10/26/04 McAleese Visits N.Ireland Today


Bradley Policing Row Rages

Remarks show Patten has not been implemented: SF

By Brian Hutton
26 October 2004

The political row over controversial remarks by the Policing Board
vice-chairman about future nationalist participation in the police
raged on today.

Denis Bradley sparked uproar yesterday when he suggested that if
political progress was not made in the next fortnight, nationalists
would have to reconsider joining the PSNI.

He also urged the British and Irish governments to impose joint
authority unless a political settlement is reached quickly.

Mr Bradley rejected unionist calls for his resignation over further
comments that policing could be set back years if a police officer
or a DPP member were killed.

The claims exposed PSNI officers to dissident republican attacks,
according to the DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr.

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin today described Mr Bradley's remarks
as an admission that the Patten Report has not been implemented and
that the current arrangements do not meet the demand of the Good
Friday Agreement for an accountable policing service.

"Sinn Fein has been saying this for the past three years when Mr
Bradley along with the SDLP jumped to endorse flawed policing

"One of our objectives in ongoing talks with the British Government
is to see Patten implemented and a new policing service delivered,"
he said.

"Crucial to this is the transfer of power on policing and justice
away from the securocrats in London.

"This is one of a number of important decisions which the DUP will
have to take in the immediate time ahead, if we are to make the
necessary progress which would see a deal done and the political
institutions re-established."

The SDLP's Alex Attwood, however, said it was the failure of others
to participate in the policing structures, to encourage people to
join the police and provide help to the PSNI and Garda that is
hampering efforts within policing.

"This is the big failure of courage by Sinn Fein. As Denis Bradley
says, 'Those from the nationalist community who step up to the
plate have been more than courageous'," said Mr Attwood.

"It is Sinn Fein who have been anything but courageous on policing.

"It is Sinn Fein who must take as much responsibility as anyone for
the policing deficit in republican areas," he added.


Viewpoint: Mr. Bradley Must Clarify His Remarks

Policing Problems: Support for policing is not dependent on

26 October 2004

What exactly did Denis Bradley, vice-chairman of the Policing
Board, mean when he warned that Catholic support for the police
might be withdrawn unless the political deadlock was broken? He is
too experienced not to know the effect his words could have, but he
has left confusion in the minds of friends and foes alike.

As one of the most influential figures in the brokering of the IRA
ceasefire and police reform, he has earned much respect and
gratitude, facing down opposition from both sides. He has given
wise, unelected, leadership to his own community, but in entering
the political arena is risking his own and the Board's reputations.

Like all concerned citizens, he is anxious to see devolution
restored and the healing that began with the Good Friday Agreement
resumed. But when someone in his position warns that effective
policing in a political vacuum "is not possible" and gives the
British and Irish governments two weeks to produce a political
breakthrough - or introduce joint authority - he can be accused of
trying to blackmail the elected politicians.

The inference is that, since the vacuum has lasted for two years
already, the present form of policing is ineffective. He implies
that nationalists accepted the PSNI on condition that there was a
satisfactory political settlement and that if it failed to be
achieved, they might have second thoughts.

No one underestimates the burden that people like Mr Bradley and
nationalist members of district policing partnerships have
shouldered. They have suffered republican abuse and worse, emerging
more determined than ever, and it was unwise, at least, to suggest
that they could be forced to resign if the pressure increased.

Another strange statement was that "the broad nationalist consensus
will find it very difficult, in my opinion, to live under direct

True, unionists are more comfortable with direct rule than
nationalists, but if the politicians are unable to reach agreement
on their current mandates, the only possible alternative is direct
rule, which has applied for some 30 of the last 32 years.

The suggestion that nationalists would in some way withdraw their
support from state institutions is a dangerous one, which Sinn
Fein, as a non-participant in policing, might gladly endorse. And
to propose the nightmare alternative - to unionists - of joint rule
from London and Dublin was equally unwise.

These are matters exclusively for politicians, from which the
administration of the police should be completely divorced. Mr
Bradley is entitled to his private opinions, but as the Policing
Board's vice chairman, he has a duty to clarify his remarks in


NI Deadlock On Talks Agenda

Senior members of the DUP and Sinn Fein are in London amid efforts
to try to break the political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and party colleague Martin
McGuinness are understood to be in talks with British and Irish
Government officials.

The DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, is involved in separate

Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Monday that the next few weeks in
the political process would be critical.

The institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended two years ago
amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern
Ireland Office.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said on Tuesday: "The party leadership is
involved in ongoing intensive efforts to break the logjam in the
peace process."

Meanwhile, the BBC has learned that the head of the decommissioning
body, General John de Chastelain, has returned to Belfast, despite
a lack of certainty about the outcome of the present round of

On Monday, Conservative leader Michael Howard called for any future
IRA decommissioning to be transparent.

He said principles laid down by Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
that the IRA must disband before Sinn Fein could join a coalition
in Dublin, must also apply in Northern Ireland.

He made the comments during a business breakfast in Belfast.

Peter Robinson has insisted there must be a visual aspect to the
decommissioning of IRA weaponry.

At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in
Kent last month, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern said the thorny issues
of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be

However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern
Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing
after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved

The sticking points in the political process have included the
method of electing a first and deputy first minister, a date when
the assembly can control policing, and whether or not 30 assembly
members can challenge ministerial decisions.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/26 11:30:27 GMT


Workmen 'Not Forced Out By The UVF'

By Staff Reporter
26 October 2004

Claims that workmen employed by the Housing Executive were forced
out of an estate in Bangor by men claiming to be from the UVF have
been denied by Billy Hutchinson, it emerged today.

Mr Hutchinson of the Progressive Unionist Party denied the UVF and
Red Hand Commandos were involved in the intimidation of workmen on
the Bloomfield estate.

Last week five homes, including those of the elderly, were left
without water and electric after men claiming they were
paramilitaries demanded money. They were then said to have ordered
the contractors out of the estate - a move branded "deplorable" by
the Housing Executive.

Denying UVF or Red Hand Commando involvement, Mr Hutchinson said:
"I spoke to the local PUP representatives and have now approached
both the UVF and Red Hand Commando and both denied any involvement
in it.

"It is serious extortion not only against the builder but also the
five families who were left without any proper home facilities."

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: "It appears that
sub-contractors working on a kitchen replacement scheme in the
Bloomfield estate in Bangor were asked to leave the area. The
Housing Executive is currently investigating the circumstances."


De Rossa And McDonald To Vote Against Commission

26/10/2004 - 12:09:21

Two Irish MEPs have vowed to oppose the appointment of the new
European Commission tomorrow due to the inclusion of an Italian
politician with controversial views on homosexuality, marriage and

The Labour Party's Pronsias de Rossa and Sinn Féin's Mary-Lou
McDonald said they would be refusing to ratify the new commission
in tomorrow's vote in Strasbourg because of the inclusion of Rocco
Buttiglione as Justice Commissioner.

Mr Buttiglione told MEPs earlier this month that he regarded
homosexuality as a sin. He also revealed that he thought a woman's
role was to bear children and work in the home and that single
mothers were "not good people".

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's vote on the commission, Ms McDonald
said the Italian nominee did not have the right skills to be an EU
Commissioner with responsibility for anti-discrimination measures.

Meanwhile, incoming EC president Jose Manual Barroso has today
offered a number of concessions to MEPs in an effort to secure
their support for his 25-man team in tomorrow's vote.

The concessions include the establishment of a European Fundamental
Rights Agency and other measures to protect against discrimination,
racism and xenophobia.

However, speaking in the parliament chamber, the leader of the
Socialist grouping of MEPs Martin Schulz,said the measures were not
good enough to prevent him and his colleagues from rejecting the
new commission.

The leader of the Centre Right grouping of MEPs appealed for unity
and defended Mr Buttiglione, meaning the balance of power could lie
with the Liberal Democrats, who have expressed unease with the
Italian's views.


SF's Mary-Lou McDonald said: Ms McDonald said: "Sinn Féin went to
the Irish electorate in this year's European elections with a clear
and radical manifesto. We set out our stall for an alternative
vision of Europe based on principles of equality, justice, and
human rights. We made a clear commitment to building an Ireland of
equals in a Europe of equals. We also made clear our opposition to
the continued erosion of public services and social welfare
provision Europe wide and the role which the EU is playing in this

"We are deeply concerned with the political and policy complexion
of the incoming Commission. During the recent hearings with MEPs,
many of the proposed Commissioners made clear their commitment to
social and economic policies which will actively undermine
equality, justice and social solidarity. There are also a number of
proposed Commissioners who have serious questions to answer with
respect to their conduct when Ministers in their national

'We are calling on Jose Manuel Barroso to reflect on the
composition of his proposed Commission and to consider ways to make
its membership more reflective of the need to promote social and
economic justice and social and cultural equality, both within the
EU and globally.

"Sinn Féin believes another Europe is possible, where the rights of
nations and peoples are respected and promoted, where quality
health care and education are available to all, where civil
liberties are protected and where the EU play‚s a positive and
progressive role in tackling developing world debt and promoting
conflict resolution.

"As it stands the Commission is not placed to achieve any of these
things, as its priorities and stated policy preferences run in a
contrary direction. This would make it very difficult for Sinn Féin
MEPs to vote in favour of the Commission later this week."ENDS


Can Window Of Opportunity Become An Open Door?

by Jim Dougal
26 October 2004

Another window of opportunity has opened. According to the Irish
Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, 'there will come a time when Sinn
Fein will be in government in the Republic as they will be in the

The Secretary of State Paul Murphy says: 'Within the next two weeks
both sides have an opportunity to take dramatic, decisive and
unequivocal steps forward which themselves will form the basis of a
new relationship'.

And Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach, told RTE he was convinced that the
DUP is ready and willing to share power with Sinn Fein.

I have no doubt that these statements were aimed at putting
pressure on both the DUP and Sinn Fein, and to create in the public
mind the view that they just need to move a little further. It
would, of course, help public confidence and understanding if the
elements of what is being negotiated were spelt out in more detail.

I take it that Government officials and party negotiators are
running from room to room changing a word here and a paragraph
there in search of the elusive formula for the restoration of the

It's a formula, which Sinn Fein wants to regard as part of a review
of the operation of the Good Friday Agreement which maintains the
balance between the parties.

The DUP must view it as a change in the Agreement itself with a
transparent end to the IRA and more accountability for the
Assembly. The SDLP says that the DUP wants a minority government
(i.e. a DUP veto on decision making) and cannot be trusted.

There is concern that the Ulster Unionists could go into opposition
in a new Assembly. But, surely, the arrangement under which they
governed collapsed because some parties refused to operate it in
full. The basis of the Agreement was to have the widest possible
participation in government.

Is it possible that the Ulster Unionists would ditch power with
Ministers in an Executive for opposition?

Both that party and the SDLP need to rebuild and it would be better
to do so from a position of strength rather then from the
opposition benches.

They could also be seen as trying to wreck something they
themselves have worked to achieve.

Since power sharing first raised its head at Sunningdale 31 years
ago next month times have changed, Northern Ireland has changed and
the world has moved on. After the Leeds Castle talks the British
and Irish governments believed they had won the necessary
assurances about the IRA. The issue of accountability took them by
surprise. This is at the centre of the present negotiations and
must be resolved.

The head of the decommissioning body, General John De Chastelain -
probably the most patient man in the process - is returning to
Northern Ireland this week. Will he see a decommissioning on which
he can report in full?

If he does this could mean that a choreographed sequencing, a
planned series of statements and events, could begin with an IRA
statement, visible decommissioning and a promise by the DUP to
operate power sharing.

This would be followed by other movement by the Government
including so-called demilitarisation, the removal of troops which
the head of the Army, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Jackson, has
already suggested could happen soon.

This whole process could take several months and may not be
finished by the expected general election in May. It would be
better if it was.

However, what's still missing is trust. The trouble is that trust
cannot be built at arm's length. It can only be achieved by working

When Dermot Ahern suggested that Sinn Fein could be in government
in the Republic he was stating the blindingly obvious.

Amid growing criticism in the South, Bertie Ahern felt the need to
qualify his remarks with a reiteration of the requirement of an end
to the IRA while the Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, said that
Fianna Fail would not take power through Sinn Fein support.

However, it is unlikely that the savvy Department of Foreign
Affairs would have allowed such a miscalculation to be made by
their Minister.

The question must have been considered and a response worked out
before it was asked.

Anyway, are we really to believe that if the IRA had truly 'gone
away' a party leader in a newly elected Dail Eireann would reject
the prospect of power through the support of Sinn Fein from the
backbenches or their participation in government?

All this aside, it is not a sustainable argument to suggest that
Sinn Fein is suitable to share power at Stormont with the DUP and
others but not in Dublin with Fianna Fail. The Irish government
cannot demand that unionists do something which is not acceptable
to themselves.

This is the beginning of a debate in the Republic which will
eventually lead to Sinn Fein in government. It was also a further
incentive to republicans to remove the IRA from the equation and a
warning to the smaller parties in the Republic that other alliances
could in future be available.

Given the balance in the Dail it is unlikely that any government
could be established there without power sharing in the foreseeable

It is worth looking at the recent history of Irish coalitions.
Desmond O'Malley was one of Charles Haughey's most implacable
opponents in Fianna Fail when he was expelled in 1985. He
established the Progressive Democratic Party the same year.

By 1989 he was back in power in coalition alongside the same
Charles Haughey.

When the Albert Reynolds Fianna Fail/ Labour coalition collapsed in
1994 Fine Gael built a coalition with the Labour Party and the
Democratic Left. The Democratic Left was formed out of the Workers
Party which had its roots in the Official Sinn Fein.

Here the window of opportunity is still open and presumably the two
weeks can be stretched. But not for too long. The public is
becoming a little bored and the world outside confused.


McAleese Visits N.Ireland Today

The Irish President Mary McAleese is visiting Northern Ireland
today for the first time since she was returned for a second seven-
year term of office.

She is carrying out a number of engagements in County Fermanagh,
some of which involve cross-community groups.

--- News

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