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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
November 16, 2004
News 11/16/04 - Collusion Inquiries Terms Announced
News about Ireland & the Irish
BB 11/16/04 NI Collusion Inquiries Terms Announced
BT 11/16/04 Kidnappers Split Over Fate Of UN Hostages
RT 11/16/04 'This One's Faking He's Fucking Dead; He's Dead Now'V
BT 11/16/04 Keenan: Out Of The Wilderness
SM 11/16/04 Mother And Children Targeted By Pipe Bomb
DJ 11/16/04 Editorial: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
DJ 11/16/04 Durkan Cautious About Uda Ceasefire
BB 11/16/04 Murphy Explains UDA Decision
BT 11/16/04 British Deny Deal With UDA On 'Personal Use' Weapons
SF 11/16/04 Any Proposals Must Be Grounded In GFA
NL 11/16/04 Editorial: Unionists Still Opposed To Joint Authority
BT 11/16/04 Sinn Fein Deputy Lord Mayor To Step Down
DJ 11/16/04 All Grief, Suffering & Loss Is Equal- Victim's Son
BT 11/16/04 Blair Can't Go To Paisley's 'Freedom Do'
IO 11/16/04 Conf Examines Discrimination Against Former Prisoners
BT 11/16/04 England To Ban Public Smoking -V (2)
BT 11/16/04 Fury Over Neeson Sex Movie After Bush Win
UT 11/16/04 Death Of Bob Cooper
BT 11/16/04 Tragic Fisherman Is Laid To Rest
NP 11/16/04 Police Corruption In Ireland's Donegal County AO
RT 11/16/04 New Walkway Being Constructed On Connemara Mountain VO
Listen to: Police Corruption In Ireland's Donegal County - Day to
Day, November 15, 2004 · Journalist Amanda Brown in Dublin,
Ireland, explains a new report highlighting ongoing police
corruption in Ireland's northwest county of Donegal.
New Walkway Being Constructed On Connemara Mountain - Jim Fahy,
Western Correspondent, reports on the unusual construction project
at Connemara National Park in Letterfrack
(Poster's Note: While the 'This one's faking he's fucking dead'
'He's dead now' story has no direct Irish content, I can't help but
think of Peter McBride & wonder what effect such reports will have
on the hostages. Jay)
NI Inquiries Terms Announced
The terms of reference for inquiries into three controversial
murders have been announced by the Northern Ireland secretary.
Paul Murphy also released the names of the panel members who will
look into the killings of Robert Hamill, Billy Wright and Rosemary
They will be asked not to just consider allegations of security
force collusion that have been made, but also to consider the issue
of possible negligence.
A judge who served in the 1974 Gardiner commission on internment
has been appointed to head the inquiry into the murder of solicitor
Sir Michael Morland also acted for the Crown in 1973 in internment
The secretary of state revealed the details in a written answer in
Parliament on Tuesday.
In April, the government announced inquiries into the three murders
following recommendations by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory.
Each panel of inquiry will be chaired by a judge, a lay member and
a specialist expert.
The Robert Hamill inquiry will be chaired by Sir Edwin Jowitt, a
retired member of the English and Welsh High Court.
Mr Hamill, a Catholic, died in hospital after being attacked by a
loyalist mob in his home town of Portadown in 1997.
The Billy Wright inquiry will be headed by Lord Ranald MacLean of
the Court of Session in Scotland.
Wright, the LVF leader, was targeted and murdered inside the Maze
Prison by jailed members of the Irish National Liberation Army in
Last October, Judge Cory delivered six reports to the London and
Dublin administrations about a total of eight killings on both
sides of the border.
The terms of reference of the inquiry into murdered Belfast
solicitor Pat Finucane will be outlined in special legislation set
to be put before parliament.
The retired Canadian judge was appointed by the British and Irish
Governments in 2001.
The inquiries would begin as soon as possible, said the secretary
"As I said in my statement of 8 July, all three inquiries will have
full powers to compel disclosure of documents and attendance of
witnesses," said Mr Murphy.
:: The Robert Hamill inquiry will be chaired by Sir Edwin Jowitt,
who will be joined by Sir John Evans - former Devon and Cornwall
chief constable - and Reverend Baroness Richardson of Calow -
former Moderator of the Free Churches' Council of England and
:: The Billy Wright inquiry will be chaired by Lord Ranald MacLean,
who will be joined by Professor Andrew Coyle - of King's College,
London - and the Right Reverend John Oliver - retired diocesan
Bishop of Hereford.
:: The Rosemary Nelson inquiry will be chaired by Sir Michael
Morland, who will be joined by Sir Anthony Burden - former chief
constable of South Wales Police - and Dame Valerie Strachan - vice
chair of the Big Lottery Fund.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/16 13:40:59 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Kidnappers Split Over Fate Of UN Hostages
Talks to free Ulster woman resume
16 November 2004
Negotiations between Afghan government officials and mediators in
touch with Annetta Flanigan's kidnappers were expected to resume
today, after being suspended last week for an Islamic holiday.
An Afghan official said government representatives would meet
middlemen to restart talks suspended for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day
Islamic festival which ended in Afghanistan yesterday. Ransom
demands were the main sticking point, the official said.
Earlier the purported leader of Taliban- linked militants holding Ms
Flanigan and two other UN hostages said his group was split over
whether they should "get rid" of the captives.
After a deadline set for reaching a deal for the hostages' release
passed last night, Jaish-al Muslimeen leader Mohammed Akbar Agha
said the group would meet to decide their fate.
Earlier, Afghan officials said negotiations with the kidnappers had
been postponed amid disagreements over ransom demands.
Ms Flanigan from Richhill Co Armagh, Filipino diplomat Angelito
Nayan and Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo were seized at gunpoint on
October 28 - the first abduction of foreigners in the capital since
the fall of the Taliban three years ago.
Jaish-al Muslimeen, or Army of Muslims, has threatened to kill the
trio unless 26 militant prisoners were released.
"There are some of our members who have hardline views on the issue
but there are others who have moderate views," Agha said in a
telephone call from an undisclosed location.
"The hardliners say we should get rid of the hostages. The others
say we have the ability to keep the hostages for two years."
Jaish-al Muslimeen claims that the 26 men it wants freed are in US
custody, but the American military says it will release no one and
has received no list issued by the militants.
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also opposed any
concessions on a visit to Kabul last week.
Despite the claims of the militants, who have already set a string
of deadlines, it remains unclear how much control they have over
Afghan officials and diplomats suspect that criminal groups or
warlord militias may be involved, and say negotiations are being
held with several different groups. Officials suggest the three may
still be in the Kabul area.
Agha insisted his group was not seeking a ransom, and claimed
Afghan authorities had concocted that allegation to save face
because of their failure to resolve the crisis over the hostages,
who had been in Afghanistan to help run the country's landmark
presidential elections on October 9.
"We will not hold more talks with the Afghan government," he said.
He said an Afghan mediator contacted the group yesterday and
conveyed a message that a London-based non- government organisation,
which he did not identify, wanted to hold talks with them. Agha
said the kidnappers would not hold talks "with the foreigners" but
could communicate to them through the mediator.
See video at:
'This One's Faking He's Dead' - 'He's Dead Now' -V
Fallujah: Video shows US soldier killing wounded insurgent in cold
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
16 November 2004
The US Marine Corps launched an investigation into possible war
crimes last night after video footage taken inside a mosque in
Fallujah apparently showed a Marine shooting dead an unarmed Iraqi
insurgent who had been taken prisoner.
The footage showed several Marines with a group of prisoners who
were either lying on the floor or propped against a wall of the
bombed-out building. One Marine can be heard declaring that one of
the prisoners was faking his injuries.
"He's fucking faking he's dead. He faking he's fucking dead," says
the Marine. At that point a clatter of gunfire can be heard as one
of the Marines shoots the prisoner. Another voice can then be heard
saying: "He's dead now."
The footage was obtained by a team from the American NBC network
that was embedded with the Marine Corps during last week's seven-
day battle to capture the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, which
military commanders say has been a focus of Iraqi resistance. The
film was then pooled and made available to other media.
On the footage that was broadcast last night, NBC correspondent
Kevin Sites said that the five wounded Iraqi fighters had been left
in the mosque after Marines had fought their way into that part of
the city on Friday and Saturday. Ten other Iraqis had been killed
in the battle for the mosque. Instead of being passed to the rear
lines for treatment the wounded Iraqis were left in the mosque
until a second group of Marines entered the building on Saturday,
following reports that the building may have been reoccupied. Sites
said that at this point one of the five Iraqis was dead and that
three of the others appeared to be close to death.
In his report accompanying the images, Sites said that one of the
Marines noticed that one of the wounded men was still breathing
before shouting that he was "faking it".
"The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head.
The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast," said Sites. He
added: "The prisoner did not appear to be armed or threatening in
any way". Major Doug Powell, a spokesman for the Marine Corps in
Washington, told The Independent: "It's being investigated - I
can't say much more than that. It's being investigated for possible
law of war violations. A naval criminal investigation team is
looking into it."
The footage - some of the first to show the situation inside
Fallujah and the bloody nature of the street- by-street battle that
has taken place there - is the latest to emerge from Iraq to
contain possible evidence of war crimes perpetrated by the US
Other footage has shown troops shooting wounded fighters lying in
open ground as well as attacks on Iraqis - some said to be
civilians - by US aircraft and helicopters. This latest footage is
among the most shocking given that it apparently shows without
obstruction the Marine shooting the prisoner in the head at close
Kathy Kelly, a spokeswoman for the peace group Voices in the
Wilderness, said last night that such images would "recruit more
terrorists faster than they are being killed".
"I don't think the US is paying much attention to the Geneva
Conventions any more - that is the problem. This must be
investigated," she said.
NBC said in its report that the Marine who had shot the insurgent
had apparently been shot in the face the day before and that one of
his comrades had been killed the previous day by a booby-trap bomb
that had been placed on the body of a dead insurgent. He has been
withdrawn from the field and his unit removed from the front lines,
Military experts said last night that rules of engagement prevented
US troops from shooting an enemy where there was no threat being
Yesterday, the Marines said they had taken more than 1,000
prisoners in the battle for Fallujah. Colonel Michael Regner,
operations officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at
Fallujah, said at least 1,052 prisoners had been captured in the
battle. No more than about two dozen of them were "foreign
fighters", he said.
Keenan: Out Of The Wilderness
16 November 2004
He was held captive by Islamic militants for four years, yet Brian
Keenan struggles to talk about the current hostage crisis in Iraq.
Cole Moreton meets a man who has travelled to the ends of the earth
to lay to rest the ghosts of his past.
Nobody knows what Ulster woman Annetta Flanigan is going through as
well as Brian Keenan does. He spent four-and- a-half years bound and
often blindfolded in cramped and fetid places in Middle-Eastern
heat, fearing and expecting that his fanatical captors might kill
him at any moment.
But it's equally true that nobody knows what the kidnappers of
Annetta, Margaret Hassan and others are thinking and feeling and
doing as well as Brian Keenan does, too.
He was held from 1986 to 1990, albeit in the Lebanon rather than
Iraq or Afghanistan, and spent much of his time in captivity
studying, in the kind of obsessive detail that only a person with
endless time and a mind desperate for activity can summon up, his
reactions and the behaviour of the Islamic fundamentalists who held
the guns, closed the cell door and beat him.
That he survived at all was remarkable, but then he wrote with
almost superhuman empathy about his captors in a book, An Evil
Cradling, in which he astonished many readers by his refusal to
express bitterness towards those who held him.
Instead Keenan has described as victims those men who lashed the
soles of their captives' feet then tried to tell them jokes; who
gave them meagre, rancid rations most of the time but also laid on
a birthday feast. They were, he wrote recently, "chained to their
guns, imprisoned by a world-view born of ignorance and fear."
I want to ask him if he feels that way about the hostage-takers in
Iraq, when we meet in the pine-and-chrome lobby of a drab hotel on
a filthy day in Belfast, not far from where he was born and raised.
So it is disconcerting when he tells me, as we buy gin and tonic
and whiskey from the bar to fortify ourselves against the damp
afternoon, how he has refused to do another interview because the
discussion was not going to be confined to his new book, about a
journey into the wilderness of Alaska.
"They're not interested. They want to talk about Iraq but I'm not
going to. I don't have any answers. I don't know about Iraq. I
don't know anything about the Middle East. I'm not a spokesman on
Hang on a minute, I say, I heard you on the radio at lunchtime
calling George Bush, "the Ayatollah in the White House". You threw
yourself into the centre of the debate, using your status as a
"They asked me a question," he says, eyes narrowing. "You can't
just refuse to answer."
He could have done. Instead he gave a passionate answer. "Well, it
was my view. When people in powerful places point the finger of
guilt and call people evil, we've got problems, because that's not
the language we need in the 21st century. When Ayatollahs in the
White House start screaming about the axis of evil, we're all in
There are hostages in captivity as we speak. Is it any wonder that
we turn to those who can help us understand what they are going
"Maybe. But what I went through is not so very different from
someone who is in a hospice knowing that they're dying. There is no
way out of that. It is not so very different from a mother who has
been told her three-year-old child will not see his fifth birthday
and who has to get up every morning and dress him, feed him, play
with him, and ensure his world is the best it can be. I would not
like to be that mother. I couldn't do that.
"Somebody who has gone through trauma that was equally difficult to
deal with as mine might have as many answers as me."
His reaction to his experiences has given him something valuable to
say about the problems in Iraq, though. Empathy is his answer. It's
what makes some people very angry with him and others admiring.
The phrase about his captors being chained to their guns came from
a piece he wrote earlier this year to mark the release of Blind
Flight, a film based on the close relationship between Keenan and
his fellow Beirut captive John McCarthy.
He also wrote for the BBC website last month, describing the
mindset of Islamic groups who began taking hostages to highlight
their cause in the 1980s. "If these men talked about the
dispossessed and the poor of the world and the spectre of
international capitalism, that is because that was their very real
experience of the world," he said.
"These are people who want to be heard, who feel in their skin the
exclusion of the world and so turn against it. Flight or fight is a
human response and these people were human even if their abuse of
us was gratuitous and bestial at times."
Brian Keenan beat his captors: by choosing not to be frightened
when they demanded that he should be. By refusing to feel cold when
they took away his clothes. By not eating the fruit they brought
him, even though it was a rare treat, and instead letting it rot as
he relished the colours, textures and smells he had long been
If they threw food at him, to demonstrate their power, he threw it
back. Even now he habitually seeks to avoid the constrictions
imposed on him by other people. He is uneasy about being seen as
some kind of sage, but speaks gnomic words of wisdom. He recoils
from being called a hero, then suggests a definition of courage in
his own terms.
"If courage is about anything, it is about knowing that everything
is within yourself. A man can take away my freedom, he can take all
my clothes, he can lock me up - but he can't ever, ever, take my
liberty. I alone possess that. I know the measure of it, the depth.
I alone can enter into it.
"Courage is knowing what to do with that self-understanding.
Courage is about finding quiet and content and having the capacity
to share that. It's not about going out to lead the world with
Messianic rants and raves."
After the claustrophobic intensity of An Evil Cradling, his new
book, Four Quarters of Light, almost reads as a celebration of life
and liberty. The man standing in awe of the mountains is the same
man who lived in a tiny, cramped space for so long. The man who
talks to a dog musher and an Eskimo shaman about their solitary
lives in a place called The Big Lonely is the man who had no
company but his own for so long. Keenan owes his unique voice to
"Yes, absolutely. What's the famous line of Yeats? 'I must lay down
where all the ladders start, in the foul rag- and-bone shop of the
heart.' I spent four-and-a-half years in that place. What I learnt
about myself and my capacities and my desires I could not have
found anywhere else."
Keenan was released suddenly in 1990, handed over under cover of
darkness to the Syrian secret service. He spent much of the first
few years after his ordeal living alone on the west coast of
Ireland. There would be echoes of this withdrawal in his decision
to visit Alaska a decade later.
"Wilderness to the creative mind is like a blank canvas to a
painter," he writes in Four Quarters of Light. "It is full of
possibilities. Here is perfect peace and absolute freedom; here too
may be the prologue of melancholy or bliss."
As we sit in his hotel room, Keenan tells me how he was a fast
reader as a boy. A teacher let him have early access to the school
library and he chose The Call of The Wild by Jack London, about a
dog who lives among wolves in Alaska. Two years ago, he decided to
return to Alaska, ostensibly to hunt down the ghost of Jack London.
"This was, in a very real sense, the final frontier for me. At my
age I wasn't going to go anywhere again, not on a big trip like
this." He also decided to take Audrey, his wife, and their sons Cal
and Jack who were aged nearly two and four, with him.
"I wanted Jack, particularly, to see in reality the Alaska that I
saw in my head when I was about two years older than him, at a
primary school in Belfast."
Those are the words of a father who survived incarceration largely
by retelling the stories he had read and seen and over and again to
avoid going mad.
People who know Keenan say he is nowhere near as melancholy as he
seems. "I can be funny," he protests. "I tell jokes that last four
days. That probably bores people stupid. That must be why they say
it: I can make anybody melancholic with my humour."
There, he also had several profound encounters with Inuit
spirituality that moved him deeply. In the extremes of the Arctic
circle he found ghosts, spirits and totem animals, and a belief
that places "give off a scent of their history and of hardship...
or nourish you in a way that others cannot."
If I ask him what he has learnt he will protest that he is not a
sage or a seer, even if he sometimes sounds like he wants to be
one. A part-time mystic, I say, and he laughs. "That'll do me."
n 'Four Quarters of Light', by Brian Keenan, is published by
Transworld, priced £18.99
Mother And Children Targeted By Pipe Bomb
By Alan Erwin, PA
A single mother whose home was bombed in Northern Ireland today
challenged the thugs responsible to justify the attack.
Gwen Mulholland, 47, and her three terrified children escaped
injury in the explosion at their house near Maghera, Co
The family were in bed when two blasts shook the end terrace
property, shattering windows and damaging a car parked outside.
As she began to clear up, Mrs Mulholland stressed she had no idea
why they were targeted.
"I don't no whether it was mistaken identity, but these guys knew
what they were doing.
"To single out a woman living on her own with three children is
"I would like them to show their faces, stand up and be counted
rather than be cowards running away in the dark."
The divorcee, who has lived in the tiny village of Tamlaght
O'Crilly all her life, said she has lived without incident at
Drumard Park for 13 years.
But that ended when a suspected pipe bomb went off at around
11.30pm last night.
At first Mrs Mulholland thought the television in her 17-year-old
son's bedroom had dropped to the floor.
The second blast confirmed something much more sinister.
After checking her other children, a girl aged 16 and a two-year-
old boy, were unhurt, police were alerted.
Detectives were today still trying to find a motive for the bomb
attack in a mainly Protestant area.
Although she vowed not to quit the home, the housewife accepted her
trust had been wrecked.
"I'm just feeling sick to the pit of my stomach and I used to be so
happy here," she said.
"There were nights I went to bed with the key sticking in the front
lock, but now I will never feel safe here again.
"I love this village, I was born here, and I just hope and pray
they catch the cowards that did this."
Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness blamed loyalist
terrorists. He said: "Last night at around 11.30pm a bomb was left
outside the home of a mother and her young family. It was fortunate
that nobody in the house was injured in the blast. This was a
"Having spoken with local people this morning there is a belief
that this incident may be in some way linked to one of the loyalist
paramilitary gangs which operate in that particular area. I am
satisfied that there is no republican involvement in this incident
Editorial: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Tuesday 16th November 2004
Nationalists across the North of Ireland will justifiably react
with scepticism to the latest pledge of inactivity from the UDA.
Given the murderous and sectarian track record of the organisation,
most observers will want to see deeds as well as words before
giving the new ceasefire a wholehearted welcome.
While it may look good on paper, it must be remembered that actions
always speak louder than words.
Nationalists and republicans recall that the 1994 UDA ceasefire,
which followed the IRA cessation, eventually crumbled amid
factions, feuding and continuing sectarian attacks.
What the nationalist community wants to hear now is that the UDA is
going to stop attacking and killing Catholics.
Unfortunately, given the past record of the UDA in telling the
truth, many people will be rightly sceptical of its most recent
In fact, at first glance, the UDA announcement would appear to have
more to do with once again stabilising the organisation after
recent feuding and the defeat of the C Company faction led by
Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair than it does with underscoring the
political/peace process in Ireland.
Indeed, Catholics across Northern Ireland will take some convincing
that the UDA has turned over a new leaf.
One only has to look at the latest report of the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) for evidence of recent UDA activities.
The IMC reveals that the UDA was responsible for half of the
paramilitary murders committed between January 2003 and February
2004 and continued to be responsible for shootings, assaults and
The report also disclosed that the group remained heavily engaged
in crime, including drugs and its feuds associated with criminal
activity had contributed considerably to violence across the North.
In August, members of the UDA are believed to have undertaken a
vicious sectarian attack against three Catholic men.
The IMC also reported that the UDA remains heavily involved in many
kinds of organised crime, and remains an active organisation
capable of more widespread violence, "with the will to commit it if
What the UDA's latest statement makes no reference to is the issue
of drugs and the organisation.
As the dogs in the street know, the organisation is steeped in
drugs crime and some who sit at its top table are the most heavily
Are we to seriously believe that these individuals are now willing
to change what for them has been the habit of a lifetime?
Ultimately, the UDA statement will be judged by the effect it has
on the ground. If it is a sign that loyalists groups are going to
end their campaign, then it is obviously a welcome step.
However, people in the communities directly suffering from loyalist
violence will be well advised to treat it with justifiable
scepticism. It is, therefore, up to the UDA to prove the sceptics
Durkan Cautious About Uda Ceasefire
Tuesday 16th November 2004
SDLP leader Mark Durkan has reacted sceptically to the Secretary of
State's decision to recognise the UDA ceasefire.
The Foyle MLA said: "The Secretary of State may recognise the UDA
ceasefire but nationalists and ethnic minorities on the ground
certainly don't. Nor will a lot of unionists either.
"That fact is that, in many parts of the North, the UDA still
causes terror with its intimidation and hate crimes. People will,
therefore, judge the UDA not on what the Secretary of State says
but on what the UDA does - and stops doing - in our communities.
"The Secretary of State needs to think whether this move will
encourage the UDA to end all its activity. After all, he has moved
to satisfy the UDA without having got anything public from the UDA
"The SDLP called on the then Secretary of State, John Reid, to stop
recognising the UDA ceasefire two years ago because of its
violence. Reluctantly, he did this.
"If there is any violence at all from the UDA now, the Secretary of
State will have to withdraw recognition of their ceasefire
immediately. There can be no blind eye turned and no foot dragging
Mr. Durkan says people need to realise that the difference between
the UDA is not between hawks and doves.
"All of the UDA is up to its neck in crime and intimidation. The
difference is only between those who only drug deal and those who
prefer to extort. "The Secretary of State needs to tell the UDA to
shut down or to be closed down. To wind up or to be locked up. That
is the message the UDA needs to hear."
See BBC NI's Julian O'Neill reports - "The UDA is back in step with
the peace process."
Murphy Explains UDA Decision
The ceasefire by the Ulster Defence Association is "holding" and
"genuine", Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has told MPs.
Mr Murphy was explaining his decision to give recognition to the
loyalist paramilitary group's cessation of violence, which
officially came into effect at midnight.
The UDA said in a statement on Sunday that it committed itself to
working towards the end of all paramilitary activity.
It has also committed itself to re-engaging with the International
decommissioning body headed by General John De Chastelain.
Mr Murphy told MPs that he believed this process had already begun.
In a statement read to the House of Commons, Mr Murphy said that
the move to "despecify" the UDA had been taken "cautiously" and
He said that he was conscious of the feelings of victims of the
paramilitary organisation but felt that "positive" commitments from
the UDA were an opportunity to engage them in the political
The Ulster Political Research Group, which advises the UDA,
announced a twelve-month period of "military inactivity" in
One year later, it announced an "indefinite extension" to this
Mr Murphy said that he was convinced that the UDA was "genuine"
about its commitment.
He said that he had studied the "negative" comments made in the
recent report by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).
However, he noted that there had been a reduction in UDA activity
in the period between the first and second IMC reports.
The secretary of state said that commitments made by the UDA
presented "an opportunity to move forward".
He said UDA commitments to work towards a day when they were no
longer needed, to enter the political process and to re-engage with
the decommissioning of weapons, were to be welcomed.
Mr Murphy said: "The UDA says that it wants lasting peace and that
it can prove to the people of Northern Ireland that it can change.
I believe it should be given the opportunity to do so.
"However, the government has always made clear that it would judge
paramilitary organisations by their deeds, not just their words
"So I will be watching the actions of the UDA very carefully over
the coming weeks to ensure that they live up to the commitments
that they have made."
Mr Murphy added that the UDA remains a "proscribed" organisation
and any illegal activity by it would be pursued relentlessly by the
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/15 16:51:43 GMT
© BBC MMIV
British Deny Deal With UDA On 'Personal Use' Weapons
By Bernard Purcell
16 November 2004
Suggestions that paramilitaries should be allowed to retain their
sidearms for personal protection instead of decommissioning them
were dismissed as "nonsense" by Northern Secretary Paul Murphy
Asked in the House of the Commons for assurances that the British
government had not secretly agreed that paramilitaries would be
allowed to keep sidearms for personal protection, Mr Murphy said:
"Such a concession, if it were to be made, would be an insult to
the courage of democrats, whether nationalist or unionist, who
serve on the Policing Board or local partnerships and who have to
put up daily with intimidation from the paramilitaries."
His comments came the day after the loyalist terror group, the UDA,
announced it was going on ceasefire.
But, Mr Murphy warned, the organisation would be had judged by its
deeds, not its words.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP have welcomed the UDA move but both parties
expressed scepticism about its credibility, pointing out that the
group has made such promises before and that it is deeply enmeshed
in drug dealing and violence towards Catholics and ethnic
Any Proposals Must Be Grounded In GFA
Published: 16 November, 2004
Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader Conor Murphy today said that any
proposals coming from the two governments aimed at breaking the
current impasse in the process 'had to be grounded in the
fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement'.
Mr Murphy said:
" The reason we have not achieved a comprehensive deal is the DUPs
continued opposition to the fundamentals of the Good Friday
Agreement. In particular they have targeted its all-Ireland and the
power sharing core.
" If there is going to be a deal then that deal can only be based
on the framework provided by the Good Friday Agreement. There can
be no other way.
" Therefore any proposals which the two governments bring forward
to try and end the current impasse must be grounded solidly in the
fundamentals of the Agreement.
" If the DUP continue to stall and continue to oppose the will of
the overwhelming majority of people of the island then it is
important that the two governments advance speedily the process of
Editorial: Unionists Still Opposed To Joint Authority
Tuesday 16th November 2004
The Sinn Fein idea of Joint Authority in Northern Ireland with a
heavy input from Dublin has got to be an absolute nonrunner as far
as Her Majesty's Government in London is concerned.
Sinn Fein, obviously aware that the IRA is not going to proceed
with the "acts of completion" needed to satisfy unionist demands,
has of late been pushing the Joint Authority theme, in the event of
no deal being agreed with the DUP.
Republicans are clutching at straws when they advocate joint
London-Dublin rule in this Province. Indeed, the suggestion is
quite rich coming from a party which lectures everyone else about
the sanctity of the Belfast Agreement, and why it should not be
interfered with in any way.
Interestingly, Sinn Fein demands are dismissed by Irish Labour
Party leader Pat Rabbitte, who says Joint Authority in Northern
Ireland is not based in reality.
Mr Rabbitte refers to constitutional changes made in the South
after the Belfast Agreement, which in law means that the Dublin
government can only legislate within the Republic's jurisdiction.
The failure of republicans/nationalists to obtain their dream
aspiration of Joint Authority does not diminish unionist concerns
over the staggering £67million that was spent on administering
North-South bodies over the past four years.
Most of the work of the various cross-border agencies, unionists
argue, benefit the nationalist agenda, with their function having
only limited return for unionists.
In law, the North-South bodies were only given an extended nine-
month life after the Stormont Assembly was suspended in October
2002 and, 16 months on from this nine-month period, the question
needs to be asked: what constitutional remit do the bodies
With the work of the Ulster-Scots Agency linked to the North-South
structures some unionists may baulk at entirely demolishing the
However, the modus operandi has to be closely examined with
protections embedded and powers of each body closely monitored to
ensure it is not in breach of our constitutional position.
Banking On Answers
A consumer study has seriously indicted the main banking
institutions in Northern Ireland over exorbitant charges levied on
customers and the damning accusations made are worthy of full
investigation by a Government-appointed watchdog body.
The study has established that bank customers here face operational
charges that are up to 21 times more than is the case on the
British mainland, yet, because of the lack of real competition in
the Northern Ireland retail banking market, there is very little
the public can do about it.
Despite the charge that they are "ripping off" customers in
Northern Ireland, the Bank of Ireland and Northern, Ulster and
First Trust banks so far remain tight-lipped about their practices.
This is not good enough: the sooner the banks are called to account
Sinn Fein Deputy Lord Mayor To Step Down
By David Gordon
16 November 2004
Sinn Fein's Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast has announced that he will
be stepping down from the City Council.
Joe O'Donnell today denied that the decision was connected to a row
earlier this year over an ill-fated housing development proposal
for his back garden.
The Short Strand councillor also rejected a report that he is
quitting politics and stressed that he will remain a Sinn Fein
Confirming that he will not be seeking selection as a council
candidate next year, Mr O'Donnell said he was moving aside for
younger elements in the party.
"This is about us building for the future. I've been standing now
for 23 years," he said.
"We won the seat in 2001 and I think we are going to hold the
Mr O'Donnell was embroiled in controversy during the summer, after
the Belfast Telegraph revealed that he was seeking planning
permission for three townhouses behind his home.
He had bought the land from the Housing Executive on condition that
it would become part of his garden.
He stated that the proposed development site would have been
donated to a housing association.
His planning application was subsequently withdrawn.
Insisting that the saga had no bearing on his decision to quit the
council, Mr O'Donnell today said: "That's well in the past. I'm
very clear that I was totally vindicated."
There is speculation that a number of other well-known Belfast
councillors are also concluding their terms at the City Hall.
Last week, former SDLP Minister Carmel Hanna was deselected from
her party's council election team.
Cllr. O'Donnell said: "After careful consideration and discussing
the matter with my family and friends I have decided not to seek a
nomination in next yearÂs local government election.
"I was very proud for the people of the Short Strand when they
succeeded in electing me as the first ever Sinn Fein Councillor for
"I was equally delighted when my colleagues in the City Hall
nominated me and I was elected as BelfastÂs Deputy Mayor. It has
been a personal and political privilege for me to serve in this
"I have been an active republican for over thirty years and I will
continue to fulfil leadership responsibilities in the party
structures in the city. I also intend to continue to remain central
to the regeneration of the Short Strand as a community and
"With the help of the people of the Short Strand we have built a
solid base of support for Sinn Fein. I will remain committed to
consolidating the political strength of our party in East Belfast.
"I am satisfied this base of support will join me in ensuring my
successor becomes the next Sinn Fein Councillor in Pottinger next
Commenting after the Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor of Belfast Cllr. Joe
O'Donnell announced that he is not seeking re-election to Belfast
City Hall, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said:
"Joe O'Donnell has played a crucial leadership role in the
development of Sinn Féin in Belfast for many years. His election as
the first Sinn Féin councillor in East Belfast came about after
years of hard work and effort.
"Joe after talking with his family and close friends has decided
not to seek election for another term in City Hall in the May
elections. I respect Joe's decision and wish to place on the record
our thanks to him for his efforts over many years as a Sinn Féin
representative, councillor and more recently as Deputy Mayor.
"I also look forward to continuing to work with Joe in further
developing Sinn Féin in East Belfast and across the city. Joe's
experience and knowledge will be invaluable in the coming years and
I am glad that he will continue to play a leadership role in the
party in Belfast."
All Grief, Suffering And Loss Is Equal - 'Sunday' Victim's Son
Tuesday 16th November 2004
The son of a man killed on Bloody Sunday believes anyone seeking
genuine peace and reconciliation in the North should attend next
month's "Day of Reflection" in Derry.
Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was among those gunned down in
the Bogside on January 30, 1972, insists the December 10 event at
Guildhall Square - the brainchild of Derry Mayor Gearoid O'hEara --
is an honest undertaking to "collectively acknowledge" everyone's
Mr. Doherty, a community worker in the city's Bogside, told the
'Journal' last night: "All grief, suffering and loss is equal and
should be equal.
"As such, all those who have been directly and adversely affected
by the conflict have a right to remember. We all must be conscious
at the same time to afford respect to those from previously
'opposing' sides that their loss is the same as ours.
"In this respect, what the Mayor is attempting to do is to create
circumstances in which we collectively acknowledge each other's
Next month's event - which coincides with International Human
Rights Day - will take place at Guildhall Square at 1 p.m.
Mayor O'hEara says he hopes the 'Day the Reflection' will reflect
"a sincere, authentic tribute to all those who have lost their
lives as a result of war and conflict and for all those who still
live with the pain and memory of that loss."
Tony Doherty says he is "quite willing" to stand alongside the
families of British soldiers, RUC and UDR members who were killed
by republicans on the streets of Derry.
"In the spirit of true peace and reconciliation, I, in turn, ask
that they stand with me and others, putting past difference and
political persuasion to the side, not just to remember and reflect
upon the loss inflicted by all but also to aspire to a new level of
"If we all stay within our own communities we will never learn from
"We will never understand what it was like for a mother to lose her
son while serving as a member of the UDR and, by the same token,
the unionist community will never come to terms with the grief of
an IRA volunteer's widow.
"We will never achieve a state of genuine peace and reconciliation
if we cannot collectively acknowledge the hurt and loss of the
"I commend what the Mayor is trying to do and I hope that future
mayors of the city carry on the endeavour for many years to come,"
concluded Mr. Doherty.
Blair Can't Go To Paisley's 'Freedom Do'
By Nevin Farrell
16 November 2004
Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he is unable to attend next
month's ceremony to confer the "Freedom" of Ballymena on North
Antrim MP Ian Paisley, it has emerged.
Mr Paisley's son Ian confirmed that Mr Blair said he would be
unable to be present at the lavish ceremony in Galgorm Manor Hotel
on Friday, December 10.
It is understood the Prime Minister has told Ballymena Council,
who, along with the Paisley family, helped draw up the guest list,
that he will be unable to be there because of "other commitments".
Mr Blair has had much experience of dealing with Mr Paisley and
while the men disagree on many political matters it is understood
the Prime Minister has another engagement on December 10 and
turning down the invite was not believed to be a snub.
Ian Paisley Jnr said: "I don't think it's a snub. I think there was
a problem with the Prime Minister's diary."
It is understood that other political figures from both sides of
the Irish Sea will attend the event and that the Government will be
officially represented by a minister, possibly Secretary of State
Meanwhile, North Antrim Sinn Fein Assemblyman Philip McGuigan has
not been invited to the Paisley bash.
He, along with all North Antrim Assemblymen were invited by
Ballymena Council to the last Freedom of the Borough ceremony, held
earlier this year for rugby legend Syd Millar.
A council insider said: "The council agreed that the guest list
would be made up in consultation with the Paisley family and not
all North Antrim Assembly members have been invited."
Mr Paisley Jnr confirmed the Sinn Fein man was not asked to come
"This is a celebration and honour for our family. I don't think
McGuigan would be made welcome to pretend there is a relationship
that there isn't."
Mr McGuigan said: "I'm not exactly disappointed. The majority of
people have suffered at the hands of Ian Paisley's sectarianism for
the last 30 years.
"I'll not be losing any sleep over this but while the DUP refuse to
engage with Sinn Fein, it is inevitable they will deal with us
further down the road."
Conference Examines Discrimination Against Former Prisoners
A conference involving former republican and loyalist prisoners
takes place in Dublin Castle today.
The meeting will examine the difficulties experienced by former
prisoners since the 1998 British-Irish Peace Agreement was signed.
Up to 25,000 prisoners released under the Agreement are still
having difficulty integrating into their respective communities on
both sides of the border.
Conference convenor, Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White, said
republican prisoners in the south are still being discriminated by
the State, and find it difficult to get jobs in the public sector.
Senator White said loyalists in the North also have problems
getting even menial jobs in the public sector.
See video at:
England To Ban Public Smoking -V (2)
Rules go further than first expected
By Brian Walker, London Editor
16 November 2004
A ban on smoking in public places in England where food is served
was being announced today by Health Secretary John Reid.
It goes further than the former chain smoker and Northern Ireland
Secretary had earlier intended, and follows a rethink after he had
been lambasted for suggesting that smoking was one of the few
pleasures left to people in estates.
The English move leaves Northern Ireland and Wales the only parts
of the British Isles without legal curbs on smoking in pubic, in
spite of pressures from medical and anti- smoking groups.
But Ulster's buns and beer culture could come under attack if
direct rule ministers follow the proposed English path and
introduce "lifestyle gurus" on the NHS, to try to make patients
take responsibility for their own health, while others could be
offered discounted gym membership.
Dr Reid's anti-smoking measures also split England from Scotland by
falling short of the total ban on smoking in enclosed public places
announced last week by Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell,
inspired by the example of the smoking ban in the Republic, which
he personally inspected in a recent visit to Dublin.
In England, pubs which serve bought-in food such as sandwiches may
escape the ban, as will many clubs and bars which have separate
dining rooms with their own entrances.
Dr Reid's smoking ban is included in the Public Health White Paper
for England - a paper thought to have been delayed for several
weeks for the Government to digest fresh private polling evidence
supporting tougher anti-smoking measures.
Other parts of the White Paper are likely to spill over into the
province by bringing in a voluntary scheme of "traffic light"
colours to indicate the degree of fats, sugar and salt in processed
The White Paper is also expected to confront the obesity crisis in
children by proposing a ban on junk food ads until after the TV
watershed of 9pm.
It will set out an action plan to tackle soaring rates of sexual
disease, with pledges expected to speed up appointments at sexual
health clinics to treat patients quicker.
And it is also expected that action will also be urged to get
people back to work and out of the "sick-note culture", recognising
that being physically and mentally active plays a part in staying
The English measures have already been slated for not going far
enough. The doctors' trade union the British Medical Association
said the failure to impose a total ban was "letting down every
infant, child and adult in England".
Fury Over Neeson Sex Movie After Bush Win
Kinsey tale angers US 'moral right'
By Staff Reporter
16 November 2004
The re-election of George Bush has helped fan further conservative
criticism of Liam Neeson's latest movie about the life of
controversial sex pioneer Alfred Kinsey.
Ballymena-born Neeson beat an A-list of stars, including Harrison
Ford and Tom Hanks, to win the role of controversial Alfred Kinsey,
the man credited with sparking the sexual revolution.
But its release - just 10 days after President Bush was swept back
into power on the heels of a moral backlash in the US - has
infuriated conservative family and religious groups.
They condemned the graphic sexual scenes and claimed it was an
attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of the sex researcher, who
died in 1956.
Neeson's portrayal of the stooped, misfit scientist is being touted
as an Oscar contender.
But the film, which opened in America last Friday, has already
faced a barrage of protest.
"Instead of being lionised, Kinsey's proper place is with Nazi Dr
Josef Mengele or your average Hollywood horror flick mad
scientist," said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women of
America's Culture & Family Institute.
Athough Kinsey was the son of strictly religious Methodist parents
and didn't lose his virginity until his mid- 20s, he went on to
shock America - and the world - with his sex research.
The impact of his 1948 book, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male,
and the 1953 follow-up Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, led to
the scientist becoming known as "the father of the sexual
revolution" and his work is still widely cited by sociologists.
In a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Neeson admitted
that he knew little about the work of Kinsey before he took on the
But he said he believed Kinsey viewed his own work as a mission to
save people from ignorance and repression.
"Kinsey's quest was really for all of us to be tolerant of each
other," he said.
The film focuses on Kinsey's open marriage to wife, Clara, played
by Laura Linney.
Death Of Bob Cooper
The death has taken place of Sir Robert Cooper OBE.
Known to many as Bob Cooper, he was a founder member of the
Alliance Party, a minister in the Sunningdale executive and a
former chair of the Fair Employment Commission.
Sir Robert passed away peacefully at his Holywood home in the early
hours of Tuesday morning, November 16.
He was born in County Donegal and educated at Foyle College and the
Queen's University of Belfast, where he took a Law Degree.
He worked for 14 years in industry, mainly in industrial relations.
He was a founder member of the Alliance Party and its joint
Political Chairman and was elected from West Belfast to the
Northern Ireland Assembly in 1973 and to the Northern Ireland
Constitutional Convention in 1975. A participant in the Sunningdale
talks, he was Minister of Manpower Services in the power sharing
He was Chairman of the Fair Employment Agency for Northern Ireland
from 1976 to 1989 was Chairman of the Fair Employment Commission
for Northern Ireland from 1990 until 1999. He was also a member of
the Secretary of State's Standing Advisory Commission on Human
Rights from 1976 to 1999.
In 1998 he received a knighthood for services to equal
Sir Robert served as the Chairman of the Integrated Education Fund,
from September 2000 to July 2004 were he took over the development
campaign to increase the number of integrated school places
available to children in Northern Ireland.
He was also a Governor of Lagan Integrated College where both his
He is survived by his son William, daughter Anne and wife Pat.
Tragic Fisherman Is Laid To Rest
By Claire Regan
16 November 2004
A Co Down community came together in grief today to say a
heartbreaking farewell to Colin Donnelly, who perished at sea last
week when his fishing boat sank.
Hundreds of mourners joined the 30-year-old's distraught family as
they prepared to lay him to rest after Requiem Mass in Kilkeel this
The fisherman's family - including his parents Bernard and Eleanor,
brother Peter and nine-year-old son Jordan - led mourners from
their Rooney Park home shortly before 11am as the cortege made its
way to St Colman's Church, Massforth, for noon Mass.
Relatives of fellow crewman and best friend Shane Murnaghan (28) -
who miraculously survived in a life raft for 20 hours after the
Emerald Dawn went down off the coast of Kilkeel on Wednesday - were
expected to pay their last respects at the service.
St Colman's parish priest, Fr Michael Murray, said this morning
that the wider Kilkeel community had been "stunned and numbed" by
another tragic death at sea.
Mr Donnelly's death comes just over two years after three
generations of a Kilkeel family, Michael Greene, (54), his 32-year-
old son and his eight-year-old grandson, also both called Michael,
died when their boat sank in a gas explosion in February 2002.
That tragedy happened just weeks after 23- year-old Kilkeel
fisherman Mark Spiers died when his boat capsized in Carlingford
"Our parish is still trying to close the open and raw wounds from
the previous tragedies of the Spiers and Greene families just over
two and a half years ago," said Fr Murray.
The congregation at today's funeral was expected to include members
of Kilkeel's fishing fleet and RNLI crews who joined the tireless
search for both men after their trawler sank. The Donnelly family
asked that donations be made to the RNLI in lieu of flowers.
Police divers found the body of Mr Donnelly and brought it ashore
to Kilkeel following a search around the wreck of Emerald Dawn on
Mr Murnaghan was rescued nine miles south east of the Isle of Man
on Thursday after more than 20 hours on a life-raft and was taken
to a hospital on the island.
The pair had been fishing for crabs six miles from Kilkeel when
their boat went down. Mr Murnaghan was able to pass on details
about the location of the boat.