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November 24, 2004

News 11/24/04 - No Deal Today - Paisley

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 11/24/04 There Will Be No Deal Today, Says DUP Chief – V(3)
BT 11/24/04 Paisley Speaks Out On Arms Issue
SM 11/24/04 Loyalists Warn Of Dangers Of Truth Commission
SM 11/24/04 Crime Bosses Will Not Escape Anti- Racketeering
BT 11/24/04 Bloody Sunday: Guildhall Returns To Council
BT 11/24/04 Bloody Sunday Inquiry: Counting The Cost
BT 11/24/04 Bloody Sunday: Bombs 'May Have Been Planted' On Victim
BT 11/24/04 Nationalists Will Join PSNI After Deal, Says Orde
SW 11/24/04 Bringing Northern Irish Justice To Britain
BT 11/24/04 CCTV Aids Prosecutions

RT 11/24/04 Released Armagh Hostage Says She Feels 'Wonderful' -VO

Released Armagh Hostage Says She Feels 'Wonderful' - Jonathan
Clynch reports on the ending of the ordeal of three UN workers who
were kept in captivity in Afghanistan for almost four weeks


See Video:

There Will Be No Deal Today, Says DUP Chief – V(3)

Paisley stresses need to avoid deadlines

By Brian Walker, London Editor
24 November 2004

Ian Paisley said there will be no agreement in today's talks in
London aimed at reviving the Assembly.

Speaking at the Irish Embassy after a breakfast-time meeting Bertie
Ahern, Mr Paisley said there was "a need to get away from deadlines
and get the job done".

After meeting Tony Blair and presenting him with a DUP document on
the current proposals, Mr Paisley said the Prime Minister would
reply to the DUP's concerns point by point.

Asked when Mr Blair would reply Mr Paisley said: "We are not
working to a time scale. They'll be back as soon as they can. There
has been progress but I am not raising or dashing hopes."

Mr Paisley said he wants to be able tell his party "what Mr Blair
is accepting and what he is objecting to".

The DUP leader wasn't asking anything of the IRA, he said. He
wanted the Prime Ministers to keep the promises they made to him
when they asked him to enter talks.

"I think the Prime Ministers can meet us on these issues, but then
we come to the hard part," implying that evidence had to be
produced that the IRA was winding up its activities.

"What else is there, but for the IRA to become an old boys'
network," he said. "I am not working in a sectarian way, I want a
fair deal for everyone."

He said the Prime Ministers should keep their word on holding the
IRA to giving up all arms and their structures. He added: "It would
be hypocritical of Sinn Fein to join the Policing Board until they
support the police and unless matters of criminality can be dealt

Mr Paisley said the talks had come a "long way" but he did not want
to raise people's hopes.

``I don't want to put into the minds of people that we have gone
from A to Z. We have not. But there has been progress," he added.

Mr Ahern later joined the Prime Minister in number 10 to review
progress in the negotiations.

It now seems certain that tomorrow's deadline for an outcome will
not be met and that negotiations will spill over into next week and
probably beyond.

Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein negotiators remain in London to be
briefed by number 10.

David Trimble and Mark Durkan, who earlier met Mr Ahern will also
join number 10 officials to get the Prime Ministers' assessment of
the state of negotiations.


Paisley Speaks Out On Arms Issue

By Chris Thornton and Brian Walker
24 November 2004

Ian Paisley indicated today that he would accept the IRA becoming
an "old boys' network" if decommissioning becomes transparent
enough to convince the people of Northern Ireland.

In London for talks with Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair, the DUP
leader said there would be no settlement today in efforts to revive

But he said progress was being made, although he said Mr Blair has
to address a series of concerns listed in a DUP document handed to
him in Downing Street today.

"The Government must see to it that there is full decommissioning,
and when I talk about that, that must be transparent, it must be
open," Mr Paisley said.

"That is not to convince you or me but the people of Northern

After his breakfast meeting with the DUP chief, Mr Ahern said
London and Dublin are aiming to see a lot of decommissioning in the
weeks ahead.

And Mr Ahern said that if parties refuse a deal, the Prime
Ministers should publish the detail of the governments' proposals.

"I'm not saying we should put it to a referendum but we would
consider putting it to the people."

He said he and Mr Blair will give the parties a few days to try to
fix a deal.

"We have spent a good year on this and we want finality. And then
we will give the people an opportunity to say yes or no," he said.

Gerry Adams and a Sinn Fein delegation were also in London for
meetings with the two prime ministers.

Both Mr Paisley and Sinn Fein have said progress was made in
recent, intensive talks, but a republican source warned that the
deal had not been closed. The DUP leader said the Prime Ministers
need to keep their word about holding the IRA to account.


Loyalists Warn Of Dangers Of Truth Commission

By Ian Graham, PA

Loyalists warned today that establishing a South African-style
truth commission in Northern Ireland ahead of a final political
settlement ran a real risk of re-igniting violent conflict.

They also said there was a deep suspicion among loyalists about
republicans abusing any such truth process to suit their political
agenda and using it as a "stick to beat the British state with".

As such, the process would be a convenient instrument to blame the
British state and its "surrogates" for everything, providing
justification for the republican war, they said.

Loyalists associated with the Progressive Unionist Party, Ulster
Volunteer Force, Red Hand Commando and various community and ex-
prisoner groups expressed their concerns in a consultative document
on the possible truce process.

It was drawn up in response to recent discussion on the possibility
of holding such a process in Northern Ireland, and following a
fact-finding visit to South Africa by Northern Ireland secretary
Paul Murphy, where he examined how the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission operated there.

Speaking at the launch in Belfast of Truth Recovery – a
contribution from within loyalism – Dawn Pervis of the PUP said it
had been produced to articulate the views of a section of the
loyalist community "to ensure our concerns are not ignored in any
consultation progress".

Ms Pervis said it was "honest and realistic" and not just about who
they were but what they could deliver within their current
political context.

"It is the start of a process, I think it challenges and debates
all the issues involved, but it is by no means complete," she said.

Community worker Debbie Watters added: "Does a truth process really
heal the hurts of the past or does it re-open old wounds?"

She asked how "middle unionism" would respond to a truth
commission. Who is going to tell the truth, who is going to be open
and honest enough to tell the truth. Are those who stood back and
incited others to violence going to hold up their hands and say
'Yes I played a part in this and I want to tell the truth'.

Those who had been involved in loyalist paramilitarism were worried
they would be "scapegoated" by those who had stood back, she added

The document was produced following two workshops during the
summer. It said there was an obvious fear about the timing of any
truth process.

"How can a truth recovery process work in a political context where
a clear, final, political/constitutional settlement has not yet
taken place," it asked.

It said the political situation was still volatile and people in
loyalist areas felt their culture and future was under threat by a
"republican war" carried out by politics and propaganda. It stated
that in some areas sectarianism was worse then it had been ten
years ago prior to the ceasefires.

"In this kind of unstable, unsettled political context, a truth
process that attempts to open up old wounds runs a real risk of re-
igniting violent conflict instead of helping society to move beyond
the Troubles," said the document.

It added: "Many wounds are still too raw for a truth process to
have a realistic chance of succeeding.

"Under such circumstances, any truth process runs the risk of
indoctrinating a more militant younger generation with hatred and
providing justification for continued conflict."

It also pointed to the small size of Northern Ireland and its
population of little more then 1.5 million.

With much of the violence having been restricted to areas such as
north Belfast or west Belfast, perpetrator and victim would be
living close together.

"If someone was to make a public statement about his or her past
activities there will be no place to hide. Not only will that
person face high risks in terms of personal safety, but his or her
family will also be endangered."


Crime Bosses 'Will Not Escape Anti-Racketeering Offensive'

By Alan Erwin, PA

Loyalist paramilitary crime bosses will not escape a major anti-
racketeering offensive despite new peace pledges, they were warned

As auctioneers prepared to sell off the home of murdered terror
chief and drug dealer Jim Johnston, the man heading moves to seize
illegal wealth in Northern Ireland pledged to have up to six more
cases in the high court by January.

Alan McQuillan, head of the Assets Recovery Agency in Belfast,
stressed that his operation would not be hindered by the Government
accepting Ulster Defence Association assurances that they had given
up all violence.

He said: "We have no intention of backing off.

"We are pursuing the assets of organised crime. For the last 18
months we have been dealing with organisations, some of whom have
been on ceasefire for years.

"There's absolutely no political interference with us."

Mr McQuillan, a former Northern Ireland police chief, is handling a
third of all ARA business in its attempts to dismantle a £40
billion UK-wide industry.

He was overseeing the first assets confiscated by the agency to go
under the hammer.

Millionaire Johnston, 45, was shot dead in the driveway of his
four-bedroom villa in Crawfordsburn, Co Down in May 2003.

The Red Hand Commando leader, who ran all drug operations in the
area, was gunned down in a revenge killing during a bitter feud
between rival loyalist factions.

The agency was granted a high court order in September to seize
cash and assets worth about £1.25 million from his estate.

As well as the four bedroom home which is expected to fetch up to
£350,000 at auction, he owned another dozen properties and business

A fanatical fisherman, he even bought an old schoolhouse and
cottage from a Catholic bishop in Enniscrone, Co Sligo which had
been partially renovated into a holiday retreat.

But all of his properties, apart from two houses given to his ex-
wife and partner as part of a settlement reached with the agency,
will be sold off.

With some of the proceeds going back into the agency's fight
against the crime barons, Mr McQuillan was hoping potential buyers
at tonight's event would not be put off by the notorious former

When his team went in to search the house they discovered an under-
car booby trap bomb, detonator and ammunition in one of the two

Despite his senior terrorist position, and having been questioned
about five drug-related murders in the North Down area, Johnston
was only ever convicted of hijacking offences in the late 1980s.

But Mr McQuillan insisted that it was not just dead paramilitary
bosses he had in his sight.

"Most of the people we are pursuing are still very much alive and
kicking," he said.

"They cover the entire range of crime in Northern Ireland,
smuggling in South Armagh, drug dealing in the North West and
extortion in Belfast.

"Half of our cases have paramilitary links and another quarter
involve organised criminals."

The auction was proof the extensive powers under the Proceeds of
Crime Act were effective in stripping away the gangster's riches,
he claimed.

The ARA chief added: "This is the first of what will be a
continuous stream of assets taken out of the hands of criminals and
used for the benefit of everyone in the community.

"We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to
ensure that those who attempt to prosper from crime are hit where
it hurts, in their pockets."


Guildhall Returns To Council

Removal vans arrive as Saville Tribunal departs.

24 November 2004

With the Bloody Sunday Tribunal now finally drawn to a close,
preparations were being made to return the Guildhall to Derry City

Shortly after Counsel to the Inquiry Christopher Clarke QC made his
final remarks yesterday, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry sign was already
being removed from the front of the neo-Gothic building.

Removal vans will arrive at the centre today to begin the long
process of taking away mountains of paperwork and electronic
equipment used by inquiry staff and lawyers.

It is estimated that it will take at least a month to dismantle the
workings of the inquiry and return the Guildhall to its former

The inquiry has use of the building until mid-January and then the
council will move back in and decide what to do with the
magnificent structure.

"We will explore whatever options are available to us after that,"
said a council spokeswoman.

A new tenant has been found for the media centre next to the
Guildhall and the office has to be cleared by Monday.

An inquiry spokesman said that any equipment which could be re-used
would be returned to the Northern Ireland Office.

"Some of the equipment may well have to be retained by the inquiry.
Some of the hard drives which we can't use will have to be
destroyed," the spokesman added.

Technical equipment such as visual display units which were state-
of the-art when installed almost five years ago, are now old
fashioned by today's standards.

Important files will either go back to London or to the Calgach
Centre in Londonderry which will be retained by the inquiry for a

At the end of proceedings Mr Clarke thanked the people of the city
for allowing the inquiry to take over the Guildhall for four and a
half years.

The hearings began when Mr Clarke made his opening speech on March
27, 2000.

The first witness to give evidence was heard on November 28, 2000.

It was used except when the tribunal moved to Central Hall in
Westminster between September 24, 2002, and October 2003 to hear
evidence from military witnesses.


Bloody Sunday Inquiry: Counting The Cost

David McKittrick and Andrew Johnston report
24 November 2004

The length and cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry which finally sat
for the last time this week has been condemned by the leading
lawyers involved, who have earned millions of pounds from it.

The inquiry in Londonderry reconvened for its last public session
this week, following a marathon six years of proceedings that are
expected to cost £155m.

One London-based firm - Eversheds - has earned fees of more than
£12.5m for its monumental task of tracing and taking written
statements from up to 2,500 witnesses.

Two leading QCs have said that the findings into what happened on
January 30, 1972, when British troops opened fire on a civil rights
demonstration in Londonderry, killing 14 and wounding 13, will be
undermined by the expense and length of the hearings.

Lord Saville the inquiry chairman, is not expected to complete his
report before next autumn.

One leading QC said: "Knowing the quality of mind of the chairman,
I would expect the final report to be thorough and utterly
convincing in its conclusions.

"But I think it will be diminished in the eyes of the public by the
fact that it has taken so long and has cost so much to produce it."

British legal history will never again see an inquiry of its
duration, magnitude and cost. The general feeling is that in future
inquiries will be much more limited affairs, with the cost and
duration more tightly controlled.

This is an important point in Northern Ireland, where the
Government has already announced inquiries into a number of other
controversial killings. These include those of Belfast solicitor
Pat Finucane and loyalist leader Billy Wright.

Another QC involved in the inquiry said the debate among lawyers
was not about how to curtail the costs of future tribunals, but
whether these types of inquiries were the best way of resolving
historical questions.

He said: "Everyone recognises that this was somewhat unique. It has
really looked over 30 years of history in Ireland and I don't know
of any inquiry that's had this amount of material to examine. So
people are beginning to discuss whether something along the lines
of a truth and reconciliation committee can be used instead."

Although much attention has focused on the huge cost of the
investigation, some who attended its sessions say they will most
remember the high emotion rather than the high spending.

It has been the longest-running judicial investigation of the
modern era, with more than 400 days of public hearings.

Much of the evidence was repetitive, but there have been moments of
high drama.

Particularly strong testimony came from Dr Edward Daly, the former
Catholic Bishop of Derry who on Bloody Sunday was pictured waving a
handkerchief as casualties were carried out of the area.

Among the late witnesses were the head of the Provisional IRA in
the city and his deputy, Martin McGuinness. Mr McGuinness, now Sinn
Fein's chief negotiator, robustly maintained his stance that the
IRA had played no violent part in the events of the day.

Solicitors acting for the inquiry traced thousands of people,
taking witness statements from around 1,800 soldiers, civilians,
police, politicians, religious leaders and others.

The inquiry, announced by Tony Blair in January 1998, sat for 434
days, with counsel to the inquiry, Christopher Clarke QC,
delivering the longest opening speech in British legal history. In
his closing speech this week, Mr Clarke admitted; "Even after many
days of evidence, the answer to even the first question, 'Who shot
them?', is not, on the soldiers' evidence, in any way clear,"

A spokesman for the tribunal stood by the £155m estimate for the
cost of the hearing, which has also been questioned by lawyers
involved with the hearings.

"My guess is that it will be nearer £250m," one leading QC said.
"And remember, that's public funds; £155m represents the inquiry
when it was two-thirds of the way through. I don't think that any
sensible, civilised society and modern democracy can spend that
amount of money on a public inquiry, no matter how important it

To begin with, no one imagined that the tribunal would turn into
such a mammoth operation - consuming so much time and money. Much
of the money has gone on lawyers, dozens of whom sat in serried
ranks before the inquiry over the years, and much time was taken up
by legal challenges to the tribunal's rulings in the courts.

There may be additional cost in terms of moral condemnation if - as
most assume - the inquiry's chairman, Lord Saville, places the
lion's share of the blame on the Army.

One local nationalist described how Lord Saville is regarded in
Londonderry, where - after all these years - he has become a
familiar figure: "People like him, but they say, 'We'll just wait
and see what he reports.' More lately, they've been saying, 'Well,
look what Hutton did.'"

One of the reasons for the inquiry's longevity, it is argued, is
the fact that Lord Widgery's original 1972 investigation was so
perfunctory. He took just two and a half months to deliver a 39-
page report, which in some cases covered deaths in a single

Lord Saville has a carefully cultivated manner of judicial
inscrutability. When the main hearings closed earlier this year, he
seemed relieved, giving a hint of a smile as he spoke of a ruling
given "as far back as 1999, I think".

The top earners

Some of the barristers and law firms involved in the Bloody Sunday
Inquiry and their earnings:

WHO IS HE? Counsel for the inquiry.
EXPERTISE: One of the country's leading commercial lawyers.
WHAT DID HE DO? Largely gave up his lucrative private practice for
the inquiry's duration. He and his team were responsible for
advising the tribunal, presenting evidence and questioning the 921
witnesses called to give oral evidence and taking them through
their written statements.
EARNINGS: £3,721,971 from the inquiry.

WHO IS HE? Counsel representing families.
EXPERTISE: Leading human rights lawyer.
WHAT DID HE DO? Cross-examined witnesses on behalf of some of the
EARNINGS: £618,544

WHO IS HE? Counsel representing families.
EXPERTISE: One of the country's best-known barristers.
WHAT DID HE DO? Cross-examined witnesses on behalf of some of the
EARNINGS: £561,711

WHO IS HE? Counsel representing the armed forces.
EXPERTISE: Specialises in insurance, commercial law and human
WHAT DID HE DO? Cross-examined witnesses on behalf of soldiers.
EARNINGS: £3,333,954

WHO IS HE? Counsel representing the armed forces.
EXPERTISE: Former director of public prosecutions.
WHAT DID HE DO? Cross-examined witnesses on behalf of soldiers.
EARNINGS: £1,208,323

WHO ARE THEY? Solicitors employed by the inquiry for taking witness
WHAT DID THEY DO? Traced the vast majority of 2,500 witnesses and
took their statements.
EARNINGS: £12,609,388

WHO ARE THEY? Solicitors appointed to represent the families.
WHAT DID THEY DO? Cross-examined witnesses on behalf of the
majority of the families.
EARNINGS: £6,707,182

Source: Hansard


Bombs 'May Have Been Planted' On Victim

By George Jackson
24 November 2004

The possibility that four nail bombs found on the body of one of
the people shot dead on Bloody Sunday may have been planted was
raised yesterday by the top lawyer for the tribunal.

On the final day of his closing statement to the Bloody Sunday
Inquiry, Christopher Clarke SC raised the possibility that four
nail bombs found on the body of one of the thirteen people shot
dead in Derry on January 30, 1972, had been planted.

Gerry Donaghy was shot dead alongside Gerry McKinney in the Abbey
Park-Glenfada Park area of the Bogside. In that area four of the
thirteen people who were killed on Bloody Sunday by army
paratroopers were shot dead and five others wounded.

Mr Clarke described the subsequent discovery of four nail bombs on
Mr Donaghy's body as "the final area of controversy" relating to
the Abbey Park-Glenfada Park area. He said there was evidence from
both military and civilian witnesses that some people were in
possession of weapons or nail bombs in that area.

After he had been shot, said Mr Clarke, Mr Donaghy, who was a
member of the junior wing of the Provisional IRA, was carried into
a nearby house and examined by a doctor. Neither the doctor nor
other civilians who tended to the dying teenager noticed nail bombs
on his person.

Mr Clarke said the fatally wounded Mr Donaghy was driven towards
Altnagelvin Hospital by a civilian but the car was stopped at an
army barrier in Barrack Street, on the edge of the scene of the
Bogside killings. One of the soldiers, known as Soldier 150, got
into the car.

"It appears that he, Soldier 135, Soldier 145 and RUC Sergeant
Keyes, all looked to Mr Donaghy as he lay in the rear seat before
the car left Barrack Street, but none of these men noticed nail
bombs on his person," he told the inquiry's three judges.

Mr Clarke said Soldier 150 then drove the car to his company
headquarters at Henrietta Street and then on to an army camp at
Foyle Street. There he checked Mr Donaghy's body for a pulse before
a medical officer arrived. Again, he said, Soldier 150 did not see
four nail bombs, nor did the medical officer who pronounced Mr
Donaghy dead.

r Clarke outlined three broad possible explanations as to how the
nail bombs came to be on Mr Donaghy's person.

"The first is that the nail bombs were at all material times on his
person and he had been in possession of them before he was shot.

"The second is that the bombs were planted on him at barrier 20 or
conceivably in Henrietta Street. The tribunal may think this is the
least likely scenario.

"Thirdly, that the nail bombs were planted on him at the regimental
aid post, either by RUC officers or members of the Royal Anglians
or a combination of the two," he said.

"Fourthly, the question rises as to why any planter would have
risked planting four nail bombs when one would have had the same
effect," Mr Clarke added.

Mr Clarke said it was difficult to believe that all of the civilian
witnesses who had attended to Mr Donaghy after he had been shot had
not seen the bombs.

He added: "It seems difficult to believe that the police or the
army at Barrack Street had four nail bombs with them there, planted
them on Mr Donaghy . . . and then sent Soldier 150 off with the
body and the nail bombs without telling him.

"Lastly it seems hard to believe that four bombs were planted at
the regimental aid post, although there would have been a limited
opportunity to do so," he said.


Nationalists Will Join PSNI After Deal, Says Orde

24 November 2004

The number of nationalists joining the Police Service of Northern
Ireland would increase dramatically if there was a breakthrough in
the peace process, it was claimed today.

PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde said there were people who had
always wanted to join but had been deterred by the political

"If we could get some settlement, it would speed the whole process
up and we could really get on with protecting communities in an
effective way," he said.

Mr Orde said he believed he would sink under the number of
applications to join the PSNI in the long term.

"I think we'll see a better overall picture of the crime scene in
Northern Ireland because people will start to report to us more."

At Garda headquarters Mr Orde launched a joint diversity training
programme between the PSNI and Gardai. He and Garda Commissioner
Noel Conroy pledged to continue their operations against dissident

"We're putting a major effort in because I do not think anyone
would expect us to allow the dissident threat to spoil what are
some very positive statements from key players as to some sort of
long-term solution being achieved," Mr Orde said.

Mr Orde said the dissident groups were on the back foot and were
only interested in organising their own criminal networks. Garda
Commissioner Noel Conroy said he was also concerned about the
involvement of dissident groups in criminal activity.

"We are investigating and engaging in covert operations against
these organisations and we will continue to do that. Like Hugh
(Orde), we've had lots of successes in this area but you can never
be confident that there isn't a problem around the corner."

The Gardai and the PSNI are to make a joint appointment for the
first time to oversee the £331,445 given for diversity training by
EU programmes body, Peace II.

The project manager will use the money to set up a training
programme for every Garda and PSNI member to help them deal with
policing in minority ethnic communities.


Bringing Northern Irish Justice To Britain

ONE OF David Blunkett's new proposals is for special "terror
trials" that involve a judge sitting without a jury. Such jury-free
(Diplock) courts have been routinely used in Northern Ireland since
the 1970s.

Irish socialist and writer Eamonn McCann spoke to Socialist Worker
about the experience of this system in Northern Ireland.

Diplock courts were introduced in August 1971 as an alternative to
internment without trial. They led to mayhem—and they are still
with us.

The similarities between them and Blunkett's proposals are
absolutely striking. Once the idea was to bring British standards
of justice to Northern Ireland. Instead they're bringing Northern
Irish justice to Britain.

The Diplock commission was set up to consider how to deal with
people who couldn't be convicted under normal rules of evidence.

It was a legal scheme for imprisoning people who could not
otherwise be imprisoned.

Here we are in 2004 following exactly the same track again. First
there's internment without trial, then trials without jury.

Though the courts were brought in for political categories of
offences, they soon expanded. Anything remotely reminiscent of a
terrorist offence is now automatically shuffled off into the
Diplock courts system.

The result is that year on year people are sent to jail in
circumstances where a jury would not have delivered a conviction.

There's a long history here of abuses of procedure, fake forensics
and falsified evidence.

Removing juries lowers the standards of justice for every citizen.

If you take 12 lay people, they might well believe that the police
are up to no good, or that prosecutors are corrupt. Judges have
different assumptions.

The excuse given for trials without juries was that terrorists
might intimidate witnesses. If your case was channelled into a
Diplock court you were automatically labelled as a dangerous

Anger at the Diplock courts system in Northern Ireland led to the
Bloody Sunday march. We're still dealing with the aftermath of that
30 years later.


CCTV Aids Prosecutions

24 November 2004

Over 250 CCTV video tapes were used in prosecutions relating to
incidents in Londonderry's city centre last year, it has emerged.

Latest statistics show that the levels of disturbances, assaults
and criminal activity captured on camera rose dramatically during
certain events in 2003, such as the Celtic v Rangers cup final and
the annual parades.

A total of 1,971 incidents were recorded on camera last year.

Initial analysis resulted in 1,160 occurrences, over half the
total, being reported to police.

As a result, 255 evidential tapes were used as evidence in the

An average of 26 assaults were picked up by the cameras in the city
centre each month last year, down 19.4 percent on the previous

Public order incidents increased slightly while both robberies and
incidence of criminal damage declined significantly.

Over a third of all disturbances and incidents took place between
10pm and 2am.

CCI director Stephen Kelly said the majority were taking place
within a very small part of the city centre, the region around
Waterloo Place and inside the Walls.

He added, however, that Derry came in fifth behind all four areas
of Belfast in terms of recorded violent crime and assaults.

The Pat Finucane Centre has challenged the assertion, stating that
the number of incidents recorded on camera in Derry's city centre
was not comparable with incidents recorded in an entire region of

PFC spokesman Paul O'Connor said the figures for the entire Foyle
district would be needed before the reduction in assaults in the
city centre could be accepted.

"There is anecdotal evidence that there has been a rise in assaults
outside the camera area," he said.

Mr O'Connor's claims that local solicitors had found it difficult
to access footage were challenged by Mr Kelly, who said there had
been absolutely no complaints lodged about the CCTV.

The SDLP welcomed the latest statistics while Sinn Fein expressed
further misgivings over the CCTV system.

Commenting on concerns over the individual's right to personal
privacy, UUP councillor Mary Hamilton said: "If you are not doing
anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about."

The close circuit camera system is now set to change ownership
after City Centre Initiative said they could no longer facilitate
the project.

Mr Kelly said : "CCI are involved in a huge amount.

"We were asked to govern the system until September 2003.

"We still remain committed to the project, but we feel we shouldn't
have the responsibility of burden and risk that comes with it."

Jay Dooling (
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