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November 28, 2004

News 11/28/04 - IRA Rift To Derail Power Sharing

News About Ireland & The Irish

GU 11/28/04 IRA Rift Set To Derail Power Sharing
RT 11/28/04 Paisley To Meet De Chastelain
IO 11/28/04 Blair, Ahern Urged To Lobby Bush On Emigrants


IRA Rift Set To Derail Power Sharing

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday November 28, 2004
The Observer

The IRA is facing a fresh split as it prepares to disarm a huge
arsenal to boost the chances of power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

A group of dissenters issued a statement to The Observer this
weekend, criticising IRA and Sinn Fein leaders over their
willingness to destroy the arms and explosives.

The disgruntled Provisionals - who claim to be from East Tyrone,
South Down and Co Antrim - have also demanded publication of
minutes from a 1997 IRA army convention that ended in division and
the creation of the breakaway Real IRA. They claim these show that
republican leaders promised IRA members there would never be any

The emergence of fresh dissent comes amid growing hopes of a
historic deal between Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party
(DUP) that could result in the restoration of devolution. Critical
to that deal are IRA moves to disarm huge amounts of arms and
explosives, which will be independently verified by churchmen and

Ian Paisley's DUP is considering a joint Anglo-Irish government
plan this weekend that would lead to IRA disarmament in return for
the main unionist party joining an executive with Sinn Fein. One
senior DUP member told The Observer that the party was '95 per
cent of the way' to a comprehensive deal. Paisley's party will
hold talks early this week with the Canadian general overseeing
the disarmament of paramilitary weapons, John de Chastelain - a
move welcomed by Sinn Fein's chairman MitchelMcLaughlin.

However, in a statement, the IRA rebels claimed republican
leaders, including senior Sinn Fein figures, 'stood before
countless IRA army council meetings, executive meetings,
conventions and even low-level meetings with grass-roots, and told
volunteers that the IRA would never surrender its weapons'.

The statement adds: 'Never in the centuries-old history of Irish
Republicanism have IRA soldiers contemplated the humiliation of
defeat or surrender by destroying its weapons at the behest of our
enemy, the British.'

Referring to rifles, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns,
ammunition and explosives, it reads: 'During the Eighties huge
amounts of weapons were smuggled into Ireland for the purpose of
intensifying the war in the six counties, mainland UK and in
Europe but, unknown to the army's rank-and-file, some of our
trusted leaders were secretly conducting negotiations with British
officials without army authorisation.

'At no time did the Irish government make the surrender of weapons
a condition for the establishment of all-party peace talks. The
Libyan weapons are the ones republicans and Irish security sources
believe will be put beyond use if the DUP-Sinn Fein deal is

However, serious doubts remain within the republican rank-and-file
over such a move. The dissenters' statement included a demand for
the publication of the 1997 Army Convention minutes.

'Full and accurate accounts of all Sinn Fein and IRA meetings will
be disclosed in the near future for people to come to their own
conclusions. The army [IRA] was deeply divided in the aftermath of
the notorious 1997 convention, which resulted in the resignation
of key military personnel. Today we stand on the brink of another
serious split. Decommissioning is the surrender of modern-day IRA
and we oppose it.'

The Observer has learnt that the opponents of decommissioning have
held discussions with the founders of the Real IRA, who also
control minutes from the 1997 convention. It is likely the
dissident republican terror group will hand over the notes.

It is unclear exactly how much support the new group has.
Crucially, the Belfast, Derry and South Armagh Brigades of the IRA
are said to be solidly behind the leadership of Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness. It is not clear if any of the dissenters hold
senior IRA positions, although one of those behind the statement
claims to belong to the 'army executive', the second tier of
leadership that runs the movement's day-to-day operations.


See video at:,2763,1361391,00.html

Paisley To Meet De Chastelain

28 November 2004 19:28

A DUP delegation, led by the Reverend Ian Paisley, is to meet the
man who oversees weapons decommissioning in the North, General
John De Chastelain, tomorrow.

The development comes as both the DUP and Sinn Féin prepare to say
if they will accept the British and Irish governments' formula to
restore a power-sharing government in the North.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Primate Archbishop, Seán Brady, has
appealed to all those involved in the negotiations to grasp the
opportunity and to give people reason to hope for a new beginning.

Should those hopes once more be dashed, he said, the only winners
would be the cynics, and the losers would be those who believed
that locally elected representatives could take responsibility for
the local situation.

Dr Brady was speaking at a Mass this afternoon to mark the re-
opening after repairs of St John the Baptist church on the
Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.


Blair, Ahern Urged To Lobby Bush On Emigrants

28/11/2004 - 18:31:44

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern should lobby US President George W
Bush to relax laws which prevent Irish emigrants from returning
home each Christmas, they were urged today.

SDLP Assembly member Eugene McMenamin called on the British and
Irish leaders to use their influence with the White House to help
illegal emigrants in the US from both sides of the border who are
not able to return to their families each Christmas.

The West Tyrone MLA argued: “Many people across this island would
love to welcome their loved ones home this Christmas from the
United States, but unfortunately for many who are forced to live
as illegal emigrants that will not happen.

“Many Irish people have travelled and set up home in the United
States. The tight legislation to obtain a long-term visa, however,
has resulted in many Irish people living in America illegally.

“These Irish are not sponging off America. On the contrary,
illegal immigrants are not entitled to any benefits and have to
pay for their healthcare.

“The contribution the Irish make to American life, economy and
community there cannot be underestimated.”

Although some Irish emigrants have returned across the Atlantic
following the success of the Republic’s Celtic Tiger economy,
there are still hundreds of thousands of people living illegally
in the United States.

Mr McMenamin urged the White House to recognise the Irish
community’s role in helping shape the US.

“It now time President Bush gave something back to the Irish
people living America,” the SDLP Assembly member said.

“I’m calling on the Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern to use their
influence with the American President to persuade him to review
the visa application process for long-term Irish residents.”

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