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November 28, 2004

News 11/28/04 - McLaughlin: Parties On Verge of Agreement

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 11/28/04 McLaughlin: Parties On Verge Of Agreement -A
BB 11/28/04 Transcript of Adams Interview
SL 11/28/04 Paisley's Demands
SL 11/28/04 Sunday Life Comment: Time To Bury Our Differences
SL 11/28/04 INLA Raid Gang In Spanish Blow-Out
SL 11/28/04 Secret Agent, Kevin Fulton, Still A Target
SL 11/28/04 Ulster MEP Demands Fraud Probe
SL 11/28/04 UVF 'Restructured'
SL 11/28/04 Cronies Award UDA Boss Spence A Medal For Terror
SL 11/28/04 Adair Plans To Open A Bar In Lanzarote
SL 11/28/04 UK Identity Issue Not On Cards For Ireland


Hear this at:

McLaughlin: Parties On Verge Of Agreement -A
2004-11-28 14:41:08+00

Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin suggested the parties were
"on the verge" of making a breakthrough.

He told BBC Radio 4's World This Weekend: "This has been a
successful peace process - perhaps one that didn't develop as
quickly as people on the ground would have hoped, but nonetheless
it has been moving steadily in the right direction, despite all the
hiccups and frustrations and disappointments.

"The final piece in bringing all-party dialogue about is this
discourse between the DUP and Sinn Féin and I think we are on the
verge of achieving that."

Mr McLaughlin acknowledged that there were many unresolved issues
on all sides of the community relating to the traumas of the past
30 years.

But he said: "All, I think, are now coming to the view that what we
have to do is move into new space, create a new future. We have had
enough of a history and a past of conflict and division

"On that basis of equality, let's address the legacy issues and
let's draw lessons from it to make sure it doesn't happen again."


(Poster's note: I was unable to hear the BBC interview with Gerry
Adams. Enclosed is a transcript I found.)

Peace process

On Sunday, 28 November, 2004, Sir David Frost interviewed Gerry
Adams, MP, Sinn Féin

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part
of this transcript is used.

Gerry Adams, MP, Sinn Féin

DAVID FROST: It's now more than two years since the power sharing
agreement in Northern Ireland broke down, and the Assembly was of
course suspended.

Big summit in Kent last month with the British and Irish Prime
Ministers and all the key players from Northern Ireland edged
nearer to a deal but failed to reach agreement between the two
largest parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Now President Bush has intervened, making contact with Ian Paisley
and planning to talk to Gerry Adams too.

And the Sinn Fein president is in our Belfast studio, where it's
only Breakfast with Frost on the line at this particular point, but
you haven't had the call from President Bush yet, have you?

GERRY ADAMS: No, and I haven't had breakfast with Frost either
David, but good morning to you. I think the big question around,
certainly around these parts, in relation as to whether we can get
a deal done, is whether Ian Paisley is prepared to embrace the
principles of the Good Friday Agreement, because that's one thing
that we and President Bush and the rest of us have in common, is
that the Good Friday Agreement is the template.

And you're right to say that it's two years since the Assembly was
suspended, and it should not have been suspended. It's seven years
almost since the Good Friday Agreement so it's about time that
sense prevailed and that the essence of this Agreement of working
the power sharing arrangements, working with other people, working
the all Ireland structure, it's about time that became the way

DAVID FROST: In the course of these negotiations over the past few
weeks, back to Kent and so on. Have you and Ian Paisley actually
held a conversation?

GERRY ADAMS: Well I'm prepared to talk to Ian Paisley any time.
It's he who refuses to talk to us and furthermore he has issued a
public dictat that any member of his party who talks to Sinn Fein
will be dismissed from the party. Now, we can't get an agreement,
even despite the refusal of Ian Paisley to talk.

But we would get an agreement much more quickly, I mean we'd get an
agreement which actually reflected everybody's concerns if that was
set to one side. It's ridiculous. And let me say, Ian Paisley's
party have no problem talking to illegal outlawed armed
organisations on the Unionist side, and indeed have no problem
talking to Sinn Fein in city councils and at times in TV studios.

So there's a tactical position, this isn't a position of principle
for them, there's a tactical position. And, you know, that gives
you I think some sense of the difficulties that we're trying to
resolve at this time.

DAVID FROST: Yes. But nevertheless, everybody is saying this is as
close as you've been and the government's gone and say it's now or
never and this is an historical opportunity and so on. If you are
closer than ever at this moment, what are the sticking points? Is
the major one the question of visible decommissioning?

GERRY ADAMS: Well it shouldn't be. The reality is under the Good
Friday Agreement there is a Commission. The Commission is
responsible for verifying and overseeing the putting of arms beyond
use, or the decommissioning of arms.

The IRA is the only organisation, and this has caused a huge
difficulty for many Republicans and Nationalists, to actually
engage with that international independent decommissioning body.
So, I mean, why can't it be held up as the way, as the way forward.
That is essentially a part of the Agreement.

No the sticking point is what I said in my opening remarks. The
sticking point is that the element of Unionism which is represented
by the DUP, and which is in the ascendancy in the leadership of
Unionism at this time, has set its face against this agreement.

And therefore there's a very long journey to be undertaken by Dr.
Paisley in that he has to embrace concepts. Because there's no
question that Ian Paisley would do a deal, but he wants to do a
deal on his terms. And he has to do a deal on terms which are
acceptable to the rest of us.

And another difficulty I find, just you know, even in my own
constituency, is that people are hugely sceptical that Ian Paisley
will do a deal. Now I think he will do a deal. But I think there's
a responsibility on the British government to press ahead with the
Irish government on all the outstanding aspects of the agreement.
And we in Sinn Fein set ourselves two very clear objectives.

One is to do a deal with the DUP, and two is to ensure that that is
bedded and that the governments put their propositions firmly in
the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement. And if the DUP do
not come on board, because it is too long to be waiting for what
are essentially very modest entitlements. If the DUP do not come on
board then the governments have to press ahead.

DAVID FROST: And if in fact the situation is that the IRA as such
is disbanded. Does the Paisley suggestion that they could become
like an old boys' club - that sounds as though he's moved a bit
there - to allow that they be anything and say that they might give
him honorary membership?

It sounds as though things are getting closer than they were, even
though you probably would have thought Ian Paisley's vote in the
last election was the worst news, at least if he agrees to
something he could make it stick, couldn't he?

GERRY ADAMS: Well he could. And, you know, we're positive about all
of this although many Republicans find some of Ian's remarks quite
offensive. Some of his colleagues talked about gangsters and
gangsterism. And you know, I made the point that is you want
something of people it's useful to at least be civil and to be
using temperate language in so doing.

And you know people will remember the forty years of Paisleyism and
the various third forces and Ulster resistance and armed groups
which he established in that period. So there is a big challenge
for the DUP. There's also a big challenge for Sinn Fein and for
Republicans. I think we're up for that challenge. I think we are up
for the arguments which will undoubtedly continue within broadly
nationalist Ireland about all of this.

And the reason we're up for it is because we want change, we want
to be problem-solvers. We want to be agents of change and, you
know, Ian Paisley won't talk to me and I don't know if he's
watching this programme but let me assure him that the type of deal
that we want is a fair deal also. And that means for everyone who
lives on this island and it's especially about the future.

It isn't about what's happened in the past, it's about making sure
that the past isn't repeated, and that we go forward in a future
based on equality, based in equity, based on justice. We live on
small island, there are only 5 million of us live on this island
and it's based upon the Good Friday Agreement structures for an
all-Ireland future. That's what we have to get down to, and that's
what we have to knuckle down to.

DAVID FROST: Right, and one just last brief question. If there is a
deal in the next few days could you see a situation where we have
Peter Robinson as first minister and your Martin McGuinness as
deputy, is that possible?

GERRY ADAMS: Well I don't who the DUP would nominate, but yes, part
of the deal and perhaps the most visible aspect of the deal is that
you will have a DUP first minister, as they're entitled to, and a
Sinn Fein deputy first minister as part of a joined up office of
governance of this part of the island.

NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from
an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in
some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot
vouch for its accuracy.


Paisley's Demands

Two acts of decommissioning, photographs and any witness free to

By Alan Murray
28 November 2004

TONY Blair and Bertie Ahern will have to persuade the IRA to
complete two acts of decommissioning, and allow them to be
photographed, before the DUP will agree to allow the Assembly to be

Ian Paisley will tell the Prime Minister at Downing Street on
Tuesday that he "likes" revised proposals drafted by British and
Irish Civil Servants to restore devolution - but WON'T proceed
until decommissioning of IRA weapons has taken place.

And he is insisting that a churchman appointed by the DUP should be
free to speak to the media, about witnessing the destruction of two
lots of IRA weapons, over a proposed two-week period.

The DUP leader is also demanding that photographic evidence of the
two decommissioning acts be taken, so the public can be reassured
via a visual depiction of the destruction.

Mr Paisley will tell the Prime Minister that he is not yet prepared
to agree to his proposal to restore the Assembly in shadow form by
January, unless the IRA moves before Christmas to decommission.

One senior DUP source said yesterday: "The message from Dr Paisley
to Tony Blair on Tuesday will be neither yes or no to the

"He is reasonably happy with the outline proposals, and the
clarifications he has received from Downing Street and from Bertie

"But seeing is believing and, until the Provos decommission before
an independent witness appointed by the DUP, then we won't be

The DUP is understood to be flexible on the timing of the
publication of photographs of destroyed IRA weapons, but is
insisting that its appointed 'witness' must be free to divulge
details of the actual decommissioning, both to the party and the
general public.

Said another DUP source: "Two aspects of weapons' decommissioning
are sacrosanct: It must happen and be witnessed, and the witness
must be able to speak about it.

"Publication of photographic evidence could be delayed until just
before the Assembly resumes - not the shadow Assembly, the restored
Assembly - but our witness must be able to speak about what he sees
after the second event."

Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, is understood to have
considerable difficulty with the DUP demands over the witnessing of
decommissioning, and the publication of photographic evidence.

He has told both Blair and Ahern that he is being asked to persuade
the IRA to make major gestures, without Sinn Fein being rewarded
for those moves for months.

The DUP has told Blair that, even after decommissioning has taken
place and been recorded, it will wait for several months to ensure
all IRA activity has stopped, before agreeing to create a new
power-sharing executive.


Sunday Life Comment: Time To Bury Our Differences

28 November 2004

THIS could be an historic week for Ulster politics.

Or, the hopes and prayers of our citizens for long and lasting
stability, could be cruelly dashed.

But the signs are that the former is likely to be the case, not the

Obstacles have yet to be overcome, but the two main players - the
DUP and Sinn Fein - show no signs of walking away from a pact.

Publicly, they still appear to be at loggerheads, over various
aspects of the deal - arms decommissioning and sharing power at the
top echelons of government.

But privately, they seem closer to a deal than many of us realise.

The only certainty is that we will know, within days rather than
weeks, what the future has in store.

Surely, Messrs Paisley and Adams would not travel this far - then
allow the opportunity for the reinstatement of political
institutions, to slip from their grasp.

There is a great yearning for peace and political stability in
Ulster, and we are closer now to achieving that than ever before.

If the DUP and Sinn Fein can bury their differences for the good of
the province, then the peace dividend will be well and truly

True, there are still wreckers in our midst.

But with unionism and nationalism of every shade lined up against
them, their chances of success must be questionable.

Better to look on the positive side - and that is a sound and
lasting agreement, which will steer this country into a new


INLA Raid Gang In Spanish Blow-Out

'Dark Cloud' descends on Barcelona as hated thugs spend robbery

Exclusive by Ciaran McGuigan
28 November 2004

A BRUTAL INLA gang - believed to have kidnapped a family during a
post office robbery - jetted off to Barcelona last week . . . to
spend their ill-gotten loot.

The gang took two young girls hostage last month, while their
mother was forced to open the safe at Deerpark Post Office in

Up to five men had earlier burst into the McLean's family home,
before taking the girls - aged just six and three - and their
father away. Mrs McLean was taken by the robbers to get a "ransom"
from the post office.

Sources say the gang jetted off to the Catalan capital last week,
to watch Celtic take on Barcelona in the Champions League on

The gang, which is hated by many in the Ardoyne area, who accuse
them of driving a number of young people to suicide, mingled with
10,000 other Celtic fans.

The trip was timed to coincide with the 40th birthday of their
psycho leader, who's known as 'Dark Cloud'.

It is understood more than a dozen of Dark Cloud's henchmen
travelled to Spain with him, to help him spend the money from the

The gang is also understood to have cashed in recently, after
taking £29,000 in 'danger money' from a notorious north Belfast
drug dealer, whom they'd threatened to shoot dead.

Before they flew out of Belfast International Airport, they had a
weekend blow-out at a house in Ardoyne.

And during the 'party', they delivered a savage beating to the pal
of a young suicide victim the gang had themselves driven to take
his own life.

The young lad punched one of the INLA men and knocked him to the
ground, before the rest of Dark Cloud's men piled in and gave him a
savage beating.

Said one source: "What these thugs were saying to the relatives of
the young people who killed themselves was just disgusting.

"And when one stood up for himself, they gave him a beating.

"They just think they are untouchable, but they make people sick."

The INLA in Ardoyne was blamed for driving a number of young people
to take their own lives because of their bullying 'punishment

More than a dozen young people killed themselves in the first half
of the year alone.

Among them were pals Bernard Cairns and Anthony O'Neill, who hanged
themselves within days of each other.

Both had been victims of attacks at the hands of Dark Cloud's
vicious pals.


Secret Agent Still A Target

28 November 2004

DISSIDENT republicans have renewed their efforts to track down the
former FRU undercover agent, Kevin Fulton, it has been claimed.

Sources in Dublin said yesterday that dissidents were trying to
locate Fulton, before he could give evidence to the forthcoming
inquiry into allegations of Garda/IRA collusion in the Republic.

Senior Real IRA figures realise Fulton is the main inquiry witness
- and has the potential to implicate them in murder on both sides
of the border.

Said a source: "The Real IRA knows it must get to Fulton before he
appears at this inquiry."


Ulster MEP Demands Fraud Probe

By Alan Murray
28 November 2004

THE claim by a former Army spy inside the IRA, that he passed on
information to Customs officials about the involvement of two
former TDs in a fraud scam, is to be raised in the European

DUP MEP Jim Allister has tabled a series of questions about the
claims of the former IRA man, who uses the pseudonym 'Kevin
Fulton', that the former TDs knew about the scam, which involved
transporting powdered milk across member states.

Fulton claims that an IRA member, based in Newry, was behind the
scam, and that he was in regular contact with the two TDs whom, he
claims, knew about the fraud.

The two former TDs have denied the allegations, describing them as
"rubbish", after they were named on an American website, last week.

Mr Allister tabled written questions in the European Parliament,
last week, asking whether the European Commission had received
information concerning a fraud run from Ireland, involving powdered
milk poducts, in the 1990s.

And, he wants the commission to confirm that two senior officials
met an informant, who used the name Kevin Fulton, to receive
information about the scam and those behind it.

He also wants to know whether the Commission initiated an
investigation into the allegations and, if so, what was the

Mr Allister said: "I think members of the parliament should be told
the details about this fraud, and what action was taken to stop it.

"If politicians from a member state were alleged to be involved in
it, or to have had knowledge of it, then it is imperative that this
was rigorously examined.

"Fraud is a despicable feature of the European Union, and every
instance or claim of fraud must be vigorously pursued.

"I want to know what action was taken in this instance, and what
result was obtained."


UVF 'Restructured'

Boss linked to McCord murder stood down

28 November 2004

THE UVF leadership has 'sacked' the terror gang's most senior
figure in north Belfast.

The brigadier - who lives in the Monkstown area - was stood down a
week ago, along with other figures in the organisation in the area.

The businessman, and other long-time UVF members, have been sent
packing in what informed sources say is a major restructuring.

But the north Belfast leader is the biggest casualty in changes,
ordered by the UVF's overall leadership, based on the Shankill

Well-placed sources say the changes aren't linked to any single

They deny speculation that they were influenced by bad publicity
over the organisation's murder of north Belfast man, Raymond McCord
and two other Protestants, including a Presbyterian minister.

Mr McCord's father, Raymond snr, has been campaigning for seven
years for his son's killers to be brought to justice.

His complaint to the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, was the
catalyst for the largest-ever investigation by her office into a
terrorist organisation, in the province.

Her report - which is expected to be highly embarrassing to both
the UVF and the former RUC Special Branch - is not expected until
next year.

But it is suspected that her investigators have already discovered
that a number of UVF members in north Belfast worked for the RUC,
as informants - even though some took part in murders.

Many of the details may not be made public, because of the
sensitivity of the material uncovered by her investigators, and the
potential danger to some of the UVF men investigated in the course
of compiling the report.

The most senior man stood down in north Belfast is one of those
whose role in the killing of Mr McCord jnr was examined - even
though he was not one of the four principal figures involved in the
brutal slaying.

Mr McCord, snr has spoken about his son's murder to the PUP's David
Ervine, but he was unable to get an assurance from the East Belfast
Assemblyman that the killers would be expelled from the UVF.

On Friday, a senior UVF source told Sunday Life that the north
Belfast changes were the result of "an internal enquiry into the
running of the organisation and the existing command structure".

The source said the changes were not implemented as a result of one
individual incident.

Mr McCord, snr claimed that he had said all along that the UVF
brigadier in the area at the time of his son's murder had lied to
the Shankill leadership about the true reasons for the killing.

He added: "I told them that Raymond was murdered over a lost UVF
drugs consignment, but the man who has now been removed denied
this, and told his own leadership lies.

"He probably told other lies, too, and they are now belatedly
conceding that he misled them on Raymond's murder and many other


We haven't gong away you know!

Cronies Award UDA Boss Spence A Medal For Services To Terror

Exclusive by Stephen Breen
28 November 2004

SUSPECTED MI5 agent Jim Spence has been honoured with a sick medal
by his cronies... for his role as a UDA godfather.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life the north Belfast gangster
received the 'award' from his henchmen at a bash in the Woodvale
area of west Belfast, on Remembrance Sunday.

Sources claim Spence - who has denied being the loyalist equivalent
of IRA superspy 'Stakeknife' - was given the terror gong for his
"dedication" to the UDA cause.

It is understood the terror group's members often honour their
leaders with such awards.

The loyalist godfather was said to be "overjoyed" with the gift,
and celebrated his award with his cronies by having an all-night
party in an illegal drinking den.

Spence has been a leading figure in the UDA's west Belfast
'brigade' since the 1980s, and was once a close ally of ousted
terror chief, Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair.

He was also questioned about the murder of human rights lawyer Pat
Finucane, and remained a senior commander in the terror group by
supporting the UDA's 'inner council' in its bitter feud with Adair.

Although Spence is widely recognised in loyalist circles as a top
security services agent, he has repeatedly denied the allegations.

But the decision to honour him has angered the UDA in north

Terrorists loyal to north Belfast 'brigadier', Andre Shoukri - who
was recently involved in a bloody fist-fight with Spence - have hit
out at the award.

Tensions have been rising between rival UDA units in the city,
following the dust-up last month.

We previously revealed how friction between the pair escalated into
violence, after Spence accused three of Shoukri's men of selling
cocaine "without permission" in his area.

Said a source: "Shoukri's crew are furious about this (medal)
because of their boss's recent fight with Spence, and they want it
taken from him.

"Spence has been coming under a lot of pressure in the last few
months, after he was labelled an informer.

"There's no doubt Spence has been a well-known loyalist for many
years, but some UDA members feel there are other top men who were
more deserving of the honour.

"Spence thinks he's back in the good books now, and it just goes to
show you how much well-known gangsters are 'respected' in the UDA."


From behind bars to...behind the bar!

Adair Plans To Open A Bar In Lanzarote

28 November 2004

CAGED terror boss Johnny Adair has abandoned all plans to return to
the Shankill - or to set up home in either Bolton or Glasgow.

For we can reveal that he is secretly planning to move to the sun-
splashed Canary Islands, when he is released from prison in

Associates of Adair were spotted in Lanzarote two weeks ago, in the
company of a man who has business interests in Puerto del Carmen.

The town, on the southern coast of the island, is one of the oldest
and best-known holiday resorts in Spain.

It is understood Adair intends to invest in a local bar, and set up
home in the resort, with his wife Gina.

Ironically, one of those behind the move is Adair's former sidekick
and spin-doctor, John White.

White fled Northern Ireland last year with around 25 Adair
supporters, trying to find a place to settle in Scotland, after the
bitter loyalist feud culminated in mainstream UDA members storming
Adair's former lower Shankill stronghold.

Reports that White later offered the UDA money to allow him to
return to the province, led to Adair describing his old ally as "a
cowardly traitor".

But Mad Dog has had plenty of time to reflect behind bars and knows
that much of his hidden fortune - from drugs and racketeering - is
still tied to White.

One loyalist said: "The last time I spoke to Johnny, he was
determined to get Gina out of the country, because she has been to
hell and back, the past two years.

"Johnny is well aware there is a price on his head and also knows
the ARA will come knocking on his door sooner rather than later, if
he decides to hang around.

"Spain would be ideal for him and Gina. It would help in Gina's
recovery and would allow Johnny to spend the money he and White
stashed away, without always having to look over his shoulder."

But those more cynical believe Adair (40) will never truly sever
his links with Northern Ireland.

They are convinced the former UFF boss, serving out the remaining
weeks of his 16-year sentence for directing terrorism, is plotting
a bloody revenge on the three men he blames for his plight.

He has openly branded Jim Spence, Andre Shoukri and Mo Courtney
"anti-loyalist" and vowed to engineer their downfall - even from

Adair does not qualify for Christmas parole and will have to remain
at Maghaberry until January 24.

But there are suggestions that the government might help spirit him
out of the country before his official release date in order to
prevent a new loyalist feud that could shatter peace hopes.


Identity Issue Not On Cards

28 November 2004

THE Good Friday Agreement is likely to scupper any extension to
Ulster of the government's plans for UK-wide identity cards.

And there could be serious consequences for people from the
Republic living in Britain, should the legislation be pushed
through - inspite of opposition from civil liberties groups.

Prime Minister, Tony Blair, last week announced plans for
compulsory UK identity cards to be fully operational by 2012.

From 2008, applicants for passports will also be given an ID card.

In the long term, these will be essential in accessing public
services and security benefits across the UK.

But, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, people in
Northern Ireland can opt for either a British or Irish passport -
and cannot be discriminated for doing so.

Any requirement that they declare themselves British by being
forced to hold a UK ID card would be unlawful, according to legal
sources, as the government is bound by treaty on this matter.

Also, insisting that UK identity cards are necessary to access
public services - including social security benefits - would also
be a clear breach of undertakings already given.

Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have previously expressed concern at
plans for exclusively British identity cards in Northern Ireland -
as has the Dublin government.

The Republic's government has also raised the implications which
compulsory British ID cards might have for the huge Irish
population living and working in England, but retaining their Irish
citizenship and passports.

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