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December 19, 2004

12/19/04 – Ahern To Look At Legal Aspects of Extradition

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

IT 12/19/04 Ahern To Look At Legal Aspects Of Colombian Extradition
SL 12/19/04 'Blair Babe' Ruth's Family Fled From Loyalist Thugs
SL 12/19/04 Taxi Gun Horror Rocks Shankill
IO 12/19/04 McDowell: No Criminal Activity By IRA In The Republic
SL 12/19/04 De Chastelain Not To Return Until After Christmas
RT 12/19/04 Bishop Fears Emergence Of Ghettos


Ahern To Look At Legal Aspects Of Colombian Extradition

Last updated: 19-12-04, 14:32

The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, said today the Government would have to
consider the legal aspects of any possible calls for the
extradition of three Irishmen by the Colombian government.

Mr Ahern said the Attorney General was awaiting a translation of
the ruling in the Colombia court case which overturned an earlier
acquittal and sentenced James Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin
McCauley to 17 years in prison.

The three men are currently in hiding.

The decision was made behind closed doors, without any hearings

Sinn Fein MLA Ms Caitriona Ruane

"We don't have presently an extradition agreement with Colombia. We
will have to look at the legal aspects that arise," Mr Ahern said.

"One of the three was carrying an Irish passport and there could be
legal matters around that. They probably served their sentence on
that. So I think all of the legal matters will have to be looked

As two members of Sinn Féin arrived in Colombia to meet lawyers for
the men convicted of training Marxist rebels, Mr Ahern said the
Irish Government was keeping in contact with authorities in the
South American country.

Assembly members Mr Gerry Kelly and Ms Caitriona Ruane, who leads
the Bring Them Home pressure group, said on their arrival in Bogota
that they were deeply concerned by the ruling.

"The decision was made behind closed doors, without any hearings,"
Ms Ruane said. "It's shocking."

Lawyers for the trio have still not decided whether to appeal.
Colombian authorities have admitted they have lost track of the
trio since their release from prison last June pending the court

Mr Ahern told Today FM radio station: "Now there is the
complication because they are not in the country and we have to
look at the legal arguments around that.

"I think people felt the judge on the first hearing was a
reasonably fair person," he said. "Then you go on an appeal and you
end up getting 17 years so on the face of it that looks very

Sinn Féin MEP Ms Mary Lou McDonald said a decision was made at a
political level in Colombia that the ruling would be appealed. "It
was not a public process. It involved three judges sitting
privately over a period of six months and then delivering a
judgement," she said.

Interpol is drafting international arrest warrants for the men who
all have links with the republican movement.

The judge who cleared them of the charge of training rebels in
April, but convicted them of the lesser change of entering the
country on false passports, ordered they be freed on bail pending
the appeal by the country's attorney general on condition they
stayed in Colombia.

They were supposed to report to the authorities every week, but it
has emerged they never did.

The Irishmen were arrested at Bogota airport in August 2001 after
leaving a stronghold of FARC rebels deep in the jungles in the
south of the country.

The authorities accused them of teaching members of FARC how to
make bombs. They insisted they were innocent and had been in the
country to observe peace talks between the Colombian government and
the rebels. The talks collapsed six months after their arrest.



'Blair Babe' Ruth's Family Fled From Loyalist Thugs

By John Hunter
19 December 2004

Loyalist hoods terrorised the family of new education minister Ruth
Kelly, and hounded her Catholic father out of his thriving chemist

Bernard James Kelly - known as Seamus to his friends - fled to the
Republic with his wife Gertie and toddler Ruth, after being forced
from his business in Belfast's Belvoir estate, in the early 1970s.

The family of the latest addition to Prime Minister Tony Blair's
front bench had been targeted by a well-known loyalist godfather.

Said a Kelly family friend: "There's no doubt whatsoever that
Seamus was intimidated out of Belfast by loyalists, based around

"And he never forgot it.

"Even though his right name was Bernard James, he was known
familiarly as Seamus in the shop, and it was no secret that he was
a Catholic. He took his religion seriously, like his daughter."

The pal added: "The name of a well-known loyalist was mentioned."

Kelly had moved to Belfast, when daughter Ruth, born in 1968, was
just one.

Previously, he had a chemist's shop in Ballykelly.

His business there was sold to a local businessman who later built
the 'Droppin' Well' complex, which included both a chemist's shop
and a pub.

This was bombed by the INLA in 1982, when 17 people, including 11
off-duty soldiers were murdered at a disco in the pub.

By then, Mr Kelly had moved to England to become a prosperous
businessman, who educated his children at £10,000-a-year fee-paying
private schools.

He died at his luxury retirement villa in Spain earlier this year,
and was brought home to Ireland for burial.

Like her father, Ruth Kelly is a devout Catholic who takes pride in
her Ulster-Irish background.

The names of her four children, Eamonn, Sinead, Roisin and Niamh
show her Gaelic heritage.

Otherwise, the toddler driven out of Belfast by loyalist terrorists
is now thoroughly British, having been educated expensively at some
of England's premier private schools..

She studied medicine at Oxford, before transferring to politics,
philosophy and economics.

First elected MP in 1997, she was very much one of 'Blair's Babes',
as the new women-intake was nicknamed.

She was put in charge of education last week in the mini reshuffle,
following David Blunkett's resignation.


Taxi Gun Horror Rocks Shankill

By Pauline Reynolds And Ciaran Mcguigan
19 December 2004

A taxi-driver cheated death yesterday when two gunmen blasted his
cab . . . as horrified festive shoppers dived for cover.

The cabbie - who works for north Belfast depot Call-A-Cab - picked
up two male passengers and took them to Lawnbrook Avenue, off the
Shankill Road, just before 3pm.

But, as the men leapt out of the cab, they fired up to five shots
into the taxi - narrowly missing the terrified driver.

Two bullets pierced the windscreen; two more sliced through the
driver's-side door.

The gunmen made off on foot towards Cupar Street.

Miraculously, the taxi-driver escaped unhurt.

Last night, a police spokesman said cops were still trying to
establish a motive for the attack.

One man - who lives near the scene of yesterday's murder-bid - said
neighbours were horrified by the gun-attack, which took place as
Christmas shoppers were returning home, laden down with presents.

The man - who was too afraid to be named - told us: "I used to
drive a taxi myself. But I packed it in a few months back.

"It's just not worth it - you're a sitting duck for the likes of
the people who did this."

He added: "We don't need this kind of thing up here - especially in
the run-up to Christmas.

"It must be terrifying for that poor man's family - to learn that
someone has tried to shoot him, when all he was doing was going out
trying to earn a bit of cash for Christmas."

With its front doors wide-open, the taxi - a red Mercedes saloon -
sat at the scene for more than two hours while cops carried out a
finger-tip search of the area.

The cab had pulled up outside a row of five houses, most of which
appeared to be derelict.

Another resident - who also wished to remain nameless - said: "I
heard around five bangs and then everything went quiet.

"A lot of people were out doing their Christmas shopping, but no
one I talked to saw anything.

"But, after this, we'll be more vigilant when we're out and about.
We're warning the kids to be careful when they're out playing in
the streets, too.

"It's really shocking when something like this happens on your own


McDowell: No Major Criminal Activity By IRA In The Republic

19/12/2004 - 10:13:44

The Minister for Justice has said the IRA has ceased all major
criminal activity in the Republic.

In a newspaper interview this morning, Michael McDowell also
indicated that in certain circumstances, he is still prepared to
accept the release of the killers of Detective Jerry McCabe.

The Justice Minister said that apart from a number of small
incidents, as far as he is aware the IRA stopped major criminal
activity in the Republic in the run up to the latest set of
negotiations on the North.

In the interview with the Sunday Business Post, Michael McDowell
also said that he believes the reported sensitivity of republicans
to the much-disputed photographs of decommissioned arms has been


De Chastelain Not To Return Until After Christmas

By Alan Murray
19 December 2004

Arms body boss, General John de Chastelain, has no plans to return
to Belfast this week, his office said yesterday.

Speculation that de Chastelain was planning to return to Northern
Ireland before Christmas was fuelled by a warning from Ian Paisley
last week, against any secret deal between the IRA and the two
governments to destroy the organisation's weapons, without
photographic verification.

Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, dismissed the DUP leader's
suggestion as fantasy.

But senior DUP sources say his warning was based on sound
information about NIO approaches to the general, to be prepared to
return to Belfast at short notice.

The general returned to Canada a week ago, after the proposed deal

Sources say he was advised that no decommissioning was possible in
the foreseeable future and he was equally anxious to return to
Canada to attend to a family matter.

The DUP said that any attempt by the IRA and the two governments to
hatch a deal to decommission with just the General present - and so
bypass the DUP's demand for independent witnesses and photographic
verification - would lead to a prolonged "decontamination" period
for Sinn Fein, before any restored administration at Stormont.

Said one senior DUP official: "They cannot trigger the
establishment of an executive without the DUP - and we would not
agree to do so for some considerable time, if the governments
concluded some shady deal with the IRA."

De Chastelain remains a central figure in the decommissioning
process - grudgingly accepted by the IRA, despite its initial
refusal to acknowledge him.

It was last year when the IRA made its most significant acts of
decommissioning, when a dishevelled de Chastelain turned up at
Hillsborough Castle to announce that "substantial" quantities of
IRA armaments had been put beyond use.

His appearance shocked senior unionists, who later learned that he
was virtually held captive by the IRA over a 48-hour, while he
carried out his inventory of weapons.


Bishop Fears Emergence Of Ghettos

19 December 2004 14:07

One of Ireland's leading clerics has warned that the country faces
a future marred by ghettos of violence and fear unless attempts are
made to build bridges of understanding with immigrants.

In his Christmas message, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of
Dublin, Dr John Neill, urged people to go out of their way to
understand that many coming to Ireland today had been traumatised
by violence, political oppression or poverty.

Archbishop Neill said the wonder of the Christmas story of the
birth of the infant Lord with choirs of angels, worshipping
shepherds and gift-carrying wise men, quickly gives way to the Holy
Family becoming refugees in Egypt.

He warned that the people and the causes that stir our hearts at
Christmas do not all disappear from the scene at the end of

He cautioned that the so-called 'Ireland of the Welcomes' must take
a deep breath, asking if those welcomes really reached beyond well-
heeled returning emigrants and the traditional big-spending
tourists from the Western world.

The Archbishop said there was a price to be paid in being a
welcoming and multi-cultural society, and that we have to be
willing to learn about the way others live and think.

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04
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