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December 09, 2004

News 12/09/04 - IRA Declares Peace

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 12/09/04 IRA Statement 'Declaration Of Peace' -V(2) –A
IT 12/10/04 Archbishop: Humility Is Needed, Not Humiliation
IT 12/10/04 Adams Says Talks With Paisley Could Break Deadlock
IT 12/10/04 Murphy Thinks Deal Is 'Not Far Off'
BB 12/10/04 Ambiguity 'Part And Parcel Of Process'
IT 12/10/04 SF Praise For IRA Role Draws Protests In House
IT 12/10/04 O Caolain Heckled For Praising IRA
IT 12/10/04 PDs Will Block Any North Deal Without IRA Pledge
IT 12/10/04 Paisley Says IRA Had No Notion Of Disarming
EX 12/10/04 Paisley Happy To Make Most Of Missed Photo Opportunity
BB 12/09/04 Man Joined UDA To Be 'Wanted'
IT 12/10/04 'Farmers Journal' Ends Lonely Hearts Column
IT 12/10/04 Sotheby's To Auction Another Copy Of 1916 Proclamation

Hear: Luka Bloom - CD: Before Sleep Comes; Song: "Before Sleep
Comes"; Label: Bar None


See video at:

Hear: Talk of the Nation, December 9, 2004 · The Irish Republican
Army says it is willing to disarm itself, but warns that no
pictures should be taken of the event. The IRA's stockpile of
weapons would take weeks to process. Guest:Mark Devenport, Northern
Ireland Political Editor, the BBC

IRA Statement 'Declaration Of Peace' -V(2) -A

The IRA's latest statement was a declaration of peace, the Sinn
Fein president has said.

Gerry Adams said this was now a defining stage in the political
process and urged unionists "not to lose this moment".

The DUP's Ian Paisley rejected a deal aimed at restoring devolution
because the IRA would not allow a photographic record of

The IRA said it would "not submit to a process of humiliation".

The IRA statement, in which the organisation said it would move
into a "new mode", appeared in Thursday's edition of the republican
newspaper An Phoblacht.

Mr Adams said: "He (Ian Paisley) has to face up to the reality that
civic nicety isn't a concession.

"It is not generous not to talk to people - especially over life
and death issues especially on the back of an offer like this,
which is a declaration of peace."

"Let him test the IRA, if he doubts any of this."

He added: "What is making this all the more difficult is the
distractions around presentational matters like photographs.

"What I am appealing for - and some may say I am naïve in asking
this - what I am appealing to Ian Paisley to do as the leader of
unionism, as a mandated political leader, is to come and meet and
talk to me about all of those issues."

However, he said there was "huge trauma" within republicanism.

Earlier on Wednesday, the IRA said demands for photographic proof
of decommissioning were "never possible".

The demands of Ian Paisley's DUP were an excuse for rejecting a
power-sharing deal which could "remove the causes of conflict", it
said in a statement.

Secretary of State Paul Murphy has briefed the Commons on the
failed negotiations for devolution.

Mr Murphy said: "I am absolutely convinced that the day when the
final piece of the jigsaw can be put in place is not far off."

He said there had remained an outstanding issue "which could not be

"That is the transparency with which the decommissioning process
should be carried out," he told the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish premier Bertie Ahern published
their proposals on Wednesday after Sinn Fein and the DUP failed to
agree a deal which could have revived power-sharing in Northern

Mr Paisley refused to sign up because the IRA would not allow a
photographic record of it putting its weapons beyond use.

In the event of a deal the IRA said there would be an end to its
activities, complete decommissioning by December "if possible" and
that two clergymen would oversee the process.

It added: "For his part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution
be photographed, and reduced to an act of humiliation.

"This was never possible. Knowing this, he made this demand
publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to
create a political context with the potential to remove the causes
of conflict."

DUP leader Ian Paisley said the IRA statement showed it "never had
any intention of decommissioning".

He added: "Another secret act of decommissioning will not satisfy
the public to any degree acceptable.

"I believe the IRA's reaction is proof that they cannot and will
not be honest about the matter of decommissioning and are therefore
not ready for the democratic process neither are they committed to

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said the issue of
photographs was central to the recent negotiations.

He told BBC Radio Ulster the issue was never ruled out by
republicans as categorically as they had indicated.

"We knew that the issue of photographs themselves might not be the
difficulty, but the publication of the photographs in such a way as
would be seen as being as a humiliation or a victory for one side,
would not be countenanced," he said.

The government has said it intends to maintain the momentum after
hopes of a deal were dashed.

Renewed talks between the governments and the parties will be held
next week.

The secretary of state and the Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot
Ahern, are now planning to hold meetings with all the parties to
try to assess the way forward.

The two prime ministers are also expected to meet next week to
agree their joint strategy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/09 12:41:49 GMT


Archbishop: Humility Is Needed, Not Humiliation

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady, said yesterday
that the blame game would lead nowhere. He was speaking as
political leaders argued over the collapse of the deal to restore

An agreement based on an act seen as humiliation would not help the
DUP and Sinn Féin to work successfully together in government,
Archbishop Brady insisted. The request for photographic evidence of
IRA decommissioning was a request for clarity, he claimed, but the
request not to be humiliated was also reasonable.

"Humiliation is one thing, and humility is something else. Humility
is built on truth," he said.

"The truth is that here we have parties who have received a mandate
from the people and are offering to take on responsibilities for
the future government of this country."

Archbishop Brady said an honest acceptance by all sides of what had
happened in the past, and an appropriate taking of responsibility,
would be a good basis on which to move forward.

"A humble expression of sorrow for the grief that has been caused
by all sides would be even better," he said. "If we cannot go the
extra mile, let's try to go the extra, perhaps even the final,
step. Humility, yes, humiliation, no."

He said the progress made so far had been extraordinary and proved
the parties were able and willing to work together.

However, he admitted that the breakdown, so short of the finishing
line, was disappointing, and evidence that more trust was needed.

"The lesson may be that all parties who intend to go into
government together need not only to talk but to listen to each
other," he said.

"In my opinion, the request for photographs is really a request for
greater clarity and certainty about decommissioning.

"The question is, if photographs are impossible, what is possible
to provide the certainty required? On the other hand, the request
not to be humiliated is also reasonable.

"It is a request for people to be treated seriously as partners in
government, and to have the rights and dignity of all respected."

Archbishop Brady added that he hoped all sides could overcome their
differences to work effectively and peacefully together and form a
good government. "The blame game leads nowhere. Just as there is no
monopoly of victims, there is no monopoly of blame."

© The Irish Times


Adams Says Talks With Paisley Could Break Deadlock

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Sinn Féin leader, Mr Gerry Adams, has indicated that direct
talks with the Rev Ian Paisley could assist attempts to end the
current deadlock over photographic verification of IRA

He appealed to the DUP leader to deal directly with him as the
British and Irish governments prepare for a series of meetings next
week to try to find a compromise around the issue of visual proof
of IRA disarmament.

While Mr Adams's overture was rejected by Mr Ian Paisley jnr on
behalf of his father, the Sinn Féin president insisted such a
meeting would allow the DUP and Sinn Féin to address the remaining
issues to be resolved.

"I am appealing to Ian Paisley, as the mandated leader of unionism,
to come to meet and talk to me about all of those issues," Mr Adams
said yesterday after the release of an IRA statement, which said
the issue of photographs was "never possible".

Mr Adams did not directly say a face-to-face encounter with Dr
Paisley would resolve the photographs issue, but insisted that the
current obstacles could be overcome.

"Let Ian Paisley say that he will talk to me, and then let Ian
Paisley talk to me about whatever he wants to talk to me about.

"But let's send a very, very clear signal to the people of this
island that this moment is not lost, that it can be sorted out, and
let Ian Paisley say that he is prepared to come along and help to
sort it out," Mr Adams said.

The IRA in its statement said that in the context of a
comprehensive agreement, it would "completely and verifiably" put
all its arms beyond use, possibly by the end of December; its
members would be given instructions not to engage in activity that
might endanger the deal; and two clergymen could act as observers
of decommissioning with the decommissioning chief, Gen John de

The statement said Dr Paisley had reduced the IRA commitment to
disarm "to an act of humiliation" by his demand for photographs of
the event.

Mr Adams described the IRA statement as "a mighty declaration for
peace" which "should not be dismissed because of difficulties that
some people may have".

However, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahern, challenged the
IRA's and Sinn Féin's assertion that there was never a possibility
of republicans agreeing to photographic proof of decommissioning.

"The refusal of photographs wasn't as explicit as is being
indicated, in my view," he told RTÉ yesterday.

"It was always part of the discussions that photographs may be
necessary in order to convince the DUP to bring them over the

The DUP MP Mr Jeffrey Donaldson said it was clear from the IRA's
reference to no photographs that it was "not prepared to have
proper transparent decommissioning".

© The Irish Times


Murphy Thinks Deal Is 'Not Far Off'

The British and Irish governments will try, before Christmas, to
bridge the "remaining gap" in the peace process, MPs were told

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said that despite the
failure to clinch a deal on Wednesday, "remarkable progress" had
been made.

"I am absolutely convinced that the day when the final piece of the
jigsaw can be put in place is not far off," he told the House of
Commons yesterday. Mr Murphy said he would meet the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, and they would hold talks with
the relevant political parties next week.

There would also be a meeting of the British-Irish
Intergovernmental Conference next Thursday.

"I remain optimistic that we will be able to resolve the
outstanding issues and restore devolution," he said.

Mr Murphy said the outstanding issue was "about more than
photographs. It is about confidence and trust between the parties."

However, yesterday had been a "very significant milestone in that
journey towards lasting peace and stability".

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Mr David Lidington said he shared
Mr Murphy's disappointment that a comprehensive agreement had not
yet proved possible.

"We welcome your determination and that of the Irish Government to
press ahead in the hope that a settlement can be reached, and
preferably this side of a general election," he said.

However, he said the "prime obstacle" to further progress "remains
the reluctance of republicans to show openly that they have
completed their transition from terrorism and physical force into a
political movement that campaigns to achieve its objectives
exclusively through democratic and peaceful means".

"After so many false dawns, isn't it wholly understandable that
there is now widespread public scepticism in Northern Ireland about
their further pledges and a demand for concrete evidence that
decommissioning has taken place?

"If the IRA is so vehemently opposed to that condition being
attached, there is nothing at all to stop them now from going ahead
and simply delivering the decommissioning and cessation of
paramilitary activity they tell us they want to carry out."

Mr Murphy replied that he suspected there is "an element" of
scepticism in Northern Ireland, but added: "I hope too that there
is only disappointment rather than despair because...the reality is
that the bulk of this document is about agreement".

He said the issue of photographic evidence had been there since the
meeting at Leeds Castle in September "but we didn't agree on it -
that's the point".

"Clearly the IRA has a different view from everybody else on that,"
he said. "Our view is that whatever it takes to persuade people
confidently that transparency has occurred is what we will accept."
- (PA)

© The Irish Times


Ambiguity 'Part And Parcel Of Process'

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

A fly on the wall in the talks between government officials and
Sinn Fein and the same officials and the DUP might know the truth.

But for the rest of us it is impossible to say who gave a nod and a
wink to who, who left key issues "constructively ambiguous", and
who, if anyone, told lies.

Observers are left to piece together the sharply contrasting
accounts of how the devolution negotiations broke down.

Like the differing versions of a failed marriage it's hard to
discern where the truth lies.

The clearest timeline on the vexed question of photographic proof
of IRA disarmament has been provided by Sinn Fein President Gerry

He says the British and Irish Governments raised the idea with him
in the week before the Leeds Castle talks. Those talks took place
between 16-18 September.

Mr Adams says he made it clear at this stage that the demand was

He then says the idea appeared again in a draft of a government
paper on 17 November and the government was again told that it
could not be delivered.

The governments' timeline is rather different. Downing Street says
photographs have been on the agenda for the past two years, since
David Trimble raised them as a possibility.

The Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern seemed to support
this when he indicated that the republican rejection of
photographic evidence had not been as categoric as Sinn Fein has

In public, Tony Blair has been at pains not to accuse republicans
of "bad faith".

But questioned about Gerry Adams's account, one government source
told me "these issues have been negotiated on, debated and
discussed. They have been at the heart of the negotiations for

The source suggested it was simply "not plausible" to suggest that
the government would have included specific suggestions for
photographs in its draft statement for General John De Chastelain
in the face of such absolute denials.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern seemed to support this
when he indicated that the republican rejection of photographic
evidence had not been as categoric as Sinn Fein has implied.

Mr Ahern said the governments thought the difficulty was about the
publication of the images, not the photographs per se.

'Object lesson'

The latest IRA statement says photographs were never possible.

This introduces an intriguing twist to the story of how the deal
died. Republicans have been happy for the blame to be attached to
Ian Paisley's now notorious "sackcloth and ashes" speech.

The DUP leader delivered this speech to a meeting in Ballymena on
27 November.

According to the former Sinn Fein publicity director Danny
Morrison, this was when "Paisley blew it".

There is no doubt that demanding the IRA's humiliation was not
exactly an object lesson in conflict resolution.

Perhaps Dr Paisley should attend Relate's marriage guidance classes
for a few political tips.

But he was not the first to talk about the photographs as
"humiliation". That honour goes to Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin
who accused the DUP of trying to humiliate the IRA over visual
decommissioning on the BBC's Inside Politics programme back on 23

Moreover, if as the IRA says, photos were never possible, would it
have made any difference if Ian Paisley had gone on the TV every
day in November to reiterate his long held view that the IRA are
"bloodthirsty monsters"?

Would Sinn Fein negotiators really have ruled out something the
government wanted at a time when they were happy to seek
concessions on, say, demilitarisation?

All of this is so much history, but does it help us to decide how
things might move forward?

If the governments secretly believe photographs are achievable,
they may return to trying to push the "post-dated cheque" idea.

Perhaps the date of publication could be stretched so it becomes
more a matter of historical interest rather than the cause of
painful humiliation.

But if officials really are convinced photographs are off the
agenda, will they have to consider either persuading the DUP to
settle for less or pursuing a side deal with republicans?

'Climbing a mountain'

A few thoughts spring to mind. This kind of ambiguity is part and
parcel of the way these negotiations work where many issues are
being discussed in parallel, not consecutively.

Would Sinn Fein negotiators really have ruled out something the
government wanted at a time when they were happy to seek
concessions on, say, demilitarisation?

Ultimately the "back channel" laid the groundwork for the
breakthrough in 1994, something from which the governments might
take some heart at this time of angry recrimination

Or would they have left things up in the air until they had chalked
off all the items on their shopping list?

Moreover, if the DUP feel misled then they must - in part - blame
their own policy of refusing to engage in dialogue with Sinn Fein.

Instead, they are reliant on go-betweens - the British and Irish
Governments - who have a clear interest in putting as positive a
spin as possible on anything they hear from either side.

Tony Blair talked of "climbing a mountain". For anyone following
this process, memories of "the Mountain Climber" come to mind - the
MI6 agent - later named as Michael Oatley - who acted as a "back
channel" between the IRA and the government in the 1970s and 1990s.

After the "Mountain Climber" retired, the "back channel" fell
apart, with republicans claiming a message saying "the conflict is
over" had never been sent by the IRA.

But ultimately the "back channel" laid the groundwork for the
breakthrough in 1994, something from which the governments might
take some heart at this time of angry recrimination.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/09 14:26:54 GMT


SF Praise For IRA Role Draws Protests In House

Michael O'Regan

Praise for the IRA leadership by the Cavan-Monaghan Sinn Féin TD,
Mr Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, led to heated Dáil exchanges yesterday.

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, said it was important that everybody be
measured. "I would not applaud anyone who killed and maimed in the
name of Ireland and carried out dreadful atrocities for far too
long," she said.

Mr Ó Caoláin had expressed his disappointment, and that of his
colleagues, at the failure so far to achieve the goal of full
implementation of the Belfast Agreement, a goal to which Sinn Féin
was "absolutely committed".

He added: "I join with other voices in the House in commending the
efforts of both governments and of the Taoiseach and the British
Prime Minister.

"I also strongly commend the courageous efforts of the Sinn Féin
leadership and negotiating team who have demonstrated an absolute
commitment to the address of the difficulties that have bedevilled
this island and the neighbouring island and our relationship for
generations. They have shown themselves to be courageous leaders.

"I wish also to commend the leadership of the Irish Republican Army
which has clearly demonstrated its preparedness to take historic
and unprecedented steps."

Mr Ó Caoláin was heckled by a number of deputies. Ms Joan Burton
(Labour, Dublin West) said there was only one army in Ireland and
that "Dáil Éireann recognises only one army".

Mr Ó Caoláin remarked: "That must be acknowledged." He added that
utterances should be "measured".

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, said that the difficulties which arose
related to more than just a photograph. "There are a number of
issues, as the Taoiseach has confirmed. "Clearly, what we want to
see is an end to paramilitarism and criminality in all its forms,"
she added.

She said that the Government wanted to proceed to ensure that the
agreement, which had been supported by the majority of people on
the island, was implemented in full.

Ms Harney said she would ensure the opposition parties were briefed
in advance of the Dáil debate. "It is an evolving situation and we
are dealing with delicate and sensitive matters," she added. "We
must all be responsible. The debate next week will be a full one."

Earlier, the Fine Gael leader, Mr Enda Kenny, expressed regret that
a final agreement had not been reached.

"Credit must be given to both the Taoiseach and the British Prime
Minister for the extensive time they have devoted in attempting to
resolve this matter in recent years. It is a disappointment to
everybody that it has not been possible to conclude it
successfully," he added.

He asked if there would be an attempt by the Government in the
coming days to arrange for the DUP and Sinn Féin to sit down
together, face to face.

"Proximity talks brought a great measure of progress on some very
sensitive issues, but the issue to which the Tánaiste referred
yesterday - the modality of decommissioning and its verification -
remains the problem," said Mr Kenny.

The Labour leader, Mr Pat Rabbitte, said most people on the island
would find it incomprehensible that a comprehensive agreement was,
or is, being put a risk by the demand for a photograph, and that
the other side was prepared to put it at risk by the refusal of
such a photograph.

He hoped, he said, that before next week's Dáil debate the
Government would publish the remaining documents, including those
relating to the killers of Det Garda McCabe and the issue of the
right of audience in the Oireachtas for elected representatives in
Northern Ireland.

The Green Party leader, Mr Trevor Sargent, said his party was
gravely disappointed, but not entirely surprised that there had
been a stalling in the process.

© The Irish Times


O Caolain Heckled For Praising IRA

Dáil Sketch/Michael O'Regan: Sinn Féin deputies found themselves
isolated yesterday as members of other parties rounded on them for
praising the IRA.

The exchanges were sharp and bitter, serving as a backdrop to next
week's special debate on the failed Northern peace process.

The comments on Wednesday's events provoked little response, until
Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin commended "the leadership of the
Irish Republican Army, which has clearly demonstrated its
preparedness to take historic and unprecedented steps". The remark
prompted murmurs of dissent from the Government and Opposition

Labour's Joan Burton said the Dáil recognised only one army. "That
must be acknowledged," said Mr Ó Caoláin. When the Fianna Fáil
Minister of State Brian Lenihan said "for shame", Mr Ó Caoláin
replied: "I am proud to stand in this House and so record." As the
heckling continued, Ceann Comhairle Rory O'Hanlon, intervened to
say Mr Ó Caoláin should be allowed speak without interruption. Mr Ó
Caoláin said: "It would serve much better the goal to which, I
hope, all voices in this House are committed, although at times it
is difficult to recognise that commitment if utterances were
measured, because this is unfinished business and a work in train
that must be pursued to achieve a satisfactory result acceptable to
all sides in the conflict. I urge deputies to be measured." His
plea was lost as the heated exchanges continued.

The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, interjected: "It is important that we
are all measured. I would not applaud anyone who killed and maimed
in the name of Ireland and carried out dreadful atrocities for far
too long." This remark prompted a chorus of "hear, hear" from

When Sinn Féin's Arthur Morgan asked if the Tánaiste extended the
sentiment to include Britain, a visibly angry Liz O'Donnell
remarked from the PD benches: "Deputy Morgan should get over it."
Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh remarked that the Tánaiste had spoken
of criminality. "What of the former Progressive Democrats' mayor?"
he asked.

This was seen as a reference to a former PD deputy, Michael
Keating, who served a term as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

© The Irish Times


PDs Will Block Any North Deal Without IRA Pledge

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent and Gerry Moriarty,
Northern Editor

The Progressive Democrats have determined there is now a second
major issue blocking a deal in the North, insisting they will not
sign up to an agreement without an IRA commitment not to engage in
criminal activity.

In a dramatic development last night, the PD parliamentary party
contradicted both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister, who
have said the only issue now presenting a difficulty was the
dispute over whether photographs of IRA decommissioning should be
taken and published.

Instead, it said the "key issue" was in fact the IRA's failure so
far to sign up to a commitment not to engage in criminal activity.
An IRA statement yesterday outlining what the organisation had
agreed to excluded any reference to such a commitment.

The Irish and British governments have proposed that they make such
a commitment.

In relation to the possible release from prison of the killers of
Det Garda Jerry McCabe the PD source said last night: "The deal is
off. The whole issue of McCabe is formally off the table."

Asked if it was the case that the Progressive Democrats Ministers
in Government would not sign up to a deal unless this issue was
resolved the source said: "That would be the PD position". It was
not just that they would not agree to the release of the McCabe
killers: They would not agree to the deal at all, the source

As Government officials prepare to begin contacts with the DUP and
Sinn Féin again over the weekend, the source said a proposed IRA
declaration not to endanger anyone's personal safety "is the key to
the agreement".

But the IRA had so far refused to sign up to this.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach will be involved
in a series of meetings next week to try to resolve the
difficulties, which they say are solely over the issue of
photographs. But the PD source said last night that "failure was
not a question of photographs - the issue was much wider and much
deeper than that". This source said that the party's TDs and
senators agreed at a meeting last night that "the key was the
failure of the IRA to sign up to the declaration to end
paramilitary activity - anything from kneecapping to exiling", in
line with paragraph 13 of the Hillsborough joint declaration of
March 2003. A phrase to deal with this issue was inserted into the
proposed IRA statement which was among the documents published by
the two governments in Belfast on Wednesday. This said the IRA
"recognised the need to uphold and not to endanger anyone's
personal rights and safety".

But while this phrase was in the IRA statement as proposed by the
governments, it was excluded from the IRA's own account of what it
had signed up to, issued yesterday. The PD source said yesterday
that the IRA had so far refused to commit itself to this phrase,
and if this remained the position, the PDs would not accept any

However, earlier a DUP source who was conscious of the differences
in wording between the two statements, appeared unperturbed by
those differences.

When alerted last night to the PD position the DUP deputy leader,
Mr Peter Robinson, said his party's main focus was on achieving
"transparency" over decommissioning.

He said he hadn't yet carried out a textual check of the
differences between the statements. He wasn't in a position
therefore to say whether textual differences were of any

Meanwhile, PD Minister of State Mr Tim O'Malley said last night
that the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe should serve their full
jail terms. This is despite the Government's position that they
could be released if there is a comprehensive deal on the North.

© The Irish Times


Paisley Says IRA Had No Notion Of Disarming

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The Rev Ian Paisley yesterday stepped up his condemnation of
republicans over their stance on decommissioning.

Victims of IRA violence deserved a public demonstration of illegal
weapons being put beyond use, the DUP leader said. He further
accused the IRA of deceit, saying its members wanted to retain
their weapons.

Dr Paisley challenged the IRA of never having "any intention of

Neither had the IRA acted honestly or honourably "by allowing the
people who have been humiliated by decades of IRA violence to see
that their weapons are destroyed once and for all.

"The IRA celebrated their violence in the most public way possible.
It is only right that those once terrorised are satisfied in a
convincing way that terrorism by the IRA is no more."

He said putting weapons beyond use using the same methods as before
would be unacceptable. "Another secret act of decommissioning will
not satisfy the public to any acceptable degree. I believe the
IRA's reaction is proof that they cannot and will not be honest
about the matter of decommissioning, and are, therefore, not ready
for the democratic process."

He said Mr Tony Blair should move ahead on pledges to form a new
powersharing administration containing only parties committed to
constitutional politics.

Earlier, Mr Jeffrey Donaldson said he hoped republicans would take
time to reflect on the progress that had been made in the

"Republicans need to set themselves some serious questions about
what has happened," said the DUP Lagan Valley MP. "If there is
going to be an impasse over decommissioning, then it could go on
for a long time."

As the fallout from Wednesday's events deepened, the SDLP
criticised the Government of compromising constitutional

Mr Mark Durkan said the British-Irish blueprint for a restored
Stormont was vague and unacceptable as it marked too much of a
departure from the Belfast Agreement.

"What I absolutely resent is when the Irish national democratic
interest is compromised, and when people pretend that there have
not been changes to the agreement and worse yet to come."

Speaking at his party's Belfast headquarters yesterday, Mr Durkan
said the DUP had won vetoes over nationalist ministers which it
would use repeatedly.

Turning to republicans, he said: "Sinn Féin's priority has been
about the self-image of the IRA, not the proper democratic
interests of the nationalist people. The more we read of this
document, the more we are confirmed in our view that this is not a
complete agreement."

The SDLP welcomed IRA declarations on ending paramilitary activity
and signing on to the new beginning to policing, and DUP
commitments to powersharing.

"We want to ensure that nothing we do in the coming weeks releases
theses parties from these commitments. We want to preserve all that
is good in the document.

"But this is not a complete agreement. A lot of things that we were
told would be bolted down are not. We have serious issues about the
DUP's commitment to devolution of justice and when Sinn Féin will
sign on for policing.

"Above all, we have concerns that the DUP has won new vetoes over
not just the appointment of nationalist ministers but their
decisions too."

Because Sinn Féin "has focused on photos" the party had handed "new
vetoes" to the DUP.

"Sinn Féin does not appear at all concerned with how the DUP can
use these changes and vetoes to humiliate nationalists and
nationalist ministers in the future."

He said neither he nor any nationalist could trust the British
government to stop at the changes in yesterday's document.

"We will not be doing anything to jeopardise any positive

"But we will not forfeit our right to stand by and stand for the
Good Friday agreement whilst others are selling it short."


Paisley Is Happy To Make The Most Of A Missed Photo Opportunity

By Pat Brosnan

IT looks doubtful at this stage that even Santa could deliver what
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wished for yesterday - that the deal on
Northern Ireland could still be delivered by Christmas. This

But he's optimistic, especially as both sides were practically on
the brink of an agreement before the intemperate intervention of
the Reverend.

Both Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair can take
some consolation from the fact that if it wasn't Paisley's happy
snaps that created the stumbling block, then it would have been
something else.

Quite simply, while Ian Paisley is in the pivotal position he now
holds, there is no real prospect that Northern Ireland will return
to devolved government.

The fact is he would be far happier to have direct rule from London
rather than share power again with Sinn Féin. It was, and is, his
ambition to see the Good Friday Agreement disintegrate. He never
wanted it in the first place and did his utmost to thwart it, and
when the political institutions were suspended in October 2002, he
was a happy man.

He's happier now. I can only presume that he had his tongue firmly
planted in his cheek when, in a comment afterwards, he called on
the two governments to move forward without Sinn Féin.

He knows that's not going to happen, just as he knew this week
wasn't going to bring deliverance for Northern Ireland. It didn't
happen because he orchestrated the outcome he wanted.

The Taoiseach said afterwards that the Government had supported the
DUP's insistence on photographic evidence of decommissioning.
Whether or not that was ever going to happen from an IRA
perspective was debatable, but it certainly wasn't going to happen
because Paisley just couldn't keep his mouth shut.

He taunted the IRA and Sinn Féin that they would be humiliated by
publication of that photograph, thereby ensuring they would not
agree. That was a deliberate ploy to scuttle what should have been
a great day for Northern Ireland, and immediately jumped on his
hobby horse of blaming the IRA and Sinn Féin.

He forgot, or chose to forget, the sound advice from former US
senator George Mitchell some years ago that decommissioning should
not be seen as either victory or defeat for either side.

It was hardly surprising that the IRA replied in the negative to
the DUP's demand for photos, especially after Paisley's gloating
statement that he wanted to see them humiliated. It was compounded
by his reference to them as monsters after the Waterfront Hall
press conference.

I, like most people, was under the impression that it was a
question of just one picture. It transpired that the man was
demanding practically an album of what would have been an historic

What Ian Paisley has rejected was a commitment from the IRA to
undertake complete decommissioning, something that Northern Ireland
has been awaiting for decades. You would have to admire the stoic
approach of the Taoiseach and the British prime minister at the
press conference at Belfast's Waterfront Hall afterwards. They
produced the 23-page document with the formula to resuscitate the
Executive and Assembly, given that only a miracle could make it
happen at that stage.

Tony Blair was right when he said that "considerable progress" had
been made. It had, certainly from the republican side. He spelled
out exactly what they were committed to doing. He said he had
received a commitment from the IRA fully to end paramilitarism and
that the IRA had agreed with the two governments that the 'causes
of conflict' would have ended once the fundamentals of Belfast
Agreement were in place.

There was a commitment by the IRA to decommission fully by
Christmas. There was also a period between the end of
decommissioning and the setting up of the Executive, which would
have been in March next year. There was consensus that there should
be power-sharing and on amendments of certain elements of the
Belfast Agreement that would allow this to resume. There was also
an agreement on resolving the policing issue.

Bertie Ahern described the Governments' proposals as "landmark" and
"comprehensive". He also promised to maintain contacts with all
parties "to ensure peace and political stability in Northern

ACCORDING to documents released on Wednesday, the IRA would have
agreed to photographs under the deal, something which was
reiterated by Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern yesterday on RTE's
Morning Ireland. Yet Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLoughlin said it was "a
bridge too far".

Eventually, Ian Paisley's inane comment about humiliation ensured
that it would not happen. A draft statement from the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) said that had a
deal been struck there would have been two acts of disarmament this
month destroying the IRA's entire stockpile of weapons by
Christmas. One Catholic and one Protestant clergyman, acting as
independent observers, would have witnessed IRA disarmament. They
would have been able to make public statements about what they had
seen. A photograph would also have been taken by the IICD, which
would have been shown to political parties at Stormont and the
governments once decommissioning was completed.

It would have been published when power-sharing was restored in
March. In its editorial yesterday, this newspaper suggested that
Ian Paisley might agree to be the witnessing Protestant clergyman.
Facetious though that may have been, it's not beyond the bounds of
what he might insist on next.

Apart from total decommissioning, there would have been huge
strides undertaken by Sinn Féin as far as policing is concerned.
There would have been an initiative to transfer policing and
justice powers to the Stormont Executive within a short period, as
Gerry Adams was prepared to recommended to his party that it end
its boycott of the PSNI as soon as the new laws were passed.

This would have been a major step by the party from its present
position on policing and one which Chief Constable Hugh Orde has
been seeking for a long time. Because the two governments released
what was being proposed, it can be seen that they were not engaging
in hyperbole when they described it as the brink of an agreement.

An IRA statement issued through An Phoblacht confirmed it supported
the comprehensive agreement, and what the two governments had said,
apart from the issue of pictures.

"This creates the conditions for the IRA to move into a new mode
that reflects the determination to see the transition to a totally
peaceful society brought to a successful conclusion," it said. "All
IRA volunteers have been given specific instructions not to engage
in any activity which might thereby endanger the new agreement." It
added: "We have also made it clear that the IRA leadership will, in
this new context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably
put all its arms beyond use." When you think about it, it could
have been a DUP letter to Santa for what it would like to see
happen in the North.


Man Joined UDA To Be 'Wanted'

A former soldier who joined a loyalist paramilitary group because
of a "desire to be wanted" has been jailed for six years for
terrorist-related offences.

Mark John Pilling from Heron Way, Londonderry, admitted conspiracy
to murder, possession of guns and explosives and membership of the

The judge at Belfast Crown Court said that Pilling had got involved
with the UDA out of a need for "companionship".

Mr Justice Deeny said Pilling "may have been used by more sinister

'Shooter or planner'

Pilling served four years in the army before moving to Northern
Ireland ten years ago.

The judge accepted the prosecution view that Pilling played only "a
minor or peripheral role" in many of the offences.

He said: "You were neither a planner in these offences nor did you
handle any firearms, but were an assistant."

Defence QC Eilish McDermot said her client was "remorseful".

She said that his role was in removing evidence and not one of
being "a shooter or planner of events".

It is understood Pilling intends returning to England on his

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/09 17:27:24 GMT


'Farmers Journal' Ends Lonely Hearts Column

Seán MacConnell, Agriculture Correspondent

A change of lifestyle in rural Ireland and a decline in the art
of writing love letters has brought an end this week to the
personal ads column in the Irish Farmers Journal.

The "Getting in Touch" column has been running for the past 40
years and, according to Ms Kay Kevlihan, who supervised it for the
last decade, the use of texting was one of the reasons for its

"At one stage it was so popular that you could expect a wait of up
to six weeks to have your advertisement placed in the column," she

"However, life is changing and people have less time and are less
able to write letters than they used to and many now use texting,"
she said.

"I don't think love or loneliness is dead and buried in rural
Ireland; it is just that we are changing with the times."

She said the column was started by Mr Larry Sheedy, a man who
"recognised the loneliness and isolation in many parts of rural
Ireland and suggested the column would provide a way for people to
get together".

It had accurately reflected what was happening in rural Ireland
over the years.

"It was an instant and immediate runaway success. We have published
thousands of ads since then from lonely people," she said, adding
that most of the proceeds from the column went to charity.

"There are still lonely men out there and we received twice as many
adverts from them as from women.

"Men and women are still looking for honest, decent partners with a
good sense of humour and there is little emphasis on looks," she

Like the print service, the new electronic service being introduced
by the Journal will not cater for the gay community.

"We never did cater for gay people and we believe there are outlets
for them elsewhere. Ours is a general service," she said.

Ms Kevlihan added the change in the use and meaning of language
reflected in the column was interesting. In a 1970s advert, a 29-
year-old non-drinking farmer had sought a female partner under the
heading "Laugh and be gay".

She said the column had also been widely used by the Church of
Ireland community to make romantic contacts, probably because of
the sense of isolation some may have felt.

"Cupid may be going electronic with the voice and texting service.
I only hope he is as efficient and popular in rural Ireland as in
the past," Ms Kevlihan concluded.

© The Irish Times


Sotheby's London To Auction Another Copy Of 1916 Proclamation

Liam Reid

Another copy of the original 1916 Proclamation of Independence is
to go on sale in London next Thursday, after a similar copy made
€390,000 at an auction in Dublin on Wednesday night.

Half a dozen under-bidders from Wednesday's auction are expected to
place bids at next week's sale in Sotheby's for the copy, one of
only 20 believed to exist.

The Sotheby's copy is in better condition than the one auctioned by
the James Adam saleroom on Wednesday and it was authenticated and
signed by the printer of the proclamation, Mr Christopher Brady, in
1969, shortly before he died. It is being sold by an Irish family.

The identity of the successful bidder on Wednesday, who paid well
over twice the reserve price of €150,000, is not known.

Five hundred copies of the proclamation were printed for the
Rising, and just 20 are believed to have survived intact, three of
which belong to State institutions, including the National Library
and the National Museum.

Wednesday's copy was bought over the telephone by an agent on
behalf of an Irish client. The owners of the copy, which had been
kept in an attic for nearly 60 years, were at the sale.

The Adam's sale has increased interest in the Sotheby auction next
Thursday. Rare books expert Mr Peter Selley said the value of the
proclamation had been rocketing in recent years.

In 1997 Sotheby's sold one for stg£30,000. Another record was set
in December 2003 when one was sold for stg£55,000, surpassed just
six months later when stg£110,000 was paid for one, again at

A spokesman for the dancer Michael Flatley, who has previously said
he wanted an original proclamation for his library at Castlehyde,
said he was not Wednesday's buyer.

© The Irish Times

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