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December 10, 2004

News 12/11/04 - IRA Ruled Out Criminality

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 12/11/04 Adams Claims IRA Had Ruled Out Criminality –V(3)
IT 12/11/04 Photo Evidence Can Never Prove Full Decommissioning
BB 12/10/04 Paisley To Give Blair 'Ultimatum'
IT 12/11/04 Durkan Challenges Adams To Debate
EX 12/11/04 1 Thing Paisley, Haughey & DeValera Have In Common
IT 12/11/04 McCabe Commitment Made, Says Adams
GU 12/11/04 Freedom Under Fire: Paisley's Honour As Deal Unravels
TO 12/10/04 Dr No Is Disarming, When He Fails To Disarm His Enemy
BB 12/10/04 Trimble Attacks DUP Over Deal
BT 12/10/04 Day Of Reflection Not Poppy Day Substitute Says SF –V
BT 12/10/04 Why We've No Need For This Day Of Reflection
IT 12/11/04 €4m Garda Bill For Bush Visit

NW 12/10/04 Kilkenny Craft Trail Continuing To Draw Crowds –VO
NW 12/10/04 CEOfficer Of The Crafts Council Of Ireland -VO
NW 12/10/04 Graiguenamanagh Celebrates 800th Anniversary

Kilkenny Craft Trail Continuing To Draw Crowds - Róisín Ní Eadhra
watches some craftsmen at work in Co Kilkenny

Mary Kennedy talks to the Chief Executive Officer Of The Crafts
Council Of Ireland, Les Reed

Graiguenamanagh Celebrates 800th Anniversary - Helen McInerney
hears The Flying Squad with Donal Lunny play as part of the 800th
birthday celebrations of Duiske Abbey and the Kilkenny town of


See video at:

6.1 News: Charlie Bird, Chief News Correspondent, looks at the
words which are now being queried, in drafts and in statements

6.1 News: Charlie Bird says the Government appears united, and
these are the 'other matters' mentioned earlier this week

6.1 News: Mitchel McLaughlin, Sinn Féin Chairperson, points out
that the 'missing' words were from the governments' draft, not the

Adams Claims IRA Had Ruled Out Further Criminality –V(3)

The Sinn Féin leader, Mr Gerry Adams, has insisted that the IRA
has agreed not to engage in future criminal activity, while
refusing to sign up to a specific wording on this matter sought by
the two governments, writes Mark Brennock, Chief Political
Correspondent and Dan Keenan in Belfast.

Mr Adams' comments last night came after the Progressive Democrats
said that this was the "key issue" for it, and that without the
required IRA commitment the PDs would not support any deal.

The North's political parties said yesterday that this was a side
issue in the current political deadlock, as efforts continued to
resolve the dispute over whether photographs should be taken and
published of IRA decommissioning.

Publicly, the Government parties insisted yesterday that they were
united in their efforts to secure a deal to restore the North's
power-sharing institutions.

But there was deep irritation among Fianna Fáil elements of the
Government at the PDs' surprise statement on Thursday night that
the IRA had "failed" to sign up to a "no criminality" pledge, and
this now presented a major obstacle.

The Taoiseach and British Prime Minister said this week that while
several issues remain unresolved, the dispute over whether
photographs of IRA decommissioning should published is the only
issue causing difficulties.

However the Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, yesterday continued
to focus on the criminality issue. Speaking to reporters he
reiterated his party's demand that the IRA commit itself to a
specific statement that it "recognised the need to uphold and not
to endanger anyone's personal rights and safety".

A party source stated on Thursday that if this was not signed up
to, the release of the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe - which is
highly unpopular among PD members and voters - is off the table.

An IRA statement issued on Thursday outlining what it would sign up
to in the event of a deal left out the pledge "not to endanger
anyone's personal rights and safety" that was sought by the two
governments. It did say that all IRA members had been given
"specific instructions not to engage in any activity which might
thereby endanger the new agreement". Mr Adams insisted last night
that this meant the same thing.

While making demands yesterday on the IRA to sign up to the extra
form of words, Mr McDowell did not say the organisation had
actually refused to do so. "They haven't done so yet", he said. "I
don't know if it is reluctance or if it is a timing issue." He said
this undertaking had been under ongoing discussion and had not been
the subject of "explicit agreement".

The North's political parties were surprised yesterday at the PDs'
injection of this issue into the public discussion.

The DUP deputy leader, Mr Peter Robinson, said that the key issue
was "the modalities of decommissioning" rather than criminality. He
said he was unaware of any suggestion that the IRA was refusing to
sign up to a commitment not to engage in criminality. The UUP
leader, Mr David Trimble, also said it was unclear as to whether
the IRA had refused to do so.

Sinn Féin negotiator Mr Gerry Kelly accused the PDs of "politicking
of the worst kind".

Mr McDowell and the Tánaiste, Ms Harney, separately said yesterday
that there was no division between the Government parties on this
matter. A spokeswoman for the Taoiseach said the Government was
united behind the effort to reach a deal.

Mr McDowell also told reporters yesterday that there was "nothing
of substance" in the deal that had not now emerged into the public
domain. "Not every scrap of detail is there or thereabouts, but
there is nothing of substance. People have the gist of the
agreement now."

© The Irish Times


Photo Evidence Can Never Prove Full Decommissioning

ANALYSIS: The insistence of photographic confirmation of the full
and final decommissioning of the Provisional IRA's weapons is a
political red herring, writes Tom Clonan.

This week the DUP claimed that photographic evidence confirming
full decommissioning would lend "transparency" to the
decommissioning process. In fact, it would do no such thing.

It would be impossible to conclusively document through still
images the destruction of the entire IRA weapons inventory for many

These include their wide dispersal throughout the island, and the
inability of the IRA leadership to locate all its weapons caches.

In addition, given the latest digital technologies, it would be
impossible to certify the provenance of such photographic images,
or to prove they represented an exhaustive visual account of the
destruction of all weapons.

Indeed, the original confidentiality clause agreed between Gen John
de Chastelain and the IRA as outlined in the Belfast Agreement was
in part predicated on the IRA's inability to fully or
authoritatively account for its own weapons and ammunition.

That inability is not without international precedent. The reasons
are relatively straightforward.

To begin with, IRA arms shipments reaching Ireland during the
Troubles had to be quickly unloaded and distributed to active
service units to avoid seizure. These weapons would then have been
further dispersed amongst sympathisers within the community. This
process would have taken place in a fraught, pressurised
environment, and in the interests of secrecy with no central
written record.

Over the years, a steady attrition rate took its toll on the IRA
arsenal. On both sides of the Border, the security forces made
large seizures of weapons on the basis of tip-offs from informants
and intelligence sources.

Further caches were seized in searches of lands and properties,
often owned by elderly republican sympathisers.

In some cases, rifles, pistols and Semtex were lost due to the
inability of IRA members to pinpoint the location of hidden
weapons. Often buried at night, and with the passage of time, many
IRA volunteers simply could not remember where weapons were hidden.

Such limitations were tragically highlighted in recent years with
the confusion surrounding the exact location of bodies of the
"disappeared". In time, much of this lost material will eventually
come to light. This is already the case with weapons hidden by the
old IRA during the War of Independence and Civil War.

Every year the Defence Forces "decommission" first World War
vintage Mills grenades and an assortment of weapons and ammunition
hidden in haste during the 1920s.

It is likely that, in time, Defence Forces' ordnance disposal teams
will be called upon to deal with rusting AK-47s and caches of
Semtex hidden in farms, attics and hedgerows.

Ireland is not the only European country to have such an
environmental hazard to contend with. In the former Yugoslavia, in
a dynamic similar to that experienced by IRA active service units,
competing factions in the civil war distributed hundreds of
thousands of anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines, automatic
rifles and ammunition to able-bodied citizens throughout their
respective communities.

Even within conventional armies there are problems concerning
accountability of weapons.

Throughout the Troubles the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) - now the
Royal Irish Regiment - saw British army weapons falling into the
hands of paramilitary groupings.

In the uncontrolled environment within which the IRA operated
during this period, weapons often went missing at the hands of
dissident groupings.

Indeed, one prominent dissident is a former quartermaster of the

For these reasons, the leadership of the Provisional IRA cannot
state exactly the quantity of weapons and ammunition that was
misappropriated during republican schisms.

Ironically, even if the Provisional IRA was in a position to
provide photographs that purported to show the destruction of every
gun and ounce of Semtex, there would still be problems for sceptics
of the peace process.

With the numbers of weapons entering the Republic each month in
drugs shipments, any small and determined group of dissidents could
restart a guerrilla war within days. The IRA's decommissioning
process is merely a statement of intent; an act of good faith. In
light of these facts, Ian Paisley's demands for photographic
evidence would appear politically motivated, designed to bolster
his image as the die-hard unionist who finally humiliated the IRA.

Unfortunately for all of us, his political epitaph may well consist
of just one word: No.

Dr Tom Clonan is a retired army officer. He lectures in the school
of media, DIT.

© The Irish Times


Paisley To Give Blair 'Ultimatum'

The DUP has said it will give the UK government an ultimatum next
week to make a decision on how to overcome the obstacles to a
return to power-sharing.

Party leader Ian Paisley said he would stand firm on the issue of
photographic proof that IRA weapons had been put beyond use.

It was one of the stumbling blocks that prevented a "comprehensive
agreement" between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said he will see Prime Minister
Tony Blair in Downing Street on Monday.

Mr Adams rejected concerns expressed by the Irish justice minister
Michael McDowell that the latest IRA statement left a loophole for
continued criminality, because it failed to guarantee other
people's personal rights and safety.

The Sinn Fein president said that the statement promised an end to
all IRA activity.

On Wednesday, Mr Blair and Irish premier Bertie Ahern published
their proposals for a return to power-sharing devolution in
Northern Ireland after Sinn Fein and the DUP failed to agree a

Political institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended in
October 2002 amid claims of IRA intelligence-gathering at the
Northern Ireland Office.

The DUP and Sinn Fein became the largest unionist and nationalist
parties after elections to the Stormont assembly in November 2003.

However, they have been unable to reach an agreement on the
formation of a power-sharing executive.

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

The IRA said it was committed to the peace process but would "not
submit to a process of humiliation".

Speaking after he received the freedom of his home town of
Ballymena, Mr Paisley said: "My people are not going to be sold

"I made them that promise and I am determined that if we have
decommissioning it must be on the terms that the British government
says, not negotiated."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/11 02:49:06 GMT


Durkan Challenges Adams To Debate

Dan Keenan

Mr Mark Durkan has challenged the Sinn Féin president to a public
debate on what the SDLP calls "the damage done" to the Belfast
Agreement by proposals published by the two governments that
republicans support.

He said Sinn Féin had "attacked the SDLP with spin in a desperate
attempt to cover up what has been conceded to the DUP" on

This was in response to lengthy criticism of the SDLP by Sinn
Féin's Newry-Armagh Assembly member, Mr Conor Murphy.

He derided the SDLP record on the agreement since 1998, accusing
the party of backing repressive legislation, the suspension of the
Assembly, water charges and plastic bullets.

"While the SDLP have been unhelpfully sniping from the sidelines,
Sinn Féin have been defending the rights of nationalists, the
equality agenda and all-Ireland architecture against the objective
of the DUP to achieve such a veto," Mr Murphy said.

"The approach of the SDLP to a relatively small number of key
issues demonstrates that they are increasingly directionless," he

Turning to the SDLP position on photographic records of
decommissioning, he said: "Now they are also supporting the DUP
demand that humiliation, a concept entirely contrary to any peace
process and the Good Friday agreement, should become part a
comprehensive deal to move us forward."

Yesterday Mr Durkan hit back. "Conor Murphy has attacked the SDLP's
record with spin and untruths in an attempt to cover up what has
been conceded to the DUP." He said his party would present its
challenge to the British-Irish "Comprehensive Agreement" early next

Welcoming the prospect of IRA decommissioning and the DUP
acceptance of power-sharing, Mr Durkan said: "The Comprehensive
Agreement gives the DUP a veto over the appointment of nationalist
ministers and the decisions of nationalist ministers." He said Sinn
Féin should be worried more by this than by demands for
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning. Vetoes would "be used
by the DUP time and time again to humiliate nationalist ministers
and nationalist people," he claimed.

"It is humiliating for the Irish people, who voted for that [
Belfast] Agreement, to find that the DUP and Sinn Féin have
negotiated a new, so-called 'Comprehensive Agreement' that
diminishes their right to equality."

© The Irish Times


Name One Thing Paisley, Haughey And De Valera Have In Common

By Ryle Dwyer

IT has not been a good week for Irish politics with politicians
seeking to embarrass each other rather than putting peace and the
national interest first.

Sinn Féin were offering to decommission completely and allow
General John de Chastelain and two clergymen - one from each side
of the divide - to witness the process.

Ian Paisley's demand for photographs of the process has nothing to
do with verification. It was about triumphalism and humiliation.

If Paisley was looking for verification, surely he could be the
Protestant clergyman to witness the process?

When the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed in 1984, Charlie Haughey
sought to undermine it for purely selfish political reasons, and he
sent Brian Lenihan to rouse American opposition to the agreement.
Of all the things that Haughey did, trying to undermine the Anglo-
Irish Agreement was the worst because he put his own political
interests above the lives of Irish people.

Eamon de Valera did the same thing with disastrous consequences
back in 1921. After selecting the delegation to negotiate a treaty
with the British, he repudiated them even though they returned
essentially with the terms he had sought. If he had the integrity
to back the treaty, the civil war could have been avoided.

There are issues which should be above politics, especially
questions of life and death. The controversy surrounding the
possible early release of those who murdered Det Garda Jerry McCabe
poses real problems. The attitude of the McCabe family is fully
understandable, especially in the light of the contradictory
messages from the Government, which had tried to exploit the issue
for party gain, and now they are hoisted on their own petard.

The RUC widows have full sympathy with the McCabe family, but then
maybe we should have more understanding of the attitude of these
unionists all along. We demanded that the unionists should face
hard reality in the name of peace, while we adopted the do-as-we-
say, not-as-we-do attitude.

The war of independence began with the shooting of two policemen in
Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary. That also did not have sanction of the
leadership of the movement at the time. In fact, the leadership was
furious because Seán Treacy, Dan Breen and company acted without
authority on the same day that Dáil Éireann was formed. They
murdered Constables James McDonald, from Belmullet, Co Mayo, and
Patrick O'Connell from Clonmoyle near Coachford, Co Cork.

The big news story next day was not the establishment of the Dáil
but the killings in Tipperary. Breen later wrote that his "only
regret" was that there were only two policemen to kill that day.
"Six would have created a bigger impression than a mere two," he
explained. "We felt bigger game was needed." McDonnell was a
widower with four or five children. "We must show our abhorrence of
this inhuman act," the parish priest, Monsignor Ryan, told the
congregation in St Michael's Church in Tipperary. "We must denounce
it and the cowardly miscreants who are guilty of it - aye, and all
who try to excuse or justify it." Have we not as a nation sought to
justify it since then?

"It used to be said 'where Tipperary leads, Ireland follows,' " the
monsignor continued. "God help poor Ireland if she follows this
lead of blood! But let us give her the lead in our indignant
denunciation of this crime against our Catholic civilisation,
against Ireland, against Tipperary."

People who question what happened at Soloheadbeg are now denounced
as 'revisionists'. Was Monsignor Ryan the first revisionist?

"It would be incorrect to say in the years before 1916 the RIC were
unpopular," wrote Seán Moylan, one of the heroes of the war of
independence. "They were of the people, were inter-married among
the people; they were generally men of exemplary lives, and of a
high level of intelligence." Many of the younger RIC men resigned
in the following years, but the older men felt unable to do so
because of their pensions. "It was a providential thing for the
country that these older men remained at their posts," Moylan
added. "They were a moderating influence that kept within some
bounds the irresponsibilities and criminalities of the Black and

Would recognising their contribution have made Moylan a
revisionist? The Government's biggest problem over the demand for
release of Gerry McCabe's killers is the promise that John
O'Donoghue made as minister for justice that they would not be
released early in any circumstances.

THAT fits nicely into the hardline stand that he was taking on
crime. Crime figured prominently in the 1997 general election
campaign. O'Donoghue promised 'zero tolerance' on behalf of Fianna
Fáil and rubbished the attitude of Minister for Justice Nora Owen,
who was promising a policy of 'no tolerance.' At the time Garda
Commissioner Pat Byrne denounced 'zero tolerance' as unworkable
here. Some of O'Donoghue's critics contended that the policy would
overburden our prison system. They did not say which crimes,
punishable by imprisonment, should be tolerated. "All laws must be
obeyed," Nora Owen contended. "We have no tolerance for crime." She
argued that there was a real difference between 'no tolerance' and
the 'zero tolerance' being advocated by O'Donoghue, who later
explained that he was thinking primarily of the drugs scene.

Whatever about the differences between FF and FG, there was a major
difference of interpretation between O'Donoghue and the man who
popularised zero tolerance - Bill Bratton, New York city police
commissioner from 1994 to 1996.

Bratton's approach of prosecuting even the smallest crime got
international publicity when a grandmother was fined for depositing
'noxious liquid' in Central Park because she allowed her four-year-
old grandson to relieve himself behind a bush. Ridiculous as the
approach may have sounded, the policy had a dramatic impact. Subway
crime fell by almost 80% and street crime by more than half.
Murders were down 40% and burglary by a quarter. There were 30%
fewer robberies and 40% fewer shootings in just two years.

Serious questions remain unanswered not only about the murder of
Jerry McCabe, the last garda killed in the recent Troubles, but
also about Garda Richard Fallon, the first garda murdered in those
Troubles. These questions involve the allegation - first
highlighted in the Dáil in 1971- that a ministerial driver helped
the murderer to flee from Dublin. They also involve the arrest for
questioning of a member of the family of a senior political figure.

The Fallon family have been seeking answers. Surely they deserve an
explanation. Even though the minister for justice indicated that he
would respond to them, he has not done so after well over a year.

Of course, when it comes to sensitivity, Michael McDowell is in a
league of his own. No matter how much anyone might welcome an
agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin, his insensitivity was
breathtaking when he suggested that, in such an eventuality, going
to tell Anne McCabe of the release of her husband's killers would
be "one of the happiest journeys I would have to make in my life".


McCabe Commitment Made, Says Adams

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

The Sinn Féin President, Mr Gerry Adams, has said he received a
commitment from the Taoiseach six years ago that the killers of Det
Garda Jerry McCabe would be released from jail if there were a
comprehensive settlement in the North.

A Government spokeswoman said last night that the Taoiseach was at
a function and could not be contacted for comment on the claim.

In an interview on RTÉ's Late Late Show he said that before the
four men were sentenced in 1998, he had met the Taoiseach and said
to him that they "could not be left behind" if the conflict was
resolved. He said that Mr Ahern told him that if there was a
comprehensive deal, this would "not be a problem".

He said the four qualified for release under the Belfast Agreement.
While the post office robbery they were attempting had not been
authorised by the IRA leadership, it had been authorised by someone
lower down in the IRA's command structure.

He rejected a claim that the four were involved in a robbery in
order to make money for themselves. "They would have not benefited
themselves from whatever would have occurred."

He said that in October last year there was to be a series of
choreographed statements from the different parties which had gone
wrong. But at that time the Irish Government, including Mr
McDowell, had agreed to their release. He said that under the
normal parole terms, they would all be out by the year 2009 anyway.

© The Irish Times


Freedom Under Fire: Honour For Paisley As Peace Deal Unravels

Owen Bowcott in Belfast
Saturday December 11, 2004
The Guardian

Ian Paisley, the 78-year-old leader of the Democratic Unionist
party, was granted the freedom of his native town, Ballymena,
yesterday, and given the right to drive sheep and cattle through
its streets.

The honour was bestowed as recriminations about the failure of the
latest peace deal multiplied and threatened to unravel what had
been agreed between the parties.

Mr Paisley came under fire from rival unionists for squandering the
opportunity to complete the historic process of normalising
political relations within Northern Ireland.

In his first assessment of the document released by Britain and
Ireland, David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionist party
said the DUP "need to ask whether they have just passed up the
opportunity to complete [IRA arms] decommissioning".

Mr Trimble said using photographs to record the weapons'
destruction was "quite reasonable" but implied that his party would
not have made it a non-negotiable precondition.

"By all means get the photograph," he said. "But first of all get
the act [of IRA arms decommissioning]."

Meanwhile Republican Sinn Féin, a splinter movement, yesterday
criticised main stream republicans for giving away their weapons.

The group's leader Ruairi O'Bradaigh said that since they were
accepting the partition of Ireland they may as well agree to having
a photograph of arms being destroyed.

In Ballymena, sectarian divisions remained alive. The nationalist
SDLP said it was boycotting the ceremony to honour Mr Paisley.


December 11, 2004

Dr No Is Disarming, Even When He Fails In His Mission To Disarm His

Notebook by Nick Robinson

WHAT DID I say? The Big Man was in front of the cameras pouring
scorn on his critics. He had, he told the assembled reporters, even
found support for his position on the aircraft from London. The
IRA, boomed the Rev Ian Paisley, didn't have to wear sackcloth and
ashes, they could always don hairshirts. Their weapons, he added,
were covered in the blood of his neighbours and friends. I was the
only person to chat to Dr No on the flight to Belfast on the
morning of the deal that never was. Had I agreed with any of his
pronouncements? Not as far as I could recall. I can only assume
that if you don't come out against Mr Paisley, he assumes that you
must be for him.

The day before I had been trawling through the archives to compile
a montage of him screaming NO across the decades — NO to civil
rights in the Sixties, NO to powersharing in the Seventies, NO to
the Ango-Irish Agreement in the Eighties, NO to the Good Friday
Agreement in the Nineties. And yet as we tackled our in-flight
scrambled eggs over the Irish Sea he was softly spoken, amusing and
delighted that he could still disarm people who expected him to be
anything but. Tony Blair is said to find him both likeable and
principled. The Big Man boasts of his friendship with nationalist
politicians. Yet not long after our amicable chat he launched a
verbal rocket-propelled grenade at a reporter who challenged his
stance, accusing him of being "a Roman Catholic and a Republican".
Mr Paisley, you must remember, is a man so certain of himself that
he set up his own Church, his own party and his own branch of the
Orange Order. After our breakfast he took up his book of daily
Bible readings and his pen for underlining. Later I found the entry
for that day. It was from the Book of Jude: a warning that only
those who endure to the end would be saved. So now we know.

THE SHUTTLE from Belfast to London is often packed with Northern
Ireland's rival leaders. A journalist friend of mine was once asked
to swap seats and to sit between Mr Paisley and Martin McGuinness
to act as a buffer. One world-weary traveller on the flight
observed that if the plane went down the Troubles would be over.

SOME FIND the idea of the peace process foundering on a row about
photos risible. Not me. The power of photographs is not just that
they speak a thousand words, it is that they last for ever. Snaps
of the IRA's arsenal could be used again and again to recall what
the IRA had stood for or to taunt the Provos with their
"surrender". They could and would be used when Sinn Fein leaders
sought office in both the North and the South. They would form part
of their country's history. However, I cannot help feeling that
this row was a tad too convenient for both sides who, away from the
cameras, showed none of the anger or bitterness they had displayed
publicly for their supporters.

MY OLD friends at the BBC are angst-ridden about what the Mark
Thompson cuts might mean for them. I sympathise, although I suspect
that the reality may prove rather less painful then the headlines
suggest — rather like Gordon Brown's Civil Service cuts. My
sympathy ends when I hear the metropolitan moaning of those
horrified at the thought that their jobs might migrate beyond the
M25. Some talk as if they were being asked to go to Kazakhstan.
Manchester, I can assure them, does have both electricity and
running water. I dream of joining CBeebies in their new Mancunian
home where I can chat contentedly to Postman Pat and other fellow
chippy Northeners. The Teletubbies are from Yorkshire, you know.
Why else do you think they say "Eh Oh"?

CAN I apologise on behalf of all of us who work in television news.
A new study by researchers at Nottingham Trent University reveals
that watching a single bulletin can trigger depression, confusion,
irritation, anger and anxiety. I find that reading about pointless
academic studies paid for with taxpayers' money has much the same

FINALLY, a thank-you to David Blunkett. By speaking on the record
of his contempt for his fellow ministers I trust that the public
will now understand that when politicians dismiss our stories as
gossip and speculation they really mean that we are reporting what
they told us.

Nick Robinson is political editor of ITV News


Trimble Attacks DUP Over Deal

Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has accused the DUP of
giving away too much in the latest round of negotiations on
restoring devolution

He said that Ian Paisley's party had gone below his bottom line on
issues such as policing and justice.

Plans for a return to power-sharing broke down over demands for
photographs of the destruction IRA weapons.

In the wake of the publication of the plans a fierce row has also
broken out between the main nationalist parties.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has challenged Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams to a public debate on the damage done to the Good Friday
Agreement by the new "Comprehensive Agreement".

He said that Mr Adams had agreed to give the DUP a veto over the
appointment of nationalist ministers.

Mr Durkan said that the DUP would use its veto to rule against the
decisions of nationalist ministers in a power-sharing executive.

The SDLP and the UUP were the largest nationalist and unionist
parties in Northern Ireland before the Assembly elections in
November 2003.

The political institutions in Northern Ireland have been suspended
since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering
at the Northern Ireland Office.

Before that the UUP leader was Northern Ireland's first minister
and he remained the chief negotiator from the unionist community
until he was eclipsed by the electoral strength of Ian Paisley's

On Friday, Mr Trimble held aloft a copy of the April 1998 Good
Friday Agreement, which laid the foundations for a power-sharing
government in Northern Ireland.

He also held the draft proposals for a new "Comprehensive
Agreement" revealed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Irish
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on Wednesday.

Mr Trimble said: "When Dr Paisley accepts this he accepts that.

"We have to say to the DUP now you have accepted this what on earth
was the last six years about?

"What on earth were you doing for the last six years when at the
end of the day you accept these and when you go through the detail
of this you will see very little you have achieved for it all and
lots of things you have done to meet the agenda of republicans."

Mr Trimble said the DUP had not only signed up to the Good Friday
Agreement but was now going to bring about more - not fewer north-
south bodies.

However, Mr Trimble did support the call for photographic evidence
and greater transparency in the decommissioning process.

Mr Durkan, whose party has been replaced by Sinn Fein as the main
nationalist group, said: "The prospect of IRA decommissioning and
the DUP power-sharing is welcome.

"But the fact is that this so-called "Comprehensive Agreement"
gives the DUP a veto over the appointment of nationalist ministers
and the decisions of nationalist ministers.

"Instead of worrying about photos humiliating the IRA, Sinn Fein
should have been worried about vetoes which will be used by the DUP
time and time again to humiliate nationalist ministers and
nationalist people."

He said that Sinn Fein had put the interests of a private army
ahead of the interests of the Irish people.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/10 17:02:25 GMT


See video at:

Day Of Reflection Not Poppy Day Substitute Says SF -V

10 December 2004

A senior Sinn Fein figure today insisted ceremonies devised by his
party to commemorate the dead of all wars were not intended as a
substitute to Remembrance Day events in Northern Ireland.

Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin was commenting as Sinn Fein
mayors and council chairs staged special 'Day of Reflection' events
in Omagh, Strabane, Fermanagh, Magherafelt and Derry to coincide
with International Human Rights Day.

Derry Mayor Gearoid O hEara unveiled a plaque in a ceremony in the
city while the chairs of Omagh and Strabane councils, Sean Clarke
and Jarleth McNulty, took part and planted trees in their
respective areas.

The chairs of Magherafelt and Fermanagh Councils, Patsy Groogan and
Gerry McHugh also hosted civic ceremonies.

Mr McLaughlin stressed the initiative from Derry Mayor Gearoid O
hEara was an extension of the work done by South Belfast MLA Alex
Maskey when he was mayor of Belfast two years ago and held his own
remembrance events and visited the Somme on behalf of the city.

The Foyle MLA said: "Sinn Fein mayors and chairs throughout the six
counties (Northern Ireland) have worked hard to build an initiative
that reflects our commitment to providing civic leadership for the
people we represent.

"The initiatives are not uniform across any of these council areas
but are guided and shaped by the engagement that each has had with
the people they represent as first citizens.

"It is built upon engagement with many representatives and
organisations representing many of those who have suffered as a
result of wars and conflict.

"I want to stress A Day of Reflection is not in any way intended as
a replacement of existing commemorative events.

"Instead it is about something entirely new. It is in recognition
of the need to validate and recognise the experiences of all
equally, and together."

Unionists have accused Sinn Fein of devising the day of reflection
as a mechanism for its mayors and council chairs to avoid attending
recent Remembrance Day events.


Why We've No Need For This Day Of Reflection

By Richard Doherty
10 December 2004

During the autumn the Sinn Fein mayor of Londonderry proposed
today's 'Day of Reflection' to remember all those from the city who
lost their lives in conflict either in Northern Ireland or
elsewhere in the world. This, we were told, was innovative thinking
that would help everyone to show respect for the dead without
causing any dissension.

Today is also, of course, Human Rights Day. Thus the concept of
respecting the rights of all is locked in with the concept of

Not surprisingly, Sinn Fein wheeled in behind the idea and
Londonderry's mayor has received a metaphorical pat on the back for
his thinking. It seems, from the attitude of the Sinn Fein
leadership, that this is the answer to the problems caused by
remembrance in Northern Ireland and a way of bringing people of
very different political views and attitudes together in some form
of harmony.

But can there be any real reconciliation from such an idea?

It is significant that a number of members of the Protestant
chattering classes voiced their support for the concept. Some have
opined that it could be the way forward and that it is a positive
contribution to the peace process.

Have these folk stopped to consider the feelings of those who lost
loved ones in Northern Ireland over the past 36 years? Or those who
lost loved ones in the two world wars of the 20th century? Or those
who live daily with the effects, the pain and the anguish of

For years Sinn Fein has told us that there can be no hierarchy of
suffering and no hierarchy of victimhood. Therefore, in their
analysis, it should be a good thing for everyone to come together
in reflection.

It is certainly true that pain is the same whether suffered by a
unionist, a nationalist, a loyalist or a republican. Tears sting
equally in every case where an empty chair has been left in a
household and a voice and a presence will always be missed.

But there is a very real difference. And it is because of this
difference that I - and many others, both Catholic and Protestant -
did not take part in today's Day of Reflection.

The difference is that there are among the dead of the last several
decades many who went out coldly to murder and destroy, who left
their homes and their families with the clear intention of doing to
death one or more fellow human beings.

And their reason was the perverted one that those other human
beings wore a uniform with which they, the killers, disagreed, or
held or spoke political or religious views that they disliked.

In other words, those men and women went out with the intention to
deny someone the most basic right - that of life itself.

Whether loyalist or republican, these men and women can be
described only as terrorists. They had no right to take life, they
had no right to carry guns, they had no right to try to dominate
areas of Northern Ireland and impose their will on other citizens.

And it is the political representatives of these terrorists who
were asking all of us to join together in this Day of Reflection.

There are many who consider that the true reason is that, once
again, Sinn Fein wants to appear as the voice of reason, as white
hats in the face of black hats.

They believe that Londonderry's mayor, knowing that he would
receive an invitation to attend the Remembrance Sunday parade in
the city, decided to hijack Remembrance with his scheme.

And, to an extent, he has succeeded, if only because of the
discussion that has occurred.

But those who are remembered not only on Remembrance Sunday but on
every day of the year lost their lives in the service of causes
that were much more noble than the nasty campaign of terror that
besmirched Northern Ireland for too long.

The servicemen and women of the Second World War, especially,
fought against one of the greatest evils that humanity has ever
seen: Nazism. And yet our own loyalist and republican fascists
think that their dead are on a par with those men and women. That
can never be.

The young men who died in Normandy, or in the Western Desert, or
Burma; the RUC officers murdered in their own homes, or as they
served the community, the soldiers who patrolled the streets and
lanes of Northern Ireland can never be compared with those who
murdered them.

Every year the Republican Movement has at least three occasions for
remembrance. They recall the last weekend of June 1970, when the
Provos were 'born', as well as Easter week of 1916 and the memory
of Wolfe Tone, who must spin in his grave at the thought.

On each of the first two occasions, Londonderry's city cemetery is
taken over for a display of support for the IRA. Tricolours fly
from over 200 flagpoles and streets leading to the cemetery are
similarly adorned.

And yet they complain about the presence of British service
personnel and the singing of 'God Save the Queen' on Remembrance

On reflection, perhaps the best thing to do, for now and for some
generations to come, is to remember as we do now and leave our
neighbours to do likewise.

For those who have suffered loss, there is no need for a Day of
Reflection. Every day is a day of reflection.

Historian Richard Doherty is the author of The Thin Green Line: The
history of the RUC GC, published by Pen and Sword, price £25.


€4m Garda Bill For Bush Visit

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

President George Bush's 18-hour visit to Dromoland Castle last
June cost more than €4 million in overtime for 3,500 gardaí, the
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr McDowell, has

Replying to the Labour TD, Mr Joe Costello, the Minister said the
full security bill for protecting Mr Bush during the US-EU summit
in Co Clare now stands at over €8 million, and some bills are still

In all 3,500 gardaí - one third of the force - who were moved to
Dromoland from stations all over the State used up 169,021 hours of
overtime before and after the brief visit.

Describing the new figures as "astonishing", Mr Costello said the
€25-an-hour overtime bill spent could have paid the salaries for
200 gardaí for a year.

Any international political leader coming to the Republic of
Ireland had the right to expect that "all appropriate action is
taken to ensure his or her security", the Dublin Central TD went

"However, crime-harassed communities, which are being starved of
Garda resources, will be astonished to find that the Government had
no difficulty in coming up with apparently limitless Garda
resources for the visit.

"I think the Irish taxpayer is entitled to ask if we got value for
the huge expenditure involved in what appeared to be basically a
pre-election photo-opportunity for President Bush."

In his Dáil reply to Mr Costello, the Minister said: "A small
number of claims and other miscellaneous charges remain
outstanding, so it is not possible to provide a full and final

During the visit gardaí closed off a 10km section of the main
Limerick-Galway road from Friday evening until Saturday afternoon
after Mr Bush had left.

Other officers mounted road blocks on numerous small roads in the
area, allowing access only to local vehicles that had received
prior security clearance.

Up to 1,000 members of the Garda crowd control unit, who are known
within the force as the riot squad, were also on alert in the area,
fully equipped with protective clothing, shields and truncheons.

Meanwhile, two water cannon borrowed from the Police Service of
Northern Ireland were also in place at Shannon Airport, as were
armed gardaí, who also manned positions around Dromoland Castle.

Two thousand soldiers were on duty, equipped with more than 20
armoured personnel carriers, and Scorpion tanks, dug into positions
around the airport and Dromoland Castle, along with bomb disposal
experts and a chemical decontamination unit.

© The Irish Times

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