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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
January 01, 2005
01/01/05 - Agents Hijack Army Website
Monthly Table of Contents 01/05
Monthly Table of Contents 12/04
TO 01/02/05 Agents Hijack Army Website
TO 01/02/05 Northern Bank Admits It Got Its Numbers Wrong
TO 01/02/05 Marchers May Face Fines For Sectarian Acts
TO 01/02/05 Gatecrashers Vie To Take Over Sinn Fein's Centenary Party
TO 01/02/05 Opin: Would It Be Rude To Mention Terror At SF's Party?
TO 01/02/05 'Marxist' Chileans Denied Asylum
TO 01/02/05 Revealed: UK Secret Plan To Quit Ulster
TO 01/02/05 Lemass Tried To Topple Nelson In Favour Of Saint
TO 01/02/05 Governments Ruled Out Deal With Kidnappers
BB 01/01/05 Internment Report Led To Government Fury
Agents Hijack Army Website
Adam Nathan, Defence Correspondent
TWO disgruntled former army intelligence agents have caused a security
alert after hijacking a military website. The men were able to take
control of the site's e-mailing facility shortly before Christmas after
the Intelligence Corps apparently failed to renew its subscription.
When recruits send e-mails inquiring about jobs with the corps via its
website, the men send back messages claiming that the unit is
"responsible for the murder of innocent civilians and the direction of
The men, Kevin Fulton (a pseudonym) and Sam Rosenfeld, formerly worked
for the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert branch of the Intelligence
Corps set up to infiltrate Northern Ireland paramilitary groups. The FRU,
later renamed the Joint Services Group (JSG), has been linked to murders
by loyalist terrorists.
Both men claimed last week that they had been abandoned by their military
intelligence handlers and that their lives were in danger from republican
terrorists seeking revenge. They said the reason for hijacking the
website was to draw attention to their treatment by the Ministry of
The ministry said: "It looks as if the e-mail address . . . has been
allowed to lapse and has been taken over. We are investigating how this
happened." It said the website was owned and operated by the Intelligence
Corps but its contents were being transferred to the main MoD site.
The Intelligence Corps uses the website to attract potential recruits.
More than a dozen applicants have used the e-mail facility on the site —
usite.army.mod.uk/intcorps — since Rosenfeld and Fulton hijacked it.
Instead of careers information they have received messages from the
The messages read: "The site is no longer owned or operated by the
Intelligence Corps but by myself a former intelligence agent . . . the
corps . . . has been responsible for the murder of innocent civilians and
the direction of terrorism." Links to articles on the FRU's alleged
wrongdoings are supplied.
The FRU's agents included Brian Nelson, the loyalist UDA's head of
intelligence, and Freddie Scappaticci, the IRA's head of internal
security, who was responsible for rooting out other informants. Nelson
gathered information on potential victims for UDA hit squads. One victim
was Pat Finucane, a republican solicitor shot dead in 1989.
The FRU's involvement with loyalist hit squads was the subject of a large
inquiry by Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan police commissioner.
Fulton's FRU work was revealed in The Sunday Times in 2001. Last week he
admitted his role in the hijacking and said it was intended to point out
shortcomings in the army's care of its agents. Rosenfeld added: "I was
willing to give my life for my country and this is what they do to me."
Northern Bank Admits It Got Its Numbers Wrong
TO LOSE €31m in a bank robbery may be seen as a misfortune. To lose the
serial numbers of the missing bank notes starts to look like
Northern Bank, victim of one of the world's biggest bank robberies two
weeks ago, has been criticised after it was revealed it gave the wrong
serial numbers to police.
The embarrassment came to light after two £20 notes thought to have been
stolen were used at Dundonald International Ice Bowl in east Belfast on
Thursday. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) admitted
yesterday that the notes were legitimately held.
It has now emerged that Northern Bank provided the PSNI with the wrong
serial numbers. About 50,000 £20 notes that were listed as stolen may in
fact be legitimately held by the public. Northern Bank has now given a
revised list to police and banks.
The PSNI said: "Not all the serial numbers supplied by the Northern Bank
have turned out to have been part of the robbery. This has led to some
unfruitful lines of inquiry, but as the investigation is ongoing it is
not possible to comment further on specific cases."
A spokesman for Dundonald Ice Bowl said the two notes had been returned
Sir Reg Empey, the Ulster Unionist MLA for East Belfast, said: "The fact
that the bank issued some wrong numbers is doubly embarrassing for them
and creates a further loss of confidence. They took several days before
releasing the numbers and still were not fully informed of what was
contained in their vaults.
"The staff were very vigilant but that is no good if they are looking for
the wrong numbers. This calls into question the bank's systems. I think
most people find it astonishing that not only can they have their vaults
cleaned out without any technology intervening, but they can't even get
the numbers of the notes right. I think this is discouraging for the
Almost two weeks after the raid, police seem no closer to recovering the
proceeds or making any arrests. On Thursday officers carried out a third
set of searches in west Belfast but recovered only some counterfeit DVDs.
Robbers stole £22m from Northern Bank's city centre vaults on December
20. The raid is being blamed on the Provisional IRA but republican
sources deny any IRA involvement.
Marchers May Face Fines For Sectarian Acts
ORANGE and republican organisations face fines for sectarian behaviour
during parades under plans to curb religious hatred in Scotland.
The proposal is being considered by Sir John Orr, the former chief
constable of Strathclyde, who is carrying out a review of marches and
parades for the Scottish executive.
Orr is also expected to recommend that communities should have more say
in the routes and timing of parades.
The moves follow the publication of a report by the Crown Office which
showed that 450 people have been charged with the crime of religious
aggravation since it was introduced in 2003. About 15% of offences were
committed during marches and parades.
The proposal to fine marchers has been submitted to the Orr review by Nil
by Mouth, the anti-sectarianism charity established in 2000 in memory of
Mark Smith, a Glasgow schoolboy who was stabbed to death in 1995 after
attending a Celtic match.
The group has called for the force to be given the right to recover some
or all of the costs of policing marches, which can run to tens of
thousands of pounds for each parade.
Organisers would be required to put up a bond if their marches have a
track record of trouble or if police believe there is a serious risk of
Local authorities would also be given the right to levy charges on
marching organisations unless they agree to cut the number of marches
The cost of stewarding and overseeing hundreds of parades each year has
put pressure on police forces. In Strathclyde, there were 741 marches in
2003, involving 18,540 police officers and 23,871 hours' duty.
At least half of the parades in Scotland are organised by the Orange
Order, mainly in the west of the country and most marches take place
between June and August.
The annual James Connolly march, organised by republicans, is one of the
The Nil by Mouth submission to the Orr review states: "It has to be
recognised that ordinary members of the law-abiding public resent paying
the cost of policing marches which result in sectarian disorder. In
limited circumstances, therefore, police should have the right to recover
part or all of the cost of policing a march.
"As a society we must constantly challenge behaviour which inflames
sectarian attitudes and leads to violence and the fear of violence.
Public displays of sectarianism are not just bad for local communities;
they have a deeply damaging effect on Scotland's image in the wider
Along with many police officers and politicians, Nil By Mouth has urged
Orr to cut the number of Orange and republican marches in Scotland.
Ian Wilson, the grand master of the Orange Lodge of Scotland, described
the proposal to fine march organisers as "crackpot" and said the the
policy would infringe civil liberties.
Gatecrashers Vie To Take Over Sinn Fein's Centenary Party
WILL the real Sinn Fein please stand up? No less than five political
parties are to mark the centenary of the Sinn Fein movement this year
with rival commemorations.
The main battle for the Sinn Fein mantle is being fought between Fianna
Fail and Gerry Adams's party. In a surprise move, Fianna Fail has set up
a committee to plan events this year to mark the founding by Arthur
Griffith of the Sinn Fein party in November 1905.
A party source admitted that Fianna Fail's events are likely to play
second fiddle to the modern Sinn Fein's. "There is tremendous rivalry
over this, and Sinn Fein is well ahead," the source admitted. "Fianna
Fail is going to do something — probably based around traditional Irish
music — in an attempt to regain the lost ground."
A party spokesman said: "A programme of events will be announced in
January. Fianna Fail already has several events through the year at which
republican heroes are commemorated, and the party will be building on
Sinn Fein's year-long schedule of political rallies, concerts and art
shows will span four continents. The political wing of the IRA is
planning a concert in May, with a number of prominent traditional
musicians being invited to participate. Citywest, a 2,500-capacity venue
on the outskirts of Dublin, has been booked by the party for a political
rally in November.
The party is sponsoring an international tour of photographs featuring
images of Ireland over the past 100 years. The exhibition will visit the
Gaza Strip, Latin America and New York.
The events will coincide with a recruitment drive by Sinn Fein, which has
experienced a fall-off in new members after a surge in the late 1990s.
Fianna Fail and Gerry Adams's colleagues are not the only groups intent
on claiming ownership of the Sinn Fein tradition, however. Fine Gael has
established a centenary committee to plan events, while Republican Sinn
Fein, a breakaway led by Ruairi O Bradaigh, will also be staging
commemorations. Even the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, regarded as the
political wing of the Real IRA, is getting in on the act.
Almost every Irish political party can trace its roots to the 1905 Sinn
Fein movement, with the only notable exception being the Greens.
Griffith's party first divided into pro-treaty and anti-treaty factions
in 1922, with the pro-treatyites becoming Cumann na nGael and eventually
Eamon de Valera led the majority of anti-treatyites out of Sinn Fein and
into parliamentary politics as Fianna Fail in 1925. The Progressive
Democrat party, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, is an
offshoot of Fianna Fail.
The party currently called Sinn Fein came into being in 1970 when a
traditionalist wing, unhappy with the left-wing direction of the
republican movement, broke away. The majority of membership remained with
the Dublin-based leadership which, after several changes of name,
eventually became the Workers' party. Most of its members broke away to
form Democratic Left, and it merged with the Labour party in 1998.
Those left in the Workers' party, which can claim to be the only direct
descendent of the 1905 party, will not be paying much attention to the
Sean Garland, the Workers' party president, said: "People should look at
what they are actually celebrating here. The Workers' party, although
linked directly, is now far removed from the philosophy of Arthur
"He was, in reality, a monarchist not a socialist, and in latter years
served in a government that oversaw the killing of republicans. Maybe
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael can rightly claim to maintain this heritage."
Brian Feeney, a historian who has written the definitive book on Sinn
Fein, believes Adams and his party has the best claim to direct lineage.
"It's totally preposterous for Fianna Fail to claim any continuity with
Sinn Fein in 1905, because they broke with the party when de Valera went
into the Dail," he said.
Feeney said that the party founded in 1905 was not republican. "Sinn Fein
maintained the concept of a dual monarchy for Ireland under the British
crown until 1917."
An Post is also commemorating the centenary and a stamp with Griffith's
image is expected to be approved shortly.
Comment: Alan Ruddock: Would It Be Rude To Mention Terror At Sinn Fein's
The new year starts on an uplifting note. Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein
president, announces that the last act of the IRA before it stands down
will be to assist the police in rooting out the criminal gangsters who so
besmirch the republican tradition. Catriona Ruane, Sinn Fein's spin
doctor on matters Colombian, launches a Send them Back campaign and says
all republicans must abide by the rule of law, no matter where they
choose to go on holiday. Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, vows to be
But no. Grim fare is the order of the day and few things could be grimmer
politically than the prospect of 2005 being the 100th anniversary of Sinn
Fein. Nothing we have seen so far will have prepared us for the year-long
festivities, which will focus on the twin objectives of rewriting recent
history and recruiting gullible followers.
Ruane, we are told by An Phoblacht, the Sinn Fein house newspaper, has
spent the past six months preparing this anniversary. Murals depicting
the "struggle" will spring up across the land; your local area may be
lucky enough to experience a "leadership tour"; "colleges and
universities will be the platform for a recruitment drive"; and, Ruane
promises, "our centenary celebrations will focus on issues of huge
importance to Ireland's future such as equality, human rights and ethnic
minorities". Can't wait.
Sinn Fein, be certain, will dominate the domestic news agenda in 2005 and
it will be aided and abetted by a docile media believing whatever spouts
from its lips. Unnamed republican sources issued a feeble denial of IRA
involvement in the Northern Bank heist, but that was good enough for The
Irish Times. Cue front-page splash trumpeting the "denial" and not an
editorial word to place it in the context of repeated inaccurate denials
of republican criminality.
The new reality is that Sinn Fein and republican sources speak the truth.
The next step will be to swallow An Phoblacht whole, and repeat its
conclusion that "British Crown Forces" were behind the bank job, or the
police raids on known republican activists after the robbery were
"orchestrated by securocrats in the British system intent on wrecking the
That's right: staging a robbery is no threat to the peace process,
because both Irish and British governments will happily turn a blind eye,
but investigating that robbery is a threat because it targets the only
organisation with the track record and capacity to carry it out.
The bank robbery matters, as does the conviction of the Colombia Three,
not just because it reveals the criminality that characterises the
republican movement, but because it demonstrates how much we as a society
have compromised our democracy to accommodate that criminality. The
return of devolution in Northern Ireland will mean Sinn Fein sharing
power. Responsibility for policing and justice will in time be passed
from Westminster to Stormont. Serving as ministers with responsibility
for policing and justice will be Sinn Fein members who are indivisibly
linked to Ireland's largest and most effective criminal organisation. And
It is unsettling, just as the level of support enjoyed by Sinn Fein is
unsettling. After June's local and European elections I wrote that we
should hang our heads in shame that so many people had voted for the
party. It was pointed out to me that more than 90% of those who voted in
the local and European elections did not give Sinn Fein a first
preference. Why, some asked, should they hang their heads when they had
not given, and never would give, Sinn Fein a vote? They had a point, but
simply staying silent, looking the other way, and voting for democrats
will not stop the cancer growing.
The actual number of people who think it is acceptable to give the party
any preference rises at each election. In 1994 Sinn Fein won less than
10% of the votes in the European election in Northern Ireland. By 1999 it
had gone up to 17.3% and in 2004 it rose to 26.3%. In the republic its
share of the vote was just 8% in the local elections, but that was more
than double its previous vote. In the European elections it was the third
most popular party with just fewer than 200,000 first- preference votes.
It is now an accepted, tolerated part of our political system, even
though it holds that system in contempt.
So as we celebrate Sinn Fein's centenary, can we expect to hear remorse
for the murders in Enniskillen, or Claudy, or La Mon, or Kingsmill, or
Bloody Friday, or Warrenpoint, or any other massacre carried out by Sinn
Fein's terrorist wing? Will we hear the names of those who ordered and
carried out the murders and will we hear them beg forgiveness?
Will Adams, Martin McGuinness, Martin Ferris, Pat Doherty, Gerry Kelly
and the rest of Sinn Fein's leadership tell us, honestly, what they did
during the years of terror? Will the exiled be allowed to come home and
will the disappeared be reunited, even in death, with their loved ones?
Is that what Ruane means when she talks so glibly of human rights and
equality and ethnic minorities being so important to Ireland's future?
Or will the history of the Provisional IRA's campaign of terror, its
"heroic" murder of construction workers, schoolchildren, fathers, mothers
and grandparents be presented as part of a glorious continuum, a natural
extension of Arthur Griffith's early ideals?
Stop any person under the age of 30 in the street and ask them to name
three Provisional IRA atrocities of the past 30 years and see what
answers you get. They'll know about Bloody Sunday, perhaps Pat Finucane
or even the Birmingham Six. They might have heard of Enniskillen, but I
doubt it; Omagh and its dead are not laid at Adams's door, so that too
can be glossed over. As for the murders carried out in their name under
their flag? Glazed eyes and a mutter of "give peace a chance". The young
have no concept of Sinn Fein beyond the sanitised image presented through
the Irish media — an image bolstered by the determination of Ahern and
Tony Blair to appease and compromise at every turn of the Sinn Fein
Adams is, as a result, one of the republic's most admired politicians,
yet his image is based on a lie and embellished by propaganda. That is
why Sinn Fein has to be exposed and fought at every turn — because its
propaganda is so intense and its objectives so sinister.
The Colombia Three, convicted of training terrorists there in bombing
techniques, may slip home or may skulk abroad but their crimes will not
be allowed to interfere with Sinn Fein's relentless rise — Ruane's
propaganda has seen to that. The bank heist will not damage the peace
process — at least not in Ahern's or Blair's eyes — and already the
governments try to spin the notion that the robbery was itself an act of
completion, a pension fund exercise that should be taken as evidence that
the IRA really is about to go away.
Ian Paisley and the DUP may think differently, but their refusal to sit
down in government with Sinn Fein will be painted as classic unionist
obstructionism rather than determined opposition to unrepentant and
unreformed criminals sharing power. History, even the most recent, will
be rewritten before our eyes and with barely a murmur of protest.
Reasons to be cheerful? None. Happy new year.
'Marxist' Chileans Denied Asylum
A GOVERNMENT minister protested about the resettlement of Chilean
refugees in Ireland because he suspected they were Marxists "and probably
Paddy Cooney, the former Fine Gael justice minister, raised concerns
about the Department of Foreign Affairs allowing 12 South American
families to resettle here in 1974. The refugees were fleeing in the
aftermath of a bloody coup in which General Augusto Pinochet seized power
from a Marxist government led by President Salvador Allende.
Cooney said it would be reasonable to assume that if the Chilean refugees
had been political militants "they will not change their outlook on
arrival in this country".
In a memo released yesterday by the National Archives under the 30-year
rule, Cooney says: "The refugees now in question are in a category that
may pose additional problems. The indications seem to be that they (or,
at all events, many of them) are refugees because they are Marxists and
probably communists and it is to be assumed that a significant proportion
of their number are 'activists'.
"This applies particularly to the non-Chileans, who appear to be people
whose activities led to their having to leave their countries and who
sought refuge in Chile precisely because it had a sympathetic (communist)
president, in contrast to right-wing governments in their own country."
Cooney said that 548 Hungarian refugees admitted to Ireland after the
Soviet crackdown in 1956 hadn't settled down. Eventually an "ad
misericordiam plea" had to be made to Britain and America to take them
"off our hands".
Cooney instructed his officials to inform other ministers that, while he
did not directly object to the refugees coming, there was a number of
"considerations" that would have to be taken into account. For example,
refugees from distant countries with a very different cultural background
posed difficulties for less "cosmopolitan" Ireland.
Cooney made his concerns known in response to a memo sent out by the
Department of Foreign Affairs in February 1974. Ireland and Luxembourg
were the only remaining EU members who had not committed to accepting
refugees fleeing Chile.
Garret FitzGerald, the then foreign affairs minister, had been asked for
support by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Amnesty
International and the Irish Order of the Franciscans. His department
initially thought it had the support of all government departments for
But Cooney's officials sent an angry objection to FitzGerald, saying the
refugees were liable sooner or later to engage in political activity in
Ireland and there would be no effective sanction against them as they
could not be deported.
"Extreme left-wing or other political activists or agitators would be
likely to present a far greater problem for this country than for other
western European countries," Cooney's officials said.
They added: "There is in existence here a relatively large and well-
organised subversive group towards whom such persons could be expected to
gravitate." This was an apparent reference to both the Official and
Revealed: UK Secret Plan To Quit Ulster
John Burns and Andrew Bushe
SECRET plans for a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland were
independently drawn up by both Harold Wilson, the prime minister, and
Irish government officials in 1974.
Files released by the National Archives in Kew and Dublin this weekend
reveal that while Wilson was considering giving Ulster dominion status
after the collapse of the Sunningdale power-sharing administration, Irish
officials were also making contingency arrangements for a British
In a 1974 memo to Robert Armstrong, his private secretary, Wilson said
dominion status was one possible scenario "and I have a feeling that
parliamentary and other pressures may drive us to pretty early
consideration of it".
Writing on May 30, 1974, the prime minister complained that Britain had
responsibility without power in Northern Ireland. There was no prospect
of another power-sharing deal between unionists and nationalists, and his
government was at the mercy of the Ulster Workers' Council, which had
brought down Sunningdale.
Effectively returning Northern Ireland to Protestant majority rule would
have profound implications, Wilson conceded. "Outbreak of violence and
bloodshed, possible unacceptability to modern Catholics, ditto the
(Irish) republic, the UN and the possible spread of trouble across the
water, to name but a few.
"If we can in some way remain in control of the situation we can perhaps
work out a more coherent scheme, with a built-in time scale and possibly
guarantees — or at least sanctions protective to ourselves."
Dominion status would only be granted if the rights of the Catholic
minority were guaranteed, the prime minister said. The new state would
soon be financially self-sufficient, and Britain could "taper off" aid
over a three- to five-year period. "After that, they are out on their
own, and have not got a prescriptive right to standards higher than those
in the south."
Ulster people would remain subjects of the Queen, but the state would not
get automatic entry to the Commonwealth. A small garrison of British
troops would remain.
Irish officials were also drawing up "Doomsday" plans in preparation for
a British withdrawal, files released by the National Archives in Dublin
Following the collapse of Sunningdale, an SDLP delegation told officials
in Dublin that "there is a smell of it (withdrawal) in the air". But the
Fine Gael/Labour coalition was reluctant to raise the issue directly with
Wilson in case it encouraged British withdrawal.
A unit of senior officials, led by Dermot Nally, was told to plan an
Irish government response to the British leaving. It warned that Irish
unity was not likely to result.
"It is more likely that a British withdrawal, if it is abrupt, would be
followed by an attempt to establish an independent state in Northern
Ireland, initially over the entire six counties but ultimately over these
areas now dominated by the (Protestant) majority there," the unit's
The officials drew up contingency plans for dealing with a flood of
Catholic refugees across the border; the SDLP predicted that 70,000 would
flee south. It estimated a cost of IR£16m to accommodate 50,000 refugees
for three months. "Obviously if numbers of this magnitude or greater were
to be cared for for any lengthy period, it would be necessary for the
government to billet most of them on private families," the unit said.
"Substantial inter-communal" violence could lead to re-partition,
officials reckoned, with new boundaries being drawn based on the
positions held by rival forces on the date of a ceasefire.
Using the 1971 census to consider new borders, the unit was most
concerned about the position of large Catholic minorities in Belfast and
Lisburn, and Protestant communities in border areas such as Castlederg
and Enniskillen. It considered cantonment and enclave solutions of the
type used for Greek and Turkish areas following conflict in Cyprus, and
of making the Catholic minority in west Belfast the subject of "a west
Of the four re-partition models drawn up by Irish officials, the minimum
affected 161,000 Catholics and 132,000 Protestants with all of Fermanagh,
Londonderry, Newry and parts of counties Armagh, Down and Tyrone becoming
part of the republic.
The inter-departmental unit was also worried about IRA or loyalist-
controlled "autonomous areas" emerging out of the chaos following British
withdrawal. There was no doubt the IRA would attempt to gain control of
areas just north of the border with the "overt or tacit" support of local
Officials agreed that an Irish army move into the north "could only be
contemplated in a situation where inter-communal fighting was already so
widespread that intervention could not make matters worse". Even without
going in, about 20,000 Irish troops would be needed to maintain security
south of the border.
A full takeover of the province would involve more than 100,000 troops
but the army's strength in 1974 was only 11,300. Of this only 5,500 were
The unit warned a big troop build-up could prompt the situation it was
designed to prevent, by heightening Protestant fears of an invasion. It
would also swell recruitment to the Provisional and Official IRA.
Lemass Tried To Topple Nelson In Favour Of Saint
DUBLIN would have no landmark Spire and O'Connell Street would instead be
dominated by St Patrick's Pillar if a 1960 plan by Sean Lemass, the
taoiseach, had been approved, writes Andrew Bushe.
Lemass proposed toppling Horatio Nelson, the British naval hero, from his
perch on the top of the pillar and replacing him with Ireland's patron
saint. The statue of Nelson was to be "disposed of in a manner to be
determined" and St Patrick was to take his place to "mark the occasion of
the Patrician Year, 1961", according to a government file released
Six years later the IRA blew Nelson off the pillar on the 50th
anniversary of the 1916 Rising. The monument was finally replaced two
years ago by Ian Ritchie's Spire, a €4.8m steel pin which stands nearly
400ft high and which was shortlisted for the Stirling architectural prize
Lemass asked his attorney-general for legal advice "as a matter of
urgency" on how to get Nelson off the city skyline, which he had
dominated since 1808. The taoiseach's plan was for the state to buy the
pillar from its trustees, paying them a sum equivalent to the revenue
generated by admission fees — about IR£1,200 a year.
The attorney-general said there were no legal difficulties with Lemass's
plan, saying that the state buying the pillar was no different to the ESB
compulsorily purchasing land. But Lemass's idea was subsequently shelved.
The files reveal that having the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar
dominating Dublin's main thoroughfare had irked Irish officialdom for
In 1948 the city engineer estimated the cost of the pillar's removal at
between £12,000 and £15,000. "The salvage value would not appreciably
reduce this figure," he reckoned. The monument contained 22,090 cubic
feet of black stones and 7,310 cubic feet of cut granite and had cost
£6,856.19.6d to erect.
In April 1954 the IRA called on Dublin corporation to seek legislation to
remove the pillar, but the city fathers decided to take no action. Six
months later the Arts Council recommended the corporation declare that
"whatever the political considerations regarding the statue", the pillar
"has claims to be one of the finest Doric pillars in existence".
In 1955 the pillar's trustees turned down a request from Dublin
corporation to remove the statue and "place it in the National Museum or
in some other place". The trustees said they were "debarred" from
removing Nelson as their duty was to "embellish and uphold the monument
in perpetuation of the object for which it was subscribed".
In 1956 the corporation asked John A Costello, the then taoiseach, to
introduce legislation to enable it to take possession of the pillar and
if necessary demolish it. The government decided that legislation to get
rid of Nelson was unlikely to succeed unless it was preceded by a general
demand to remove or partially demolish the pillar. "There would also have
to be general agreement as to what, if anything, should replace it," one
Governments Ruled Out Deal With Kidnappers
THE British and Irish governments made a secret pact in January 1974 not
to meet a Provisional IRA ransom demand in return for releasing Thomas
Niedermayer, a German industrialist it kidnapped from his home in west
Belfast in December 1973.
Despite demands from Willy Brandt, the then German chancellor, and the
electronics firm Grundig, that the businessman's safety be paramount, the
two governments secretly agreed that any deal with the IRA kidnappers
would only expose prominent people to greater danger.
State papers released yesterday reveal that, after the kidnapping,
Grundig aborted plans to provide 200 additional jobs at its Dunmurry
plant and cancelled a new factory in Newry which would have provided
1,500 jobs. Niedermayer, who was also the German consul in Belfast,
headed the Grundig plant.
His body was recovered seven years later. The IRA claimed he suffered a
heart attack after trying to escape from their hideout. He was said to
have been overpowered by his captors and died while they tried to
restrain him. A post-mortem showed that he had been tied up and suffered
a head injury but was unable to conclude how he had died.
IRA intermediaries approached the British government two days after the
kidnapping with a demand that Marian and Dolours Price, Gerry Kelly and
seven other IRA members, who had just been convicted of carrying out a
series of car bombings in London, be transferred to prisons in Northern
Ireland. The British government decided not to deal with the terrorists
and told the German ambassador in London that it was determined to resist
The Dunmurry factory struggled on until 1980 when, a couple of months
after Niedermayer's body was uncovered, it closed down. His widow,
Ingeborg, chose to bury her husband in a churchyard near the factory
before moving back to live in Germany. She drowned while holidaying in
Greystones, Co Wicklow, in 1990.
Internment Report Led To Government Fury
by Paul Reynolds
BBC News website
A furious memo from the then Prime Minister Edward Heath about a report
on alleged torture by the army and police in Northern Ireland has come to
light in files released by the National Archives.
Mr Heath said of the report, chaired by Sir Edmund Compton in 1971: "It
seems to me to be one of the most unbalanced, ill-judged reports I have
Amid arguments similar to those surrounding the detention of prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay, the Compton report found so-called sensory deprivation
techniques used on IRA suspects held without trial - hooding, wall-
standing, white noise, sleep deprivation - did not constitute torture or
brutality but did amount to "physical ill-treatment."
Even that appears to have gone too far for the conservative prime
His memo said: "It is astonishing that men of such experience should have
got themselves so lost in the trees, or indeed the undergrowth, that they
are proved quite incapable of seeing the wood."
The first part of the report was on the arrest operation which heralded
the introduction of internment.
Mr Heath commented: "When you go through the report carefully, the number
of incidents involved in the arrest of 300 odd men were small and, in the
conditions of war against the IRA, trivial.
"But nowhere is this stated loud and clear and a clean bill of health
given to the army."
As for the report's findings on the interrogation methods, he said: "Here
they seem to have gone to endless lengths to show that anyone not given
3-star hotel facilities suffered hardship and ill-treatment. Again,
nowhere is this set in the context of war against the IRA.
"What, above all, I object to - and I think many others will share this
view to the point of driving themselves into a lesser or greater degree
of fury - is that the unfounded allegations made for the most part by
outsiders are put on exactly the same level as tested evidence from the
Army and the RUC [Royal Ulster Constabulary]. This I believe to be
Mr Heath demanded of his cabinet secretary Sir Burke Trend steps be taken
to make a "robust and forthright" response.
A number of files from key meetings in the days following have been
removed from the archive folder without explanation.
In the event, the government made a major effort to justify its position.
Measures included allowing access to a military hospital to film wounded
Interviews were also offered with senior military figures who had led
previous counter-insurgency campaigns in Kenya, Cyprus, Malaya and Aden,
where the interrogation methods had been developed and used.
In the aftermath of the furore over internment, the government's
"Intelligence Co-ordinator" recommended there should be limits on the use
of certain techniques - no more than two hours for hooding or wall-
standing and sparing use of "white sound".
But the following year, Mr Heath announced in Parliament that sensory
deprivation would in future be banned.
The philosophy behind its use is also revealed in the files which
contains the full text of a document drawn up by the Joint Intelligence
Committee in 1965.
This laid out the principles of prolonged interrogation which it says
"calls for a psychological attack."
It dismisses torture and physical cruelty as "professionally unrewarding
since a suspect so treated may be persuaded to talk, but not tell the
It goes on: "The actual and instinctive resistance of the person
concerned to interrogation must be overcome by permissible techniques.
This will be more easily achieved in an atmosphere of rigid discipline.
It may therefore be necessary for interviews to be carried out for long
periods by day and by night.
"It is essential that moral ascendancy over the detainee is established
immediately. The interrogator must remember that he is engaged in a
contest of wills."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/02 00:49:42 GMT
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