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January 21, 2005

01/21/05 - Pastor Being 'Victimised' By UDA

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

BB 01/21/05 Pastor Being 'Victimised' By UDA
TO 01/21/05 Omagh Retrial After Police 'Faked Evidence' -V(3)
UT 01/21/05 Omagh Detectives To Face Trial
SF 01/21/05 Sinn Féin Demands Release Of Martin Doherty
IO 01/21/05 Paisley: IRA Bank Raid Has Shattered Trust
BB 01/21/05 Debate Rages On Assembly's Future
BT 01/21/05 FF Drive For New Recruits In Derry
UT 01/21/05 Harney Says Sinn Féin Support 'Remarkable'
SM 01/21/05 Blue Peter Says 'Sorry' For Red Hand Blunder
IO 01/21/05 McAleese Spent €45,000 On Election That Never Happened
IO 01/21/05 Olympic Priest Vows To Ignore Vatican Defrocking
IO 01/21/05 Marian Finucane Goes In RTE Radio Shake-Up

RT 01/21/05 Dispute Ensues Over Naming Of Shannon Tunnel -VO
NW 01/21/05 Johnny McElvoy Marks 40 Years In The Business -VO

Dispute Ensues Over Naming Of Shannon Tunnel - Ciaran Mullooly, Midlands Correspondent, reports

Music's Mr Nice Guy Marks 40 Years In The Business - Mary Fanning talks to Johnny McEvoy about his life in music


Pastor Being 'Victimised' By UDA

A Belfast pastor has said she is being victimised by the Ulster Defence Association over her support for the family of a murdered loyalist.

Ruth Petticrew's car was petrol bombed and threats have been made on her life.

The police said they were investigating the latest attack and related allegations of intimidation.

Ms Petticrew said it began after she started supporting relatives of Alan McCullough, 21, who was abducted and killed by feuding loyalists in 2003.

"I believe the series of intimidation and threats are from elements within the UDA," she said.

"I have been approached and told that neither my car nor my property would be safe, and that eventually they would be taking my life.

"The evidence of these threats being serious was given on Monday morning when my car was petrol bombed."

Alan McCullough's body was found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of north Belfast on 5 June 2003.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters have admitted killing him.

He had returned to Northern Ireland after fleeing his home following a feud within the loyalist UDA.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/21 21:24:44 GMT


Murphy conviction for Omagh bombing quashed - Mary Wilson, Legal Affairs Correspondent, reports that a retrial has been ordered by the Court of Criminal Appeal

Michael Fisher reports that relatives of victims of the bombing expressed disappointment at the decision

Two detectives returned for trial on perjury charges related to Murphy case

Omagh Bomb Retrial After Police 'Faked Evidence' -V(3)

By David Lister

THE only person jailed over the 1998 Omagh bombing is to face a retrial after a court ruled yesterday that police officers had fabricated evidence against him.

Colm Murphy, 52, described by the judge who convicted him as a “seasoned terrorist”, will be released from the Irish Republic’s top-security Portlaoise prison as soon as he is able to raise €120,000 (£83,500) bail, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin ruled.

In a 54-page judgment the three judges said that they had decided to set aside the conviction and ordered a retrial.

Lawyers for Mr Murphy, a former pub-owner and builder from Ravensdale, Co Louth, are expected to apply next week to recoup the costs of his trial three years ago, for which he was denied legal aid by the Irish Government.

They said yesterday that Mr Murphy had been “financially ruined” by his conviction.

Three years after they stood to applaud a judge for sentencing Mr Murphy to 14 years in jail, relatives of the 29 people killed in the atrocity expressed their shock at the ruling.

Michael Gallagher, whose son, Aidan, 21, was among those killed in the Co Tyrone market town, said: “Here we are, 6½ years on, and the only person convicted has won his appeal, so not one person has now been held accountable. What sort of message does that send out to society: that we can accept that a number of people can be murdered and no one can be brought to justice?”

Describing the decision as a nightmare, Victor Barker, whose 12-year-old son, James was among the victims, said: “I’m disappointed and dismayed and it can only be called a setback, but it’s not going to deter us from pursuing these people and doing everything we can to achieve justice.”

Mr Murphy, wearing a crumpled jacket and shirt, showed no emotion as the three judges ordered a retrial on two of the forty-three grounds submitted by his lawyers.

In January 2002 he became one of the most reviled figures in Ireland after his conviction for conspiring to cause the Real IRA explosion in Omagh in August 1998. His original trial found that he had lent his mobile telephone and another phone to the gang who planted the 500lb car bomb, in full knowledge of what the terrorists were planning.

Yesterday Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, presiding, said that Mr Murphy’s conviction was “unsafe” because two detectives, Liam Donnelly and John Fahy, were found to have falsified part of their original interrogation notes of Mr Murphy in February 1999.

After an internal investigation by the Garda, Mr Fahy and Mr Donnelly appeared in Dublin District Court this month charged with perjury. They pleaded not guilty. The judges also said yesterday that the juryless Special Criminal Court in Dublin at which Mr Murphy was convicted was guilty of an “invasion of the presumption of innocence” by taking into account his previous convictions.

Mr Murphy spent two spells in Irish prisons during the 1970s after being convicting for possessing illegal weapons and membership of the IRA, and in 1983 he was sentenced to five years by a court in the United States after trying to purchase M60 heavy machineguns on behalf of the Irish National Liberation Army.

Mr Murphy was taken back yesterday to Portlaoise, but will be free as soon as he raises funds for bail. He was ordered to surrender his passport and to report daily to a police station in Dundalk, Co Louth.

His sister, Angela Reilly, said that justice had been served. “We are relieved. It’s been a terrible time for us all,” she said.

Michael McDowell, the Irish Justice Minister, said last night that he would study the court’s decision. Mr Murphy is one of five alleged Real IRA members being sued by relatives of those killed at Omagh in a landmark case at Belfast High Court.


530lb car bomb was detonated in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on August 15, 1998, causing the biggest loss of life of any single incident in 30 years of violence. Some 29 people died, including unborn twins. More than 300 were wounded

The police investigation in Northern Ireland was criticised by the independent Ombudsman in 2001 and the Royal Ulster Constabulary was accused of “defective leadership and a lack of urgency”

Dozens were arrested on both sides of the border. Five alleged Real IRA members are being sued by relatives of the dead in Belfast High Court


Omagh Detectives To Face Trial

Two Garda detectives accused of lying on oath during the trial of Colm Murphy, the only man convicted over the Omagh bomb, will be tried in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, it emerged today.

Detective Garda John Fahy and Detective Garda Liam Donnelly are charged with falsely swearing evidence in the Special Criminal Court which saw Murphy sentenced to 14 years over the terror attack. Murphy today won an appeal against his conviction.

Judge John Coughlan today ordered that the detectives, based in Carrickmacross, would appear in the Circuit Criminal Court where a trial date will be set.

Dublin District Court heard the two officers would be returned to trial during the present sittings of the court. It is understood a trial date will be set within the next eight weeks.

The detectives were one of three teams to question Murphy over the 1998 atrocity in which a bomb exploded in the Co Tyrone town killing 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins.


Sinn Féin Demands Release Of Martin Doherty

Published: 21 January, 2005

Senior Sinn Féin Representatives Martin McGuinness MP and Mitchel McLaughlin MLA this afternoon visited Derry Republican Martin Doherty in Maghaberry prison. Martin Doherty was arrested earlier this week on foot of a warrant issued after he failed to appear before the Saville Tribunal.

Speaking from outside Maghaberry prison Martin McGuinness said:

" People in Derry and beyond are outraged at the arrest and detention of Martin Doherty. How dare the British government who murdered 13 innocent people on Bloody Sunday and spent the decades since concealing the truth jail a local republican as a result of their criminal actions.

" Paul Murphy has the power to release Martin Doherty today. I am calling on him to do that now."

Mr McLaughlin said:

" It is important for people to show solidarity with Martin Doherty and his family at this time. It is of course ironic that Martin Doherty, the only man jailed as a result of the British actions on Bloody Sunday, will as it stands spend the anniversary of the massacre incarcerated in a British prison.

" It is unacceptable and in the coming days and weeks republicans will mount a campaign to demand Martin Doherty's freedom and an end to the British policy of evasion and concealment." ENDS


Paisley: IRA Bank Raid Has Shattered Trust

21/01/2005 - 19:51:30

Republicans must spend “many months” rebuilding trust shattered by the IRA’s Northern Bank robbery before new any new Ulster peace talks, Ian Paisley warned tonight.

The Democratic Unionist leader emerged from meeting Chief Constable Hugh Orde more convinced than ever that the Provisionals pulled off the £26.5 million heist.

Mr Paisley insisted a fresh attempt to broker a power-sharing agreement with Sinn Fein until cast-iron guarantees are given that all paramilitary guns and crime operations are scrapped for good.

He declared: “There was a golden opportunity which they refused.

“Maybe they saw the gold of the Northern Bank was more precious than the gold of the Assembly.”

The raid, on December 20, the biggest of its kind in British history, came just after a major push to revive the devolved administration at Stormont came agonisingly close to success.

London and Dublin believed they had a deal that would see unionists and republicans work run an Executive together at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

But the plan was derailed at the eleventh hour amid IRA resistance to DUP demands requiring photographic proof they had destroyed all their weapons.

Even though republicans have categorically rejected Mr Orde’s view that the Provos cleared the vaults at the Northern’s Belfast HQ, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have accepted his assessment.

Their fury was compounded by the belief that the robbery was being planned at the same time the political negotiations involving Sinn Fein leaders were at a critical stage.

Mr Paisley stressed the Chief Constable had given him no confidential intelligence during their meeting at police headquarters in Belfast.

But he insisted: “He is absolutely convinced this was a Provisional IRA operation and I trust him.

“He has put his whole future as a policeman on the line. This is based on intelligence he has and been confirmed by the Gardai.

“It has also been strongly stated by both the Taoiseach and Michael McDowell, the Minister for Justice in the South.

“I don’t think that sort of round the clock support would be wrong.”

The North Antrim MP added: “I feel very strongly that all the time we were doing our negotiations there was an unreality about the IRA/Sinn Féin.

“There was something that said to me they are not going to agree and only going a certain way, then they will cut the ropes and continue out on their own.

“The position is that we cannot (now) deal with IRA/Sinn Féin until they decommission their weapons and give up criminality.

“There’s no chance of a deal until the IRA are brought to heel and made amenable to the law.

“Seeing is believing that they are going, all criminality must cease, and the people of Northern Ireland must be convinced that they have ceased.

“That will take more than one month to convince us. I would say it will take many months.”


Debate Rages On Assembly's Future

By Mark Devenport

BBC Northern Ireland political editor

The reverberations of the Northern Bank raid continued this week, with Chief Constable Hugh Orde telling Policing Board members he would quit if he turns out to be wrong in blaming the robbery on the IRA.

Sinn Fein and the Irish Government are limbering up for what could be a hot and heavy encounter between Gerry Adams and Bertie Ahern in Dublin on Tuesday.

Looking forward, the secretary of state twice hinted to MPs that with the prospects for a restoration of an all-inclusive executive so dim, he is considering setting up an assembly without an executive.

It is still uncertain what form that might take.

Would all 108 assembly members sit en-masse debating their doubts about the latest NIO initiative?

Or would a series of shadow committees be formed bringing the direct rulers to account in specialised areas?

Interviewed for BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme, Alliance leader David Ford did not seem impressed by the idea.

A shadow assembly, he argued, might have been okay for a defined period as set out in the two government's proposals published last month.

But, if such a body was all that was on offer it could serve as an arena for sterile oppositional bickering. There are echoes of the Prior Assembly in the 1980s.

For those of us with shorter memories, images of the old Northern Ireland Forum, which used to sit at the Belfast's Centrepoint in the mid-nineties, come to mind.

Sinn Fein members boycotted the forum which they regarded as a talking shop legitimising British direct rule.

When the Drumcree marching season got hot and heavy, the SDLP pulled out as well, leaving the forum to the unionists and the Alliance.

If a new Stormont "talking shop" is set up, will nationalists give it a similarly wide berth?

The position of the unionists on an assembly without an executive is also intriguing.

Although the DUP would prefer real power they are keen on having something rather than nothing at Stormont.

But the Ulster Unionists are clearly divided on the matter.

Having elicited the information from Finance Minister Ian Pearson that the suspended Stormont has cost £53.5m since October 2002, North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon demanded "the moral justification for continuing to squander £2m per month on a phantom assembly".

She was backed in her approach by the South Antrim MP David Burnside.

But then Lady Sylvia's party colleague David McNarry - a strong supporter of shadow committees - angrily demanded to know when the Ulster Unionists adopted the closure of Stormont as party policy.

The old divide within the UUP used to be between its pro-Agreement and anti-Agreement wings.

But now the battle lines may be drawn between its Westminster and Stormont camps.

The debate over the way forward within parties and between parties and the governments has some way to go.

However, the electoral clock is ticking with the Northern Ireland Office's decision to switch the local elections to 5 May apparently providing yet more confirmation that this is the day on which Tony Blair will call the General Election.

NIO officials may be kept busy assessing the options.

But with the election looming it's hard to imagine that Downing Street will be able to devote much time or enthusiasm to Northern Ireland's search for plan "b".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/21 18:38:46 GMT


FF Drive For New Recruits In Derry

By Brian Hutton
21 January 2005

A senior minister in the Republic's Fianna Fail government is to launch a recruitment drive in Derry as it emerged the party hopes to stand in local elections, it can be revealed today.

The party recently lifted its ban on full membership to those living outside the Republic and are now actively seeking new recruits in Northern Ireland.

The Derry-based Eamonn de Valera Cumann, the only Fianna Fail association in Northern Ireland, is now seeking full official status, which will allow it to stand candidates in elections.

The Cumann currently has a "friends of Fianna Fail" status, according to its chairman, Kevin Downey, but the scrapping of the membership ban signals the party's intention to take on Sinn Fein and the SDLP at the polls.

A senior party figure has agreed to address a meeting of Derry members in the coming months as part of their efforts to firmly establish the party in the city, said the solicitor.

"The noises we are hearing from Dublin are very positive. But as far as the leadership is concerned, they are only noises at the moment," he said.

"They are mindful of all the issues with the peace process at the moment.

"Realistically we would be looking to stand candidates in the local and assembly elections next time around."

Mr Downey, a former director of elections for the SDLP, claims the Derry Cumann has up to 50 members at present, who when fully signed up to the party, will have voting rights at the ard feiseanna (annual conferences).

Previous suggestions of a Fianna Fail/SDLP pact to counter the growth of Sinn Fein is no longer seen as an attractive option, according to the solicitor.

"There were good historical reasons why Fianna Fail were not involved in the North up until now.

"We think there is a brand of politics that is not represented by Sinn Fein and is ceasing to be represented more and more by the SDLP that needs an outlet and expression," he said.

It is believed that the Republic's Finance minister Brian Cowan is among the leadership figures who are backing attempts to organise in Northern Ireland.

The Derry Cumann intends to lobby the Dublin government for investment in the North West region.

A precedent of direct investment had been set with the Republic's financial assistance to the City of Derry airport while indirect investment in Northern Ireland was a realistic proposition, according to Mr Downey.

"If you look at the border region and the amount of people (from Northern Ireland) buying goods and services in the South then we are contributing to the economy.

"Our argument is that we should get some return."


Harney Says Sinn Féin Support 'Remarkable'

Tánaiste Mary Harney has said it is 'remarkable' that Sinn Féin's party support in the Republic is holding up despite its stance on criminality.

Mary Harney says it appears the party`s supporters
are ambivalent towards recent comments about Jean McConville`s murder and the Northern Irish Bank heist.

The PD leader also said the drop of nine points
in Gerry Adams`s satisfaction rating in the Irish Times / TNS opinion poll may better reflect the wider public`s view.

Sinn Féins Mitchel McLaughlin has countered the Tánaiste`s criticism by saying the real test of party popularity
will be in the British general election in May.

Sinn Féin, however, has dismissed the poll and predicted that any drop in its popularity would be short-lived.

Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said: "At the end of the day, opinion polls play their role, but the most important opinion poll will be the May elections
here in the North.

"Gerry Adams' leadership, particularly his role in the peace process, is one that is widely recognised within the electorate."


Blue Peter Says 'Sorry' For Red Hand Blunder

By Sherna Noah, PA Showbusiness Correspondent

Bosses of BBC TV children’s show Blue Peter have apologised over the use of the Red Hand of Ulster symbol.

The controversy emerged two weeks ago in a children’s competition to design new airline livery.

New presenter Zoe Salmon, 24, a former Miss Northern Ireland, suggested the Red Hand of Ulster would make a good design for an airline’s livery.

She caused more controversy a week later by selecting a design of a map of Ireland, covered in the Union Jack, as one of her favourites.

Head of Blue Peter Anne Gilchrist issued an apology to David Miller, professor of sociology at Strathclyde University, who was among those who complained about the use of the Red Hand of Ulster, saying it was a sectarian symbol.

Ms Gilchrist wrote: “We can assure you that the symbol was used in good faith and it certainly wasn’t our intention to be provocative or promote sectarianism.

“The reason we chose to use it was because it is the official symbol of the province of Ulster.

“Of Ulster’s nine counties, three are located in Eire and six in Northern Ireland and we were advised that both communities are equally attached to the red hand as representative of their province.”

She added: “Blue Peter never seeks to offend its audience. We take all complaints seriously and after we received yours we did some detailed investigation into it, the result of which is that we realise that the context in which we were referring to the Red Hand was inappropriate and mistaken.

“We’d like to apologise for any upset or concern we have caused.”

Professor Miller said today: “This symbol has sectarian connotations. It’s used on the loyalist murals by paramilitaries and would cause offence to a lot of people.”


McAleese Spent €45,000 On Election That Never Happened

21/01/2005 - 14:09:16

President McAleese spent more than €45,000 on her re-election campaign, despite the fact that the country never went to the polls.

The figure is contained in a donation and elections expenses statement laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas today.

The statement showed that Mrs McAleese spent more than €20,000 on office and stationary expenses, with market research and campaign workers accounting for most of the remainder of the money.

The President also received more than €137,000 in donations towards her campaign, but returned more than €90,000 to the donors.


Olympic Marathon Priest Vows To Ignore Vatican Defrocking

21/01/2005 - 11:46:51

The Irish priest who disrupted the Olympic marathon last year has vowed to ignore the Vatican's decision to remove him from the priesthood.

Neil Horan, a native of Kerry who lives in London, sparked outrage last summer when he accosted the Brazilian athlete who was leading the Athens marathon.

He had previously run out in front of 200mph Formula One cars at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone to highlight his belief that the second coming of Jesus is nigh.

Horan had not carried out official church duties since 1994 and was formally defrocked by Pope John Paul II yesterday.

However, responding this morning, he said: "I told them I was refusing to accept their decree and, as far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed. I'm still a Catholic priest in the eyes of Jesus Christ."


Marian Finucane Goes In RTE Radio Shake-Up

21/01/2005 - 18:38:52

RTE Radio one presenter Marian Finucane is to be replaced by rising star Ryan Tubridy in a major shake-up of the station, it emerged tonight.

The 54-year-old, who has spent almost three decades working with the national broadcaster, will move to present a two-hour magazine programme on Saturdays and Sundays.

Despite her early morning show on RTE Radio One attracting audiences of up to 400,000, reports of her possible replacement with 2FM breakfast show presenter Tubridy had been circulating for more than a year.

Finucane will continue to present her morning show until the summer and will then begin her new weekend show in September.

“I’m really looking forward to it. A whole new challenge, delivering to a new weekend audience,” she said.

The Marian Finucane show’s most famous moment came in September 2001, when its presenter dealt a serious blow to the political career of Fianna Fail minister Joe Jacobs.

In the face of persistent questioning, he struggled to explain what people should do in the event of a nuclear explosion at Sellafield – except that they should “shelter” indoors and take iodine tablets.

Finucane first achieved fame with RTE as a presenter of Liveline and won the radio journalist of the year award in 1988.

In 1999, she took over the early morning radio slot vacated by Gay Byrne on his retirement, while Joe Duffy became the new presenter of Liveline.

The morning show on RTE will be extended by an extra hour for new presenter Tubridy, who will move from the Full Irish breakfast show on 2FM.

“I’ve had a great three years on RTE 2FM and have had a great reaction from the audience,” he said. “I’m very excited about returning to RTÉ Radio One.

“The timing is right and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

RTE attempted to recruit former employee Ian Dempsey, now a breakfast presenter with Today FM, but he turned down the offer.

However, RTE said it believed the shake-up would be a success for Radio One and 2FM.

“We’re confident both channels are making the right moves at the right time. Marian’s style and rapport with the audience will attract listeners to a new kind of weekend radio,” said director of radio Adrian Moynes.

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Table of Contents - Jan 2005
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