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January 28, 2005

01/28/05 – Loyalist Feud Victim Defies Threats

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

BT 01/28/05 Loyalist Feud Victim's Brother Defies Threats
UT 01/28/05 Blair Warning To Adams –V
DJ 01/28/05 Opin: Intelligence, What Intelligence?
DJ 01/28/05 'They Are Not Speaking For The Protestant People'
DJ 01/28/05 'Explain Yourselves' - Dissidents Told
BT 01/28/05 McAleese In 'Nazi' Remarks Outrage –V
UT 01/28/05 Ahern Defends McAleese After Poland Speech
IO 01/28/05 Durkan Defends President In Holocaust Row
BT 01/28/05 Police Find New Footage Of Heist Van
IO 01/28/05 Colum Murphy Free -V


Loyalist Feud Victim's Brother Defies Threats

By Maureen Coleman
28 January 2005

The brother of a loyalist feud victim today said he would not be intimidated by a UDA death threat.

Kenny McCullough, whose brother Alan was murdered in the summer of 2003, said he was being targeted because he had spoken out against threats to kill a former church deaconess.

Ruth Petticrew, who runs a Christian ministry in the Shankill area, claimed she was threatened by the UDA because she had given pastoral care to the McCullough family.

Last week Mr McCullough publicly condemned a petrol bomb attack on her car.

He was later contacted by the PSNI, who told him of a threat by the UDA on his life.

Speaking at his Shankill home Mr McCullough said he did not believe the threat had been sanctioned by the UDA leadership, but by sections within the terror group.

And he said the threat - the latest in a series - would not intimidate him or his family.

"What these people want is for me and my family to withdraw any statements we have made against the people who are charged with Alan's murder, but we will not be intimidated," he said.

"I'm absolutely disgusted with the latest threat. For the last two years myself and my family have not been able to grieve properly for Alan.

"I don't think the leadership of the UDA is behind this threat, but sections within the group. I would appeal to them to leave my family alone."


Blair warns SF to give up crime and violence - Brian O'Connell, London Editor, reports on this morning's meeting between Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Tony Blair

Blair Warning To Adams -V

British Prime Minister Tony Blair today warned Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams "in the starkest terms" that his party would be locked out of Northern Ireland devolution unless the IRA gives up crime and violence.

By:Press Association

Mr Blair delivered his message at hour-long talks with Mr Adams and his party`s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness at Chequers this morning.

The premier said he "accepted fully" the verdict of Northern Ireland`s chief constable Hugh Orde that the IRA had been responsible for the £26 million Northern Bank raid.

Mr Adams emerged from the meeting, saying that both sides agreed that the peace process was "in profound difficulties".

Mr Blair will meet his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern next Tuesday in No 10, when the two leaders will be briefed further on the investigation into the bank raid.

After today`s talks a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister told Sinn Fein that he accepted fully the chief constable`s view that the Northern Bank robbery had been carried out by the IRA.

"He and the Taisoeach will be briefed further on the robbery and the investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable and the Garda Commissioner when they meet next Tuesday in Downing Street.

"The Prime Minister told Sinn Fein that such activity was incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process.

"He said that while he still wanted to find a way forward which included Sinn Fein, it was his duty as Prime Minister to underline, in the starkest terms, that that would not be possible if paramilitary and criminal activity continued to be carried out by the IRA in defiance of the wishes of the people of Ireland, north and south, as expressed in the 1998 referendum.

"A complete and verifiable end to all such activity by the IRA would be essential if progress towards such an inclusive agreement were to be possible."

Mr Adams said outside Chequers: "I think it is true to say that both sides are agreed that the process is in profound difficulties.

"The Prime Minister, as you would expect, gave his view of why this is so and we gave our view of why this is so and there was straight talking about that."

Mr Adams told reporters as he went into the meeting with colleague Martin McGuinness: "If the Prime Minister wants to have a row then we`ll have a row.

"We are not here to have a row but we are not here to be lectured to or talked down to, we are here as equals."

On emerging from the meeting, Mr Adams was asked if he would characterise the exchange with Mr Blair as an argument.

He replied: "No, not at all," adding the discussion had been "straight talking" and "constructive".

"The British prime minister had his position as you would expect him to and we have our position as you would us to, and I think we know each other well enough over the last, almost decade (sic) to be able to argue these matters out without having a row. This is too serious."


Opin: Intelligence, What Intelligence?

Friday 28th January 2005

Sir - with regard to the Northern Bank raid, the word most used to slam Sinn Fein has been 'intelligence'. This 'intelligence' was supplied by Hugh Orde, a product of British M15 and M16.

Now lets see some of the cases where 'intelligence' helped the Brits before.

It was used in the Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four case to put men in prison for many years, and was then found to be wrong and the men were freed.

It was used in Iraq and we know the result of that, no weapons of mass destruction and no 45 minutes to doomsday.

It was used years ago to allow British thugs, known as Black and Tans, to go into Croke Park and shoot dead 13 people including an 11 year old boy.

It was used to execute hundreds of Irish men and then bury their bodies in quick lime.

It was used to bring down the executive when Castlereagh and Stormont were raided. Still nobody charged?

It was used in the Pat Finnucane and Rosemary Nelson cases. Still no charges.

Bertie Ahern says he believes the P.S.N.I. and Garda intelligence agencies. Mr. Ahern would do the people he represents more good if he would give them some 'intelligence' on who was responsible for the murder of 54 of his citizens in the Monaghan and Dublin bombs. He is quiet on this.

And then we have the Garda planting bombs and telling lies and this has gone unmentioned. What sort of intelligence do we have in the John White/Nally fiasco, and yet he was prepared to put the boot into Sinn Fein.

Then we have the SDLP getting in their tuppence worth and Mary McAleese telling us how she could "have cried" when she realised old Paisley was such a good old guy after all. Did you ever hear such clap trap from a President. Thank God she left Belfast.

Of course intelligence has delivered the Bloody Sunday murderers, some chance, told us about the little John brothers robberies and gave us the info on all the informers and who killed them.

The S.D.L.P. in Derry will now be celebrating Rosemount closed down, some chance because Mary Bradley, Pat Ramsay and Mark Durkan, this is where the Brits get the 'intelligence' to hit Sinn Fein and of course because the S.D.L.P. use it.

Reading the local papers I noted the absence of any comment on the S.D.L.P. side regarding the imprisonment of "Ducky Doherty". It is a measure of the S.D.L.P. mindset, when the murderers of four people are free and the only person to suffer is someone who was not there.

I will finish with this note. Sinn Fein polled 342,256 votes last time. This will be increased again in the North and the South. I say to Mark, Bertie, Murphy, McDowell, Trimble and Paisley, just increase the tablets and hope it goes away.

Ex-SDLP (Thank God)


'They Are Not Speaking For The Protestant People'

Friday 28th January 2005

Derry MLA William Hay has hit out at those responsible for painting anti-nationalist graffiti at Shepherd's Glen, saying they are not speaking for anyone in the Protestant community.

Earlier this week the slogan "All Taigs out, this is you final warning" was daubed at Shepherd's Grove, on the entrance to the new large estate.

The warning was attributed to the Loyalist Action Force (LAF) and the "Journal" received a number of calls from concerned residents.

"This is the third or fourth time this has happened and it makes us uncomfortable," one woman said. "We just live together, and have had no bother from any of our neighbours. We don't care who you are and where you are from, but obviously some people do."

However Colr. Hay said his own office and that of party colleague Joe Miller had also been inundated with calls from members of the Protestant community who were equally disgusted at the messages.


'Explain Yourselves' - Dissidents Told

Friday 28th January 2005

Republican firebombers have been challenged to explain why they burnt down a business outlet in jobs-starved Strabane.

The call was made by the Sinn Fein chairman of Strabane District Council, Councillor Jarlath McNulty, after police confirmed that they believe an arson attack at the Linton and Robinson store was caused by an incendiary device.

Councillor McNulty said: "If it transpires that this fire to the Dock Street premises was caused by an incendiary then those behind it need to explain the rationale behind it to the people of this area.

"There is definitely no support within the local nationalist /republican community for such an attack and indeed there would be widespread anger that jobs are being put at risk as a result of it."

The council's Employment Task Force had been proactively working to maintain and create jobs and the Strabane 2000 group was striving to regenerate the town centre to make it a more attractive proposition for the shopping public and inward investors, he said.

"Attacks like this are extremely damaging to these efforts," the Sinn FÈin council chairman warned.

Colr. McNulty said: "Regardless of the problems in the peace process, and no matter how intractable they may seem at present, such attacks show the need to speedily replace the present political vacuum with genuine political dialogue and progress.

It is the only way forward."

SDLP West Tyrone MLA Eugene McMenamin described the incendiary attack on Linton & Robinson's hardware and agricultural stores as a "cruel blow to a town struggling to make a better future for all its people."

The family-run business, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, was practically synonymous with Strabane and had recently invested hundreds of thousands of pounds renovating its department store.

'Lowest of the low' Mr. McMenamin said: "As yet, no group has come forward to claim responsibility. Whoever they are, words of condemnation will doubtless mean absolutely nothing to the people who caused this destruction."

Branding those responsible as "the lowest of the low," the SDLP MLA who is also a member of Strabane District Policing Partnership, said: "Extra resources need to be put in place to prevent another attack. The police should make every effort to apprehend these people."

Also hitting out at the firebombers, West Tyrone UUP Assembly Member, Derek Hussey, said: "The community in Strabane has been striving towards the creation of a town environment that will attract business into the area and enhance the overall social well being of the entire district.

"Linton and Robinson's have shown their commitment to this regeneration effort in a positive way through the recent major refurbishment of their premises and are deserving of praise and support for their efforts."


McAleese responds to unionist criticism - Brendan Wright reports on the unionist complaints that followed Mary McAleese's comments on intolerance yesterday

McAleese In 'Nazi' Remarks Outrage -V

By Noel McAdam
28 January 2005

A political row raged on today over Irish President Mary McAleese's remarks comparing sectarianism in Northern Ireland to the "irrational hatred of the Jews" in Nazi Germany.

Ahead of ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, Mrs McAleese, talking about prejudice in societies, claimed some children in Northern Ireland had been taught to hate Catholics in the same way racial hatred has been passed on.

Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland said: "I could not believe these remarks which I think she will regret", and DUP MLA Ian Paisley Jnr said she had "spewed out hatred of the Protestant community while accusing those same people of hating Catholics".

But SDLP leader Mark Durkan said unionists were drawing the wrong lessons and Mrs McAleese was not equating prejudice in Northern Ireland with the "deadly hatred" of the Nazi regime.

The President said Nazis had built upon anti-Semitism which had existed for decades.

"They gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are of different colour and all of those things," she said.

Ulster Unionist Mr Copeland said: "There is undoubtedly bigotry in Northern Ireland, but there is as much prejudice among Catholics towards the Protestant population as the other way around."

His party colleague Michael McGimpsey said: "To compare the Holocaust, where six million Jews were exterminated, with Northern Ireland shows a total lack of understanding and sympathy. I think it will damage the outreach work she has done in the unionist community."

Mr Paisley Jnr said: "She has taken a demolition truck to her attempts at bridge- building."

Mr Durkan hit back, however, saying that Mr McGimpsey had only offered excuses when loyalists picketed flats in south Belfast, and Mr Paisley Jnr had refused to condemn the sectarianism of Harryville.

"Of course, no community in the north has a monopoly on prejudice. We must all confront it. That is what we should all be doing to learn the lesson of the Holocaust instead of having a party political squabble," he said.

A spokesperson for Mrs McAleese, who has been involved in talks with Ulster Defence Association leaders, was not immediately available for comment today.


Ahern Defends McAleese After Poland Speech

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has defended President Mary McAleese in the wake of highly controversial comments made at this week's Auschwitz commemoration in Poland.

Mrs McAleese angered northern Protestants when she said children there historically developed a hatred for Catholics in the same way that Nazis were hostile to Jews.

The remarks came yesterday, on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Áras an Úachtarán has today clarified the remarks saying the President was referring to the effects of hatred and conflict around the world and was not singling out Protestants.

Speaking in Cork this afternoon Bertie Ahern praised Mrs McAleese for the work she has done in pursuit of peace and understanding right across the island of Ireland.

The President is the head of State of the Republic of Ireland but Taoiseach Ahern is the head of government. Usually, all statements on international affairs made by the President must be sanctioned by the cabinet.


Durkan Defends President In Holocaust Row

28/01/2005 - 11:35:21

SDLP Leader Mark Durkan sprang to the defence of President Mary McAleese today after she compared the Nazis’ hatred of Jews to those who taught children in Northern Ireland to despise Catholics.

President McAleese stirred unionist anger during a visit to Auschwitz yesterday when she compared the decades of anti-semitism which led to the Nazi atrocities to prejudice against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

During the 60th anniversary celebrations of the liberation of Auschwitz, she said: “They gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are of different colour and all of those things.”

However her comments, which were broadcast on radio in the Republic, incensed the Rev Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists and David Trimble’s Ulster Unionists.

DUP Assembly member Ian Paisley Junior described her remarks as irrational while former Stormont Culture Minister Michael McGimpsey of the Ulster Unionists said they would also damage her outreach work with unionist communities in the North.

UP Assembly member Danny Kennedy also today said the President should be ashamed of herself and demanded a public apology.

“Political leaders from the Irish Republic would be better to say nothing about the Second World War given the record of Irish governments and the role played by senior politicians during and after the conflict ,” the Newry and Armagh MLA said, recalling the condolences offered by former Taoiseach Eamon De Valera to the German Embassy following the death of Hitler.

“As a Fianna Fáil President, Mrs McAleese should question the role and actions of her predecessors, rather than criticise the Protestants of Northern Ireland who at least fought against Nazism.”

Mark Durkan defended President McAleese, saying the Holocaust was a terrible event which had lessons for all countries.

“The Holocaust memorial event in the North has always referred to the lessons for our own society, which has its own prejudices around difference.

“We believe that it was this that the President was saying, as she will be able to show from her own record of bridge-building.

“We do not believe that she was attempting to equate directly any of the prejudices which exist in the North with the systematic policies of deadly hatred of the Nazi regime.”

He also accused Mr McGimpsey and Mr Paisley Junior of rushing to condemn the President while failing to address intolerance on their own doorstep.

“In response to the prejudice of Whitehall Square, Michael McGimpsey offered only explanation and excuse,” Mr Durkan said.

“Ian Paisley Junior refused to condemn the sectarianism of Harryville and too many unionist politicians were slow to condemn Holy Cross.

“Of course, no community in the North has a monopoly on prejudice. We must all confront it. That is what we should all be doing to learn the lesson of the Holocaust instead of having a party political squabble.”


Police Find New Footage Of Heist Van

By Jonathan McCambridge
28 January 2005

Detectives have found CCTV footage of what they believe is the white van used in the Northern Bank robbery driving south towards the border, it can be revealed today.

The breakthrough came this week as detectives scoured hours of footage taken from a camera filming a roundabout at Sprucefield off the M1 motorway.

It is understood the footage was recorded shortly before 9pm on the day of the robbery and shows a white van driving through a roundabout near the retail centre.

It is believed the van, a Ford Transit box van with a rear-loading platform, may then have travelled further south in the direction of the border.

The van, used to carry off £26.5m from the bank's headquarters, has not been found.

This is the first sighting of the vehicle since police released grainy CCTV footage recorded immediately after the robbery showing the vehicle winding its way through traffic in Belfast.

One police source said the latest footage was recorded in the dark but detectives are confident it is the same vehicle.

The new footage means detectives will be able to establish a more accurate picture of the movements of the robbers in the hours following the robbery.

A team of detectives have spent thousands of hours viewing CCTV pictures from all over Northern Ireland.

They have made it their priority to try and identify the movements of the van after the robbery and what subsequently happened to it.

Police have also said that the possibility that the van was the same one which had been stolen several weeks before in Gwent, Wales, was a "strong line of inquiry".

Chief Constable Hugh Orde has publicly blamed the IRA for the robbery - an accusation which has twice been denied by the organisation.


Murphy freed on bail after conviction quashing - Mary Wilson, Legal Affairs Editor, reports on the release of Co Louth man Colm Murphy

Murphy Free -V
28/01/2005 - 14:03:23

Colm Murphy whose conviction for an offence connected with the Omagh bombing in 1998 was quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal last week walked free on bail from the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

Murphy was freed after he signed a bail bond, lodging €50,000 in cash with the court, agreeing to sign on daily at Dundalk garda station, to reside at Plaster, Mountpleasant , Dundalk and not to apply for a passport.

His daughter Ms Leonora Murphy signed a surety for €25,000 and his sister Ms Kathleen Tully lodged €25,000 in cash with the court before Murphy was allowed to leave the court.

The garda officer who led the investigation into the Omagh bomb, Detective Chief Superintendent Tadhg Foley, was present in court when Murphy complied with his bail conditions and walked free from the court.

Shortly after 1pm Murphy, wearing a blue suit, shirt and tie, accompanied by one of his sons and Ms Leonora Murphy left the courthouse at Green St and walked towards Capel St pursued by a large posse of media cameramen and reporters.

Murphy would only say: "I'm not running away" as he was pursued down Capel St at a brisk pace watched by bemused members of the public.

After some jostling with the media, Murphy suddenly entered The Boar's Head pub in Capel St. His daughter Leonora gave a brief statement to the media in which she said: "We are delighted to have my father home today. It has been a terrible miscarriage of justice. It has destroyed my father's life. We will not stop until his name is completely cleared.

"Our hearts go out to the people of Omagh. It was a terrible tragedy that should never have happened."

Murphy was remanded earlier this week by the Special Criminal Court until April 5 next when his case will be mentioned again.

Murphy was jailed for 14 years by the Special Criminal Court in January 2002 for his role in the Omagh bomb which killed 29 people, including a mother pregnant with twins, and injured over 300 in 1998.

He was the first person to be convicted in either the Republic or Northern Ireland in connection with the Real IRA bombing, the worst terrorist atrocity in the history of the 30 years of the troubles.

But last week the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial after finding that the court of trial had failed to give proper regard to altered garda interview notes and that there had been "an invasion of the presumption of innocence" in the judgement on Murphy.

During a 25-day trial in 2001 and 2002, Murphy,( aged52), a father of four, building contractor and publican who is a native of Co Armagh with an address at Jordan's Corner, Ravensdale, Co Louth, had pleaded not guilty to conspiring in Dundalk with another person not before the court to cause an explosion in the State or elsewhere between August 13 and 16, 1998.

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