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January 30, 2005
01/30/05 – BS Demo Demands Release of Republican
Table of Contents - Jan 2005
SM 01/30/05 BS Demonstrators Demand Release Of Republican
SF 01/30/05 33 Yrs Has Yet To Bring Out The Truth About BS
SM 01/30/05 Blair 'To Apologise To IRA Bomb Accused'
IO 01/30/05 IMC To Back Orde's Bank Heist Verdict
UT 01/30/05 Police Identify 40 Joyriders
SM 01/30/05 Breath Of Fresh Eire
RT 01/30/05 Kenny Calls For IRA Decommissioning -VO
Kenny calls for unilateral IRA arms decommissioning - Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny discusses the latest developments in the Northern Ireland peace process, and says his party is in good shape ahead of the next election
Bloody Sunday Demonstrators Demand Release Of Republican
By Alan Erwin, PA
The Government faced new demands today to free a republican jailed for refusing to testify to an inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings.
As over 10,000 people gathered in Londonderry for a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the day when paratroopers shot dead 13 civil rights marchers, speakers insisted Martin Doherty’s detention cannot be justified.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP also cast doubt on the chances of the marathon hearing delivering the truth when tribunal chairman Lord Saville finally publishes his report later this year.
Mitchel McLaughlin, the SF chairman, told crowds: “Many of us, when Tony Blair announced that he was setting up the Inquiry and that it would receive the full co-operation of his government and its agencies took a very sceptical view of such an announcement.
“The disgraceful imprisonment of Martin ‘Ducksie’ Doherty was just further evidence of the British government and its agencies determination to criminalise republicans rather than expose the truth of its dirty war in Ireland.”
Doherty, 49, from the Creggan area of the city, was jailed for three months for contempt after failing to co-operate with the inquiry into the January 1972 shootings.
The 49-year-old from the Creggan area of the city, was known in court as PIRA 9, and became the first person jailed in connection with the hearing.
Despite Derry City Council passing a motion calling on Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to secure his release, the Government insisted last week such a move would be inappropriate.
That refusal incensed Mr McLaughlin, who told the rally: “It is a scandal that Ducksie, an unapologetic Irish Republican who wasn’t even present at the march should be the only one to see the inside of a prison because of Bloody Sunday.
“We are here today demanding the Truth about Bloody Sunday and we are here in solidarity with ‘Ducksie’ and his family and we demand his immediate and unconditional release.
“I reject from this platform Paul Murphy’s claim that he has no powers to intervene.” He added: “People will wonder and ask, will Saville be different, will he look at the evidence without prejudice and come to a conclusion based solely on the evidence presented to his panel of Inquiry, or will he too, like Widgery (earlier inquiry) be influenced by his political masters and make his determination based on the effect it will have on the reputation of his government?
“We will just have to wait and see. If the treatment of Ducksie Doherty is an indicator, then it doesn’t bode well for the outcome.”
SDLP Assembly member Dominic Bradley spoke of the rising concerns about the report’s findings.
“Will the Saville Inquiry will uncover the full truth of Bloody Sunday?” he asked.
“People are increasingly fearful that Saville will fall short of that standard. And when a Derryman, Martin Doherty, is the only person to serve a prison sentence over Bloody Sunday, those fears are exacerbated and amplified.
“But in spite of all the doubts and uncertainty, one thing remains absolutely clear: the Bloody Sunday campaign will carry on until truth is served and justice is done.”
Bloody Sunday Victims
McLaughlin - 33 Years Of Campaign Has Yet To Bring Out The Truth About Bloody Sunday
Published: 30 January, 2005
Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA speaking in his address to the annual Bloody Sunday Commemoration said "Thirty-three years of campaigning has yet to bring out the Truth about the Bloody Sunday massacre. But we must not be deterred from our fight for Equality, Justice, Peace and Human Rights for all by a political establishment that pays lip service to democracy while playing fast and loose with human rights and civil liberties and the truth." He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Martin Doherty
Many of you, as I was myself, were present on this day thirty-three years ago when British Paratroopers were unleashed on the people of Derry. The intention was to teach the uppity fenians that failure to obey British law would have dire consequences. And the result of that policy was indeed dire for the families of the thirteen men murdered in the name of the British government that terrible day and John Johnston and Peggy Deery who later died as a result of the injuries inflicted. But the consequences of the 30th January 1972 were so far reaching that the repercussions catapulted us into a spiral of conflict that left few in Ireland untouched. Because Truth was also a casualty that day and the denial of truth is a denial of justice.
The intention was to teach us a harsh lesson and indeed we were taught a lesson that day. Actually we learned a number of lessons. As we recoiled in shock and horror and began to count and identify our dead and wounded, the British Government was telling the world that a gunbattle had erupted in the Republican stronghold of the Bogside and that a number of republican gunmen and bombers had been killed. We called it Bloody Sunday but many believed the propaganda line and called it Good Sunday. And a compliant media repeated and regurgitated that lie. No need for evidence, as after all, only the IRA could have mounted such an assault on the British Army and only the superior field-craft of the British Army saved them from injury or worse. No need then, for questions.
Yes, we learned lessons that day, but not the one that was intended because we emerged even stronger and even more determined. But we learned that our oppressors owned the law and they owned substantial and hugely influential sections of the communications and media networks, and this is as true on the West bank in Palestine and in Baghdad and Basra as it is in Ireland. We learned that when the lawmakers are the law breakers, then there is no law. We also learned something else that there will be an official version of every single event that is reported in the media and then there is the truth. And that is why we are here today demanding not just freedom for ŒDucksie‚ Doherty, we are demanding that the truth also will be set free.
The theme of this weekend is ŒBogside to Basra‚. Since Bloody Sunday 1972, we have witnessed further erosions of Human Rights on this island and in other conflict areas in the world. The current most graphic illustration of this is witnessed on a daily basis in Palestine and Iraq. We should, but we don‚t hear enough or truthful accounts about Human Rights abuses in Belmarsh Prison or in Guantanamo Bay. The political establishment attempts to criminalise the struggle for self-determination, Equality, Justice and Peace, whilst these same forces and their allies are involved in the criminal invasion of a sovereign nation on the pretext that it was in possession of WMD. They would claim to be bringing democracy to a nation that suffered under a despotic dictator (previously an ally of the West) and that is the justification for British and American troops murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians ˆ men, women and children. We know from our own bitter experience that they killed our friends and neighbours on the same spurious grounds of Œdefending democracy from terrorism‚. We recognise their lies because we have heard them so often. In the meantime the oil has begun to flow again in Iraq under new management and in all of this they have been aided and abetted by the Irish government through the use of Shannon Airport to deliver war to the people of Iraq.
The negation of Human Rights is also being perpetrated daily by the Israeli government against the Palestinians. Since the second Intifada there has been eight times more Palestinians killed than Israelis. Now that is not to dismiss the suffering on all sides but listening to media coverage one would be led to believe that the Palestinians are terrorists responsible for every death in the region. Mind you we are no strangers to that approach where the deaths of nationalists and republicans were always treated with less importance ˆ almost to the point of contempt - than that of British soldiers, unionists or RUC personnel.
The families of the Bloody Sunday victims are acutely aware of this depiction of their loved ones. Thirty-three years of campaigning has yet to bring out the Truth about the Bloody Sunday massacre. But we must not be deterred from our fight for Equality, Justice, Peace and Human Rights for all by a political establishment that pays lip service to democracy while playing fast and loose with human rights and civil liberties and the truth.
I take this opportunity to recommit myself and the republican community to continue our support and solidarity for the families campaigning against Collusion, the Thompson family here in Derry and the many hundreds of other families seeking Truth and Justice about the murder of their family members. We are here to stand by the Bloody Sunday Families in their determination to achieve Truth and Justice for their loved ones. We await, of course with great concern and not a little scepticism, the outcome of the Saville Inquiry. Many of us, when Tony Blair announced that he was setting up the Inquiry and that it would receive the full co-operation of his government and its agencies took a very sceptical view of such an announcement. Experience had taught us that British governments and their agencies did not have a history of co-operation with inquiries into their activities and particularly when it concerned their involvement in Ireland. And so, events during the Inquiry ˆ the mysterious disappearance of evidence, the destruction of the weapons used that day which was carried out immediately the Inquiry was announced, the issuing of Public Interest Immunity Certificates, Edward Heath‚s contemptuous treatment of the Inquiry and the families. Many other events during the tenure of the Inquiry and indeed much more proved that our scepticism was well founded.
The disgraceful imprisonment of Martin ŒDucksie‚ Doherty was just further evidence of the British government and its agencies determination to criminalise republicans rather than expose the truth of its dirty war in Ireland. It is a scandal that Ducksie, an unapologetic Irish Republican who wasn‚t even present at the march should be the only one to see the inside of a prison because of Bloody Sunday. We are here today demanding the Truth about Bloody Sunday and we are here in solidarity with ŒDucksie‚ and his family and we demand his immediate and unconditional release. I reject from this platform Paul Murphy‚s claim that he has no powers to intervene. Does he think that we cannot remember when British Ministers intervened to release British soldiers convicted of murder here in the North?
Ducksie‚s offence, for which he now has a criminal record, was to challenge the British judiciary and their demand that he attend the Saville Inquiry. Not because he was in any position to help the search for truth about Bloody Sunday, but because he was expected to acquiesce under pain of imprisonment, to play a part in a comprehensive conspiracy to hide the truth about Bloody Sunday. He on a point of principle refused to answer allegations made by a perjurer about events that were separate in time and location from the murders on Bloody Sunday. British justice is blind alright, when it suits.
People will wonder and ask, will Saville be different, will he look at the evidence without prejudice and come to a conclusion based solely on the evidence presented to his panel of Inquiry, or will he too, like Widgery be influenced by his political masters and make his determination based on the effect it will have on the reputation of his government? We will just have to wait and see. If the treatment of Ducksie Doherty is an indicator, then it doesn‚t bode well for the outcome. But one thing is for sure, whatever the result, we will take our lead from the decision of the families and support them in whatever avenue they decide to travel. I commend all those people and organisations that have shown solidarity and support for the families down through the years and I am sure that they too will continue that support through this time of limbo.
The battleground, as always is about Truth and I would like to share with you and in particular all of the families who are searching for Truth and Justice, a little verse written by a South African poet that may be of comfort to you.
It is titled simply:
Covered in the dust of defeat
Or so the conquerors believed
But there is nothing can be hidden
from the mind, nothing memory
cannot reach, touch or call back
We know the truth and we will stack our truth against their propaganda and lies until we prevail and the world also comes to know that there can be no Justice without Truth.
Gerry & Giuseppe Conlon
Blair 'To Apologise To IRA Bomb Accused'
By Alan Erwin, PA
Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to issue a public apology to a father and son wrongly jailed after an infamous IRA pub bomb attack, it emerged today.
Gerry Conlon was one of the Guildford Four, imprisoned after five people were killed in the 1974 attack on the town’s Horse and Groom bar, and Conlon’s late father, Guiseppe, died in prison after he was jailed for a related offence.
Even though their sentences were later quashed when doubts over evidence were raised, a campaign for further recognition has intensified.
Irish Premier Bertie Ahern threw his weight behind the Belfast family’s fight after meeting them in Dublin last week.
And Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy today signalled that the declaration from Mr Blair that have sought could be imminent.
He said: “He has already written of course to the family expressing his view that there was a very serious miscarriage of justice, he very much regrets that, and that he is very sorry for the hurt and suffering of the family.
“I have no doubt that if asked the same in public he would make a similar public apology.
“There are all sorts of ways in which that can happen, but I am sure he will talk to the Taoiseach on Tuesday, the Taoiseach will raise it and they can work it out from there.”
The Conlons’ plight was famously dramatised in the Oscar-nominated movie In The Name Of The Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
They were arrested and jailed following the bombing which claimed the lives of four soldiers and a civilian.
Guiseppe Conlon died in prison in 1980 while serving his sentence.
But after serious concerns over the convictions were raised, the others were freed when the Court of Appeal quashed their sentences in October 1989.
IMC To Back Orde's Bank Heist Verdict
There will be more trouble ahead for Sinn Fein with a report from the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) expected to blame the IRA for the pre-Christmas robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast.
The independent watchdog set up to oversee decommissioning and paramilitary activity is expected to back up claims from the PSNI and the Taoiseach that the IRA was behind the massive raid.
The IMC will issue its report within the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the gardaí are searching 50 garages around the country in the hunt for clues about the getaway van used in the robbery.
The Sunday Business Post claims that all 26 divisions of the gardaí are involved in the investigation.
Police Identify 40 Joyriders
40 hardcore joyriders have been identified by police fighting car crime in Northern Ireland's most plagued district, it was revealed today.
With the authorities under pressure to stop the thieves causing death on the roads, new west Belfast commander Chief Superintendent David Boultwood has made the menace his top priority.
Up to 2,000 people have been maimed or injured across the province by stolen cars.
Another 43 people have been killed, including 13 people causing the mayhem behind the wheel, a lobby group has estimated.
The Families Bereaved Through Car Crime campaign team reckons around half of the victims have been from west Belfast.
A specialist Auto-Crime Team working in the area has already clocked up 500 arrests, but Mr Boultwood, who took control of the district last month, accepted he still faces a major challenge.
The Families Bereaved Through Car Crime campaign group works with officers as well by issuing critical assessments to police.
"We are trying to increase the knowledge of our own officers of the major players in car crime in this area," he said.
"I have been told there are 40 very active car criminals."
Officers in the West Belfast command unit have been using the police`s National Intelligence Model in a bid to track down the repeat offenders behind most of the misery.
As well stealing cars, the suspects are involved in so-called creeper burglaries to steal motor keys, ram-raids and other offences.
With the big sweeping roads and sprawling housing estates in the area luring the joyriders in, community and political representatives have been demanding tougher action.
"In this area I would say it is still our number one priority," Mr Boultwood confirmed.
Protests organised outside the thieves houses last year by Sinn Fein failed to bring it to a halt, he claimed.
"They arrived down there with two or three hundred people on occasions and handed them letters telling them to either control their behaviour or leave the area.
"These people laughed at them. That is their attitude, they live completely on the margins of society in west Belfast.
"The only way we can deal with the police is by the community and the police acting together.
"Those are the individuals we are actively targeting, joyriders and car thieves.
"They drag in a number of other young people who live on the periphery of the car crime world, and taking out the main players is the feature for us.
"The issue now is getting them into court, and getting them convicted, and getting them put into Young Offenders Centres or jail, and getting them off the streets."
His pledge to go after the ringleaders heartened Families Bereaved Through Car Crime spokesman Tommy Holland.
The group, which involves eight families who have seen 11 loved ones killed, calls the thieves death drivers.
Mr Holland claimed much of their frustration was at seeing the same faces back on the streets after arrests.
"Most of them don`t even live in west Belfast," he claimed.
"Maybe six or seven will share a flat in the north of the city because of the pressure they come under over here.
"But they come for the big roads where they can do their hand-break turns and stuff."
He accepted the Auto Crime Team was yielding results, with just the hardcore undeterred.
"It doesn`t surprise me there are 40 of them, but I think the public will be shocked," he added.
"Now the onus is on getting them locked up."
Breath Of Fresh Eire
ALREADY they are referring to it as "Cork’s Ramblas". St Patrick’s Street, or "Pana" as it’s known locally, was boldly reworked last year by Catalan architect Beth Gali as part of the Irish city’s preparation to become the 2005 European Capital of Culture. Not everyone likes it, of course - "A lot of people would have preferred Victorian lamp standards with hanging baskets," remarked my taxi driver, diplomatically.
Instead, as well as the widened pavements of granite and limestone flagstones, Pana got strikingly modern street light gantries, which resemble nothing so much as the jibs of quayside cranes, hinting, intentionally or otherwise, at the secret Cork, at the hidden waterways, the insidious tides which still seep and draw under the city.
Earlier this month, however, the waters of the Lee erupted into man-made, pyrotechnic life as the street theatre company Waterford Spraoi re-enacted the legend of how St Fin Barre, founder of the city, vanquished a giant serpent, launching the city’s ambitious, year-long programme of events as European Capital of Culture.
Cork, now with direct flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh, is a notable festival city already, with renowned annual jazz, film and choral events, while, down-country, the Bantry-based West Cork Chamber Music Festival has also established a reputation for itself.
But Ireland’s second city jealously nurtures cultural icons of its own, from writers such as Sean O’Faolain and Frank O’Connor, to musicians as diverse as rock guitarist Rory Gallagher and Sean O’Riada - composer and creator of the folk band which became the Chieftains - and political figures such as Michael Collins and Jack Lynch.
Its reputation as the 'Venice of Ireland' lingers on
Corkonians have a fine conceit of themselves - fiery football star Roy Keane describes himself as "Irish by birth, Cork by the grace of God" - while the terms "People’s Republic of Cork" and "Rebel City" all hint at a fiercely independent spirit and a history of resisting outside rule, be it from London or Dublin. The native eloquence is couched in that inimitable, sing-song accent and a patois which seems to draw on everything from Gaelic to Elizabethan English, in which "Cork" becomes "Cark", accompanied by a vigorous vocabulary of "trawneens" and "shoneens".
Then there’s drisheen, a sort of black pudding without the oatmeal, often served with tripe. You’ll find both in the wonderful English Market off St Patrick’s Street, a gourmand’s paradise and, paradoxically, given its name, the nearest thing you’re liable to find in these islands to a French small town market. Anyone who walks through it without succumbing to the shale-like stacks of oysters, gleaming heaps of fresh fish, odiferous rounds of local cheeses, the famed Clonakilty puddings - and, of course, the gelatinous delights of drisheen - possesses either an iron will or a dead palate.
But quite apart from the serious business of absorbing language, culture and calories, Cork is a city to be experienced at leisure, and on foot, although there are times when you feel you should be navigating it in a boat. Most obviously, the twin channels of the Lee splice the city centre, to the confusion of first-time visitors; but look at the many first-floor doorways in the town centre’s Georgian façades, such as at the famous Chateau pub - these were once quayside residences, the ground floor was reserved for storing goods. Then there is the curious bollard at the junction of Grand Parade and Tuckey Street - vessels were once tied up there. Many of the city’s present thoroughfares were later built over such redundant waterways, but its reputation lingers on as "the Venice of Ireland".
In the absence of proliferating gondolas, hoofing it will do nicely, though much of it will be uphill. Once you have crossed one of the 29 bridges now spanning the Lee as it bifurcates its way through the city centre, you inevitably find yourself ascending one of the innumerable lanes and stairways leading up to the airy communities of Sunday’s Well or Shandon or Glasheen, which flank and overlook the town centre.
Head up the steps of the wonderfully named Widderling’s Lane; or from the central St Patrick’s Bridge, up the famously steep St Patrick’s Hill and into Shandon. The effect is striking, especially late on a winter’s afternoon, as you leave the thronged pavements and snarled-up tail lights for warrens of quiet, self-contained streets, each with its own shops and pubs, as well as the "rosary of churches" which rings the city skyline.
On one such jaunt, late on a peat-smoky afternoon, I was approaching St Anne’s of Shandon, with its famous "Goldie Fish" spire, when two herons suddenly flitted by, croaking balefully. As they vanished riverwards, I was left to contemplate the steeple of St Anne’s, made famous by Francis Mahony’s poem The Bells of Shandon (visitors can ring its eight bells). In typically irreverent Cork style, the steeple used to be known as "the four-faced lawyer", as each of its clock faces told a different time.
Clustering around the church are descending ranks of roofs and the old stone rotunda which now houses an Institute of Choreography; next door is the old Butter Exchange, which is now a museum and craft centre.
By day, even on a grey one, you’re struck by the colours of the town - the unabashedly green corner house presiding over Barrack Street, the Mediterranean ochre walls that flank the steps of Keyser’s Hill, the handsome red brick and pink sandstone façades and rows of pastel-fronted houses.
Walk past the old Beamish brewery with its odd collision of mock-Tudor and mock-baronial, make yet another river crossing and head west, towards the bristling edifice of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Wandering into its soaring grey verticality, I found a chamber orchestra rehearsing Vivaldi: later this year it will house a sound installation, Thin Air, its shifting fragments of sung and spoken sound interacting with visitors.
Nearby is the squat bulk of the 16th-century Elizabeth Fort, a remnant of turbulent times, the initial building razed by the locals in defiance of James I, its replacement besieged by John Churchill - one of Sir Winston’s ancestors - in 1690, while in recent history it was occupied by the despised Black and Tans in 1920. Following the establishment of the Free State, it was burned yet again by Republicans. Possibly nursing a persecution complex, it now houses a police barracks.
Continue west, into the wooded campus of University College Cork, and discover the beautiful new Lewis Glucksman gallery, and then stroll back into that darkening city, beckoned by the lights of a myriad characterful hostelries. There are the well-known ones - the wood-panelled Dan Lowry’s in MacCurtain Street, the Long Valley, with its famous sandwiches and interestingly al-fresco gents toilet, or music venues such as the Lobby or An Spailpin Fanac; then there are other wonderful little howffs, which keep good stout and strange hours, but which I leave you to discover for yourself. There is no shortage of excellent restaurants, either, such as the famed Isaacs, also in MacCurtain Street, or the excellent, recently opened Fenn’s Quay in Sheares Street.
Outside some pubs, Ireland’s no smoking ban has spawned clusters of out-of-season tables and chairs, sometimes under awnings, catering for the emerging social phenomenon of "smirting" - smoking and flirting. And should you find yourself lost for words in the heat of the smirt, you can always do what tourists traditionally do and visit Blarney Castle, some eight kilometres outside the town, and kiss the famed Blarney Stone to top up your loquaciousness.
Whether you’ll be able to hold your own with the locals is another matter.
Fact File Cork
Direct flights to Cork from Edinburgh are operated by Aer Arann and from Glasgow by Loganair and Air Arann. Visit http://www.aerarann.ieand http://www.loganair.co.uk for details.
Accommodation starts from £30 per person in a B&B and goes up to around £75 per person for a luxury hotel such as the Gresham Metropole.
For general tourism information, telephone 0800 039 7000 or visit http://www.tourismireland.com
Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005