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)

February 02, 2005

02/02/05 – No 10 Rules Out Collusion Inquiry

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

BT 02/02/05 No.10 Rules Out Inquiry Into Collusion In Bombings
BT 02/02/05 Loyalist Mob In Shops Attack, Says SF
BT 02/02/05 IRA Planned Bank Robbery For Two Years And SF Knew
BB 02/02/05 Sinn Fein 'Knew Of Robbery Plans'
BB 02/02/05 More Arrests In Murder Inquiry
BT 02/02/05 Parades Body 'Must Be Scrapped'
BT 02/02/05 Opin: Blair Spells Out The Options For The IRA
BT 02/02/05 Museum Plans To Honour Policing In Ulster
RO 02/02/05 St. Patrick's Day Planning In Full Swing
SS 02/02/05 Images Of Ireland's Conflict On Display At Nova


No.10 Rules Out Inquiry Into Alleged British Collusion In Dublin Bombings

By Fergus Black
02 February 2005

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has ruled out an inquiry to re-examine allegations of collusion between British security forces and the perpetrators of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the 1970s.

In a letter to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, he said that the British government concluded there would be no further benefit to the public interest in setting up such an inquiry.

And he also said it would not be possible to conduct another major search for material relating to the 1972/73 bombings within the timescale of Mr Justice Barron's extended inquiry into the atrocities.

Contents of the letter emerged yesterday as an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights continued its quest for British documents related to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1972 and 1974.

In his letter, which was dated January 10 and signed "Yours ever, Tony", Mr Blair noted that Mr Ahern had given him a copy of his aide memoire on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. He had since received another letter about Justice Barron's report into the Dublin bombings and a subsequent note handed to his secretary last month.

He was now in a position to respond to all of those documents, he said.

Mr Blair told the Taoiseach that successive British governments had condemned the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Mr Blair's government welcomed the establishment of the Barron inquiry and cooperated with it as fully as possible by conducting a "thorough search" of all government records and ensuring that all potentially relevant information uncovered, including intelligence information, was shared with the investigation.

Mr Blair said his government noted Mr Justice Barron's conclusions that while allegations of collusion between British security forces and the perpetrators of the bombings were not fanciful, he had not seen evidence to corroborate it. Meanwhile, former Irish ambassador to Washington Sean Donlon urged the committee to seek two sets of specific papers from the British as part of their probe into the bombings.

He referred to the first set as the Laneside papers, which might indicate a pattern of communication between the British and the UVF and UDA.

The second set of papers related to the work of general intelligence committee, which was chaired by a senior Downing Street official. However, because of the nature of its work, it was likely the authorities would not be particularly forthcoming, he said.

Source: Irish Independent


Loyalist Mob In Shops Attack, Says SF

By Chris Thornton
02 February 2005

Sinn Fein said today that incidents involving loyalists in north Belfast are a "worrying development" for nationalist residents.

The party claims loyalists attacked nationalist areas at Carrick Hill and Ardoyne shops last night.

North Belfast councillor Carál ni Chuilin linked the attacks to a recent loyalist tensions.

In Carrick Hill, she said loyalists came from the Shankill, leading to a stand off "in which community representatives and residents worked to diffuse the situation".

"At the same time a crowd of around forty loyalists wielding baseball bats attempted to attack shops across from Twadell Avenue," she said.

"For loyalists to be able to amass in numbers and prepare these attacks is a worrying development."

The PSNI said they responded to reports of youths fighting in Peter's Hill area and found several children. They received no further reports.


IRA Planned Bank Robbery For Two Years And SF Knew

By Tom Brady
02 February 2005

The Provisional IRA was planning the £26.5m raid on the Northern Bank for up to two years, according to the latest intelligence supplied to the Irish and British governments.

This emerged last night as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair re-affirmed their belief the robbery was the work of the Provisionals.

They said they accepted the conclusions of the PSNI and Garda after being briefed on the latest developments by Chief Constable Hugh Orde and Commissioner Noel Conroy.

Indications that the robbery plot was initially hatched as far back as 2003 were gleaned from an analysis of intelligence reports filed over two years, and investigations since the robbery.

The intelligence also firms up a theory that the leadership of Sinn Fein was aware the IRA was planning a fund-raising spectacular, although some of the political figures might not have known the exact detail of the plot.

The Belfast robbery was the fourth in a series of raids attributed by police to the Provisionals since last Easter and reckoned to be part of an overall republican strategy that the IRA could continue its involvement in criminality while negotiating a conclusion to the peace talks.

A fresh examination of intelligence reports, with the benefit of hindsight following the bank raid, has convinced the security forces there is no reason to waver from their original conclusion.

And they are satisfied the robbery's elaborate planning could not have taken place without the prior approval of the Provisional movement's leadership.

The close study of the detailed preparations for the robbery also showed it was being planned at an early stage of the recent peace negotiations.

The analysis pinpointed a number of key factors that underlined their views:

*The kidnapping of a bank official from the heart of republican west Belfast.

*The theft of an unusual type of van, required to "clone" a similar vehicle known to regularly cross the Border, from a compound in Gwent in Wales.

*The secrecy surrounding the heist which left the security sources without any prior hint.

*The subsequent disappearance of the money and the van.

It is also accepted the Provisionals remain the only group, either paramilitary or criminal, with the capacity to successfully carry out such a robbery without leaving tell-tale evidence.

Yesterday's briefing for the two leaders and their ministerial associates also concentrated on the sequence of events leading to the robbery as well as acts of criminality committed since. These include punishment shootings, highlighted by the Taoiseach in the Dail last week.

One source said last night: "It's all about criminality now and the refusal of the Provisional movement to acknowledge that acts like murder and robbery are crimes if carried out by some of its membership," he added.

After the Downing Street talks the two leaders said the IRA must end all criminality if Sinn Fein was to return to power sharing. And they branded the continuing criminal and paramilitary activity as the principal remaining obstacle to a peace settlement.

Source: Irish Independent


Sinn Fein 'Knew Of Robbery Plans'

Sinn Fein knew that the IRA was planning the £26.5m Northern Bank raid and other robberies while holding key political talks, Bertie Ahern has said.

The Irish prime minister told the Dail that he learned this for the first time when he and Tony Blair were briefed by Belfast and Dublin police chiefs.

"There is no doubt the planning... was going on last year and obviously we were in negotiations then," he said.

The IRA was blamed by Mr Orde for the Northern Bank raid. It denies this.

Security assessment

Chief Constable Hugh Orde and Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy delivered their latest security assessment on Tuesday.

Mr Ahern said they told them "a number of operations that took place during 2004 - not just the Northern Bank robbery - were the work of the IRA, had sanction from the Army Council and would have been known to the political leadership of the IRA".

The taoiseach told the Irish parliament on Wednesday that the two governments were waiting for answers from republicans to the questions they posed on decommissioning, and on ending paramilitarism and criminality.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has accused Tony Blair of "talking nonsense" when he said IRA activity was the only obstacle to political progress.

Martin McGuinness said this was a "silly statement" as "everyone was aware of the DUP's failure to commit to powersharing".

He was speaking before a Sinn Fein delegation met Secretary of State Paul Murphy.

Mr Murphy also met an Alliance Party delegation at Hillsborough Castle on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday that ongoing IRA activity was the "obstacle to a lasting and durable settlement in Northern Ireland".

He was speaking after meeting Mr Ahern at Downing Street to assess their political options in the wake of the Northern Bank raid in Belfast in December.

Ceasefire report

The Independent Monitoring Commission's report on the robbery is expected to be sent to the governments this week.

The ceasefire watchdog's report is expected to confirm the police assessment that the IRA was behind the raid, and to recommend certain sanctions.

The two prime ministers' meeting was seen as their most significant since they launched their joint proposals for the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland in December.

The two governments have been considering their strategy for the coming year.

It is understood they believe an all-inclusive executive is impossible without a complete end to IRA activity.

The four Independent Monitoring Commissioners have held recent meetings with the chief constable and the garda commissioner, as well as extensive high-level meetings with British and Irish Government officials.

There has been speculation that their report will be published next week.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/02 13:17:05 GMT


More Arrests In Murder Inquiry

The stabbing happened outside a bar in Belfast

The number of people being held by police over the fatal stabbing of a Belfast man has risen to six.

Three were arrested on Wednesday during a search at a house in Killough, County Down.

Robert McCartney, 33, of Mountpottinger Road in east Belfast, died from stab wounds following an incident in the city at about 2300 GMT on Sunday.

He was found unconscious in Cromac Street. It is understood police are treating the incident as a pub fight.

Three other men were detained on Tuesday. Another man arrested earlier was released without charge.

A further search is being carried out in the Short Strand area of Belfast.


Several police officers were injured in disturbances which followed search operations in the Markets area in connection with the killing.

Officers were attacked with bricks, bottles and stones during searches linked to the investigation on Monday night.

There were further disturbances on Tuesday as officers were subjected to stone-throwing.

A car was set on fire close to the Markets area and several police vehicles were damaged.

Former mayor Alex Maskey of Sinn Fein said "heavy handed" police tactics had caused the trouble.

However, Ulster Unionist Sir Reg Empey said the disturbances were orchestrated by republicans.

"What we've had in the last couple of days is an orchestrated campaign to move the focus from the crime to police action," said the East Belfast assembly member.


Parades Body 'Must Be Scrapped'

By Chris Thornton
02 February 2005

The UUP has called for the Parades Commission to be scrapped despite a House of Commons report backing the body.

A UUP delegation pushed the Government yesterday to allow Orangemen to march "free from republican intimidation".

The UUP has previously backed the Quigley Report, a plan for scrapping the commission that was heavily criticised by a committee of MPs last month.

The report has been on hold for more than two years and now looks set to be dumped.

But UUP Assembly member Sir Reg Empey told Security Minister Ian Pearson that the party believes the commission should still be scrapped.

Sir Reg said: "It is essential that we deal with this extremely important issue now given the problems there were last summer.

"We told the Minister that the Orange Order have the right to walk and the right to be free from intimidation by republicans.

"We impressed upon the Minister the need to get to grips with ongoing orchestrated attacks against Orange parades by republicans. The scenes that we saw on our TV screens last summer must not be repeated.

"We reinforced our view that the Parades Commission should be replaced especially after the shambolic and appalling way in which it dealt with Orange parades last summer."


Opin: Blair Spells Out The Options For The IRA

Crisis Talks: Democratic bus can't wait for ever for Sinn Fein to board.

02 February 2005

Tony Blair has said it again: "The obstacle now to a lasting and durable settlement in Northern Ireland is the continuing paramilitary and criminal activity of the IRA." There was no way forward by compromise, fudge or ambiguity - "everybody gets on to the democratic bus and goes forward on that track or not."

That appears to be the agreed conclusion from yesterday's Downing Street summit, with an early report from the Independent Monitoring Commission expected to endorse the police's opinion that the IRA were responsible for the £26.5m Northern Bank heist. All that remains is for the republican movement to consider how it can recover any credibility and, in the absence of this, what sanctions should be taken against Sinn Fein.

Both Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were careful not to introduce the question of penalties or alternatives to full-blooded devolution, but sooner rather than later they must spell out their next move. With Sinn Fein still in denial, they must present a plan that gives democrats some role in governing the province, or the IRA will be seen to have a veto on progress.

Those who are on Mr Blair's "democratic bus" must be given the go-ahead, but there are doubts whether Mr Ahern and the SDLP can agree on the destination or the timetable. While the British government hints that the Assembly might be given a scrutiny role over direct rule, nationalists are reluctant to abandon hope that an inclusive executive could eventually be formed, along the former lines.

To unionists, however, the idea of power-sharing with a movement that has resisted all attempts to lead it into the democratic fold is increasingly unattractive. If the IRA is still capable of turning on and off violence, as Mr Ahern has said, and can carry out one of biggest heists in banking history, it is hardly to be trusted, even it were to decommission convincingly.

The bank raid has concentrated minds on the question of "where do we go now?", and it is the government's job to come up with answers. The decision on sanctions - even if money is hardly a problem with Sinn Fein - will provide a pointer to Mr Blair's thinking, and then he may wait until the elections are over to re-assess the situation.

The only certainty is that the Assembly must either be given some responsibility or be wound up, as he has previously warned. The tactic of trying to wean paramilitaries off violence and criminality by making concessions has failed, on both sides of the community. Giving democrats a chance to shine, even in a limited Assembly, would seem to be a better bet.


Museum Plans To Honour Policing In Ulster

Centre may be open in two years

By Deborah McAleese
02 February 2005

Northern Ireland's first dedicated police museum could be open within the next two years.

The museum, which will be a major tribute to policing in the province, will display items relating to the history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Royal Irish Constabulary that are currently kept in storage.

Land next to the new RUC memorial garden at Knock has been earmarked as a preferable site for the new museum, which will cost around £8m to build.

The new museum will include a simulated experience of being inside an armoured vehicle during a riot, with stones and petrol bombs raining down.

Plans for the museum also include an oral history section which will feature recorded experiences of police officers and their families over the past 80 years.

A feasibility study is currently being carried out by consultants.

The George Cross Foundation, the group at the fore of the project, hopes the new building will be open to the public by 2007 and attract around 30,000 visitors a year.

"The new museum will provide a major tribute to policing in Ireland. We see it as an educational dimension that will detail the story of policing here," said Foundation trustee Mr Freddie Hall.

A former Assistant Chief Constable, Mr Hall added that the Foundation hopes the museum will tell the story of the many phases of policing in the province over the years and the contribution made internationally.

He said: "There is quite a substantial collection of artefacts that were used by the police themselves in the fight against crime or that were recovered at crime scenes.

"Hopefully the museum will also tell more about the role of the extended police family.

"The Foundation has been considering the idea of a museum for a long time, as it is the perfect way to remember and learn about the role the police played in society."


St. Patrick's Day Planning In Full Swing

When the Irish start firming up plans for St. Patrick's activities, it's a certain sign that spring isn't far away.

Our region is blessed with many who claim a part of the Old Sod, and they joyously count the days until they can mix and mingle with the kinfolk. February is one of the busiest months for the Irish as they detail plans for St. Patrick's Day celebrating.

Patrick Lahiff, named for the patron saint of Ireland, has already been generously rewarded for his Irishness and faithfulness to his heritage.

On Jan. 25, he was installed as an aide to Dennis Kelleher, who will be the grand marshal for Manhattan's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 17). To be an aide is a great honor. Lahiff will join other dignitaries and aides at a festive dinner in Queens later this month. Kelleher, by the way, is a retired Wall Street financier.

Lahiff is no stranger to Irish activities and celebrations in Orange County. He has organized the line of march for several years for the annual parade of the Mid Hudson St. Patrick's Parade Committee, and he'll take on the role again this year.

The committee is composed of 11 Irish organizations. The 29th annual parade will step off at 2 p.m. March 13 in Goshen for the third year. Usually the committee rotates parades throughout the county, rarely staying in one place for more than two years, but Goshen officials eagerly wanting the parade bid early, and the committee was delighted.

"We've always been treated well in Goshen," said Jack G. Graham Jr., committee publicist. Graham's father, Jack Sr., will be this year's grand marshal. He'll be honored with the traditional breakfast following Mass at St. John's Church on Murray Avenue in Goshen. The breakfast will be at Brookside Manor on Goshen Turnpike, about two miles from the church in the Town of Wallkill.

Among the groups participating in the parade will be the Hudson Valley Regional Police Pipes and Drums led by drum major Harry Baumann.

Another major Irish event hosted by the committee will be the annual Irish Day March 6. Details are still in the works, but it will be held at the Arthur Finnegan American Legion Post 1443 on Lakes Road in Greenwood Lake.

The event annually attracts thousands of people, including Catherine Cronin and her daughter, Betty, of Middletown, members of the Middletown Irish American Society, Orange County's first Irish group and hosts of the first parade.

The committee has worked feverishly this year to find adequate locations. For the past few years, the event has been at the Owen Murphy Inn, which is closed this year, and prior to that at the Bear Mountain Inn, which is undergoing renovations.

For information about the St. Patrick's committee, call Graham Jr. at 726-4231.


Images Of Ireland's Conflict On Display At Nova

By John Dolen
Arts & Features Editor
Posted February 2 2005

If you've ever traveled to Belfast, and ventured out into communities at the center of the decades-old strife known as "The Troubles," you don't have to look far for signs of the conflict. Because there are signs everywhere, literally, in the murals and posters.

They are an art form of record, documenting the bitter struggle between Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Loyalist. Not only do they argue the case for each side but also for the one in the middle -- peace.

An exhibit of 70 such posters, the first of its kind to be mounted in South Florida, will be on display beginning Saturday.

"The posters come from the Belfast's Linen Library collection's of 250,000 objects dealing with the Troubles," says Professor Jim Doan of Nova Southeastern University. "It's the only collection of its kind in the world highlighting a particular conflict."

The exhibit coming to Nova Southeastern has been on tour throughout the country, with previous stops in New York, Chicago and Palo Alto (Stanford University).

"I look at posters as part of the whole visual culture, along with the murals on the walls," says Doan, "as a way of rallying support or creating opposition ... and of import in conflict resolution that could apply outside the confines of Ireland."

"The Troubles" refer to a 30-year period from 1968 to 1998, the year Sen. George Mitchell helped negotiate a historic peace accord.

"It started with civil rights movement in the United States," says Doan, who is chairperson for a series of events connected with the exhibit. "The Catholics in Northern Ireland modeled their movement directly after Martin Luther King's marches in the South."

The posters depict key events and people, such as Bobby Sands, the Republican who died after a 66-day hunger strike in Maze prison. Others are of stylistic interest: for example, Northern Ireland artists used American MIA and POW motifs in posters to evoke support for Republican prisoners.

The university has a free symposium Saturday related to the exhibit. "Troubling Images: Dramatic and Visual Representations of the Northern Irish Conflict and Peace Process" will be held at the Alvin Sherman Library (Room 4009), from 1 to 6:30 p.m. It will explore recent Northern Irish theater, in particular the premise that for playwrights such as Frank McGuinness and Brian Friel, theater held the promise of a "fifth province," a space removed from sectarian bitterness. There will be staged readings, an exploration of the "healing vision of women" and a film presentation of images from the murals of Northern Ireland.

On succeeding Saturdays (Feb. 12-26), the discussion will continue through a film and lecture series, with screenings at noon and a talk at 2 p.m. Speakers include Don Mullan, writer and director of the movie Bloody Sunday, and Niall O'Dowd, founding publisher of Irish-America magazine and the Irish Voice newspaper.

For details, see or call 954-262-4627.

on view

"Troubled Images: Posters and Images of the Northern Ireland Conflict" is on view from Saturday through March 20 at the Alvin Sherman Library, at Nova Southeastern University, 3100 Ray Ferraro Jr. Blvd., Davie. Call 954-262-4627.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?