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February 04, 2005

02/04/05 – One In Three Live in Poverty in North

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

IO 02/04/05 One In Three Live In Poverty In North
BT 02/04/05 Cory Probe Teams Move Into Offices
BT 02/04/05 Adams: Blame Game Is Hurting Peace Effort
DJ 02/04/05 10 Yrs Work Could Be Lost-Warn McGuinness, McLaughlin
DJ 02/04/05 Editorial: Hardly Surprising
BT 02/04/05 IRA Not Returning To Terror
IO 02/04/05 Minister Ahern To Meet SF To Discuss Peace Crisis
IO 02/04/05 Taoiseach Urged To Recall Peace Forum
BT 02/04/05 SF Face Sanctions After IRA Warning
BT 02/04/05 Now Provos Put A Gun To Our Heads
BT 02/04/05 Viewpoint: Facing Down The Provo Bully-Boys
BB 02/04/05 Latest IRA Statement 'Sinister'
NL 02/04/05 Opin: Nationalist Voters Must Not Show Poll Support
BT 02/04/05 No Plastic Bullets Fired
BT 02/04/05 No Invite To Brady By New Church Leader
BT 02/04/05 Christians Persecuted Under Equality Laws – Claim
IO 02/04/05 Garda Liaison To Work With Justice For The Forgotten
DJ 02/04/05 Release 'Ducksie' Doherty
BT 02/04/05 Exorcism Experts Urged For Irish Dioceses
CO 02/04/05 Suspect Linked To Killings(Donnelly Jewelry Fairfield)
NV 02/04/05 Images: Posters & Images Of The N Ireland Conflict

RT 02/04/05 Ahern Refuses To Comment On IRA Statement -VO
RT 02/04/05 FG Kenny Calls For The IRA To Clarify Its Statement –VO
RT 02/04/05 Charlie Bird Analyses Response To Republican’s Move -VO

Ahern Refuses To Comment On IRA Statement - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern gives his reaction to last night's statement by the IRA

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny Calls For The IRA To Clarify Its Statement

Charlie Bird, Chief News Correspondent, Analyses The Govt's Response To The Republican Organisation's Move

(Poster’s Note: A lot of news today. Don’t miss the last article (& pics) on the Poster’s & Images of the Conflict. Jay = PS – hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key and tab the ‘End’ key to go to the bottom of this posting – ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Home’ takes you back to the top)


One In Three Live In Poverty In North

04/02/2005 - 09:58:34

Nearly a third of the North's population is living below the poverty line, according to shock details released today.

Studies of poverty showed there was a higher proportion of families in poverty than in either the Republic or in Britain.

Academics at Queen’s University Belfast have found that 185,000 households - more than 500,000 people - were living below the poverty line.

Poverty was measured by two yardsticks: low income and deprivation – having to go without things which the public regard as necessities of life, such as enough money to pay heating, electricity and telephone bills on time and new, not second-hand, clothes.

Professors Paddy Hillyard and Eithne McLaughlin were detailing their findings at a seminar of senior social scientists and police-makers meeting in Belfast to explore how far the British government is succeeding in abolishing child poverty, reducing social exclusion and improving equal opportunities in the North.

Brought together by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK’s biggest funder of social research, the seminar was examining the distribution of income, benefits and tax in the North.

The academics’ reports showed that children and families in the North were more deprived than their counterparts in Britain.

Professor Hillyard said the North was one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.

He added: “The challenge for Northern Ireland and local politicians is how to reduce these deep fractures of inequality and create a more just society.”

Professor McLaughlin said lone parents in the North face particular difficulties because of low levels of job opportunities for women generally, combined with low pay and lack of early years provision.


Cory Probe Teams Move Into Offices

Start dates still not set a year after judge's findings

By Chris Thornton
04 February 2005

The collusion inquiry teams looking into the murders of Robert Hamill and Rosemary Nelson have moved into offices in London, the Northern Ireland Office has confirmed.

A third inquiry recommended by former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory, which will look into the death of LVF leader Billy Wright, will be based in Edinburgh but has not yet moved into its base.

Start dates for the inquiries still have not been set, more than year after the judge recommended the inquiries take place.

The fourth inquiry recommended by Justice Cory - investigating collusion in the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane - is being held back by the Government until the laws on evidence can be changed.

Mr Finucane's family have criticised the law change and announced they would not co-operate with the inquiry.

A fifth Cory inquiry is due to take place in the Republic, and is already a year behind schedule. It is due to look at possible garda collusion with the IRA in the killings of RUC Chief Supt Bob Buchanan and Supt Harry Breen.

Justice Cory delivered his report recommending the inquiries to the British and Irish governments on October 7, 2003.

The Irish government published reports relating to garda collusion shortly afterwards, but the four in the remit of Britain were held until April last year.

According to the Government, the Hamill inquiry under former High Court judge Sir Edwin Jowitt and the Nelson inquiry under retired Welsh Chief Constable Sir Anthony Burden have both moved into premises in central London.

They have also appointed a lead barrister and hired administration staff.

The Wright inquiry, under Lord MacLean of the Court of Session in Scotland is in "the process of moving into accommodation in Edinburgh" and will then appoint counsel and staff.

New legislation for the Finucane inquiry is presently before the House of Lords.


Adams: Blame Game Is Hurting Peace Effort

By David McKittrick,
04 February 2005

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, told the British and Irish governments last night that they risked "making a bad situation worse" if they persisted in blaming the republican movement for the deadlock in the Northern Ireland peace process.

His comment followed the IRA's decision this week to withdraw an offer of full arms decommissioning. Last night the IRA accused Tony Blair and the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, of "making a mess of the peace process" and warned: "Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

Relations between Irish republicans and the two governments have cooled since the £26m Belfast bank robbery in December, which London and Dublin have blamed on the IRA.

Standing outside 10 Downing Street yesterday, Paul Murphy, the Northern Ireland Secretary, discounted the possibility of a breakdown in the peace process, but reiterated the Government's belief that the IRA was involved in the robbery.

This week's IRA statement declared: "We do not intend to remain quiescent within this unacceptable and unstable situation. It has tried our patience to the limit. We are taking all our proposals off the table."

Mr Adams said he had told Mr Blair and Mr Ahern that "confrontation is not the way forward" and warned "the peace process could be as transient as Mr Blair's time in Downing Street".

Further exchanges are expected next week with the publication of a report by the Independent Monitoring Commission, which examines paramilitary activity. It is expected to repeat the robbery charge against the IRA and recommend sanctions against Sinn Fein. The IRA denies involvement.

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, said he did not believe the IRA statement meant a return to wider violence. "We know they have the capacity. We know they have the capability. I am currently of the view that they do not have the intent," he said.

"I do not think the statement changes that. But I also make the point that this is an organisation that still exists, is well organised and has not gone away."


Work Of Last Ten Years Could Be Lost - Warn McGuinness, McLaughlin

Friday 4th February 2005

In a series of unusually pessimistic statements Sinn Fein leaders Martin McGuinness and Mitchel McLaughlin have warned that 'all the good work of the past ten years could be undermined' if the two governments do not abandon their present confrontational approach to the process.

Both men were speaking to the 'Journal' before a private meeting scheduled for today with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern during a visit to Derry.

Martin McGuinness said: "The approach of the two governments has effectively scuttled the unprecedented IRA initiatives which they publicly outlined in December.

"The governments have opted to attack the commitment, integrity and motivation of Sinn Fein. This is fair enough in the cut and thrust of party politics but has no place in a peace process. My remarks about the Irish government are made more in sadness than anger."

He continued: "The Sinn Fein leadership stands over and is proud of the contribution we have made in the peace process and in transforming the political situation, not just in the north, but throughout the island of Ireland. That work is unfinished. It is the responsibility of all political parties and others. But the approach of the two governments has effectively scuttled the unprecedented IRA initiatives which they publicly outlined in December."

Meanwhile Mitchel McLaughlin called on both governments to abandon their confrontational approach.

Mr. McLaughlin said: "The confrontational approach the two governments seem to be adopting towards Sinn Fein must stop. It is dishonest and reflects the worst attitude of rejectionist unionists.

"Sinn Fein is the largest pro-Agreement Party in the North and represents over 342000 voters in every corner of Ireland.

"The comments by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern that the IRA is the only obstacle to progress are dishonest and utter nonsense.

"The situation we find ourselves in today is a direct result of the retrograde stance taken by the two governments to confront republicans rather than face down Unionist refusal to accept the terms and conditions of the Good Friday Agreement.

"The two governments know that we would have had a comprehensive agreement last December if they had not capitulated to Ian Paisley's unachievable demands of 'sack cloth and ashes' and 'acts of humiliation'."

Mr. McLaughlin said that Sinn Fein would not be scapegoated. He said: "I think they are engaging in sterile blame game politics without any regard for the consequences.

"But Sinn FÈin will not be scapegoated and we will not allow our electorate to be demonised. Their approach has effectively scuttled the enormous work done in persuading the IRA to undertake its unprecedented initiatives, one of which, just before Christmas, was agreeing to put its arms beyond use within a few weeks.

"I think that the IRA have enhanced this process with unilateral initiatives at crucial times. I think in their statement they have made it quite clear that they are very supportive of a viable peace process."


Editorial: Hardly Surprising

Friday 4th February 2005

Depending on who you listen to, the IRA's decision to withdraw its offer to scrap all its weapons is either a petulant act of sabre rattling or an understandable reaction to the devaluation of the group's contribution to the peace/political process.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness is adamant that, by blaming the IRA for the Northern Bank raid, any chance of the organisation disarming has been "scuttled".

The IRA itself, which denies claims it was behind the £26.5m Belfast heist, says the British and Irish governments have "tried its patience to the limit".

Thankfully, while there is no implied threat in the IRA statement, it still represents a worrying development.

And one thing is for certain - this latest crisis was entirely predictable.

You only have to view the record to realise that the IRA never responds to pressure.

What we now require from our politicians is leadership. People have to have confidence in the political process. Without it, we play straight into the hands of violent elements.

The public is sick and tired of finger pointing politics. The blame game must end and parties must face their responsibilities. Otherwise public confidence in the political process can neither be sustained nor strengthened.

Central to our future is the Good Friday Agreement which remains the only framework allowing relationships at the heart of our conflict to develop in a spirit of mutual respect and acceptance.

No other framework is likely to be agreed to enable unionists and nationalists to fully assert their identities and allegiances in a context of equality and parity of esteem. It remains the only way forward.


IRA Not Returning To Terror

Governments stand by judgment despite second provo statement

By Noel McAdam
04 February 2005

The British and Irish Governments have signalled they still do not believe the IRA's latest statement indicates any intention to return to terrorism.

In their second pronouncement within 24 hours, the Provisionals accused London and Dublin of making a mess of the peace process, prompting concern that it may follow up words with actions.

With the issue of criminality still politically centre-stage, the new IRA statement came hot on the heels of its withdrawal of any offer to disarm.

Trenchant criticism of Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness continued yesterday as it emerged the Independent Monitoring Commission report will be made public next week.

The interim report, sent to the two Governments, is thought to recommend sanctions against Sinn Fein including pay and allowances cuts to the party's Assembly members.

In their follow-up statement last night, the IRA referred to attempts by the Governments to downplay their first statement that it would not "remain quiescent within this unacceptable and unstable situation".

The second statement said: "The two governments are trying to play down the importance of our statement because they are making a mess of the peace process. Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

Mr McGuinness last night refused to put any interpretation on the statement after Mr Adams warned the peace process could become as transient as Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said, however, the latest statement was tantamount to a threat against the Irish people and state and had no place in any process of negotiation.

And Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said the statement contained an implied threat to democratically elected democracies which must stand firm.

Irish senator Martin Mansergh, who has been a senior adviser to three former Taoiseachs, said the IRA seemed to be angry and frustrated: "But I would appeal to the republican movement not to do anything foolish. Not to damage anything that has been achieved by political leaders."

Mr Mansergh said he trusted Bertie Ahern's assessment the Sinn Fein leadership knew in advance of IRA responsibility for the Northern Bank raid which has had a more destabilising effect than the bombing of Canary Wharf.


Minister Ahern To Meet SF Leaders To Discuss Peace Crisis
2005-02-04 12:20:05+00

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern is due to meet senior Sinn Féin members in Derry this afternoon to discuss the latest crisis in the peace process.

The meeting with Martin McGuinness and Mitchel McLaughlin follows last night's IRA statement warning the Irish and British governments not to underestimate the seriousness of the crisis.

On Wednesday night, the IRA announced that it was withdrawing its offer to decommission all its weapons in protest at growing Irish-British antagonism towards the republican movement.

The move was promoted by the two governments' decision to publicly blame the IRA for December's £26.5m (€38m) bank robbery in Belfast, despite the organisation's denial of involvement.

This has led to a fresh stalemate in the peace process, with unionists demanding Sinn Féin's exclusion until such time as IRA paramilitarism and criminality has ended for good.


Taoiseach Urged To Recall Peace Forum

04/02/2005 - 14:24:30

Bertie Ahern was today urged to recall a forum of political parties on both sides of the border to resolve the crisis over the future of the IRA.

As the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern prepared to meet Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and SDLP leader Mark Durkan separately today in Derry following two IRA statements this week, Green Party leader Trevor Sargent called for calm and a reconvening of the National Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.

“It is important to take stock of the peace dividend reduced paramilitary violence has brought in the last decade,” the Dublin North TD said.

“If parties cannot work together, this is indeed serious. All can agree with the IRA statement on that point.

“However we would urge the IRA to agree, in turn, with the Green Party and almost every other party to the Good Friday Agreement, that the block to progress is the threat of violence and the capacity for violence.

“In this regard much depends on Sinn Féin and the IRA ending the option of armed struggle. We are now on a unfortunate round of game playing with accusations, blame and counter-blame clogging the airwaves.

“I am now calling on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and all parties to seriously consider recalling the National Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.”

Earlier this week, nationalist SDLP Assembly member Sean Farren also urged the Irish Government to recall the forum, which last met in Dublin two years ago, to deal with the political fallout from December’s Northern bank raid.

Sinn Féin and the Government have been engaged in a bitter war of words over claims that the IRA was responsible.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has been particularly forthright in telling Sinn Féin there will be no place for them in government on either side of the border until criminality ends.

However in the first of two comments this week on the political crisis, the Provisionals in an official statement furiously denied they were involved in crime.

Last night an IRA source also accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s Governments of making a mess of the process.

Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Northern Ireland’s cross-community Alliance Party and Women’s Coalition all took part in the Dublin-based Forum for Peace and Reconciliation when it last met.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, the Progressive Democrats, the Greens, the Socialist party, the Workers’ Party and a group of independent TDs and senators all participated from the Republic.

Minister Dermot Ahern's meeting today with Martin McGuinness in Derry is the first between the Government and Sinn Féin since the two IRA statements.

As well as meeting the SDLP, Dermot Ahern was also due to talk to members of the Strabane and Derry District Policing Partnerships who have been targeted by hardline republicans for engaging with the police.


SF Face Sanctions After IRA Warning

Anger after latest Provo declaration

By Noel McAdam
04 February 2005

Sanctions against Sinn Fein today seemed certain to follow the IRA's new warning to the British and Irish governments.

Questions over the commitment of mainstream republicans to the peace process arose as the Provisionals upped the ante by telling both governments they must not under-estimate how serious the situation is.

With London and Dublin characterising the IRA's earlier withdrawal of any decommissioning offer as tactical, the second statement drew specific attention to the warning the organisation would not "remain quiescent".

As the DUP signalled moves in the House of Commons, it was confirmed a special Independent Monitoring Commission report will be made public next week.

The ad hoc report is thought likely to recommend financial penalties against Sinn Fein's 24 Assembly members.

An early day motion, brought forward by DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson and supported by several Conservative MPs, also calls for the withdrawal of privileges to Sinn Fein's MPs, including Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The implied threat contained in the IRA's second statement in two days was described as 'sinister' by the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson.

But security chiefs and the London and Dublin governments stood by their assessment that any imminent return to violence by the Provisionals remains unlikely.

Senior Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness said he refused to interpret the follow-up IRA statement which was not signed by P O'Neill.

However, a republican source said: "The two governments are trying to play down the importance of our statement because they are making a mess of the peace process. Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

Republican sources have also indicated deep internal concern over the accusations of IRA criminality and claimed the process was facing its gravest crisis since the first IRA ceasefire broke down in February 1996 with the Canary Wharf bombing.

Mr McGuinness said blaming the IRA for the Northern Bank raid had "scuttled" the chance of the organisation disarming.

Nationalist and unionist politicians on both sides of the border, however, accused the Provisionals of attempting to hold the political process to ransom.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who has so far ruled out moves to exclude Sinn Fein, said: "The IRA is coming close to saying 'don't dare criticise us or question us or the peace process gets it'.

"The IRA is in no position to lecture governments or anyone else about making a mess of the peace process. What has been doing damage to the peace process has been the IRA's insistence on carrying on as a private army and the Provisional movement's arrogance that it can act as a jury on everyone else's political actions."


Now Provos Put A Gun To Our Heads

Government fears new threat is real - but it won't be bullied by the IRA

Tom Brady and Gene McKenna
04 February 2005

The Government will tell republicans it is not going to be intimidated by the threat implicit in a sinister declaration from the IRA last night.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his ministers were studying the terse Provo statement which effectively put the gun to the head of the Government and the Irish people.

The new two-line warning from the IRA said: "The two governments are trying to play down the importance of our statement because they are making a mess of the peace process.

"Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation," it added, chillingly.

Well placed security sources said the implied threat was being taken very seriously and represented a challenge to the Government.

The warning was apparently issued by the leadership of the Provisionals because they were unhappy at the measured response from the Taoiseach and Cabinet members to Wednesday night's IRA statement withdrawing all offers of arms decommissioning.

One source said last night: "This is very bullying behaviour. It is intended to intimidate and exact compliance and deference. It says, 'you are not treating us seriously so we will make you treat us seriously.'

"But it is misjudged. The world has moved on from Canary Wharf" - the massive IRA London docklands bomb which ended its last ceasefire.

"After the events of 9-11 and Madrid, the world has changed and threats of massive terrorist acts will not be tolerated," the source added.

The warning came hours after the Taoiseach had played down the initial announcement that the Provisionals were taking decommissioning off the negotiating table.

And it also followed an assessment by PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde that while the IRA possessed the capacity and capability to resume its "war", he did not think it had any intention of doing so at present.

Some senior Sinn Fein figures were attempting to give the impression last night that the political wing of the movement was being sidelined by the military leadership because of the response from the governments to the initial statement.

But security sources said they were slow to accept that analysis.

All Dail parties, except Sinn Fein, united in condemnation of the threat.

Finance Minister Brian Cowen said: "Of course, we realise the seriousness of the situation. But there is no role for paramilitarism in modern Ireland."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the new IRA warning was "outrageous" and tantamount to a threat to the Irish people and State.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said the new statement was a sinister development and added: "Democrats should stand firm in the face of IRA belligerence."

Greens leader Trevor Sargent said it was extremely intimidating in tone and language.

In the North, the statement was condemned by the SDLP and by both main unionist parties.


Viewpoint: Facing Down The Provo Bully-Boys

IRA threat: Governments must stand firm for sake of peace process

04 February 2005

After a period of silence the IRA has issued two statements on the peace process within 24 hours. While the first was verbose, the second was short and far from sweet.

Clearly angered by the dismissive response to their decision to take all their proposals off the table, the Provisionals are now attempting to turn up the heat on the British and Irish Governments. The ominous warning reads: "Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

What is the IRA playing at? Is this an implied threat of another Canary Wharf? Is the ceasefire about to be called off? How do such threats square with the republican movement's avowed commitment to the peace process?

Certainly, nothing could warrant a return to violence at this stage. The IRA's terror campaign never was justified and in a Northern Ireland which is now one of the most equitable regions of Europe, there would be even less support for a return to such disastrous tactics.

The fact that the IRA should choose such menacing language is highly revealing, It serves to vindicate those in Dublin, London and Belfast who have held out on their demands for the organisation to visibly decommission and for a complete end to all criminality and violence.

The mask has slipped, but the IRA's heavy-handedness does more damage to Sinn Fein than anyone else. How can the party hope to be part of an executive when the armed organisation which it represents adopts such a intimidatory stance?

To some extent, this may explain Sinn Fein's refusal to any longer "be a conduit" between the IRA and the two governments or to interpret IRA statements. This bizarre decision will not enhance Sinn Fein's image. The party and the IRA are still inextricably linked.

The reality is that the republican movement is in a corner and it is reverting to type. The two governments must stand up to such patently bully-boy tactics.

What the public wants to hear from P O'Neill is not more warlike language but a pledge to disarm and a commitment to end all paramilitary and criminal activity. If the IRA really wants the peace process to flourish and wants to see Sinn Fein in government again, that is the only way forward.


Latest IRA Statement 'Sinister'

Unionist politicians have described the latest IRA statement warning of the "serious" state of the political process as "sinister".

Sinn Fein has said the second IRA statement in 24 hours, issued on Thursday, was a statement of fact.

The IRA warned both governments not to underestimate the seriousness of the current state of the peace process.

It follows a statement on Wednesday in which the group withdrew its offer to put its weapons beyond use.

The IRA continues to deny claims it was behind the £26.5m Northern Bank raid in Belfast in December.

Unionist politicians have described the latest IRA statement as "sinister".

It said: "The two governments are trying to play down the importance of our statement because they are making a mess of the peace process.

"Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson urged people to remain calm, but accused republicans of behaving childishly.

Ulster Unionist negotiator Sir Reg Empey said it was an attempt to bully the community.

On Friday, Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin said the governments were now looking to what would happen after the general election.

"I believe we are in a very serious position and Sinn Fein have been attempting to address that since the lynch mob began on 20 December," he said, in a reference to the bank robbery.

The Independent Monitoring Commission has presented its report on the robbery to the British and Irish governments.

The report is not expected to be published until next week.

It is thought it will concur with the police assessment that the IRA was to blame for the bank raid and to suggest sanctions against Sinn Fein.

Vice-chairman of the Policing Board Denis Bradley said the republican movement needed "to take a step back here and look at the situation".

He added: "What has happened and is defined as a result of the bank robbery and some other incidents... is that the nationalist community is saying that as the IRA are beginning to go away, beginning to become less militaristic, are they beginning to drift into some sort of criminality?"

Meanwhile, the SDLP has called for the resumption of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Dublin.

Former deputy leader Brid Rodgers said the latest developments were very worrying and the idea it should be given serious consideration.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/04 09:25:36 GMT


Editorial: Nationalist Voters Must Not Show Poll Support

Friday 4th February 2005

The sinister content of the latest Provisional IRA statement is such that both our own government and the Irish government have got to be firm and resolute in confronting this serious affront to lawful authority.

The IRA statement, predictably couched in language that is menacing and intransigent, rails against the overwhelming tide of public opinion in the two parts of this island and it effectively signals the death knell for a Northern Ireland power-sharing administration which involves the active participation of Sinn Fein.

The statement carries an implicit threat by the IRA to return to full-scale violence, but PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde does not believe this will be the case, although he made it clear yesterday his force was well equipped to deal with any developments within the republican terrorist organisation.

While the reactions of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish premier Bertie Ahern to the ongoing Sinn Fein/IRA shenanigans have contrasted in conviction and substance, there now appears to be a realisation within both governments that the days of appeasing and acquiescing with Sinn Fein and the IRA are at an end.

This was paraphrased by Northern Ireland Secretary of State Paul Murphy when he said: "There is no place in a modern Northern Ireland for a political party linked to an organisation which carries out a £26.5 million robbery.

"We do want people to understand that the obstacle now is criminality."

The governments, up to speed with information and intelligence from their respective police and security services about IRA criminality including the massive Northern Bank robbery on December 20, cannot afford to be complacent or compliant with those who are directly implicated in the catalogue of major crimes.

Republicans must not be encouraged by Tony Blair and his Government to the view that, sooner or later, they will be wooed back into the political process by another significant raft of concessions in return for the concept of illegal IRA weapons being put back on the table for alleged decommissioning.

Knowing Sinn Fein's track record, this may well be the ploy and, if the Government was to foolishly go down this road, it would further destabalise the political process, leaving the play-it-by-the-rules constitutional parties totally frustrated, indeed grievously alienated by the machinations from ministers who live up to all the trademarks of Perfidious Albion.

With a general election and a local government poll coming up within three months, the Northern Ireland electorate will be called upon to make a judgment on how it views parties linked to paramilitary and criminal organisations.

There has never been a tradition within the unionist electorate of expressing any substantive electoral support for parties close to loyalist paramilitaries.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a sizeable section of the nationalist community and one would hope that in the light of the enormous crimes committed recently will no longer be the case.


No Plastic Bullets Fired

04 February 2005

A plastic bullet has not been fired by the security forces for almost two and a half years, it has emerged.

It is believed to be one of the longest gaps since the controversial device was introduced to Northern Ireland.

The revelation that the last plastic baton round was fired in September 2002, was revealed by Northern Ireland Office Security Minister Pearson in a House of Commons written answer to DUP MP Gregory Campbell.


No Invite To Brady By New Church Leader

By David Quinn
04 February 2005

The new Moderator-elect of the Presbyterian Church will not be inviting the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady, to this year's General Assembly of the Church.

Last year, Archbishop Brady became the first Catholic bishop to ever attend the Assembly after he was controversially invited by the Moderator, Dr Ken Newell.

However, Dr Harry Uprichard, who will take over from Dr Newell in June, has said he will not be following his predecessor's example.

Following his election by 12 out of the country's 21 presbyteries earlier this week, Dr Uprichard (63) confirmed he will not be extending an invitation.

He also said that he did not favour joint worship, saying it was "something I would have difficulty with".

Reacting to the remarks, a spokesman for the Catholic hierarchy said that Archbishop Brady accepted and respected Dr Uprichard's decision.

He stated: "It has never been a tradition for the Catholic Church to be formally represented at the installation of a new Moderator and Archbishop Brady fully respects the decision of the new Moderator."

Dr Uprichard stressed: "We do work with the Roman Catholic Church in many areas in practical ways such as education, on homosexuality, sectarianism and racism."

But he said he could not agree with joint worship because "there are deep and fundamental differences".

Commenting on President Mary McAleese's remark that Protestants in Northern Ireland sometimes raised their children to hate Catholics, he said her apology was "perhaps not quite enough" because of "the great offence".


Christians Persecuted Under Equality Laws - Claim

By Chris Thornton
04 February 2005

A DUP Assembly member claimed today Christians are being persecuted by equality laws after Ian Paisley junior was officially censured for attacking the homosexual civic union of an Ulster Unionist advisor.

The Policing Board passed a motion yesterday describing Mr Paisley as "homophobic" and saying his attack was "incompatible with the policies and practices" of the Board.

The motion referred to comments Mr Paisley made on Monday, when he attacked Ulster Unionist advisor Stephen King, who is also a Belfast Telegraph columnist, for reportedly marrying his male partner in Canada.

Mr Paisley had claimed gay marriage is "offensive" to most people in Northern Ireland. "I think these sorts of relationships are immoral, offensive and obnoxious," he said.

Civic unions, a form of marriage for gay people, have been introduced to parts of North America.

George Dawson, leader of a Christian organisation, described the Policing Board's censure of Mr Paisley as "a further warning of the religious persecution which evangelical Christians will face as the distorted equality agenda gathers momentum".

"If the remarks on Mr Paisley are incompatible with the standards of the PSNI, then it is those standards which need to change," he said.

"Not only is gay marriage offensive and obnoxious, but it is also immoral and an attack on the basis of civilised society."

Speaking as chairman of the Caleb foundation, Mr Dawson claimed equality legislation "requires public bodies and others to promote equality for deviant lifestyles". He said this made the law "discriminatory against those with strong religious convictions".


Garda Liaison Officer To Work With Justice For The Forgotten

03/02/2005 - 14:26:36

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has agreed to appoint a liaison officer to work with the Justice for the Forgotten group.

The group represents relatives of people killed in a number of loyalist bomb attacks in the Republic in the 1970s, including the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice in connection with the attacks, all of which have been surrounded by allegations of British army collusion.


Release 'Ducksie' Doherty

Friday 4th February 2005

Sir - The Executive Committee and members of Na Piarsiagh Doire Trasna C.L.G. would like to offer their support to the family and friends of club member, Martin "Ducksie" Doherty, who was recently imprisoned as a result of his failure to attend the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

He is the only individual to have been incarcerated to date.

Martin is and always has been a particularly hard-working member of our club at all levels and is held in the highest regard.

But the pathetic decision to imprison him on the discredited evidence of a witness, shows that very little has changed in regard to the attitudes towards republicans and nationalists.

This decision cannot be excused in any form and Martin should be released immediately. The judgement flies fully in the face of the Bloody Sunday Campaign for Justice.



Exorcism Experts Urged For Irish Dioceses

Priest wants help with 'strange happenings'

By David Quinn
04 February 2005

Every Catholic diocese across the island of Ireland should have a specialist who can assess possible supernatural occurrences such as "poltergeists, hauntings and demonic infestations", according to a priest who is an expert on spiritual issues.

Father Pat Collins made the call in the current issue of the religious periodical, The Furrow.

He also said that a special conference to discuss these issues is needed which would bring together theologians, psychologists, parapsychologists and experienced exorcists which would aim to "explore this aspect of ministry".

Fr Collins, who has written books on spirituality, said he regularly receives calls from people around the country reporting "strange happenings" in their homes.

"They range from footsteps, sounds of crying, smells, objects moving, to electrical appliances going on and off."

He wrote that his usual practice is to refer such people to their local priest for help, but that they would "recount how the priests they had spoken to had either dismissed their stories in a sceptical manner, said Mass or prayers in the house without any discernible effect, admitted that they were not competent to help, or referred them to someone like myself."

Fr Collins said that as a result of this lack of response from most priests, many Catholics are instead turning to "New Age practitioners, spiritualists, psychics and other non-Christian helpers".

He wrote that the Catholic Church needs to find a more systematic way of responding to queries about possible supernatural phenomena and to this end each diocese should appoint a specialist or expert in the area.

"Those who want to deal effectively (with reported supernatural occurrences) need to be au fait with psychology, the paranormal, the notion of the restless dead, and the possibility of infestation by evil.

"Like good doctors, they diagnose what the nature of the problem is, and then try to come up with an appropriate remedy.

"Not all priests would be expected to know about such things, any more than all doctors would be expected to know all about rare diseases.

"Good doctors refer difficult medical cases to specialists.

"Surely priests should be able to refer difficult cases, to do with such things as poltergeists, hauntings, and demonic infestation, to diocesan specialists. Otherwise those who are afflicted may have recourse to New Age practitioners, spiritualists, psychics and other non-Christian helpers," he said.

Fr Collins called for a conference designed to pool knowledge of the area. And he said that many Christians have given up belief in the supernatural because of the influence of secular ways of thinking.


Suspect Linked To Killings, Robberies

February 4, 2005

By KIM MARTINEAU, Courant Staff Writer Police have linked a Long Island parolee with three homicides and four jewelry store robberies over the past month - including Wednesday's killing of a popular couple who ran Donnelly Jewelry In Downtown Fairfield.

Police identified their suspect as Christopher DiMeo, 23, originally from Glen Head, N.Y., who was last seen driving a black, older model SUV with California plates. DiMeo, described as a 5-foot-8, 170 to 190 pounds and a heroin and gambling addict, is armed with an automatic pistol, police said.

Timothy Donnelly and his wife, Kimberly, both 52, were shot and killed inside their store just before 6 p.m. Wednesday when commuters were pouring out of the train station a block away and the surrounding bars and restaurants were filling up. Their shop, overlooking the town green, was a neighborhood institution, specializing in handmade Celtic jewelry.

"They were an inseparable couple who loved each other and the people around them," said a friend, Jim O'Donnell.

The Donnellys lived in Bridgeport and were Irish Americans who shut their store each June to help the Gaelic-American club put on its annual spring festival, where they also ran a booth selling jewelry, according to friends. Timothy Donnelly was a long-distance runner who ran the New York and Boston marathons. Kimberly Donnelly worked at Fairfield University for years before joining her husband at the shop, which started in the former Chapel Street Mall in New Haven. They were close to their two children, an accountant and a musician, who are adults and live in New York City.

O'Donnell said he once went to the shop looking for a ring to give his wife on their 25th anniversary. He and Donnelly scanned the store, but didn't find the right one - so Donnelly proposed he design one. His creation, in silver, had five birthstones, corresponding to each of O'Donnell's five children.

"He didn't have customers - he had friends who bought jewelry from him," said O'Donnell. "He took such great pain to do it right, people came back and back for the obvious life he breathed into the thing you took home."

The seemingly random and brutal killing has stunned this suburban community of 58,000. A block away, Fairfield Center Jewelers had closed just a half-hour before the shooting. Owner Bob Sussman said he thinks it could just as easily have been him.

"I don't know how many times I've said thank you in the last 24 hours," he said.

The jewelry business is a notoriously dangerous occupation - averaging 15 to 20 homicides a year, with the exception of last year, when there were only three killings, according to the Jewelers Security Alliance, a trade group based in New York City. The group keeps close track of robberies and murders across the nation to help police establish links to distant crimes.

On Thursday, the group alerted thousands of jewelry stores to the Fairfield killings, which have been tied to one killing and three other armed robberies in New York in which nearly $300,000 in jewelry was stolen.

The crime spree started in June, about the same time DiMeo was released from prison in upstate New York after serving two years for an August 2001 burglary and attempted robbery, according to police. DiMeo lived in California until October. Police believe he drove east in the stolen SUV, a 1999 Honda Passport - the same car they're looking for now.

In early December, a man believed to be DiMeo robbed the first jewelry store, Robert's Jewelry, near Roosevelt Field Mall in Westbury, on Long Island. A man walked in asking to see some engagement rings. He volunteered that he wanted to spend "$5,000 to $6,000," which struck the store manager, who identified himself Thursday only as "Robert B.," as odd.

"Most people walk in and they don't say how much they want to spend right away," he said.

As the manager pulled out a tray of diamond rings, the man pulled a gun from his shopping bag, Robert B. said. The man grabbed the tray of rings, valued at $80,000, and ran for the door - but it was locked.

"He started cursing," said the manager. "I had to buzz him out."

The second robbery, at J&J Jewels in nearby Glen Head, turned deadly. It was four days before Christmas. Police say DiMeo shot the store manager, Thomas Renison, 48, four times in the chest and fled with $100,000 in rings and bracelets. Renison, married with two children, died in a hospital.

A day after Christmas, police say, DiMeo struck a third jewelry store, Rockland Jewelry Exchange in Nanuet, N.Y., just north of New York City. He made off with $80,000 in rings after talking to the salespeople just long enough for them to let their guard down, said police.

"He gains the confidence and trust of the employees, but he also engages in conversation with other customers," said Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department. "He comes across in a friendly, non-threatening manner."

In Fairfield, friends expressed disbelief that a couple as gentle as the Donnellys could have died so violently.

"They were such kind people," said O'Donnell. "If someone came in to confront them, they would not have resisted. This is someone who came in and just murdered them."


Troubled Images: Posters And Images Of The Northern Ireland Conflict

February 5 - March 20, 2005

About the Exhibit

This exhibit displays political posters from both sides that chronicle "the Troubles," the civil rights conflict between the Irish/Catholic underclass and the British/Protestant ruling class in Northern Ireland that flared-up over three decades, until the historic Good Friday Peace Accord of 1998. The Linen Hall Library in Belfast assembled this traveling exhibition that the Alvin Sherman Library will host starting in February of 2005.

The seventy posters that will be on view are part of the Linen Hall Library's collection of over 3,000 acquired by the Library from 1969 to the present. They represent a wide range of opinions on major events and individuals involved in the arduous years of struggle and the burgeoning peace process, in which Senator George Mitchell played a significant role as chairman of the peace talks that brought about the Good Friday agreement. Beginning on February 5, 2005, we will be conducting many programs to explore the conflict and peace process in Northern Ireland as well as other global conflicts. Our line up includes an Irish Studies Symposium, film screenings, author events for adults and children, a series about the historical perspective of the conflict in Northern Ireland and gallery talks throughout the six-week period.

As part of the opening weekend's events, distinguished speakers and scholars from Ireland and the United States will present Irish Studies/Peace Studies symposia. The opening weekend's events at the Alvin Sherman Library will also include a public reception and special film screenings. Throughout the six-week period, public lectures on the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland will be presented. On Saturday, March 12, the Broward Public Library Foundation's BYBLOS organization, along with NSU and the Sun-Sentinel as presenting sponsors, will hold the "Day of Literary Lectures" at the Alvin Sherman Library with approximately 20 authors. Among the presenters, we anticipate having a noted Irish author who will meet with underwriters and distinguished guests prior to the public program. Also in March, children's authors Patricia Riley Giff and Susan Bartolotti will present their program "Ireland for Kids."

Exhibit sponsors include: the Circle of Friends for the Alvin Sherman Library
The Irish Peace Institute Foundation
The Irish American Unity Conference
Bank Atlantic
The South Florida Irish Studies Consortium
James, Doan, NSU Professor
Jim Dwyer and Maria Kondracki

Posters and Images of the Northern Ireland Conflict—from The Linen Hall Library, Belfast—is presented in North America in collaboration with Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
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