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February 10, 2005

02/10/05 – Adams Says IMC Report Is Rubbish

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

SF 02/10/05 Adams Describes IMC Rprt As Total & Absolute Rubbish -V(4)
BB 02/10/05 Nothing Found In Bank Raid Search
IT 02/11/05 The IMC: Composition And Remit.
AC 02/10/05 ACLU Urges Senate To Reject Sensenbrenner Measure
BB 02/10/05 NY Attorney Lynne Stewart Convicted Of Aiding Terrorism
IT 02/11/05 Unionists Suggest President Postpone Belfast Visit
ST 02/10/05 Solas Survived Celtic Music's Boom And Bust
IO 02/10/05 Missing Tricolour Query Prompts Laughter In Dáil

RT 02/10/05 Arranmore Islanders Remember Norwegian Rescue -VO

Arranmore Islanders Remember Norwegian Rescue - Eileen Magnier, North-West Correspondent, reports on the rescue operation 65 years ago


IMC delivers findings of report on Northern Bank raid - Michael Heaney reports on the consequences of the Northern Bank raid allegations on the republican movement

FF's Barry Andrews and SF's Gerry Kelly discuss the findings of the IMC report

Ahern challenged to withdraw SF accusations - Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, reports on the findings of the Independent Monitoring Commission

Charlie Bird, Chief News Correspondent, looks at reaction to the report, including remarks by a visibly angry Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams Describes IMC Report As Total And Absolute Rubbish -V(4)

Published: 10 February, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in Dublin this afternoon has described the IMC report as total and absolute rubbish and has accused the Irish government of playing dirty politics with the peace process.

Mr. Adams said: Today I will give my initial response to the IMC report and tomorrow, when we have had an opportunity to review the situation Sinn Féin will give our considered view as to what all of this means.

I would ask people to read the IMC report. The report is total and absolute rubbish. It makes allegations against our party, which it does not even try and substantiate. And I consider some of the accusations that they make to be sinister.

The IMC is doing what it was set up to do. The IMC is a tool of the two governments. It is they who must bear responsibility. It is they who have brought about this situation.

I have to say that I feel a sense of betrayal at the actions of the Irish government. It is they who have moved completely away from the notion of the Good Friday Agreement. It is they who are putting up pre-conditions. It is they who are undermining the rights of Irish citizens.

The Minister for Justice made it clear what all of this was about on RTE today when he said they are doing this in order to influence the electorate ˆ those who vote for our party.

The Irish government are playing dirty politics with the peace process. I think the Taoiseach has crossed the line with his allegations that myself, and Martin McGuinness, had prior knowledge of this robbery. I have sought legal advice on this matter and am told that what we are being accused of is conspiracy to rob and withholding information. This is completely untrue. But if the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice actually believe this then the logic is that they should act - It is time for the Taoiseach to put up or shut up.

Sinn Féin is prepared today, even in the face of all of these attacks, to get down to business with the two governments, to resolve the outstanding matters. That is our priority."ENDS


Nothing Found In Bank Raid Search

Nothing was found in a search of a County Tyrone family's land and property, police investigating the Northern Bank robbery have said.

The two-day operation near Beragh finished on Thursday.

The houses belong to brothers Michael and Liam Donnelly. Michael Donnelly's son Damien said the family had no idea why the police searched their property.

"It must have been false information they received, that's the only thing that I can see," he said.

He said they could not believe the searches were taking place.

"With the biggest robbery in history, to be involved in inquiries to do with that is just beyond us," he added.

"The whole of the Donnelly family has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism or bank robberies - it's not in our nature. We are out for an honest day's work for an honest day's pay."

A business belonging to the family was also searched.

Barry McElduff, Sinn Fein MLA for West Tyrone, said: "They have been searching for, according to this warrant that I have in my possession, vehicles associated with the Northern Bank robbery and notes stolen from the bank on 20 December 2004."

The IRA denies responsibility for last December's bank raid in Belfast, and Sinn Fein says they believe the denial.

Sinn Fein has accused the police of timing the searches to coincide with the International Monitoring Commission's report on the robbery which was published on Thursday.

The commission backed the police assertion the IRA was behind the raid in Belfast in December.

Sinn Fein said it rejected the report because the IMC was "not independent".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/10 20:00:27 GMT


The IMC: Composition And Remit.

The Independent Monitoring Commission "went live" in January 2004.

Members are: Richard Kerr: former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

Commander John Grieve: former head of Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist squad;

Lord Alderdice (right): the former presiding officer of the Assembly and former leader of the Alliance party;

Joe Brosnan: a former senior civil servant at the Department of Justice.

The commission reports on the IRA and loyalist ceasefires every six months.

It also scrutinises the government's programme of demilitarisation and complaints about political tactics which threaten the stability of the devolved institutions.

However, only the British government's nominees - Lord Alderdice and Commander John Grieve - examine how devolved ministers and Northern Ireland parties are honouring their commitments under the Belfast Agreement.

© The Irish Times


House Approves Assault On Immigrants’ Rights And Privacy; ACLU Urges Senate To Reject Sensenbrenner Measure

February 10, 2005
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union strongly urged the Senate to reject legislation approved by the House today that would make it more difficult to seek asylum, lay the foundation for a national ID card and chill free speech in America.

The House approved H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, by a vote of 261 to 161. The ACLU called the bill, sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, unnecessary and said that it undermines cherished freedoms.

"America’s values are not based on turning away asylum seekers who have been persecuted in their homelands or creating a system of internal checkpoints," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

"It’s sad and disappointing the first major piece of legislation that the House of Representatives passed - with little deliberation and no committee hearings - was an unwarranted assault on immigrants and a dismantling of our privacy rights," Murphy added. "This first step for the 109th was one in the wrong direction."

Opposition to this bill was broad and politically diverse and included the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest and largest Irish-American group; Gun Owners of America; the American Conservative Union, the Free Congress Foundation; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.


N.Y. Attorney Stewart Convicted Of Aiding Terrorism

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- New York lawyer Lynne Stewart and two co-defendants were convicted of helping a radical Egyptian cleric pass secret messages from inside prison to followers in his homeland, urging them to launch violent terrorist attacks.

Stewart, 65, was charged with aiding a U.S.-designated terror organization, the Islamic Group, wage a broad murder and kidnapping conspiracy. Prosecutors say she and the two men convicted with her helped her former client, the imprisoned blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, transmit messages to the group's leaders in defiance of prison restrictions. The jury deliberated for 13 days.

``I know I committed no crime,'' Stewart said outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan after the verdict. ``I know what I did was right.'' Stewart said the case against her wouldn't have been brought if not for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Stewart defended Rahman, the Islamic Group's spiritual leader, against 1993 charges that he plotted to blow up the United Nations, an FBI building, two tunnels, and a bridge in New York City. He was convicted in 1995 and is serving a life sentence in a high security prison, where Stewart had numerous meetings with him.

Defended Radicals, Mobsters

Stewart, whose clients have included mobsters and political radicals, said she was being prosecuted for her role as an outspoken lawyer. She says she never intended to promote terrorism.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the verdict ``an important step in the Justice Department's war on terrorism.''

Gonzales, who was confirmed last week as the nation's top law enforcement officer, said the convictions ``send a clear, unmistakable message that this department will pursue both those who carry out acts of terrorism and those who assist them with their murderous goals.''

Stewart's lawyer, Michael Tigar, said he was disappointed at the verdict and vowed to appeal. The trial began in June.

``The jury rendered the verdict more on fear than on the reality of what faced them,'' he said.

45 Years

From 1997 to 2002, Stewart and her co-defendants helped Rahman pass messages from prison to his followers, in violation of government-imposed restrictions, prosecutors alleged. Rahman relied on the three to withdraw his support for the Islamic Group's cease-fire with the Egyptian government.

The organization had suspended its violent activities after a 1997 attack that left 62 people dead in Luxor, Egypt, the U.S. government contended.

Stewart, along with Rahman aide Ahmed Abdel Sattar, 44, and interpreter Mohammed Yousry, 48, were accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. Stewart and Yousry also faced charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

The three defendants were convicted of all charges. Stewart faces a maximum of 45 years in prison. Sattar, who was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, could be sentenced to life behind bars. Yousry faces up to 20 years in prison.

Prison Visit

During a May 19, 2000, prison visit taped by authorities, Stewart allegedly made ``extraneous comments in English'' to drown out a conversation in Arabic between Rahman and Yousry about the Islamic Group's cease-fire with the Egyptian government, prosecutors said.

The next day, Rahman dictated a letter to Yousry withdrawing his support for the cease-fire, ``while Stewart actively concealed the conversation,'' prosecutors said.

Rahman was prohibited under the conditions of his 1995 imprisonment ``from passing or receiving any written or recorded communications'' to or from other inmates, visitors, or his attorney. In 1999, those restrictions were amended to prohibit him from communicating with the news media in person or through his attorneys, prosecutors said.

Stewart, who promised to abide by the agreement, violated those rules and helped Rahman pass secret messages to his followers in Egypt, authorities said.

Daughter of Schoolteachers

With Stewart's and Yousry's help, Rahman in March 1999 issued a directive from prison advising the Islamic Group to adhere to a cease-fire with the Egyptian government, prosecutors said.

Rahman reversed himself in a September 1999 statement communicated through Yousry, following a raid on the Islamic Group by Egyptian police, authorities said.

Stewart, the daughter of Irish-American schoolteachers, has defended controversial clients for two decades, from Larry Davis, a drug dealer accused of shooting six New York City police officers in 1986, to David Gilbert, a 1970s radical charged in the fatal robbery of an armored car.

Davis was acquitted. Gilbert was convicted.

Rahman is a prisoner at the federal medical center in Rochester, Minnesota, where he's been since 1997.

The case is U.S. v. Stewart, 02cr395, Southern District of New York.

To contact the reporter on this story:
David Glovin in New York at at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Patrick Oster at
Last Updated: February 10, 2005 18:06 EST


Unionists Suggest President Postpone Belfast Visit

Joe Humphreys

The President, Mrs McAleese, was last night urged to postpone a planned visit to the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast because of continuing ill-feeling over her recent comments on sectarianism.

She is due to meet staff and pupils at a primary school on February 24th, according to Ulster Unionist politicians. But they said she should stay away from the area following her remarks comparing Nazi hatred to sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

Mrs McAleese apologised for her comments, saying they had been worded "clumsily".

Yet Mr Fred Cobain, a member of the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly said there continued to be a "sense of hurt and outrage" in the Protestant community.

"If Mrs McAleese is genuinely keen on building bridges then I strongly advise her to postpone this visit. If this visit is allowed to proceed it will represent another serious misjudgment and will compound the original offence.

"She will not receive a sympathetic hearing and in reality will only succeed in rubbing salt into the wound."

Cllr Chris McGimpsey, also an Ulster Unionist, said the President had insulted and wrongfully maligned an entire community and may not fully understand the profound sense of hurt she had caused. "By expressing regret for her clumsy comments, Mrs McAleese made a step in the right direction. But by seeking to impose herself on the Protestant community so quickly after so grievously offending it, she goes too far, too soon. The sensible thing for her to do is stay away for the time being."

A spokesman for Mrs McAleese said the President's programme for the end of February had yet to be finalised.

Declining to comment on whether or not her plans would be changed, he added: "The programme will be finalised about a week in advance. That is the situation."

Last month on the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, the President said the Nazis had given "to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred, for example, of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are of different colour and all of those things".

In her subsequent apology, she said: "It was never my intention going into it simply to blame one side of the community in Northern Ireland."

© The Irish Times


Solas Survived Celtic Music's Boom And Bust

By tony montague

Publish Date: 10-Feb-2005

Ten years ago, the radio airwaves were awash with the sounds of traditional fiddles, pipes, and accordions. In the wake of the Riverdance craze the music industry finally realized the popular appeal of Celtic sounds: their vast emotional range, the tug of their ancient and romantic roots, and the awesome skills of the artists. When the likes of Enya, Ashley MacIsaac, and Natalie MacMaster began landing on the charts, it was a promising time for musicians who'd spent years toiling away in dark and smoky pubs.

"It never struck me as something that was going to last," says Seamus Egan, multi-instrumentalist with Irish-American quintet Solas, reached at a hotel in Manhattan. "Since it subsided, there may not be as many opportunities as before, but there's still a strong interest from a lot of people who were exposed to Irish music for the first time during that bubble."

One of the rewards for persistent Celtophiles has been the progress of Solas. The band's self-titled 1996 debut was a genuine classic, with a great selection of tunes and songs, impeccable playing, and inventive arrangements that drew out rhythmic depths and hidden harmonies in the music.

Since that time, Solas--at the Capilano College Performing Arts Theatre this Wednesday (February 16)--has earned a reputation as the strongest Irish band to emerge from North America. Egan and his fiddle-playing partner, Winifred Horan, both of whom live in Philadelphia, are multiple all-Ireland champions on their instruments, and Egan's feat in his early teens of winning four titles in the same year--on flute, whistle, tenor banjo, and mandolin--remains unequalled.

This month Solas releases its seventh album, Waiting for an Echo. Although its music is tradition-based, the recording can't be called traditional. There are several excellent new numbers by outside songwriters--Richard Shindell's witty and elegant "On a Sea of Fleur de Lis", Casey Neil's fast-paced pop ballad "Lowground", and Antje Duvekot's antiwar gem "Erin". Also featured are a host of original instrumental pieces, including Egan's lightly syncopated "The Hanover Reel" and "The Coconut Dog", on which his fingerstyle guitar dances over Eamon McElholm's flatpicked rhythms. The beautiful "The Ballerina Jig", meanwhile, has a leisurely and jaunty pace and a melody that's distinctly Celtic, yet not Irish, in flavour.

"I was thinking more along the lines of Galician music," Egan reveals. "Obviously I'm unable to write within that tradition, but to my mind it has that kind of sway to it."

Other highlights include "The Ploughman", a traditional song set to a brisk rock beat which is given a distinctly Slavic twist by the fiddle-and-accordion accompaniment. With their feet firmly planted in traditional styles, Egan and his colleagues are forging a new Irish music, one fed by ideas from other lands and genres.

"I think you've a natural curiosity to push the boundaries a bit," says Egan. "You have to keep challenging yourself, and to a degree you want to challenge what preconceived ideas people may have of the music as well."

It's good to know that the traditions of Irish music are alive and evolving.


Missing Tricolour Query Prompts Laughter In Dáil

10/02/2005 - 15:01:35

The absence of the national flag from the Dáil caused laughter today.

Mayo TD Michael Ring told the Dáil’s sittings this morning that the tricolour must be flying on Government buildings when the parliament is sitting, but it was nowhere to be seen this morning.

The chamber erupted into laughter when the Fine Gael backbencher blamed the incident on Sinn Féin’s parliamentary leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Raising the issue during Leaders’ Questions, the Fine Gael member said: “Every morning I come in here I look up at the building where the house is sitting and I see the tricolour.

“This morning when I came in the colour was missing.”

Addressing the Ceann Comhairle speaker Rory O’Hanlon, he added: “I want to ask do you know anything about it or does Deputy Ó Caoláin know anything about it?”

However, Mr O’Hanlon said he understood there was a “difficulty with the rope to suspend the flag and it was being attended to as a matter of urgency”.

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
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