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February 24, 2005

02/25/05 – SF To Launch Paper On Irish Unity

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Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

SF 02/25/05 SF To Launch Campaign For Green Paper On Irish Unity
UT 02/25/05 MI5 To Take Over NI Security Intelligence
SF 02/25/05 MI5 Move Designed To Prejudice Policing
IO 02/25/05 Nine Jailed Over Firearms Training Camp
BT 02/25/05 Ahern: IRA Cash Ring Still At Work
BT 02/25/05 I Know Who Killed McCartney: Ahern
BT 02/25/05 Major Doesn't Back Freezing Out SF
BT 02/25/05 Unionist Call To Axe Sinn Fein Stormont Allowances
BB 02/25/05 Johnny Adair Pictured Back On Shankill
BB 02/25/05 Family Dismisses Loyalist Claims
BT 02/25/05 Parties Quarrel Over Cash Allegations
NS 02/25/05 The Truth About Northern Ireland
BT 02/25/05 Parade Law Triggers Row Over Drumcree
ZW 02/21/05 Of Ireland And Iraq
ZW 02/25/05 'Of Ireland And Iraq' Analogy Flawed
WT 02/25/05 Fruits Of Peace Turn Sour In N. Ireland
BT 02/25/05 McAleese 'Will Be Invited Back To The Shankill' –V
WT 02/25/05 Analysis: Ian Paisley's Not For Turning
UT 02/25/05 CCTV 'Doesn't Reduce Crime'
UT 02/25/05 Military Museum Not Sustainable, Says Report

RT 02/25/05 Bono Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize –VO

Bono Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize


Sinn Féin To Launch Campaign For Green Paper On Irish Unity

Published: 24 February, 2005

Sinn Féin will launch a campaign and discussion document urging the Irish Government to bring forward a Green Paper on Irish Unity tomorrow Friday February 25th in the Irish Writer's Museum on Parnell Square at 11am.

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will formally launch the campaign and document. Martin McGuinness MP, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, Catriona Ruane MLA as well as the party‚s Meath by-election candidate Councillor Joe Reilly will accompany him.

Speaking before the launch Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said:

"Tomorrow we will launch a discussion document outlining our proposals to plan for Irish reunification which we believe is both inevitable and desirable.

"And because we think it is inevitable we believe it is necessary and indeed prudent for the Irish people to engage in dialogue on the shape and form such a re-united Ireland would take.

"In this discussion document we are calling on the Irish Government to publish a Green Paper and to begin the practical planning for Irish unity now." ENDS


THURSDAY 24/02/2005 14:17:59

MI5 To Take Over NI Security Intelligence

MI5 is to take charge of national security intelligence work in Northern Ireland, Secretary of State Paul Murphy announced today.

By:Press Association

It will assume lead responsibility from Hugh Orde`s police service in 2007, falling into line with the rest of the UK as part of British Government moves to provide a consistent and co-ordinated response to international terrorism.

In a Commons written statement, Mr Murphy said: "Sharing of intelligence on a cross-border and international basis will be particularly important in combating money laundering and other aspects of organised crime."

The security service, he said, would continue to work in partnership with the PSNI, which will provide the operational police response in countering terrorism.

The powers of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the office of police ombudsman Nuala O`Loan will not be affected by the change.

It is understood that Ms O`Loan has some reservations about the changeover.

Her spokesman said: "She will be studying the detail very closely, particularly with regard to ensuring that all elements of policing in Northern Ireland continue to be fully accountable to the public."

Northern Ireland Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea confirmed members would question Chief Constable Hugh Orde next Wednesday about the implications of the intelligence move.

"I have called, on behalf of the Board, for a briefing from Government at an early opportunity," he said.

"National security is, and always has been, a matter reserved to Government, and is not a matter for the Policing Board. However since it impinges operationally on the PSNI the Board will want to explore the implications of this decision.

"As the statement from Government notes, the PSNI will, as now, provide the operational police response in countering terrorism, and in protecting the whole community of Northern Ireland."


MI5 Move Designed To Prejudice Policing

Published: 24 February, 2005

Sinn Féin policing spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said that the announcement about the role of MI5 from 2007 is a pre-emptive strike by the British establishment designed to prejudice the transfer of powers in favour of British state.

Mr Kelly said:

"A new beginning to policing and justice requires a policing service which is democratically accountable, civic-based, rooted in human rights and politically non-partisan. Transfer of powers on policing and justice is central to accomplishing that new beginning.

"Today's announcement is a pre-emptive strike by the British establishment ahead of the transfer of powers. It is designed to prejudice the transfer of powers in favour of British state interests by designating matters due to be transferred, as excepted matters. Sinn Fein made it clear to both governments that this is unacceptable.

"It gives no comfort to the nationalist community that the very agencies of the British state which have been implicated by Judge Corey in state murder and criminality against Irish citizens, are to have that role perpetuated." ENDS


Nine Jailed Over Firearms Training Camp

24/02/2005 - 12:31:37

Nine men who were arrested after gardaí swooped on a suspected Continuity IRA training camp in the Comeragh mountains were jailed by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

The court was told that gardaí discovered four guns, a makeshift firing range and targets when they raided a clearing in the Comeragh mountains. They found four men at a firing point being given instructions by two others and three men armed with shotguns acting as sentries, the court was told.

Gardaí who had been observing the training heard up to 60 shots being fired, including rifle and small-arms fire.

The men jailed today are Patrick Deery (aged 53), a native of Claudy, Co Derry, with an address at Woodhouse, Stradbally, Co Waterford; Joseph Mooney (aged 36), of Ozzier Court, Co Waterford; John O' Halloran (aged 34), of Ross Avenue, Mulgrave St, Limerick; Mark Mc Mahon (aged 36), of Commodore Barry Park, Wexford; Patrick J. Kelly (aged 37), of Belvedere Grove, Wexford; and Dean Coleman (aged 23), of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, who pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a American model rifle in suspicious circumstances at Knocknaree, Knockatedaun, Ballmacarbry, Co Waterford, on August, 2003.

Thomas Barry (aged 21), of Larchville, Lisduggan, Co Waterford, and Brian Galvin (aged 38), of Ardmore Park, Ballybeg, Co Waterford, pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a Baikal under and over shotgun in suspicious circumstances at Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford, on the same date.

Michael Leahy (aged 23), of Mc Carthyville, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a sawn-off single-barrel shotgun at Ballmacarbry, Co Waterford, on the same date.

Deery was jailed for six years to date from August, 2003. Mooney was also jailed for six years. O' Halloran, McMahon and Kelly, who were at the firing point, were each jailed for five years.

Barry and Coleman were each jailed for four years in view of their age and Galvin and Leahy were each jailed for five years.

Mr Justice Richard Johnson, presiding, said the court was satisfied that all nine accused came together at a well-organised training camp to train in the use of firearms for a subversive or unlawful purpose.


Ahern: IRA Cash Ring Still At Work

'Large quantities being hauled around Republic'

By Chris Thornton
24 February 2005

The IRA was accused today of continuing to launder large quantities of cash throughout Ireland despite the Northern Bank heist controversy.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has revealed that large quantities of cash are being "hauled around the Republic" as part of a huge IRA money ring.

Mr Ahern indicated the high level of IRA activity as London sources confirmed that senior political and security figures across the UK have been warned they could be Provo targets.

Threat assessments have been raised, British sources say, as a "precautionary measure" after the IRA was put under increased pressure by the investigations into the Northern Bank robbery, the murder of Robert McCartney and money laundering.

They say there is no suggestion the IRA is planning to end its ceasefire.

But Mr Ahern said the IRA is continuing other activities that the Provos do not consider a breach of their ceasefire.

He indicated the IRA has so far ignored joint British and Irish demands for them to end criminality.

Mr Ahern said his most recent security briefing indicated that IRA money laundering is continuing in spite of last week's Garda raids that seized almost £3m in sterling.

Security officials on both sides of the border believe much of the money laundering is dealing with cash stolen from the Northern Bank on December 20. The IRA has denied carrying out the £26.5 million raid.

Mr Ahern said "large amounts of money are being hauled around the Republic of Ireland by various people. It is being laundered for the Provisional IRA," he told the Dail.

Mr Ahern - who met Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this week and may speak to him by telephone today - repeated that the two governments require "an end to paramilitary and criminal activity by the IRA and the decommissioning of IRA arms".

"We can try to restart the process if that is achieved. We will not be able to do so if that is not achieved," he said.

"We have to reach a position from which we can move on. That is all I want to achieve. I am not interested in arguing about Sinn Féin's mandate or demonising that party - I just want to make progress and to get these things finished."

Meanwhile, senior Bulgarian diplomats are to hold talks with Mr Ahern's officials about suspicions that the IRA has attempted to launder money through their country.

As Irish fraud squad detectives worked with Interpol to smash the money racket, officials from the former Communist state were travelling to Ireland for security briefings.

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has confirmed his officers are going international to follow leads after last week's raids.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice confirmed envoys at the Bulgarian Embassy had requested a high level meeting in Dublin to discuss efforts to smash the dirty money racket.

Eight people were arrested in Cork and Dublin last week, including former Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hanlon.

Cork chef Don Bullman was charged with membership of the Real IRA after police allegedly discovered £54,000 stuffed into a washing powder box in a jeep outside Dublin's Heuston Station, while all seven others were released.


I Know Who Killed McCartney: Ahern

By Chris Thornton
24 February 2005

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he knows the names of Belfast man Robert McCartney's IRA killers - and he said witnesses helping the PSNI is the only way to stop "the bully boys and thugs".

His comments followed his Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, saying it would be "patriotic" for Irish people to assist the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

After meetings in Dublin and Belfast yesterday, Mr McCartney's family said politicians across Ireland are unanimous in their desire to see the father of two's killers caught.

Mr McCartney (33), was stabbed outside Magennis' pub in Belfast city centre on January 30.

The killing is believed to have been carried out by IRA members during a fight, and was not ordered by the IRA leadership.

But the killers are believed to have used the IRA's anti-forensic skills to destroy evidence and their position as IRA members to intimidate around 70 witnesses.

The IRA has distanced itself from the killing, saying no one should hinder the family "in their search for truth and justice".

But republicans have stopped short of recommending co-operation with the PSNI, and Mr McCartney's family say no witnesses have yet come forward.

The Taoiseach said that "dealing properly with the PSNI is ultimately the only way we will stop" the intimidation.

He said the names of the killers "are known".

"The names of those people involved are freely spoken about. I will not mention names but I have talked to several people who told me who was involved.

"It is well known; there is no mystery about it. The issue is to get people who were there to co-operate with the PSNI to have these people charged."

Mr Ahern added: "There are people who can resolve the McCartney murder very quickly.

"Not only were these people present at the scene of the crime - this is known - but they also had the audacity to go back to the scene of the crime to sweep the place clean. It is bad enough killing people but to do that is horrendous. "


Major Doesn't Back Freezing Out SF

By Brian Walker, London Editor
24 February 2005

Former Prime Minister John Major, who approved secret talks with the IRA leading to the ceasefire when he was in office, has said he doesn't favour a return to devolved government without Sinn Fein, "now that they have lost public sympathy in many quarters."

In an ITV News interview, Mr Major said leaving Republicans out of an administration "would give them a grievance that would allow them to slip off the hook."

Direct rule should continue, he said, but with the intention to returning to devolved government later.

Tony Blair was right to want to keep talking to Sinn Fein, but direct rule should be accompanied by the rigorous application of the law, including against "members of political parties if they are involved in criminal activity".

Mr Major also called on Mr Blair to end his resistance to publishing the advice he received on the legality of going to war in Iraq.

A Commons row erupted when legal scholars claimed yesterday that advice in the name of the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, had in reality been drafted by Downing St aides and that the Attorney General himself had expressed doubts about the war's legality.

Lord Goldsmith denied the claims, insisting that he had written the advice note himself.

Mr Major said the next election would be a watershed, because of indications that the turn-out would drop below the less than 60% level of last time

A main reason for this, he claimed, was new Labour spin, "which people loathe".


Unionist Call To Axe Sinn Fein Stormont Allowances

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
24 February 2005

A senior Ulster Unionist today urged the Government to further tighten the financial squeeze on Sinn Fein - by also axing its Stormont office allowances.

The £120,000 block grant already being taken from the party does not include their office costs pay-outs of up to around £34,000 for every Assembly member.

But Secretary of State Paul Murphy is proposing that Sinn Fein should lose its Westminster office allowances - worth close to £500,000.

Strangford Ulster Unionist David McNarry said Sinn Fein should also lose out on the equivalent allowances in Stormont.

"Different standards cannot apply between the two elected institutions," he said.

Mr McNarry suggested the recall could be coupled with David Trimble's call in Parliament for movement towards 'democratising Direct Rule'.

The Strangford MLA went on: "If democrats are to be denied their rightful positions in an Executive because republicans have rendered themselves unfit for government, there can be no good reason why Sinn Fein should continue to receive more than £1m in allowances from the Northern Ireland Assembly."

The House of Commons is due to vote on the proposed extension of sanctions, in the aftermath of the Independent Monitoring Commission report blaming the IRA for a series of recent robberies including the Northern Bank heist, in the next two weeks.


Adair Pictured Back On Shankill

Convicted loyalist leader Johnny Adair has been in Northern Ireland, several weeks after being freed from Maghaberry prison.

Adair was photographed on Belfast's Shankill Road and was also seen elsewehere on Thursday.

The UDA became aware of his presence and sent men to Portadown.

A UDA leadership source described the situation as volatile. However, it is understood Adair has since left Northern Ireland.

After being released from prison in January, Adair joined his family who settled in Bolton after fleeing Northern Ireland during a loyalist paramilitary feud two years ago.

The former leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters had served two-thirds of a 16-year sentence for directing terrorism on behalf of that organisation.

He was expelled by the leadership of the Ulster Defence Association, of which the UFF is a part, in late 2002.


Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy ordered Adair to be sent back to prison in January 2003 at the height of a vicious power-struggle between his "C Company" faction and the rest of the UDA.

Members of Adair's brigade blamed for the killing of rival UDA leader John Gregg were later routed and forced to flee their Shankill Road powerbase.

Adair was photographed on the Shankill Road on Thursday by the Sunday Life. The newspaper says it did not pay any money for the photographs.

Adair's wife Gina, who confimred on Thursday morning that her husband was in Northern Ireland, later said she knew nothing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/24 17:54:47 GMT


Family Dismisses Loyalist Claims

The family of a man killed in north Belfast earlier this month has dismissed a loyalist paramilitary group's claim that it murdered him.

Stephen Montgomery, from Mountainview Drive, was found unconscious with head injuries on Jamaica Road, Ardoyne, in the early hours of 13 February.

He died in hospital. The Red Hand Defenders now claims it killed him.

Police say they are continuing to treat the death as a hit-and-run incident while they investigate the RHD claim.

They say they are trying to establish the veracity of it.

The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name previously used by the Ulster Defence Association, said it was responsible in a phone call to a Belfast newsroom on Thursday.

A number of people were questioned about the killing of the 34-year-old and released pending reports to the DPP.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/02/24 21:08:58 GMT


Parties Quarrel Over Cash Allegations

SF candidate attacks SDLP leader's stance

By Brendan McDaid
24 February 2005

A war of words today erupted between the SDLP and Sinn Fein in Londonderry as relations continued to plummet over alleged Republican money laundering.

The SDLP today hit back at demands from Sinn Fein for Mark Durkan to either "put up or shut up" over the accusations being levelled.

A Sinn Fein candidate in forthcoming council elections, Ollie Green, launched a attack on Mr Durkan, accusing him of making unfounded allegations.

Mr Green added: "At the same time Durkan has produced not one single shred of evidence to substantiate a single word he has spoken."

SDLP candidate Colum Eastwood hit back, saying that the word of Sinn Fein and its leader Gerry Adams could not be trusted.

Mr Eastwood said: "The denials from the Provisional leadership that Oliver Green is relying on now have counted for very little in the past.

"Gerry Adams denied that the IRA was involved in the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe in Limerick and postal worker Frank Kerr in Newry, and we saw how empty those denials really were.

"Given the confused and conflicting messages coming from the Provisional movement in recent days, why would we believe Gerry Adams over the Taoiseach, who has invested so much in this process?"

Mr Eastwood said Sinn Fein were now hitting out in all directions and causing "serious damage" to the peace process.

"I respect Sinn Fein's mandate," he added. "But they appear to have very little respect for the mandate the people of Ireland gave to the agreement: for peace, for an end to all paramilitary and criminal activity."

Mr Green, however, accused Mr Durkan of attempting to "save his own political bacon" by taking the word of the PSNI over Irish people.

He said: "Mark Durkan would do well to remember that the people of Derry have lived through the dirty war, and have seen the black propaganda used by the British and their lackeys.

"They have seen how the controlled media told the world about Bloody Sunday and ignored RUC collusion with loyalist death squads."

In a direct challenge to the SDLP leader, he added: "This is Derry, not Finchley, Mark. People here know better."


The Truth About Northern Ireland


Monday 28th February 2005

The true terms of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland were never spelt out, for the very good reason that many of the parties, particularly British Labour ministers, could not admit the terms even to themselves. But they were simple. The IRA, in return for a role in governing the province, would cease its attacks on the British mainland, the British army, the British governing classes (politicians and civil servants) and the business areas of Belfast and Londonderry. It would remain, however, in control of the working-class Catholic enclaves of Northern Ireland's cities, while Protestant paramilitaries continued in control of their equivalent patches. In those areas, paramilitaries would continue to murder and knee-cap as they wished - the IRA carried out 103 punishment beatings in the first year after the Good Friday Agreement - and to make money through drugs and protection rackets.

Whatever ministers believed, it has become increasingly clear that that was the deal the IRA thought it was making. It might, in due course, give up some of its heavy-duty weapons - rocket launchers and the like - because those, after all, were primarily suitable for large-scale city-centre attacks. It is doubtful that it ever envisaged giving up most of its small arms, which are needed to police the proletarian ghettos.

The "peace process" is now in jeopardy because the IRA has broken the terms of the deal. Just before Christmas - for reasons that are still unclear, but probably had something to do with cash-flow - the IRA carried out a £26.5m raid on the Northern Bank in central Belfast. This is denied by the IRA itself, but the Independent Monitoring Commission blames the Provos, as do British and Irish ministers, the police and the security services. The IRA may do what it likes in the Bogside or the Falls Road. It is not supposed to attack big business or commerce. That defeats the whole point of the deal.

This interpretation of events is not one you will commonly read. Officially, the deal was with Sinn Fein, not the IRA, and involved exchanges of pious declarations about the rights of Irish people, north and south, to self-determination. But as ministers now freely admit, there is no significant difference between the two organisations - or if there is, the difference is no greater than that between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Labour Party as a whole. In effect, ministers have agreed that associates of a "criminal conspiracy" (the description of the Irish justice minister) or an "underworld of Mafia-type dimensions" (the description of Paul Murphy, the UK Northern Ireland Secretary) can hold ministerial office in a corner of the United Kingdom.

The deal has been a good one for IRA/Sinn Fein. It has achieved a degree of respectability and, with the help of state finance, established itself as the leading political voice of nationalists in the north. It is also very much stronger than it was in the south. IRA leaders are past masters at using bomb and ballot in tandem, eschewing the former at periods when levels of violence threaten to erode support, the latter when its usefulness appears to be exhausted. But they have never wavered in their belief that they, and they alone, constitute the legitimate government of the whole island of Ireland. Until that is recognised, they will put at least some arms out of use, but they will never wholly renounce violence. Nor, perhaps, do their working-class Catholic subjects wish them to do so. Memories of how Protestants threatened pogroms in Catholic areas in the late 1960s, when the IRA was at its weakest, are still too fresh.

Has it been a good deal for the British government? Yes, in the sense that the Good Friday Agreement was an instant feather in new Labour's cap and allowed it to get on with governing the rest of the kingdom in relative peace and quiet. Ministers could hope that Sinn Fein leaders - the likes of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness - would be sufficiently seduced by red carpets and limousines to turn into serious democratic politicians. Yet it was never a very realistic hope, given that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness would be nonentities, lacking any substantial political programme, without the gunmen looming behind them.

Tony Blair's fine rhetoric about "the hand of history" may have been naive, or it may have been just another bit of new Labour cynicism and spin. But it is usually best to recognise reality and speak the truth. The 1998 deal was a truce, not a permanent peace, and it was agreed on not very savoury terms. That is often how governments have to deal with terrorists - and the British and Americans may one day have to deal with Islamists in similar fashion.


Parade Law Triggers Row Over Drumcree

Action of supporters under new scrutiny.

By Michael McHugh
24 February 2005

Plans to include supporters in parades determinations have triggered a row over the annual Drumcree impasse, the Belfast Telegraph learned today.

The Parades Commission is to receive powers to make determinations on the movement of supporters of Orange demonstrations in time for this summer's marching season.

Critics in Portadown believe the change may be open to legal challenge while nationalists have welcomed the move.

Northern Ireland Office Minister Ian Pearson announced the proposed changes to the Commission's remit this week following representations from the police and the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster.

These will include a consultation on methods of solving disputes as well as bringing protests under the Commission's umbrella.

The shake up follows trouble at a parade last summer through Belfast's Ardoyne which flared into violence when supporters of the Orangemen walked through the Crumlin Road flashpoint.

Portadown District Orange Order spokesman David Jones maintained that the legislation has not been adequately considered and will make little difference to Drumcree.

"There is an argument that the legislation itself which brought in the Parades Commission was not thought through," he said.

"Some groups would argue that other things have not been thought through and that this just adds to the list.

"It's one thing to try and legislate but it's a different matter when it's being invoked. Are the police going to say that you can't walk along the footpath. What does that do to the human rights of an individual?"

Mr Jones said the Drumcree parade was for a church service and didn't attract the same following expected on the 12th of July.

"It's difficult to see where this law will be used or how it will be policed and how they are to adjudicate on it," he added.

"No one walked alongside us as we paraded along the Garvaghy Road in the past."

Sinn Fein Assemblyman John O'Dowd said he welcomed the proposed change.

"On a number of occasions at Drumcree we have seen the crowds staying around the church for hours and even a number of days. Any legislation which ensures that supporters are not used to raise tensions is to be welcomed," he said.

"It will be easy to implement if the PSNI are willing to implement it. In terms of Drumcree the area is not a hive of activity so it would be easy to identify supporters.

"Last year Lurgan town centre was closed off by supporters of the march and the police said they could not deal with it so hopefully this legislation will change that."

The Commission held a meeting with nationalist residents at the start of the year but there is believed to have been little shift in the positions held by the two sides since last summer's stand-off. This year's Co Armagh Orange demonstration will be held in Portadown the week after the Drumcree protest.


Of Ireland And Iraq

By:MATT MILNER, Courier staff writer 02/21/2005

Irish police picked up seven people last week in connection with a Dec. 20 bank heist. Officials in both the U.K. and Ireland believe the robbery was carried out by the IRA.

The robbery took place just as things appeared to be getting back on track for the Stormont government, which is in a deep freeze due to ongoing spats between loyalists and republicans in Northern Ireland. Most Americans have barely noticed. They probably should have watched a little more closely.

The experiences in Northern Ireland may end up being a sort of template for how the U.S. approaches terrorism. Iraq is the obvious application, but there could very well be others in the coming years.

Brief history lesson. The IRA, Irish Republican Army, began in the early years of the 20th century. The organization was dedicated to the creation of an independent Ireland and held a socialist ideology.

The original IRA was partially successful. Ireland did gain independence, but the British held on to six counties with significant Protestant populations. That population is descended from a British attempt to seed the area with Protestants who would be loyal to the crown.

Fast forward a few decades. It's the 1960s. Ireland is independent. Conflicts in Northern Ireland, known collectively as the Troubles, began. Those grew out of a number of causes, including civil rights and continuing separatist activities. The Provisional IRA, PIRA, became the major republican organization, leading armed attacks on British troops and Protestants.

Protestants responded with their own loyalist organizations. Many of them seem to hold a strange definition of loyalty since they carried out the same terrorist activities as the IRA, effectively breaking the law in the name of the crown.

Fast forward a few more decades. The Good Friday accords calmed the situation significantly. PIRA largely ceased offensive actions, though it refused to decommission or disband.

The republican movement splintered. The PIRA remains the largest and most organized republican body. But the Real IRA, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and Continuity IRA rejected the peace process. The Real IRA is the most violent of the three.

The INLA, incidentally, holds a marxist view and is more or less the ideological successor to the original movement.

So, what possible connection is there between this mess and Iraq? Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein, translated as "We Ourselves," is the political party that originated from the IRA. Most observers believe the links are extremely close, though

Sinn Fein claims a certain distance from the PIRA.

The evolution of Sinn Fein into the largest republican party in Northern Ireland is the evolution of a terrorist organization's political face into a legitimate political force.

Something similar may eventually happen in Iraq. Look at the situation Moktadr al Sadr found himself in. He endorsed and effectively led a militia that was a major problem for the U.S. in early 2004.

Ayatollah al Sistani rejected al Sadr's tactics and pressured him to disband the militia. What happened then was remarkable. The pressure worked and al Sadr began edging toward becoming the head of a Shiite political party.

He hedged, taking little part in the recent elections. But al Sadr's supporters could well become a sort of Iraqi Sinn Fein, a political party born of violent resistance.

If that happens it could mark an entirely new chapter in the Mideast. Combine the Iraqi elections with local elections in Saudi Arabia, elections for the Palestinians and a new government in Afghanistan, and it becomes clear that things are changing rapidly.

What do last week's arrests have to do with any of this? Seven people were arrested. Six are believed to be PIRA members. One is thought to be a member of

one of the splinter factions, though authorities have not said which one.

There's a lesson there, too. The PIRA and the other republican groups have a rocky relationship at best. They're not close.

The potential cooperation between members is unusual. The question is whether this is an aberration or a new trend. The latter is far more worrisome.

And, if cooperation is possible between violent elements in Northern Ireland, you'd better believe it's possible among violent elements in Iraq and the Mideast.


Any opinions expressed by its columnists are not necessarily those of The Ottumwa Courier.

©Ottumwa Courier 2005


'Of Ireland And Iraq' Analogy Flawed

Editor, The Courier:

This in response to the commentary of Matt Milner "Of Ireland and Iraq" (2/21) which portrays a more British view of Irish history. This, unfortunately, is what most Americans including myself learned in school. This "conquerors''' view of Ireland omits some fundamental points which I offer to explain how Mr Milner's analogy is flawed.

A starting point for the Irish freedom process actually begins with an election and not the IRA. In 1918 the last General Election in all of Ireland yielded a Sinn Fein majority of 76 % despite the fact that half of the candidates were imprisoned by the British. Their platform was an independent Ireland. Britain chose to ignore the results of the election. When Sinn Fein delegates and others assembled in Ireland the British House of Commons declared the assembly a "criminal conspiracy" thus fueling the ranks and the motives of the IRA. But there is more. The following year President Wilson was in Paris to negotiate the Versailles Treaty and refused to meet a delegation of these freely elected Sinn Fein leaders who were there to plead for inclusion in the Small Nations clause. Wilson favored the British imperialists view that colonial rule was preferred to the chaos of self-rule..

After British forces crushed the civil rights movement with Bloody Sunday (1973) and the largest atrocity of the conflict, the 1974 Dublin Monaghan bombing (33 innocent victims - mostly women and children), the Catholics demanded an IRA response.

The analogy that does work is that of Syria playing a devastating role in Lebanon even to the point of the latest assassination of Mr. Hakiri.

Michael J. Cummings
Member, National Boards,
Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) &
Ancient Order of Hibernians AOH)
12 Marion Avenue
Albany, N.Y. 12203-1814


Fruits Of Peace Turn Sour In N. Ireland

By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The two moderate Northern Irish political parties that did so much to create the historic power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland seven years ago are now fighting for survival, struggling to avoid being swamped by their far tougher and more militant rivals in the British general election expected in May.

The hard-line, uncompromising Democratic Unionist Party of the Rev. Ian Paisley is on the offensive in Northern Ireland's 900,000 majority Protestant Loyalist community. It has already eclipsed the Ulster Unionist Party of David Trimble, which for 90 years dominated the community's politics. Now the DUP is hoping to bury the party led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Trimble in the voting booth in just over two months time.

The DUP has in the past few years been swelled by an exodus of locally prominent and influential figures from the Ulster Unionists, especially Jeffrey Donaldson, who previously had contested Trimble repeatedly over the peace process, and Nelson McCauseland from the hard-line working-class and lower-middle-class Protestant communities of North Belfast.

Now Trimble and the UUP are trying to outflank the DUP by claiming that it had been too willing to seek a compromise agreement with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, before talks between the two hard-line parties on restoring a local power-sharing government broke down in December.

The UUP indeed is trying to beat the DUP at its own game. The party that Paisley founded some 40 years ago to challenge the traditional Protestant unionist establishment finally rose to the top of the Protestant community in the years after the Good Friday Agreement by arguing that the release of hundreds of hard-line IRA veterans from jail as part of the peace process was a sell-out to the forces of violence.

Ironically, the DUP also benefited from the release of hundreds of Protestant loyalist paramilitaries. In a symmetrical negative political dynamic, both groups quickly re-imposed fading paramilitary clout over their respective working- class communities, especially in the sprawling housing estates north and west of Belfast.

But the UUP ploy looks unlikely to work. Opinion polls suggest that even if the DUP does not annihilate the Ulster Unionists in the elections to the House of Commons, the main chamber of the British Parliament, they will certainly take seats away from them. No one believes that the UUP at present appears to have any hope of reversing the process and recapturing any of the seats they have lost to the DUP.

A parallel process has been at work in the minority community of Northern Ireland's 600,000 Catholics. There, the Social Democratic and Labor Party that had dominated community politics for more than 30 years was eclipsed by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, at the same time that the DUP was outstripping the Ulster Unionists. The SDLP now has only three MPs in the House of Commons to four for Sinn Fein. They are regarded as certain to lose one of those three remaining seats in May and may lose a second as well.

The SDLP appears to have a bit more chance than the Ulster Unionists of slowing down the drift to polarization and hard-line politics. That is because Sinn Fein has been hammered over the past two months by both international and, far more important, local outrage over a series of crimes that the IRA has denied but continues to be accused of.

The first was the sensational raid of $50 million from the Northern Bank in Belfast late last year. Paul Murphy, Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on Wednesday announced stringent financial penalties on Sinn Fein after an Independent Monitoring Commission reported its conclusion that the party's leaders were believed to have known about the raid.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and his senior colleagues have also taken bold action in confronting Sinn Fein. Indications are that their campaign is significantly hurting the party in the Republic of Ireland and may stop its rapid recent rapid growth there, or even roll it back.

In the North, even the statements of Irish government leaders look unlikely to dent the party's core support in its own community. But another development might. This is the angry campaign by the family of Robert McCartney, a 33-year-old Catholic nationalist father of two young children who was stabbed to death in a pub brawl in central Belfast on Jan. 30.

The killing was certainly not authorized by the IRA, but the Police Service of Northern Ireland and McCartney's family alike are convinced that the main killer was a senior IRA local officer who has since fled into hiding in the Republic of Ireland and the IRA is being widely criticized within the Catholic community for protecting him and covering up his involvement.

SDLP leaders are trying to make the most of this political opportunity. Where the moderate Ulster Unionists are trying to sound more extreme and uncompromising than Paisley's DUP in the run-up to the May elections, the SDLP has adopted a different tack and is attacking Sinn Fein hard over the alleged criminality of the IRA, Sinn Fein's ties to the IRA and the refusal of both Sinn Fein and the IRA to clean up their act.

Currently, the SDLP appears to have a better chance of slowing down or halting the drift away from it than the Ulster Unionists do, but that may change as the election campaign develops.

What is certainly clear is that the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement, far from ending the historic cycles of polarization and suspicion that have divided Protestants and Catholics in the North for so long, has instead exacerbated them. Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists have made more political progress at the expense of their more moderate rivals in the seven years since the agreement was signed than in the 30 years that preceded it.

This was not supposed to happen. The parties most eager to make power-sharing between the two communities work were supposed to be strengthened by the peace process, not virtually annihilated by it. Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists were supposed to learn the habits of cooperation and compromise. They have shown no sign of that.

Paisley, the DUP's leader, hung tough in crucial negotiations in December when the IRA refused to provide the photographic evidence he demanded that they were indeed destroying, giving up or otherwise decommissioning their weapons caches. The Northern Bank robbery, the seizure of large sums of money suspected to have been stolen in that heist near Cork city in southern Ireland last week, and the McCartney murder and subsequent paramilitary cover-up all have left the sense that the DUP and Sinn Fein, in their different ways, remain as implacable as ever.

The once sweet fruits of Northern Ireland's peace process taste bitter in the mouth these days.


President makes Northern Ireland visit

McAleese 'Will Be Invited Back To The Shankill'

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
24 February 2005

The Republic's President Mary McAleese will be invited back to the Shankill Road, a leading Belfast loyalist claimed today.

Jackie McDonald moved to defuse tensions about Mary McAleese's visit to Belfast today following her comments last month comparing anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland with the Nazis' hatred of the Jews.

Mr McDonald, who visited Belfast City Hospital, which was the first stop on President McAleese's itinerary today, said she had put an awful lot of work into reaching out to the loyalist and Protestant community who had taken offence at her comments.

He added: "I know, no matter what she said or whatever way it was taken, it wasn't meant that way.

"She has put an awful lot of hard work into what she is doing and she will continue to do so and I will 100% support her."

President McAleese pulled out of plans to visit a primary school on the Shankill Road today amid fears that her presence would spark protests.

But Mr McDonald said: "The Shankill Road people have been through an awful lot and are very understanding.

"I have no doubt that in time she will be welcome on the Shankill Road."

President McAleese arrived at Belfast City Hospital's respiratory centre at about 10.30am for the first of her engagements.

She is also due to visit a community centre in Hannahstown on the outskirts of west Belfast and will deliver a lecture at St Malachy's College in the north of the city.

She was disappointed to postpone a visit to Edenbrooke Primary on the Shankill Road.

In recent years, she and her husband Martin have been involved in efforts to reach out to loyalist communities, hosting visits at her official residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

In February last year she visited schools and a kick boxing gym in east Belfast, a Presbyterian church service in Holywood and met pensioners on a loyalist estate in Bangor.

There have been contacts with the representatives of the Ulster Defence Association and she also met David Ervine, the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party which is linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force.


Analysis: Ian Paisley's Not For Turning

By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Senior officials in the British and Irish governments remain hopeful that the Rev. Ian Paisley, the tough old hard-line master of Protestant unionist politics in Northern Ireland, will be ready to cut a compromise power-sharing deal this Catholic nationalist hardliners this summer. But they may be whistling in the wind.

Opinion polls and other political indicators currently show Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party heading for a decisive knockout of its more moderate rival, the Ulster Unionists, in the British general election in May.

The DUP currently holds six seats in the House of Commons, the main chamber of the British Parliament, and the UUP still has five. But every one of those seats could fall to the DUP in the May elections, including that of UUP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble, one of the architects of Northern Ireland's historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement to try and end 30 years of sectarian conflict in the province.

Trimble had a narrow majority of only 2,000 votes in the May 2001 general election, and there is a widespread feeling in unionist circles, both in the DUP and in his own embattled party, that at long last his luck may run out. He is widely expected to be offered a peerage and permanent seat in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British parliament, if he is defeated.

Indeed, of the five current Ulster Unionist MPs in the British Parliament, only Lady Sylvia Herman in North Down, an upper-middle-class area favored by British civil servants working in Northern Ireland, is given any real chance of holding on to her seat.

If the DUP succeeds in sweeping all or nearly all of the remaining Ulster Unionist seats, then Paisley, the DUP's founder and veteran firebrand leader, will become at last, as he has sought all his long political life, the uncrowned king of Protestant Northern Ireland.

Paisley's "No Surrender" booming cries over the 900,000 majority Ulster Protestant community have shaken and shaped its religion and politics for almost half a century. Yet the general sense among officials in both the Northern Ireland Office of the British government in Stormont Castle outside Belfast, and in elegant old Iveagh House, the home of the Irish government's Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, is that the old lion has mellowed with age and that he would be willing to cut some kind of power sharing dealing with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, if it renounced criminality and offered at last the photographic evidence that it was decommissioning, or getting rid of, its weapons that he has demanded.

It was certainly the case that over the fall and early winter, Paisley seemed to be moving closer to making a deal with Sinn Fein, strongly encouraged by both British and Irish government officials. But in early December the deal fell through at the last minute, when the Irish Republican Army rejected Paisley's demand that it present the photographic evidence of decommissioning. Since then, things have gone downhill fast, and the strategy of Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Bertie Ahern of Ireland now threatens to blow up in their faces.

That strategy was to be as inclusive as possible and prioritize concessions to the DUP and Sinn Fein, rather than seeking to marginalize them and focus on building up Trimble's Ulster Unionists in the Protestant community and the Social and Democratic Labor Party in the Catholic community instead.

In the Protestant camp and the DUP, Blair, his officials at Stormont and former U.S. envoy to the peace process Richard Haass over the past three years have looked to Paisley's deputy leader, Peter Robinson, and to Jeffrey Donaldson, a longtime Ulster Unionist rival of Trimble's who switched camps to the DUP, to persuade Paisley to ultimately cut a deal with Sinn Fein. Paisley, the Anglo-Irish-American thinking went, would be ready to do so in order to go down in the history books as the bringer of peace to Northern Ireland and also its first minister running a successful local government that protected his followers' interests.

But since the December talks broke down, Sinn Fein, as the political wing of the IRA, has been reeling from a succession of accusations, revelations and scandals. The British and Irish governments have accused Sinn Fein's leaders of knowing about a huge $50 million bank robbery in Belfast later in December. Sinn Fein's top leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have denied the charges, but they are totally believed in the Protestant loyalist community. The IRA has also been the subject of widespread condemnation, including from within its own Catholic nationalist community, over allegations that it is hiding and protecting the suspected killer of 33-year-old father of two Robert McCartney in a Belfast pub brawl on Jan. 30.

Most embarrassing of all for Sinn Fein and the unionists who were prepared to deal with it, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has unleashed an unprecedented crackdown and investigation of IRA money laundering and other suspected illegal activities in the Republic of Ireland. Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell has even publicly accused Sinn Fein leaders Adams and McGuinness of also sitting on the Army Council that rules the IRA.

As a result, DUP sources say, Robinson and Donaldson, on whom the British and Irish governments pinned their hopes to deliver a mellowed Paisley and a more moderate DUP, have lost serious political ground, both with their old leader and the party rank and file. Among them, the betting is that if Paisley, who has suffered serious health problems in recent months but appears to have rebounded from them, should die or step down, his most likely successor will be his own son, Ian Paisley Jr., with Nigel Dodds, a key DUP leader in North Belfast, as his right-hand man.

For now, however, Paisley remains very much in charge of the DUP with his son and Dodds as his most trusted lieutenants. And they have been sending out signals that no power-sharing compromise is likely.

Paisley superficially appeared to take a more moderate stance on Britain's Channel Four television news earlier this week, when he said he would consider the possibility of negotiations if Sinn Fein and the IRA were to renounce criminal activities and finally present the photographic evidence of decommissioning he has demanded in vain from them for so long. But as there is no sign at all of these things happening, the point appears moot. Dodds indicated this week that DUP planners see no deal with Sinn Fein on the horizon, even after the May elections.

Indeed, DUP insiders say Paisley is at peace with himself and contented precisely because he did not heed Robinson's and Donaldson's counsels and agree to the power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein in December. He believes that had he done so, his credibility would have been destroyed by the Northern Bank raid and accusations of IRA money laundering that followed it, the sources said.

And far from wanting to go down in history as the man who made power-sharing work, Paisley repeatedly states to his intimates that he is determined never to follow the path of power-sharing and compromise that Ulster Unionist leader Trimble took, according to these sources. "I would rather be in my grave than be thought a Trimble," Paisley is said to have exclaimed on more than one occasion.

Current indications are that an overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland's majority Protestant community now agree with him.


CCTV 'Doesn't Reduce Crime'

Nearly all CCTV systems fail to cut crime or make people feel safer, according to "disappointing" results from a new Home Office study.

Of 14 closed circuit television camera schemes examined by criminologists, only one - trained on car parks - was shown to cause a fall in criminal offences.

Now University of Leicester researchers behind the study are calling for lessons to be learned so CCTV "is not seen simply as a technical solution to a problem".

Professor Martin Gill, who led the research, said: "For supporters of CCTV these findings are disappointing.

"For the most part CCTV did not produce reductions in crime and it did not make people feel safer.

"Following the introduction of CCTV, support for its use decreased, not so much because there was a concern about intrusions of privacy but because they did not see cameras as effective.

"One scheme was very effective in tackling vehicle crime, and there were other successes, not least in bringing more offences to the attention of the police. Overall, areas have encountered real difficulties in using CCTV to good effect."

He added: "Those who expected that this evaluation would show CCTV to be either an unparalleled success or an affront to a democratic society, will be disappointed."

Prof Gill said surveillance cameras were a powerful tool that society was only just beginning to understand.

"It looks simple to use, but it is not," he added. "It has many components, and they can impact in different ways. It is more than just a technical solution; it requires human intervention to work to maximum efficiency and the problems it helps deal with are complex.

"There needs to be greater recognition that reducing and preventing crime is not easy and that ill-conceived solutions are unlikely to work no matter what the investment."

The researchers looked at 13 CCTV projects, comprising 14 separate systems, implemented in a range of contexts, including town and city centres, car parks, hospitals and residential areas.

The schemes were funded under Phase 2 of the Home Office CCTV Initiative and the University of Leicester study was commissioned to find out how effective they are.

The study`s main findings included:

:: Of 14 systems evaluated, only one showed a cut in crime which could be attributed to CCTV

:: Knowing cameras were installed in an area did not necessarily lead to people feeling safer

:: Although there is some evidence that there was a reduction in fear of crime after the installation of CCTV, there is little to suggest that was down to the cameras - it is more likely to have been a reflection of a fall in reported crimes

:: Fewer people, not more, said they would venture out more once CCTV was installed in their areas


Military Museum Not Sustainable, Says Report

There is not enough public interest in Northern Ireland's military past to sustain the establishment of a Museum of Military Heritage, a report published today concluded.

By:Press Association

The National Memorial Committee was told in the report it commissioned that existing military museums in the province were poorly used and there was little likelihood of a major museum doing any better.

The report was produced after Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, when still First Minister, asked the Prime Minister to consider the creation of a permanent memorial to soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the province and the provision of a Northern Ireland Museum of Military Heritage.

Consideration is still being given to the creation of a permanent memorial, but the report from Deloitte came down against a museum.

It said only 52,000 people visited existing military museums in the province in 2003, with over 70% of them going to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers museum in Enniskillen and the Somme Heritage Centre outside Newtownards.

And it indicated that the Museum of the Irish Soldier, due to open at Collins Barracks in Dublin early next year, will have stolen the thunder of a similar museum in Ulster.

As a result, the report said, a specialist military museum in Northern Ireland "will find it difficult to be distinctive at the same time as having to maximise tourist numbers."

On the basis of extensive research the report concluded that "a need has not been established for the development of Museum of Military Heritage in Northern Ireland."

As an alternative it recommended consolidating a number of existing museums, some of whom it said had already expressed a willingness to do so.

The report pointed out that bringing together a range of collections would reduce running costs and broaden provision - something which could increase visitor numbers.

David Campbell, chairman of the National Memorial Committee, said they now needed to decide "how best to preserve the military heritage we are all proud of."

Some of the existing facilities attracted as little as 1,000 visitors a year, he said.

"We are concerned they are likely to go to the wall over time," he said.

And he said if there was substantial demilitarisation in the future in Northern Ireland, he would advocate lobbying for some of the money to be diverted to preserving Northern Ireland`s military heritage.

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