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March 14, 2005

03/14/05 - Martin McGuinness on Robert McCartney

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

MM 03/13/04 Remove The Moat From Your Own Eye
SF 03/14/05 Sinn Féin Reiterates Support For Mccartney Family
RE 03/14/05 U.S. Bans Sinn Fein From Fundraising
CB 03/14/05 Chilly St. Pat's For Gerry Adams
SF 03/14/05 Response To Meeting Cancellation By Ted Kennedy
BB 03/14/84 Chillier in 1984: Sinn Fein Leader Shot In Attack -V
LA 03/14/05 In Catholic Belfast, IRA Becomes Public Enemy
BT 03/14/05 Irish Star Says Sinn Fein Gave Admission
BB 03/14/05 'More Republicans' In Fight Bar
SM 03/14/05 McCartney Family Heading For Washington
BB 03/14/05 Durkan And Ahern Discuss Process
BT 03/14/05 BBC Slam Sinn Fein's Claims Of Imbalance
IA 03/14/05 IAUC Letter to Chicago Sun-Times
BT 03/14/05 Opin: Sinn Fein Support Dents Irish Image
BT 03/14/05 Apology Doesn't Ease Hurt, Says Garda's Family
BT 03/14/05 SDLP 'Lacking Backbone Over Coalition Call'
BT 03/14/05 Sectarian Divisions High In Craigavon
BT 03/14/05 Focus On Beauty Of Ulster Coastline
BS 03/14/05 Blue Skies Appear For Green Parade
SS 03/14/05 Irish Fest Marks 11th Year Of Feast In West Palm Beach


Remove The Moat From Your Own Eye.

Martin McGuinness on Robert McCartney
(Received via email; original source unknown)

The 30th of January has been a significant date in the republican and nationalist calendar for the past 33 years. It was Bloody Sunday in Derry. The events of that day will be indelibly imprinted in the memory of every Derry citizen. The families and their supporters from many corners of the world march every year demanding truth and justice for the families who lost loved ones on that day. Sinn Féin was to the fore in organising the Annual Commemoration March in memory of the Bloody Sunday dead until the families felt it was time for them to take control of it. We then moved into a supportive role and have taken our lead from the families ever since. And we will continue in that support until justice and truth is secured. It is now organised by the Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee that is made up of interested parties from across the human rights spectrum.

January 30th will now also forever be a significant date for the Mc Cartney family from the Short Strand in Belfast for the rest of their lives but for very different reasons. Because it was on the 30th January this year that they lost their brother in a brutal stabbing outside a Belfast Bar. But although this date will take on a particular significance for the Mc Cartney family and Bridgeen Hagans and her two children the events leading up to and including the murder of their brother and Partner, Robert will have a less than honourable significance for the republican community. A small number of republicans and I am saddened to say including some IRA Volunteers on that day besmirched the name of Irish Republicanism by becoming embroiled in a sequence of events that resulted in the brutal murder of Robert Mc Cartney.

Now while people are entitled to criticise aspects of how this situation was handled by Sinn Féin I believe that we at all times acted with sensitivity towards the Mc Cartney family. While the media and our political opponents were taking great glee from Sinn Féin’s discomfiture our activists on the ground and out of the glare of the media were working diligently to find out the truth of what occurred. Contrary to popular media spin and in contrast to those politicians that were using this tragedy as a political football, as Sinn Féin became aware of the facts we immediately made our position clear and advised anyone with information to make it available through any channels with which they were comfortable. If that was directly to the PSNI then they were assured that they could do so without fear but if people felt incapable of going directly to the PSNI, and there are many legitimate reasons why people would feel that they can not do so, then they should make the information available through a third party such as a solicitor. And of course this advice was criticised by SDLP spokesperson, Alban Magennis, a Barrister who should have known better and been aware that the PSNI itself had set the precedent for this procedure in the Sean Browne re-investigation in my Constituency of Mid-Ulster when they advised those that felt they could not come forward to the PSNI to give their evidence to a named firm of Solicitors or the Pat Finucane Centre. This alternative avenue of providing information has been accepted by the Mc Cartney family and the PSNI

Sinn Féin has made our position clear, no person with any information that can bring justice and truth to the Mc Cartney family should withhold that information. The IRA has made its position clear also, it will not give shelter to those responsible or countenance any action that could be perceived as a cover-up of the full facts surrounding the murder of Robert Mc Cartney. Although the media and political commentators focused on one aspect of last week’s IRA statement those interested in the full facts should take time to read the statement in full. I totally disagree with the offer by the IRA to ‘shoot’ those directly responsible for Robert Mc Cartney’s murder. It was wrong, it was a mistake and I am glad that it did not happen but the rest of the content of the statement should not be lost in the welter of publicity generated by a media hungry for another lurid headline. What is important about the statement is the fact that it states unambiguously that the IRA will not shelter or cover-up anything in order to protect those responsible for this dastardly act. There will be no comfort afforded them in the republican family.

I wish that some of those that are most vocal in their attacks on Sinn Féin and our handling of these tragic events would apply the same standards and demands to themselves in all circumstances. Can Hugh Orde tell the people of Ireland that he does not know the names of those members of the former RUC who directed and colluded with the Unionist Murder gangs that killed hundreds of Catholics, Nationalists and Republicans including Human Rights Lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson? How many of them have been expelled from his organisation? If he doesn’t know, why not, after all he spent thirteen years working with John Stevens who claims to know all of their names? If he does know will he provide their names to the victims loved ones to enable them to pursue truth and justice? Can he assure the people of Ireland that these culprits are not now serving, possibly in senior ranks of the PSNI?

Did Denis Bradley as Deputy Chair of the Policing Bord have access to the full contents of the Stevens Report on Collusion? If so he must know if those RUC personnel involved in collusion are now serving members of the PSNI. Can Denis Bradley assure us that that they are not? If he can assure us that this is the case then he must know the names of every RUC man and woman involved in collusion, as that is the only way that he could be sure. If this is the case, will Denis Bradley give these names to the families or the Police Ombudsman so that the families can receive justice? If Denis Bradley did not have full access to the Stevens Report why did he not demand access to it in its entirety?

And we know for certain that the British Secretary of State and British Prime Minister are Privy to a mountain of information of pertinence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan Bombing and other murders by British State Forces. Will they now do the honourable thing and release all of this information so that the families can finally after more than thirty years gain closure on their grief and suffering?

Will the Irish government act in the best interest of Irish citizens and demand full disclosure on all of these issues from the British government? Or will it continue to assist the British government in the cover-up of the murder of Irish citizens?

Perhaps all of the aforementioned could speak with a little more credibility if they practiced what they preach.

Finally, on a brighter note, I would like to congratulate my colleague Joe Reilly on his tremendous showing in the Meath by-election. Despite the combined efforts by all of the political opponents of Sinn Féin and a hostile media, Joe increased the Sinn Féin vote by 3% in Friday’s by-election beating both the Labour and Progressive Democrats candidates.


Sinn Féin Reiterates Support For McCartney Family

Published: 13 March, 2005

Sinn Féin senior negotiator, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said that party members with any information on the brutal murder of Robert McCartney have been instructed to come forward and give an 'honest and full' account.

Mr Kelly said:

"Sinn Féin supports the McCartney family's demand for truth and justice.

"We have consistently said that anyone with information about Robert's murder should come forward.

"We support the determination of the McCartney family to see the perpetrators in court and have been working on the ground to achieve this.

"Sinn Fein members with any information on the brutal murder of Robert McCartney have been instructed to come forward and give an honest and full account.

"I understand that a number of party members have given statements to their solicitor with the instruction that they be forwarded to the Police Ombudsman." ENDS


U.S. Bans Sinn Fein From Fundraising

Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:00 PM GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Sinn Fein, the political ally of the IRA, has been banned from fundraising in the United States, The Times has reported, citing diplomatic sources.

It said the order, passed to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams via U.S. State Department channels, followed White House anger over accusations the IRA was continuing criminal activity.

Monday's paper did not say how long the ban would last.

Adams is currently on a week-long tour of the United States and has come under fire for his party's ties to the IRA, which has been accused of robbing a bank and shielding the killers of a Roman Catholic man in Northern Ireland, Robert McCartney.

McCartney's five sisters and fiancee have mounted a high profile campaign to bring his killers to justice, and have been invited to meet U.S. President George W. Bush at the annual St Patrick's Day reception at the White House on Thursday.

For the first time in a decade Northern Ireland's political leaders have not been invited to the White House to celebrate the feast day of Ireland's patron saint.

The Times also reported that London had raised the threat level for Irish republican militant activity in Britain for the first time since Northern Ireland's " Good Friday" peace agreement in 1998.

A Home Office spokeswoman declined to comment. "We don't give a running commentary on our assessment of threat levels," she said.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Chilly St. Pat's For Gerry Adams

March 14, 2005

Controversy In Belfast

Adams, a reputed IRA commander since the mid-1970s, was banned from visiting the United States until 1994, when President Clinton overturned the State Department policy to encourage an IRA cease-fire.

 Adams - seen here with the sisters of IRA murder victim Robert McCartney in Dublin
Adams - seen here with the sisters of IRA murder victim Robert McCartney in Dublin earlier this month - has denounced the killing, saying "it does not reflect the decency of Irish republicanism." (Photo: AP)

Rep. Peter King (right) with Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness on Capitol Hill in 2000), who once called IRA members "freedom fighters," says it's time for the IRA to disband. (Photo: AP (file))

Bush & Kennedy
Point of agreement: President Bush and Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy (seen here in Boston three years ago) are both snubbing Sinn Fein on St. Patrick's Day this year. (Photo: AP)

(CBS/AP) Gerry Adams - president of Sinn Fein, the legal political party linked to the outlawed Irish Republican Army - is in the United States as usual for the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, for a series of speaking engagements seeking support for his cause.

But smiling American eyes are in less abundant supply in this year's run-up to March 17th - with Adams getting a distinctly bipartisan cold shoulder from President Bush, Democratic liberal lion Sen. Edward Kennedy, and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

For the first time since 1995, Adams does not have an invitation to stop by the White House on St. Patrick's Day.

To make it clear that the snub is aimed at the IRA and not the Irish, the White House has instead invited Irish Republic Prime Minister Bertie Ahern for the traditional presentation of a bowl of shamrocks.

The Bush administration to shun Adams stems from outrage in London and Dublin over a huge Belfast bank heist last December that was blamed on the IRA and its involvement in the January murder of a Catholic man outside a Belfast bar.

His five sisters are invited guests at the White House on Thursday.

Sinn Fein and the IRA, which initially denied any involvement, have suspended or expelled 10 members linked to the killing.

Adams is also getting some high-level disapproval from Boston's best-known Irishman, Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Massachusetts senator, who met with Adams on St. Patrick's Day every year since the signing of the Good Friday peace agreement seven years ago, is refusing to see Adams this year.

Kennedy spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner cited "the IRA's ongoing criminal activity and contempt for the rule of law" as the reason for Kennedy's decision.

"Sinn Fein cannot be a fully democratic party with the IRA albatross around its neck," said Wagoner. "The time for decisive and final action is long overdue."

Yet another blow to Sinn Fein's clout in the U.S. came Sunday from New York Republican Rep. Peter King, who has been one of Sinn Fein's most vocal and steadfast supporters in the U.S. Congress for over twenty years.

King is calling on the Irish Republican Army to disband - arguing that it is standing in the way of peace in Northern Ireland.

In a major policy switch, King is accusing the outlawed IRA of making a string of bad decisions that have fueled hostility within Irish-American circles.

King said IRA activities were preventing a potential new power-sharing deal between Sinn Fein, which represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland, and the Democratic Unionists, the territory's major British Protestant party.

King said in an interview with RTE, Ireland's state radio, that Americans are finding it "hard to see what the justification is for the continued existence of the IRA."

Power-sharing was the key goal of Northern Ireland's Good Friday accord of 1998. But a painstakingly negotiated deal fell apart in December when the IRA refused to renounce crime or to permit photos of its disarmament.

King says the bank robbery accusation, reports of witness intimidation in connection with the January murder, and alleged money laundering demonstrate "the reality that it really is time for the IRA to go out of business."

King, who usually attends Sinn Fein's annual conferences and in the past offered praise for IRA "freedom fighters," skipped this month's conference in Dublin.

King called the Dec. 20 heist of Northern Bank in Belfast, when a well-coordinated gang stole currency worth $50 million after taking the families of two bank employees hostage, "totally inexcusable."

He said the IRA's subsequent implication in the Jan. 30 knife slaying of Robert McCartney in Belfast caused much more disgust among rank-and-file American backers of Sinn Fein.

McCartney, 33, was attacked in a crowded pub and had his throat slit outside, but none of approximately 70 witnesses - including at least one Sinn Fein election candidate and several other party activists - have been willing to identify the attackers.

The victim's sisters, in a rare rebellion within Sinn Fein's working-class Catholic grassroots, have campaigned publicly against intimidation of witnesses and the Sinn Fein-IRA movement's opposition to cooperation with the police.

The IRA, in its latest attempt to defuse criticism of its members' involvement, announced last week it was willing to kill four people it considers responsible.

King said IRA leaders' offer to execute people - which caused widespread outrage in Britain and Ireland - demonstrated "how tone-deaf they are."

This is not the first time that Adams, a reputed IRA commander since the mid-1970s, has run into static in the U.S.

He was banned from visiting the United States until 1994, when President Clinton overturned the State Department policy to encourage an IRA cease-fire.

©MMV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Response To Meeting Cancellation By Ted Kennedy

Published: 13 March, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has arrived in New York on the second day of a week long visit to the US. Responding to news that Senator Ted Kennedy has cancelled a planned meeting for Thursday a spokesperson for Mr Adams in New York said:

"We are disappointed at this decision. Senator Kennedy has played a positive role in the process.

"Sinn Féin has worked closely with him in the past. On this occasion we believe that he has been badly advised.

"For our part we will continue to tackle the issues which need to be resolved if the Peace Process is to succeed and we are confident that we will work with Senator Kennedy again in the future." ENDS


 Gerry Adams was shot in the neck, shoulder and arm
Gerry Adams was shot in the neck, shoulder and arm

Watch video:

On March 14, 1984: Sinn Fein Leader Shot In Street Attack

Gunmen have shot and wounded the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, in an attack in central Belfast.

He was hit in the neck, shoulder and arm as several gunmen riddled his car with about 20 bullets.

Three people travelling with Mr Adams were also wounded in the shooting, which took place in front of terrified shoppers.

None was seriously hurt and a fourth man escaped injury.

After the shooting, under-cover plain clothes police officers seized three suspects.

'Legitimate target'

Mr Adams, 35, was on a lunch break during a trial in which he is facing obstruction charges.

He was taken to Belfast hospital and had surgery to remove three bullets. He is said to be in a stable condition.

The outlawed Loyalist group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters, has admitted carrying out the attack.

In a statement issued hours after the shooting, the UFF claimed Mr Adams was "responsible for the continuing murder campaign being waged against Ulster protestants and is therefore regarded as a legitimate target of war".

A Sinn Fein spokesman confirmed the three other people hurt were also members of its organisation. They were among Mr Adam's co-defendants in the dock.

The charges stem from an incident during the run-up to last June's general election, when the men were accused of trying to stop police from tearing down an Irish tricolour in Belfast.

Six weeks ago, Mr Adams said he believed he had a 90% chance of being assassinated.

In Context

Gerry Adams became MP for Belfast West and was elected Sinn Fein president in 1983, making him a pivotal figure in the republican movement.

From his hospital bed, Gerry Adams, accused the British army of having prior knowledge of the attack and allowing it to go ahead.

Mr Adams left hospital five days after the attack, but reportedly still suffers pain from the injuries.

He has denied ever being a member of the IRA.

Two Loyalist gunmen, John Gregg, 27, and Gerard Welsh, 34, were jailed for 18 years in March 1985 for the attempted murder of Mr Adams. A third man, getaway driver Colin Gray, 28, was sentenced to 12 years.


Two of Robert McCartney’s sisters, Claire, left, and Catherine, center, and his girlfriend, Bridgeen Hagans, arrive for a news conference in Belfast. (Peter Morrison / AP),0,4442978.story?coll=la-home-headlines

In Catholic Belfast, IRA Becomes Public Enemy

Not backing down

(Peter Morrison / AP)

In this tightknit community where a code of silence normally prevails, the catalyst for the growing outrage was the killing of a popular 33-year-old Catholic working father after a fight that by most accounts began with nothing more than a perceived insult to an IRA man's female companion.

A six-week campaign by Robert McCartney's sisters to bring the killers to justice and their public denunciations of alleged IRA intimidation of witnesses have sparked parades and candlelight vigils — and emboldened others to speak of their anger and resentment. To many, Ra, as the IRA is called here, has become the Rafia.

The McCartney killing added to a mood of disgust with the IRA that had been building since police blamed the group for Britain's largest bank robbery, as well as other crimes, even as the IRA and other armed groups have adhered to a 1997 cease-fire in this British province long ravaged by sectarian violence.

As a result, Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, which has been considered the IRA's political wing, has seen his reputation questioned and his popularity plummet. Responding to public pressure, Adams suspended "without prejudice" seven Sinn Fein members who were at the scene of the attack, and he called on witnesses to get any useful information to the police.

The IRA responded too. It announced an investigation and said it was expelling three members it believed had taken part in the attack. Then the group delivered its coup de grace: It revealed it had met with the victim's sisters and offered to shoot the perpetrators.

The statement only provoked further revulsion. The family insisted it wanted the attackers tried in court and reiterated that witnesses felt threatened.

A tussle of loyalties grips Short Strand, a community of 3,000 Catholics set off by high fences from the militantly unionist Protestant area of 60,000 next door. McCartney and the men accused of attacking him lived here, on streets where the IRA had always been seen as a bulwark against the community's enemies.

"In certain circumstances, you need them," a burly resident with a shaved head said of the IRA's soldiers. Unionist politician "Ian Paisley couldn't give a damn about this place; now he's all concerned," scoffed the man, who would not give his name.

"I wouldn't want to be in their position," Kate Gorman, a postal worker walking her young child, said of the people being asked to come forward. "But if you were, you'd have to do the right thing."

Her friend Bernadette Ronay agreed. "Any true republican is disgusted by the killing, and so are the real IRA," she said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expressing shock at the IRA pronouncement that it was willing to kill the perpetrators, said republicans faced a stark choice.

"They can either embrace the democratic and peaceful route or be excluded," Blair said.

The U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell B. Reiss, last week added the Bush administration's view. "It's in Sinn Fein's interest to make a clear break," he said.

Little wonder that Sinn Fein leaders were not asked to the White House for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday, as they have been in the past. Instead, invitations went to McCartney's sisters and his girlfriend.

Irish political historian Paul Bew thinks the snub could be a harbinger. "I am starting to hear the A-word, for Arafat, applied to Sinn Fein," said the Queen's University professor, who added that Sinn Fein was far from being out of the political game.

Still, it has been an enormous fall for Sinn Fein, which in December seemed on the verge of a historic power-sharing deal with Paisley's Protestant-based Democratic Unionist Party — until Paisley insisted on public photos of the IRA destroying its weapons beforehand. Paisley said the IRA deserved to be seen in "sackcloth and ashes." The IRA did not agree.

Days after the negotiations broke down, about $50 million was stolen from Northern Bank's downtown Belfast cash center in a well-planned heist that included hostage-taking. The head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said almost immediately that it looked like an IRA job.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern went further, accusing Adams and his deputy, Martin McGuinness, of being on the IRA's army council. He insisted that they must have known about the heist plan even while negotiating with the British and Irish governments.

Damaging as the bank robbery was to Sinn Fein's image, worse was yet to come.

Magennis's Bar is a dark-paneled, old-fashioned pub next to the Victorian-era St. George's Market in central Belfast. A few streets from City Hall, it sits on the edge of the Markets, a part of town known for Catholic nationalism. According to one resident who requested anonymity, the bar had become a hangout for IRA toughs, who were said to provide its security.

On the night of Jan. 30, after a commemoration in Derry for the victims of 1972's Bloody Sunday, some IRA men were drinking in the bar. So was McCartney, with his friend Brendan Devine.

According to family members, McCartney and Devine got into an argument with a leading IRA member, reportedly about a remark made to a woman in the bar. Despite offering an apology, McCartney and Devine were hauled out to the street. There, on the dark pavement, someone produced a knife from the bar's kitchen, sliced McCartney open, gouged his eyes and left him for dead. Devine, beaten with an iron bar and stabbed, survived.

Associates of the killer went back in the bar, cleaned up physical evidence, took the tape from the bar's security camera and instructed the patrons to keep silent because it was "IRA business," McCartney's family said.

That might have been the end of it. Like so many acts of violence in Belfast, where armed paramilitaries on both sides carry out "punishment" attacks in their own communities, police would normally add the killing to their files of unsolved cases.

In McCartney's case, his sisters were having none of it. Paula, Gemma, Donna, Catherine and Claire say 70 people were in the bar that night, and threats by the IRA are preventing witnesses from telling what they saw.

The accusations have roiled Short Strand, on the other side of the Lagan River from Magennis's.

Alex Maskey, the Sinn Fein city councilor for the area that includes the pub, is defiant. A scrappy former amateur boxer wounded by a unionist bullet in 1987, he said the accusations were unproved and exploitive, and that the IRA and Sinn Fein had been working hard to cope with a situation "not of their making."

As to broader charges of criminality, he said much of what was bandied about the IRA was "so much nonsense."

"They say they are responsible for all the cigarettes stolen in Northern Ireland, all the fuel smuggling, even for driving up property prices. To me, the IRA is not responsible for a lot of the things," he said. The real issue, he said, is the lack of a political accord, which makes proper policing impossible.

Long a political factor in the six counties of British-ruled Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein had been on the rise in the Irish Republic to the south. A 2002 election lifted the party from one seat in the Irish parliament to five, with 6% of the vote, and it nearly doubled that in European parliamentary elections last year. Some think it could win a share of a coalition government some day.

Bew, the historian, who equates Sinn Fein with the IRA, believes the IRA's illegal activities have given Sinn Fein an overwhelming financial advantage over other parties.

"It really is Tony Soprano stuff — if Tony had political ambitions," Bew said, referring to the television mobster.

Beyond politics, there is another kind of judgment the republican movement faces. Partly inspired by the example of the McCartney sisters, other families are stepping forward with their tales of IRA wrongdoing.

Among them is Eileen McGinley, 42, who said her family was warned not to make a scene at the trial of the man who was convicted of stabbing her son Jimmy to death in 2003.

Speaking in the living room of her row house in Derry, its window sills lined with statues of baby angels, she recounted how the family was ordered not to harm the defendant, convicted of manslaughter, when he got out of prison because he was an IRA member. Her son was a loyal Sinn Fein voter and the father of a 2-year-old. She fears the child will be scarred for life.

"He'll always know what happened to Jimmy, that a member of the IRA killed his father," she said. "He'll always have the hatred inside him, and it will never go away, no matter what we do."

Times special correspondent Ron DePasquale in Derry and Navan, Ireland, contributed to this report.


Irish Star Says Sinn Fein Gave Admission

Second SF candidate 'in bar around murder time'

By Chris Thornton
14 March 2005

A second Sinn Fein election candidate was reported today as having been in Magennis's Bar the night Robert McCartney was murdered.

According to today's Irish Star newspaper, Sinn Fein confirmed that a second individual, who stood for the party in recent elections, was present.

Pressure continued to build on Sinn Fein over claims it was seeking to cover up the role of republicans in Mr McCartney's murder.

His family today challenged Sinn Fein's fitness for government following revelations that another election candidate was in Magennis's bar on the night he was murdered.

Cora Groogan, who stood for the Stormont Assembly in November 2003, has admitted that she was in the city centre pub, which was the centre of a brawl which led to the father-of-two being stabbed to death.

However, despite being in the bar for an hour, she denied seeing anything, including Mr McCartney's friend Brendan Devine having his throat cut.

Ms Groogan said: "I got to the bar about 10pm that Sunday. I was there for a short while. There was a commotion in the bar but I witnessed nothing and left shortly after 11pm. I have given a full statement to my solicitor."

Sinn Fein has called on its members to pass on any information they have to the Police Ombudsman.

But a Police Ombudsman spokesman said they have as yet received no contact from Ms Groogan.

"No-one from our office has met her or taken her statement. She has not contacted us as far as I am aware," he added.

Detectives investigating the murder will want to interview Ms Groogan on what she may have witnessed that night.

But a PSNI spokeswoman said: "It is not our policy to comment on who has been interviewed in the course of a live investigation."

Mr McCartney's sister Catherine said the issue raised serious concerns about Sinn Fein's attitude to democracy and justice.

"Ultimately, this person could have been sitting as a government mnister, overlooking policing and justice.

"Initially, Sinn Fein's first response was that she left the bar at 8.30pm then they came back with the statement that she left at 11pm and saw nothing."

Ms McCartney said she would leave it to people to analyse the statement and decide for themselves.

"This is an accountable political party. I think people are intelligent enough to figure out themselves whether this is the type of party they want running the country."

But Sinn Fein insisted that it was fully in support of the McCartney family.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said party members with any information on the brutal murder of Robert McCartney have been instructed to come forward and give an "honest and full" account.

He added: "We support the determination of the McCartney family to see the perpetrators in court and have been working on the ground to achieve this.

"Sinn Fein members with any information on the brutal murder of Robert McCartney have been instructed to come forward and give an honest and full account."


'More Republicans' In Fight Bar

The family of a Belfast man killed after a row in a bar say they believe "many more" Sinn Fein members were in the pub where the fight broke out.

Cora Groogan, a party candidate in Mid-Ulster in 2003, has said she was in Magennis's bar the night Robert McCartney, 33, died, but saw nothing.

Catherine McCartney said any witnesses must come forward.

"We can't believe while Robert was being stabbed and beaten round the corner she was there," she said.

"Who else was there? Maybe they're not coming forward, maybe not due to intimidation but due to party loyalties or friendships.

"We're not saying that intimidation is not taking place, it is, but there is certainly more to this than first met the eye."

She also said that she would consider standing in the Westminster election as part of their campaign to bring the killers of the father-of-two to justice.

Mr McCartney was stabbed to death after a row in the bar on 30 January.

Ms Groogan confirmed on Saturday she had been among 70 people in Magennis's bar on the night in question.

The party said a statement had been given to her solicitor to pass on to the police ombudsman.

However, Mr McCartney's family said this was not enough and that she must give her statement directly to the police or the police ombudsman.

The family has accused the IRA of shielding the killers and claimed as many as 12 IRA members were involved in the subsequent cover-up.

During the attack, Mr McCartney's friend Brendan Devine also suffered serious stab wounds.

The IRA expelled three people after the killing, and Sinn Fein suspended seven party members.

The IRA offered to shoot those involved in Mr McCartney's killing, but this was rejected by his family who said it was only in court that justice would be done.

The family will travel to Washington to meet President George W Bush later this week.

In total, 11 people have been arrested over the murder but all have been released without charge.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/14 09:22:52 GMT


McCartney Family Heading For Washington

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

The family of murdered father-of-two Robert McCartney is to meet US senator Hillary Clinton this week to step up political pressure on Sinn Fein and the IRA to force his killers into court.

Catherine McCartney, one of five sisters who have been campaigning along with Mr McCartney’s partner Bridgeen Hagans for justice for their brother’s murder, confirmed the family would be meeting the former US First Lady privately in Washington.

They will also be meeting senator Edward Kennedy who has cancelled plans to talk to Gerry Adams because of concerns about IRA criminality.

The family has also been invited to the St Patrick’s Day reception in the White House where they will meet US President George Bush and will hold talks with his advisor on Northern Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss.

Mr McCartney was murdered after a row broke out in Magennis’s bar in Belfast city centre and a friend, Brendan Devine was also seriously injured in an incident blamed on IRA members.

The Provisionals have expelled three members and Sinn Fein has suspended seven.

In another development, it emerged on Saturday that a former Sinn Fein Assembly election candidate Cora Groogan was present in the bar on the night Mr McCartney was killed and has said in a statement to her solicitor to be passed on to Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman that while there was a commotion in Magennis’s, she saw nothing.

Catherine McCartney said: “We have lined up a number of meetings with politicians on the 16th and on the following day, St Patrick’s Day.

“We will meet Mitchell Reiss and then have arranged a private meeting with senators Kennedy and Clinton.

“We will also visit with an ad-hoc committee on human rights in Northern Ireland which has met people like Geraldine Finucane, the wife of Pat Finucane.

“Our focus during this visit is simply to get justice for Robert.

“But we will also be telling President Bush , the senators and congressmen that if we succeed in getting justice for my brother that will have an impact on other cases similar to ours.”

Sinn Fein and the IRA have been under intense pressure over the past six weeks since the murder to make those responsible face the allegations against them in court.

In a series of statements Mr Adams insisted that Sinn Fein is firmly behind the family’s quest for justice and truth.

The West Belfast MP, who is currently in the US, has also said that if he were present in the bar on the night Mr McCartney was murdered, he would have provided information which could help an investigation.

But Mr Adams has stopped short of advising witnesses to go to the police because of his party’s reluctance to acknowledge the PSNI as a legitimate police service.

The McCartney family and police have, however, expressed concern about the lack of information coming from around 70 people who were in the bar despite the Sinn Fein leader’s appeal.

Catherine McCartney said the revelation that Ms Groogan was present in the bar also sent out mixed signals from Sinn Fein about their approach to the family’s appeal for justice.

“We are very clear that giving a statement to your solicitor to pass on to the Police Ombudsman is not really good enough,” she said.

“Statements should be given directly to the police or the Police Ombudsman because they have the proper investigative skills to help bring about a prosecution in court.

“When we meet President Bush, Mitchell Reiss, senators Kennedy and Clinton and others we will be making it very clear to them who was in the bar on the night Robert was murdered and we will be telling them that it was not just IRA members.

“Sinn Fein members were in that bar and have still not come forward with information.”


Durkan And Ahern Discuss Process

SDLP leader Mark Durkan will discuss the Northern Ireland political process during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern later.

Mr Durkan said the agenda for the meeting will include creating a positive context for restoring devolution in Northern Ireland.

Issues surrounding the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney will also be discussed.

The meeting is being held in Mr Ahern's Drumcondra constituency in Dublin.

Speaking ahead of the talks, Mr Durkan said: "We will be reiterating that it is not enough to recycle flawed approaches and failed deals.

"And the answer does not lie in new fudges or a divorce of convenience between Sinn Fein and the IRA."

He also said "increments of intent" from the republican movement on issues such as policing cannot be a substitute for the "clear and complete change we need to see".

The political institutions in Northern Ireland have been suspended since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/14 07:05:19 GMT


BBC Slam Sinn Fein's Claims Of Imbalance

Call for campaign against licence fee

By Brendan McDaid
14 March 2005

The BBC today hit back at calls from Sinn Fein in Londonderry for nationalists to wage a campaign against paying television licence fees in protest at alleged discrimination.

The party today accused the corporation of failing to strike balance in programming and content.

Derry Sinn Fein spokesman Oliver Green further claimed the £121 annual licence fee was "a compulsory levy imposed upon us to support a British Government-run organisation that directly discriminates against a large section of the community".

A spokeswoman for the BBC hit back today: "BBC Northern Ireland provides a wide range of programmes covering all aspects of life in Northern Ireland to cater for the tastes and interests of all the population."

Mr Green claimed that the BBC employed a majority Protestant workforce but also had the ethos of being "100% British".

He said: "Nowhere in this organisation's programme output are the views of the hundreds of thousands of Irish nationalist and republican people given equal status or air time."

He continued: "Time after time we have seen the BBC, which we are forced to fund from our own hard- earned money, being used as an instrument for the dissemination of black propaganda to suit the agenda of the British Government of the day.

"The time for paying this landlord- imposed tax must end, and nationalist and republican people must unite in their opposition to funding an organisation that clearly discriminates against them."

He called for a co-ordinated campaign against licenses, similar to the one being waged against water charges.

By law, everyone using a receiver must buy a license, except in certain circumstances.

A TV Licensing spokesman said: "TV Licensing is responsible for the collection of the licence fee.

"By law, anyone who uses or installs television-receiving equipment to receive television programme services must have a valid licence.

"Evaders risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."


WASHINGTON, D. C. 20003-4303

March 13, 2005

Letters Editor
501 Wabash Avenue
Chicago, ILL 60611

Dear Editor:

The plan for the demilitarization of the IRA and the British forces in the North ("Loyalty to the IRA..." 3/13) was to be accomplished via the Belfast Agreement. Little has been heard of that accord as Irish and British politicians take cheap shots by exploiting the McCartney murder. As you noted, Sinn Fein's election success prompts their shameful hypocrisy.

Irish politicians, of course, would have you believe the only crime in Ireland is caused by the IRA. Three months after a 5 hour bank robbery in Belfast, the Irish police 100 plus investigative team has made no arrest for the crime despite pronouncing the IRA guilty. This is the same police force that has failed to perfect a single arrest for those wanted for questioning in the British Army aided Dublin/Monaghan bombings, the largest mass murder in the history of the State.

There is a mirror image of that "staggering list of... IRA crimes" which reveals the British government smuggling S. African arms to loyalist gangs, hiring the Littlejohn brothers to rob banks and blame it on the IRA, laundering money to flood Catholic ghettos with drugs, and organizing the assassination of 5 elected Sinn Fein officials and 8 party workers and the murder of two prominent lawyers.

The sooner this macabre media dancing on the grave of Robert McCartney is over the more likely the issue of implementing the Belfast Agreement can be addressed.


Judge Andrew Somers (Ret.)
National President


Opin: Sinn Fein Support Dents Irish Image

Pressure Grows: Outside world turning its back on 'private army links'

14 March 2005

Any expectation that Sinn Fein's vote will be greatly affected by the fall-out from the Robert McCartney murder and the Northern Bank raid was dashed by the Meath by-election result. In a low 40pc poll, a former IRA prisoner and councillor held his previous vote, finishing well behind the Fine Gael winner but increasing his percentage share from 9pc to 12pc.

Sinn Fein are relieved, just as they were encouraged by last week's Belfast Telegraph opinion poll, showing only a slight fall in their popularity to 20pc - neck-and-neck with the SDLP, despite the recent adverse publicity. It seems that they have established such a strong base with disaffected sections of the population, north and south, that associations with thuggery and criminality do them little damage at home

What a sad commentary this is on contemporary Ireland, at a time when prosperity in most parts is rising and democracy is spreading its wings across eastern Europe and even the Middle East. Other nationalities are learning to move on, abandoning their totalitarian pasts, but too many people here are still stuck in a time warp, ready to throw in their lot with politicians who flirt with paramilitarism and cling to history and victimhood.

The Meath vote could serve a useful function, however, if it alerts democrats north and south to the challenge of republicans in future elections. There will always be people on the margins, looking for simple answers to complicated questions, and a party like Sinn Fein now has the profile and the resources to exploit society's many divisions.

In by-elections, it can pretend that it is focused on local issues, far removed from the "national" questions, but in the Westminster and council elections to come it cannot be allowed to wash its hands of IRA activity.

Belonging to the same organisation, the politicians are tainted when the paramilitaries threaten to kill or protect their members.

Slowly but surely, the screw is tightening on Sinn Fein, led by Michael McDowell in the Republic and followed up by sanctions worth £600,000 a year at Stormont and Westminster.

In Washington, Gerry Adams is side-lined and the McCartney sisters will touch hearts there with their shocking story of murder and cover-up.

On the eve of St Patrick's Day, there is an unsentimental message from Mitchell Reiss, President Bush's envoy. "It is hard to understand," he said, "how a European country in the year 2005 can have a private army associated with a political party." That is what governments have tolerated, in the hope of change, but the message today is different. Sinn Fein are out and should remain so until and unless the IRA link goes for good.


Apology Doesn't Ease Hurt, Says Garda's Family

By Kim Kelly in Dublin
14 March 2005

The devastated family of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe has said an apology from his three IRA killers does not alleviate the hurt.

statement released yesterday from IRA men Kevin Walsh, Pearse McAuley, Jeremiah Sheehy and Michael O'Neill said they "regretted" the death of Garda McCabe.

The four men are serving sentences in Castlerea Prison, Co Roscommon, of between 11 and 14 years for manslaughter.

The statement said: "We deeply regret the death of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during an IRA operation in Adare, Co Limerick.

"We apologise for this and for the hurt and grief we have caused to his family."

But Pat Kearney, brother-in-law of Garda McCabe, said it could not make up for the loss of a loving father and husband.

"We are Christian people so an apology from a wrongdoer is always welcome. I think it does very little to alleviate the hurt and loss. An apology is very late in the day," he said.

Detective Garda McCabe was gunned down during a botched raid on a post office in Adare, Co Limerick in 1996.

In a joint statement released yesterday the four men said they would not allow themselves to be used as "political pawns" in the Northern Ireland peace process any more.

The statement said: "We do not want our release to be part of any further negotiations with the Irish government."

The men also claimed they were entitled to be released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Last year Taoiseach Bertie Ahern sparked fury in the Republic after he said the four men would be released as part of a settlement for peace.

He later said this had been a demand from Sinn Fein.

But after the talks collapsed and in the wake of the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney he said they would not be released on "his watch as Taoiseach".

Detective Garda McCabe's widow Ann has consistently said her husband's killers must not be released as part of a "shabby" side deal for peace.


SDLP 'Lacking Backbone Over Coalition Call'

By Noel McAdam
14 March 2005

The SDLP has been attacked as "Sinn Fein lite" and lacking backbone over its opposition to a Stormont voluntary coalition.

Alliance leader David Ford also warned his SDLP counterpart Mark Durkan that voters will continue to turn to Sinn Fein "full strength".

And he also criticised the Ulster Unionist Party's recent series of glossy leaflets as a "sectarian whinge-fest".

Accusing Ulster Unionists of shifting to the right in an attempt to outflank the DUP, Mr Ford said the party had "betrayed" those who had invested trust in it.

Addressing his annual conference at the weekend, Mr Ford said: "In recent weeks the SDLP has been upping its rhetoric against the IRA. But look what happened when two of their leading members just contemplated that they might go into government without Sinn Fein.

"The Assembly group was convened to endorse the leader's line and the leader left a meeting in Downing Street to tell the media that he was having nothing to do with a voluntary coalition.

"Is it any wonder that people call the SDLP 'Sinn Fein lite'? The (SDLP's) rhetoric of recent weeks is proving empty as the party is shown to have no backbone for standing up to Sinn Fein.

"There is a legitimate role for a nationalist party which is prepared to stake out a case for constitutional change but oppose the men of violence.

"But if the SDLP continues to be seen as Sinn Fein lite, I suspect that voters will continue to turn to Sinn Fein full strength."


Sectarian Divisions High In Craigavon

Ongoing tensions are highlighted by new report

By Michael McHugh

14 March 2005

Sectarian divisions remain stark within Craigavon despite recent efforts to improve community relations, a council assessment revealed today.

Craigavon Borough Council's latest Community Relations Plan has highlighted a number of flashpoints within the area as well as ongoing tensions affecting housing estate residents and members of ethnic minority communities.

The plan outlines a range of measures taken by the council and other official agencies to tackle community discord but paints a bleak picture of relations.

Although last year's Drumcree parade was peaceful, a procession of Blackmen through Lurgan last July was badly affected by violence and recent bomb alerts in nationalist parts of the town have heightened concerns.

"Sectarian division is particularly stark in the urban areas. Both Portadown and Lurgan contain critical flash point areas where Catholic/nationalist and Protestant/unionist areas meet," the document states.

"Historically these areas become particularly tense and prone to outbreaks of violence in the run-up to and during the 'marching season'."

The report said community activists had helped lessen the number of incidents in the area in recent times but added that geographical polarisation and a shortage of neutral venues for mediation continued to present problems.

Parts of central Craigavon, known as Brownlow, have been beset by anti-social behaviour and a partnership between the PSNI, the Housing Executive and the Council has been established to address that.

"As well as facing inter-communal tension, many areas of the Borough suffer from intra-community conflict which leads to increased fear within communities and hinders the development of a cohesive community infrastructure," the paper added.

"What has become problematic is the issue of criminal activity which is currently operating in the area, creating a climate of fear and intimidation and resulting in residents moving out of neighbourhoods.

"This has weakened community infrastructure and led to an increase in void properties which has further allowed criminal activity to flourish."

A number of well-documented attacks have been recorded on members of the ethnic minority communities within the Borough.

The Portadown home of a group of Filipino nurses was attacked in March 2004 and immigrant families living within central Craigavon have been intimidated from their homes.

Council officials, statutory agencies and police have met with members of the migrant worker communities and formed a Migrant Workers Forum to give advice.


Focus On Beauty Of Ulster Coastline

By Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
14 March 2005

The National Trust is celebrating the glories of the Ulster coastline this year and the need to maintain its inspiring qualities for future generations.

The doors and gates of a host of Trust properties and open spaces across the province were flung open to the public and the 41,000 local Trust members for another year from last weekend.

There will also be a range of events under the banner of 'Sea Northern Ireland' links with the coastline, as part of a major UK-wide celebration of the sea.

The events will demonstrate the rich relationship with the sea and the Trust will also highlight the links, many of them unexpected and surprising, between its famous historic properties and the 200 km of Northern Ireland coastline which it currently manages and protects.

This year also sees the launch of 'The Coast Exposed' - a special UK-wide exhibition which will visit the Waterfront Hall in Belfast during June.

It will not only highlight the relationship with the coast from a beautiful beaches perspective, but will also demonstrate the Trust's role in protecting the Northern Ireland coastline.

Paul Mullan, acting director for The National Trust Northern Ireland, said: "With the launch of Sea Northern Ireland the Trust is gearing up to celebrate the glories of our coast and the need to maintain its inspiring qualities for future generations to enjoy.

"The National Trust cares for approximately 30% of Northern Ireland's coast, spending around £2m in 2004 on them.

"We face many issues in protecting the coast, including increased development pressure along our beautiful and precious coastline; climate change and coastal erosion at properties such as Kearney and Mount Stewart; sand extraction along the North Antrim coast; and the need to continuously protect nature conservation interests linked to coastal and marine sites, such as Strangford Lough."

Focusing on the property openings and the many challenges for the charity in 2005, he added:

"We will again 'awaken' our houses to the wider public."


Blue Skies Appear For Green Parade

Celebration: Despite low temperatures, the sun came through for crowds outside watching the city's Irish festivities.

By Rona Kobell
Sun Staff
Originally published March 14, 2005

On the morning of the 49th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, clouds blocked the sun. A chill permeated the air. It was, in a word, bleak.

But just before the clock struck 2 p.m., when the sousaphones finished lining up along Centre Street, mercurial March came through with blue skies and sunshine. Though temperatures still hovered in the low 40s, the sun stuck around for most of the parade.

It was a stroke of luck to those bundled up in green on the sidelines. In the past, the parade faithful have endured rain, sleet and snow as they celebrate their Irish heritage -- or just enjoy the view -- at Baltimore's yearly display of bagpipes and green balloons.

Tom Carney of Mount Vernon has turned out to watch the parade for the past five years -- in a kilt, regardless of the weather. Yesterday, the University of Baltimore history professor said he was comfortable in a wool kilt, knee socks and a green, shamrock-decorated sweater purchased from Blarney Castle.

"I've worn it in the snow," he said of his kilt. "It comes from Scotland -- the only place that weaves from the heavy material."

At the St. Patrick's Day Parade, no one is likely to give a man in a kilt a hard time. But even with such impunity, many of the male spectators preferred to keep their legs covered.

"It's cold," said Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. when asked why he didn't don a kilt.

The governor did wear a green turtleneck under his green ski jacket, and he was outfitted with enough shiny shamrock accoutrements to blend in with the crowd. Flanked by his wife, Kendel, and his communications director, Greg Massoni, Ehrlich said he's been coming to the parade nearly every year since he has held public office.

"Everybody's Irish today. Even the Italians are Irish today," Ehrlich said as he gestured to Massoni.

Most of the parade embodied that festive, Irish-for-a-day sprit. There were balloons, glittery shamrocks, fire trucks and marching bands. Bars along the route offered St. Patrick's Day specials, though the holiday isn't until Thursday. Bagpipes blared as girls from local Irish dancing schools clogged along.

Nearly 60 groups marched the 12-block parade route, which began on Charles Street at the Washington Monument, continued along Pratt Street and ended at Market Place.

Gail Rogers of Hamilton and Lisa Rogers of Towson came in hopes of spotting a celebrity. Last year, the cousins met Joaquin Phoenix and some of the other stars of Ladder 49, though John Travolta wasn't there because, as Lisa Rogers said, "there would have been a huge crowd."

The cousins had their picture taken with Phoenix and several years earlier posed with then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

This year, Gail Rogers said she had her heart set on meeting Baltimore's Irish mayor, Martin O'Malley.

"He does have a lot of charisma," said Rogers, an Anne Arundel County government worker who has seen the mayor's band, O'Malley's March, perform several times.

But it wasn't all about meeting celebrities and waving to the cute kids.

William Joseph Guerin Sr. carried a green banner that read: "England -- get out of Ireland." Guerin, who was representing the Irish Northern Aid Committee, said being Irish is not about wearing green or marching in parades. It's about taking back their country -- a sentiment he says is expressed in many Irish songs.

Guerin offered a brief history of the troubles inflicted on the Irish by the crown. But he had to begin the long march down Charles Street while he was still talking about the mid-1800s.

"I think it's a damn shame that America doesn't kick England out of Ireland," Guerin said before marching away.

Most of the floats and marchers kept things festive.

It's doubtful that Molly, Agnes, Timmy and Brady were thinking about global politics. The four Irish wolfhounds bringing up the rear of the parade were more likely thinking about snack time. Their owner, Anne Flanigan, said the breed represents the ancient dog of Ireland.

Flanigan, a nurse from Marriottsville, has been bringing her friendly dogs to the parade for several years. Yesterday's weather, she said, was among the best in years.

"This," she said, "is a great day for a parade."


Irish Fest Marks 11th Year Of Feast In West Palm Beach

By Stephen Deere
Staff Writer
Posted March 14 2005

WEST PALM BEACH · It was a chance to celebrate, to talk politics, to dance, to sing, to learn history and yes, to enjoy a drink.

To top it all off, the organizers of Irish Fest '05, an event designed for local Irish to celebrate their heritage and educate the public about the culture, couldn't have asked for better weather, they said.

No one had a firm estimate on Sunday for how many people attended West Palm Beach's 11th Irish Fest, which began on Saturday, but organizers said they had expected a crowd of roughly 20,000, said Sheila Hynes, executive director of the Irish Cultural Institute.

"What a great day," said Michael Bruck, a pediatrician from Palm Beach Gardens, as he stood with beer in hand under a cloudless sky. "People should be out doing stuff."

Many who came shared a common lament, saying the festival fills a niche they have a hard time finding anywhere else.

"There are too few things in the community for people of Irish heritage," R.J. Duffey said. "The only thing you can do is go to a bar."

And he doesn't go to bars anymore, he said.

Bridget Doyle-Schwabrow had driven all the way from her home in Orlando, primarily to see the Irish band Off Kilter perform, but she, too, noted the dearth of Irish events.

"We have no festival [in Orlando]," she said. "So I come here."

Other groups performing at the event included: the Drake School of Irish Dance, Palm Beach Pipe and Drums and the Wolfe Tones with Derek Warfield.

For $20, patrons could give their last name to Jon Heller, who works for the Historical Research Center, a South Florida-based company, and learn their family's origin.

There were also those who came to deliver a serious message. At one table was Patrick Ferguson, who was quick to delve into a discussion of the Irish Penal Laws, a series of anti-Catholic edicts the British enacted during the 1700s.

Ferguson was from the Irish American Unity Conference, a national organization dedicated to ending British rule in Northern Ireland using the American democratic process.

Ferguson said he's dumbfounded at the pressure the United Nations has recently put on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.

"The English troops have been in Ireland for 800 years," he said.

Stephen Deere can be reached at or 561-832-1647.

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