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March 31, 2005

Adair Taunts Ex-Comrades

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 03/31/05
Adair Taunts Ex-Comrades
BT 03/31/05 Cynicism Over UDA Move
BT 03/31/05 UDA Chief's Sacking 'Won't Lead To Feud'
BB 03/31/05 Pair Held After 'Racist' Attack
BT 03/31/05 Viewpoint: The Battle To Root Out The Racists
SM 03/31/05 Reject EU Constitution, Says Sinn Fein MEP
UT 03/31/05 New Twist In Colombia 3 Saga
NS 03/31/05 NS Interview - Catherine McCartney
BB 03/31/05 Council Reverse Marathon Decision
IO 03/31/05 2 Rescued From Drifting Vessel Off West Coast
IO 03/31/05 Decision Not Made On Tara Motorway
BB 03/31/05 Titanic's Crane Plans Uncovered


Adair Taunts Ex-Comrades

Gray's downfall is 'long overdue'.

By David Gordon
31 March 2005

Johnny Adair has taunted his UDA foes from across the Irish Sea, claiming the ousting
of leading figure Jim Gray showed the organisation was "crumbling".

Adair's enmity with the east Belfast "brigadier" was one of the factors that led to
the vicious UDA power struggle of recent years.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that the fall of Gray was "long overdue".

"It's no big surprise to me. It was just a matter of time before it happened to that
man. It should have happened a long time ago.

"He's nothing but a Scarlet Pimpernel who shed bad light on the UDA for many years,"
he said.

Adair, the former head of the UDA in west Belfast, was freed from Maghaberry Prison in

He was flown by military helicopter to England to team up with his family and closest
allies in their Bolton bolthole.

Adair's C Company faction was forced out of its Shankill heartland after it murdered
the UDA's south east Antrim chief John Gregg in 2003.

He recently made a brief visit to Northern Ireland, defying a UDA death threat.

Adair has continued to lambast his former UDA "comrades".

He said: "It's a crumbling organisation that's riddled with police informers, drug
dealers, rapists and pimps.

"It's in crisis. It's just a criminal gang masquerading as loyalists."

The exiled loyalist also claimed he was back in the province again just last weekend.

"I'll continue to go home on a regular basis. It's my intention to go home and live
there for good, but Rome was not built in a week," he said.

Adair's C Company faction was also accused of extensive involvement in drugs and other

But he said: "I was never sent to prison for extortion or drugs. Look at my secret
file and look at their secret files. That's all I have to say."

Adair's teenage son Jonathan and other Shankill exiles were netted in an anti-drugs
operation by Bolton police last year.

The ousting of Gray has led to fresh calls for the entire UDA to stand down.

East Belfast Alliance Assembly member Naomi Long said: "Like the IRA, the UDA serves
no purpose other than to terrorise communities and engage in criminal activity.

"East Belfast has had enough of paramilitarism. It's not just Gray - the UDA must go

SDLP Assemblyman Alex Attwood said: "As recent events around the IRA prove, actions
taken against one or a handful of members don't add up to much.

"The UDA, the IRA and the others need to do what the community really wants."


Cynicism Over UDA Move

By David Gordon
31 March 2005

Secretary of State Paul Murphy granted the UDA's ceasefire official recognition again
last November in a move that was met with a large degree of scepticism.

A great many people remain highly cynical about the organisation's intentions.

They will see yesterday's "under new management" announcement in east Belfast as
nothing more than a cynical public relations exercise.

A more benign view is that the UDA leadership had to begin somewhere if it was serious
about clamping down on drugs and general criminality in its ranks.

And east Belfast was not a bad place to start.

The UDA in that part of the city has been associated for years with allegations that
it was up to its neck in dealing cocaine and other illegal drugs. Some of them were up
to their noses in cocaine too, breaking the old gangster rule: "Don't get high on your
own supply."

A source close to the loyalist organisation last night claimed the east Belfast
changes showed those seeking a new direction were "winning".

"The days of sorting these things out with hundreds of men on the streets are over,"
he claimed.

However, the best the UDA can probably hope for from most observers at this stage is a
"wait and see" approach.

The early signs are that the leadership change in east Belfast may not provoke a fresh
round of major infighting. But there have been rumbling rumours of possible coup
attempts in other areas.

More instability within the UDA would shorten the odds on yet another feud.


UDA Chief's Sacking 'Won't Lead To Feud'

By David Gordon
31 March 2005

Security and loyalist chiefs were today monitoring the fall-out from the UDA's move
against one of its most senior figures.

Jim Gray was stood down as the paramilitary organisation's east Belfast 'brigadier'

Sources close to the UDA have dismissed speculation that the shake-up could lead to a
fresh round of violent feuding within loyalism.

"Jim Gray has no support base. He has actually been forced out because of a revolt by
his own men," one source said.

"People are delighted with what has happened. They were even talking about holding
street parties."

East Belfast UDA members have been heavily involved in drug dealing and the leadership
change is being portrayed by the organisation as a push against criminality in its

A small number of Gray's allies are also believed to have been forced out, including a
figure widely regarded as its real power in east Belfast.

Exiled loyalist godfather Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair has claimed Gray's fall shows the UDA
is "crumbling".

Taunting his former "comrades" from across the Irish Sea, Adair said: "It's in crisis.
It's just a criminal gang masquerading as loyalists."

A source close to the UDA dismissed the allegation. "The opposite is true. This is
about the organisation cleaning up its act."


Pair Held After 'Racist' Attack

The police are treating an attack on a car in Armagh as racist.

Two youths are being questioned after the vehicle was vandalised in Mullacreevie Park
in the city.

The damage to the car was discovered by its owner, who is understood to be of Chinese
origin, at about 1220 BST on Thursday.

The police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the attack to contact them. Earlier
this week, a man was assaulted in a racist attack in south Belfast.

Three men entered a house in Donegall Avenue and assaulted the man inside. They then
took him outside and punched and kicked him.

One of the attackers also used a broken bottle in the attack.

The man, who is believed to be Asian, was taken to hospital and was treated for cuts
to his head and eye, a mouth injury and bruising to his body.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/31 12:38:52 GMT


Outcry Aids Fight Against Racism

By Jonathan McCambridge
31 March 2005

An anti-racism vigil will be held in Belfast tonight following the latest spate of
attacks across the province.

An Asian man was hospitalised after he was attacked and beaten in his Donegall Avenue
home on Monday night.

Meanwhile, police are treating an attack on a car in Armagh as racist. Two youths are
being questioned after the vehicle was vandalised in Mullacreevie Park in the city
last night.

Anti-Racism Network spokeswoman Barbara Muldoon said: "While the attacks had not
completely stopped, it has been a while since we have seen something so vicious.

"Previous patterns show that where there is an outcry and people organise following
racist violence, the level of attacks go down."

The Anti-Racism Network has organised the vigil for 6pm at the Donegall Road entrance
to the City Hospital.

Ms Muldoon said: "I would appeal to everyone who can make the event to do so. It will
be the first such event in the area and it is important to have people there to make
everyone confident that racism can be challenged anywhere.

"The vigil has been endorsed by David Ervine and the Greater Village Regeneration


Viewpoint: The Battle To Root Out The Racists

Hate Attacks: New streaks of lawlessness are exposed

31 March 2005

Easter is always a busy time for the guardians of law and order, because of school
holidays and traditional marches, but this year some new elements of lawlessness have
appeared. Racist and homophobic attacks have been added to the usual sectarian
confrontations and vandalism.

Despite a reduction in serious racist incidents, following a concerted PSNI campaign
against hate crime, there are suspicions of paramilitary involvement in a vicious
attack on an Asian man in his own south Belfast home by three intruders. Meanwhile, in
north Belfast, a gay man has been intimidated out of his home by three attackers who
beat and robbed him.

In west Belfast, vandals have trashed a community centre that is a learning haven for
many people, and in Londonderry the depths were plumbed when a new kidney unit was
badly damaged by arsonists, setting back its opening by months. Thousands of pounds of
scarce public funds will have to be found, detracting from other worthwhile schemes,
to make good the damage.

Incidents in which people are attacked because of the colour of their skin, or even
their nationality, are utterly deplorable, as all politicians agree. At a time when
the health service is crying out for professional help from abroad - from the Far East
or, this week, from Poland - there is a duty to welcome newcomers and expose racism,
wherever it is to be found.

In Britain, the authorities have long experience of coping with an influx of
immigrants, but in both parts of Ireland the troubles and relative economic
insufficiency have kept incomers away - until recently. Now they are seen by a small,
thuggish minority as a threat, and there has to be more awareness of their security,
as well as education about the contribution they make.

In this respect, a Lottery Fund award of £250,000 to the Multi-Cultural Resource
Centre must help to create opportunities for communities to learn from each other and
develop good relations. In the new, expanding Europe, immigration of skilled and
useful workers can only increase, to fill gaps, and it would reflect badly on Northern
Ireland as a whole if areas of the province were seen to be racist-minded.

Over the years nowhere in the world has sent more of its sons and daughters overseas
to seek a better life, just as today's immigrants are doing. They, and all minorities,
deserve respect, as well as community protection. The police have more than enough to
do, combating homegrown crime.


Reject EU Constitution, Says Sinn Fein MEP

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

Irish voters should reject the EU Constitution when it is put to them in referenda, a
Sinn Fein MEP insisted today.

Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said the constitution, which the French public will vote
on in May and which has already been approved in Spain, had been found wanting on many

The Sinn Fein chairwoman argued: "It deepens the democratic deficit, further
concentrating power in the hands of the few at the expense of national parliaments and
ordinary people.

"It undermines (Irish) neutrality and seeks to transform the EU into a global
superpower with its own foreign ministers, army and armaments agency.

"It copperfastens the right wing economic agenda which has dominated EU policies for
over a decade and seeks to extend such policies to public services and international
trade agreements, undermining welfare provision and global justice priorities.

"It offers no new or meaningful social or human rights protections to citizens of
member states, yet significantly increases the power and scope for undemocratic bodies
such as the EU commission and council in crucial areas of policy such as international
relations, defence, criminal justice, trade and the internal market.

"The proposed EU constitution is not in the interests of the Irish people. It is not
in the interests of any member state.

"Indeed, the constitution is not in the interests of the EU itself."

Dutch voters are due to give their verdict on the constitution in June.

No date has yet been set for the British referendum, which is expected to take place
next year.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's Government has confirmed British voters will be asked at
polling booths: "Should the United Kingdom approve the treaty establishing a
constitution for the European Union?"

Earlier this year a survey by Eurobarometer revealed the Irish public's knowledge of
what is proposed in the constitution was very low.

Almost half of citizens surveyed had not heard of the constitution even though it was
agreed during Ireland's EU presidency.

This compared to an EU average of one third.

Last month European Affairs Minister Noel Treacy said the Irish Government intends to
provide every home with a booklet on the constitution to improve public awareness.

Ms McDonald said today that Sinn Fein would vigorously oppose the constitution in any

She insisted: "The debate on the EU constitution is not between pro and anti

"It is a debate over different visions for the future of the EU."


New Twist In Colombia 3 Saga

The Irish Government was today urged to act after one of the judges who convicted
three republicans of training Colombian rebels questioned the evidence on which the
men were convicted.

By:Press Association

The conviction, by three judges, was made in December and overturned an earlier
acquittal, against which the Colombian attorney general had appealed.

The dissenting opinion of Judge Jorge Enrique Torres was released by the Colombia
court authorities yesterday. He said much of the technical evidence in the case was

He said he agreed with his judicial colleagues that the three men were guilty of
travelling on false documents but could not agree they were guilty of training Farc

Lawyers acting for the three Irishmen said they were hopeful the dissent would enable
them to get the conviction overturned.

Sinn Fein assembly member Catriona Ruane, of the Bring Them Home Campaign, said the
Irish Government must act following the judge`s comments.

"We have always said the December judgment was a political judgment, there was no
evidence against the three men. We are now calling on the Irish government to urgently
contact the Colombian authorities."

James Monaghan, 58, from Co Donegal, Niall Connolly, 38, from Dublin, and Martin
McCauley, 41, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, disappeared last summer and are believed to be
on the run in South America.

They were arrested at Bogota airport in August 2001 as they were about to fly out of
the country.

They were accused of travelling on false passports and training Farc rebels in urban
terrorism techniques. They denied the charges and were held in custody until last
April when they were found guilty on the first charge but not guilty of the key charge
of training the guerrillas.

The Colombian attorney general appealed against the acquittal and last December it was

The men however had been released from custody last June, pending the appeal, went
into hiding and did not turn up for the retrial.

The Colombian authorities said they believed the men had fled the country, possibly
crossing the border into neighbouring Venezuela.

Urging the Irish Government to act Ms Ruane said: "It is ridiculous the three men are
in hiding in fear of their lives. They should be at home with their families and they
should have been home a long time ago."


NS Interview - Catherine McCartney

The New Statesman Interview

Christopher Thornton
Monday 4th April 2005

"We're not the bravest women in Ireland. That's just media stuff. The only way to
restore the value of a life is through justice". Catherine McCartney interviewed by
Christopher Thornton

The Irish way of death is normally short and intense. Waking the dead lasts three days
and nights, closed by the funeral, a meal and an embrace. Then the family is left with
its private grief. Yet, eight weeks after Robert McCartney was murdered by members of
the IRA, long after he was buried, his sister Paula's home in Belfast still feels like
a wake house. Visitors speak in low tones; the kitchen has been turned into a
production line for tea. Paula's two-year-old son is constantly hushed and moved out
from under adult feet.

A longer look shows differences between this wake house and other billets of grief.
Stacked inside the cramped glass porch are wooden placards reading "Murdered - who's
next?". Many of the visitors are not friends, but members of the media. And there is
no weeping, only anger at a death that brings no finality.

Catherine McCartney comes here every day from her home in Castlewellan, a mountainside
village 30 miles south of the city, that looks out towards the Irish Sea.

At 36, she is the sister who was just above Robert in the family of seven. She says
she has hardly seen her own four children in the past few weeks. She says she's become
sick of hearing her own name on television.

"The most difficult thing is losing Robert: we haven't even started to deal with it
yet. But the fact of having to do this" - she waves her hand at a tape recorder, a
waiting photographer, the room where Paula is speaking to a French reporter - "I find
absolutely a disgrace, a disgrace to republicanism.

"If they had been ordinary members of the public who'd murdered Robert that night, the
police would have had them all. They would have been up in court. The witnesses would
have talked and we wouldn't have had to go through this."

By now, Robert McCartney's death has reverberated across much of the world. On 30
January, the 33-year-old father of two wound up on the wrong end of a bar fight and
was stabbed to death. Because his killers were members of the IRA, they were able to
orchestrate an effective cover-up.

They did not count on McCartney's sisters. Since burying their brother, the five - a
nurse, a student, a lecturer, a caterer and a teacher's aide - have thwarted every
republican attempt to make the murder go away. Catherine knows, however, that they
have thus far failed in their primary objective: seeing Robert's killers in a court of

So, the sisters continue to eschew attention directed at them, the stories that have
dubbed them "the bravest women in Ireland". Concerned about distractions, they talk
sparingly about their own lives, but ceaselessly about Robert's death.

"We've had some media pundits who have tried to focus on us as women, which should be
dispelled," says Catherine, who is a politics and history lecturer.

"I mean, sometimes I feel that talks down to men. Is it saying that men wouldn't have
been able to do this or men wouldn't have done this, wouldn't have had the capability
to do this?

"This idea of being women, and being brave women - it's nothing to do with anything
like that. Women helped clean the bar that night. So you can have women who believe
very much in human rights and others who can very callously clean up the scene of a
crime and not come forward to help a family get justice.

"They were women also, so gender is irrelevant in it. It's just people's human morals
and integrity. We're not the bravest women in Ireland. That's the media, a lot of old
tabloid stuff. Anybody who's lost somebody in these circumstances will tell you that
the only thing that you have left, the only way that you can restore the value of
their life, is through justice. I mean, they take the person away from you as if he
meant nothing and the only way you can restore the value of that human life to
yourself and to your community is by getting justice. Because human life and society
become irrelevant if you can [commit] murder and walk away."

That conviction has turned Paula McCartney's home into the unlikely headquarters of a
campaign that has gone international. The modern brick terrace is passed without
notice by thousands of Belfast commuters on one of the city's main east-west
thoroughfares, while in the two rooms downstairs, the sisters field phone calls and
organise interviews. A male relative makes the tea.

Here, Catherine and her sisters are challenging the IRA in its own back yard. Short
Strand, the small Catholic district where the McCartneys were raised and most of them
still live, is where the Provisional IRA first established its reputation as the
defender of Northern Ireland's nationalists.

This is not without risk ("They have murdered women in the past. Are people forgetting
that?" asks Catherine), but it is also a strength. Their criticism of the IRA's
handling of the murder carries additional weight because it is spoken in the IRA's own

"I am a republican. I have supported Sinn Fein most of my adult life and I have
supported the IRA," she says.

"There's a load of things they've done that I've criticised and challenged, but I'm no
peace-loving pacifist and no way could I be described as one.

"They've betrayed my republicanism and republicanism as a whole. That's my conviction.

"And republicans who have the power to do something about this and allowed them to get
away with it, they have betrayed republicanism too. That's where I'm coming from."

She dismisses the notion that the republican taboo against co- operating with police
is what has prevented witnesses from com- ing forward.

"Why are people not talking?" she says. "The police thing is a smokescreen. If the
police thing is for real, what I would like to know is: can every Sinn Fein party
member say that they have never ever used the police for anything - have never co-
operated with the police, have never spoke to the police, never went to the police in
any avenue. Have they never called the police to their homes?

"If they can say not one of our party mem-bers has done that, then maybe their
argument holds up. It just basically boils down to the fact that their members were
involved. That's all this is about."

She acknowledges that the family has received attention "partly because the political
climate has changed". There is a sense of the moment about their campaign.

In the wake of December's £26m bank robbery, blamed on the IRA, and the collapse of
yet another deal to revive devolution, the McCartney murder has posed to Irish
nationalists the question that begins to domi- nate the peace process: ten years after
they first declared a ceasefire and embarked on a political path, what is the point of
the IRA?

"You're not talking about being in a full-frontal conflict with the British
establishment. We've had a peace process for ten years. We have a democracy in some
form, not a perfect one, but who does have a perfect democracy?

"You have institutions that republicans have signed up to but are not implemented yet.
There is a vacuum here of justice. Every republican will have to take a look at their
son and ask themselves: 'If this IRA man murdered him in a bar one night for no
reason, would I have to accept it because of what he did for the cause?'

"I'm certainly not going to accept that the murder of my brother by IRA volunteers is
part of any bigger picture or part of any peace deal."

At a stage when other bereaved families might be thinking about moving on with their
lives, the McCartneys may now be moving into some of their toughest days. Some of the
sympathy for them is evaporating. Republicans mutter that they are being used as
political fodder for the general election.

But they intend to keep going, even if that means mounting a private prosecution
against the men believed to be the killers.

The sisters note with irony that republicans campaigned for almost 30 years for
answers about the Bloody Sunday killings.

"There's no grand plan or 'how's this going to look from this point of view or that
point of view'. We're not interested in anybody else's point of view," Catherine says.

"Maybe it is the right time or political situation. If things were different it
wouldn't have stopped us saying what we're saying. But again, Northern Ireland is a
very politicised place. It's one of the most politicised places in Europe.

"So, children here are brought up with a sense of what democracy means, and what we
have and what we don't have.

"By the time they're teenagers, especially my generation, being brought up in the
Troubles, they understand what the issues are, because they witnessed it.

"And it certainly wasn't about what happened to Robert on that Sunday night. The
people who murdered Robert and covered it up have to be in court.

"That's the end of the story for us. That's where it starts and finishes."


Council Reverse Marathon Decision

Belfast City Council has reversed a decision to exclude west Belfast from the route of
this year's marathon.

In February, race organisers were criticised when a new route included parts of North
Down and Newtownabbey, but left out the west of the city.

However, the Grosvenor Road and parts of the Lower Falls have now been included in the

The decision was made following a meeting between the city's marathon committee and
local representatives.

Committee chairman Danny O'Connor said he hoped the new course would attract a greater
Northern Ireland audience to the race.


"By tweaking the route for 2005 we have now included all areas of the city and we
think this is a compromise which allows the marathon to move forward as an
international race and still maintain support as a community event," he said.

West Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Paul Maskey said it was important that every
community in the city was involved in the event.

"The committee have also agreed to involve themselves in a proper process of
consultation with interested parties before deciding on the route of next year's
marathon," he said.

Over 11,000 runners are expected to take part in this year's event which is being held
on 2 May.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/31 05:34:10 GMT


Two People Rescued From Drifting Vessel Off West Coast

31/03/2005 - 12:13:09

The Coast Guard has rescued two people from a boat that lost power off the coast of Co
Galway this morning.

The Celtic Star's two-man crew made an emergency call after the vessel's engine failed
and it began drifting dangerously close to rocks off Killeen Point, near Casla Bay.

The two men were rescued by the Aran Islands Lifeboat at around 11am and are said to
be safe and well.

Attempts are continuing to secure their boat and tow it to shore, but conditions in
the area are reported to be poor.


Roche Says Decision Has Yet To Be Made On Tara Motorway

31/03/2005 - 11:38:53

Environment Minister Dick Roche has flatly denied reports that he has decided to
approve the planned route for the M3 motorway in Co Meath.

Reports this morning claimed Mr Roche was intending to issue licences allowing
archaeologists to dig up historic sites on the proposed route of the motorway past the
Hill of Tara.

However, Mr Roche has insisted that he has yet to make a decision on the matter and
said this morning's reports were premature.


Titanic's Crane Plans Uncovered

Original technical plans for the crane used to build the Titanic have been discovered
in Northern Ireland.

The linen-backed plans are the only known copies in existence.

They came to light at a Titanic exhibition currently being held in Belfast, where the
ill-fated liner was built.

The Titanic was built at the city's Harland and Wolff shipyard and sailed from Belfast
in 1912. It sank after striking an iceberg.

The 150-tonne crane was built in Germany to specifically construct the Titanic and her
sister ships in Belfast.

It arrived in Belfast in kit-form and German workers installed it at Queen's Island in
the shipyard.

The plans were originally used as a file copy for engineers to work on the crane's

They were brought along to the "Titanic - Made in Belfast" exhibition for evaluation
by a member of the public.

Auctioneers who specialise in Titanic memorabilia held an open evaluation in Belfast
City Hall earlier this week.

'On display'

Evaluators Henry Aldridge and Sons predicted a four-figure sum for the plans when they
go for auction.

The company's Alan Aldridge said: "On presentation by the owner, we knew this was
authentic and of the Titanic period given its look and feel - it even has a reference
to the Lusitania, the biggest ship at the time, on the plans.

"For us, this is an absolutely fantastic find and we would like to think there are
many more hidden gems waiting to be discovered in the city of Belfast."

The rare plans have gone on display at the event in the City Hall.

Belfast City Council said it was "truly an exhibition which could not be staged
anywhere in the world but the home of the Titanic".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/03/30 15:21:08 GMT


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