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March 28, 2005

SF: Republicans Stronger Than Ever

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 03/28/05
Sinn Fein: Republicans Stronger Than Ever
SF 03/28/05 Extracts of Deputy Ó Caoláin's address
BB 03/28/05 Parade 'Passes Without Incident'
BT 03/28/05 Viewpoint: Watershed Moment For Republicans
IO 03/28/05 Man Held Over Stab Death
IO 03/28/05 Incendiary Device Sparks New Alert
BT 03/28/05 Brian Walker Examines Impact of PM Callaghan

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Ireland changed to daylight savings time LAST Saturday night. The US changes this upcoming Saturday. So for this week, time will be an additional hour earlier in Ireland as compared to US time. Jay)


Sinn Fein: Republicans Stronger Than Ever

By Deborah McAleese
28 March 2005

Tens of thousands of republicans have turned out for one of the largest Easter Rising commemorations ever in west Belfast.

Supporters lined the streets to watch the parade pass on its way to Milltown Cemetery where Kerry Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris called on republicans to do everything in their power to help strengthen the party's political position.

He was greeted by loud cheers when he said that republicanism is stronger than ever before.

But he also warned political opponents in Belfast, Dublin and London to be prepared to face a stronger and more determined Sinn Fein in the negotiations after the elections.

"Sinn Fein and republicanism is stronger than ever before. We are determined to rebuild the peace process and make it succeed. These are difficult times in the peace process. Our primary focus has to be getting the peace process back on track."

He also used the occasion to deny that the IRA had any role in the murder of Robert McCartney.


Republicans Needs To Look Beyond The Current Crisis In The Peace Process

Published: 28 March, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD speaking at the Easter Commemoration in Clones this afternoon said "Republicans now need to look beyond the current crisis in the peace process. We believe that the process can and will be rebuilt and returned to the path of progress. Inevitably, that will mean more hard choices, including more hard decisions for the Irish and British governments and others, as well as for Sinn Féin and for the IRA."

Extracts of Deputy Ó Caoláin's address

"As we gather to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Republic we are joined by tens of thousands of people throughout Ireland and throughout the world in this act of remembrance and rededication. We are remembering the defining event in modern Irish history and our first thoughts are with all those who fell in the struggle to make the Republic a reality. Our commemoration is especially significant this year, marking as it does, Céad Bliain Sinn Féin.

The men and women we honour here gave their all for freedom. Their example demands political commitment, discipline and diligence from all who follow in their footsteps today.

Republicans expect the highest standards of conduct from all in our ranks. That has always been the case and we reject anyone who by their actions would bring the good name of the republican cause into disrepute. For that is what has happened in recent times. I regret to have to say it here and on this occasion but it must be said. The brutal murder of Robert McCartney has sullied the good name of republicanism. Those responsible should own up to their actions. Their continuing failure to do so compounds the outrage of all who proudly proclaim their republicanism this Easter time.

Look beyond the crisis

Republicans now need to look beyond the current crisis in the peace process. We believe that the process can and will be rebuilt and returned to the path of progress. Inevitably, that will mean more hard choices, including more hard decisions for the Irish and British governments and others, as well as for Sinn Féin and for the IRA.

We as republicans are prepared to face up to the difficult decisions we must make, as we have done at every key stage of the peace process. But we will accept no lectures from the likes of Minister Michael McDowell. This week in the Dáil I described him as a unionist and he replied that he was an Irish republican. Very well, Minister McDowell. As the President of the Progressive Democrats, if you are a republican, why don't you organize your party on an all-Ireland basis? Will you stand candidates here in the Six Counties in the forthcoming Westminster elections? Better still, will you stand yourself? Or is it the case that your republicanism, and your Ireland, stops at Dundalk. I think we all know the answer to that.

British Inquiries Bill designed to cover up decades of collusion

Neither will republicans accept lectures from the British government. In the current climate that Government has been breathing a sigh of relief as the eye has been taken off England as the primary cause of the conflict in our country. Where are the sanctions against the British government for its continuing efforts to thwart any real process of truth and justice for the victims of the policy of collusion - a central part of Britain's war in Ireland.

No-one who has seriously and honestly studied this conflict of the past 36 years doubts that there was systematic collusion between British forces and loyalist paramilitaries.

It is not ancient history. It is relevant right up to the present day. The British government has brought in a piece of legislation called the Inquiries Bill which is designed to prevent any realistic inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane or that of any other victim of collusion between its forces and loyalist death squads.

That legislation will give the power to a British minister to order an inquiry to be held behind closed doors. Judge Peter Cory, who recommended the Finucane inquiry, has severely criticised this legislation. He has gone as far as to advise his colleague judges in Canada not to participate in any inquiry under such legislation. And of course British ministers and the British military will still have the controlling hand when it comes to the release of information. We have seen how they have used that power.

A Leinster House Committee was established on foot of the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The Committee severely reprimanded the British Prime Minister for his refusal to establish an inquiry, as called for by the Oireachtas, into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. It went further and stated that Blair's action is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement. The British Secretary of State, the Northern Ireland Office and the PSNI refused to co-operate in any meaningful way with the Barron investigation itself or with the work of the Oireachtas Committee.

As a Teachta Dála for Monaghan and for County Cavan, together with the team of Sinn Féin TDs and activists in Leinster House, I am very proud to represent Irish republicans. There is no British border in our minds and we are guided at all times by our determination to end partition and build an All-Ireland Republic. And it will not be a paper republic or a symbolic republic but a democratic, sovereign state where equal rights and equal opportunities are guaranteed to all. We want to see an end to sectarianism in any form and every republican should work to that end. We are pledged to fight against the scourge of racism and against all forms of discrimination and for a country that cherishes all its people in all their diversity. And we are determined to campaign side by side with communities throughout our country to end the scandal of inequality and poverty on this island of plenty.

Our strategies and our tactics may change but our basic principles remain the same. They are set out in the Proclamation. Our job is to put it into effect. Our task is to move forward, united and strong, to our goal of Irish unity and independence, to an Ireland of Equals in which all the children of the nation are cherished equally."ENDS


Parade 'Passes Without Incident'

The Apprentice Boys parade close to a nationalist area in north Belfast has passed off without incident.

Police were out in fewer numbers than previous years to monitor the marchers as the parade passed Ardoyne shops.

Police said the peaceful parade was a result of the work of people in the area.

PSNI Superintendent Gary White said: "All the people of this area in north Belfast are to be commended on the work undertaken before this parade."

This had ensured its peaceful passage, he said.

"We had the lowest police presence here for many years and this reflects the work undertaken by both communities."

Supt White, the PSNI's operations manager for north Belfast, said he would like to see all events in the area policed in such a manner in future.

In the past, protests over some Protestant loyal order parades in the area have led to violence.

In accordance with a Parades Commission ruling, no music was played as it passed the contentious area.

Meanwhile, on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast, 10 Apprentice Boys belonging to the Belfast Walker Club were bussed past the mainly nationalist lower Ormeau Road and into the city centre.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/03/28 12:03:54 GMT



Viewpoint: Watershed Moment For Republicans

Easter reality: The IRA must be consigned to the past

28 March 2005

As republicans gathered to mark the 89th anniversary of the Easter Rising, they had plenty upon which to reflect. The events of 1916 are now history, and it is time that the IRA and Sinn Fein started looking to the future, not the past.

The reality is that the modern IRA stands accused of a raft of criminal activities ranging from racketeering and money-laundering to bank robberies and intimidation. The most serious charge - accepted even by Sinn Fein - is that its members were involved in the murder of Robert McCartney on January 30.

Such revelations have turned the republican movement into pariahs, shunned not just in Washington, London and Belfast, but most effectively by some of their long-term supporters. The crusade by the McCartney sisters, who are now considering a civil court action, has given people who had long been cowed by the IRA the courage to speak out.

Even some of the movement's most dedicated supporters in the United States are questioning what purpose the IRA now serves. Republicanism in 2005 finds itself at a watershed, and the twin-track policy of Armalite and ballot box is no longer sustainable.

The speakers at the various ceremonies over the weekend chose to ignore the over-riding demand from the Irish people, north and south, that the IRA should decommission and disband. There is no place for private armies in Northern Ireland or the Republic.

Even from a republican perspective, the continued existence of the IRA is now counter-productive. The organisation's criminality has tarnished Sinn Fein and effectively put the party beyond the Pale.

If the IRA had honoured its commitments under the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein would today be in government in Northern Ireland. Instead of being ostracised, its members would have their hands on the levers of power.

Although inclusiveness remains the goal of the British and Irish Governments, the position is that Sinn Fein today has nobody with whom to negotiate.

The republican movement has major issues to address, and all the romanticising in the world of the so-called "armed struggle" cannot hide that fact. Rather than living in a time warp, Sinn Fein must wake up and face new realities.


Man Held Over Stab Death
2005-03-28 11:40:02+01

A man was arrested today after a party-goer was stabbed to death on the outskirts of Belfast.

The victim, in his early 20s, was found lying critically injured in the street in Twinbrook during the early hours of the morning.

He was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Police said they launched a murder investigation in the area and within hours made the arrest.

It is believed the man was stabbed after a row at a party in a house near where he was found in Juniper Park.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Michael Ferguson said: "People in the area are shocked at what has happened.

"I have spoken to the young man's family and they are traumatised by what has happened. Here was a young man who went out of an evening and ends up dead."


Incendiary Device Sparks New Alert

28/03/2005 - 09:54:24

An incendiary device was found in a shopping centre today.

The device appeared to have burned itself out without causing much damage to the Iceland store at the Ards Shopping Centre in Newtownards, Co Down.

Police urged shop keepers in the town centre to search their premises and report anything suspicious.

Dissident republicans were suspected of planting the device, the second discovered in 36 hours.

Late on Saturday the Next store at the Forestside shopping centre in south east Belfast was extensively water damaged when an incendiary device ignited, damaged stock and off the sprinkler system.

The latest incident raised fresh fears of a new wave of attacks over the Easter period. Last December dissidents republicans were responsible for a series of incendiary bomb attacks on shops in the run up to Christmas.

Police appealed for vigilance across Northern Ireland following the incendiary bomb attacks against the two shopping centres.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland condemned those responsible saying they put lives and property at risk and caused unnecessary disruption.

He said the PSNI was asking all business owners and managers to review their security measures and check their premises thoroughly both during and after trading.

“An extra few minutes could make all the difference,” he said.

Mr McCausland added: “All right thinking people should be appalled by these attacks. Some elements of society are intent on causing destruction and putting lives at risk.

“These attacks also threaten the jobs of ordinary people in communities across Northern Ireland.”


He Tried To Instill A Sense Of Calm But Was Under No Illusions

28 March 2005

London editor Brian Walker examines the impact the late Prime Minster Lord Callaghan made in Northern Ireland in the early stages of the Troubles

It was Jim Callaghan who gave most of us our first sight of a major politician in action, in an unflattering contrast with the local variety.

Although he will go down in history as the Home Secretary who sent in the troops on August 14 1969, he and the Defence Secretary Denis Healy were far more cautious about it than the Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

The Northern Ireland government of Major James Chichester Clarke was compelled to exhaust its own resources first - which mean sending in the B Specials, with disastrous, inflammatory consequences.

The following month, Callaghan took the bold decision to tour the no-go areas of Belfast and Londonderry alone in an effort to instil calm and confidence in British even-handedness.

In the short term he succeeded brilliantly, chatting to people behind the lines and barricades in a way Unionist ministers could never attempt.

In Derry, he won loud applause by addressing the crowd with a megaphone from the upstairs window of a house in Lecky Road, holding up the window with his broad shoulders while assuring them that their civil rights would be respected.

But Callaghan had no illusions, according to a cabinet colleague Richard Crossman, writing in his diary. "Callaghan anticipated the honeymoon wouldn't last, and it didn't. The terrible thing was that the only solutions would take 10 years, if they would ever work at all."

According to Garret FitzGerald, Irish Foreign Minister and later Taoiseach, Callaghan, as Prime Minister, poured cold water on the idea of a declaration of British intent to withdraw, which civil servants were apparently allowing the IRA and Sinn Fein to believe might be in prospect, in secret talks after the collapse of the power sharing executive of 1974.

Callaghan also told FitzGerald that the government had been wrong to give in to the loyalist workers' strike. As Prime Minister from 1976 to 79, he did nothing to disturb his Northern Ireland Secretary Roy Mason's coolness towards political initiatives. As a consequence, Gerry Fitt voted against him in April 1979 and Frank McManus "abstained in person" to bring down the Callaghan minority government and usher in the era of Margaret Thatcher.

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005
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