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April 07, 2005

Secrecy Law For Finucane Inquiry

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 04/07/05
Secrecy Law For Finucane Inquiry
BT 04/07/05 Ex-UDR Man Is Held Over Murder
UT 04/07/05 IRA Still Capable : PSNI
BT 04/07/05 America Joins Calls For Peace
BT 04/07/05 Analysis: Credibility Of Sinn Fein Chief Is At Stake
BT 04/07/05 McGinley Talks Are Called Off
BT 04/07/05 Alderdice Hits Out At Minister For 'Pope Joke'


Secrecy Law For Finucane Inquiry

Inquiry cover-up claims

By Chris Thornton
07 April 2005

A "large proportion" of the planned inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane will be held
in private, a British official has told the UN Commission on Human Rights - prompting
accusations that the Government plans to cover up the collusion in the case.

As the Government pushed through the final stages of a bill last night to allow Ministers
to control the information heard by the inquiry, the SDLP produced the British response
to concerns about Bill raised with the UN.

UK representative Nick Thorne told Human Rights Commission in Geneva that "a large
proportion of the inquiry would probably have to be held in private" even with the bill's
greater secrecy powers.

The Inquiries Bill, which was being pushed through its final stages last night, would give
Ministers the power to withhold information from the inquiry without going through the

SDLP Assembly member Alex Attwood said: "A strategic decision has been taken by
Downing Street that the truth about the murder of Pat Finucane and others will not be
exposed. The Inquiries Bill is their means of doing so.

"The SDLP has received a copy of the British response to the Irish Government raising
the Finucane case in the United Nations general debate on human rights on April 1.

"Referring to the conduct of an inquiry into the Finucane murder, the British Government
stated through its ambassador, Nick Thorne, 'a large proportion will probably be in

"This is proof positive of British plans."

The Bill was opposed by Dublin, Washington, the Finucane family and a number of
human rights groups.

Senior judicial figures - including the judge who recommended the Finucane Inquiry and
the judge leading the Bloody Sunday Inquiry - have also objected to the Bill.

Mr Finucane was gunned down in front of his family in his north Belfast home by the
UFF in February 1989.

Last year, loyalist Ken Barrett was jailed for 22 years after admitting his role in the

However, the murder has been dogged by allegations that members of the security
forces were involved.

A team of investigators headed by former Metropolitan Police chief Sir John Stevens,
however, found evidence of collusion between members of Army intelligence, the Royal
Ulster Constabulary and the loyalist hitmen.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, who was appointed in 2001 by the British and Irish
governments to examine six controversial murders from Northern Ireland's Troubles,
recommended an inquiry.

The Government has insisted the new legislation is needed because the tribunal judges
will have to handle sensitive matters of national security.

The Inquiries Bill ensures tribunals considering sensitive intelligence material will be
able to do so in private.

It also enables government ministers to direct the Finucane inquiry and other tribunals.

The legislation has been condemned by Mr Finucane's family, who have warned they
will not participate in any inquiry set up under the legislation.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has expressed deep reservations.


Ex-UDR Man Is Held Over Murder

By Michael McHugh
06 April 2005

One of the four men being questioned by police in connection with the murder of Tyrone
councillor Patrick Kelly in 1974 is a former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier, it can be

The men were arrested yesterday by police and sources insist that at least one was in
the UDR.

Nobody has ever been charged with the murder.

Mr Kelly (33) was shot several times after locking up his pub in Trillick. His body was
found three weeks later in Lough Eyes near Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh - with two 56lb
weights strapped to it.

Two of the suspects are reportedly from the Enniskillen area, another from Derry and
the final man believed to be from Tyrone.

Last November Mr Kelly's widow Theresa applied for a judicial review of the PSNI
decision not to appoint an external force as she believed there was security force
collusion in her husband's murder.

Well-placed sources close to the inquiry said they believed that at least one of the men
being questioned had been in the UDR.

The force was linked to the murder at the time, although nobody has ever been

The new investigation is headed by Detective Superintendent Andrew Hunter, from the
West Midlands Constabulary. The family mounted a lengthy campaign to have the
inquiry reopened but said they were not happy with the level of independence.

Mr Kelly was an independent Omagh District councillor. His brother Peter currently sits
on the council for Sinn Fein.

"I suppose any move forward is a move in the right direction but I wonder whether it will
move the case any further," he said.


IRA Leaders 'Considering Adams Call'

THE IRA said today it was giving "due consideration" to Sin Fein president Gerry
Adams's appeal for it to fully embrace politics and abandon the armed struggle.

In a brief statement released under the IRA's pen name of P O'Neill, the organisation
said: "The IRA will give his appeal due consideration and will respond in due course."

Sinn Fein vice-president Pat Doherty said: "There will clearly be a debate. This is a
huge issue."

There will be a rational intellectual debate but there will be an element of emotion and it
will take time for that to work its way through."

He denied Mr Adams had made his statement in an attempt to shore up support for
Sinn Fein among nationalists following the murder of Robert McCartney ahead of the
General Election.

Mr Adams yesterday challenged the IRA to recognise there was an alternative to its
campaign of armed struggle. He asked the organisation to begin an internal debate
about whether it should grasp it.

The West Belfast MP said: "The way forward is by building political support for
republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these
goals internationally."

However, unionists have responded sceptically, noting Mr Adams' statement was
delivered on the second day of a General Election campaign, where his party hopes to
assert its dominance over the rival nationalist SDLP in Northern Ireland.

The British and Irish governments acknowledged the significance of the Sinn Fein
leader's comments and the potential they have for advancing the peace process.

But Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern insisted: "Nothing less than a complete and
decisive end to all IRA activity and capability will be acceptable if there is to be any
prospect of achieving inclusive politics in Northern Ireland."


IRA Still Capable : PSNI

The IRA is still unlikely to carry out a major terrorist operation which would breach the
organisation's ceasefire but retained its capability, a senior policeman in Northern
Ireland claimed today.

After the IRA today said it would give due consideration to Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams` call for them to embrace politics and abandon the armed struggle, Assistant
Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid told Northern Ireland Policing Board he was aware that
recent events could overtake his assessment of the Provisionals` capabilities.

But responding to a question from Democratic Unionist Policing Board member Ian
Paisley Jnr, he said the organisation remained up until this point involved in criminal
activities such as robberies and carried out punishment attacks and beatings.

"They continue to maintain their organisation`s operational capabilities," he said.

"They could, if they wanted to, mount a terrorist operation which would be in breach of
their ceasefire.

"We continue to assess that such a move is unlikely and remains a last resort.

"They continue to conduct various other criminal enterprises including robberies and
various types of civil administration."

Chief Constable Hugh Orde said that following Mr Adams` dramatic appeal yesterday to
the IRA to begin an internal debate on its future and grasp the opportunity to pursue its
goals through politics, it remained to be seen how the organisation would respond.

He was unwilling to give any further assessment of whether the IRA would respond
positively to Mr Adams.

He told Mr Paisley: "We will wait and see what it means.

"It is a statement made by a political party which it would be wrong of me as chief
constable at this particular moment in time to make a particular observation on.

"We will wait and see and we will see where that takes us."

Mr Kinkaid also reported that dissident republicans opposed to Sinn Fein`s peace
process strategy continued to target the security forces and others and were
responsible for a spate of recent incendiary attacks.

Mr Orde also confirmed earlier in the meeting that there had been a number of arrests
against dissident republicans and other people with suspected links to republicans and
loyalists over extortion.

Individuals linked to dissident groups, Mr Kinkaid said, also were involved in criminal

He also reported that the threat from loyalist paramilitary groups remained despite
attempts by some to operate a ceasefire.

The number of loyalist paramilitary-style assaults and punishment shootings remained
high and members of the groups continued to commit robberies and there was heavy
involvement in extortion.

Policing Board members were told that all paramilitary groups continued to recruit and
to train members.

Mr Paisley queried whether Mr Adams` statement yesterday was just words or whether
there was any substance to them.

The North Antrim Assembly member said that if Mr Adam`s comments were directed at
himself, then he would welcome the Sinn Fein president going away.


America Joins Calls For Peace

US State Department welcome Adams' statement

By Noel McAdam and Chris Thornton
07 April 2005

The US State Department has welcomed Mr Adams speech - but said it awaited
concrete actions from the IRA.

"Respect for the rule of law is an essential element of the democratic society that Mr
Adams has outlined," said Richard Boucher, a State Department spokesman in

"We strongly endorse this vision and once again call for all paramilitary activity and
criminality to cease."

Senior Sinn Fein figures indicated they expected an initial IRA answer to Mr Adams'
appeal for intensive internal consultations in the near future.

But sources made clear the internal process to produce a definitive announcement from
the IRA Army Council on its future intentions could take some time.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said it was clear republicans are under pressure but their
sincerity had to be called into question.

"It is, after all, made in the run-up to an election and (the statement) is loaded with self-
serving versions of recent history.

"It may well just be a device for easing the pressure that Sinn Fein has been coming
under on the doorsteps. That's why it is action from the IRA that counts - not words from
Sinn Fein."

Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin insisted, however, the statement was a genuine
initiative and he believed the IRA response would come soon.

"It is a genuine initiative, and I believe that we will hear very shortly from the IRA that
they are responding to Gerry Adams' invitation to consider their future in an entirely
peaceful and democratic context," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Observers said Mr Adams would not have put his central question directly to IRA
volunteers unless he was certain of a positive response.

His direct question was: "Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your
aims by purely political and democratic activity?"

London and Dublin gave an initially upbeat assessment of Mr Adams' speech on the
first full day of the General Election campaign, but said the next move was up to the

Unionists, however, remained sceptical over the import of the Sinn Fein president's
remarks and cynical about future IRA intentions.

DUP secretary Nigel Dodds said: "Unionists will not be fooled by a cynical pre-election
stunt by Sinn Fein which delivers nothing other that hollow words. The world must not
lift the unprecedented pressure of the past few months."

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said Mr Adams' claim that republicans had fulfilled
all their promises was untrue.

"In May 2000 they said that they would disarm 'completely' and 'in a manner to
maximise public confidence,'" he said.


Analysis: Credibility Of Sinn Fein Chief Is At Stake

By David McKittrick
07 April 2005

In an unscripted remark some years ago Gerry Adams said of the IRA: "They haven't
gone away, you know." He instantly regretted saying it, his aides hurriedly dismissing it
as a flippant, throwaway remark.

Yesterday brought the republican movement's strategic response to the glaring
evidence that it had not gone away - the £26m robbery in Belfast in December and the
killing of Robert McCartney in January. It came in the form of a formal declaration from
Mr Adams to the IRA that there was an alternative to "armed struggle". He indicated he
had challenged the IRA's army council to pursue its aims "by purely political and
democratic activity", asking it to take historic decisions after what he described as
intense internal consultation.

The British and Irish governments will take the procedures he outlined with a pinch of
salt, since they have indicated they believe he sits on the army council himself. But they
will be intrigued by the fact that he explicitly put his personal authority on the line in
advocating an end to "armed struggle". He does not do such things lightly.

The statement he delivered, while taking the form of a solemn request to the IRA,
contains no commitments that it will follow his advice and end its activities. But if it
doesn't, he will be damaged. His credibility, which is of huge importance to republicans,
has suffered a severe knock with his insistence that the IRA did not carry out the bank

Since a rebuff now would leave his reputation in shreds, the assumption must be that he
is confident of a favourable reply from the IRA. An important move by the IRA is in any
event a political necessity, since the murder and the robbery have left it with much
ground to make up.

It would come as no surprise if the IRA produced a helpful reply during the election
campaign, since the announcement had the additional purpose of maximising the Sinn
Fein vote. Despite the setbacks, most expect Sinn Fein to increase its tally of
Westminster MPs from four to five. But the party also has designs on two further seats,
and winning these depends on reassuring floating nationalist voters that republicans put
peace before violence.


McGinley Talks Are Called Off

Priests blame media

By Geraldine Mulholland
07 April 2005

A meeting between the family of a Londonderry man stabbed to death and Sinn Fein
leader Gerry Adams at a Belfast monastery fell through after priests objected to the
presence of journalists.

Eileen McGinley requested the meeting after her family accused Derry republicans of
threatening and intimidating them during the trial of the man convicted of the
manslaughter of her son, James McGinley.

But the meeting, which had been widely publicised to take place at Clonard Monastery
at noon yesterday, came to nothing as priests claimed the media presence was an
invasion of the monastery's sanctity.

Mr Adams said: "The meeting was postponed at the request of Clonard Monastery
because of the presence of the media.

"I had arranged for the meeting to be held at Clonard in order that I and the family could
have a private discussion.

"Of course they could have done any publicity they wanted about our discussions. But, I
was surprised at the presence of the media at the monastery and I accept entirely the
decision by Clonard.

"I will reschedule the meeting. I explained to Mrs McGinley and her family that the
election campaign would severely restrict my availability and that it might be after May 5
before we could meet again."

This was the second time the meeting between the McGinleys and Gerry Adams was

The meeting had originally been due to take place in Belfast at Mr Adams' Falls Road
office on Monday.

It is understood that meeting was postponed at the request of Sinn Fein.


Alderdice Hits Out At Minister For 'Pope Joke'

By Debra Douglas
06 April 2005

Alliance's David Alderdice last night condemned a joke made by Presbyterian minister,
the Rev Stephen Dickinson, in which he was accused of impersonating the Pope
suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Councillor Alderdice said the Mr Dickson, who serves as the Grand Chaplain of the
Orange Order, had caused great offence.

"While you might expect certain Protestant leaders to make fun of the Pope and offend
Catholics, to manage to offend Catholics and Parkinson's sufferers in one fell swoop is
something else," he said.

"While no-one is saying religious leaders shouldn't have a sense of humour, this
indicates a lack of understanding and sensitivity.

"Making jokes at the expense of someone who was extremely ill at the time, no matter
who it was, is something Mr Dickinson obviously needs to think hard about.

"Whether it was through ignorance or was intended, it was still wrong. He should admit
that what he did and said was wrong, instead of issuing an evasive, half-hearted

The row erupted after it emerged the cleric had told quips about the pontiff as he
compered a concert at Drumbo Presbyterian Church Hall, near Lisburn, on February 11.

The minister denied the mimicry focused on the Pope's illness and said he also joked
about other public figures.

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