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May 08, 2005

Loyalists Attack Jr Soccer Team

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/08/05 Loyalist Crowd Attacks Junior Soccer Team
SL 05/08/05 'Bolton Wanderers' Hit Hard Time
SL 05/08/05 For 2 OO Members, Was It A A Sash Too Far?
UT 05/08/05 Hain Hopes For Early Ulster Talks
IO 05/08/05 Dermot Ahern To Meet Hain
IO 05/08/05 Bertie Ahern Praises Work Of Embattled Trimble
UT 05/08/05 Uncertainty Surrounds NI Politics
GU 05/08/05 No Peace In A Prize
TE 05/08/05 Fear And Loathing In Ulster … Again
SL 05/08/05 Kilclooney And Burnside Favourites To Step Up
SL 05/08/05 Eur To Be Named MEP Allister Tells McCartney Six
SL 05/08/05 Provos Free Reign In Bulgarian Bolt-Hole
SL 05/08/05 Ex-Army Sniper's 'Suicide Probe'
BB 05/08/05 Service Held To Honour War Dead
SL 05/08/05 Help!... The IRA
SL 05/08/05 Book That Brings Us Van's Hit And Myths
IO 05/08/05 Japanese Royals Arrive In Ireland


Loyalist Crowd Attacks Junior Soccer Team

A junior soccer team have decided to pull out of their football
league after what police said was a sectarian attack on their
minibus in County Antrim.

Members of the team from Carnlough were leaving after a
match with Ballykeel, in Ballymena, on Saturday when their
minibus was stoned by up to 30 people.

A window on the bus was broken and four of the boys were
treated for cuts and bruises.

Martin McKinley, who was driving the bus, said the children
were shocked.

"They were screaming, 'Drive off, drive off, quickly!' and I
couldn't get on to the main road because there were cars

"I am sure a lot of passing cars saw what happened. I saw by
their faces they were shocked too. But, thankfully, nobody was
seriously hurt."

He said the club had decided to pull out of the league because
of the attack.

Ballymena district police commander, Superintendent Terry
Shevlin, said that it was not the first time such incidents have

"It would appear that the aggressors were a group of some 30
loyalists who surrounded an under-16 team from Carnlough as
they were about to leave the venue at Ballykeel in their
minibus," he said.


"I utterly condemn and deplore this type of sectarian
aggression, which seems to be focussing on junior soccer
where teams are being targeted by the perceived religious
affiliation of their young players."

Mr Shevlin said on 11 April, republican youths attacked what
they perceived to be a Protestant team who were playing a
match in the Dunfane area of the town.

"This is a most disturbing trend and if it is not stamped out it
will have serious consequences for the future of the sport in the
area and for overall community relations," he said.

"I would appeal for those with influence in the communities in
Ballymena to exercise a positive influence and to provide any
information about this incident to local police."

The committee of Ballykeel football club said they would be
holding a meeting on Monday to discuss what had happened.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/08 09:36:23 GMT


'Bolton Wanderers' Hit Hard Time

By Stephen Breen
08 May 2005

EXILED members of Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair's old gang have
fallen out in a row over cash, it has emerged.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life that 'Sham' Millar and
Donald Hodgen clashed last week, over a car-wash business in

It is understood trouble between the pair flared after Millar, who
was accused of attacking old-pal Adair last month, refused to
allow Hodgen to run one of his businesses.

Hodgen, who fled the province after the killing of UDA boss
John 'Grug' Gregg, has been working in a scrapyard during his
time in Bolton.

But sources claim that the Shankill man is furious that Millar
has been raking in the cash from his car-wash businesses.

It is understood Hodgen approached Millar for a role in the
business, but he was knocked back.

It is believed Millar invited another member of Adair's old gang,
who is the chief suspect in Gregg's murder, to run one car-

There are now fears that violence could erupt between the
pair's rival gangs.

Ever since the Shankill loyalists fled Ulster, they have been
involved in a serious of bitter rows over cash.

Most of the exiles have also refused to have any contact with
Adair and they now appear to be going their separate ways.

Said a senior security source: "They were very close in the
Shankill and when they first arrived in Bolton, but things

"It will be interesting to see what happens between the 'Bolton
Wanderers' over the coming weeks, because all they seem to
be doing at the minute is argue and fight."

Meanwhile, the partner of one of exiles has been jailed for
planting a hoax bomb outside her home.

Mum-of-four, Catherine Kidd (39) was sent to prison for nine
months at Bolton Court last week, after pleading guilty to
placing the hoax device outside her Halliwell home and wasting
police time.

She had hoped the hoax device would convince Bolton police
that yobs were targeting her family, and she deserved to be re-
homed by the local council.


For Two Members Of One Loyal District, Was It A Case Of... A Sash
Too Far?

By Joe Oliver
08 May 2005

TWO senior members of the Orange Order in Belfast have been
summoned by a court for "playing inappropriate music" on the
Twelfth - THE SASH!

The charges have been brought against Raymond Spiers,
district master of Ballymacarrett No 6 District, in east Belfast,
and it's secretary, Harry Whiteside.

Last night the order vowed to "vigorously contest" the case.

And, Tom Hare, deputy County Grand Master for Belfast, told
Sunday Life: "There is a great deal of anger about this.

"We believe this action to be vindictive, and unfair, against two
people, whose names may simply have appeared on the
notification of a public procession."

Both men have further been charged with allowing a parade to
make an "undue stoppage" in Middlepath Street, and also
failing to obey the instructions of a police officer.

The charges were brought under the Northern Ireland
Processions Bill (1998), and allege breaches of a Parades
Commission determination.

They relate to the return of the Ballymacarrett district from the
'Field' to east Belfast, last July 12.

The Twelfth processions had passed off peacefully - until
violence flared at Ardoyne, in the north of the city, as
Orangemen made their way back from the main demonstration.

A spokesman for the order said: "A lot of feeder parades were
delayed out of concern for their brethren's safe passage at

"But, there was absolutely no trouble in east Belfast - yet it has
been decided to pursue this prosecution."

He added: "We believe it to be pernicious and will vigorously
contest these charges in court.

"We would take great issue to the allegation that The Sash is
inappropriate or sectarian.

"It is listed among the archives of folk tunes in the national
museum, in Dublin."

The case has been listed for hearing, next month.

And, it could have consequences for many parades during the
forthcoming marching season.


Hain Hopes For Early Ulster Talks

New Ulster Secretary Peter Hain was in contact with Northern
Ireland politicians today ahead of his arrival in Belfast

By:Press Association

Telephone conversations with Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams followed talks with DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley.

With the General Election out of the way, he takes over the
reigns at Stormont with a brief from British Prime Minister Tony
Blair to inject fresh emphasis into the search for a political
settlement which would see the restoration of devolved

He wants to get full blown talks with the parties going as soon
as possible - convinced, as he said, that with effort and
goodwill on all sides it is possible to "crack this problem".

But it is unlikely to be straightforward - it never is in Northern
Ireland politics. Goodwill between the parties is a rare
commodity much of the time.

The increased mandate for the Rev Ian Paisley and his hardline
Democratic Unionist Party and its rout of the Ulster Unionists
prompting the resignation of David Trimble, change the political

The DUP is determined not to make the mistakes of the UUP
and take anything on trust from republicans.

They are insisting there is no place in government for
"terrorists, paramilitaries or criminals" and that IRA guns must
have been verifiably destroyed and its activities confirmed to
have been halted for good before Sinn Fein can sit down with
them and share power.

Reports from Dublin that the IRA is still training and recruiting -
despite Gerry Adams` pre-election call for them to commit
totally to democratic and peaceful activity - will not make Mr
Hain`s job any easier.

The claims are said to be contained in the fifth report of the
Independent Monitoring Commission, which was set up by the
British and Irish governments to monitor paramilitary activity.

This latest report was presented to the two governments ten
days ago, but will not be published until later in the month.

The Northern Ireland Office refused to be drawn on the content
of the report today, but confirmed it had been received and
would be published in due course.

A spokeswoman said: "We are required by law to lay it before
Parliament, but it was not possible to do so because Parliament
had risen for the election campaign.

"It will be published as soon as practicable, after the Queen`s
Speech on May 17."

However if the content is as suggested from Dublin it will make
the prospects of an agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein
even more unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Mr Hain will also not be aided by the disarray in which the
Ulster Unionist Party finds itself after its trouncing at the polls.

The ensuring search for a new leader following the inevitable
resignation of leader David Trimble will make it difficult for
them to focus fully on the political process in the immediate


Ahern To Meet Hain

08/05/2005 - 13:04:00

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern and new Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain today agreed to meet “as quickly
as possible” to begin advancing the peace process in the wake
of Friday’s British general election results.

In a personal telephone call to Mr Hain this morning, Mr Ahern
congratulated him on his appointment and expressed the wish
to hold an early meeting about restoring the suspended power-
sharing institutions.

“Mr Ahern and Mr Hain agreed to meet as quickly as possible to
set out a clear agenda for progress out of the current
stalemate,” the Foreign Minister’s spokesman said today.

“They spoke about the need to secure a way forward that is
based on exclusively peaceful and democratic means and on a
real commitment by all parties to partnership politics,” he

Mr Ahern and Mr Hain could meet as early as next week with the
British and Irish Governments expected to engage with political
parties soon after.

Mr Ahern today also contacted outgoing Northern Secretary
Paul Murphy and praised him for his contribution and
dedication to his job and wished him well in the future.

Mr Murphy was appointed chairman of the Parliamentary
Intelligence and Security Committee in the post-election

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said after Friday’s election results that
it was now time to resolve the crisis of trust and confidence in
the peace process and to begin fully implementing the Good
Friday Agreement.

“Both Governments will continue to work in close partnership
to bring all outstanding issues to successful finality,” he said.


Bertie Ahern Praises Work Of Embattled Trimble

08/05/2005 - 11:27:59

The former Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble will be
remembered as a man of courage who took risks for peace,
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said today.

He said the 60-year old politician, who resigned as leader of his
party yesterday, was a tenacious defender of the interests of
the Unionist people of Northern Ireland.

“The historic achievement of the Good Friday Agreement would
not have been possible without him. He is owed an enormous
debt of gratitude by everyone who shares a vision of this island
reconciled and at peace,” he said.

Mr Trimble twice persuaded his party to go into Assembly
government with Sinn Féin on the understanding that weapons
decommissioning would follow – and then pulled out when only
limited amounts of weapons were put beyond use.

His contribution to the negotiation of the Good Friday
Agreement was rewarded in 1998 when he shared the Nobel
Peace Prize with the then SDLP leader John Hume.

Mr Ahern said he had valued his relationship with Mr Trimble
and greatly regretted his departure.

“History will remember him as a man of courage who took risks
for peace and who played a decisive role at a critical time in the
history of Ireland.”

He added that Mr Trimble had left an enormous and valuable

Mr Trimble resigned as party leader after the loss of his own
House of Commons seat to Democratic Unionist Party
candidate David Simpson and his party’s disastrous election

When he became the surprise choice to lead the party in 1995
the UUP was riding high with 11 MPs to the DUP’s two.

Following Thursday’s General Election the UUP now hold just
one seat – Lady Sylvia Hermon in North Down – and the DUP
hold nine.


Uncertainty Surrounds NI Politics

David Trimble's departure as Ulster Unionist leader had been a
long time coming.

By:Press Association

However that didn`t make it any less shocking.

In their centenary year, Ulster Unionists went into the election
believing they were born to rule.

On Friday, they watched the party succumb to a tidal wave of
support for the Reverend Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists.

As the UUP saw its House of Commons representation shrink
from five MPs to one, an Assembly member claimed seats were
being swept aside in an electoral Tsunami.

In his ten years at the helm of the Ulster Unionist Party, David
Trimble steered unionism into territory which changed Northern
Ireland politics forever.

Many colleagues who supported him as a traditional unionist in
the 1995 leadership contest might just about been able to
accept that two years later he would take them into negotiations
with Sinn Fein.

But some would have found it hard to believe that three years
later, he would strike an accommodation with Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams and bitterly split his own party.

They would also have been astonished if you had told them that
four years later David Trimble would lead the UUP into a power
sharing government which would feature Martin McGuinness as
Education Minister.

The UUP would move three times into stop start devolved
government with Sinn Fein, the DUP and nationalist SDLP.

Its initial move came without any reciprocal move from the IRA
to destroy their weapons.

But to his credit, the former Northern Ireland First Minister quite
literally stuck to his guns, incising on decommissioning and
eventually securing it.

He also brought the DUP to the point where last December, as
the leading voice in unionism, it stood on the brink of a deal
which could have seen it head up a new power sharing
government with Sinn Fein.

The DUP did not compromise, however, when the IRA refused
to allow photographic evidence of the completion of its
decommissioning programme and the deal floundered.

Those achievements counted for little in unionism as David
Trimble was accused of delivering the destruction of the Royal
Ulster Constabulary, the early release of IRA and loyalist
prisoners and stronger ties with the Irish Republic.

With each gamble came a leaching of support away to the DUP,
to the point where in the November 2003 Assembly Election it
officially became Northern Ireland`s largest party and the main
voice in unionism.

Thursday`s election merely confirmed, as DUP deputy leader
Peter Robinson called it, the new political order and the
mammoth task facing David Trimble`s successor.

As the party deliberates on who should take over, it must
decide if its future lies in lurching further to the right where it
could either forge an alliance with the DUP or try to "out-
unionist" it.

The UUP could alternately move left in a bid to reinvigorate the
middle ground and attract so-called "garden centre unionists,"
middle class people who voted for the Good Friday Agreement
in 1998 but stayed away from the polls in subsequent elections
because of disillusionment with tribal politics.

That would require a remarkable gear shift in a party which has
always been conservative and which has always felt
uncomfortable with any move towards the centre ground.

The DUP, meanwhile, can draw great satisfaction from its
commanding performance in the General Election.

Many believe its dominant position in unionism will be
reinforced by sweeping gains in Northern Ireland`s local
government elections when the ballots are counted tomorrow
and Tuesday.

With nine MPs, the party is clearly the voice of mainstream
unionism an astonishing achievement when you consider some
opponents were writing the DUP off after the Good Friday

The DUP has managed this through sound organisation and
shrewd public relations presenting itself as the true champion
of traditional unionist values.

But as he came to terms with his defeat in Upper Bann at the
hands of David Simpson, David Trimble reminded the DUP:
"With power comes responsibility."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will want to complete the
jigsaw of permanent peace and political stability in Northern
Ireland before he leaves Downing Street and DUP leaders can
expect to face pressure from London to strike a deal with

The party will in turn use its new electoral clout to withstand
that pressure.

DUP strategists will cite their mandate in a bid to force the new
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to either press ahead with
devolved government without Sinn Fein or produce a modified
form of direct rule which would see the Assembly or local
government scrutinise the work of NIO ministers.

The Prime Minister and Mr Hain know that even if the IRA
swiftly moves to endorse Gerry Adams` call for an end to armed
struggle, the DUP will insist on real action and not words form
the Provisionals.

The party will demand a long decontamination period to test
Sinn Fein`s bona fides before they will share power with them.

That means certainty that IRA involvement in robberies like
December`s £26.5 million Northern Bank heist, the black
market, money laundering and murders like the brutal killing of
Belfast father of two Robert McCartney are a thing of the past.

Sinn Fein was content on Friday that its role as the lead voice in
nationalism in Northern Ireland was cemented in the General

However the party was bitterly disappointed to have failed to
capture the SDLP`s seat in Foyle which some republicans were
privately claiming was in the bag six days before polling day.

With the party looking to make further electoral strides in the
Irish Republic, its leadership will continue to face demands to
wind down the IRA if they are to be viable partners in
government in either Belfast or Dublin.

Defeat for nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan in Foyle would
have been catastrophic for his party, hastening its demise.

However he turned in a stunning victory, comfortably seeing off
senior Sinn Fein negotiator Mitchel McLaughlin by a margin of
5,957 votes.

The SDLP`s strategy of concentrating its resources on key
battlegrounds paid dividends in South Belfast where its deputy
leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell capitalised on a split unionist
vote to become the constituency`s first nationalist MP.

In South Down, veteran Eddie McGrady also comfortably saw
off the Sinn Fein challenge from one of its rising stars,
Caitriona Ruane.

SDLP members looking for inspiration will look to Foyle, in
particular, which showed that with hard work, bodies on the
ground and an enthusiastic young campaign team, the SDLP
could fend off a vigorous Sinn Fein challenge.

Many in the party will believe Foyle, with its emphasis on new
blood, could serve as a template to protect SDLP strongholds
and peg back the republican lead in other constituencies.

However if Gerry Adams does deliver a radically different IRA,
that would present huge challenges for Mark Durkan as Sinn
Fein renews its effort to destroy the SDLP.

A genuine IRA move to exclusively peaceful and democratic
means would also arguably present the greatest challenge to
unionism since the Provisionals` first ceasefire in 1994.

It would also be a fascinating postscript to the Trimble years.


No Peace In A Prize

Those who work hardest for the future are punished by their

Henry McDonald
Sunday May 8, 2005
The Observer

In unresolved conflict, ones such as the Middle East and
Northern Ireland, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize has become
the political equivalent of the kiss of death. Nobel laureates
Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, John Hume and
David Trimble - where are they now? The first two are dead (one
passing away in the temporary exile of a Parisian hospital, the
other shot down by a fanatic's bullets). Two others, Peres and
Trimble, have been cast into the wilderness. The third, Hume,
weakened by illness and years of stress, has limped off the
public stage, his party a shadow of its former self.

The projects that earned these men the accolade of
peacemaking/world statesmen have for some time been
reduced to tatters. The Oslo Peace Accord was in trouble from
the moment it was signed. Islamist suicide bombers in Israel
proper and the whipping up of a hysterical hate campaign by
the Israeli right against Rabin and his government shook the '93
agreement to its core.

The Good Friday Agreement suffered a more drawn-out death.
Stop/go powersharing government in Belfast, continued IRA
activities both at home and abroad, the reluctance of half of
Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party to share power at all and the
endurance of sectarian division was played out over seven
frustrating years.

The symmetry between the fate of the Middle Eastern Nobel
laureates and their Irish counterparts continues looking at
those who have displaced them. On the Israeli side, the former
general and commander of the IDF at time of the Sabra and
Chatila massacres in Lebanon, Ariel Sharon, is Prime Minister.
In Northern Ireland, the man who used to resemble Sharon's
towering physical presence (until the former's illness) is the
First Minister in-waiting. After Friday, Paisley leads the largest
party in Northern Ireland. The DUP has nine seats at
Westminster and commands 33.7 per cent of the vote.

Paisley and Sharon were supposed to have become relics of
the past following the two peace accords of the 1990s. I can still
remember vividly unionism's 'Big Man' retreating into the night
on the eve the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was signed, locked
outside the negotiations at Stormont, being berated by a group
of loyalist ex-prisoners who claimed that he was 'yesterday's
man'. Sharon, too, appeared to be in political purdah following
the devastating criticism of his leadership in the report into the
Sabra and Chatila atrocities.

Yet in 2005, both men are the leaders of their peoples while
those they opposed for making peace with the 'enemy' are out
of power and, in Trimble's case, soon to be out of a job. What
the trajectory of the Paisley and Sharon careers go to prove is
something Mikhail Gorbachev knows all about. No matter how
popular you are abroad, it's the domestic constituency that
counts the most. While Gorbachev was feted all over the planet
as the man who ended the Cold War and helped breach the
Berlin Wall, in the disintegrating Soviet Union he was held
responsible for economic stagnation, poverty, rising ethnic
nationalism and continued state oppression. Gorbachev, too,
was a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

On 10 December 1998, the day Trimble and Hume were given
their Nobel awards, there were no celebrations in the heart of
the former's Upper Bann constituency. In fact, in the place
where Trimble had won the Ulster Unionist leadership three
years earlier, the church at Drumcree where the Orange Order
fought running battles with the security forces in order to defy a
ban on them marching along a Catholic road, there was outright
hostility. Back then, those bitter denunciations dripped from the
lips of hard-line loyalists; seven years later, it is no longer just
the Orange ultras who have turned on Trimble - even middle-
class unionists have deserted him.

Perhaps the mistake in all of this has been the committee that
decides as to who gets the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe they
should have listened to the comments of Chou En-lai, the
Chinese communist leader who, when asked what he thought of
the impact of the 1789 French Revolution, replied: 'It's too early
to tell.' In the end, it was 'too early to tell' if Trimble and Hume's
project would succeed, especially since their agreement was
barely a few months old when they were summoned to Oslo
and awarded the title of world peacemakers.

Both men put both themselves and their parties at risk in the
interests of peace. Now the Ulster Unionist Party is virtually
eliminated and Trimble will be ousted as leader. The SDLP has
survived to fight another day but is still positioned far behind
Sinn Fein and unlikely ever to overtake the republican
movement. Of course, Trimble and Hume deserve praise for
their endeavours, but whoever takes up the leadership of the
moderate centres of nationalism and unionism should
concentrate their work at home and shy away from international
awards for peace and statesmanship.

· Henry McDonald is author of Trimble, published by
Bloomsbury, £8.99.


Fear And Loathing In Ulster … Again

By Jenny McCartney
(Filed: 08/05/2005)

Visceral loathing and raw glee - lively elements in most
Northern Ireland election counts - were present in unusually
high quantities in Upper Bann on Friday, when David Trimble,
the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, lost his seat to the
Democratic Unionist candidate, David Simpson.

For the jubilant DUP party faithful, the destruction of Mr
Trimble's House of Commons career was the crowning glory of
a day that included the ruination of UUP hopes at a series of
election counts. Yesterday, the bruised former leader
announced that he had met the UUP party president and
chairman privately and tendered his resignation. His successor,
however, will inherit a shattered party: as seat after UUP seat
fell on Friday, only one Ulster Unionist MP was left standing -
the elaborately coiffured Lady Sylvia Hermon, heavily
supported by Alliance voters, in the largely middle-class
constituency of North Down.

Earlier in the day, at his own count in North Antrim, the Rev Ian
Paisley had supplied a full-throated, warbling hymn of
thanksgiving to the Lord for his whopping majority. When the
result from Upper Bann came in later on, Dr Paisley was moved
to song once again.

The election results have bemused and dismayed many
commentators outside Northern Ireland, who cannot
understand why the unionist electorate has swung so
decisively behind a party that has long been seen as religiously
bigoted and politically extreme. But in the past 10 years -
largely unremarked by the wider world - two things have
changed radically in Northern Ireland: the first is the trust which
unionist voters are prepared to place in the UUP, and the
second is the nature of the DUP.

The Ulster Unionist Party, founded in 1921, was for decades the
great, stolid behemoth of Ulster politics: unchallenged and
largely uncommunicative. Protestants voted for the UUP - and
its rather patrician brand of "Big House" Unionism - as
routinely as they trimmed the lawn. When Ian Paisley first
emerged in the late 1960s, as a young street demagogue with a
fire-and-brimstone brand of tub-thumping sectarian rhetoric, he
was dismissed by the majority of unionists as a worrisome
extremist. In the decades that followed, the DUP's vote crept
up, but it remained a minority Unionist party.

After the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries declared a ceasefire in
1994, David Trimble was elected UUP leader in 1995. He was
seen as a unionist who could present a united front with the
DUP in negotiations. The opposite proved the case. In 1997, the
DUP and UK Unionists left the talks, arguing that the blueprint
could only prove injurious to Unionism, but the UUP and the
parties representing the Loyalist paramilitaries stayed in. When
the result of those talks, the 1998 Belfast Agreement, was
overwhelmingly endorsed by the Northern Irish electorate in a
referendum, victorious pro-Agreement Ulster Unionists and
loyalist paramilitaries barracked a wan, anti-Agreement Paisley
at the referendum count with jeers of "Dinosaur!"

Seven years on, those positions have been reversed.
Disillusioned Unionist voters feel that they have received little
in return for the painful concessions that they made in the
Agreement - including the release of all paramilitary prisoners
and the disbandment of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. They
had believed they were voting for a power-sharing, devolved
government and the definitive end of the IRA. Instead, they
ended up with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as Minister of
Education, albeit rather briefly, and a fully quipped IRA that is
still heavily involved in robbery, smuggling, intimidation and
the occasional murder. They felt cheated, and reflected upon
who it was that had so vigorously assured them that the Belfast
Agreement deal was water-tight: Tony Blair and David Trimble.

While Mr Trimble was feted in London political circles - and
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - he was increasingly mistrusted
by unionists at home. He failed to communicate adequately with
an increasingly nervous unionist electorate, relying instead on
the traditional, unquestioning bulk of the UUP vote. The UUP
slogan for this election exemplified the attitude that votes
belonged to it by right: it was: "Decent People… Vote Ulster

While Mr Trimble's admirers in London seemingly considered it
a mark of his superior integrity that he was serially let down by
Tony Blair and Sinn Fein, many unionists in Northern Ireland,
who lived with the practical consequences of that
disappointment, had come to regard it as the mark of a dupe.

Yet, while the DUP is now the voice of majority Unionism in
Northern Ireland, it is also a party in the throes of change. It has
long possessed two wings: the Protestant fundamentalists,
epitomised by Dr Paisley; and more secular politicians, such as
Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds. The influx of able, disaffected
politicians from the UUP into the DUP - attracted by a harder,
sharper style of politics - seems likely to boost the secular
element further, although the rafter-raising religious
fundamentalism will no doubt make theatrical guest
appearances, along with Dr Paisley, on DUP high days and

Across the political chasm, the DUP faces an equally vigorous
and confident Sinn Fein, a party buoyed by an increased vote
and an additional Westminster seat. Each hungers to wrong-
foot the other, although they have different styles of doing so.
Gerry Adams makes a point of speaking - through the media - in
a superficially conciliatory, heavily patronising style to the DUP,
in the sure knowledge that it will infuriate them. Ian Paisley, on
the other hand, prefers a direct, booming vilification of Sinn
Fein, which reassures his supporters.

Both, however, are now caught in a stagnating trap created by
the paradoxes of the peace process. The DUP has tasted office
and likes it: it is demanding from Blair its rightful seats in the
House of Lords, and yearns to work the levers of power in a
devolved government. But its electoral support also depends
on a staunch refusal to sit in cabinet with Sinn Fein while the
IRA remains armed and active.

The British government, however, has long defined the political
inclusion of Sinn Fein - at almost any cost - as the entire point
of the "peace process". For Mr Blair, David Trimble, who might
be considered one of his chief victims by association in this
election, was ultimately dispensable, but Mr Adams is not. The
steep price of that policy is now a vituperative stalemate, the
discomfort of which might eventually force even a reluctant
British government to begin its long postponed hunt for Plan B.


Kilclooney And Burnside Favourites To Step Up

08 May 2005

VETERAN former Strangford MP Lord Kilclooney and hardliner
David Burnside are the favourites take over the helm of the
floundering Ulster Unionist Party.

The party is facing the biggest crisis in it's 100 year existence
following the devastating loss of four of the five Westminster
seats it held.

Many party activists believe Lord Kilclooney, John Taylor, is the
only man capable of steering the UUP through the crisis.

And the party is bracing itself for more bad news tomorrow and
Tuesday. Senior figures are forecasting the loss of around 15
council seats to the DUP.

Lord Kilclooney, who lost out to Mr Trimble in the leadership
battle in 1995, is seen as someone with a firm grasp of policy
and direction.

And supporters say he would be a safe pair of hands while the
search for a long-term leader continued.

Had hardliner David Burnside retained his South Antrim seat,
he would have been the obvious choice to re-ignited the
dispirited party. He still has his supporters.

But many inside the UUP fear its 100 year-old base has been
fractured beyond repair and will never overcome the greatly
strengthened DUP machine.

One party officer said: "Burnside could take it, but would he
want it while Kilclooney is indicating that if asked he would step

Although defeated in east Belfast, Sir Reg Empey is viewed by
many as having the ability to unite both factions of the party.

But one senior UUP man said: "Reg Empey is a possibility, but
he will always be in Robinson's shadow in East Belfast and is
probably too closely identified with the Agreement and Trimble

Another name being mentioned is MEP Jim Nicholson.

But his public image has damaged by the break-up of his
marriage following his much publicised affair with a younger

There seems little support at this stage for Lady Sylvia Hermon,
now the party's sole representative at Westminster.

Although it would certainly be seen as a progressive step to
appoint a woman, many believe the popular North Down MP
would be no match on centre-stage against skilled political
operators like Ian Paisley, Gerry Adams and Peter Robinson.

"There will be no quick decision and it could be that someone
is appointed to take over the reins until a leadership contest
can take place," said one source.


Eur To Be Named MEP Allister Tells McCartney Six

By Alan Murray
08 May 2005

SIX IRA and Sinn Fein members - identified by police as being
present when Robert McCartney was bludgeoned to death
outside a Belfast pub - may be named in the European
Parliament tomorrow.

DUP MEP Jim Allister confirmed last night that he has been
allocated two minutes to speak on a resolution concerning the
33-year-old Belfastman's murder in January, and the
parliament's possible funding of a civil legal action against his

The names of the six men - four of whom have known IRA links
- have become widely known within republican and police

It is reliably understood that Mr Allister is aware of their
identities and the individual roles they allegedly played in the

Three of the six are also believed to be members of Sinn Fein,
with one, until recently, holding a prominent position within the

Three of the IRA men have been expelled from the terrorist
organisation, according to republican sources, but it is not
clear if a fourth man, who has a conviction for a terrorist
offence, remains a 'volunteer' or is now only a member of Sinn

Mr Allister received messages through "channels" last week,
cautioning him about naming the men.

It has been suggested that naming them publicly could damage
the prospects of a criminal legal action.

But DUP sources close to Jim Allister say that, as a lawyer, he
is well-aware of the potential legal implications, but would
expect that a case brought against six defendants - four of
whom at least were known to be members of the IRA - would be
unlikely to be heard by a jury.

Mr Allister said yesterday: "On Monday evening, it is my
intention to explore the circumstances of the murder of Robert
McCartney, which may involve references to persons
connected with both Sinn Fein and the IRA."


Provos Free Reign In Bulgarian Bolt-Hole

Ulster MEP lashes lax procedures from EU entry hopeful

By Alan Murray
08 May 2005

IRA agents in Bulgaria - where the Provos are believed to have
bought property and hidden cash - can't be prosecuted for
money-laundering, the European Commission has confirmed.

The former communist state, which is scheduled to join the EU
in 2007, has no stand-alone money-laundering legislation - and
no one has ever been prosecuted for the offence, Euro MP Jim
Allister has been told.

The DUP MEP had tabled a question in the European
Parliament, after reports that the IRA was planning to use
proceeds from racketeering, and the Northern Bank heist, to
buy a bank in the country.

In response, an EC official confirmed that, in Bulgaria, there
was no practice of prosecuting people for money-laundering.

Only when another criminal offence is proven can a
prosecution for money-laundering begin, the official added.

Mr Allister said: "This proves that Bulgaria is, indeed, a ready-
made haven for money-laundering operations.

"The commission has identified a major gap in Bulgaria's
criminal justice system, and the obvious attraction for gangster
organisations like the IRA.

"The absence of a proper system of anti-terrorism laws
confirms me in my decision to vote against Bulgarian
membership of the EU.

"It is an unhappy prospect that, come January, 2007, Bulgaria,
with its lax approach to terrorism, will be a full member of the
EU - with all the consequences for free movement of goods,
services and people."

The commission claims the Bulgarian government has made
"good progress" in the area of combating money-laundering.

However, it admits: "There is no judicial practice of prosecuting
the crime of money-laundering as a stand-alone criminal

"Only when the [main] offence is proven can a prosecution for
money-laundering start. Until today, no convictions for money-
laundering have been reported in Bulgaria.

"The commission will, therefore, continue to follow closely the
implementation of the adopted framework, in order to ensure
that cases of money-laundering, and terrorism-financing, are
effectively prosecuted and convictions eventually delivered by
Bulgarian courts."


Ex-Army Sniper's 'Suicide Probe'

Marksman on IRA hit-list 'holding photo of a Provo' when he
shot himself dead

By John McGurk
08 May 2005

THE apparent suicide of the Army's top sniper in Ulster during
the Seventies has taken a sensational turn - after photos of an
IRA man were allegedly found beside his body.

Scotland Yard confirmed to Sunday Life that a number of
photos were recovered from the vehicle in which ex-marksman
Mike Norman was found dead last month.

But a spokeswoman refused to confirm that the pictures were
of a Provo Mr Norman had killed during his undercover days in

The body of the 62-year-old was discovered at the wheel of a
hired BMW - on the same west London road as the local police
station - on April 17.

In an apparent suicide, he had sustained a gunshot wound to
the stomach from a 9mm pistol, which was found beside the

However, cops confirmed they are investigating the death of Mr
Norman - an anonymous witness at the Saville Inquiry into
Bloody Sunday - as potentially suspicious.

Detective Inspector Stephen Leonard, of Hounslow police, is
leading inquiries.

But Scotland Yard said the death had also been referred to an
officer of commanding rank, because of Mr Norman's past.

It is known that a police log on his death makes reference to
"underlying sensitive Government issues".

It is believed the possibility of foul play in Mr Norman's death -
involving vengeance-seeking republicans - is one line of

Army sources said Norman had claimed six 'kills' of IRA
members during his time in Ulster.

Ex-wife, Fiona McNab, said that he had been cleared by an
Army board of inquiry, after being accused of murdering a
civilian - who he believed to be an IRA operative - at a

Former Sandhurst Military Academy trainee Richard Fullerton
said: "Michael Norman told a group of cadets - and I was one of
them - that he believed he was on an IRA hit-list, because it was
known that he was an Army sniper."

The Scotland Yard spokeswoman told Sunday Life: "Photos
were recovered from the vehicle, but we are not prepared to
discuss anything further than that.

"However, they bear no relation to Bloody Sunday."


Service Held To Honour War Dead

A special service has taken place in Castlereagh to remember
the American servicemen who lost their lives during World War

The event, held at the former Lisnabreeny American Military
Cemetery, was part of the 60th anniversary of VE Day

The cemetery was used as a burial ground for 148 American
servicemen who died in the province during the war.

All the remains have since been reburied in England or the

A plaque was unveiled at the ceremony as a tribute to those
who died during the conflict.

American Consul General, Dean Pitman, who attended
Sunday's service said it was important to remember those "who
sacrificed so much."

"I really want to thank, on behalf of the United States, the
people of Northern Ireland and the people of Castlereagh here
for making this happen," he said.

"It underscores the very deep and strong connections the
United States and Northern Ireland have had over the years."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/08 12:29:07 GMT


Help!... The IRA

Beatle Lennon offered to play gigs in Ireland for the 'cause'

08 May 2005

IRA sympathising ex-Beatle John Lennon met with a senior
Belfast Provo at the height of the Troubles, a new book reveals.

And the pop star promised he would do concerts in Dublin and
Belfast. The revelation is contained in No Surrender, a new
biography of Ulster soft rock star Van Morrison.

Ex-IRA prisoner Gerry O'Hare tells author Johnny Rogan how
he met Lennon in New York after the former Beatle had carried
a pro-IRA placard at a rally in London. His claims tie in with
reports that British Intelligence kept tabs on Lennon.

"Lennon was taken very seriously," recalled O'Hare, a former
Belfast councillor.

"Paul McCartney had also written (about Ireland). These were
two powerful people to have on your side.

"We were up to speed with Lennon because he was very
interested (in the IRA).

"I met him through a contact whose name I do not wish to
divulge," added O'Hare, whose ex-wife Rita remains a senior
republican figure.

"Lennon gave me the impression that he was genuine. He said
he'd like to do the concert in Dublin, but he insisted on doing
one in Belfast, too.

"I got the impression he wanted to do an additional show for
the Protestant community."

But they never happened because Lennon was afraid US
immigration would refuse to let him back into America if he left
the country.

Lennon, who was murdered by deranged fan Mark Chapman in
1980, tried to reconcile his pacifist Give Peace A Chance views
with support for the IRA by saying: "If it's a choice between the
IRA and the British Army, I'm with the IRA. If it's a choice
between violence and non-violence, I'm with non-violence. So
it's a very delicate line."


Book That Brings Us Van's Hit And Myths

08 May 2005

ROCK journalist Johnny Rogan's new book about Van Morrison
contains many great stories about the famously grumpy star's

There are revealing yarns about his encounters with characters
like Spike Milligan and Shane McGowan, and tales of boozy
days in Crawfordsburn and Dublin.

Less convincing is Rogan's theory that moody Van's
personality has "taken on an Ulster-like intransigence", and that
the apolitical musician's life can be seen as an extended
metaphor of the 'no surrender' siege mentality of unionist

Local readers will be surprised to read Rogan's confused
assertion that the saying "whatever you say, say nothing" is
part of the Unionist Ulster lexicon, alongside the no surrender

And east Belfast residents will think the author is pushing it
when he claims Ian Paisley's former Beersbridge Road home
was at the "bottom" of Hyndford Street, where Morrison was
born, and "adjacent" to his first school, Elmgrove.

Paisley's former home was a good quarter-of-a-mile away on
the leafier end of the road, much closer to Cyprus Avenue,
where he moved in the 1970s.


Japanese Royals Arrive In Ireland

07/05/2005 - 19:56:49

The Emperor and Empress of Japan have arrived in Ireland for a
four day official visit.

The couple flew into Dublin Airport and then made their way to
Farmleigh House, where they received a courtesy call from
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

They are to meet President Mary Mc Aleese before they leave
on Tuesday. The Imperial couple are also expected to visit
Trinity College in Dublin and the famous monastic site at
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