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July 29, 2005

Adams Urges Loyalists To Follow IRA

News about Ireland & the Irish

UT 07/29/05 Adams Urges Loyalists To Follow IRA Pledge
IO 07/29/05 Adams Expresses Regret For Grief Caused
BB 07/29/05 Army Begins Dismantling Its Posts
BT 07/29/05 'Wait And See' Attitude In South Armagh
BT 07/29/05 Fugitives On The Run Can Return To Ulster
BT 07/29/05 Freed Kelly Likely To Stay Out Of Jail
BB 07/29/05 Next Steps In Dance Toward Devolution
BT 07/29/05 Sinn Fein Urged To Take Up Policing Body Roles
NJ 07/29/05 Billy Briggs: `This Was The Only Way Left'
BT 07/29/05 Not A Loud 'No' From Mr Paisley
BT 07/29/05 Mixed Views In Derry
BT 07/29/05 A Betrayal, Says RSF's O'Bradaigh
BT 07/29/05 Family's Appeal To The IRA
BT 07/29/05 Mitchell Says IRA Actions Must Match Words
DJ 07/29/05 Provos Must Deliver On Promises – Durkan
DJ 07/29/05 Opin: Momentous And Historic
BT 07/29/05 IRA Statement Tripped Up By Technology
BT 07/29/05 How CNN Brought The Message To States
BB 07/29/05 'Solidarity' Over Church Attacks
BT 07/29/05 Key Events Since IRA Ceasefire
BB 07/29/05 Analysis: Sinn Fein's Political Journey
LA 07/29/05 The Men Who Tamed The IRA
DJ 07/29/05 Derry Parade Flashpoint Protest Scrapped
BT 07/29/05 Flight Of The Earls Under Scrutiny


Adams Urges Loyalists To Follow IRA Pledge

Gerry Adams today urged loyalist paramilitaries to follow
the IRA and ditch their guns.

By:Press Association

The Sinn Fein president also challenged Democratic Unionist
leader the Rev Ian Paisley to face to face talks in a bid
to revive Northern Ireland`s power sharing administration.

Mr Adams claimed the IRA`s decision to abandon its armed
campaign created an unparalleled opportunity which must be
grasped by all sides involved in the political process.

Even though terror bosses within the main protestant
paramilitary organisations have pledged to retain their
weapons, the West Belfast MP insisted it was time to leave
violence behind.

He said: "I would like to think that as the import of the
IRA`s decision starts to play out, sensible people within
loyalism will follow the example.

"Sensible people within all those other armed groups will
take pause for thought on these matters."

Despite yesterday`s declaration by the Provisionals that it
will now follow a purely political and democratic process,
Mr Paisley and his senior party colleagues demanded action
rather than words.

A major new push by the British and Irish governments to
restore devolution in Northern Ireland could now depend on
the DUP and Sinn Fein agreeing to work together.

Although Mr Paisley has refused to enter any direct
negotiations with republicans, Mr Adams claimed Unionists
now faced a responsibility to work together.

"They need decisive leadership and that`s for Ian Paisley
and his colleagues to come to terms with," the Sinn Fein
leader said.

"I believe it`s now time for dialogue between us."


Adams Expresses Regret For Grief Caused During Troubles

29/07/2005 - 13:49:21

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has expressed regret for
the grief caused to the families of all those who died
during the Troubles in the North.

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast today, Mr Adams
also said brave people, including soldiers and police, had
fought on both sides of the conflict.

He made the comments in response to questions about why the
IRA's statement declaring an end to its armed struggle did
not include an apology.

Meanwhile, Mr Adams also seemed to rule the possibility of
the IRA men convicted of killing garda Jerry McCabe being
released in return for the war-is-over declaration.

Asked about the matter, he said the men had already
"courageously" removed themselves from the equation, but
they clearly qualified for early release under the Good
Friday Agreement.

The Sinn Féin president also said he believed it was only a
matter of time before the DUP agreed to share power with
his party as they had already conceded the principle during
talks leading to last December's aborted deal.


Army Begins Dismantling Its Posts

The Army has begun dismantling a number of security posts
and bases in south Armagh following the IRA's statement
saying it had ended its armed campaign.

A base at Forkhill will close, while a watchtower at
Sugarloaf Mountain and an observation post at
Newtownhamilton police station will also be removed.

The British and Irish governments are considering the next
steps to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

An updated programme of "security normalisation" will be
published soon.

Commenting on the posts' closure, the Army's general
officer commanding, Lieutenant General Sir Reddy Watt,
said: ''In light of yesterday's developments, the chief
constable and I have decided that a further reduction in
security profile is possible.''

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said a reduced
military presence was one of a series of measures to be put
in place.

He said that the ceasefire watchdog, the Independent
Monitoring Commission, will report on progress made in
October and again in January.

"In the meantime, we'll be taking forward a process of
political negotiation, engagement and normalisation of
policing and withdrawal of military support for the
police," he added.

Such measures were put on ice after the failure to achieve
a breakthrough leading to the restoration of devolution in

Sinn Fein has welcomed Friday's moves to dismantle watch-

"The start made today must be built upon in the days and
weeks ahead, not just in south Armagh but across the six
counties," Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams told a news conference in
Belfast on Friday that it was "now time for dialogue"
between his party and Ian Paisley's DUP.

"It's a matter of whether the DUP has the confidence to
enter into that dialogue - I think it's a matter of when,
not if (that happens).

"There's no reason why, from our point of view, that can't
start as quickly as possible and why we shouldn't be
talking about the next steps in the rebuilding of the
political institutions."

'Criminally irresponsible'

However, unionists have reacted angrily to the news of the
Army posts being dismantled.

The DUP's Arlene Foster said it was "criminally

"It's startling that when the IRA give a statement saying
they will stop what they should never have been doing, that
the government acts so soon," she said.

The UUP's Danny Kennedy said it was outrageous that the
government had "foolishly decided to act on IRA words

The DUP is also demanding that pictures are taken of IRA
weapons being destroyed as proof.

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he believed
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning was not

Mr Ahern told the BBC's Today programme on Friday it was
"significant" that "witnesses from both traditions will be

The British government also intends to introduce
legislation in the autumn to allow paramilitary fugitives
to return home.

In a statement released on Thursday, the IRA said it would
pursue exclusively peaceful means.

The IRA statement said: "All volunteers have been
instructed to assist the development of purely political
and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful

On Thursday, Prime Minister Tony Blair said the statement,
ending 30 years of violence, was a "step of unparalleled

Mr Hain said a return to devolved government at Stormont
would not happen soon.

But - eventually - he would like to see the leader of the
Democratic Unionists, the Reverend Ian Paisley, as the
first minister.

Republicans had been under intense pressure to end IRA
activity after the £26.5m Northern Bank raid in December
and the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney in January.

Political talks last year failed to restore devolution,
which stalled amid claims of IRA intelligence gathering at
Parliament Buildings, Stormont, in 2002.

The Provisional IRA's campaign of violence was aimed at
forcing an end to the British presence in Northern Ireland,
leading to a united Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/29 11:58:53 GMT


'Wait And See' Attitude In South Armagh

By Patsy McArdle
29 July 2005

"The soldiers are still walking our streets, they're
stopping traffic in the roads and they've these spy posts
on the hills ... it's now up to the Brits to call it a

That was the view yesterday evening of a woman in one of
the busiest stores in Crossmaglen, the south Armagh hot-bed
of the IRA campaign since 1969.

Patrons in the town's pubs were glued to television screens
and one regular mused: "It's funny, but this was the only
day we didn't have the police on the streets in a good

Republicans in south Armagh are known to have been among
those in the last echelon of the IRA campaign to support
the call by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to give
diplomacy a chance.

And there were real fears a fortnight ago of a serious
change of heart by some hardliners after an 8-man British
army patrol strayed across the border into the Republic -
at Rassan in Co Louth.

On that occasion, a number of locals gathered hastily and
engaged in a brief stone-throwing episode before the
troops, accompanied by two PSNI officers, moved quickly
back into Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, one prominent republican activist in
Crossmaglen, who asked not to be named, said: "We just hope
it will work ? but we will honour the republican code and
abide by everything in the IRA statement".

"The ball is now with the Brits; they will have to move out
and demolish these hilltop spy posts."

Locals have strongly objected over the years to three
observation posts, which still remain some two miles apart,
along the Louth and Monaghan border.

In Crossmaglen some residents said last night the focus by
the security will remain on the role of dissident

One said: "The Real IRA and Continuity IRA may be
insignificant at the moment but what happens next will
depend on how this settlement goes."


Fugitives On The Run Can Return To Ulster

By Chris Thornton
29 July 2005

The Government has confirmed that IRA fugitives it has
officially hunted for decades will be allowed back into
Northern Ireland under the deal around yesterday's IRA

Rita O'Hare, the Sinn Fein official who went to America
with Martin McGuinness for yesterday's announcement, is
among around three dozen IRA suspects known as "on the
runs" who will be allowed back across the border without
fear of arrest.

Secretary of State Peter Hain confirmed last night that in
the autumn he will push through a plan, first unveiled in
October 2003, to allow the return of fugitives like Ms
O'Hare. She jumped bail 0 years ago while awaiting trial
for the attempted murder of soldiers.

The plan was issued over unionist objections but the
Government said it would not be implemented until there was
a complete end to IRA activity.

Under the 2003 plans, fugitives will undergo a trial to
determine if their wanted status will be dropped. Even if
they are found guilty of any offences, they will not serve
a sentence.

Last October, Michael Rogan, one of the OTRs, was arrested
in Tenerife and extradited to Northern Ireland, where he
remains in custody. He skipped bail over an IRA attack on
Army headquarters in Lisburn in which a soldier was killed.


Freed Kelly Likely To Stay Out Of Jail

By Chris Thornton
29 July 2005

The evidence used to arrest Shankill bomber Sean Kelly last
month won't now be used against him, Secretary of State
Peter Hain has announced.

The move makes it virtually certain that Kelly's "temporary
release" by Mr Hain on Wednesday night will be open ended -
prompting the DUP to accuse the Government of putting
"political expediency" over allegations that Kelly was a

Last month Mr Hain ordered Kelly returned to jail because
he said he had been given evidence that the bomber had
returned to terrorist activity.

Kelly had been out of prison since 2000, after serving less
than seven years for the murder of nine people in the 1993
Shankill bomb. Another bomber also died in the blast.

On Wednesday, Mr Hain ordered Kelly's release in advance of
the IRA statement, but said the Sentence Review
Commissioners would have the final say on whether he is
freed or jailed.

But in the wake of the IRA statement last night, Mr Hain
said he has decided not to show the evidence that prompted
the arrest to the Commissioners.

He said the IRA statement "materially affected the evidence
that I would have submitted to the Sentence Review
Commissioners" and ended his conviction that Kelly would be
a danger to others.

"I have therefore concluded that I should not submit this
material to the SRC" .

DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, accused Mr Hain of "corrupting
the whole process of prisoner release".

He said Mr Hain owes the victims of the bombing an
explanation for his "quite bizarre" decision.

"He has made no attempt to contact the families of people
killed by Kelly," Mr Donaldson said. "That speaks volumes
about the Government's attitude to the victims of IRA

"Because the Government thinks there is a higher political
expediency, it is clear that Sean Kelly will now remain
free even though he murdered nine innocent people."

Mr Hain claimed his decision to arrest Kelly was sending a
tough message to other prisoners released on licence.

"The decision to revoke his licence was a tough decision.
And the decision to release him temporarily pending the
decision of the Review Commissioners was also a tough

"But it's my job as Secretary of State to take tough
decisions in the interest of Northern Ireland.

"And whatever unionist criticisms there have been, it sends
out the signal to everybody, republican or loyalist, who
might engage in illegal activity whilst out on licence they
should remember what happened to Sean Kelly."


Next Steps In Dance Toward Devolution

By Mark Devenport

BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Now the IRA has ordered its members to end the armed
campaign, what is the likely sequence of events as the
British and Irish governments try to revive devolution in
Northern Ireland?

The IRA's words are clearer than before, but over the next
few months it will be the IRA's deeds, or the lack of them,
that will count.

In the next few weeks we should see major acts of
disarmament to accompany the latest IRA statement.

These will be verified by the Canadian General John De
Chastelain's decommissioning commission.

Two church ministers, a Protestant and a Catholic, are also
being invited to act as witnesses.

But Ian Paisley is not getting the photographic evidence of
disarmament he demanded before Christmas.

So as far as the end of IRA paramilitary and criminal
activity is concerned, the Independent Monitoring
Commission should come into its own.

Set up last year, the commission is a four strong body made
up of nominees of the British, Irish and US governments. In
October they will provide an interim assessment of the
first few weeks of the IRA's new existence.

Then in January the government has asked for a special
report to provide a fuller view, six months on from the

This will be a crucial test of the commission's
independence - if the IRA's actions haven't matched its
words will the nominees have the strength to call matters
as they see them, whatever the political consequences?


Clearly the government hopes the IRA will have been
inactive and that the January report will kick start real
engagement between unionists and republicans.

During the autumn, the government will introduce
legislation to allow the return of paramilitary fugitives -
the so-called on the runs.

It will also move quickly to reduce security levels in
Northern Ireland - a peacetime Army garrison of 5,000 is
the aim.

Those developments are in the government's gift, but when
the Stormont assembly might get up and running - either in
real or shadow form - will depend on the attitude of
predictably sceptical unionists to this unilateral IRA

The Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, says he would
like to see Sinn Fein members taking places on Northern
Ireland's Policing Board as soon as possible.

But Gerry Adams has made it clear that this move - which
would see Irish republicans finally accepting the
legitimacy of the police - will depend on progress on
devolving policing and justice powers to local politicians.

That is a move which requires the unionists to play ball.

The DUP is likely to play hard to get.

In the short term, the release of the Shankill Road bomber,
Sean Kelly, and the absence of photographic proof of IRA
disarmament will be likely to increase Ian Paisley's

However, if the IRA remains inactive the pressure from
London and Dublin will grow, and given its dominant
position at Stormont there are temptations for the DUP to
consider a deal at some stage.

The DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, has said in the past
that his party would want to refresh its mandate so
assembly elections next year are a distinct possibility.

So the direction of likely developments seems clear.

But before anyone starts pencilling dates in their diary
they should remember that events on the ground have
derailed the process before and could do so again.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/29 07:40:19 GMT


Sinn Fein Urged To Take Up Policing Body Roles

By William Allen and Claire McNeilly
29 July 2005

Sinn Fein was today urged to take up positions on policing
partnerships in the North West as a matter of urgency
following yesterday's historic IRA statement.

As politicians and security forces continued to assess the
impact of the IRA's statement today, calls also grew for
the dismantling of the controversial security watchtower in

SDLP leader on Derry City Council, Pat Ramsey, today
welcomed the statement and called on republicans to help
safeguard communities by urging young nationalists to join
the PSNI.

And he also said the time was right for the security forces
to tear down the controversial Rosemount military landmark.

Calling for the Assembly to be reinstated, Mr Ramsey said
Sinn Fein had a duty to inspire faith in both governments.

Saying the Rosemount watchtower should be dismantled
immediately, he added that Sinn Fein should participate on
the Policing Board and play a full role in policing if
democracy were to be effective.

"The next move is for Sinn Fein to conform by attracting
change, supporting policing and making it more attractive
to young people," he went on.

Former hunger striker and current Foyle MLA, Raymond
McCartney, said Sinn Fein was ready to embrace policing
when certain conditions were met.

These included "the end of plastic bullets" and "the end of
interference in policing by MI5".

And he said republican homes in the city had been bugged in
the recent past.

Meanwhile, former SDLP leader, John Hume, said more work
was needed to ensure a democratic future, and that the
focus must be kept on loyalist groupings to ensure an end
to their activities.

He said: "The two Governments and unionist parties in
particular must work to ensure this.

"Violence is futile. It achieves nothing. It only deepens
the divisions of our people and makes it harder to resolve
our problems. Seven years after the Good Friday Agreement
it is about time that all violence ended so that all our
people can live free of fear."

The evidence used to arrest Shankill bomber Sean Kelly last
month won't now be used against him, Secretary of State,
Peter Hain, has announced.

The move makes it virtually certain that Kelly's "temporary
release" by Mr Hain on Wednesday night will be open ended -
prompting the DUP to accuse the Government of putting
"political expediency" over allegations that Kelly was a

Last month Mr Hain ordered Kelly returned to jail because
he said he had been given evidence that the bomber had
returned to terrorist activity.

Kelly had been out of prison since 2000, after serving less
than seven years for the murder of nine people in the 1993
Shankill bomb.


`This Was The Only Way Left'

Friday, July 29, 2005

Staff Writer

Local pub owner Billy Briggs, an ardent supporter of the
Irish Republican Army, yesterday welcomed the militant
group's historic decision to lay down arms and find a
peaceful end to its political and religious struggles with

Briggs, whose Tir Na Nog pub has been a gathering place for
IRA supporters over the years, was among the most vocal of
proponents of the violent struggle between the Catholics of
Northern Ireland, represented by Sinn Fein, and the
Protestants, represented by the Democratic Unionist Party.

Yesterday, as the paramilitary group announced it would
disarm and pursue its goals by purely political means,
Briggs agreed that the time for violence has passed.

"This was the only way left," said Briggs. "Clearly
politics is the answer, and it's the way of the future."

Briggs, who has long been vocal in his support of the IRA -
the walls of his Hamilton Avenue bar are covered with pro-
IRA posters, including one of a masked gunmen bearing the
slogan "The IRA Call The Shots" - said he had no doubt Sinn
Fein party leader Gerry Adams would follow through on his
word and achieve the goal of a united Ireland.

Adams visited the bar during his 2002 fund-raising tour of
the area before attending a dinner at Drumthwacket hosted
by former Gov. James E. McGreevey. During that visit, Adams
repeatedly touted the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement
between the two sides, saying enforcing the accord was

Briggs, a member of Irish Northern Aid, a group that
supports a united Ireland, said yesterday his only fear was
for Catholics who will now be defenseless and open to
attack by Protestant paramilitary groups without fear of
reprisals from the IRA.

"The government ought to be responsible enough to protect
the Catholics," he said.

While Briggs said yesterday's announcement was worth
celebrating, it was too early to "light the candles on the
cake," he said.

Local political leaders echoed Briggs optimism about the
announcement, saying the move was a bold step forward by
the outlawed IRA.

It's a particularly courageous commitment to peace at a
time when Irish Catholic communities still face violence
and intimidation," said Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore, who
was at the center of a controversy two years ago when he
refused to meet with a group of visiting English law
enforcement officers, hinting that Irish sympathies lay at
the heart of his rebuff.

Gilmore had just returned from a trip to Northern Ireland
and said he witnessed first-hand violence against Catholic
communities and the apathetic response by the police.

"There has not been a similar announcement from those who
have been responsible for violence toward the Catholic
communities and yet this bold step has been taken," he

Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, who has been a vocal
supporter of the peace process in Northern Ireland, said
yesterday he hoped the IRA's announcement was the final
word in the decades-long struggle.

"It is my greatest hope that today's statement from the IRA
is a true and final denunciation of violence and a long
overdue recognition that the only way forward in the North
of Ireland is through a peaceful and democratic approach to
action," he said.

Other prominent Irish-Americans applauded the IRA's
decision, but were cautious in their optimism. Historic
announcements have been made before, they said, but the raw
emotion surrounding the conflict and mutual distrust has
often gotten in the way.

The future of the conflict is in the hands of the
loyalists, many Irish supporters say, and it is now up to
officials there to take their own steps toward a peaceful

"This is a significant step on the part of the IRA to
finally do what some of the loyalists have been requesting
for some time - decommissioning of all weapons," said
Michael Glass, a Trenton resident who has traveled to
Ireland and met with members of Congress to report his

"That now requires (Democratic Unionist Party leader) Ian
Paisley to respond accordingly. There has never been an
attempt to decommission any of the arms that are stationed
on that side."

The distrust of British intentions was evident in most area
Irish supporters spoken to yesterday and all seemed
skeptical that the conflict might become a solely political
process. The IRA has extended its hand and it is up to the
unionists not to slap it down, they said.

"I'm skeptical the other side will give the IRA a chance,"
said Ancient Order of Hibernians President Vince McKelvey
of Hamilton. "The IRA made a statement, but I don't know if
Adams will get the cooperation to make this work. I wish
them all well." NOTE: Contact Darryl Isherwood at or at (609) 989-5708.


Not A Loud 'No' From Mr Paisley

29 July 2005

Political correspondent Chris Thornton looks at how
politicians greeted the IRA's historic statement and sees
in Rev Paisley's reaction just a hint of the long finger

DURING the long build-up to yesterday's IRA statement,
officials working on the political process conceded that
when it came to Ian Paisley's response, the best that they
could hope for was that the DUP leader wouldn't bellow it
into touch.

Nobody expected Mr Paisley to warmly welcome the words of P

He didn't disappoint in that regard. But - in spite of all
the anger around Shankill bomber Sean Kelly's release - he
didn't exactly issue a stark rejection either.

"The unionist community feels no obligation to cheer the
words of P O'Neill," he rumbled. "We will judge the IRA's
bona fides over the next months and years based on its
behaviour and activity."

Ian didn't say No - at least not a flat no - which gives
London and Dublin something to go on when they try to
convene talks in September.

But his reference to "months and years" being taken to
judge the IRA might give the governments pause for thought.
That doesn't sound like an old man in a hurry to conclude a

Not that the governments gave any impression of a pause in
their enthusiastic welcomes for the statement.

Tony Blair, in particular, had been expected to stick to
past form and do his utmost to sell the importance of the
IRA's gesture. He didn't disappoint: the statement, he
said, was a "step of unparalleled magnitude".

Bertie Ahern was a little less flamboyant in his language
but just as forceful with his point.

"The war is over, the IRA's armed campaign is over,
paramilitarism is over and I believe that we can look to
the future of peace and prosperity based on mutual trust
and reconciliation and a final end to violence," he said.

Of course, not everyone is a cheerleader in the two
governments, a point Gerry Adams had in mind when he warned
that "history will not be kind" to politicians who upset
the apple cart.

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell - who springs to
the top of the list of people Mr Adams might have had in
mind - said he "wholeheartedly" welcomed the end of
paramilitary violence.

But he wasn't about to join in any hype.

"The IRA is still an illegal organisation and it must go
out of existence or change so that it is no longer
illegal," he said. "Its continued existence cannot be
tolerated as long as it is an illegal organisation."

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey established what could be a theme
among unionist politicians over the coming weeks - the
IRA's lack of remorse.

"Since the IRA has killed thousands and injured thousands
more, it is inexcusable that the statement claims that its
'armed struggle was entirely legitimate' but fails to
express a single word of remorse," Sir Reg said.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan didn't weigh in with the heavy
rhetoric. He said simply that the statement was "clear,
clean and complete - but long overdue".


Mixed Views In Derry

By Clare Weir
29 July 2005

In Londonderry's Waterside, the majority unionist community
had mixed views on the IRA statement.

John Henderson, a 65-year-old security guard from the
staunchly loyalist Nelson Drive area, said he "couldn't
trust" the word of Gerry Adams.

"How could you trust anything these boys say? I just can't
trust them. They've said this sort of thing before and
they've gone back on it and they probably will again," he

"People round here are very angry that boy Sean Kelly was
let out too."

Chris Temple (21), from Kilfennan, expressed his worries on

"It's the guns I would worry about," said the IT worker.

"They say they are going to dump them, but where? They need
to be destroyed and people need to see it. We haven't had
much peace since their last statement."

Over on the west bank of the Foyle, in the troubled
Fountain interface area, there was a slightly more
optimistic view.

Grace Curry, whose daughter has been attacked by
nationalist youths and who was carrying a golf ball thrown
at her home, said she hoped that the statement would bring
an end to violence.

"As I live in an interface area, I would hope this would
calm things.

"If the IRA wants peace then we need to see it in
communities and Protestants need to be accepted as part of
the city."

Harking back to the times before the Troubles, pensioner
Kathleen McKane said she wanted a return to "the good old

"I used to live in Creggan and my children used to play
with the other children in the street - there was no
difference and no fighting," said the 78-year-old.

"I wish we could go back to that way of living."

Over on the cityside in the nationalist heartland of the
Bogside, everyone seemed to welcome the move, but some said
that more had to be done.

At Pilot's Row community centre, retired man John Dunne
said that unionists now needed to make a move.

"If unionists in Northern Ireland had engaged the civil
rights movement in the 60s then there wouldn't be any need
for this statement at all.

"It is welcome and it is genuine and now unionism needs to
accept the words of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern and other
reasonable people and embrace this statement."

At Rossville Street, near the scene of Bloody Sunday,
unemployed Joe Doherty, who lost family members during the
Troubles, said all he wanted was an end to violence.

"As long as nobody else dies," he said.

"If this stops the killing then that is all that is

Bogside woman Mary Brennan, who is in her 80s, agreed.

"I am glad to hear this. We have waited a long time for
this and it had to come. Violence just doesn't work."

And speaking from William Street, 23-year-old Finnoula
O'Kane, expecting her first child, said the statement boded
well for the future.

The shop assistant said: "It is a good thing. I don't know
the details but if what I've heard is true then it is good

"Our children deserve to grow up in peace."


A Betrayal, Says RSF's O'Bradaigh

By Chris Thornton
29 July 2005

The man who preceded Gerry Adams as president of Sinn Fein
has called on the Provisional IRA to disband in the wake of
yesterday's statement.

Leading dissident Ruairi O Bradaigh, who leads the
breakaway Republican Sinn Fein, described the IRA
announcement as a betrayal of republican principles.

"They are no longer republicans," said the dissident, who
denies reports that his party is linked to the Continuity

Mr O Bradaigh led Provisional Sinn Fein until 1983, when Mr
Adams took over. He left in 1986 when Sinn Fein decided to
take seats in the Dail.

"It has been clear for many years that the Provisionals
have abandoned the armed struggle against British
occupation forces. They will now destroy the remainder of
their arms, they say," he said.

"As an army alleged to be without arms, the Provisional IRA
should now disband completely."

Mr O Bradaigh said the Provisional movement is "slowly and
steadily absorbed into the English system in Ireland" and
predicts that the Provos would ultimately "don the enemy
uniform and join the British police force in Ireland".

"The Provisionals should discard the trappings of the
Republicanism they once served," he said.


Family's Appeal To The IRA

Admit your involvement in Derry death

By Clare Weir
29 July 2005

The family of a Londonderry man beaten and stabbed to death
by alleged IRA members have called on republicans to admit
their part in his death.

Mark 'Mousy' Robinson (22), was knifed 11 times and
bludgeoned with iron bars at the mouth of a tunnel just
yards from his home in the Galliagh area of the city in
April 2001.

The Robinson family have repeatedly claimed IRA members had
a hand in the killing and have issued a new statement
following the group's historic peace announcement

Mark Robinson's aunt Sheila Holden said that the IRA was
"hard to trust".

In a statement, the family said that the IRA has accepted,
admitted and apologised for carrying out attacks which have
led to the deaths of civilians in the past and should now
do likewise to them.

The statement issued last night said: "Today's statement by
the Irish Republican Army declaring an end to their
conflict has been welcomed widely within the general
community and we, the family of Mark Robinson, also welcome
the move by the IRA.

"To date the IRA have refused point blank to accept
responsibility for this crime carried out by their members
despite repeated public appeals by this family.

"The IRA has accepted, admitted and apologised for carrying
out attacks which have led to the deaths of civilians such
as the recent statement by the Derry Brigade referring to
the death of Kathleen Feeney to name one example. Why is
our family any different?"

"We now call on the IRA to finally come clean and release
to us the results of their internal investigation into the
murder of Mark Robinson which they held in 2001."

Sheila Holden said that the family are "certain" the IRA
was involved.

"The IRA have denied a lot of things in this town so how
are people to trust them?" she said.

"I hope what they say is true but this family will not be
able to trust them until they come out and say sorry for
what happened to Mark."

No one from Sinn Fein was available to comment on the
Robinson's claims.


Mitchell Says IRA Actions 'Must Match Their Words'

By Noel McAdam
29 July 2005

The man who chaired the talks which brokered the Good
Friday Agreement today said he believed the opportunity now
exists to bring about its full implementation.

Former American senator George Mitchell, whose involvement
in the province's peace process goes back to the so-called
Mitchell principles and who coined the phrase "exclusively
peaceful means", said it was important however that the
IRA's actions meet its words.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 he said: "It's quite clear that
both communities recognise that their self interest is
served by moving this process forward.

"Whatever one thinks about the conflict, it is over, it
ought to be over and the way forward is through the
democratic process."

Asked for his reaction to the IRA's ground-breaking
statement, senator Mitchell said: "It is very important to
take this as a positive step forward provided that the
subsequent actions match the words.

"But I think it is significant if that happens, because the
opportunity exists to restart the process, to resume self-
government and to move towards full implementation of the
Good Friday Agreement."

He said there were no reasons for there to be any long
delay in the process of decommissioning - but how well that
process goes would hold the key to a rapid resumption of
the peace process, possibly within months.

Senator Hillary Clinton hailed the announcement a "historic
forsaking of violence" that represented a call to all
parties to engage in the political process.

The New York senator, who visited the province a number of
times with her former President husband Bill, said: "Today,
all of the people of Ireland have won a victory. The Good
Friday Agreement envisioned that a day would come when all
paramilitary activity would cease.

"All paramilitary groups, be they nationalist or loyalist,
must cease to operate so that peaceful debate about
Northern Ireland's future in the world can begin."

She said the potential for further progress in Northern
Ireland remained strong and said the US would continue to
do all it could to support the peace process.


Provos Must Deliver On Promises - Durkan

Friday 29th July 2005

SDLP leader Mark Durkan welcomed the IRA statement as clear
and clean - but long overdue.

The Foyle MP: "We have stressed that the IRA's break with
its past has to be clear, clean and complete. This
statement appears to be that.

"The SDLP hopes that, as promised, all IRA paramilitary
activity and all IRA involvement in organised crime will
end now and for good - as well as the culture of cover-up
and community control.

"That is the only way we can get the Agreement up and
running and make progress for all the people of this
island. "Eighteen years on from the start of Hume/Adams and
seven years on from the Good Friday Agreement, this
statement is long overdue. The delay by the provisional
movement in honouring its commitments to date has been
profoundly damaging.

"It has only encouraged anti-Agreement unionists in their
belief that they, too, can hold up political progress for
years. "That is why it is vital that the provisional
movement delivers quickly on what it has promised today and
what the Agreement has always required. Actions on the
ground must demonstrate this. "There is an equal obligation
on all loyalist paramilitaries to end their terror and
their crime. The two Governments and unionist parties must
bring equal pressure to bear on them to ensure this.

"There is also an onus on the two Governments and unionist
parties to work to deliver the full implementation of the
Good Friday Agreement. "It has to be noted that this
statement does not commit the provisional movement to
policing. Yet policing is fundamental to accepting the rule
of law and vital to tackle organised crime. The SDLP calls
on Sinn Fein to join with us in upholding the new beginning
to policing.

"The use of violence was always immoral and unjustified. It
achieved absolutely nothing and brought incalculable
suffering to victims throughout the North. They - and their
loss --should be first and foremost in our minds today."


Opin: Momentous And Historic

Friday 29th July 2005

At long last, it appears the Irish republican movement has
been convinced that politics is a viable alternative to the
the bomb and the bullet.

Yesterday's statement by the IRA - in which it formally
ordered an end to its armed campaign and insisted it will
pursue exclusively political means - is no less than a
momentous milestone in modern Irish history.

Reading between the lines, it wouldn't be too unfair to
suggest that what the IRA is actually saying is: the war is
over - this is a deeply significant statement and one which
people need to acknowledge.

Granted, many people, particularly unionists, will be
reserving judgement until the IRA's words are translated
into actions.

However, instead of rushing to dismiss, downplay or distort
the commitments contained in the IRA statement, everyone -
and this includes both governments, the political parties
and, most important of all, the public - should reflect on
its true implications.

It is now important that there is a period of calm
reflection in which integrity and honesty form the key

As Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has so aptly put it: hard
choices now have to be taken.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern spoke for the nation earlier this
week when he emphasised that full decommissioning, an end
to criminality and the cessation of the IRA campaign are

Doubtless, some hardliners will always oppose the notion of
the IRA getting, as it were, on the peace train.

Therefore, the challenge now facing the leadership will be
to convince such people to come on board rather than defect
to breakaway factions.

A key question now is how decommissioning will be carried

How, for instance, will the IRA react if Ian Paisley and
the DUP demand the publication of pictures showing the
destruction of weapons?

Understandably perceived as a form of humiliation, such
demands have, in the past, proved stumbling blocks to

Nationalists and republicans across the country will
interpret the DUP's insistence on a "transparent" or
"visual" aspect to IRA decommissioning not as a reasonable
request for further verification of the process, but as an
attempt to see the surrender and humiliation of the

Who does the DUP think it's kidding if it seriously
believes that the IRA will, on Ian Paisley's insistence,
authorise some sort of photographic or pictorial record of
its weapons being put beyond use?

Republicans understandably believe the DUP is more
interested in victory than peace and power sharing.

After all, every one of the previous hitches in the process
has been about Unionist reluctance to accept IRA assurances
about decommissioning.

Likewise, the public is sick and tired of finger pointing
politics. The blame game must end and parties must face up
to their responsibilities. Otherwise public confidence in
the political process can neither be sustained nor

There is huge frustration and growing anger among people at
the failure to make the expected progress towards full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The future promised by the Good Friday Agreement is a
future in which paramilitaries have no place and no role.
It is a future free from the threat of violence. This
future, however, could never exist if paramilitaries
continue to hold on to huge stores of arms - no matter how
silent they are.

On a similar vein, unionists have to recognise that only
partnership can form the basis to our political
institutions and that North-South institutions are a
significant and key element of the Good Friday Agreement.

The real crisis for many is the widely held belief that
unionists do not want to share power with nationalists,
particularly Sinn Fein.

Indeed, many are convinced that unionists are endeavouring
to turn the peace process into a surrender process.

But, make no mistake about it, yesterday's landmark move by
the IRA is, as one Minister in Dail Eireann put it: "a
potentially wonderful day for Irish history."


Statement Tripped Up By Technology

By Senan Molony
29 July 2005

'P. O'Neill', that mystery man, has gone upmarket. The
production of an IRA statement on video is the first filmed
IRA press initiative since leaders appeared at a secret
press conference to signal that internment in 1972 had

Long-time IRA prisoner Seanna Walsh read out the IRA
statement on a DVD distributed to broadcast media.

A former prisonmate of Bobby Sands, he was carefully chosen
to appeal to the heartland of volunteers, having spent a
total of 21 years in prison.

First arrested as a 16-year-old in 1973 while robbing a
bank, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Released
in May 1976, he was free for only three months when he was
charged with possession of a rifle.

Sentenced to ten years, Mr Walsh joined the blanket protest
when he arrived in the H-Blocks, where he remained for
seven years and seven months.

He was then caught making explosives and mortar bombs and
was sentenced to 22 years. He was released under the Good
Friday Agreement, aged 42, having spent over half his life
in jail. A former Officer Commanding IRA prisoners, Mr
Walsh was dressed in a plain white shirt, with no
paramilitary trappings anywhere visible.

However, the IRA's surprising use of a DVD was overshadowed
by the manner in which the statement leaked out.

The momentous declaration was intended to be released at
2pm. Copies were distributed to select media from 10am,
with an emphasis on the strict embargo to the afternoon.

But in fact the statement leaked out through the same
technology the IRA has sought to harness. Shortly after
12.30pm, the embargoed statement was posted in error on the
website of the Republican newspaper, 'Daily Ireland'.
Within minutes Sinn Fein sources telephoned the newspaper
asking for the material to be removed.

The story was pulled - but in the meantime it had been seen
by journalists hungrily scanning all news media. The news
that the IRA's war was over was now in the public domain.

At 12.49pm, RTE radio broke into the John Creedon programme
to bring a newsflash from the newsroom.


How CNN Brought The Message To States

By Sean O'Driscoll
29 July 2005

When the CNN anchorwoman announced that they were now going
"live to Northern Ireland, specifically Dublin" you knew it
wasn't going to go well.

Having rearranged the geography of Ireland, CNN was ready
to bring Sinn Fein to America.

Hours after the IRA had released their statement to the
world's media, CNN announced to America that "according to
sources" the IRA had made a major breakthrough and were
ready to give up their weapons.

Bringing you the world for 25 years, this is CNN.

And so it was on to Gerry Adams in Dublin, Northern

With 'Spin' Fein's typical eye for the appealing media
opportunity, Gerry was introduced not by Mitchel McLaughlin
or Pat Doherty or some other old fogey, but by Mary Lou
McDonald, who was a little toddler in middle class Dublin
during the worst horrors of the Troubles.

And so, after Mary Lou told the media to switch off their
mobile phones, America's eyes were trained on Gerry Adams.
The CNN zoomed in, cutting Catriona Ruane out of the
picture and keeping focused on Gerry with Mary Lou and
Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein's pretty girl and boy, located
conveniently to either side.

"Well ar thus, ba mhaith liom failte a chur riomh . ."
began Gerry and CNN's control room began to panic.

This was dead TV.

They hung on for a while, just to make sure that Gerry
wasn't speaking English in a thick accent, then they cut
back in a hurry to the anchorwoman.

"You are listening to Gerry Adams speaking Gaelic, of
course, as he makes that formal announcement," said the
anchorwoman, looking flustered.

"In a moment he will be speaking English," she said, while
CNN rushed to find a documentary about the Northern Ireland

In the background, Gerry's voice continued about "daoine
bocht a fuair bas" (poor people who died) He never speaks
the Irish of Connemara or Donegal, or course. He speaks
politician Irish ? you'll never hear a direct translation
phrase like ""process suiochain" (peace process) in a
Gaeltacht bar.

Meanwhile in Washington, Gaelic was also causing confusion.
At a predictable press conference, an American journalist
told Martin McGuinness that he always wanted to know what
Sinn Fein stood for.

Martin said that many people had wondered what Sinn Fein
stood for, but today, it stood for peace.

Back on CNN, they were skimming for time, while Gerry's
Irish continued.

"Alright, well in a moment when he does begin to speak
English, making that historic announcement there, Gerry
Adams with Sinn Fein, we'll be bringing that to you," said
CNN anchorwoman said, before she went to some file footage
of the early days of the Troubles and Bloody Sunday.

We had about 30 seconds of that documentary footage when it
was cut off mid-sentence and we were back in the studio.

"Alright, we're going to try to get back to Matthew's
report in the moment because Gerry Adams is now speaking
English. We want to bring that to you right now," she said.

Gerry was indeed now speaking English. That special type of
English reserved for Sinn Fein press conferences: "lasting
peace and justice", "in the island of Ireland", "new
dispensation", "unparalleled challenge and opportunity" -
they were all there.

With Northern Ireland now overtaking Iraq and London as the
main story, the next show Your World Today, announced that
they had reporters on "many fronts" covering this story.
"We want to go first to Belfast" they said, and went
straight to a reporter standing on Downing Street.

When reports show American kids suffering declining
geography skills, can anyone be that surprised?

At least there was a report on the victims of the Troubles.
One man who lost relatives in the Claudy bomb spoke more
eloquently than CNN and Sinn Fein combined.

"Their war is over," he said simply. "Our pain goes on."


'Solidarity' Over Church Attacks

There has been a gesture of solidarity by members of a
Ballymena Presbyterian church following loyalist attacks on
two Catholic churches in the town.

On Friday, people from High Kirk church handed out roses to
Massgoers at All Saints church which was smeared with paint
earlier this week.

They also scrubbed sectarian graffiti off the door and
walls of the Church of Our Lady in Harryville on Thursday.

The church has suffered graffiti and paint attacks in
recent weeks.

It was also the target of a loyalist picket between
September 1996 and May 1998, linked to nationalist
objections to a march by the Orange Order through nearby

All Saints priest, Fr Paul Symonds, said the High Kirk
members' actions were "their way of saying 'we are sorry
for what has happened and the way you have been targeted by
these paint bomb attacks' and they were disassociating
themselves from that.

"It was an absolutely lovely gesture, one of sheer love. It
was a very gracious gesture and I felt it was a very much a
mirror of God's love."

The priest was present at the Harryville church when High
Kirk members used paint thinner and brushes to remove the

It was a very gracious gesture and I felt it was a very
much a mirror of God's love

Fr Paul Symonds

"The graffiti was obviously done as an attack, as an
expression of evil, and this cleanup is very much the
opposite," Fr Symonds said.

Jeremy Gardiner, youth pastor at High Kirk, said his church
is in the middle of a community service week where they
carry out "random acts of kindness".

"Because of the attacks on the Catholic churches we wanted
to show our kindness to the Catholic community. This is a
show of solidarity," Mr Gardiner said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/29 12:47:10 GMT


Key Events Since IRA Ceasefire

29 July 2005

Here are some of the key episodes in the peace process
since the IRA announced its historic ceasefire almost 11
years ago:

* AUGUST 31, 1994: The IRA announces a "complete cessation
of military operations".

* OCTOBER 13, 1994: The Combined Loyalist Military Command
announces ceasefires by the UDA/UFF, UVF and Red Hand

* JANUARY 24, 1996: A report by former US Senator George
Mitchell calls for a commitment on all sides to peaceful
and democratic means, the phasing-out of paramilitary
weapons and elections prior to the opening of peace talks.

* FEBRUARY 9, 1996: The IRA ceasefire ends as two people
are killed when large bomb explodes at South Quay in
London's Docklands.

* MAY 16, 1997: Newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, on
his first engagement outside London, delivers a keynote
speech in Belfast, warning republicans: "The settlement
train is leaving. I want you on that train."

* JULY 20, 1997: The IRA announces a renewal of its
ceasefire to enable Sinn Fein to enter talks at Stormont.

* APRIL 10, 1998: The Good Friday Agreement is signed.

* MAY 22, 1998: 71.12% of the people of Northern Ireland
endorse the Good Friday Agreement, while 28.88% vote
against it.

* JUNE 25, 1998: Election to the Northern Ireland Assembly
sees the Ulster Unionists and the nationalist SDLP emerge
as the largest parties.

* AUGUST 15, 1998: 29 people are killed by the Real IRA in
a car bomb in Omagh, the biggest single atrocity of the

* SEPTEMBER 11, 1998: First paramilitary prisoner is
released under the Good Friday Agreement.

* DECEMBER 10, 1998: SDLP leader John Hume and Ulster
Unionist Party David Trimble share the Nobel Peace Prize.

* SEPTEMBER 9, 1999: The Patten Commission recommends a
complete overhaul of policing in the province.

* DECEMBER 1999: Power is passed from Westminster to a
power-sharing executive featuring Sinn Fein's Martin
McGuinness as Education Minister after 20 months of wrangle
and delay.

* FEBRUARY 11, 2000: Northern Ireland Secretary Peter
Mandelson signs an order suspending the Assembly after a
failure to secure IRA arms decommissioning.

* MAY 30, 2000: Devolution is restored after First Minister
David Trimble gets a pledge from republicans that they will
begin a process to completely and verifiably put weapons
beyond use.

* JULY 1, 2001: David Trimble resigns again over the
continuing arms impasse. A month later General John de
Chastelain, head of the arms decommissioning body, says the
IRA has put forward a disarmament plan.

* AUGUST 10, 2001: With no sign that the IRA will actually
decommission and no hint unionists will accept anything
less, Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid suspends
devolution for 24 hours, resetting the clock for a deal by
six weeks.

* SEPTEMBER 21, 2001: John Reid announces a second
technical suspension saying it will be the last.

* OCTOBER 2001: In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in
the US and the arrest in August of three Irish republicans
in Colombia, the IRA begins a process of putting its arms
beyond use.

* NOVEMBER 5, 2001: Devolution up and running again.

* OCTOBER 4, 2002: Sinn Fein's offices at Stormont are
raided amid a major police investigation of alleged IRA
intelligence gathering at the heart of government.

* OCTOBER 14, 2002: John Reid announces suspension of
devolution and the reintroduction of direct rule as the
Government pushes republicans for an end to the twin track
of democracy and paramilitarism.

* MAY 1, 2003: Assembly Elections are postponed after Tony
Blair fails to get clarity and certainly about the IRA's
willingness to end armed struggle and fully disarm.

* OCTOBER 21, 2003: The rolling-out of a peace process deal
involving the Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein goes awry,
with David Trimble withdrawing his contribution over the
lack of detail given by decommissioning chief General John
de Chastelain about the latest act of IRA disarmament.

* NOVEMBER 26, 2003: Assembly elections see the Rev Ian
Paisley's more hard-line DUP overtake the Ulster Unionists
to become Northern Ireland's largest party and Sinn Fein
coming out on top in nationalism.

* DECEMBER 8, 2004: Talks aimed at achieving a previously
unthinkable deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein collapse
when the IRA refuses to give in to demands that the
decommissioning of its entire arsenal should be

* DECEMBER 21, 2004: A gang pull off a spectacular �26.5
million-plus robbery at the Northern Bank headquarters in
Belfast city centre. The IRA is suspected.

* JANUARY 30, 2005: Robert McCartney is beaten and fatally
stabbed outside Magennis's Bar in Belfast city centre. His
family claims he was killed by the IRA which later suspends
members as republicans come under international pressure to
wind down the Provisionals for good.

* APRIL 6, 2005: Gerry Adams challenges the IRA to abandon
the gun and embrace politics. The Provisionals embark on a
debate 20 days later.

* JULY 27: The Government frees Shankill bomber Sean Kelly
from Maghaberry Prison, a month after having his early
release licence revoked by Northern Ireland Peter Hain, in
anticipation of an IRA statement.

* JULY 28: The IRA orders an end to its armed campaign. The
Provisionals confirm their armed struggle will end from 4pm
and that all IRA units have been ordered to dump arms


Analysis: Sinn Fein's Political Journey

By Martina Purdy
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Sinn Fein saw the Good Friday Agreement as a bridge to a
united Ireland. But the party was expected to journey
towards its goal without the IRA.

This was not only the logical consequence of Sinn Fein's
decision to fight elections in the 1980s. It was an
imperative of the agreement.

Sinn Fein argued it needed time to make politics work and
show the IRA that it was no longer required. Benefits
flowed from the agreement. IRA prisoners were released.

The door was opened to power-sharing at Stormont with
unionists. Sinn Fein persuaded the IRA to decommission, and
turned crisis to advantage.

Commentator David Adams, who was one of the agreement's
loyalist party negotiators, said Sinn Fein had played the
process well.


"Sinn Fein's tactics in the north are to create perpetual
instability while being careful that someone else takes the
blame for that and they present themselves as thwarted

Certainly Sinn Fein has made gains by being seen as the
victim of unionist intransigence. The party has advanced on
both sides of the border, winning five TDs in the Dail.

But its most marked growth has been in Northern Ireland
where it has overtaken the SDLP in successive elections
both at Westminster and Stormont.

The allegations around ongoing IRA activity and involvement
in Colombia, Castlereagh and Stormontgate, when the IRA was
accused of spying, undermined the process, but not Sinn
Fein - not with many voters, anyway.

The suspension of Stormont in 2002 indicated patience had
run out with the IRA. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, came
to Belfast to make his "fork-in-the-road" speech, demanding
republicans choose between violence and democracy.

He said the IRA could not continue half in and half out of
the process. It was not only wrong, he said, but it would
not work any more.

Republicans did not rush to react. Instead Sinn Fein and
the IRA continued, one talking peace, the other apparently
engaged in organising the Northern Bank robbery.

The fall-out from this was the catalyst for the latest
initiative, coupled with the alleged republican cover-up in
the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

Gerry Adams' rating dropped in the Republic and with the
process in Northern Ireland stalled, and with an eye to
electoral advantage, Adams urged the IRA to embrace a
purely political path.

For Sinn Fein, and the IRA, the prize is the same, but it
has become clear that it is Sinn Fein that is best placed
to achieve the objective, as the IRA in effect is now an
impediment to power in the Republic - the real prize.


The Irish Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, has warned
the party is going nowhere until the IRA gives up violence
and ends criminality. He said the days of ambiguity over
IRA intentions are over and the IRA has an appointment with

But the last steps may yet prove the hardest. This is not a
sprint, but a marathon. According to former IRA prisoner
Tommy McKearney, it is unrealistic to expect a break in the
relationship between Sinn Fein and the IRA immediately.

"Relationships, knowledge, friendships don't disappear
overnight so while officially there may be a change in
policy it is unrealistic, it is not practical to think all
those contacts are going to disappear overnight. It
couldn't be done."

Other milestones remain in the future, not least support
for policing. It is also expected to take some time for
unionism to accept the IRA has broken with the past.

That could, however, advantage Sinn Fein who will play the
thwarted peace-maker. In that event, Gerry Adams will argue
that the excuse of the IRA is gone, but power-sharing has
not come back.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/07/28 14:58:03 GMT



The Men Who Tamed The IRA

By Niall O'Dowd, Niall O'Dowd is publisher of the Irish
Voice newspaper in New York.

If history is a nightmare from which we are trying to
awaken, as James Joyce said, then the people of Ireland
finally woke up from troubled slumber Thursday.

The announcement that the Irish Republican Army was
abandoning its more than 30 years of violence signaled an
epochal event unlike any other in modern Irish history.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it "a step of
unparalleled magnitude; Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
called it "a momentous … development."

But the IRA did not lay down its arms on the spur of the
moment. Rather, its statement was the result of decades of
painstaking work by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the
leaders of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA. They
took on one of the immutable forces in Irish life and
changed it from within.

It's been a delicate, often dangerous walk for Adams and
McGuinness as they sought to win support for peace without
moving too far ahead of their core constituency. There are
many around the world who distrust Adams and see him as an
unrepentant terrorist putting a moderate front on the IRA,
while some partisans of the Republican cause believe that
he has gone soft.

Under the circumstances, it is remarkable that Adams and
McGuinness have accomplished as much as they have.

The name of the IRA has been writ large in Irish history
for more than a century. It fought a war of independence,
which was followed by the British partition of Ireland in
1921, which in turn was followed by another vicious civil
war after an IRA split. Then, successive IRA campaigns to
end the partition ensued.

In the latest burst of violence, which started in 1969,
more than 3,600 lives were sacrificed as the consequences
of partition came home to roost. The nightmare was in full

Now, the IRA's statement has changed everything. How Adams,
the president of Sinn Fein, and McGuinness, his chief
negotiator, succeeded in taking an armed revolutionary
movement and placing it on a road to peaceful political
activism is an extraordinary story.

Many times in the past, Irish leaders have tried and
failed. Michael Collins, who in many ways created the IRA's
revolutionary tradition, lost his life attempting to turn
it against violence during the civil war in 1922. Adams and
McGuinness came of age four decades later, as young
partisans of the Republican cause in the 1960s. But they
recognized very early on that the war was not winnable,
that the British army and the IRA had essentially fought
each other to a standstill.

Imperceptibly at first, the two men began to change the
fundamental premise on which the movement was based — that
an armed campaign was the only solution. In 1972, shortly
after 23-year-old Adams was released from internment on a
British prison ship (where he'd been held as a suspected
IRA member), he and McGuinness convened a secret dialogue
with an influential Northern Ireland politician, John Hume,
then leader of the province's major Roman Catholic party.
They formulated what became the Hume-Adams document —
essentially a wish list for nationalists.

Adams and McGuinness approached the Irish and British
governments in discussions based on that document, which
argued for power-sharing and a greater involvement in
Northern Ireland by the Irish government. After initial
deep suspicion, both governments agreed to talk.

The first public indication that a new era was arriving
came during the most inflammatory episode of recent Irish
history, when 10 IRA men died during hunger strikes at the
Maze prison in the early 1980s. On his deathbed, hunger-
strike leader Bobby Sands was elected to the British
Parliament. The incredible groundswell of support showed
the political potential for the movement. The significance
was something that Adams and McGuinness immediately

In the 1990s, another factor emerged. Irish American
supporters of President Clinton convinced him that major
change was stirring in Ireland and that the U.S. could
help. Thus, a powerful outside force was brought to bear on
the peace process.

Most vital, however, was the internal debate within Sinn
Fein and the IRA. Adams worked slowly and deliberatively,
never moving too far in front of the rank and file.
Sometimes he had to perform tasks that won him harsh
international criticism, such as carrying the coffin of an
IRA bomber who had killed many innocent people. It was the
price he had to pay to retain leadership over a group
notoriously suspicious of politics.

By increments, the strategy began to work. The new peace
policy led to significant electoral support. Soon a party
that had started with less than 2% popular support became
the second-largest party in Northern Ireland.

It was within that framework that Adams and McGuinness
persuaded the IRA to carry out the 1994 cease-fire. A few
years later the Good Friday agreement, including many of
the original Hume-Adams proposals, was adopted. Adams now
had a fair wind behind him. His colleagues saw him working
the grass roots, being welcomed at the White House, meeting
the British and Irish prime ministers.

In the end, he and McGuinness simply outworked, outthought
and outmaneuvered their opponents, both internal and
external. Sinn Fein's spectacular election success, and the
appointment of McGuinness as Northern Ireland's education
minister had a dramatic psychological effect on those
citizens who had been locked out of power for so long.

The IRA decision to abandon its armed campaign was an
inevitable outgrowth of the long-held plans of Adams and
McGuinness. They had replaced the nightmare with a dream.


Derry Parade Flashpoint Protest Scrapped

Friday 29th July 2005

Plans by a Protestant 'civil rights' group to stage a 500-
strong protest rally during next month's Apprentice Boys
parade in Derry's city centre have been scrapped.

Earlier this week, Protestants Against Republican
Aggression (Para) revealed that it planned to mount a
demonstration at the Ferryquay Street flashpoint during the
August 13 march.

The city centre protest, argued the group, had been
organised as a direct response to the presence of
republicans at the Orange Order's "Twelfth' parade in Derry
earlier this month.

However, it's now been revealed that, following talks with
police chiefs in the city, the group has withdrawn plans
for the protest.

David Nicholl, of the Ulster Political Research Group
(UPRG), says he met with PSNI Superintendent Johnny
McCarroll who "assured us he would deal with any potential
troublemakers during the march."

Mr. Nicholl claimed Supt. McCarroll had agreed to seven
Para members acting as stewards with one videoing
proceedings at Ferryquay Street and Bishop Street during
the Apprentice Boys march.

He said proceedings would be videoed to record any attack
on Protestant human rights during the parade.

The stewards, said Mr. Nicholl, would wear identifiable

He said that, as a result of the agreed measures, Para had
agreed to withdraw plans for a protest.

Withdrew protest plan "I subsequently met with the Para
group and explained what I had been told," he said. "They,
as a result, agreed to withdraw their planned protest."


Flight Of The Earls Under Scrutiny

By Linda McKee
29 July 2005

Conventional wisdom has it that a 'Noble 99' made it to
France after the Flight of the Earls almost 400 years ago.

But according to Dr John McCavitt, leading authority on the
subject, far fewer may have completed the perilous journey
from Ireland.

When the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell left these shores
with a host of fugitives 398 years ago, they are said to
have endured a series of storms and came close to

Many historians have tried to name those 99 famed
passengers over the years, but without success.

And in September, Dr McCavitt will reveal the latest piece
of the jigsaw uncovered in his research, a bardic poem
penned immediately after the flight that casts doubt on the
myth of the 'Noble 99'.

His talk will be a highlight of an historical weekend in
Donegal from September 2 to 4, marking the 398th
anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, a pivotal event
that still has ramifications today.

Dr McCavitt has written a play about the departure of the
earls in 1607 and composed several of the accompanying

He is author of the book 'The Flight of the Earls' and was
consulted by the makers of a major three-part documentary
on the subject which will be screened by BBC NI next year.

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