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July 23, 2005

Holy Cross Church Fire Bombed

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 07/23/05 Attack On City Church 'Sectarian'
IO 07/23/05 Petrol Bombs Thrown At Church
YN 07/23/05 IRA Opting For Democracy Is Major Peace Boost
II 07/23/05 Adams And Ferris Quit IRA Council


Attack On City Church 'Sectarian'

A petrol bomb attack on a Catholic church in north Belfast
is being treated as sectarian, police have said.

Two devices were thrown at Holy Cross Church and monastery
at about 0200 BST on Saturday. One caused damage to the
roof at the back of the building.

A third petrol bomb was thrown when the police and fire
crews arrived. Stones were also thrown at the police.

Parish priest Father Aidan Troy said he was thankful that
no-one was injured in the petrol bombings.

"The damage was at the rear and there wasn't a huge amount
of damage done," he said.

"Obviously there was a certain amount of water damage
because of the need to extinguish a little fire that had
started, but thank goodness the damage is of a limited

"We'll have it assessed in more professional detail later

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/23 08:44:39 GMT


Petrol Bombs Thrown At Church

23/07/2005 - 09:59:06

Petrol bombs were thrown at a Catholic Church today – just
days after the parish priest called for the release of the
Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

Three home-made devices were launched at Holy Cross in
Ardoyne, north Belfast, in what police said was a sectarian

Stones were also thrown at emergency services who attended
the incident.

Father Aidan Troy declined to speculate on whether the
attack was linked to his calls for Kelly to be released
from Magahaberry Prison.

He said: "It is impossible to get inside the mind of the
people who do these things.

"We are working closely with the police and I would not
begin to speculate on who might be responsible."

Police said the church, on the Crumlin Road, was targeted
shortly after 2am when two petrol bombs were thrown from
the Woodvale Road area.

About half an hour later, while emergency services were at
the scene, a third bomb was thrown but no further damage
was caused to the church.

Police then came under attack by stones thrown from the
Twadell area.

No one was injured but officers are maintaining a presence
in the area today.

Fr Troy said the rear roof of the church was damaged by one
of the bombs.

The priest said: "It is one of those things that is very

"The main thing is that nobody was hurt or worse.

"It is a worrying development when a place of worship and a
monastery is targeted.

"But I hope that nobody thinks this should be cause for

"This should be a time for reflection and to call a halt to
any form of targeting people. There is no future in that."

Father Troy said the weekend services, which include a
wedding today, will not be disrupted by the attacks.

Earlier this week the priest hit the headlines with his
call, which was echoed by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams,
for Sean Kelly to be released from prison as the reason for
his detention was shrouded in mystery.

Nine civilians and Kelly's IRA accomplice, Thomas Begley,
were killed in a blast at Frizzell's fish and chip shop on
the loyalist Shankill Road in October 1993, one of the most
notorious atrocities of the Troubles.

Kelly was given nine life sentences but was released under
the Good Friday Agreement.

He was re-arrested last month for involvement in terrorist
activity but Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has not
spelt out exactly what that was.

Fr Troy met Kelly in Maghaberry on July 6 and said he was
convinced he was not involved in any criminal activity.

He said he had witnessed the prisoner try to act as a
moderating influence during riots in the Ardoyne this

During the meeting, Kelly told the priest he was baffled as
to why his early release licence had been revoked.

Fr Troy was strongly criticised by the DUP but vowed he
would publicly apologise for his comments if it could be
proved that Kelly had done something wrong.


Sinn Fein Boss Say IRA Opting For Democracy Would Be Major
Peace Boost

Fri Jul 22, 5:19 PM ET

DUBLIN (AFP) - Northern Ireland's peace process would
receive a major boost if the Irish Republican Army responds
positively to appeals to embrace political methods, a
leading figure in the paramilitary group's political wing

"It would give much needed new momentum to the peace
process," Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness told
a summer school in the Irish Republic.

"It is clear that a positive response from the IRA would
have an immediate and enormous impact on the political

In April, Since Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams made a direct
appeal to IRA "volunteers" to give up all violence and
adopt democratic methods, since then the Catholic
paramilitary group has been holding meetings to discuss a

"I fully support Gerry Adams' appeal and I sincerely hope
that the IRA does respond to it positively," McGuinness

The Irish and British governments hope for an answer before
the August holiday period from the IRA, which declared a
ceasefire in its campaign to end British rule in Northern
Ireland ahead of a 1998 Good Friday peace deal which
largely ended 30 years of violence.

McGuinness claimed a positive response would deal with the
"genuine concerns" of Protestant unionists, who want
Northern Ireland to remain part of Britain, and remove any
excuse for unionist party leaders refusing to negotiate
directly with Sinn Fein.

He said it would also put "enormous pressure" on Northern
Ireland's largest party, the hardline Democratic Unionist
Party led by Ian Paisley, "to come on board the peace
process" for the first time.

"There is no alternative to sharing power with Irish
republicans; there is no alterative to the all-Ireland
architecture and the equality agenda of the Good Friday
Agreement," McGuinness said.

Protestant factions in Northern Ireland are adamant that
there can be no political progress toward a lasting peace
settlement without a move by the IRA to end all
paramilitary and criminal activity and a decommissioning of
its weapons arsenals.

The 1998 peace deal paved the way for a Protestant-Catholic
power-sharing assembly, but that was suspended more than
two years ago amid allegations of IRA espionage.

British and Irish efforts to revive power-sharing and
secure a permanent settlement collapsed before Christmas
after Sinn Fein rejected Protestant demands for
photographic proof of IRA weapons destruction.


McGuinness, Adams And Ferris Quit IRA Council

Saturday July 23rd 2005

THREE senior Sinn Fein figures, including party president
Gerry Adams, have stepped down from their posts on the
IRA's ruling army council.

The ground-breaking decision means that all links between
the leadership of the political and military wings of the
Provisional movement have been severed.

And it paves the way for major changes in the Provisional
structures to be announced in an IRA statement, now
expected to be delivered in the second half of next week.

It is believed that the internal IRA debate about its
future, which has been going on for over three months, has
now effectively ended and that the final details of the
statement are being worked on.

It was learned last night that Mr Adams, Sinn Fein's chief
peace negotiator Martin McGuinness and Dail deputy and
convicted gun-runner Martin Ferris have all resigned from
the seven-man IRA army council.

Their posts have been filled by two men from Belfast and
one from Tyrone, all of whom are closely aligned to the
Adams-McGuinness group pushing the movement onto a purely
political path.

The changes in personnel are also seen as part of the
"sanitisation" process within Sinn Fein as the party
prepares to present itself as a democratic body that is
ready to play a full part in political developments north
and south of the Border.

None of the new appointees is a member of Sinn Fein but all
are regarded within the Provisionals as militarists with
proven records.

One of them is a hunger striker from Belfast and he has
been on the IRA's headquarters staff with responsibility
for the "engineering" department.

The second is also from Belfast and had criminal
convictions in the past for possession of explosives, while
the third is regarded as the IRA commander in the Tyrone

The make-up of the rest of the army council remains
unchanged and South Armagh hardliner Tom "Slab" Murphy
continues as the organisation's chief of staff, a post he
has held since an IRA executive meeting in Falcarragh, Co
Donegal, in October 1997 - a summit which resulted in the
resignation of Michael McKevitt and the subsequent
formation of the dissident Real IRA.

Speculation about radical personnel moves within the IRA
have been rife since Mr Adams started a series of internal
discussions at all levels of the Provisional movement with
his suggestion that it should abandon all paramilitarism
and concentrate exclusively on the political path forward.

Intelligence sources last night confirmed that the changes
had taken place and described them as the biggest shake-up
at the top in the past eight years.

With no overlapping at leadership level, Sinn Fein figures
can now argue that the two wings of the movement cannot be
accused of being "joined at the hip", although the new army
council members are regarded as totally loyal to Adams-
McGuinness - where the real Provisional power base remains.

The appointments also mean that seven militarists will be
seen as approving the change of direction to be announced
in the imminent statement from the IRA rather than coming
from a council dominated by Sinn Fein figures.

In the wake of the London bombings, and with an
increasingly hostile climate both here and in Britain
towards terrorist violence, the Provisional movement is
understood to have decided that this is the right time to
move into a new mode.

Since Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Foreign Affairs Minister
Dermot Ahern had an hour-long meeting in Drumcondra eight
days ago with Mr Adams, things have moved quickly.

It is known that contacts between the Government and Sinn
Fein have been continuing in the background on a daily
basis as hopes have again arisen of a positive statement.

Final acts of decommissioning by the movement would be a
key part of the expected statement, which has been delayed
partly because of difficulties around the Twelfth of July
Orange parades and by the return to jail by Northern
Secretary Peter Hain of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

It is understood most of the IRA stockpile of weaponry is
now located at a couple of arms dumps and could be disposed
of quickly.

Former Canadian General, John de Chastelain, who heads the
International Independent Commission on Decommissioning, is
known to be in Ireland at the moment.

His word would be necessary for the independent
verification of arms disposal, as with earlier acts of
decommissioning by the IRA.

An IRA statement declaring an end to paramilitarism and
criminality could also help pave the way for the
restoration of the Northern institutions, although the DUP
would be unlikely to engage in talks with Sinn Fein until
early next year at the earliest.

Dr Ian Paisley and other senior Unionists have expressed
scepticism about whether the IRA statement would go so far
as to call a final halt to all paramilitary operations.

And it would wait for assurances from the International
Monitoring Commission over a period of several months that
all IRA paramilitary activity, recruitment and surveillance
had completely stopped before going into talks.

Tom Brady and Gene McKenna

© Irish Independent


Loyalist feud sees debate put on hold

By Martina Purdy

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Seven years on from the Good Friday Agreement and the
loyalist parties who helped negotiate it have not fared
particularly well.

The Ulster Democratic Party is out of business and the UDA
remains active.

The Progressive Unionist Party is hanging on "by the skin
of its teeth", according to its leader, while the UVF
continues to grow.

The UDA, UVF and the Loyalist Volunteer Force - which split
from the UVF - are all engaged in criminality and in

What is more the UVF and LVF are involved in a bloody feud,
which has claimed two lives this month.

The PUP leader, David Ervine, speaking on BBC Radio
Ulster's Inside Politics, predicted it is going to get much

In fact, he suggests that the UVF has concluded that the
state has created the LVF and that it is being controlled
by intelligence services who are agitating within the
unionist community.

What is more, Mr Ervine warned that the UVF's priority is
taking on the LVF.

Mr Ervine told Inside Politics that rightly or wrongly, the
UVF has concluded that the state is controlling the LVF and
is deliberately keeping the UVF's focus away from peace.

He said until the problem is dealt with everything else is
on hold.

Asked how deeply the UVF is debating its future, Mr Ervine
said there was no longer any debate: "There was a
consultation going on which has stopped. It stopped because
they're busy doing other things, it would seem."

The PUP leader, who was instrumental in delivering the 1994
ceasefire, said the UVF was not listening to him at the

He rejected the IMC's assessment that he was not doing
enough to stop loyalist paramilitarism, and even suggested
the intelligence services were misleading the commission
for their own ends.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain, on the back of
the Independent Monitoring Commission's report, is likely
to dock the PUP's office allowance, which is equivalent to
around £27,000.

Mr Ervine admitted he might sound paranoid about the
intelligence services but claimed there was plenty of
evidence of loyalists being arrested and then walking free
and insisted questions need to be asked about what was
really going on.

While loyalists have little or no influence on the
political process, they can destabilise the peace process.

What happens if the UDA is drawn into this feud? It too has
been involved in fighting with the LVF in the past - and it
is not inconceivable that the UDA and UVF will find common
ground over the issue of tackling the LVF.

Historically, when loyalists have fought each other, they
have tried to distract from this by attacking the Catholic

The IRA will not shed any tears over loyalist infighting
and knows that the feud means republicans will be first
with the historic "going-out-of-business" statement.

The republican movement has spent several months debating
its future and speculation has continued for weeks that an
announcement from the IRA is imminent.

That endless speculation keeps Sinn Fein in the headlines,
which in itself is useful to republicans.

Whether it comes sooner or later - and some are now
predicting the end of the summer - one thing is certain.

The statement will come at a time when it most suits the
IRA, not the governments and not the DUP.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/07/23 08:57:27 GMT


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