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July 26, 2005

Loyalist Feud: Where is PSNI?

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 07/26/05 Loyalists Behind Church Attacks
SF 07/26/05 Kelly Attacks PSNI Over Garnerville Collusion
BT 07/26/05 PSNI 'Not In Control': Police Federation
BB 07/26/05 Police Presence At 'Feud' Estate
BT 07/26/05 Pair Escape Death In Loyalist Pub Bombing
SF 07/26/05 DUP Helped Create Environment For Attacks
BT 07/26/05 Feuding Loyalists Bring Fear Back To Belfast
BT 07/26/05 Just What Is Going On At Garnerville?
DJ 07/26/05 Police Patrols As Loyalist Tensions Mount
DJ 07/26/05 Provos Hold Key Meeting In Derry
BT 07/26/05 High Level Talks On Way Forward
DJ 07/26/05 Continued Political Inertia Not An Option
UT 07/26/05 IRA Disarmament Must Be Complete: McDowell
DJ 07/26/05 End Culture Of Cover-Up And Control
BT 07/26/05 Don't Let IRA Off The Hook, Urges Empey
IO 07/26/05 Ervine: Loyalists Want Clear IRA Statement
BT 07/26/05 Dundrum A No-Fly Zone For Army Choppers
DJ 07/26/05 SF Want All-Ireland Growth Reports Published
BT 07/26/05 Building Boom Is Wiping Out History


Loyalists Behind Church Attacks

Loyalist paramilitaries were behind a spate of attacks on
Catholic churches and Catholic-owned pubs in County Antrim,
according to police.

Chief Inspector Stephen Martin warned that if the "madness"
did not stop, someone would be killed.

A bar was targeted by arsonists in Martinstown and the
remains of petrol bombs were found at a pub in Rasharkin.
Three Ballymena churches were targeted.

Mr Martin said the attacks were linked to a republican
parade in Ballymena.

Crebilly Catholic church on the outskirts of Ballymena and
All Saints Church on the Broughshane Road were daubed with
paint in the attacks.

The remains of a petrol bomb were found at the Glens Way
Tavern on the Glenravel Road in Martinstown early on

The bar was badly damaged in the arson attack.

Mr Martin condemned the attacks on church property as
"absolutely disgusting and disgraceful."

He added: "I would call on all people of influence in the
Ballymena area, whether elected or non-elected, to use
their influence in a very positive way to bring this
madness to an end.

"If it doesn't come to an end, I fear that someone will end
up losing their life."

However, he would not be drawn on which group was involved
in the attacks.

"It's loyalist paramiltary and we're looking very carefully
at who is involved," he said.

The republican parade is due to take place in Ballymena on
9 August. The Parades Commission is expected to issue a
ruling about it on Thursday.

Blast bomb

SDLP assembly member Sean Farren and party councillors
Declan O'Loan, PJ McAvoy and Margaret Gribben issued a
joint statement condemning the attacks.

"A concerted attack has now been launched on the Catholic
community in the Ballymena area by people who are intent on
raising community tension," they said.

"This situation has reached a dangerous level and calls for
a clear stand to ensure community relations are not damaged
beyond repair.

"Community leaders within the loyalist community have a
clear responsibility to use all their influence to end
these attacks."

Sinn Fein assembly member Philip McGuigan said: "This wave
of anti-Catholic sectarian attacks is simply the latest in
a long line of attacks on Catholics and nationalists in
north Antrim.

"Unionist politicians and, in particular, the DUP are in
denial about the levels of ongoing anti-Catholic
intimidation which is coming from within the unionist

However, police do not believe a blast bomb attack on a
house on the Antrim Road in the town is linked to the other

The device was thrown at the front door shortly after
midnight, causing minor damage to the house.

Twelve neighbours were moved to a church hall after Army
technical experts were called in.

They were allowed back to their homes at about 0400 BST.
Police are keeping an open mind as to the motive.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/26 11:38:23 GMT


Kelly Attacks PSNI Over Garnerville Collusion

Published: 26 July, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on policing issues Gerry Kelly today
accused the PSNI of engaging in very public collusion with
the UVF in the Garnerville estate in East Belfast over the
past few days.

Mr Kelly said:

" The situation in Garnerville is collusion between the
PSNI and loyalist gangs in a very public way.

" Families have been intimidated from their homes by
loyalists as the PSNI stand by and watch. This has echoes
of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when nationalists across
this city were forced to flee their homes in the face of
loyalist and state violence.

" The treatment received by Sean Kelly, currently interned
without any justification, also contrasts sharply with the
attitude adopted yesterday in Garnerville towards those
involved in the take over of an entire estate.

" In the past number of days alone in addition to the
internal loyalist feuding, we have seen loyalist
paramilitary attacks on three catholic churches in
Ballymena, an arson attack on the Holy Cross church in
Ardoyne, and attacks on Catholic homes and businesses in
North Antrim.

" All of this and the PSNI reaction to it is a
demonstration in a very public way that policing is still
not right.

" The sight of hundreds of masked loyalists on the streets,
intimidating families, side by side with the British Army
and PSNI and within yards of the PSNI training centre
obviously also has a impact on confidence in the wider
process." ENDS


Anger At Third Day Of Estate Takeover

PSNI 'Not In Control': Police Federation

By Jonathan McCambridge and Deborah McAleese
26 July 2005

The UVF occupation of an east Belfast housing estate was
today entering its third day, amid growing anger at police
refusal to disperse the mob.

There is growing unease from within the ranks of the PSNI
about the tactics being adopted at Garnerville. The Police
Federation, which represents 10,000 rank and file officers,
called the stand-off which began on Sunday "depressing" for
its members.

There was a handful of loyalists gathered at Glenlea Park
this morning, but they warned that their number would
increase later in the day to ensure that LVF factions did
not re-enter the area.

Police and troops continued to watch the situation but
senior officers have claimed they are powerless to act
unless there is a complaint made or an offence committed -
a stance flatly contradicted by politicians.

Hundreds of loyalists aligned to the UVF - an illegal
organisation - entered Glenlea Park on Sunday. A number of
people accused of LVF associations have since left their

There has been a loyalist and security force presence in
the estate ever since.

This morning there was one police car and one military
vehicle keeping a watch on the small number of men who had
remained in the area overnight.

One of the men said all the residents they "wanted out" had
now gone and would not be returning and the UVF presence in
the estate would increase again by tea-time.

One resident told the Belfast Telegraph that it had been
"fairly quiet" overnight. He added: "It has been quite
frightening for a few families - you don't know who they
are going to tell to get out next."

But many residents welcomed the occupation and were making
tea for the men this morning.

Local resident Mary Horner said: "We are finally getting a
good night's sleep without any worries."

But the Police Federation said officers were concerned that
policing was being undermined by what was happening at

A spokesman said: "The concern is that demonstrably the
police are not in control - what is happening is
unacceptable and depressing.

"The problem is fundamental. The UVF and LVF have been
allowed to thrive while the PSNI has been downsized. They
should be hauled off the streets completely.

"The public perception is they are beyond the law - there
should be no tolerance of their behaviour."

SDLP Policing Board member, Alex Attwood, added: "People
want to know how paramilitaries can intimidate people from
their homes and are allowed to get away with it.

"The police say they need a complaint - they do not. If
there is a gathering with the potential or the threat for a
breach of the peace then they can act to disperse it."

But Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson said police were
monitoring the situation and gathering evidence. "We
haven't seen any offences, otherwise we would have made
arrests and we haven't received complaints from members of
the public as yet."

Meanwhile, PUP chief David Ervine, who attended the scene
yesterday, was today writing to warn Secretary of State
Peter Hain against imposing cash sanctions on the party for
a second year claiming sanctions would be based on shoddy
intelligence on the UVF.

But SDLP deputy leader, Alasdair McDonnell, urged Mr Hain
"to face up to the truth about the UVF's so-called

The South Belfast MP said: "He must take a clear stance on
this. The SDLP wants all paramilitaries to go away and
everybody to accept the rule of law. That must apply as
much to the IRA as the UVF."


Police Presence At 'Feud' Estate

The police have retained a presence in an east Belfast
estate where some occupants have been forced out as part of
the loyalist paramilitary feud.

A crowd of up to 100 UVF and UDA men gathered in the
Garnerville area on Monday to prevent LVF members, who had
been forced out, from moving back.

Removal men emptied one house in Glenlea Park. Police said
they had not lost control of the estate.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said Monday had been a "bad day"
for policing.

"There was the appearance, not the reality, that in certain
parts of this city, people who were in or who were
associated with, or who may have been working on behalf of
the paramilitary organisations, that their writ ran," he

"That's a very bad message, a very bad image and a very bad
signal for policing. I think there's people in the police
who know all that."

Mr Attwood, a member of the Policing Board, urged police to
try to "frustrate" those trying to impose their will on the

A senior loyalist source told the BBC that UVF members went
to the area on Sunday night and warned those with LVF links
to leave.

A number of families left Glenlea Park at the weekend.

DUP East Belfast MP Peter Robinson said on Tuesday it was a
"very worrying and very dangerous situation".

"Not just the issues relating to the Garnerville estate,
but the potential is there for the whole situation to
spiral and for other kinds of activities to be going on on
other areas," he said.

He said police needed to be more pro-active against
paramilitaries taking control of areas.

"There were activities going on in that estate which people
were very unhappy about and the police weren't acting
against that," he said.

"To some extent....communities start looking to
paramilitaries to take the action the police are failing to

PSNI Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson said there had
disturbing scenes carried by the media, and admitted it had
been a "difficult day" for policing.

However, he stressed that police had been pro-actively
trying to deal with the feud.

"People may have got the impression that the police were
not in control of that, but the police were in control. We
would urge people not to take the law into their own

He pointed out that families had already moved out of the
area, when police arrived on Sunday evening.

Officers were monitoring and controlling the area, taking
names of those wearing masks, and gathering evidence, he

"One of the difficulties for us was that there were no
complaints from members of that community about those
people being there," he said.

"We looked at what those people were doing in the area to
see if we could gather any evidence of offences and if
there had been any arrests to be made, we would have made

He urged politicians to mediate in the situation, but
stressed that police needed information from the community.

"It really is something that politicians and others ...
they need to get to grips with this.. and have some sort of
mediation put in place to stop this feud," he said.

One resident said she welcomed what was happening in the

"These fellas walked in and told everybody 'we are going to
give you back your estate'.

"That's exactly what they've done - they've got a lot of
support here for what they've done."

Two lives have been claimed in the dispute between the
paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force and Loyalist Volunteer
Force groupings.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/26 08:11:36 GMT


Pair Escape Death In Pub Bombing

By Nevin Farrell
26 July 2005

A bride-to-be today spoke of her lucky escape after a pub
which she and her partner live above was burned out by
petrol bombers.

Angela O'Hagan (26) is getting married in six weeks time
but this morning preparations for her big day were halted
as she and her partner, Michael McKeown (27), recalled the
drama at the Glensway Tavern in Martinstown near Ballymena
in the early hours.

The bar - the third Catholic-owned premises to be targeted
in recent weeks in Ballymena - was singled out around
2.30am when a petrol bomb smashed through the lounge window
causing severe damage.

Angela, who works as a part-time barmaid in the pub, lives
above the premises and she and her partner were asleep.

They had to flee their home after another bar worker,
Eileen O'Hagan, was alerted to the attack and rushed to the

Eileen (40), shouted to the couple to alert them to the
danger below and as smoke was on the verge of billowing
into their flat they quickly pulled on their clothes to
escape out the back.

Angela said: "When I woke up I was a bit disorientated and
we had to get out quickly.

"The consequences don't really bear thinking about. I was
panicking although Michael was good. When we opened the
door the place was full of smoke."

Eileen O'Hagan, who came to the rescue after a phone call
from neighbours who heard breaking glass, played down any
suggestion that she was a heroine and had saved the
couple's lives.

Eileen said: "When I arrived I could see the flames through
the window and the smoke put me back. I was worried for the
occupants and I shouted up to them. At that stage the
police and Fire Service arrived."

Bar owner Colm McGlade, who lives in Ballymena, is in
Australia with his family.

There were several other attacks in the Ballymena area
overnight. A blast bomb exploded at a house in the loyalist
Ballee estate area but police said there were no reports of
any injuries.

The attack happened at 12.30am and as Army bomb disposal
experts moved in, around 12 people had to be evacuated from
their homes to a nearby church hall.

Also in Ballymena, two Catholic churches were paint-bombed.
White and blue paint was thrown at Crebilly Church on the
outskirts of the town while the town's main Catholic
Church, All Saints, was also attacked with white paint.


DUP Have Helped Create Environment For North Antrim Attacks

Published: 26 July, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan
has accused unionist paramilitaries of carrying out a
series of attacks last night in Ballymena, Martinstown and
Rasharkin, but accused the DUP of helping to create the
environment for those responsible to flourish.

Speaking from outside the bar attacked in Rasharkin Mr
McGuigan said:

" Last night two catholic churches were daubed with paint
in Ballymena as well as a family home attacked with a blast
bomb. Pubs in Martinstown and Rasharkin were also targeted
in arson attacks. This wave of anti-catholic sectarian
attacks is simply the latest list in a long line of attacks
on Catholics and nationalists in North Antrim.

" Unionist politicians and in particular the DUP are in
denial about the levels of ongoing anti-catholic
intimidation which is coming from within the unionist
community. I believe that these attacks are taking place in
an atmosphere generated by unwarranted commentary from
leading members of the DUP who have sought time and again
to demonise and isolate the nationalist community in areas
like Ballymena.

" The DUP in North Antrim have to wake up to the reality
that the days of second class citizenship are over.
Nationalists will never again allow themselves to be
treated with anything other than equality and respect. The
DUP having helped create the environment in which these
anti-catholic paramilitary gangs have flourished now have a
massive responsibility in taking decisive action to end
this campaign and ensure that last night incidents are the
last." ENDS


Feuding Loyalists Bring The Fear Back To Belfast

By David McKittrick
26 July 2005

Housing estates with 100 men or more milling about on the
streets; extra police patrols; homes and businesses shot at
and attacked with bombs; above all, two men shot dead.

Belfast's Protestant para-military strongholds are again
gripped in one of the bouts of sporadic feuding which erupt
in the loyalist underworld, claiming lives and causing much
social disruption. Such violence is a familiar part of the
Belfast landscape: each year of the past decade has seen
killings resulting from them, usually of active loyalists.

Two feuds are boiling, one of them centring on disputes
within the Ulster Defence Association, the largest
grouping. But the one causing most worry involves the
Ulster Volunteer Force, another large grouping apparently
intent on wiping out the smaller Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The UVF is generally regarded as the least bad of the
loyalist groups, largely because it is the most political
of the paramilitary organisations and supports the overall
peace process. But it is still a violent organisation
involved in organised crime, whose feuding with the LVF
frequently flares into open violence. In recent weeks, the
UVF has killed two men, one of whom had no obvious LVF

The LVF, which broke away from the UVF in 1996, was
initially involved in many sectarian killings but is now
regarded as essentially a straightforward drugs gang. A
senior loyalist said yesterday: "LVF criminality goes into
rapes, drugs and all that. The UVF is saying this has to
stop and is trying to mop all of this up. Maybe there
should have been one night of the long knives years ago;
that might have sorted a lot of this out."

The UVF has been targeting Ballysillan in north Belfast and
Garnerville in the east, areas where LVF members and
supporters tended to cluster. At Ballysillan, a loyalist
taxi firm was firebombed and two houses were pipe-bombed.

On Sunday, up to 300 people appeared in Garnerville with
the intention of expelling LVF families from the district.
Some families moved out; yesterday about 100 men were on
the streets.

Police have been monitoring the situation with patrols and
by helicopter. Ironically, Garnerville has strong security
associations, as the site of the police training college.

The Government has stopped allowances due to the UVF's
political wing, the Progressive Unionist party, because of
the violence. The UVF does not appear to have abandoned its
political aspirations, but these have been shelved during
its attacks on the LVF. The PUP leader, David Ervine, said
the feud will get worse, his party had no influence and was
powerless to intervene. He added: "The UVF is engaged in
murder and the planning of murder. Anyone who is not moved
by that isn't a human being. It's terrible and it must

Inside the UDA, recent tensions between the north and south
Belfast "brigades" led to 100 men from the north area
arriving in Sandy Row in the south of the city, where there
was what one UDA figure described as "a Mexican stand-off".

This resulted from an incident in which a north Belfast UDA
"got a duffing", in the words of a colleague, in the
southern brigade's area. The incident was peacefully
resolved, though the north Belfast leader's expensive
gambling habits may mean his days in a position of
responsibility may be numbered.


Just What Is Going On At Garnerville?

26 July 2005

A stand-off between the PSNI, Army and the UVF at an East
Belfast housing estate is the latest turn in a bloody
loyalist feud that has already claimed two lives. Reporter
Brian Hutton spent the day at the scene watching the events

What is happening at the housing estate in Garnerville?

Around 40 UVF-aligned loyalists, many hooded and hiding
their faces with scarves, have gathered at Glenlea Park to
prevent a number of LVF figures from returning to their
homes there.

It is believed one family was put out of the estate on
Saturday and a number of other people left voluntarily the
next day as the UVF mob gathered.

A stand-off developed after police and Army moved into the
area, just across the road from the PSNI training college,
at around 5pm on Sunday. Many of the mob are known to

What are the security forces doing about the situation?

Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson last night said his
officers were powerless to act unless there was a complaint
made and an offence committed.

"The police officers that are there have not received any
complaint from any member of the public, nor has the local

"There is a difficulty that people may be afraid to come
forward to the police, but I would ask those people to come
forward and make complaints if they feel that's what they
want to do.

"They can be reassured that the police will be ready to
investigate," he said.

Have the paramilitaries seized control of the area?

"The paramilitaries are not in control of that estate and
police have primacy in looking after law and order in that
area," stressed Chief Supt Wilson.

The police were "acting as a deterrent with their physical
presence" and were there to reassure the public, he
insisted. "The police are not standing around watching
people being put out of their homes. We have patrols along
with our military colleagues out in all parts of Belfast,
ensuring that the law is maintained throughout the area.

"We are aware of tensions in the area and our commanders
have been speaking to their local community representatives
and indeed to local politicians to try and get some
mediation done that will resolve this situation.

"We would ask anybody in the community that can help to
come forward and help us best they can," he said.

Are there any politicians in the area trying to resolve the

PUP leader David Irvine turned up yesterday afternoon to
speak to residents, police and the media.

The East Belfast MLA said that he could not "advocate" what
happened but blamed it on anti-social events going on over
the past year in the area.

"People have been shouted at, had guns waved at them,
elderly people have been terrorised and intimidated," he

"Clearly security services were allowing people to live up
the cul de sacs, sell the drugs, terrorise the people and
destabilise loyalism. And the more residents begged for the
government and police to do something about it, the worse
it got."

Mr Ervine said it was his understanding that the property
of those who left the area was left untouched "and is there
for collection at some future date."

What are the other politicians saying?

SDLP deputy leader Alistair McDonnell accused the UVF of
running amok and again called on Secretary of State Peter
Hain to review its ceasefire.

"It is outrageous that they feel so emboldened that they
can gather and intimidate people in broad daylight.

"It's outrageous that 11 years on from the ceasefires
people are expected to turn a blind eye to all of this
madness," he said.

Alliance MLA Naomi Long believes the forces of law and
order are being openly and publicly challenged.

"The apparent powerlessness of police in the face of this
intimidation leaves the community feeling extremely
vulnerable," she said.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson urged all sides to step
back from confrontation and warned that events could spiral
out of control.

He said: "There can be no justification for people being
involved in criminal or paramilitary activity. This applies
equally to loyalists as it does to republicans."

What do the residents have to say about what's been going

One resident who has lived in the estate for the past 25
years, said most people were relieved about what had
happened and felt "liberated".

A number of people, linked to the LVF, had taken control of
the estate and locals were living in fear of their lives,
she said.

"The situation has been hell. People were dictating what
you can and can't do, what you're allowed to have, what
you're not allowed to have," said the resident, who didn't
want to be identified for fear of being targeted.

"We're not allowed to have taxis. We're not allowed to have
take-away food deliveries, because they [the LVF] didn't
allow people into the estate. There are members of families
who can't come into the estate to visit.

"They were partying all night, drinking and taking drugs,
and keeping up residents who had to get up for work in the
morning. But if anybody makes noise during the day when
they're asleep, they would come out and say the LVF are
going to do you in."

"People here were totally sick of it. It is terrifying. You
don't know when somebody's going to rap your door and tell
you to get out, or trail your sons or your husband out and
give them a hiding."

She added: "I made complaints to the police and had been in
touch with the community police and as far as I can see the
police's hands are tied."

What role has the church played?

The Rev Richard Hill, minister of the Garnerville
Presbyterian Church, has been working to calm the

He said yesterday that things seemed calmer than on Sunday
night when a lot of residents were very fearful.


Police Step Up Patrols As Loyalist Tensions Mount

Tuesday 26th July 2005

Police are believed to have stepped up patrols in the
Waterside as fears mount that a deadly feud in Belfast
between the UVF and LVF could spread to the North West.

The 'Journal' has learned that the PSNI is bolstering its
presence in loyalist areas in a bid to prevent any
potential confrontation between rival groups.

One loyalist source confirmed that any further
deterioration of the situation in Belfast could have "an
ominous knock-on" effect in the Derry area.

It is believed police are taking all necessary steps to
stave off a wave of bloodletting between the UVF and LVF

Yesterday, dozens of UVF associates gathered in the
Garnerville area of east Belfast as the loyalist feud
plaguing the city worsened.

It followed an earlier bomb attack and a deliberate fire in
North Belfast linked to the feud.

It is understood some people have left their homes in
Garnerville over the feud.

A senior loyalist was quoted as saying that UVF members
went to the area on Sunday night and warned those with LVF
links to leave.

Already, two lives have been claimed in the dispute between
the two groups.

At the weekend, PUP leader David Ervine predicted that the
feud was going to get worse.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Mark Durkan last night branded the
ongoing feud "dangerous." "I have already written to the
Secretary of State urging him to review the UVF ceasefire,"
he said.

"People cannot be allowed to murder and maim and expect the
rest of us to turn a blind eye.

"Only recently, the UVF shot a young man and it now seems
that they have carried out two other serious attacks. They
must be called to account politically and through the
criminal justice system."

Mr. Durkan said loyalists were "up to their necks in
attacking vulnerable communities --and poisoning their own
with drugs." "That is why the two governments must bring
real pressure on the UVF and other loyalists to wind up all
their activity - now and for good," he added.

"While the police and the Assets Recovery Agency have
scored some successes against loyalists, loyalists have
been let off the hook by the political process. Just look
at last year's failed Sinn Fein/DUP deal - it did not deal
with loyalist terror at all.

"The SDLP is the only party to have published a detailed
strategy for closing down loyalist paramilitaries.

"It is time that this strategy was fully implemented - and
loyalists were put under real pressure to wind up or be
closed down."


Provos Hold Key Meeting In Derry

Joe Doran
Tuesday 26th July 2005

Provisional IRA held a top level meeting in the Brandywell
area of Derry last week at which key decisions were taken
on the organisation's future, the 'Journal' has learned.

It has emerged leading IRA figures met with rank and file
members in the Brandywell ahead of a ground-breaking
statement which the movement is expected to deliver on

The meeting took place in the same week the Irish Finance
Minister, Brian Cowen TD, travelled to the city to address
a business conference.

Republican sources have told the 'Journal' the meeting was
one of the most important since the IRA began conducting an
internal debate following Gerry Adams' call for it to
"embrace democracy".

Earlier this year, the Sinn Fein President said he believed
the way forward was by building political support for
republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and

Mr. Adams said the struggle had "reached a defining moment"
and he appealed to members of the IRA to move forward.

Following the call on April 6, the IRA said it would give
due consideration to the appeal and kick-started a massive
internal debate.

A source said yesterday: "The meeting in the Brandywell
area last week saw [the IRA's] top figures brief members on
what will happen this week.

It was a crucial meeting, one of the most important yet,
and key decisions were taken that will change the face of
the IRA as we know it."

It has since been reported that Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams,
Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris are no longer members
of the IRA army council.

The Irish Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has been
told by senior security officials that the three resigned
in a major reshuffle of the IRA's ruling body.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson played down suggestions a meeting
took place in Derry, adding: "I know nothing about it."

The party also said it would not get into speculation on
whether an IRA statement outlining its commitment to
pursuing its aims through purely political and democratic
means is imminent.

However, hopes that the IRA will make a ground-breaking
statement have been raised by reports that Martin
McGuinness will travel to the US later this week, and the
IRA statement may coincide with his visit.

The continued presence in Ireland of Canadian General John
de Chastelain - the head of the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning - is also fuelling hopes of a
significant development within days.


High Level Talks On Way Forward

By Noel McAdam
26 July 2005

Sinn Fein leaders have held top-level talks with the
British and Irish Governments ahead of the IRA's
anticipated statement aimed at kick-starting devolution
negotiations - possibly by the autumn.

The round of meetings, which included Tony Blair in Downing
Street and ended in Dublin last night, fuelled speculation
that the long-expected statement from the Provisionals will
come towards the end of this week.

As it was reported Decommissioning Commissioners General
John de Chastelain and Andrew Sens are in the province, it
also emerged Taoiseach Bertie Ahern intends being back at
his desk later in the week.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and chief negotiator Martin
McGuinness were involved in the meetings after which Mr
Adams said the focus was on achieving a positive outcome.

But he said the IRA's statement was only one part of moving
the political process forward.

"(We) are working very, very hard and I can tell you on
behalf of the Sinn Fein leadership that we are totally and
absolutely committed to moving this process ahead," he

"One, but only one, part of this is the IRA conclusion to
the internal consultation process and I repeat what I have
said before they need the space to conclude that."


Continued Political Inertia Not An Option - McLaughlin

Tuesday 26th July 2005

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin says he "earnestly hopes" an
eagerly anticipated statement from the IRA outlining its
future intent will be a positive one.

The Sinn Fein General Secretary insisted it was the
"political inertia" apparent in the process that had
prompted his party leader, Gerry Adams, to make a direct
appeal to the IRA to embrace purely political and
democratic activity.

Mr. McLaughlin pointed out: "The IRA leadership responded
to this appeal very quickly by initiating an internal
debate - a debate that has generated much speculation as to
the timing and content of any forthcoming IRA statement.

"I have no intention of joining in that speculation as we
await the conclusion of those discussions.

"Suffice to say that I fully support Gerry Adams' appeal
and earnestly hope that the IRA's response is positive."

Mr. McLaughlin's believes such a response would impact
significantly on the political situation.

"It would instil immediate momentum into the peace process;
deal with genuine unionist concerns, remove from the
leadership of Unionism its excuse for non-engagement while
putting enormous pressure on the DUP to engage actively in
the peace process for the first time.

"The historical political role of the DUP gives little
cause for optimism but, despite this, Sinn Fein is prepared
to engage with the DUP because nonengagement is not an

Refusing to talk to your political opponents, he said, was
a failure of political leadership and "only perpetuates the
conditions in which conflict can occur."

He added: "Sinn Fein recognise and accept the DUP's
electoral mandate. While we disagree fundamentally with its
political agenda we are prepared to do political business
with them just as they must do business with us because we
also have an electoral mandate; because we are the largest
nationalist party in the North; the largest pro-Agreement
party in the North and the third largest party on the
island of Ireland."

At some point in time, says the Foyle MLA, the DUP will
have to enter the world of "political dialogue, compromise
and agreement."

"At some point they will also come to realise that there is
no alliterative to the all-Ireland architecture and the
equality agenda of the Good Friday Agreement.

"In the meantime, it is incumbent on the two governments to
forge ahead with the agenda of change set out in the
Agreement endorsed by the people of Ireland, north and
south. Continued political inertia is not an option. "The
road map is clear. The future for all the people of
Ireland, north and south, has to be based on equality, on
inclusivity and mutual respect.

"The divisions in the north have to be resolved peacefully
through open and direct dialogue. Injustice, prejudice and
intolerance, whether sectarian, racist or sexist must be
confronted. "The growing diversity of the Irish nation,
including the large section of people who define themselves
as British, must be accommodated in a new and modern

"The way forward for all of us, north and south, lies in
ending divisions through direct dialogue and in celebrating
difference and diversity as something, which enriches our


IRA Disarmament Must Be Complete, Warns McDowell

The IRA must put every gun and every bullet in its arsenal
beyond use if they are to fully embrace politics, Irish
Justice Minister Michael McDowell insisted today.

By:Press Association

Mr McDowell stressed that if the terror group was fully
committed to abandoning the armed struggle for good, the
proof would be in the actions not words of its members.

"There is no position whatsoever between being armed and
being unarmed for the IRA," the minister said.

"There is no question of there being some quota of arms
being held back or whatever. If the IRA are decommissioning
they must decommission all their weapons in their entirety,
every single pistol, every single bullet, the lot."

In the last week speculation has mounted that the IRA will
make a groundbreaking statement on its future after
spending the last four months debating with members.

In April, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams urged the IRA to
debate his view that the days of armed struggle for
republicans were over, urging the organisation to embrace
purely peaceful and democratic means. His comments were
endorsed by Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness.

Both men were in Downing Street yesterday for meetings in
advance of the statement, leading many to believe the
Provisionals are ready to respond.

Mr McDowell said he believed changes had been made in the
recent weeks to the make-up of the IRA`s eight-man ruling
army council but he stressed the movement could not
continue in existence.

"There has to be an end to all crime, there has to be an
end to all paramilitarism and there has to be a complete
and total ending of the situation whereby the IRA have
access to arms and that means decommissioning of a
verifiable kind," the minister said.

"In that context, once that happens then the IRA has to
address its own future and it can`t continue in existence."

But the minister refused to be drawn on the risks dissident
republican terrorists could pose to a lasting settlement in
Northern Ireland.

"That`s a different matter, I am dealing with the
Provisional movement and saying that there cannot be any
partial armament," he said.

Mr McDowell reiterated his views that the IRA had to be
clear in their intentions and willing to walk away from
terrorism for good.

"Put it this way, there will be no breakthrough unless all
those elements are there. And the other thing is that I
want to emphasise that the Taoiseach has consistently
emphasised, as Prime Minister Blair has emphasised, that it
is actions not words that count," he said.

"Obviously I will look carefully at words and so will every
other member of the Government of this state and in the
United Kingdom look at the words they are using but the
real issue is whether the actions match the words.

"We are no longer in the business of fudge or equivocation.
There has to be clear unambiguous language and the people
of these islands are entitled to clear, unambiguous


End Culture Of Cover-Up And Control

Tuesday 26th July 2005

All paramilitaries must end their culture of "cover up and
control", SDLP leader Mark Durkan has told the 'Journal'.

The Foyle MP said: "The Good Friday Agreement promised
justice and human rights for everybody. Yet too often the
actions of paramilitaries have been about denying people
these things.

"Back-street beatings, intimidation and coverups have no
place in the new Ireland promised by the Agreement. But,
for too many, they are still a frightening reality.

"All paramilitaries must now end their iron grasp on

"Their culture of coverup and control must end. People must
be free to live their lives as they wish, free of fear and

"We need all paramilitaries off our backs so our
communities can get off their knees.

"Just as we could never accept the police acting as if they
are above the law, we cannot accept paramilitaries acting
as if they are the law - free to decide themselves what is
and is not a crime."

The SDLP, he said, was calling on every paramilitary
organisation to accept the rule of law.

"That means accepting that if any of their members breaks
the law, they must be held accountable.

"It means working with policing - not hindering police
investigations. It means ending involvement in organised
crime. "That is a key demand of the Good Friday Agreement.
It is a standard of Irish democracy in the 21st century.

"It is a yardstick against which all paramilitaries on all
sides must be measured."


Don't Let IRA Off The Hook, Urges Empey

By Gary Grattan
26 July 2005

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey has warned the Prime Minister not
to let republicans "off the hook".

Accompanied by UUP chief negotiator Alan McFarland, North
Down MP Sylvia Hermon and Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA
Tom Elliot, Sir Reg yesterday held his first meeting with
Tony Blair as leader of the UUP.

Speaking after the meeting, the East Belfast MLA said: "The
spotlight must be shone rigorously on the IRA's involvement
in criminality even if the terror group comes out with a
positive statement on its future this week.

"We warned the Prime Minister not to allow republicans to
distance themselves from their criminal operation after the

"We believe there is a risk after the IRA's response to
Gerry Adams is issued that they will move to privatise
their criminal activities.

"Simply making statements that criminal activity has not
been authorised by the leadership of the organisation and
has been carried out by criminal elements will not be good

"We will not tolerate any attempt by them to weasel their
way out of responsibility for criminal activity."

Sir Reg was commenting as speculation mounted that the IRA
will issue a positive statement this week in response to
the Sinn Fein leader's call in April for the organisation
to embrace democratic and peaceful means exclusively.

Some sources have suggested that the IRA may talk about its
members ending active service and instead forming
republican clubs.

However, unionists are insistent that all involvement by
the IRA in paramilitary and criminal activity must end.

For Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Sir Reg's Ulster
Unionists that means an end to the recruitment of new
members, training, intelligence gathering, targeting,
weapons importation and involvement in all violence and

They are also demanding an end to IRA involvement in
robberies, smuggling, cigarette and alcohol smuggling, the
manufacture and sale of pirate DVDs, CDs and computer
games, and the laundering of money through legitimate

It is also expected that the IRA will announce a
significant act of weapons decommissioning.


Ervine: Loyalists Want Clear IRA Statement

26/07/2005 - 10:15:55

Loyalists would like to see a clear and unambiguous
acceptance from the IRA that the way forward for
republicanism is only through politics, Progressive
Unionist leader David Ervine said today.

With speculation intensifying that the IRA will issue a
groundbreaking statement on its future this week, possibly
Thursday, Mr Ervine said loyalists wanted a clear
indication that republicans were abandoning their armed
struggle for good.

While he acknowledged that most unionists would be
sceptical about the statement, Mr Ervine said the
significance of a statement committing the Provisionals to
exclusively peaceful and democratic means should not be

"When the statement is issued, I will obviously be looking
for the IRA to say the war is over, for a recognition of
that and for the abandonment of armed struggle," the
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader, whose party is
linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando,

"Our experience is that the IRA never uses the words people
want but whatever they say, it has to be clear and
unambiguous that their armed struggle is over.

"In many respects, it doesn't matter for some unionists and
loyalists what the IRA says. After the Northern Bank
robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney, they may not
even read the statement but judge the IRA on what it does
or doesn't do on the ground.

"I will certainly be reading it and if the statement
indicates the start of an ideological shift by the IRA and
that is communicated clearly, it will be very, very

With the Ulster Volunteer Force currently engaged in a
bitter feud with the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force which
has left two people dead, Mr Ervine said the terror group
was focussing heavily on that situation.

But he said they would also be watching the IRA's

"The UVF and Red Hand have given no indication to me that
they have lost interest in the peace process," the East
Belfast MLA said.

"The theory they are putting to me is that they will return
to the process."


Dundrum A No-Fly Zone For Army Choppers

By Deborah McAleese
26 July 2005

Army helicopter crews have been ordered to avoid flying
over a Co Down village because of the number of noise
complaints received.

Dundrum residents have lodged several complaints about
helicopter nuisance and now crews have been briefed to
avoid whenever possible the village and its surrounding

The village is close to Ballykinlar camp, which is used for
major training exercises, particularly during the weeks
before the start of the marching season.

In a bid to maintain good relations with the community the
army has decided to try and keep away from the area.

The move has been welcomed by SDLP MLA for the area
Margaret Ritchie, who said: "Helicopter noise is intrusive
and at long last the Ministry of Defence is listening to
the concerns of local people about the impact this noise
has on residents in Dundrum.

"I welcome this development and hope this new policy
direction will be sustained in the future."

The Army has introduced a number of pro-active initiatives
in a bid to address the problem of helicopter nuisance
across the province.

According to the Independent Assessor of Military
Complaints Procedures in Northern Ireland, more than 800
complaints about Aarmy helicopter nuisance were made over
the past two years.

The report admits there is quite a high number of
complaints but these have been reduced from 492 in 2003 to
316 in 2004.

In his report, independent assessor James McDonald said:
"Military helicopters, by their nature, are noisy - and it
remains difficult to see how their noise can be reduced."

However, he pointed out that in a bid to address complaints
the RAF invites persistent complainants to see the
extensive planning that takes place before flights.

The joint helicopter force, based at Aldergrove, has also
engaged in a number of community relations exercises to
help the public better understand the problems of planning
helicopter activity.


Sinn Fein Want All-Ireland Growth Reports Published

Tuesday 26th July 2005

Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the British
government of withholding two audit reports produced by the
Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) that reflect the growth
in all-Ireland activity.

Calling for their immediate publication, Mr. McLaughlin,
Sinn Fein's general secretary, said the Good Friday
Agreement had set out a range of all-Ireland areas of co-
operation and implementation bodies which formalised the
process of harmonising and co-ordinating the work of
government on an all-Ireland scale.

"The Common Chapter gave a structure within which much of
this work was to be taken forward in order to deliver an
all-Ireland economy," he said.

"The SEUPB had a defined role to 'record and promote' the
degree and extent of all-Ireland activity. This was agreed
by the two Governments and all parties to the agreement and
was reflected within the legal instrument establishing the

"To date, the SEUPB has produced two reports detailing all-
Ireland activity over the past four years. They will
demonstrate a clear growth in this activity reflecting the
widening recognition of the necessity and irreversibility
of the path towards ever-greater integration along the path
to political unity. "I understand that the SEUPB have been
ready to publish these reports for a number of months now
and that the problem resides with the Department of
Enterprise, Trade and Investment which is delaying
publication of these documents using the suspension of the
Six County Executive as an excuse.

"I am appalled that the 'care and maintenance' arrangements
which were put in place by the two governments following
the British Government's suspension of the Six County
Executive are now being used to withhold these documents.

"I am also concerned that this reflects the DETI bowing to
the political sensitivities of unionist politicians who
don't want the wider public to understand the real state of
play in Ireland today.

"Care and Maintenance arrangements were supposed to mean
that all-Ireland bodies would continue the work to which
they had already been committed," the Foyle MLA concluded.


Building Boom Is Wiping Out History

MLA calls for more digs at sensitive sites

By Michael McHugh
26 July 2005

The Government should undertake archaeological digs at
sensitive development sites to prevent the destruction of
more of Ulster's precious history, a local Assemblyman said

Planners can order a developer to search the proposed site
for artefacts before planning permission is granted but
Upper Bann Assemblyman Sam Gardiner believes this system is
open to abuse.

Most of the remnants of an early Christian farmstead in
Waringstown, Co Down, were destroyed during construction of
a housing site in 2001 after the developer failed to
investigate and record archaeological remains.

Mr Gardiner said it would be more logical if the DoE's
Environment and Heritage Service undertook searches and
then billed developers.

"As a result of building development nothing now remains of
this Rath and any tourist potential it possessed is now
lost for ever. Some might regard this as an act of cultural
and historical vandalism," he said.

Mr Gardiner asked Environment Minister Angela Smith to take
action and was told in a written reply that it was up to
the developer to search for remains.

"What concerned me most about the Minister's reply was
that, under the polluter pays principle, it was for the
developer to undertake any archaeological recording of the
site, and not for the DoE," Assemblyman Mr Gardiner added.

"Clearly, developers are not equipped to undertake such a

The early Christian Rath in Waringstown dated back to
AD600-900 but the visible part of it was destroyed by
agricultural development prior to 1930.

The minister said: "A majority of the surviving below
ground remains of its archaeological deposits were
destroyed during the construction of a housing development
in the summer of 2001 when the developer failed to
implement planning conditions seeking to have
archaeological remains investigated and recorded.

"Nothing remains at this location to be protected. It is
important to note that under the 'polluter pays' principle
it is for the developer to undertake archaeological
recording - not the Department."

Rita Harkin, from the Ulster Architectural Heritage
Society, said it was important to have an independent body
survey the area. "You can't have much faith in the
developer, there is no incentive to do that," she said.
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