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July 31, 2005

Loyalist Survived Prev Murder Bid

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 07/31/05 Loyalist Man Survived Previous Murder Bid
SL 07/31/05 Loyalist Is Shot Dead
SL 07/31/05 UVF To Push Terror Rivals Into Antrim Estate
SL 07/31/05 LVF Smoked Out After Barbecue
SL 07/31/05 Accused Was Pal Of Slain LVF Boss
SB 07/31/05 The Mystery Of The Miami Murders
SL 07/31/05 Face To Face
BB 07/31/05 Church Attacks 'Were Desecration'
UT 07/31/05 Unionists Warn Against 'All-Ireland Parliament'
IO 07/31/05 DUP: Test Period IRA Could Be Extended
SB 07/31/05 Loyalists Are Still Not Convinced
SL 07/31/05 DUP May Challenge Kelly's Jail Release
SL 07/31/05 Straight Talking: A Sour Reaction


Man Survived Previous Murder Bid

The man who was shot dead in north Belfast had survived a
previous murder bid six and half years ago.

Loyalist sources said Stephen Paul, 29, had links to the
paramilitary group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

He was shot at Wheatfield Crescent, Crumlin Road, on
Saturday at about 1740 BST. Another man was injured.

The murder has been linked to the continuing feud between
loyalist paramilitaries, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the

It is understood that the dead man came from a family which
is well known within loyalism and within the criminal

His uncle, William Paul, known as Wassy, was shot dead at
his home in Bangor's Kilcooley estate in July 1998. He was
a drug dealer with loyalist connections.

Stephen Paul lived in the same estate. In January 1999, he
was ambushed outside his house. He managed to stagger to a
main road to get help and underwent emergency surgery.

It is understood that he had served a number of jail terms,
including one for seriously assaulting his partner.

Security sources said he was involved in criminality,
particularly in drug dealing.

He had received numerous death threats over the years and
had moved house on several occasions.

It is the third killing in the feud between rival loyalist

The police said their investigation was at an early stage.

Police are conducting searches of the scene of the murder.

Officers in white forensic suits are searching the area
around Wheatfield Crescent.

'End violence now'

BBC Ireland correspondent Denis Murray said it was not
clear whether the Ulster Volunteer Force or another
loyalist group carried out the killing.

Police were still at the scene of the shooting on Sunday.

Earlier, two streets off Crumlin Road had been cordoned off
and at least nine Army Land Rovers were also seen heading
to the scene.

Police officers were also stationed at Belfast's Mater

NI Secretary Peter Hain has condemned the murder.

Mr Hain said he was discussing the situation with Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde.

"This is a grisly murder of a mafia kind - gangsterism
masquerading as loyalism," said Mr Hain.

"It has to stop - it is intolerable. I will be talking to
the chief constable about stopping it.

"We have got to root out this mob violence and gangsterism
from loyalist communities which have suffered so much."

SDLP Belfast deputy lord mayor Pat Convery said it was
clear the loyalist feud was "spiralling out of control".

"Each death is a tragedy leaving a family to grieve and the
community to suffer," he said.

Chief Superintendent Mike Little, head of the police's
North Belfast District Command Unit, described the killing
as a "senseless attack".

The police are appealing for information about a small blue
car that may have been used by the killers.

The vehicle was found burnt out in the nearby Forthriver

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/31 11:21:34 GMT


Loyalist Is Shot Dead

UVF blamed as feud against LVF escalates

By Sinead McCavana and Ciaran McGuigan
31 July 2005

UVF gunmen shot dead notorious LVF-linked criminal Stephen
Paul last night.

The 29-year-old, who was recently released from prison, was
riddled with bullets as he sat in a red Transit van, just
yards from his father's home in Wheatfield Crescent, off
the Crumlin Road.

His passenger, a man, was also shot in the attack but his
injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Last night Paul's devastated son, Lee Brown, spoke to
Sunday Life just hours after the shooting, which took place
around 5.40pm.

"Cowardly bastards killed my father," he said.

"I'm only 15 years old and my father was only 29.

"People think he was in the LVF but he wasn't, because I
asked him myself and he said 'no'.

"If my father had been in the LVF he would have said so,
that was the type he was."

Paul is the third victim of the current loyalist feud
between the LVF and UVF.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, ran to the scene
of the shooting after hearing up to 10 rounds being fired.

"I heard a lot of shots, maybe 10. It sounded like an
automatic weapon because they were so close together," he

"The van was sprayed with bullets, the glass was shattered.

"Stephen's father was trying to help him, he was still in
the front seat. The other guy was walking - he'd been hit
but he could walk.

"The police were there very quickly but the ambulance
seemed to take a while to get there.

"His father was telling police he wanted to take him to
hospital in his car.

"The police officers did their best - they got him out of
the van and onto the ground, where they were working on

The injured victim was still being treated in the Mater
Hospital last night.

Police are appealing for information, especially from
anyone who saw a small blue car, registration RDZ 5600, in
the area.

The vehicle was found burnt out in Forthriver Drive.

Paul was a career criminal and a notorious thug, who had
previously escaped a number of murder bids at the hands of

He was also a serial wife-beater, who was jailed in 2001
for a catalogue of offences against his young partner.

On one occasion the vicious thug beat his wife unconscious.

One loyalist source last night claimed that Paul had a
public row with the UVF's 'military commander' last week,
which sealed his fate.

Said the source: "Paul had a row with this man, and offered
him a 'fair dig' in front of a lot of people.

"But the other guy ducked the challenge and told Paul that
he was a 'dead man'.

"That was just a few days ago, and now he's dead."

But Paul had been on the hit-lists of a number of loyalist
paramilitary figures for several years.

In January 1999, he miraculously survived a murder bid in
Bangor's Kilcooley estate.

His uncle, drug-dealer William 'Wassy' Paul, was killed in
1999 by Red Hand Commando Frankie Curry, apparently over a
personal grudge.

Stephen Paul had a tattoo on his right arm: "In loving
memory of Uncle Wassy murdered by a cowardly b------."

DUP MLA Nelson McCausland last night appealed for feuding
loyalists to end the violence.

"Whatever the background, whatever the circumstances,
whatever the justification, there can be no justification
for the taking of life," he said.

"This feud is tearing communities apart, the unionist
community wants it brought to an end."

Local SDLP MLA Alban Maginness added his condemnation,
saying the UVF could not profit from the violence.

"They must pull back immediately. In the week of the IRA's
decision, it is imperative loyalists get their act together
and end this violence now."

Thug no stranger to violence

COCKY criminal and serial wife-beater Paul was riddled with
bullets in a previous loyalist murder bid - and then spat
his defiance in an interview with Sunday Life.

Paul, then just 22, - but already a father-of-four - was
ambushed outside this home in Bangor in January 1999.

From his hospital bed, with a bullet still lodged in his
neck, he vowed to return to Bangor, saying: "I want to go
back to prove that I'm not afraid. They have tried their
best shot and I have survived . . . I don't fear them."

Paul was no stranger to violence. Just 24 hours before he
was shot, he'd appeared in court on a charge of threatening
to kill.

He was a gangster, drug dealer and self-confessed wife-

He had been shot five times in the legs by the UDA when he
was just 16. After that attack, he moved to Bangor where he
continued his criminal life.

During a stretch in jail he formed an unlikely alliance
with LVF drug dealer Adrian Porter.

Porter had been right-hand man to loyalist Frankie Curry,
who shot dead Paul's uncle, William 'Wassy' Paul, in 1998.

Stephen Paul, who idolised his uncle, hated Curry but
became close to Porter - the two bound by a mutual interest
in drugs, crime and a shared hatred and fear of senior
UVF/Red Hand Commando figures.

Porter was shot dead by the Red Hand Commando in Conlig in
March 2001.

Paul lived in fear of a similar attack by people close to
his former wife, who accused him of beating her.

It is believed that is why he was ambushed in Kilcooley in
1999, and he later received threats, including a bullet
delivered to his house.

And in October 2001, Paul was jailed for six-and-a-half
years after confessing to a shameful list of crimes against
his wife, including threats to kill, false imprisonment and
a string of brutal assaults.


To Hell or Ballycraigy!

UVF Plan To Push Terror Rivals Into Antrim Estate

By Aland Murray
31 July 2005

THE UVF is planning to drive LVF remnants in north Down
across the Lagan into exile in Co Antrim.

And, UVF bosses are preparing for another Garnerville-style
mass invasion - this time in Ballysillan, north Belfast,
before forcing their rivals to Ballycraigy, in Antrim.

Local commanders in east Belfast and north Down have been
ordered to concentrate on pushing the remaining small knot
of LVF activists and associates out of Holywood, where they
fled to, after being forced to leave the nearby Garnerville

But, a heavy PSNI presence in Holywood, since Wednesday,
has prevented the UVF from repeating their saturation
tactics in Garnerville, which intimidated LVF opponents
from the area, last Sunday and Monday.

But, a reliable source told Sunday Life: "The UVF
leadership wants them out of Holywood, and they won't let
them move down to Bangor, nor will the UDA. Neither
organisation wants the LVF about them, because of the
trouble they cause.

"The UVF intends to hit the dozen or so flats and houses,
occupied by the LVF, in Holywood, and force them out," one
source revealed.

The UVF expects what remains of the organisation in east
Belfast and Holywood to decamp to Ballysillan, in north

"The UVF feels that it can deploy enough men in Ballysillan
to intimidate the LVF out of there, just as they have done
in east Belfast, and plan to do in Holywood and ultimately
drive the LVF to Ballycraigy, in Antrim, well out of the
way, and out of striking distance".


LVF Smoked Out After Barbecue

By Alan Murray
31 July 2005

THE UVF's drive against the LVF in east Belfast, last
weekend, wasn't planned.

What began as a minor incident snowballed, but now the UVF
is keen to repeat what it regards as a successful tactic
against it's bitter rivals.

Loyalist sources say the UVF operation, in Garnerville,
which drove out the LVF, last Sunday and Monday, began with
a few UVF men having a barbecue, before they turned to give
LVF rivals a grilling.

It's understood that on Sunday evening, a leading UVF man
went to the area with another UVF man, who had been put out
of the estate by the LVF months previously.

Along with two other UVF men they went to the exiled man's
old home, in Garnerville, where his wife and family still
live, and decided to have a barbecue.

After a few drinks, more UVF men were invited to come up
and join in, and eventually the now swollen UVF party
decided to pay a visit to the home of one of the LVF
figures in the estate.

"It just snowballed after that. The LVF man panicked and
jumped into his car and fled, and the UVF men thought this
was a successful ploy and went to another couple of houses,
phoned up more UVF men, and went from house to house,
telling the LVF men that they were staying in the estate.
The rest is local history," one loyalist revealed.

"It wasn't a grand plan by the UVF leadership, it all just
bubbled out of a barbecue, a few drinks, knocking on a few
doors, and the LVF panicked.

"They thought they were going to be hammered, but there was
no big UVF plan, and the LVF just put one and one together
and got three.

"But, now that it's done, there will be no going back, and
the UVF will push on to Holywood to winkle them out of
there, and put them across the river."

Loyalist sources also revealed that unknown to the UVF, a
key LVF figure in Garnerville had been 'stood down' by its
overall leadership just two days earlier.

The man, who we can't name for legal reasons, is a relative
of a man shot dead in a loyalist feud.

LVF sources have confirmed to Sunday Life, that he was
relieved of his position within the small terror group, a
couple of days before the UVF invaded the estate.

'Freedom Party' for troubled estate

WHAT a difference a few days make.

There was a party atmosphere in the Garnerville estate
yesterday, where, earlier in the week, masked UVF men and
supporters invaded to drive out people accused of links to
the rival LVF group.

Yesterday, kids played on bouncy castles, and had their
faces painted in a street celebration, dubbed a Freedom

One local woman, a long term resident, said: "We're calling
it a Freedom Party because we don't have the LVF here
anymore to torture us."

Some residents, who favoured the UVF invasion, claimed they
were glad to see the back of LVF elements, who they blamed
for drug dealing, noisy all-night parties, intimidation,
and other anti-social behaviour, during the last couple of


Accused Was Pal Of Slain LVF Boss

By Ciaran McGuian
31 July 2005

A MAN charged with an attempted murder in a Co Down
cemetery was a close pal of slain LVF godfather Steven

Robert Black (35), described by senior security sources as
a "leading light" in the LVF, appeared in court last week,
accused of abducting and shooting a man in an incident in
Holywood in June.

However, career criminal Black's violent, drug-dealing past
was raised in an earlier court hearing, in which the
gangster-busting Assets Recovery Agency seized around
£200,000 from the estate of murdered LVF chief Warnock.

Warnock was gunned down in September 2002 while driving
through Newtownards with his three-year-old daughter, in
the back of his £30,000 BMW.

Judge Girvan painted Warnock as a drug-dealing paramilitary
godfather and said: "He associated with Robert Black, a
known and proven drug dealer with 103 convictions for
various offences including the importation of drugs,
possession with intent to supply, robbery, burglary,
deception and crimes of violence."

A senior security source told Sunday Life: "Black is one of
the most violent and dangerous members of the LVF.

"When he was remanded in custody, it made it a lot easier
for the UVF to go into the Garnerville estate and start
putting people out.

"With him still there, it could have turned very messy."

Black, who survived a UVF murder bid near a south Belfast
primary school two months ago, was arrested last weekend by
detectives investigating a brutal shooting in Co Down last

A 26-year-old man was lucky to be left alive after being
blasted in the chest with a shotgun.

He had earlier been abducted by three men from a filling
station on the Old Holywood Road and taken to the Redburn

Black, from Glenlea Park in Belfast, appeared in Ards
Magistrate's Court last Monday charged with attempted

Another man, Jonathan Smyth (22), also from Glenlea Park,
is also charged with the attempted murder, which Crown
lawyers have linked to the ongoing feud between the rival
UVF and LVF paramilitaries.

The charges were scheduled, and will be heard before a
judge sitting without a jury if they proceed to the Crown


The Mystery Of The Miami Murders

31 July 2005 By Tom McGurk

It was the night the music died: July 31, 1975. Exactly 30
years ago today. By 1975, the North might have imagined it
had endured all possible horrors.

Bloody Sunday had given way to Bloody Friday. Other
smaller-scale Bloody Mondays and Tuesdays took place almost
every other week.

We all knew that sudden inexplicable death lurked behind
hedges and under road culverts, and that streets could be
reduced in a flash to a landscape of wrecked cars,
collapsed buildings and chunks of human flesh. But somehow,
lining up a showband in their platform shoes by the side of
a country road and executing them with dum-dum bullets had
been beyond most imaginings - until then.

Who would want to strafe the ballroom of romance with

Thirty years later, it is still impossible to comprehend.
What point on the scale of atrocities had a society reached
when musicians had become legitimate targets? Wherever that
point was, the North had reached it on July 31, 1975.

The night began, like so many others, for the Miami
Showband in a small ballroom in the North - the Castle
Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down. By the early 1970s,
Ireland's showbands were at the height of their popularity.

Although they didn't realise it then, the new discos with
their recorded music and bar extensions were only a few
years away. That change came later, not just because the
publicans were battling with the dancehalls for customers,
but also because of the fate that befell the Miami

The showband business had always been a 32-county industry
and, even in the worst of times in the North, when the dark
winter roads were alive with armed men, both legal and
illegal, the Northern dancehalls were full.

In contrast to the North's streets, which fell silent after
teatime, the dancehalls were rare oases of light and sound,
especially in the border counties. They were open Thursdays
to Sundays and, it being the North, Sunday nights were
hugely busy. The dancehalls were mostly popular with the
Catholic population.

Despite intensive security force checkpoints, punters
regularly criss-crossed the border from Tyrone to Monaghan
and Donegal to Armagh to dance. The then part-time, locally
recruited Ulster Defence Regiment regularly manned
checkpoints; tales of harassment and roadside beatings were

For Northern Catholics, their determination to attend
dances became a symbol of their refusal to be intimidated
by the checkpoints and of their insistence of maintaining
cultural links with the South.

That the majority of the showbands came from the South did
little to enamour this social scene to their loyalist
neighbours. Given the deepening sectarianisation of the
Troubles, the dancehalls increasingly became Catholic
places of entertainment where, as one loyalist newssheet
put it: "They played nothing but rebel music." Nor did the
practice of playing Amhrán na bhFiann at the end of dances
help to dispel this attitude.

But, 30 years ago in Banbridge, when three members of the
Miami Showband played their last ever gig, there was little
about the occasion that could be seen as "rebellious''. The
crowd in the Castle Ballroom was small and mixed, and the
Miami's repertoire was contemporary and transatlantic.

By 2.30am, they had packed up their gear and were finally
leaving in two vehicles. The equipment van was driven by
road manager Brian Maguire, and the band van was driven by
band member Brian McCoy.

In the second van was the Miami's lead singer and Ireland's
newest heart-throb, Fran O'Toole, along with Anthony
Geraghty, Stephen Travers and Des McAlea. A sixth band
member, drummer Ray Millar, left in his own car and drove
northwards to spend the night with his parents in Antrim.

As they left Banbridge, with Maguire's equipment vehicle in
the lead, they had to negotiate the opening of the town's
security barriers with RUC members manning them. Maguire
later recalled that, as he drove away, a few minutes ahead
of the other vehicle, up the bypass towards Newry, he
noticed a blue Triumph 2000 pulling out from a lay-by,
slowing down and then accelerating while furiously flashing
its lights. He drove on towards the border, not imagining
what was about to happen to the van being driven by McCoy.

It was later obvious that this car was tracking the second
van because, within moments of McCoy pulling into a lay-by
(as directed by the purported security force checkpoint
that they had just encountered), the car pulled in rapidly
behind them.

To the band members, it was just another British Army
checkpoint, a regular occurrence in the North.

Seemingly, the atmosphere was relaxed as the band got out
while the "soldiers'' searched the van. In fact, one of the
"soldiers'' - later identified in court by McAlea as James
McDowell - became angry with his colleagues joking and
chatting with the band. He promptly ordered the band to
line up beside the hedge and give their names.

At this point, Travers said later, a man in a different
uniform and beret arrived and he spoke with a discernible
English accent. Travers's description of the man's beret
was later dismissed in court as mistaken. But he remembers
that this man suddenly seemed to be in charge, demanding
that names and dates of birth be taken. At this point,
Travers noticed two men at the back of the open van and,
fearing that they might damage his guitar, he broke from
the line-up to warn them. He was unceremoniously shoved
back into position.

Suddenly, there was a loud explosion from the back of the
van, and everyone in its vicinity was blown in all
directions. According to the two survivors, McAlea (who was
blown over a ditch) and Travers, the surviving members of
the patrol were then determined to kill all of the band
members to destroy evidence.

O'Toole, who was lying on the ground, was machine-gunned 22
times in the face. Geraghty was shot four times in the
back. McCoy was shot nine times in the back, with the same
pistol that was used to kill Long Kesh escapee John Francis
Green in Co Monaghan six months earlier.

Remarkably, Travers and McAlea survived. Travers pretended
he was dead, while McAlea managed to flee across the
fields. Travers later recalled someone saying: "Come on,
those bastards are dead. I got them with dum-dums."

The survivors left an unimaginable scene. Body parts were
strewn over a hundred feet from the wrecked van, including
an arm with "UVF'' tattooed on it. The RUC later recovered
a total of two guns and three magazines, plus the berets,
at the scene. The forensic tests on these weapons revealed
the links of the gang to a series of sectarian killings
right across the so-called 'murder triangle'.

More significantly, the two dead attackers, Harris Boyle
and Wesley Somerville, were not only UVF members but also
serving soldiers in the Ulster Defence Regiment and in
uniform at the time.

They were later given a UVF paramilitary funeral - complete
with a volley of shots and a service conducted by the Rev
William McCrea (now the DUP MP for South Antrim).

Even worse was to follow for the UDR. Three more members of
the regiment were eventually convicted for their part in
the attack. James Somerville, Thomas Crozier and McDowell
were all to receive life sentences, and remained in jail
until the releases under the terms of the Good Friday

Somerville, whose brother died in the attack, is now an
evangelical minister in Belfast. McDowell lives in Lurgan,
while Crozier lives in Magheralin, near Craigavon.

Thirty years on, the significance of the incident is the
extent to which it served to open up the wider vista of the
entire 'murder triangle' and other killings.

The Miami outrage was also significant in that serving
members of a British army regiment were involved, and the
forensic evidence and the identities of those who escaped
linked its operatives with a series of other killings,
including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Whether its UVF
operatives were acting on behalf of British undercover
forces remains the burning question.

In the first instance, the mere fact that serving UDR
members could publicly set up an illegal checkpoint in an
area intensely patrolled by regular security forces raises
many questions. And who was the English-accented "soldier''
seen by Travers?

For years, it has been claimed that the killings were
organised by Captain Robert Nairac, the ill-fated British
intelligence operative killed by the IRA in 1977.

The claim has been made by, among others, the former
intelligence operator Fred Holyroyd.

There was evidential linkage to Nairac's presence at the
killing of John Francis Green.

Furthermore, of the suspected five to six gang members
involved in the Miami ambush who escaped, all were
subsequently convicted for other offences or have since

In the latter category are Robin Jackson (the so-called
'Jackal' who, it is claimed, carried out some 22 killings)
and Samuel Fulton Neill, who was shot by the UVF for

Three other convicted loyalist paramilitaries had suspected

Some of these people were also on the Garda Siochána's list
of suspects for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

The continued refusal of the British authorities to assist
the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings
with any intelligence investigation has deepened the
suspicion that unravelling the mystery would inevitably
lead to links with a series of killings across the 'murder
triangle', including that of the Miami Showband.

Indeed, forensic and weapon linkages from the Miami
killings - and through a long list of convicted loyalist
paramilitaries - creates an inter-linking series of 'murder
triangle' killings, many of which involved former members
of the mid-Ulster UDR regiment, the RUC and members of the

Whether these activities were unilateral or a wider part of
British intelligence undercover activity remains the most
significant question.

That central question has continued to dominate the silence
since the night the music died in July 1975.


Face To Face

By Stephen Breen
31 July 2005

THIS is the woman seeking a face-to-face meeting with
graveyard killer Michael Stone over the murders of her
elderly aunt and cousin.

Joan Feenan, from Ardglass, Co Down, believes Stone can
help solve the double-killing of Kathleen and Terence

Mrs Mullan (79) and son Terence (32) were gunned down at
their isolated Ballynahinch home by the UFF in 1986.

Lisburn loyalist Jeffrey McCullough was convicted of
assisting the killers, but no-one has ever been charged
with their murders.

At the time, loyalists claimed Mr Mullan was a driver for
senior republicans - a claim the family vehemently denies.

Ms Feenan (53) wants to meet Stone because she believes the
gun used was one of the weapons later used by him to kill
three people at Milltown Cemetery, in 1988.

Said Ms Feenan: "My aunt and cousin's senseless murders
have been on my mind for a very long time.

"We were told that the weapon used in the attack was the
same one used by Stone at Milltown - that's why I'm willing
to meet him.

"I don't know if he killed my relatives but he may know
something about it. I'm not afraid to meet him.

"I just want to know why they were murdered. They were
completely innocent, and even if it is almost 20 years on,
we still deserve answers.

"I've also decided to speak out now because I'm aware of
the promise by police to re-investigate unsolved murders of
the Troubles, and I want to know if my aunt and cousin are
included in this process."

Stone said: "I've no problem meeting this woman because I
have nothing to hide. I didn't kill her relatives.

"I'll admit that I did see his 'file', and I believe he was
a legitimate target because I believe he was involved with

"The gun I used at Milltown was taken from a police officer
some two years before, but I can remember the cops telling
me a different type of weapon was used to kill the Mullans.

"I was active in the south Down area, and I will try and
tell this woman why young loyalists went out to kill in a
'war' situation."


Church Attacks 'Were Desecration'

The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor has condemned
loyalist attacks on two Catholic Churches in Ballymena.

Dr Patrick Walsh celebrated Mass on Sunday morning in the
two churches which had been damaged.

He told the congregations that an attack on any place of
worship was a desecration.

All Saints Church was smeared with paint last week and
sectarian graffiti was painted on the door and walls of Our
Lady's Church in Harryville.

On Friday, in a gesture of solidarity, members of a
Ballymena Presbyterian church, High Kirk, handed out roses
to Massgoers at All Saints church.

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

The church at Harryville 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 Dunloy.

All Saints priest, Fr Paul Symonds, said the High Kirk
members' actions were "an absolutely lovely gesture, one of
sheer love".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/31 12:43:27 GMT


Unionists Warn Of Sanctions Against 'All-Ireland

The Ulster Unionists will introduce sanctions if the Irish
Government tries to give Northern Ireland politicians
speaking rights in the Republic's Parliament, their leader
warned today.

By:Press Association

As speculation mounted that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will
move in the autumn to grant 18 MPs and three MEPs a role in
Dail debates, Sir Reg Empey confirmed his party had told
the British and Irish Governments it would retaliate by
refusing to operate cross-border bodies under devolution.

The former Stormont Economy Minister said: "I`m hearing
talks will start in Dublin in September about the mechanics
of bringing speaking rights about.

"There will be a consultation process with parties in
Dublin by the Taoiseach.

"As you may recall when the deal with Sinn Fein was not
completed last December, I said this was outside the terms
of the Good Friday Agreement and it was a breach of the
principle that the consent of the majority of the people of
Northern Ireland would be required before there is any
change to our constitutional status.

"I believe this move is very dangerous because it would
effectively be setting up an embryonic all-Ireland

"When the idea was first mooted two years ago, the UUP
opposed it. We told the two governments then and have
repeatedly since that if it is pursued by Dublin, we will
no longer be obligated to our support for north south

Sinn Fein has long advocated a role for Northern Ireland
politicians in the Irish Republic`s Parliament.

They would like to see their five MPs including Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness and their Northern Ireland MEP
Bairbre de Brun being given speaking rights in debates
affecting north of the border.

There have also been suggestions that they could play a
part in Dail committees.

Sir Reg said today Mr Ahern`s move was an attempt to
placate republicans on the back of the IRA`s announcement
that it has ended its armed struggle, ordered its
volunteers to dump weapons and is committed to the
completion of its disarmament scheme.

During devolution, Sir Reg`s predecessor David Trimble
refused to nominate Sinn Fein ministers for cross-border
meetings with Irish Government ministers because of the
IRA`s reluctance to disarm.

Should devolution return and unionists refuse to attend or
even recognise cross-border institutions, it would cause
difficulties for a section of the Good Friday Agreement
many nationalists hold dear.

Sir Reg accused the rival Democratic Unionists of failing
to grasp the significance of the Irish Government`s move.

"The DUP fell asleep at the wheel on this issue in
negotiations last year," the East Belfast Assembly member
told PA.

"They tried to say we negotiated it but we didn`t. I have
it in black and white how we resisted the idea when it was
put to us two years ago.

"But last year I get the impression the DUP fell asleep and
I get the impression still that they do not fully
understand its consequences.

"When it became clear this was part of last December`s
deal, the UUP told the British and Irish Governments again
we would have nothing to do with it and would withdraw from
the north-south arrangements if it was introduced."


DUP: Test Period For IRA Statement Could Be Extended
2005-07-31 11:10:01+01

The testing period for the IRA to prove its statement is
for real will be extended if there is a lack of
transparency around the disarmament process, republicans
were told today.

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson said his party
believed unionists would need a longer time to be convinced
the IRA had consigned its armed campaign to history if
there were no photographic record of weapons

While the Lagan Valley MP said his party had not yet
assessed how long that testing period would last, he warned
republicans: "The assessment period will have to be
prolonged because of the failure of the IRA to decommission
in an open and verifiable manner.

"The publication of photographic evidence of the
decommissioning process would help to build confidence in
this move within the unionist community. Obviously the lack
of such evidence will prolong the period for people to
assess what the IRA is saying and doing represents a
genuine end to all paramilitary and criminal activity.

"The DUP will not be pushed into an premature decision to
go into government with Sinn Féin.''

Mr Donaldson's comments came as Irish and British
government officials waited for a statement from General
John de Chastelain's decommissioning body confirming a
fourth act of IRA disarmament.

In its statement announcing an end to the armed campaign,
the IRA ordered all units to dump arms and committed
themselves to completing the process of putting their
weapons beyond use in the presence of two independent
witnesses from the Protestant and Catholic clergy.

Unionists noted the organisation did not commit itself to
video or photographic evidence showing the arsenal being
destroyed, a key demand of the DUP in talks last year
involving the two governments and Sinn Féin.


Loyalists Are Still Not Convinced

31 July 2005 By Colm Heatley

As news of the IRA's statement filtered across Belfast last
week, loyalists were adamant that neither the UVF or UDA
would soon follow suit and pledge to pursue their
objectives through "exclusively peaceful means".

Despite Tony Blair describing the move as one of
"unparalleled significance'' and Bertie Ahern hailing the
statement as "momentous and historic'', loyalists said they
would wait and see what actions emerged from last week's
IRA announcement.

An ongoing loyalist feud, internal power struggles and a
culture of political disengagement within loyalism make a
decision unlikely.

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader David Ervine
welcomed the statement, describing it as "unambiguous and
forward moving'', but was more cautious on the UVF's future

"This is the first unambiguous statement we have had from
the IRA and it is also the first time they have moved
first," he said.

"It would be churlish to dismiss this statement, it could
at some stage lead to the restoration of devolved
government, something that we all want to see."

However, Ervine would not speculate on the UVF's
intentions. Given the current tensions within loyalism it
is unlikely that either the UDA or UVF have any intention
of winding-up in the foreseeable future.

Two Protestant men have been shot dead by the UVF in
Belfast as part of the latest feud.

This week a 150-strong gang of masked UVF men converged on
a loyalist housing estate in east Belfast where families
connected to the LVF lived.

The PSNI and British Army's failure to intervene fosters a
perception that the PSNI is unwilling to tackle loyalist
paramilitaries. A senior Belfast UVF figure admitted a
"consultation process'' was underway within the
organisation but said it was unlikely to kick-start

"The UVF look at the threat posed by dissident republican
groups and even setting aside suspicion about the IRA's
credibility, that in itself is enough to make the UVF
unlikely to go down the road of decommissioning," he said.

"We have been consulting members in all parts of Northern
Ireland about a number of key issues, including our
relationship with the PUP, the tensions created by the LVF,
and ultimately about decommissioning.

"We have to go back and see how people have reacted. No
matter what the PUP say, the reality is that we don't have
to listen to them if we don't want to," he said.

"Decommissioning was never a big deal for loyalists, it was
the DUP and UUP who insisted on it, we didn't care if the
IRA ever got rid of its weapons. The UVF will continue to
exist no matter what political pressure is placed on us by

In reality, neither the UDA nor UVF have came under any
significant political pressure to decommission their
weapons since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Since the October 1994 ceasefires loyalists have killed 92
people, mostly other loyalists but also Catholics.

The UDA lost its political wing, the Ulster Democratic
Party, (UDP) leaving the group with no political
leadership, while the UVF aligned PUP received just 1 per
cent in May's elections.

That lack of political leadership, a rejection of the Good
Friday Agreement within unionism and a focus on IRA
activity have freed loyalism from the constraints of
political change.

Protestant clergyman Mervyn Gibson who chairs the Loyalist
Commission, an umbrella discussion group for loyalist
paramilitaries, said the IRA statement would be "regarded
with suspicion''.

"There have been IRA statements in the past which have not
lived up to the expectations,'' he said.

"While the statement itself is to be welcomed I don't
imagine that it will have any real impact on the loyalist
groups at the minute, especially with the feud. Currently
there is indifference within loyalism to the IRA

Rising Protestant unemployment and the failure of
grassroots loyalist politicians to break the hegemony of
the unionist establishment have also helped create a
culture of political disengagement within loyalism.

Internally the UDA faces a leadership battle which has
little to do with politics.

In March, its east Belfast leader was deposed, now its
north Belfast leader, Andre Shoukri, faces a similar fate.

Last Thursday, the UDA's most senior figure said the
paramilitary group would resist a United Ireland by force.

Sammy Duddy, a senior member of the Ulster Political
Research Group, which gives advice to the UDA, said the
IRA's statement means only that loyalism faces a new threat
from dissident republicans.

"They promise the moon and the stars and they can't
deliver, it can't possibly work," he said.

"They can't deliver on their promises, there are too many
factions within nationalism now and in the coming months
you are going to see the dissidents start to play a bigger

"Loyalists have lost a temporary enemy, but they have
gained a number of new ones and I can't imagine anything
will come out of this for loyalists.

"Republicans have hijacked the whole peace process, the
Protestant people are still alienated and a campaign of
ethnic cleansing is underway to ensure Protestants are
moved out of their areas.

Ironically, Duddy was closely aligned with a UDA faction
which drove dozens of Protestants from their homes on the
Shankill Road in early 2003.

Most loyalist weapons came from South Africa in the late
1980s under the supervision of British Army double agent
Brian Nelson. The guns allowed loyalists to wage a
ferocious campaign against northern nationalists in the
late 1980s and 1990s.

Loyalist politicians said they are eager to move beyond the
past but the message from both the UDA and UVF is that they
will keep their weapons for the foreseeable future.

"The UVF is going nowhere. We are here for the loyalist
people and just because the IRA does something, that
doesn't mean we will jump and follow suit," said an east
Belfast UVF figure.

"We are here to protect Ulster and while there is a threat
we will remain here."

For loyalist paramilitaries, however, a "threat'' can come
in many guises, such as changing Catholic demographics or
the re-routing of a Loyal Order parade.

Northern nationalists, now more than ever, will be looking
to Dublin and London to ensure that loyalist paramilitaries
are disarmed and deactivated.


DUP May Challenge Kelly's Jail Release

31 July 2005

THE DUP may go to court over Secretary of State Peter
Hain's controversial decision to free Shankill bomber, Sean
Kelly, last week.

Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, last night, revealed
that his party was looking at the possibility of going to
the High Court for a judicial review of Mr Hain's decision
to release the multiple-killer, just six weeks after his

The party suspects Mr Hain may have breached the judicial
process, and failed to provide the Life Sentence Review
Commission with the details he possessed about Kelly's
alleged continued involvement in terrorism.

Mr Donaldson said: "We believe the Secretary of State has
committed a major breach of his obligations in law to
provide the Commissioners with the relevant details about
Kelly's commitment to terrorism," the MP said.


Straight Talking: A Sour Reaction

By Lynda Gilby

31 July 2005

OH for heaven's sake! Are you already as utterly piddled
off with the entire business as I am? The IRA's statement
on Thursday has been promptly and thoroughly nit-picked to
death, and a miasma of 'whatabourtery' thickens the air
over Northern Ireland.

Thus, the natural balance has been restored. Republicans
who believe that a loyalist's place is in the wrong, can
now feel very gratified indeed that this is precisely how
the other side's response to their statement will be
perceived in international PR terms.

Sinn Fein coffers will groan under the added weight of all
that extra American dosh, just waiting to wing its way
across the Atlantic.

The sour reaction will mark out loyalists, world-wide, as
crabby, mean-spirit begrudgers, who wouldn't recognise a
gift horse if it deposited a pile of manure on their

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein, the odour of sanctity wafting up
their nostrils, and the PR disaster of the brutal McCartney
murder, now forgotten, will bask in the warm glow of global

The clever thing, of course, for any opposing political
worthy of the name, would be to give the IRA's declaration
that it is standing down and disarming, a cautious (very
cautious) welcome. And to be fair, some Unionist
politicians, like Sir Reg Empey, have done exactly that.

But, since when have loyalist politicians as a breed paid
heed to any political and PR consideration, apart from a
blinkered, local perspective?

The IRA's statement has been criticised, for example,
because the IRA have declared that it is standing down,
rather than disbanding.

It is criticised because it does not apologise for the
atrocities it has committed in the past. Rather, it
maintains that the 'armed struggle' was a legitimate one.

Now we know that a fierce, internal debate took place
within the organisation before the statement was issued,
and that Gerry Adams was frantic to avoid an IRA split.

So obviously, these two items in the statement are there as
a sop to keep the hardliners on board.

You know that. I know that. Gerry Adams knows that, and the
IRA statement's loyalist critics certainly know that as

So, do they WANT an IRA split? Remember what happened the
last time? The Provisionals were born as a breakaway
faction, when the official IRA decided to disarm and pursue
their political aims by democratic means only.

It has taken 30 years of buckets of blood and broken bodies
for the Provisionals to reach the same conclusion.

Do we really want history to repeat itself yet again? Well,
of course we don't. And, I would guess that those loyalist
sources, who are fulminating about the statement, don't
want another 30 years of bloodshed either.

So, why can they not resist the temptation to take umbrage
as often, and in the same way, that most of us take a wee
cup of tea?

What chance now for devolution to work

LET us, for a moment, look on the bright side.

Let us furrow our collective brow, stretch our collective
imagination, and picture a situation where the IRA have
been as good as their word, and disarmed totally and

That all the hoods in republican areas have willingly
abandoned their lucrative 'business opportunities', whereby
they have previously made small and large fortunes from
protection rackets, money laundering, fuel smuggling,
counterfeit goods operations, and all other nefarious means
of making money.

Let us further suppose that, when young hooligans and
vandals terrorise elderly people, and generally make life
insufferable for local residents, that those affected will
run straight to the PSNI to sort it out, and not to the
local hoods.

And, let us now go beyond the rounds of fantasy, and
suppose that the DUP have, very reluctantly, been
manoeuvred into a position where they can no longer avoid
joining Sinn Fein in some sort of power-sharing executive.

Now, having imagined all that, you must be exhausted.

So I'll give you a moment or two to recover yourself,
before I ask the following question: For just how long do
you reckon such a devolved, power-sharing Assembly would

Frankly, I'd give it 18 months; two years, tops.

The DUP have NOT enjoyed the resounding electoral success
they have achieved on the backs of voters who want them to
get into bed with Sinn Fein.

But now, having worn yourself to a frazzle by straying into
fantasy land, just relax.

The guns may be destroyed and violence of any sort may even
end, but can you seriously see republican hoods giving up
their ill-gotten incomes?

Me neither.

Still, if the IRA statement ends republican violence, at
least it will prove that Sinn Fein have considerable
influence over republican thugs.

If only it were true that the DUP wielded a similar
influence over the loyalist variety.
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