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July 17, 2005

Police Must Be Accountable - O'Loan

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 07/18/05 Police Must Be Held To Account - O'Loan
IA 07/17/05 Former British PM Ted Heath Dies
IT 07/18/05 Hain Calls For IRA To Move 'Soon'
EX 07/18/05 Death Threats To Shell Workers In Dispute
IT 07/17/05 Village In Shock At Death Of Local Teenager
IT 07/18/05 Nuns Open New Monastery To Public View
TH 07/17/05 Tommy Sands: Sands Stormer


Police Must Be Held To Account - O'Loan

Michael O'Regan in Glenties

MacGill Summer School: The importance of proper
accountability on the part of police forces was stressed by
Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Nuala O'Loan, at the
opening of the 25th MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co
Donegal, yesterday.

"I do not need to rehearse the stories of policing in
Donegal and in the North. We realise that there must be
proper accountability for those on whom the state confers
police powers. Accountability is critical for proper
policing to flourish," said Ms O'Loan.

"This is not to suggest that all police officers are
corrupt. That would be nonsense. Nor do I think that people
become police officers because they will have extensive
power over others. I firmly believe that most people who
become police officers do so because they are motivated by
the desire to protect life and property and to prevent

"Something happens somewhere along the line, often to those
who are the best police officers. Sometimes it is noble-
cause corruption, the corruption which arises because
people decide to do wrong things to achieve what they see
as proper ends."

Delivering the fifth annual John Hume lecture, Ms O'Loan
said that the well-documented collusive relationship
between a few police officers in Northern Ireland and
paramilitaries was the worst evidence of this.

"It is insidious and has an effect on all policing.
Sometimes it is simply that management is sloppy and
training is defective, and that the values which should
dominate policing become forgotten," she added.

"Whatever it is, it enables the development of a culture
which is at best destructive of policing, and at worst

She said police officers were the sworn guardians of the
law. It was not easy either to interview a senior officer
who had long years of experience in policing, who had the
self-confidence which derived from that experience and who
thoroughly resented being interviewed at all.

"This does happen. And yet it is in the interests, not just
of the public, but also of the police, that those who do
wrong are made accountable. A situation in which a police
officer can commit a crime and continue to serve
unchallenged is not sustainable.

"I have heard good police officers speak bitterly of those
who have let the police service down and not been called to

There was no doubt, she said, that it could come as a shock
when a police officer appeared in court. As Ombudsman, she
had recommended the prosecution of 60 criminal charges
against police officers. That should not undermine the rule
of law, but what would undermine it was if that officer
were not called to account.

Ms O'Loan referred to the case of a young officer who had
reported a colleague for attacking a teenage girl who had
been brought spitting and swearing into custody. He had
slapped her repeatedly, and the young officer who reported
the incident knew it was not right. The officer was
convicted of the assault of his prisoner.

She said that three things must exist for those who sought
to bring police to account: adequate statutory power,
adequate funding and a determination in those charged with
this function to do the job properly.

Her staff, she said, had extensive powers of arrest, search
and seizure of documents and materials such as vehicles,
guns, batons and police records. They had access to all
police material, and material must be given to them if they
decided they needed it.

"The right of access to national intelligence material has
been critical to us in our ability to do our job," she

There was talk of failure in the intelligence services in
the context of 9/11 in the United States, said Ms O'Loan,
adding that there had been similar talk in London after the
tragedies of July 7th.

"In my Omagh investigation, and in others, I have found
failures of intelligence-handling and management, and the
consequence of this appears to be that those who might have
been made amenable for crime have not always been
apprehended. They have remained at large to commit further
serious crime," she added.

She said that the chief constable of the PSNI had ultimate
responsibility for matters of national intelligence.

"That situation will probably change, but at the present
national intelligence, no matter who gathers it, is held by
the PSNI."

But the PSNI must also be impartial and independent, she
said. "We must be evidence-based, not influenced by
political expediency or any other cause," Ms O'Loan said.

© The Irish Times


Former British PM Ted Heath Dies

07/17/05 18:11 EST

Former British Conservative Party Prime Minister Sir Edward
Heath has died aged 89. Edward Heath became Prime Minister
in 1970 and held the post during some of the most violent
years of the troubles.

Mr Heath led Britain to membership of the Common Market and
was also prime minister on Bloody Sunday when 13 civilians
were killed after British paratroopers fired on a civil
rights march in Derry on January 30th, 1972.

He played a part in the establishment of a power-sharing
executive and a Council of Ireland, agreed at Sunningdale in
December 1973. Both these arrangements collapsed under
pressure from the Ulster Workers' Council strike of 1974.

His time in Downing Street was also marked by a
confrontational approach to pay and the unions which
resulted in numerous strikes. With the country on a
three-day week and rubbish piling up in the streets the
miners threatened to bring his government down.

In 1974 he called an election asking "who governs Britain?"
and did not get the answer he had hoped for. The knives were
out and a junior colleague Margaret Thatcher surprised
everyone by trouncing him in the first round of a leadership
contest the following year.

Heath had been party leader since 1964. He entered
Parliament as an MP in February 1950 and only stood down at
the 2001 election.

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Hain Calls For IRA To Move 'Soon'

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Northern Secretary Peter Hain wants an IRA statement
"sooner rather than later" which is backed by clear
commitments to embrace democracy and to end all
paramilitary and criminal activity.

Mr Hain's remarks on BBC run counter to the mood in
Northern Ireland that an IRA statement and full
decommissioning is now less imminent following a troubled
week including street violence in Belfast and Derry and
sporadic sectarian attacks.

Government sources in Dublin are now inclined more to a
statement in late July or early August rather than next
week, as was anticipated.

One well-placed Dublin source voiced the fear that a
statement coming after the holidays in late August or even
September would mean a loss of momentum towards progress.

Three weeks ago Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil he
hoped for an IRA statement before August. The feeling now
is that this timeframe has slipped.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has also appeared to
indicate that more time is needed for the IRA to decide on
its next step.

"I have stayed away from speculating about what time it
will take; obviously the focus has to be on the type of
positive outcome I have appealed for," Mr Adams said
following Friday's meeting with Mr Ahern.

Unionist and nationalist sources felt a calmer marching
season would have been more conducive to a positive IRA

© The Irish Times



Gardaí Probe Death Threats To Shell Workers In Dispute

By Donal Hickey

A SINISTER turn to the controversy surrounding the Shell
Corrib gasfield pipeline row is being investigated by
gardaí, it emerged yesterday.

Death threats to employees have forced a number of sub-
contractors working on the €300 million project to lay off
workers in Co Mayo.

The Shell company also revealed that some of their
employees have been subjected to threats and intimidation.
In a statement, Shell said it had advised such employees to
deal directly with the Gardaí.

It is also understood two Scottish workers employed by the
Statoil company were approached by a gang of men outside a
put in Belmullet and told and told they would be shot in
the back of the head.

Two other workers with Shell were also threatened.

The threats have been described as paramilitary style.

Sinn Féin is strongly supporting the campaign against the
pipeline, but party deputy Martin Ferris has denied
accusations that Sinn Féin has hijacked the campaign.

Five men from the area, known as the Rossport Five, are in
jail for contempt because of their refusal in court not to
obstruct the laying of a gas pipeline through their lands.

They have refused on a number of occasions to purge their

As tensions continue to rise in Co Mayo, up to 500 people
took part in a protest in Ballina on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Shell statement said workers had advised the
company of a "a number of instances of intimidatory
behaviour towards them by third parties".

The company said it employed over 350 workers in Mayo and
Dublin and had consistently encouraged calm and reasonable
dialogue regarding the project.

Marine Minister Noel Dempsey has agreed to meet the
Rossport Five if they purge their contempt.


Village In Shock At Death Of Local Teenager

Irish teenager Tara Whelan was believed to be on her way
to pick up presents for her friends and relatives on the
last day of her holiday when she lost her life in a bus
bomb attack in Turkey. Olivia Kelleher reports from

Tara Whelan (17) was described by locals in her home
village of Kilmeaden, Co Waterford, as a fun-loving,
easygoing girl who adored animals and nature.

Deirdre Dunphy, owner of the the Sweep bar in Kilmeaden
where Tara worked for three years, said the youngster
probably intended to buy gifts for "half the pub".

"She was that type of girl. She was lovely and like family
to me. It was heartbreaking this morning to open the safe
and see her pay packet in front of me.

"She was on holiday with one of the other girls in the pub,
Tracy. Tracy was in this morning and she can't believe what
has happened. She said when she heard of the bus bomb she
knew that Tara was dead."

Tara worked as a part-time waitress at the Sweep with her
friend Tracy Galgey. Tracy, her twin sister Lindsay and
Tara had saved for months for their first holiday abroad as
a treat following the completion of their Leaving Cert

Tracy and Lindsay flew back to Ireland yesterday and were
being comforted by friends and relatives at their home in
Kilmeaden last night.

Friends spoke yesterday about Tara's passion for animals,
and how she helped out on a weekly basis at a goat
sanctuary near the Cosy Thatch pub in Kilmeaden.

Owner of the goat sanctuary Philomena Lynott, mother of
Thin Lizzy singer Phil, said she couldn't believe that such
a young and vibrant girl's life had been ended prematurely.

"In the name of God what has happened to the world? This is
just a little girl who went on holiday with her friends and
was out to buy a few presents. She was a gentle, loving
soul," she said.

Owner of the Cosy Thatch pub Martin Doyle said the
community was in mourning as it had lost two young people
in the past week. Last Friday Derek Ryan (23), from the
neighbouring village of Ballyduff, was killed in a car

"It is very sad to lose two young people. I am distraught
over Tara. She was just an innocent girl. She was earthed
to the ground and loved animals. She didn't even own a
mobile phone," Mr Doyle said.

Tara, a talented musician, was a pupil at Mercy Convent in
Waterford city and was said to be considering entering the
pub trade. Vice-principal of the Mercy Convent Declan
Clancy yesterday offered his condolences to the Whelan

"Tara had a bright future and was very personable," said Mr
Clancy. "We can only imagine the trauma the family are
going through. It is a terrible tragedy."

Tara, who was the youngest in her family, is survived by
her parents, Tony and Frances. Her two brothers and two
sisters were being consoled by friends at the family home

Liam Grace, a regular at the Sweep, summed up the mood in
the village yesterday by saying that the community was
"dumbfounded and shocked". "She always had a smile and a
laugh. I would come in and she would say, 'How are ya,
pet?' She was a pet of a girl."

© The Irish Times


Nuns Open New Monastery To Public View

Jeananne Craig

Cloistered nuns mingled with the local community for the
first time at the inauguration of a new Carmelite monastery
in Delgany, Co Wicklow, at the weekend.

More than 200 guests attended Saturday's blessing, at which
Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin officiated.

In a departure from their hermitic way of life, the nuns
conversed openly with parishioners over refreshments and
collaborated with local musicians during the Mass.

Prioress Sister Monica Lawless said the event was an
opportunity to thank the community for their "huge support"
throughout the building process.

Construction of the new monastery began in 2003. The old
building, which dated to 1844, had become increasingly
impractical for its inhabitants.

Derek Kilfeather, the project's architect, said the nuns
had embarked on a "voyage of discovery" during the creation
of the new monastery, learning about tools, plumbing and

Daily life in Ireland's 11 remaining Carmelite communities
revolves around solitary, silent prayer. While members do
leave the monastery grounds to vote and receive medical
treatment, contact with the outside world is kept to a

Despite this strict lifestyle, the Delgany monastery has
become more accessible to local people in recent years.
Parishioner Eugene McKiernan said the monastery was
regarded as a "no go area" when he first came to the
village almost a decade ago. "Now, the nuns have become
better known to the community than ever before."

Sister Monica welcomed the strengthening relationship with
the parish. "As times change, life dictates a certain kind
of openness," she said.

© The Irish Times


Sands Stormer

ROB ADAMS July 18 2005

The Songman: A Journey in Irish Music, Tommy Sands
Lilliput, £12.99

As Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull once sang, life's a long
song. Anderson doesn't feature in Tommy Sands's memoirs,
although with a cast including the Rev Ian Paisley as a
stand-up comedian, Pete Seeger as Sands's songwriting
collaborator and goalkeeper Pat Jennings, he might be
entitled to wonder why not.

Sands's book does, however, echo Anderson's thoughts. The
Songman is the story not just of Sands, pictured, and his
family, who have taken Irish music to most corners of the
world, but of Ireland. That it often reads like a song may
be due to Sands's ear for language and his ability to
arrange words in lines that virtually sing off the page.

Sands, after all, can find poetry in picking spuds. But
it's also indicative of music's role in sustaining the
people around County Down. Sands's parents were tenant
farmers. His dad played the fiddle; his mum, the accordion
and they liked nothing better than to have neighbours round
for "big nights" of music-making, as their families had for
generations. Some neighbours were Protestants; others were,
like the Sands, Catholics. Such differences meant little.

Indeed, the school fees that set Tommy's Uncle Hugh on the
road to the priesthood were paid by his Protestant boss.
Uncle Hugh's calling took him to China, where he was
captured and tortured, but he was back in County Down by
the time Tommy, his brothers Ben, Colum and Dino and sister
Anne began making the Sands Family one of Ireland's
favourite folk music exports.

The Sands' career would seem prehistoric to today's
contenders. They made their first demo with the help of a
generator that powered a neighbour's milking machine.

But it won them a contract and, after winning a talent
competition, they were off to America. The rest is history,
geography, sociology and a trail of triumphs, disasters,
hilarity and a nuisance fan who threatened as much danger
across Europe as they faced among Ulster's barricades.

Following Bloody Sunday, Tommy decided to join the IRA,
only to be told to write a song instead, so he did. In
another, more farcical episode, the Sands were asked to
play at a civil- rights rally in Newry, after which one of
the speakers invited everyone back to his place. He could
not get the door open, so, they got in through a window and
had a right ould hooley until a stranger, the householder,
appeared and asked them to leave.

Among many light-hearted passages, including Tommy's and
his sister Anne's efforts to teach an unseen nun how to
play guitar, and the Christmas edition of Tommy's show for
Downtown Radio in which church and political leaders,
including Paisley, perform their party pieces, there are
deeply poignant moments.

The loss of friends, one Catholic, one Protestant, in a
revenge killing inspired one of Tommy's There Were Roses.
More personal still was the death in a road accident while
on tour of brother Dino. That almost brought the music
making to an end.

There were too many songs still to be written, though, and
experiences still to come, such as helping juvenile
prisoners in Reno, Nevada, to persuade the judge of their
redemption in words and music, and, closer to home, singing
at Stormont at the behest of US ambassador George Mitchell
to encourage the politicians towards the Good Friday

In an opening chapter that neatly encapsulates the book's
canny orchestration of music, politics and japes, Sands
tells how, on the way to Stormont, he was stopped by an RUC
officer. Sands was able to prove his identity by completing
the song the officer began to sing to him – a happier
outcome than the one enjoyed by another of Sands's radio
guests. In a similar situation, he informed an English
soldier that he was "coming from Killinaman and going to
Kilmore". His swift arrest somewhat delayed his arrival on
Sands's programme.
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