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August 04, 2005

Adams Criticises Delaying Tactics

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To August 2005 Index

News about Ireland & the Irish

GU 08/04/05 Adams Criticises Unionist 'Delaying Tactics'
UT 08/04/05 No Handshake For Adams At No 10
IO 08/04/05 Paisley: Prolonged Assessment Of IRA Intentions
BT 08/04/05 MEP Vows To Snub Dail Debate Move
BT 08/04/05 SDLP: Orde Rebuked Over Stand-Off Scenes
NH 08/04/05 Loyalist Chokehold Must End Say Family
BB 08/04/05 Fears Over Civilian Jobs In MOD
BT 08/04/05 Opin: Moloney - Stage Set For A Squalid Re-Run
BB 08/04/05 Parties In Discussions On Parades
BT 08/04/05 IRA Items Flood eBay Following Peace Move
BT 08/04/05 Lough Erne Set To Host Ancient Rite
NS 08/04/05 John O'Farrell Finds The Irish In Blair
BG 08/04/05 Opin: Northern Ireland's Gasp
PB 08/04/05 Opin: This Time For IRA, Is It Peace?
BB 08/04/05 Bitter Dispute Over Gas Pipeline
GA 08/04/05 Rossport 5 Cause Upheaval - Ó Brolcháin
CD 08/04/05 Opin: Sectarian Bigotry Gets A Good, Swift Kick


Adams Criticises Unionist 'Delaying Tactics'

Ros Taylor and agencies
Thursday August 4, 2005

Gerry Adams today accused Ian Paisley of holding up the
Northern Ireland peace process, as Tony Blair prepared to
meet the two men separately.

Mr Adams, the Sinn Féin leader, told Radio 4's Today
programme that his opposite number in the Democratic
Unionist party, the Rev Ian Paisley, was indulging in
"delaying tactics" and had to "face up" to the IRA's
promise to decommission.

"I think Mr Blair has to tell him, and tell him in a quiet
and non-domineering way, that the old days are finished and
equality has to be the future," he said.

The DUP warned the government yesterday that it would not
enter a power-sharing executive with Sinn Féin and said the
peace process could be delayed for up to two years unless
its demands were met. Unionists have objected vociferously
to the government's decision to begin dismantling
watchtowers and closing military bases in Northern Ireland
before the IRA has started to disarm.

"We told them that the majority of the people of Northern
Ireland are very angry," said Mr Paisley after a meeting
with Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland secretary, yesterday.

Mr Hain had been hoping to begin talks with the Northern
Ireland parties in the autumn, but the DUP is believed to
be unwilling to participate. Mr Paisley insisted earlier
this week that it was for the DUP alone to decide if and
when it entered discussions with Sinn Féin: "The era of
pushover unionism is over."

The DUP is also angry at the government's failure to
consult unionist leaders over the proposed disbandment of
the Northern Ireland-based battalions of the Royal Irish

In addition, it wants the province's policing board to be
reconstituted in the light of May's general election, in
which the more moderate Ulster Unionist party lost all but
one of its Westminster seats to the DUP. The board was to
have been revised this autumn, but its tenure has been
extended for a year.

Sinn Féin is expected to press Mr Blair to sweep aside the
DUP's objections to these moves and other pledges made in
talks since the Good Friday agreement.

Alex Maskey, a member of the suspended Northern Ireland
assembly, said Sinn Féin was keen to see the Good Friday
agreement implemented and power-sharing government restored
as quickly as possible. "Even the DUP must now accept that
the only situation in which they will have executive power
will be in the Good Friday agreement institutions alongside
Sinn Féin," the South Belfast MLA said.

The prime minister was due to meet DUP leaders at 9am,
followed by a separate meeting with a Sinn Féin delegation
at 11.30am.


No Handshake For Adams At No 10

Tony Blair was today meeting Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams for the first time since the IRA announced that it
was giving up its armed struggle.

The Prime Minister welcomed Mr Adams and Sinn Fein`s chief
negotiator Martin McGuinness for the talks at 10 Downing

There was a brief photocall with camera crews and
photographers in the hallway before the talks began, but
despite speculation that there might be a historic first
public handshake between the two leaders it did not take

Arriving in Downing Street Mr Adams said that he expected
the talks would take place in a "good atmosphere" following
the IRA`s announcement.


Paisley Sets Sights On 'Prolonged Assessment' Of IRA

04/08/2005 - 10:56:23

Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists today warned Tony Blair
that they would require a "prolonged period of assessment"
to determine whether the IRA had given up its armed

Following talks in Downing Street with the British Prime
Minister, Mr Paisley said that there could be no return to
a power-sharing government in the North until his party was
certain that the IRA had given up all its arms and ended
its paramilitary activities.

Earlier, however, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, who is
also due to see Mr Blair today, said that he was only
prepared to give the DUP a "limited amount of space" to
decide whether it was prepared to enter into devolved
government with republicans.

Mr Paisley accused the British government of having "caved
in" to the IRA and given it "concession after concession"
even though there was no proof that the organisation
intended to give up its armed struggle.

"We are not going to have any discussions about devolution
until the requirements Mr Blair set out are fulfilled by
the IRA," he said.

His deputy, Peter Robinson, added: "It will take a long
period of time to make sure that they are gone and they are
gone for good."

Mr Paisley said he had presented a list of demands to the
Prime Minister in what he described as a "blunt" meeting.

These included assurances relating to the British
government's announcement that it intended to disband the
three home-based battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment.

Mr Paisley said it was "outrageous" that members of the
regiment had only learned on television that they were to
face the sack.

Earlier, Mr Adams warned that republicans would only wait
for a limited period for the DUP to decide whether it would
enter power-sharing government at Stormont.

"I prefer to give Ian Paisley a limited amount of space to
get his head around all of this," he told the BBC Radio 4
Today programme.

"What Ian Paisley is doing is playing for time. OK, let's
be patient with him but he cannot play for time for ever.
If Ian Paisley isn't going to share power with the rest of
us, then we have to move on without him."


MEP Vows To Snub Dail Debate Move

04 August 2005

AN Ulster Unionist MEP last night vowed never to set foot
in the Dail if he and other Northern Ireland politicians
are given speaking rights in the Irish parliament.

Jim Nicholson said he would vigorously oppose moves to
grant Northern Ireland's 18 MPs and three MEPs the right to
participate in Dail debates and committee meetings.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey claimed last weekend that
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will begin consultations on the move
this autumn.

The UUP believes the move will be intended as a confidence-
building measure for nationalists and republicans following
the IRA's decision to end its armed campaign.

But Mr Nicholson said: "The decision is deplorable and
undermines the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.

"It drives a horse and cart through the principle of
consent and must be opposed by unionists throughout the

"The unionist community will not tolerate such an
aggressive assault on our sovereignty by a jurisdiction
which has been so hostile in the past.

"The Irish government, like our own, has capitulated to
Sinn Fein's insatiable demands and has undermined any
future relationship unionists may have with Dublin," he

Sinn Fein, with five MPs and an MEP, has long advocated the
need for politicians north of the border to be given
speaking rights in the Dail.

The SDLP's three MPs would be expected to take part.

Unionists are likely to shun the idea. The DUP would have
nine MPs and one MEP who would qualify, while the UUP would
have one MP and one MEP.

Mr Nicholson said unionists must unite in opposition.

"The DUP's childish attempts to pass the buck and save face
are most unhelpful. As the lead party within unionism, it
is a shame they couldn't do more to stop this," he said.


Orde Rebuked Over Stand-Off Scenes

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
04 August 2005

CHIEF Constable Sir Hugh Orde has been told at Policing
Board headquarters that the "disturbing and sinister"
images of police inaction during the Garnerville stand-off
must never be repeated.

During the meeting yesterday the SDLP also challenged
senior officers over the decision to fire plastic baton
rounds during recent violence at the Ardyone on July 12.

Police were heavily criticised following the recent UVF
occupation of a housing estate in the Garnerville area as a
number of LVF linked figures were driven from the area as
part of feud related tensions.

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said: "We made it as clear as day to
the Chief Constable that the Garnerville debacle must never
again be repeated.

"The image and the message of loyalist paramilitaries in
control was disturbing and sinister.

"After all the advances on policing in recent years, it was
a throw-back to the bad policing of past years."

Earlier this week Sir Hugh defended the actions and
insisted the PSNI was in control of the streets, rather
than loyalist paramilitaries.

During the meeting the use of plastic baton rounds for the
first time in three years at Ardoyne was also raised.

Police discharged 22 rounds after they came under ferocious
attack from nationalist residents after the passing of a
controversial Orange parade. Over 100 police and a number
of journalists were hurt.

Mr Attwood said: "The attack on the police in Ardoyne was
ferocious and orchestrated, as bad as anything in recent
years, but the use of plastic bullets, after three years
without use, remains unacceptable to the SDLP.

"The SDLP, nonetheless, has urged the PSNI to build on the
better policing practice and considerable restraint
demonstrated in Ardoyne."


Loyalist Chokehold Must End Say Family

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

The family of UVF murder victim Craig McCausland have
called for loyalist paramilitaries to rise to the challenge
presented by the IRA's decision to end its armed campaign.

Mr McCausland (20), right, was shot dead by gunmen who
burst into his partner's home at Dhu Varren Crescent in the
Woodvale area of west Belfast during the latest loyalist

Police have said Mr McCausland, who was shot five times in
the early hours of July 11, was not linked to any
paramilitary organisation.

His partner and two children tried in vain to keep him
alive. He later died in hospital.

Another 20-year-old was shot just hours before Mr
McCausland in another apparent case of mistaken identity.

David Hanley was shot and seriously injured by LVF men as
he walked along the Crumlin Road in north Belfast.

He was not a member of any paramilitary organisation.

Last night (Tuesday) members of Mr McCausland's family told
The Irish News that they believed the death and injury of
these innocent victims was the last straw for communities
"terrorised" by these groups.

"Calling them paramilitary groups is too good for them,"
one of Mr McCausland's uncles said.

"They are terrorist. That's what they are – and people have
had enough."

In a letter published in The Irish News today Nichola
McIlvenny, a cousin of Mr McCausland, calls for an end to
the "choke-hold" of loyalist groups on Protestant

"In the wake of the IRA's announcement we have been left
with many questions," she says.

"If the IRA is ready for peace why aren't the loyalists?
Are they only intent on a drug war?

"If the reason the loyalist paramilitaries were formed was
to protect themselves from the IRA what is their use now?"

Ms McIlvenny calls on the police to put an end to scenes
such as those witnessed in an east Belfast housing estate
last week.

There was an outcry when up to 100 UVF and UDA men gathered
on July 25 to 'police' the Garnerville estate, where
members of the LVF were forced out.

"These groups have a chokehold on the Protestant
communities," Ms McIlvenny writes.

"They are not the protectors they are the destroyers.

"No community needs gatekeepers as they only hinder growth,
not nourish it.

"We would like to ask the people of Northern Ireland to
unite and remove these gatekeepers by helping bringing them
to justice."

August 4, 2005


Fears Over Civilian Jobs In MOD

Up to 2,000 civilian staff working for the Ministry of
Defence could lose their jobs as a result of military cuts
in Northern Ireland, unions have said.

The Public and Commercials Services Union is to meet on
Thursday to discuss the impact of the move on its members.

The union is urging the government and MoD to give a "clear
indication" of the impact of its normalisation plans.

The ATGWU said unions wanted to meet Armed Forces Minister
Adam Ingram to push for recognition for its members.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has set out a two-
year plan on demilitarisation which, he said, would be
dependant on the security situation.

It came in the wake of last week's IRA statement ending its
armed campaign.

Albert Mills of the Amalgamated Transport and General
Workers Union said the IRA statement was a "positive step"
but the Ministry of Defence now needed to back up its
praise of civilian staff with money, where appropriate.

"What is now clear is the reduction in the military
presence will lead to civilian job cuts," he said.

"The AT&G believe anyone faced with redundancy should be
offered suitable terms in the same way as the Prison
Service and others have been."

Peter Allenson, T&G national secretary for public services,
said the situation for civilian staff in Northern Ireland
was unique and should be treated as such.

'Next steps'

"It is also absolutely right in our view that MoD civilian
staff should have recognition for the difficult role they
have played and situations they have faced over and above
any other part of the United Kingdom," he said.

In a statement the Public and Commercial Services Union
said MoD staff were concerned about the impact of
normalisation upon them.

It said that with with military numbers being halved it was
probable that at least 1,750 jobs - half of the current
3,500 civilian posts in Northern Ireland - would be cut,
and many sites would be closed.

Union spokesman Mel Taylor added: "The proposed closure of
the MoD sites could have a huge detrimental impact on local
economies and obviously these are uncertain times for

"Today is important in planning the next steps in our

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/04 05:46:59 GMT


Opin: The Stage Is Set For A Squalid Re-Run

They haven't gone away, you know. According to award-
winning journalist and author, Ed Moloney, the Provos have
ended up as a mirror image of their rivals, the Official
IRA. Like the Officials, he argues, they've also ended
their 'armed campaign' against the British and, like the
Officials, they are also up to their neck in the same sort
of criminal racketeering - but on a scale that makes the
Officials look like schoolboys

04 August 2005

Last week's statement of intent by the Provisional IRA
provoked differing responses from commentators ranging from
outright scepticism to uncritical certainty that a
watershed in Northern Ireland's troubled and bloody history
had been reached.

For some though, the declaration that the Provos' "armed
campaign" against Britain was officially over and that its
members would henceforth employ exclusively "peaceful and
democratic" methods brought only a weary sense of déjà vu,
that inexplicable feeling that you've seen or experienced
an event before.

And that was not just because we had heard so many times
prior to last Thursday other commitments to use only
peaceful methods trip easily from the lips of Sinn Fein
leaders or that P O'Neill had repeatedly assured us over
the last 11 years that things had "completely" ended.

Nor was the weariness due entirely to the fact that,
wonderful though these words sounded, they were never quite
matched by deeds.

It was more a sense of déjà vu brought about by an utterly
depressing realisation that Irish society, both parts of
it, was about to repeat on a much larger scale one of the
most disgracefully dishonest episodes in the history of the
Troubles, and that very few people either realised or

That episode concerned another IRA, although that one was
known as the Official IRA. There is a wonderful irony in
this story. The Provos came into being in 1969 because of a
bitter ideological split with the people who became the
Officials but, some 35 years later, they have ended up as a
mirror image of their erstwhile rivals.

There are many points of similarity in terms of their
politics and leadership style but one common factor stands
out, a willingness to lie about their paramilitary
activities and a readiness on the part of both government
and some in the media to happily indulge them.

The Officials ended their "armed campaign" against the
British in 1972 and within a short time we were being told
that the Official IRA had ceased to exist, that it had gone
away and that its political wing, the Workers' Party, had
become entirely peaceful and constitutional.

The truth of course was very different. Not only had the
Official IRA not gone away but it was alive and well and up
to its neck in all sorts of criminal activity, from running
building site scams and protection rackets, robberies and
counterfeiting currency to operating massage parlours.

The Official IRA's political wing, the Workers' Party,
angrily denied all of this while for many years the media
in Belfast and Dublin, with a very few exceptions, ignored
the story.

The British government, for its part, not only turned a
blind eye but actually subsidised the Officials, granting
their supporters licences for drinking clubs, awarding
construction contracts to their friends and wining and
dining their leaders.

The continued existence of the Official IRA suited both the
Workers' Party and the British government. The Workers'
Party got a stream of income and muscle to protect its
leaders from the Provos while the British could be assured
of allies in Catholic areas who shared the same hostility
to extreme Republicans.

The relevance of all this is that something very similar is
about to happen with the Provisional IRA and, just as
happened with the Officials, we will be enjoined to look
the other way, to ignore the lie in the interests of a
greater goal. The clue this is about to happen is the
reported departure from the ruling Army Council of Gerry
Adams and Martin McGuinness.

Like the Officials, the Provos have also ended their "armed
campaign" against the British and, like the Officials, they
are also up to their neck in the very same sort of criminal
racketeering, although on a scale that makes the Officials
look like schoolboys.

We will soon be told, indeed we are already being told by
some, that the Provos' military wing is effectively defunct
but that, too, will turn out to be a lie. The IRA has not
disbanded nor does there seem much of a chance that it will
be. It is even less likely that those involved in lucrative
cross-border smuggling, counterfeiting, cigarette sales,
robberies and the like will give it up.

The stage is being set for a squalid re-run of history.
After a pause to allow for a couple of clean bills of
health from the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) the
criminality will resume. Charges of IRA racketeering will
then be met with furious, indignant denials, the latter
voiced by the now IRA-cleansed and thereby more believable
Adams and McGuinness, and the same pressures to ignore the
lie that existed in the Officials' day will kick in.

The British government will again turn a blind eye, not
least because an IRA loyal to Adams, even one steeped in
robbing and thievery, will police Catholic areas in their
common interests against Republican extremists, just as the
British hoped the Officials would do 20 years ago. And
anyone who thinks the IMC will not be pressed, ever so
subtly, to follow suit needs their head examined.

The governments will also subsidise the lie, as they did
with the Officials. In fact they are already doing this.

Neither the British nor Irish governments have yet
confiscated as much as a brass farthing from any of those
behind the Provos' criminality while very few, if any, of
the recommendations of the Goldstock report on paramilitary
racketeering have been implemented. According to sources in
Washington, efforts to put the IRA's prime smuggler out of
business - the IRA's Chief of Staff - have been resisted in
Dublin and London for fear of weakening Gerry Adams.

The same pressures that kept most of the media quiet about
the Officials' lie will be repeated with the Provisionals.
Those journalists who persist in trying to expose it will
be isolated as eccentric, even politically-motivated
oddballs while others will be silenced by the charge that
to challenge the lie is to be 'unhelpful' to the peace
process, to somehow want a return to war and death.

The lie about the Officials was a small fib compared to the
impending whopper. Even so it took 20 years to expose. In
the process government and the media in both parts of
Ireland were deeply contaminated and damaged. But compared
to the damage that is on the way that was kids' stuff.

As the man said: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy,
second as farce." Except this farce will raise very few

Ed Moloney is author of 'A Secret History of the IRA',
published by Penguin, paperback price, £9.99.


Parties In Discussions On Parades

Delegations from the SDLP and Sinn Fein are expected to
meet the Parades Commission later.

The meetings are being held in advance of a loyal order
parade through an area which has seen violence on several

The Apprentice Boys are set to parade past the Ardoyne
shops in north Belfast - the scene of violence following an
Orange Order parade on 12 July.

About 100 police officers were injured as trouble erupted
on the return leg.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said the party would provide
information to the commission "regarding the presence of
senior UVF members at the head of the Orange Parade at
Ardoyne on 12 July".

"This was offensive. It is made even worse by the ongoing
terror activities of the UVF," he said.

"The SDLP will urge the commission to compel the Orange
Order to answer how UVF leaders were among their
supporters. The presence of the UVF on 12 July must be a
critical factor in decisions on future parades."

The delegation will include Margaret Walsh, Tim Attwood,
Cahal Mullaghan and Pat Convery.

The Sinn Fein delegation to meet the commission will
include Pat Doherty, Alex Maskey, Cathy Stanton and Tierna

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/04 05:49:46 GMT


IRA Items Flood Ebay Following Peace Move

By Senan Hogan
04 August 2005

DOZENS of pieces of IRA memorabilia have appeared on
internet auction site eBay since the terror group announced
the end of its armed campaign last week.

More than 150 items have been put up for sale, including
original 1981 hunger strike posters and a gun-shaped badge
posted just two hours after the July 28, 4pm deadline for
volunteers to dump weapons.

Second-hand books, CDs, DVDs and bumper stickers also
feature in the mass sell-off by anonymous vendors in
Belfast, Derry and London determined to profit from the
IRA's decision to go out of business.

A May 1981 copy of Republican newspaper, An Phoblacht,
which was shrunk down to be smuggled into Republican
prisoners on hunger strike in the H-blocks, has been bid up
to 65 euro (£40) by 13 potential buyers.

The Belfast-based seller of the item said on the site: "In
this edition, there is an exclusive interview with the IRA
and pictures on two pages of an IRA training camp."

A 1981 hunger strike poster featuring prisoners Bobby
Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara is
currently fetching bids of 59.53 euro (£37).

The vendor says: "Please no timewasters. You will get this
for a bargain as I should be keeping it for next year for
the 25th anniversary but it's on sale now."

The highest bid item in the IRA category is an Irish Easter
Rising 1916 medal currently priced at 827 euro (£524) by 27

A copy of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams' memoir, Hope and
History, signed by the author, has so far failed to attract
any bidders.

A biography of the party's chief negotiator, Martin
McGuinness entitled: IRA: From Guns To Government was put
on the eBay site just five hours after the armed campaign
officially ended.

Tim Pat Coogan's book, The IRA, is being offered for 10.89
euro (£6.70) by a Co Down reader.

Mr Coogan, a former Irish Press editor, said: "I'd have
thought it would go for a bit more, but there you are."


Lough Erne Set To Host Ancient Rite

By Linda McKee
04 August 2005

AN ancient Irish rite not seen since the 13th century will
be performed on an island in Co Fermanagh this weekend.

From all over the world, the Cassidy clan will converge on
the crumbling ruins of Devenish Island to crown their new

The organisers expect more than 100 Cassidys to take the
short boat trip to the Lower Lough Erne isle to see Dr
Sheila Cassidy inaugurated as Honorary Head of Clan in a
ceremony that has not been seen for 800 years.

Dr Cassidy recently retired as a palliative physician at
Plymouth General Hospital after spending more than 20 years
helping the terminally ill.

She was involved in setting up the charity Jeremiah's
Journey, which helps bereaved children. As a young doctor
working in Santiago, Chile, in the 1970s, Dr Cassidy became
caught up in the injustice of Pinochet's regime and this
resulted in her arrest, imprisonment, torture and

It's fitting that a physician should be elected to lead the
clan, which is native to Co Fermanagh, organiser Nuala
Cassidy-White explains.

"The Cassidys were originally the physicians to the
Maguires. I have always maintained that they were the brawn
and we were the brain," she says.

The clan views Devenish as its ancestral home and a number
of Cassidys are buried near the island's distinctive
monastery ruins.

Cassidys from as far away as Japan, Australia, the US and
Europe will join their English and Irish cousins for the
clan gathering at Mahon's Hotel in Irvinestown.

The weekend's festivities will include a genealogy workshop
for those wishing to research their roots.


Politics - John O'Farrell Finds The Irish In Blair

John O'Farrell
Monday 8th August 2005

When Blair drew a distinction recently between the IRA and
al-Qaeda, he was able to do so because he understands both
Catholicism and the uses of violence. By John O'Farrell

Tony Blair's assertion that al-Qaeda and the IRA are
fundamentally different elicited squeals of rage from
Ulster's unionists and the Tory press. But his assertion
that "I don't think the IRA would ever have set about
trying to kill 3,000 people," is accurate and profound,

his knowledge about Irish republicanism, his shared ethnic
and religious heritage with it, and his knowledge and use
of violence for political ends.

Speaking shortly after the IRA's declaration of an end to
violence, Blair distinguished the republican movement from
al-Qaeda, arguing that the latter was driven by a
"combination of modern technology and the willingness to
kill without limit". The Blair view is that the IRA, at
least its leadership, understood the concept of limits. One
Sinn Fein strategist describes this as "Catholic group
thinking", which can backfire - the Provos were perceived
to have "crossed the line". This has something in common
with the Islamic concept of Umma. Being part of a world
community allows you to understand the motives of your
deviant "brothers" in a way that "rational" analysis of
evidence does not.

Blair's mother was a Catholic from Donegal, an economic
migrant who moved to Glasgow after the death of her father.
He has recalled spending "virtually every childhood summer
holiday" in Donegal. It was there that "I

learned to swim, there that my father took me to my first
pub, a remote little house in the country, for a Guinness".
Blair would have been 16 in 1969, and as his father was
bonding with him over illicit pints of stout, it is
unlikely that he would have missed pub conversations about
what was happening just over the border.

His experience at a Scottish public school would have
revealed to Blair that sectarianism, then fairly open in
Scotland, was not limited to the lower orders after Old
Firm matches. Fettes at that time would have been dominated
by the culture of the Established Church of Scotland, with
few boarders of Catholic immigrant stock from Donegal.

Although five years older, Gerry Adams has some things in
common with Blair. Both are essentially pragmatists, and
have moved their respective organisations to powerful
positions through ditching shibboleths. Dissidents have
been isolated and marginalised.

Both men are children of the Sixties, but neither were
'68ers. IRA veterans use the revealing term "theological
republicanism" to describe those dissidents who opposed
"electoralism" and viewed "armed struggle" as the purest
means to their ends. These diehards were to Adams what "old
Labour" was to Blair. While both can be charming, they can
be ruthless when faced with obstruction.

In war, Blair has been an advocate of what the IRA might,
for its purposes, have called the "tactical use of armed
struggle". His Chicago speech of 1999 laid down rules for
"internationalist" military intervention. "War is an
imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress,"
he argued, "but armed force is sometimes the only means of
dealing with dictators."

Morality may be the motive, but ultimately the use of
violence is based on whether it will work. According to
this theory, the amount of force needed is part of the
moral calculation - placing just enough pressure on the
Serbs, for example, to withdraw from Kosovo, rather than
occupying Belgrade. Likewise, the combination of
ruthlessness and incompetence that created the Omagh
atrocity probably would not have happened on Adams's watch.

Both men are religious. Adams is a regular communicant and
Blair is inching towards the faith of his mother and his
wife. Also, Blair's understanding of theology in an
essentially atheist political culture may give him an
insight into the sheer inflexibility of al-Qaeda. Middle
Britain gets confused by fundamentalism, be it Christians
picketing the BBC or suicide bombers from Leeds.

Blair has made a point of reading the Koran and has
listened to British Islam. He understands the nuances of
faith and appreciates that the line between the personal
consolations of faith and the violent expression of
sectarian superiority is fine but deep. Marx called
religion "the heart of a heartless world". Salafism views
sharia as this world's heart transplant. Blair understands
the nature of this ambition, and therefore the violence
"without limits" required to achieve it.

If Blair had believed that the IRA could not be brought
onside, he would not have spent so much effort since 1997.
He believed that Irish republicanism could be dealt with
because he understood it. For exactly the same reason, he
will not deal with al-Qaeda.

John O'Farrell is a Belfast-based commentator. This is the
latest in a series of political columns by guest writers


Opin: Northern Ireland's Gasp

By Therese McKenna August 4, 2005

The IRA pronouncement last week meant everything and
nothing, a vividly postmodern moment in the catalog of
choreographed set pieces stumbling across the stage of
Northern Ireland politics.

It was written. It was spoken. It was beamed across the

On July 28, that hidden, disembodied man of letters, P.
O'Neill, put on flesh and raised his voice, stepping up
before the camera lens to stand himself down.

In the following moments we scrambled to attach meaning, to
dissect the words, analyze, contextualize, and question. We
scribbled conclusions from omissions, inclusions, texture,
timbre, and timing. We paused to regret, resent, and to
mourn. We acknowledged the futility of years of murderous
mayhem done in adherence to the old lie of nationhood. We
extrapolated, examined, cast eyes back, and turned thoughts
to the future.

But in that very instant of disclosure, Northern Ireland
took a sharp inhalation of breath and gasped -- ''wow."

Something had lifted, and in the pure emotion of that
second we understood. No going back. Our stale and sickly
democracy eased itself up the bed. It must get well soon.
Hope burned.

After the fact, one girl, any girl, sat back and considered
how this event might impact on life as she had it.

What would become of the city? Already signs of the
farewell to arms flickered on the Belfast skyline as
British forces met words with action high upon Divis flats
in the west. Figures tiny like industrious ants chipped at
the army watchtower whose grim presence alienated many in
the republican stronghold.

Some cry ''capitulation," but what's to fear from
normalization? The north that unionists strive to keep ''as
British as Finchley" will never be so green and pleasant if
it remains festooned with ugly wartime relics and over-run
by more troops than Tony Blair sent to Iraq.

The people Ian Paisley and such purport to represent can
only gain from the removal of coercion from the streets.

Trouble is that sectarian votes which rely on fear of the
other will be strangled if this vacuum is filled. If power
is the sole end, our politicians may not let the people
breathe and grow. Maintain misery, maintain a mandate.
Sustain suspicion, count your ballots before they're cast.
But admit that things are getting better -- uncharted

Strong leadership and vision are vital for regeneration of
this place -- a willingness to see suffering and offer
humanity, not cynicism.

Working class communities have withered under the grip of
violent thuggery, and compassion wizened to bitterness
through years of deprivation unnoticed by government's
blind eye.

Maybe now that we have shared a moment, now that something
''big" has occurred, those who have been ignored so that
their unhappiness forced them to spit fury on to the
streets will see something of the mythic ''peace dividend."

While no one like me, with access to education, money, and
tree-lined suburbs, has awaited with bated breath for the
IRA say-so to live normally -- we have been gradually
bettering our lot as cash has trickled in since the cease-
fires a decade ago -- anyone not coached in the arts of
getting ahead has been cast to the wolves. For those in
comfort, the constitutional question is boring irrelevance
or interesting diversion -- a crossword puzzle.

The money is boomeranging about Belfast. Perhaps the IRA
announcement will encourage government to target it at the
communities where it would not previously go.

It would be grand if last week's scene-stealing performance
by the IRA were to catalyze a true revolution. If it
prompted the powerful to take us forward socially and
economically rather than munching on rhetoric and traipsing
the interminable tribal dance staged to pass for politics.

Grand if this were the statement to end all statements --
the one after which we all got on with it and grew to be
the society we could, weaned off reliance on outside help.

Grand if Sinn Fein were to give a blessing to policing, so
a service at full power could really set about tackling the
pervasive criminal culture of post-cease-fire Northern

Grand because this place looks better than ever -- civic-
minded architects have set public spaces in Belfast aglow
of late, and attitudes are changing with the streets.

It would be grand, and since there can be no going back we
may as well put our foot on the pedal and go.

Therese McKenna is a journalist with the Irish News.


Opin: This Time For IRA, Is It Peace?

Palm Beach Post Editorial
Thursday, August 04, 2005

Before there was an Al-Qaeda, the Irish Republican Army was
committing acts of terrorism, promoting hatred between
religions and waging an underground war against the British

More than 3,600 Catholics and Protestants have been killed
since 1969, many of them neither soldiers nor zealots but
citizens caught in the cross-fires. Eight years ago, the
IRA agreed in principle to lay down its arms. But only last
week did the group announce its intention to actually do so
and call an end to the sectarian violence. British Prime
Minister Tony Blair called it a "step of unparalleled
magnitude." Pope Benedict XVI said it was "beautiful news
which contrasts with the sorrowful business" of the past
three-plus decades.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, however, sounded the
note of caution the world needed to hear. He said the
announcement means nothing unless "the IRA's words are
borne out by verified actions." The disarmament was
supposed to occur after an agreement seven years ago, after
all, and evidence of the IRA's criminal behavior persists.
In January, IRA members stabbed to death a Catholic man in
a barroom dispute over his loyalty. Investigators also
believe that the IRA was behind last year's $50 million
robbery of a Belfast bank. Mr. Blair also spoke of the many
"false dawns and dashed hopes" that have pointed to a peace
that never came.

Skeptics found encouragement in the quick response of the
British government, which began dismantling military posts
in Northern Ireland hours after the peace declaration. The
British army has about 12,000 soldiers stationed there,
down from about 20,000 eight years ago. Gerry Adams, leader
of the IRA political arm Sinn Fein, said the withdrawal
sets the stage for the next important step — finding a
workable formula for Protestant-Catholic power sharing in
the government. To craft one will take face-to-face talks
between Sinn Fein and Ian Paisley's pro-Britain Democratic
Unionist Party, a difficult achievement in itself.

The IRA's decision to "dump arms" was based largely on the
pragmatic calculation that there was more to be gained
through diplomacy than combat. It took 36 years of
bloodshed for these terrorists to change their minds.


Bitter Dispute Over Gas Pipeline

By Diarmaid Fleming

BBC Northern Ireland reporter in Erris, County Mayo

Some local people in one of Ireland's remotest communities
are pitched against petrochemical giant Shell, in a bitter
dispute over the routing of a gas pipeline from the
Atlantic Ocean to County Mayo.

A crowd stands with placards outside the site of Shell's
proposed gas refinery at Bellanaboy in Erris, County Mayo,
where locals in one of Ireland's remotest areas have been
manning a daily blockade.

They are protesting against a high-pressure pipeline to
pump unrefined gas from the Corrib Field in the Atlantic
Ocean to the new terminal inland, saying it poses a
"serious safety and environmental risk", a claim Shell
strenuously denies.

Since five local local men went to prison at the end of
June for obstructing construction work in breach of a court
order granted to Shell, the dispute has intensified.

As they walk the route of the pipeline which will pump
unrefined gas at 120 times atmospheric pressure just 70m
from some homes, the wives of the jailed men seem unlikely
opponents faced against one of the world's biggest

Mary Corduff, whose husband Willie is in jail, said they
feel they have no option but to protest.

"We fear for our lives, fear of the proposed pipeline
coming through our village and putting us all in danger.

"Anybody who feels like that would have to take a stand
like this. We have no choice," she said.

Inside the vast terminal site, the steel pipeline snakes
across wild bogland.

Lines of trucks sit idle in an almost ghostly silence due
to the locals' blockade which Shell says is costing it
£70,000 a day.

Shell terminal operations manager Mark Carrigey said the
pipeline is completely safe.

"We are building world class facilities to the highest
safety standards. It's been through a very lengthy and
rigorous process.

"It has been reviewed by independent experts and they've
all given it a clean bill of health," he said.

Locals want the gas to be refined offshore, which they
claim would mean the pipeline carries what they say is more
stable refined gas at lower pressures than what's proposed.

Mary Corduff said this would be safer.

"We want Shell to refine this gas out at sea and carry it
through our area clean and safe and at a lot less pressure
than is proposed.

"I don't think that's too much to ask. The only reason it's
being brought inland now is to make a bigger profit for the
company," she said.

But Mr Carrigey said refining offshore would make little

"If we do have an offshore platform, we still need a pipe
that takes the gas ashore," he said.

"We still need an onshore terminal, to polish off and
remove final bits of liquids before the gas goes into the
grid. So essentially we end up with the same situation - an
onshore terminal with a pipeline taking gas," he said.

Natural gas from the Atlantic Corrib field is important to
the Republic as its only other source - off Kinsale in Cork
- runs out.

Oil firms benefit from tax relief, including concessions
introduced by the now disgraced politician and former
minister in the 1980s and 1990s, Ray Burke who was later
jailed for personal tax evasion.

Local TD Dr Gerry Cowley claims that the Irish state's
priority has been to facilitate the oil company's needs.

"I think there's been too much undestanding by the
ministers' officials as to the plight of the oil companies
- they accept automatically everything they're told.

"I think it's a far too cosy relationship - we need to have
some independent means of assessing this information," he

On 1 August, Irish marine and natural resources minister
Noel Dempsey ordered Shell to dismantle 3km of pipeline
welded, according to the minister, outside the scope of
consents granted to the company, breaches Shell describes
as "technical".

He also said Shell will be under closer inspection by a
technical group of experts appointed by him to deal with
the issue.

But any protestors' hopes of a change of ministerial heart
was dashed the following day when the Mr Dempsey granted
Shell permission to construct the offshore section of

Mayo is no stranger to protest, the birthplace of the
Boycott more than 120 years ago during Land League protests
against absentee landlords.

But with Shell's losses - and local passions - mounting,
this dispute looks far from over.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/03 09:07:28 GMT


Rossport Five Could Cause Major Political Upheavals Says Ó


A major rally in support of the Rossport Five is planned
for Galway city on Saturday August 13 and this week a group
from across the political spectrum was formed in Galway to
support the efforts of the five men who are still in

The Green Party's Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin was part of a
delegation to visit the Rossport Five in Clover Hill prison
last week, along with Green TDs Eamon Ryan and John
Gormley. According to Cllr Ó Brolcháin, the men are
prepared to stay in prison for the long haul.

"They have decided to wear prison clothes and to integrate
fully into the prison regime," he said. "They claimed that
they were being treated exceptionally well by the other
prisoners and by the prison authorities."

He said the men reiterated their point that they would not
purge their contempt of court until the safety issues
relating to the proposed gas pipeline in Rossport in Mayo
is properly addressed. "Their primary concern is for the
safety of themselves and their families."

The men have received support from the Greens, Sinn Féin,
Fine Gael's Michael Ring, and Independent TD Jerry Cowley,
and were visited by a Labour Party delegation led by party
leader Pat Rabbitte. "It is my belief that this is an issue
on which all opposition parties should unite," said Cllr
Niall Ó Brolcháin. "Irish people do not take kindly to men
languishing in jail for matters of conscience."

In a related matter, Sinn Féin's Galway county councillor
Dermot Connolly has called on the three main parties to say
where they stand on this issue of the Corrib Gas Field. "I
would also challenge all of the main parties to state very
clearly where they stand on this vitally important national
issue," he said. "This case has opened up to the wider
public the hugely important question of who really owns
Ireland's natural resources - the Irish people or foreign
multinationals? The public deserve to know."


Sectarian Bigotry Gets A Good, Swift Kick

For off-the-boat immigrants to this fine country, nostalgia
for the homeland can come from the smallest things: the
wisps of a familiar song on the radio or a familiar accent
heard in passing on the street.

These are the genetic strands of patriotism that no amount
of time can dilute. It's been 19 years since I left
Scotland and, truth be told, I'm probably more American now
than Scottish, with a Pennsylvania-born wife and two sons
who occasionally indulge their father with a passing
curiosity about the "auld country."

Still the bonds to the people and places of Scotland run
deep, as do the paternal impulses to teach my sons a little
of the land to which they have some biological, if not
emotional, ties.

So, when I heard that the Glasgow Rangers, a soccer team I
have supported for 30 years, were heading to Toronto for an
exhibition match, I felt a pull as primal as the springtime
urgings of the geese to head northward. My boys being 8 and
6, I would never have taken them to a game in Glasgow: The
atmosphere at such games is poisoned by an undercurrent of
violence and a sectarian bigotry that goes back to the
formation of the team more than 130 years ago.

While Catholic-Protestant tensions have declined
significantly since the 1998 Good Friday peace accords in
Northern Ireland, a feud more than 300 years deep does not
evaporate overnight. The sectarianism in Glasgow found its
focal point in that city's two teams. Glasgow Celtic was
founded as a Catholic workingman's club and Rangers, a few
years later, as its Protestant counterpoint. The animosity
between the two sets of fans has regularly spawned mass

But a friendly game in a foreign land surely would be
stripped of such tribal tensions, I figured. The memory of
my first Rangers game, with my own father 27 years earlier,
I admit, may have been my main reason for wanting to take
my soccer-crazy boys. I remember the tremulous sense of
excitement at the charged atmosphere around the stadium;
the constant rumbling of the fight songs felt like an
entrée into an adult and mysterious world beyond my tender
years. The first sight of the emerald-green soccer field
and my idols there warming up in their immaculate blue
uniforms still sits in my mind. I can conjure up every
exquisite detail at any minute.

I was always carried away with the noise and passions of
the songs, not their message. I never understood the hatred
for fellow countrymen and, heck, my wife, Amy, is Catholic.
It was the football that was important to me.

The streets around the Rogers Centre in Toronto were filled
with good-natured ex-pats from Scotland and Croatia, home
to Dynamo Zagreb, the opposition for the night. The boys
were awed by the sheer size of the stadium and desperate to
sing the one (nonsectarian) song I had taught them. It was
a strange, wonderful feeling to see Rangers run onto the
field and to watch my two sons -- who had not existed the
last time I saw the team play almost 20 years before --
roar at the top of their lungs for a team from a country
they didn't know.

One or two younger Rangers supporters began to sing an
anti-Catholic song. To my delight they were shouted down by
fans who had been away from Scotland long enough to
understand the folly of sectarianism. "Sit down and shut
up," one of them yelled. "You're in the new world now. It's
about the game."

It was the most sense I had ever heard at a soccer match.
Some things do not change, however, as the Rangers went
down to defeat, leaving my youngest son, Ewan, in tears.

"Get used to it," I told him. "If you're going to support
any Scottish sporting team, pain is an eternal part of the

It is a lesson best learned young, lest they be deluded by
a false sense of optimism.

Adrian Pratt is president and publisher of the Centre Daily
Times. Readers can contact him at 231-4680 or by e-mail at

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