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August 11, 2005

Catholic Church Attacks Must End

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 08/11/05 Attacks On Catholic Church 'Must End'
BT 08/11/05 Paisley Remains Silent On Attacks
DI 08/11/05 Opin: DUPs World Of Fantasy Comes Crashing Down
DI 08/11/05 Opin: Annus Horribilis For Paisley Could Change
DI 08/11/05 Loyalist 'General Threat'
DI 08/11/05 Ex-Soldiers Quizzed Over Brown Killing
BT 08/11/05 Sadness On Feud Victim's 21st Birthday
BT 08/11/05 Shock Figures On Convictions For Terrorism
BT 08/11/05 Colombians Want 'Justice' Over 3 Fugitives
BB 08/11/05 Appeal To Ahern Over 3 Republicans
BT 08/11/05 Call To Turn In Bombers
SP 08/11/05 Northern Ireland After The IRA Statement
BT 08/11/05 Strabane Hits Back At Slur
BT 08/11/05 Strabane - Local Inhabitants Give Their Views
BT 08/11/05 Ulster: 'One In Three' Kids Living In Poverty
BT 08/11/05 Ulster 'Dry' Says Report


Attacks On Church 'Must End'

By Nevin Farrell
11 August 2005

A Protestant cleric behind a clean-up campaign at a paint-
bombed Catholic Church in Harryville yesterday called on
all churches in Ballymena to unite against ongoing attacks
on the building.

Jeremy Gardiner, a youth pastor at High Kirk Presbyterian
Church in the Co Antrim town, was speaking after the latest
in a wave of attacks at the Church of Our Lady in
Harryville, which was picketed by loyalists.

Paint bombs were thrown at the church during an overnight
incident on Tuesday.

The church was targeted as tension remained high in the
town following the first republican band parade in the
nationalist Fisherwick estate.

Two weeks ago, Mr Gardiner and fellow parishioners cleaned
graffiti off the walls of the church in a gesture
appreciated by Catholic clergy and parishioners. The next
day the Protestant group handed out red roses to Catholics
leaving Mass at All Saints Catholic Church in Ballymena,
which was also paint-bombed in recent weeks.

The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Diocese, Patrick
Walsh, recently visited Harryville church after the first
paint bombings and described the attacks as "desecration".

Mr Gardiner said yesterday : "I think it really is time for
the churches in Ballymena to stand up against this in
solidarity with each other, and with our Catholic
neighbours, and just to say 'enough is enough'.

"We want to create a message of hope within the town. I
think we have stood back for too long and let this happen
and somebody has to stand the gap and say something against
this, particularly in Ballymena, and I think the church has
to do that."

Ballymena priest Fr Paul Symonds said it was "very
disappointing" that the church was targeted again.

As well as having support from the Presbyterian church, Fr
Symonds said they received messages of support from many
churches including the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church
and the Victory Praise Centre.

He also said he was "very touched" by residents in
Harryville who told him they were against the attacks.

Ballymena Progressive Unionist Party official Billy
McCaughey, who had stood inside the Church of Our Lady to
show his support for the recent clean-up by Protestants,
said he was "terribly disappointed" at the latest paint


Paisley Remains Silent On Attacks

By Brian Hutton and Nevin Farrell
11 August 2005

The DUP leader - and North Antrim MP - Ian Paisley was
yesterday unavailable to comment on a violent campaign of
sectarianism in his own constituency.

A party spokesman said that Dr Paisley was "now on his way
to vacation" and "would not be in a position to issue a
press statement at this stage".

A series of attacks on Catholic homes and churches in Co
Antrim has been linked by unionists and the PSNI to the
first ever republican parade in Ballymena on Tuesday night.

Dozens of riot police prevented loyalists and republicans
clashing following the march at the mainly nationalist
Fisherwick estate.

Three police officers were injured after they came under
attack from a section of a large loyalist crowd.

The window of a house and a car were damaged in the Farm
Lodge/Suffolk Street area.

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA, Philip McGuigan, last night
accused the DUP of "flirting" with loyalist terrorists.

"Loyalists marched over the Ballymena footbridge from
Ballykeel toward Fisherwick with UDA flags, lambeg drums
and tricolours to burn in front of the PSNI," said Mr

"DUP MLA Mervyn Storey addressed the crowd. I was not
surprised when I saw coverage of him on BBC thanking the
loyalist crowd for coming to the bottom of Fisherwick.

"This raises serious questions about the role the DUP
played in this proposed loyalist onslaught on Catholic

Mr McGuigan said that UDA and UVF members from Banbridge,
Maghera and Belfast, were among the protesters.

"This approach is totally reflective of the DUP's attitude
toward attacks on Catholics in the North Antrim area in
recent weeks," he added.

DUP MLA Ian Paisley Junior said people are "rightly angry"
that the parade took place and accused the organisers of
the "deliberate stoking of sectarian crime".

He said: "Those on parade wore paramilitary-style uniforms,
which is unlawful. They made INLA chants, which are
unlawful, and they were deliberately provocative.

"I am confident that the police are going to move swiftly
and see if prosecutions are possible for any serious breach
of crime."

Antrim republican Paddy Murray, who organised the parade to
commemorate internment, said he was planning another
republican march in the town next year to mark the
anniversary of the hunger strikes.


Opin: DUP's World Of Fantasy Comes Crashing Down

Danny Morrison To comment:
Published 10/08/2005

The fantasy world of the DUP and its voters came crashing
down around them in the space of a few days last week. In
their delusional world – which became even more heady when
the DUP outpolled the Ulster Unionist Party to become the
chosen representatives of the unionist people – the DUP are
masters of the universe and the UUP "sell-out" would not
only end but be reversed.

The first laugh came when Bob McCartney decided to help the
DUP by standing aside in North Down, assured by Peter
Robinson that it would be a generation before the DUP would
consider sharing power with republicans. As it turned out,
it was in North Down that Lady Sylvia Hermon of the UUP
retained her seat.

Paisley told the electorate that voting for him would 'stop
the rot'. There would be, "no more concessions to the IRA
and no more rewards for IRA/Sinn Féin…

"The only way that IRA/Sinn Féin can be defeated is if the
DUP is declared by the majority of voters to be Northern
Ireland's largest party and the authentic voice of Northern
Ireland… This can become Ulster's finest hour. May God
define the right."

His manifesto claimed: "Today it is the DUP's agenda that
dominates the political process with London, Dublin and
Washington accepting our demands as fundamental
prerequisites. The pan-nationalist front has been fractured
and Sinn Féin is more isolated than ever before."

He promised the voters that a mandatory coalition with Sinn
Féin under the D'Hondt system of voting, "or any similar
arrangement", was out of the question. The party opposed
the reduction of police numbers and moves to scrap the
reserve and campaigned for the retention of smaller police
barracks, particularly in rural areas.

Back in December the party demanded that IRA
decommissioning be filmed. Certainly, after the Northern
Bank robbery and the killing of Robert McCartney the DUP
appeared to have the support of the British and Irish
governments for this demand, which had been rejected by
republicans as an attempt to humiliate them. Or "wear
sackcloth and ashes in public", as an ebullient Paisley had
put it.

However, with the formal announcement from the IRA of an
end to its armed campaign, republicans in one fell swoop
gained the upper hand, turned the tables on their critics
and exposed the fraud that the DUP had pulled on its

Seán Kelly, who should never have been re-imprisoned, was
immediately released in what was clearly a political move
by the British government which actually usurped the role
of the Sentence Review Commission.

The disbandment of the Royal Irish Regiment – to the
humiliation of Paisley – was announced on radio.

The dismantling of security structures began almost right

A decrease in troop deployments and an end to British Army
support for the PSNI was announced.

In a slap in the face to Paisley (who had been justifiably
demanding increased representation on the Policing Board in
accordance with his party's electoral strength) the British
government announced that it had asked the 19 current
members of the Policing Board to continue to serve into
next year. The pretext was for reasons of stability and
continuity but clearly it was also hoping that there might
be a thaw in Sinn Féin's attitude to the PSNI.

The DUP's Sammy Wilson described this announcement as "an
attempt by the government to ensure that it has got a board
that will drive through the agenda which is required to
placate Sinn Féin on policing."

As the BBC's political correspondent, Mark Devenport, put
it: "Whatever the security chiefs say, disbanding the RIR
is a political plus for Sinn Féin and a minus for the DUP.
The DUP has also taken hits in relation to the extension of
the current Policing Board, the release of Shankill bomber
Seán Kelly and the abandonment by the governments of any
support for photographs of decommissioning."

Furthermore, Devenport said, "The party is bracing itself
for the legislation in the autumn on 'on the runs'."

To the tribute of the republican movement and its friends
the organisation brought home the Colombia Three, safe and
sound, immune from extradition, in what must have been a
sophisticated and anxious undertaking which garnered the
usual hysterical outcry from unionists.

Then – to the backdrop of unionist complaints about an
'embryonic all-Ireland government' – Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
announced that his government is considering giving MPs
from the six counties the right to sit on Dáil committees
in relation to the North and the outworking of the Belfast
Agreement, as lobbied by Sinn Féin.

A few months ago the DUP met with the Irish government,
thus compromising one of its fundamental principles about
the South having no say in the affairs of the North.

It now looks likely that in the future it could well be
dealing with an Irish government which includes and is
influenced by Sinn Féin ministers.

At the weekend the British government published proposals
that the requirement in the North to register annually for
elections is to be dropped – as demanded by Sinn Féin.
Instead it is leaving it up to the chief electoral officer
to decide when the rolls need refreshed and is also
proposing that people should be able to get on the register
up until 11 days before an election.

All of the above creates an appreciative context for the
second joke of the week: news that Ian is being tipped for
elevation to Queen Elizabeth's Privy Council, which would
make him a Right Honourable Member – or eejit, depending on
your point of view. To butter up the household it is also
being suggested that Mrs Ian Paisley, Eileen, could be on
her way to the House of Lords.

There, Lady Erin no doubt will be able to tell the world in
her maiden speech how much the DUP's agenda dominates the
political process.

Danny Morrison is a regular media commentator on Irish
politics. He is the author of three novels and three works
of non-fiction.


Annus Horribilis For Paisley Could Soon Change

Anne cadwallader To comment:
Published 09/08/2005

One of the great mysteries of recent Irish history now
awaits an answer — what goes on inside Ian Paisley's head.
It is a fascinating question for those sitting on the
sidelines but much more vital, of course, for the millions
whose future peace and prosperity depends on the answer.

Paisley has dedicated his political life to "smashing Sinn
Féin". He now has to come to terms with the fact that not
only has he failed but he is being asked (some would say
told) by the parliament to which he gives allegiance to
come to an accommodation with the hated party.

Recent days have not been kind to Ian Paisley. The year
2005 is turning, to quote Her Maj, into somewhat of an
"annus horribilis" for Big Ian.

Firstly, the two appointees to head the Equality and Human
Rights Commissions did not exactly go his way. He was not
even informed in advance that a man from Co Kerry was to
head the former commission and a mere woman who had had the
temerity to stand up to his jibes at Stormont was getting
the latter.

Then Seán Kelly was unceremoniously dumped out of jail
without consultation with the Democratic Unionist Party
leader on July 27, despite dire mutterings from Jeffrey
Donaldson, 48 hours previously, that "it would be utterly
inconceivable" if London prepared for the IRA statement by
"being lenient".

The IRA statement itself was clear and unambiguous and Tony
Blair warmly welcomed it as "unparalleled". If Jim
Molyneaux felt the 1994 ceasefire was the most unsettling
event ever to hit unionism in its history, imagine how
Paisley felt about P O'Neill's statement of July 28.

Another blow for Paisley came when the British government
moved in to begin demilitarising bases in south Armagh,
Belfast and Derry.

This was swiftly followed by the whammy of the disbandment
of the Royal Irish Regiment, without so much as a by-your-
leave from the leader of the DUP.

The party was then ignored over the Policing Board. Mind
you, it is difficult not to agree with the DUP on that. The
British government is quite cynically ignoring the ballot
box by "rolling over" the board's membership for another
year, despite significant electoral changes.

All of this should begin to tell the DUP leader something.
He should be scratching his head and drawing certain
conclusions about his influence or lack of it at

It seems that, in a not entirely subtle way, London is
putting the thumbscrews on the DUP in a bid to try to get
the party around the talks table and ultimately the
executive table far quicker than it wants.

Is London telling Paisley: "Okay, you won't share power.
Okay, so you get direct rule. This is how direct rule is
going to be. Oh and what do you think about joint
sovereignty? Want to change it? Then get into bed with the

The Ulster Unionist Party, having been down this painful
road itself many times in the past, is waiting in the wings
to tell unionist voters what they may already be starting
to grasp all by themselves. That is that London will go its
own way and act in what it conceives to be its own
interests. The RIR was dumped without even its own members
being told in advance to expect the blow.

This poses a huge question for the DUP and, in particular,
its leader.

Electorally, it is hugely risky for the party to soften its
policies on power-sharing with republicans. It only got to
be top dog within unionism by telling the voters that David
Trimble was a loser and that unionism had lost alongside

Riding that tiger means the DUP has to demonstrate that
unionism is now winning and that the "conveyor belt of
concessions to republicans" has come to a grinding halt.

After the IRA statement, the DUP had to decide whether to
crow that it had won a significant concession from
republicans or play the victim game and risk looking just
like the losers in the Ulster Unionist Party.

Sadly for unionists, it seems they have an endless capacity
to portray themselves as losers, although that in itself is
a risky game for the DUP because the UUP is just dying to
yell: "Told you so."

This brings us to the question of whether Ian Paisley is
susceptible to political pressure.

Some academics tell us that history is not made by
individuals, that individuals are made by history.
Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Mao Zedong, Napoleon,
Henry VIII, Churchill, Thatcher. Were they all created by
their times or did they mould history themselves?

What makes Paisley different from most of the above is that
he is motivated by a driving force other than the
political. He is a deeply religious man who believes that
God is on his side and that his enemies are Satan's

For him, politics in the North is not just a conflict
between native and planter, Irish and British. It is the
ultimate conflict between heaven and hell, right and wrong.

That puts Paisley dangerously outside the normal rules of
politics. For anyone trying to pressurise him to take a
road he does not want to take, it makes the outcome even
more unpredictable than normal.

Don't believe me? Look at just a few phrases in the DUP
leader's statement in advance of his meetings in London
last week (many of which went unreported).

Referring to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness as members
of a "machine of blood", he castigated the British
government for "joining hands with the leaders of murderers
and the allies of thieves to carry out a plan which will
leave Ulster an easy prey to terrorist activity".

If the two governments press forward with plans for
devolution, he said, "they will have to face the righteous
indignation of the unionist population" (which sounds
perilously like a threat).

"No decent person could tolerate a government in which
jubilant terrorists, rejoicing in years of blood-letting
and applauding acts of the vilest butchery, can have any
part," he said.

"The principles of IRA/Sinn Féin are the principles of
fascism and naked dictatorship with an underlying hatred of
righteousness, justice and truth."

Unionists are willing to "pay the price of liberty", he
said. They will not "make sacrifices… to the end that
Ulster ceases to be a part of the United Kingdom and
sacrifices its democracy forever."

How can you rationally argue with someone who believes all

Those taking pleasure in seeing the DUP leader throwing his
teddy out of the pram should be warned. All this could
change on a sixpence.

It is all predicated on London's definition of its own
self-interest. If the police or the Independent Monitoring
Commission, for example, claim there is any IRA activity
(which, going on past record, they are pretty much bound to
do), Paisley's fortunes may once again be in the
ascendancy. He must be praying very hard.

Anne Cadwallader is a freelance journalist, broadcaster and
author of Holy Cross: The Untold Story.


Loyalist 'General Threat'

By Connla Young

Published 10/08/2005

A number of Catholics in a Co Antrim village have been
forced to flee their homes after the PSNI confirmed they
are under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

In an unprecedented move, the PSNI has handed out fire
blankets and smoke detectors to five Catholic residents in
the loyalist Brookfield Gardens estate in Ahoghill, near
Ballymena, because of what they the described as a "general
threat" to households "occupied by Catholics".

It is understood PSNI officers also advised homeowners what
window they should jump from if they are targeted in a
loyalist murder bid.

Several of those issued with the PSNI threat notice are
believed to have left their homes yesterday.

The drastic PSNI action comes just a week after Oonagh
Donaghy and her son Mark were forced to flee their burning
home in the middle of the night after it was torched in a
loyalist arson attack. Last month Mrs Donaghy's aunt
Kathleen McCaughey abandoned her Ahoghill home of 50 years
after being targeted by loyalists on several occasions in
recent years.

Since July, there have been six paint attacks on Catholic
churches in the wider Ballymena area, while earlier this
week Catholic families were targeted in two pipe bomb
attacks at Cloughmills, just a few miles from the mainly
unionist town.

Pubs in nearby Rasharkin and Martinstown have also been
targeted by loyalists in recent weeks.

Last night the PSNI said they were unable to provide
figures for the number of made by officers investigating
sectarian attacks in the Ballymena area since the beginning
of July.

North Antrim Sinn Féin councillor Daithí McKay said the
recent threats in Ahoghill came from the UDA.

"There are only a handful of Catholics left in this estate
and if they are targeted to the same degree as others they
will also be burned out and that is the reality. It also
worth noting that the MP for the area, Ian Paisley, is
nowhere to be seen. He has a lot of influence in this area
and he should now use it to bring this campaign to an end."

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan slammed those behind the attack.

"It underlines the seriousness of the attacks and the
threat that remains to Catholic families in Ahoghill and
the surrounding area. The only real form of protection the
nationalist people of Ahoghill need is to stop having their
lives and livelihoods threatened on an almost daily basis.

"In recent weeks we have seen how loyalist thugs around
Ahoghill and the wider area have stepped up their campaign
of intimidation and hate.

"It is only a matter of time before this leads to tragic
consequences. I am calling on all those with influence in
the unionist community to work to bring this vile campaign
to an end. The fact that the police deem the situation
serious enough to take this action should be more than
enough reason for them to do so now."

DUP mayor of Ballymena, Tommy Nicholl, condemned those
behind the threats.

"I would appeal to these people who are going down this
road, to stop and to think. This is not the way forward."


Ex-Soldiers Quizzed Over Brown Killing

By Connla Young
Published 10/08/2005

A number of former Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers have
been questioned by the PSNI in relation to the murder of
County Derry GAA official Sean Brown, Daily Ireland can

The former British soldiers were detained in a series of
PSNI raids in Mid-Ulster last month.

The PSNI originally claimed that nine people were detained
across the North as part of the investigation into the
Bellaghy man's murder.

The father of six was gunned down by a Loyalist Volunteer
Force hit squad as he locked up at Bellaghy GAA club in May

However, Daily Ireland has established that 12 people were
detained in a series of raids across the North on
Wednesday, July 27, and that just four were questioned in
relation to the Brown murder investigation.

Four others detained were questioned about money laundering
activities while the remaining six were held and questioned
under "terrorism legislation".

The PSNI last night confirmed Daily Ireland's figures.

A further four people, two men and two women, were detained
in a series of raids carried out as part of the Brown
murder probe in England earlier last week, bringing the
total number of people detained in the past week in the
various operations to 16.

All those detained in Ireland and Britain have been
released without charge.

Members of the PSNI's Organised Crime Task Force took part
in the series of raids carried out across the North last

Revelations that a number of those questioned as part of
the Brown murder investigation are former members of the
UDR comes just a week after the British Army announced that
home battalions of the controversial regiment's successor,
the Royal Irish Regiment, is to be disbanded by 2007.

The RIR came into being in 1992 after the amalgamation of
the UDR and Royal Irish Rangers.

Nationalists have long suspected security force collusion
in the murder of Sean Brown.

The family man was ambushed by the LVF gang as he locked up
at Bellaghy GAA club where he was chairman.

His body was later found close to a burning car at
Randalstown, County Antrim by firefighters.

It later emerged that Mr Brown was shot six times.

A fresh investigation into the murder of Sean Brown was
launched last year after a report published by the Police
Ombudsman's Office into the original RUC probe raised a
number of serious questions.

The Brown family agreed to an independent review of the
murder case carried out by officers drawn from police
forces across Britain. The family insisted that no serving
PSNI personnel involved in the original RUC investigation
be allowed to participate in the current probe.

In June this year the Bellaghy man's murder was the subject
of a graphic reconstruction broadcast by the BBC's
Crimewatch programme.


Sadness On Feud Victim's 21st Birthday

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
11 August 2005

Loyalist feud victim Craig McCausland (pictured) would have
turned 21 today correcthad he lived.

Mr McCausland was shot dead at his Dhu Varren Park home in
north Belfast in front of his partner and her two children
exactly one month ago.

He was the second person to be murdered this summer as
tensions between the UVF and LVF have spilled over into

But Craig's family, who will mark his birthday privately,
have said that the occasion will bring all the bad memories

Cousin Nichola McIlvenny said: "We will have to get on with
our lives and we all try to cope in our own ways but having
a birthday will bring it all back for everybody.

"We just want anyone who knows anything about how Craig was
killed to come forward with information."

Police this week said that Craig was a soft target and
there is no evidence to suggest he was a member of the LVF.

His family have launched the 'Justice for Craig' appeal.

Nichola has called on all politicians and community workers
in assisting them to find out information about Craig's

She has said that those who murdered her cousin are moving
about "with impunity".


Shock Figures On Convictions For Terrorism

By Michael McHugh
11 August 2005

One person a week is being convicted on terrorism charges,
more than 10 years after the first paramilitary ceasefires,
fresh statistics revealed yesterday.

The Northern Ireland Court Service said 52 people were
found guilty of scheduled offences -ranging from rioting to
murder - in 2004 despite loyalist and republican

The figures have sparked alarm amid concerns about the
future of the legal system for trying suspected

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said it was clear that the Diplock
court system, where judges convict or acquit paramilitary
suspects, should be kept on until the illegal activity

"Anybody being convicted of terrorism is unacceptable when
we are supposed to have various ceasefires," he said.

"There is a very significant amount of activity related to
the paramilitaries and we've seen it even in the last
couple of days as more people are arrested in connection
with the loyalist feud.

"All of that tells you that we still have terrorist
activity and it also indicates that these organisations are
still going."

The figures show a significant drop on the 2003 figure,
when 183 people were convicted of scheduled offences but
the recent loyalist feud has seen increased police activity
which could lead to more convictions.

A review of emergency powers which allow the use of non-
jury courts to try paramilitary suspects has been
anticipated as part of the security review after the IRA's
order to dump arms but Sir Reg said change could not be
considered just yet.

"I would love to see the day when we have the normal
application of the law but if anybody really believes we
are at or near that they are living in a dream world," he

"Anybody with a knowledge of this area would know that is

Belfast Crown Court dealt with a total of 77 cases in 2004,
in which 23 people were acquitted of all charges. Two cases
were terminated after no-bill applications where no
evidence was submitted by the prosecution.

Further cases due to be heard soon include that of Sean
Gerard Hoey (35), of Molly Road, Jonesboro, who faces
charges relating to the Omagh bomb.


Colombians Want 'Justice' Over Three Irish Fugitives

US says it cannot ignore situation

By Chris Thornton and Susan Garrity
11 August 2005

THE Colombian people demand justice be done by Ireland
returning the Colombia Three to serve their sentences in
jail, the country's Vice-President said today.

Francisco Santos linked the three republican fugitives to
narco-terrorist attacks in Colombia, and said those who had
expressed concerns about their rights should also be
concerned about respect for the rule of law.

His comments were made as pressure mounted on the Irish
government for action in the case of the three - Lurgan man
Martin McCauley, Sinn Fein's Cuban envoy Niall Connolly,
and former Sinn Fein executive member James Monaghan.

A US State Department source said the American
administration has told Ireland it considers the three
international fugitives, and Colombia has introduced a visa
requirement for all visitors to the country travelling on
Irish passports.

There is no such requirement for visitors from any other EU

The three announced their return to Ireland last week after
skipping bail in Colombia in December to avoid 17-year jail
sentences for aiding Farc, a narco-terrorist organisation
fighting the Colombian government.

In an article in today's Irish Times, Mr Santos said Farc
had shown a marked escalation in bomb-making techniques and
other weaponry since the three visited territory controlled
by the guerrillas in 2001.

"These improvements in explosives by the Farc did not come
from an al-Qaida or anarchist website. They came from the
direct training of people like James Monaghan, Niall
Connolly and Martin McCauley," he wrote.

"I wonder why the deafening silences now from all those
organisations who expressed concerns in the past about the
legal rights of the three.

"Where are all the condemnations for the violation of the
rule of law, not to mention an international arrest

"Hundreds of Colombians have met their deaths at the hands
of the Farc and their new, 'improved' unconventional
explosives and tactics."

Meanwhile, a US State Department official, on condition of
anonymity, said the three are considered "fugitives of
Colombian justice" by the American government.

Although emphasising that the case would have to be dealt
with by the Irish and Colombian governments, the source
said Washington could not simply ignore the situation.

With the exception of the Middle East, the US spends more
funds on military efforts in Colombia than anywhere else in
the world.


Appeal To Ahern Over Republicans

The Irish opposition leader has called for any members of
the Fianna Fail party who know where three on-the-run
republicans are to tell police.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were
sentenced to 17 years in jail in Colombia last year.

They vanished in December 2004 while on bail and have now
returned to Ireland.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern should ask members of his own party what they know of
the men's wherabouts.

Speaking on Wednesday night, Mr Kenny said: "Mr Ahern
should immediately direct any members of his own
parliamentary party to come forward with any information."

Fianna Fail Senator Mary White, who visited Colombia seven
times during the trial of the three men, denied she knew
where the men were.

"I know nothing about them. I travelled seven times as an
observer to ensure human rights were being respected," she

"If Fine Gael is referring to me, I know nothing."


Earlier, the Republic's deputy prime minister said the
three republicans were no friends of the peace process.

Tanaiste Mary Harney said no deal had been done with Sinn
Fein or the IRA over the men's return to Ireland.

"It is important that the three persons involved and those
who have expressed exultation at their return to this
country should not underestimate the government's
determination to explore all the options open to it to
ensure that Ireland continues to play its full part in the
fight against international terrorism," Ms Harney said.

Ms Harney said the Irish government would consider any
request from the Colombian authorities for their

She confirmed that no formal request for extradition had
been received. Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos
wants the men extradited but said he did not rule out
allowing them to serve their sentences in Ireland.

The men, who had been accused of being IRA members, were
arrested in Bogota in August 2001.

They were found guilty of travelling on false passports, in
June 2004, but were acquitted of training Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrillas.

That decision was reversed after an appeal by the Colombian
attorney general and they were sentenced to 17-year terms.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/11 05:19:02 GMT


Call To Turn In Bombers

By Michael McHugh
11 August 2005

Nationalists must turn over dissident republicans to the
police following a failed attempt to bomb a police station
in Co Armagh, a local Assemblyman said last night.

Upper Bann member Samuel Gardiner said unionists would be
seeking the measure as a confidence-boosting sign of the
peaceful intentions of the IRA following serious
disturbances in Lurgan.

Dissident republicans are being blamed for the incident,
when a taxi driver was held at gunpoint and forced to drive
his car with a bomb inside to Lurgan police station.

The driver abandoned his car beside a GAA ground but when
police and Army bomb disposal teams moved in to deal with
the device they were attacked by a crowd throwing petrol
bombs and other missiles.

Mr Gardiner said: "The nationalist community must begin to
deliver up dissidents who engage in violence to the forces
of law and order."


Northern Ireland After The IRA Statement

Why the 'peace process' continues to flounder

THE REACTION within Northern Ireland to the IRA statement
ordering its units to "dump arms" says a lot more about the
current state of the 'peace process' than the statement

Peter Hadden, Belfast

Far from helping integrate the two communities the years of
the 'peace process' have seen an unprecedented
polarisation. This was reflected in the response to the
statement. In general, Catholics saw it as a positive step
and a significant concession by the republican movement.
However, for a number of now disgruntled republican
activists it has been viewed as a step too far.

Protestants, on the other hand, greeted it with scepticism
and general distrust. Protestant unease has been whipped up
by Unionist politicians who are demanding "deeds not words"
and who concentrate on Gerry Adams' claim that a united
Ireland is now on the cards, achievable by peaceful,
political means.

In fact the IRA statement is really just a more forthright,
less ambiguous rehash of what was stated eleven years ago
when the ceasefire was declared. Even though it has taken
more than a decade to get to the present position, the 1994
ceasefire marked the definitive end of the IRA's military

By that time the leadership had come to realise that the
"long war" was unwinnable. The IRA's methods of individual
terrorism could never hope to defeat the power of the
state, especially since they were based on only one section
of the population and were bitterly opposed by the
Protestant majority.


By the mid-1980s the Adams leadership were increasingly
turning their attention to politics, hoping that Sinn Fein
could make a breakthrough north and south. It became
obvious that, far from complementing the political
strategy, the armed struggle was an obstacle, especially to
Sinn Fein's hopes in the south.

Adams and Co. were also seduced by assurances received
indirectly from the British government that they had no
interest in holding on to Northern Ireland and would leave
if a majority of the population wanted them to. Rather than
an enemy to be driven out, the British establishment came
to be seen more as a potential ally in "persuading" the
Protestants to accept a united Ireland.

Having swallowed this, the leadership no longer had a
raison d'etre to continue the armed struggle. Once the 1994
ceasefire was in place they had no intention of returning
to war.

This has been compounded by 9/11 and the Madrid and London
bombings, which make the idea of a return to IRA bombings
even more unthinkable. The Republican leadership wants to
court good relations with whatever administration is in
power in Washington and Westminster and is not likely to do
anything that will associate it with al-Qa'ida.

The threat of a split has meant that it has taken more than
a decade to convince the republican grass roots to accept
the recent "dump arms" order. Adams and Co. can only hold
the movement together if they seem to have an alternative
political strategy that has and will get results.

At the beginning of this year, in the aftermath of the
Northern Bank robbery and the Robert McCartney murder, the
political strategy was in danger of unravelling. The Sinn
Fein leadership found themselves shivering in the political
cold, shunned by the very establishment figures they had
tried to court.

Their central objective of a significant electoral
breakthrough in the south and a possible place in a future
coalition government seemed in jeopardy unless they made
more definitive moves to take the IRA out of the equation.

The fact that the statement and subsequent Sinn Fein press
conference was held in Dublin, not Belfast, shows that
their number one concern at the moment is to repair any
damage they may have suffered in the south before the next
Dail [Irish parliament] elections.


Does the recent statement really mean the end of the IRA
and the start of a new peaceful era in Northern Ireland
politics? There is no doubt that it will be implemented in

The IRA arms stockpiled in dumps in the south will almost
certainly be decommissioned. The leadership who have no
intention of a return to war have no use for these weapons.
Privately they would probably prefer them destroyed rather
than available for use by present and future dissidents.

Getting rid of the weapons before any future negotiations
also allows them to sidestep the DUP's insistence on
photographic evidence.

The Republican leadership would now like to go further and
take their place on the Policing Board, in effect
recognising the PSNI. Whether they will be able to do this
will depend on events on the ground.

These are very significant steps, reflecting the rightward
trajectory of the current leadership. They do not, however,
spell the definitive end of the IRA and most certainly do
not mean that the conflict is about to be resolved.

The statement stops short of the call for IRA disbandment
which was being insisted on by the London and Dublin
governments at the start of the year, but which they have
quietly dropped more recently.

IRA structures are to stay in place, the Army Council is to
be changed, not abolished, with the purely cosmetic
replacement of the three Sinn Fein public representatives,
Adams, McGuinness and southern TD, Martin Ferris.

The IRA will continue to operate in the working-class areas
attempting to maintain a degree of 'control', perhaps using
a variety of public titles.

A critical issue in these areas is the need for defence
against sectarian attacks such as the 1969 pogroms in which
the current IRA was born. Loyalist petrol bombings and
other attacks are ongoing and IRA members in areas like
North Belfast will not be persuaded to fully disarm or
dissolve while this threat exists.

'IRA plc'

'IRA plc' will also continue in being in some form. This
vast financial and business empire, that involves running
legitimate businesses, money laundering as well as the sub-
contracting of crime to others while the IRA takes its cut,
will not go into liquidation.

Nor is this the end of the conflict. The DUP have responded
with typical fury to the reciprocal steps towards
demilitarisation taken by the state, predictably
complaining that a side deal has been done with "Sinn
Fein/IRA". Their current position is that they will not
even enter new negotiations for two years.

Even if they shift on this - and even if there are new
elections and a new Assembly - it will be against a
background of a more polarised and divided society. A
patched-up deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP would be no
more than a form of political Balkanisation and could not

What is taking place on the ground does not point towards a
settlement. The attempt by the loyalist paramilitaries to
ape republicans by embarking on a political course has come
to nothing. Between them, the UDA- and UVF-linked groups
are now down to only four council positions.

The UVF have moved to militarily crush the smaller
breakaway LVF. In the course of this ongoing feud three
people have been killed, 300 mainly UVF men were able to
take over the Garnerville estate in East Belfast, evicting
LVF families, and there has been serious rioting in the
Shankill area with plastic bullets fired.

The troubles continue, not as a 'war' between republicans
and the state, but as a sectarian conflict fought out over

In this context, Sinn Fein's idea that demographic changes,
linked to a general strengthening of nationalism, will
eventually bring about a united Ireland flies in the face
of reality. If a capitalist united Ireland really appeared
on the cards this would trigger massive Protestant
resistance and civil war.

The Socialist Party in Northern Ireland welcomes the formal
ending of the military campaign. We want to see all the
paramilitary organisations, loyalist and republican, go out
of business completely.

But to achieve this means building a class alternative that
can unite working-class people in the struggle for a better
life, that can deal with the threat of sectarian attack,
and that can offer a socialist solution to the national
question - a socialist Ireland as part of a voluntary
socialist federation of Ireland, England, Wales and

While the republican leadership continue their efforts to
take their place among the great and good of capitalist
society, the fact remains that the only force that can
solve the problem is a united movement of the working


Strabane Hits Back At Slur

'Town developing, growing and looking to the future'

By Sarah Brett
11 August 2005

GOLFING superstar Tiger Woods and pop singer Mick Hucknall
were today embroiled in the 'slander on Strabane' furore
after Channel 4 branded it among the UK's worst places to

Strabane District Council brought out the big guns to
highlight the town's international renown as a top salmon-
fishing destination as part of an overall response to the
perceived slur.

Both men have visited the area more than once to avail of
the fishing on the rich river network.

Channel 4's Location, Location Location programme - hosted
by Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer - aired its Best and
Worst places to live in the UK special on Tuesday night,
resulting in an instant backlash in Tyrone after Strabane
was named the worst place to live in Northern Ireland and
third worst UK-wide.

Criteria for the results were based around employment,
environment, rainfall, crime and house prices.

"In terms of weather and rainfall, Tiger Woods, Mick
Hucknall and others who elect to spend their well earned
holidays fishing the rich salmon rivers of the district,
have yet to complain about the weather," commented council
chairman, Brian McMahon.

In a lengthy point by point rebuttal, the council stated
that demand for housing in Strabane is at an all-time high,
with low prices making it ideal for first time buyers,
unemployment down around 5% over five years and crime at
its lowest in five years.

The council accused programmers of "going in search of
affluence and finding it".

"Strabane is an area that is growing, developing and
looking to the future and thinking about the quality of
life of its future generations," said Mr McMahon.

"I believe that there are certain things that money can't
buy, such as community cohesion, local identity and
generosity of spirit. For these things, I am proud to be a
citizen of Strabane."


Strabane - Local Inhabitants Give Their Views

Emma Duncan: Like to live elsewhere eventually

By Clare Weir
11 August 2005

THE people of Strabane hit back today after a Channel 4
programme branded it the third worst town in the UK.

Location Location Location's property gurus Kirstie Allsopp
and Phil Spencer declared the Tyrone town the pits of
Ulster during Tuesday's The Best and Worst Places to Live
in the UK.

While paying tribute to the cheap house prices and scenery,
after studying statistics the pair said it "rains all the
time" and had the second lowest employment in the UK.

It fared better only than crime hotspot Hull and gun-crazy

However, when the Belfast Telegraph took to the streets of
Strabane yesterday residents were more than willing to
defend it.

Niall Porter said he was "shocked" to see the town appear
on the list.

"It's terrible," he said.

"I was never expecting Strabane to feature. I have lived
here for 35 years and I've never found anything wrong with
it. It's nice and quiet and I've spent most of my life

Pals Emma Duncan and Stacey Murray had mixed views.

Emma said: "There aren't so many jobs now that Adria has
closed and that was a big thing in the town. I would like
to live somewhere else eventually, but it is a friendly

Stacey added: "I wouldn't like to live anywhere else.
Everybody knows each other and people are nice."

Shauna McSorley liked Strabane so much she moved to live

"I came from outside Castlederg and I like living here. The
people are very down to earth."

For Edward Falconer there are plenty of distractions,
contrary to the programme's claims.

"There's a great sense of community in Strabane," he said.
"There is very good fishing and we are very close to
Donegal and the beaches. I like it a lot."

However Sean Devine made no bones about his feelings for
his native town.

"It's a kip!" he declared.

"There is high unemployment and a lot of criminality."


'One In Three' Kids Living In Poverty

By Claire Regan
11 August 2005

An estimated 32,000 Ulster children live in poverty to the
extent they are deprived of basic necessities such as food,
clothing and healthy living conditions, a major event aimed
at tackling poverty will hear today.


According to Save The Children, this equates to more than
one in three children living in poverty and almost one in
ten living in severe poverty here.

The Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network (NIAPN), in
partnership with Save the Children, will be holding an open
consultative event today on Phase II of a proposed Anti-
Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Alex Tennant, of Save the Children, will be commenting on
the strategy from the perspective of child poverty in
Northern Ireland at today's event.

"We are alarmed at a suggestion in the consultation
document that child poverty will not be addressed by the
Anti-Poverty Strategy," she said.

The event will take place at the Clanmil Housing offices in
Belfast, close to the Northern Whig building, from 10am to


Ulster 'Dry' Says Report

By Brian Hutton
11 August 2005

People in Northern Ireland don't drink as much as their
neighbours in Britain, according to the latest government

The surprise finding is just one conclusion of the annual
Family Food report which also shows Ulster has the UK's
poorest intake of key foods vital for good health.

Despite pleas from health experts to change our dietary
habits the findings show Ulster people:

eat the least fruit, vegetables and fish in the UK, a
quarter of what is eaten in England.

eat out much more than people in Britain, spending twice as
much dining out as the Welsh.

consume more confectionery and desserts when eating out.

drink less alcohol than the English, Scottish and Welsh.

eat around 25% more than the recommended daily intake of
saturated fat.

Dietary expert Debbie McGugan was not surprised that
Northern Ireland was the "worst of the worst" in some of
the categories.

"We have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the
UK and all the evidence shows that eating five portion of
fruit and vegetables a day could lower this as well as the
rate of bowel cancer and other cancers," she said.

The poor rate of fish consumption is also a concern, with
government guidelines urging us to eat two portions a week.

One of these should be an oily fish, such as salmon, trout,
mackerel, herrings or sardines, which contain Omega 3 oils,
believed to cut the chance of heart disease.

On the confectionery and desserts, Ms McGugan said: "When
we go into tea or coffee shops there is always buns, cakes,
try bakes and biscuits. These are just full of empty
calories, there's no nourishment in them and they don't
help our obesity rates."

The report also revealed that people in Northern Ireland
are not eating enough fibre.

An average of 14.1g a day was well under the recommended
daily intake of between 18-24g, which can be partly
attributed to a lack of fruit and vegetables, as well as a
lack of wholemeal and wholegrain breads and cereals.

The figures on alcohol should be treated with caution,
warned Ms McGugan, as there was much evidence to suggest
that drink abuse is still a very real problem.

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