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August 21, 2005

Catholics Fear Loyalists May Turn Guns On Them

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SB 08/21/05 Catholics Fear Loyalists May Turn Guns On Them
DI 08/20/05 Feud Fears At Newry Flute Band March
ST 08/20/05 Pressure On UK To End Loyalist Feud
SB 08/20/05 Opin: North In Middle Of Mini-Civil War
SL 08/20/05 Pastor On UVF Hit-List Prepared To Meet Lord'
IO 08/20/05 PSNI To Quiz Drivers In Loyalist Murder Probe
BB 08/20/05 Bishop In Ahoghill After Attacks
SL 08/20/05 Ahoghill Man Charged With Attacks
DI 08/20/05 Devlin Murder Motive Grilling
SL 08/20/05 Devlin Backpack Saved Pal In Deadly Stabbing
SL 08/20/05 Devlin: Man Arrested In Schoolboy Murder Case
BB 08/20/05 Hundreds Clash During City Riot
SF 08/20/05 Loyalist Attack On Short Strand
ST 08/20/05 C3: Bogota To File Return Warrant
SB 08/20/05 McDowell Request On Colombia 3 Slated By FF Man
SB 08/20/05 C3: McDowell Raises Garda Independence Issue
SB 08/20/05 Colombia 3 Revealed Nothing To Gardai
SB 08/20/05 Colombia 3 Case Fails To Hit Headlines In US
UN 08/20/05 Blair Won't Deny That Flynn Paid Visit To No 10
SO 08/20/05 Brave Journalism Reveals N IRL's Underbelly
DI 08/20/05 Oil Firms Jail Threat
DI 08/20/05 Céili Heralds New Era At Andytown Barracks
SM 08/20/05 Film: The Mighty Celt
IO 08/20/05 McAleese Lauds Irish-US Links


Catholics Fear Loyalists May Turn Guns On Them

21 August 2005 By Colm Heatley

The continuing loyalist feud claimed its fourth victim in
Belfast last week, as the last Catholic families left the
north Antrim village of Ahoghill following a firebombing
campaign by loyalist paramilitaries. The latest feud
between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Loyalist
Volunteer Force (LVF) is taking place at one of the most
fragile points in the peace process, following the IRA's
ending of its armed campaign last month.

The feud, an internecine turf war between the two
organisations over the spoils of the North's drug trade,
extortion and prostitution rackets, threatens to
destabilise the North. Nationalists are fearful that
loyalists, involved in feuds and sectarian campaigns, will
turn their guns on innocent Catholics.

The UVF murder last Monday in south Belfast of Michael
Green, a 42-year-old with alleged connections to the LVF,
is the fourth loyalist murder in Belfast since the start of
July and the 33rd feud murder since 2000. Unionist
politicians have uttered standard condemnations of the feud
but have so far refused to get involved in a mediation
process, preferring to adopt a spectator position.

Loyalist community workers appealed last week for help in
ending the feud. They said that, although behind-the-scenes
talks had so far yielded no results, an intervention from
senior unionist politicians could change the feud's course.

"The more people try to bring this to an end, the better.

"We have got nowhere in our discussions with the LVF and
UVF and if it goes on, more people will be killed," said
Loyalist Commission chairman Mervyn Gibson. "They don't
want to listen, so clearly the more people who become
involved the better. It will save lives." The UVF, the
larger of the two groups, has vowed to wipe-out the LVF,
but past experience of loyalist feuds suggests this is

During an LVF-UVF feud in January 2000, the LVF drew first
blood by killing the UVF's mid-Ulster leader, Richard
Jameson. The UVF has shot mainly LVF foot soldiers; of the
four people it has killed since July, only two have had LVF

The LVF has a power-base in mid-Ulster, particularly
Portadown and Lurgan, which it has expanded through control
of the local drugs trade.

So far this feud has been mainly confined to Belfast and
any blow to the LVF would have to involve mid-Ulster, where
the LVF is at its strongest.

An LVF member said the group's day-to-day 'activities' had
not been disrupted by the feud. "We've been able to carry
on as usual," said the source. "The UVF goes for soft
targets, people who are associated with us, but not in any
real position of power.

"It keeps the UVF foot soldiers happy but everyone knows
the leadership of the LVF is intact and the UVF haven't
even made a serious attempt to kill any of our people in
mid-Ulster." The origins of the LVF-UVF feud stretch back
to the LVF's formation in Portadown in 1996 by former UVF
leader Billy Wright.

Wright humiliated the UVF by setting up the LVF despite
public death threats. The LVF went on to take over a good
deal of the UVF's extortion rackets and former strongholds,
mainly by siding with the largest paramilitary group in the
North, the UDA.

In reality, the UVF does not have the capability to wipe
out the LVF and the nature of loyalist criminality would
mean only that new criminal alliances would be formed at
the feud's end. Despite calls for the DUP to use its
influence, the party has rejected the suggestion. "We don't
talk to terrorists, no matter where they come from," a
party spokesman said. However, in the past, the DUP has met
senior loyalists for talks. Peter Hain, Secretary of State
for the North, has also resisted calls to declare the UVF's
ceasefire void.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office would only
say that "all ceasefires are kept under review

Nationalist and republican politicians have been the most
vocal in calls for political intervention to bring the feud
to an end. In all previous feuds, loyalists have turned
their guns on Catholics as a means of reassuring their
supporters of their raison d'etre.

The resignation of senior PUP member Billy Hutchinson from
the party last week was a worrying sign that the UVF is out
of control. Hutchinson's departure could signal the end of
the already fragile PUP. The role of the PSNI in policing
the feud was heavily criticised by nationalist politicians
last week.

A battery of anti-terror legislation was introduced in the
North following the August 1998 RIRA Omagh bomb which
killed 31 people, including unborn twins. The legislation
offers the PSNI a range of harsh powers, but so far none
has been used to curb the loyalist feud.

The men ordering the current wave of killings are former
UVF prisoners who benefited from the Good Friday
Agreement's early release scheme. Officially, the men are
out on licence, but there has been no indication that they
will be sent back to prison.

There is a precedent for such a move. In 2002, Johnny Adair
had his licence revoked and was sent back to jail for his
role in a loyalist feud.


Feud Fears At Newry Flute Band March

By Connla Young

The mayor of Newry has moved to ease fears that the
loyalist feud could spill onto the city's streets. Newry
and Mourne mayor Pat McGinn yesterday offered to meet the
organisers of a loyalist parade scheduled to take place in
Newry city next Friday.

Organised by the South Down Defenders Flute Band, the
parade is expected to attract up to 2,000 participants and
supporters as well as 40 bands affiliated to the Loyalist
Volunteer Force and Ulster Volunteer Force.

Revelations that bands from both factions have been invited
to take part in the parade have heightened anxiety that
violence might flare between rival loyalists in the mainly
nationalist city.

Daily Ireland has learned that Newry PSNI officers have
expressed their "deep concern" at the paramilitary
affiliation of some of the bands invited to take part in
next Friday's march.

It is understood that the PSNI is particularly concerned
about the proposed attendance of several bands from the
Mourne district.

A spokesperson for the Parades Commission last night
confirmed that the PSNI's concerns had not been passed on
to the parades body during the determination process.

As revealed in yesterday's Daily Ireland, Parades
Commission chiefs have given the parade the go-ahead,
although it has been banned from going past the city's war

Mayor Pat McGinn said he was willing to meet loyalists from
the south Down area to help ease local fears.

"I have been in touch with the Parades Commission to
express my concern about this parade," he said. "I made
them aware that I am happy to meet the organisers of this
parade in an effort help alleviate any concerns or fears
people in Newry and Mourne might have."

Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey said the parade would
cause inconvenience for locals. "Newry and its community
will be dominated by this type of sectarian bitterness for
four to five hours and it is common knowledge that many of
these bands had different allegiances to the various LVF
and UVF factions involved in the ongoing feud," he said.

Newry SDLP councillor Frank Feeley appealed for calm ahead
of the parade.

"There would be a worry if these bands are taking part in
the parade. They should not be allowed in. We have been
given assurances in the past and I hope these still stand.
Newry doesn't want sectarian trouble or fights between
loyalists," he said. A PSNI spokesperson said the force was
aware of the bands taking part in the parade.

"This parade will be policed accordingly," said the


Pressure On UK To End Loyalist Feud

Liam Clarke

THE British government is under increased pressure to
withdraw official recognition of the ceasefires declared by
the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association.

Parties from across the political spectrum have called on
Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland secretary of state, to
take action against the feuding loyalist terror groups.

An attempt by the UVF to wipe out the rival LVF has so far
claimed four lives, two of them uninvolved civilians. In
the latest attack, a taxi driver was shot and wounded as he
sat in his vehicle in Newtownards in the early hours of
yesterday morning. UVF members are believed to be behind
the murder of Thomas Devlin, a 15-year-old Catholic. Devlin
was stabbed five times in the back 10 days ago by two men.
A man has been arrested in connection with the killing.

Alex Attwood, the SDLP law and order spokesman, said: "To
retain credibility the government must take action. It
seems to us that some people in the Northern Ireland Office
think there may be a net gain in loyalists shooting each

UDA sources say that until now they have given their "moral
support" to the UVF's assault on the LVF. In return,
sections of the UDA have secured help from the UVF in their
attempt to halt the distribution of The Sunday World,
Ireland's biggest-selling tabloid, in loyalist areas. They
were irked by a report that poked fun at gambling losses of
one of the organisation's leaders.

This will be the fourth week that threats have been issued
to newsagents, sometimes by masked men, not to sell the
paper, which has lost circulation of at least 10,000

Richard Sullivan, the paper's Belfast news editor, said:
"The fall in sales hasn't been as bad as we feared because
a lot of readers are taking a stance by travelling out of
affected areas to buy, but as the bully boys catch on to
this, they have been approaching more shops."

The man said by loyalists, newsagents and police to be
behind the anti-Sunday World campaign is Andre Shoukri, 26,
the UDA's so-called brigadier in north Belfast.

Shoukri, who is of mixed Belfast and Egyptian descent, is
one of the most colourful figures to emerge in the UDA
since Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, who used to be a personal

A striking man with a weakness for gold jewellery, Shoukri
revels in the money and power the UDA bestows on him. Two
weeks ago, as attempts were made to halt distribution of
The Sunday World, Shoukri rang the paper to protest that
its sources were "liars and touts".

There are signs, however, of unrest within the UDA over
Shoukri's behaviour. One loyalist source said: "Andre is
getting to be a problem for the organisation. He doesn't
walk on the ground like anyone else. He would gamble on two
flies going up a wall and he always backs favourites, which
means he is bound to lose."

A Sunday World story making fun of him for losing £10,000
(€15,000) in one day angered him. But his flamboyant style
is considered bad for business by other UDA leaders, who
could move against him as they did against Adair and Jim
Gray, the former east Belfast brigadier. He was deposed in
March and days later was arrested and charged with money-
laundering offences after the police received a tip-off
that he would be travelling with a large amount of
questionable cash.

"Shoukri is on the plank, they'll make him jump off any
time now," said a senior security source.


Opin: North In Middle Of Mini-Civil War

21 August 2005 By Tom McGurk

There is a mini-civil war going on in the North, but nobody
has yet called it that. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
and the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) are locked in a
vicious turf war and, all across North Antrim, small and
isolated Catholic communities are being targeted. Last
week, after a series of attacks in Ahoghill, a number of
Catholic families had to abandon their homes and move out.

Ahoghill is a small town that has largely remained
unscarred throughout the troubles. The attacks on Catholics
were in what one might describe as leafy suburbia. Here was
no frontline sectarian interface - the loyalist thugs who
attacked in Ahoghill carefully selected the few Catholic
families in the town and attacked their homes.

A few weeks ago, an entire east Belfast housing estate
called Garnerville was taken over by the UVF, and a large
number of families they regarded as having association with
the LVF were driven out. This was done in broad daylight,
and took some hours to achieve.

Even by Northern standards of law enforcement, it is a
truly remarkable scenario. As loyalist politician, David
Ervine was moved to comment, where on earth was the PSNI
while this was going on?

The crime and violence being carried on by loyalist
paramilitaries against their own community and the Catholic
community whenever they get the opportunity remain at
critical levels. The phrase 'an acceptable level of
violence' has unforgettable historic connotations in the
North, but one has to ask how long this behaviour must
continue to be tolerated.

What community cannot be scarred by the sight of a 15-year-
old Catholic boy stabbed to death while buying crisps at a
filling station in a mixed middle-class area?

In the context of unionist demands over the years for all
sorts of action against republican paramilitarism, it seems
that unionist paramilitarism is regarded as of no
consequence - or merely as a by-product of the wider
"republican problem''. Had an IRA gang intimidated a group
of Protestant families out of their homes in Antrim this
week, can you imagine it would have got the type of
political and press reaction this week's loyalist attack

In the last two years, there have been 38 murders
associated with loyalist paramilitaries, and hundreds of
sectarian attacks. Yet somehow this low-intensity war has
barely received press notice, or even been categorised for
what it is. Why is this?

It is, of course, part of a wider consensus that has always
regarded nationalist paramilitarism as infinitely more
serious than unionist paramilitarism. It remains part of
the deeper sectarian subtext of the political thinking of
the Northern establishment.

The inner voice of unionist political thinking greets news
of loyalist attacks on Catholics with a sort of 'well, what
do you expect, given the way the IRA behave?'. Or 'our
paramilitaries are bad - but not as bad, or in the long run
as threatening to the state, as your republican

In his remarkable study, Anti-Catholicism in Northern
Ireland 1600-1998, John D Brewer, former professor of
sociology at Queen's University, wrote: "In Northern
Ireland today, as in the whole of Ireland between
plantation and partition, anti-Catholicism is used as a
resource in a twofold manner: as a mobilisation to defend
the socioeconomic and political position of Protestants
against opposition that threatens it, and as a
rationalisation to justify and legitimise both that
privileged position and any conflict with those who
challenge or weaken it."

Given the encompassing sectarian consensus that produced
some of unionism's political and paramilitary reactions,
the linkage of politics and paramilitarism has been

Throughout the recent troubles, while unionism opposed
loyalist paramilitarism in public, there remained a wide
symbiotic sectarian linkage.

The Rev Ian Paisley had early links with the 1970s UVF and
the Tara organisation - political unionism effectively fell
in behind them to overthrow Sunningdale and power-sharing
in the Ulster Workers' Council strike. Even in the 1990s at
Drumcree, David Trimble was consulting them.

While there are class differences and disagreements about
the use of paramilitary violence, unionists' common
sectarian heritage and shared concern at rising nationalist
political and economic achievement has prevented any
substantial unionist political denunciation of the loyalist
paramilitary tradition.

Historically, of course, this was what produced the
Northern Ireland state, but in contrast with, say, Fianna
Fáil and its fundamental severance with the historical
republican paramilitary tradition in the south, political
unionism in the North has never made the same leap.

Ironically, that tradition is now inflicting enormous
socioeconomic damage on traditional unionist communities.

In between bouts of burning out the Taigs down the road,
they have established Mafia-style criminal empires in what
were traditionally the most law-abiding communities in the

These Protestant working class communities are currently in
the grip of a terrible malaise, with high economic and
educational failure rates and more and more traditional
employment areas - such as security, for example - closing
down on them. Hidden behind the dispute about the peace
process is the failure of the wider unionist leadership to
organise or even motivate these communities in a new
direction. Behind the predictable unionist political
shibboleth-speak is a political and communal failure that
has left these communities without hope or expectation.

Not even the IRA signing-off statement has changed this.
The reality is that unionist paramilitarism is now
destroying not the "enemies of Ulster'', but unionist
community life itself.

The most vicious nexus of the sectarian mindset is that it
leaves its victims still utterly unable to sort the wood
from the trees.

It's the Pavlovian reaction that stifles any objective
critique and can only see itself in subjective traditional
and historic threat-mode.

It makes the need for devolved hands-on local government
dealing with local problems of this intensity all the more
urgent - but who in unionism is capable of making this
blindingly obvious linkage?

Sadly, even in this post-IRA era, it appears the unionist
morass continues to deepen.


Ready to die

Pastor On UVF Hit-List 'Prepared To Meet The Lord'

By Alan Murray
21 August 2005

A DEFIANT Protestant preacher last night told out-of-
control UVF killers he was ready to "meet the Lord".

Pastor Kenny McClinton says he has become another "soft
target" for UVF gunmen who have ruthlessly murdered four
Protestants in recent weeks.

"If I am killed by the UVF, then it is only an opportunity
to meet the Lord, and I will accept that opportunity," said
the Portadown-based preacher.

The ex-Shankill Road UDA killer spoke out after being
warned by police that he is on a paramilitary hit-list.


PSNI To Quiz Drivers In Loyalist Murder Probe
2005-08-21 13:00:02+01

Detectives investigating the loyalist paramilitary murder
of a father-of-three will tomorrow set up vehicle
checkpoints in the area where he was gunned down a week

Delivery driver Michael Green, 42, was ambushed as he
arrived to open up the furniture store where he worked.

He was shot at least five times by two Ulster Volunteer
Force gunmen and is the fourth man to be killed since the
organisation's festering feud with the Loyalist Volunteer
Force erupted last month.

Mr Green, from the Ballysillan district of north Belfast,
was gunned down outside Gilpins Furniture Store on the
loyalist Sandy Row in the south of the city.

He had just opened a side gate and got back on his
motorcycle when the killers opened fire.

Police will this morning man checkpoints at Sandy Row and
Abingdon Drive in a bid to secure a breakthrough in the

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police will be stopping traffic
and asking to speak to anyone who may have been in the area
last Monday, August 15."

Northern Ireland Office Minister Lord Rooker described the
murder as callous and cold-blooded.

As well as the murders, hundreds of UVF men also laid siege
to a housing estate in the east of the city in a bid to
drive out families associated with the LVF. Police and
soldiers stood by during the occupation.

The other three shot dead since the hatred turned into
bloodshed on July 1 were Stephen Paul, 28, and Craig
McCausland, 20 - both in north Belfast - and Jameson
Lockhart, 25, in the east of the city.


Bishop In Village After Attacks

The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor has visited
parishioners in County Antrim after a number of sectarian
attacks in the area.

Bishop Patrick Walsh told parishioners at St Mary's church
in Ahoghill he wanted to show his support and concern after
recent attacks in the village.

The church he had chosen to visit has also been targeted -
attacked with paint three times in the last month.

Bishop Walsh called on the police to bring the attackers
before the courts.

He said officers must do everything possible to protect law
abiding citizens.

The bishop also said that the majority of residents in
Ahoghill wanted to live together in what he called a
genuine community which embraced all.

But he added that it was not enough to simply give support
and said everyone must put sincere wishes into actions.

Bishop Walsh also called on elected representatives to
engage in constructive dialogue and said there must be a
total commitment by all to work for the common good.

The latest attacks in the village came on Monday, when a
Catholic church and school were splattered with paint, the
same night as an attack on a Catholic couple's home.

On Friday, an SDLP delegation raised the issue of loyalist
violence, including the Ahoghill attacks, with government
minister Lord Rooker.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/21 12:00:38 GMT


Ahoghill Man Charged With Attacks On Homes And Pubs

21 August 2005

AN unemployed 25-year-old Co Antrim man appeared in court
yesterday on charges linked to a spate of attacks on
Catholic-owned pubs and homes.

Mark Samuel Fry, of Brookfield Gardens, Ahoghill, appeared
at special sitting of Ballymena Magistrate's Court wearing
a Glasgow Rangers sweatshirt.

He was remanded in custody on four charges of attempted
intimidation and four of criminal damage.

The charges relate to incidents when two pubs and two homes
had a total of nine windows damaged in the early hours of
Friday, in the Rasharkin and Portglenone areas.

Windows were damaged in Se Ogs pub and Mullaghans pub, in
Rasharkin, as well as at houses at Gortahar Road,
Rasharkin, and Lisnahunchin Road, near Portglenone.

A detective constable said that to each of the eight
charges, Fry replied: "No, I did not do it".


Murder Motive Grilling

The deputy mayor of Belfast is to publicly ask the most
senior police officer in north Belfast whether the murder
of a Catholic schoolboy in the area was sectarian.

Thomas Devlin (15), was stabbed five times in the back as
he walked to a shop just yards from his home to buy sweets.

The PSNI has refused to comment on whether they believe the
killing was sectarian, despite known Ulster Volunteer Force
members being blamed.

At Monday night's meeting of the North Belfast District
Policing Partnership, Chief Superintendent Mike Little will
face a grilling from the SDLP's Pat Convery.

The deputy mayor will ask Mr Little whether the teenager's
murder was sectarian and if there was any paramilitary

Mr Convery said: "I intend asking the question if it
doesn't come from the floor first.

"At this stage all we have is hearsay. The word on the
street is that this was a sectarian murder, but we need to
hear it from the police to be sure.

"There is no doubt this is a question that needs to be

Chairman of the North Belfast DPP, Seamus Lynch, believes
it is important for the PSNI to give a definitive answer on
whether the murder was sectarian.

He said: "There is no sense in the police waffling about a
situation like this.

"I hope the question comes from the floor, if not I will
consider asking it.

"What I am also keen to learn is what progress the PSNI is
making with the inquiry and what leads they are following."

The PSNI's latest comment on the Devlin killing is that
detectives are: "keeping an open mind and have not ruled
out a sectarian motive".

Thomas Devlin was buried on Wednesday following a funeral
service at the Church of the Resurrection, situated on the
Cavehill Road in north Belfast.

The PSNI has questioned two men and a juvenile in
connection with the murder.

All three were released without charge, but one of the men
was then re-arrested on an unrelated charge of possession
of ammunition with intent to endanger life following
searches connected to the murder investigation.

Thomas' mother, Penny Holloway, said her son was a "shining
beacon" in her family's life who would never come back.

She said: "Devastated is just too light a word for how we
all feel."

The boy's father, Jim Devlin, described what the family was
going through as a "living hell".

"Thomas was the next generation coming up, he was across
all the divides and taken away by someone who sought
otherwise," he said.


Backpack Saved Pal In Deadly Stabbing

By Joe Oliver
21 August 2005

A BACKPACK owned by murdered Catholic schoolboy Thomas
Devlin helped save his Protestant pal from a similar fate,
it emerged yesterday.

For just minutes before Thomas (15) was fatally stabbed, he
handed the backpack to his 18-year-old friend.

The two teenagers, along with another 16-year-old boy, were
returning from a garage on Belfast's Antrim Road 11 days
ago, when the killers struck without warning.

Heavy metal fan Thomas was stabbed in the back five times
during the frenzied attack, close to his Somerton Road

His devastated friend, who is preparing to go to
university, was struck by an iron bar wielded by one of the
two assailants - but the backpack saved him as the killer
began hacking at him with the knife.

A friend of the devastated Devlin family said yesterday:
"Fortunately, the haversack spared this young lad from
serious injury, otherwise there could have been two deaths
that night.

"It doesn't bear thinking about and the only hope is that
those responsible will quickly be taken off the streets."

Dozens of fellow pupils from Belfast Royal Academy attended
Thomas's funeral service, last Wednesday.

Family and friends say fun-loving Thomas had many friends
from different religious backgrounds.

"Religion was something I never heard Thomas refer to,"
said one friend.

"Indeed, he and his close mates had a shared interests in
music and computer games, and religion was just never an
issue, never mind a topic."

Two men and a juvenile were arrested following the murder,
but released last Saturday without charge.

One of the men, alleged to have links to the UVF in the
Mount Vernon estate, in north Belfast, was re-arrested by
police on an unrelated matter following a search connected
to the murder.

Police also returned to one of the freed men's homes, on
Tuesday, and removed a number of items, including a mobile


Man Arrested In Schoolboy Murder Case

By John McGurk
21 August 2005

A MAN was being questioned last night in connection with
Thomas Devlin's brutal murder.

Cops confirmed yesterday that they had arrested a man - but
said that no further details were available.

The latest arrest came three days after detectives staged a
reconstruction of the murder of the 15-year-old north
Belfast boy.

Amid heart rending scenes, Thomas was buried - wearing a T-
shirt of his favourite band, Iron Maiden - following a
funeral mass, last Wednesday.

Police are still keen to speak to two teenagers, who were
in the vicinity of the Fortwilliam Service Station, a short
time before the fatal attack.

It is thought that those youths are not suspects, but may
have information which could help police inquiries.


Hundreds Clash During City Riot

About 400 nationalists and loyalists clashed during rioting
in east Belfast.

The violence erupted in Cluan Place and Clandeboye Gardens
at 1800 BST on Saturday. The police said bottles and bricks
were thrown. One man was hurt.

Up to five shots were heard during the rioting. Army
technical officers made safe a suspect device found in
Clandeboye Gardens at about 0130 BST.

As they left, bottles were thrown at police vehicles. One
person was arrested for disorderly behaviour.

The injured man was treated in hospital for a head wound.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said about
200 members from each side were involved in the rioting.

Some politicians said simmering tensions in the area
appeared to have boiled over following a band parade on the
Newtownards Road and the Old Firm football match between
Celtic and Rangers.


Ulster Unionist assembly member Michael Copeland said Cluan
Place came under attack.

He said he was concerned that the Army were not deployed to
help the police deal with the situation.

"I feel a certain degree of sympathy for some of the police
officers on the ground but anyone who looked at the
potentiality of yesterday evening could have fairly easily
predicted what might happen.

"And sometimes when you predict what might happen you can
put resources in place on both sides to prevent it
happening," Mr Copeland said.

Sinn Fein's Debra Devenney said the Short Strand had been
under attack from loyalists for the past week.

"This cannot be allowed to escalate, people cannot live
like this. They don't deserve to live like this and it
needs to be resolved," she said.

"I would urge unionist politicians to contact me, try to
work something out, that we can get some sort of a
settlement here that people don't have to go through this."

The police said calm was restored to the area at 0230 BST
after community leaders from both sides intervened.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/21 12:18:47 GMT


Loyalist Attack On Short Strand Part Of Wider Campaign
Against Vulnerable Nationalist Communites

Published: 20 August, 2005

Sinn Féin representative for East Belfast Deborah Devenny
has this evening said that residents of the Short Strand
district are 'sickened and disgusted by a week of attacks
on the area by loyalist thugs'.

Speaking this evening Ms Devenny said:

"For this past week, the Short Strand has been under
systematic attack by loyalists. This evening the situation
has deteriorated further with the Old Firm Soccer game and
a loyalist band parade on the Newtonards Road, contributory

"The PSNI have once again demonstrated their unwillingness
to deal with loyalist thugs intent upon intimidating the
people of this area. The PSNI have absolutely no control
over this situation and when challenged responded that they
did not have the resources to deal with it. Furthermore,
there are three security cameras in the area, which must
have recorded events over these past days. It will be
interesting to see if they are taken away and examined.

"This community is sickened and disgusted by a week long
siege on this district. A barrage of ball-bearings, golf
balls, bricks and bottles have rained down upon people and
property. The political leadership of unionism and the
Orange Order must face down these people. In a week when
Sinn Féin launched a dossier outlining over 85 attacks upon
nationalists in the summer months, unionist paramilitaries
continue to orchestrate and participate in these attacks.
Sinn Féin has appealed to unionist politicians who sit on
forums and commissions with the leaders of the UVF and UDA
to start using their influence to end these attacks." ENDS


Bogota To File Return Warrant

Liam Clarke

COLOMBIAN government lawyers are preparing to file
extradition warrants against the three Irish men convicted
for training Farc guerrillas.

Senior sources said the paperwork was being prepared on the
basis of an ancient law that allowed for the extradition of
fugitives between the South American country and Great
Britain and Ireland.

"We will spend as long as is necessary on the papers. It is
not an easy case and the legal officials want to ensure
they are watertight," said a government source.

Last Friday, speaking in Bogota, Alvaro Uribe, the
Colombian president, reiterated his determination to see
the three men serve their sentences.

"A country like Colombia, which has been respectful in
matters of extradition, cannot be negligent in requesting,
when a foreigner offends the Colombian people with his
conduct, that he be placed at the disposition of the
Colombian state," the president said.

Earlier Francisco Santos, Uribe's deputy, said that he
would not rule out allowing the men to serve their
sentences in Ireland.

The Colombia Three fled the country after they were
sentenced to 17 years for training the anti-government
group in bomb-making techniques. They resurfaced in Ireland
two weeks ago and presented themselves for questioning at
garda stations last week.

A Colombian government spokesman confirmed that the
extradition request would be based on an agreement Colombia
signed with the British government in 1888.

The Colombian authorities will argue that the treaty was
signed by the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and so
should apply to the republic. They argue that if the treaty
has not been repudiated or replaced in the interim, it
should remain in force, but Irish lawyers have cast doubt
on whether the legal argument will hold.

Outside the European Union, Ireland has agreed formal
extradition arrangements only with the United States and
Australia. There are a number of other countries with which
the republic has international conventions but these do not
include Colombia.

The renewed pressure comes at the end of a week in which
Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were
questioned by gardai after presenting themselves at
separate Dublin police stations on Thursday.

Connolly was arrested under the Criminal Justice Act on
suspicion of passport offences. McCauley and Monaghan
volunteered to be questioned.

The fugitives were later released without charges but a
garda spokesman said that files on all three were being
prepared for the director of public prosecutions.

The men were arrested at Bogota's El Dorado airport in
August 2001 after returning from Farc-controlled areas.
They were initially acquitted on charges of training
guerrillas but were convicted of travelling on false
documents and sentenced to jail terms of between 26 and 44

They were released on bail pending a government appeal to a
higher court, which in December last year convicted and
sentenced them to 17-year prison terms — but by then they
had fled.

Conor Lenihan, a minister of state for the Department of
Foreign Affairs, said that any extradition requests would
be passed to the courts.

Lenihan emphasised that the government had no advance
knowledge of the return of the three men and the issue had
not arisen in discussions with Sinn Fein "or anyone else".


McDowell Request On Colombia Three Slated By FF Man

21 August 2005 By Niamh Connolly

Fianna Fáil TD Jim Glennon has taken issue with the
Minister for Justice Michael McDowell's demand for ongoing
briefings from the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy on the
case of the Columbia Three.

The North Dublin TD questioned why the commissioner "should
have to report on a daily basis to the justice minister''
on this issue.

The official line from the government this weekend was that
the case was a garda operational matter. Both the Taoiseach
and Tánaiste are on holidays, and sources close to Ahern
said they would not touch it with a "forty foot pole''.

However, McDowell has requested briefings on developments
on the three men, Niall Connolly, Martin McAuley and James
Monaghan who presented themselves at garda stations last

"You can't have the separation of powers on the one hand
and daily reporting on the other," said Glennon.

"While the minister has a role in giving global direction
to the gardai, in this specific case, I don't believe daily
reporting is appropriate. If you start doing it in this
instance where do you stop?

"Next thing you have the minister wanting to write the
script for the interrogation."

Fianna Fáil politicians this weekend were careful to refer
to the case as a legal matter because a file on one of
three men, Niall Connolly, had been sent to the DPP.

But Progressive Democrat TD John Minihan spoke out on
behalf of his party. Sources believe he would have had
Harney's sanction to speak.

Minihan, speaking on Colombian radio last Friday, said he
wanted to clarify that he was not calling for the men to be
extradited, but for the legal process to facilitate an
extradition procedure to take its course.

"The rightful place for this to be pursued is in the

"What offended me is we had these three guys who are the
subject of an international arrest warrant by Interpol
running around," he said.

"This political theatre played out by Sinn Féin has
distracted from the principal issue of the peace process.
We have this sideshow going on which is becoming the only
show in town."

He said he believed the Colombian authorities had two
options - to apply formally for the men's extradition or to
sign up to an EU protocol which could mean the men could
have to serve prison time in Ireland.

"Clearly, it's in the hands of the Colombian authorities,
but gardai have to now investigate the passport issue and
any other possible breaches in Irish law,'' Minihan said.

However, Glennon said he doubted whether an extradition
process, even if facilitated by emergency legislation in
the Dáil, would result in an Irish court extraditing the
three men to Columbia.

He cited the refusal of the Irish courts to extradite an
Irish priest on human rights grounds to Arizona where he
would face the death penalty.

"This is Ireland concerned about human rights in the US -
it makes you wonder what chance is there of an extradition
to Colombia?" said Glennon.

He said questions must be asked about the €170,000 bail
paid by the government to the Colombian authorities for the
three men.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White warned politicians about
making rash statements on the case. White, an observer in
the trial of the three men in 2002, said McDowell, as a
barrister, was aware that "the due legal process'' would
have to be observed.

She said Connolly, Monaghan and McCauley had been cleared
of the charges by a court in Bogota on the basis of the
evidence, while witnesses, including Irish politicians,
refuted the prosecution case.

But a subsequent appeal in private with no witnesses
overturned the court's judgment.


Minister's Action Raises Garda Independence Issue

21 August 2005 By Aisling Reidy

In the Seanad last March, justice minister Michael McDowell
said he wanted to prevent the spectre of "a minister
lifting a phone in a bad humour one afternoon [and]
influencing the outcome of any individual investigation or

Yet reports that McDowell has "ordered'' the Garda
Commissioner to explain how gardai came to question three
citizens with the agreement of their legal representatives
raises legitimate concerns as to whether that is precisely
what has happened.

Is this a breach of separation of powers, or could the
minister insist that he must ensure that gardai are
accountable for their actions?

The doctrine of "operational independence'' has always been
of central importance to ensuring that the Garda Siochána
carries out its functions free of political interference.
This is based on a legitimate fear that excessive
interference in police matters by the government could lead
to partisan political control.

It is important that politicians be prevented from
demanding that gardai act against irritating opponents,
nagging dissenters or even over-zealous journalists. The
theory of our policing system is designed to ensure that
gardai are seen as the people's police, not a tool of

However, under the rushed and controversial Garda Siochána
Act 2005, the minister took a deliberate decision to
centralise control over the gardai in his office.
Opposition TDs protested and the Irish Council for Civil
Liberties (ICCL)warned that this posed a real risk of
politicising the Garda.

The ICCL and the Human Rights Commission recommended that
the model of an independent police board proposed by the
Patten Commission - which conducted the most extensive
investigation ever into best practice in policing - be
established to oversee the Garda.

The minister rejected the proposal, asserting that such an
independent board would be overtly political and that it
would provide an unnecessary buffer between himself and

The minister said he wanted a system whereby the minister,
with the agreement of the government, could give a formal
directive to the Garda. The Garda Act provides a broad but
vague requirement that the Garda Commissioner be
accountable to the minister.

The legislation gives the minister extensive powers to
require that the Garda Commissioner keep him "fully
informed'' of significant developments. Also, whenever
required by the minister, the commissioner must submit a
report on any matters connected with the policing or
security of the state or the performance of the
commissioner's other functions.

Of course, in any democracy, there is a delicate and, at
times, difficult balance between freedom from political
interference, and proper and necessary oversight by

However, as the Patten Commission made absolutely clear,
the chief of police "has a right and duty to take
operational decisions and . . . no other body should have
the right to direct [him] as to how to conduct an

This in no way undermines the principle that the police
should be held to account for the manner in which that
power is exercised.

So what powers did the minister use in respect of the
Colombia Three, and why did he exercise them? McDowell
appears to have reacted with anger and frustration to his
noninvolvement in this particular investigation.

Such a reaction, followed by "orders'' to the commissioner,
give rise to the perception that McDowell may be using his
power to interfere with an investigation under the guise of
holding gardai to account.

Such use of powers would be a blatant political subversion
of Garda independence and a perversion of the notion of
accountability. The gardai investigate breaches of Irish
law. The Director of Public Prosecutions decides if there
is evidence to support charges and a likelihood of a
conviction. The minister has no role in this.

As the minister himself is fond of reminding us, the
constitutional separation of powers between the executive,
legislature and judiciary is fundamental to our legal

While the government as a whole has a legitimate interest
in ensuring that the Colombia Three should not - and should
not be seen to - evade any well-founded criminal
investigation, the minister has absolutely no place in
seeking to influence how this is done.

Aisling Reidy is a barrister and director of the Irish
Council for Civil Liberties.


Colombia 3 Revealed Nothing To Gardai

21 August 2005 By Barry O'Kelly and Niamh Connolly

The Colombia Three are believed to have declined to answer
"any questions of consequence" during their interviews with
detectives, Garda sources have claimed.

"They wouldn't say anything when asked anything of
consequence,'' a detective said.

"It was all along the lines of: 'I have been told not to
say anything on the basis of legal advice."'

A spokeswoman for the three men, Niall Connolly, Martin
McCauley and James Monaghan, declined to comment. Gardai
are thought to be seeking advice from the Attorney General
about the possible extradition of the men to Colombia where
they were convicted in their absence last December and
sentenced to 17 years in jail.

The men were originally found not guilty, but the case was
overturned by an appeal that was heard in private. Garda
sources said the three men declined to talk about how they
returned to Ireland from Colombia.

According to informed republican sources, the three
fugitives travelled through Venezuela, flew to Cuba, then
travelled from Cuba to Spain and from there sailed to

Separately, the chairwoman of the Irish Council for Civil
Liberties has expressed surprise at the reported annoyance
of the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell at the Garda
handling of the case. Aisling Reidy said: "The minister
appears to have reacted angrily and with frustration at his
non-involvement in the conduct of this particular Garda

"Such a reaction, followed by 'orders' to the commissioner,
give rise to the perception that the minister may be using
his power to interfere with an individual investigation,
under the guise of holding the Garda to account.

"Such use of powers would be a blatant political subversion
of Garda independence and perversion of the notion of
accountability. The Garda must investigate breaches of
Irish law. The DPP will decide if there is evidence to
support charges and a likelihood of a conviction. The
minister has no role in this''.

Several Fianna Fáil backbenchers have expressed unease
about justice minister Michael McDowell's request for
briefings from Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy on
developments in the case.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim Glennon questioned why the commissioner
"should have to report on a daily basis to the justice
minister'' on the case which is now a Garda operational

"While the minister has a role in giving global direction
to the gardai, I don't believe daily reporting is

"If you start doing it in this instance where do you stop?
You can't have the separation of powers on the one hand and
daily reporting on the other," he said.

Senator Mary White, said that McDowell, as a barrister, was
aware that "due legal process'' would now have to be


Colombia Three Case Fails To Hit The Headlines In US

21 August 2005 By Niall O'Dowd

The reappearance of the Colombia Three and the dramatic
twists in the ongoing saga has caused little comment in
America. The story has not caught on, despite media
protestations to the contrary in Ireland.

The New York Times has given it scant coverage and other
media has followed suit. With Congress away on vacation and
the country preoccupied with the Iraq war and the forcible
removal of settlers from Gaza, the Colombia Three
developments were very small beer indeed.

The days when Ireland could occupy the American foreign
policy stage, as it did at times during the Clinton
administration, are long gone - something that still has
not hit home with much of the commentariat in Ireland used
to having their opinions amplified by American coverage.

The only major coverage of Colombia in the US in recent
weeks was a New York Times front page article on the
rampant political corruption and the role of right-wing
militias in executing innocent civilians. It made for
chilling reading.

Of course, the Colombia Three case remains of great
interest to Irish Americans.

No-one believed the men were in Colombia to study the
country's peace process, but they also closely followed the
men's original trial, sent observers and lawyers, and
realised just how weak and littered with non sequitors the
case against the men was. The Scottish verdict of "not
proven'' is certainly the prevailing sentiment in Irish

For that reason the men's original appearance in Ireland
was seen here as entirely predictable given that it was
highly unlikely they could be sent back to Colombia by an
Irish court. The case is widely seen as unfinished business
that republicans had to get out of the way before the
decommissioning began.

In that sense it was a useful exercise. There have been
inklings that there are still isolated pockets of
resistance to the IRA's dramatic statement of a few weeks
back. The fact that the leadership was seen to take care of
the Colombia Three situation will go down well.

The ongoing loyalist feud is also seen as feeding into an
air of uncertainty with some Irish republicans in America
over the IRA move. One view is that sooner or later the
loyalists will settle their differences and begin attacking
Catholics in greater numbers and there will be no
counteracting force on the other side.

Thus the risk the republican leadership has taken weighs
far more heavily in the US than any drumbeat about the
Colombia Three. Anything, such as the resolution of the
Colombia Three issue, that will solidify support for the
IRA move is seen as a valuable step.

There are other major factors in play. There are many OTRs
"on the run'' republicans living under false identities,
some for decades in the US. If as widely expected they are
able to return to Ireland, according to the terms of the
deal, that will further isolate those who have opposed the
Sinn Fe/in political strategy.

As long as the Colombia Three case remains unresolved, the
question of the OTRs could also remain unresolved.

That is one more reason why pulling the threads of the case
together over the past few weeks was welcomed in the US.

The original case caused major problems in Irish America
because it was seen as a direct challenge by the IRA in an
area that America considers its sphere of influence.

Conservative Republicans in particular were incensed that
the IRA were allegedly operating and cooperating with
Marxist guerillas so close to the American border.

But much of that sentiment has cooled, and the IRA
announcement of their intent to decommission and go out of
business has trumped any other considerations on the
Northern Ireland question.

It was noticeable that all of the congressional figures who
were originally incensed by the Colombia Three escapade
were completely silent on the issue last week.

No-one in the US expects that the men will ever see
Colombia again. "The worst thing the Irish government could
do is to send them back to Colombia. I think they should be
left alone to get on with their lives. I think the Irish
government should follow our tradition. We should shelter
the fugitives," said Frank Durkan, Manhattan civil rights
lawyer and Irish American leader.

The case in Ireland last week where a judge refused to
extradite an alleged paedophile priest to Arizona in part,
as he might be forced to wear pink underwear as part of the
local prison regime is being cited widely in the Republic.

"If they can't extradite an alleged paedophile priest in
part because of pink underwear, how could they extradite
the men to one of the most corrupt and merciless legal
systems on earth," asked another leading Irish American
civil rights attorney.

In the end the Colombia Three is viewed in the US as a
sideshow, the real play begins when decommissioning
commences and the attempts to get the parties around the
table follows.


Blair Won't Deny Claims That Flynn Paid Visit To No 10

Jim Cusack

TONY BLAIR has refused to deny claims that Phil Flynn, a
close associate of the Taoiseach, has visited No 10,
Downing Street.

Mr Flynn, who is under investigation by the Criminal Assets
Bureau in relation to allegations of IRA money-laundering,
is to be charged with firearms offences after a gun was
found in his office desk in Dublin.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is now said to be concerned that his
decision to bring theformer Sinn Fein vice chairman into
his closest circle could have serious political

Yesterday, a Government spokeswoman said: "Mr Flynn was
never part of any Irish Government delegation to Downing

But she refused to comment on speculation that Mr Flynn
visited Downing Street in another capacity, perhaps related
to the peace process.The Government's denial does however
leave open the possibility that Mr Flynn may have visited
Downing Street as part of a Sinn Fein delegation, perhaps
even at a time when he was chairman of the Government's
Decentralisation Committee, one of the several Government
appointments which allowed him unfettered access to the
corridors of power.

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister refused to deny
whether Flynn had visited No 10. And Mr Flynn said he had
no comment to make.

Yesterday, Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird said: "I believe
that Philip Flynn has been on Irish Government business
twice to Downing Street."

Lord Laird first raised the issue with the Taoiseach's
office on April 29 last, and received an acknowledgement
saying the Government "would be back to me".

The peer said he had rung the Taoiseach's office at least
once a week and sometimes several times, even several times
a day.

The relevant official, he says, "is always in the toilet"
and never returns his call.

Speaking in the House of Lords under cover of parliamentary
privilege in June, Lord Laird accused the Taoiseach of
allowing Mr Flynn to assume a highlyinfluential position in
theaffairs of state.

He said the Taoiseach had, in the eyes of all unionists,
"totally forfeited any claim to consider himself as an
honest broker". He added: "Any other prime minister who had
knowingly allowed a senior member of a revolutionary
movement known to be associated with terrorists into a
position of massive influence would by now have resigned."

In the House of Commons last February, David Burnside of
the Ulster Unionists raised the issue of Mr Flynn.

He asked the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
what discussions had taken place between Northern Ireland
government departments and agencies and Phil Flynn since

Paul Murphy told Mr Burnside: "No records exist of
discussions between Mr Phil Flynn of Harcourt Developments
and the Northern Ireland Office or the Northern Ireland
departments and agencies."

Mr Burnside then asked what discussions had taken place
between Northern Ireland government departments and
agencies and Harcourt Developments since 1998. Mr Flynn was
a director of Harcourt Developments.

Mr Murphy revealed that a number of Northern Ireland
departments and agencies had had discussions with Harcourt
Developments in relation to the development of sites at a
number of locations.

"Records indicate that the Northern Ireland Office has had
no discussions with the company," he said.


Opin: Brave Journalism Reveals Northern Ireland's Underbelly

Brian Wilson

WE take for granted in this country - not unreasonably -
the right to walk into a shop and buy whatever newspaper we
choose. I have the privilege of writing this column. You
have the privilege of taking it or leaving it.

Straightforward? Well, as in so many things, that depends
on how you define "this country". If the territory includes
Northern Ireland, the same rules do not apply for reasons
which lead to wider scepticism about the basis on which
"peace" and "normality" are now established.

If the routine of recent Sundays is maintained, hooded men
will walk into a newsagent's shop somewhere in Northern
Ireland this morning. They will terrify the staff, order
the removal of a particular newspaper or else simply set
fire to the offending publication. They will threaten to
shoot newsagents and they will intercept delivery vans.

The newspaper at the centre of this activity is the Sunday
World and the purpose is to help along the boycott which
has been declared against it by Loyalist paramilitaries.
Genuine boycotts require public support but this one is
based on the simple principle that if you cut off supply
then there can't be demand.

One of the depressing features of this story is that you
probably haven't heard about it previously. If some gang of
politically-connected thugs was setting fire to newsagents
shops in Hampstead or Stockbridge, it seems likely that it
would be a major national story. When it happens in
Belfast, nobody wants to know.

Yet, for the past 30 years, the Sunday World has been
practising some of the most courageous journalism in these
islands. Week in, week out, it exposes the gangsterism,
violence, perversions and hypocrisies of Northern Ireland's
politics. It fearlessly names names and investigates
heinous crimes long after others have chosen to forget them
in the interests of the "peace process".

The paper is scrupulously even-handed in its exposures.
Following the Canary Wharf bombings, it was the first
newspaper ever to name the membership of the Provisionals'
Army Council - including, of course, Adams and McGuinness.
Nobody has ever sued. Recently, it named the money
launderers who helped the Provos rescue £12m from the
Northern Bank robbery and identified, without equivocation,
the McCartney killers.

But what the godfathers hate most about the Sunday World is
that it laughs at them. True to its tabloid format, it has
always been strong on exposure of their sexual
peccadilloes, of which there are many. Like the DUP
candidate at this year's General Election who hired a rent-
boy. The latter promptly went to the Sunday World, was
wired for sound and recorded the immortal question as the
pair met in a hotel room: "I hope you're a Prod?"

The current fatwah began last month after the Sunday World
ran stories about the North Belfast "Brigadier" of the UDA,
one Andre Shoukri. The paper claimed that he had blown
£10,000 in one day in three betting shops. Shoukri called a
meeting of Loyalist paramilitary leaders and the one thing
they could agree on was action against the newspaper.

However, the Sunday World responded in the only way it
knows - more stories designed to get as far as possible up
the noses of the paramilitaries. Last week it named Shoukri
as "the brains behind a bungled bombing" when the UDA got
the wrong address and, instead of petrol-bombing an alleged
informer, attacked the home of an innocent disabled man.

We all want to see peace prevail in Northern Ireland. But
there is a danger that a price of declaring peace has been
to turn a blind eye to very nasty things that continue to
happen. The paramilitary organisations on both sides have
long since been political fronts for gangsterism and
racketeering. All of that cannot simply be swept under the
carpet in the name of peace.

In 1999, the Sunday World offices in Belfast were fire-
bombed. The next day, Mo Mowlam visited the scene. She
talked to the staff, thanked them for the necessary and
courageous work they were doing and subsequently wrote to
them individually. It is impossible not to contrast that
response with the almost total official silence that has
greeted the current campaign against the paper.

Exposure of Northern Ireland's filthy underbelly does not
come without risk. The paper's Northern editor, Jim
Campbell, was shot and wounded. In 2001 one of its
reporters, Martin O'Hagan, was murdered in Lurgan by the
Loyalist Volunteer Force as he walked home from the pub.
Not many journalists in "this country" work under these

Incidentally, if you read last week's Sunday World you
would be among the first to know that "in the next few
weeks the IRA will play another PR card when they perform a
dramatic act of decommissioning". Or that it will be
designed to divert attention from the return to Ireland of
the Colombia Three - "who trained terrorists to be more
efficient murdering butchers".

Even-handed - and true.


Oil Firms Jail Threat

By Eamonn Houston

Hundreds of people across Ireland could face a similar fate
to that of the jailed Rossport Five anti-Shell protesters,
a leading campaigner has warned.

The claim, by Maura Harrington of the Shell to Sea
campaign, came as sources within the oil industry revealed
that many multinational oil companies regard the sea bed
off the Irish coast as potentially the richest source of
oil and gas in western Europe.

The Irish government has been under fire in recent weeks
after granting oil licences to Royal Dutch Shell and other
companies under the terms of 1992 legislation that gives
generous incentives to oil and gas prospectors.

Campaigners last night warned that communities dotted
across the west of Ireland could face the prospect of oil
and gas being piped through their areas.

"What has happened in Mayo is typical of the multinational
companies. They focus on a community they think is isolated
and vulnerable. People should just think about this," Ms
Harrington said.

Seismologists are upbeat about the prospects of finding
rich veins of gas and oil along the Atlantic Frontier,
which lies some 160 kilometres off the west coast of

Public representatives and campaigners say that the
favourable conditions granted by the Irish government to
massive oil companies means that the Irish people will not
benefit from any lucrative oil and gas finds in the future.

Sinn Féin Donegal county councillor Thomas Pringle has said
that the Norwegian government has negotiated good terms
with the state-owned oil giant Statoil so that some of the
drilling profits will be ploughed into Norway's economy.

A seismology expert said last night: "These companies are
very interested in the area off the west coast of Ireland.
Otherwise they wouldn't be there."

Shell E&P Ireland confirmed yesterday that the company had
met Mayo County Council chairman Henry Kenny to discuss the
company's Corrib pipeline project.

Speaking on the Rossport Five, Shell E&P managing director
Andy Pile said the company had taken "significant" steps to
advance the situation.

He added: "We must preserve our legal position in relation
to the authorised construction of the onshore pipeline and
the protection of our staff from unlawful interference."


Céili Heralds New Era At Barracks

Crowds are expected to descend on the site of a former PSNI
barracks for a monster céilí today.

Young and old will gather today at the site of the old
Andersonstown barracks in west Belfast for a céili mór that
will bring hundreds of dancing feet down on the hated
former fortress.

Gearóid Ó Cairealláin, one of the organisers, said: "The
Andytown barracks site is a perfect location for a céili
mór at the crossroads.

"That freshly-laid tarmac is just begging for dancers to
get out and give it their best Aoibhneas na Bealtaine,
Baint an Fhéir and Tonnaí Thoraí."

The Trasna Céilí Band will be providing the rousing tunes
to stir the soul and send the flashing feet kicking and
jumping. Bean an tí Máire Uí Bhruadair will call the first
dance at 2pm.

"So don't worry if you haven't been at a céilí for a while.
The bean an tí will make sure everyone keeps in step.

"We recognise the symbolism and the significance of this
event. Everyone knows what Andytown barracks stood for for
so many years.

"On Saturday, we want to show what the future can stand

"Where once there were armed police and British soldiers,
we will have a céilí band beating out Gaelic music. Where
once the Irish language was banned, we will have songs and
stories in Irish and plenty of conversation in the native

"And on this historic site where misery lurked for decades
we will have dancing — Irish dancing, of course," Mr Ó
Cairealláin said.

Admission to the céili mór is free. Organisers are urging
young and old to attend.


Moving on from wounds of past


The Mighty Celt (12A)
Director: Pearse Elliott
Starring: Robert Carlyle
Running time: 81 minutes

THE Irish Troubles of the past 40 years have inspired a
substantial body of distinguished films that range from
Neil Jordan's dreamlike debut feature Angel to Terry
George's Some Mother's Son, which captured all the personal
anguish of the hunger strikes in the 1980s. In The Name Of
The Father told of the appalling miscarriage of justice
that befell Gerry Conlon and his father. Titanic Town found
the pathos and the comedy in the campaign of one determined
Catholic housewife to bring an end to all the senseless
violence. Bloody Sunday brought an unflinching eye to the
events of January 30, 1972.

If someone was to curate a season of all these films it
would make for a fascinating insight into how art has
reflected the shifting politics of recent Irish history and
tried to find a human response to the whole messy business.

Irish cinema has already shown its willingness to move on.
Jim Sheridan turned to magical autobiography with In
America while the recent Adam & Paul seemed more inspired
by Beckett than anything in the struggle between Republican
and Nationalist.

The Mighty Celt is a thoughtful, modest coming-of-age tale
situated in an Ireland where the wounds of the past are
still raw but the possibilities of a different future are
temptingly real. Teenage boxer Tyrone McKenna stars as
Donal, a young lad with a fondness for dogs. He works for
greyhound trainer Good Joe (Ken Stott) and takes a fancy to
one particular greyhound that he names The Mighty Celt. If
he can win three races, the dog is his.

Donal's mother is Kate (Gillian Anderson, managing a fair
stab at an Irish accent). An IRA memorial for her late
brother brings former paramilitary O (Robert Carlyle) back
into her life. The wary, fragile bond that is rebuilt
between the erstwhile lovers is played out against the
boy's relationship with his beloved mutt and his battles
with Joe, a Republican sympathiser who believes O has sold

Politics and personal issues are interwoven in a film that
even carries a distant echo of the Ken Loach classic Kes.
Running barely an hour and 20 minutes, The Mighty Celt
tries to pack a lot into its slender frame and feels as if
it lacks the room to breathe and develop. There is an
inevitability to everything that happens, from the boy's
loving attachment to his dog to the rekindled romance
between Kate and O. It is not a film packed with surprises
but one marked by its sparkling dialogue and ability to
find the beauty in Belfast. Produced by BBC Films, it does
have the feel of a drama that will seem perfectly at home
when it is screened on television.

Freed from her long-term commitment to The X-Files, Gillian
Anderson gave the performance of her life as Lily Bart in
Terence Davies' film of Edith Wharton's The House Of Mirth.
It was the kind of performance that should have left her
flooded with offers, and yet she has worked sparingly since
then, concentrating on stage work and apparently finding
little to tempt her back to the screen. It seems such a
waste of what should be the best years of her cinema

Her involvement with the Davies film and The Mighty Celt is
a clear statement of intent on her part. Instead of a
Hollywood blockbuster, she has given her support to a
modest Irish film in which she has a chance to do some real
acting. You admire her integrity and she gives a quietly
effective performance as a working-class woman wounded by
her past.

Carlyle is another actor who doesn't seem to have a
careerist bone in his body. The success of The Full Monty
could easily have placed a full-time, razzle-dazzle
Hollywood lifestyle within his grasp and it's to his credit
that he is more driven by individual roles and talents than
any thought of the bigger picture. There is something in
his character that always seems wounded, haunted by the
mistakes of the past, troubled by unfinished business - and
all of that plays to the role of the former IRA man in The
Mighty Celt.

The presence of Anderson and Carlyle ensures the production
a cinema release and deserves some serious attention, but
this is ultimately a work of promise rather than of
dazzling achievement. The coming-of-age theme is well worn
and has been more memorably handled by others. No matter
the quality of the performances or the best of intentions,
The Mighty Celt remains a minor addition to the cinema of
post-Troubles Ireland.

On general release from Friday


McAleese Lauds Irish-US Links During Milwaukee Visit

21/08/2005 - 10:41:07

President Mary McAleese has highlighted the business and
cultural bridges between Ireland and the United States at
the Milwaukee Irish Fest.

The president was speaking during her 13th trip to the
United States in Milwaukee for the 25th anniversary of
Irish Fest. This is her first trip to Wisconsin.

Calling Ireland "prosperous, peaceful, strong and
confident", McAleese called for expanding mutual trade and
continuing cultural efforts that build on respect for
difference and for democratic dialogue.

McAleese returns to the Irish Fest today to participate in
the Liturgy for Peace and Justice. The Mass is held at the
Marcus Amphitheater on the shores of Lake Michigan and
attracts 15,000 worshipers.

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