News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

August 28, 2005

Decommissioning Body Strengthened by Govts

To Index of Monthly Archives
To August 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 08/29/05 Decommissioning Body Strengthened By Govts
IT 08/29/05 McDowell Expects IRA Decommissioning Soon
IT 08/29/05 IRA Drugs Link Doubted
IO 08/28/05 PSNI Criticised Over Handling Of Loyalist Feud
IT 08/29/05 Attack On Loyalist Estate Sectarian, Say Police
IT 08/29/05 Burial Site Found On Louth Route


Decommissioning Body Strengthened By Governments

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The British and Irish governments have recruited an
additional member to the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), raising speculation
that the IRA is primed to begin dismantling its huge

From today Brig Tauno Nieminen is joining Gen John de
Chastelain and Andrew Sens on the decommissioning body. The
Finnish brigadier was formerly a member of the IICD but
resigned in October 2001, reducing it to a two-member

He formally takes up his position today, a bank holiday in
Northern Ireland, although it is expected that it won't be
until later this week and into September that the
decommissioning body's major work begins.

Gen de Chastelain is due back in Ireland tomorrow or
Wednesday, when he is expected to link up with Mr Sens and
Brig Nieminen. The IICD spokesman was not contactable
yesterday but it is understood Brig Niemenen was
reappointed at the request of Gen de Chastelain.

This would indicate that the general expects a heavy work
schedule in September. Sinn Féin continues to insist that
the issue of Provisional disarmament is purely a matter for
the IRA. Republican sources, however, have indicated that
it could take some time to complete the process of
decommissioning such are the large stockpiles of arms and
explosives to be rendered beyond use.

This could explain why Brig Niemenen was viewed as a
necessary addition to participate in overseeing
comprehensive acts of IRA decommissioning in different
parts of the country. It would also appear to indicate that
in the coming weeks the IRA will carry out its commitment
to fully decommission, as it pledged in its July statement.

Comments by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell yesterday
that disarmament would involve a series of decommissioning
acts would appear to support such a scenario. He told RTÉ's
This Week programme he expected IRA disarmament to take
place "in one sequence of events" and "in fairly rapid
order". He did not expect it would happen by "one single
press of a button or by one single act of decommissioning,
at one single place", but he did believe the IICD would
supervise a beginning, middle and end to decommissioning
"in the relatively near future".

The fact that senior Sinn Féin figures such as Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness are returning from holidays is also
contributing to speculation about relatively imminent IRA

In its July statement the IRA authorised a senior
representative to re-engage with the IICD "to complete the
process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way
which will further enhance public confidence and to
conclude this as quickly as possible".

It also invited two independent Protestant and Catholic
cleric witnesses to verify it had decommissioned.

Publicly the British and Irish governments have been
maintaining patience on decommissioning, but privately
there have been signs of frustration that it was not
happening sooner - particularly as issues such as the
planned disbandment of the home Northern Ireland battalions
of the Royal Irish and the return of "Colombia Three" have
so angered unionists.

© The Irish Times


McDowell Expects IRA Decommissioning Soon

Michael O'Regan

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said yesterday he
believed the IRA will decommission weapons soon.

But he insisted that even with decommissioning and an end
to criminality, the IRA would remain an illegal
organisation because of its constitution.

He said Gen John de Chastelain's commission would supervise
a process which would "begin, middle and end in the
relatively near future".

He expected, he said, that decommissioning would be in "one
sequence of events" and in "fairly rapid order".

However, he did not expect it all to be done by "one single
press of a button, or one single act of decommissioning at
one single place".

Mr McDowell insisted that even if the IRA engaged in full
decommissioning and ended its involvement in criminality,
it would remain an illegal organisation. "The IRA remains
an illegal organisation because its constitution is
treasonable under the laws of the State. It suggests that
the IRA army council is the legitimate government of the
State and the Government to which I have been elected, for
instance, is illegitimate," he added.

On whether he trusted the IRA army council and its
political leadership, particularly Gerry Adams, he said: "I
have to operate on the basis of what I would describe as a
minimum degree of a working relationship. If somebody says
I want to participate in the democratic process, and if
they also say I am giving up all forms of violence, then in
those circumstances I will operate with them on that
premise. Whether that amounts to moral trust is irrelevant,
and the same applies to the unionists in Northern Ireland."

He added it was a working assumption, but he was
circumspect "because you know what happened relating to the
Northern bank robbery, we know what happened relating to
the difficulties they had with Robert McCartney, the IRA
army council authorising a statement offering his sisters
that they would shoot the perpetrators".

Asked by Gerald Barry on the This Week radio programme how
it would be known that the IRA had got rid of all its guns,
Mr McDowell said Gen De Chastelain had an estimated
inventory from the Republic's Government.

"Obviously, in one technical sense, it is impossible for
him, you, or me, or anybody else, to know what is hidden
somewhere under a stone in a cave in the middle of some
mountain range.

"We cannot be certain, but the significant thing is that
they get rid of this very significant armoury which they
accumulated from arms importation from Libya, the US and
eastern Europe, the Semtex, the surface-to-air missiles,
all of those things they are to get rid of now."

Mr McDowell said he had always been of the view that in
recent years the maintenance of the IRA's arsenal was, in
fact, an extreme negative from the point of view of the
Provisionals' strategy. He said that post 9/11 and the
Omagh bombing, having an arsenal was a huge liability for

© The Irish Times


IRA Drugs Link Doubted

Conor Lally

The head of the Garda National Drugs Unit, Det Chief Supt
Cormac Gordon has said there is no evidence to suggest
paramilitary figures are involved in drug dealing.

He said while there may be fears that some paramilitaries
will turn to drug dealing now that the Provisional IRA has
been stood down, there was no intelligence at present to
suggest this was happening.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, Det Chief Supt Gordon said the use
of cocaine had increased in recent years. However, cannabis
remained the most popular drug followed by ecstasy, cocaine
and heroin.

A small number of Irish drug dealers based in Spain and
Holland were supplying the Irish market. These had built up
contacts in those jurisdictions which enabled them to
source cocaine for around €30,000 per kilo.

When the drug arrived here it was 80 per cent pure and was
diluted with substances so that "one kilo could be turned
into two or three".

Each diluted kilo would sell on the streets for up to
€70,000. This resulted in a street value in Ireland of up
to €210,000 for every €30,000 kilo of cocaine bought in
Spain - a 700 per cent profit.

There were greater opportunities than ever to bring drugs
into Ireland because of the volume of people now entering
the country, he said.

© The Irish Times


PSNI Criticised Over Handling Of Loyalist Feud
2005-08-28 16:20:03+01

Northern Ireland's most senior policeman Hugh Orde was
today challenged to acknowledge his officers made mistakes
in allowing loyalist paramilitaries to take over a Belfast
housing estate where families were forced to flee their

Four lives have been claimed this summer as the Ulster
Volunteer Force waged a bloody vendetta against the rival
Loyalist Volunteer Force in Belfast.

But senior police officers came under particular criticism
in July for standing back while dozens of hooded UVF men
patrolled the streets of the Garnerville estate in the east
of the city after expelling six families from the area.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has also faced
demands in recent days from SDLP leader Mark Durkan to
declare the UVF ceasefire obsolete.

As he prepared for a meeting with members of the Northern
Ireland Policing Board meeting on Thursday, Chief Constable
Hugh Orde was warned by nationalist SDLP member Alex
Attwood he would be expected to put on record the scale and
impact of loyalist paramilitary violence including recent
attacks on Catholic homes and property in north Antrim.

"The facts of that terror expose the inaction of the
British government on the UVF ceasefire," the Assembly
member for West Belfast said.

"That is why the SDLP is asking the Chief Constable to
clarify the number of murders, attempted murders, pipebombs
and other incidents that the PSNI attributes to the UVF
since 1st May 2005.

"The police should confirm that lessons have been learned
from Garnerville and the damage caused to the PSNI, so that
this incident and image is not repeated.

"The police also need to state as fully as they can their
strategy to pursue and prosecute those in Ballymena,
Ahoghill and other places involved in sectarian crime. More
information about what the police are doing, overtly and
covertly, can help rebuild confidence."

The last victim of the UVF was 42-year-old father-of-three
Michael Green, who was shot dead on his way to work in the
loyalist Sandy Row area of South Belfast on August 15.

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.


Attack On Loyalist Estate Sectarian, Say Police

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said it
was treating as sectarian the petrol bomb and paint bomb
attack on a loyalist housing estate close to the Bogside
area of Derry at the weekend.

The devices were thrown into the Fountain estate from
Bishop Street by a group of youths, some of whom wore
masks, just before midnight on Saturday. No one was injured
and no houses were damaged in the incident.

The estate has been subjected to petrol bomb and paint bomb
attacks on more than 30 occasions during the summer.

Last week Sinn Féin's chief negotiator and MP Martin
McGuinness said such attacks were wrong and unacceptable.

The attacks came as a town in Co Tyrone recovered from
sectarian clashes that left seven police officers injured
and resulted in the arrest of four people.

A riot broke out in Castlederg as members of the Protestant
Black Preceptory passed through the nationalist Ferguson
Crescent area of the town while Tyrone GAA supporters
celebrated their All-Ireland quarter-final victory over

The PSNI said one of their officers suffered a broken
cheekbone as they tried to break up the disturbances.

© The Irish Times


Burial Site Found On Louth Route

Tim O'Brien

Significant archaeological artefacts including a burial
site containing the bodies of an estimated 1,000 people
have been discovered along the route of a new road scheme
in Co Louth.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) has confirmed the finds,
which lie along the route of the proposed cross-Border
motorway, just north of Dundalk.

The authority's archaeologists are finalising information
on the finds for inclusion in a seminar on archaeology
unearthed as a result of the roads programme, to be held in
Dublin on September 15th.

A series of booklets will be produced for the seminar
detailing archaeological artefacts and the knowledge gained
from road schemes across the State.

A separate briefing on the archaeology of the controversial
M3 Clonee to Kells motorway has recently been produced by
Meath County Council and the NRA. It covers a range of
issues from the archaeological test trenching to the
significance of the results so far uncovered. It is set to
be repeated as further significant artefact finds are

However, NRA chief archaeologist Daire O'Rourke said
"exciting" material from the early medieval period has also
been discovered elsewhere, particularly on the western
bypass of Dundalk and the on the cross-Border northern link

© The Irish Times

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To August 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?