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August 07, 2005

Man Shot In Latest Loyalist Violence

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 08/07/05 Man Shot In Latest Loyalist Violence
SL 08/07/05 Killing Will Go On Say Feuding Gangs
SL 08/07/05 Shove Your Doves Say LVF Leadership
SL 08/07/05 UVF Nets LVF Guns, Drugs And Cash
SL 08/07/05 Viagra-Like Pills Loyalist Plot Thwarted
SL 08/07/05 Family Of Feud Victim Slam 'Sub-Human' Gunman
SL 08/07/05 Why Did Loyalists Murder Craig?
SL 08/07/05 Raid Cops Draw A Blank As Money Trail Goes Cold
SL 08/07/05 Did Garda Tip-Off Lead To IRA Triple Execution?
UN 08/07/05 Most TDs Oppose Speaking Rights For Politicians
SL 08/07/05 Ex-RIR Soldiers In Blair Protest
SL 08/07/05 Being Irish Means You're Guilty...
BG 08/07/05 The Redemption Of Shane Paul O'Doherty
EI 08/07/05 Filmmaker Mobilises I.R.A.
SL 08/07/05 Superbug Care Home Cases Not Recorded


Man Shot In Latest Loyalist Violence

07/08/2005 - 12:04:59

A man has been shot and seriously wounded in a gun attack
in north Belfast today.

The victim is understood to have been hit a number of times
in the chest during disturbances close to the Crumlin Road.

Sources have linked the shooting to a deepening loyalist
paramilitary feud in the city that has claimed three lives
so far.

The attack happened at Glenside Park, at around 6.30am.

Neighbours said Loyalist Volunteer Force members locked in
a vicious turf war with the rival Ulster Volunteer Force
were seen in the area.

The man injured was taken to the nearby Mater Hospital for
emergency treatment.

A crowd of up to 20 men also gathered outside the hospital,
but were held back by police, according to frightened

One woman who arrived for work said: "I parked across from
the hospital and got out of my car still only half-awake.

"Then I saw a crowd coming with scarves up over their faces
and baseball caps on. I took to my heels and ran in and
they started running too.

"Thankfully they didn't get in, they just came up as close
as they dared."

The shooting victim was later transferred across Belfast to
the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Whether these men were his friends or the ones who shot
him I'm not sure," the staff member added.

"But when the ambulance left here to take him to the Royal
they stood across the road cheering. It was scary."


Killing Will Go On Say Feuding Gangs

Unfinished business say the UVF

07 August 2005

THE UVF committed the first murders of the modern Troubles,
killing two Catholic men and an elderly Protestant woman
back in 1966.

Almost 40 years on, and with the IRA claiming its war is
over, the UVF is still killing, taking three lives last

But before the latest round of feuding, the UVF appeared to
be looking towards an exit strategy - there was talk of
disarmament and disbandment in response to any similar
Provo initiatives.

Now, those internal discussions have been put on the back
burner as the group focuses on crippling the rival LVF,
which was founded by expelled UVF man Billy Wright in 1996.

A UVF source revealed disbandment had now been ruled out by
the leadership.

"It is being ruled out now, not just because the IRA have
ruled it out, but because the UVF might be needed if
republicans resume attacks on loyalists.

"Surrendering weapons is ruled out because replacing them
at any later time would be much harder, if not impossible,
for loyalists than it would be for the IRA with all its
international contacts."

The UVF has the arms and men to sustain a campaign against
the LVF, but its leaders know the longer it goes on, the
greater the risk that its political wing, the PUP, will be
forced into the wilderness.

LVF sources allege the feud is a smokescreen for the UVF to
avoid talk of disarmament or disbandment, which they claim
would cause splits in the group.

But UVF sources claim they simply want to get rid of the
LVF once and for all following years of bloodshed, and that
means driving them out of Belfast and north Down.

"We don't want to be looking over our shoulders, or under
our cars, every morning fearing an LVF attack, so it has to
be sorted now", one source said.

PUP leader David Ervine has claimed that intelligence
agencies have been controlling the LVF to undermine the
UVF, while the LVF counters that the UVF is riddled with

Meanwhile, a former senior RUC Special Branch source said
it was "extremely worrying" that the UVF killed three times
in Belfast in July without major loss of personnel or
weapons. He suggested the police ability to combat loyalist
terrorism has been severely affected by the loss of high-
level informers and experienced Branch officers.

But a police spokeswoman said: "There's no evidence
whatsoever to suggest that current tensions between
paramilities relate to the PSNI capacity to gather and
disseminate intelligence."

She added: "The PSNI is using all resources to proactively
disrupt these ongoing paramilitary activities. The approach
has been largely successful in preventing attacks on people
and property. Police are doing all they can."


Shove Your Doves Say LVF Leadership

07 August 2005

LVF chiefs last week flatly rejected an offer to mediate
its bloody feud with the UVF.

Instead, sources claim the terror group is intent on a
"hit" against the UVF leadership on a par with its January
2000 murder of mid-Ulster paramilitary boss, Richard

Loyalist sources close to the LVF say a respected figure in
the Protestant community approached the organisation last
week in the hope of brokering a halt to the feud, which has
already claimed three lives.

But the offer was rebuffed, and the would-be mediator
decided that, in the circumstances, there was no point in
going to the UVF.

Sources say no LVF man has been killed in the feud so far,
and the group isn't overly concerned at being driven out of
the Garnerville estate.

"The LVF isn't in any way diminished by UVF attacks to date
and isn't looking for a way out of the situation," said a
source close to the outlawed group.

"The offer to mediate was considered, but rejected."

Other loyalist sources say the LVF is intent on
perpetrating a major assault on the UVF.

"Quite honestly, the LVF hasn't been hit except to the
extent that a small number of people have had to move out
of an area in east Belfast (Garnerville) where the
organisation doesn't have the numbers," said one source.

"They still have a lot of hitters and they intend to hit.

"They don't, obviously, say who they intend to attack but
their leadership is talking about Richard Jameson-level
strikes against the UVF leadership, and they aren't
bothered about how long they may have to wait to pull that

"They know the UVF wants this over quickly, but the LVF is
in no particular rush.

"The numbers of police and Army on the streets is
restricting movements, but the LVF reckons it has time on
its side and can wait for months before biffing one or two
big fish in the UVF."

Jameson was the UVF's mid-Ulster commander who was gunned
down outside his home in Portadown in January 2000,
following a violent confrontation between supporters from
the two groups in a football social club on New Year's Day.

His murder sparked a brutal feud between the two groups,
which later led to an even bloodier feud between the UVF
and UDA in north and west Belfast, in which eight lives
were lost.

So far, Jameson Lockhart, Craig McCausland and Stephen Paul
have been murdered in what are believed to have been UVF
gun-attacks last month.

The LVF has shot and seriously wounded one man in north
Belfast last month, but it is believed he was not the LVF's
intended target.

UVF victim Lockhart was a close personal friend of two
senior LVF figures, but 20-year-old Mr McCausland is
thought to have had no link with the paramilitary group.

Notorious criminal Stephen Paul, who was murdered last
Saturday, isn't thought to have been a member of the LVF,
but did associate with known individual LVF members.

His family have claimed he may have been targeted to settle
a recent dispute he had with a senior UVF man.


UVF Nets LVF Guns, Drugs And Cash

07 August 2005

LOYALIST terrorists who forced a rival faction to flee an
east Belfast estate recovered £48,000 in cash.

UVF men also found a small number of handguns and Ecstasy
tablets after a 200-strong mob forced families linked to
the LVF to flee homes in the Garnerville estate a fortnight
ago, loyalist sources claimed

It is understood the cash, guns and drugs were removed by
the mob before cops arrived and to the UVF.

The items were found near one of the homes vacated by LVF

Said the loyalist source: "Local UVF leaders wanted to keep
this quiet but a number of residents have been talking
about what was found.

"The UVF will be happy that they have scored a double
success against the LVF."

The source claimed the UVF had destroyed the drugs.

"The UVF couldn't be seen to keep the drugs because they
have justified their feud with the LVF because of the
group's drug dealing in loyalist areas."

DUP councillor Robin Newton said he "wasn't surprised" at
the discovery of the haul.

"If the LVF is selling drugs in any estate, there will
always be cash, weapons and drugs."

A police spokesman urged anyone with information on the
cash, weapons and drugs to contact them immediately.


Viagra-Like Pills Plot Thwarted In Cop Raid

07 August 2005

COPS believe they have foiled a loyalist plot to peddle
illegally millions of pills - known as 'the new Viagra' -
on Ulster's streets.

The seizure of a truck ferrying 10,000 Kamagra tablets from
London last month was the first time the Indian-made drug
had been found in the province.

Dealers claim Kamagra does the same job as impotence cure
Viagra, at half the price.

And police are in no doubt that loyalist paramilitaries
were planning to import much larger consignments of the
blue pills.

One police source told Sunday Life: "This was just the
first batch - a trial run if you like - and it was rumbled.

"Now they know we are watching and waiting.

"They would have had a distribution network set up in much
the same way that they peddle narcotics.

"The going rate in London is £40 for 20 Kamagra pills, so
they would have been anticipating a healthy profit."

The tablets have proved popular with some bodybuilders who
suffer a loss of sexual prowess because they take steroids.

But they would also have been snapped up by men unable to
get a doctor's prescription for Viagra.

The pills, which pose a serious potential health risk, were
seized on their way to a warehouse in north Belfast in a
joint operation by police and DSS medical enforcement

A file is being prepared for the Public Prosecution


Why our son?

Family Of Innocent Feud Victim Slam 'Sub-Human' Gunman

Exclusive by Stephen Breen
07 August 2005

A DEVASTATED Ulster mum says her 21-year-old son has vowed
to kill himself after being blinded for life in an LVF
murder bid.

Innocent loyalist feud victim David Hanley (above) was left
for dead by a lone gunman who riddled him with bullets,
after apparently mistaking him for someone else.

Heartbroken Valerie Wright, from north Belfast, described
her son's would-be killer as "sub-human" and said her
family is shattered by the attack.

The young man - shot just three days before his 21st
birthday - was blasted once in the head and five times in
the stomach in the July 10 attack.

David, who police say has no links to any paramilitary
organisation, was on his way home when a lone LVF gunman
jumped from a dark alleyway in Glenbank Place, on the Upper
Crumlin Road, and shot him in the head.

The evil terrorist then stood over the young man and
proceeded to pump more bullets into his body. Speaking to
us last night, Valerie told how her son:

• Says he just wants to die in hospital
• Is constantly asking for painkillers
• May have to have a colostomy bag for the rest of his life
• Refuses to accept that he has been left blinded
• Suffers from nightmares and short-term memory loss
• And wants to know why he was targeted

Said Valerie: "The only thing David ever lived for was his
dogs. He cannot believe that he will never be able to see
his dogs again - he just can't deal with being blind.

"He had his whole life in front of him and he was looking
forward to taking up a course in September, but he is now
living a nightmare.

"I initially thought that David would not pull through and
the fact that he has survived is an absolute miracle.

"But it's hard for us to give him hope when he has told us
that he wants to die because he no longer has his sight.

"The slightest sound in the hospital ward scares him and
even the nurses in the ward have been moved to tears
because of what has happened to him. He never wants us to
leave the hospital.

"David's even afraid to go to the toilet because he is
afraid of urinating on the floor. He thinks that he has
nothing without his sight.

"He's completely terrified and it's hard to believe that
another human being could do this to my son. He never had
any time for the paramilitaries."

Ms Wright also told how she will have to give up her work
when her son begins his rehabilitation.

She added: "I was due to start a new course, too, but I
will have to give this up because I will have to look after
my son on a full-time basis.

"I will also have to look for a bungalow because David
won't be able to live anywhere else.

"He will also have to learn Braille and be assisted with a

"Our lives have been shattered, but I would hate to see any
other family going through what we are going through.

"That's why the monster that committed this terrible act
must be taken off the street before he does the same thing
to some other innocent person.

"I would appeal to anyone who has the slightest bit of
information to come forward. If they could see my son, they
would know why we have asked this."

The cop leading the hunt for the gunman, Detective
Inspector Philip Marshall, also pleaded for people with
information to contact police.

He said: "We have made 300 house inquiries, made three
arrests and conducted five house searches in relation to
this brutal murder bid. We are determined to bring whoever
was responsible for this despicable act to justice.

"We recovered a red Vauxhall Cavalier - registration AAZ
8925 - at the scene and we are particularly keen to hear
from anyone who knows anything about this vehicle.

"We don't believe David was a member of any paramilitary
group and he may have been mistaken for someone else. If
anyone knows who may have been responsible for this act, I
would urge them to contact us immediately."


Why Did They Murder Craig?

07 August 2005

THE family of a young father murdered by the UVF in a feud
slaying wants PUP leader David Ervine to help find his

Craig McCausland's family has written to the East Belfast
MLA asking him to join them in a fight for justice for the
20-year-old who was gunned down on July 11.

Detectives have linked the murder to the current loyalist
feud, but no one has been able to pinpoint why he was
targeted by his UVF killers.

Craig's cousin, Nichola McIlvenny, said: "We have written
to David Ervine and to the Unionist Party to invite them to
come on board and join us in waging a campaign to get
justice for Craig.

"Ultimately, we just want to find out why the UVF murdered
him and bring his killers to justice before a court of law.

"Was it a personal grudge that got him shot, or some other
reason we can't figure out?

"We're a Protestant family which has absolutely no
connection with the loyalist paramilitary world. Craig
abhorred paramilitaries because they beat his mother,
Lorraine, to death many years ago when he was a toddler.

"He wasn't involved in any group and didn't associate with
anyone connected with any group, so why did the UVF decide
to murder him?

"Did they mistake him for someone else? Our family needs to
know and we are appealing to David Ervine for his help."

It is known Craig McCausland spent some time in detention
at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre shortly before his

A loyalist source said: "It's been mentioned that he was in
there, but unless some young UVF man in there at the same
time has fingered him for talking to someone who was
connected with the LVF, or, something equally vague, nobody
knows why he was targeted."

Nichola said her cousin had been on remand for a minor
offence, but never mentioned having a dispute with anyone
at the YOC. The family remain baffled and distraught over
his killing.


Raid Cops Draw A Blank As Money Trail Goes Cold

By Joe Oliver
07 August 2005

DETECTIVES have drawn a blank in one of their main lines of
inquiry in the so-far fruitless hunt for the Northern Bank

They were hoping some scrap of evidence would turn up in
the search for clues at THEIR OWN sports club.

The £50,000 discovered at the Newforge Country Club in
February is the only money yet recovered by cops from the
mind-boggling £26.5m haul.

The embarrassing discovery was made after a call to the
Police Ombudsman from a man claiming to be a police

The money - in five shrink-wrapped plastic packages - was
found hidden in the toilets of the south Belfast complex.

At the time, Chief Constable Hugh Orde insisted the bundles
of cash were planted to try and divert attention from the
cross-border police investigation into the robbery and IRA
money-laundering operations.

Former and serving police officers use the sports club,
which is owned by the force's Athletics Association.

But it also facilitates a wide range of sporting
activities, and has been used in the past by international
cricketers and rugby stars, as well as the Northern Ireland
football team.

Police investigating the biggest cash robbery in history,
spent hours poring over CCTV footage taken from cameras
around the club.

Dozens of members were also quizzed in a bid to jog
memories and possibly identify anyone who may have been a
stranger to the club.

A police source told Sunday Life: "Forensic experts went
over the toilet areas with a fine tooth-comb and,
obviously, detectives have thoroughly examined all
available film footage.

"But, to date, nothing has turned up that would provide a
positive link to the robbers.

"There were a number of problems - one being that the
security gate at the entrance to the club's main car park
had been unmanned for some time.

"Another difficulty was that quite a lot of time had
elapsed between the actual bank robbery, on December 20,
and the discovery of the £50,000."

A police spokeswoman said yesterday that, while no one had
yet been detained or questioned about the cash found at
Newforge, the investigation was "live and ongoing".

In the wake of the robbery - in which the families of two
employees were taken hostage - the Northern Bank decided to
relocate 40 staff in order to "safeguard their welfare".


Did Garda Tip-Off Lead To IRA Triple Execution?

By Chris Anderson
07 August 2005

REPUBLICAN sympathisers inside the Garda supplied the IRA
with information leading to the triple murder of three Co
Armagh men, an ex-Army Intelligence officer has said.

The claim has added weight to calls for an inquiry into the
killings of Gregory Burns, John Dignam and Aiden Starrs.

The bodies of trio - who had been recruited as informers by
the Army's Force Research Unit - were found on the south
Armagh border in July 1992.

Irish officials met recently with Dignam's parents to
discuss the case. Pat and Irene Dignam, from Portadown,
said the allegation of a Garda link cemented their belief
an inquriy was needed.

The IRA said it "executed" the men after they confessed to
spying for the security forces, and claimed they murdered
Portadown woman Margaret Perry, whose body was found in a
shallow grave in Co Sligo the month before.

The ex-FRU soldier claimed Garda officers told the IRA
Burns, Dignam and Starrs were suspects in the Perry

"There is no doubt the IRA was tipped off and it
immediately suspected all three were British agents," said
the former soldier.

"Burns, Dignam and Starrs were lifted by the IRA and
interrogated for almost a week before they were executed.
No-one really knew how much information the IRA got about
how we operated at that time."

The ex-FRU member also claimed hundreds of documents used
to collate information from Army agents and informers had
been destroyed in 2002.

These classified documents would have shown contact between
Army handlers and agents like Burns, Dignam and Starrs, he

The ex-FRU soldier said he believed the documents were
destroyed as part of a cover-up into allegations of state
collusion in murder here.

Mrs Dignam said last night: "As far as we are concerned,
John's murder has never been properly investigated on
either side of the border.

"We are convinced the cover-up which took place in July
1992 still exists today. These latest claims only compound
that belief.

"They must be investigated and an independent inquiry is
the only way the truth about John's murder can be


Poll: Most TDs Oppose Dáil Speaking Rights For North's

06:50 Sunday August 7th 2005

A majority of TDs say they are opposed to politicians from
Northern Ireland speaking in the Dáil.

According to a poll published in today's Sunday
Independent, 75% of Dáil members say the right to speak
before the country's parliament should be reserved for TD's

However, half of those surveyed say they would favour
northern MP's taking part in Oireachtas Committees.

Sinn Féin last week pressed Bertie Ahern to grant its MPs
Dail speaking rights, saying the Taoiseach had promised
such a move in the run up to last months stand-down by the


Ex-RIR Soldiers In Blair Protest

07 August 2005

ANGRY former soldiers are planning to hand back their
medals to Tony Blair in protest over the decision to axe
the Royal Irish Regiment's home battalions.

A group of ex-UDR and RIR men from mid-Ulster and south
Armagh say they intend to travel to 10 Downing Street to
express their sense of betrayal over last week's shock
announcement that the home-based RIR will be disbanded on
August 1, 2007.

"We hope around 30 of us will be going to No 10 Downing
Street," said one former UDR soldier, who lives in south

'Brian', not his real name, who served in the UDR from 1970
to 1992, first as a part-timer and then a full-timer,
added: "I survived an IRA murder bid.

"Some of my friends weren't so lucky - the British
Government has capitulated to the very people who butchered

"It is obscene - it's appeasement every step of the way.

"Our politicians have been caught cold and there is damn
all they can do about it. "

'Brian's' son has served as an RIR soldier for more than 10
years but now, with a wife and young family, faces

"I feel guilty, I encouraged him to join," said 'Brian'.

"I told him it was a good career - how wrong I was."


Being Irish Means You're Guilty...

By Andrew Bushe
07 August 2005

FIRST World War military courts were anti-Irish and handed
down many death sentences to innocent men, according to a
damning Irish government report.

The scathing report into the execution of 26 Irish soldiers
- from north and south - was given to the British
Government last year.

It says the 26 cases are "starkly revealing" of treatment
it describes as "shocking", "inconsistent", "capricious"
and "unpredictable".

A defence of Great War military justice by the MoD is
described as "fundamentally flawed".

The paper concludes that the system had a "difficult to
explain" racist bias against Irish soldiers.

Among the Irish courts-martial, the report points out
presiding officers ignored or didn't consider medical
evidence in 11 cases, and four cases involved extenuating
circumstances, such as the death of family members.

There were 11 "clear cases" where an execution was thought
necessary to "make an example", because of bad discipline.

"Soldiers were effectively condemned to be shot because of
both the behaviour of others and the opinion of others as
to their fighting potential," it adds.

"Executing a soldier simply to deter their colleagues from
contemplating a similar crime, or because their attitude in
the face of the gravest of dangers was not what was
expected - in some cases after only a matter of weeks of
basic training - must be seen as unjust, and not deserving
of the ultimate penalty."

The report calls for full pardons to "grant the men the
dignity in death they were denied in life".

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern (pictured)
said: "We continue to press the British Government to
restore the good names of these men. It was a different
world, a different society and a harsher, most bloody time.

"We must ensure that these men's names are cleared and
their memories honoured well in advance of the centenary of
their deaths."

The 'Shot At Dawn' campaign, which wants pardons for
executed soldiers, has the backing of many politicians

One out of every 2-3,000 British troops was executed,
compared to one in less than 600 in Irish units. This
applied equally to the 36th Ulster Division as to regiments
from the south.


The Redemption Of Shane Paul O'Doherty

He was a teenage terrorist. He tried to kill a bishop.
After 14 years in prison, he got married. Now the Catholic
Church wants him to become a priest. Is no man beyond

By Kevin Cullen August 7, 2005

Corridor at St. Patrick's College, Ireland's last remaining
seminary, is a vision out of Harry Potter's school,
Hogwarts, dark and slightly foreboding. The oak walls are
lined with solemn portraits of clerics who have educated
more than 11,000 Roman Catholic priests since 1795. Inside
College Chapel, heels click on the marble mosaic floor,
under the gaze of a procession of saints and angels painted
on the ceiling. Outside, the three Gothic buildings that
form St. Mary's Square overlook a lush garden and a pond
with rocks positioned as steppingstones, designed to
symbolize man's spiritual journey toward God.

In the sleepy college town of Maynooth, 15 miles outside
Dublin, we walk through a stone archway into an idyllic
Gothic quadrangle called St. Joseph's Square, gravel paths
snaking through grassy swaths dappled with bright red
flowers. The only sound is bird song. At 50, O'Doherty
still boasts a boyish appearance, thin and fit, bone-china
skin, his brown hair closely cropped.

Between 1993 and 2002, seven seminaries closed in Ireland,
leaving only St. Patrick's. Though it reeks of history, it
also seems a lonely place. In the 1960s, as many as 600
seminarians studied at St. Patrick's; today, 60 do, a drop
that's been attributed both to a more materialistic Ireland
and to the country's own ongoing clergy sex abuse scandals,
which mirror those in Boston and other American dioceses.

The last time we had gone for a long walk together, a
decade earlier, I was covering the conflict in Northern
Ireland for the Globe, and he was a married man six years
removed from prison. Before his arrest, he'd become the
most wanted man in Britain, a hero for the Irish Republican
Army whose letter-bomb campaign had maimed a dozen people
and terrorized all of London. We had walked the streets of
Derry, his hometown. At that time, we paused at the rooming
house for British soldiers where he had planted his first
bomb in 1970, when he was 15. We passed the spot in the
Bogside where Barney McGuigan's brains spilled out onto the
pavement on Bloody Sunday in 1972, when British
paratroopers shot and killed 14 civil rights demonstrators.
We walked by the apartment in Crawford Square that
O'Doherty used as a bomb factory, the one that blew up,
killing Ethel Lynch, his 22-year-old assistant.

He was given his middle name because he was born on the
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, who was a zealous
killer of Christians before his own conversion on the road
to Damascus. But O'Doherty's story is not about a
miraculous religious conversion as much as a gradual
spiritual evolution. He had a tug of war with God, and God
won. His odyssey, from teenage revolutionary to middle-age
seminarian, is a story of redemption.

"Hell," he says, shrugging. "If I can be saved, anyone

IN 1965, WHEN HE WAS 10 YEARS OLD, HE tore a sheet of paper
from a notebook he used to copy lessons at school and wrote
down a pledge: "When I grow up, I, Shane Paul O'Doherty,
want to fight and, if necessary, die for Ireland's
freedom." Even at his tender age, he knew his words were
treasonous, and so he hid them under the floorboards of the
attic of his family's home and forgot about them until 10
years later, when he was sitting in an interrogation room,
under arrest, and a detective shoved the yellowed paper
under his nose. He blushed, more embarrassed by his
childish idealism than terrified at the prospect of
spending the rest of his life in prison.

O'Doherty was born in Derry in 1955 during a winter so cold
his mother called him the Snow Baby. Unlike most of
Northern Ireland, Derry had a Catholic majority, and an
established Catholic middle class, one of the reasons the
Catholic civil rights movement bloomed there in the late
1960s. O'Doherty was part of that middle class, one of
eight children in a family that wasn't especially
political. His father was a teacher and principal at a
school run by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order. His
mother hailed from a prominent business family. Two of his
uncles fought the British in Ireland's war of independence
in the 1920s. But O'Doherty's father never spoke of any of
this and quietly aspired to unity with the Irish Republic
while opposing violence as a means of achieving it. Despite
holding the majority in Derry, Catholics were excluded from
power through gerrymandering and other discriminatory
practices of the Protestant unionist government that was
loyal to Britain.

Most of O'Doherty's neighbors were Protestant, and he never
heard a sectarian word in his home. But as a child, he
would sit alone in his family's well-stocked library,
reading about Irish history. "There was something about the
tragedy of British rule in Ireland against the wishes of
the Irish people," he says.

He was spellbound reading about the Easter Rising of 1916,
when a quixotic band of patriots staged a rebellion they
knew was doomed, determined to ignite a wider revolution.
As a 10-year-old living in British-controlled Northern
Ireland, Shane O'Doherty offered himself up to martyrdom,
which was something of an empty pledge, not because of his
age but because, at the time, there was no rebellion to
join. The IRA, widely regarded as a small bunch of
dreamers, was dormant.

But that all changed when the Protestant government's
response to the demands of the Catholic civil rights
movement was to beat protesters off the streets. In 1968
and 1969, around the time O'Doherty was turning 14, Derry
convulsed with protest and attacks on demonstrators by
loyalist mobs and the predominantly Protestant police
force. By the time British troops were deployed, O'Doherty
had thrown Molotov cocktails at police, and the IRA had
become active again. A new group, the Provisional IRA, or
the Provos, had sprung up, determined to bring the fight to
the British, and 15-year-old Shane O'Doherty began an
almost farcical search for them, knocking on doors, so he
could join. He eventually found two men who inducted him
into the secret organization.

"I was no longer an insignificant teenager, "he says now.
"I became heroic overnight. I felt almost drunk with

At 16, he threw nail bombs at British soldiers and almost
hoped he'd be shot dead, fantasizing that his sacrifice
would inspire a mural or, better yet, a song, ensuring his
immortality. He jumped out of alleys, firing a revolver at
soldiers armed with automatic rifles. In 1971, he loosed a
rocket at a British Army observation tower. It missed but
hit another army post by dumb luck. Soldiers then opened
fire on a passing car, wounding a woman and two children.
O'Doherty went home and prayed that the woman and children
would survive. They did, but his having almost caused their
deaths had shaken him. He stopped reporting for duty.

Any chance he would stay away from the IRA for good
evaporated five days after his 17th birthday, however, when
British paratroopers opened fire on Catholic demonstrators
on January 30, 1972 - what became known as Bloody Sunday.
He saw unarmed men and teens gunned down. In the chaos, he
bumped into a priest he knew, and the two went to the local
morgue, where O'Doherty saw police and soldiers laugh and
joke about the shootings. He accompanied the priest to the
homes of the dead and the injured, and his fury smoldered.
He reported back to the IRA and was flattered when his
commander eventually asked him to go to London to launch a
letter-bomb campaign.

"I had come to the conclusion that all these British
soldiers from working-class backgrounds that we were
shooting and blowing up in Northern Ireland were deemed
expendable by the British government," he says. "The idea
was to have those in high places in British military and
political circles face the consequences of occupying

ONCE IN LONDON, HE POSED AS A STUDENT and bought a copy of
Who's Who, to draw up a target list. One of his bombs
injured Reginald Maudling, the British Cabinet member in
charge of security on Bloody Sunday. He sent a bomb to
Bishop Gerard Tickle, the Roman Catholic chaplain to the
British Army, after reading a newspaper story quoting
Tickle as saying British soldiers did nothing wrong on
Bloody Sunday. (He later called the story a "press
misrepresentation.") The bomb, stuffed into a hollowed-out
Bible, failed to detonate. He sent a letter bomb to 10
Downing Street, the prime minister's residence, and it sat
unnoticed in a wastebasket for 24 hours. It didn't explode,
but O'Doherty's ability to pierce security at the heart of
the government made him, as the mystery letter bomber, the
most wanted man in Britain.

Other bombs sent by him exploded at the London Stock
Exchange, the Bank of England, and a government building.
The injured included secretaries and security guards, and,
as a result, O'Doherty's doubts returned. He went back to
Derry to fight on the home front and knelt in a
confessional at St. Eugene's Cathedral, where he had been a
choirboy a few years and a whole lifetime before. He told
the priest he was in the IRA and wanted to talk about the
morality of violence in a liberation struggle. But the
priest was in no mood to debate.

"Murder and violence are always wrong," the cleric told

O'Doherty left that church a more tormented 19-year-old
than when he entered but continued fighting.

In 1975, the IRA called a cease-fire, with the promise from
authorities that IRA operatives would not be arrested as a
political compromise was hashed out. But that promise
turned out to be empty, and, in May 1975, police descended
on the house of O'Doherty's mother. Sarah O'Doherty, who
had no idea her son was in the IRA, was making him lunch;
she looked on in bewilderment as he was bundled into a car,
shirtless, and whisked away.

The IRA shot a police officer in retaliation for
O'Doherty's arrest. The dead cop was the son of the chief
officer at the Belfast prison where O'Doherty was being
held, and the guards beat the 20-year-old mercilessly the
next day. Guards ripped sheets into long strips and placed
them in his cell, advising him to hang himself, because it
would be better than what they had planned for him. One
guard sat outside his cell and turned the light on and off,
so O'Doherty couldn't sleep. Years later, the warden who
had presided over his torture was murdered by the IRA, and
O'Doherty could not muster sympathy for him.

In September, O'Doherty was flown to London and charged
with the letter bombings. As he prepared for his trial, he
read the reports that chronicled in clinical and shocking
detail the extent of the injuries he had inflicted on 12
people. A secretary was blinded by glass in her eyes. A
security guard had his hand blown off and an eye blown out.
Another man lost the tips of his fingers.

Even as O'Doherty second-guessed himself, he remained
defiant. He refused to recognize the authority of the court
that tried him in London. The feeling was somewhat mutual,
as the elderly judge frequently nodded off. But the judge
woke up long enough to give O'Doherty 30 life sentences.

If St. Paul's transformation was on the road to Damascus,
O'Doherty's was in solitary confinement in Wormwood Scrubs,
a London prison. His conversion was in the monastic
tradition of Ireland. For more than a year, he was isolated
in a cell, where he read books on the theory of a just war.

"I was trying to justify the violence I had used," he says.

Where guards saw only a stubborn man who refused to wear
prison clothing and who insisted he was a political
prisoner, the Rev. Gerald Ennis, the Catholic chaplain, saw
a pilgrim.

"Your little brother is an extraordinary young man given
very special gifts, and I believe those gifts are going to
be used for the greater glory of God," Ennis wrote in a
prescient letter to one of O'Doherty's brothers in 1977. "I
have never worried particularly about his being in the
[solitary] block, because he was always a person who was
searching for the truth. Once the discovery was made, his
prison cell became a monastic cell where he was alone with
God and his own thoughts."

O'Doherty emerged from solitary still defiant toward a
prison regime he saw as needlessly cruel, but he was
changed. At great personal risk, he left the security of
the IRA, associating with English prisoners at a time when
the Irish in England were held collectively responsible for
ongoing IRA violence.

Back in his cell, he began reading the Bible more intently.
The Gospel of St. Matthew nagged at him, especially one

So, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave
your gift there before the altar and go; first be
reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your

"I had rejected the Church's doctrine of a just war,"
O'Doherty says. "I had come to believe that only pacifism
was truly moral, truly Christlike. But, as I was trying to
make myself a better person, to distance myself from the
violence I had committed, I couldn't really move forward
until I had addressed my victims."

O'Doherty then did what no other IRA member ever had:
apologize to his victims. He never heard back from them,
though one, the security guard who had lost an eye and a
hand, told British newspapers he opposed the prospect of
O'Doherty being released from prison. O'Doherty said he
didn't expect or need to be forgiven. The point was his
being able to apologize and admit he was wrong.

In September 1985, after demanding repatriation for a
decade, O'Doherty got into a taxi with two guards for the
drive to Birmingham's airport and a short flight to
Belfast. One of the guards handed him a religious
paperback. Inside was an inscription from the guard saying
that he and his wife had been praying for O'Doherty for
months. After 10 years of abuse, physical and
psychological, in British jails, O'Doherty left the country
with tears in his eyes, moved by an Englishman's kindness.

Upon his release in 1989, O'Doherty enrolled at Trinity
College in Dublin, pursuing a degree in English and writing
his autobiography. A few years later, he met a pretty
blonde from Chicago named Michelle Sweeney, who was getting
a doctorate in medieval history. They married, settling
into a small house in Dublin. He got a job as a computer
software trainer. As he prospered in Ireland's booming
high-tech economy, he tried to soothe a troubled
conscience. He edited a magazine sold by the homeless. He
volunteered to help Bosnian Muslim refugees. He taught
computer skills to children from itinerant families.

Sweeney accepted an offer to teach in the United States,
but O'Doherty could not get a visa to live there because of
his criminal record. In the late 1990s, even as other
former IRA members who never expressed remorse for their
violent deeds flitted in and out of the United States
promoting the peace process, O'Doherty was repeatedly
denied permission to enter.

Their separation caused the marriage to collapse. Sweeney
sent him an e-mail, saying she wanted a divorce. O'Doherty
wanted an annulment. He wrote a 50-page letter to the board
that oversees annulments in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He
got his wish.

In the spring of 2001, O'Doherty was sitting at his desk in
Stockholm, where he had begun working for Ericsson, the
mobile-phone maker. He was a former terrorist, former
prisoner, former husband. He had a good salary, and he was
miserable. He decided to go back to Dublin. In just a
generation, Ireland had gone from being one of Europe's
poorest countries to one of its richest. But the sudden,
widespread pursuit of materialism disturbed O'Doherty.

The priesthood intrigued him; it had even as a kid. But if
his record precluded his getting into the United States,
how could he possibly get into a seminary?

On a religious retreat, a priest sidled up to him and asked
him if he had ever been on a retreat before.

"Yes," O'Doherty said.

"How long was it?" the priest asked.

"Fourteen and a half years," O'Doherty replied.

city's gritty North-side, Gemma and Triona King, spinster
sisters in their 50s, are making sandwiches and explaining
how they became two of the approximately two dozen
consecrated virgins in Ireland. Their virginity is a gift
to God, a symbolic gesture of their giving themselves to
serve Jesus Christ. They have worked with Dublin's
disadvantaged for years. They also offer intercessions, or
prayers, for those who want to become priests. They
realized something was up when O'Doherty, who had been
volunteering around the cathedral and visiting inmates with
the prison chaplain, asked them to pray for him.

"We encouraged Shane," Gemma King says, sipping tea as
O'Doherty and another seminarian stand in another part of
the kitchen, making plans to visit a homeless shelter.
"Shane has sinned, like all of us. But he knows the power
of repentance, of forgiveness, of redemption, of God's
love, not as abstract concepts but as real life. What
better qualities could you have for a priest?"

Walking the grounds at the seminary, O'Doherty acknowledges
he could do good works as a layperson. But becoming a
priest, with five to seven years of intense study and soul-
searching, was to him the logical, spiritual conclusion of
his odyssey, something he calls "my journey through the
largely unknown, praying for the three gifts I have never
had: humility, patience, and gentleness."

However long it takes him to be ordained, at 50, he is
still 10 years younger than the average priest in Dublin.

Gone are the days of long, flowing black cassocks. In jeans
and sweaters, the seminarians blend in with the 5,000 other
students who, since 1997, have shared the bucolic campus
that is National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

O'Doherty was elected class representative by his 27
classmates, the largest seminary class in Ireland in more
than 20 years.

"What's the difference between a terrorist and a
liturgist?" a priest asked the seminarians at one of their
first classes last fall.

No one raised a hand.

"You can negotiate with a terrorist," the priest said,
answering his own question, as all eyes drifted to

"They want me to argue," he says later, almost as if he
can't believe his luck. "I can start an argument in an
empty house."

His classmates had told me an illuminating story. In one
class, they engaged in role-playing. The instructors hung
three signs around their necks and asked the seminarians to
stand behind the person who most needed the support of a
priest. Most stood in back of the person labeled as
religious. A few stood in back of the person labeled a
prostitute. Only O'Doherty stood behind the person labeled
a homosexual.

Asked about it, O'Doherty shrugs.

"Hey, I was in prison. I was married.

I have a gay brother. Who am I to judge anyone?"

Having been married didn't exclude him from becoming a
priest, because the marriage was annulled. Neither did his
past membership in the IRA. But there was the small matter
of having tried to kill Bishop Tickle.

THOMAS GROOME, AN IRISH-BORN THEOlogian at Boston College,
explains that canon law forbids anyone who has killed or
tried to kill an ordained cleric in the Catholic Church
from becoming a priest. Such a sacrilege requires
dispensation at the highest levels of the Church.
"Technically, only the pope can forgive this," says Groome,
a former priest.

Tickle died of natural causes in 1994 and could not vouch
for O'Doherty, but Bishop Edward Daly could. Daly is one of
the most venerated priests in Ireland, a fierce critic of
violence. A photograph showing him waving a white
handkerchief as he and a group of men tried to get first
aid for one of the casualties of Bloody Sunday is one of
that day's indelible images. Daly, who was especially kind
to O'Doherty's mother, had corresponded with O'Doherty and
visited him in prison and believed his conversion to
pacifism was genuine and Gospel-inspired. Daly assured the
Vatican in general and Pope John Paul II in particular that
O'Doherty had the potential to become a good priest. With
Daly behind him and with the sponsorship of Diarmuid
Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, O'Doherty was accepted at
St. Patrick's College.

The Rev. Kevin Doran, who recruits candidates for the
priesthood for the Dublin Archdiocese, says O'Doherty was
accepted last year with the understanding that neither he
nor anyone in the Church would publicly discuss his story
during his study for the priesthood. Doran, in an e-mail,
says: "There is, undoubtedly a `story' in Shane's journey
to seminary. The diocese has taken the view, however, that
this is not the time to focus on that story."

Groome says some will see O'Doherty's candidacy for the
priesthood as a sign of just how desperate the Catholic
Church is for priests. But Groome believes a defining
characteristic of Catholicism is at play.

"At its best, Catholicism has great magnanimity," Groome
says. "We believe in last-minute conversions. We like the
story of the good thief who repented on the cross.
O'Doherty's life story is about redemption, but it redeems
all of us. The great saint, the great soldier, and the
great lover are all similar. They are gamblers, full of
idealism, looking for a noble cause."

When, God willing, he is ordained, Shane Paul O'Doherty
says, he knows where his ministry lies.

The prisons.

Kevin Cullen, the Globe's former Dublin bureau chief, has
covered Ireland for the Globe for 20 years. E-mail him at


Filmmaker Mobilises I.R.A.

Posted online: Sunday, August 07, 2005 at 1510 hours IST

Los Angeles, August 7: Just a week after the Irish
Republican Army agreed to disarm, a new movie focusing on
the IRA's activities is set to begin shooting in the
Emerald Isle.

I.R.A: King of Nothing tells the story of Bobby O'Brien
(played by Damian Chapa, who also directs), an IRA member
who is not happy with the modern day version of the
movement and believes that the only way to achieve Irish
independence is through violence.

"My goal as a filmmaker is to create stories that examine a
man's struggle with good and evil, and right and wrong.
With I.R.A., I want to explore the inner turmoil and
struggles of all the characters involved and take an in-
depth look at this contentious subject from a more personal
angle," Chapa said.

The film will be shot in Belfast, and south of the border
in the seaside town of Bray, County Wicklow, with a cast
that also includes Joe Estevez and Rachel Hunter.


Superbug Care Home Cases Not Recorded

07 August 2005

MORE and more elderly people living in nursing and
residential homes in Ulster are falling victim to the MRSA

The number killed by the superbug is understood to have
risen by anything up to a third in the past two years.

But the actual figure is guesswork based on national trends
- because the Department of Health at Stormont has admitted
that it does not record the number of MRSA cases in care

According to statistics in Britain, the bacteria
contributed to the death of 70 residents in 2004.

But experts say this is only the tip of the iceberg,
because it only includes cases where the bug was mentioned
on the death certificate.

Last night, Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers accused the
department of dragging its heels over tackling superbugs in
care homes.

"Elderly people are particularly vulnerable and account for
the largest group in hospital-acquired infections," he

"It is of deep concern that guidelines on reporting and
collating information on MRSA in the health service do not
apply to our residential or nursing homes.

"This is a matter I'll be taking up with the Minister,
because it shows a glaring inconsistency and leaves us in
the dark over exactly what steps are being taken in the
independent sector to prevent further loss of life."

A spokeswoman for the department said recent infection
control guidelines had been issued to cover nursing and
residential homes.

"These include clear guidance on the management of
infection control, including surveillance and prevention,"
she added.

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