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August 13, 2005

PSNI Officer in IRA Probe

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 08/13/05 PSNI Officer In 'IRA Chanting' Probe
BT 08/13/05 United Front Against Church Vandals
BT 08/13/05 Harryville: Danger Of History Being Rewritten
IT 08/13/05 Devlin Murder Trio Questioned
UT 08/13/05 Belfast Orange March Passes Peacefully
UN 08/13/05 Bogota Told Extradition Matter For Courts
BT 08/13/05 Scooter Getaway In Lurgan Shooting
BB 08/13/05 Police Attacked With Petrol Bombs
IT 08/13/05 Omagh Solicitor Challenges Evidence
IT 08/13/05 McCartney Accused 'Entirely Innocent'
BT 08/13/05 DUP: 50:50 Rule For Police Challenged
IT 08/13/05 Prediction: United Ireland Plagued By Gangsters
BT 08/13/05 RIR: Rank & File
BT 08/13/05 Opinion: Is Ulster An Equal Society?
BT 08/13/05 Opin: Making Sense: Kelly: The Questions
BB 08/13/05 Mo Mowlam Transferred To Hospice
BT 08/13/05 Something Very Rotten In The State
BT 08/13/05 Thousands Expected For 'Black Saturday'
US 04/24/02 Summary of Investigation IRA & FARC
BT 08/13/05 Tunnel Tolls Will Drive Out The Motorists
BT 08/13/05 Antrim Coast Targeted By Party-Goers
BT 08/13/05 Bluegrass Stars Take Music To The Folk Park
ZW 08/13/05 Greener Times
VD 08/13/05 Cherish the Ladies: Luck Of Irish
IT 08/13/05 Statue Of Yeats In Sligo Is Felled By Car
IT 08/13/05 Wreathlaying To Mark Rossa Death

(Poster's note: Write this one down. An exact quote from
Dr Ian: "Any fraternisation between terrorists and police
officers cannot be tolerated." However, don't be surprised
at which 'terrorists' he is speaking about. To find out
read the first story. Jay)

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656652

Londonderry PSNI Officer In 'IRA Chanting' Probe

By Alan Erwin
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

A PSNI officer who allegedly chanted IRA slogans at a staff
party in Northern Ireland is to face a misconduct board, it
was revealed last night.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde confirmed the action against
a man accused of a pro-republican outburst that horrified
colleagues.

The officer is believed to hail from the Londonderry area
and is understood to be in his mid-30s.

Policing Board member and Foyle DUP MLA William Hay said
that if guilty, the man should face severe penalties.

"This is a very very serious offence and whether it was
intended as a joke or said in jest it is still very
serious" Mr Hay said, adding:

"We must all wait until the disciplinary hearing has
finished."

A detective from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's
Internal Investigation Branch has spent six months on the
case.

He was appointed to probe complaints made after staff at a
PSNI station held their annual Christmas party in a south
Belfast hotel.

Off-duty officers had been drinking heavily when the
remarks were allegedly made.

Sir Hugh, who was challenged on the affair at a Policing
Board meeting, disclosed the developments in a letter to
chairman Sir Desmond Rea.

He said: "The investigation has now concluded and the
officer is to appear before a misconduct panel to answer
alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics."

It is understood the officer involved only joined the
police service in the last two years.

He was among the first to be drafted in under plans to
transform the overwhelmingly Protestant force.

But his career is now in the balance as he faces the
possibility of tough disciplinary action.

Mr Hay's DUP and Policing Board colleague Ian Paisley Jr
demanded the officer's sacking if found guilty. He
declared: "There must be the most severe penalty. Any
fraternisation between terrorists and police officers
cannot be tolerated."

Mr Paisley said the case is a huge test for the service's
credibility.

"If true, it's highly insulting to the names of those
officers who have lost their lives, and to the public who
expect a certain conduct from police" he said.

"I would expect the Chief Constable to inform the public of
the outcome of this hearing.

"If the officer is found guilty he should be named and
shamed."

A PSNI spokeswoman refused to comment on the case.

She said: "It's not our policy to discuss individuals or
internal procedures."

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656602

United Front Against Church Vandals

By Nevin Farrell
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

A FORMER leader of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
helped to lead a Protestant clean-up taskforce remove paint
from the so-often attacked Harryville Catholic church in
Ballymena yesterday.

The Rev Russell Birney was joined by clergy and
congregation members from other Protestant churches in the
area. And a joint prayer service was held with Catholic
parishioners on the steps of the paint-splattered Church of
Our Lady.

Also present at the prayer service was former Ulster
Unionist mayor of Ballymena, Councillor James Currie, who
had previously stood in support of parishioners during a
loyalist picket between 1996 and 1998.

He appeared to be the only local elected unionist
representative at the church gathering which was also
attended by SDLP members Sean Farren and Councillor Declan
O'Loan.

Around 20 Protestants were hugged and greeted by
parishioners before both groups got down with brushes and
paint remover at the church which has been attacked by
paint bombers several times in the last month.

Mr Birney, senior minister at High Kirk Presbyterian Church
in Ballymena, led the prayers along with one of Ballymena's
priests, Fr Paul Symonds.

He slammed the paint-bombers as "faceless people" and said
showing support for their Catholic neighbours was "the
least we could do to express our Christian solidarity.
There is no compromise by coming along and helping out
those who are going through hard times."

After the prayer gathering and singing of hymns, ex-mayor
James Currie said: "Those who are carrying out these
attacks may call themselves Protestants but they are
damaging the name of Protestantism around the world.

"I heard this mentioned on the radio this morning, and
thought I would come to offer support to the people who
organised this and also show my solidarity with the people
of this church."

Another man who spontaneously decided to attended after
hearing it on the radio, arrived on his tractor with a
power washer from the nearby unionist village of Clough.

John Swan (73), a caretaker at St James' Parish Church in
Clough, was dressed in Wellington boots and overalls to
help with the paint removal.

He said: "I wanted to come and let people see that
everybody is not minded like those that would deface a
House of God. Seeing that paint churns me up, you wouldn't
do that to a jail."

Fr Paul Symonds said he was "thrilled" at the response of
the local Protestant community.

"This is a marvellous and really appreciated gesture of
support," he added.

One of the main organisers of the clean-up, youth pastor
Jeremy Gardiner from High Kirk Church, said: "As a group of
congregations from the Protestant community we are standing
up and condemning the actions of those who have attacked
the church whilst at the same time reaching out to our
Catholic neighbours."

Canon Stuart Lloyd, of St Patrick's Church of Ireland in
Ballymena, said: "The spirit of sectarianism still
survives, often in our own churches and in our own lives."

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656601

Danger Of History Being Rewritten

By Michael McHugh
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

RECENT events which have seen Catholic residents at
Harryville intimidated by loyalists have worrying echoes of
1969, the former president of the Methodist Church said
last night.

The Rev Jim Rea from Portadown said he was appalled by
threats to people living in the area, but questioned the
motives of those who organised a republican parade which
contributed to raising tensions.

The Church of Our Lady in Harryville has been subjected to
paint bomb attack three times this month, most recently
after the parade on Tuesday night.

Catholic homes in nearby Ahoghill were targeted by
arsonists and residents told to leave.

While defending republicanism's right to celebrate its
traditions, Tuesday's parade was designed to mark the
commemoration of internment, and Mr Rea said he would be
concerned if tit-for-tat parading sparked ugly retaliation.

"We have moved a long way from the beginning of the
Troubles, a lot of this has echoes of 1969 about it. Are we
going to spiral back into that?" he asked.

"Do we want to bring about the situation where people look
to a quasi-community group to provide protection. We could
be dangerously re-writing history."

Community and religious leaders have called for the
intimidation to end.

In a gesture of solidarity following attacks on the
Catholic church the youth pastor at the local High Kirk
Presbyterian Church, Jeremy Gardiner, and members of the
congregation handed out red roses to Catholics attending
Mass at another church in Ballymena.

"I think the attacks on the church at Harryville are quite
appalling. I want to applaud the measures of the
Presbyterian church to make a generous effort to show some
solidarity with that community," he added.

He said the organisers of the republican parade in
Ballymena, which was opposed by Sinn Fein, needed to
examine their motives.

"What was the purpose of a republican parade in Ballymena?
Was that parade about 'if you do it we will do it?' If that
is what it was about then the whole thing is counter-
productive."

The disruption has posed a problem for police, who are
attempting to normalise the situation in an effort to draw
Sinn Fein into the new policing arrangements.

Mr Rea said that, regardless of the political sympathies of
those who eventually join police, it was important their
integrity and ability to do the job was accepted by both
communities.

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http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0813/808780796HM4DEVLIN.html

Devlin Murder Trio Questioned

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Two young men and a male juvenile were still being
questioned by police last night in connection with the
fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Thomas Devlin from Somerton
Road in north Belfast.

They were arrested on Thursday in a police follow-up
operation after Thomas Devlin and two of his friends were
attacked less than 200m from his home at about 11.30pm on
Wednesday.

Thomas died from his injuries. One of his friends was
injured, although not seriously, while his third companion
escaped shocked but uninjured.

The PSNI said the current view of the attack was that it
was random, while Gerry Kelly, the Sinn Féin Assembly
member for North Belfast, said the killing bore "all the
hallmarks" of a sectarian murder.

The SDLP raised the murder with the PSNI chief constable
Hugh Orde yesterday. SDLP Assembly member Alex Attwood said
afterwards it was for the police to make the call as to
whether or not the murder was sectarian.

He expected police developments within 24 hours.

The PSNI said that two men wearing hoods, and walking a
dog, who followed the three boys from an Esso garage only
500m from Thomas's home, were believed to have been
responsible for the murder.

Thomas's parents, Jim Devlin and Penny Holloway, spoke
again yesterday about their horror, distress and terrible
sense of loss at the death of their son.

They again appealed for anyone with information about who
killed Thomas to go directly to the police. Ms Holloway
told the BBC that "Thomas was just such a shining beacon in
our lives and it's gone and he's not going to come back.

"The people who killed Thomas have the capacity to kill a
child again. They are not going to stop with Thomas, and
somebody, somewhere knows who did it," she added.

Young people, many of them friends of Thomas Devlin,
continued to leave flowers at the murder scene on Somerton
Road yesterday.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain in a statement yesterday
condemned the murder.

© The Irish Times

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http://www.utvinternet.com/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=63768&pt=n

Belfast March Passes Peacefully

An Orange Order parade in north Belfast has passed off
without incident this morning.

The Parades Commission had banned Ligoniel Walkers Club
from passing Ardoyne shops.

Orangemen deviated from the agreed route for the feeder
parade and walked along Glenbryn Road in protest at the
Parades Commission decision.

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http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=29&si=1450110&issue_id=12865&printer=1

Bogota Told Extradition Of Colombia Three 'Matter For The
Irish Courts'

Saturday August 13th 2005

THE possible extradition of the Colombia Three will be a
matter for the Irish courts, the Government has informed
the Colombian administration.

In the first official encounter between the Irish and
Colombian governments since the three fugitives turned up
in this country a week ago, Ireland's top diplomat in South
America travelled to the capital Bogota for a high-level
meeting yesterday.

On the Taoiseach's instructions, Irish Ambassador to
Mexico, Art Agnew, met with Colombian Vice-President
Francisco Santos and Deputy Foreign Minister Camilo Reyes.

Ambassador Agnew, whose area of responsibility includes
Colombia, outlined the Government's political and legal
position, as set out by Mr Ahern and Tanaiste Mary Harney.
Though no request for the extradition of Jim Monaghan,
Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly was made by the
Colombian authorities, the Ambassador assured Vice-
President Santos that Ireland is ready and willing to meet
its international obligations. Ultimately, a ruling on the
extradition of the men would be left up to the Irish
courts, he added.

Last night, a Government spokesperson said the meeting was
"positive and friendly" and that the Colombians were very
well informed about the position in this country. Outlining
their position to the Ambassador, the Colombians said they
were looking at all of their options. Vice-President Santos
said it might take some time for their legal stance to
become clear. Also describing the meeting as friendly, he
said he was confident a solution to the "problematic" issue
would be reached. Last week, the Vice-President said if
Ireland did not extradite the Colombia Three, the
Government should at least force them to serve their
sentences in an Irish prison.

Tanaiste Mary Harney said earlier this week that the three
men would not escape punishment and might even serve out
their sentences in Ireland.

The visit by Ambassador Agnew to Bogota came on foot of the
Taoiseach's direction that the Irish diplomats should make
contact with their US, British and Colombian counterparts
to set out the Government's position.

Fionnan Sheahan
Political Correspondent
© Irish Independent

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/
http://www.unison.ie/

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656704

Scooter Getaway In Lurgan Shooting

By Ashleigh Wallace
awallace@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

POLICE in Lurgan investigating a shooting which has left a
man in a serious condition in hospital believe the gunman
may have fled the scene on a scooter.

The victim was shot in the playing fields in the Glenavon
Lane area of Lurgan around 2.30pm yesterday. He was rushed
to hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment for
injuries to his stomach and upper legs. His injuries are
not thought to be life-threatening.

Officers investigating the gun attack believe the attacker
made his escape on a Piaggio scooter, which bore the
registration ILZ 5009.

The scooter was discovered in the Breagh Road area of
Portadown in the Gilford Road area shortly after
yesterday's gun attack.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police are investigating a
possible connection to the shooting incident."

There was speculation that the incident was linked to
tensions between the LVF and UVF but a police spokeswoman
stressed that it was too early to establish a motive.

Local sources do not believe the incident, which occurred
in a loyalist area, was part of the feud between rival
loyalist paramilitaries which has, so far, been contained
to the greater Belfast area.

Upper Bann MLA and local councillor Samuel Gardiner last
night attended the scene of the shooting.

The Ulster Unionist said: "This is close to an area where
there are older people's dwellings and I'm sure this was a
worrying incident for them, particularly the way it was
carried out in broad daylight.

"My understanding is that there were a couple of people
practising golf nearby at the time as well. "Thankfully,
no-one else was hurt in this attack.

"People should not be running around carrying guns."

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/northern_ireland/4147488.stm

Police Attacked With Petrol Bombs

The police have come under petrol bomb attack in
Londonderry.

No-one was injured in the attack, which happened as an
Apprentice Boys bannerette was being dedicated in Society
Street.

Meanwhile, the Apprentice Boys parade to commemorate the
anniversary of the 1689 Siege of Derry is being held.

It is Northern Ireland's biggest annual loyal order parade.
About 10,000 Apprentice Boys accompanied by 120 bands are
on the march in Londonderry.

In the first parade, local Apprentice Boys and three bands
walked the city's historic walls before a wreath laying
ceremony in the Diamond.

The main demonstration will get under way in the afternoon.

It will last for several hours and will be preceded by a
religious service and a pageant re-enacting the siege.

The parade has been relatively trouble free in recent
years.

The police have said they will be visible on the ground and
will have some areas in the city centre screened off to
keep rival groups apart.

The loyal order commemorates the 13 apprentice boys who
shut Derry's gates at the start of the siege by the troops
of the Catholic King James II in December 1688.

The siege was finally lifted in the summer of 1689.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/13 11:33:55 GMT
© BBC MMV

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http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0813/2576624977HM5HOEY.html

Omagh Solicitor Challenges Evidence

The case against a man accused of murdering 29 people in
the Omagh bomb massacre will collapse because there is no
admissible evidence, his lawyer claimed in court yesterday.

Seán Hoey (35), from Jonesborough, south Armagh, faces 61
terrorist and explosives charges including the "Real IRA"
bombing in Omagh seven years ago.

A committal hearing is due to be held on August 30th, but
Mr Hoey's solicitor, Peter Corrigan, claimed the evidence
was insufficient to warrant sending him for trial.

Mr Corrigan told Belfast Magistrates' Court that during
interviews it was put to Mr Hoey that because other bombs
to which he was allegedly linked were constructed in a
similar way then he must have been the person who made the
Omagh bomb.

He said that if the magistrate at the committal hearing was
of the same view, his client would not be sent for trial
because the evidence against him had no probative value.

Mr Corrigan applied for an adjournment to make a written
legal submission that the evidence had not sufficient
probative value to permit the case to proceed.

The hearing was adjourned to August 19th.

© The Irish Times

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http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0813/1395450276HM5MCCARTNEY.html

McCartney Accused 'Entirely Innocent'

A man accused of murdering Robert McCartney outside a
Belfast bar in January is "entirely innocent", the city's
Magistrates' Court was told yesterday.

A solicitor for Terence Davidson (49) said: "There is not
even the slightest suggestion that he is guilty on the
matters put before him, and the evidence cannot sustain a
charge of murder."

Joe McVeigh was resisting an application by the prosecution
for another four-week remand in custody for Mr Davidson,
from Stanfield Place, Belfast, who has denied murdering Mr
McCartney, a father of two.

Mr McVeigh said Mr Davidson had been in custody for 10
weeks, and the court could assist the defence by taking
shorter remands where the crown was required to give
regular updates.

Suggesting a remand of one or two weeks, Mr McVeigh said
the public spotlight was on the case, and it was very hard
for Mr Davidson to get bail.

"There is a political context to his bail application,
particularly where people are making overtures in regard to
others being released," he said referring to the Shankill
bomber Seán Kelly.

"There is a media circus surrounding this case and we want
to keep the prosecution focused so that we will get an
early date for a committal hearing."

Resident magistrate Greg McCourt said that, while he agreed
there was a public spotlight on the case, that was not a
good enough reason for remanding Mr Davidson other than the
normal period of four weeks. Mr Davidson was remanded in
continuing custody until September 9th.

© The Irish Times

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656621

50:50 Rule For Police Challenged

Policy in conflict with the EC directive, says MEP

13 August 2005

A EUROPEAN member of parliament last night called for a
"renewed and concerted campaign to highlight the inequity
and discrimination" of Northern Ireland's current 50:50
police recruitment policy.

DUP MEP Jim Allister said that with Brussels due to review
the continuation of the process of recruitment to the PSNI
before the end of the year, it is in conflict with one of
its own directives.

The 50:50 recruitment measure was set up under
recommendations of the independent Patten Report in a bid
to rectify the historical imbalance of Protestants and
Catholics in the force's make up.

The recruitment bias forms part of the 175 recommendations
of the independent Patten Report, which outlined the way
forward for policing in Northern Ireland, in the wake of
the Good Friday Agreement.

After three years of recruitment on a 50:50 cross-community
basis, of Catholics and non-Catholics, Catholic
representation on the force has increased from 8% in 2001
to 17.14%, according to the most recent figures.

Mr Allister said: "50:50 recruitment to the PSNI, with its
built-in discrimination against Protestant applicants, is
in conflict with the basic tenets of Council Directive
2000/78/EC which lays down guarantees of equal treatment in
employment and occupation.

"This pending review, I believe, should be used as a focus
of a renewed campaign to end the inequity of 50:50
recruitment. Accordingly, I urge all who are opposed to the
discrimination explicit in 50:50 recruitment to make
vigorous representations.

"Certainly, as an MEP, I will be doing so and I will be
happy to liaise with all those interested in ending this
discrimination, with a view to presenting cogent and co-
ordinated representations."

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http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2005/0813/1809342336HM1MAFIA.html

Police Chief Predicts A United Ireland Plagued By Gangsters

Frank Millar, London Editor

A former Northern Ireland police chief has predicted that
a united Ireland will emerge in about 15 years but that "it
will be like Sicily" with "self-policing" by Mafia-type
organisations.

Colin Cramphorn, who was the last deputy chief constable of
the RUC and then acting chief constable of the new Police
Service of Northern Ireland, also warned that the
Provisional IRA would not "go away" or abandon its
"organised criminal activity" following the formal ending
of its armed campaign in Northern Ireland.

Mr Cramphorn - now chief constable of West Yorkshire - told
the Yorkshire Evening Post: "This is not the end of the
IRA, it is the beginning of another era of it . . . Any
republican army volunteer or supporter will recognise the
language of the latest IRA statement on disarmament.

"The decommissioning order was first issued in the Irish
Civil War in 1923. The command was precisely the same: 'Lay
down your arms'. But in this latest statement the second
half of that original order was omitted. In full it reads
'Lay down your arms to fight another day'."

Now on the front line of Britain's battle with al-Qaeda-
inspired terrorism, Mr Cramphorn told journalist Anne
Pickles the formal ending of the IRA campaign had been
"inevitable" since the 2001 attacks on the US.

"The IRA has been overtaken by world events," he said. "It
knew it would be the day the Twin Towers were hit. That was
the day the IRA knew the armed campaign was over. After
that it became impossible for the IRA to seek and rely on
support and sympathy across Europe and in America."

He does not see the present process providing a smooth
transition to a "normal" democracy. "I think in about 15 or
so years we will see the unification of Ireland. And it
will be like Sicily.

"Already conventional crime in Belfast is lower than it is
in cities like Leeds, but self-policing by a Mafia-type
organisation such as the IRA tells another story - a most
unpleasant one," he said.

When asked what became of "out-of-work IRA bombers" Mr
Cramphorn offered an analysis which would seem to challenge
prime minister Tony Blair's optimistic conduct of the
resumed peace process. "A lot of men have invested their
whole lives in illegal armed conflict, bomb-making and
terror. They're not about to settle for pipe and slippers
now," he said.

"Neither is the IRA about to go away . . . This is the most
sophisticated, politically strategic organisation I know.
It's a global business, it runs like clockwork - and it has
pensions to pay to loyal volunteers and operatives who have
given long service . . . This is not the end of the IRA, it
is the beginning of another era of it."

© The Irish Times

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http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/features/story.jsp?story=656617

Rank & File

The announcement that all Northern Ireland-based battalions
of the Royal Irish Regiment are to be disbanded in 2007
provoked a political storm earlier this month. But how do
the soldiers themselves feel about their future and the
regiment's legacy? Mary Fitzgerald spoke to two serving
members

By Mary Fitzgerald
mfitzgerald@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

Andrew* has spent 20 years in the Royal Irish Regiment,
joining from a general service background. He says ...

EVERYBODY pretty much knew from the first ceasefire that
our jobs would be under some form of threat but nobody
really knew for definite when it would be because they were
still recruiting people, advertising it as a full career.
The Army didn't warn people on any of the recent recruiting
documents that they would only be here for a short period
of time. It was a case of "Have a career with the Royal
Irish".

A lot of young guys joined up in recent years under the
somewhat false impression that they had a 22-year military
career in a local battalion to play with. I don't think
betrayal is the right word for it but they've been let
down.

Everyone has seen the security situation change and I think
everybody is grateful that we are reaching a state of
normality in Northern Ireland. For us not to reflect that
would be wrong.

It would be unrealistic of us not to accept that there
needed to be changes here and we were all quite willing to
be part of those changes. But the nature of the
announcement and the speed with which those changes were
initiated just shocked most people. Also the fact that it's
going to be a blanket disbandment as opposed to the phased
disbandment that everybody thought it would be.

We have been told that if we had been briefed on the
situation prior to the announcement being made, it may well
have been leaked to the Press. I think even the government
realises now that it was done the wrong way, it was very
insensitive.

I think most people have now got over the initial shock and
revulsion they felt at the way the announcement was made.
They're looking at it from the point of view that it's all
history now and there's nothing more we can do about it.
People are starting to see the bigger picture and calm down
slightly but it was very emotional at the time.

All everyone wants now is to know that they are going to be
properly taken care of. We're not asking for too much, just
a package that will reflect the unique nature of what has
happened here. You're talking about a large number of
people entering a very small job market in a very small
province at the same time in 2007.

This is not just about a lot of Protestants being put on
the dole, it's going to hit a broad spectrum of people
across Northern Ireland. At the moment, between 25% and 30%
of the Royal Irish are Roman Catholic. Regardless of
colour, creed or religion, you're just a soldier to us. It
matters not a jot to us whether the guy next to us is
Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, but it seems to matter an awful
lot to people outside the military, depending on their own
political persuasion.

It's not just a job, it's a career - at least that's what
we thought when we joined up. Some people say get over it,
that lots of people are made redundant, but there aren't
many firms where you sign up for 22 years of work, work
that is potentially putting you in harm's way.

I think everyone is now trying to plan for the future. It's
hard, particularly for the younger guys. I would say
between 45% and 50% of the Royal Irish fall into the 18-26
age bracket. Any resettlement or redundancy package needs
to reflect the unique situation that people find themselves
in here in Northern Ireland. It's about trying to find
something for them to do. You're talking about the guts of
several thousand people hitting the job market all at the
same time. How many of them have the educational
qualifications and transferable skills to get other work of
equivalent pay?

We would like a lot of the emphasis taken off the early
days when guys in the UDR were involved in terrorism. That
was only ever a tiny percentage anyway but it has tainted
the rest of the regiment and the good it has done. To us a
terrorist is a terrorist and, if he came from our ranks,
that is even more disgusting to us. The fact that their
actions provided a lot of ammunition for critics of the
regiment, ammunition which may well have hastened its
demise, is also disgusting and a great disappointment. We
are not a unionist force, we are not a loyalist force,
we're not a militia. We are members of the British Army
doing a job in the same way as any other British soldier.
We don't care who it is we are serving with, we are there
to support the police. That's how I would like us to be
remembered.

*Names have been changed.

John* has spent 20 years in the Royal Irish Regiment,
joining from the UDR. He is now part-time. He says ...

I THINK just about everyone knew that it was going to
happen eventually but we didn't realise it was going to
come the way it did - that was a tremendous shock. We are
glad to have played our part in achieving a more normal
society and security situation. Our demise in that sense
proves that we have done the job we were set up to do but I
feel particularly aggrieved at the way the announcement was
made. That is something felt throughout the ranks at the
moment.

Some of the soldiers found out while serving on the ground
in a public order situation in Garnerville. People there
taunted them about it, telling them they were sacked.

I think everyone agrees that the entire peace process is
like a jigsaw. For it all to happen, everything has to fall
into place. We were just one more part of the jigsaw.
Personally speaking, I don't believe getting rid of us was
a sop to republicans but maybe the way it was announced
showed a lack of understanding and compassion for the
serving soldier.

I was annoyed at the way Conor Murphy of Sinn Fein equated
the ending of the IRA's campaign with the standing down of
the Royal Irish. I find it very, very hurtful and painful
to see the Royal Irish Regiment equated to or even spoken
about in the same breath as a terrorist organisation.

We've been told that there will be very reasonable
resettlement packages but up to now nobody has made it
clear what exactly these packages will entail.

Former RIR soldiers are going to find it hard to get other
employment after August 2007 for lots of reasons. Because
of the nature of the job, the amount of places throughout
the province that we can actually go and work after we
complete our service in the Army is greatly restricted for
obvious security reasons. From an employer's point of view,
they may think that by employing a former Royal Irish they
could bring a degree of threat to their firm. It's not
going to be easy.

I feel that the government has a huge responsibility to the
younger soldiers, bearing in mind the limited job
opportunities, to at least make sure they are as well-
equipped as they possibly can be to meet the challenges of
being suddenly thrust from an Army career out to an unknown
world.

When it comes to those members of the regiment who were
involved in criminal or terrorist activity, I am ashamed
and disgusted at those who played a part, albeit a small
part, in undermining what the rest of us were doing. Anyone
who brought the regiment into disrepute in that way isn't
worthy of the name.

I would like to see the regiment on August 1, 2007 marching
out of its bases, heads held high, colours flying, having
succeeded in the objective we were set up to achieve which
was holding the ring whilst the politicians created a
climate where they could work together. I think the
regiment played a very proud role in creating conditions
that will now allow politicians to sit down and work out
the future of everyone in Northern Ireland.

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/features/story.jsp?story=656699

Opinion: Is Ulster An Equal Society?

Is there equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland? The
Government says that it would be "unhelpful" to answer that
question. So what have they got to hide?

By Dermot Nesbitt, UUP
13 August 2005

HAVE you ever applied for a job or promotion? If so, you
will probably have completed a form about your religious
background. Have you ever wondered about the purpose of
this?

Take a few minutes and read on. Approximately 72% of
employees in Northern Ireland come under the scrutiny of
the Equality Commission which, with Government, aims to
ensure equality of opportunity in the jobs market.

You assume that the Government would want to know has this
been successful? Not so.

But surely this can't be true. Surely, if Government
devises a very important policy, it would want to assess
its impact? You may wonder, if not, why not? An interesting
question indeed.

I have observed the Government for many years and neither
it nor the Equality Commission has shown accountability in
terms of policy development or monitoring its success.

To embrace these concerns, I posed a question to
Government: is there equality of opportunity or not?

Perceptions vary and different arguments are used but much
evidence is available to enable an informed, independent
and professional judgment. What was the Government's
reaction?

The Government gave a public commitment (June 2004) to
consider the impact of existing equality legislation.
During many months - yes many - of my seeking clarification
as to the meaning of this commitment, the Government at
first seemed to indicate that my concerns would be
addressed. After further questioning the answer was: 'No'.
There is no other way I can express these exchanges: I was
misled and by those at the highest level of Government.

Not satisfied with misleading, the Government proceeded to
attempt concealment. Information produced by its own
statistics body that would assist in understanding the
issue was initially withheld under the guise that it was
confidential advice to Ministers.

Yet withholding this information was in direct breach of
the Government's own code of practice relating to access of
information. I know it could have been withheld if deemed
that disclosure would not be in the public interest - but
that is hardly the case here.

And so it went on - the excuses to do nothing became more
bizarre. Since the Government clearly did not want to
evaluate existing equality policy, a senior Government
official stated that I should know that this is not how
Government policy is meant to be developed.

I am not sure what planet this official inhabits since
their own guidebook on good practice refers to the
importance of monitoring and evaluating existing policy.

The Government's fall-back position for refusing to answer
the question concerning equality of opportunity is that it
is a political question.

I disagree fundamentally. The question is a
technical/statistical one and as such requires to be
addressed by competent professionals.

Using statistical data as a base upon which to develop
analysis (or advice) about whether or not there is equality
of opportunity is not political but technical. Of course
such questions are politically sensitive. Indeed, following
any analysis, political questions may well have to be
addressed but that is another matter for another day.

The same Government officials who were providing me with
evasive answers are required to monitor the Equality
Commission's performance. Legally, the Commission is to
pronounce on whether or not there is equality of
opportunity. Could I therefore look to the Commission for
information?

No. It has made no comment about equality of opportunity.
Worse, when these officials were asked why not, they
answered falsely stating that the Commission had actually
fulfilled this task.

Yet the independent Northern Ireland Audit Office commented
on the Commission's lack of assessment regarding equality
of opportunity. I have never known a Government department
to give so much cover and protection to one of its public
bodies that is so unjustified.

I am back where I started, after a long journey of dialogue
with the Government and its officials. My question remains
to be considered.

The Government's latest comment, after one final reasoned
request, was that answering my questions would be unhelpful
since it could be construed as political comment.

I wonder. Unhelpful to this community to know whether or
not there is equality of opportunity? I think not.

Deep down, one question remains. Why has government gone to
such great lengths NOT to answer?

A casual analysis of the statistics seems to indicate that
the jobs market was not as the Government thought it was
when last it considered new equality law.

If anything, it is Protestants and not Catholics who may be
losing out. Which runs counter to the long-held views of
Sinn Fein.

However, these statistics need to be assessed by qualified
independent persons, to which the Government has said
defiantly: No.

My perspective is clear. There is no length to which the
Government will not go in order to placate Sinn Fein,
regardless of the cost.

This is not a perspective based on political emotion but
rather on a lengthy period of well-documented evidence. The
Government in all its manifestations should bow its head in
shame.

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/features/story.jsp?story=656635

Opin: Making Sense: Kelly: The Questions

By Lindy McDowell
lmcdowell@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

THE Return of the Colombia Three may have elbowed out of
the headlines that other big box office summer horror
release - Sean Kelly, the Return of the Mass Murderer. But
major questions still remain about how the Kelly affair was
handled. We need answers.

First, a brief recap on the story so far ...

Sean Kelly, the weasel-faced killer of nine innocent
people, including two little girls, is out on the streets
having served a whole SIX years for his heinous crimes.

And no interface riot in north Belfast, it seems, is
complete without him.

Understandably this dismays unionist politicians in the
area who express concern. His Sinn Fein supporters,
however, insist Kelly is "helping calm tensions" on his own
side. (Nobody points out the bleeding obvious here - that
whatever "calming" role you might claim a sectarian mass
murderer is able to play within his own community, this is
likely to be massively offset by the role the very sight of
him will play in inflaming tensions on the other side).

Anyway, nobody really believes that bit about wholesome
Sean as inter-facial policeman.

Not even Peter Hain the Secretary of State.

Mr Hain has Kelly scooped and returned to Her Majesty's,
and, on June 18, issues the following statement of
explanation:

"I am satisfied that Sean Kelly has become re-involved with
terrorism and is a danger to others and, while he is at
liberty, is likely to commit further offences."

Sinn Fein then hits out at Peter Hain by claiming he has
lifted Kelly merely in response to appeals from the DUP.

Since the incidence of Northern Ireland Secretaries of
State taking security decisions in order to lick around
Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson is zilch, this theory is
widely discounted.

But then comes the IRA's seismic statement saying exactly
what the IRA said 11 years previously. And immediately the
Government unleashes a package of concessions.

Number one is the immediate re-release of Sean Kelly.
Pending, of course, the decision of the Sentences Review
Commission.

The commission does not revoke Kelly's licence. This is
because the Government refuses to produce the evidence
about why it had to scoop him only a few weeks previously
when Peter Hain was, let us remind ourselves, "satisfied
that Sean Kelly has become re-involved with terrorism and
is a danger to others and, while he is at liberty, is
likely to commit further offences."

Now call me a nit-picking stickler for transparency but I
don't think this is on, boys.

The long-suffering (and how sadly apt that expression truly
is) families of Kelly's victims are now seeking a judicial
review.

Meanwhile, though, shouldn't the rest of us be seeking
answers?

What I'd like an answer to, in particular, is a question
about the role, in all this, of the Sentence Review
Commission.

Surely the members of this commission must have felt just a
little unnerved that, a few weeks on from Peter Hain's June
statement, they were being asked to release into the
community a killer who, in the words of the highest ranking
Government official in the land: "has become re-involved
with terrorism and is a danger to others and, while he is
at liberty, is likely to commit further offences"?

Aw, but, since the Government offered up no evidence, we're
told, the commission had no choice but to rubberstamp
Kelly's release.

Maybe I'm being a bit naive about how commissions operate
but couldn't members just have thrown up the head, stamped
their feet, cried out that things were being kept from them
and announced that they were refusing to take any decision
on the Kelly case until a) the evidence that led to his
being lifted in June was produced along with b) the
evidence to show that the bit about him being a danger to
society and likely to commit further offences no longer
applied?

So is the Government now confident that, contrary to Mr
Hain's remarks in June, Kelly is no longer a danger to
society and unlikely to commit further offences?

Or has it, in order to toady to a terrorist organisation,
released into the community a mass murderer about whom it
still retains grave doubts?

These are very big questions.

We still await answers.

******************************************

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/4146272.stm

Mo Mowlam Transferred To Hospice

Critically ill former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam
has been moved from hospital to a hospice in Kent to be
closer to her family.

Ms Mowlam, 55, was taken to hospital in London two weeks
ago. Hospital officials say her condition is still
"critical but stable".

She has now been transferred from King's College Hospital
in London to Pilgrim Hospice in Canterbury,

No details of her illness have been given by her doctors.

The hospital has refused to say whether or not it is
connected to her previous brain tumour.

Jail talks

Ms Mowlam, Labour MP for Redcar between 1987-2001, oversaw
the talks which led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in
Northern Ireland.

In 1998, as Northern Ireland secretary, she went inside the
Maze Prison when it became clear that the peace process
would only succeed with the backing of the prisoners. The
loyalist UDA/UFF prisoners had previously withdrawn their
support for the process.

She spoke to the prisoners face-to-face for 60 minutes, and
two hours later the paramilitaries' political
representatives announced they were being allowed to rejoin
the talks.

In 1999 she was replaced as Northern Ireland secretary by
Peter Mandelson, and became Tony Blair's Cabinet Office
"enforcer".

She subsequently stood down as an MP and in recent years
has pursued a career in the media.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/12 14:44:02 GMT
© BBC MMV

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/features/story.jsp?story=656693

Something Very Rotten In The State

By Barry White
featureseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

THERE'S a famous line in Hamlet (Act 1 Scene 4) about
something being rotten in the state of Denmark. Could it
have been any rottener than the state of Northern Ireland
today?

Random murder, rape, robbery, sectarianism, paint-bombing
of churches, provocative marches, vicious attacks on police
(hardly worth mentioning), nurses, ambulance men, firemen
and, now, people carrying a heart transplant.

Most people have survived the long years of revulsion, when
watching the TV news.

They are simply thankful it isn't happening to them before
switching off and getting on with their own lives. Life has
been good for many, away from the confrontation zones.
They've found ways of getting hold of the "peace dividend"
cash that has flowed in from all directions and they're
busy with home extensions, pushing property prices upward
and lavish spending in designer shops.

Somewhere down below, however, there is a lot of pain, for
which the paramilitary years must be responsible. Some find
an exit through suicide - could there really have been 25
in west Belfast this year? - but others go the take-on-an-
easy-target route.

The only defence against these angry parasites, knives or
guns in hand, is their fear of being caught by the only
people who may put them away for a long time, the police.
Yet the conclusion to be drawn from the rash of unfinished
business down the years is that they are undermanned,
overwhelmed and low-moraled.

Whatever happened to Stormontgate - the spy scandal that
closed down the last executive three years ago? And
Castlereagh, when the IRA got away with important police
files? Then there's Omagh, still lumbering on, the Northern
Bank, the Robert McCartney murder, and all the on-going
bank raids.

If a political party anywhere else refused to have dealings
with the police - except for insurance claim purposes - and
yet was glad-handed by the Prime Minister in his home, no
one would believe it. And yet we all know that if the IRA
decommissions weapons on its own terms (surely full
inventories will be demanded?) Sinn Fein will at least be
eligible for places in government, eventually wielding
power over the police.

Into this quagmire drop the Colombia Three, regarded as
daring escapees from injustice or (by the Colombians) as
treacherous purveyors of mass murder. What a dilemma for
Bertie Ahern, which he will resolve in his usual way - by
doing as little as possible.

Is it necessary to argue that there is a moral vacuum at
the heart of the peace process, glad as we are to have one,
that has spread to the streets?

There are many damaged people, strangers to civilisation,
who can see that the guilty are going free and that there
are no apparent penalties for drug dealers and racketeers.

Northern Ireland, it seems, has become a testing ground for
the appeasement of terrorists with what are wrongly
believed to be limited, realisable objectives, unlike the
Islamists. One community feels it can't lose while the
other feels it can't win, so the nasties come into their
own.

In Britain, they're clamping down on people who use violent
or seductive words. Here we elect them, or use the police
to allow them to metaphorically spit in each other's faces.

Like many others, I was a supporter of the Good Friday
Agreement because I thought it meant republicans and
loyalists were committing themselves to democracy and that
the two governments would hold them to it.

What can we do, but remind them of their failure, so far?

PS. Sat through the cricket test last Sunday, agonising.
Must be at least part-British.

PPS. If you are e-mailed by a bogus Paypal saying your
account has been compromised, DON'T answer it!

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656642

Thousands Expected For 'Black Saturday'

Crowds to join historic parade

By Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

THOUSANDS of people are expected to converge on an east
Donegal town later this month to take part in an "historic
occasion".

Raphoe will host the first-ever 'Black Saturday'
demonstration to be held in the Republic on August 27, when
36 preceptories and bands will march through the Diamond.

The demonstration, which has been organised by the local
Royal Black Preceptory, is expected to attract up to 10,000
people for this final celebratory date in the Black
calendar - as most Black preceptories in Northern Ireland
rally at up to six centres.


Local man Alex Buchanan said they were honoured to have
been chosen to welcome the four District Chapters and 36
Preceptories in Derry to Donegal. "This will be a truly
historic event," he said "It's the first time that the
whole county of Londonderry will come to Donegal - last
year's Last Saturday parade was held in Limavady.

"We're expecting 30 to 40 bands to take part in the parade
and we'll meet in the Royal and Prior school grounds before
parading through the village and up Sparrow Hill to a field
where we'll have a religious ceremony.

"It's a great coup for Raphoe Royal Black Preceptory, No
258."

Local Garda Sergeant Michael Harrison admitted that Garda
resources will be stretched to the limit, with tens of
thousands of people expected to converge on Letterkenny for
the Fleadh Ceoil on the same weekend.

However, he said: "The town is looking well and everyone is
looking forward to what will be an historic day for Raphoe.

"We're expecting about 5,000 people to take part in the
march and we're not anticipating any trouble."

******************************************

http://ciponline.org/colombia/02042401.htm

House International Relations Committee: Summary of
committee investigation of "IRA Links to FARC Narco-
Terrorists in Colombia," April 24, 2002

Committee On International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Summary of Investigation of IRA Links
to FARC Narco-Terrorists in Colombia

April 24, 2001

Investigative findings on the activities of the
Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Colombia.

Prepared by the Majority Staff of the House International
Relations Committee

On August 11, 2001, two members of the Irish Republican
Army (IRA), along with a representative of Sinn Fein, the
IRA's political wing, who was known to be stationed in Cuba
and reportedly on the payroll of the Cuban Communist Party,
were arrested by Colombian authorities at the El Dorado
airport in Bogota after leaving territory in southern
Colombia controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), a designated foreign terrorist
organization. The three men were carrying false
identification documents (passports) and were found to have
traces of explosives on their clothing and on items in
their luggage. Two of the Irish nationals were the IRA's
leading explosives engineer and a mortar expert.

The Irish nationals were first detained by Colombian
authorities and were initially charged by the Fiscalia, the
Colombian prosecutor's office, for using false travel
documents. The three claimed they were in Colombia to
monitor ongoing peace efforts in that country between the
government of President Andreas Pastrana and various rebel
groups. The three were later formally indicted by the
Fiscalia in February, 2002 and charged with training FARC
terrorists in explosives and using false passports to cover
their true identities while in Colombia.

In addition to having positive forensic trace evidence of
explosives on their belongings, the three Irish nationals
have been identified by a FARC defector who surrendered to
the Fiscalia in 2001. This individual reportedly identified
photographs of three Irish nationals as the same
individuals from whom he received explosives training in
the FARC safe haven. Committee investigators are aware of
additional corroborating witnesses in addition to this FARC
defector, and as a result, Colombian authorities believe
they have developed a strong criminal case against the
three Irish nationals.

The initial case against the Irish nationals was developed
by Colombian military intelligence, and both the U.S. and
the British embassies in Bogota responded to inquiries from
Colombian authorities regarding the three after their
arrest on August 11. Because two of the three were
traveling on falsified British passports, the first
information about the arrests was received by the British
embassy in Bogota when a weekend duty officer received a
call from Colombian authorities. The initial British
response to the arrests was to conduct routine consular
work and to request assistance from the U.S. embassy in
Bogota.

The obvious question, of course, is that if the IRA were
legitimately concerned with the peace process in Colombia,
why would the detained Irish nationals have needed false
passports to conceal their identities, and why would the
IRA have sent experts in explosives? Following the arrest
of the Irish nationals, the Colombian government, in fact,
changed its procedure for entry of foreigners into the FARC
safe haven, requiring a license from its peace envoy, until
the demilitarized zone (DMZ) was finally closed on February
20, 2002.

The claim by the three Irish nationals that their
activities in the DMZ were related to the peace process
does not appear to be supported by the facts. The Colombian
government, which organized and tracked mediation efforts
by outside groups and individuals including numerous
Europeans, did not know of the three's activities in the
FARC safe haven.

Committee investigators interviewed ambassadors
representing the group of ten nations working in support of
the Colombian government's peace process with the FARC.
These diplomats were in the FARC safe haven in Colombia at
the very same time in July/August, 2001 that the three
Irish nationals were in the DMZ. None of these diplomats
recognized these Irishmen by name or by the photos that
committee investigators showed them, nor had they been
aware of any FARC links to the Irish or the Irish peace
process. Additionally, they said the FARC leadership with
whom they met to discuss the peace process never mentioned
the Irish peace process or these Irish nationals. However,
a senior Latin American diplomat interviewed said he was
not surprised that the IRA may have been brought in to
train FARC in urban warfare techniques to counter the $1.3
billion in U.S. counter-drug assistance, including
helicopters, provided to Colombia beginning in FY 2000.

Events in Colombia make it clear that global terrorist
networks are interchangeable, aggressive, and know no
boundaries or borders, threatening anyone and any nation.
The situation in Colombia illustrates the growing
phenomenon of proceeds from illicit drugs playing a major
role in financing the activities of global terrorist
networks. The FARC is believed by knowledgeable Colombians
to take in as much as $2 million a day in illicit drug
proceeds. British sources suggest, although there is no
hard evidence, that the IRA may have received as much as $2
million for the explosives training they provided to the
FARC. There also may be some ideological alliances, as some
in Colombia believe. There is no evidence of any payment in
drugs by the FARC for the IRA training.

Colombian authorities believe that at least five and as
many as15 IRA-linked individuals have been traveling in and
out of Colombia since at least 1998. According to Colombian
authorities, the arrests in August, 2001 are merely the
first publicly-exposed IRA activity in Colombia. However,
more alarming than the number of IRA-related individuals
who have visited Colombia is the stature of some of these
individuals who Colombian authorities identified as senior
IRA explosive experts and technicians.

Colombia produces 90 percent of the cocaine and at least 70
percent of the heroin sold in the United States. Largely
because of this serious drug threat, the U.S. has a
significant presence in that country to assist the
Colombian authorities in fighting that threat.

The FARC is formally designated as a foreign terrorist
organization (FTO) by the U.S. Department of State. It is
thought to be "the most dangerous international terrorist
group based in this hemisphere," according to a State
Department official. The FARC narco-terrorists openly
target American civilians in Colombia, kidnaping and
killing them. U.S. federal indictments were issued on March
18, 2002 against several FARC leaders based on evidence of
conspiracy to traffic drugs to the United States.

Improvements in the FARC's ability to carry out terrorist
bombings which Colombian authorities link to the IRA's
activity directly impact our national interests in
Colombia. The country is already the third largest
recipient of U.S. aid, and of particular concern is the
large American presence (DEA, special forces, contractors,
embassy personnel, etc.) related to drug-fighting efforts
in Colombia. Hundreds of temporary duty personnel (TDY) are
in Colombia on any given day. As American assistance
increases and the U.S. enlarges its direct counter-
terrorism role against the FARC, more Americans could be at
risk from the IRA terrorist training of the FARC identified
by Colombian authorities.

In light of the long history of very strict IRA discipline
against freelancing by its membership, the only real
question remaining in the committee's inquiry concerns what
the Sinn Fein leadership (IRA's political wing) knew about
these IRA activities in Colombia, and when did they learn
of them. These were the questions posed in Chairman Henry
Hyde's March 13th invitation letter to Gerry Adams,
president of Sinn Fein. In a brief meeting, a senior Sinn
Fein leader was adamant about the group's lack of knowledge
of these events in Colombia. Only time and history can
ultimately judge this response. However, since the
congressional staff's most recent return from Colombia, the
IRA has suggested an answer to the questions in its April
8th statement on its much welcomed and constructive second
arms decommissioning: "...the IRA is a highly disciplined
and committed organization...we are relying on the
discipline and commitment of our support base and
volunteers."

Some apparently would hope this matter would disappear so
as to not impede shared governance in Northern Ireland. The
United States does not have the luxury of turning a blind
eye when American lives and national interests are put at
risk by IRA activity in Colombia. Colombian authorities
believe that the rapidly escalating casualties they have
suffered from terrorist attacks since the FARC safe haven
was ended in early 2002 are in substantial measure
attributable to these IRA training activities.

HIRC Investigation

At the request of a bipartisan group of members, the
committee's investigative staff has conducted an extensive
nine-month inquiry, interviewing Colombian officials,
advisors, and police. Committee investigators also
conducted inquiries in Cuba, Mexico, the United Kingdom,
Ireland (including Northern Ireland), and the United
States. In the wake of the August arrests of the three
Irish nationals, Investigative Counsel John Mackey has
conducted dozens of interviews, met with numerous experts
from law enforcement and intelligence services here and
abroad, and reviewed documents and materials. Absent the
excellent work of Colombian military intelligence leading
to the arrests of the three Irish nationals in August, 2001
and their excellent follow-up along with that of the
Colombian police and the Fiscalia, the IRA activity in
Colombia would likely have continued unnoticed,
indefinitely.

Conclusions:

The IRA has had well-established links with the FARC narco-
terrorists in Colombia since at least 1998. More Irish
nationals than just the three arrested in Colombia in
August, 2001 may have been involved in visiting Colombia
for possible terrorist activities. It appears they have
been training in the FARC safe haven in explosives
management, including mortar and possibly car-bomb urban
terrorist techniques, and possibly using the rural jungles
of the safe haven as a location to test and improve the
IRA's own terrorist weapons and techniques.

Explosives management training for the FARC by the IRA, and
possibly by other foreign-based terrorists suspected by the
Colombians, such as Cubans, Iranians, ETA (the Spanish
Basque terrorist group), among others, has markedly
improved the FARC's proficiency in urban terrorism in the
last few years. ETA has had past relations with the IRA, is
active in both Cuba and Colombia, and may provide the link
which brought the FARC and IRA together. (Note: The Sinn
Fein representative arrested August, 2001 in Colombia was
Cuban-based and Spanish-speaking.)

New techniques in urban terrorism are being employed by the
FARC in car bombings which target police explosives teams
and other first-responders whose job is to dismantle or
neutralize these deadly devices. (The police have lost more
than 10 percent of their bomb technicians to bombings in
the last 12 months.) This is a typical IRA method of
operation. The use of mobile mortars on trucks and pickups,
which the FARC is getting increasingly effective at using,
is also strikingly similar to known IRA explosive
techniques and practices. Neither committee investigators
nor the Colombians can find credible explanations for the
increased, more sophisticated capacity for these specific
terror tactics now being employed by the FARC, other than
IRA training.

Alleged IRA training is now having a severe and adverse
impact on Colombian life. Apparently IRA explosives
management training techniques are resulting in more
effective explosives attacks against the Colombian urban
infrastructure including bridges, power lines, reservoirs,
and other facilities. The training provided by the IRA and
exposed by the arrests last summer has been followed by
numerous bombings and other terrorist attacks. The military
and police casualties mount daily, weakening Colombian
democracy further. One police Colonel from Narino
Department (a FARC stronghold) told us of an unprecedented
loss of three police bomb technicians and 19 police
officers who were killed by FARC mortars in just the last
18 months alone.

Colombian authorities assert that not only has the IRA
operated in the former safe haven on behalf of the FARC,
but also the Iranians, Cubans, and possibly ETA (Basque
terrorists), among others. Colombia is a potential breeding
ground for international terror equaled perhaps only by
Afghanistan, and the IRA findings are the strongest among
these global links because of the arrests of the three
Irish nationals and the accompanying evidence. It is likely
that in the former FARC safe haven, all of these terrorist
groups had been sharing techniques, honing their terrorism
skills, using illicit drug proceeds in payment and
collectively helping to challenge the rule of law in
Colombia, the oldest democracy in South America.

Recommendation

As the forces of global terrorism, illicit drugs, and
organized crime converge upon Colombia to produce new
challenges to the international system, the United States
must reassess its current policy permitting military
assistance provided under Plan Colombia to be used
exclusively for counter-narcotics programs. The threat of
drug-financed terrorism and organized crime of a global
reach, illustrated by developments in Colombia, must be
addressed by changes in U.S. law that will permit American
assistance for counter-terrorism programs.

As of April 24, 2002, this document was also available
online at
http://www.house.gov/international_relations/findings.htm

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656643

Tunnel Tolls Will Drive Out The Motorists

£8.30 charge for cars to Dublin port

By Ben Lowry
blowry@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

ULSTER drivers heading to Dublin port will not benefit from
a new £500m tunnel to the harbour unless they are prepared
to pay tolls of up to £8.30.

At present, motorists heading from Northern Ireland to
catch the Dublin-Holyhead ferry have to find their way to
the port through badly signposted city roads, after leaving
the end of the motorway in north Dublin. This headache will
be removed when the 2.9 mile tunnel opens early next year
to take traffic directly from the M1 to the port.

But a punitive system of pricing for cars is planned to
ensure that the tunnel is mainly used by heavy goods
vehicles, which will not be tolled in a bid to remove
lorries from Dublin city centre.

The Republic's National Roads Authority cites Dublin
transportation policy that no extra cars be attracted to
the city centre.

A side-effect of this attempt to deter Dublin car commuters
is that visitors from Northern Ireland making occasional
trips to the port will be penalised if they want to use the
tunnel.

The final toll fee for car users has not been fixed, but
news reports have revealed that cars will likely be charged
€12 (£8.30) at peak times.

Tunnelling work on Ireland's most expensive ever single
piece of infrastructure is complete, but the tunnel will
not open until next year.

The decision to double the planned toll figure from around
£4 was taken for safety reasons, according to sources.

New EU rules on fire risks in tunnels have led to concerns
about any build-up of traffic, and the lower toll figure is
no longer considered sufficient to prevent heavy car usage.

Plans for a hefty toll fee have been sharply criticised as
"madness" by Moore McDowell, an economics columnist with
the Irish Independent.

He said: "What this means is that when people do not need
to use the roads there will be no problem, but the new
arrangements will compound an existing peak time congestion
problem. Then remind yourself that whole thing was designed
to reduce congestion at peak times."

The fee controversy is the latest row over the tunnel. In
the early stages of construction, hauliers expressed fury
when they realised that the tunnel's clearance height would
be 4.6 metres, which is not high enough to accommodate so-
called supertrucks.

This means that the most environmentally damaging lorries
will continue to trundle through central Dublin.

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656609

Antrim Coast Targeted By Party-Goers

Councillors also worry about illegal camping

13 August 2005

ILLEGAL camping and all-night parties are becoming a major
problem on the North Antrim coast, according to a Moyle
councillor.

During a recent council meeting, Bushmills DUP councillor
David McAllister claimed the problem at Runkerry had been
'going on for donkeys' and called on Moyle District Council
to 'do something about it'.

The councillor asked the district services manager Peter
Mawdsley whether anything was being done to put a stop to
the activity.

"They are there every weekend from dark until the early
hours," he said.

"Are we not responsible for the sand dunnes which are an
ASSI? (Area of Special Scientific Interest)?"

The councillor informed other councillors that campers,
cars and bonfires were a regular feature in weekend
'partying' which takes place at the site close to the
Giant's Causeway.

"We need to do something about it. It's been going on for
donkeys. I have been at them for years to do something
about it.

"They have to cross two gates to get through the railway
line but that doesn't deter them." he added.

Meanwhile Council chairman Oliver McMullan also hit out
saying that 'illegal camping was also happening in
Cushendall'.

He said although signs stating 'no camping' had been
erected in the area there was still 'a tent erected the
next night nearby'.

Mr Mawdsley said that signs had been put up to discourage
the trespassers but didn't seem to have done any good
explaining that it was 'not easy for the council to
police'.

In reply SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge added: 'That
was probably because there has been no enforcement'.

Council chairman Oliver McMullan agreed to contact the
warden about the issue.

(Poster's Note: These are the kind of 'parties' they are
talking about:

The Leading Swingers Adult Contacts Club For Swinging And
Swingers In Northern Ireland - Connect4Fun – Warning ADULT
Content:
http://connect4fun.co.uk/northern-ireland-swingers.htm)

******************************************

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=656613

Bluegrass Stars Take Music To The Folk Park

By Ashleigh Wallace
awallace@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
13 August 2005

BLUEGRASS performers from across America and Europe will
descend on Omagh next month for the annual Appalachian and
Bluegrass Festival.

Thousands of visitors are expected to travel to the Ulster
American Folk Park for the popular music extravaganza which
is now in its 14th year.

The two-day programme was launched earlier this week and
includes indoor concerts, afternoon sessions, a Bluegrass
camp for children, a gospel concert, music workshops and
lectures.

This year's festival is taking place from Friday, September
2, to Sunday, April 4.

The Friday concert offers a range of high-class performers
from Europe, including Nugget from Austria and Sunny Side
from the Czech Republic, making their Irish debut in Omagh.

Saturday's bill will be an all-American affair with
performances from Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine
Group, King Wilkie and Leather'n'Lace Cloggers.

Richard Hurst, visitor services manager with the Ulster
American Folk Park, said: "Our aim is to continue to
develop this event as an international festival and
strengthen its position as one of the largest and most
prestigious Bluegrass events outside of north America.

"By attracting some of the top names from across the United
States and Europe, we are attracting new audiences through
the range and quality of our programme."

Tickets for the event are available by calling the
Bluegrass ticket hotline on 028 8224 3292. Additional
information is available by visiting www.folkpark.com.

******************************************

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15029944&BRD=386&PAG=461&dept_id=444919&rfi=6

08/13/2005

Greener Times

By MARISA LAMPERT , The Times Herald

The Irish have always been known for their music, dance and
the enduring pride of the people.

Those with even the slightest hint of Irish heritage in
their family trees will often boast of their Irish
connections while knowing very little about their other
cultural ties.

Regardless of parental influence, more and more people in
the Olean area are holding on to their Irish heritage, and
exploring the cultural opportunities offered in this area.

Through the Ancient Order of Hibernians Club, dance groups,
music lessons and parental influence, the Olean area has
recently shown a thriving amount of interest and support in
traditional Irish culture.

Advertisement

The Ancient Order of Hibernians

Re-started in 1984, the AOH (Ancient Order of Hibernians)
is officially part of the National AOH, which was formed in
1836 to protect the Catholic Church and, later, to give aid
and advice to Irish immigrants on where to go and what to
do after arriving in America. Many immigrants settled in
Western New York when they were brought here by shipping
industries on the Allegheny River and the railroad systems.

"There's an Italian Club, Polish Club and Lebanese Club -
why not an Irish Club?" the founding members of the local
club asked, according to John O'Malley, a current Olean AOH
member. "After about 20 years they formed one."

Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division I, was formed in the
Olean area in the late 1800s and disbanded in the early
1900s. While Mr. O'Malley said they don't know why the club
disbanded — probably lack of participation — they did find
a marching banner dated 1896, so they know this AOH club is
the second Irish organization in the area.

The AOH is a group of all men, at least 16-years-old, of
Irish descent and practicing Catholics who meet monthly to
plan events and programs.

Right now the committee is working on plans for the annual
Irish Festival, to be held at Archbishop Walsh this year,
with bands, bagpipes, dancing and fiddlers to familiarize
people with the Irish culture brought to this country.

About 120 men are members of the Olean AOH, which was
started to spread Irish culture to those interested. The
group also supports many charities and festivals, and, in
addition to providing free bagpipe lessons, gives out
scholarships every year. Three $150 scholarships are given
to Southern Tier Catholic elementary school and two $250
scholarships are given to seniors at Archbishop Walsh High
School at the end of each school year. Also, the club
recently selected two graduating seniors from Cattaraugus
County to each receive $1,000 scholarships.

Students had to describe their Irish heritage, and Mr.
O'Malley said he was amazed at the detail students went
into.

"They are very knowledgeable of their ancestry and roots to
Ireland," he said.

While the AOH doesn't give formal lectures or educational
programs regularly, Mr. O'Malley said some members give
talks to students and interested groups on their own, and
most members are almost always willing to share their
knowledge of Irish culture when asked.

In the past, the Order has also sponsored Irish dance and
language lessons, and has programs offered for members
only. Membership ranges from very young to very old, Mr.
O'Malley said.

There are also divisions in Salamanca, Buffalo-Niagara
area, Elmira and Rochester. Membership in Olean is mainly
Olean residents, but some members are from surrounding
areas and some have retired to Florida, maintaining their
membership.

John Walsh, another Olean member of the AOH who
participates in the bagpipers group, said the AOH also
sponsors two pipe and drum bands. Five pipers and two
drummers will march in this year's Coudersport Maple
Festival, and the group is scheduled to play as a whole
during the Irish Festival at the end of the summer.

Mr. Walsh said the bagpipe lessons are always informal, and
open to anyone interested in learning, regardless of Irish
descent. The Order's main objective, he said, is to have
people learn and enjoy a part of the Irish culture.

The Irish Famine Monuments

The AOH is also the chief and principal sponsor of the
Irish Famine Memorial in Buffalo, earning them a stone from
the Penros Quay (pronounced "kay") wharf as another
monument in Veterans Park.

The stone, from Cork City, Ireland, was a part of the wharf
many Irish immigrants stepped onto in order to board boats
to America during the potato famine in Cobh (pronounced
like "cove") Harbor between 1845 and 1850, Mr. Walsh
explained. Thirty-two of these stones are displayed in
Buffalo, to represent the 32 counties in Ireland, as a
monument to the famine, commemorated in 1997.

Emily Mark, an Irish student visiting from Dublin, where
she attends University College, is on a tour of all the
famine monuments in America, and hopefully the rest of the
world. She stopped in Olean in July on her way to Buffalo
and met with Mr. Walsh and other Irish residents of the
area to learn about the local monument.

Ms. Mark eventually plans to publish a book cataloging all
the monuments, including the one in Olean.

The Cork stone was donated to the Olean Community and AOH,
Limestone AOH and the Allegany Knights of Columbus for
their contributions to the Irish Famine Memorial in Buffalo
in 1997.

"Famine caused their exodus, heartache and suffering," the
inscription reads. "Their companions 'up against it' they
would say, but courage and fortitude would win the day."

More than one million people suffered and died during the
Great Famine of 1845-1850 and millions more who were forced
to emigrate during the famine. Mr. Walsh said that for some
time, the Irish were embarrassed to speak of the famine,
and preferred not to remember or memorialize the events.
However, as more and more people felt it necessary to
remember the famine and learn, more monuments have gone up
around the world.

In 1998, Olean's AOH received the stone from the Buffalo
group as a thank you for their contributions. After
spending a couple of years deciding on its own monument,
The Famine Memorial in Veterans Park was formally dedicated
on Nov. 22, 2000.

The Olean group contributed $4,000 toward the Buffalo
monument. That amount covered the price of about four
stones. The smaller stones around the Olean memorial were
sold to residents for $50 each to raise money for the
monument. The names of residents and groups are written on
the stones to recognize their contributions.

"If there hadn't been an Irish organization in this area,
we never would have received the stone," Mr. Walsh said.

In Limestone, a large population of Irish immigrants
settled in the hills, Mr. Walsh said, in what was called
"Little Ireland." One of the original stones used to build
"Little Ireland" was also donated to the monument in
Veterans Park.

(Sunday: Irish dance a popular pastime in Olean.)

******************************************

http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20050812/AE/108120024

Luck Of The Irish Comes To The Beav'

Cherish the Ladies clockwise from left: Mary Coogan
(guitar, banjo and mandolin), Joanie Madden (flute,
whistles and harmony vocals), Mirella Murray (accordion)
and Heidi Talbot (lead vocals and bodhran).

Daily Staff Report

August 12, 2005

BEAVER CREEK - If it's a man's world, Irish-American group
Cherish the Ladies know nothing of it.

The all-female Celtic group combines all the facets of
Irish traditional culture into one entertaining show.
Instrumentals coupled with soaring vocals and step dancing
await fans in Beaver Creek Saturday at 4:30 p.m. for a free
concert. Taking their name from the name of a traditional
Irish jig, Cherish the Ladies initially won recognition as
the first and only all-women traditional Irish band. In a
relatively short time, they soon established themselves as
musicians and performers without peer and have won many
thousands of listeners and fans of their music.

The past years have seen the group traveling all over North
and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia
and New Zealand performing in the finest concert halls and
international festivals. They are equally at home in front
of a symphony orchestra, a performing arts center, a folk
festival or even the White House.

They have been named "Best Musical Group of the Year" by
the BBC, "Entertainment Group of the Year" by the Irish
Voice Newspaper, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's
"International Group of the Year Award" at the Celtic
Connections Festival in Scotland and voted the "Top North
American Celtic Act" by NPR Radio's "Thistle and Shamrock."

They have shared the stage with such noted entertainers as
James Taylor, Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris, The Clancy
Brothers, Tommy Makem, The Chieftains and dozens of
symphony orchestras. The "Celtic Album," their
collaboration with the Boston Pops Symphony, led to a 1999
Grammy nomination.

The ladies have recorded 10 highly acclaimed albums. They
recently signed a recording contract with Rounder Records
and this past December, their most recent album "On
Christmas Night" was released to rave reviews and was
chosen as one of the top Christmas albums of the year by
The New York Times, Washington Post, The Village Voice and
many other nationally syndicated newspapers.

They are releasing their second Rounder Records release,
"Woman of the House," in fall 2005. Cherish the Ladies also
incorporates regional, national and world champion step
dancers who join them in every performance.

Vail, Colorado

******************************************

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0813/157092538HM2YEATSSTATUE.html

Statue Of Yeats In Sligo Is Felled By Car

Paddy Clancy

A car which failed to stop after gardaí flagged it down
drove off at speed in Sligo town yesterday morning and
crashed into a statue of WB Yeats, smashing it in three
places.

No one was injured in the incident which happened about 4am
outside the Ulster Bank in the town's Stephen Street.

The £20,000 work, commissioned by the Ulster Bank and the
people of Sligo to mark the 50th anniversary of Yeats's
death, was erected in May 1990.

The dandy-like pose of the poet, with lines from his work
engraved on the bronze, created controversy in the early
years.

The sculptor, Rowan Gillespie, said he hadn't yet seen the
damage but he was "pretty sure" the statue would survive.

"The statue has stood the test of time . . . I've never yet
come across a bronze that cannot be repaired," he said.

Sligo Borough Council workers removed the shattered pieces
to storage. Deputy Mayor Jimmy McGarry said he hoped the
1.4m statue could be repaired. "The council would be very
anxious to have it reinstated in its established site," he
added.

A Garda spokesman said last night a man in his 20s was
arrested and later released on his own bail. He will appear
on a drink-driving charge at Sligo District Court on
September 1st.

© The Irish Times

******************************************

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2005/0813/breaking29.htm

Wreathlaying To Mark Rossa Death

Last updated: 13-08-05, 13:46

A wreath is to be laid at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin
today to mark the 90th anniversary of the death of
O'Donovan Rossa.

The republican, who was born in 1831 at Rosscarbery, County
Cork was imprisoned for his activities against the British
government in Ireland and was then exiled to the United
States.

Following his death in New York in 1915, his body was taken
back to Ireland and buried in Glasnevin at a funeral
attended by 10,000 mourners.

The graveside ceremony today is being organised by the
Republican Commemoration Committee Dublin.

Marchers will assemble at Parnell Square at 2.30pm and
begin walking to Glasnevin Cemetery.

After the laying of a wreath on the grave, there will be
speeches, songs and a recitation of the famous graveside
oration given by Padraig Pearse at O'Donovan Rossa's
funeral.

"But the fools, the fools, the fools! They have left us our
Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland
unfree shall never be at peace," he said.

The committee said the main address would be given Sinn
Fein member and ex-prisoner Martina Anderson.

"All are welcome regardless of party affiliation to honour
one of Ireland's great patriots on this, the 90th
anniversary of his funeral," said a spokesman.

© 2005 ireland.com

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