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

August 03, 2005

Sunday World Faces Renewed Loyalist Threat

To Index of Monthly Archives
To August 2005 Index

News about Ireland & the Irish

PG 08/03/05 Sunday World Faces Renewed Loyalist Threat
DI 08/03/05 PSNI 'Protects' Loyalist
IE 08/03/05 McGuinness: We Still Need Irish America's Help
IE 08/03/05 Irish American Leaders Warm To IRA's Words
ND 08/03/05 IRA Statement Key To Unlock Process - Murphy
IT 08/04/05 Tánaiste Welcomes Decisive IRA Move On Arms
IT 08/04/05 Arrest Made In GAA Murder Inquiry
SF 08/03/05 DUP Need To Face New Political Realities
BB 08/03/05 DUP Reject Devolution Discussions
IT 08/04/05 DUP Warning Of Devolution Delay
DI 08/03/05 DUP Condemns Policing Board Status Quo
SF 08/03/05 Unionists Urged To 'Think Outside The Box'
IT 08/04/05 Gardaí Refused Entry To 477 From North
DI 08/03/05 Military Bases Value 'Huge'
UT 08/03/05 IRA Move Prompts eBay Trade In Memorabilia
LW 08/03/05 The Inquiries Act: Why The Rush?
SM 08/03/05 Mowlam, Darling Of The Left, Fights For Life
RE 08/03/05 A Gun, A Bomb, And An Irishman
WP 08/03/05 McCartneys Set To Be Honoured At Humbert School
IE 08/03/05 Echo Profile: In Like Flynn
IT 08/04/05 Haughey Commemorative Bust Planned For Dingle
IT 08/04/05 Charlie Is Crowned King Of Puck Fair


Sunday World Faces Renewed Threat

Published: Thursday, August 4, 2005
By Dominic Ponsford

The IRA may have called an end to the "armed struggle" this
week but rival Loyalist paramilitaries have renewed a
campaign of intimidation against weekly red-top the Sunday

Newsagents have been threatened, bundles of papers burned
and vans intercepted across Northern Ireland.

The campaign is apparently in response to the paper's
tradition of exposing drug running and gangster-type
activities among paramilitary groups.

The last time Loyalist paramilitaries targeted the Sunday
World was in April 2003, following a series of articles
exposing racketeering by members of the paramilitary UDA
and UVF.

The "boycott" was eventually lifted after several months
when management agreed that journalists would go to a
designated spokesman for a comment on stories about the

But according to sources at the paper the new system proved

One said: "It was like doing a story about al-Qaeda and
then giving them a ring to verify it."

They added: "The spokesmen were never there and it just
didn't work.

Anyway, they are not going to confess to us that they are
dealing drugs."

The boycott was renewed the Sunday before last following a
meeting of members of the UDA, UVF and the Red Hand
Volunteers. Masked men have gone into shops in Loyalist
areas across Northern Ireland, taken bundles of papers and
threatened to set fire to shops that sell the Sunday World.

At least one newsagent has been threatened with being shot.
Police have escorted a number of newspaper vans after
intelligence that they were due to be intercepted by

In October 2001, reporter Martin O'Hagan (pictured) was
shot dead by a group of gunmen believed to be from the
Loyalist Volunteer Force. He had written numerous exposes
about paramilitary gangsters.


PSNI 'Protects' Loyalist

by Ciarán Barnes

The PSNI has been accused of trying to protect a senior
loyalist who is on remand in prison on serious charges.

The claim was made by Raymond McCord Sr, who contacted
detectives in May 1999 to allege that the man had
threatened to kill him.

The loyalist was arrested and charged but the charges were
dropped several weeks later.

Mr McCord said police had told him a file on the loyalist
had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He
said detectives had later told him that the DPP had decided
there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Mr McCord never accepted this explanation. Last week, he
received a letter from the new Public Prosecution Service
confirming his suspicions that the PSNI has been protecting
the loyalist.

The letter, seen by Daily Ireland, states that prosecutors
never received a police report on the threats to kill.

Mr McCord, whose son Raymond McCord Jr was murdered by an
Ulster Volunteer Force gang in north Belfast in 1997, said:
"This letter has destroyed my faith in the PSNI.

"It proves the police lied to me when they said it was the
DPP who had decided not to pursue charges against this man.
It disturbs me that the police never even bothered sending
a file on the threats I received to the DPP. That begs the
question: Why would the police lie to me?

"They are obviously trying to protect someone. I believe
the man they are protecting is this senior loyalist."

Mr McCord said he hoped to meet Sinn Féin president Gerry
Adams, the Belfast West MP, and the SDLP's Belfast South MP
Alasdair McDonnell to discuss his son's murder.

He added: "I don't care who I have to meet to get justice
for my son and to prove the Special Branch covered up the
details of his death.

"I'm a Protestant from a loyalist area but that doesn't
mean I can't talk about the situation with republicans and

At the beginning of the week, the human-rights organisation
British Irish Rights Watch announced it had compiled a
dossier on the McCord murder.

Group director Jane Winters said it seemed as if UVF
members who doubled as police informers could act "with

Copies of the report have been sent to the United Nations,
the United States Congress, Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
and the Independent Monitoring Commission.

The McCord family specifically instructed British Irish
Rights Watch not to forward a copy of the report to the

The Police Ombudsman's office is investigating the PSNI
handling of the McCord murder case and is expected to
release a report later this year.


McGuinness: We Still Need Irish America's Help

By Seán Mac Cárthaigh

DUBLIN -- Irish-America is once again at the center of the
peace process and will play a crucial role in the weeks
ahead, Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has

In a phone interview with the Irish Echo, McGuinness said
the IRA's decision to dump arms and stand down had
transformed the prospects for progress.

"It really is a wholly new situation we find ourselves in,
one that is bursting with potential," the Mid-Ulster MP

He also pointedly praised the efforts of President George
W. Bush, whom he said had confounded skeptics with his
staunch support for the Good Friday agreement.

The IRA move, which came last Thursday, has been welcomed
by everyone except representatives of Ireland's 900,000

It was universally well received in the U.S. by politicians
from both main political parties.

McGuinness, who along with Sinn Féin's representative to
the U.S., Rita O'Hare traveled to Washington D.C. to share
the news with members of Congress, described the move as
"momentous and historic," but warned the peace process
still required ongoing momentum.

"We need a very determined and swift effort by the two
governments to implement the Good Friday agreement -- which
is, after all, the will of the people of Ireland, and I
believe also the will of the people of Britain," he said.

This should happen, if necessary, over the heads of
intransigent unionists, he added.

The Rev. Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
campaigned vigorously against the Good Friday agreement,
and was dismayed when it was overwhelmingly endorsed by the
electorate on both sides of the border in 1998.

Since then, the DUP has refused to share power with
nationalist representatives, citing a wide variety of
reasons. The latest of these was that although the IRA
ceasefire has held since 1997, British intelligence accused
the organization of involvement in robberies and other
illegal fund-raising activities, a concern echoed by the
British, Irish and U.S. governments.

Thursday's IRA statement notably said its volunteers had
been ordered to cease all activities.

McGuinness called on Paisley and the DUP's East Belfast MP
Peter Robinson to "be part of planning for the future," and
begin talks with nationalist representatives straight away.

"The DUP needs to see that it is now in a different
ballgame," he said. "There can be no suggestion that they
can drag their feet any longer. Any notion of a 'de-
contamination' period for Sinn Féin is offensive and

McGuinness said the IRA decision was already having a
profound effect on Irish people and those of Irish ancestry
throughout the world.

"Irish Americans in particular will have a key role," he

"In the short term, Irish Americans can keep pressure on
the U.S. government to keep the pressure on the British
government to implement all of the Good Friday agreement,"
he said.

But he added: "I must say, however, that the Bush
administration is already very supportive of the Good
Friday agreement. Mitchell Reiss has built on the work of
Richard Haass.

"Many Irish republicans wondered if the election of George
Bush meant a lessening of interest in Ireland. They, and I,
have been pleasantly surprised.

"George Bush never misses a chance to support the Good
Friday agreement."

In the longer term, McGuinness said, the political, moral
and economic support of Irish Americans would be key in the
transition to a united Ireland.

"The Good Friday agreement is a route map to a united
Ireland," he said. "Even purely in terms of the economy,
the case for a 32-county Ireland is compelling."

"Irish America has a very powerful and important role in
this economic transition," he said.

Referring to at times bitter divisions between Irish
Americans over the conflict in the North, McGuinness called
for a fresh unity of purpose.

"The new situation is having a tremendous unifying effect
on the diaspora," he said. "Differences can be healed -- I
saw that on Capitol Hill last week."

This story appeared in the issue of August 3 - 9


Irish American Leaders Warm To IRA's Words

By Ray O'Hanlon

Irish American political leaders welcomed the IRA statement
although some hedged their comments with notes of caution.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, was in
Washington as the IRA statement was made public.

The reaction that followed the statement made his visit
clearly worthwhile and served to erase the Capitol Hill
chill that embraced his party in recent months.

Senator Edward Kennedy, in a statement on the Senate floor,
welcomed the IRA statement.

"Hopefully, this statement means we're finally nearing the
end of this very long process to take guns and criminality
out of politics in Northern Ireland once and for all,"
Kennedy, who declined to meet with a visiting Gerry Adams
last St. Patrick's Day, said.

"I look forward to the final act of decommissioning, and
the verification that paramilitary activity and criminality
have ended, and the all-important restoration of the
Northern Ireland Assembly.

Peace and violence cannot coexist in Northern Ireland, and
all who care about peace and stability look forward to
these final actions," Kennedy said.

Former congressman Bruce Morrison, who was a member of the
Irish American peace delegation that paved the way for
President Clinton's Irish visits, said he did not think the
IRA's step had been taken lightly, but rather was the
culmination of a process reaching back 20 years.

Morrison said that a crucial part of the statement was that
it withdrew political sanction for violence or lawless

"Nobody can (now) claim they are acting under orders in the
context of an armed struggle," Morrison told the Echo.

"This is really a big deal, a watershed event. And it is a
big deal to the republican movement because words like
these are never said lightly, and are always taken
seriously," he said.

Senator Chris Dodd, a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations committee, said he too welcomed the IRA's
"comprehensive" statement.

"Violence has no place in politics, no place in
negotiation, and no place in a peaceful society," Dodd, a
Connecticut Democrat, said.

He expressed hope that the announcement would bring new
momentum to the Good Friday agreement and the peace

"This announcement has the potential to finally bring true
peace to a land that has long starved for stability, and I
call on all those who support the Northern Ireland peace
process to take decisive action to follow through on its
historic promise," Dodd said.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said the cause for peace had
once again been taken up by the people of Ireland.

"The IRA's statement is a clear signal to all parties that
the political process is the exclusive way to determine
Northern Ireland's future and that will be achieved by the
restoration of the devolved government that is
representative of all communities.

"We in the United States should do all that we can to
support the Northern Ireland peace process," she said.

"This is an extraordinary day in the history of the Irish
nation that has put Northern Ireland back on a path to a
long lasting and productive peace," said fellow New York
senator, Chuck Schumer.

Representative Jim Walsh, chairman of the Friends of
Ireland group in Congress, said the statement marked a
significant move forward for the Northern Ireland peace

"The dumping of all weaponry by the IRA demonstrates full
faith in the political abilities and negotiating skill of
the Sinn Fein peace strategy," Walsh said.

"It is imperative that all political parties and traditions
match this measure of good faith by continuing to push this
process forward.

"A shining light can be seen at the end of long tunnel, and
I am proud of the role the President and this Congress have
played in reaching this historic milestone," Walsh added.

Representative Joseph Crowley, a co-chair of the House Ad
Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, described the IRA move as

"This courageous step signifies that the fight against
British rule is over and the next challenges will be fought
in the political arena," Crowley said.

"Regardless of their political or religious persuasion, or
their economic condition, the people of the North of
Ireland must join together to restore the devolved
government to achieve the representational government they
elected on November 26, 2003.

"Only when all sides who worked to create the Good Friday
agreement, fulfill the promises made in this historic
agreement, will a political solution be achieved," Crowley

Representative Richard Neal, a fellow co-chair of Ad Hoc
Committee, said the statement marked the beginning of a
new, more peaceful era.

"The IRA's groundbreaking statement is historic and
unprecedented," Neal said.

"It is testimony to the courage and leadership of Sinn
Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who challenged
the IRA last April to fully embrace politics. It is clear
that the Sinn Fein leadership has kept its word and honored
its commitments," Neal said.

"It is my hope that the statement will lead to both the
swift restoration of the power sharing institutions in
Northern Ireland and the full implementation of the Good
Friday agreement," he added.

The onus, Neal continued, now must be on the Democratic
Unionist Party to face up to its commitments and work
towards building a new society based on equality,
inclusiveness and trust.

Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, described
the IRA statement as historic.

"This is a dramatic step forward to ending a long and
bloody conflict that has left a trail of misery, death, and
tragedy," Engel said.

"I believe that Congress and the White House are committed
to working with all sides, organizations, parties, and
governments to keep moving ahead," he added.

Representative Chris Smith said it was his greatest hope
that the IRA statement was a true and final denunciation of
violence and a long overdue recognition that the only way
forward was through peaceful and democratic action.

"We look to see a full restoration of the suspended
democratic institutions and further progress on policing
reform, government accountability, and the rule of law,"
the New Jersey Republican said.

In New York, Governor George Pataki also welcomed the IRA's
disarmament pledge.

"Today's decision by the Irish Republican Army to lay down
their arms is a momentous step toward peace on the island
of Ireland. The only way to resolve this conflict is
through the democratic process and I commend this clear and
necessary statement," Pataki said.

"I urge all parties to now come together and fully
implement the Good Friday agreement, Pataki added.

Pataki's sentiments were reflected by the lobby group,
Irish-American Republicans.

"The IRA's decision to lay down and destroy its arms is
historic and brings the parties closer to realizing the
full implementation of the Good Friday peace accord. We
praise this critical step by the IRA, and call for the
democratic institutions mandated by the Good Friday
agreement -- the Assembly and Executive -- to be
reconvened," the group said.

And it added: "We are especially grateful for the efforts
of President George Bush and his Special Envoy for Northern
Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, who have maintained
America's active engagement in the Irish Peace Process, and
Governor George Pataki, who played an historic role as the
first American Executive official to meet with Gerry Adams
and who has consistently and firmly encouraged the IRA to
give up its arms in favor of the democratic process."

The positive reaction extended into Canada where Foreign
Affairs Minister, Pierre Pettigrew, welcomed the IRA
statement and noted that the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning, headed by Canada's former
Chief of the Defense Staff, General John de Chastelain,
would be overseeing the process of decommissioning IRA

"Canada has long supported the efforts of all parties to
bring peace and reconciliation to the people of Northern
Ireland," said Pettigrew.

"This decision by the IRA is an unprecedented opportunity
to advance the peace process.

"We urge the IRA to move quickly to implement all aspects
of this decision and all parties to cooperate in ending
violence in Northern Ireland.

"Canada will continue to support the peace process through
financial support to the International Fund for Ireland and
through the vital work of Canadians such as General de
Chastelain, former Justice William Hoyt, former Chief
Justice Peter Cory and former RCMP Assistant Commissioner
Al Hutchinson," Pettigrew said.

The Irish American Unity in Action Committee, an umbrella
group for a number of major Irish American organizations,
said that as a result of the IRA move, the Irish and
British governments had to fully implement the Good Friday
agreement and take all of the guns out of Irish politics.

"The onus is now clearly with these governments to fully
implement this agreement. The promise of the Good Friday
agreement is change. The promise of the Good Friday
agreement is equality. Irish-America demands fulfillment of
the promise," the committee said.

"The vast majority of violence against innocent civilians
in the last seven years has come from loyalist paramilitary
organizations," the committee added.

"The danger from these organizations remains an every day
reality. It is time to take the gun out of Irish politics
altogether, including British guns and loyalist
paramilitary guns."

The UIAC includes the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish
American Unity Conference, Irish Northern Aid and Americans
for a New Irish Agenda.

In a separate statement, the IAUC said it wanted to see a
quick response from Washington to the IRA statement.

The IAUC "implores the Bush administration and Congress to
respond to this historic breakthrough that signals the end
of thirty-five years of conflict in Northern Ireland," the
group said.

This story appeared in the issue of August 3 - 9


IRA Statement 'Key To Unlock Peace Process', Says Murphy

MP for Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein's' Conor Murphy spoke to
the Democrat to welcome the recent IRA statement calling
for the end to the armed struggle.

"It is a hugely important initiative taken by the IRA and
it is the key to unlock the Peace Process which was going
nowhere. I am looking forward to a positive response from
all the other political parties."

Mr Murphy met with Secretary of state Peter Hain and Hugh
Orde yesterday to discuss the programme of demilitarisation
in South Armagh.

"We welcome the immediate action to start demilitarisation
in South Armagh and this morning we discussed further plans
to complete the process.

"The process of removing two spy posts and the Sanger in
Newtownhamilton which started last week should be completed
within six months.

"Over the next two weeks demilitarisation will start on two
more spy posts near Crossmaglen.

"Other plans include a phased reduction of troop levels in
Northern Ireland, a return of private property which had
been occupied, leaving only 14 core security sites across
Northern Ireland."

Mr Murphy highlighted that he had called for the army
barracks in Bessbrook to be vacated as soon as possible.

"The whole process has been given a time frame of two years
but we will be pushing to have the process speeded up."

When asked if this will mean Sinn Fein will now look at
taking up seats on the policing board Mr Murphy said: "The
position on policing has not changed in that there are
still issues to be resolved such as accountability, plastic
bullets and special branch.

"If these issues are resolved we would want to become
involved in policing. I would be hopeful that this would
happen sooner rather than later."


Tánaiste Welcomes Decisive IRA Move On Arms

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent in Bantry

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney
yesterday cautioned against setting deadlines on IRA
decommissioning but expressed hope that it would happen
soon as it was a vital step towards the republican movement
embracing democracy.

Ms Harney - who is acting Minister for Justice this week
while Michael McDowell is on his holidays - said that the
decommissioning of IRA arms will remove the largest single
obstacle to a proper flourishing of democracy on the

"I want to welcome the announcement made last week and we
all hope that at long last it provides the mechanism
through which the peace process can be bedded down - it was
the remaining obstacle in the way of democracy flourishing.

"I'm actually acting Minister for Justice this week - the
Minister is away on his holidays and I think it would be
unhelpful of me to talk about timelines or deadlines - I
don't think that would be helpful at the moment.

"I think the principle is what's important - we want to see
an end to all aspects of criminality, we want to see people
embracing democracy and democratic politics and engaging in
debate on the same basis as everybody else so there's no
room for people having armies or arms."

Ms Harney said she was fully confident that Gen John de
Chastelain would oversee the decommissioning of IRA arms in
a credible manner which would reassure all parties that the
Belfast Agreement was being fully delivered on.

"Everybody has confidence in Gen de Chastelain's
credibility to do the job and the sooner the better - most
people have been waiting a long time.

"We had anticipated when the Good Friday agreement was
signed in 1998 that decommissioning would come an awful lot

"But holding on to arms is not compatible with democratic
politics . Sinn Féin has to be involved in the political
process on the same basis as everybody else. There's no
room for criminality, it's not compatible with democratic

Asked about Opposition claims of Fianna Fáil cronyism in
the appointment of the Taoiseach's former partner, Celia
Larkin, to the board of the National Consumer Agency, Ms
Harney strongly rejected suggestions that the PDs were in
Government to act as a watchdog on their coalition partner.

"I don't regard myself as a moral watchdog of anybody - I
sit around a Cabinet table with honest women and men."

She added that she believed that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was
fully entitled to appoint Ms Larkin to the National
Consumer Agency.

© The Irish Times


Arrest Made In GAA Murder Inquiry

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Police investigating the loyalist murder of GAA man Seán
Brown in 1997 have arrested a man for questioning in

Mr Brown (61), a father of six, was abducted by the
Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) as he locked up the Wolfe
Tone GAA club in Bellaghy, Co Derry. His body was later
found beside his burned-out car a few miles away in
Randalstown, Co Antrim.

The arrest of the 44-year-old man from Northern Ireland,
was made in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Police searched other
premises in connection with the investigation, including
two houses and a business premises at Arbury Road - all in

The original RUC investigation into Mr Brown's murder was
the subject of strong criticism by the police ombudsman
whose investigators evaluated the police response at the
time, following complaints.

Nuala O'Loan's office reported that the RUC handling was
severely deficient. She claimed the RUC inquiry had not
been "efficiently and properly carried out" and that "no
earnest effort was made to identify those who had carried
out the murder".

Following meetings between Sir Hugh Orde, chief constable
of the PSNI, and members of the Brown family, a new
investigation involving detectives from outside police
services working alongside the PSNI has begun.

Last month, police officers investigating the murder
arrested nine people and searched dozens of properties in
three Northern counties. All were subsequently released
without charge.

Officers connected to the Organised Crime Taskforce carried
out the searches in Armagh, Antrim and Tyrone.

Detectives were also conducting searches for loyalist
money-laundering operations, but police say this is not
linked to the Brown murder. A further four arrests were
made under proceeds of crime legislation.

Recently, the BBC's Crimewatch programme reconstructed Mr
Brown's murder and included appeals for information from
the Church of Ireland primate, Dr Robin Eames, and poet and
family friend Séamus Heaney.

The PSNI is hopeful the fresh appeals, the new information
in the BBC programme about Mr Brown's whereabouts on the
night of his murder, and the new searches will advance the

© The Irish Times


DUP Need To Face New Political Realities

Refusal to extend Equality consultation flies in the face
of commonsense de Brún urges unionists to 'think outside
the box' on Dail speaking rights SF Councillor slams
privatisation ideology of FF/PD Government Sinn Féin to
travel to London

Published: 3 August, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey today urged the DUP
to stop Grand standing and face up to the new political
challenges created by the historic IRA statement of last
week. Mr Maskey's remarks came after a meeting in London
between the DUP and the British Secretary of State Peter


Mr Maskey said:

" Nationalists and republicans have been listening to Ian
Paisley's rants for decades. The reality is that
nationalists and republicans are more confident and more
determined to see progress made that at any time since
partition. The days of second class citizenship and
discrimination are over and are not coming back.

" The DUP have been playing catch up with the political
process here since the first IRA cessation in 1994. Last
weeks historic initiative by the IRA creates a new
political dynamic on the island and presents new political
challenges and realities for all of us. Retreating to the
certainties of conflict and sectarianism is not an option
if this new opportunity is to be fully grasped.

" There remains no excuse for the two governments in
implementing the outstanding aspects of the Good Friday
Agreement. These are not concessions or bargaining chips.
They are basic rights and entitlements designed to create
for the first time a level political playing field.

" Sinn Féin are keen to see this business completed
speedily and the early restoration of the all-Ireland power
sharing institutions. Even the DUP must now accept that the
only situation in which they will have executive power will
be in the Good Friday Agreement institutions alongside Sinn
Féín." ENDS


DUP Reject Devolution Discussions

The DUP will not attend discussions which the NI secretary
is expected to hold on the return of devolution.

Sources said they had set out a series of time penalties
which would apply in response to "any further concessions
from the government to republicans".

They claimed devolution would not return for a minimum of
two years.

DUP leader Ian Paisley set out an uncompromising position
on talks about the return of devolution at a meeting with
NI Secretary Peter Hain.

The two men met in London for the first time since the
government announced plans to disband the home battalions
of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR).

Mr Hain said the DUP had put its views "extremely strongly
and critically," something which he "understood".

Mr Paisley said they told Mr Hain of the "anger" over the
RIR decision.

"We told him that the majority of the people of Northern
Ireland are very angry," Mr Paisley said.

He said the IRA was "having it their own way" following its
statement last Thursday in which it said it was ending its
armed campaign and pursuing exclusively peaceful means.


DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said the "prospects of a
return to devolution have been damaged very considerably by
the actions of this government".

It is understood the discussions on devolution were set to
take place next month.

Mr Hain said there would be "full consultation" on the
future of the Royal Irish Regiment home battalions.

"Nobody will take any risks with the security and safety of
any individual citizen in Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr Hain said he agreed with the DUP that it was "absolutely
essential to get verification that criminality and
paramilitary activity will be rooted out of Northern
Ireland's politics".

"We also agree that decommissioning of IRA weapons is
absolutely essential," he added.

Mr Hain said he would like to see the reconstitution
earlier than October 2006 of the Policing Board, which
holds the PSNI to account.

"My only point is that has to be done by agreement. If we
can get agreement, then we can get the DUP representatives
on the Policing Board in the numbers that their last
election performance suggests that they're entitled to," he

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey urged the DUP to stop
"grand standing" and face up to the "new political
challenges created by the historic IRA statement".

"There remains no excuse for the two governments in
implementing the outstanding aspects of the Good Friday
Agreement," he said.

"These are not concessions or bargaining chips. They are
basic rights and entitlements designed to create for the
first time a level political playing field.

"Even the DUP must now accept that the only situation in
which they will have executive power will be in the Good
Friday Agreement institutions alongside Sinn Fein."

The SDLP's Alban Maginness said: "The DUP seem to think
that they should have a veto on all change - no matter how

"They expect to be able to hold up the Agreement and
undermine what the people of Ireland voted for.

"Now they are learning that they don't have a veto. They
need to learn the lessons of this. Instead of getting
comfortable with direct rule, they ought to be getting real
about restoring devolution."


Following Wednesday's meeting with the DUP, Mr Hain also
met relatives of victims of the Shankill bombing.

They wanted to voice their concerns about last week's
release of the Shankill bomber, Sean Kelly, a month after
he was returned to jail.

The relatives were accompanied by members of the DUP.

Mr Paisley will stay in London for a meeting with Tony
Blair on Thursday.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is also expected to meet
the prime minister this week.

The Northern Ireland-based battalions of the Royal Irish
Regiment are to be disbanded on 1 August 2007, as part of
the response to the IRA ending its armed campaign.

The Army will end its support role to the police on the
same day.

On Monday, the secretary of state set out a two-year plan
on demilitarisation which, he said, would be contingent on
the security situation.

Unionists reacted angrily to the move, which nationalists
have welcomed.

Mr Hain also announced that troop levels in the province
would fall from 10,500 to 5,000 in two years time.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/03 15:52:30 GMT


DUP Warning Of Devolution Delay Over Concessions

Today's Downing Street talks between prime minister Tony
Blair and Gerry Adams may provide the first Sinn Féin and
British responses to DUP threats to disrupt talks about the
restoration of powersharing,

writes Frank Millar, London Editor.

The DUP has warned the British government it may not
participate in talks about the restoration of devolved
government to Northern Ireland for two years.

And it is threatening to extend this by way of a series of
time "penalties", if London makes what unionists regard as
further "concessions" to Sinn Féin in response to last
week's IRA statement.

The possibility of a protracted political stalemate was
spelt out to Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain by a DUP
delegation led by party leader the Rev Ian Paisley at a
meeting in London yesterday.

Mr Hain confirmed the DUP had put its views about planned
demilitarisation measures in the North "extremely strongly
and critically", while maintaining he and it could "make
progress together".

And while telling Mr Hain of unionist "anger" at the
proposed disbandment of the Royal Irish Regiment, Dr
Paisley appeared to strike a possible conciliatory note
ahead of this morning's meeting with Mr Blair. Having said
the IRA was "having its own way" since declaring its
campaign at an end, Dr Paisley said he wanted "a firm
declaration" from the British government that it would hold
to its previously declared position in respect of full
verification of IRA weapons decommissioning, the ending of
all paramilitary and criminal activities, and the absence
of a place in government for any armed force.

However, the hardline position on talks was spelt out by
his deputy, Peter Robinson, who said: "The prospects of a
return to devolution have been damaged very considerably by
the actions of this government. The community in Northern
Ireland is outraged at what the government has done."

And he said the DUP would hold Mr Blair "to the letter" of
what had been previously agreed about IRA decommissioning
and the "transparency" of that process. "It requires the
IRA to go out of business forever," declared Mr Robinson.

Until last week's IRA statement it appears London believed
Dr Paisley would agree the resumption of talks about
powersharing devolution after a "testing" period of six
months, during which time there will be two reports from
the Independent Monitoring Commission.

Senior DUP sources last night confirmed they were now
talking about a delay of at least two years.

And they warned it could be longer if London goes ahead
with proposals to effectively pardon paramilitary

During yesterday's meeting with Mr Hain, the DUP
specifically raised the possibility that the so-called
Colombia Three might benefit from this proposal. They
reportedly warned that a further time "penalty" would
result from any announcement about revitalising cross-
Border bodies. And they apparently surprised Mr Hain when
they challenged proposals for the recruitment of community
service officers - favoured by the PSNI - which the DUP
suspects are intended to bypass provisions for recruitment
to the part-time reserve and might be open to persons with
convictions for terrorist offences. Mr Hain also met
relatives of the Shankill bombing victims.

Mr Hain said he agreed with the DUP it was "absolutely
essential to get verification that criminality and
paramilitary activity will be rooted out of Northern
Ireland's politics".

© The Irish Times


DUP Condemns Policing Board Status Quo

Nationalists and unionists clashed yesterday after a major
shake-up of the Policing Board was postponed for 12 months.

Secretary of state Peter Hain said that, for reasons of
stability and continuity, he wanted members to continue for
a period ending no later than October 2006.

Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea and his deputy Denis Bradley
will continue to chair the 19-member board.

DUP Policing Board members Ian Paisley Jr, Sammy Wilson and
William Hay issued a joint statement, saying that the
extension had come as no surprise and was a further
concession to nationalists.

"The government have again chosen to appease nationalism
and subvert democracy.

"Our anger isn't anything to do with how this decision will
affect the DUP directly but, rather, our objections are
born out of the insult that this is to the electors of
Northern Ireland.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood welcomed the British
government's decision.

The Belfast West assembly member, who also sits on the
Policing Board, said: "The Policing Board has, far and
away, been the most successful and radical of all the
institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement."

"Despite the efforts of Sinn Féin and the IRA to hold up
policing over the same period, they have failed and failed

"Sinn Féin should cut their losses on policing and join us
in implementing far-reaching policing change."


de Brún Urges Unionists To 'Think Outside The Box' On Dail
Speaking Rights

Published: 3 August, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today urged her fellow
MEPS in the Six Counties, Jim Nicholson and Jim Allister to
'think outside the box and embrace the dynamics of all-
Ireland politics'.

Ms de Brún made her comments after Jim Nicholson opposed
future speaking rights for northern MPs and MEPs to
participate in Dail debates.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin would welcome moves by the Irish Government to
secure the rights of Six County political representatives
to participate in the Dáil.

Sinn Féin has consistently raised the question of
participation of northern representatives to the Dáil and
we would welcome any move by the Irish government to give
effect to these commitments.

"I would welcome the opportunity to debate with both Jim
Nicholson MEP and Jim Allister MEP on local, national and
international issues in the Dáil.

Partition has failed both the nationalist and unionist
communities. I would call upon unionists political
representatives to think outside the box and embrace the
dynamics of all-Ireland politics.

"I look forward to the day when I can address other
political representatives from north and south in the
Dáil." ENDS


Gardaí Refused Entry To 477 From North

Elaine Keogh

The vast majority of people trying to enter the country
illegally by crossing the Border are not asylum seekers but
workers who end up in the mainly unskilled, poorly paid
black economy, according to the Garda immigration Border
control unit based in Dundalk.

Provisional figures for the first half of this year
indicate that just six of the 477 people refused leave to
remain in the country were asylum seekers.

Although some of the remaining 471 people may have been
trying to visit relatives already in the Republic, it is
believed the rest were travelling to work in the black

They were all detained by gardaí in the Border unit between
January and July this year, after they had boarded either
trains or buses that originated in the North. Some people
have been detained after gardaí stopped taxis travelling
from the North.

There were gardaí working in immigration control before the
unit was established and, for all of 2004, they refused
leave to remain in the Republic to 366 people. Estimates
for this year are 1,000.

It is a dedicated immigration unit, the only one along the
entire Border. Every mode of public transport crossing the
Border is being stopped and checked.

The unit was established last October by Garda Commissioner
Noel Conroy and all members are uniformed and wear high-
visibility fluorescent jackets.

"Dundalk is on the main thoroughfare between Belfast and
Dublin and a lot of people use Belfast airport and the road
to get to Dublin. It is the best route. People from in
excess of 30 countries have been detected by the unit,"
said Garda Supt Pat Magee.

Since the EU enlargement, the Garda unit has found
Russians, Ukrainians and people from other countries of the
former Russian states using false passports that state they
are from Latvia or Estonia or other countries now in the
EU. If someone succeeds in getting into the country and has
a false passport, they can get a PPS number and claim to be
working legally.

The Garda unit works with the Department of Social and
Family Affairs and it has also come across a small number
of people living and working in the North who claim welfare
in the Republic.

Some people have been found with airline tickets that show
they arrived in Heathrow airport 24 hours before they were
stopped on the train from Belfast to Dublin. They would
have had a visa from their home country to allow them visit
relatives in the UK but this was not their true intention.

Another 150 people were detained who would have had an
existing application made to remain in Ireland as either an
asylum seeker or the parent of an Irish-born child.

However, Garda Sgt Gerry Connor, head of the Dundalk unit,
said anyone who makes an application for asylum is
immediately put into the system and taken by gardaí to
Dublin to make the application at the offices of the
Refugee Commissioner.

"Very few people now are seeking asylum. However, if they
even intimate that their situation is political or they are
fleeing or afraid, we can claim that this is an asylum
seeker and we bring them to Dublin so they can make the
application," he said.

Those found to have been trying to enter the country
illegally are immediately returned to the UK, mainly by
ferry, and the authorities there are alerted.

© The Irish Times


Bases Value 'Huge'

by Zoe Tunney

Campaigners last night said that the potential use of land
being vacated by the British army in the North is

Following the recent announcements by the British secretary
of state, Peter Hain, that the normalisation process will
be complete by 2007, campaigners say they want to see the
highly valuable land returned to communities for economic

They say the potential to transform the extensive British
army estate in to tourism, sports, housing and education
opportunities is endless.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will not reveal the exact
worth of their estate in the North, while business people,
community groups and demilitarisation campaigners say it is
virtually impossible to calculate.

When British troops moved in to the north in 1969, they
bought large areas of land from private farmers and the

Some of that was leased and will be returned to the private
landowners when the army installations are dismantled.

Land that was purchased outright by the British army will
likely be returned to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) for

An MoD spokesperson said: "Each contract is different but,
in the case of the land which was bought or is on a long-
term lease from private landowners it is written in to the
contract that the land must be returned to green field

"That means whatever is there that is not natural to the
landscape will be removed and it will be like a blank

Demilitarisation has already begun in south Armagh, Co
Tyrone, Belfast and Derry.

Troops in Omagh, Co Tyrone will be withdrawn next year.
Spyposts in Divis Tower in Belfast, several along the south
Armagh border and one on Derry's walls are currently being

In June the MoD announced it was to withdraw 550 of its
troops from the Lisanelly Barracks in Omagh. The
neighbouring St Lucia barracks will be dismantled by 2007.

Martin McColgan, of the Omagh Demilitarisation Committee,
said two army barracks in Omagh were worth millions of

"The two barracks are on the best land in Omagh because
they straddle the River Strule," he said.

"The potential for recreational parks, housing, business
investment and tourism are endless.

Following the closure of the Ebrington and Fort George
bases in Derry two years ago, the government set up Ilex,
the only urban regeneration in the North. Ilex is a
government agency made up of a panel of people from Derry
who decide how best to develop the sites for maximum
community and economic potential.

Chairman of Derry Chamber of Commerce, Richard Sterling,
said further normalisation in the city is needed.

"The Ebrington camp was the size of the walled city of
Derry so one cannot imagine the value of that land when
investors start operating in it," Mr Sterling said.

Ilex is expected to announce it is bringing both sites to
the market in the autumn.

Demilitarisation campaigners in south Armagh say they are
now putting together plans for the redevelopment of British
Army sites there.

Local MLA Davy Hyland said he could envisage keeping one of
the notorious spyposts as a tourist attraction.

"I do not see why we cannot keep one of them as a tourist
attraction and as a reminder, just like in Brittany in
France you can still see German bunkers on the landscape 60
years later."


IRA Move Prompts Ebay Trade In Memorabilia

Dozens of pieces of IRA memorabilia have appeared on
internet auction site eBay since the terror group announced
the end of its armed campaign last week.

More than 150 items have been put up for sale including
original 1981 Hunger Strike posters and a gun-shaped badge
posted just two hours after the July 28 4pm deadline for
volunteers to dump weapons.

Second-hand books, CDs, DVDs and bumper stickers also
feature in the mass sell-off by anonymous vendors in
Belfast, Derry and London determined to profit from the
IRA`s decision to go out of business.

A May 1981 copy of Republican newspaper, An Phoblacht,
which was shrunk down to be smuggled into Republican
prisoners on hunger strike in the H-blocks, has been bid up
to 65 euro (#40) by 13 potential buyers.

The Belfast-based seller of the item said on the site: "In
this edition, there is an exclusive interview with the IRA
and pictures on two pages of an IRA training camp."

A 1981 Hunger Strike poster featuring prisoners Bobby
Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O`Hara is
currently fetching bids of €59.53.

The vendor says: "Please no timewasters. You will get this
for a bargain as I should be keeping it for next year for
the 25th anniversary but it`s on sale now."

The highest bid item in the IRA category is an Irish Easter
Rising 1916 medal currently priced at €827 by 27 bidders.

Despite brisk bidding across the site, a copy of Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams` memoir, `Hope and History`, signed
by the author, has so far failed to attract any bidders.

A biography of the party`s chief negotiator, Martin
McGuinness entitled: `IRA: From Guns To Government` was put
on the e-bay site just five hours after the armed campaign
officially ended at 4pm on July 28.

Tim Pat Coogan`s book, `The IRA` is being offered for
€10.89 by a Co Down reader.

Mr Coogan, a former Irish Press editor, said: "I`d have
thought it would go for a bit more, but there you are.

"There seems to have been a lot of interest in the IRA
recently, especially among younger people who want to know
the history and background."

Despite recent developments, Mr Coogan has ruled out
another edition of the paperback.

It was first published as a slim guide in 1970 and last
revised by the author in 2000 to include the Good Friday

EBay, which launched its dedicated Irish site in June,
currently has around 200,000 Irish customers.

Earlier this year, a bugging device which Sinn Fein claimed
had been planted at its Belfast offices by MI5 appeared for
sale on eBay.

The most popular items bought and sold by Irish people are
computers, music and collectibles.


Why The Rush?

The Inquiries Act was rushed through Parliament before the
General Election was called this year. While many of its
provisions have been welcomed, questions remain over the
independence of some of the most sensitive inquiries, says
Kate Thirlwall

The Inquiries Act 2005 came into force on 7 June. It was
passed amid a storm of protest from human rights groups on
5 April, 2005 — the day before Parliament was dissolved in
advance of the last General Election. The Government
asserts that this is essentially consolidating and
codifying legislation. In that case, why the rush?
Administrative tidy-mindedness is rarely a priority so late
in the life of a Parliament.

Belfast solicitor, Patrick Finucane, was murdered in 1989
by loyalist paramilitaries. Peter Cory, a retired judge of
the Canadian Supreme Court, recommended that a public
inquiry be held into his murder. The Government agreed. A
press release dated 23 September, 2004 stated: "In order
that the inquiry can take place speedily and effectively
and in a way that takes into account the public interest,
including the requirements of national security, it will be
necessary to hold the inquiry on the basis of new
legislation which will be introduced shortly."

The legislation in question was the Inquiries Act 2005. Mr
Finucane's widow has asked all judges in the UK to refuse
to chair the inquiry if it is to be held under the 2005
Act. To date no chairman has been announced.

Space does not allow for detailed analysis. What follows is
a bird's eye view of the main provisions with a closer look
at the controversial new restriction notices. The Act
provides a comprehensive framework for all inquiries set up
by ministers. This was long overdue. It replaces a
multitude of different statutes all allowing inquiries to
be held in different circumstances.

The Act

The minister decides whether an inquiry is to take place.
That was the position before, save in respect of inquiries
set up under the Tribunal of Inquiries Act 1921, which
required resolutions of both Houses of Parliament. While
the change might be perceived to downgrade public
inquiries, in practical terms it makes little difference.

The panel

The minister selects the panel. Assessors may also be
appointed and where the minister seeks to appoint a judge
he must consult with the higher judiciary. Sections eight
and nine of the Act require that panel members are suitable
to their task and that they are impartial. All of this
simply gives statutory effect to the previous situation.

Terms of reference

The minister sets out the terms of reference, but he is
required before setting out or amending them to consult the
chairman or proposed chairman. No change there. When
writing to the judiciary, Lord Woolf suggested that when
deciding whether to chair an inquiry under the Act, a judge
would look at all the circumstances of the inquiry. Of
particular importance would be the terms of reference.

Removal of panel members

Section 12 of the Act gives the minister powers to remove
panel members on certain grounds and there is a procedure
for such removal.

Suspension of the inquiry

Suspension of the inquiry is permitted in limited
circumstances, where another investigation is dealing with
the matters under consideration by the inquiry, when civil
or criminal proceedings are on foot. The chairman must be
consulted. The minister must issue a notice setting out the
basis for the suspension and specifying when it will come
to an end. Parliament must be informed. This codifies and
makes transparent what happened before.

Inquiry procedure

The chairman decides the procedure for the inquiry. He may
order the attendance of witnesses and the production of
documents. So far there are no detailed rules, although
that may change. The chairman now has an express
responsibility to avoid unnecessary costs.

The controversy

The Act states that proceedings will be held in public.
This was the position before the Act, for most cases

most of the time. It was, however, generally recognised
that public proceedings can intimidate witnesses and
inhibit frankness, contrary to the aims of any inquiry.
Thus, for example, in inquiries into child abuse
arrangements were made for victims to give evidence in
private. Where matters of security and safety have been
raised, security officers have given evidence anonymously
and from behind screens. Plainly, very different reasons
required these arrangements. Importantly, the decisions to
allow this reduction in public access were made by the
tribunal, not the minister.

The new Act changes that. It provides that attendance at an
inquiry and the public production of documents may be
restricted in two ways. Firstly, by the issuing of a
restriction notice by the minister, or secondly by the
making of a restriction order by the chairman.

The first of these is, in my view, objectionable. The
chairman is presiding over the inquiry. To be credible he
and the panel must be independent of government. It is for
the chairman, not the minister, to decide how and in what
circumstances evidence is received and whether it should be

Before deciding whether to issue the notice/make the order,
the minister or chairman must take into

account a number of matters including the risk of harm that
could be avoided by the restriction. Harm includes damage
to national security or international relations and damage
to the economic interests of the UK or part of the UK.

The chairman has no power to revoke a restriction order.
Presumably, he may ask the minister to vary it or to revoke
it. If the minister refuses then presumably the chairman
will seek to challenge the minister through the courts.
This is unattractive.

There is no apparent justification for giving the minister
this power. In the years before June 2005 in the course of
public inquiries, as in litigation, matters of Public
Interest Immunity (PII) arose. The relevant minister issued
a PII certificate in relation to the information. The
tribunal then considered the certificate together with the
information to which it attached and ruled as to whether
the information should be disclosed or not — see the
decisions in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, for example. There,
the panel ruled in favour of the Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland and material was either not disclosed or
disclosed in limited form. No-one appealed.

There has been no suggestion by government or by anyone
else that any tribunal has been unable prop-erly to deal
with these issues in the past. There is no basis for
removing from them such decisions now. It is an unfortunate

It is right to say that the evidence will still go before
the inquiry, but it will not be in the public domain,
unless the notice is revoked. Why not trust the tribunal to
make decisions as to what should be in the public domain?

Finally, on this issue note the provisions of section 23 of
the Act. Applications may be made to the panel by the
Crown, the Bank of England and others that certain evidence
should not be in the public domain on the grounds that it
will damage the economy. The panel (not the Bank of
England) decides such applications, taking into account any
restriction notices.

Other matters

The protection in respect of defamation proceedings offered
by the Act should reassure nervous witnesses who are now in
the same position as witnesses in court proceedings.
Privilege is explicitly protected. It is helpful to have
set out exactly what happens with regard to the publishing
of the report and how an inquiry comes to an end. Current
inquiries may be converted into Inquiries Act inquiries -
this too could be controversial.

The Act is good in very many parts. But the ministerial
power over restriction notices risks undermining public
confidence in the independence of some our most sensitive

Kate Thirlwall QC is a member of Seven Bedford Row.
Author: Legal week
Source: Legal Week
Start Date: 04/08/2005
End Date: 11/08/2005


Mowlam, Darling Of The Left, Fights For Life


MO MOWLAM, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, was in a
"critical but stable" condition in hospital last night.

King's College Hospital in London would not say what her
illness was, but the former Labour MP Alice Mahon, a friend
of Ms Mowlam, said she had been quite frail for some time.
"I spoke to someone who saw her recently and they said,
'She's not terribly well, not the old Mo'," Ms Mahon said.

Ms Mowlam suffered a brain tumour in the late 1990s while
serving in Northern Ireland and received treatment while
trying to revive the peace process. The treatment caused
her to lose her hair and she had to wear a wig.

A determined and often pugnacious operator, Marjorie Mowlam
- universally known as Mo - oversaw the negotiations that
led to the landmark 1998 Good Friday agreement and the
revival of power-sharing in the province. Observers of the
22 months of negotiations that led to the deal cited
Mowlam's approachability as a key factor.

Renowned for her light-hearted disregard of formality,
kicking off her shoes and chewing gum at meetings, she
admitted removing her wig to break the tension during key
meetings. She also reportedly called Sinn Fein leader
Martin McGuinness "babe" during a phone conversation.

Although some unionist politicians objected to her
informality, her tenure appeared to encourage Sinn Fein to
participate in the peace process.

Ms Mowlam grew up in Coventry, in a family of modest means.
After earning a PhD from the University of Iowa, she worked
as a research assistant for the former Labour minister Tony
Benn. Later, she became a lecturer and administrator in
adult education at the Northern College in Barnsley,

In the 1987 general election, she was asked to stand for
the constituency of Redcar at the 11th hour and was elected
three days later.

After Labour swept to power in 1997, she was made Secretary
of State for Northern Ireland. In 1998, she took a
particular political risk by going inside the Maze prison,
after the loyalist UDA/UFF prisoners had withdrawn their
support for the peace process. She spoke to the prisoners
for an hour, and two hours later the paramilitaries'
representatives announced they were to rejoin the talks.

Later that year, at the Labour Party conference, Tony Blair
referred to Ms Mowlam as "Our Mo". But there were claims -
denied by Mr Blair - that he was irritated when she got a
longer standing ovation than he did.

Ms Mowlam was replaced at the Northern Ireland Office in
1999 by Peter Mandelson and was demoted to Cabinet Office
minister, a post she had previously denounced as "minister
for the Today programme".

A popular figure on the left of the Labour Party, Ms Mowlam
eventually fell out with the Blair government and she left
Westminster in 2001.

In a 2002 memoir, she said that she quit the government and
politics partly because Mr Blair's advisers were spreading
rumours that her battle with the brain tumour had left her
intellectually unfit, accusations she called "nasty".


A Gun, A Bomb, And An Irishman

What if the IRA's move to disarm is no joke?

Jeff A. Taylor

Once upon a time, news that the Irish Republican Army was
renouncing violence and disarming would have been a very
big deal. Instead the words "all IRA units have been
ordered to dump arms" seems to have generated mostly shrugs
and second-guessing.

The IRA is not serious or will not follow through, critics
say. This overlooks the fact that the IRA had to do
something or slide even deeper into irrelevancy in an
Ireland chugging along into a new century.

Renouncing violence is certainly a good place to start
considering the awful spot the January murder of Robert
McCartney put both the IRA and its Sinn Fein political
party in. The act, carried out by perhaps free-lancing IRA
thugs, was bad enough, but the IRA's back-channel offer to
even the score was appalling.

"Sorry about that deadly bar fight, would you like us to
kill the guys who killed your guy?" Such a brutal, lawless
offer conveyed just how far out of the social mainstream
IRA elements continued to operate.

The IRA itself became a dark and anachronistic joke,
something it never was in its terrorist heyday, blowing
Lord Mountbatten and his grandson out of the water. The
McCartney matter caught the attention of the White House,
which pointedly excluded Sinn Fein from St. Patrick's Day
activities while George Bush met with McCartney's sisters
and pledged help to find the killers.

Even Teddy Kennedy turned his back on Sinn Fein's Gerry
Adams, and if Teddy turns down a chance to hammer a few
with you, you know you've done something very grave indeed.

So by late spring, Adams and his cohorts were stuck in a
bad rut. And it surely did not help that the London
bombings in July cemented political violence as the weapon
of irrational, alien hatred—and nothing like the last
resort of just cause. Renouncing violence might just have
been the best option they had left.

A fair complaint, of course, might be: "What took so long?"
The 1994 "cease fire" the IRA announced was greeted with
great fanfare, but there then followed a series of sideways
moves, sketchy plans for power-sharing with unionists in
the North, and internal IRA politicking by Adams and his
allies. What changed?

One change that cannot be ignored is the development of a
prosperous Ireland, one that in many ways leads Europe in
the high-tech sector and certainly is not afflicted with
the growth-killing policies of the continent. The economy
grew at a healthy 5 percent clip last year and should do
the same this year. Coming on the heels of the double-digit
growth of the 1990s and recent oil shocks, the Irish
economy appears to have achieved a rare soft landing. With
continued strong corporate R&D investment and low tax
rates, there is every reason to expect more of the same in
the future.

So there is a "get on with the business-of-business"
sentiment working against the conflict, but one that—
despite the economic growth—is not necessary all about
business. Tax evasion and smuggling seem to be regarded as
totally legitimate operations in "bandit country."

"It's not all going to fund bloody IRA weapons, everyone
does it. They're just trading, and evading tax while
they're at it. That's normal, that's Crossmaglen, it's not
criminality. The IRA statement won't change that. People
are doing well out of it too," one fellow explained to The
Sunday Times.

You can see how this view is going to conflict mightily
with unionist sentiment that identifies the IRA with crime
and crime with the IRA. All is not happiness and light in
the wake of the IRA declaration by a longshot.

Some unionist leaders are convinced that British Prime
Minister Tony Blair jumped much too quickly to engage the
IRA move, too eager to claim a victory against Britain's
most implacable terrorist foe while in the midst of
fighting off another terror threat. And that may well be

Or it might be that by doubling down on the IRA disarm
gambit by moving to take down watch towers, de-militarize
the North, and remove other symbols of British power,
Blair's government has forced the IRA to follow through on
the disarmament offer. The ultimate goal, the thing that
actually disarming would immediately get the IRA, is
participation in a power-sharing government for Northern
Ireland, ostensibly free of London's oversight. But plans
for that all-Irish government have been sputtering for
several years now.

The factions in Ireland then find themselves at what one
old Irishman called the "trust, but verify" stage amid all
the angst that accompanies it. There are already plans for
the IRA disarming process to be witnessed by clergymen—one
Protestant, one Catholic. (Two Jews and a cripple get the
day off.) But even that may not suffice as proof; tangible
photographic evidence of the disarmament process is
demanded by some. And so forth.

This sort of nit-picking is inevitable when the stakes are
so high, but should not detract from the fact that the
process might actually put an end to several centuries of
senseless civil strife. If not, well, then the joke will be
on all of us.

Jeff A. Taylor writes the weekly Reason Express.


McCartney Sisters Set To Be Honoured At Humbert School

The five sisters and the fiancee of the murdered Belfast
man Robert McCartney are to travel to Ballina later this
month to receive the first General Humbert-Michael Davitt
Justice Award, School Director John Cooney has announced.
The award will be presented to Catherine, Donna, Pauline,
Claire and Gemma McCartney, along with Bridgeen Hagan, at
the School's annual dinner in the Ridge Pool hotel on
Friday evening, August 26.

School chairman Tony McGarry said that a large attendance
is expected and that tickets for the event will be in huge
demand, as this if the first visit to Mayo of the
McCartneys since they launched their campaign for justice
for their late brother who was allegedly murdered by Sinn
Féin members outside a Belfast pub.

In his Beyond the Pale column, Mr Cooney writes in this
week's Western People that a test of the sincerity of the
IRA to end its armed struggle will be ensuring justice for
the McCartneys whose efforts did so much to bring about
last Thursday's statement.

Donning his other hat as Director of the General Humbert-
Michael Davitt Summer School, which will be held from
August 23 to 28, Mr Cooney invites the people of Mayo to
join with the McCartneys when they receive the School's
Justice prize. "Surely the campaigners for the release of
the Rossport Five will show the same enthusiasm for the
McCartneys' cause," he writes.


Echo Profile: In Like Flynn

Bill Flynn's peace policy pays off

By Ray O'Hanlon

The Bill Flynn File BORN: New York City EDUCATION:
Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington,
NY, and Fordham University. MILITARY SERVICE: United States
Air Force during the Korean conflict. POSITIONS: Chairman
Emeritus, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, 320
Park Avenue, chairman of the National Committee on American
Foreign Policy. MARRIED: Married to Peg with three children
and eleven grandchildren. QUOTE: "We want to get to the
point where the people in the North can decide their own
future, peacefully."

When William J. Flynn first became involved in the search
for a peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland the place
looked like the political equivalent of Florida after
Hurricane Andrew.

If he had applied his industry's actuarial techniques at
the time, Flynn would have quickly concluded that becoming
involved in the North's daily strife would be a high risk,
low return venture.

He jumped in anyway.

And now, close to twenty years later, Flynn is drawing a
well-earned dividend in the form of the IRA's withdrawal
from war.

Flynn has dedicated his business life to turning profits
and boosting shares. Much of his own time has been
dedicated to turning swords into plowshares.

At his core, Flynn is a businessman and realist more than
he is a theorist and dreamer.

And yet, his pursuit of peace brought with it the kind of
risk that only comes with chasing a dream.

Wading into the morass that is the history of Ireland and
its larger neighbor to the east was always going to result
in surprises.

Last week's IRA order to dump arms was, for sure, one of
the better ones. And Flynn was ready for it.

Flynn's resume runs a long arm's length.

But to most he is known as former CEO and chairman of the
Park-Avenue based Mutual of America insurance company, and
as the still active chairman of the National Committee on
America Foreign Policy, a think-tank with far flung reach
and high-placed influence.

Over the years, Flynn combined his roles in both
organizations into what became a most unusual stratagem.

He used his numerous economic, political and diplomatic
connections to engage with and hold the attention of the
warring groups in Northern Ireland and, additionally, the
governments in Dublin, London and Washington.

On a more practical level, he literally threw open the
doors of a Manhattan corporate tower to a most unusual
assemblage of guests.

It was at 320 Park Avenue, Mutual's spire-topped
headquarters, that Irish president Mary Robinson shook
hands with, of all people, the hard-edged leaders of Ulster
Loyalist paramilitarism. It was as odd an encounter as it
was once unimaginable.

But that meeting -- as would innumerable other events and
encounters at 320 Park -- would be simply another piece in
the jigsaw assembled, painstakingly, by Flynn and others of
Irish America who passionately believed that the United
States, its prestige, and ultimately its president, could
make a real difference in Ireland.

Flynn's involvement in the quest for normality took form in
the 1980s when he offered his assistance to the Peace
People group led by Nobel Peace Prize winners Betty
Williams and Mairead Corrigan.

Flynn was sympathetic towards the group, but soon concluded
that more would be needed to take the cause of peace to the
ultimate level.

In the years that followed, Flynn and his colleagues at the
National Committee worked out a ten-point peace plan for
the North. It was a simple, clear and unambiguous formula.
But what chance for even a sensible plan if dropped into a
boiling cauldron?

A better one if the plan for peace was delivered in person.

In Sept. of 1993, Flynn traveled to Belfast with an Irish
American delegation.

The mission would ultimately pave the way for President
Bill Clinton, but, in the shorter term, it would be seen as
having a real effect on the lives of people in the six

"The IRA decided to call a ceasefire while we were there.
That sure impressed the hell out of me," Flynn said.

The positive response would lead to more visits, both for
the group and for Flynn himself.

And as political leaders argued back and forth, won office
and left office, Flynn, selling peace as he might a sound
insurance policy, emerged as a constant.

He hosted and cajoled, shook hands and scolded. Most
importantly, perhaps, he developed a reputation for a salty
honesty. He had seen enough, heard enough and wasn't afraid
to speak his own mind.

"Bill has been quite unique in his willingness to use his
well earned status as an establishment figure to take a lot
of risks and be very persistent in his pursuit of a dream,
the dream that is peace," said former congressman Bruce
Morrison, a member of Flynn's peace delegation.

"In the early 1990s, his willingness to play that leading
role made a huge difference. Many would not have taken that
kind of risk at that time," Morrison said.

Flynn, for sure, brought his business edge and personal
toughness to the table.

But ultimate control would always rest in the hands of
those who were the targets of Flynn's rather singular
powers of persuasion, the IRA among them.

"These people have now had the courage to put down their
arms even though the policing problem remains unsolved,"
said Flynn.

Not for the first time, Flynn has been impressed by people
who have been dismissed repeatedly as being beyond the
bounds of politic reason.

But though he found himself pleasantly surprised by the
content and scope of the IRA statement, Flynn was not
completely taken aback by its naissance.

"We provided money and facilities, no matter the ups or
downs," said Flynn of his friends, colleagues and

"And we stuck with it. The secret of success is sticking
with it and never being forced to say something that you're
actually against. We Irish are splitters but the key to
this was that we did not split."

Flynn has his political expectations for the coming months.
And he also harbors a wish. He would like to be an
eyewitness when the IRA blows its arms up.

In the meantime, with the IRA's words echoing through the
headlines late last week, Bill Flynn prepared himself for a

The guest of honor would be Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness,
but also around the table would be longtime friends, Henry
Kissinger and Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve

"They had the greatest doubts about all this you know,"
said Flynn of his peace missions.

"Now they're coming to say we're sorry for doubting you."

This story appeared in the issue of August 3 – 9


Haughey Commemorative Bust Planned For Dingle

Anne Lucey

A commemorative stone and bust to former taoiseach
Charles Haughey is likely to be unveiled on the pier in
Dingle town later this month. The unveiling is expected to
take place during the annual Dingle regatta.

Kerry County Council has granted planning permission to The
Dingle Fishermen's Association to erect a stone topped with
a bronze bust of Mr Haughey on a limestone base. The
monument will be 1.8m high and will include a plaque. Work
is to begin next week.

The site at the edge of the main pier was chosen "to offer
the best viewing opportunity" to the public as well as the
least disruption to fishermen and other pier users,
according to the fishermen's application.

The monument is being erected with the co-operation of the
Dingle Harbour Commissioners, who manage the harbour, as
well as the Department of the Marine.

Mr Haughey, who holidays on his island Inis Mhic Aoibhleáin
(Inisvickillane) in the Blasket islands, is a regular
visitor to Dingle. Until recently, he started the Dingle
regatta each year and is credited with the transformation
of the harbour. Two years ago, because of ill health, he
was replaced by his eldest son, Conor, a former rower in
the regatta.

A member of the Haughey family is expected to unveil the
statue at this year's regatta in late August.

© The Irish Times


Charlie Is Crowned King Of Puck Fair

Anne Lucey

The 2005 King Puck - a grey goat with cashmere brown
trimmings, has been caught after an epic chase spanning
almost five days.

After a feed of willow, ash and wild herb yesterday King
Puck was presented to the cameras. He is to be named King
Charlie, a name that is "open" to interpretation as
referring to Prince Charles, Charles Haughey or Charlie
McCreevy, chief goat-catcher Frank Joy said.

At one stage Mr Joy despaired of catching any wild goat
this year, he admitted yesterday.

In more than 1,000 years of Puck Fair, wild goats had never
been so scarce, Mr Joy said, blaming their retreat on the
growth in one-off housing, much of it holiday homes. "Too
much development is spoiling the countryside. There are
very few unspoilt areas left."

The French-Irish team of goat-catchers had to reach the
cliffs overlooking Dingle Bay at Kells before coming near
any suitable puck. They finally caught him near Rossbeigh.
For the first time the hunt was co-ordinated by search team
members using radio equipment.

It began on Wednesday in the Glencar valley on the
mountains overlooking Caragh lake, now one of the most
expensive and sought-after property locations in Kerry.

The team searched the wild, unspoilt countryside of the
Lord of the Rings-style valley at the foot of Carrauntoohil
until well after dark, but were forced to abandon the

"You wouldn't get them [ the goats] out with a helicopter,"
Mr Joy said.

At Keelkeigh near Kells, they came within 10 feet of a
"beautiful black-and- white puck" but he scaled a ledge
directly underneath them and it was too dangerous to
attempt to catch him.

On Sunday, in a hunt which began on the Seefin mountain -
where for the first time there was no herd of wild goats -
they spotted their quarry over the Rossbeigh Inn and in
full glare of sunbathers.

As has been the case in the past, the hunt had an Irish-
French contingent and included Frank Joy, Michael Hoare,
Paul Mevel and Franck Guerineau. The fair begins on August
10th and will draw and estimated 100,000 visitors. King
Charlie will be crowned by 12-year-old Niamh O'Connor, this
year's Queen Puck.

Meanwhile, acting county council area engineer Des
Fitzgerald has denied claims of the fair being struck by a
water shortage. Kerry County Council does not anticipate a
water shortage during Puck Fair. There had been a problem,
but that was more than a fortnight ago.

However, reservoirs are now full due to recent heavy
rainfall and broken pipes have also been replaced, Mr
Fitzgerald said.

© The Irish Times

To Index of Monthly Archives
To August 2005 Index
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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