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August 15, 2005

What Are DUP & UUP Doing To End Feud?

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SF 08/15/05 Exactly What Are DUP & UUP Doing To End Feud?
EX 08/15/05 Loyalist Assassins Pledge More Killings
DI 08/15/05 Loyalist Vendetta
IT 08/16/05 Appeals To End Feud Have Fallen On Deaf Ears
DI 08/15/05 ‘Sickening’ Graffiti Condemned
SF 08/15/05 PSNI Failure To Investigate Bomb
IT 08/15/05 'Three' Should Not Be Jailed – McDaid
IT 08/15/05 Lecturer Says Violent Republicanism Is Over
UT 08/15/05 Govt Under Fire Over Kelly Release
BT 08/15/05 Firefighters: 13 Blazes As Violence Flares
DI 08/15/05 Preserve Rebel Site - An Taisce

(From Notes of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, a young lawyer working in the Reagan administration:

“When asked whether Reagan should write the Irish ambassador on a letterhead that said "An Teach Ban," Gaelic for The White House, he (Roberts) wrote the idea was "a little cute for my tastes, but I have no legal objections."

Roberts advised checking the translation, adding, "For all I know it means 'Free the IRA'.)


What Exactly Are DUP And UUP Doing To End Unionist Paramilitary Campaign?

Published: 15 August, 2005

Commenting on the shooting dead of another loyalist this morning in Sandy Row as part of the ongoing feud South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey said:

" This morning's killing is the latest in the current UVF/LVF feud which has gripped certain parts of the city over recent weeks. The ongoing feud has masked from public view ongoing sectarian attacks being carried out by all of the unionist paramilitary gangs across areas of the six counties.

" Given the fact that unionist politicians have for decades tolerated and in some instances encouraged the sectarian anti-catholic campaigns of the various unionist paramilitaries it is not credible to suggest that they are powerless to act in the face of this latest feud.

" Both the DUP and UUP sit on various forums and commissions with the leaderships of the UDA and UVF. They are quite happy to do this while at the same time ignoring the democratic mandate of others. However given their unique position of influence with the hierarchies of the unionist paramilitaries people have a right to know what they are doing to stop ongoing sectarian attacks and indeed stopping this internal killing feud." ENDS


Loyalist Assassins Pledge More Killings After Store Worker Shot Dead

By Alan Erwin

LOYALIST paramilitaries who assassinated a delivery driver outside a south Belfast shop have pledged to intensify their onslaught against rival terrorists, it was claimed last night.

Michael Green, 42, was ambushed yesterday as he arrived to open up the furniture store where he worked. The father-of- three was shot at least five times by two Ulster Volunteer Force gunmen.

He was the fourth man to be murdered since the organisation’s festering feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force erupted into an all-out shooting war.

Yet sources close to the UVF, which has carried out all four killings, warned there will be no let up until its enemies are wiped out.

“They have to disappear, they have abused this society for too long,” one said.

Mr Green, a father of three from the Ballysillan district of north Belfast, was gunned down outside Gilpins Furniture Store on Sandy Row.

A colleague witnessed the attack but was too shocked to talk about what he had seen, a staff member said. Gilpins, where Mr Green worked for 12 years, did not open its Sandy Row branch after the shooting.

Northern Ireland Office Minister Lord Rooker described it as a callous and cold-blooded murder. He said: “This horrific murder bringing nothing but pain and grief to yet another family. There’s no place for gangsterism in the loyalist community or anywhere else.”

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

Michael McGimpsey, a senior Ulster Unionist representative, claimed previous chief constables would not have allowed such a situation to develop.

But Detective Superintendent George Hamilton, the officer in charge of police attempts to halt the feud, insisted the force was doing all it could.

Alasdair McDonnell, the SDLP MP for south Belfast, also condemned the shooting.


Loyalist Vendetta

Zoe Tunney

An arson attack on a grocery shop and newsagents in north Belfast is being linked to an ongoing loyalist vendetta against the national Sunday World newspaper, raising fears of serious injury or worse to shopkeepers, newspaper staff and delivery drivers.

Two men walked in to a Spar shop on the Antrim Road at around 10:50am yesterday morning and set fire to a bundle of papers before walking out of the shop again.

The shop, which is near the loyalist heartland of the lower Shankill Road area and the Crumlin Road, was extensively damaged in the attack.

A male shop assistant and his young female colleague escaped without injury and but were treated for shock and smoke inhalation.

They were alerted when they heard noises in the shop and smelt smoke.

The shop has been closed indefinitely.

The UDA is suspected of being behind the arson attack. In recent weeks a number of shop owners have reported threats to their staff and businesses by callers who claim to be loyalist paramilitaries.

Those making the threats have ordered the newsagents to stop stocking the popular Irish weekly, the Sunday World. The paper has a reputation for fearlessly reporting paramilitary, drug-dealing and racketeering stories each week.

In September 2001, one of the paper’s investigative reporters, Martin O’Hagan, was shot dead by loyalists near his Lurgan home.

The Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for his murder.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association often operate under the cover name, the Red Hand Defenders.

A former northern editor of the Sunday World, Jim Campbell, was badly wounded in loyalist murder attempt on his life in 1984.

The Dublin-based newspaper has a staff in the north working on all areas of loyalist gangland criminality and drug-dealing.

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed they had received a number of complaints from newsagents in the greater Belfast area who say they have received threats from people claiming to be loyalist paramilitaries.

In each case the shop owners have been ordered to stop selling the Sunday World.

Police received calls from shops in Belfast and from areas outside Belfast City including Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Castlereagh and Newtownards.

Speaking about yesterday’s attack the PSNI spokesman said they were “keeping an open mind” about the motive behind it.

This is not the first time loyalists have targeted the Sunday World.

In 2003, a similar “boycott” was only lifted after management at the paper agreed its journalists would speak to a UDA spokesperson for verification on stories.

In yesterday’s edition, the paper contained stories about the UVF connection to the murder of 15-year-old Thomas Devlin, a UDA link to the murder of GAA man, Sean Brown, a UFF taping scandal, and a botched petrol bombing allegedly ordered by north Belfast UDA brigadier, Andre Shoukri.

Irish organiser for the National Union of Journalists in Ireland said the threats on newsagents was unacceptable in today’s society.

Des Fagan said: “This basically equates to censorship of the media by a bunch of thugs.

“This type of thing is not supposed to go on in any society never mind one which is supposed to have moved in to an era of peace.”


Appeals To End Feud Have Fallen On Deaf Ears

Loyalists say the UVF is impervious to appeals to end the feud and will stop only when the LVF is wiped out or disbands, writes Gerry Moriarty

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey posed what seemed a reasonable question after the latest victim of the Ulster Volunteer Force-Loyalist Volunteer Force feud was gunned down in broad daylight in central Belfast yesterday.

"What exactly are the DUP and the UUP doing to end the unionist paramilitary campaign?" asked Mr Maskey, as the body of Mick Green from Ballysillan in north Belfast lay under a sheet on Sandy Row close to Gilpin's furniture store where he worked for about 12 years.

The 42-year-old married father of three children was shot several times after he arrived by motorbike to his work. He was a soft target and while he may have had some tenuous LVF "associations" was not directly involved in the organisation, according to loyalist sources.

Sinn Féin has taken to using the phrase "unionist paramilitaries" as opposed to loyalist paramilitaries, apparently to try to create a guilt by association connection between these organisations and the DUP and UUP. Both unionist parties reject allegations of any such link.

The DUP, however, is now the main unionist party and many working-class loyalists vote for the party. That's obvious from the success of the DUP and the failure of the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to the UVF, to make any political progress.

Four people have died in Belfast in fewer than seven weeks in this latest manifestation of the UVF-LVF feud, three of whom at most had LVF "associations". The UVF was responsible for all the killings, although the LVF was also involved in attacks. Recently, the UVF brazenly took over the loyalist Garnerville area of east Belfast and forced several LVF-connected families out of the area.

The PSNI was accused of allowing the UVF act unhindered in Garnerville and of failing to thwart UVF attacks since the first killing in this latest round of murders, that of Jameson Lockhart in east Belfast on July 1st. The police in turn say their operations have prevented further deaths but that they can't have patrols everywhere.

Most unionist and loyalist sources agree that in this internecine dispute there "will only be one winner" and that's the UVF because it is the stronger organisation. Mainstream unionist politicians insist that they have no influence on the UVF.

They back up this by noting that recently the PUP leader David Ervine has said that even with his connections he can't stop the attacks.

One loyalist source close to the UVF agreed that the organisation distrusted the DUP. "But now that the DUP is the dominant unionist party maybe it should do more to at least try to influence the UVF," he said.

Another senior loyalist source countered, "If David Ervine can't do anything how can the DUP or UUP?" He said that senior UVF leaders told him there was absolutely no point in Protestant politicians or clerics or community activists trying to intervene because the UVF has no intention of listening. "The UVF has a simple agenda, to wipe out the LVF in Belfast. They say they plan to do the same in Lurgan and Portadown, where the LVF has some strength. Whether they can do that I don't know, but they certainly believe they can destroy the LVF in Belfast," the source added.

There is a deadly perverse logic to the UVF's thinking. "They say they can't fully get involved in the peace process if they are looking over their shoulder all the time at the LVF. They see the LVF as unfinished business," said the source.

It's brutal mean streets stuff which means nothing to the wife, children and loved ones of Mick Green. But the way this loyalist describes it, the only way to end the dispute is for the LVF to disband.

© The Irish Times


‘Sickening’ Graffiti Condemned

Ciara McGuigan

Sickening graffiti in a loyalist area referring to the recent double rape of a teenage visitor to west Belfast has been described as “utterly disgusting” by a local councillor.

The graffiti claims that the attack was perpetrated by “west Belfast joyriding scum”.

It also suggested that the motive behind the brutal attack was because the victim was English.

The graffiti appeared on the side of mixed private and Housing Executive accommodation at Rathmoyne House, Dunmurry.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler described the graffiti as “sick”.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that someone would write this over such a horrific incident and I doubt that this reflects the attitudes of people in Seymour Hill, as I’m sure the people of that community would join with those in west Belfast in condemning this terrible attack,” he said.

Councillor Butler’s condemnation of the graffiti came just hours after a 16-year-old boy was charged in connection with the rape of a 15-year-old girl on Blacks Road just over a week ago.

The teenage boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at a special sitting of Craigavon Magistrates Court on Saturday morning accused of aiding and abetting in the rape of the young girl, but denied the charges.

The youth was also charged with four counts of robbery and assault, and a number of other offences. He made no reply when the charges were put to him.

The girl, who was on holiday from England, was raped twice, at first on the forecourt of a filling station, before being ordered across the road to the car park of the Colin Valley Golf Centre where a second rape took place.

The accused is due to appear again, via video link, at Lisburn Magistrates Court later this month.

Meanwhile, West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has received an on-air apology from UTV following a news report last week which falsely claimed that the councillor had advised people in west Belfast not to approach the PSNI with evidence relating to the horrific double-rape of the 15-year-old girl.

Councillor Ferguson last night welcomed the apology.

He said: “Sinn Féin’s focus from the outset was to see the perpetrators of this horrendous crime brought before the courts.”

UTV apologised for any distress or confusion caused by the broadcast.


PSNI Failure To Investigate Bomb Shows Tolerance For Unionist Violence

Published: 15 August, 2005

West Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley has accused the PSNI of tolerating unionist violence after they failed to carry out any sort of forensic investigation after a pipe bomb attack on a republicans home in Beechmount on Friday.

Cllr. Hartley said:

" We hear much in the media from PSNI Chief Hugh Orde and those politicians who offer his force blind support about the professional nature of the organisation. The reality on the ground in recent days paints a very different picture.

" Their failure to follow up vital leads in the horrific Blacks Road rape case has already been well documented.

" In addition to this last Friday a pipe bomb device was left outside the home of a republican in Beechmount. The British Army carried out a controlled explosion on the device before the PSNI began to carry out a forensic examination. Such was the woeful effort put into this by the PSNI that they did not even bother to collect that pieces of the bomb which were scattered around the street. Pieces of the device were collected by local people long after the PSNI left the scene.

" This clearly sends out a very clear message that the PSNI are neither interested nor willing to even pretend that they are serious about dealing with ongoing unionist paramilitary violence in this city. What other possible explanation for this failure to collect the most basic pieces of evidence could there be? It seems that the traditional toleration of unionist violence continues at a time when republicans are attempting to rebuild the political process in the wake of the recent historic move from the IRA." ENDS


'Three' Should Not Be Jailed - McDaid

Liam Reid

Former Government minister and sitting Fianna Fáil TD Dr Jim McDaid has criticised a Government suggestion that the "Colombia Three" might serve their jail sentences here, and described it as "not a runner".

He was reacting to last week's suggestion by Tánaiste Mary Harney that a prisoner transfer convention should be examined to see if it could be applied to the case of the three men, who were sentenced to 17 years in Colombia last year for training Farc guerillas. Colombia would first have to sign up to the agreement however.

Ms Harney made the suggestion in the wake of legal advice that it was unlikely Irish authorities could accede to an extradition request in the absence of an extradition treaty.

Speaking from his Co Donegal constituency, Dr McDaid said he did not think the three men, Jim Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley should be extradited to Colombia, nor should they serve their sentences here.

He had serious concerns about how the three were convicted by a three judge court of appeal in private "who didn't call any witnesses and just read the transcripts of the earlier trial where they were acquitted".

Dr McDaid said the three should not be required to serve a sentence that had gone "from 17 months to 17 years".

He described the prisoner transfer possibility outlined by Ms Harney as "a non-runner", and said they could not be jailed here "on the basis of the judgment in Colombia". He said that if there was a case to be answered in Ireland by the three men, they would have to be tried again.

He did not believe the three would face long prison sentences if convicted of travelling on false passports. "As far as I would know from my limited knowledge, the transgression, while I'm not going to call it trivial, it wouldn't attract major sanctions," he said.

© The Irish Times


Belfast Lecturer Says The Days Of Violent Republicanism Are Over

Parnell Summer School
Tim O'Brien in Rathdrum

There will be no new split in the republican movement leading to a return to violence in Northern Ireland, the Parnell Summer School in Co Wicklow was told yesterday.

Dr Eamon Phoenix, a media contributor on Northern politics and a lecturer at Stranmillis College in Belfast, said the Sinn Féin leadership "had succeeded where De Valera and Seán MacBride had failed" in convincing the IRA to disarm.

"The tragedy is that it took the lives of 3,500 people," he said. Dr Phoenix said that while nationalists believed "history will be on their side" in relation to a united Ireland, most were currently concerned with issues such as foreign direct investment.

"Northern Ireland now has the strongest equality laws in Europe . . . the sense of injustice that was there a generation ago is not there".

However, the Independent Wicklow councillor, Tommy Cullen, said some people believed the Belfast Agreement ceded for the first time a moral right to the British government to rule part of Ireland. In the light of this he asked Dr Phoenix if another split in republicanism was not inevitable, followed by a return to violence.

But Dr Phoenix said the strength of the success of Sinn Féin in convincing the IRA to disarm meant those who may have been expected to argue for an armed struggle were quiet.

"You see letters to the paper from them, but it is the end of major challenges from violent republicanism," he said.

Steven King, a former adviser to David Trimble, said he believed the Belfast Agreement did cede the moral right to rule Northern Ireland to the British government.

Mr King said it was always appreciated, "particularly in the 26 counties", that the Ulster Unionist Council had been a stabilising force in unionism, mediating between conservative and liberal forces.

"You think of the Ulster Unionist Council stuffing ballot boxes, but the only time that was really done was probably to keep a Paisleyite out," he joked.

"In the early years the council attempted to educate both communities together, but it was stymied by an unholy alliance of the Catholic Church and the Orange Order. From the 1930s there were more and more people in government from a more visceral Presbyterian background."

In terms of relationships with the South, Mr King said a unionist "would have to be a fool" not to notice recent changes in the 26 counties. He said the jury was out on recent economic gains in the Republic, but taxes were higher than in Northern Ireland and social welfare was not as good.

© The Irish Times


Govt Under Fire Over Kelly Release

The British government was accused tonight of playing fast and loose with public safety after disclosed that IRA bomber Sean Kelly's was recently released from prison without any consultation with the police.

By:Press Association

Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister accused Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain of taking a blatantly political decision when he freed Kelly last month.

The north Belfast republican, who was jailed for carrying out the 1993 Shankill Road fish shop bomb which killed nine civilians and his accomplice Thomas Begley, was originally freed in 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement.

However in June his early release licence was revoked by Mr Hain and he was returned to jail because of involvement in unspecified terrorist activity.

Within weeks, unionists were outraged when Kelly was released from Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim on the eve of an IRA statement declaring an end to its armed campaign.

Mr Allister confirmed today: "In a response to my representations to the Secretary of State over his decision to release Sean Kelly, Lord Rooker (replying on Hain`s behalf as the SOS is on holiday) has confirmed that Kelly was released without consulting the PSNI or taking their advice.

"Considering that Kelly was detained because he was believed to be "a danger to others if he were at liberty", I am astounded that a decision was reached on a matter so entwined with the public`s safety without any consultation with the police.

"To me this confirms the brazenly political nature of Hain`s decision and the fact that the demand of the IRA Army Council meant more to him than any possible police view.

"Clearly, Kelly could not have been detained without consultation with the police, but he was granted political release without even the façade of seeking a police view.

"This is a Government clearly prepared to play fast and loose with public safety all in the interests of serving a greater political gameplan. This is the politics of deals, not honour."

Sinn Fein welcomed Mr Kelly`s release last month, insisting he should never have been jailed in the first place.


Firefighters Tackle 13 Blazes After Violence Flares Over City

Petrol bombers target Fountain
By Brendan McDaid
15 August 2005

Appeals for calm were made today in Londonderry following another night of violence across the city.

Fire and Rescue crews were called to 13 blazes in one of the busiest nights of the year.

Most of the attacks were concentrated in the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain areas.

Meanwhile, in the Waterside police were today trying to locate a taxi driver after a hoax pipe bomb was discovered outside Annie's Bar in the Strabane Old Road area of Gobnascale at around 2.55am yesterday.

Police today said they believed the device was thrown from a car.

It is understood a taxi was seen in the area at the time.

Violence erupted in Derry following Saturday's Apprentice Boys' parade, with the Fountain Estate repeatedly attacked by petrol bombers.

More than 20 petrol bombs were fired into the area from nearby nationalist flashpoints, with one family narrowly cheating death after their home was hit five times.

In a continuation of the attacks, a petrol bomb was thrown from the Bishop Street area into the estate this morning, igniting on a road.

Meanwhile, shortly after midnight, fire and rescue officers from Northland Road station were called to deal with a burning car blocking the Lecky Road flyover in the Bogside.

Sub-officer Sam Donnell said his crew were unable to deal with the hijacked vehicle, because they had come under attack from youths who also warned them to stay away from the area.

A second car was set on fire at around the same time in the nearby Moore Walk area of the Brandywell.

Meanwhile, earlier today six petrol bombs were thrown over a wall into the Royal Mail sorting office in Little James Street. Two vehicles belonging to the Post Office stationed inside the compound were damaged. Police say they are keeping an open mind on the motive for the attack.

Bonfire material, collected across nationalist estates ahead of tonight's traditional celebrations marking the feast of the Virgin Mary's Assumption, was also set on fire overnight.

This morning, Foyle PSNI Chief Superintendent Richard Russell appealed for people not to allow tonight's bonfires to descend into further violence.

And he praised the work of community leaders in the Waterside interface of Currynierin and Tullyally after last night's bonfire in the area passed off peacefully.

Peter Anderson, Sinn Fein councillor for the Bogside, said that despite several incidents at the weekend the community had helped stop the situation spiralling out of control.

"Tensions have been a bit high since the march, but I am hoping that now the marching is over people will become a lot more sensible," he said.

Northland Road Fire and Rescue Service sub-officer Sam Donnell advised people to enjoy themselves but to be mindful of dangers.


Preserve Rebel Site - An Taisce

The last refuge of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising should be converted into an interpretative centre before it becomes a ruin, the heritage watchdog An Taisce said last night.

An Taisce yesterday set up a working group to save the future of 16 Moore Street in Dublin, where wounded rebel leaders wrote the surrender note that ended the short-lived rebellion against British rule.

The watchdog’s antiquities and national monuments committee yesterday called for urgent action on the issue at an emergency meeting in central Dublin.

Committee spokesman Dominic Dunne said: “Half the slates on the building’s roof are missing, and the elements are getting in.

“We believe that the site should be converted into an interpretative centre to honour its historical and cultural significance.”

The house is owned by the Carlton Development Group, which had planned to develop a large site around Moore Street into a retail centre.

However, the scheme is now the subject of a legal dispute.

The National Graves Association also called for the building to be developed into a tourist attraction.

Mr Dunne said: “Next year is the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising and it would be a shame if we don’t have this resolved by then.

“This building is part of the shared history of Britain as well.”

Thomas Clarke, James Connolly, Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett were among those who sheltered in the building and were later executed by the British for their role in the rebellion.

Dublin City Council has said that, although the building is not listed for its architecture, it is listed to be preserved because of its historical significance.

Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan, whose grandfather gave medical aid to James Connolly at the house during the Rising, has said he is outraged that the historic building should be allowed to fall into disrepair.

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