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September 12, 2005

3rd Night of Loyalist Violence in Belfast

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BB 09/12/05 More Loyalist Violence In Belfast
IT 09/12/05 Cars Set On Fire As Trouble Flares In Belfast
IT 09/13/05 Blaming Others As Locals Wreak Havoc On Own
IO 09/12/05 Bush Envoy Warns Unionist Leaders: 'Uphold Law'
IT 09/13/05 Hain Set To Cite UVF For Breach Of Ceasefire
IT 09/13/05 Minister Urges All Groups To Condemn Rioting
IT 09/13/05 British Conference On NI Policing Criticised
TO 09/13/05 Unionist Violence Needs Careful Handling
IO 09/12/05 Colombia 3 Must Not Cloud Relations- US Envoy
SF 09/12/05 Gerry Adams To Travel To U.S. This Week


More Loyalist Violence In Belfast

A third night of loyalist violence has erupted in Belfast
following the re-routing of a contentious Orange Order

Soldiers and police have been attacked with petrol bombs,
blast bombs and fireworks in the Crumlin Road area.

An officer received head injuries in west Belfast and
petrol bombs were thrown at New Barnsley police station.

Police moved water cannon onto the Shankill Road after
being attacked by rioters throwing petrol bombs.

Cars have been set on fire in the Ligoneil Road in the
north of the city and on the Kilcooley estate in Bangor.

Youths threw stones from Roden Street onto the Westlink in
south Belfast.

The Fortwillliam exit of the M2 and the Grosvenor Road have
been closed because of disturbances.


Drivers have been advised to avoid the area.

Earlier, road and rail traffic leaving the city was
disrupted by security alerts and protests.

The blockades followed intense rioting by loyalists over
the weekend.

Unionists said there had been a build-up of resentment
within their community because of the government's handling
of the peace process.

Derriaghy Road at Milltown in the west of the city was
blocked by protestors, as was Broadway in west Belfast.

The main Lisburn to Dunmurry road was also closed due to a
protest by a crowd of between 50 and 60 women, but has also
been reopened.

A PSNI spokesperson said the protest, described as
"unofficial but peaceful," ended at about 1800 BST on

Protestors at Tates Avenue in the south of the city and
Twaddle Avenue in north Belfast have now moved off and the
the roads have been reopened.

Meanwhile, a number of businesses in the city were reported
to have closed early on the advice of the police following
the recent rioting.

It is believed callers claiming to be police officers
contacted several businesses in the city centre.

However, a PSNI spokesperson said police had not telephoned
anyone or given any such instructions.

Trouble began in the city on Saturday after the Parades
Commission refused to change their decision to allow the
Orange Order's Whiterock parade to pass through a
nationalist section of Springfield Road.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/12 22:05:30 GMT


Cars Set On Fire As Trouble Flares In Belfast

Last updated: 12-09-05, 21:48

Sporadic trouble has been reported this evening in Belfast
with two cars being set on fire at the junction of the
Crumlin and Ligoniel Roads and reports of petrol bombs
being thrown at a police station.

Crates of petrol bombs and paint bombs were seized tonight
during police searches at Ligoniel, Officers also prevented
a bus from being hijacked on Crumlin Road, police said.

Nearly all of a series of the rush hour road blockages had
been cleared by 9pm. Derriaghy Road in the west of the city
was blocked by protestors along with Broadway in south

Crowds threw petrol bombs at New Barnsley Police Station as
the base in west Belfast came under attack for the second
night running.

In south Belfast stone throwing was reported on the
Westlink motorway section. Part of the M2 route out of
Belfast was closed at the Fortwilliam junction due to

Unionists said there had been a build up of resentment
within their community because of the government's handling
of the peace process.


Blaming Others As Locals Wreak Havoc On Own Neighbourhood

Dan Keenan

The clear September morning brought with it another
simple clarity. Belfast's loyalist streets awoke to the
debris and destruction left from the havoc its people
brought on themselves.

It looked like the darkest days of Drumcree in the 90s, the
hunger strikes in the 80s, the unbridled violence of the
70s or the kindling of the Troubles in the 60s.

Yet the backdrop to the rubble, the embers and the glass
splinters glinting in the sunlight was not the grimy,
impoverished streets of two-up, two-downs from Belfast's
recent decades.

This destruction was set against the lines of neat, modern
homes with their hanging baskets and cars parked outside.
Belfast's new makeover was disfigured by the old disease.

Unlike those black-and-white memories from the bad old
days, this devastation had not flowed from one "side"
laying siege to the other. This was a community that had
attacked itself yet seemed blind to the results of its own

Along the Shankill Road in west Belfast, shopkeepers
counted the cost of the damage and denounced everyone other
than the hordes who had inflicted it.

In north Belfast, MP Nigel Dodds discovered his
Newtownabbey office had been engulfed in the arson attack
aimed at the business next door.

In east Belfast, side streets off the Albertbridge Road
smouldered amid the traffic chaos caused by the levelling
of every road sign, traffic light and bus stop for hundreds
of metres.

Rioters had commandeered a mechanical digger, gouged out a
cashpoint machine from a filling station and demolished
everything vertical along the length of the road.

By mid-morning, the joke about getting money from the hole-
in-the-wall was doing the rounds.

Locals told reporters from the BBC and UTV that the Parades
Commission was to blame. Others said they couldn't support
the PSNI against the rioters because the word "Royal" had
been stripped from its title. Their lines were like
something written for a ninth-rate farce.

It was as if there were two Belfasts - but this time not a
green version with an orange counterpart. This new division
was between those who found this smouldering destruction
explicable, if not justifiable, and the rest who could do
little more than shake their heads.

British ministers demanded to know where the unionist
leaders stood. Did they condemn the violence and back the
police? It was a Yes or No question, but the very length
and complexity of some of the answers told its own story.

© The Irish Times


Bush Envoy Warns Unionist Leaders: 'Uphold Law'

12/09/2005 - 18:26:08

Unionist leaders should be barred from serving in
government in Northern Ireland if they cannot uphold the
rule of law, United States special envoy Mitchell Reiss
said today.

After some of the most intense rioting seen on Belfast
streets for years, Mr Reiss called on unionist politicians
to reassert their authority over their communities.

"No political party and no responsible leadership deserves
to serve in government unless it wholly and unconditionally
supports the police and calls on its constituents to do the
same," he said.

President George W Bush's envoy held a 30-minute meeting
with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin after meeting
politicians and police chiefs in Belfast. He also toured
riot-ravaged loyalist housing estates.

Mr Reiss said everybody had been disheartened by the

"It is a time for the unionist leadership to really assert
itself because this type of behaviour is completely
unacceptable," he said.

"It doesn't serve anybody's agenda except for the lowest
common denominator. Let's hope that the political
leadership and the police can help calm things down."

The stark warning was issued as Ireland's Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern and Northern Ireland Secretary
Peter Hain called on leaders at a local level to take
control of their communities.

Both men agreed it was incumbent on those on all sides to
do their utmost to restore calm to the city streets which
were turned into a battlefield over the last two nights.

The pair held a 15-minute phone conversation to discuss the
relentless weekend rioting which has left a string of
loyalist estates no-go areas.

Mr Ahern, who is in New York for a United Nations summit,
also raised the on-going intimidation and harassment of
Catholic families in parts of north Belfast and Co Antrim.

Nationalists' homes in Ballymena, Rasharkin and in
flashpoint areas near the Crumlin Road have borne the brunt
of sustained attacks for several weeks.

The intense violence came to a head at the weekend as
hundreds of rioters pelted police with a barrage of petrol
bombs, blast bombs, rocks and bottles. Loyalist gunmen
entered the fray firing 50 rounds at police lines.

Mr Ahern praised the work of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI) in trying to quell the trouble and he
expressed his sympathy with officers injured by rioters and

The pair will keep in contact over the coming days to keep
a close eye on the situation in the north. It is understood
they will meet when Mr Ahern returns from New York.

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs are on the
ground in the North to monitor the situation.


Hain Set To Cite UVF For Breach Of Ceasefire

Belfast and flashpoint loyalist areas of Northern Ireland
remained tense last night as the Orange Order rejected
allegations by senior political and police figures that it
bore a huge responsibility for weekend loyalist violence.
Gerry Moriarty, Dan Keenan and Liam Reid report

Northern Secretary Peter Hain signalled yesterday that he
will specify the UVF in the coming days - that is declare
that it is no longer on ceasefire. While the UDA was also
caught up in the trouble, police believe the violence was
mainly orchestrated by the UVF.

He condemned political leaders who failed to support the
police. "I would have thought all responsible political
leaders, especially those who aspire to govern Northern
Ireland in a devolved ministerial capacity, as I want them
to do, should be on the side of law and order and on the
side of the police and speaking up for the police in these
circumstances. There's been a deathly silence from all the
major political parties which I think speaks for itself."

Police reported sporadic outbreaks of violence in Belfast
and other areas last night. New Barnsley police station in
west Belfast was petrol-bombed while there was stone-
throwing and two cars were hijacked and set alight on the
Crumlin Road.

A bus was also hijacked on the Shankill, it was reported.
There were disturbances at Roden Street and on the
Westlink. Police also reported incidents in other areas of
Belfast, Antrim town and other towns last night but they
said the violence was not as intense as at the weekend.

So far 21 people have appeared in court arising from the
loyalist violence at the weekend.

Protesters staged pickets at the major Belfast arterial
roads at teatime, causing rush-hour gridlock. The traffic
disruption began to ease around 7pm. As darkness fell the
PSNI and British army were on standby to deal with any
further outbreaks of violence.

At least 50 PSNI officers, scores of rioters and many more
innocent people caught up in the trouble or attacked by
loyalists were injured in the two days and nights of
violence that convulsed Belfast and other Northern towns
over Saturday and Sunday.

One police officer, who sustained serious eye injuries in a
loyalist blast bomb attack, was in a critical condition in
hospital. A senior UDA man was treated for serious injuries
after a blast bomb attack.

Despite coming under strong criticism from PSNI chief
constable Sir Hugh Orde, Mr Hain, the Parades Commission,
Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Alliance Party and others, the
Orange Order refused to accept any culpability for the

The order refused to make any official comment but Mr
Dawson Bailie, district master of the Order in Belfast,
told the BBC, "As far as I'm concerned the people to blame
for that are the secretary of state, the chief constable
and the Parades Commission, fairly and squarely." He added:
"I'm not condemning anything at this moment in time."

DUP leader Ian Paisley said he tried to thwart the
violence. He denied that his comments last week warning
that the re-routed Whiterock parade on Saturday could
"spark" trouble created the potential for violence.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey condemned the violence and said
there must be acknowledgment of deep-seated alienation
within the loyalist community.

In Dublin, President Bush's special Irish peace envoy, Mr
Mitchell Reiss, called on unionist politicians to reassert
themselves in their communities. He said "no political
party and no responsible leadership deserves to serve in
government unless it wholly and unconditionally supports
the police and calls on its constituents to do the same".

He was speaking after a 45-minute meeting with the
Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. Both men called for IRA
decommissioning to be carried out as soon as possible.

The Taoiseach said the IRA's July statement needed to be
"borne out by actions" and he believed this could provide
an opportunity to inject renewed momentum into the process.

Mr Reiss said he hoped IRA decommissioning would be carried
out sooner rather than later.

He said it was the quality of the decommissioning that took
place, as opposed to the amount of material involved, that
was of most importance. "I can be patient if we're going to
get the type of decommissioning we all want to see. I'm
confident that it's coming some time soon."

© The Irish Times


Minister Urges All Groups To Condemn Rioting

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

All politicians and community leaders, including the
Orange Order, must condemn the widespread street violence
and fully support the PSNI, junior minister David Hanson
has said.

In his first major speech as political development
minister, David Hanson used the first public address by a
minister since the IRA statement to chart the political
path ahead.

He demanded a straight answer from politicians as to where
they stood in relation to the convulsion on the streets of
Belfast and the police response.

Speaking at Queen's University Belfast as traffic chaos
developed in response to loyalist street protests, Mr
Hanson set out the government line.

"All those with influence, both unionist politicians and
those in leadership within the Orange Order, must publicly
condemn, without equivocation, the per-petrators of this
violence and give their full support to the PSNI," he said.

Mr Hanson referred positively to the IRA statement of last
July in which the organisation said its campaign was
formally over.

Employing careful language, he said: "The clarity of the
IRA's message - and the lack of conditionality - marked it
out as potentially different to statements we have
previously seen. It does potentially commit the IRA to
peaceful means and to a complete cessation of all

"The IRA's statement holds out the prospect that those
activities are at an end," he said. "We entirely understand
that some will be cautious and will not accept those
commitments at face value."

However, Mr Hanson said independently verified
decommissioning by the IRA of all illegally held weapons
"remains an essential ingredient of rebuilding trust and

The minister's speech was carefully drafted to take account
of the weekend violence and the continuing disruption on
the streets of Belfast. But its tone was one of steady
continuity in policy and it was upbeat about a return to
devolution at Stormont if democratic conditions were met.

The Orange Order remained tight-lipped yesterday, refusing
to add to its criticism of Sir Hugh Orde, the PSNI chief

However, the most senior Orangemen in Belfast, Dawson
Bailie, told the BBC his organisation was not responsible
for the trouble. He said he would refuse to condemn

"As far as I'm concerned the people to blame for that are
the Secretary of State, the chief constable and the Parades
Commission, fairly and squarely."

In a statement, the Parades Commission, which ordered the
rerouting of last Saturday's Whiterock march, said: "Those
who call people on to the streets must accept their role in
the violence which follows such calls."

The DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, stood by his warnings
that the rerouted march could provide the spark to a fire
that may not be put out.

"I was telling the truth. I said I was very, very worried,"
he said. "At that time I was in the midst of trying to get
a way whereby this would not happen. And it has happened -
my words have been proved to be right."

Sir Reg Empey, the Ulster Unionist leader, said there was
no excuse for the shooting and rioting. But he added: "We
must analyse what went wrong. Why did communities that are
normally peaceful and law-abiding erupt in such an
astonishing way?" Everyone had to take some of the blame,
he said, including the Parades Commission for "petty and
inconsistent" rulings, the PSNI for heavy-handedness and
the British government for "undermining democrats".

© The Irish Times


British Plans For Conference On NI Policing Criticised

Frank Millar, London Editor

The DUP and the SDLP have voiced concerns about British
government plans for an international conference on
policing in the North, to be held next spring.

US special envoy Mitchel Reiss yesterday offered
reassurances that the proposed conference was the result of
an American initiative when he met a DUP delegation in

However, Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr has said he
believes the conference is intended to produce a "Patten
Mark Two" blueprint for further concessions to Sinn Féin,
in an effort to win republican endorsement of the policing
dispensation in the North.

Chris (now Lord) Patten - whose international commission
led to the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and its
reconstitution as the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI) - is understood to have been invited to attend the

Senior SDLP sources last night expressed private concern
that British ministers might hope to win Lord Patten's
endorsement for changes beyond the original Patten
Commission proposals, specifically in relation to vetting
procedures for recruits to the PSNI and its proposed part-
time reserve, as well as those applying to the recruitment
of additional community service officers.

Sources in the DUP and SDLP say that there is no need for a
conference to review progress on the implementation of the
Patten proposals since an oversight commissioner already
has that task.

In recent meetings with Northern Ireland Secretary Peter
Hain and security minister Shaun Woodward the SDLP
leadership has been pressing for assurances that the
British government will abide by the original Patten
proposal to exclude from the police people with criminal
records and those with a "background" in terrorist or
criminal activity.

The SDLP is also opposing British funding for a "community
restorative justice" scheme, currently said to operate in
Belfast, Derry and Newry outside the criminal justice
system and without reference to the PSNI.

Mr Hain is expected to address these issues in a speech to
the Police Federation tomorrow.

© The Irish Times


Ulster on edge

Unionist Violence Needs Careful Handling

Differences that appear small, minimal even, to an outsider
can be momentous from within. Just 126 paces separated the
route that the Shankill Protestant Boys and the Sons of
Ulster wanted to march along this weekend, and the route
they were allowed to take by the Northern Ireland Parades
Commission. The ruling was the excuse for three days, so
far, of the worst rioting that Belfast has seen for years.
Police officers have had to brave petrol bombs, rocks and
gunfire. Violence has spread to loyalist areas of other
towns. Many of those hurling the missiles have been
children. It is a reversion to grim days.

There is never an excuse for such violence, least of all
when the pretext is a rerouted parade. And that is just
what it was, a pretext. It was "loyalists" against the
Police Service of Northern Ireland and British troops. This
is a disturbing and potentially destabilising moment. There
is plenty of evidence to suggest that the violence was
preplanned. The hand of Ulster's banned paramilitary
groups, the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster
Volunteer Force, is apparent. Equally worrying is the way
that the Orange Order has unwittingly or wilfully allowed
itself to be dragged into the fray. This is an alliance
that must not be allowed to stand. The aim of the
paramilitaries is to extend their support from "loyalism's"
wider fringes in East Belfast into the Unionist mainstream.
It is imperative that Unionist leaders stand up to this

Unionism is showing signs of dangerous instability.
Political concessions to Sinn Fein and the IRA have
convinced many Unionists, wrongly, that the political
process holds no promise for them. It is understandable
that some loyalists feel they have been bypassed by any
dividends from the peace process. Many lives have not
improved economically or socially, and such deprivation
inevitably fuels anger.

These are testing days for Ulster. The wrong move could do
untold damage to the peace process. This makes it vital for
the authorities to tread with firmness but also with care.
Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, is right to
take a deep breath before pronouncing whether the UVF has
breached its ceasefire. IRA decommissioning is imminent.
The last thing that the peace process needs is for
"loyalist" gunmen to run amok. The current violence must
become the death rattle of Unionist extremism rather than
the opening of a new chapter of horror. At all costs, the
brutalising of another generation must be avoided.


Colombia Three Must Not Cloud Relations, Says US Envoy

12/09/2005 - 18:10:56

The Colombia Three issue must not cause difficulties in
relations between Ireland and the US, it was claimed today.

US envoy on Northern Ireland Mitchell Reiss said the re-
appearance of the three alleged IRA members in Ireland
after eight months on the run from terrorist offences in
Colombia was a concern but should not be allowed to sour
transatlantic ties.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who spent last week holding
official meetings in Colombia, said yesterday that Bogota
authorities will serve extradition papers on the Irish
Government this week to force Jim Monaghan, Martin McCauley
and Niall Connolly serve out their 17-year sentences in the
South American state.

Speaking after a 30-minute meeting with Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern in Dublin today, Mr Reiss said of the Colombia Three:
"Obviously it's a concern to the US.

"Dublin and Washington may have disagreements from time to
time but let's not lose sight of the bigger picture here.

"We don't want the issue to cause problems in the broader
relationship. I don't think there are muddy waters. Dublin
and Washington are extremely clear on where each one

"Let's see how this issue plays out and before jumping to

The three men, who were convicted by a Colombian appeal
court last December of training Farc rebels, were
voluntarily questioned by gardai last month but later

Mr Reiss also said that IRA decommissioning should be
carried out sooner than later, and it must be definitive.

"I can be patient if we're going to get the type of
decommissioning we all want to see. I'm confident that it's
coming some time soon."

The Special Envoy, who was accompanied by the US ambassador
at the meeting with Mr Ahern also passed on the sympathy of
the Irish people to Mr Reiss and US Ambassador James Kenny
on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Mr Reiss said: "He expressed the sympathy and support on
behalf of the people of Ireland on what the people of the
US have been going through for the past weeks and months,
and it is very much appreciated.

It hasn't been an easy time for us. But we're going to get
through this and it is always easier with the support of
good friends like Ireland.


Gerry Adams To Travel To U.S. This Week

Published: 12 September, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will travel to the US
later this week. On Thursday 15th he will brief members of
Congress in Washington DC on the peace process and the
difficulties arising as a result of ongoing unionist
violence. In New York he will speak at the launch of the
Clinton Global Initiative at the invitation of former
President Bill Clinton.

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