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September 10, 2005

Catholic Critical After Sectarian Attack

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 09/10/05 Catholic Man Critical After Attack By Gang
SF 09/10/05 OO Can’t Distance Themselves From Attacks
BT 09/10/05 Pull Back From Edge- Call After Gun Attack
NL 09/10/05 Loyalist Graffiti On 2 Catholic Churchs
BB 09/10/05 Man Is Bailed Over Church Attacks
NH 09/10/05 Loyalists Discussed Sawing Up Catholic
SF 09/10/05 Adams Calls For Calm For Springfield Parade
BT 09/10/05 Paisley & Empey’s Bid To Overturn March Ban
BB 09/10/05 PSNI: Appeal For Calm Ahead Of Parade
BT 09/10/05 Hoax Was To Lure Security Forces Into Ambush
BB 09/10/05 Hain: 'Free' NI Policing From Politics
BT 09/10/05 Opin: Let Assembly Limit The NIO
IO 09/10/05 Fresh Calls For All-Ireland Strategy On Suicide
BT 09/10/05 Sacked Warder: 'I Was Suicidal'
ND 09/10/05 Hungerstrike: 'People Will Definitely Die'
IO 09/10/05 Swimmers Get Ready To Take To The Liffey


Man Critical After Attack By Gang

A man is in a critical condition in hospital after being
attacked by a gang of up to 10 men in east Belfast.

The 29-year-old, believed to be a Catholic, was discovered
lying on a river walkway at the junction of the
Albertbridge Road and Short Strand.

He had sustained a head injury and was given emergency
treatment at the scene.

The gang, wearing peach, pink, or yellow tops, were all
seen running up the Ravenhill Road. A sectarian motive has
not been ruled out for the attack.

The police said they did not know at this stage why the man
was singled out.

Witnesses are being urged to contact the police.

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey said he believed the
victim was attacked because he was Catholic.

"There is no doubt that these incidents do rise in the
number, and very often the intensity, depending on what the
current political situation is," he said.

"Belfast this week has been caught up in a whole series of
protests and there has been a lot of political controversy
over these parades.

"I have no doubt that that in some way goes on to inflame
others at grass-roots level and to carry out such attacks."

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers condemned the attack
which he described as "savage and horrendous".

"I hope and pray that the man will make a full recovery.
There have been several similar incidents in this area over
many years and I call on the police to step up patrols," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/10 08:12:02 GMT


Orange Order Cannot Distance Themselves From On-Going
Sectarian Attacks - Alex Maskey

Published: 10 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast Alex Maskey has this
morning condemned the overnight attack which left a
Catholic man seriously ill in hospital and said that "the
Orange Order and unionist politicians cannot distance
themselves from such attacks and the tensions which flow
from contentious parades".

Mr Maskey said:

"I do not believe that this is dis-connected to the on-
going issue of sectarian parades.

"Last night a man was viciously set upon by up to 10 others
in a blatantly sectarian attack near the Short Strand area
and currently lies in a serious condition in hospital. The
Orange Order and unionist politicians cannot distance
themselves from such attacks and the tensions which flow
from contentious parades.

"It is more than coincidence that the last time there were
tensions around the Springfield Road parade, loyalists
entered the Short Strand and viciously assaulted a local
resident. Invariably, innocent nationalists bear the brunt
when tensions are raised, roadblocks are erected and
threats eminate from members of the Orange Order and
unionist politicians.

"Reg Empey as a representative of East Belfast seems more
concerned about a contentious parade in West Belfast than
to find time to address the ongoing campaign of violence on
his own doorstep." ENDS


'Pull Back From Edge' Call After Gun Attack

By Andrea Clements

10 September 2005

LOYALISTS in Co Armagh were last night urged to pull back
from the brink after the shooting of a man in Portadown,
less than 24 hours after a gun attack in Lurgan.

The incidents - thought to be linked to the feud between
the UVF and LVF which has claimed four lives in Belfast -
could spiral out of control, observers said.

A man was in a stable condition in hospital last night
after being shot in the Killicomaine area of Portadown at
around 2.50pm yesterday.

Police said a number of shots were fired at the car the man
was in, at Festival Road.

It is believed he managed to drive from the scene of the
shooting to Craigavon Area Hospital.

Police want to hear from anyone who saw a red scooter with
a rider wearing blue jeans, a white top and a red helmet
that made off towards Princess Way around the time of the

It follows an incident in the loyalist Mourneview Estate in
Lurgan on Thursday night.

A man was injured when a shot was fired through the door of
his Margaretta Close home.

Police last night said it was too soon to link the two
incidents and a motive was still being investigated.

Speaking out about yesterday's attack, Kenny McClinton, a
convicted murderer-turned-pastor who has been told by
police that he is under a UVF death threat, said: "These
people need to catch themselves on - it's a disgrace.

"It's nothing to do with loyalism or the loyalist cause.
These people are not loyalists."

Other sources said the situation in Killicomaine had
deteriorated recently, leaving elderly people scared.

Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson also condemned the
violence: "I'm saying to those responsible to take a step
back and review the situation.

"We don't want any more shootings or murders in the area.

"I'm asking those people involved to stand back and draw
back from something that could escalate and get out of

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the
incident to contact them at Portadown on 028 3833 2424 or
Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


'Crude' Sectarian Graffiti Slammed

Saturday 10th September 2005

A DISTRICT police commander said yesterday he was disgusted
by the daubing of sectarian slogans on two Roman Catholic
churches in his town.

The offensive graffiti was discovered in Banbridge, Co
Down, before 9am yesterday at St Patrick's Church on
Dromore Street and at St Theresa's Church on the Scarva

Police believe both acts of vandalism took place during the
early hours.

Superintendent Mervyn Waddell said he shared the sense of
shock and outrage in Banbridge at the incidents and vowed
to hunt down those responsible.

"Banbridge has enjoyed good community relations for years
and we will not let a small minority ruin that," he said.

"I am particularly disgusted by the offensive and crude
nature of the graffiti at a place of worship.

"Those responsible have not only caused unnecessary upset
to the local clergy and parishioners, but have shown
nothing but disrespect for their own community."

Mr Waddell said he had appointed detectives to carry out
house-to-house inquiries and also appealed for broad
support in the community to isolate and identify those

Yesterday, Banbridge Church of Ireland Minister Elizabeth
Hanna visited the scenes of what she described as
"terrible" attacks.

She said she intended to express her sympathies to the
clergy at both St Patrick's and St Theresa's.

"I fail to understand why people target any church, they
are sacred buildings and no Christian person could support
this kind of vandalism," she said.

"It may simply be someone who is disaffected themselves, it
may not necessarily have any political overtones."

Rev Hanna said she had experienced little in the way of
sectarian feeling since she moved to the Banbridge area
last year.

"The clergy in the district have terrific relationships
with one another," she said.

"People in the district are neighbourly and they get on
with one another.

"I came to the area a year ago and I've found nothing of
the serious tensions that there are in other parts of the

It was also reported that further graffiti appeared in
Linenhall Street at the same time, threatening Banbridge's
first ever Sinn Fein councillor, Dessie Ward.

Mr Ward said he recently condemned similar paint attacks on
Protestant families, homes and cars, a recent one being in
Rathfriland, and called for similar across the board
condemnation from unionists.


Man Is Bailed Over Church Attacks

A man arrested in connection with attacks on two Catholic
churches in Banbridge has been released on police bail
pending further inquiries.

St Patrick's Church, Dromore Street, and St Teresa's
Church, Scarva Road, were both daubed with sectarian
graffiti in overnight attacks.

It is understood both churches were targeted by hoax
bombers last year.

Parish priest Canon Liam Stevenson said they had prayed
that there would be no retaliation for the attack.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/10 09:47:04 GMT


Loyalists Discussed Sawing Up Catholic

(Barry McCaffrey and Sharon O'Neill, Irish News)

A Catholic man spoke yesterday (Thursday) for the first
time of how loyalists discussed cutting up his body with a
saw after they mistakenly thought they had stabbed him to

Michael Reid (31) was speaking as Neill White (30) of
Wakehurst Road, Ballymena, appeared in court awaiting
sentence for the savage March 2003 attack.

The judge said the case had an added significance because
of the ongoing problem of sectarianism in Ballymena.

Mr Reid had been visiting a Protestant friend's house in
the Harryville area of the town when brothers Neill and
Aaron White and another man arrived.

After discovering that Mr Reid was a Catholic, Neill White
wrapped a telephone cable around his neck and tried to
strangle him. When his brother, Aaron, took over choking
the victim, Neill White stabbed Mr Reid in the head, back
and neck.

At the same time he was repeatedly beaten over the head
with a frying pan.

As Mr Reid fell to the floor and pretended to be dead his
attackers continued to stab and kick him. They then
discussed using a saw to cut up his body.

When Aaron White and the third man left the house to find a
saw Mr Reid tried to escape but was caught by Neill White
and stabbed again.

After a scuffle he managed to escape and was found by
police collapsed on the road.

Speaking for the first time yesterday of his ordeal, Mr
Reid said: "They were shouting 'Die you fenian bastard,
die' as they stabbed me.

"There was blood everywhere.

"I remember lying on the ground and listening to them
discussing how they were going to cut up my body to get rid
of it.

"I was only able to escape because two of them left the
house to get a saw and the fact that I am 6ft 4ins.

"If I had been smaller or they had all stayed in the house
I wouldn't be alive today."

Police found Neill White (30) in the house, but his brother
Aaron and the third attacker have never been caught.

Mr Reid fled Ballymena after the attack and has been in
hiding ever since.

Raising concerns that two of his attackers are still at
large, he said: "I think it is a disgrace they have never
been caught.

"I think the police could be doing more to catch these

"Why hasn't Aaron White's picture appeared in the
newspapers or on Crimewatch?

"My life will never be safe until they are behind bars."

Trial judge Mr Justice Coughlin said that the attempted
murder had clearly been sectarian and that the case had an
added significance because of the ongoing problem of
sectarianism in Ballymena and Northern Ireland as a whole.

Neill White, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder in
June, is expected to be sentenced at a later date.

September 10, 2005


Gerry Adams MP Calls For Calm Ahead Of Springfield Parade

Published: 10 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Gerry Adams has called for
calm ahead of this afternoon's contentious Orange Order
Parade on the Springfield Road.

Speaking at lunchtime Mr Adams said:

"I would appeal to nationalists and republicans to remain
calm today, it is clear that there are those who are intent
on whipping up sectarian tensions around this parade". ENDS


Parade tension mounts

Paisley And Empey Make Joint Bid To Overturn March Ban

By Lisa Smyth
10 September 2005

AMID mounting tension ahead of today's Whiterock parade,
unionist leaders Ian Paisley and Sir Reg Empey joined
forces last night in last minute bid to get approval for a
banned section of the march.

The DUP and UUP leaders, whose parties have traded insults
for much of the last decade, appeared to act in a renewed
spirit of unionist unity when they held a joint meeting
with chief constable Hugh Orde yesterday evening.

They presented him with what they described as "new
evidence" in support of the Orange parade.

The evidence - which was not disclosed to the media - was
then given to the Parades Commission in a last ditch
attempt to force the march along part of the Springfield
Road in west Belfast.

The unionist visit to Sir Hugh was followed by a meeting
between the police chief and the SDLP, including MLA
Patricia Lewsley and Belfast councillor Margaret Walsh, who
urged him to resist unionist pressure to overturn the ban.

Tensions in the city have been building since last week,
when the Parades Commission announced the annual march
would not be allowed to pass through security gates on
Springfield Road.

The parade had been due to take place in June, but the
Orange Order decided to postpone the event when, following
opposition from nationalist Springfield Road residents, the
Parades Commission initially announced its intention to
force marchers to follow an alternative route through the
former Mackie's site.

Since last week's decision, Orange supporters have launched
a series of road blocks at various points in the city and
last night senior Belfast Orangeman, Dawson Bailie, called
for unionists to take to the streets to register their
protest at the decision.

He said: "It is worth remembering that No 9 District,
supported by the local parades forum, postponed their
parade in June to avert serious trouble and the West
Belfast PSNI have consistently failed to consult with the
local Protestant community regarding the Whiterock parade -
a fact recognised by the government.

"Yet in spite of all the risks taken, the responsible
leadership shown and the pain suffered by the local
communities, the parades forum and the Orange Order are
faced with yet a further attempt to humiliate and suppress
our culture.

Mr Bailie said that nationalists and republicans would come
to understand that "exercising a cultural veto through
their Parades Commission puppets" would not be allowed to
continue without there being consequences.

"We are no longer prepared to tolerate the erosion of our
British identity and cultural traditions as a consolation
prize for republican fascists who failed to achieve their
so-called Ireland of Equals through their murderous terror

"Therefore, the County Grand Lodge call on their members
and friends to actively support the Whiterock parade and
any legitimate protest action that the wider unionist
community may be forced to take over the coming weeks."

Amid fears of possible unrest in the city if Orangemen are
not allowed to follow their intended route, Assistant Chief
Constable Duncan McCausland appealed for peace in the city.

He said: "I recognise there is tension across the
community, I am asking people not to let that tension

"No one wants to see a situation where a parade or protest
descends into violence and disorder. People get injured.
Property gets damaged. Life can be put at risk.

"Whole communities who want nothing more than to get on
with their lives are disrupted. It is the responsibility of
each and every one of us to do our best to avoid that."


Appeal For Calm Ahead Of Parade

Belfast's most senior police officer has said he fears
loyalist paramilitaries may cause trouble at the re-routed
Whiterock parade on Saturday.

Marchers are barred from going through security gates on
Springfield Road.

After a request by unionists on Friday, the Parades
Commission reviewed its ruling but did not change it.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland appealed to
community representatives to prevent tensions rising at the
Orange Order parade.

"I am concerned tomorrow may bring some disorder, but I am
also hopeful that common sense will prevail," he said.

It was re-routed by the Parades Commission through the
former Mackies site instead of Workman Avenue, off the
mainly nationalist Springfield Road.

A feeder march on "a non-contentious part" of the road has
been allowed by the commission.

Mr McCausland said their role was to police the
commission's determination but that tensions surrounding
the parade have "no policing solution".

On Friday, Springfield Road at Lanark Way was closed for a
time as loyalists protested the re-routing for a third day.

In a statement, the Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge said
"in spite of all the risks taken," the Orangemen were
"faced with a further attempt to humiliate and suppress
their culture".

It said nationalist and republicans would come to
understand that "exercising a cultural veto" through their
"Parades Commission puppets" would not be allowed to
continue "without consequences".

DUP leader Ian Paisley and the UUP's Sir Reg Empey have met
with Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde about the parade route.

They submitted what they said was new evidence to the
Parades Commission, asking the body to review its decision,
but their request was refused.

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Harry Prichard has urged both
marchers and protesters to abide by the commission's

"I understand that there are many concerns and worries
about freedom to express culture, to achieve justice and
equality and about human rights," he said.

Earlier, Sean Paul O'Hare from the Springfield Residents
Group said tension in the area was high.

"People need to take a step back. They need to look, in
terms of their language and they need to appeal for calm,"
he said.

The Orange Order first shelved the re-routed parade in
June, which had been opposed by nationalist Springfield
Road residents. It was re-scheduled for Saturday, but again

In its determination on the march, the Parades Commission
cited "a possible adverse effect on community relations" if
the march was allowed on the Order's preferred route.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions
on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on
controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/10 07:39:20 GMT


Hoax Alert 'Was Set Up To Lure Security Forces Into Ambush'

By Brendan McDaid
10 September 2005

A HOAX bomb investigation that ended in widespread violence
was set up by nationalists to lure police and Army into
Londonderry's Bogside, an SDLP MLA claimed last night.

Army and police officers came under a hail of petrol bombs
thrown by a 100-strong mob while attending the scene of the
bomb scare.

One PSNI officer was treated for minor injuries after being
hit with missiles pelted by the gangs as police pulled out
of Fahan Street after the four-hour operation.

Bricks, stones and around a dozen petrol bombs were fired,
police said.

Gangs of youths had gathered in clusters in neighbouring
areas during the operation.

Foyle MLA and SDLP Councillor for the Bogside Pat Ramsey
claimed the hoax had been orchestrated to lure the officers
into the area before springing an attack.

He added that a similar situation had been orchestrated
earlier this week but the situation had been diffused.

Dozens of residents from Fahan Street and neighbouring area
were evacuated for over four hours after the suspect
package was found at about 1pm in the middle of a main
route into the city centre.

The violence comes as Bogside youth worker Dominic Bonner
announced he was "throwing in the towel" after attempting
to stop nationalist youths from the area becoming involved
in interface violence.

Mr Ramsey said of the last night's attacks: "Those who
carried it out are staging this type of events to draw
police in.

"Clearly this is the work of people who want confrontation.

"There are elder boys coercing and encouraging this. There
is a level of orchestration behind it."

He added: "What the hell are the parents of these young
people doing?

"They must be telling them it's OK to do this."

Mr Ramsey, who lives in the area, said that little respect
was being shown for the wider Bogside community.

"It is the elderly people of Fahan Street and St Columba's
Wells areas that are suffering.

"At the moment the people of the Bogside are being abused.
It is time we brought some pride back to the Bogside."

Elderly residents from Alexander House sheltered
accommodation, situated between the Bogside and Fountain
interfaces, earlier this week spoke of their anger and
disgust at the almost nightly sectarian violence.

Many said they now want to move out of the area.


'Free' NI Policing From Politics

Policing in Northern Ireland must be freed from the
political debate, Secretary of State Peter Hain has said.

Mr Hain, speaking to the British Irish Association in
Cambridge, said the PSNI had undergone massive change.

He said 65% of the 175 Patten Report recommendations on
policing the province had been fully implemented.

"My message to everyone - from loyalists to republican -
is: work with the PSNI and allow others to do so," he said.

With Sinn Fein still refusing to urge its supporters to
recognise the Police Service of Northern Ireland because it
believes reforms do not go far enough, Mr Hain said more
progress was being made on the remaining Patten

Mr Hain said in under four years, the composition of
Catholics in the regular force had risen from 8% to 18.41%
and that the proportion of women officers has gone from 13%
to almost 20%.

He also commended the leadership shown by the chief
constable in meeting the many challenges and opportunities
the PSNI faced in policing in Northern Ireland.

"Sir Hugh Orde and his officers have risen to the
opportunities given to them through policing in Northern
Ireland admirably," he said.

"Policing matters to people in Northern Ireland more than
ever before.

"People want to see professionalism, dedication and
courage. They must continue to have confidence in the
police service.

"That is why I said earlier this week that paramilitaries
will not be able to join the police.

"But equally we must continue to develop community
policing, including considering the introduction of
Community Support Officers who have been so successful in
Great Britain."

He added there cannot be a normal society without normal

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/10 07:43:47 GMT


Opin: Let Assembly Limit The NIO

By Barry White
10 September 2005

FINISHED. Finito. It's all over. Goodnight.

Those were my feelings on seeing those awful pictures from
Woodvale, with muffled-up youths trying to hit the jackpot
with petrol bombs on the police Land Rovers. Why bother
wondering if their manipulators are ever going to accept
the rule of law, let alone accept that a Sinn Fein Minister
could be running the police?

And if they did, by some miracle, would we be better off
than we are, relying on an NIO Minister to give the signal
- rarer than ever - for the Army to be called in? Would
Gerry Kelly command any more respect if he defended the
police for following up a UVF show of strength by finding a
gun and making arrests?

It's easy to get down-hearted, seeing loyalists ape
republicans in tearing their communities apart. What
business or individual would be happy driving into the
apparent war zone in parts of north Belfast?

Maybe the answer is simply to do what the police usually
do, and try to contain the problem. Don't waste time
wondering if the DUP and Sinn Fein can hammer out a deal.
Make do with direct rule, demeaning as it is; sure we don't
deserve any better?

But stop. Direct rule can't prevent self-inflicted damage
in north Belfast. It means that London will continue on its
merry way, forcing through whatever legislation it wants -
whether to expunge the records of the on-the-runs or add to
the burden of household charges, without local politicians
mounting a useful protest.

Is there anything short of full devolution that might put
politics and politicians back to work, as happens in local
government? We've heard the DUP's answer, letting all 108
members run the show, and the SDLP's, appointing
commissioners, but is there something more practical as a

Could we take a leaf out of the US book and use the
Assembly to confine the powers of the NIO, like Congress
inhibits the President? Would Peter Hain like having to
defer to the Assembly, if it decided to ease the pain of
water charges and rates increases?

It's not ideal - nothing is - but the alternative could be
low-level strife, a deepening political vacuum and
republicans concentrating on power in Dublin rather than
Belfast. How would that help community relations, or the

IN THE midst of cricket fervour, the BBC got their lines
crossed. Danny Morrison, the republican, received an £800
cheque for talking about the hunger strike, while Danny
Morrison, the New Zealand cricketer, got £30 for a series
of cricket commentaries. Others might have run to the
nearest bank, but the local man corrected the mistake.

THE LATE Lord Fitt has received well-deserved credit for
kick-starting the civil rights revolution with his devil-
may-care personality and PR instinct. When it degenerated
into violence he resented the slightest suggestion that the
pioneers had any responsibility whatsoever.

As an emotional, street-wise MP, he got caught up in the
panic of August 1969 and looked to the Irish Government for
help. The late Capt James Kelly was always ready to testify
against Gerry's interpretation of events, but was never

Fitt, who happily lived 40 years after I saw him carried
out of Stormont with a burst ulcer, gathered reams of tapes
and documents for the biography that was never written.
(People were too scared of his tendency to sue.)

Let it be warts and all, honouring his unique gifts while
showing him for the entertaining chameleon that he was.
This week a Sunningdale participant remembered him sitting
at the fire, ordering g and t's and asking "Have they
agreed yet?"

And there was a legendary pub crawl of north Antrim, asking
if anyone had heard of his companion, Graham Greene?


Fresh Calls For All-Ireland Strategy On Suicide

09/09/2005 - 18:04:54

Health ministers on both sides of the border today faced
fresh calls for an all-Ireland approach to tackle rising
suicide levels.

On the eve of World Suicide Awareness Day, Gerry Adams,
Mary Lou McDonald, former Stormont Health Minister Bairbre
de Brun and other Sinn Féin representatives signed an open
letter urging Health Minister Mary Harney and her Northern
Ireland Office counterpart Shaun Woodward to adopt a more
integrated approach.

The letter welcomed the Department of Health and Children's
announcement of a 10-year plan for suicide prevention in
the Republic of Ireland.

"Like the work of the suicide taskforce in the Six
Counties, the real impact of this announcement will be
measured by implementation and its effect on local
communities," the party's five MPs, five TDs and two MEPs

"Meanwhile, in the Six Counties, the Department of Health
is committed to producing a strategy position in the next
two months.

"Sinn Féin believes that suicide prevention must be
promoted in an integrated, holistic strategy which is
resourced and implemented as one across the 32 Counties.

"No political or legal obstacle should be put in the way of
all-Ireland action on suicide prevention."

Almost 500 lives are claimed on average in the Republic
each year by suicide, with men under 35 years accounting
for around 40% of all suicide deaths.

North of the border, it is estimated another 150 people
take their lives each year.

Earlier this week, Tanaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney
announced State agencies and interest groups would be
involved in a 10-year suicide prevention plan to lower the
death rate.

Mary Harney said the national strategy would target the
general population as well as specific groups such as young
men, prisoners and unemployed people.

Last month Northern Ireland Office Health Minister Shaun
Woodward urged the North's taskforce at a conference in
Belfast to consider a survey of people affected by suicide
which could inform future policy decisions.

Sinn Féin said while suicide was a global problem, the
increase in suicide levels throughout the island of Ireland
had been higher than in most countries in Europe.

"Many of those campaigning for strategic action on suicide
prevention have in the past justifiably criticised the lack
of urgency shown by Health Departments in Belfast and
Dublin," Mr Adams and his colleagues said.

"In recent months, announcements have been made by both
administrations which suggest a changing attitude at
government level, forced upon them by the survivors,
families and campaigning groups.

"Whilst we welcome statements of intent, the real test for
both governments will be in delivering on their

Meanwhile a young unionist welcomed the launch of a new
Internet lobbying campaign by Northern Ireland's
Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams
urging action from the minister.

Kenny Donaldson said the 'Message for the Minister'
campaign on the commission's website would help raise

"Suicide as a term has in the past invoked silence, people
have preferred not to speak of its causes openly," the
Newry and Armagh UUP member said.

"Sadly many families and indeed society at large know what
its effects are.

"The task for government and wider society is to have the
issue, its causes and effects discussed openly."


Sacked Warder: 'I Was Suicidal'

By Brian Hutton
10 September 2005

A FORMER prison officer who denies any links to the LVF
yesterday said she had contemplated killing herself when
she was sacked from her job.

Caroline Murdoch, from Lisburn, broke down sobbing at an
industrial tribunal in Belfast where she is fighting to be
reinstated in the Prison Service, where she worked for 14

The 39-year-old was sacked after drugs squad officers
raided two properties belonging to her in October 2003.

The tribunal heard that she was in a relationship with a
member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service flute band,
who was the son of a long-serving prison officer.

She denied that he was involved with the LVF.

Miss Murdoch had moved to a £216,500 house in King's Chase
in Lisburn with the help of a government programme after a
bullet was found at her previous residence at Barbour

Police raided her new home in October 2003, damaging two
doors and leaving it unsecured, she claimed.

She was forced to stay at an unoccupied apartment at
Saintfield Mews, which she was trying to sell or let out.
Two men called to see her the following morning but as
police arrived with a search warrant the men escaped
through a window.

Nobody was arrested or convicted in relation to the raids.
Miss Murdoch said that when she asked why the property was
being raided the police "totally ignored" her.

She later received a letter from the Prison Service
informing her that she had been suspended as a result of
the searches and based upon further information from the

Miss Murdoch had been suspended before - in 1999 -
following a search at her home but was then reinstated some
months later.

She said that when she was re-vetted she fully disclosed
her friendship with Mr King and that Prison Service were
fully aware of this.

Miss Murdoch said she was never cautioned about her
relationship with Mr King.

The Prison Service told Miss Murdoch after the second
suspension that she had so seriously compromised her
position as to become a security risk.

She said she was devastated when dismissed from the £31,000
a year post.

"I was actually suicidal at that stage," she said.

The case continues.


'People Will Definitely Die'

Guantanamo inmates resolute in 2nd month of hunger strike -
13 are being force-fed - to protest conditions

By Letta Tayler
Staff Writer
September 10, 2005

Scores or even hundreds of inmates at the U.S. military
base in Guantanamo Bay are entering the second month of a
hunger strike that has led to the hospitalization of at
least 15 prisoners, the Pentagon and defense lawyers said

Many detainees and their lawyers believe some of those
fasting may starve to death to protest conditions at the
controversial military outpost in Cuba. Thirteen inmates
are being force-fed intravenously.

"People will definitely die," detainee Binyam Mohammed, an
Ethiopian-born British resident, said in one of several
statements from inmates that defense lawyers recently

"Bobby Sands petitioned the British government to stop the
illegitimate internment of Irishmen without trial,"
Mohammed continued in reference to a famous Irish
Republican Army inmate who died during a hunger strike in a
British prison in 1981. "Nobody should believe for one
moment that my brothers here have less courage."

The hunger strike is the fifth among the foreign-born
Muslim inmates at Guantanamo, all but four of whom are
being held indefinitely without charges as part of the U.S.
war on terror. The protest is likely to fuel further
controversy over the base, which has been accused of
denying inmates due process and subjecting them to physical
and emotional abuse.

The Pentagon denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement
that it is "constantly looking for ways to improve
conditions" for detainees.

"The United States operates a safe, humane and professional
detention operation at Guantanamo," said Navy Lt. Commander
Alvin Pexico, a Pentagon spokesman. He described the base's
legal procedures for detainees - which defense lawyers are
barred from attending - as "appropriate."

According to base spokesman Sgt. Justin Behrens, 89 of
Guantanamo's 505 inmates are on the current fast, which
began Aug. 8. Behrens said 15 inmates were hospitalized and
are in stable condition. The Pentagon defines a hunger
strike as missing nine meals over 72 hours.

Defense attorneys said more than 200 inmates are fasting
but some are accepting small amounts of liquid or
occasional meals to prolong the strike.

Prisoners are demanding trials in U.S. courts, as well as
such improvements as better food, bottled drinking water,
more reading materials and greater religious freedoms.

"It's a dire situation because the military is refusing
reasonable negotiation," said Clive Stafford Smith, a
prominent British attorney representing several detainees.
"It is incredible that the U.S. government is denying these
inmates fair trials even if the alternative is that they
could die of starvation." He said the military refused to
let him see one fasting client and threatened to arrest him
for being a hunger-strike ringleader - which he denies -
when he was visiting Guantanamo in mid-August.

More than 200 prisoners participated in the June-July
hunger strike and about 50 had to be fed intravenously,
according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New
York-based civil rights group. Behrens said 68 inmates

In declassified statements, detainees said they'd halted
the previous fast after Guantanamo officials promised
improved conditions. They said they resumed the hunger
strike after some improvements didn't materialize and more
inmates were beaten or subjected to psychological abuse.
Guantanamo officials denied those allegations but refused
to answer repeated queries on what they promised or

The detainees' statements paint a scene of gruesome
desperation during the previous hunger strike, with
prisoners vomiting blood or collapsing in their cells.

"Many more people have fallen unconscious. ... More are
taken to hospital," wrote detainee Omar Deghayes, a Libyan-
born British resident, adding that he felt "like dead" from
fasting. " ... I think things are getting worse and it will
go out of control," he added.

The military has not declassified most detainees'
statements about the current strike.


Swimmers Get Ready To Take To The Liffey

10/09/2005 - 09:31:25

The 85th annual Liffey swim takes place in Dublin today.

Around 300 swimmers are expected to brave the waters of the
capital's river despite continuing health concerns about
the safety of the Liffey water.

There will be separate men and women's sprints from Watling
Street Bridge to the Customs House.

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