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September 05, 2005

Criminal Soldiers Must Leave Army

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News about Ireland & the Irish

VI 09/05/05 Criminal Soldiers 'Must Leave Army'
GU 09/05/05 Catholics Forced To Flee; Teenagers Used
SF 09/05/05 De Brún Challenges DUP On Loyalist Violence
IT 09/05/05 Geldof And Delany To Get Freedom Of Dublin
IT 09/05/05 German Tourist Rammed By Clare Dolphin

(On Sept 06, 1994 – Irish premier Albert Reynolds and Gerry
Adams commit to peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland.)


Criminal Soldiers 'Must Leave Army'

Campaigners are urging a change in the law to prevent
soldiers convicted of rape, murder or torture from
remaining in the army.

Families of recruits who died at the notorious Deepcut
barracks in Surrey have joined supporters of the family of
Belfast teenager Peter McBride to press for a "loophole" to
be closed.

Mr McBride, 18, was gunned down as he ran away from a
military checkpoint in the New Lodge district of North
Belfast in September 1992.

Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher served three years
in jail for the murder of the father-of-two, but were
allowed to rejoin the regiment and remain in the army.

At a meeting in London, timed to coincide with the
anniversary of the killing, Paul O'Connor, of the Pat
Finucane Centre, which organised the meeting along with
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, said: "The family can accept
the release; what they have never accepted is that they
remain in the British Army.

"While in jail they were visited by senior officers who
encouraged them to remain loyal to the armed forces and
said they would look after them."

He said the two soldiers were allowed back because of
Queens Regulations 9404 which states soldiers given a
custodial sentence should be dismissed unless there were
"exceptional reasons".

He added: "They (the family) have won the legal battle,
they have won the moral battle, but Wright and Fisher
remain in the military, one has been promoted."

Both soldiers had been sent to Iraq. "It has always been
our argument that if you send, as they did, two soldiers to
Basra and they are convicted of murder in Belfast, in a
European city, that sends a very clear message to other
soldiers serving with them in Basra ... and that fosters a
culture of immunity and impunity."

Peter McBride's mother, Jean, said: "Soldiers who kill, who
rape or who bully must face the full rigour of the law like
anyone else. Many different people are fed up with the lies
and cover-ups and the culture of impunity that exists at
the Ministry of Defence."


In a corner of Antrim another generation grows up on a diet
of sectarian hatred

Catholics Forced To Flee As Teenagers Are Used To Mount
Campaign Of Arson

Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Tuesday September 6, 2005
The Guardian

It began late one night when Kathleen McCaughey's front
door was kicked down by two men who stormed up the stairs
shouting: "Taigs out."

"Aren't you going to call me an Orange bastard?" asked one
of the men when Mrs McCaughey, 51, who has epilepsy, came
out of her bedroom in her dressing gown.

After five months of attacks including petrol and paint
bombs and a poster campaign calling her a republican
scrounger, she was given a few hours to clear her house and
leave the village of Ahoghill in Ian Paisley's North Antrim

Protestant children had been paid £5 each to sit on her
front lawn banging drums until she caved in. If she did not
go, she was told, her row of houses would be burned down.

The town of Ballymena and its surrounding villages are in
the grip of the worst wave of anti-Catholic sectarian
attacks for years and the police have been forced to adopt
the same tactics as the UN uses in Kosovo: guarding
Catholic churches, schools and Gaelic sports clubs at night
to stop them being torched.

Northern Ireland is slipping into the kind of civil strife
where people cannot tolerate the presence of their
neighbours, and it is being demonstrated at primary
schools. Two Catholic schools in the area were burned in
arson attacks within 24 hours last week. The head of
Northern Ireland's community relations council has said the
police patrols are unsustainable, adding that many people
would soon start to feel they could only live in Ballymena
with UN-style protection.

Ballymena is the buckle in Northern Ireland's Bible belt,
the seat of the Paisley family and a place that has been
likened to 1960s Mississippi. It is rural, conservative,
mainly born-again Christian and predominantly Protestant.
Catholics make up about 25% of the borough.

Ballymena's most famous Catholic son, the actor Liam
Neeson, has recalled having to shelter inside during Orange
parades in his youth.

But Mr Paisley, leader of the biggest unionist party in
Northern Ireland, was criticised for not condemning the
anti-Catholic attacks soon enough and doing little to
engage with his community to stop them.

Mr Paisley, who has always talked about his unbiased
dedication to the Catholics in his constituency, was
accused of moral cowardice and a lack of leadership. He
returned from holiday and condemned the attacks last week
but complained that, in the past, attacks on his church
headquarters in Belfast had not been condemned by Sinn

Mark Durkan, the SDLP's leader, accused loyalist
paramilitaries from the Ulster Defence Association of
orchestrating sectarian violence in north Antrim.

Police said it was more complex than a coordinated campaign
against Catholics, adding that teenagers and young boys had
been involved. A 13-year-old boy has been charged with
arson following last week's attack on St Louis' primary
school which destroyed one classroom and damaged 10 others.
A 15-year-old is also being questioned. Police have
recorded 28 significant attacks against Catholics,
including two attempted murders, and 14 attacks against

In Ahoghill, a village of about 1,000 people where most of
the attacks on Catholics took place, red, white and blue
flags fly on the grey estates.

There are scorch marks on the house of Mrs McCaughey's
niece, who was forced on to her roof when it was set ablaze
in a sectarian petrol bomb attack.

Fewer than a dozen Catholic families remain and for-sale
signs have gone up outside Catholic homes.

Many have sent word via their Protestant neighbours to
their tormentors on the estate that they are considering

Just as in other villages nearby, where police have been
protecting 50 Catholic properties, sectarianism has reached
the level where bigots are unafraid to state their views
but those opposed to them are afraid to speak out.

One of Mrs McCaughey's Protestant neighbours saved her
house from being burned down by chasing a petrol bomber
down the street in his underpants. He later received two
bullets in the post.

Mrs McCaughey, who plays the Gaelic game of camogie, is
half Protestant. "My mother was from [Belfast's] Shankill
Road, she was as orange as your boot, she was in every
lodge going," she said.

Like most of her siblings she married a Protestant but
mixed blood makes no difference in the latest sectarian

"I said I wouldn't shift for anybody," she said. "But it
just got to me. I've lived here all my life and I had never
had trouble until this summer."

In the nearby, predominantly Protestant, suburb of
Harryville, the Catholic church has been repeatedly paint
bombed and daubed with slogans such as "Fuck the Pope" over
the summer.

A group of local Protestants have helped clean the mess at
the church, which was picketed regularly by loyalists over
18 months during the Drumcree dispute of the 1990s.

St Mary's Catholic primary school in Harryville reopened
last week after five petrol bombs were thrown into the
canteen and library causing £1,000 worth of damage.

A report by the Institute for Conflict Research shows that
following the Good Friday Agreement in 1997, sectarian
violence has increased, with more attacks on churches,
Gaelic sports clubs and Orange halls than before the
ceasefires of 1994.

There have been sectarian attacks on both side of the
divide in north and east Belfast throughout the summer.

Dennis Bradley, the former Catholic priest who brokered the
first ceasefire and is now a member of the policing board,
said police alone could not solve the problem of the
sectarian attacks, which he blamed on the "nihilism of 14-,
15-, 16-year-olds" and "20- and 30-year-olds who are quite
sectarian in the sense that they cannot live with their

Other research recently has shown that children as young as
five or six are displaying bigoted ideas.

A generation is growing up more segregated and sectarian
than its parents.

How the attacks began

March: Campaign of intimidation against Catholic families
in village of Ahoghill begins. Police investigating a
firework attack on a Catholic home are pelted with bricks
and stones.

July: Two Catholic churches in Ballymena area are paint-
bombed and daubed with sectarian graffiti, in the first of
a series of church attacks over the summer. Two Catholic-
owned pubs attacked, another bar is petrol-bombed. After
petrol and paint bombs and arson threats, Catholic families
in Ahoghill begin leaving their homes. One woman is forced
on to her roof after the ground floor of her home set
alight in arson attack.

August: In an unprecedented move, police issue fire
blankets to Catholic homes in Ahoghill and tell residents
how to jump out of windows in case of sectarian arson

September: After two arson attacks in 24 hours on Catholic
primary schools in the Ballymena area, police begin night-
time guard of Catholic schools, churches and properties in
local villages. Police say they have recorded 28
significant sectarian attacks on Catholics and 14 on
Protestants since March 1.


Bairbre De Brún To Challenge Jim Allister In European
Parliament On DUP Response To Loyalist Violence

Published: 5 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening address the
European Parliament on the continuing campaign of loyalist
violence across the 6 counties. Ms de Brún said she would
use the forum to challenge 'DUP ambivalence to the
sectarian campaign waged against vulnerable nationalist

Ms de Brún is due to deliver a speech in the European
Parliament in Strasbourg this evening, highlighting the
ongoing campaign of intimidation against nationalists in
the North of Ireland and the potential for the peace
process in the coming months.

Speaking prior to delivering her speech Ms de Brún said:

"Throughout the summer months there has been a sectarian
onslaught against vulnerable catholic and nationalist
homes. Bricks, gunfire, petrol bomb and pipe bomb attacks
on catholic homes, schools and churches have been an ever-
present reality for many isolated nationalist communities.
Residents feel vulnerable and powerless in the face of
Unionist paramilitary intimidation. They feel angry at the
incompetence and inaction of the PSNI, and the relative
silence and inaction of unionist political representatives.

"In light of Ian Paisley's comments yesterday, I am
challenging my fellow MEP Jim Allister to translate these
words into action and to stand shoulder to shoulder with
his constituents in North Antrim, Dunmurry, Ardoyne and the
Short Strand. I am prepared to meet with Mr Allister to
discuss a cross community response to these attacks. It is
time for the DUP to stop burying their heads in the sand."


Geldof And Delany To Get Freedom Of Dublin

Olivia Kelly

Bob Geldof and Olympic gold medal winner Ronnie Delany
are to be awarded the Freedom of Dublin City following
their nomination by Lord Mayor Catherine Byrne at a Dublin
City Council meeting last night.

Ms Byrne said she was nominating Delany to honour his
achievement in winning a gold medal for Ireland at the 1956
Olympics. The honour, which comes just before the 50th
anniversary of his medal win, was "long overdue", she said.
She was nominating Geldof because of his work on behalf of
the people of Africa and his "courageous attempts to
eradicate poverty".

Ms Byrne's nominations were accepted by the council despite
an earlier attempt by the Fianna Fáil group to block the
process. In the first council meeting since the summer
recess, Fianna Fáil group leader Maurice Ahern said Ms
Byrne had not followed the proper procedures by failing to
put her nominations to the council's protocol committee.

He also said that by bringing forward two names, Ms Byrne
had risked not having unanimous support for her nomination.
"You had set the potential for this to be divisive and
compounded whatever problems people might have voting one
way or another," he said.Ms Byrne called a recess to allow
the Fianna Fáil group to consider the matter.

Following a 20-minute break she told the council she
believed she had brought forward her nominations in a
proper manner. She also said it was wrong for the Fianna
Fáil group to say it had not been informed about the people

Mr Ahern said they had never said anything against those
nominated. He said his only issue had been with the correct
protocol being followed and he hoped that both nominees
would accept the honour.

© The Irish Times


Tourist Rammed By Dolphin

Gordon Deegan

A German man was last night spending his second night in
hospital with abdominal injuries following a collision with
a dolphin off the Co Clare coast on Sunday evening.

The incident with the 41-year-old tourist yesterday
prompted Clare County Council's water safety development
officer, Liam Griffin, to issue a fresh warning not to swim
with the female bottle-nosed dolphin.

"Any incident that requires hospital treatment is serious
and the man could have been in very, very serious trouble
if he had been struck any harder by the dolphin," he said.

The man is in a stable condition at Ennis General Hospital.

The incident took place off the coast near the west Clare
village of Miltown Malbay. Mr Griffin confirmed that the
dolphin was the same one that had been attracting crowds
off the north Clare coast at Fanore for the past four

Chairman of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group Dr Simon
Berrow yesterday said incidents with the dolphin included
swimmers being rammed at speed, brought out to open water,
butted in the ribs and face or pinned to the seabed.

© The Irish Times

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