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September 21, 2005

Hain Challenges Loyalist Groups

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 09/21/05 Hain Challenges Loyalist Groups
BT 09/21/05 Edited Version of Hain’s Address
SF 09/21/05 Violence Was About Sectarianism Not Deprivation
BB 09/21/05 Dissidents Blamed For Bar Attack
IO 09/21/05 Politicians Condemn Assault On Board Official
BB 09/21/05 Telling The IRA Arms Story 'Is Vital'
NH 09/21/05 Lack Of Leadership Is As Criminal As Rioting
BT 09/21/05 Opin: 'Closed' Government Betrayal By Stealth
ND 09/21/05 Sportsman & Troubador Was A Man For All Seasons

(Poster’s Note: Rita might interrupt (or reduce) the flow of Irish News from here in Houston. Jay)


Hain Challenges Loyalist Groups

The NI secretary has said loyalist paramilitaries will not
be allowed to terrorise their own communities.

Peter Hain has announced a series of measures aimed at
addressing the problem of alienation in loyalist working
class areas.

He said violence and rioting must be left behind "if we are
to create a strong and prosperous NI".

Recent rioting, "as well as wasting public money" had
shaken international confidence in Northern Ireland he

"I accept that there are unionists who are deeply
suspicious," said Mr Hain.

"Even after a statement from the IRA that is unusually
clear, they wonder whether it will be carried through in
action or whether hopes will be dashed once again. I also
want to see the IRA deliver on its promises."

In response to rioting in unionist areas, he warned
paramilitaries they faced the full force of the law if they
did not abandon violence.

He said: "The choice for loyalist paramilitaries is clear:
play the political role that you claim as your motive, or
face the rigour of the law as the Mafia organisations into
which you seem to be degenerated.

"You will not be allowed to terrorise your own community".

He also accepted there were very real social problems in
loyalist areas.

Mr Hain announced a new role for David Hanson, who is
already the minister for political and social development.

He is to take charge of a new plan to co-ordinate efforts
in loyalist areas, involving intensive talks with elected
representatives and civil leaders from the Protestant

Mr Hain also accepted there was a perception that public
money going to these areas is siphoned off by the loyalist

The paramilitaries would not get their hands on any money
spent, he said.

The secretary of state said the focus of government support
and funding must be guided by and through elected
representatives, civic and church leaders and established
and proven community workers.

Rioting erupted

On Monday, Mr Hain denied the government was ignoring
Protestants after facing a loyalist protest in County

In his speech on Wednesday, he said future generations
could not be told that the government was "too preoccupied
with past or present political disputes to plan ahead for
their economic security and social future".

"Unless we can address these problems we will not be in a
position to face that future with the purpose and drive

"So the government cannot simply 'mind the shop' awaiting
restoration of devolution, but must take the necessary
decisions, however difficult and controversial."

Mr Hain said there needed to be more investment in
education, skills and child care, health, transport,
energy, water and communications.

"If we want Northern Ireland to be world class, have world
class public services - or indeed have even comparable
services to England, Scotland and Wales - locally raised
contributions must increase.

"This means increasing rates and introducing water charges
from April 2007. But it must be done fairly, and it will be
- with protection for those on low incomes."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said: "Last week's violence was not
about deprivation - it was about a failure to force a
sectarian Orange march through a Catholic area."

Meanwhile, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern has urged
industrialists on both sides of the border to consider
focusing additional funding on cross-community and social
inclusion projects in Northern Ireland, "especially in
republican and loyalist interface areas".

"Poverty, unemployment, deprivation and social exclusion
can all contribute to sectarianism. As can lack of contact
with neighbouring communities and traditions," he said in a
speech in Dublin on Wednesday.

"But these factors do not mitigate responsibility for
sectarianism; they do not excuse it."

Several days of rioting erupted in Belfast after the Orange
Order was prevented from marching down a nationalist
section of the Springfield Road.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs, blast bombs and
other missiles during the violence. Dozens of vehicles were
also hijacked and set on fire.

More than 60 people were arrested by police in connection
with the disturbances.

Last week, loyalists blockaded roads in Belfast causing
severe traffic disruption during rush hour.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/21 10:34:45 GMT



What Now For Loyalism?

An edited version of Secretary of State Peter Hain's
address to an invited audience at the Science Park in
Belfast today

21 September 2005

When I first envisaged speaking to you today, I planned to
focus on the challenges facing Northern Ireland in the next
two decades and how we can become a world class society
with a world-competing economy.

I still plan to do that, because it is in no-one's interest
for the Government to be deflected from preparing for that
future, however great the present political difficulties
may be. Whilst there are disputes about marches at home,
globalisation is marching relentlessly on and quite simply
we cannot postpone difficult policy and structural reforms
in Northern Ireland.

Today's five-year-olds, who will be completing their
education after 2020, deserve to enter a thriving job
market and need to be equipped with the skills that will be
demanded in that dynamic economy. It will be no consolation
to say to them in 15 years' time that Government was too
preoccupied with past or present political disputes to plan
ahead for their economic security and social future.

Nonetheless I need to address the very serious recent
events in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland,
partly because they are uppermost in all our minds at the
moment, but also because I think there is a link between
them and Northern Ireland's ability to face the global
challenges of the future.

Indeed, unless we can address these problems we will not be
in a position to face that future with the purpose and
drive required. Be under no illusions: the recent riots and
violence, as well as wasting public money, have shaken an
international confidence that was viewing Northern Ireland
with increasing optimism.

For most people across Northern Ireland, the events in
Belfast over the past two weeks have been a deeply
unwelcome throwback to the past. The horrific violence and
vicious attacks on the police were doubly shocking
precisely because we have grown used to the normality that
has returned to almost every part of Northern Ireland in
recent years. We have grown used to hard-won peace.

I have listened to the many grievances put to me in recent
days. I do accept that there is a sense of frustration and
anger within unionism, which has been expressed very
forcibly to me by Dr Paisley and Sir Reg Empey, leaders for
whom I have the greatest respect.

I want to address the other issues that have been put to
me, in the terms in which they have been put to me.

What has unionism got from the Agreement? I don't regard
that as a rhetorical question: there is an answer. For the
first time in the history of Northern Ireland, the Irish
Republic has dropped its constitutional claim over the
territory of Northern Ireland.

For the first time in the history of Northern Ireland, Sinn
Fein has accepted that Northern Ireland will remain part of
the United Kingdom until and unless the people of Northern
Ireland decide otherwise.

For the first time in the history of Northern Ireland, the
IRA have accepted that Northern Ireland will remain part of
the United Kingdom until and unless the people of Northern
Ireland decide otherwise.

For the first time in the history of Northern Ireland, the
principle of consent is enshrined in an international
agreement. Now anyone who knows the history of Northern
Ireland and of unionism must appreciate the great
significance of this.

To those who say that the principle of consent should
always have been there, we always have to deal with what is
and not what should be: you can't rewrite history but you
can make it.

In short, it seems to me that the two fundamental demands
of unionism throughout 30 years of the troubles have been
met: peace - the end of the terrorist campaign - and the
securing of the union.

I think many unionists do see that the Northern Ireland of
today is a much better place than it was.

But I accept that there are unionists who are deeply
suspicious of the outworking of the Agreement and part of
that is because movement on IRA decommissioning and the
ending of paramilitary activity has been so slow. Even
after a statement from the IRA that is unusually clear,
they wonder whether it will be carried through in action or
whether hopes will be dashed once again.

I also want to see the IRA deliver on its promises. I
understand the scepticism of unionists given recent history
and I know that the Northern Bank robbery in particular
reinforced the suspicion that promises made to them were
not for real. It is precisely to ensure that
decommissioning is for real that we have General de
Chastelain's Decommissioning Commission and to ensure that
there is no overt or covert paramilitary activity that we
have the IMC. These are two independent bodies which will
call it as it is. They will tell us what is for real.

To the many people who have said to me that the riots,
while wrong, are an expression by loyalists of their belief
that violence pays, I would simply say that the lesson of
the last 30 years is unequivocal: violence does not pay.
Republicanism made no significant political headway
whatsoever until the IRA called a ceasefire; it will make
political progress in the future only in proportion to its
adherence to peaceful and democratic means.

That is why the IRA has set aside the armed struggle and
that is why the British government, unionist leaders, the
Irish and American governments and the overwhelming
majority of people from all communities in Northern Ireland
attach so much importance to the verification of the
promises which the IRA made in July.

Violence is wrong - from wherever it comes: it does not pay
and the recent violence has imposed a heavy cost on the
communities in which it was carried out. The choice for
loyalist paramilitaries is clear: play the political role
that you claim as your motivation or face the rigour of the
law as the mafia organisations into which you seem to have
degenerated. You will not be allowed to terrorise your own

I have a message to those former paramilitaries who want to
move forward to build a better Northern Ireland: leave
violence and criminality behind and join the rest of us who
want to create a new prosperous Northern Ireland.

But I do accept that in many working class unionist and
loyalist areas - as well, of course, as republican and
nationalist areas - there are very real problems of social
disadvantage, poverty and exclusion.

But let's be clear, poverty knows no boundaries. In a few
minutes I want to mention some of the successes of the past
eight years, one of the most visible of which is the
Laganside project. I recognise that people in disadvantaged
communities, whether loyalist or nationalist, have a right
to ask when their own Laganside will come?

I do not pretend that there are easy answers to the complex
problems of these areas, many of which experienced the very
worst of the Troubles and yet - despite considerable
investment - have felt themselves to be the last to benefit
from the increasing normality.

But significant progress has been made, not least by
elected representatives, community leaders, churchmen and
other faith leaders, and heroic individuals, many of whom I
have been privileged to meet.

But despite what has been achieved, I am conscious of the
criticism that our own efforts as a government could be
better coordinated, and services more closely connected to
disadvantaged communities, and I do acknowledge the
particular needs of loyalist communities. To tackle this I
want to embark upon a process of intensive engagement with
elected representatives and civil leaders from the
Protestant community.

I want to ensure that we reach a mature and informed
understanding of the complexity of concerns and to
formulate appropriate responses on the basis of partnership
and within the broader context of a shared future for all
in Northern Ireland. I have asked David Hanson to take the
lead in this.

But I want to make one thing absolutely clear. I have asked
for this work to be taken forward on two clear principles.
First, that the focus of Government support and funding
must be guided by and through elected representatives,
civic and church leaders, and established and proven
community workers, of whom there are many.

I have heard, loud and clear, the disgust of the good
people of these communities who perceive public money being
channelled into community projects under the influence of
paramilitaries who speak the words of community work while
undermining those very areas with racketeering and
organised violence. Their perception is their reality: and
I can understand that concern.

The second underlying principle of this work must be a
commitment to cross community partnership. A "Shared
Future" will be at the heart of Government policy and
spending priorities.

I say this not because I want to implement a nice sounding
or neatly bureaucratic strategy but because I believe very
simply that a shared future for Northern Ireland is the
only viable future, the only one worth having for the next
generation, and the only way we will be able to compete in
the face of the fierce winds of global competition.

Based on these two principles, we will draw together the
existing work by Government and consult with elected and
community representatives to accelerate and expand it. It
is clear to me that the vision of a new Northern Ireland -
prosperous, dynamic and at ease with itself - cannot be
completed until the weakest areas have begun to enjoy the
benefits of peace.


Violence Was About Sectarianism Not Deprivation

Published: 21 September, 2005

Responding to remarks made today by the British Secretary
of State Peter Hain regarding unionist disadvantage and
alienation, Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast
Alex Maskey said:

" Of course there is deep disadvantage across the north of
Ireland, including in some loyalist communities Sinn Fein
has consistently argued that discrimination and deprivation
needs to be energetically tackled wherever it occurs.

" But I cannot see how deprivation can be tackled by
forcing a sectarian parade along the nationalist
Springfield Road. Last weeks violence was not about
deprivation it was about a failure to force a sectarian
Orange march through a Catholic area.

" The reality is that there is a failure of leadership
within unionism. The DUP and the UUP ignore the real needs
of their constituents and instead focus on out-dated
expressions of sectarian triumphalism. If unionist
communities are voiceless then they really need to look at
the quality and performance of those they have elected to
represent them.

" Sinn Fein will continue to demand action to tackle
inequality and disadvantage whether it occurs on the
Shankill, the Falls or elsewhere." ENDS


Dissidents Blamed For Bar Attack

Dissident republicans are being blamed for an attack on the
vice-chairman of the Policing Board in Londonderry.

Denis Bradley sustained a head injury after being attacked
with a baseball bat as he watched a football match in a
bar. He was not seriously injured.

Chief Superintendent Richard Russell said: "Our major line
of inquiry has to be that dissident republicans were behind
this particular attack."

It has been condemned by unionist and nationalist

Mr Bradley was with his son in the Leckey Road bar, in the
Brandywell area, when he was attacked by a hooded man at
about 2200 BST on Tuesday. He is in a stable condition in

Chief Superintendent Russell said police would be looking
into previous attacks on Mr Bradley, which include a petrol
bomb attack on his home and death threats.

Referring to the latest incident, he added: "It doesn't
seem to have been a random attack, although it may well
have been an opportunistic attack."

I am sure that I speak on behalf of every member of the
board and its staff in roundly condemning this totally
unwarranted attack

Sir Desmond Rea

Policing Board chairman

Sir Desmond Rea, chairman of the Policing Board - which
holds the PSNI to account - said he was shocked and
appalled by the "vicious" attack.

"I am sure that I speak on behalf of every member of the
board and its staff in roundly condemning this totally
unwarranted attack," he added.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain also condemned the

He said he had contacted Mr Bradley's wife Mary by

"I told her we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Denis in
his refusal to be cowed by thuggery and violence, which
must be rooted out and dealt with wherever it comes from."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan visited Mr Bradley in hospital and
said he "managed to appear composed" despite his injuries.

He added that Mr Bradley was attacked with a cut-down
baseball bat.

"It was a vicious and appalling attack on a man who is
simply showing public service and community leadership and
who can argue his views clearly," he said.

"He is a man who can take the views of others and explain
and justify his actions - none of which can be said of his

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who also visited Mr Bradley
in hospital, said the attack was "wrong and unacceptable".

"The fact that he is the vice-chairperson of the Policing
Board does not warrant an attack on either him or his

"I am glad to hear that his injuries are not life-
threatening and hope that he makes a full recovery."

The Ulster Unionist Party issued a joint statement on
behalf of its Policing Board members and urged anyone with
information to contact the police.

It said: "We strongly condemn this brutal and unjustifiable
attack on our colleague on the Policing Board who was
merely enjoying a quiet drink with his son in a bar when
the attack happened.

"The police have confirmed the main suspects so far are
dissident republicans.

"However, this is not the first time that they have
targeted members of the Policing Board."

Alliance Party deputy leader Eileen Bell said: "This was
not just a cowardly attack upon Denis Bradley as an
individual, it is an attack upon the rights to build free
speech and efforts to make a new beginning in policing."

Meanwhile, a 26-year-old man has been charged with
disorderly behaviour after police investigating the attack
on Mr Bradley said they were attacked.

Several petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/21 12:47:57 GMT


Politicians Condemn Assault On Policing Board Official

21/09/2005 - 12:48:34

Politicians from across the political spectrum have
condemned an assault on the deputy chairman of the North's
Policing Board last night.

Dennis Bradley was attacked by a hooded man wielding a
baseball bat while watching the Eircom League Cup final at
a pub in the Brandywell area of Derry.

He suffered cuts to his head and a suspected broken nose in
the attack, which is being blamed on dissident republicans.

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said the attack was "wrong
and unacceptable", while the Ulster Unionist Party
described it as "brutal and unjustifiable".

Alliance Party deputy leader Eileen Bell also condemned the
"cowardly" assault, while Northern Secretary Peter Hain
said such "thuggery" needed to be rooted out and dealt


Telling The IRA Arms Story 'Is Vital'

By Brian Rowan
BBC Northern Ireland security editor

In the Northern Ireland peace process, we might just be
days away from another of those "big moments".

In late July, the IRA ordered an end to its armed campaign.

It was step one in a two-stage process which would see the
republican organisation leave the stage.

The gap in between was filled with the announcement of a
two-year plan to end the longest-running military operation
in the history of the British army.

That is Operation Banner - how the Army has described its
decades-long support role to the police in Northern

Already, watchtowers have been dismantled in south Armagh
and west Belfast.

In its July statement, the IRA also said it had authorised
its representative to engage with the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) to
complete the process of putting "arms beyond use".

By then, the IRA had already met General John de Chastelain
and Andrew Sens from the commission, and they, along with
the Finnish brigadier Tauno Nieminen, have been in Ireland
since the beginning of September.

The process of decommissioning is under way but there will
be no running commentary and nothing will be said until the
job is done.

How that story is then told will be vital in terms of
rebuilding the political process in Northern Ireland.

A deal collapsed in October 2003 because of the limited
commentary to which de Chastelain and Sens were restricted
after the IRA's third act of decommissioning.

The then Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, needed to
hear more, needed to be convinced of the scale of what had
happened, and he pulled out of a deal on the grounds of
having not heard enough.

This time it is DUP leader Ian Paisley who is watching.

Another potential deal collapsed last year on his party's
demand for photographic proof of decommissioning and after
he had suggested that the IRA should be "humiliated", and
that it should wear "sackcloth and ashes, not in a
backroom, but openly".

There will be no photographs. What we are expecting at the
end of this process is a report from the IICD that it
believes that IRA decommissioning has been completed.

The IRA has to ensure that the story is told with the
maximum amount of detail, thus reducing the chances of a
negative DUP response

General de Chastelain and his team have security estimates
of what the IRA has hidden in its arms dumps - much of it
Libyan supplied, including the potent explosive Semtex.

This time, the process will also be seen by church
witnesses, and their commentary in the coming days will
play a crucial part in convincing a listening and watching
public that the threat of the IRA's guns has finally gone.

In the background, the DUP has been impressing upon the
government that one of the witnesses should be the former
Presbyterian Church moderator, David McGaughey.

The party believes that his word would carry considerable
weight in the unionist community.

'Only got one shot'

Publicly the IRA has said nothing about the identities of
the witnesses, but Martin McGuinness has said if the DUP
wants to influence this issue then it should speak directly
to Sinn Fein.

When the moment arrives to tell the story of
decommissioning, the IRA through its nom de plume P
O'Neill, will speak what should be its last words of this

And that telling of what happened will be as important as
the actual decommissioning itself.

On presentation, a senior talks source is stressing that
both the IRA and the DUP have "only got one shot at it".

"The IRA can't do it twice," he said.

What he means is that the IRA has to ensure that the story
is told with the maximum amount of detail, thus reducing
the chances of a negative DUP response.

The IRA is putting its arms beyond use at a time when
loyalists are using their weapons to kill each other and to
attack the security forces.

It is the guns of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
and Ulster Defence Association (UDA) that are loudest at
present and, soon, the decommissioning focus will switch to
these loyalist organisations. In their world, ceasefires
have become a farce.

Even the loyalists accept that there is no threat from the

Loyalist actions are not about defending Ulster or the
Union. They have been attacking each other and police
officers and soldiers.

And for "true loyalists", one source told me, that is

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/20 14:51:09 GMT


Lack Of Leadership Is As Criminal As Rioting

(Susan McKay, Irish News)

"As the tide of terrorism abates, sectarianism reemerges,
oozing forth again to corrupt another generation," Mr
Justice Coghlin said last Friday, as he sentenced Neil
White to 16 years in jail for the attempted murder of
Michael Reid in Ballymena two years ago.

The motive was sectarian hatred, said the judge. He accused
politicians and paramilitaries of cynically exploiting this
sectarianism. White had a previous conviction for taking
part in the violent 20 month blockade of Harryville church
that ended in 1997 when the Saturday evening Mass was

Since then, the Mass has not been celebrated during the
marching season. This year, it resumed just a couple of
weeks ago, when the priest called on those present to "love
your neighbour". It has already had to be suspended again
because of loyalist riots in the area.

Father Dan Whyte, whose church in Glengormley was burnt
down in a sectarian attack several years ago, last week
called off his annual blessing of the Catholic graves in
Carnmoney because of loyalist disturbances. Two years ago,
the blessing was disrupted by loyalist protesters who
claimed their rights were being trampled on.

One unionist councillor had raised the matter at the
council, claiming holy water had been spilt on his car.
Among the Catholic graves vandalised was that of Danny
McColgan, the young postman murdered by the UDA the
previous year.

Fr Whyte said at the time that while those roaring at the
cemetery gates represented the ugliest face of
sectarianism, its more insidious face was more dangerous:
"This is the result of a lack of principled leadership.
These people were told over and over, 'You are the people.'
Now the bill is being presented." The ugly face came out at
Holy Cross, too, when loyalist rage was turned on four-
year-old Catholic girls.

The terrifying Harryville protest was about the rerouting
of Orange parades.

Preachers told the mob that this was the "ancient battle
between the true church, Protestantism, and the Whore, the
Beast and the Baal worshippers within Catholicism".

Among those listening to this kind of rhetoric was Neil
White. Six years later, Michael Reid turned up, an innocent
visitor at a house in Harryville .

White and others attacked him so savagely that his only
defence in the end was to pretend to be dead.

He then heard his attackers discussing how to dispose of
his body. White's brother, the biblically named Aaron, set
off with another man in search of a saw to "cut him up".

Reid managed to stagger onto the street, and was rescued by
a police patrol.

This year, loyalists have been viciously attacking
Catholics in the north Antrim area, driving them from their
homes in formerly mixed areas.

Last week, a Catholic man was set upon by a loyalist mob in
east Belfast. Another was attacked in north Belfast, while
a woman shrieked, "slice the Fenian bastard".

Loyalists have been venting their rage since the minor
rerouting of an Orange parade just over a week ago.

They've rioted, wrecked their own areas, shot at police,
lunged with swords and pikes, punched pregnant women,
robbed pensioners, blocked roads, and denied everything.
What is wrong?

According to the Orange Order and Messrs Paisley and Empey,
what is wrong is peace. Peace has seen loyalists
impoverished while Catholics, given every advantage, have
prospered. Loyalist communities are suffering deprivation
all right.

But not more than Catholic ones, and not because of the
Good Friday Agreement.

Nor are they disenfranchised, as the leaders of unionism
also claim.

They vote unionist. Most vote DUP.

Paisley could be first minister.

The Dunlop report after Holy Cross stated that the failure
of politicians to work together led to violence on the

The DUP this weekend called power-sharing "a fantasy".

Loyalists are kept in their place by their subservience to
leaders who have, as the judge said, "cynically exploited

Their heads are turned with sectarian hatred. Nothing is
more ludicrous than the notion of the Orange Order fighting
for social justice for working-class Protestants. Loyalists
are what they were in the 1790s, yeomen, Bleary Boys,
"stout fellows, somewhat lawless" who could be relied on to
fight for their masters.

Class solidarity with Catholics was to be avoided at all

Henry Grattan spoke in 1805 about those who stirred up
panic so that "then walk forth the men of blood" – 200
years later, Sir Reg Empey claimed last week that the
problem was that loyalists weren't listening to their
politicians. No.

The problem is, they are.


Opin: 'Closed' Government ... Betrayal By Stealth

By Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
21 September 2005

When our Government embarks on a course that not only
betrays the fundamentals of democracy but also intends to
systematically undermine the entire Protestant tradition in
order to placate militant Republicanism, then that
Government loses any right to expect, nor can it receive,
co-operation from its 'victims'.

It was one thing to attempt to facilitate terrorists who
indicated a willingness to surrender to the ballot box (I
have supported this concept, difficult though that may have

But it is quite another matter, whenever that process has
been abused, to surrender the ballot box to terrorism. Yet
that is what Tony Blair's New Labour has done, particularly
since it contrived the Weston Park deception in July 2001.

Both Jeffrey Donaldson and I were at Weston Park and we are
agreed, at least on this issue, that unionists were not
party to any of the concessions now attributed to that
exercise - a fact confirmed by the late Lord Williams of
Mostyn, then Leader in the House of Lords.

Unionist response should not be a matter of UUP or DUP
electoral ascendancy - though it is noticeable that
concessions on a range of issues including security and
policing have hugely accelerated since November 2003. Nor
should injustice be explained away simply by harking back
to the Belfast Agreement or even to the Patten Commission's

Such is the extent to which post-Agreement and post-Patten
deals with Sinn Fein have been contrived by Government that
Northern Ireland has been catapulted into a unmistakably
sectarian mode where the Protestant tradition is being
deliberately suffocated. Government is endorsing a
'bloodless' pogrom and exploiting the field of education to
do so.

Some folk were puzzled when Martin McGuinness, exiting from
the suspended Assembly on October 14, 2003 announced that
he was abolishing the 11 plus tests.

Wishful thinking? Not so! He was ensuring that Republicans
took credit for a process already agreed with Government to
dismantle or dilute the more successful structures of State
education, particularly the grammar schools sector, in a
way that would have greatest impact on Protestants.

This is clearly unadulterated sectarianism insofar as it is
intended to create Catholic privilege within the
educational sector.

Catholic children are catered for under the aegis of the
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) - a body of
just 36 members of whom 95% are Catholic, whereas the State
sector, in which Protestants vested their trust over 50
years ago, is managed by five disparate Education and
Library Boards involving 175 members, 43.6% of whom are
Catholic (Hansard WA 228) and who, understandably, choose
to educate their children mainly within the CCMS sector.

Government, when asked in July 2004 (Hansard WA 59) and
again in June 2005 (Hansard WA 45) if it had "undertaken
and completed an infrastructural audit" or costed the
operational implications of its proposals, indicated that
it had not but that restructuring would "be developed

The CCMS certainly wouldn't tolerate such an 'ad hoc'
approach to such a vital matter.

This is borne out by the fact that, on June 23, 2005, the
CCMS advertised 21 three-year appointments, to be
remunerated at between £738,510 and £786,981 per annum.

"The Department of Education, in pursuit of Government
Policy on the future of Post-Primary arrangements in
Northern Ireland, has funded CCMS on behalf of the
Institute of Catholic schools, to undertake a review of
Post-Primary education in the Catholic Sector to ensure
that all 11-19 year olds have access to an Entitlement

Meanwhile the five separate Education and Library Boards,
despite lacking the cohesion of the CCMS, were being
allocated a cumulative amount only just over £500,000 per

The Government attempted to deny that CCMS were being
allocated the extra £250,000 implicit in its advertisement
but, given the obvious differential, a senior Departmental
Officer suggested that CCMS might, itself, be paying the
extra out of its "surplus funds".

Surplus funds indeed - at a time when Education Boards are
having financial penalties imposed and when children with
learning difficulties cannot be afforded properly trained
classroom assistants! Now who's fooling whom?

Let me make myself clear - I will defend the right of
Catholics to choose how they educate their children. When
the late Nick Scott, Minister for Education here in the
1980s, proposed amalgamating Catholic teacher training
colleges within the state system, there was uproar, and
understandably so.

I sided with the Catholic Church. Unionism, since
partition, accepted that the Catholic Church has the right
to protect its ethos within the educational system.

But should the reciprocal not also true? Militant
Republicanism cannot be permitted to use educational
subterfuge to destroy unionism.

Nor can Burns and Costello and Gallagher - however sincere
they may be - be the sole architects for post-primary
education within what is supposed to be a pluralist
community. A majority have totally rejected their

Government must immediately withdraw from this sectarian
conspiracy and embark on genuine open consultation with
those directly affected.

Either that or Protestants must prepare to negotiate the
formation of a Council for Protestant Maintained Schools!


Sportsman And Troubador Was 'A Man For All Seasons'

"WHEN I have read Irish history, the more have I loved
Ireland. I joined the Irish/Ireland Society in Newry and
the Irish Republican Brotherhood at Corrinshego before
going to the United States. On return home, I became a
member of Sinn Fein and joined the IRA."

So stated the late Tommy Mulligan in an autobiography, just
made available by his family. Apart from his exploits in
the Republican Movement, published last week, Tommy also
played a prominent role in the musical, sporting and
business life of the frontier town. His father was quarter-
master on the SS `Iveagh.`

"My grandmother told me a story about the savage treatment
meted out to her father by the Yeomanry. He was saying his
prayers by candle-light when the Yeomen broke down the
door, took him from the bedroom, tied him to a cart and
whipped him to Market Square. They were going to tar him,
when an officer appeared and asked what offence he had

"He was told that the victim had a light on in his house,
five minutes after the curfew. The officer stated: `Let him
go, he has had enough punishment.` My great grandfather
called out to the officer: `I hope to see you die a
Catholic in Ireland.` In fact, he did die as a Catholic in

Tommy Mulligan was responsible for stopping the playing of
British military anthems at the Frontier Cinema in Newry,
owned by the John Mitchel Branch of the INF. He pointed
that their patron had been sentenced to transportation by
those being lauded in the cinema. And he persuaded the
Pioneer Association to allow the general public to
participate in their Annual Pilgrimages to Ballyholland

On the sporting front, he recalled that there had been only
one GAA club in the town, known as Faugh a Bealagh, which
had football and hurling teams, as well as a dramatic
society. He took part in plays, but could not get a place
on the football side, being regarded as too young or not
good enough.

"So I started a team called Newry Mitchels, which included
some soccer players. We got a loft at Lower North Street,
where boys could also play darts. One day a few of them
disappeared through the ceiling, landing among Mrs Brown's
pigs. Since none of them were injured, we had a good laugh.

"Then we moved to a building on the Mall, which had been
the Catholic Workingmen's Club. Starting Irish dancing
lessons, we got a large membership with over 100 girls and
boys attending. Anyone who played Gaelic football or
hurling could come, but not anyone supporting foreign games
or dancing."

"Newry Mitchels had senior, junior and minor sides, - and
the senior squad could hold their own against the best in
the county. I got my nose broken, and was in hospital for
six weeks. Then Mitchels had an important game against
Faughs in the Mooney Cup, and they wanted me to play.

"After minor surgery, my nose bled most of the night, but
my father and I went to the match in the Marshes. A few
minutes into the game, a selector called on me to come on.
My father tried to prevent me playing, but was booed by the
crowd. For ten minutes I could do nothing wrong, but then I
could see two or three balls coming at the same time. I
should have stayed in the hospital!"

Newry Mitchels were in the front rank of Down football for
the next 12 months, but some committee members wanted to
have mixed dancing in the hall. Most of the team, including
Tommy Mulligan, objected. But foreign dancing came in and
the team got out, - many of them joining the Red Hands

Then Michael O'Toole of the `Frontier Sentinel` newspaper
invited them to attend a meeting in order to start a new
GAA club, which would be called Clann Uladh. There would
also be Irish dancing classes. One person proposed that no
mill-girls should be allowed to attend. But Tommy Mulligan
pointed out that he was a mill-hand and his sisters were
mill-girls, who were "as good and decent as anyone
present." He would leave if this was endorsed. The proposer

However, Tommy, who was also a member of Down Co Board,
only played a few matches before leaving for the United
States. Based in Chicago, he was employed as a night
watchman in a cold storage depot, being supplied with a

"I was standing in front of the building, when a man said:
`Mull, there is bloodshed in Ireland.` I was reading the
newspaper when a voice behind me said: `The right thing to
do, - shoot the Irish swine,` I was so mad that I hit the
man with a shovel and put him out for the count. He was
taken away in an ambulance. The boss came out, said there
was a police officer inside, and urged me to do a bunk or
get prison.

"The cop came over when I went in, and asked: `Are you the
one who hit the guy with shovel?` I said: `Yes, officer.`
He asked `Why did you do it?` I pulled the newspaper from
my pocket and said:` I was reading this, when he told me it
was the right thing to do to Irish swine.`

"The police officer then spoke with a brogue: `Ah, be
gorrah! If you haven't got a shovel, use anything you can
find, if they say anything about the old dirt.` Then he got
on his horse and rode away." Tommy had been able to earn
extra money, playing music at weddings, parties etc. But
one night, in a local cinema, there was a film about
Ireland, and he felt as if he was sailing on Carlingford
Lough. Tommy decided to come home.

However, he was disillusioned by the pro-British spirit in
the frontier town, with lots of Union Jacks flying and
support for recruitment to the British Army, fighting in
the First World War. He even he saw his old St Joseph's
Band, `along with the Orange bands, playing the mugs away.`

" I got a job with the Boyne Spinning Company in Drogheda,
joined the Irish Volunteers and Drogheda Brass and Reed
Band. The people were very friendly. At that time the
Tricolour was banned, so we gave the police some trouble in
taking the flags down, the crowds booing them. Oh, what a
change from Newry! I painted the front door green, and the
windows white and orange. And I got a little tricolour kilt
made for my son, Patrick.

"I watched the Stars football team playing a game in
Dundalk, and on the way back noticed a man in the same
carriage. I told Tom Burke, the great runner, that it was
Arthur Griffiths, (founder of Sinn Fein). He laughed, and
we all made bets. I went over and said: `I beg your pardon,
are you Arthur Griffiths?` He shook my hand and said: `Yes,
and this is Cathal Brugha.` I won £3.

Meanwhile, Tommy Mulligan's musical memories go back to
when he joined St Patrick's Flute Band, - also known as the
Monaghan Row Flute Band, - when he was about 15 years of
age. They rehearsed in a loft behind O'Rourke's on the
Pound Road.. He then joined St Colman's Brass and Reed

The Catholic Boys Brigade in Newry was over 1,000 strong,
and they had three bands, - brass, flute and bugle. Terry
Ruddy was in charge of the flute section, while `Stoker`
Hooks had the bugle, and Mr Caltor the flute section. Many
were taken to the Independent Club for practice, becoming
members of the legendary St Joseph's Silver and Reed Band.

Tommy Mulligan related how an Orange Demonstration was held
at Rostrevor. When one of their trams was passing through
Newry, a girl was shot at Dempsters Mill, and the Orangemen
`caused a nuisance' at the altar in Rostrevor Chapel.

"When the Orangemen arranged to come back the following
year, Fr McGivern appealed for help. All the bands and many
people from Newry went to the village by road and rail; a
ship carried about 500 men from Dundalk, while others came
across from Carlingford. The Catholics took over Rostrevor
so, to prevent a clash, the Government sent a regiment of
soldiers. One Orangeman was hit by a stone and killed.

"I remember St Joseph's Band giving a charity concert in
Bessbrook Town Hall for postmen, widows and orphans. There
was a packed house, but when the band was playing its final
selection, the hall was empty. A mob was waiting outside,
and stoned the band down the road. Terry Ruddy told us to
take the centre-pieces from our music stands and charge.
The mob retreated, but when we got on the tram for Newry,
stones came flying through the window."

Tommy Mulligan reported that St Joseph's Brass and Reed
Band played their first contest for the Championship of
Ireland about 1910, being beaten by the Ireland's Own Band.
But they went back the following year and won the
championship. Tommy then left for the United States.

When he finally came back to Newry, he played the euphonium
with St Colman's Band, and the brass flute with the Sinn
Fein Band. He refused to play with St Joseph's Band for
recruiting parades, and women often spat in his face.
However, that versatile musician was a member of St
Joseph's Brass and Reed Band, when it won the Championship
of Ireland and Great Britain in 1923, and the All-Ireland
Championship in 1924 and `28.

Among the bands taught by Tommy were Altnaveigh, Crieve,
Mayobridge and Poyntzpass Flute; Warrenpoint Brass and Reed
Band, as well as many Newry Bands. He was a founder of
Newry Amateur Band, formed after a split in St Catherine's,
while St Joseph's were `just about finished.` When Newry
Amateur Band paraded to Mass in the cathedral, "it was the
first time that I heard a band applauded on the march."

But what gave Tommy Mulligan the greatest satisfaction was
the birth of St

Colman's Boys Band, of which he was the teacher. Within six
months they were performing at Newry Town Hall, and taking
part in various parades, including with the Foresters in
Dublin, where they were a huge success.

"I took them to a Band Contest at the Ulster Hall in
Belfast, when they were only two years in existence. They
competed in the Senior Brass section, and won two third
prizes. There were eight bands competing, and in one
contest only a single point divided first, second and
third. I was very proud of them, and I am sure that the
people of Newry were also."

Of course, as an Old IRA veteran, Tommy had been in the
guard-of-honour at the head of Newry's Easter Commemoration
Parades to the Republican Cross at St Mary's Cemetery, from
the 40's to the 70's. Back in 1948, the Stormont Minister
for Home Affairs imposed a ban on the parade, but members
of the nationalist-controlled Newry Urban Council voted to
defy the prohibition.

There was a tremendous sense of excitement, as `B` Specials
were drafted into the frontier town to enforce the ban.
Councillors and the MP for South Down, Joe Connellan, were
in the vanguard along with the Old IRA veterans, as the
parade made its way along the main street. The RUC made a
token intervention at the junction of John Mitchel Place
and William Street, but were swept aside by the crowd, who
proceeded to the cemetery.

For the next 20 years, all aspects of national life in the
locality participated in the parade, - INF, AOH, Gaelic
League, GAA clubs, ICA and Irish Labour Party, etc.

But that sense of a united national identity was disrupted
by the onset of the `Troubles,` as the Official and
Provisional Movements organised separate Easter parades to
the cemetery.

But that split seems to have been finally healed, as the
new Republican Monument in St Mary's Cemetery also
commemorates the Rowntree twins, Colman and Oliver, one a
Provisional IRA officer and the other an Official IRA
volunteer. Their father, the late Jim Rowntree, would have
been pleased. A close friend of Tommy Mulligan and my
father, he organised the Easter Commemoration Parades for
many years. May they all rest in peace!

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