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September 26, 2005

IRA Statement on Disarmament

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News about Ireland & the Irish

UT 09/26/05 IRA Statement On Disarmament
SF 09/26/05 Speech By Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP
BB 09/26/05 Loyalists Will Not 'Follow IRA'
IO 09/26/05 Announcement Not Enough For Paisley
IO 09/26/05 IRA Heartland Awaits Next Step
BB 09/26/05 Pivotal Moment In British And Irish History
UT 09/26/05 IRA Bosses May Be In Dark Over Weaponry
BT 09/26/05 Assembly Tantalisingly Close
BT 09/26/05 Plans Set To Build Up Unionists' Confidence
BT 09/26/05 Ireland On The Verge Of 'An Historic Advance'
IO 09/26/05 IRA Decommissioning: Your Questions Answered
DI 09/26/05 IAUC: Leading US Judge Slams Paper's Ad Ban
DI 09/26/05 Don't Mess With The Net - It Bites Back
BT 09/26/05 DUP Anger Over C3 Man's Presence At SF Rally
NW 09/26/05 SF Martin McGuinness To Visit Calgary
AP 09/26/05 Opin: Sinn Fein Has Higher Ambitions
BT 09/26/05 What People Are Saying In East Belfast
BT 09/26/05 QUB Paper 'Aiming To Deter Protestants'
BT 09/26/05 Parents Drive Their Kids To Forest Binges
BT 09/26/05 Opin: A Call For Ulster To Get Behind Red Hand
BT 09/26/05 Adams Says Ulster Double Is 'Fantastic'

(Poster’s Note: This link will allow you hear part of the IICD press conference this AM. The previous one I sent was the LIVE link.


IRA Statement On Disarmament

A statement released by the IRA in the aftermath of
confirmation of decommissioning read:

"The leadership of Oglaigh na h-Eireann announced on July
28 that we had authorised our representative to engage with
the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put arms
beyond use.

"The IRA leadership can now confirm that the process of
putting our arms verifiably beyond use has been completed.

"P O`Neill"


Speech By Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP

I consider this afternoon's announcements to be a very full
and positive response to the appeal that I made in April.

At that time I called upon the IRA to pursue their goals by
purely peaceful and democratic means.

This was in keeping with the position outlined by Sinn Féin
going back over many years.

I want to commend the leadership of the IRA for moving so

I know that today's announcement will be difficult for many
republicans. I saw that myself as we watched the press
conference of the IICD and the two independent witnesses.

This was a bold and brave leap. But all us need to think
beyond it. We need to think beyond the moment. It is not
the leap itself but the place that it takes us all that is
important. For this reason the IRA's courageous decision
was the right thing to do.

Both governments now need to be focused, decisive and
creative. They need to implement the Good Friday Agreement
as they have promised to do. There must be progress on
equality, policing, human rights, people on the run and
victims. There must also be progress on other issues,
including prisoners and Northern representation in the

There must be a proper peace dividend to tackle inequality,
discrimination, deprivation and sectarianism wherever it

The political institutions must be restored.

I understand and appreciate that unionists need space to
absorb what all this means. I would ask them to reflect
upon the potential which is now created, and to see it as
an opportunity.

Some unionists may fear that this is a tactical maneuver,
or an attempt to trap them. It is not.

Some unionists have expressed fears about a Plan B. There
is no Plan B. There is no secret agenda.

Unionists say they do not trust republicans. But they do
need to trust themselves.

The IRA's decision to formally end its armed campaign and
today's announcements are genuine initiatives to revive the
peace process by conclusively resolving the concerns of

Issues relating to the IRA, which were presented as
difficulties for unionists, have now been definitively
dealt with.

There are those who will try to dismiss or to minimise what
has been announced today. We are prepared to meet those
people to discuss their concerns.

Our leadership will also be seeking meetings with
political, church, business and civic interests to build on
the progress of today's events and to discuss all these
urgent and important issues.

I would appeal therefore to political leaders to respond
carefully. The words of some in the past have fueled
sectarian violence against Catholics and this has been a
particularly difficult summer. There were serious attempts
to provoke a reaction from nationalists and republicans.
There may well be other attempts in the time ahead so I
call upon people to show the calm and discipline that was
evident over the summer months and particularly in recent

This initiative has opened up a new phase in Irish
political life. This is not just about the peace process
and conflict resolution, though that is vitally important.
It is bigger than the question of arms.

It is about the future of this island, the type of country
that we want to live in, the sort of society that we desire
for future generations as well as this generation.

Sinn Féin is proud of our republican values. Our strategy
is to bring about Irish unity and independence. And we will
campaign and argue for this as we expect unionists to argue
for their political vision.

But in the interest of our shared constituencies we are
prepared to work with them in the political institutions to
deal with the outstanding issues of the peace process and
the social and economic needs that face people at this
time. One of the most critical issues facing us at this
time is the pressing need to tackle sectarianism.

The context for this is the Good Friday Agreement.

We are not naive about the hard work and the difficulties
which have yet to be overcome. But a new dynamic has been
created. Republicans face into this with confidence. We
appeal to unionists and others to join with us. To leave
the past behind and to build a shared and peaceful future
for all our people.


Loyalists Will Not 'Follow IRA'

General John de Chastelain will not see loyalists
decommission if "he lives to be 208", a prominent loyalist
has said.

The general said he was satisfied the IRA had given up all
its weapons, and said he hoped loyalists would as well.

Sammy Duddy, a member of the Ulster Political Research
Group - which advises the UDA, said loyalists would not
follow the IRA's lead.

"The general has no chance of seeing that achieved. Should
he live to be 208, he'll never see it," he said.

"He's living in cloud-cuckoo-land if he thinks the
loyalists are going to decommission and do what the IRA's

'Greatest fear'

"You see, the IRA have all the clout, this is how they've
come to the table today.

"They've all the clout, they can go and make another Canary
Wharf tomorrow.

"The greatest fear is the threat of a united Ireland. As I
said it would be resisted by all and every opportunity and
we don't care about other things as such."

General de Chastelain, the head of the arms decommissioning
body, said the IRA had now put all its arms beyond use.

The two major loyalist paramilitary groups are the Ulster
Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association.

Both went on ceasefire in 1994 under the auspices of the
Combined Loyalist Military Command.

Since then the government has said it no longer recognises
their ceasefires.

On 14 September, the government said it no longer
recognised the UVF ceasefire over its feud with the
Loyalist Volunteer Force splinter group, which has seen the
death of four men.

In October 2001, the government said it no longer
recognised the UDA ceasefire citing its involvement in
feuding and racketeering.

However, in November 2004 the government said that it
recognised it again and that the UDA's ceasefire was

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/26 18:02:18 GMT


Announcement Not Enough For Paisley

26/09/2005 - 16:35:51

Democratic Unionist Party leader the Reverend Ian Paisley
said there had been no transparent verification of IRA
decommissioning in today's announcement.

He said today's announcement showed the ``duplicity and
dishonesty of the two governments and the IRA''.

He said there had been a ``cunning cover-up'' and no
announcement of what had been decommissioned, as was
required by unionists.

He said the announcement by General de Chastelain did not
meet the requirements of proof the unionist people

The promises of British Prime Minister Tony Blair that
decommissioning would be transparent and verifiable had
been broken, said the Democratic Unionist Party leader.

Today was to be the day when the gun was finally take out
of Irish politics, according to the IRA, he said.

But the people of Northern Ireland watched this afternoon
an announcement which "illustrates more than ever the
duplicity of the two governments and the IRA," said Mr

Mr Paisley and his party are crucial to any progress with
the political process and he made it clear he was
unimpressed with the announcement as a means of kick-
starting progress.

Speaking at a Belfast news conference he said: "Instead of
openness there was the cunning tactics of a cover up, the
complete failure from general John de Chastelain to deal
with the vital numbers of decommissioning.

"We do not know how many guns, the amounts of ammunition,
explosives – nor were we told how the decommissioning was
carried out."

He said also that the 'so called' independent witnesses
were "appointed by the IRA".

And he said not one iota of evidence had been given to
verify that what the IRA had told the IICD was accurate.

Mr Paisley said the Commission had simply taken the IRA's
word at face value but he claimed the terror group could
not be believed.

The DUP leader said: "The so-called Independent
International Commission for Decommissioning could only say
to the people of Northern Ireland that the proof that all
the guns and material of the IRA were decommissioned was an
assurance given to them by the IRA.

"Not one iota was given to verify that assurance. The IICD
message was to trust the IRA as the IRA had indicated all
weapons had been decommissioned."

Mr Paisley claimed the General had simply taken the word of
the IRA, which in turn was accepted by the witnesses.

The DUP leader said the witnesses were under the General's

He said: "It must be clearly stated that both witnesses
were approved by the IRA and therefore were accepted by the
IRA and in no way could be independent."

Mr Paisley said the unionist community would be unimpressed
by today's developments, which he claimed amounted to a

He said: "The fact remains that the promise made by the
(British) Prime Minister, that decommissioning must be
transparent and verifiable and must satisfy everyone, was

"There were no photographs, no detailed inventory and no
detail of the destruction of these arms.

"To describe today's act as being transparent would be the
falsehood of the century.

"The people of Ulster are not going to be forced by
IRA/Sinn Féin or by the two governments along the path of
deceitfulness and treachery."


IRA Heartland Awaits Next Step After Disarmament

26/09/2005 - 16:32:13

There was little doubt in the IRA heartland of South Armagh
that the terror group's war with Britain had finally ended.

As the decommissioning body declared the Provos had dumped
their massive arsenal, the people of Crossmaglen sat back
and waited for the rest of Northern Ireland to react.

Pub-goers in the busy town showed little emotion or
surprise as General John de Chastelain confirmed one of the
world's most ruthless terrorist groups had destroyed its

Local farmers and pensioners sheltering from the elements
sat glued to television screens in the bars as the general
gave his verdict.

On the bustling streets outside, murals and billboards
celebrating atrocities against security forces had become
weather-beaten, no longer the shrines they once were.

But as the heavy drone of British military aircraft
interrupted the silence in Short's Bar, questions were
fired from customers gathered at the counter.

In the tiny pub where Labour MP Clare Short was brought up,
the regulars were quick to realise the significance of the
events of the last few days.

But for those who witnessed 35 years of shooting and
bombing and some of the most ferocious and imaginative
guerrilla warfare, questions remained.

One elderly farmer asked: "Will it be enough?"

The three-man independent decommissioning team insists the
IRA has met its commitments to dump its arms.

They revealed the Provos had given an inventory of weapons
which satisfied what Irish and British intelligence forces
believed they had.

Gen de Chastelain recorded a range of weaponry from high-
calibre machine guns to missiles – and the IRA's deadliest
weapon, the mortar bomb.

But the people of Crossmaglen do not expect unionists to go
rushing into power-sharing and accepted there will be
difficulties ahead.

As the general's press conference dragged on, a customer in
the bar said: "They are trying to explain the
unexplainable. That's why there's so many questions."


Pivotal Moment In British And Irish History

By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

The historic nature of the moment when the decommissioning
of the IRA's weapons was announced should be recognised.

To hear the head of the Decommissioning body, Canadian
General John de Chastelain say: "We are satisfied that the
arms decommissioning represents the totality of the IRA's
arsenal" was quite something.

It does not put an end to arguments about a united Ireland.
But it should put an end to major violence.

There will be those who still express their doubts, but one
of the most skilled urban paramilitary organisations of
modern times has laid down its weapons, having accepted
that its armed struggle could not bring the six counties of
Northern Ireland ("The North of Ireland" as the Republicans
always call it, implying that Ireland is still one country)
into a united Ireland.

It was, in the end, not so much the British the IRA failed
to beat as the unionist people of Northern Ireland who did
not and do not want to break their ties with Britain.
Without a warm sea in which to swim, the IRA eventually had
to admit the end had come.

From armed struggle to politics

Instead, it converted its campaign into political gain and
of course eventually hopes to win through the ballot what
it failed to achieve with the bullet. That must be a long-
distance hope as things stand and there is a fringe which
will still seek to win with the bullet.

But here is the lesson for guerrilla groups across the
world. You can fight to win if you want and some will win
(the African National Congress won in South Africa when the
white minority conceded) but sometimes victory is not
possible, so the fighting has to end and the politicking
has to begin.

This happened in El Salvador where a vicious civil war
raged for years during the Eighties and Nineties before
both government and rebels realised neither could win
outright and came to an agreement.

Seizing the day

It is surely vital for this day not just to be recognised
but to be seized.

We have been down a similar if narrower track before and
there are lessons to be learned.

Between 1956 and 1962, the IRA waged a campaign along the
Northern Irish border. It was a much smaller affair. The
IRA was short of weapons. I remember our school cadet
armoury, in distant Sussex, having to be locked all the
time in case of an IRA raid, though we wondered why the IRA
would want our World War I vintage Lee Enfields.

One also remembers what happened when the IRA gave up that
campaign. Nothing happened.

The Catholic or Nationalist minority in Northern Ireland
did not get a fair deal and the seeds were sown, as they
often have been in Irish history, for a later generation to
seek redress.

This time, if equality of esteem and equitable power
sharing is not achieved, it is not inconceivable that in
another generation or two, another round of violence could
begin. And of course, there has to be a full disarmament by
the loyalist groups as well.

From anger to ceasefire

To those of us who reported in the 1970s on the anger in
the streets of West Belfast and Derry (Londonderry as the
Unionists call it - when the war of names ends, so will the
underlying conflict), it is amazing that it has ended this
way. And some will wonder if it has really ended.

This after all is a conflict that has been going on for
more than 800 years, ever since the English started their
invasions of Ireland and particularly since the 17th
Century when Cromwell dispossessed Irish Catholics, and
Protestant landlords and settlers arrived.

Perhaps its real significance is that in a world where
borders and nationality matters less, minorities will be
less ready to take up arms and majorities will be more
ready to accord real rights

For generations, Irish men and women have dreamed of having
a united country free from British rule.

Rebellions have broken out at regular intervals and even
after 26 of the 32 counties won independence from Britain
in 1922, the IRA still battled to bring the six counties of
the North within a united Ireland.

It often seemed, that however the rest of the world had
changed, the conflict in Ireland had not.

Perhaps its real significance is that in a world where
borders and nationality matters less - and certainly this
is true within the European Union - minorities will be less
ready to take up arms and majorities will be more ready to
accord real rights.

It doesn't happen everywhere of course. The Balkans broke
up because that equation did not work. It is not happening
in Chechnya.

But the world has also moved on - to the global conflict
launched by Islamists of al-Qaeda.

These are people who scoff at the nationalism of the IRA
and ETA and who scorn any attempt to limit civilian

And they are not interested in politics.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/26 14:34:31 GMT


IRA Bosses May Be In Dark Over Weaponry

Even the IRA's own leadership may not know the full extent
of its arsenal, a leading expert on decommissioning said

Sean Boyne, a defence analyst with Jane`s Information
Group, said British security services had been trying to
keep track of the organisation`s weaponry for decades.

They provided General John de Chastelain with detailed
estimates of armaments - including SAM missiles, flame-
throwers, machine guns, and explosives - in 1998, and
updated the figures last year.

But Mr Boyne said they could only roughly describe the
arsenal the IRA has accumulated from various sources -
including Libya and America - over the years.

"Nobody could be totally accurate. Maybe not even the IRA
know all the weaponry its members have around the place.

"There could be some stuff hidden and forgotten that might
turn up later."

According to Mr Boyne, who is publishing a book on
decommissioning later this year, the 1998 estimates were
primarily made up of arms supplied by Libyan leader Colonel
Gaddafi during the 1980s.

Libya later supplied British officials with details of the
shipments, allowing reasonably accurate figures to be
prepared once seizures had been taken into account.

The security services estimated the IRA arsenal included
588 AK-47s, 17 Duska heavy machine guns - capable of
shooting down helicopters - and 11 rocket propelled grenade
launchers (RPGs), Mr Boyne said.

There was also 2,658kg of semtex explosive, and nine
Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs), although these were never
used and experts speculate they may have become defective
due to damp storage.

Other items in the 1998 assessment included flame-throwers,
more than 100 hand grenades, machine guns, and Webley

Mr Boynes said: "General de Chastelain has talked about
some updated estimates that the security services gave him
last year, but I can`t imagine they would have changed that

Apart from Libya, some of the IRA`s weapons came from the
US during the 1970s, although shipments largely ceased from
the mid-1980s, according to Mr Boyne.

Some armaments had been taken from the IRA`s stocks by
dissidents who formed the Real IRA, making it more
difficult to assess the arsenal.

"We simply don`t know how much went to the Real IRA," said
Mr Boyne. "The security services have made their estimates
based on intelligence, and that is the best they can do."

For years the town of Crossmaglen and the surrounding hills
struck fear into the hearts and minds of soldiers and
policemen serving in Northern Ireland.

Ferried in and out of heavily fortified army bases by
helicopter, security forces were under constant threat from
dedicated and imaginative terrorists.

The lands which surround the town were the birthplace of
some of the most ruthless killers the IRA created and

One of the most notorious, Michael Carragher, was jailed
for his role in a cold-blooded four-man sniper team which
killed 12 members of the security forces.

The unit murdered the last soldier to be killed in the
troubles, Stephen Restorick.

Carragher enjoyed hero status in the area with his brutal
killings marked by signs on lamp posts warning of a "sniper
at work".

Other fearsome activists from the area included James
McArdle, a bricklayer from the town, who was convicted of
the 1996 London Docklands bomb which caused millions of
pounds worth of damage.

The bomber James Canning also came from Crossmaglen and his
attacks during the 1993 UK elections earned him the
nickname "Evil Genius".

The move finally to give up guerrilla battles came as no
surprise for many in the town of Crossmaglen.

The principal of St Joseph`s High School, Kevin Scally,
noted that it was never a question of if but rather when
the IRA would make its move.

"There is some talk of it, but I don`t think it`s been
noticed, it hasn`t gripped the people," Mr Scally said.

"It`s expected to happen, de facto peace has happened, the
military struggle has ended some time ago, that`s the
feeling here."

After four years in South Armagh Mr Scally said what people
want more than anything was to see all remnants of the
British Army gone.

"It irks and annoys the people, there`s no doubt about

Mr Scally said the feeling in the town was that it would be
the unionist community who would sit up and take more
notice of what was said today.

"The unionists attach more significance to it, but don`t
imagine for any moment that it is going to make a major
breakthrough," he warned.

Mr Scally, a native of Tyrone, said there had been more
talk among his 40 teachers about yesterday`s All Ireland
Gaelic Football final than the end of the IRA`s military

Advertising boards outside corner shops were further proof
that the people of Crossmaglen were more concerned with the
sport than political reaction to IRA decommissioning.

But many living among the beautiful rolling drumlins of
South Armagh like to let strangers know exactly where they

IRA slogans are dotted on walls and a roll of honour of
terrorists born in the area greets visitors as they pass a

A mural celebrating devastating attacks on army bases and
low-flying helicopters is as powerful today as at the
height of the Provos` brutal campaign.

Many of the republican slogans and billboards no longer
carry the same impact as they once did. Torn and tattered,
they are no longer well maintained.

The ferocious attacks on police patrols and booby-trap
bombs which once threatened everyday life in the town are
now a thing of the past.

But the long shadows cast by British Army watchtowers
create as much anger among locals as ever.

Helicopters randomly swooping around the town`s church and
landing a few hundred feet from St Joseph`s High School
still plague pupils and residents.

Locals say for people to really accept peace will last the
deafening noise of the aircraft has to stop as well as IRA

Mr Scally insisted that people in the town want to see the
army bases and half a dozen towers which dominate the
horizon dismantled.

"That`s probably happening a little too slowly for people,
that`s the major irritant."


Assembly Tantalisingly Close

Paisley expected to face huge pressure to enter into full

Dominic Cunningham
26 September 2005

The prospects of a cross-party power-sharing Executive at
Stormont headed by the DUP leader Ian Paisley and a senior
Sinn Fein figure will move a step closer today when it is
formally confirmed that all IRA weapons have finally been
put beyond use.

Mr Paisley and his hardline party colleagues will be
subjected to enormous pressure to enter full political
negotiations with the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams as a
result of this ground-breaking development.

The DUP leader and his party have always made it clear they
were in favour of a devolved administration in Belfast but
would only enter into political talks with republicans when
decommissioning was completed.

He will now, undoubtedly, be challenged by the British
government and other influential figures to honour that

Retired Canadian General John de Chastelain will this
morning brief the Irish and British governments on the
historic news that republican decommissioning has been
completed before speaking to the international media at a
press conference in Belfast this afternoon.

At the news conference General de Chastelain is expected to
be flanked by the two clergymen who witnessed the
decommissioning - Fr Alex Reid the West Belfast priest who
helped broker the 1994 IRA ceasefire and former Methodist
church President Rev Harold Good.

Within a matter of days the DUP will be pushed hard by the
British government to move into meaningful talks with Sinn
Fein for the restoration of the suspended Stormont Assembly
early in the New Year.

Tough talking between the two extremes of Ulster politics
is certain to follow but the expectation is that it will
eventually lead to a Stormont administration headed by Mr
Paisley as First Minister and Sinn Fein's chief negotiator
Mr Martin McGuinness as Deputy.

But unionist reaction to the development - described by Mr
McGuinness as potentially more significant than the
ceasefire - could hang on the level of detail Gen de
Chastelain is permitted by republicans to release.

Over the weekend, Mr Paisley who has accused the British
government of striking a secret deal with the IRA to
exclude the need for an arms witness acceptable to
unionists, continued to play hardball on the issue of
republican guns.

He has said consistently he would not be satisfied with
anything less than photographic proof that IRA arms had
been put beyond use - a demand republicans said was

"Will unionist demands for open, verifiable, photographed
and witnessed decommissioning be adhered to or not?" Mr
Paisley said.

"We have a right to know the truth - the day for deception
is over, the day for truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth has come," he added.

Northern Secretary Mr Peter Hain said yesterday he believed
once unionists knew decommissioning was credible and had
been put in place moves could begin towards restoring the
108-seat Assembly and power-sharing Executive.

However, Mr Hain who said the people of the North wanted to
see the IRA commitment to carry out full decommissioning
implemented, emphasised the process had to be credible
enough to convince unionists.

"People have got to see that there is the biggest dumping
of arms and getting rid of the IRA's arsenal than ever
before," Mr Hain said.

But if the General and his two church witnesses state
categorically that all IRA guns have been decommissioned
that could be enough to sway the majority of unionists to
give peace another chance.

The Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said yesterday
unionists should take heart from the republican 'u-turn'
from their previous position of 'not one bullet not one

Today's announcement will end weeks of speculation about
the timing of the IRA's historic move following the
commitment given in its statement of July 26.

Tomorrow a Sinn Fein delegation headed by Martin McGuinness
will leave for Washington where they will brief the
American administration and leading figures within the
Irish/American lobby.


Plans Set To Build Up Unionists' Confidence

Measures to include a victims' executive

By Noel McAdam
26 September 2005

Secretary of State Peter Hain is poised to confirm a series
of measures aimed at building unionist confidence in the
aftermath of today's IRA decommissioning confirmation.

A number of announcements are anticipated during the
Northern Ireland debate at the Labour Party Conference on

Mr Hain is believed likely to unveil details of his plan
for a victims commissioner, further financial backing for
Ulster-Scots cultural initiatives and the long-anticipated
go-ahead of rates relief for Orange Halls.

They come as Political Development Minister David Hanson
continues his "intensive engagement" with elected
representatives and community leaders on the needs and
concerns of loyalist communities.

However, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the
restoration of confidence would depend on the
decommissioning body being able to provide a detailed
inventory of what IRA weaponry been disposed of - and
whether or not it includes weapons purchased or obtained
since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.

He added: "This move is a dramatic u-turn by the Republican
movement from their stated position of 'not a bullet, not
an ounce '.

"It is imperative that not only arms are decommissioned but
that the dismantling of the Republican movement's criminal
empire is completed."

The former Executive Minister said the coming months would
also be crucial in establishing unionist confidence and
questioned whether further concessions to the IRA would be

He warned: "Unionists will also want to know if there are
further concessions coming from government to this move,
particularly on policing. We hope that there are none but
past experience would suggest otherwise."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said his welcome for the IRA move,
which he hoped would push the Agreement forward, was still
tinged with regret.

The Foyle MP added: "For years we have said to Sinn Fein
that the Agreement required decommissioning. We argued that
the failure to put weapons beyond use was feeding anti-
Agreement unionism and giving them just the excuse that
they needed.

"Martin McGuinness rejected all this. He said that it was
the silence of the guns that counted. He said that
decommissioning was surrender.

"Now he says that decommissioning is bigger than the
ceasefires. Now, he recognises that decommissioning is a
challenge to anti-Agreement unionism. "How much better a
position we would all be in if he had listened to us then."


Ireland On The Verge Of 'An Historic Advance'

By Noel McAdam
26 September 2005

Ireland is on the cusp of a truly historic advance, with
the IRA's full decommissioning, Martin McGuinness has said.

As he prepared to fly out for meetings with the republican
movement's support base in the United States, Mr McGuinness
argued the IRA's follow-through on its July 28 pledges was
even more politically and historically important than its
original 1994 ceasefire.

The former Education Minister in the power-sharing
Executive called for a positive response across the island
to the IRA's move.

Arguing the formal end of the IRA's armed campaign
transformed the political landscape forever, Mr McGuinness
argued it also placed a huge onus on the British and Irish
Governments and the DUP.

"Of course, this is about more than arms. It is about
reviving the peace process, it is about the future of
Ireland." he said.

"And this places an enormous responsibility on the British
and Irish governments to finally implement the Good Friday
Agreement in all its aspects on issues like equality, human
rights, policing, demilitarisation and northern

"It will also place a huge responsibility on the leadership
of the DUP to re-engage in the political process. I believe
that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly historic

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said, however, it appeared
republicans were poised to miscalculate once again during
the coming week.

"Decommissioning is one important ? I should say essential
? element in the process of democratising Sinn Fein/IRA.
Yet, they seem poised to decommission in an unconvincing
manner and for the wrong audience," the East Belfast MP

"A concise performance from the decommissioning body and a
heap of spin from Sinn Fein with synchronised applause from
London, Dublin and Washington might be enough for a
compliant media and untutored world opinion but unionists
who have seen what the IRA has done and know how they have
conned governments so many times before will not swallow a
stunt ? even if the IRA have two silent witnesses nodding
their heads in the background."

Mr Robinson said in the negotiations after the Leeds Castle
talks last year which led to the abortive Comprehensive
Agreement, his party had been told an inventory of weaponry
would only be published when decommissioning was completed
by all paramilitary groups.


IRA Decommissioning: Your Questions Answered

26/09/2005 - 17:25:34

Q – Just how vast was the quantity of arms and explosives
decommissioned by the IRA.

A – General John de Chastelain and his team weighed all the
explosives as well as counting and tagging every gun handed
over. But even though they have a full inventory of the
vast arsenal, details of just how much the IRA had hidden
away were not revealed.

Q – Whereabouts in Ireland did it happen.

A – Apparently only the IRA know. The General, his two
associates and the two churchmen who witnessed the minute-
by-minute process were kept completely in the dark. For
instance they were taken in the back of a van to secret
locations before daybreak and it was late at night when
they finished. No details were revealed about where they
stayed, and how they knew where to first rendezvous with
the Provisionals.

Q – How long did the process take.

A – The best part of a week and finished last Saturday. It
was heavily supervised by senior IRA men, (including
Belfast man Brian Keenan), who were involved in emptying
all their dumps and transporting the arms to a location,
believed to have been in the Irish Republic, where the
counting and verification process started as early as 6am.

Q – How were the weapons decommissioned?

A – Even though the General said he was satisfied they will
never be used again, he refused to disclose the method of
how they were put beyond use. The General said he was
unaware of any photographs being taken. Some security
sources speculated tonight the arms could have been put
into sealed containers and dumped at sea.

Q – Did the IRA retain some guns.

A – The General said he could not be sure. He was satisfied
the quantities decommissioned tallied with security force
estimates, but Unionists claimed it is inconceivable that
the Provisionals handed over everything – a view shared
tonight by some nationalists on the streets of west
Belfast, the constituency of Sinn Féin president Gerry

Q – Is this the end of the IRA?

A – Republicans insist their campaign is over and are now
committed to pursuing their aim of Irish re-unification by
peaceful and democratic means. But the influence of the
Provisionals is massive in the working class areas of
Belfast and Derry and even though the punishment shootings
have stopped, threats and intimidation remain.

Q – Have doubting Unionists been convinced by the General
and the independent assessment of the two clergymen.

A – No. The Rev Ian Paisley declared tonight: "You cannot
build bridges of trust with a scaffolding of lies and
underhand deals. It must been open and above board."

Q – What are the chances of early political progress in
Northern Ireland?

A – Virtually none. It will be several months at least
before British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern can begin to even consider launching a new
initiative to get the peace process back and track. Unlike
the euphoria in the aftermath of the signing of the 1998
Good Friday Agreement, guns or no guns, the mood on the
streets of Belfast has never been more pessimistic.

Q – Who will make the next judgement call on the IRA.

A – The Independent Monitoring Commission which was set up
by the British and Irish governments to monitor the IRA and
loyalist ceasefires. Its next report is due out next month
but it will be January 2006, six months after the
Provisionals declared an end to its campaign, before they
can make an accurate determination about their violence and

Q – Will the loyalists paramilitaries of the Ulster
Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association begin
decommissioning their weaponry.

A – No. There will be pressure for them to act as part of a
confidence building process in advance of getting all sides
around the negotiating table. But these are two criminal
organisations with zero credibility who need their guns to
reinforce the dominance of their own communities, even if
it means shooting each other.


Leading US Judge Slams Paper's Ad Ban

Jarlath Kearney

A leading Irish-American organisation has hit out at the
British government's continued ban against advertising in
Daily Ireland.

Judge Andrew Somers, president of the Irish American Unity
Conference, last night compared the embargo against Daily
Ireland with old-fashioned job discrimination.

The British government has refused to place any recruitment
advertising with Daily Ireland since the paper commenced
publication on February 1.

The paper subsequently instigated a complaint, with the
backing of the Equality Commission, of unfair treatment
against the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

The NIO is currently maintaining its old discriminatory
policy of advertising with three other Belfast-based
newspapers, while continuing to exclude Daily Ireland.

Civil servants have commenced a so-called review of the
issue, which may not report until next year.

"The British government ban on recruitment advertising in
the new pro-united Ireland daily newspaper Daily Ireland is
old employment discrimination in new clothes," Judge Somers

"Nationalists make up the vast bulk of Daily Ireland's
readers. If they don't have access to recruitment ads then
they are being disadvantaged in the marketplace at a time
when the British government's own statistics show
nationalists are twice as likely to be unemployed as

"Peter Hain promised to treat Daily Ireland the same as
other newspapers in the North of Ireland, the sales
proposition clearly stacks up. The only reasons to deny it
this advertising is to disadvantage nationalists. Seven
years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement,
nationalists should not have to seek recourse to the courts
to secure their rights," he said.

Judge Somers said an online petition against the ad embargo
should receive widespread support.


Don't Mess With The Net - It Bites Back

Mairtin Ó Muilleoir

After berating Aer Lingus like nobody's business last
week, I have to submit an addendum before I head out to
Boston today with the national carrier.

They have a better website than Continental (though the
long-term car parking at Dublin Airport, which is now
officially relocated to Naas, beggars belief).

Continental, who fly Belfast-New York, have an online
booking system computer that makes the Nasa mainframe look
like a Toys-R-Us give-away.

After my last Aer Lingus outing, I decided to switch my
allegiance to Continental for my upcoming trip to the Irish
American Unity Conference conference in Pittsburgh on
September 30.

For all I know, I may even have been successful in my
valiant booking efforts. Trouble is the booking system
froze after I had input my credit card details so I'm not
sure whether Continental got my money and allocated me a
seat or if money, seat and details are pinging around

As with most of these turbocharged web sites, doesn't offer any email address to make an
enquiry about a troublesome experience so I will have to
ring Visa and find out if my account in the British Virgin
Islands is minus $730 (£502).

All of which just goes to prove that this internet thing
isn't all peaches and cream.

Even after you fork out for broadband access to the
information superhighway, there's the little matter of
getting online.

For most people, getting the computer, modem and broadband
pipe in sync is the equivalent of taking the controls of
the starship Enterprise.

They tell us a third of Ireland's seven million people have
access to broadband but access and being able to make the
computers exploit that fact are two different things.

Even before you factor in the printer, the DVD player, the
digital camera, the speakers and the socket filters,
there's a whole world of trouble in just linking to the

Just ten per cent of the population know how to use their
video or DVD players to record a television programme.

What chance then that more than that number can easily
access the internet with their new, high-fangled, gigabyte-
gobbling Dell computer?

For those who haven't mastered the full experience of the
internet yet, let me tell you, there's not much to be

The half of Ireland who've never been on the internet –
unless it's to nominate a proxy to order them an airline
ticket – have found their match in the people who design
the websites.

Most are half-arsed attempts to impress a funding agency.

They are thrown up and then forgotten about or abandoned in
the face of an attack by the Klingon virus.

Those are only the public sector ones, the retail ones are

I thought I'd buy my old pal Art McCabe, longstanding
friend of Ireland and one of that dying American breed, the
attorney (down to the last two million), a Louis Copeland
shirt for his 60th birthday. No joy. Louis has a great site
if you're a window shopper but try to give him your moolah
for a pink, French-cuffed special and he won't take it.
Can't take it. The site is for spectators only.

Even, site of the famous US monthly magazine for
small businesses and promoters of uber-efficiency in
commercial matters, recently replied to an email seeking a
back issue with an address to which I should post a cheque.

Give me a break.

If the commercial transaction is going to be reduced to
sending a cheque by snailmail, what, pray tell, is the website for?

But the internet's not just about commerce, I hear you say.

True, it's also about speed-of-light email communication.

Except that it's a jungle of SPAM out there. For every ten
messages gets, there are 100
hawkers trying to sell me a fake Rolex, performance-
enhancing Viagra (if only they knew!), and Canadian drugs.

Others tell me I've been cleared for my mortgage by the
Bank of Montana (that's a relief) while some just go the
whole hog and try to sell me Candy or Chantelle or Natalia.

The more outrageous the offer, the more extravagant the
name. Cynthia Bordeaux, Betsy Garrett, Marcelo Simon and
Lowell Gibbs are just four of the more outlandish monickers
from today's bulging junk mail folder.

It's not all about SPAM clogging up your computer though,
the internet offers much more than that.

There are also viruses which will reach into your computer
and turn its inner workings into porridge.

Mydoom, X97M.Sarsnan, Blankfont, Bloodhound.Exploit, and 20
variations of the Trojan virus are listed as fresh virus
threats on the security website; two more
global virus threats were posted yesterday alone.

You can, of course, fork out thousands of pounds, as Daily
Ireland does, to protect yourself from the dark world of
the internet and to filter out SPAM, but for most punters
that's beyond their means.

So if they want to enjoy the upside of the internet, they
have to endure the flip-side.

For all that moaning, I head to America with Blackberry,
holster and earpiece – for all the world looking like a
cross between a presidential bodyguard and a ham radio nut
– and would be lost without the internet.

In San Francisco and Boston, I'll be bringing Daily Ireland
investors information of our considerable progress and
urging Irish-Americans to keep up to date by logging in
regularly to

I knew there was some benefit from the internet after all.

Mairtin Ó Muilleoir is publisher of Daily Ireland


DUP Anger Over Colombia Three Man's Presence At Sinn Fein

By Kathryn Torney
26 September 2005

The DUP has strongly criticised the attendance of one of
the Colombia Three at a Sinn Fein rally in Dublin at the

James Monaghan held a banner when he joined thousands of
Sinn Fein party members from north and south for the rally
for Irish unity on Saturday.

Earlier this month it emerged that the Colombian government
has formally initiated an extradition request for the three
Irish republicans convicted of training guerrillas in the
South American country.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan
reappeared in the Republic last month, having been on the
run since their conviction in Bogota last year.

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson said last night: "This man's
presence at the rally at the weekend is a clear snub to the
Irish Government.

"It smacks of 'in your face' republican contempt for the
rule of law that he now feels confident enough to flaunt
himself in such a public way when he is a fugitive of

"It begs the question - what are the Irish authorities

"I am astounded that James Monaghan and his two accomplices
have not been charged by the Irish authorities given that
they entered the country unlawfully.

"It is time the Irish Justice Minister took steps to make
these men accountable to the law."

However, a Sinn Fein spokesman said: "It was a public
rally, so James Monaghan had every entitlement to be there.

"As a republican he had every right to be there.

"He handed himself into a Garda station when he returned to
Ireland and was released."

The Colombia Three were initially cleared of training
guerrillas from the terror group FARC. But this verdict was
overturned following an appeal by the authorities in

They have all maintained their innocence.


Sinn Féin Lead Negotiator Martin McGuinness To Visit

Irish MP To Address Dinner Celebrating Sinn Fein's 100th

Monday, October 3, 8:00 p.m.

Palliser Fairmont Hotel (Alberta Room)
133-9th Avenue S.W., Calgary - Tickets $100

Press Conference: Monday, October 3, 4:00 p.m.

The Colonial Room, Palliser Fairmont Hotel

TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Sinn Féin lead negotiator
Martin McGuinness M.P., M.L.A., will be the keynote speaker
at a Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) dinner on Monday,
October 3, 2005 at the Palliser Fairmont Hotel in Calgary.

The dinner is part of a year long series of international
activities celebrating Sinn Féin's 100th Anniversary. Mr.
McGuinness will take the opportunity to brief western
Canadians on the Irish peace process in the wake of
historic moves by the IRA to end its campaign and
decommission its weapons.

Mr. McGuinness is available for interviews in Calgary on
Monday, October 3, 2005. For interviews with Mr.
McGuinness, please call 416 402-3729.

Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) Inc. is a federally
incorporated not-for-profit company working in support of
Sinn Féin and the Irish peace process.

For more information, please consult our website

For further information: AND TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS,
Alan McConnell at (416) 402-3729


Opin: Sinn Fein Has Higher Ambitions

Shawn Pogatchnik
Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - As the Irish Republican Army
bids a long-overdue farewell to its arms, the happiest
people in Ireland appear to be Sinn Fein leaders Gerry
Adams and Martin McGuinness. And the grumpiest? The Rev.
Ian Paisley.

This might seem rather backward, given that Sinn Fein spent
much of the past decade decrying disarmament as a
humiliation and surrender that would never happen, while
Paisley's Democratic Unionists insisted nothing less would

But for Sinn Fein, which spent the past decade using the
IRA's arsenal to win myriad concessions from Britain, the
time couldn't be better to get IRA guns out of Irish

And for Paisley's backers, disarmament threatens to remove
their favored reason for shunning Sinn Fein in a land where
most Protestants don't want "the Sinners" - as Sinn Fein is
known in some quarters - in their government at all.

This year, the British, Irish and U.S. governments finally
ganged up on Sinn Fein and said the IRA must fully disarm,
as it had promised to do in 2000.

When John de Chastelain, the Canadian who's spent eight
years trying to coax the IRA to this moment, announced he'd
overseen a complete clear-out of the IRA's weapons dumps,
all the international political pressure blew like a
hurricane from the Catholic west of Belfast to the
Protestant east - straight through the door of Paisley's
Democratic Unionist Party.

"This represents the final page in the story of (IRA
weapons) decommissioning. That excuse has now been taken
away, and there now exists a golden opportunity to move
forward," McGuinness said, the albatross off his neck.

In recent years, the IRA's simmering menace has held back
the party's popularity in the arena it most cares about -
not in this British territory, where Catholic voters reward
Sinn Fein toughness, but in the kinder, gentler Irish
Republic next door.

There, Sinn Fein is aiming to grow big enough in elections
next year or 2007 to win a place in Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern's next coalition government. Ahern, as he welcomed
disarmament Monday, didn't rule out the prospect.

While IRA peace moves make Sinn Fein look better to left-
leaning Catholic voters in the south, they cut little ice
with the north's Protestants, who suffered the brunt of IRA
violence before a 1997 cease-fire.

The widely accepted reality is that IRA disarmament is
coming about five years too late to fulfill its original
intention: coaxing Protestants to work with Sinn Fein.

Malachi O'Doherty, a veteran Belfast commentator, noted
that if the IRA had really wanted to promote power-sharing,
it would have disarmed in line with the 1998 pact - which
envisaged a quick start and completion by May 2000.

Instead, the IRA began only in October 2001, by which time
Protestant sentiment had turned decisively against
cooperation with Sinn Fein. Power-sharing collapsed in 2002
amid growing doubts about the IRA's intentions.

O'Doherty said the Sinn Fein-IRA strategy on disarmament
"has been to fracture the enemy over this issue, by saying
it would never happen, and then by procrastinating

The moderate Ulster Unionists, led by Nobel Peace Prize-
winner David Trimble, took a politically fatal gamble in
1999 by sharing power with Sinn Fein without disarmament up
front. Trimble resigned when his party was crushed in
elections by Paisley, an anti-Catholic preacher and veteran
opponent of power-sharing.

Now Paisley will face pressure from London, Dublin and
Washington to get back into negotiations involving Sinn
Fein, a process that nearly clinched a deal in December.
Paisley's deputies are caught between their hatred of Sinn
Fein - and their own ill-disguised lust to run Northern
Ireland government departments.

While the Democratic Unionists sulk, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair has already promised to meet a string of
Catholic demands: Troop strength in Northern Ireland will
be cut in the next two years to a peacetime garrison of
3,000, and most army bases will close; an overwhelmingly
Protestant local regiment will be disbanded; IRA fugitives
will be allowed home without fear of prison; and Sinn Fein
will even get the chance to oversee Northern Ireland's
police and justice system in a renewed power-sharing

Getting one going remains a long-term repair job with an
uncertain prognosis. Surveys indicate most Protestants are
content with Northern Ireland's 33-year-old system: a
quasi-colonial government of British lawmakers appointed
from London.

"It will be hard to persuade Protestant voters that Sinn
Fein is a political party just like any other," said Paul
Bew, politics professor at Queen's University, Belfast.
"We're into a period of several months, if not years, of
political delay yet."

Shawn Pogatchnik has covered Northern Ireland for The
Associated Press since 1991.


What People Are Saying In East Belfast... The View From The

Starts today: A major new series focuses on Northern
Ireland's troubed Protestant communities - and the claims
about what sparked the recent shocking violence. What do
working class protestants really think? Is deprivation the
root cause of their anger? Or is it about political

Mary Fitzgerald
26 September 2005

"No one has listened. Our politicians live in their own wee
cloud-cuckoo land and their own self-styled empires. the
people within our own community are not without blame."

"The scary thing is that many of those who went out on the
streets are people who have never been involved in trouble
in their lives. People who were saying enough is enough,
we're not being heard here and this is the only way to be

"I have no trust in the police. What I want answers for is
why the watchtowers, why the Royal Irish, why the RUC?
Since they changed to the PSNI, I don't see them as police
any more. Republicans are getting everything they asked
for. Why can't we? My kids are asking me these questions
and I can't answer them."

"It's not just the old codgers who were involved years ago.
The majority of the people on the streets, and even firing
weapons, were all under the age of 20. There's a new
generation coming up here that is not happy and that's

"A lot of people feel that Protestants are being led like
lambs to the slaughter and it seems to be all right to the
outside world. We're being led to a united Ireland, till
everything is green and on the way down that road we've got
to take everything off until we're naked and we've nothing

"I have no great love for the police. To me they are the
same all over the world, they're just not compatible with
human beings. No matter where it is in the world, they've
lost direction in terms of what they're actually there to

"I've grown up through the violence. I've had a father and
brother sent to prison, I've had a brother who hung himself
because his best friend was shot by the police, I've had
best friends shot. I've been through it all and I don't
want my children to experience that. I certainly want to
live in a peaceful society but at the same time I don't
want to live in a peaceful society by giving up everything
and just being forgotten about. I don't want to be left
lying down with no one listening. So, if this is the only
way forward, it's the only way forward."

Dinner was ready but Patsy Laverty's son was nowhere to be
seen. A quick call to his mobile helped solve the mystery.
There was trouble on the Albertbridge road and he was
'helping to keep the Taigs out', as he put it. That was
enough for Patsy's husband Raymond to jump in the car and
drag his 16-year-old son home. Something about the whole
situation made him stop and think. "That's a young lad
who's never been in trouble in his life, a lad who would
normally run away from trouble and he was standing there
prepared to fight. That scares me," says Raymond, a youth
worker at The Base drop-in centre. "Is this what our young
people are feeling? What's going on here?"

It's a question that has been asked many times in east
Belfast in the past two weeks. After the smashed and
mangled streetlights were replaced, after the shards of
glass and chunks of brick and stone were swept up from
charred and pockmarked roads, after the paint dried on the
'F*** the PSNI' graffiti, that niggling, awkward question

What's going on in working class Protestant communities?

What led to the eruption of rage, violence and fury that
paralysed Belfast and brought back talk of the bad old

For George Newell, 52, a community worker from Bloomfield,
the answer is simple. "At the moment there's no future in
communities like this. People feel they have nothing to

But why the violence, why the attacks on police, soldiers
and the pregnant woman punched in the face because she
didn't turn her car around fast enough in the middle of a

"People protest all over the world to air grievances but it
just so happens that we come from a culture where people
have seen the benefits of what violence brings," shrugs
Newell. "We've spent years talking and debating about the
problems we have in this community and nobody wanted to
listen to us. It has taken a week of violence for people to
sit up and say there must be something wrong here."

Ask Protestants in working class east Belfast what is wrong
with their community and the same issues keep coming to the
fore. It's a familiar litany - unemployment, poverty, lack
of training opportunities, a shortage of affordable housing
for young people, the everyday struggle to make ends meet.
Point out that these are the same problems faced by people
in working class areas in cities like Glasgow, Manchester
or Liverpool and many will insist that their situation is

"It's not the same because they have no way of measuring
what they're getting and not getting," says Raymond
Laverty. "We do, unfortunately, and it's on the other side
of that wall. We see the other side getting lots more than
we do."

You hear a lot of talk of 'the other side' or 'themmuns' in
east Belfast. Though government figures contradict much of
the claims, the perception is that nationalists have more.
More funding, more jobs, more regeneration projects, more
training schemes, more political concessions, more
sympathy. John Reid's remark about Northern Ireland
becoming a 'cold house for unionists' gets a regular
airing. Grumbles about the release of Sean Kelly, the
disbandment of the RIR and the scaling down of security
segue into a much-repeated refrain.

Probe a little deeper though and there is a tentative
acknowledgement of problems within the community itself -
paramilitarism, weak political representation, social
fragmentation, ill-advised allocation of funding - that
have contributed to the sense of fracture and decay.

The shipyards have long gone, as have the old certainties,
and people feel rudderless and embattled.

"No one has listened. Our own politicians live in their own
wee cloud-cuckoo land and their own self-styled empires.
The people within our own community are not without blame,"
says Raymond.

His wife Patsy agrees. "The politicians have run away from
people in these areas. Look at the number of houses around
here that are all blocked up or left to fall into ruin.
Politicians seem quite happy to allow this to happen. They
have let the people down."

Mention local politicians to Stuart Harvey, 24, from the
Newtownards Road, and you get a wry smile. "The only time
you see politicians round here is when something has
happened like the last two weeks or when they're looking
for your vote. They don't do much for us."

It's not just a sense of political alienation. Forget the
handwringing and fretting about the damage recent rioting
may have done to Northern Ireland's chances for future
investment possibilities, many in these streets see no
place for people like them in the brave new world of
corporate Belfast.

"Investors come and build all these fancy hotels and
companies but nobody in this area even gets a look-in,"
says George. "The jobs that are being created? You could
say 90% of working class Protestants don't qualify for
those jobs anyway. We see our kids already on the scrapheap
at just 16 or 18."

For many, this is the nub of the problem. The world of work
has changed and, in east Belfast, this means having to
grapple with a new reality very different to the days when
a job in the shipyards or an apprenticeship would set you
up for life. There is more talk of a mourned past than of
the future. Raymond believes a whole new mindset is needed.

"The Catholic nationalist community is miles ahead," he
admits. "They turned to education, they have settled their
people and invested in their areas because they felt that
was what they needed to do whereas we didn't. We have
missed out on quite a bit of that because of the decline of
industry and the idea that we didn't need education. Now
we're playing catch-up. The mentality of the whole
Protestant community is in transition."

Stuart Harvey is unemployed and desperately trying to get a
place on a training course.

"It's hard for people to move on to jobs here. There's
nothing out there for us," he says. "People used to say
round here that education wasn't important, that it wasn't
for us but I think that's changing slowly. I have heard of
four or five people going to university from this area.
There is a realisation that you do need to get a
qualification to get a job these days because there's
nothing else for you here."

When people do move on, whether to education or a well-paid
job, they tend to sever all links and not come back,
Raymond says.

"There is this feeling that when Protestants get up into
the roof space they pull the ladder up behind them," he
explains. "If you're lucky enough to get a decent job, the
first thing you do is get out of the area and move
elsewhere. Nobody returns and puts something back into the

Raymond voted in favour of the Good Friday Agreement but
says he would vote against it now - "It has let me down, it
made all these promises but I'm confused with the ambiguity
of it all."

He doesn't vote in elections because he feels there's no
one to vote for. He bristles at the term 'loyalist'.

"I'm reluctant to call myself a loyalist because it's a
term given to working class Protestants by those who don't
want anything to do with them. Middle-class unionists and
the media dismiss loyalists as the scum, the bottom rung of
their ladder. I'm a unionist and I'm just as much a
unionist as Ian Paisley or David Trimble."

Back to the recent rioting. While some people in east
Belfast deplore the violence, almost everyone says they
understand the reasons behind it. Genuine and pressing
social problems interweave with a strong sense of political
disenchantment. For people in working class Belfast, the
peace process is perceived in terms of who is winning and
who is losing, who is getting more, and who is being pushed
to the wall. There are fears and paranoias, many talk of
losing their identity and of the prospect of a united
Ireland - one woman even compares the situation to Israeli
settlers withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. "People are
watching that on TV and thinking is that going to happen to
us? Are we going to be shipped out of Ireland?"

Ask people if they believe their community lost or gained
by the violence of the last weeks, serious disturbances
that saw their own banks, shops and political offices
burned down or vandalised and many say they had nothing
left to lose anyway.

"It may not be the right way but at the minute it's the
only way," one says. "It worked for the Provos," says
another. Another believes it made a real difference in just
a matter of days. "What did we have to lose? Now the
government is starting to take heed that there is a major
problem here and they're taking action. It has worked."


QUB Paper 'Aiming To Deter Protestants'

By Linda McKee
26 September 2005

Protestant sixth-formers have been deterred from applying
to Queen's University because they were targeted with a
republican newspaper on their visits, it has been claimed.

'The Craic' was handed out by the students union to pupils
who were visiting the campus, intimidating them, a DUP
councillor said.

Christopher Stalford, councillor for Laganbank, claimed
that the union was actively working to deter Protestant
sixth-formers from applying by handing out a newspaper that
was "Irish republican in nature and offensive to many

Mr Stalford said: "This publication, which describes itself
as 'the official newspaper of Queen's Students Union', is a
republican document and is designed deliberately to
alienate those pupils who are from a pro-Union background."

"Firstly, the front-page story featured prominent
quotations from Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey - he was the sole
political representative to be featured in the article.

"The dates on the front of the publication were also
bilingual in both English and Irish.

"On opening the paper up, the first article in it is
entirely in Irish - a language alien to unionists and
nationalists alike - and page three of the paper contains a
far from delightful article about a collusion exhibition
that was staged in the university along with pictures of
Mrs Thatcher and Sir Jack Hermon placed alongside a picture
of Brian Nelson - a disgusting and disgraceful inference."


Parents Drive Their Kids To Forest Binges

By Ashleigh Wallace
26 September 2005

Parents who drop off youths with alcohol carry-outs at
Linear Forest in west Belfast were last night warned that
they face being reported to Social Services.

The warning was issued after a meeting held on the
Bellsteele Road in Poleglass at the weekend, attended by
councillors and community group representatives.

The meeting was held on Friday evening as a response to
recent physical and sexual attacks.

Workers from the Safer Neighbourhoods Project team revealed
incidents of taxis arriving to deliver drink to people who
had gathered in the forest.

It was also claimed that parents dropped off their teenage
children with carry-outs at the forest.

Sinn Fein's Michael Ferguson, who organised the meeting,
was joined by local priest Fr Eugene Lewis and
representatives from the Footprints Women's Centre, the
Colin Community Forum and the community restorative justice

Also present was a local woman who suffered a sexual
assault. Six weeks ago, she was robbed of her purse and
when she chased her attackers, she was knocked to the
ground, where several teenagers tried to take off her

A petrol station manager and another staff member

Mr Ferguson said: "We gathered at the entrance of the
forest to show the victims that we cared and to send a
message to those congregating in the forest that we are not
going to tolerate the use of the area for such abuses.

"We also want to send a message to taxis that are dropping
off drink, parents who are risking their children and those
coming from other areas that we intend to challenge them
from now on going into the forest - and where there is a
risk and a duty of care to children we will bring the
Social Services in, to support us and tackle the parental


Opin: A Generous Call For All Ulster To Get Behind The Red

Pól Ó Muirí
26 September 2005

Trevor Ringland's plea for everyone in Northern Ireland to
get behind Tyrone as they faced Kerry in the All-Ireland
football final yesterday was a much more generous call to
sporting arms than that offered by some republican
commentators when Norn Iron took on England at Windsor Park

I have no idea how many unionists took heed of the advice
of this former Irish international rugby player and
prominent UUP member. I suspect that there may well have
been a few from the other side of the sectarian stadium who
indulged themselves in what was the biggest sporting event
in Ireland and Britain this weekend.

None of us can resist taking a peek at what "the other
side" are doing and it is not the first time that the GAA
has found itself attracting attention. Fermanagh's win over
Armagh last year brought orange and green together in that

Of course, not every unionist will have responded to
Ringland's call and some may regard him as naïve. He need
not worry - not every GAA supporter will have heeded it
either. Most of the northern GAA did support Tyrone - most,
but not all.

Many Armagh supporters were ambivalent about cheering their
neighbours on, as they are still smarting from the one-
point loss of a few weeks previously. They found themselves
in the awkward philosophical position of choosing the least
worst option. Should they support their fellow Ulstermen
and risk having to listen to Red Hand Roaring for the next
year or should they offer up a prayer for the Kingdom, safe
in the knowledge that whatever bragging went on would be
far away?

And don't for a moment think that everyone in Munster was
behind Kerry; many in Cork were hoping that the Sam Maguire
cup went North. And therein lies the glory of the GAA.

Yes, it is a national organisation and, yes, the tricolour
is flown and The Soldiers' Song sung at important games. It
would be idiotic to deny that the roots of the GAA are in
nationalism and that most people who attend the games in
the North are happy to identify with that ethos. (That
said, the quietest three minutes at any GAA game between
teams from the six counties is usually when The Soldiers'
Song is played. Ethos is all very well but you need to
preserve your voice to abuse the ref.)

What is really important about the GAA is winning or, at
least, hoping to win. You give your loyalty and your love
to the club or county. Politicians, parties and elections
come and go but the jersey remains unchanged. Beating the
other side is the most important thing. Give the followers
of Tyrone and Armagh a choice between a United Ireland by
2016 and a bag full of All-Irelands and most would choose
the All-Irelands.

It seems appropriate that Ringland should highlight the GAA
this weekend in particular given that the PSNI were cleared
to enter a team for the Sigerson Cup, third-level
education's premiere Gaelic football competition.

Another club playing Gaelic games is always to be welcomed.
The only hurdle to be overcome now is the team's name. PSNI
GAC is a bit of a mouthful. Would Saint Peeler's or
Constabulary Kickhams be better?

My left arm has spent the last few weeks in a cast and I
have spent that time telling people how I fell off my bike
and what the damage was. I would finish the story with a
happy little aside: "But don't worry, the bike is fine."
Sympathy was immediate but was then followed by horror
stories of other people who fell off their bikes ? one
person being knocked over by a car but living to tell the
tale; one running into an old lady who was jaywalking and
then being sued by her and one who landed on his face and
broke all his front teeth. These ghastly little tales are
invariably followed by: "It could have been a lot worse for
you." Yes, it could have been and I thank God it was not.
But please, no more. I never realised bicycles were so
dangerous and I really want to get back on mine at some


Adams Says Ulster Double Is 'Fantastic'

26 September 2005

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams last night joined the army
of well-wishers who paid tribute to the Tyrone and Down
teams who achieved glory in the All-Ireland finals at Croke

He sent his congratulations to Tyrone's senior footballers
and the Down minor squad who were both victorious in the
GAA showpiece games of the year.

Mr Adams hailed the Ulster double victory as "fantastic".

He said: "I would wish to extend congratulations to both
the Tyrone seniors and the Down minors after their
fantastic victories in Croke Park.

"Winning both the senior and minor titles is a tremendous
achievement for Ulster football."

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