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September 05, 2005

Loyalist Attack Police

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 09/05/05 Police Attacked By Loyalist Petrol Bombers
BB 09/05/05 Classroom Damaged In Arson Attack
BT 09/05/05 Priest's Appeal At Vigil For Stabbing Victim
SF 09/05/05 DUP Accused Of Columbia 3 Propaganda Stunt
SF 09/05/05 Govt Policies Have Failed Local Communities
BT 09/05/05 Colombia Three Fugitive Tracked Down
NL 09/05/05 McAleese To Visit Shankill On Thursday
IT 09/05/05 Criminal Activities Of IRA Are Not Going Away
BT 09/05/05 Parties Await IRA Arms Move
BT 09/05/05 SF And DUP Clash Over Riot In Cushendall
BB 09/05/05 Man Denies Ex-Soldier Murder Bid
BT 09/05/05 Anger Over Bomb Scare At Festival
BT 09/05/05 Parade Body Under Fire For Ruling
BB 09/05/05 Trip Will Set Up Victims' Network
UT 09/05/05 Voting Register Campaign Starts
DF 09/05/05 Strains Of Irish Music Set The Tone For Hooley


Police Attacked By Petrol Bombers

Police officers have been attacked by loyalist petrol
bombers during a series of searches in north Belfast.

Bricks and bottles were thrown at fire crews and several
vehicles set on fire during violence which erupted in the
Woodvale area at about 1200 BST.

Up to 100 masked youths have been in the area. The trouble
follows the arrest of a man over the discovery of a gun
linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

It is understood the UVF held a "show of strength" in the
area on Saturday.

Chief Superintendent Mike Little, district commander for
north Belfast said; '' I have made it clear that criminal
activity will not be tolerated in north Belfast and this
operation is a further indication of how seriously we are
tackling the issue."

He said that police received reports that a number of armed
and masked men were present in the Woodvale area on

Van hijacked

"We were very active in the area and gathered evidence of
criminal activity," he said.

"We have studied this activity and the ongoing policing
operation is a direct result of what was recorded.''

Monday's trouble began as police moved in to search houses
in the mainly loyalist area.

A soft drinks van was hijacked and set alight in Disraeli
Street, two vans were set on fire in Parkview Terrace.

Violence has also flared in Cambrai Street where more than
20 petrol bombs and a host of bottles have been thrown at
police Land Rovers.

On Sunday, a juvenile was also arrested after violence
involving between 30 and 50 youths at Enfield Street. He
was charged with a public order offence.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/05 13:03:34 GMT


Classroom Damaged In Arson Attack

A classroom has been destroyed in an arson attack at a
primary school in County Londonderry.

The fire in a room used as the assembly hall at Roe Valley
Integrated Primary School, Limavady, was discovered at
about 1840 BST on Sunday.

The temporary classroom was well alight when fire crews
arrived at the scene.

District commander Willie Lynch said that he believed the
fire was started deliberately.

"Adjacent to (the classroom) was an oil tank which was
causing some concern," he said.

"Coming from a preliminary investigation which I have
carried out, I believe that the fire was started

'Mindless damage'

The school's head teacher, Anne Quinn, said the community
had been very supportive following the fire.

"We have every intention of carrying on as normal," she

"Although we are saddened by this kind of mindless damage,
we intend to go forward.

"It has made us all stronger and the support we have had is

Ms Quinn said classes would not be disrupted. Alternative
arrangements have been made to teach the children elsewhere
on Monday.

The school is expected to reopen in its normal premises on

Ulster Unionist assembly member David McClarty condemned
the arson attack and the stress it had caused to staff,
pupils and parents.

"At a time when education budgets are already stretched and
schools are finding it difficult to operate within
extremely tight financial constraints, vandalism of this
type is the last thing any school needs or deserves," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/05 06:50:04 GMT


Priest's Appeal At Vigil For Stabbing Victim

By Staff Reporter
05 September 2005

A PRIEST has called for an end to all sectarian violence as
one hundred of stab victim Thomas Devlin's neighbours and
friends took part in an emotional kerbside service at the
spot where he was killed just yards from his home in
Somerton Road.

The memorial to the 15-year-old was also a dignified
opportunity to afterwards remove all the flowers laid there
by all his friends, said his mother Penny.

"The flowers were ageing - but his memory lives on," she

Thomas was stabbed five times in the back almost a month
ago now.

"And every single flower's petal that lay on the ground
represented a tear shed for Thomas", she said.

The bouquets were four or five deep along the 18-foot wall
where he bled to death.

Rosary beads draped two ceramic white hands reaching up
into the sky.

And even though they were all to be taken away in a bid to
try and let life move on, his memory will always be at the
forefront of people's minds, said parish priest Father Sean
Emerson, addressing those who gathered yesterday.

And everyone sang along with two guitars in a celebration
of his life, with Fr Emerson leading prayers.

Fr Emerson said let there be no thoughts of anger.

"We hope those who did this wrongdoing are caught and

"Let Thomas's memory help you to be persons of peace. Let
that memory help you overcome any anger," he told the


DUP Accused Of Columbia 3 Propaganda Stunt

Published: 5 September, 2005

Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has challenged the
DUP to come clean over their role in the importation of
arms through Ulster Resistance from South Africa and
British Army double agent Brian Nelson that lead to the
murder of 280 people and accused them of engaging in a
cheap propaganda stunt in travelling to Columbia.

Mr Kelly said:

"This latest stunt is in stark contrast to the failure of
unionist leaders to tackle the 100 plus attacks carried out
by loyalists against the nationalist community over the
last two and a half months. Rather than using the return of
the Colombia 3 to distract people the DUP should deal with
the very real crisis in the political process created by
the failure of unionists to deal with unionist paramilitary

"Jeffery Donaldson is travelling over 5000 miles yet he
won't deal with loyalist violence on his doorstep.

"Instead of engaging in cheap propaganda stunts the DUP
would more usefully come clean about their role in the
importation of South African arms through Ulster Resistance
and Brian Nelson that lead to the murder of over 280
nationalists." ENDS


Sinn Féin condemns attack upon Republican plot in Milltown

Published: 5 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Councillor for Upper Falls Paul Maskey has today
condemned an attack upon the Republican plot at Milltown
Cemetery as 'an attack upon Ireland's patriot dead'.

The Republican plot was damaged in an overnight attack
where personal items and plaques were broken in the attack.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

"I want to condemn the vicious anti-social behaviour in
Milltown Cemetery yesterday evening. This mindless attack
on the Republican plot is a clear attack upon Ireland‚s
patriot dead. The attack will no doubt come as a shock to
the friends and families of those buried in Milltown.

"It remains unclear if this wanton vandalism is the work of
local thugs or youths. However, republicans will be
determined to restore the plot to its former condition as a
tribute to the memory of those who rest there." ENDS


Government Policies Have Failed Local Communities - Ó

Published: 5 September, 2005

The Taoiseach has been accused of "window-dressing" by Sinn
Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD. Deputy Ó Caoláin
was commenting on the session on community values at the
Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party in County Cavan addressed
by US author Robert Putnam. Deputy Ó Caoláin said
Government policies had fuelled the breakdown of
communities and often where communities were organised they
were not getting the help they needed. Deputy Ó Caoláin

"The focus on community values at the Fianna Fáil meeting
is a piece of window-dressing on the part of the Taoiseach
and his party. The reality is that this Government‚s
policies have actually contributed to the breakdown of
communities. One of the building blocks of any community is
the school and as Fianna Fáil meets, parents and children
are protesting at the failure to provide school transport
for thousands of children across this State.

"In the area of housing and planning above all the
Government has presided over unbridled development that
puts the profits of property speculators above the needs of
communities and families.

"People are moving into new housing estates, especially in
the ever-expanding greater Dublin area, with few
facilities. Adequate schools are not being provided.
Existing schools are bursting at the seams and are often in
disrepair. The childcare infrastructure is totally
inadequate. Often both parents are working to pay massive
mortgages and have little time to spend with their children
and even less to contribute to community life.

"In an interview at the weekend the Taoiseach cited the
need for day care centres for the elderly. This is
incredible given the fact that here in County Cavan at
Cootehill an excellent day care centre for the elderly has
been built but it cannot be used because of lack of
Government funding. It was opened in 2002 and is still not
being utilised because the voluntary effort of local people
in the Senior Citizen‚s Committee is not matched by
government support.

"If the Taoiseach is concerned with building communities he
should also restore funding to the Community Workers Co-op
which his Government cut this year. This is also the
Government that cut Community Employment schemes and has
taken further powers away from local government so that
communities have no real say in the decisions that effect
them." ENDS


Colombia Three Fugitive Tracked Down

05 September 2005

A DUBLIN-based newspaper has tracked down one of the
Colombia Three to a secret Dublin hideout where he lies
seriously ill in bed.

The Evening Herald traced James Monaghan to his brother's
home in Walkinstown and Gerard Monaghan confirmed that the
veteran republican is bedridden.

His brother refused to reveal the exact nature of
Monaghan's illness but senior Garda sources say he has not
been well for months.

His brother said he would not be making any comment.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has spoken for the first time
about his relationship with Phil Flynn, the former Sinn
Fein vice-president who is being investigated by the
Criminal Assets Bureau.

In an interview on Today FM's Sunday Supplement, Bertie
Ahern said: "I have known Phil Flynn for 20 years. Looking
back over the summer, you would think the only person he
knows in Irish politics is me.

"And I am quite happy to leave it that way.

"But let's see what the position is with Phil Flynn when he
has gone through the full rigours of the law.

"I would feel disappointed if it was ultimately proven, or
if there was evidence that Phil Flynn was up to the
operations he was accused of."


McAleese To Visit Shankill On Thursday

Monday 5th September 2005

The Irish President's trip to the Shankill Road, which was
shelved following her verbal blunder comparing Protestants
with the Nazis, is to take place.

Mary McAleese's historic visit this Thursday will mark the
first of its kind by a leader of the Republic to the
Belfast Protestant heartland.

She was due to visit a primary school on Tennent Street in
February, but it was put off when she sparked a storm
during a speech commemorating the 60th anniversary of the
liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Mrs McAleese's comparison of Protestants to Nazis was later
retracted and she apologised for the "clumsy" comments.

Unionists viewed the apology as "too late", while loyalist
paramilitaries zoned the Shankill as a "no go area" for

Coming as it does during a feud between the UVF and LVF
which has left four men dead, the visit will be marked by
tight security.

A Stormont spokesman admitted a "heightened risk" during
the visit, but was confident the visit would take place.

Loyalist sources have been described as "welcoming" the
president and have hinted at providing their own "policing"
for the visit.

Mrs McAleese has already met with the UDA and the Ulster
Political Research Group during a visit to the People's
Museum at Glencairn, where the loyalist paramilitary
ceasefires were declared in 1994.


Criminal Activities Of IRA Are Not Going Away

Soon, the spotlight is expected to be on IRA
decommissioning but it is already being shone onto money
laundering, Conor Lally reports.

The Provisional IRA's money machine has its roots under the
scorching Mediterranean sun as much as down the back alleys
of west Belfast or among the fields and country lanes of
south Armagh and the Border counties.

Every day lorries pulling 40ft containers full of
cigarettes pass through the gates of Gallagher's tobacco
warehouses in Belfast. Most leave the North on sea freight
bound for the far-flung corners of the world.

But for some of the consignments the Belfast depot
represents merely the first stage in a global voyage that
will lead them back to the North.

"They'll be legitimately sold by Gallagher's to companies
overseas," says one senior Garda source referring to the
container loads of tobacco. Southern European locations are
a favourite.

"Once the shipments make it there they'll be shipped again
around a number of EU countries and even to the United
States in some cases. False documentation will be produced
until eventually the shipments get lost in the paperwork.
The stuff then comes back into Ireland, usually from
Rotterdam and labelled as furniture parts."

The initial sale will be to an IRA-controlled company,
unbeknownst to Gallagher's who are entirely innocent. The
goods' criss-crossing of the oceans will be controlled by
the same organisation.

When they arrive back in the North, the cigarettes will be
distributed by the IRA, often to shops and petrol stations
the organisation own or control. Payments to neither
Revenue nor Customs and Excise form part of the lucrative
business model. Annual profits run into the millions and
shipping costs are negligible in comparison.

WELCOME TO PIRA Inc, a tightly-run operation where
cigarette rackets represent just one of many lucrative

Money laundering, fuel smuggling, business and social
security fraud, counterfeiting, extortion, loan sharking,
drinking clubs, illegal gaming machines and even
intellectual property theft are all well established

IRA extortion demands from companies of up to €400,000 per
year are not uncommon. A single illegal gaming machine can
net the IRA almost €40,000 per year. And some of the bigger
IRA illicit diesel laundering operations have the capacity
to produce 200,000 litres a week, resulting in a weekly
loss to the Revenue of around €130,000.

Around two thirds of the petrol stations in the North are
believed to sell smuggled and laundered fuel. Some owners
have been forced into such activity by the IRA. Other
garages are owned by IRA sympathisers or are directly
controlled by the organisation.

In 2002 the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee produced a report titled The Financing of
Terrorism In Northern Ireland. Its authors estimated that
the IRA's annual running costs were €2.2 million with an
annual fundraising capacity of between €7.3 million and
€11.7 million. Based on those figures, IRA Inc has recorded
annual profits of €9.5 million every year in recent times.

Two weeks ago, in the wake of the IRA's statement saying
its "armed campaign" was over and calling on members to
"dump arms", the last deputy chief constable of the RUC,
Colin Crampton, predicted the organisation would play a key
mafia-style role in Ireland into the future.

"A lot of men have invested their whole lives in illegal
armed conflict, bomb-making and terror. They're not about
to settle for pipe and slippers now," he said. "Neither is
the IRA about to go away . . . This is the most
sophisticated, politically strategic organisation I know.
It has pensions to pay to loyal volunteers and operatives
who have given long service . . . This is not the end of
the IRA, it is the beginning of another era of it."

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell apparently subscribes
to this nightmare scenario. According to political sources,
he is anxious to see the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) and
the National Bureau of Fraud Investigation working together
to, in effect, decommission the republican movement's money

McDowell has relayed these views to senior management
within An Garda Síochána in recent months. He believes
illegal financing must be tackled immediately, before Sinn
Féin grows any stronger.

"The deeper they [ Sinn Féin] get into respectable politics
the more difficult they [ IRA fundraisers] will be to
dislodge," says one political source. "In a few years'
time, there is going to be a real reluctance on the part of
a young, newly-promoted garda, in his early 30s in, say, a
unit like the Cab, to go in and start quizzing known

"Sinn Féin could be in government by then or at least
supporting a government. The IRA has taken all they can get
and they will keep taking it. They are like the
paramilitary equivalent of Cosmo Girl, they 'want it all'.
And time is on their side, not ours."

In recent days, senior Garda sources say they believe
McDowell must accept that the financial web which has been
spun by the IRA will not be easy to unravel. Assets and
funds on deposit cannot always be proven to be the proceeds
of crime. And often these cannot be directly linked to
known IRA members. The links between IRA money and Sinn
Féin coffers, they say, also remain unproven.

However, The Irish Times has established that very
considerable "post conflict" investigations in the Republic
are already underway into members of the IRA and other
known republican figures. Cab has joined forces in this
regard with the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) in the North.

Customs and Excise in the Republic has done a significant
amount of groundwork and the fraud squad in the Republic
also has a number of investigative irons in republican

IN RECENT WEEKS Cab has identified one former IRA army
council member from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, as a rapidly
emerging senior figure in the IRA's cigarette and oil
smuggling operations. This man was appointed to the army
council 18 months ago, the Cab believes.

He has several properties and, like many of his
counterparts, is in the process of attempting to make the
move into legitimate business. He owns a substantial piece
of land on the outskirts of one southern Border town and
gardaí believe he is planning to build around 40 houses

Another figure from Armagh with strong links to the IRA has
already has had two properties in the Republic frozen by
Cab. The North's ARA has also frozen a substantial property
he owns in Northern Ireland.

This man has run a significant oil laundering business in
the North and the Republic. Last year he was leasing two
petrol stations in the west of Ireland which gardaí
suspected were selling laundered fuel. Customs raided both
a number of times and they have since gone out of business.

However, the same man has used two IRA-controlled petrol
stations in Belfast to sell his illegal fuel. He has also
recently established a legitimate haulage company and has
at least five trucks working on one of the Republic's
biggest construction projects.

A Dundalk farmer with links to the IRA has also been
identified by Cab as a key figure in the illicit fuel
business and is now the subject of investigation. When
police raided one of his properties North of the Border
last year, they found €400,000 in cash. He controls at
least one petrol station in the North and will soon be
before the courts in the Republic.

Also firmly on the radars of ARA and Cab is another Armagh-
based figure with strong links to the IRA. He has been
involved in the fuel smuggling business and in money
laundering. He has used petrol stations he owns in Armagh
and Monaghan for the former and a number of leased small
shops for the latter. He too is expected before the courts

A well-known dissident republican in the Border area is
under continued investigation by Cab and ARA. The cross-
Border proceeds of crime probe against him has escalated in
the last two months. Both gardaí and political sources say
they are anxious that this man's activities, and those of
his close circle, are ended or at least seriously
disrupted. He continues to pose a major security threat,
says gardaí. In Dublin, a gang of criminals which had been
involved with the IRA is under close investigation. These
have, in large part, controlled the smuggling of cigarettes
through Dublin Port in recent years. One of these gang
members was recently presented with a €700,000 tax
assessment by Cab.

A west Dublin criminal who is in the IRA and has been
engaged in crime on its behalf, is also under investigation
by Cab. He has been engaged in extortion and smuggling and
now has legitimate business interests in the capital.

He can expect a tax demand in excess of €1 million in the
not too distant future, according to security sources.
Another IRA figure based in the North who owns around 20
properties on both sides of the Border is also under
investigation by Cab and ARA. In Armagh a wine smuggling
operation is also under investigation.

A group of seven IRA criminals, along with around 15
criminals with no political affiliations, is being
investigated for a €2 million construction industry Revenue
fraud in Dublin.

And the fraud squad has a number of IRA-controlled pubs
under investigation in the Republic on suspicion of money
laundering. One political source said it is imperative that
as many of these investigations as possible comes to a
successful conclusion.

"I think Sinn Féin know that these things are coming down
the line," he says. "Why else would Gerry Adams, Martin
McGuinness and Martin Ferris have stood down from the army
council? If the IRA had been stood down why would they need
to leave the army council?

"It's a clear effort to put distance between themselves and
what may come down the line, in anticipation of what people
[ IRA figures now under investigation] might be charged
with." Adams can now be "in the background saying 'I know
nothing', a bit like Manuel from Fawlty Towers", said the

© The Irish Times


Parties Await IRA Arms Move

By Brian Walker London Editor
05 September 2005

REPORTS that the IRA will begin its final phase of
decommissioning over the next couple of weeks herald the
start of the most intensive period of political activity
since the collapse of the comprehensive agreement process
last December.

An interim report on UVF activity from the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) is expected to land on
Secretary of State Peter Hain's desk when he returns from a
late summer holiday on Wednesday.

On the basis on the report, Mr Hain is likely to take a
quick decision on whether to specify the UVF, which would
include declaring it in breach of its ceasefire, following
four killings in its deadly feud with the LVF.

Mr Hain is also expected to launch a new series of
bilateral talks with the various political parties,
beginning later this week with the SDLP.

He will be keen to have some positive news for the SDLP
leader Mark Durkan, who has scathingly criticised Mr Hain
over his attitude to the UVF, accusing him of
"indifference" and calling on him to "stop pretending" that
the UVF ceasefire is intact.

A timetable for putting together the pieces of a new
devolution jigsaw is also emerging.

By the end of the year, a much clearer idea of the
prospects for a return to devolution will have emerged.

Apart from decommissioning, next month's full IMC report on
all illegal paramilitary activity is the next crucial step
towards the restoration of negotiations with the parties.

If the IMC reports a further significant fall in activity
on top of the separate arms decommissioning process,
pressure will mount on the DUP to begin talks.

At Westminster and the Dail, slots in parliamentary
timetables will be made available for allowing On The Runs
(OTRs) to come home after a brief judicial process.

On the other hand, pressure will be increased on Sinn Fein
to recognise the PSNI and the Policing Board, by bringing
forward at Westminster in November the necessary
legislation to transfer justice and policing powers to the

This timetable, officials emphasise, depends on what they
call "an enabling environment".

Mr Hain is also said to be "very passionate" about
advancing the domestic agenda, whether or not devolution
talks start.

He would be prepared to delay decisions on a list of urgent
matters, like the future of secondary schooling or councils
reform. But if party talks do not bear fruit, he will press
ahead, officials insist.


SF And DUP Clash Over Riot In Cushendall

By Debra Douglas
05 September 2005

THE DUP and Sinn Fein were locked in a war of words last
night after a weekend riot in a normally quiet seaside
village in Co Antrim.

A Sinn Fein councillor has called on the Police Ombudsman
to investigate the PSNI's handling of the late night
trouble in Cushendall, which left one officer with a
suspected broken nose.

But the DUP hit out at this demand, and said the incident
in the early hours of Sunday morning underlined a need for
more policing resources.

The PSNI said a crowd of up to 50 people surrounded
officers as they tried to make an arrest in the Bridge
Street area of the coastal village.

Three officers were injured and one was taken to hospital
for treatment for a suspected broken nose and multiple cuts
and bruises.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed that police used CS spray to
disperse the crowd.

But Sinn Fein councillor Oliver McMullan claimed he was
struck by police as he tried to stop trouble, alleging that
he was hit with batons and sprayed with CS gas.

He added: "Many Cushendall residents, including myself,
will be making complaints to the Police Ombudsman regarding
this and I will be asking that a full investigation be
carried out."

But DUP MLA Mervyn Storey criticised the attitude of Sinn
Fein to the incident. "Here we have Sinn Fein talking about
the heavy handiness of police - they do not support the
police and aren't exactly impartial observers.

"The incident also tells us a lot about the attitude of
some people in society towards the police - people who are
not prepared to accept the rule of law that attack one
officer so viciously, he ends up in hospital."

Mr Storey said he would be speaking to the local police
commander about the situation today.

He said: "This incident highlights the totally inadequate
resources the police have to deal with call-outs here."

A police spokesman said one man was arrested for assault
and public order offences.

In Belfast meanwhile, a police officer was taken to
hospital with a suspected broken wrist after trouble flared
in Andersonstown in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Shortly before 2.30am, police were responding to a report
that a number of men armed with baseball bats were in the
vicinity of South Link when a crowd of up to 40 men and
women attacked them.

One of the officers was beaten to the ground and repeatedly
punched and kicked. He was taken to hospital where he
underwent treatment for a suspected broken wrist and
multiple cuts and bruises.

A police spokesman said one man was arrested and that
inquiries were continuing.


Man Denies Ex-Soldier Murder Bid

A County Tyrone man has appeared in court charged with
attempting to murder a former Royal Irish Regiment soldier.

John Hugh Brady, 36, of Lisnafin Park, Strabane is charged
with attempting to murder Adrian Lucas in Sion Mills in
March 2002.

He is also accused of having an undercar booby-trap device
consisting of a lunchbox, magnets and explosives.

The accused, who was given early release from jail in 1998,
denies the charges.

His solicitor told Enniskillen Magistrate's Court that the
accused had been released under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement in 1998, after serving eight and a half
years of a life sentence.

Forensic evidence

He was rearrested for a separate matter in 2003 and had his
early release license revoked, however, those charges were
dropped last year.

The accused has applied to the Sentence Review Commission
to be released from custody, and is expecting to hear the
outcome of that application in two weeks.

The solicitor asked for full disclosure of all the forensic
evidence in the case.

He said that because most of the evidence was based on DNA
the legal team was considering an abuse of process
application due to the length of time it had taken to bring
the latest charges.

A detective sergeant told the court that the defendant
replied: "Not guilty" when charged.

The accused will appear again via videolink at Strabane
court on Thursday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/05 12:32:25 GMT


Anger Over Bomb Scare At Festival

By Debra Douglas
05 September 2005

THE Mayor of Lisburn last night slammed those behind a
security alert that badly disrupted the showpiece
Hillsborough Oyster Festival and hit a local charity's
fundraising push.

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig said those responsible for
the bomb scare, which led to part of the village being
evacuated on Saturday afternoon, needed to "catch a grip".

"Because of the security alert, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust
could potentially have lost out on thousands of pounds
which is disgraceful," he said.

"I don't know what these people hoped to achieve with their
actions but I do know that the charity committee was hoping
the event would raise £15,000 for the trust.

"They were well on their way to doing that until Saturday
afternoon. Hopefully, they might still do it but thousands
were lost."

The area around Hillsborough Square was evacuated after the
discovery of two suspect devices at lunch-time on Saturday,
causing disruption to festival events.

Army technical experts were brought in to examine the
objects. A number of controlled explosions were carried out
and they were later declared "elaborate hoaxes".

Dissident republicans have been blamed for the alert.

Mr Craig said the incident could have a negative impact on
future festivals.

"I thought we had put all this sort of thing behind us but
that doesn't seem to be the case," he said. "The festival
is Hillsborough's premier event and brings tourists in on a
large scale.

"Last year, 8,500 people visited the festival over its
three- day period but I worry how this will have affected
those people who come year in year out - they may think
twice about coming.

"Unfortunately, here in Northern Ireland we are used to
this sort of thing but I'm sure what happened will have had
a negative impact on the foreign tourists who were here.

"Those responsible need to catch a grip - they gain nothing
from acts like this."

Meanwhile, a security alert at a shopping centre in the
Upper Galwally area of east Belfast on Saturday was also
declared a hoax. Customers were evacuated following the
alert at around 5pm.


Parade Body Under Fire For Ruling

Unionists attack latest decision

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
05 September 2005

A NEW parades headache was facing security chiefs today
after the traditional end of the marching season.

Unionists have attacked the Parades Commission for re-
routing the Orange Order's postponed Whiterock parade, due
to take place on Saturday.

The DUP held a weekend meeting with Security Minister Shaun
Woodward about the Commission's decision to order the
Parade off part of the Springfield Road.

The parade was originally due to take place on June 25, but
the Orange Order postponed it when the march was re-routed
through the former Mackies site.

The parade was re-scheduled for September 10 - after the
traditional August close to the marching season - but the
Commission announced that it is imposing the same

The Commission said it had been a "difficult decision" to
re-route the parade again, but noted that "there appears to
have been no movement in the dialogue process".

Organisers of the Whiterock march have previously clashed
with the Commission over paramilitary displays by bands.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds warned that "the prospects for future
progress would be destroyed by the actions of the

UUP Assembly member Michael Copeland said the decision was
"unacceptable and unjustifiable".

"The Parades Commission's June determination had the
appearance of reward for the violent protests that marred a
peaceful parade the previous week," he said.

"The perverse conclusion could be that the Parades
Commission is more responsive to stage-managed republican
violence than in legal, peaceful and dignified religious-
based demonstrations."


Trip Will Set Up Victims' Network

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson is on a visit to Colombia
this week to help set up a worldwide network of victims'

He is accompanied by members of the South Armagh based
victims group, Fair.

They are due to meet Colombian vice president Francisco
Santos, senior politicians, security and intelligence
experts and victims' organisations.

The alleged links between the Marxist rebel group, Farc,
and the IRA are likely to be high on the agenda.

The party left Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Fair spokesperson William Frazer said the trip was
originally organised at the invitation of several contacts
in Colombia.

"We felt it was a great opportunity to develop links with
terror victims in a worldwide context," he said.

"Our aim is to establish a world network of victim's
organisations, seeking justice and working in the interests
of those innocents affected by terror."


North Belfast assembly member, Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein,
said the visit was "cheap propaganda".

"Rather than using the return of the Colombia Three to
distract people, the DUP should deal with the very real
crisis in the political process created by the failure of
unionists to deal with unionist paramilitary violence," he

"Jeffrey Donaldson is travelling over 5000 miles yet he
won't deal with loyalist violence on his doorstep."

The visit comes a few weeks after the Irish government
confirmed it had received contact from the American
government over the so-called Colombia Three.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan are
wanted in Colombia where they were sentenced to 17 years in
jail for training Marxist rebels.

The men returned to Ireland after skipping bail while
awaiting an appeal.

The Irish government said while no formal extradition
request had been received from Colombia, the matter should
not "simply go unaddressed" by the Irish authorities.

The three republicans were questioned by Irish police after
presenting themselves at Garda stations. They were all
released without charge.

The trio were arrested in Bogota in August 2001.

They were found guilty of travelling on false passports in
June 2004, but were acquitted of training the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

That decision was reversed after an appeal by the Colombian
attorney general and they were sentenced to 17-year terms.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/05 10:43:18 GMT


Voting Register Campaign Starts

Electoral officers were today embarking on a month long
drive to push up the number of people on Northern Ireland's
voting register.

By:Press Association

As the Government continued to consult political parties
and other interest groups on plans to scrap annual
registration, canvassers were calling at homes across the
country to compile this year`s list of people aged 17 and

The new register will be published on December 1.

Eligible voters were being urged to fill in their forms and
have them ready for collection as of today.

"From today canvassers will be calling at every house
during the canvass period to collect the completed forms,"
the Electoral Office said.

"They will offer friendly advice and assist anyone who
needs help to complete the form.

"The personal information you give on the form is kept
confidential by the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland.
It is not published on any register.

"If a canvasser calls to collect your forms and no-one is
at home, Freepost envelopes will be left so that completed
forms can be returned quickly by post. All canvassers will
have formal identification and your form should not be
given to any other person."

Previous annual registration drives in the country have
come under criticism from political parties, particularly
from Sinn Fein.

It has been claimed some people were confused by the
process - assuming once they had signed on one year they
would be eligible to vote in future elections.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty has alleged the annual
registration disenfranchised around 210,000 people.

Last December the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee expressed concern that voter registration in the
country was running at 84% of those eligible, with less
than a quarter of all 17 to 18 year olds on the list.

Last month Northern Ireland Office minister David Hanson
and chief electoral officer Dennis Stanley released a
consultation document which proposed retaining individual
registration but requiring those wishing to vote to supply
three personal identifiers such as their signature, date of
birth, and national insurance number.

The consultation process also proposed:

:: Enhanced access to information from other public sector
bodies to enable the Chief Electoral Officer to track
changes in the circumstances of those registered and target
those individuals not on the register.

:: The right for the Chief Electoral Officer, with the
Northern Ireland Secretary`s approval, to carry out a full
canvass where he believes it is necessary to fully refresh
the register.

:: The extension of the deadline for registration to 11
days before polling day, subject to enhanced security

The Electoral Office said today it was especially eager in
its latest drive to reach people currently unregistered and
those eligible to go on to the list for the first time.

In addition to registration forms being available from a
canvasser or any of the nine area Electoral Offices, they
would also be made available at schools, colleges, youth
clubs, community centres and local council offices and the

All forms will have to be returned by October 18, after
which there will be a postal reminder to those who don`t
respond giving them one more month to secure their vote.

Sinn Fein general secretary Mitchel McLaughlin urged all
eligible voters to return their forms to the Electoral

"Registration is an important part of the process of
claiming your vote and everyone should return a form," the
Foyle MLA said.

"It is also important to know that anyone over 17 years of
age can register even though they are ineligible to vote
until they are 18."



Strains Of Irish Music Set The Tone For City's Hooley On
The Hudson IV

By Pat Rowe , Correspondent

Celtic Heels, a group of Irish step dancers from Red Hook,
put on a show Sunday at Hooley on the Hudson IV in
Kingston's Rondout district.Purchase a copy of this photo.

KINGSTON - With strains of "Wearing of the Green" played by
the Ulster County Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipes and
Drums blending with toots from the Hudson River tour boat
"The Teal," Hooley on the Hudson IV got off to a rousing
start late Sunday morning.

"This day is to celebrate our Irish heritage and that's why
this was all started," said former Kingston resident Frank
Eagan, who now lives in Albany.

"I was here when this started and helped start it. It is
truly a day to celebrate the Irish and it was also started
as one more event for Kingston. It's grown and is like one
big family get-together," Eagan said.

This year's Hooley on the Hudson, like past events, was
based along the Rondout with the Storytelling Tent at the
bottom of Broadway and three stages along The Strand and
the creek ending at T.R. Gallo Park. This year the site
attracted a crowd from the beginning showing consecutive
years of Irish effort had resulted in success.

The short parade from lower Broadway to the stage at T.R.
Gallo Park was led by the Ulster County Ancient Order of
Hibernians Pipes and Drums followed by politicians with
names like Cahill and Hinchey, and even County Treasurer
Lew Kirschner claimed camaraderie and a link to the Irish
to get permission to march. Andrew Woltman carried a statue
of St. Patrick, and Abel Garraghan, grand marshal of the
St. Patrick's Parade, enjoyed yet one more march.

"We are lucky to have again beautiful weather for this
gathering and once again as is tradition we have visitors
from afar. I'd like to introduce the deputy council general
of Ireland, Jerry Staunton, who is visiting with his wife,
Mary," said state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston.

Staunton asked for a show of hands of those born in Ireland
and was greeted with shouts of names of towns. He then said
there were tens of thousands of Irish who had immigrated to
the United States to make their fortune and was greeted
with some quips, such as, "What fortune, we are still

"You have done so much to keep the Irish heritage alive and
this is yet one more example. Let's get through with the
official business and let the day begin" said Staunton.

Staunton was followed by the Irish national anthem "Soldier
in Song," sung by Maureen McMahon Johnson, and "Star-
Spangled Banner" sung by Robin Carey and U.S. Rep. Maurice
Hinchey, D-Hurley, singing "Galway Bay."

This year's Hooley was dedicated to the music of the Irish.
The official dedication was written by Breda McMahon, a
member of the Ladies Ancient Order Of Hibernians prior to
the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
McMahon noted the Irish and the African slaves had much to
do with the dance as we know it in New Orleans today. She
said the Irish influenced music and dance in the
Appalachian area of the United States, country western
music and even the blues.

"Ireland's music is historical. It is ancient and
mysterious and was formed in the bogs of Ireland," said
McMahon. "It has stood the test of time, it tells a
historical story."

McMahon said this is the second year she has written the
dedication and wonders if she will be asked to write yet
another in years to come. A retired full-time teacher of
the Kingston school district, McMahon continues to teach
home-schooled students and enjoys sharing her Irish
heritage daily.

"I was born in County Kerry, Ireland and came to the United
States in 1947. Last year I wrote the dedication for the
Hooley and dedicated the day to Labor, this year it is the
music. Irish heritage is strong and I enjoy sharing it,"
said McMahon.

©Daily Freeman 2005

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