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September 06, 2005

MP: 'End Bloody Sunday Inquiry'

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UT 09/06/05 MP: 'End Bloody Sunday Inquiry'
BT 09/06/05 UVF Accused Of Trying To Seize City Streets
BB 09/06/05 Arrests Made After City Violence
UT 09/06/05 Police Chief Hits Back At Critics
UT 09/06/05 Government 'Must Stand Up To Terror Groups'
BT 09/06/05 Woodvale Erupts After Searches And Arrests
BT 09/06/05 Loyalist Vent Fury At PSNI And Coke
IO 09/06/05 Loyalists Go On Rampage As Police Search Houses
UN 09/06/05 IMC To Have Report On UVF Violence
BT 09/06/05 Moderator Is Invisible, Says Catholic Priest
BT 09/06/05 Viewpoint: Guns Must Go On Both Sides Now
BT 09/06/05 Law On Army Killers Slammed
BT 09/06/05 DUP And Sinn Fein Clash In European Parliament
BT 09/06/05 Shankill Not Ready To Greet Irish President
IO 09/06/05 President To Meet Orde In Trip To North
BT 09/06/05 Ludlow Murder Probe Quashed By Garda: Claim
BT 09/06/05 Feud Victim Was Friend Of King Rat
BB 09/06/05 MP Meets Colombian Vice President
IO 09/06/05 Irish Troops To NO Plan 'Ludicrous'
UN 09/06/05 Further Irish Aid To Hurricane States
BT 09/06/05 Newlyweds Flee The Hell Of Louisiana
BT 09/06/05 City Where Dead Are Left Lying On The Streets


'End Bloody Sunday Inquiry'

The Prime Minister was urged by a shadow minister today to
end forthwith the Saville Inquiry into the events on
"Bloody Sunday" in Londonderry in January, 1972, when 14
civilians were shot by soldiers during a civil rights

By:Press Association

Gerald Howarth, an Opposition front bench spokesman on
defence, said the outcome of the inquiry "could act as a
catalyst for the reopening of wounds which are in the
process of healing".

The inquiry, set up by Mr Blair in 1998, took six years,
racking up 432 days of oral testimony from more than 900
witnesses. The 42-day-long opening speech by Christopher
Clarke, QC, counsel to the inquiry, was at the time the
longest in English legal history.

It is said to have cost £154 million, and its report is
still awaited.

Mr Howarth, MP for Aldershot, has now written to Mr Blair
urging him "in the light of new developments in Northern
Ireland I write to ask you now to end the Saville inquiry".

He went on: "From the outset, I have been a vehement critic
of your decision to set up this inquiry and I have
consistently argued that, whatever the outcome, the inquiry
can serve no useful purpose and, indeed, could act as a
catalyst for the reopening of wounds which are in the
process of healing.

"If Saville finds in favour of the former soldiers, I am
sure you can envisage the likely scenario, namely that your
inquiry will be dismissed by nationalists as a `whitewash`;
if he finds against the former soldiers I am sure you can
equally envisage that far from that being the end of the
matter, there will be calls for further action to be taken.

"My own view is that the nationalists will demand
prosecutions of men who left the army decades ago, some of
whom are constituents of mine."

Mr Howarth continued: "Leaving aside the grotesque cost of
this inquiry, for the reasons I have given, I hope you will
agree that in proper pursuit of the process of bringing
peace to Northern Ireland where compromises have had to be
made, particularly by the unionists, it would be best to
end this inquiry forthwith."


UVF Accused Of Trying To Seize City Streets

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
06 September 2005

THE UVF was today accused of trying to take control of the
streets of north Belfast following another night of petrol
bomb attacks on police.

However, a former PUP leader has said he does not believe
the UVF is orchestrating rioting in the Woodvale area and
has called for the violence to be brought to an end.

Questions have also been asked about police tactics after
officers stayed in their Land Rovers as serious violence
erupted for hours yesterday.

Trouble flared again late last night when police were
pelted with petrol bombs and stones.

The violence followed rioting earlier in the day after
police carried out searches in response to an armed UVF
show of strength.

A mob of up to 100 masked youths, enraged by the police
searches, hijacked and set alight a number of vans and
lorries and rioted for four hours.

Five more people were arrested in the early hours of this
morning for riotous behaviour. This follows a number of
arrests yesterday.

Two men arrested yesterday, aged 20 and 17, will appear in
court today charged with riotous assembly.

A 33-year-old man, arrested on Saturday, will also appear
charged with criminal damage and attempted intimidation.

SDLP Assembly member, Alban Maginness, said people should
be in no doubt the UVF is responsible for the violence.

He said: "The UVF are upping the stakes and defying the
police and lawful authority. They want to create a no-go
area in north Belfast and that is intolerable."

PSNI Operational Manager for the area, Superintendent Gary
White, insisted that police actions were "proportionate" to
the situation.

The senior officer also insisted that the UVF is not in
control of north Belfast and that police have adequate
resources to deal with paramilitary crime.

The UVF has murdered four people in Belfast over the summer
as part of its feud with the LVF.


Arrests Made After City Violence

Five more people have been arrested following attacks on
police officers in a loyalist area of north Belfast.

Two others are due in court charged with public order
offences linked to disturbances in the Woodvale area.

Petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and other missiles were
hurled at police in riot gear. Water cannon were then
deployed. No one was injured.

The clashes followed trouble earlier in the day when police
were attacked as they carried out searches in the area.

On Monday afternoon, bricks and bottles were thrown at fire
crews and several vehicles set on fire.

The trouble began as police moved in to carry out searches
linked to a UVF "show of strength" on Saturday.

Four people were arrested over "serious terrorist activity"
at the weekend. Another person arrested on Monday has been
released without charge.

One resident did not defend the violence but accused the
police of using "bully boy tactics" during the searches.

Superintendent Gary White said nothing could justify the
attacks which followed.

"Even if police officers were heavy-handed, and I'm not for
one second accepting that they were, but even if they were,
does that justify three or four hours of rioting, petrol
bombing and paint bombing?" he said.

"Seven vehicles have been hijacked, some of which have been
burned out, people have lost their livelihoods. I just
think it seems to be a convenient excuse."

'Elderly frightened'

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, DUP, said the violence in the
Shankill area was "unacceptable" and had frightened many
elderly and frail people.

"I would urge people not to become involved in street
violence since it is leaving in its wake a trail of
destruction, putting local people in fear and setting back
the regeneration of the area," he said.

Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly called on unionist
leaders to use their influence to end the violence.

"The failure to engage in the dialogue required to get the
political process back on track is a failure of leadership.
The public message seems to be that there is an acceptable
level of loyalist violence, particularly if it is only
nationalists and working class Protestant communities that
are suffering," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/06 11:06:42 GMT


Police Chief Hits Back At Critics

A police commander in north Belfast said today he was tired
of criticism of his officers following rioting in the area.

By:Press Association

Chief Superintendent Mike Little was commenting after
disturbances in the loyalist Woodvale area of north Belfast
at around lunchtime yesterday and also last night.

Water cannons were deployed last night after Police Service
of Northern Ireland officers came under renewed attack from
loyalist rioters.

Earlier in the day, around 100 masked rioters threw petrol
bombs, bricks and stones at police vehicles and hijacked
and burnt lorries following PSNI raids.

The raids were prompted by a show of strength in the area
on Saturday by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force.

A gun and loyalist paramilitary material was seized during
the original police raid which resulted in yesterday`s
riots and four men were arrested on suspicion of serious
terrorist offences over the weekend.

Following allegations that police had either been too
heavy- handed during the raids or inactive during the
disturbances, an exasperated Chief Superintendent Little
defended his officers.

The North Belfast District Commander said: "We as a police
service are working to serve the whole of the community in
North Belfast and indeed Northern Ireland.

"We are working to eradicate criminality, no matter where
that criminality stems from.

"We have been accused of inaction; we have been accused of

"Is it inaction to arrest people for serious terrorist
crimes, to conduct searches, which have recovered guns and

"Is it heavy-handed to place our officers in the frontline,
to work to protect life and property yet also work to
ensure our safety and the safety of others?"

Police arrested five more people in north Belfast last
night for riotous behaviour but there were no reports of
any injuries.

Two people were arrested earlier in the day - a 20-year-old
man and a 17-year-old. A juvenile detained at the same time
was released without charge.

Chief Supt Little appealed to community leaders to work
with his officers rather than criticising them.

"There are those who find it acceptable to criticise
policing operations. I would ask them to come and talk
directly to us," he said.

"Our policing operations and responses must be
proportionate, appropriate and graduated.

"It is becoming tiresome that communities accuse us of
either inaction or heavy-handedness depending on the nature
and location of the policing operations.

"We constantly strive to improve our service and we work
daily with communities to gain their support as we try to
make their areas safer. I am asking for community
representatives not to remain silent or to criticise but to
work with us."

Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds said the rioting was
unacceptable, leaving many elderly people in the area

"Having endured so much at the hands of republicans over a
very sustained period, the community does not deserve to
have this type of violence inflicted upon it from within,"
the North Belfast MP said.

"I would urge people not to become involved in street
violence since it is leaving in its wake a trail of
destruction, putting local people in fear and setting back
the regeneration of the area."

Earlier Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly told unionist leaders
they must address recent violence in their community,
including attacks on nationalists.

The North Belfast Assembly member said: "It is time that
all unionist political leaders, Ian Paisley, Reg Empey,
Nigel Dodds, began to show leadership on the issue of
loyalist violence.

"There is a political vacuum that is being filled, as it
always is, by unionist sectarian violence. The failure to
engage in the dialogue required to get the political
process back on track is a failure of leadership.

"The public message seems to be that there is an acceptable
level of loyalist violence, particularly if it is only
nationalists and working class Protestant communities that
are suffering."


Government 'Must Stand Up To Terror Groups'

The British government was accused today of adopting an
ostrich approach to paramilitary violence in Northern

As Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain prepared to meet
nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan in Stormont tomorrow,
the party`s East Derry Assembly member John Dallat said the
British government needed to stand up to terror groups.

Following another night of rioting in Belfast, Mr Dallat
said: "The government needs to reach out to the hundreds of
people who feel marginalised by the pussyfooting towards
the activities of the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and
other terror groups.

"No constitutional party or organisation representing or
claiming to be part of a democracy can excuse or turn a
blind eye to the activities of those who are outside the
pale, whether they are involved in terror, drug dealing or
other crime.

"To do so is to abandon the hope that confidence can be
rebuilt and people can regain the right to live in a
democracy where decisions are made in an open local
assembly and not behind the closed doors of secret
societies, legal or illegal."

Police in north Belfast were last night forced to deploy a
water cannon against rioters involved in disturbances who
attacked Land Rovers and hijacked vehicles in the Woodvale

The violence initially erupted at lunchtime yesterday after
the PSNI raided homes in connection with an Ulster
Volunteer Force show of strength on Saturday.

Throughout the summer the UVF has waged a bloody vendetta
against the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force and claimed four
lives in the city.

Loyalists have also been accused of orchestrating violence
and intimidation against Catholic families and property
this summer in north Antrim.

Following the IRA`s declaration in July that it is ending
its armed campaign, unionists and nationalists have also
been waiting for confirmation of a substantial act of
disarmament by the organisation.

Mr Dallat said the ball was in the court of the British
Government to ensure no group kept setting the political
agenda while poverty, inequality, fear and mistrust

"More than five years have now passed since the IRA
deadline for completing decommissioning," the East
Londonderry MLA said.

"That is most unfortunate because it has allowed other
groups to continue justifying their existence and indeed
has acted as a comfort blanket for them because they know
no other way of life.

"Decommissioning now would leave all paramilitary groups
redundant and in those circumstances confidence could be

"People might begin believing again that words can be
honoured, that standards may apply and the judgment of
governments would, at last, be honest.

"In such circumstances we would also discover if the DUP
are up to power-sharing at the highest level, committed to
North-South bodies and willing to endorse a whole range of
legislation needed to ensure social progress."


Woodvale Erupts After Searches And Arrests

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
06 September 2005

POLICE last night denied the UVF are in control of north
Belfast following a day of serious rioting which saw
officers attacked with petrol bombs and several vehicles
burnt out.

The violence followed police searches in the Woodvale area
after a UVF show of strength at the weekend.

A mob of over 100 youths pelted police with petrol bombs
and the fire service also came under attack from bricks and
bottles at Disraeli Street, Parkview Terrace and Cambrai
Street at lunchtime yesterday.

Serious rioting continued for several hours and up to seven
vehicles were burnt out including a Coca Cola lorry which
was also looted.

Police had military back-up and water cannon on standby but
they were not utilised. Officers also warned rioters that
plastic baton rounds would be fired if the violence

The disorder - the latest in a series of riots in Belfast
this summer - followed the arrest of a man over the
discovery of a gun linked to loyalist paramilitaries after
the UVF's show of strength in the area on Saturday.

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

Superintendent Gary White said police had made four arrests
for serious terrorist offences and another three for public
order offences yesterday.

He denied allegations that yesterday's violence had been
sparked by police heavy-handedness during the planned

He said: "We were carrying out a number of searches
relating to serious terrorist activity. Very quickly we
received reports of disorder which escalated and we saw a
number of vehicles hi-jacked and yet again officers
attacked by youths.

"We have heard allegations of bully-boy tactics by police.
We have heard these complaints before and it seems to be a
rather convenient excuse time and time again.

"Even if police had been heavy-handed, which I do not
accept, does that justify three or four hours of rioting?"

The senior officer insisted police have enough resources to
deal with continuing problems with paramilitaries in the
north of the city.

He said: "The incidents over the weekend had a linkage to
the UVF and what we saw today seems to have had a degree of

"I can assure people police will be there to deal with any

"We are ready for further trouble but we are working with
responsible people in the community to help calm it down."

The senior officer said he was not aware of any injuries
caused to officers.


Loyalist Vent Fury At PSNI And Coke

Jonathan McCambridge reports on another day of violence in
north Belfast

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
06 September 2005

PLUMES of smoke from burning cars and a police helicopter
hovered above the Shankill area for hours yesterday -
visible signs of the latest outbreak of street violence in
Belfast this summer.

At lunchtime several streets in the Woodvale area were
strewn with glass and debris and a crowd of curious
onlookers gathered to look at two vans which had been set
alight in Parkview Terrace.

However most attention was focused on a Coca Cola lorry
which had been hijacked and set on fire in Disraeli Street.

Yesterday's violence may have originated from an angry
response to police searches in the area but it quickly
became opportune.

A large gang of youths, some with scarves over their faces,
some too cavalier to care, smashed the lorry open and began
to distribute their loot.

Teenagers ran down the street with their arms full of
bottles of coke and mineral water. They passed their hauls
onto watching elders who safely deposited them in houses
and the boots of cars.

The mob only dispersed from the soft drinks lorry when a
police Land Rover with a CCTV camera approached.

A long history of street violence this summer has shown
that CCTV pictures remain an effective method of bringing
people before the courts.

Eventually the youths turned their angry attention from
bottles of coke to half a dozen police Land Rovers keeping
a watching brief nearby.

As the Land Rovers slowly approached they were met with a
torrent of bottles, petrol bombs and chunks of rubble.
Large crowds of onlookers and cars which were still driving
along the Woodvale Road almost became caught up in the

The attacks on police vehicles lasted for almost an hour
when a steady stream of missiles rained down.

Unlike previous public order situations this summer which
have seen large numbers of officers hurt, police did not
immediately leave their vehicles.

At one point the angry mob turned their anger on camera
crews recording the scene.

Several youths ran across the road, screaming obscenities
and hurling missiles in the direction of the watching

Although calm later returned to the streets, north Belfast
remained tense last night.

Police have insisted they are determined to robustly police
paramilitary crime in the area. Yesterday's actions show
how some elements of loyalism in the north of the city
respond to that police approach.


Loyalists Go On Rampage As Police Search Houses In Belfast

05/09/2005 - 12:50:34

A gang of loyalist youths has gone on the rampage in north
Belfast this lunchtime, hijacking two vehicles including a
soft-drinks lorry and setting them on fire.

The disturbance began as police officers moved in to search
houses in the mainly loyalist Woodvale area at around

PSNI officers and fire crews were also attacked with petrol
bombs and stones during the violence.

On Sunday, up to 50 loyalist youths engaged in similar
rioting as police conducted searches in the Enfield Street
are of north Belfast.


IMC Believed To Have Prepared Report On UVF Violence

12:30 Tuesday September 6th 2005

The body set up to monitor paramilitary ceasefires in the
North is believed to have prepared a special report on
recent violence by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The loyalist group has been involved in a feud with the
rival LVF for the past two months that has already left
four people dead.

The special report from the Independent Monitoring
Commission is believed to blame the UVF for all four

Such a move would put pressure on the British Government to
de-recognise the UVF ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the PSNI has defended its handling of the
growing levels of loyalist violence in the North.

Community leaders have accused the police of responding
heavy-handedly during searches in Belfast linked to the
investigation into UVF activity.

The searches sparked serious street violence in the
Woodvale area yesterday, but PSNI chief superintendent Mike
Little said today that the seizure of guns and other
evidence showed the raids were justified.


Moderator Is Invisible, Says Catholic Priest

Sectarian attacks unchallenged, claims cleric

By Alf McCreary, Religion Correspondent
06 September 2005

A BALLYMENA priest has strongly criticised the Presbyterian
Moderator for his reaction to the spate of sectarian
attacks in Co Antrim.

Fr John Burns, curate of All Saints Church, Ballymena, hit
out at the Rt Rev Dr Harry Uprichard and said: "Dr
Uprichard may be good at making statements, but as far as I
am concerned he is the 'invisible moderator' because no-one
has seen him on the ground dealing with these issues that
have arisen in Ahoghill and Ballymena."

Dr Uprichard is minister of Trinity Church in Ahoghill.

Fr Burns claimed Dr Uprichard had not given a lead to his
flock on these matters.

Dr Uprichard, who has been on holiday for three weeks,
issued a statement at the weekend expressing his distress
at "the good name of Ahoghill being maligned".

He also said he had been encouraged by a letter from the
local parish priest, Fr Hugh O'Hagan, thanking
Presbyterians for "the compassion and dignity of their
response to what occurred lately".

But Fr Burns said: "Dr Uprichard may have been on holiday,
but he has been moderator for three months now, and it is
important to be seen to meet Catholics on the ground and to
offer them his direct support and friendship."

A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church said he understood
Fr Burns had written to Dr Uprichard and that the contents
of the letter would be closely studied.

However, the Catholic cleric did praise the local Church of
Ireland bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Alan Harper, who made a
strong statement against the attacks at the weekend, and
spoke at Catholic services in the Ballymena area on Sunday.


Viewpoint: Guns Must Go On Both Sides Now

STARTING POINT: The rot of sectarianism needs to be stopped

06 September 2005

Sectarian attacks have become so common in north Antrim
that exceptional measures were needed to counter them. The
visits by the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, Alan
Parker, to Catholic churches in Ballymena were a visible
expression of the disgust felt by Protestants at what has
been done in their name and, hopefully, will provide some
assurance that the whole community is united against the

In case anyone felt that a surrender of principle was
required, Bishop Harper emphasised that people and their
leaders simply had to be seen to stand together. Evil has
always flourished, when decent people do nothing, and the
paint-throwers, arsonists and intimidators must be made to
know that their actions are not only repellent but
inevitably spark an adverse reaction and more misery for

The great danger, as people await with impatience or hope
the next calculated move from the IRA, is that sectarian
attacks will become endemic. Ever since a British Home
Secretary referred, long ago, to "an acceptable level of
violence", there has been a fear that the government may
come to tolerate, rather than actively combat, the inter-
communal strife that besets Northern Ireland, especially
during the marching season.

A major effort must be made, before the rot of sectarianism
sets in more deeply, to show that whatever political
differences there may be, violence against people and
property is a ruinous road to go down. The police can only
do so much, although more patrolling is necessary, but it
is up to the community as a whole to denounce and reject
the hatemongers.

Since most of the violence has been directed at the
Catholic community, the Rev Ian Paisley's words are worth
repeating. "I have no reservations in condemning any
attack, because that is not the way you fight your
democratic programme," he said. "In fact you have lost the
argument when you take to strife. That's not democracy,
that's anarchy."

Some explanation is needed for the rise in community
tensions and it can be found in many quarters. A long, warm
summer, with an excess of flag-waving, has helped put the
police in dangerous situations, with little alternative but
to use batons or CS gas to escape. Rioting has become
recreational, and routine, in too many areas.

But the main cause must be the political vacuum that has
followed the polarised elections to the Assembly and
Westminster. It must be filled, somehow, yet the prospects
of the DUP and Sinn Fein concluding an early deal to revive
devolution seem minimal, even if the IRA deliver what they
have promised. Decommissioning the guns, on both sides,
must be the starting point.


Law On Army Killers Slammed

06 September 2005

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

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

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

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

At a meeting in London, timed to coincide with the
anniversary of the killing, Paul O'Connor, of the Pat
Finucane Centre, said: "The family can accept the release;
what they have never accepted is that they (Wright and
Fisher) remain in the British Army.

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

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

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


DUP And Sinn Fein Clash In European Parliament

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
06 September 2005

THE DUP and Sinn Fein have clashed at the European
Parliament's first session after its summer recess.

During an adjournment debate last night, DUP MEP, Jim
Allister, accused the Republic's government of "harbouring
three convicted international terrorists" because of the
continuing Colombia Three affair.

But Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun attacked the DUP over
this summer's loyalist violence, calling on Mr Allister to
stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Catholic constituents in
vulnerable areas.

Mr Allister told MEPs that the Dublin Government is failing
to meet its international obligations by not arresting
James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly.

"I want to draw attention to the fact that since we last
met a Member State, the Republic of Ireland, shamefully has
been harbouring three convicted international terrorists,"
he said.

"Monaghan, Connolly and McCauley, were duly convicted of
training FARC guerrillas in Colombia, skipped bail - partly
put up by the Dublin Government - and now, on the back of a
sordid deal with the IRA, and despite Interpol warrants are
brazenly flaunting themselves in Dublin."

Outside the parliamentary session, Ms de Brún said attacks
on Catholic homes, schools and churches "have been an ever-
present reality" this summer.

"Residents feel vulnerable and powerless in the face of
unionist paramilitary intimidation. They feel angry at the
incompetence and inaction of the PSNI, and the relative
silence and inaction of unionist political
representatives," she said.

She called on Mr Allister "to stand shoulder to shoulder
with his constituents in North Antrim, Dunmurry, Ardoyne
and the Short Strand".


Shankill 'Is Not Ready To Greet Irish President'

By Debra Douglas
06 September 2005

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese's visit to the Shankill area this
week, her first since her controversial remarks at the
Holocaust anniversary, was last night criticised.

The Irish president will visit Edenbrooke Primary School on
Tennent Street in the Protestant heartland on Thursday, six
months after she caused a furore by comparing some
Protestants' attitudes to Catholics in Northern Ireland to
the Nazi hatred of Jews.

At the time, Mrs McAleese said she "deeply regretted her
comments". She later said she was "personally absolutely
devastated" by the furore and acknowledged her remarks had
been clumsy and had caused hurt.

But local PUP councillor and former lord mayor, Hugh Smyth,
said the majority of the people living in the area were
still not ready to welcome her to the area.

"By the reaction the news of her visit got in the Shankill
area, I think most people think this visit is premature,"
he said.

"I've had a lot of people coming to me voicing their
disapproval - I know it's up to the school but the visit
doesn't have the support of most of this community.

"People here haven't forgotten the remarks she made and are
still hurt. It is still too fresh in their minds."

Mrs McAleese and her husband Martin have been involved in
efforts to reach out to loyalist communities, hosting
visits at her official residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

In February last year she visited schools and a kick boxing
gym in east Belfast, a Presbyterian church service in
Holywood and met pensioners on a loyalist estate in Bangor.

There have been contacts with the representatives of the
UDA and she also met David Ervine of the Progressive
Unionist Party, which is linked to the UVF and the Red Hand
Commandos, during her visit to east Belfast last year.

It is believed Thursday's visit will be marked by tight
security due to the ongoing loyalist feud.


President To Meet Orde In Trip To North

06/09/2005 - 13:37:30

President Mary McAleese is to hold talks with Northern
Ireland's most senior police officer, Chief Constable Sir
Hugh Orde, it emerged today.

The meeting is part of the President's trip to Belfast on
Thursday when it is hoped she will visit staff, children
and parents at a primary school on the Shankhill Road.

President McAleese put off plans to visit the staunch
unionist heartland in January after a row broke out over
remarks she made about Protestant sectarianism.

Mrs McAleese caused a political storm after she compared
the irrational hatred of Jews by Hitler's Nazi movement to
an irrational hatred of Catholics passed on by people in
the north to their children.

The President apologised in person on RTÉ radio the
following day.

Ulster Unionists accepted her retraction and they said the
matter was closed, but the leader of the Progressive
Unionist Party David Ervine said the damage was long-term.

The President and Sir Hugh Orde are due to meet at the
headquarters of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in
east Belfast on Thursday morning.

Following the meeting Mrs McAleese will travel to
Edenbrooke Primary School in the Shankhill area to meet
teachers and pupils and the board of governors.

She also plans to visit a school in Taughmonagh, a loyalist
estate in the south of the city, and Aquinas grammar school
and Nazareth House care home on the Ravenhill Road.

Mrs McAleese has made more than 60 official visits to the


Ludlow Murder Probe Quashed By Garda: Claim

By Michael McHugh in Dundalk
06 September 2005

ANTI-terrorism chiefs from the Garda quashed an
investigation into a Co Louth murder which has been linked
to the UDA, it was claimed at an inquest yesterday.

A retired detective inspector who ran the investigation of
Seamus Ludlow's May 1976 murder, told the victim's second
inquest in Dundalk that police linked with the counter-
subversive unit of the Garda had told him "nothing" was
being done about crucial evidence linking the UDA to the

Mr Ludlow, a forestry worker from Dundalk, died after he
was shot three times at close range after being picked up
in a car close to the border.

The jury at an inquest in Dundalk before Louth County
Coroner Ronan Maguire, heard John Courtney recount how he
passed on information received from the RUC which linked
the killing to a number of alleged UDA figures - only to
find out that nothing was being done about it.

"Eighteen months afterwards (February 1979), I got certain
information about the persons involved in the shooting. I
was in Belfast one day in connection with another
investigation," he said.

"They (RUC detectives) gave me details about what had
happened and they gave me the names of persons involved.
From the facts they gave me, I was happy enough that these
persons were involved and that they would be suspects for
the murder.

"I sent the information up to headquarters. I made
inquiries and I was told there was nothing being done about
it - that was that."

He added that the matter would have been dealt with by
police chiefs who handled counter-subversive activity.

"The chief superintendent in Drogheda would have sent it up
to the C3 (subversive section of Special Branch at Garda
headquarters)," he said.

Senior counsel for the defence, Deirdre Murphy, asked: "You
were satisfied within 18 months that it was people from the
UDA who had killed Mr Ludlow?"

He said: "Yes. My view would be that I had to interview
those people. The Garda would never be happy until they
interviewed those people, but from the descriptions given
to me it would appear that they were the people involved.
They would be very strong suspects in my mind."

Ms Murphy, told the court that for 20 years the IRA had
been linked to the murder and accused the Garda of creating
a false impression.

Mr Courtney said: "That is not correct. People were talking
about it but we eliminated the IRA from the investigation
after two to three months. Nothing came to light involving
the IRA."

He confirmed that, from his knowledge of the circumstances,
Mr Ludlow had been "picked up" by car and murdered.

Earlier, retired state pathologist John Harbinson said the
body appeared to have been dumped in the laneway where it
was found some time later.

"The fatal shot struck the back of the left hand. The
bullet left the hand after inflicting only a superficial
wound but entered the chest sideway and went through the

The case is expected to continue today.


Feud Victim Was Friend Of King Rat

Inquest hears death led to tit-for-tat killings in 2002

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
06 September 2005

A FRIEND of former LVF godfather Billy Wright was shot dead
at the beginning of a bloody loyalist feud in 2002, an
inquest was told yesterday.

Geoffrey Gray (41), was killed when he was shot at point
blank range in the chest with a shotgun in Ravenhill Avenue
in Belfast in October, 2002, sparking off a series of tit-
for-tat shootings between the UDA and the LVF.

A senior police officer today told the inquest that the
series of shootings were the worst he had ever experienced
in his career.

Gray, who was nicknamed 'the Greyhound', was originally
from Lurgan but he moved to Belfast where he lived with his
girlfriend Frances Flynn.

Ms Flynn broke down yesterday as she told the court that
Gray had been friends with former LVF boss Billy Wright in
Portadown but had drunk at the Bunch of Grapes Bar in east
Belfast, where he had UDA connections.

Ms Flynn told the inquest that her boyfriend did not speak
to her about his paramilitary connections.

Detective Superintendent Alan Mains told the court that
Gray had been shot once in the chest in Ravenhill Avenue
and that a number of witnesses had seen a lone man running
from the scene.

The senior officer said despite extensive police
investigations they had not been able to establish why
Gray, who lived on the Beersbridge Road, was in Ravenhill
Avenue on the night when he was shot.

He added that the shooting was the beginning of a feud
between the UDA and LVF which resulted in two murders and a
string of other shootings.

He said: "Tensions had been bubbling since September but
after this it took teeth with a series of tit-for-tat

"I have never experienced anything like it in my service.
It was horrendous in east Belfast".

The officer also said that Gray was not a leading light in
paramilitary groups but would have been on the fringes.

He also confirmed that the shooting was not linked to
current tensions between the LVF and the UVF.

Coroner John Leckey ruled that Gray died after he was shot
in the chest from a distance of less than two metres.

He added: "It is known that he had loyalist paramilitary
connections and that this was the start of a bloody chapter
in a feud.

"It is, however, a mystery why he was in Ravenhill Avenue
and why he was selected as he was on the fringes of the LVF
and the UDA.

"Perhaps he was seen as an easy target."

The coroner extended his sympathy to the Gray family.


MP Meets Colombian Vice President

The DUP MP for Lagan Valley, Jeffrey Donaldson, is meeting
the vice president of Colombia during his visit to the

He is also expected to view explosives with the Colombian

Mr Donaldson has been joined by members of South Armagh-
based victims' group Fair who are in Colombia to meet up
with other victims' groups.

The Fair members are hoping to form a world network of
victims' organisations.

As well as Vice President Francisco Santos, the group will
meet senior politicians and security and intelligence

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 5,000 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: 2005/09/06 05:40:00 GMT


Irish Troops To New Orleans Plan Dismissed As 'Ludicrous'

06/09/2005 - 09:30:58

Proposals to send up to 30 Irish troops to help the
Hurricane Katrina relief effort in the United States were
dismissed as ludicrous today by a leading humanitarian

John O'Shea, of the third world agency GOAL, criticised
suggestions that Irish soldiers could be dispatched to the
devastated Gulf Coast to provide thousands of ready meals,
blankets, first aid and water purification kits, medical
aid, crutches and wheelchairs to victims of the hurricane.

GOAL's chief executive said he and others had urged
successive Irish governments for 20 years to provide
protection to Irish doctors and nurses whose lives were at
risk in places such as the Congo and northern Uganda but
had drawn a blank.

"I am told we haven't got the Army officers to do this job,
yet out of nowhere we find that 30 or 50 or 100 are
available," he said.

"You are talking about the most sophisticated, best-
equipped army on the planet (the US Army) and we are the
Boy Scouts, if you like, going into the Battle of the
Somme. So let's be realistic.

"Of course we have to identify with the situation. Of
course we have to let the people of America know, as we did
in 9/11, but the way we are going about it is ludricous and
it sets a very dangerous precedent.

"Does it mean now that if the Eiffel Tower falls down
tomorrow, that we are going to send in the Girl Guides?"

The Government pledged an initial €1m to the victims of the
hurricane yesterday, with aid being directed to those most
in need through the Red Cross and community-based
organisations in Louisiana.

Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern confirmed the Irish Republic
would also provide aid through the European Union.

But Mr O'Shea said that while the Government's move was
well intentioned, the United States was awash with

"They do not need our money," he told RTE Radio.

"They certainly need words of support and they perhaps need
our ministers on the ground to identify with the situation
but this was just the wrong call.

"I can understand where the Government is coming from. They
wanted to do something.

"It is right that they wanted to do something but this is
just the wrong thing."


Taoiseach Announces Further Irish Aid To Hurricane States

11:15 Tuesday September 6th 2005

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has announced further Irish
aid to the US states affected by Hurricane Katrina last

Yesterday, the Government said it would be allocating €1m
to the Irish Red Cross and other organisations to help the
relief effort in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

Mr Ahern said today that the Government was also offering
first-aid kits, blankets, tents, food and two water-
treatment plants as part of the EU response to the

He said Ireland was also prepared to send medical and other
experts to the area if they are needed.


Newlyweds Flee The Hell Of Louisiana

06 September 2005

TWO newlyweds from Co Leitrim who went to New Orleans for
their honeymoon told last night how they were rescued from
the mayhem of the storm-ravaged city.

Jean and Michael Leydon, who tied the knot three weeks ago,
said looters, street gangs and soldiers flanked flooded
streets as they waded from their hotel to a makeshift
refugee camp in a sports arena.

The Dromahair couple, who arrived back in Dublin yesterday,
had joined hundreds of other tourists in a bid to flee the
city devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

But along the two-mile journey, near Canal Street, police
warned them to steer clear of the Superdome and convention
centre. Gangs were said to be taking control of areas with
little law or order in the dome.

Mrs Leydon said: "We asked every officer along the way 'Is
this the best thing to do?' and some said 'Yes' and others,
the majority, said 'You do not want to go there. Whatever
you do, do not go there'."

Returning British and Irish travellers who braved the
sports arena have told of shootings, rapes and fights in
the complex.

Mr Leydon said: "We had to walk past the convention centre
and it was scary. We definitely made the right decision not
to go there. We heard comments as we were passing, you
know, 'we can take them'.

"We saw knives being flicked, head down and keep going.
There was whole families just camped on the side and utter
squalor is the only way to describe it.

"I suppose our hardship was on a different level than
theirs - theirs was obviously much worse. We knew how lucky
we were, we just wanted to go home."

The group were eventually taken to relative safety where
the pair's luck changed. A reporter spotted the Irish
couple and offered to take them out of New Orleans.

The newlyweds recalled how disaster struck early on Monday
morning, leaving 1,400 guests, employees and their families
stranded in the hotel.

Mrs Leydon said: "You had the choice of either staying in
the hotel with limited food or water, no electricity, or
you could leave and go to the arena or convention centre,
that was up to yourself.

"It was only then we realised how serious it was. We didn't
realise until they made the announcements in the hotel and
that totally freaked us out."

After endless promises that buses were on their way to the
hotel, the guests agreed to make a burst for safety.

The couple recalled seeing a 94-year-old woman in urgent
need of medical care forced to sleep on the street, and
told how armed police shot over their heads as they
attempted to cross the Mississippi River.

They said the group also had to barricade themselves in on
a street corner to keep out looters and gangs as they slept

After almost a week without food or water, the Leydons
returned to Dublin and were greeted by family and friends
at the airport.


The City Where The Dead Are Left Lying On The Streets

In a makeshift grave on the streets of New Orleans lies the
body of Vera Smith. She was an ordinary woman who, like
thousands of her neighbours, died because she was poor.
Abandoned to her fate as the waters rose around her, Vera's
tragedy symbolises the great divide in America today

By Andrew Buncombe in New Orleans

06 September 2005

However Vera Smith may have lived her life, one thing was
certain. In death, she had no dignity. Killed in the
chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, her body lay under
a tarpaulin at the junction of Magazine Street and Jackson
Avenue for five full days. Not her friends, her grieving
husband, not her neighbours could persuade the authorities
to take her corpse away.

Finally, disgusted by the way she had been abandoned - and
concerned, too, about the health implications of advancing
decomposition - her friends buried her in a makeshift
grave. A local man fashioned a simple cross, and on top of
the soil that was shovelled over her body he placed a white
plastic sheet and wrote "Here Lies Vera. God Help Us."

The overwhelming majority of the people who died or
suffered in this disaster were, like Vera, the poor - that
segment of American society that so often appears to be
overlooked or deliberately ignored. These were the people
unable to evacuate, who had nowhere else to go or else no
means of getting there. These were the people who simply
did not have the resources to get a body taken to the

As the floodwaters are pumped out of New Orleans' streets,
rescue workers are bracing themselves for further grisly
discoveries and a death toll that will evenually reach tens
of thousands.

With the authorities overwhelmed by the effort to find and
rescue the living, they have been forced to abandon the
dead where they lie or, more often, where they float. Vera,
aged 65, was apparently killed by a hit-and-run driver as
New Orleans descended into chaos and anarchy the day after
the storm struck. Nothing better underlines the breakdown
in the civic ability to respond to this disaster than those
police officers who shrugged their shoulders helplessly
when they were asked to remove Vera's body.

"She had gone out to the shop to get something. We knew it
was going to close. We did not want to run out of
anything," Vera's husband, Max Keene, 59, told The
Independent yesterday, standing outside the couple's humble
rented home in the neighbourhood known as Irish Channel. "I
did not know what had happened to her. A guy came round to
say she was lying by the side of the road with a piece of
cardboard over her. It was me that went and put the tarp
over her."

He added: "I spoke to the police and asked them to take her
away but they just told me to get the hell out of there. It
was dark and they were clearing the streets."

Max and Vera were not married in the formal sense but they
had been together for 25 years. They had met when she was
working as a waitress in a bar and he was working off-shore
for one of the many oil companies that operate in the Gulf
of Mexico.

There was nothing particular that struck Max about Vera, he
recalled, but he liked her sense of fun, her spirit. She
liked clothes and shoes and shopping and - like many people
in this city - sometimes she liked a drink. She also liked
books and every Sunday she went to the local Catholic
church, St Mary's Assumption. Smith was her name from her
first marriage; she was originally from Mexico.

"She was married, her old man left her. I had a different
girlfriend then, she left me. It was the right time. We
just got together. Every now and then it happens that way,"
said Mr Keene, tears in the corners of his eyes. "We used
to lie in bed. I'd drink bourbon, she'd read books."

Who knows how many other stories there are like Vera's; how
many other bodies lie scattered across this besieged city?
Local officials refuse to predict a total but one thing is
certain, the city is littered with abandoned corpses. They
are left in the street, in buildings, in the backs of
trucks wrapped in sheets with a name tag attached. One
woman's body was discovered sitting upright in a chair at
the back of a dental surgery. The rescue workers have had
to leave them and instead concentrate on those who are

Harold Brandt, a doctor from Baton Rouge who has been
assisting rescue crews as they search the still flooded
areas of the city for survivors, said the biggest concerns
was the number of bodies that may be discovered in
attics."One of the things with Hurricane Betsy [in 1965]
was that people climbed into their attics to avoid the
rising water and then they had no way to escape and they
drowned. Now, veterans of hurricanes will always put an axe
in their attic."

Vera, of course, was not killed by the hurricane - as Max
Keene stresses. The couple had survived the storm and,
knowing they would face days with out electricity or water
- or any assistance from the authorities, Vera was on her
way to the local store for supplies when she was knocked

Patrick McCarthy, a retired electrician, was one those who
helped bury her. "If you need a metaphor for failure, this
is as good as it gets," he said. "Everybody should be
buried. [This is] an insult to our humanity."

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