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October 10, 2005

Archbishop Brady Tells Pope of Historic IRA Move

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BT 10/10/05 Brady Tells Pope Of 'Historic' Arms Move
BT 10/10/05 Police Searches In Area Close To Devlin Murder
UT 10/10/05 Disturbances 'Sparked By Gang Attack'
SF 10/10/05 Adams Steps Up Pressure On Irish And British
BB 10/10/05 Police Officers Switching Forces
BT 10/10/05 IMC Briefed About Provos' Deadly Cache
DI 10/10/05 INLA Won't Dump Arms
UT 10/10/05 I Was Duped - Assets Raids Businessman
BT 10/10/05 Premier To Discuss Manchester Raids
UN 10/10/05 Mad Dog And Englishmen In New Court Fight
GU 10/10/05 Opin:Loyalisms Rage At Fading Light Of Britness
NH 10/10/05 Opin: Don’t Tell - Loyalism's Going Bonkers
UT 10/10/05 Walmart Arrives In Northern Ireland
MC 10/10/05 Film: Reel Advice: Irish American Ninja
BT 10/10/05 Ulster's Oldest Exile Dies After Arrival In US


Brady Tells Pope Of 'Historic' Arms Move

By Alf McCreary
10 October 2005

Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady has told Pope
Benedict XVI and the Vatican's Synod of Bishops that the
IRA decommissioning was a historic moment in the political

He also praised the work of the two Northern Ireland clergy
- the former Methodist president the Reverend Harold Good
and Fr Alec Reid, the Redemptorisi priest - in acting as
independent witnesses in the decommissioning process at the
end of last month.

Speaking to the Synod in Rome at the weekend, Dr Brady said
that the work of the two clergy was an acknowledgement of
the role played by ministers of God "in creating the
conditions for reconciliation and peace".

More than 250 bishops from 118 countries are taking part in
the Synod, which according to Catholic sources "assists the
Pope in his government of the universal church".

A spokesman in Maynooth said today: "The bishops pool their
information and experiences in the common pursuit of
pastoral solutions which have universal validity and

Dr Brady's praise of the two clergy is similar to the
backing given to them by the Irish bishops at their autumn
conference over two weeks ago, and also praise from the
Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Robin Eames and the
Methodist president the Rev Desmond Bain.

Meanwhile, the IRA's decommissioning has been hailed by the
Church of Ireland Gazette as " a giant step forward for the
peace process".

The latest edition warns however: "It is too early yet to
pronounce upon how precisely the developments will work out
in political terms.

"In essence all that the terrorists have done is to cease,
in a single if substantial respect, what was a flagrant
illegality and an affront to human decency."

The publication also states that the DUP's questioning of
the role of Dr Good and Fr Reid as independent witnesses
"tended to reflect negatively on their role".

"The two clergy undoubtedly took on a most unenviable task
in the service of peace; their honesty, sincerity and
integrity are all transparent," the magazine said.

The Gazette claims that the DUP was "too immoderately
negative in its own assessment " of the decommissioning. It
added: "Any misgivings should have been set in the context
of a greater acknowledgment of what in fact had happened."

The publication said that second attempt at devolution
would not be easy and if it fails " it could be along time
before another is possible."


Police Searches In Area Close To Devlin Murder

By Deborah McAleese
10 October 2005

Detectives investigating "serious crime" last night
launched a search close to the area where 15-year-old
schoolboy Thomas Devlin was murdered.

Several police jeeps brought uniformed officers to comb the
Somerton Road, close to where the teenager's body was
discovered exactly two months ago.

It was not apparent last night if anything had been
discovered during the search and police would not release
any details.

A police spokesman said: "Police carried out a search in
the Somerton Road area yesterday afternoon in connection
with a serious crime investigation."

Police would not comment on any link between the searches
and the Devlin murder.

Officers have mounted a number of searches in the area
after Thomas was murdered but so far there has been no
major breakthrough in the case.

A knife discovered in a hedge close to the scene several
weeks later turned out to be unrelated to the murder.

A number of arrests were made during follow-up
investigations but nobody has ever been charged.

The popular teenager, a GCSE student at Belfast Royal
Academy, was stabbed five times in the back as he walked
home with friends from buying sweets at an Antrim Road
service station in north Belfast on August 10.

He had walked down the Fortwilliam Road and then onto the
Somerton Road towards his home, before he was savagely
knifed five times in the unprovoked attack.


Disturbances 'Sparked By Gang Attack'

A gang assault on a man in Derry may have triggered
disturbances on the outskirts of the city, it emerged

By:Press Association

Several cars were set alight and police came under attack
with fireworks and stones after around 50 people blocked a
stretch of road in the Ardmore area between Tullyalley and

Detectives believe the trouble may be connected to an
assault by a gang of youths on a young man in Ardmore Road
around 9.30pm yesterday.

The victim was taken to hospital but his injuries were not
life-threatening and he later discharged himself.

Motorists were advised to steer clear of the Ardmore Road
during the violence which followed the attack.

Police and local community representatives managed to calm
the situation around 11pm.

SDLP councillor Martin Reilly said a number of vehicles
were caught in the middle of the disturbances and he urged
young people in the area to pull back from sectarian

"I urge those responsible to think again before engaging in
this type of activity," he said.

"It offers nothing to the two estates. And neither
community wants to see this sort of thing happen.

"Attacking vehicles as they drive along the road not only
causes damage to them but it is putting peoples lives at

Mr Reilly acknowledged the efforts of community workers in
both housing estates in restoring calm to the area along
with the police.

Nationalists said the disturbances occurred after young
people from the Currynierin estate got involved in a
confrontation with teenagers from the loyalist Tullyalley.

A Sinn Fein spokesman in the city said: "Community leaders
in both estates need to work together to nip this sort of
confrontation in the bud.

"There would be insults traded between rival gangs but
people in this city do not want to see it develop into
fresh interface violence.

"People need to act now on both sides and tell young people
in both areas that they are only hurting their own


Gerry Adams Steps Up Pressure On Irish And British

Governments to move quickly to ensure Peace 3 funding is

Published: 9 October, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has raised with the
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD the issue of Peace 3 funding for
Peace and Reconciliation projects in the North and border

Mr. Adams conversation with the Taoiseach follows his
meetings last week with the EU Commission on Regional
Development Danuta Hübner and the British Prime Minister
Tony Blair.

Peace 1 and Peace 2 each delivered hundreds of millions of
Euros to a wide range of groups involved in delivering
peace and reconciliation work. The EU Commissioner informed
Mr Adams that an additional several hundred million Euro
was available for a Peace 3 fund but that both the British
and Irish Governments had to ask for it. This needs to be
done in the next few weeks otherwise the money is likely to
be incorporated into the wider EU budget.

Mr. Adams said:

"I raised the Peace 3 fund with Mr. Blair and the British
Secretary of State Peter Hain on Thursday. I was assured by
both that they would move quickly to ensure that the
British request was in on time and that this money was
acquired from the EU. I subsequently spoke to the Taoiseach
and raised this issue with him. Mr. Ahern also undertook to
expedite the Irish government's response to this issue.

If both governments move quickly I am confident that the EU
Commission Ms Hübner will add her considerable support to
the release of funds.

The Peace 3 projects will run from 2007 to 2013. They will
ensure the continuation of much of the valuable work
currently undertaken. However, there is a urgent need for
all of the groups involved, along with political parties to
step up the lobby to secure the additional funding that a
seven year programme will require."ENDS


Police Officers Switching Forces

Two police officers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of
Ireland have switched forces on temporary placements, it
has been announced.

The exchange scheme is part of policing reform measures
introduced in Northern Ireland and follows the signing of
joint policing protocols last February.

The two officers have not been named or details of their
duties released.

Joe Stewart, head of human resources with the PSNI, said
both forces would benefit from the scheme.

Under the initiative, any officer from the PSNI reporting
for duty within the Garda Siochana remains under the
control of the chief constable, Sir Hugh Orde, and will not
exercise police powers within the Irish Republic.


However, if they move into the Republic of Ireland on
secondment, they would wear the uniform of the Garda
Siochana and have the same powers as Garda officers,
working under the control of the Garda Commissioner Noel

The same rules apply to officers transferring to Northern
Ireland on exchange placements, which can last for up to a
year, and on secondments, which can run for up to three

"Officers within the police service already benefit from an
exceptionally close working relationship with their
colleagues in An Garda Siochana and this special
relationship can only be enhanced by these opportunities,"
Mr Stewart said.

"We have been working on the development of this scheme for
a number of months and I am delighted to see it reach

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/10 10:36:22 GMT


IMC Briefed About Provos' Deadly Cache

By Jonathan McCambridge
10 October 2005

A huge cache of deadly AK47 bullets - linked in court to
the Provisional IRA - entered Northern Ireland after
republicans had carried out their first act of
decommissioning, it can be revealed today.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has briefed the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) about the sinister arsenal of
10,000 bullets, which police have traced to a manufacturer
in Russia who forwarded them to an arms dealer in Germany
in 2002.

The 10 boxes of 7.62 calibre ammunition later entered
Northern Ireland and were discovered by police in 2004.

The IRA began its process of decommissioning in 2001 - the
year before the bullets were moved to Germany.

Unionists will be angered by the revelation that the IRA
was still importing ammunition at a time when it claimed to
be disarming.

The DUP has said it proves that recent IRA acts of
decommissioning "cannot be trusted".

The 10,000 bullets were found by police in a padlocked
cupboard in a house in Twinbrook in west Belfast on October
28, 2004. In a subsequent court case a judge described the
number of bullets as "colossal" and they were linked to the
Provisional IRA.

A 45-year-old woman was cleared of storing the bullets
after the judge said he could not discount the possibility
that she was keeping them under duress. She told the court
she was in fear for her life and said lots of people in
Twinbrook had been killed and "put out" by the IRA.

The Chief Constable was asked by the Policing Board last
week about any intelligence police had received about the

He said that police had established the bullets were
manufactured in Russia and came through a German arms
dealer in 2002. He said it had not been established how or
when, after that, the bullets reached Northern Ireland but
said the IMC had been briefed.

There has been growing speculation that the IMC will report
to the British and Irish Governments later this month that
the IRA has remained inactive since it announced an end to
its armed campaign on July 28 this year.

But DUP Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr said the
revelation about the movement of the ammunition would
further shake unionist confidence in republican

He said: "What we need to know was how these bullets were
brought into Northern Ireland and what other weapons were
brought in while the IRA was supposed to be on ceasefire.

"This happened at a time when Sinn Fein was sitting in
Government. We know all about the spy ring at Stormont and
Colombia, but now it turns out this was going on as well."


INLA Won't Dump Arms

By Connla Young

The Irish National Liberation Army has no plans to put its
arms beyond use, it was confirmed last night.

The group's position on the issue came when Eddie
McGarrigle, a senior member of the group's political wing,
the Irish Republican Socialist Party, said there was no
appetite for such a move within the Republican Socialist

Speculation has mounted over what direction the INLA would
take after the IRA put its weapons beyond use last week.
Confirmation that the INLA will not decommission comes just
days after Mr McGarrigle called on anti-Agreement
republicans to bring their armed campaigns to a close.

In a letter published in Daily Ireland today Mr McGarrigle,
who is based in Strabane, Co Tyrone, said a decision on
decommissioning "will not be taken on a request from the
nationalist, pro-Good Friday Agreement republicans".

Speaking to Daily Ireland last night Mr McGarrigle said
decommissioning was a non-issue within the Republican
Socialist Movement as long as unionist paramilitaries
continued to pose a threat to nationalist communities.

"Anti-Good Friday Agreement republicans will not engage in
decommissioning; it's not an issue at this time.
Republicans have a duty to defend their communities against

"While there is no appetite for armed conflict there
remains an onus on republicans to defend their communities.
This is especially the case given the history of the state
and the fact that unionists are not engaging in the process
of conflict transformation and there is a strong element of
distrust in nationalist communities. At grassroots level
this issue is not on the agenda at this time.

"Paisley's stance hardens attitudes. The attitude of
unionist politicians to loyalist violence and weapons does
little to fill people with confidence either. Republicans
who have been outside the political process see no merit in
it at all. All the signatories to the Good Friday Agreement
said they would try to encourage decommissioning. But none
of the signatories have ever approached the INLA or
republican socialists and asked their opinion on the
matter. The whole thing has been a red herring and directed
at IRA weaponry. It was never raised as an issue with us,
even in meetings with the governments."

The IRSP man also renewed his call for anti-Agreement
republicans not on ceasefire to call off their campaigns.

"I would again call on them to end their campaigns and to
talk to other anti-Agreement republicans. The time for
armed struggle is not at the moment. There is also an onus
on provisional republicans to persuade other republicans
that the conflict can be resolved through the stepping
stone strategy they use."

The INLA has remained relatively inactive since they called
a ceasefire in 1998. While the INLA's arsenal may not match
that of the IRA's, it is understood they have several
hundred small arms and automatic weapons as well as access
to explosives.


I Was Duped - Assets Raids Businessman

A businessman whose home and offices were raided by police
in connection with an investigation into an IRA crime
empire admitted links with the family of an alleged
Provisionals' godfather today.

By:Press Association

Dermot Craven said his company managed properties for Frank
Murphy, the brother of alleged IRA chief of staff Thomas
"Slab" Murphy.

Mr Craven said his business partner, Brian Pepper, whose
home was also raided last week, is company secretary of a
business owned by Frank Murphy.

The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) raided the homes of Mr
Craven and Mr Pepper last week and the head office of their
company, The Craven Group, claiming they were linked to a
£30 million alleged IRA property empire.

But Mr Craven, 44, from Bowdon, Cheshire, pleaded his
innocence today and admitted he may have been duped.

He said: "My business partner and I have been unjustly
vilified by an investigation in which we are totally

"If it is the case the clients have purchased property
through us, through the use of money that is derived from
criminal activity, then we know nothing of this.

"I understand that a lot of press and ARA inquiries focus
on Thomas Murphy from Ireland. I have never met this man,
spoken to him or carried out any business dealings with

"We do have a client called Frank Murphy, who we now know
is Thomas Murphy`s brother. Frank Murphy owns a company
called Sailor Property, which owns seven properties in

"The last property Sailor purchased through Craven Group
was approximately two years ago."

At a press conference in Manchester today, Mr Craven said
he had never met Thomas Murphy but admitted he phoned Frank
Murphy after his house was raided by armed police last

He said: "I have met Frank Murphy a number of times, he is
a really nice guy. At that time I didn`t know Thomas Murphy
was Frank Murphy`s brother."

He said he telephoned Frank Murphy after the raid because
he had discovered who Frank Murphy`s brother was. He said
Mr Murphy advised him to get a solicitor.

He said Mr Pepper, with whom he co-owns Dermot Craven
Developments Limited, had the "greater part" of their
dealings with Frank Murphy.

Mr Pepper, from Dundalk, was not at the press conference.
His solicitor Richard Holliday said he was at work trying
to reassure customers.

Mr Holliday said Mr Pepper had not known about Frank
Murphy`s brother when he first met him but admitted he had
attended a funeral at which both Frank and Thomas Murphy
were present.

Mr Craven, wearing a pinstriped suit and looking visibly
shaken, said the seven properties managed by The Craven
Group for Frank Murphy were worth #700,000. He said he was
not aware of Sailor until last Thursday and that there were
lots of companies he managed properties for. When asked:
"Do you yourself believe you have been duped?", he replied,
"Yeah. I have nothing to hide."

Michael Kenyon, from Cooper Kenyon Burrows solicitors,
representing Mr Craven, said he thought the public had been
manipulated by the ARA. He said: "The ARA have been going
for nearly two years and it is common knowledge that it has
not been a very successful organisation.

"Why did they turn up with 30 officers? They were there to
get your juices flowing. They were there because the ARA
wanted to make a big issue out of this."


Premier To Discuss Manchester Raids

By Jonathan McCambridge
10 October 2005

IRA-linked police raids on Manchester properties will be
discussed by Irish premier Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister
Tony Blair when they meet in London tomorrow.

It will be the first official contact between the two
leaders since the terrorist group announced it had
decommissioned its arsenal on September 26.

The investigation by the Belfast-based Assets Recovery
Agency (ARA) into 250 properties in Manchester will be
discussed at Downing Street.

It is believed the operation is focused on the assets of
alleged IRA chief-of-staff Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, who lives
on the Northern Ireland border in Co Louth.

An Irish government spokesman said the meeting will include
a discussion on "issues of current concern".

He added: "It will be an opportunity to reflect on recent
positive developments, including the IRA statement ending
its armed campaign and the completion of IRA

"Mr Ahern and Mr Blair are likely to reflect on the issues
arising from the ongoing discussions with all of the
political parties in Northern Ireland and other issues of
current concern.

"There will be a particular focus on how renewed momentum
can be given to the process in the months ahead."

Mr Blair hosted separate meetings with delegations from
Sinn Fein and the DUP in Downing Street last week while Mr
Ahern met the SDLP in Dublin.

The two Manchester businessmen whose offices were raided by
police and ARA officers on Thursday are to hold a press
conference in the city today.

The operation is believed to have been assisted by gardai
and the Criminal Assets Bureau in Dublin.


Mad Dog And Englishmen In New Court Fight

IN a couple of weeks, former loyalist gang boss Johnny
Adair will face the latest in a series of civil indignities
that have thwarted him since his arrival in Bolton earlier
this year.

The one-time "Brigadier", who was flown out of Belfast by
helicopter in secrecy on his release from prison earlier
this year to join his wife, family and friends in Bolton,
faces sentencing for being a wife beater.

Among the penalties available to the court is a community
service order and/or an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO),
on top of an existing restraining order for harassment of
members of his former gang who have tried to resettle.

Adair has already pleaded guilty to beating up his wife in
front of local children in the park down the road from
their new home within hours of his release from jail, where
he had spent the preceding 39 days on harassment charges.

If the court so decides, that is the route to go down, it
means the once-feared terrorist commander will have his
face plastered outside police stations and in public
libraries alongside the usual gallery of so-called "spotty-
faced oiks" deemed to be a local public nuisance.

At his last court hearing, Adair's solicitor complained to
officers that they were "picking on" his client, only to be
told in response, "we haven't even started yet".

In truth, the police and local authorities have been
waiting for him since his wife's arrival two-and-a-half
years ago, when she, associate John White and between a
dozen and twenty accomplices fled a loyalist feud in

Greater Manchester Police's most senior officer in Bolton,
Chief Superintendent Dave Lea, whose officers had already
smashed a major drug network in the area, was determined
that Adair and his "Bolton Wanderers" should not get any
foothold in the area.

Local druglord Billy Perry, (given name William Craig) was
murdered in 2001 as he awaited trial at Liverpool Crown
Court, leaving a gap in the market.

Adair's son, Jonathan, and two of Adair's associates, Ben
Dowie and William Truesdale, tried to fill that gap and
were busted as they sold drugs to undercover cops.
Substantial quantities of drugs were found in Adair's home
but his wife, Gina, was visiting him in jail in Northern
Ireland at the time and charges against her were dropped.

"Around here he is just a thug and a wife beater. He is
broken, he cannot hold his head up in town, he is broken,"
said Chief Superintendent Lea.

"He has no fiefdom here," he declared.

Bernard Purcell
London Editor


Opin: Loyalism's Rage Against The Fading Light Of Britishness

Northern Ireland's recent riots are a sign of irreversible
decline within the Protestant working classes

Stephen Howe
Monday October 10, 2005
The Guardian

The murder last week of the former Ulster Defence
Association "brigadier" Jim Gray is the latest symptom of
militant loyalism's desperate malaise. It is the most
recent in a horrifying sequence of killings arising from
multi-dimensional feuds and rivalries, and comes on top of
riots and paramilitary assaults. The mayhem that swept
Northern Ireland in the second week of September was the
worst for many years.

The events involved, almost exclusively, working-class
loyalists battling the police and army. It was hardly the
first time that "loyal" organisations had been in violent
confrontation with the state. But the depth of hatred and
alienation on display still strikes many observers as

Much media and political comment has explained it in terms
of bigotry and criminality, of archaism and atavism.
Defensive unionist politicians speak of Protestant
disillusion, even desperation, at a peace process they
think has favoured Catholics. None of those labels is
entirely wrong. Yet what lies behind the events of recent
days engages the whole nature of Britishness in Ireland and
beyond, and the very ideas of identity and community,
modernity and tradition. And the songs loyalists sing, the
pictures they paint, even the tattoos they wear, tell us a
lot about what is going on and what might happen next.

The riots are part of what happens when the decay of one
modern culture - the northern Irish variant of urban,
working-class Britishness - clashes with the rise of a
globalised popular culture. What formed in Belfast and
other northern Irish urban centres in the course of 19th-
century industrialisation was a variety of Britishness, not
only in its stridently proclaimed nationality claims, but
in the texture of everyday life. Belfast, its youth and its
working class had a great deal in common with similar
cities "across the water". Many of its characteristics were
shared with English, Scots and Welsh industrial centres. It
was intensely localised, with social networks and loyalties
focused on small, usually densely inhabited urban

It was often seen as an anti-educational culture: even more
so than was the norm for English or Scottish working-class
communities reliant on heavy industry, where the expected
post-school route was not social mobility via education but
a secure position within the community through
apprenticeship in a skilled manual trade. It has been a
profoundly masculinist culture, in ways that decades of
violence could only reinforce. Both the partial ending of
paramilitary violence (which threatens to deprive "hard
men" of their raison d'etre and aggressive youths of their
role models) and the precipitous decline in industrial
employment must intensify the crisis of masculinity that
commentators identify as a more general post-industrial

In the later years of the "Troubles" there were signs of
hope in those communities. Crucially, some influential ex-
gunmen came to feel that they had been manipulated by
unionist politicians who had incited their violence, then
indignantly disclaimed it. Perhaps that realisation came
too late. Working-class loyalist communities are in a
probably irreversible retreat. Paramilitary warlords and
drug barons fight over the ruins. Deindustrialisation,
demographic decline, the tendency of the more enterprising
or successful to move out, low rates of educational
achievement and very high ones of family breakdown,
domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse - all these are
features that the poorer Protestant districts of Belfast,
Portadown or Ballymoney share with those of Liverpool and

Yet these are crises also of collective identity. Irish
Catholic identity seems more stable, secure and all-
embracing than that of loyalists, while affluent
Protestants can more readily assimilate to contemporary
Britishness. On the Shankill and Sandy Row, in Portadown
and Carrickfergus, in the bleak housing estates where
grievance festers and violence rarely hides far beneath the
surface, the cultural response has been a kind of pastiche.
The worlds of paramilitarism and pop culture mingle. Songs,
murals, dress adopt fragments from the whole gamut of
Atlantic entertainment industries - but most startlingly
from black American forms. Politically, loyalist
paramilitaries and their political spokesmen adopt scraps
of everything from an "old Labour" brand of social
democracy to neo-nazism. Political Protestantism is no
longer a sustaining force. But nor, increasingly, is
Britishness. Indeed, Ulster loyalism seems doomed to
imprisonment by a terminally declining form of Britishness.

What remains will inevitably seemincreasingly negative.
Loyalism is a culture ambivalent about Irishness. Yet,
whatever else loyalism is, it is distinctively an Irish
culture, one that grew only on the island of Ireland, with
off-shoots in Scotland and Canada. The essential cultural
difference between loyalism and its foes is indeed that
while Republicans conceive of themselves as having an
inherited, densely woven tradition, loyalists have to make
it up as they go along. These are the fragments they shore
up against their ruins.

· Stephen Howe is professor of history and cultures of
colonialism at the University of Bristol. This piece was
first published at greater length on


Opin: Don't Tell The Neighbours — Loyalism's Going Bonkers

(James Kelly, Irish News)

Nothing new under the sun. Here's the loyalist underworld
of Belfast eclipsing the infamy of Chicago in the roaring
twenties as the gangster 'paramilitary brigadiers' instead
of dying peacefully in their beds like real brigadiers are
murdered one by one by their treacherous pals.

All that stuff I recall about Al Capone, Dillinger, 'Legs'
Diamond and 'Dutch' Schulze, who came to a sticky end over
the proceeds of bootleg whiskey, has died the death as the
world is told the continuing story of loyal Ulster rapidly
going bonkers. One enormity outdoes another.

Loyalists bring shame to their native land while their
political mentors do a disappearing act or vainly flog the
dead horse of the IRA's historic decision to end the war by
declaring that it's just part of a worldwide conspiracy to
bamboozle loyal Ulster.

We had hardly recovered from the worldwide coverage of the
appaling scenes at Newtownabbey,Co Antrim – when the Sunday
blessing of the dead in a Catholic cemetery was interrupted
by an Orange loyalist invasion of placard-carrying thugs of
both sexes threatening to dig up the dead and urinate on
them in retaliation for the banning of an Orange march
through the Springfield Road – when the headlines screamed
far and wide about another loyalist brigadier ruthlessly
shot down by his gangster confreres.

The Times headlined it starkly. 'Few tears as loyalist
thugs kill their own'. The latest 'brigadier' to be
eliminated in the impenetrable loyalist turf war or
internal battle over the proceeds of their criminal
activities, was a notorious and murderous gangster and one-
time UDA leader in east Belfast, one Jim Gray, alias,
'Doris Day', his nick name because of his pansy dressing

Was Doris about to sing and name names to save his own skin
and ill-gotten gains?

That was the suspicion when a judge released him on bail on
a money laundering charge. So the momentous decision was
taken somewhere to rub him out.

Strangely all the recent loyalist shenanagins, the Shankill
riots, the attacks on Catholic schools and homes, the
obscene threats against the dead in a Catholic cemetery,
have met only with averted gaze by the unionist and
loyalist apologists.

The big silence has been unbroken except for a few muttered
embarrassed "it was wrong" by obscure local worthies.

But wonder of wonders when the DUP leader, old Ian Paisley,
turned up with Secretary of State Peter Hain at a Catholic
primary school in Ballymena it must be admitted that he
condemned, in a forthright manner, the scandalous behaviour
at the Newtownabbey cemetery.

It was late but welcome at last and the kids seemed to
enjoy this unexpected visit from the grinning politicians.

The morning after, instead of the eclipse of the sun, the
Ballymena Catholics expected a blue moon. Dare say it, from
little acorns great oaks grow?

Then there is that weird Tory gathering by the seaside at
Blackpool where the natives hate their guts, as I once
learned from a Blackpool tram conductor.

That was the morning of a Tory conference years ago when he
apologised for being insulting. He said he had mistaken my
conference press badge and thought I was a delegate. After
what he told me I wondered why the Tories continually pick
Blackpool. This time while the conference laboured
painfully to produce a new leader from an unlikely bunch
including Ken Clarke, wielding a Churchillian prop, an
unlit big cigar, who should turn up for the first time ever
but a Sinn Féin MP. It was a fringe meeting Conor Murphy
attended and one at which unionist MP David Burnside kept
clear of the local events outline earlier, preferring to
dig up the IRA's bombing of the Brighton conference of

So the Tory listeners only heard the old, old stories and
nothing about the events here and now from a representative
of the unionist 'Sick man of Ulster' presently dying from a
thousand self inflicted wounds.

Meantime it's back to the old routine, the agonising "talks
about talks"! Remember that weary process to this and that
outlandish venue including a moated castle with a
drawbridge in merry England, all ending up in smoke and
angry demands for "sackcloth and ashes".

O Lord surely not again?

It's begun with Paisley and Adams visiting Tony Blair at
Number 10.

What's it to be this time – the soft shoe shuffle under
secretary of state Hain or a swift kick in the rear from
the PM for the procrastinating embattled no-men?

For heaven's sake let's have something new for a change.

October 10, 2005


Walmart Arrives In Northern Ireland

Competition in Northern Ireland's retail sector will grow
more fierce today with the arrival of one of the UK's
leading chains, Asda.

By:Press Association

The chain was set to open the first three of the 12 stores
it acquired from the Morrisons group as part of a £30
million refurbishment programme resulting in the creation
of 250 jobs in the province.

Stores in Bangor, Coleraine and Cookstown will open their
doors to customers.

Asda`s entry into the retail market in Northern Ireland
follows in the footsteps of Tesco and Sainsbury`s, who
began trading in the province in the wake of loyalist and
republican cease-fires.

The company is also refurbishing stores in Belfast,
Ballyclare, Dundonald, Enniskillen, Kilkeel, Newtownards,
Omagh and Strabane.

Consumers in the province were also hopeful that Asda will
introduce its low cost clothing range to Northern Ireland.

In June, the Office of Fair Trading cleared the way for
Asda to move into the Northern Ireland market.

The supermarket giant`s head of agriculture and local
sourcing, Chris Brown, also moved to reassure local farmers
that Northern Ireland produce would be an important part of
Asda`s business, as it had been under Morrisons and

Ulster Unionist assembly member Norman Hillis said it was
vital Asda honoured this commitment.

"It is imperative that Asda supports local agriculture and
industry by ensuring it sources produce from Northern
Ireland in general," the East Londonderry MLA said.

"I welcome the fact that the company has invested heavily
in staff training in Northern Ireland and has established a
virtual store in Belfast for this purpose."

Asda is owned by the world`s largest retailer, the American
firm, Wal-Mart.

Senior management will mark their entry into the Northern
Ireland market with a special opening ceremony in Bangor
featuring Europe`s strongest man, Glen Ross.


From Monsters and
DVD Columns

Reel Advice: Irish American Ninja

By Steve Anderson
Oct 10, 2005, 19:00 GMT

"Irish American Ninja" may well be the funniest ninja movie
you've ever seen.

And it's got some pretty stiff competition on all sides.
"Kung Pow: Enter The Fist", for example. "Shaolin Soccer",
"Battlefield Baseball", and a handful of other movies just
like them have flooded video store shelves in recent years.
Hordes of Japanese imports and a handful of American titles
have all gone after the rank of funniest ninja movie.

But the incredibly ambitious and gut-wrenchingly comical
"Irish American Ninja" is a match for them all.

So what we have here is the story of George McGoogle, who
wants nothing more out of life than to be a ninja. A DAMN
GOOD ninja.

Now, most folks are going to see the humor in this right
away. His name is MCGOOGLE. And he wants to be a NINJA.
This is like a man with the last name of Zhou setting out
to be the world's greatest polka musician. Or a fellow
named Klein who sets out to be the world's greatest pig
farmer. It's incongruous. It doesn't work.

But in George's will. Or so you can tell from
the first seventeen seconds when they supply this pithy
quote from George:

"The true measure of a man lies not in realizing his
destiny, but in having the courage to follow it...even if
it means killing your long lost brother." --George

It's pretty much a dead giveaway at this point that George
will indeed become a ninja. A damn good ninja.

And George, our Damn Good Irish American Ninja is on an
appropriately complex quest to train, advance his skills,
find his long lost brother, and of course, kick a whole lot
of pajama-clad ninja ass.

First off, can you SMELL the parody? Smell it! It's
thicker than Guinness on a cold November morning! Okay,
for those of you who don't habla, there was a franchise
back in the eighties called "American Ninja." I think they
got as far as four with it, and Bill Sebastian is going
balls-out in an effort to parody a movie franchise
everybody pretty much forgot about by the end of 1993.

And the credit roll sequence for the first two minutes will
show you, undisputably, what kind of movie we're dealing
with here.

Introducing George's boyhood, and everything that led up to
George's ninja career, is a brilliantly comical sequence
that lasts several minutes and produces several high-
quality laughs. The training sequences are a laugh riot.

All that's really missing from "Irish American Ninja" is
Wally Pleasant doing a cover of "Kung Fu Fighting". Or
maybe that's a little too obvious--I can't be sure.

And the sequence where George finds his long-lost brother
for the first time...oh my. It's like three straight
minutes of laughing.

Okay, plain and simple. "Irish American Ninja" is one of
the funniest things I've seen in a long time. It's packed
to the gills with parody, clever scripting, excellent
acting, and all kinds of surprises. It encompasses so much
more than any simple ninja movie has a right to--"Irish
American Ninja" is really like "Enter the Dragon" on crack,
and without all the stylistic overtones. The sheer
ambition of "Irish American Ninja" is what gives it a lot
of its comedic appeal.

There's not a whole lot in the way of actual story here.
And at the same time, you don't miss it much. You don't
watch "Irish American Ninja" for the compelling plot! No,
you watch it for the incredible comedy. You watch it for
the masterful parody. You watch it for a
ninja...getting...hit by a car? You watch it for a lot of

The ending is a hoot and a half. Watch the fun as George
McGoogle, Damn Good Irish American Ninja, tries to
establish a link between "Barney" and a homosexual agenda.
Not even Jerry Falwell could go that far! And George's
burnout tantrum is beyond anything you've ever seen before.
But there is still a little hope as George finally,
FINALLY, faces off against Gertrude, his long-lost-but-
just-now brother.

The special features include audio commentary, a behind the
scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and trailers for "Irish
American Ninja," "Portal: The Movie", "Midlothia", and
"Zombie Campout".

All in all, "Irish American Ninja" may be short on plot,
but what it lacks there it more than makes up for in
innovation and pure, raw comedy. If you can find it, it's
worth it!

The DVD is out now and available via Amazon.


Ulster's Oldest Exile Dies Just Days After His Arrival In

By Nevin Farrell
10 October 2005

A man believed to have been one of the oldest people ever
to emigrate from Ireland has died just four days after
leaving for the United States where he had gone to make a
new life.

Eighty-six-year-old Joe McAuley left Ballymena last
Wednesday to live with his son Charles in Portland, Oregon,
but he passed away on Saturday.

Close friend Maureen Gilmore (74), from Ballymena, said:
"Joe was looking forward to new experiences and we are all
shocked he has passed away so soon after reaching America."

A tearful Maureen said: "He was a great character and he
crammed a lot into his life but he passed away very

"The story about him being one of the oldest people to
emigrate was in a few newspapers during the week and I had
been on the phone to him joking that he did better than me
because recently I had been in the papers myself for being
the oldest person ever to take part in a charity abseil
down the Europa Hotel in Belfast."

She said Joe should be an inspiration to anyone on how to
enjoy a long and full life.

Maureen said it was Joe's wish that he is cremated and his
ashes brought back home to Ireland.

Just last Tuesday, Joe, who was set to turn 87 next month,
had told of his hopes for the future.

Speaking before he set off for Tigard near Portland, he had
said: "It is a beautiful area and I am looking forward to
it immensely as the next phase of my life but I will miss
Ballymena and my friends here too."

Joe was born above a pub in Carnlough on the County Antrim
coast in 1918 and he grew up to become a radio officer on
Merchant Navy ships.

He had a lucky escape when his vessel was torpedoed in the
south Atlantic off Brazil during the Second World War.

He then worked as a radio operator with airways flying
around Scottish islands before clocking up thousands of
more miles by flying as a radio man with British South
American Airways.

Joe had said last Tuesday: "I have been all around the
world and a few other places as well. I have had a good
life but by Thursday I will be in new surroundings. You are
never too old to emigrate."

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