News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

October 06, 2005

Dail Support To Aid Illegal Irish in US

To Index of Monthly Archives
To October 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

EX 10/06/05 Dáil Support To Aid Illegal Irish In US
SF 10/06/05 SF Describe Talks At Downing Street As Positive
IA 10/06/05 Collusion In Ireland Highlighted @ IAUC Meeting
IN 10/06/05 Action Alert: US Banns Sinn Fein Fundraising
IT 10/07/05 DUP To Be Given More Seats On Policing Board
IT 10/07/05 Support For PSNI Vital For Peace, Says Ahern
UT 10/06/05 'IRA Property' Raids May Endanger Peace Process
IT 10/07/05 Anti-Racket Agencies Close On Alleged IRA Chief
IT 10/07/05 Swoop On Offices Yields Vanload Of Documents
IT 10/07/05 Authorities Pursue Assets To Get Their Man
IT 10/07/05 Extent Of Craven Involvement In Property Firms
IT 10/07/05 No Sign Of Fuss Down On The Murphy Farm
IT 10/07/05 Cab Raid Financial Firms In Dundalk
SP 10/07/05 Why IRA Failed To Defeat The British State
IA 10/06/05 IAUC National Convention In Pittsburgh
IT 10/07/05 Pedestrians Face More Danger From SUVs- Study


Dáil Support For Bill To Aid Illegal Irish In US

By Paul O'Brien

THE Dáil has thrown its weight behind legislation being
proposed in the US which would help the thousands of
illegal Irish there.

There was unanimous support for a motion by Foreign Affairs
Minister Dermot Ahern that the Dáil back the Secure America
and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005, a bipartisan bill
being brought before the US Congress by Republican senator
John McCain and his Democratic counterpart, Ted Kennedy.

Mr Ahern believes a significant show of Irish support for
the bill might influence Congress. He feels that, of
various immigration reforms currently being discussed in
the US, the bill would offer the most to undocumented

Under the bill, they would obtain a temporary visa for six
years, after which they would have a clear path to
citizenship, although they would have to pay at least
$2,000 in fines and application fees.

Although estimates vary, the Government believes there are
about 25,000 illegal Irish in the US.

Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton supported the motion, but
said his party believed there were at least 50,000
undocumented Irish, and that the Government was
underestimating the problem.

In the Congress, the ultra-conservative wing of the
Republican Party sees the bill as a "blanket amnesty" for
illegal immigrants, and will likely oppose it.

The White House, while wanting to see immigrant reforms
implemented, also believes the bill goes too far. It, too,
is prepared to allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal
status to work in the country for six years.

But the Bush administration believes the workers should
then be forced to leave the US, and reapply for visas only
after returning home.

Fine Gael TD Bernard Allen said he hoped the bill's
provisions would come to fruition, "despite all the

Others to speak in support of the motion included Labour's
Michael D Higgins, the Green Party's John Gormley, and Sinn
Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh.


Sinn Féin Describe Talks At Downing Street As Positive

Published: 6 October, 2005

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness led a party delegation to meet with the British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and British Secretary of State
Peter Hain.

Speaking afterwards Mr Adams described the meeting as 'good
and positive'.

The Sinn Féin President said:

"Today's meeting was a crucially important one, which
provided an opportunity to review recent developments and
to discuss how progress can be made.

"The main focus of our discussion was on the political
institutions and the need for them to be re-established

"Key to making progress is the British Government honouring
its commitments on policing, demilitarisation, OTR's and
the right of citizens to live free from sectarian
harassment. We also presented the British Prime Minister
with an equality document recently produced by the party.
Our discussions also focussed on the widespread sectarian
attacks against Catholics by unionist paramilitaries and
killings by those organisations. We pointed to the fact
that the DUP has no difficulty sitting on commissions with
members of those unionist paramilitary organisations.

The Sinn Féin President also raised the issue of PEACE III
funding for the north and border counties with Mr Blair and
Mr Hain.

Mr Adams said:

"We were assured by the British Prime Minister that it will
move to ensure that the application for PEACE III funding
is processed quickly. This is good news for the many peace
and reconciliation projects which are dependant on EU
funding. Yesterday in Brussels, there was obvious concern
that the hundreds of millions of euro potentially available
for these projects might be lost if the British Government
did not apply for it. We will be returning to this matter
with the British Government in the time ahead, and both
governments should be pressing this issue with the EU in
the time ahead." ENDS


Collusion In Ireland Highlighted At IAUC Convention

Washington, DC: October 5, 2005 — Retired Canadian Judge
Peter Cory, who at the request of the British and Irish
governments investigated allegations of collusion between
governmental authorities and paramilitary groups in
Ireland, spoke over the weekend to the Irish American Unity
Conference (IAUC) 22nd annual National Convention held at
the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Judge Cory spoke about his conclusion that in eight murders
sufficient evidence of governmental collusion existed to
recommend public inquiries. He summarized the evidence in
each case and how he concluded that a pubic inquiry was
warranted. The best known of these include:

- the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane at his north Belfast

- the killing of Catholic man Robert Hamill in Portadown
in 1997,

- the murder of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy
Wright in the Maze Prison in 1997 and

- the murder of Rosemary Nelson in Lurgan in 1999.
The Irish Echo newspaper recently quoted newly elected IAUC
National President, Bob Linnon commenting that, "Cory's
presence at the convention had been a breath of fresh air."

"He's stumping British government attempts to cover up
their involvement in many underground activities," Linnon

The IAUC will be campaigning for full implementation of
Cory's recommendations, Linnon added.

# # #

Contact: Deanna Turner,
Director of Communications

Irish American Unity Conference
National Office
611 Pennsylvania Ave, SE #4150
Washington, D.C. 20003

Press Officer: Jay Dooling

"Working for Justice & Peace in a Re-united Ireland"
nonpartisan, nonsectarian, chapter-based human rights
organization working for justice and peace in Ireland. We
are a wholly American 501c(4) organization that advocates
the end of British colonial occupation and the peaceful
reunification of Ireland. We endeavor to achieve these
goals by working through the American democratic process.
Individually, our members represent every occupational and
educational stratum in the United States.


Action Alert: US Department Of State Banns Sinn Fein

I. Background: The US Department of State's banning of
Friends of Sinn Fein California fundraisers by Martin
McGuinness was a curious penalty, considering Sinn Fein's
role in the long called for and verified "act of
completion" with regards arms decommissioning by the Irish
Republican Army.

Susan Garraty of The Irish Echo [8 Oct 2005] stated,
"According to US officials, decommissioning alone was not
enough to restore the fundraising component to the visas
issued to visiting Sinn Fein party leaders."

An anonymous State Department official put in doubt the
status of Gerry Adams' New York City fundraiser in
November, the highlight of Sinn Fein fundraising in the
States, "We're still not sure right now what the decision
will be. Every time Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness comes
over here they have to ask to raise funds and that's not
happening right now."

Congressman Joseph Crowley said, "Sinn Fein continues to be
the party to push for peace while unionists have come no
farther in meeting this [Good Friday] agreement."

The Good Friday Agreement calls for the propagation of
political alternatives to armed conflict.

The US government apparently only superficially endorses
this and acts to restrict it.

The banning of fundraising for the number one democratic
party among nationalists in the north, the only party who
appears to have the will and the power to make peace, sends
the wrong message.

What is the State Department thinking?

Another anonymous source, this time a senior Bush
administration official, said, "This is a lot about

While unionist criminality is rampant in the streets of the
north of Ireland and the British military/government are
accused of murdering hundreds of its own citizens? May we
at least have common sense in our foreign policy.

II. Contact Information:

Contact the US Department of State with your concerns:

* Secretary of State, Dr. Condolezza Rice
220 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
[202] 647-4000

* Special Envoy, Dr. Mitchell Reiss
[202] 647-2972 ext 7312

* Contact both by email:
[go to "Send a message to the Sectary of State"]


DUP Likely To Be Given More Seats On Policing Board In NI

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The British government has indicated that it is ready to
concede Democratic Unionist Party demands for extra seats
on the Northern Ireland Policing Board in spite of Irish
Government and SDLP objections.

The DUP push for control over the 19-strong body, which is
chaired by Sir Desmond Rea, was rebuffed "only with the
greatest difficulty" before the summer, following pressure
from the Irish Government, sources in Dublin have told The
Irish Times.

In early August, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain went
so far as to declare that the current membership would stay
in place for another year - until October 2006.

However, according to reliable sources, Mr Hain has begun
to waver in recent weeks in the face of DUP pressure. "He
feels that he hasn't got anything else to offer them and
that he must offer them something," one usually well-
informed source, speaking on condition on anonymity, said
last night.

Describing the DUP's move as a "power grab", SDLP leader
Mark Durkan said: "It is clear that the DUP is not just
looking for extra seats on the board. They also want to
control the independents, to stuff the board with their own
people and get one in as chair."

In addition, Mr Durkan suggested that the DUP would put the
chief constable of the PSNI, Sir Hugh Orde, "in its sights"
if it won control of the body.

Currently, the DUP has three places on the board, which was
first appointed in November 2001 under legislation designed
to implement the Patten recommendations.

If its demands are met, the DUP will, under the D'Hondt
system used to share out seats proportionally, get five
members on to the board, which sets the agenda for and
monitors the work of the PSNI. Its number of seats would
drop to four in the event of Sinn Féin joining the board,
although there is little likelihood of that happening now.

The DUP leader, accompanied by senior party figures, made
his demands known to the SDLP at a meeting this week.

Besides extra numbers, the DUP is seeking to exert control
over the choice of chairman and to influence the selection
of the 10 independent board members required by

"They are saying they want to put forward names for the
independent posts. How independent will they be then? Up to
now, the independents have been exactly that," one source

The SDLP leader raised the matter during 90 minutes of
talks with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who acknowledged that he
expects to hear a formal proposal from the British shortly.

Speaking after this meeting, Mr Durkan said: "The IRA
failure to decommission gave unionists a veto over re-
establishment of the Good Friday institutions. The IRA has
decommissioned, and that unionist veto must now be gone.
That was our message to the Taoiseach, and it is the
message both governments must give to the DUP.

"The DUP talk about the need to build confidence. They must
realise that the rest of us need confidence in them. We
doubt their commitment to the lawful society after their
behaviour over the Whiterock parade. And we doubt their
commitment to inclusive democracy when they seek to
undermine the Good Friday agreement."

Criticising the DUP's decision to draft a 68-page list of
demands, Mr Durkan added: "Given their behaviour, the DUP
should not be rewarded. They have the right to get their
democratic entitlements inside the institutions, but they
have no right to demand concessions outside them.

"If we get on the usual merry-go-round of side deals, there
will only be more demands and more delay. Tony Blair needs
to tell the DUP where to go - back into the institutions."

© The Irish Times


Support For PSNI Vital For Peace, Says Ahern

Jimmy Walsh

Seanad report: While warning that the absence of cross-
community support for the Police Service of Northern
Ireland was a threat to peace, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
stressed the need for reconciliation when he reported to
the House on developments in the peace process.

"The task before us all now is to build a better future, a
better Ireland," he said. "This must be an Ireland that is
a warm home for everybody who lives here.

It must be a cold house for no one. Everyone must feel
secure and respected. They must achieve a wholehearted and
genuine reconciliation with the unionist people. They had a
right to live in peace on this island.

"We too have a right to our aspirations. They can be
advanced using only peaceful and democratic means. We must
have a deeper dialogue with those who do not share these
aspirations. We cannot just talk past them about what we
want. If we are to talk of unity, let us talk of uniting
people and not just territory."

He said he believed the Northern Executive and Assembly and
the North-South Ministerial Council would return next year
and that they represented "the best and only hope of a
democratic, peaceful and prosperous future".

He said there was no question of granting Northern Ireland
MPs speaking rights in the Dáil.

He said that recent events had shown loyalist criminal and
paramilitary activity remained acute. He stressed the need
to consolidate progress on policing.

The role of the PSNI was central to a future free of
paramilitary threat.

"In my view, the absence of full cross-community support
for the police service is a dangerous threat to the hard-
won peace that we all enjoy."


Despite media reports to the contrary, the safety review of
the Corrib onshore gas pipeline would most certainly deal
with the issue of its proximity to dwellings, the Minister
of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and
National Resources, Pat the Cope Gallagher, said.

Speaking in a debate on the controversy which led to the
jailing of the "Rossport Five", Mr Gallagher said that
clearly no safety review could take place without full
consideration of the issue of proximity.

© The Irish Times


'IRA Property' Raids May Endanger Peace Process

Raids on £30 million worth of suspected IRA property in
Manchester could destroy new attempts to restore devolution
in Northern Ireland, unionists warned tonight.

By:Presss Associaton

Anti-racketeers searched 250 homes and businesses as part
of a huge financial investigation linked to Tom "Slab"
Murphy, the Provisionals` alleged chief of staff.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), backed by police and
authorities in the Irish Republic, launched the offensive
after receiving clearance at the High Court in London.

Two Manchester-based businessmen, including Dermot Craven,
a landlord and scaffolding boss, were at the centre of the

Officers moved in as Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness prepared for Downing Street talks with
British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

With decommissioning chief General John de Chastelain
declaring just 10 days ago that all IRA weapons had been
destroyed, the meeting was to focus on a fresh push to
revive the power-sharing administration in Belfast.

But as Mr Adams railed against those peddling a political
agenda, unionists insisted the development could have grave

Their trust in the IRA abandoning all crime, including
international money laundering operations, was wrecked by
the £26.5 million heist at the Northern Bank`s Belfast HQ
last December.

Danny Kennedy, deputy leader of the Ulster Unionists,
declared: "If, after investigation by the ARA, the
properties turn out to be linked to the IRA this will have
very serious consequences for the political process in
Northern Ireland.

"The extent of the IRA`s vast criminal empire was confirmed
by the Northern Bank robbery.

"The republican movement is probably the largest organised
crime network in the British Isles."

Boxes of documents seized during the raids across Greater
Manchester were being studied tonight by ARA officials.

Part of the probe centred on Craven Properties in Sale, run
by Mr Craven.

Police also went to his £2 million gated mansion in the
exclusive village of Bowden, neighbours said.

Mr Craven and his wife, Dawn, who have three children of
primary school age, were seen at the detached red-brick
Victorian property.

In a statement the ARA confirmed domestic and business
addresses owned by two men and worth £30 million were

"The Agency has so far identified approximately 250
properties held by both persons and a number of property
management companies," it said.

"The equity in the properties appears to be in the region
of £9 million."

The operation was mounted amid criticisms by the Reverend
Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists that ARA has trained its
sights on loyalist gangsters yet ignored republican

Yet by staging a high-profile swoop understood to be linked
to Murphy, a reclusive millionaire farmer who allegedly
smuggles fuel through his farm straddling the Irish border,
crimefighters have struck at the heart of republicanism.

Mr Paisley, who was also in Downing Street for separate
talks, backed the move but claimed it should have happened

"We should have started a bit earlier on to deal with IRA
racketeering," he said.

"I wish the police every success and I trust that soon
these people will be brought to the courts, have British
justice applied to them and be removed from our society
which they have cursed for far too long."

But Mr Adams challenged the allegations and hit out at
ARA`s Belfast chief Alan McQuillan.

He demanded: "Have the Assets Recovery Agency named some

"I am not going to respond to what are obviously briefings
headed up by a man, Alan McQuillan, a former Special Branch

"I don`t think it`s any accident and I am not surprised
that this is trotted out today. This is obviously a
political agenda."

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain rejected the
criticisms and emphasised the Agency`s independence.

He added: "Let everybody be crystal clear about this, in
Northern Ireland or anywhere else, that if you acquire
assets, if you acquire resources illegally by criminal
means then every effort will be made by the agency and the
security forces to track down those assets."


Anti-Racket Agencies Close In On Alleged IRA Chief

Anti-racketeering agencies in the Republic and Northern
Ireland carried out raids in Manchester and Dundalk
yesterday in an operation aimed at damaging the suspected
multi-million pound empire of the IRA's alleged chief of
staff Thomas "Slab" Murphy, write Gerry Moriarty and Conor
Lally, and Colm Keena in Manchester.

The North's Assets Recovery Agency, with support from
Manchester police and the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) in
the South, assisted by gardaí, searched domestic and
business premises respectively in Manchester and Dundalk.

Between four and five properties, including a leading
Manchester property agency, were searched. A large amount
of documentation was seized in the Manchester raids.

Cab raided the offices of seven premises, including legal
and financial firms in Dundalk, Co Louth. Detectives took
away around 50 boxes of documentation for examination,
well-placed sources confirmed.

They also confirmed that the main focus of their inquiries
is 56-year-old Thomas "Slab" Murphy, whom senior security
sources have identified as IRA chief of staff, and a
republican who has allegedly amassed a multi-million pound
fortune through cross- border smuggling.

He lives near Hackballscross on a farm straddling the
Border between counties Louth and Armagh, which reputedly
has facilitated his smuggling operations that are believed
to go back to the 1970s.

The BBC's Underworld Rich List says he has accumulated up
to £40 million through smuggling oil, cigarettes, grain and

The Assets Recovery Agency, Cab, gardaí and the PSNI now
hope the dozens of boxes of documents seized in the two
operations will open up a paper trail that will lead to the
undermining or ultimate demolition of Murphy's alleged
empire. If the evidence is found, the next step in the
operation is likely to be High Court applications in the UK
and the Republic from the Assets Recovery Agency and Cab to
freeze and seize Murphy's property.

While Murphy is said to be the IRA's chief of staff, senior
Garda sources said there was no evidence to suggest that
his wealth was now being used for anything other than
personal purposes.

Searches were continuing in Manchester late last night in
relation to a property portfolio of 250 houses which is
believed to be worth about £30 million. Among the
properties searched was that of the Craven Group, which is
run by Manchester businessman Dermot Craven, a director and
shareholder in a large number of property-related

In these companies Mr Craven (44) is a business partner of
Brian Gerald Pepper (31), who gives a number of addresses,
including Britannia Road, Sale, Cheshire, and addresses in
Dundalk, Co Louth. Mr Pepper describes himself as a
property trader and company director.

A solicitor for the Craven Group said last night that it
was assisting the agency in its inquiries. "We wish to
emphasise that this is a civil inquiry and no wrongdoing is
suggested against the group or any of its staff. As far as
the group is concerned it is business as usual starting
tomorrow morning," he said.

In the Republic, Cab believes it has identified a
residential property portfolio in Dundalk valued at up to
€4 million owned or controlled by Murphy, sources said.

The operation against Murphy comes less than two weeks
after the IRA decommissioned its weapons, raising the
potential for a political deal to restore devolution
sometime next year if it is confirmed it has ceased all
paramilitary and criminal activity.

Should these current investigations point to continuing
directly-related IRA criminal activity it could jeopardise
the prospects of restoring the Northern Executive and

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, who met British Prime
Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street yesterday, dismissed
the searches as being motivated by a "political agenda".

© The Irish Times


Swoop On Offices Yields Vanload Of Documents

Colm Keena in Manchester

English operation: Late yesterday afternoon, several
hours after the raids conducted by the Assets Recovery
Agency (ARA) began, officers were still taking material
from the offices of the Craven Group on Brittania Road,
Sale, Manchester.

The offices are down a cul-de-sac that runs between a
railway line and a canal, near the King's Ransom pub, where
tables are set out beside the canal and a few stationary

The modest, two-storey office block has frontage on to the
road and on to a walled yard. Inside the yard a number of
uniformed policemen were sitting in a white van.

A second van parked alongside the office block was being
filled with material by a number of ARA officers wearing
baseball hats, zip-up jackets and tight, lightweight
bulletproof jackets.

They filled the vehicle with clear plastic refuse sacks
containing lever arch files, filing boxes, books of
documents, and clothes.

A man with a Northern Irish accent and carrying a clipboard
said there would be no comment and referred the Irish Times
to a ARA spokeswoman in London.

Workers at a building site and at a four-story office block
on the far side of the yard, named Craven Court, said the
police had arrived early yesterday morning and had been
there all day. Through the windows looking onto the street
officers could be seen inside the offices bagging more
documents and folders - until one of the officers looked up
and then pulled the blinds. It appeared the officers were
intent on taking everything in the 10 or more room office
away with them.

Not far away, on a busy pedestrianised shopping street
called School Lane, a worker in the only Craven group
retail outlet said there was nobody there who could
comment. He said the police had arrived at the letting
agency that morning but had not stayed long.

The ARA spokeswoman in London said searches had been
carried out in the Manchester area in connection with a
property portfolio that has been acquired over a period of
time and which is believed to be worth in the region of £30

The searches were carried out on domestic and business
properties associated with two Manchester-based
businessmen. She declined to elaborate.

The group has been operating in the greater Manchester area
for more than 20 years. Its website promises: "If you are a
landlord or a potential landlord, we will offer you an
excellent service which is second to none."

For landlords, the website offers a "full management
package" and a "find a tenant only" package.

The group also offers what it describes as an "investor
service", though it does not elaborate.

Efforts to contact Mr Craven were not successful.

© The Irish Times


Authorities Pursue Criminal Assets In Latest Bid To Get
Their Man

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Background: The authorities are attempting to emasculate
the alleged IRA chief of staff, Thomas "Slab" Murphy, not
for running the republican killing machine but for criminal
greed. It is reminiscent of the way Al Capone was finally
nailed in Chicago, not for murdering people but for tax

The Assets Recovery Agency under former RUC officer Alan
McQuillan ran yesterday's operation in Manchester. It has
had Murphy in its sights for years. So has the Criminal
Assets Bureau (Cab). Both agencies are co-operating in
their objective.

Murphy lives on a farm near Hackballscross, smack on the
Border straddling counties Armagh and Louth. Security
sources say he is the IRA chief of staff who made the south
Armagh IRA its most feared force, and who ran the
organisation with clinical and murderous precision. Former
members of the IRA said the same. Twice Dublin juries
branded Murphy a liar when he denied his IRA connections.

Republican sources were dismissive of yesterday's searches
in Manchester. They likened it to the controversy
surrounding the Northern Bank robbery and the alleged IRA
Stormontgate spying operation, for which nobody has been

And at Downing Street, where he met Tony Blair yesterday,
neither did Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams admit any
concern or embarrassment around this investigation. "I am
not going to respond to what are obviously briefings headed
up by a man, Alan McQuillan, a former special branch
officer . . . This is obviously a political agenda."

The BBC's Underworld Rich List estimated Murphy has amassed
between £35 and £40 million over the past 35 years,
smuggling pigs, grain, oil and cigarettes.

The then RUC chief constable, Sir John Hermon, first
identified him in a veiled way when in 1985 he said a
"wealthy pig smuggler" living in the Republic was behind an
IRA bombing that killed four RUC officers close to the
Border in May that year.

Toby Harnden in his book, Bandit Country, quoted Garda,
RUC, British army, MI5 and republican sources who
identified Slab Murphy as an IRA leader who was behind some
of the worst multiple killings of the Troubles. He was
named as planning the Narrow Water massacre of 1979, in
which 18 British soldiers were killed, and was also
allegedly implicated in the Mullaghmore bombing the same
day, which killed Lord Louis Mountbatten, two children and
the elderly Lady Brabourne.

Murphy was allegedly involved in smuggling in huge
stockpiles of weapons from Libya in the 1980s and was part
of the IRA army council that decided to end its first
ceasefire with the London docklands bomb in 1996. He has
been IRA chief of staff for the past seven or eight years,
the security services believe.

A balding figure, he is a non-smoker and moderate drinker.
Aged 56 and single, his main interests outside
republicanism and smuggling are said to be Gaelic football,
darts and road bowls.Throughout his IRA career he built up
a formidable machine, planning carefully and acting
cautiously. That was until 1987 when he decided to sue the
Sunday Times for reporting two years earlier that he was a
senior IRA member responsible for an IRA seaside bombing
campaign in England in 1985.

In 1990 a Dublin jury dismissed the libel case. Six years
later he successfully appealed to the Supreme Court to have
the case reheard. The retrial, which took place over three
weeks in 1998, exposed Murphy to media ridicule. He
portrayed himself as an innocent small farmer, which cut
little ice with the second jury. "Never been a member of
the IRA, no way," he said when asked was he a senior IRA
figure. "No way," he replied when asked did he support
violence. He claimed he never heard of the Maze prison.

Garda IRA informant Sean O'Callaghan said he met Murphy at
a senior IRA meeting in 1983 in the company of Gerry Adams,
Martin McGuinness, Pat Doherty and other named IRA members.
He also said he met Murphy at IRA meetings in 1984 and

Another former IRA member Eamon Collins, author of Killing
Rage, also confirmed Murphy as an IRA army-council member.
The following year, Collins was bludgeoned and stabbed to

The jury took less than an hour to reject Murphy's libel
case. That caused some damage to him within the republican
movement but not enough to force him off the IRA army
council. As a supporter of the Adams-McGuinness peace-
process strategy, he proved useful.

Now that he is under the spotlight of the Cab and the
Assets Recovery Agency, Murphy might be more seriously
undermined. The pressure will now be on these agencies to

© The Irish Times


Records Reveal Extent Of Craven Involvement In Property

Colm Keena

The Craven Group: Dermot Craven, the Manchester
businessman behind the Craven Group, is listed in the UK
Companies House records as a director and shareholder in a
large number of property-related companies.

In relation to many of these companies, Mr Craven (44) is a
business partner of Brian Gerald Pepper (31), who gives a
number of addresses, including Brittania Road, Sale,
Cheshire, and addresses in Dundalk.

In some instances Mr Craven and Mr Pepper hold equal
shareholdings in their companies while in other instances
Mr Pepper holds a marginally larger shareholding, making
him the controlling party.

Mr Craven is also a 100 per cent owner of a number of
property-related businesses operating in the Manchester

Both his companies and those he is involved in with Mr
Pepper have taken out a large number of mortgages in recent
years, most of them residential properties in the greater
Manchester area.

Almost all of the companies with which Mr Craven is
involved have their registered office at Craven House,
Brittania Road, Sale.

Companies House records state Mr Pepper has had four
addresses: Brittania Road, Sale; Charlton Drive, Sale;
Cederwood Park, Dundalk; and Cherryvale Bay Estate,

He describes himself as a property trader and company
director. One of the larger companies owned by Mr Craven
and Mr Pepper is Dermot Craven Property Developments Ltd,
incorporated in February 1998. Records show the company has
had 68 mortgages, 54 of which are still outstanding and 14
of which have been satisfied.

The latest annual report, for the period to end June 2004,
shows that Mr Craven has 49 shares and Mr Pepper 51. The
company is described as a property development company, and
in the period the company had a turnover of £7.76 million
and made an after-tax profit of £83,405. The turnover arose
from the sale of property and agents' fees, according to
the accounts.

The accounts include a list of related party transactions
totalling almost £1 million. The list of related parties
includes a number that include Mr Craven's name as well as
DB and BP (2004) Ltd and a partnership in the names of Mr
Craven and Mr Pepper. The company's secretary is Mr
Craven's wife, Dawn Craven.

Another company, Cravern Properties Ltd, had accumulated
reserves of £1.98 million at the end of 2004, and has 58
mortgages registered, of which one has been satisfied.

Mr Craven once told the Manchester Evening News how he was
expelled from school at 15, got a job as a steeplejack and
built up his own scaffolding company, based in a caravan,
before branching into the renovation of properties.

"It was a struggle but the business grew and we have gone
from strength to strength," he told the newspaper.

Craven grew up in a council house in Sale, the seventh
child in a family of 12 whose parents died young.

Mr Craven's home is a stg2m red-brick mansion in Bowdon,
one of the most exclusive areas in Greater Manchester. The
house, named Nithesdale, has security cameras at the front
and back doors.

Mr Craven, who runs marathons for local charities, has
three children with his wife, Dawn.

"They keep themselves to themselves," said one neighbour.
"All I know is he's Irish and runs a scaffolding firm,"
said another.

Additional reporting Guardian Service

© The Irish Times


No Sign Of Fuss Down On The Murphy Farm

Dan Keenan at the Armagh-Louth Border

There was no sign of any fuss around the ordinary-looking
Border farm yesterday where, according to some, the UK's
richest underworld figure and the leader of the IRA lives.

While police and the Assets Recovery Agency raided sites
across Manchester, the Murphy farm, bisected by the Armagh-
Louth Border, sat undisturbed in isolated silence.

If this is a hub for multi-million pound racketeering and
an IRA HQ of sorts, it certainly doesn't look it.

Hackballscross Garda station, just a short distance away on
the N53, looks an equally unimposing building despite being
one of the sites where the State organises its counter-
subversion effort.

This is countryside marked by occasional rural shops, the
odd crossroads pub and a weathered "'Smash H-Block" slogan.
The road to the Murphy farm looks as if it too has been
neglected since the hunger strikes. Somewhere, the Border
winds its invisible path through the ordinary outbuildings
in the townland of Ballybinaby where it is alleged the one-
time head of MI5's wanted list made his fortune smuggling
fuel and farm produce.

If so, the IRA's "reclusive godfather", as ITN called him
yesterday, saw little contradiction in fighting to
eradicate the Border and end partition while using that
same Border to his own lucrative ends.

The frontier has other uses too. It is said that Mr Murphy
simply moved rooms in his farmhouse to avoid arrest by
either the Garda or the RUC.

The locals here, as in nearby Crossmaglen, are people of
few words. If you can find them, that is.

"You will be smelled immediately," one warned The Irish
Times, which merely wanted to get Mr Murphy's side of the
story from the man himself. "I'd be cautious if I was you."

© The Irish Times


Cab Raid Financial Firms In Dundalk

Conor Lally

Irish operation: The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab)
yesterday raided the offices of seven legal and financial
firms in Dundalk, Co Louth, as part of an investigation
into the assets owned or controlled by the former chief of
staff of the Provisional IRA, Thomas "Slab" Murphy.

Detectives took away around 50 boxes of documentation from
the offices and believe it may provide a "road map" to Mr
Murphy's assets in Ireland and Britain.

The material will be examined by Cab officers, who have now
escalated their investigation into Mr Murphy. Any
intelligence will be shared with the North's Assets
Recovery Agency (ARA).

A statement from the Garda said: "CAB officers, supported
by local units, carried out a total of seven searches in
the Co Louth area.

Searches were conducted at professional offices, during
which a quantity of documentary material was seized and is
currently being examined by Cab officers. No arrests were
made and the operation is ongoing."

A residential property portfolio valued at up to €4
million, which Cab believe is owned or controlled by Mr
Murphy, has been identified in Dundalk.

Cab also believes he owns two farms, in Dundalk and Meath,
both of which include considerable banks of land and are
valued at well over €1 million each.

Senior gardaí said despite his involvement in the
Provisional IRA, there was no evidence to suggest Mr Murphy
was using his wealth for any political or paramilitary
purposes at present.

Informed sources last night said much of Cab's
investigations into Mr Murphy would now focus on
determining how much rental income he has received from his
properties in recent years.

Revenue officers in Cab will then assess how much Mr Murphy
owes in taxes and penalties. It will mean they will not
have to prove where and how Mr Murphy amassed such wealth.

Garda sources last night said that while much of the
initial capital used to build the portfolio came from IRA
oil-smuggling operations and other criminal activity along
the Border, many of the houses have been acquired through
bank borrowings in Britain running to tens of millions of

The same sources said Cab had identified a property
portfolio indirectly owned by Mr Murphy in Dundalk that is
made up of at least 10 houses. He lives on his own farm in
Dundalk, some of which straddles the Border in the North.
His second farm in Meath is run by a farm manager employed
by Mr Murphy. It was described by Garda sources as a large
working farm with livestock.

Officers believe he may have other assets around the
country or cash hidden in bank accounts under the names of
people not immediately linked to him.

© The Irish Times


Lessons Of Northern Ireland

Why The IRA Campaign Failed To Defeat The British State

AFTER THE recent report confirming that the IRA has
'decommissioned' its arms, NIALL MULHOLLAND looks at the
approach taken by socialists to the IRA's campaign after
the 'Troubles' re-emerged in the late 1960s.

THE IRA leadership abandoned their disastrous 'border
campaign' in Ireland in the early 1960s, citing lack of
support. Even then, the vast majority of Catholic youth
considered them out of date.

The mass civil rights struggle, which exploded in Northern
Ireland in the late 1960s, was inspired by international
events, including the US Black civil rights struggle, the
anti-Vietnam War movement, and the revolutionary May 1968
events in France.

However, the Northern civil rights movement didn't develop
into a mass struggle for fundamental change. The tops of
the Northern Ireland Labour Party and the trade unions were
dominated by the right wing and failed to give workers an
independent class lead.

At the same time, socialist currents in the civil rights
movement were not strong enough to stop the drift towards
sectarian conflict. Nationalist, right-wing leaders, like
John Hume, were able to dominate the civil rights struggle,
giving it a 'Green' colour. Meanwhile, arch-bigots, like
Ian Paisley, played on Protestant fears that Catholics
would win rights at "their expense".

The situation deteriorated into serious sectarian conflict
in Belfast and other areas. In August 1969, the Westminster
Labour government put British troops on the streets as
civil war threatened. Militant in Ireland and in Britain
(forerunners of the Socialist Party in Ireland, and the
Socialist Party in England and Wales, both part of the
CWI), opposed the introduction of the troops.

We warned that they were deployed primarily to defend
private property and capitalist interests, and that
soldiers would soon be used against the Catholic minority
fighting for democratic and social rights.

The IRA's failure to defend Catholic areas in Belfast
against sectarian pogroms led to a split in their small
organisation at the end of 1969, between the Officials and
the Provisionals (the 'Provos'), who were more nationalist
and militaristic. The Southern Fianna Fail government
backed the Provisionals against the "Marxist-influenced"

A trickle of new recruits joined the IRA, but vicious
British army repression turned this into a torrent.
Poverty, discrimination and state repression, including
internment without trial, and Bloody Sunday, drove Catholic
youth into the IRA.


DURING THIS time, there were widespread illusions in
Catholic areas that the Provos could drive out British
imperialism and unify the country. Many on the Left
compounded this mistaken belief by acting as cheerleaders
for the IRA's campaign. But from the beginning,
Militant/Socialist Party opposed the Provos' armed

Although described as 'guerrillaism', the IRA's campaign,
taking place in a developed and largely urban society, was
individual terrorism - individual and isolated military
actions carried out by small groups against the state.

This secret army or elite, acting "on behalf" of the
oppressed, would never succeed in defeating the might of
the British state, ending injustice and discrimination, and
overthrowing capitalism. There is no example anywhere of
individual terrorism succeeding.

The task of ending capitalism and transforming society
falls to the working class, using mass struggle, including
demonstrations, strikes, mass civil disobedience, general
strikes and, ultimately, insurrection.

The IRA's actions gave the British state the excuse to
introduce repressive legislation and methods. This was seen
in 1974, when the IRA's bombing campaign in Britain
culminated in no-warning bombs in Birmingham, killing 21
people. The widespread anger that followed allowed the
Labour government to rush through the repressive Prevention
of Terrorism Act.

The IRA's campaign was based on the Catholic minority and
completely repelled Protestants. This divided and weakened
the working class and so strengthened the ruling class.

The Republican movement had a fundamentally wrong analysis.
Their main demand was for British withdrawal. Yet Britain's
ruling class have long wanted to leave Ireland but
Protestant opposition and the threat of civil war blocked
this path for the ruling class.


THE INITIAL upsurge in IRA activity in the early 1970s,
when the leadership predicted imminent "Victory", gave way
to "the long war". While the IRA could not defeat the might
of British imperialism, the state could not totally defeat
the IRA. Poverty, repression and injustice meant there were
always new recruits to the Provos.

Sinn Fein's rise as an electoral force, following the 1981
Hunger Strikes, created tensions within the Republican
movement. The Adams leadership hoped Sinn Fein could make a
breakthrough North and South. But the IRA's campaign was a
barrier to Sinn Fein's growth, especially in the South.

By the late 1980s, Sinn Fein's leadership looked for a way
out. General war-weariness amongst Catholics and
Protestants, the feeling that 'neither side' could win
outright victory, and working-class opposition to sectarian
killings, formed the backdrop to the eventual ending of the
Provos' campaign in the 1990s.

Undoubtedly, the Republican leadership were also influenced
by world events, including the shift to the right by other
'national liberation' struggles, like the ANC, following
the collapse of Stalinist regimes in Russia and Eastern
Europe, and the supposed 'triumph' of the market economy.

Talks between Sinn Fein and the British and Irish
governments, backed by the US administration, eventually
led to the IRA's 1994 ceasefire and the Good Friday
Agreement, which saw the creation of a power-sharing

Sinn Fein has since made big advances in elections across
Ireland, presenting itself as a radical, anti-Establishment
party that won gains for Catholics with its "equality
agenda". Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness say their peace
strategy is a 'stepping stone' towards a united Ireland and
they aim to share power in government, North and South.

In reality, the Republican leadership dropped their central
aims, including the demand for British withdrawal and a
united Ireland, which is further away than ever. Gone is
any veneer of socialist rhetoric or policies from the
leadership. Instead, Sinn Fein is a sectarian-based party,
which carried out pro-market policies, including health
cuts, when it held office in the last short-lived Assembly.

The IRA leadership holds its ceasefire and recently "put
arms beyond use". There are some disgruntled activists but
there is no prospect of a return to the IRA's war against
the British state. Catholic working-class areas oppose it.
Also, following 9/11, and the Madrid and London bombings,
the Republican leadership would come under intense
international condemnation and become isolated, including
from its friends in the US establishment, if it re-started
an individual terror campaign.

The IRA continues to exist, operating in Catholic working-
class areas and running a huge financial and business
empire. But the organisation increasingly comes up against
local opposition, including over the brutal killing of
Robert McCartney by IRA members, earlier this year.

Polarised communities

SOCIALISTS WANT to see an end to all paramilitary
organisations, which are an obstacle to the development of
independent working-class politics. This includes the
Loyalist groups, like the UDA and UVF, which operated for
years as sectarian death squads and whose gangster
activities are now a curse on many Protestant working-class

Ongoing sectarian attacks have raised the issue of
'defence' of working-class areas, but neither the
paramilitaries, nor the repressive police and army, will
stop attacks. In 1969, it was the initiative of trade union
and working-class activists that mainly stopped sectarian
strife spreading to shop floors and communities.

Many areas saw residents setting up 'peace committees',
uniting Catholics and Protestants. Throughout the Troubles,
workers took strike action and protested against
sectarianism. These types of initiatives must be built
upon, uniting workers against sectarian attacks and against
the underlying reasons for sectarianism - poverty,
joblessness and exploitation - and for a socialist society.

Recent riots in Protestant working-class areas show that
the situation in the North remains volatile. Nothing
fundamental is resolved by the 'peace process'. Sectarian
polarisation is greater than ever before.

The Troubles have not disappeared but developed into a
drawn-out conflict over territory. Population changes have
created many new sectarian flashpoints. Increasingly,
Protestant working-class communities feel alienated and
insecure. They see the rise of Sinn Fein, while, at the
same time, most manufacturing jobs in Protestant areas have

Catholics feel they have made gains after decades of
institutionalised discrimination and oppression. But
ongoing sectarian attacks, poverty and injustice, mean they
will never accept the Northern state.

Symptomatic of this polarisation is the emergence of Sinn
Fein and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as
the two largest parties, the continued suspended of the
Assembly, and the ongoing 'talks' deadlock. Even if there
are new negotiations and elections, and the Assembly is re-
established, it will be against a background of a more
polarised and divided society.

Workers do not want a return to the dark days of the
Troubles and will resist the bigots. But unless a powerful
socialist alternative is built, the situation can
eventually slip into all-out sectarian conflict. This would
be more like the inter-ethnic wars in the ex-Yugoslavia, in
the 1990s, than the 'war' between republicans and the State
during the Troubles.

Sinn Fein's hope that demographic changes and a general
strengthening of nationalism will bring about a united
Ireland is an illusion. Any serious attempt to force a
capitalist united Ireland, which Protestants fear would
make them a discriminated-against minority, would provoke
huge opposition and civil war.

But there is an alternative - a class-based campaign
uniting workers across sectarian divisions. The current
campaign against New Labour's planned water charges is an
example of the way forward Struggles such as this can act
as a springboard for a new political movement of the
working class to provide a way out of the present sectarian


IAUC National Convention In Pittsburgh

Washington, DC: October 5, 2005 — The Irish American Unity
Conference (IAUC) 22nd annual National Convention was held
at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh,

Several renowned speakers were present at the convention.
They included:

* Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory, who at the request of
the British and Irish governments investigated allegations
of collusion between governmental authorities and
paramilitary groups in Ireland,

* Máirtín Ó'Muilleoir of Daily Ireland News,

* Professor Ruan O'Donnell from the University of

* Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhin from Coiste na n-Iarchimi, an
ex-political prisoners group,

* Professor Jim Vincent of Robert Morris University,

* Bill Rolston, a Professor of Sociology at the University
of Ulster,

* Diane Byrnes radio host of Echoes of Erin,

* James Lamb of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh and

* Malachy McAllister, who faces deportation after an
immigration court denied his appeal for asylum.

Tom Murphy, Mayor of Pittsburgh, issued a proclamation in
honor of the IAUC event resolving, "this year's theme will
focus on advancing democracy in Northern Ireland and what
Irish American Organizations can do to help".

The IAUC held an election of officers last Sunday where it
was announced that the following would lead the

Dr. Robert C. Linnon - National President. Bob
previously held this title from 1987-1995 where he was
instrumental in opening doors and making numerous
contributions toward the reunification of Ireland.

Irene McDonnell Cahill - Vice President, originally
from the Bronx, New York now resides in Howell,

Daniel McCarthy - Secretary, living in Chicago.

Bill Denney - Treasurer, also President of the Oakland
County, Michigan Chapter.

Distinguished awards were presented to:

- Mary Nelis, an important figure in the civil rights
movement in Ireland, former Sinn Féin MLA and Derry City
Council member received the Paul O'Dwyer Award.

- Congressman Mike Doyle of the 14th District in
Pennsylvania received the Sean MacBride Award for his great
statesmanship on behalf of peace in Ireland.

- Eamonn Dornan, Esquire and immigration specialist with
Smith, Dornan & Dehn, received the Patrick Finucane Award
for his tireless efforts to defend human rights and
deportation cases of Irish nationals.

- Judge Andrew L Somers, Jr., retired judge from Wisconsin
and past national president of the IAUC, received the Dan
O'Kennedy award for his extensive work in bringing about
justice by serving as a judge on several inquiries into
state murders. His findings were presented in the European
Court of Human Rights.

- Pittsburgh Chapter member, Jim Caldwell, received the
Bernadette Barry award for his dedication to IAUC

- Elizabeth Logue received a special recognition award
honoring her twenty years of service with the Doors of Hope
organization that greatly helped Conway Mill and the
community of Springhill with the admiration of Father Des

It was also announced at the convention that a moderated
panel discussion will take place concerning the Irish peace
process at Georgetown University's Law Center in
Washington, DC on Friday, November 18, 2005. Leaders from
the political parties in Northern Ireland and government
representatives have been invited to participate.

The 2006 IAUC National Convention will be held in Chicago,
Illinois. Rick Coleman, President of the IAUC-Chicago
Chapter and local members are looking forward to hosting a
successful event.

# # #

Contact: Deanna Turner, Director of Communications

Irish American Unity Conference
National Office
611 Pennsylvania Ave, SE #4150
Washington, D.C. 20003

Press Officer: Jay Dooling

"Working for Justice & Peace in a Re-united Ireland"
nonpartisan, nonsectarian, chapter-based human rights
organization working for justice and peace in Ireland. We
are a wholly American 501c(4) organization that advocates
the end of British colonial occupation and the peaceful
reunification of Ireland. We endeavor to achieve these
goals by working through the American democratic process.
Individually, our members represent every occupational and
educational stratum in the United States.


Pedestrians Face More Danger From SUVs, Says Study

Fiona Gartland

Sports utility vehicles should carry health warnings
because they pose an increased risk to pedestrians compared
with ordinary cars, according to researchers in Trinity
College Dublin.

A study entitled Sports Utility Vehicles and older
pedestrians, published in the British Medical Journal, says
pedestrians are at far greater risk of death if hit by an
SUV then if knocked down by an ordinary car.

The study's authors, Prof Desmond O'Neill and Dr Ciaran
Simms, believe a health warning on SUVs should be part of
an integrated approach from public health, transportation
and road safety agencies to address "a growing threat".

In Europe SUV sales have risen 15 per cent in the past
year, while sales of standard cars have dropped by 4 per
cent. And a recent US study found that, for the same
collision speed, the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality is
almost doubled when the collision involves a large SUV
compared with an ordinary car.

© The Irish Times

To receive this news via email, click

No Message is necessary.

To October 2005 Index

To Index of Monthly Archives


Links to News Sources Frequently Used Here:

(Irish Aires News is not responsible for
content of external internet sites.)

BBC Northern Ireland
Belfast Telegraph
Daily Ireland
Derry Journal
Financial Times
Galway Advertiser
Ireland Online
Irish Abroad
Irish Aires News Search Page
Irish American Magazine
Irish American Information Service
Irish Echo
Irish Emigrant
Irish Examiner
Irish Independent
Irish News
Irish People
Irish Times
Irish Voice
News Hound
News Letter
Sinn Fein News
Sunday Business Post
Times Online
Ulster Herald
Ulster-TV Headlines
Wild Geese Today, The
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?