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October 09, 2005

IRA Inactive Since July

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News About Ireland & The Irish

ST 10/09/05 IRA 'Inactive' Since July
DI 10/09/05 Irish Calls For Restored Cross Border Bodies
SL 10/09/05 UDA Drug Dealers Target Village Catholics
SL 10/09/05 Special Tsar To Rule On IRA Fugitives' Future
SB 10/09/05 Felon Club Owner Wins Damages From Government
SL 10/09/05 Huge Increase In Petrol Bombings
SL 10/09/05 Belfast Has Double Crime Rate Of Rest Of Ulster
SL 10/09/05 Hunt On For New Caches Of LVF Arms
SL 10/09/05 Loyalist Flees UVF After Bath Torture
SL 10/09/05 Violent Lives And Deaths Of UDA Leaders
SL 10/02/05 Smyth Shoots Himself In Foot
SB 10/09/05 Raids Allow Paisley More Wriggle Room
SL 10/09/05 Wright's Dad To Quiz Hain On Inquiry
ST 10/09/05 Empey Handbagged Over Links To Paisley & OO
SL 10/09/05 RIR Cash Deal Is To Be Announced
GU 10/09/05 Ex-Soldier Fights To Clear His Name
SB 10/09/05 Microsoft Chief's Advice For Ireland Inc
LL 10/09/05 Herrema Recalls Kidnap That Shocked City
BT 10/09/05 Ltr: Fr McManus Should Re-Direct Reforming Zeal
PA 10/09/05 Bill O'Reilly's Racist Distortion Of History
SL 10/09/05 Breakfast On Pluto Is A Bit Of A Dog's Dinner


IRA 'Inactive' Since July

Liam Clarke

THE International Monitoring Commission is expected to
report next week that the IRA has remained inactive since
it announced the end of its armed campaign on July 28. It
will also say that the organisation is stable and has not
suffered any major split or loss of members.

Although IMC members will continue to monitor the situation
this week, senior security sources say that the IRA has not
been involved in any violent or criminal activity since its
July statement.

The last IMC report dealing with the IRA was published in
May. It reported that the organisation continued to recruit
and train new members "including in the use of firearms"
and to gather intelligence for possible future attacks.

But barring new developments this week, the forthcoming
report is expected to say that all such activity has
stopped and that decommissioning appears to be complete.

The IMC bases its assessments primarily on reports from
security sources north and south, and interviews it
conducts with members of the community and experts. It has
access to original intelligence material which it
reassesses to ensure that the security forces are putting
the correct interpretation on it.

A positive IMC report will be a considerable boost to the
peace process but not definitive. A further report next
January will be required before any real pressure is
applied to the Democratic Unionist party to enter political

Fr Alec Reid, the Redemptorist priest who oversaw the
decommissioning of IRA weapons and who has been a long-term
interlocutor between the IRA and government, also believes
the IRA is now stable. But he has revealed that the
republican movement came close to splitting last April.
"About six months ago I learnt that there was a danger of a
two-thirds/one-third split over the question of the IRA
disbanding," he said.

Reid believes the risk of a split was the reason the IRA
did not use the word "disband" when it wound up its
campaign, and why it delayed any move until the situation

Reid said that instead of risking a split, "Gerry Adams
made a statement and they had a process of consultation and
they made the statement in July".

He added: "The IRA is a fact of life. You mightn't like
that but they are and they have to be led into the world of
peaceful politics. I would always tell them not to do
anything that is going to endanger the unity of their

Reid believed that if the IRA leadership had agreed to
unionist demands for more transparency on decommissioning,
it risked derailing the whole process. "It's not a case of
the IRA leadership being awkward with the unionists," the
Redemptorist said. "If they went down the road that the
unionists wanted them to, down the road of photographs,
down the road of giving assessments, that could be the road
to a new IRA.

"Any new organisation would be more uncontrollable. The
only political idea they would have is that they are not
going to stop until the British state makes a declaration
of withdrawal from Ireland."

A senior PSNI officer said he agreed with Reid's
assessment. "My view is that in an ideal world none of
these organisations would exist," he said. "We would
ideally have liked to see them disband but we have to
accept that people would have left if that had happened and
they wouldn't have gone into retirement."


Get It Going: Irish Government Calls For Cross-Border
Bodies To Be Restored To Build Political Momentum

by Ciaran O'Neill

Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern yesterday warned that the
"stop-start" movement in implementing the Good Friday
Agreement was holding back cross-Border development in

Mr Ahern said it was vital that all the North-South bodies
set up as part of the Agreement were up and running again
as soon as possible.

Speaking during a visit to Derry, Mr Ahern also reiterated
calls for loyalists to follow the IRA's lead and put their
weapons beyond use.

And he stressed that the Irish government was determined to
maintain the political momentum and do everything to secure
the return of devolution in the North.

Mr Ahern, who was in Derry to speak at a SDLP conference
entitled North-South Makes Sense, said the North-South
bodies were currently operating on a "care and maintenance"
basis since the suspension of devolution.

"North-South co-operation and the North/South Ministerial
Council are integral elements of the Good Friday
Agreement," he said.

"Prior to suspension the North/South Ministerial Council
met 65 times. That means that 65 times ministers from the
Irish government and the Northern Ireland Executive sat
down together to do business together across a range of
sectors from education to agriculture to trade.

"It was not always easy. But then new and innovative
institutions often have rocky starts. What is clear is that
a new dynamic of co-operation did develop. Ministers, North
and South, met on a sustained and regular basis to address
the common challenges and opportunities on this island, for
the people of this island."

Mr Ahern said he believed that a real opportunity existed
to tackle economic challenges and opportunities on an all-
Ireland basis. "I believe we should grasp this opportunity
not because of politics or ideology but because it makes
sense to do so," he said.

The Co Louth TD called on unionist leaders to put pressure
on loyalist paramilitaries to give up their weapons.

"Now that the IRA decommissioning has taken place we will
also be pressing strongly for decommissioning by loyalist
paramilitaries," he said.

"It is incumbent on unionist political parties to use what
influence they have in that respect."

Mr Ahern also met with the vice-chairman of the Policing
Board, Denis Bradley, who was recently attacked in a pub by
a man armed with a club.

"He has paid a high price for his commitment to a fresh
start in policing," said Mr Ahern. "The right thing now is
for all sections of the community to follow Denis' example
and participate in the task of forging a new policing
service. This is not the time for any party to shirk

Speaking after yesterday's conference, SDLP leader Mark
Durkan said there should be no holding back on its
potential of North-South development.

"We need to end the prohibitions and inhibitions against
North-South. Realise all the benefits and emancipate all
the opportunities it can deliver for each and every person
on the island."

Meanwhile, a major Sinn Féin conference will be held today
to discuss the party's response to the recent
decommissioning move by the IRA.

Over 250 representatives and leadership figures will
converge on the Tí Chulainn Centre in Mullaghbawn, south
Armagh for the day-long conference. Entitled Towards the
Republic, the conference will map out the Sinn Féin
strategy for the future of the peace process.

Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said republicans are
in a positive state of mind following the initiatives taken
by the IRA leadership.

"The main concerns are how the two governments will deal
with loyalism and unionism, both of which have been in
retreat from the idea of power-sharing. Sinn Féin intends
to maintain the pressure and this conference is part of the
party's political project which will dictate our future
political trajectory."


UDA Drug Dealers Target Village Catholics

09 October 2005

THE UDA has been challenged to halt attacks by drug dealers
in its ranks in Co Down.

Nationalists have claimed that loyalists linked to the
terror gang are running amok in Shrigley and Killyleagh.

The Sinn Fein leader on Down District Council, Eamonn Mac
Con Midhe, said an incident in which a Shrigley Catholic
was knocked down is the final straw for many.

The man was knocked unconscious when a car was driven at
him as he walked to work. The vehicle was later found burnt

Mr Mac Con Midhe added that another Catholic villager was
warned by loyalists that he and his six-year-old son would
be burnt out of his house in Shrigley.

"It is time somebody in control of these people brings a
bit of order," he said.

One of the men being threatened - Richard Longlands - said
there is a fight for control of the drugs trade in the
Killyleagh area and nationalists are the innocent victims
in the middle.

"There are a number of loyalist groups that have got out of
control. They rule the roost and unless something is done,
people will be killed."

Another villager, who asked not to be named, said: "There
are one or two prominent drug dealers who are operating
under the banner of the UDA as protection for themselves.

"Everyone knows who they are, and we are mystified how they
are able to openly sell drugs on the streets."


On the run...but not for long?

Special Tsar To Rule On IRA Fugitives' Future

By Joe Oliver
09 October 2005

THE Government is to appoint an eligibility commissioner to
rule on any individual amnesty granted to IRA fugitives.

The issue of 'on-the-runs' (OTRs), such as the man
suspected of involvement in the Enniskillen bombing, which
killed 11 people, has been a key priority in the peace
process for Sinn Fein.

And Gerry Adams, in the wake of IRA disarmament, again
raised the issue with Tony Blair last week on behalf of up
to 45 republicans, who cannot return to Northern Ireland
without fear of being jailed.

The NIO told Sunday Life that the full contents of the
proposed legislation, due to be brought before parliament
at the end of the month, had yet to be decided.

But it would involve the appointment of a commissioner to
determine "whether individuals can avail of the scheme".

Sinn Fein sent a list of OTRs to both governments, in 2002,
and is demanding they be allowed to return to the province
without facing imprisonment.

One of the highest-profile OTRs is Charlie Caufield, who is
wanted in connection with the Enniskillen Poppy Day

Caufield (55), is now living in Co Monaghan. He was named
in the House of Commons as the mastermind behind the
Remembrance Sunday outrage, in 1987.

He is said to have carried out the attack in revenge for an
SAS ambush, at Loughgall, six months earlier, in which
eight IRA men died.

The list of OTRs also includes:

:: Rita O'Hare (61) - Sinn Fein's US lobbyist, who jumped
bail in Northern Ireland more than 30 years ago, while
awaiting trial for a gun-attack on soldiers lured into an
IRA ambush;

:: Dermot Finucane (42) - masterminded the mass breakout
from the Maze, in 1983, where he was serving 18 years for
explosives offences. Loyalist gunmen murdered his elder
brother, Pat, a solicitor, in 1989;

:: Liam Averill (39) - escaped from the Maze dressed as a
woman during a party for prisoners' children, in 1997. He
had been jailed for life, in 1995, for shooting dead two
Protestants and is thought to be living just across the

:: Owen Carron - former Sinn Fein MP. Jumped bail and fled
to the Republic, after being charged with possession of an
AK-47 rifle, in 1985.

The amnesty offer remains highly controversial and Shadow
Northern Ireland secretary, David Lidington, has already
warned the government that the courts must have a role if
OTRs were allowed to return.

An NIO source said: "The eligibility commissioner will,
like the Sentence Review Commission, make a decision on
someone's suitability and whether they qualify for the


Man Wins Damages From British Government

09 October 2005 By Kieron Wood

The former chairman of the Irish Republican Felons Club in
Belfast has been awarded €4,000 in damages and costs
against the British government for breach of his human

Liam Shannon, 57, La Salle Park, Belfast, sued the British
government in the European Court of Human Rights in

The saga began in May 1997, when the Royal Ulster
Constabulary raided the social club on the Falls Road and
removed a large number of documents. It was investigating
claims that the club was funding the IRA.

Shannon was subsequently interviewed by a financial
investigator appointed under the Proceeds of Crime
(Northern Ireland) Order 1996. He answered all questions
put to him at the interview in January 1998.The following
April, he was charged with false accounting and conspiracy
to defraud.

Two months later, Shannon was served with a notice
requiring him to attend Woodbourne Police Station for a
further interview with financial investigators. However,
his solicitor, Barra McGrory, said the purpose of the
interview was to force him to disclose his defence. McGrory
told the RUC that Shannon would not attend the interview.

In September 1998, Shannon was charged with failing to
comply with the financial investigator's requirements.

He was convicted and fined £200. Belfast County Court
allowed Shannon's appeal in July 2002.The judge said that,
once Shannon had been questioned by the police and charged,
he had a right not to answer questions that could have
incriminated him.

But the British government appealed and, in the Court of
Appeal five months later, Lord Justice Carswell confirmed
the conviction. He said Shannon did not have "a reasonable
excuse for failing or refusing to comply with a financial
investigator's requirements merely because the information
sought may be potentially incriminating''.

The criminal proceedings for false accounting and
conspiracy to defraud had, meanwhile, been struck out by
Belfast magistrates in June 2002 on the grounds of delay.

The North's Director of Public Prosecutions asked the
magistrate to state a case for the Court of Appeal, but he
died before he could prepare the papers.

Shannon claimed that the requirement to attend an interview
and give information to financial investigators - and his
prosecution and conviction for failing to at tend -
amounted to a violation of Article 6 of the human rights
convention, which guarantees a fair hearing for anyone
facing a criminal charge.

The British government's lawyers told the Strasbourg court
that there was nothing objectionable in requiring answers
or information for use in an extra-judicial inquiry.

They said that, if the mere possibility of answers being
used in a criminal trial justified a refusal to co-operate
with the investigation, the Proceeds of Crime Order would
be rendered largely ineffective.

But the court said last week that the right to silence and
the right not to incriminate oneself were generally-
recognised international standards which lay at the heart
of the notion of fair procedures.

Those rights helped to ensure the protection of an accused
person against improper compulsion by the authorities, thus
helping to avoid miscarriages of justice.

The judges accepted that the right to silence was not
absolute, and that the privilege against self-incrimination
did not prohibit the use of compulsory powers to obtain
information outside the context of criminal proceedings.

However, the court said that attending the interview would
have involved a real likelihood of Shannon having to give
information on matters which could subsequently arise in
the criminal proceedings.

If the investigators had forwarded information to the
police who were working on the criminal proceedings against
Shannon, the two inquiries would have converged, at least
as far as Shannon was concerned. The special problems of
investigating crime in Northern Ireland could not justify
the use of the 1996 Order.

The court concluded that there had been a violation of the


Huge Increase In Petrol Bombings

By John McGurk
09 October 2005

WIDOWS, pensioners, toddlers, immigrant workers and brides-
to-be - these are the innocent 'targets' of the horrifying
rise in petrol-bomb attacks.

Sunday Life can reveal a worrying escalation in the number
of these potentially fatal attacks, across Northern

Provisional police statistics show there has been a 70pc
rise in the number of petrol-bombing incidents, in the
summer of 2005 - compared to the same period last year.

In June, July and August, 2004, there were a total of 99
petrol bomb attacks.

But this summer has seen that figure dramatically increase
to 169 incidents - with August proving to be the worst
month for such attacks, with 74 incidents recorded.

These are just some of the incidents, which have left
families panic stricken, or fleeing for their lives from
faceless thugs:

JUNE 6: Two petrol bombs are thrown at homes in Coleraine.

JULY 11: Catholic woman, Kathleen McCaughey (51), has to
move from her Ahoghill home, after loyalists threaten to
burn her out.

JULY 26: Bride-to-be and bar worker, Angela O'Hagan and
partner, Michael McKeown flee from their flat in
Martinstown, near Ballymena, after a petrol bomb attack
gutted the downstairs' pub.

AUGUST 8: Five Polish immigrants escape injury after a
petrol bomb attack, in Kilrea.

AUGUST 23: The north Belfast home of a former RAF D-Day
hero, 82-year-old John Mussen is targeted by paint bombers.

Afterwards, he says: "I hope whoever did this is proud of
themselves that they can treat people of this age like

Three other homes in the Hesketh Road area are attacked by
nationalist petrol bombers.

AUGUST 24: Thirteen-week-old Lorcan Grew is covered in
paint and sustains cuts, after an attack on his home at
Cliftondene Crescent, in north Belfast. A number of other
family homes in the Alliance Avenue area are also targeted
by loyalists.

Hundreds of devices were hurled by loyalists in Belfast, in
an eruption of violence, following the re-routing of the
contentious Whiterock Road Orange Order parade, on
September 10.

Other recent attacks have included the petrol bombing of a
Latvian man's Portadown home and elderly west Belfast
couple, who were treated for smoke inhalation, after
fireworks were ignited and stuffed through the letterbox,
at their Gransha Park home.


Capital crime!

Belfast Has Double The Crime Rate Of Rest Of Ulster

Exclusive by Joe Oliver
09 October 2005

RECORDED crimes in Belfast are almost DOUBLE the overall
rate for the rest of the province.

The shock statistics were uncovered by the Community Safety
Partnership (CSP) in a major audit exercise.

The extensive research also found:

:: Anti-social behaviour is the issue of greatest concern
to communities across Belfast;

:: It is followed by car-crime, drug and alcohol abuse and
domestic burglary.

CSP members include representatives of five of the six
party groups on Belfast City Council and members of the
district policing partnership boards.

Representatives from the statutory, private, community and
voluntary sectors are also heavily involved.

A three-year strategy programme will shortly be rolled out
through four main task groups concentrating on youth crime,
property crime, vulnerable people and violent crime.

The NIO has already committed funding of more than £700,000
towards the action plan, which also includes a
'neighbourhood renewal' scheme.

Alliance councillor and CSP member Naomi Long said
yesterday: "We need to address these issues urgently in
order to reduce crime.

"The statistics speak for themselves, and our main aim must
be to make Belfast a safer place to live and work in.

"We hope to have a final plan by January and the process
will be taken forward through the task groups."

The strategy aims to reduce fear of crime, address youth
offending and research the motivation and causes of anti-
social behaviour, including gang activity.

"While money has been made available, we will still have to
find additional funding sources," said Ms Long.

"Two pilot schemes have already eaten up our entire budget
for 'alley-gating' projects."


Hunt On For New Caches Of LVF Arms

09 October 2005

THE security forces are frantically trying to locate a
shipment of LVF arms smuggled into the country from eastern
Europe late last year.

Cops are eager to get hold of the weapons - believed to
consist of around 200 handguns and rifles - before they are
used in the terror group's bitter feud with the UVF.

Police sealed off and searched a section of Belfast docks
last autumn, following a tip-off that an LVF arms shipment
had arrived in the city.

But the intelligence proved to be inaccurate, and it is
understood the weapons were actually smuggled into a port
in south Down before being spirited away to an LVF hide.

The intelligence services are believed to be still
investigating how the shipment managed to slip through
despite having monitored the movements of a leading LVF
figure who visited a number of European locations last

It is believed the LVF used the visits to set up the arms
shipment from eastern Europe.

However, there are now indications that the LVF has already
used one of the smuggled weapons in a bungled attempt to
retaliate against the UVF.

Security sources said ballistic tests on bullets used in a
brutal attack on innocent north Belfast man David Hanley
indicated the weapon used had no previous history of being
used in terrorist incidents.

Mr Hanley (21) who has no paramilitary links, was riddled
with bullets by a lone LVF gunman on July 10 at Glenbank
Place, off the Upper Crumlin Road. He survived, but was
very seriously injured in the mistaken-identity attack.

Said the source: "It appears the weapon used could well be
one of the new weapons.

"If that's so, then the LVF could certainly be planning to
use more of them if the UVF continues its attacks over the
next few weeks."

Last night, loyalist sources in Co Antrim claimed the LVF
managed to bring two or three arms shipments into Northern
Ireland during the latter part of last year.

They said the weapons had been distributed to LVF units in
Belfast and other areas, including Antrim, Armagh and


Loyalist Flees UVF After Bath Torture

09 October 2005

A LEADING north Belfast loyalist has fled Ulster after
being interrogated by the UVF who suspected him of being a
police informer.

Hugh Miller's chilling 24-hour ordeal began after he was
released from prison.

Miller and two other north Belfast men - Mark Haddock and
Darren Moore - had been charged with the attempted murder
of Trevor Gowdy, a doorman at a Ballyclare bar.

However, UVF bosses suspected Miller "cut a deal" with cops
when all charges against him were dropped.

Said a security source:

"They believed Miller had told police where UVF weapons
were stored, but had to make sure before anything was

The source said Miller was lifted by a UVF gang a few days
ago and taken to a north Belfast house, where he was
interrogated for over 24 hours.

Miller was thrown into a bath of water and held under in an
attempt to make him admit to informing. He was later
released when he did not admit to anything.

Added the source: "The UVF couldn't take a chance on the
weapons being compromised, so moved them.

"But the police got to the weapons first and bugged them.
Every UVF weapon they located has been jarked. The UVF
don't realise they are sitting on a potential internal

The source said the 'jarked' weapons could be tracked each
time they were removed from an arms dump.

It is understood Miller fled to Scotland after being
kidnapped. UVF units in Scotland are believed to have been
told to look out for him.


Violent Lives And Deaths Of UDA Leaders

09 October 2005

A NUMBER of leading figures in the UDA have met violent
deaths since the organisation emerged in 1971.

•(1) One of the UDA's first leaders, Ernie "Duke" Elliott,
died as the result of a shotgun blast to the face in
December 1972. His body was found trussed in a cardboard
box in a car in south Belfast.

He had been killed by fellow loyalist paramilitaries in a
dispute over weapons.

•(2) In September 1973, UDA vice-chairman and east Belfast
brigadier, Tommy Herron, was shot dead and his body dumped
in a ditch in Drumbo, outside Lisburn. Rivals within his
organisation were suspected of his murder.

•(3) John McMichael, the terror group's key strategist, was
blown up by an IRA bomb placed under his car in December
1978. It's widely believed he had been set up by his own
men within the UDA ranks.

•(4) UDA racketeer Jim Craig met his bloody end while
drinking in the loyalist Bunch of Grapes bar in east
Belfast in October 1988. He was under constant surveillance
from his comrades, furious he was passing information on
loyalists to republicans.

Craig, who was also accused of setting up John McMichael,
was killed by loyalist assassins

•(5) Notorious killer Ned McCreery, who was believed to
have been behind the murder of Tommy Heron, was gunned down
in April 1992. The former UDA commander was another victim
of killers from his own organisation.

•(6) In July 1994, the UDA's most prominent spokesman, Ray
Smallwoods, was gunned down by a Provo hit squad, which had
taken over a house close to his home in Lisburn. Smallwoods
was also chairman of the organisation's political wing, the
Ulster Democratic Party.

•(7) John "Grug" Gregg, the UDA's south east Antrim
brigadier, was gunned down in the docks area of Belfast
along with Robert Carson. They were ambushed in a taxi, as
they were being driven home from a Rangers match.

The shooting, part of the bitter UDA feud, was blamed on
supporters of deposed Shankill 'C' company leader, Johnny
'Mad Dog' Adair.


Smyth Shoots Himself In Foot

By Stephen Gordon
02 October 2005

A FORMER Lord Mayor of Belfast has claimed unionists "don't
want THEIR BOYS to give up their weapons".

In an amazing outburst, staunch Paisleyite Eric Smyth - who
as Lord Mayor welcomed President Bill Clinton to Belfast in
1995 - said he believes unionists want loyalist terror
gangs to keep their guns.

The ex-DUP councillor also claimed "frightened" unionist
people "had to defend themselves somehow".

In a BBC radio interview, broadcast UK-wide, Mr Smyth began
by saying loyalist terror groups should give up their arms,
which is in line with DUP policy that all illegal weapons
should be surrendered.

But the gospel preacher then did a bizarre U-turn,
apparently spurred on by his shaky grasp of history - he
claimed Lord Carson had organised the UVF "in the 1920s".

Mr Smyth, who was a Belfast councillor for over 20 years
before standing down in May this year, was interviewed by
Radio 4's Hugh Sykes for a report from the Shankill Road on
unionist reaction to the IRA decommissioning.

He began by saying: "They (loyalist paramilitaries) should
give up their weapons because they are not needed by

"I don't believe the IRA will go back to war because I
believe the British Government has given them what they

But he then began to ramble well off the DUP's beaten

He said: "They are taking away our Britishness step by

"The ordinary people can see this. This is why I don't
think the paramilitaries on our side will give up their
weapons," said Mr Smyth.

"I don't think the unionist people would want their boys to
give up (their weapons) because they are frightened.

"If we are going to down a road to a united Ireland we need
somebody to defend us. If the Government is not going to
defend us, the people have to defend themselves somehow."

Asked by Hugh Sykes if this meant he approved of
paramilitaries taking up arms, Mr Smyth replied: "No. I
approve of defending my country."

Urged to clarify his comments, he said: "I mean, in the
1920s Lord Carson organised the UVF to defend this country.
I believe in that right.

"I believe that if my democratic right to be British and my
way of life is taken from me by a British Government (which
is) giving into men of violence, then we have to organise
ourselves and to be ready to defend our country, so that
our children will have the same rights."

He explained this did not mean going out to murder people
or destroy property "but, to defend our right to live as we

"This is what people are saying: By golly! If it happens,
then we will given them'uns (sic) what they gave us."

The Shankill Road man also expressed suspicions about some
of his old party's current leadership.

"I've no problem with Dr Paisley's leadership, I think it's
the ones coming up, I think they'd compromise if he wasn't

"I didn't like it when they went down to Dublin to talk the
Taoiseach, that's given them a recognition that they have a
say in Northern Ireland's affairs. That would never have
happened in the past."

Mr Smyth also said he did not approve of DUP politicians
sharing TV and radio studios with Sinn Fein

"Never talk to men who have murdered and killed in this
land," he said.


Raids Allow Paisley More Wriggle Room

09 October 2005 By Paul T Colgan

And in a single bound he was free. Ian Paisley, still
reeling from the news that the IRA had decommissioned its
weaponry, was having a torrid time last week. No-one
believed his protestations of disbelief. Instead they
suspected the DUP leader was playing silly beggars. What
could he do?

But unknown to the Ballymena man, the North's Assets
Recovery Agency (ARA) was about to provide him with some
much-needed breathing space. As Paisley scoured the
political landscape for a glimmer of hope, the ARA prepared
for its first major assault on republican assets.

Had he picked up last Sunday's newspapers he might have
seen it coming. Several of the broadsheets reported that
properties belonging to Thomas 'Slab' Murphy - alleged IRA
chief of staff - were to be seized within days.

As reports streamed in last Thursday morning of raids on up
to 250 properties worth €44 million in Manchester, the DUP
was ecstatic.

Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell was well
pleased with the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau
(CAB),which had provided vital assistance to its Northern
counterpart. While the media descended on Manchester, the
CAB was raiding properties allegedly linked to Murphy in

Operation Front Line, involving members of CAB, gardai and
Revenue, is understood to have begun examining Murphy's
sources of income in 2002.

Murphy's farm straddles the Louth/Armagh border. He is
alleged to have garnered millions of euros through various
criminal activities such as money laundering, smuggling and
fuel laundering. Murphy denies that he has ever been a
member of the IRA and describes himself simply as a "Louth

According to Garda sources, Murphy has been laundering vast
amounts of cash in recent years - much of which ends up in

In a special report on money laundering published last year
in conjunction with the Police Service of Northern Ireland,
the Garda said: "The purchase of significant assets,
notably properties, in another jurisdiction is perceived as
a means of concealing criminal wealth."

Murphy has had his fair share of publicity. In 1998, he
lost a libel case he had taken against The Sunday Times
after it had accused him of being IRA chief of staff. He
has also been named by unionist politicians in the British
House of Commons as a member of the IRA Army Council.

Sinn Féin claims that the timing of the raids, which were
years in the planning, was designed to kill off the
euphoria that followed IRA decommissioning and return the
party to the dog-house.

The party has been accused of paranoia. Critics have
derided its use of the term "securocrat'' in the past,
claiming that the party always resorts to conspiracy
theories when the IRA is called to book.

However, questions about the timing of Thursday's raids

News of the operations broke as Sinn Féin was being
entertained by British prime minister Tony Blair in 10
Downing Street.

Instead of emerging to report progress towards renewed
power -sharing negotiations, the Sinn Féin delegation was
forced to answer questions about alleged IRA criminality.

The DUP, which had also been meeting Blair, was meanwhile
able to declare that the IRA had not gone away and that it
was correct in remaining suspicious about decommissioning.

Republicans are furious with the raids. They claim that,
while the ARA and the CAB may well have been planning such
an operation for some time, the decision to descend on
Manchester was timed to caused maximum embarrassment for

They point out that, as these raids were on property and
not individuals, they could have been carried out at any

The fact that they happened as Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness were in Downing Street only reinforces their
contention that the raids were politically motivated.

The raids also come only days before a report from the
International Monitoring Commission (IMC). The report had
been widely expected to confirm that the IRA was no longer
a functioning organisation.

The "clean bill of health'' demanded by the government,
will now be tainted by the 'Slab' allegations.

It is inconceivable that the IMC will be able to ignore the
allegations ranged against Murphy and it is thought that
the ARA investigation will form a substantial part of its
report which is to be published later this month.

Whether Bertie Ahern or Blair were aware of the full extent
of the CAB and ARA investigations is unclear.

A government source, while denying any intimate knowledge
of the CAB's investigation, said the raids had always been
inevitable and disputed Sinn Féin's claims that they were
timed to cause the party damage.

"We view this as simply being the next step after
decommissioning - it doesn't have political connotations,"
said the source.

"We never went into talks with Sinn Féin with our eyes
closed. We have been aware of fund-raising activities down
through the years that have stepped outside the law and
what we need to see happening now is an end to the clean-

"The guns are gone - now we need everything else tidied

The source denied that the raids would have any significant
impact on the government's relationship with Sinn Féin and
pointed out that bilateral meetings between the two sides
would continue.

Some British observers have suggested that Blair will have
been furious that his invite to Sinn Féin coincided with
the raids.

Blair prizes the peace process highly and would view a
successful outcome as testimony to his stewardship over the
past eight years.

The British premier is likely to have been just as
embarrassed by the whole affair as Sinn Féin is.

Whatever the fall-out for Sinn Féin, the party will have to
steel itself for further action from both the CAB and the
ARA. McDowell has said that there will be no let up in the
pursuit of IRA finances.

Regardless of whether any prosecutions arise from last
week's raids (and the ARA has still publicly to confirm
that the properties involved actually belong to Murphy),
the political impact caused by such action cannot be

Ian Paisley has been emboldened by the developments and
will point to them as a reason why Sinn Féin should be kept
at arm's length.

The Ulster Unionists, who at one stage appeared ready to
accept that the IRA had gone away, maintain that the
investigations will have "serious consequences'' for the

However, with all the southern parties already engaged in a
phantom general election campaign, the biggest consequences
for Sinn Féin could lie not north, but south.


Wright's Dad To Quiz Hain On Inquiry

By Chris Anderson
09 October 2005

THE father of murdered LVF leader Billy Wright says he has
still to decide whether or not he will take part in the
public inquiry into his son's killing.

David Wright is to meet with Secretary of State, Peter Hain
at Stormont on Thursday.

He says he intends to confront Mr Hain over the request by
Lord Randal MacLean, the inquiry chairman, to hold it under
the 2005 Inquiries Act.

He says those terms would limit its scope into allegations
of state collusion into his son's murder by INLA gunmen at
the Maze prison in December 1997.

"On December 29 last year, the NIO wrote to me saying there
were no plans to convert this inquiry into one under the
Inquiries Act," he said.

"The letter stated the inquiry would continue to be held
under the 1953 Prisons Act, and officials had advised Lord
MacLean of the position. I want to know what led to the
sudden change in policy."

David Wright said conversion to the Inquiries Act would
lead to an intolerable situation where those under
investigation could veto the inquiry.


Empey 'Handbagged' Over Links To Paisley And Orange Order

Liam Clarke

TENSIONS are growing within the Ulster Unionist party over
the leadership of Sir Reg Empey, his attitude to Orange
violence and his relationship to Ian Paisley, the
Democratic Unionist party leader.

As Empey, who took over from David Trimble this year, heads
towards his party's annual conference on October 22, many
feel that he is too close to the DUP.

Lady Sylvia Hermon, the party's sole surviving MP, said
Empey was "not my first choice as leader" but denied being
part of any move to get rid of him. She called on him "to
take the wise advice of those around him and put clear blue
water between us and the DUP".

Hermon revealed she had considered pulling out of a
delegation led by Empey to meet Peter Hain, the Northern
Ireland secretary, because the party leader had not
condemned Orange Order- linked violence in sufficiently
strong terms following last month's parade, when shots were
fired at police.

There was a show-down between the pair, described by one
party insider as "a hand-bagging", in advance of the Hain

Hermon said: "I was very angry and I made it clear to my
party leader that he had to be the leader of the Ulster
Unionists first and an Orangeman second. If he had not
given me a clear condemnation of the violence, particularly
perpetrated and encouraged by the Orange Order, then I
would not have gone with him to any meeting with the
secretary of state."

Before Hermon's intervention, Empey had joined Paisley in
lobbying for the Orange parade to go ahead and had pinned
much of the blame for the violence on the police, the
government and the Parades Commission.


RIR Cash Deal Is To Be Announced

Long serving members could receive £100,000

09 October 2005

FULL-TIME Royal Irish Regiment soldiers are set to walk
away with golden handshakes of between £75,000 and

Military sources have revealed that negotiations are almost
nearing conclusion on the contentious issue of RIR
severance packages.

It is understood a series of meetings have taken place
involving the Ministry of Defence, local politicians and
Royal Irish HQ. Sources claim that the package is likely to
contain two separate financial elements.

:: A one-off payment of £60,000 to £70,000 for each RIR
soldier, regardless of rank or length of service.

:: £1,500 for each year of military service, up to a
maximum 22 years served.

A soldier with 22 years service could receive £103,000
while a member with 12 years would get up to £88,000.

It is understood that details of the proposed severance
package will be announced shortly and posted on a special
intranet site, set up specifically for full-time RIR
soldiers in Northern Ireland.

There is also speculation that soldiers will be expected to
sign a promise that they won't be involved in any
paramilitary activity, before they can receive the one-off

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has refused to be drawn on
figures being discussed with the MoD, but said: "We should
hear shortly from the MoD on the matter."

The home service units of the RIR are set to march into
history in August, 2007.

Soldiers, furious at learning of the disbandment via the
media, have demanded they receive severance packages on a
par with the Patten deals for the RUC.

RIR soldiers in Co Tyrone gave a cautious response to the
leaked details of the proposed severance package.

One said many men feared the package could be as little as
£50,000, with just an additional £1,000 per year of
military service.

One serving soldier told Sunday Life: "We have already been
shafted by the government over this issue so why we should
we trust them now.

"I want the best deal I can get for myself and for my
family and that is the bottom line."

And a senior NCO with 15 years service, said RIR soldiers
were still seething over the way they had learned of
disabandment of the home units via the media.

"We have to be treated exactly the same as the RUC was.
There can be no differences in the pay-offs," he said.

All three RIR home service battalions based at Armagh,
Holywood and Omagh are due to disband in August, 2007.

Staff at HQ Royal Irish, in Ballymena, will be expanded
specifically to deal with the disbandment issue.


Ex-Soldier Fights To Clear His Name

Retired NCO hopes new evidence will clear him of IRA 'link'

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday October 9, 2005
The Observer

For 30 years Michael Donnelly has fought to clear his name
after being thrown out of the Irish army following
accusations that he stole a heavy machine gun for
terrorists. Fresh information suggests that an IRA man
later killed by his own bomb was the real culprit.

North Belfast man James McDade died after a bomb he was
transporting blew up in Coventry 31 years ago. Donnelly
believes it was the same McDade who served in Donnelly's
barracks and that he may have been behind the theft of a
general purpose machine gun a year before.

Although he left the army in 1975, Donnelly, 50, has all
the bearing of a retired NCO, neatly cropped hair, clipped
moustache and upright posture His bungalow in Palmerstown,
West Dublin, is surrounded by militaria ranging from model
American fighter planes to figurines of 18th-century
soldiers. He said: 'I joined the Irish Defence Forces first
as a private in the FCA in 1970, and then the regular army
shortly afterwards. It was my dream to serve my country and
at the time I saw the Provos as the biggest threat to the
state. The idea that I would have handed over a gun to any
subversive group goes against everything I believed in.'

Suspicion may have fallen on Donnelly after the loss of the
machine gun from Collins barracks in 1973 due to an
incident on the border the previous year.

'I remember it was only a couple of days after Bloody
Sunday when my unit from the 5th Infantry Battalion was
deployed on the border. We were travelling close to
Castleblaney when armed and masked men appeared out of
nowhere. They had managed to stop the first jeep, so we got
out, fanned out and took up a firing position. This was
very close to the border with Northern Ireland.

'Unfortunately I was carrying a machine gun which
accidentally went off as I took up my firing position on
high ground. The gun went off just as a British Army
helicopter took off, just over the border. So there we were
caught in between the Provos and the British Army,' he

Donnelly owned up to his mishap and was fined by the
military authorities back in Dublin.

He thought that was the end of the matter. A year later a
GPMG was stolen from stores at Collins barracks while
Donnelly was on duty for the Irish Military Police. Now
Corporal Donnelly, he reported its disappearance to senior

'I thought nothing of it until two years later I was taken
from my quarters at Collins barracks by officers from the
Special Investigation Bureau on 23 April, 1975. I was held
through the night and questioned, not allowed to sleep,
given no food or water. But I never confessed to anything,
least of all stealing a gun for subversives.'

Donnelly was dishonourably discharged from the army soon
afterwards. In his long fight to clear his name he has
enlisted the support of Labour leader Pat Rabbitte as well
as several Fianna Fail councillors. His latest
investigations brought him to the role of James McDade,
whom Donnelly claims was in Collins barracks at the time
the gun was taken.

'Someone with connections to senior republicans in Dublin
has told me that McDade was also arrested and questioned
about the machine gun, but absconded in late 1973.

The next thing that was heard about him was that he had
blown himself up with an IRA bomb in Coventry. He had
plenty of motive and belief to take that machine gun, yet
the military authorities still won't confirm if McDade was
a serving soldier in Collins barracks at the time the
weapon went missing.

'I'm beginning to suspect the authorities don't want to
admit that an IRA bomber was at the time a member of the
Irish Defence Forces. Someone stitched me up over that

Officials at the Department of Defence told The Observer
that so far Donnelly has not produced any new evidence that
would overturn his discharge from the army. 'If he comes up
with anything fresh or new, then his case would be looked
at again,' one senior figure at the Department of Defence
said yesterday.


Microsoft Chief's Advice For Ireland Inc

09 October 2005 By Gavin Daly

Ireland's ability to attract overseas investment depends on
the availability of non-national workers, according to
Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, which
employs 1,200 people in Dublin.

In an interview with The Sunday Business Post, Ballmer said
full employment in Ireland could pose problems for future

"If somebody wanted to open a new site here, a big new
operation, there is probably a question of where the talent
comes from," he said.

Half the 30 staff recently hired by Microsoft for a new
development centre in Dublin were non-nationals, he said.

"Those are the kind of issues that the policymakers in
Ireland have to deal with," Ballmer said.

Despite those concerns, Ballmer said the Irish government
understood the factors affecting business "as well or
better than the governments in virtually any other
country'' he had visited. "I think the government is
thinking through exactly the right stuff," he said.


Herrema Recalls Kidnap That Shocked City

By Donal O'Regan

IT'S ALMOST 30 years to the day that the kidnapping of a
Limerick-based Dutch tycoon by IRA renegades rocked the
city and the world.

However, in a rare interview with RTE, Dr Tiede Herrema,
former Chief Executive of Ferenka, spoke compassionately of
the captors who held him locked up for 26 days.

"They could have been my own children," said Mr Herrema.

He recalls the day that he was kidnapped on a Limerick
Street by the ex-provos. "A man came to my car and asked me
my name, I gave it and he said: "Get out of the car." There
was a gun and I had to get into another car," Mr Herrema
told the documentary, Scannal, last Monday.

The man was Eddie Gallagher and he was aided and abetted by
Marion Coyle.

Within hours, the demand for the release of three well
known republicans held in Limerick Prison was telephoned to
the authorities.

One of them was Dr Rose Dugdale, imprisoned for her role in
the infamous Beit art robbery and also the mother of Mr
Gallagher's child.

The Garda' quickly established that Mr Gallagher and Ms
Coyle were the chief suspects and a full scale hunt
involving the Army was launched.

His kidnap caused outrage in Limerick and thousands marched
through the city to condemn it.

For several days it was feared that Dr Herrema was dead but
more than two weeks later he was traced to a house in
Monasterevin in Kildare.

The Coalition Government led by Liam Cosgrave refused to
grant any concessions to the pair and the so called siege
of Monasterevin began. This lasted a further 10 days but
after a total of 26 days imprisonment, he was released
shaken but unhurt.

Showing no bitterness to his captors who at one stage held
a loaded gun to his head said: "I see them as children with
a lot of problems. If they were my own children I would do
my utmost to help them."

In March 1976 Eddie Gallagher was sentenced to 20 years and
Marion Coyle for 15 years for the kidnap.

Dr Herrema moved back to the Netherlands because his
employers felt he was at risk in Ireland and the Ferenka
factory closed shortly after his departure with a loss of
1,400 jobs.

Tiede Herrema was made a Freeman of Limerick by the city
authorities and is a frequent visitor to these shores


Ltr: Caucus Chief Should Re-Direct Reforming Zeal

08 October 2005

Father Sean McManus, president, Irish National Caucus,
Washington, DC, (Writeback October 4), must be some kind of
anomaly. A Roman Catholic priest intermeddling in politics
we know to be a constant, but a Roman Catholic priest
proclaiming a theory of history is not only miraculous but
probably dangerous as well.

According to Fr McManus: "The final IRA decommissioning
will help reveal to the world what has always been at the
heart of the problem in Northern Ireland " Which is? The
Act of Settlement of 1700.

"It is? this Act", apparently, in so far as it prevents
Catholics from aspiring to the Monarchy, "that is
ultimately behind all anti-Catholic bigotry in Northern
Ireland because it provides Protestant/unionist/Orange
extremists with motivation and justification."

So, it was all about monarchy - and most of us thought that
Gerry Adams and Fr McManus were strictly republicans.
Indeed, were it not for the grant of Ireland to Henry 11 by
Pope Adrian IV in 1155 under the Bull Laudabiliter long
before there was any real Nation State, Irish or English or
any Protestant Heretics protecting themselves from papal
totalitarianism, one might be tempted to agree with Fr
McManus' sentiments.

Besides, while one appreciates Fr McManus' legitimate
concerns for equality, one is curiously irritated as to why
he has not found scope for his reforming zeal in
challenging his own Church, which, after all has such a
long way to go to acknowledge women as equals, homosexuals
as humans, Ugandans as deserving of the same contraceptive
right to choice as the Irish Catholic now - thanks to
Protestant endeavour - enjoys north and south.

He might even consider developing a democratic process - if
it is not too secular or Protestant - within his Church, by
which means priests, bishops and popes might be elected by
the flock. He might even consider campaigning against the
Pope to allow Turks into Europe.

In any event, we can all be grateful to Fr McManus' for
pointing us in the right direction. Who would have thought
that the IRA has been fighting all this time for religious

It had nothing whatsoever, then, to do with Socialism, Karl
Marx, the workers' struggle or, for that matter, with Wolfe
Tone. It had to do with Rome and London all the time!

Furthermore, being so embroiled in equality, one must be a
tad surprised that Sinn Fein/IRA has never once taken issue
with any aspect of the Roman Church's imperialist mission
around the world, not even with the invasion of East Timor
or the programmed rejection of the Turks from Christian

SEAMUS BREATHNACH, Rathnapish, Carlow.


Bill O'Reilly's Racist Distortion Of History

By Joel Wendland

On his October 4th radio show, Bill O'Reilly said the

O'REILLY: All right. But let me counter that, [caller], and
you can comment on my comment. That's the prevailing wisdom
in a lot of the precincts, is that because Blacks were in
slavery in the United States, they were never able to
develop an infrastructure of education and culture to
compete with the white majority. That is the prevailing
wisdom in lots and lots of places. Let me submit this to
you, and then you can comment on it.

My people came from County Cavan in Ireland. All right? And
the British Crown marched in there with their henchman,
Oliver Cromwell, and they seized all of my ancestors'
lands, everything. And they threw them into slavery, pretty
much indentured servitude on the land. And then the land
collapsed, all right? And everybody was starving in
Ireland. They had to leave the country, just as Africans
had to leave – African Americans had to leave Africa and
come over on a boat and try to make in the New World with
nothing. Nothing. And succeeded, succeeded. As did
Italians, as did– and I'll submit to you, African Americans
are succeeding as well. So all of these things can be
overcome I think, [caller]. Go ahead.

Unfortunately, O'Reilly's weak grasp of history went
unchallenged on the air to thousands of listeners. While
O'Reilly comes to no direct conclusion in this babble, his
basic implication is clear: Irish people made it in
America, so why can't Black people? The underlying code
that remains unspoken: Black people are either biologically
or culturally inferior to the Irish. Either the source of
their "failure" lies within themselves and is attributed to
the ill-defined concept of "race."

O'Reilly's racist argument has deep roots in the ultra
right. It is echoed daily by the likes of Bill Bennett who
thought nothing of arguing that genocide against Black
people would eliminate much crime. In his view, a view
supported and praised by the right-wing magazine National
Review, African Americans are predisposed to crime, a myth
that they link to "race."

O'Reilly and Bennett's assumption that African Americans
are themselves responsible for the negative affects of
racism – race-based slavery, Jim Crow segregation,
continuing job and housing discrimination, "racial
profiling" in the criminal justice system, negative racial
stereotypes in the media, etc. – and institutions they do
not control that perpetuate the system of racial injustice
is commonly referred to as "blaming the victim."

Blaming the victim is the natural instinct of the ultra
right, for by shifting the source of social problems onto a
group or individual, the real perpetrators and the system
they control go unnoticed. Take the Hurricane Katrina
disaster, for example. Specifically, after the disaster in
New Orleans, which no one doubts was tied to racism, Bush
administration officials openly blamed New Orleans
residents for the catastrophe that befell them. This
opinion, echoed by the right-wing media, suggested that
funding cuts that moved funds away from rebuilding and
bolstering New Orleans' levee system, a problem widely
recognized by disaster experts and engineers, to pay for
tax cuts for the rich, the war in Iraq, and pork barrel
spending in rich, mostly white districts of Republican
congressional leaders was not to blame for the tragedy.

The "blame the victim" tactic ignores history and reality.
It ignores decades of racial segregation that forced Black
working-class families into New Orleans' 9th Ward. It
ignores economic hardship and unemployment that
disproportionately affect African Americans which kept them
there in the conditions that prevailed in late August 2005.
It ignores racial biases that motivated emergency teams to
ignore them in the 9th Ward for days after the city
flooded. O'Reilly's argument implies that people up to
their neck in disease infested water, with no
transportation, hemmed in by armed vigilantes and
unsympathetic law enforcement officers, and lacking food
and water should be able to save themselves. After all
those folks with SUVs, who didn't live near the worst
flooding, and who were lucky enough to be prioritized by
rescue teams made it.

The failure to address existing inequality is deeply
embedded in O'Reilly's view of the "success" of Irish
Americans. First of all, his blanket statement about Irish
American success ignores the reality of poverty and
economic hardship and struggle that many Irish Americans
continue to experience. If working-class Irish Americans
figure into his thoughts at all, his argument implies that
despite their racial/cultural affiliations, they too are
somehow backward and to blame for an economy that has left
them behind. O'Reilly's anti-working class attitude is only
outdone by his anti-Black racism.

Let's look at some history of which O'Reilly is willfully
ignorant. He is partially correct. British imperialist
policies in Ireland forced many Irish people into migration
to the US. This dynamic, however, is not the same as a
systematic effort by colonial countries to kidnap millions
of Africans for the slave trade, during which, historians
estimate, as many as 10 million were murdered. Many Irish
immigrants came as indentured servants during the colonial
period, but the vast majority of Irish immigrants to the US
came in the early decades of the 19th century, after the US
was established as an independent country, after it had
long abolished indentured servitude and established racial
slavery, and during the rise of industrial capitalism.
These are important facts that O'Reilly unsurprisingly gets

Indentured servitude was indeed a harmful system that many
laborers couldn't survive because of the harsh conditions
and poor health care. In fact, though the system was
temporary, lasting only a few years, most servants simply
died due to overwork or abuse. Two key differences with
slavery, however, that O'Reilly fails to mention:
indentured servants, if they survived, could become
landowners, slaves could not. Also, while indentured
servants were brutalized, they were not property per se and
were not held in perpetuity except under fraudulent

While the land for labor trade-off most often did not
result in class mobility for the servant (due to death or
fraud), it did for many. An important point, however, that
O'Reilly conveniently forgets in order to fit his argument
is that by 1700 or so, in most of the colonies, racial
slavery was exclusive to Black people and was a permanent
condition for being Black. At about the same time,
indentured servitude was eliminated as a key source of
labor and quickly disappeared as a practice. The point is
that relying, as O'Reilly does, on the indentured servitude
argument to compare the experiences of the Irish immigrants
with people of African descent fails. Indentured servants
had some chance for success. The fact of racism and
racialized slavery meant that Black people had no chances.

But, as pointed out earlier, the experience of the vast
majority of Irish immigrants to the US had little to do
with indentured servitude. The bulk – 5 and 1/2 million –
Irish people came to the US between 1815 and 1920. Yes,
they experienced major hardships upon their arrival. Still
developing racial attitudes in the US even categorized
Irish immigrants as racially similar to Blacks. Images of
Irish immigrants in popular magazines as late as the 1860s
and 1870s depict them as only partially evolved, apelike
and even dark-skinned. Irish workers, never enslaved, came
as manual laborers, poorly paid, excluded, discriminated
against, segregated – often into Black ghettoes – on the
whole, near the bottom of the class/race hierarchy in

In fact, in this early period, Irish working-class
immigrants, as did many whites of various nationalities,
identified with Black people. 'Whiteness," if it could be
said to have had any meaning, was closely linked to
economic success and wealth. White people often
participated in a friendly way in Black festivals and other
public events. Irish immigrants and other whites regularly
intermarried or started interracial families with African
Americans. One might say that for a time working people
ignored racial divisions because they didn't believe
trivial differences like skin color meant more than the
very real experienced differences they felt between
themselves and the rich and powerful.

So what changed all of this? How is it that the destiny of
the two groups diverged so strongly? O'Reilly implies that
it was because of the racial/biological/culture patterns
and characteristics, which African Americans lack, that
caused Irish immigrants (and other European immigrants) to

But let's look at the facts. At some point in the early
19th century, white working-class people stopped proudly
identifying with Blacks and other non-whites as the class
underdog and began to distinguish themselves as "white," as
"real" Americans, and used their racial identity to make
demands on a society that had long excluded them from
political, economic, or cultural power.

Some historians, whom O'Reilly no doubt has many excuses
for not reading, link this transformation to the emergence
of industrial capitalism with its factory system that tied
working people for the first time to a single place, a
single boss, and a single work regime. Others link the
transformation to the expansion of the US into Indian lands
and Mexico in the West, the consequent emergent national
identity heavily dependent on racial codes and idioms for
its meaning. The truth is that both played a big role.

Many white working-class people resisted factory labor.
They believed, like Thomas Jefferson, that land was the
source of individual freedom. They saw factory labor and
wage labor in general as "slavery." Many explicitly
compared it to racial slavery institutionalized in the
South. Wage labor, in their view was good enough for Irish
immigrants but not for white Americans. In fact, this
particular response to wage labor played a role in the
racialization of Irish people as "like" Blacks.

Unfortunately for non-elite Americans, industrial
capitalism, not farming, was the wave of the future. During
the 19th century, many whites who had believed in the
Jeffersonian ideal, were forced into the degrading position
of entering the wage labor force and submitting to the
system of wage slavery. To fight back, many organized labor
unions, but, in general, they changed the rhetorical rules
of the game. They rejected the term "slave" and adopted
more positive terms with which to identify themselves. In
so doing, they noted that a slave was Black, and they were
not. Being white, they deserved better treatment than a

They had not created the system of white supremacy, nor
would most of them reap huge rewards from it. It was always
the bosses who profited from white supremacy by using
racial and ethnic and national differences to divide
workers, weaken their unions, break their strikes, and
force down their wages. Nevertheless, white workers of
various nationalities adapted to white supremacy as a
general response to the social ills and new kind of
exploitation they experienced with the rise of industrial

Yes, there were many white people in the mid-19th century
who rejected the division of the working class based on
race. Mainly they were socialists and union activists
ideologically and organizationally affiliated with Karl
Marx and his friends. Some were ordinary abolitionists,
social reformers and union activists like the writer and
critic of capitalist George Lippard, and the abolitionists
Wendell Philips, Charles Sumner, or William Lloyd Garrison
and the movements they led. (Philips, Sumner, and Garrison
eventually joined Marx's international workers'
organization.) But many white working people came to accept
white supremacy as the ruling ideology and reflected this
fact in their organizations, unions, and living habits.
They refused any longer to associate (or intermarry) with
non-whites and ostracizing (even lynching) those who did.

And at first, they added Irish immigrants to their system
of racially based exclusion. But Irish immigrants, too,
fought back. They said, hey we're white, too. Thus, we're
real Americans, and we deserve fair treatment. Irish
American workers, who had been early on relegated to the
working class jobs nobody wanted had their foot in the door
by the time it became clear that industrial capitalism had
defeated any hopes for most people to become landed elites.
By the 1870s Irish American workers dominated many trades
in many Northern urban areas and were major sections of
much of the new factory labor. Anti-Irish bigotry in the
early 19th century had by the turn of the new century put
them in a position to do well economically and politically.

One key institution that Irish American working people
favored and built well was the labor union. The late 19th
century saw the rise of unions in industry and trades, and
Irish immigrants and Irish American workers were a key part
of that. Irish-descended workers rose to leadership and
other influential positions in the trade union movement

While O'Reilly isn't likely to acknowledge the importance
of trade unions in the history of Irish American working
people (or for any group, for that matter), he is less
likely to mention the even more rarely acknowledged fact of
the role of racism in this history. White workers,
including the Irish, fought to exclude Black and other non-
white workers, first from unions, then from whole

Irish workers, for example, angry over an unfair draft law
that allowed the wealthy to escape military service during
the Civil War rioted at a federal building in New York
City. Their anger quickly turned on Blacks who, they
articulated, were the cause of the war and as racial
inferiors were not worth dying for. During the riot, Irish
American workers made a point of marching to the city's
docks and demanding that shipping and transportation
companies fire or refuse to hire Black dockworkers.

Three thousand miles away, Irish American workers were
among the westward bound immigrants to cities like San
Francisco, where they encountered large numbers of Chinese
immigrants in the tobacco industry, some factory labor, and
other trades. Back east, Irish immigrants made up large
numbers of the tobacco industry workforce and were leaders
in the unions that had organized it. Here they found,
Chinese workers taking "American" jobs. Because, the
Chinese were not white, they could not be "real" Americans,
said the Irish tobacco workers. These jobs, they claimed,
belong to "real" Americans, white people – to "us" – they
insisted. So they fought to exclude the Chinese workers by
law and by force. Irish American workers were among those
who organized anti-Chinese clubs whose aim was to call
boycotts of companies that employed Chinese workers. They
repeatedly petitioned the state assembly to bar Chinese
immigration and to legalize job discrimination. Anti-
Chinese sentiment became so intense that race riots, led by
Irish American workers against the Chinese broke out in
many coastal cities from San Diego to Tacoma in the 1880s.

With the growing strength of labor in many Northeastern
cities came its influence on and role in municipal
politics. Irish Americans were there. By the turn of the
20th century, Irish Americans politicians whose roots were
in the working class, were major players in cities like New
York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. They applied an
Irish American affirmative action as result, hiring Irish
owned construction companies for city building contracts,
for example, or hiring Irish firefighters and police as
political patronage, and so on. By the turn of the 20th
century, 30 percent of municipal workers in the above
mentioned cities were Irish Americans. In many cities,
Irish Americans were a major sections of the unionized
skilled labor force, providing a new generation with an
economic basis for social mobility as families were more
and more able to send their children to the universities
and into the professions.

Yes, there was success for some Irish Americans. Yes, it
was based on hard work and a protracted struggle against
grinding exploitation and oppression. Note, however, that
"success" resulted not from an individual struggle, but a
collective process. Also, note that group "success," in
O'Reilly's outlook, deliberately ignores the collectivity
of the gains made and the fact that the "success" of some
within the group comes at the expense of the lack of
success by others. Deep class divisions remain. O'Reilly
also measures "success" not by the empowerment of working
people as a whole, but by the rare individual escape from
exploitation. In O'Reilly's view, individual success is the
marker of group success.

While African Americans have often celebrated the successes
of particular individuals in their communities, for example
Joe Louis' defeat of various white boxing opponents touted
as one "great white hope" or another, their celebrations
seem to have more to do with symbolic victories over the
system of white supremacy rather than an individualistic
self-delusion that Louis liberated them or even himself.

O'Reilly encourages the view that history really doesn't
matter, that the whole history of white supremacy in the US
has little or no role in who he is or who I am. But, and
this is the decisive fact that O'Reilly conveniently and
willfully ignores, the success of white people (of any
white ethnic group) was also based on white supremacy and
the very real social benefits they won from being white.

Meanwhile, the majority of African Americans continued to
live in a society (the South) that, even after outlawing
slavery, had legalized racial apartheid. While the Irish
Americans were moving on up, all African Americans
continued to live in a society that racially prescribed
rights, access to jobs, access to business and property
ownership, political power and so on – all of the things
some Irish Americans and other whites came to enjoy even if
only in limited ways. Even when segregation laws were torn
down, practices of segregation in housing, in the
distribution of benefits, political power, and so on
remained. African Americans could never say, "we're white,
too." They couldn't even say with any lasting effect, we're
"real" Americans, too.

Throughout US history, African Americans fought, along with
many whites (again generally from the political left), for
inclusion, access to jobs, an end to discrimination, civil
rights, political rights, economic rights and more, winning
many gains. Many Irish Americans fought alongside Blacks
and other non-whites for social justice throughout US
history. Terrence V. Powderly headed the country's first
racially integrated national union, the Knights of Labor in
the 1880s. William Z. Foster and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
were leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, a
nationwide union that fought to organize workers across
ethnic and racial lines. Foster and Flynn also went on to
be leaders of the Communist Party. Mother Jones and Tom
Mooney also count among the great Irish American labor
leaders. The great distinction from O'Reilly's
interpretation of success for these heroes, however, is
that did not fight for individual success or Irish American
success. They fought for the empowerment of all working
people, and they knew that the success of any individual or
group required the success of all.

I know what O'Reilly's response would be to this article:
Wendland hates white people. He is a self-loathing white
liberal, O'Reilly would mock, who wants to impose racial
guilt on us for our success. This view is silly, of course,
but it needs to be addressed. People who want to ignore
racism because they don't want to feel guilty need to grow
up. Don't stick your fingers in your ears when someone
brings historical facts to you and says, look, things have
to change. It is childish and imbecilic. If we accept that
our society needs to improve, we need to accept the real
story of how it became what it is. People who refuse the
truth are rejecting change. Sometimes it is because they
have benefited or profited from the status quo. Mostly, it
is because they think that somewhere down the line they
will benefit. There is nothing inherently or naturally
racist about being white or Irish (or any white ethnicity),
but ignoring historical truth with defensive demagoguery
(like O'Reilly's) does not exempt us.

Unfortunately, the true beneficiaries of racial divisions
continue to be corporations and the ruling elites that
drive wages down by devaluing the work of people who are
not white and are treated as second class. Today, this
dynamic is still aimed at Black workers but also very
intensely directed towards immigrant workers of color. By
forcing such strong divisions between non-white and white
working people that they don't get along well enough to
organize unions or powerful political coalitions, ruling
elites avoid meaningful changes. It is no accident that at
a time of deep racial division in our society labor is at
one of the weakest points in its history. Capitalists have
always understood this dynamic, and O'Reilly is their tool
for aiding the project of division and discord.

So let's reject O'Reilly's distortion of history. Most
working people truly want an equal and just society
undivided by race or economic differences. It is the
getting there that differentiates us. But, if we can accept
that collective struggle and work is the source of group
and individual success, why not adopt a collective, multi-
racial (and anti-sexist and anti-homophobic) outlook of our
struggle? Why not accept that working people of all
nationalities and ethnic groups should work together and
further each other's particular interests as well as our
class interests as a whole? We should fight for immigrant
rights, bilingual rights, affirmative action, voting
rights, gender equality, acceptance and tolerance of
difference, equal access and equal protection, and so on.
We should fight for the multi-racial coalitions needed to
win those things. These are points of unity rather than
divisions. If we are all going to "succeed," then we can't
afford to rely on O'Reilly's prescription for business as
usual when it comes to "race."

O'Reilly's slant on the past has gotten us nothing but
continued division, deepened racism, more squabbling, and
pure disaster. Let's write our own future.

Historical sources O'Reilly ought to read:

Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror
David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness
Alexander Saxton, The Rise and Fall of the White Republic
---, The Indispensible Enemy
Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker
Michael Goldfield, The Color of Politics
--Reach Joel Wendland at


Breakfast On Pluto Is A Bit Of A Dog's Dinner Say Critics

By John McGurk
09 October 2005

A NEW Ulster movie featuring Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea
has received a right old roasting.

For Breakfast On Pluto - filmed on location in Ulster and
the Republic last year - has been given a rocket by some of
the world's top critics.

The film - about the life of a young Irish transvestite
searching for his mum in 1970s' London, against a backdrop
of IRA violence - was given sneak previews at film
festivals in the US and Canada.

But 'Pluto' - made by The Crying Game and Interview With
The Vampire director Neil Jordan and also starring new
Irish heart-throb Cillian Murphy - has left critics feeling

Film industry bible Variety criticised the movie's
"dramatic shortcomings".

The Hollywood Reporter noted parallels between Breakfast On
Pluto and the Oscar-winning The Crying Game and predicted
'Pluto' would have "limited commercial appeal".

But the most cutting comments for the movie - filmed in
Belfast and Glenavy, Co Antrim - came from film industry
news service, Screen Daily.

It labelled the movie "awkward", "chaotic", "exhausting"
and an "ultimately frustrating experience".

However, not everyone fired Pluto into outer space.

The New York Times praised it as a "wonderful comedy with a
goofy sense of the marvellous and absurd".

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