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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 20, 2005
Irish Journalist Is Freed
A delighted Joe and Kathy Carroll and their daughter Karina at their home in Blackrock, Co Dublin. last night. Photograph: Joe St Leger
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News about Ireland & the Irish
IT 10/21/05 Kidnap Ordeal Ends For Irish Journalist In Iraq
IO 10/20/05 Adams In Equality Pledge To Unionists
DI 10/20/05 Africans Offer Support
BB 10/20/05 Board Briefed On Corruption Probe
IT 10/21/05 Partition's Legacy Of Red Tape
IT 10/21/05 Board Urges Meeting With Hain Over SF Talks
RE 10/20/05 Police Arrest Man Linked To N.Irish Loyalism
BB 10/20/05 'Confidence Lacking' In IRA Move
DU 10/20/05 DUP Deputy Leader Sends Blunt Message To HMG
IO 10/20/05 We'll Pursue IRA's Illegal Assets – McDowell
GA 10/20/05 Appeal For Council To Commemorate SF's Birthday
Kidnap Ordeal Ends For Irish Journalist In Iraq
Lara Marlowe in Baghdad and Patrick Smyth in Dublin
Rory Carroll, the Irish journalist who was kidnapped in
the Shia Muslim slums of Sadr City on Wednesday, was freed
last night after 36 hours as a hostage.
Mr Carroll (33), the Iraq correspondent for the Guardian,
telephoned his father Joe around 8pm at his home at
Blackrock, Co Dublin, last night to tell him the news.
"I'm absolutely fine, both physically and psychologically.
I've been well treated, apart from a bit of initial
roughness when they first took me," the Guardian quoted him
Mr Carroll spoke from the office of Ahmed Chalabi, the
deputy prime minister of Iraq, inside the US-protected
Green Zone, where he drank a beer in celebration. The Iraqi
government was to hand him over to the British ambassador
last night and he is expected to fly out of Baghdad today,
possibly to Dublin. Because Ireland has no permanent
mission in Baghdad, the British embassy represented Ireland
during his short captivity.
Mr Carroll said he wants to go on reporting on Iraq. "The
next move is unclear, but I would like to report on Iraq in
the future," he told Reuters.
The journalist was held in a dark basement cell for more
than 24 hours when one of his jailers received a call on
his mobile phone. "I heard a captor in the corridor answer
his mobile," he said. "He laughed and sounded relieved, and
opened the bolted door and said, 'I am going to let you
go'. He put me in the boot of his car and drove me alone
and dropped me in the middle of Baghdad."
At the time of his kidnapping on Wednesday afternoon, Mr
Carroll said: "They took me in a car and after 20 minutes
switched me to the boot of another one. They stripped me of
all my own clothes and dressed me in old clothes." He was
handcuffed and held in a dark basement for 36 hours. "I had
only had a rug and pillow. They allowed me out twice for
food," he said.
"I don't know who took me," Mr Carroll said. "I'm fine. I
was treated reasonably well. I spent the last 36 hours in
the dark. I was released into the hands of Dr Chalabi."
It appears likely that Mr Carroll was abducted by a
criminal gang which came under pressure from the Sadr
movement that controls the slum where he had gone to report
a story about a Shia Muslim family watching Saddam
Hussein's trial on television.
Mr Carroll telephoned his parents last night from Baghdad
with a beer in his hand. He told his father Joe, a former
Washington correspondent for The Irish Times, and mother
Kathy that he was well and safe and in a safe compound
after being transported from the cell.
A statement was released last night by his parents and
sister, Karina: "Kathy, Joe and Karina are delighted at the
news of Rory's release. It was a tremendous joy to speak to
him minutes after his release and to know that he is safe
and well. We would like to thank everybody who contributed
to this happy ending."
At the Guardian office, a two bedroom flat in the Hamra
Hotel which Mr Carroll shared with other staff, his friends
had prepared a rucksack holding his Irish passport and
other essential belongings. As the news spread among the
small foreign press corps, journalists gravitated to the
office. They were not able to join Mr Carroll in the Green
Zone because the 10pm curfew had already passed, and they
risked being shot if they left the Hamra compound.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern last night led the Government's
welcome for the release of the journalist.
"I welcome the good news of his safe release. I am
delighted for his family, friends and colleagues. I am
delighted that he is free again, within 24 hours of his
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said "a number of
friends and partners" had helped in the release. "The
Government is deeply grateful to all who helped achieve
this happy outcome. I am utterly delighted for Rory Carroll
and his family."
The Guardian said "his release came after intense
diplomatic pressure" and that "he attributed his freedom to
the intervention of the Iraqi government". Muslim, Catholic
and Protestant clerics, and the Irish and British
governments, had called for his release.
Sheikh Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric, is now allied
with Mr Chalabi, a wealthy secular Shia who was convicted
of bank fraud in Jordan. Mr Chalabi was long employed by
the CIA and then the Pentagon, and did more than any other
Iraqi to encourage the Bush administration to invade Iraq.
He appears to have been the intermediary who negotiated Mr
© The Irish Times
Adams In Equality Pledge To Unionists
Republicans will not allow unionists to suffer disadvantage
or discrimination, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams insisted
On the third day of his official visit to South Africa, the
West Belfast MP told a specially-convened session of the
country's Parliament in Cape Town that the peace process
had created a dynamic of change which many unionists found
However, he insisted his party wanted to work with
unionists to create a better future.
"They are afraid that they will lose out economically and
politically; that the traditional roles will be reversed
and that they will suffer disadvantage and discrimination,"
"Irish republicans will not condone or be part of such
"The underpinning principle which guides our politics is
equality. This means working in partnership with those
unionists who will work with us to ensure a better future
for all our people."
Mr Adams said peace and stability could bring about many
benefits to Ireland as it had done in South Africa.
The Sinn Féin leader said his party would pro-actively
engage with unionists - talking to them, sharing concerns
and ideas and carving out a future which everyone could
feel comfortable in and prosperous.
"I believe we can achieve this," he said.
"I believe the example set by South Africa marks the path
which we too must follow."
Yesterday Mr Adams briefed South African President Thabo
Mbeki in Pretoria on recent developments in the Northern
Ireland peace process, three weeks after the IRA completed
He also met the country's foreign minister, Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, to discuss the experiences of disarmament in
South Africa and Northern Ireland and the lessons for other
peace processes in Africa.
Mr Adams also visited Freedom Park in the township of
Soweto in Johannesburg yesterday.
Barefoot, the Sinn Féin leader witnessed a ceremony at the
site involving incense commemorating those who died in the
struggle to get rid of apartheid.
Africans Offer Support
'Republicans in Ireland want what South Africans already
have. We want freedom. We want a rights-based society and
we want especially the people of our small island to live
together in peace and in harmony' – Adams
Intelligence minister: Ireland at momentous point
South Africa's minister for intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils,
told Daily Ireland that the history of Ireland had reached
a momentous point.
He said his high-profile visit to Ireland next week would
be an important opportunity to offer assistance to the
Mr Kasrils met Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams yesterday at
the intelligence ministry's headquarters in Pretoria.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Kasrils said he was "really looking
forward to visiting Ireland, both North and South".
He added: "It's a lovely country. I've been there in the
past. At this present time, the history and the challenges
are obviously momentous.
"We South Africans have been through something similar. The
need for reconciliation and for people across the divide to
come together and work together for a better life, that is
something we are very much behind, as Nelson Mandela,
President Mbeki and the African National Congress have
Mr Kasrils expressed the hope that his forthcoming visit —
which has been organised by Sinn Féin — would permit a
mutually beneficial exchange of views about the experiences
of both Ireland and South Africa.
Addressing an audience at the South African Institute of
International Affairs at the University of the
Witwatersrand in Johannesburg last night, Gerry Adams also
highlighted the importance of national reconciliation in
He focused on national reconciliation and Irish
independence as two of his party's key priorities. "People
respond to the conditions in which they live," the Sinn
Féin leader said.
"Unionism fears that the future will be one where
republicans do to unionists what unionism has done to
"This is not a matter of reversing roles. This is a matter
of uniting Ireland through a process of national
reconciliation and independence based on equality for all
in a rights-based society. That is the big task facing us,"
Mr Adams declared.
"One of the lessons from South Africa is that those who
fear the future will come, in time, to realise that the
type of future envisaged in the Irish peace process is one
where unionists will come to enjoy their freedom.
"One of the biggest challenges is to create conditions
where people can be comfortable in the place where they
"Another big challenge is to create Irish independence," Mr
As South Africa celebrated Media Freedom Day yesterday, Mr
Adams conducted a round of national radio and television
interviews at the offices of the South African Broadcasting
South Africa designated October 19 as Media Freedom Day
because, on that date in 1977, the old apartheid regime
banned 17 black consciousness groups and shut down two
Coincidentally, October 19 was the date in 1988 on which
the British government introduced the broadcasting ban
against Sinn Féin.
Board Briefed On Corruption Probe
An outside expert is to advise the police on a criminal
investigation into alleged corruption, Chief Constable Sir
Hugh Orde has said.
He briefed the Policing Board following legal action last
week over a cancelled contract for vehicle armour-plating.
A High Court judge said there there was evidence someone in
the PSNI had "deliberately undermined" a firm which had
lost the contract to a rival.
Sir Hugh said the took the court case "extremely
"I'm quite confident that we have the expertise within the
organisation to look at the allegations that have been
made," he told the board.
"Currently we are dealing with the statement from the judge
but we will look far wider than that.
"I'm very interested in seeing how contracts were awarded
at that time. If there was any wrong doing be it criminal
or administrative, it will be dealt with."
In last week's High Court action, Northern Ireland Sheet
Metal Works Ltd was awarded £400,000 in damages.
The Belfast-based company took an action for breach of
contract after Firth Rixson Castings Ltd was awarded the
contract, at an extra cost of £350,000.
Sir Hugh Orde made the comments about the case when the
Policing Board met on Thursday.
During the meeting, the board also demanded a meeting about
restorative justice projects with Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain.
It warned that proposed NIO guidelines may result in "a
two-tier system of policing by the back door".
Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said it was
unanimous in calling for "an immediate halt to any deals
behind closed doors".
Supporters argue it provides a positive alternative to
Earlier this month, Justice Minister David Hanson told the
BBC that he hoped to publish new guidelines on restorative
justice "before the early New Year".
Fourteen schemes are currently in operation in republican
areas, administered by an organisation called Community
Five operate in loyalist areas, run by a group called
Northern Ireland Alternatives, which works with the police,
who sit on their management committee.
All the schemes are funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, a
charity set up by the US millionaire Chuck Feeney who has
in the past given money to Sinn Fein.
However, this private funding for restorative justice is
expected to run out at the end of the financial year in
Both loyalist and republican groups have applied for state
funding without success.
It is believed any future funding is being tied to the
groups' acceptance of the new guidelines.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/20 15:18:45 GMT
© BBC MMV
Coming To Terms With Partition's Legacy Of Red Tape
A cross-Border centre with a low-key approach to bridging
gaps between North and South is quietly making a
difference, reports Susan McKay.
Brenda Kearns knows more than most about the ways in which
crossing the Border can get complicated. Based in
Letterkenny, Co Donegal, she meets people every day who
have got themselves lost between the two largely unco-
ordinated systems which operate North and South.
Recently a woman called who was from Louth in the Republic
but had moved to the North with her husband, who is from
Derry. They had four children, but their marriage had
failed, and she wanted to move South again. They needed to
sort out issues relating to custody, child benefit, the
Child Support Agency, the Maintenance Recovery Unit, income
support, medical cards, tax credits and carers' allowance.
All of this had already got the couple tangled up in
endless phonecalls and forms. "The woman was already
completely stressed because of the breakdown of her
marriage, and having to deal with all these different
agencies was the last thing she needed. She was in no fit
state. I was able to sit down with her and go through the
whole thing and get it sorted out," says Kearns, a Citizens
Advice Bureau employee on a project called Borderwise. The
project is working on a series of leaflets for those who
cross the Border to live or work.
Amazingly, she is one of just three workers in Ireland,
North and South, who has had specialist training in cross-
Border advice and information. "And one of the others has
just moved to England," she says. "There is a huge need for
more workers to be trained like me. There are large numbers
of Northerners taking up work in the South and getting
caught up in all sorts of tax complexities, for example.
There is a lot of uncharted territory."
The Centre for Cross-Border Studies was set up to identify
and deal with situations like these.
"After the Good Friday agreement was signed, a group of us
sat down to think about what further and higher education
could do to help the peace process," says Andy Pollak,
director of the centre. "We decided on a small research
centre to look at cross-Border issues. We went to Queen's
University in Belfast and Dublin City University for
Along with administrator Mairead Hughes, Pollak, a former
education correspondent with The Irish Times, started work
from a couple of small offices based in the Armagh outreach
department of Queen's.
"We spent a year talking to people and we did a series of
mapping studies to see where the gaps were," he says.
The gaps exist in education, health, business, public
administration, communications, agriculture, planning and
the environment. An early report looked at barriers to
"One of our best reports was on the lessons of the foot-
and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001," says Pollak. "That fed
into policy adopted by both governments."
The focus of the peace process was on ending violence, then
on setting up the institutions at Stormont. With all the
strife that has surrounded these huge projects, Pollak
feels that strand two of the agreement, the North-South
element, has been sidelined.
"It is as if we stumbled into the Good Friday agreement.
Nobody in Dublin ever sat down and asked, 'How will we
embed this in policy?' The North-South bodies are there on
a care-and-maintenance basis but there is no long-term
The centre has this year set up North-South training
courses for civil servants.
"The first since partition," says Pollak proudly. "Every
department in the Republic has a North-South unit of seven
or eight people, and they are meant to be able to deal with
the issues. But no one had trained them about the North,
its ethos, how it works."
The four-day course looks at a wide range of issues,
including co-operation in the public and non-governmental
organisation (NGO) sectors, public finance and governance,
and economic and business co-operation. If civil servants
are equipped with this knowledge, it should make life
easier for people such as the woman who came to Brenda
During the courses, civil servants from either side of the
Border work together researching cross-Border initiatives
that work - including a waste-management scheme for old
fridges in Dundalk.
"What we are showing is that North-South co-operation can
work, not because of the Good Friday agreement but because
it makes eminent sense. It makes things better. It is
important to show unionists that this is the case. Northern
business nowadays recognises the need to do business on an
all-Ireland basis," says Pollak.
He is reluctant to be drawn into making generalisations
about the differences between the North and the South,
Northerners and Southerners.
However, he says there has been an attitude in the Republic
that the North is only about the Troubles.
"The South is a far more confident and prosperous place
than the North. There is more willingness to be open and to
innovate. The North is a deeply divided and troubled
province of a country with a capital which is a long way
away, and which hasn't been very interested in Europe.
There is a caginess about the Northern approach, a
conservatism. The North has been dangerously dependent on
In the new year, the centre will launch a major new
resource. BorderIreland.info is the brainchild of its
research manager, Patricia Clarke, who has been working on
it since 2003. This will provide free access to an online
searchable database of all available cross-Border
information on education, health, agriculture, transport,
environment and tourism.
"There's a lot of cross-Border activity and a lot of
duplication of work going on," says Clarke.
"The website will direct people to work that's already been
done, and it will also give people access to ideas which
they can replicate in their own areas. For example, in the
Louth-Down Border area, renal dialysis services are being
provided in Newry for Southerners who would otherwise have
to go to Dublin."
The centre itself is unique - a thriving little institution
which is working away to help the peace process put down
roots, and to end the partitionist mindset which sees the
Border as a barrier, whether a desired one or not.
Pollak thinks the centre should get more attention. "It is
unglamorous but it works."
© The Irish Times
Policing Board Urges Meeting With Hain Over SF Talks
Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Members of the North's policing board have made an
unprecedented demand for a meeting with the Northern
Secretary, worried by "behind-closed-doors" negotiations
with Sinn Féin, to extend restorative justice schemes.
The board, including all the party political members, is
concerned that local schemes could mean a two-tier system
of policing leading to what board chairman Prof Sir Desmond
Rea described as "self-appointed groups taking on quasi-
In a letter to Peter Hain, Sir Desmond said that members of
the board supported restorative justice in principle, but
would only back it "where good practice and robust
protocols surround it".
He also said that the board was "adamant" that any new
restorative justice system must not exclude the police
"Members feel that the establishment of a two-tier system
would be extremely damaging to the policing service, and
would do a grave disservice to the Northern Ireland
community, whatever the political drivers," he wrote.
He continued: "Members unanimously agree that government
should not be progressing any initiatives of this nature
unless, and until, all political parties have endorsed the
existing police structures. Only then will the time be
right for such initiatives, and only then can we be assured
that the PSNI will be involved, will remain involved and
will not be ousted at some point in the future because of
the political imperatives of the day."
The move was backed by Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg
Empey. Accusing the British government of "fascination with
semi-democratic republicans", Sir Reg said those who had
agreed to participate in policing should be left to do the
"To push ahead with these proposals would be to destroy the
one body, which is actually working. The policing board has
been engaged in good work. It should continue to be
accountable and democratically controlled. A pledge from
the government to produce no more backdoor reforms would
add a little clarity," he said.
© The Irish Times
Police Arrest Man Linked To N.Irish Loyalism
Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:17 AM BST
LONDON (Reuters) - Police arrested a man in Liverpool on
Thursday in connection with loyalist paramilitary groups in
They said the 43-year-old was being held in Manchester
after being detained by officers from the city's anti-
Police in northwest England have launched several
investigations into Irish loyalism. They arrested a man in
similar circumstances in Liverpool in July and charged him
with the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of
Separately, Britain's Assets Recovery Agency raided
property in Manchester earlier this month in what local
media described as a probe into illegal Irish republican
'Confidence Lacking' In IRA Move
IRA decommissioning has not produced the level of
confidence within the unionist community it could have, a
senior Protestant clergyman has said.
Former Presbyterian Moderator, the Reverend David
McCaughey, was the DUP's choice to be an independent
However, Reverend McCaughey said his appointment was vetoed
by the IRA and had been blocked for political reasons.
He said unionists would be more willing to move forward if
they fully believed the IRA's arsenal had been destroyed.
"I feel we were at a crossroads there and it was a very
important crossroads," he said.
"I believe that if the unionist community had been
convinced that the arms had been destroyed at that
juncture, there would have been a willingness, certainly
amongst some of them, to say this has happened lets go
After IRA decommissioning was announced last month, the DUP
said the two independent church witnesses, Catholic priest
Father Alec Reid and ex-Methodist president Reverend Harold
Good, had been nominated by the IRA.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/20 17:40:47 GMT
© BBC MMV
DUP Deputy Leader Sends Blunt Message To HMG
Speaking today DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson MP MLA
delivered a blunt warning to the government.
"How the Government reacts to the needs of the unionist
community in the months ahead will determine the direction
of the political process. The next few months represent a
crucial time for the political process and the prospect for
any return for devolution. Because of the manner in which
the Government has handled the process in the past, it must
now deliver confidence building measures to a unionist
community that is has for too long ignored. Without an
enabling environment no progress will be made.
It is time the fixation about appeasing republicans in
order to encourage them to stop their terror campaign came
to an end. It is now time steps were taken to build
confidence in the unionist community. The Secretary of
State and the Prime Minister should be under no doubt -
this is a fundamental pre-requisite before there can be any
consideration given to making progress on the many
outstanding political issues.
This message is not new to the Government. We have
repeatedly outlined our position to the government and it
is now up to them to deliver. Unlike what happened with
the Ulster Unionist Party in the past, the Government knows
the DUP will not be diverted or distracted from the
achievement its aims and fulfilling its electoral
We have set out to the Government in clear terms what is
required to build confidence in the unionist community. We
have already supplied the Government with our first
confidence building paper of 64 pages and we are currently
preparing the second one. These are not simply confidence
building measures for their own sake but will send a clear
message to the unionist community that its concerns are
being taken seriously.
By listening to the SDLP and Sinn Fein it is obvious that
our approach is clearly unnerving nationalists. They don't
like the fact that we are not prepared to take the IRA at
face value and accept whatever is on offer. When they, and
those who parrot their propaganda, complain about a lack of
unionist leadership they mean the failure of today's
unionist leadership in the DUP to follow the agenda set by
republicans. For years they have become accustomed to
unionists playing the republican game and jumping when
Gerry and Marty whistle. The DUP will not be dancing to
any republican tune. We will not be implementing the
agenda others have set. We have a unionist agenda and we
intend to deliver it. Regardless of the reaction of
nationalists we will continue to work for our constituents
to deliver on our manifesto commitment. We will take
whatever time it needs to be completed.
We have made it clear that issues such as a satisfactory
outcome in our discussions about the Home Battalions of the
Royal Irish Regiment will be key in forming our judgement
on moving forward. Those who have risked their lives to
protect the community must be treated with the respect they
deserve. The government reaction to our proposals for
dealing with parades will be another priority for the party
in its considerations. If the Government want to see
political progress they know what they have to do on these
and the other issues we have raised.
The date for any return to devolution is not only a matter
of being satisfied that the IRA terror machine is gone once
and for all, but of ensuring the Government has provided
fairness and equality for unionists. Having witnessed a
decade of concessions to the IRA it is not unreasonable
that unionists should want to see the scales balanced.
The Government should be under no illusions. Unless it
delivers confidence building measures for the unionist
community the political process is going nowhere. Half
measures and fudge will not suffice.
The IRA took eleven years from its first ceasefire to get
to where it is at today. We will not be rushed into
judging whether or not they are for real. We will not be
told what to do by London or Dublin. We will make our own
judgements. We will not be taking people at their word or
taking risks with democracy in Northern Ireland. Decisions
on the validity of the IRA's position cannot and will not
be made overnight.
Even the IMC accept that a few weeks or even a few months
are no basis upon which to judge the bona fides of a
terrorist organisation. The IRA has proved in the past
that it can turn on and off its paramilitary activity to
suit its own purposes. Only time can establish if things
are different this time around.
On this issue the Government's approach has further
diminished confidence in the unionist community. Despite
accepting back in July that the IRA would have to be judged
over a period of time it has proceeded to act on the basis
of the word of the IRA.
If the IMC is in no position to make a definitive judgment
on the IRA position how can the Secretary of State
reinstate payments to Sinn Fein on the same basis? The
Secretary of State, in typical new labour fashion, has
adopted an a la carte approach to this latest IMC report.
This is yet another example of the Government's eagerness
to act before the evidence justifies it. It merely
undermines confidence in the Government's handling of the
process and makes the task of building confidence in the
unionist community all the more difficult. How
hypocritical it would be for the government to say to
unionists in January that they should listen to the IMC and
accept the IRA's bona fides when in October the government
has ignored the IMC and acted pre-emptively on funding Sinn
What we need are not short-term fixes but long-term
solutions. In the next few months we shall ensure that it
is the needs of the unionist community that are at the top
of the political agenda in Northern Ireland. If the
Government can create confidence in the unionist community
then, and only then, can the focus shift to negotiations
about the political changes needed to bring about the
return of devolution. If the government disregards the
views of unionists and makes no serious attempt to address
their concerns then they will find the support for
devolution within unionism completely evaporates."
We'll Pursue IRA's Illegal Assets - McDowell
The recent wind-down of IRA criminality will not stop the
Irish and British governments hunting down its illegal
assets, it was claimed tonight.
Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the terrorist group
remains an unlawful organisation and the Belfast-based
Assets Recovery Agency and the Criminal Assets Bureau in
Dublin would continue to pursue it.
Echoing the general findings of yesterday's Independent
Monitoring Commission report, the minister told the Dáil
parliament that no IRA-sponsored crime had occurred since
it announced an end to its armed campaign on July 28.
But he said he wanted to stress that the IRA was still an
illegal, treasonable organisation under the Offences
Against the State Act, 1939.
"Until it changes its rules and constitution and becomes a
lawful organisation, membership of it and all its assets
are unlawful," he said.
"All of the proceeds of IRA crime, of smuggling and
robberies over many years are forfeitable to the state."
The minister said the ARA and CAB would pursue those
proceeds inside and outside the state.
"There is no question of a line being drawn across the page
in relation to IRA criminal proceeds," he added.
Mr McDowell said he refused to believe that the IRA had
nothing to do with last December's £26.5m Northern Bank
robbery in Belfast.
"This House would be well advised to pay no attention to
those denials," he said.
He said he was unaware of any IRA criminality committed by
the IRA's 1,100-1,500 members in Northern Ireland and the
Republic since July 28.
But he added: "I have no doubt that some of them were
capable of sadistic and thuggish activities in the past and
they may be tempted to do these things on their own account
again in the future.
"They cannot adhere to the July 28 statement and engage in
any breaches of the law of any kind whatsoever."
On the subject of election funding, he told Opposition
justice spokesman Jim O'Keeffe: "In Northern Ireland, Sinn
Féin claims to have spent less in recent elections than the
Alliance Party - only a child would believe that from the
evidence on the ground."
Lonely Voices Appeal For Council To Commemorate SF's
BY KERNAN ANDREWS
Sinn Féin's Cllr Daniel Callanan and The Green Party's Cllr
Niall Ó Brolcháin proved to be lonely voices appealing to
the Galway City Council to set up a commemorative committee
to mark Sinn Féin's centenary.
At Monday's city council meeting Cllr Callanan submitted a
motion calling on the council to establish a "committee to
organise commemorative events celebrating the 100th
anniversary of the founding of Sinn Féin".
The motion was seconded by Cllr Ó Brolcháin, pointing out
the fact that all the major Irish political parties, except
Labour and The Greens, are ultimately offshoots of Sinn
Féin founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith. He also pointed
out that many people's grandparents and great-grandparents
were involved in the Sinn Féin movement, especially from
1919 to 1923.
Despite these historical facts, councillors rejected the
idea saying it would be improper of the council to host
events for one political party and that it should remain
above party politics. Cllr Billy Cameron also drew a
distinction between old SF and today's party: "Old Sinn
Féin were honourable men but today's Sinn Féin don't have a
shred of honour."
However there were also some chuckles during the
discussion. Cllr Padraig Conneely said if the council
supported this motion then every party would want a
commemorative committee for its anniversary. "Next year the
PDs would have to have a celebration," he said, "but it
would probably have to be held in a phone box."
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