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October 08, 2005

Lack of Saville Info Frustrates Families

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News about Ireland & the Irish

NH 10/08/05 Lack Of BS Inquiry Info Frustrates Families
BT 10/08/05 Police Quiz Suspect Over Murder Bid Of Catholic
BT 10/08/05 Mob In Attack On Police
BB 10/08/05 Parties Seek Presents From Number 10
BT 10/08/05 Provo Quizzed Over Murder Returned To Jail
BB 10/08/05 Irish Workers Party Leader On Fake Cash Charges
IA 10/08/05 Opin: Mistakes By The White House
BB 10/08/05 Three Freed In Gray Killing Probe
BT 10/08/05 Opin: Gray: Caricature, Cartoon & Total Goon
UT 10/08/05 Republican 'Instigated' Riot, Court Told
BT 10/08/05 Workers Left Reeling At Factory Jobs Bombshell
BT 10/08/05 Victims' Centre Plan A Test For The Government
BT 10/08/05 Ex-Ulster Scots Chief Slams Irish Bias Rule


Lack Of Saville Inquiry Info Frustrates Families

(Seamus McKinney, Irish News)

One of Derry's Bloody Sunday relatives has criticised a
lack of information coming from the Saville Inquiry almost
one year after formal hearings ended.

John Kelly, a brother of 17-year-old Michael Kelly who was
shot dead on Bloody Sunday, claimed the families have been
"kept in the dark" about progress on the tribunal's final

While the inquiry reconvened briefly in January this year,
its final full day of hearings was November 23 last year.

In August this year, it issued a statement saying it was
impossible to give a date for the publication of the final

But Mr Kelly said it was unfair that after everything the
families have had to endure, they are not being kept
informed about progress on the compilation of the report.
He said estimations for its publication ranged from late
this year to March and April of next year.

An inquiry spokeswoman referred all queries about the
report's publication date to its statement released in
August. She said the inquiry had been unable to inform the
Bloody Sunday families because the date was not yet known.

October 8, 2005


Police Quiz Suspect Over Horrific Murder Bid On A Catholic

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
08 October 2005

Police were last night questioning a man on suspicion of
involvement in a horrific sectarian murder attempt in

Catholic victim Michael Reid (31) was strangled with a
phone cord and stabbed repeatedly with a knife by three men
who shouted sectarian abuse on October 11, 2003, at a house
in Patrick Place, Harryville.

Mr Reid was forced to pretend he was dead in the hope that
the three men would stop attacking him.

Last month one man was convicted of attempted murder but
the two other men have never been caught.

Last night police revealed they have arrested a second man.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police in Ballymena have arrested a
man on suspicion of involvement in an attempted sectarian
murder that took place almost two years ago.

"The 33-year-old man was arrested in the Castle Street area
of Ballymena shortly after noon today.

"A local man recently received a 16-year jail sentence for
attempted murder as a result of the incident."

Neil White (30), from Wakehurst Road in Ballymena, was last
month sentenced to 16 months for his part in the attack.

While he was being sentenced, judge Mr Justice Coghlin said
sectarianism in Northern Ireland was a "corrosive toxin
that remorselessly eats away at the social fabric
surrounding many communities in Northern Ireland".

The court heard that White and two other men attacked Reid
in the house because he was a Catholic.

They continued to kick and stab the victim to make sure he
was dead and then started to discuss how they would dispose
of his body. They then decided to get a saw and saw him up.

Mr Reid managed to escape and ran from the house but
collapsed and was picked up by a passing police patrol.

The victim, who is now living in hiding, recently told the
Belfast Telegraph that he is still in fear for his life.


Mob In Attack On Police

08 October 2005

A crowd of up to 100 pelted police with petrol bombs and
stones last night in west Belfast.

The unrest on the Ballygomartin Road area occurred about an
hour after police closed the security gates at nearby
Lanark Way in order to prevent trouble.

By 9pm, one person was arrested for riotous behaviour. A
police spokeswoman said a crowd of between 70 and 100
people attacked officers.


Parties Seek Presents From Number 10

By Mark Devenport

BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Staff at Downing Street wheeled a couple of trolleys piled
high with presents through the shiny black door shortly
before Gerry Adams arrived at Number Ten last Thursday.

But even though the Sinn Fein president was celebrating his
57th birthday, the parcels were not for him.

Instead, they appeared to be part of the official exchange
of gifts between Tony Blair and one of his other VIP
visitors, the president of Iraq.

Instead of birthday greetings, waiting reporters engaged Mr
Adams in conversation about someone we thought might be an
old friend - Thomas "Slab" Murphy.

He had featured in the news that morning in relation to a
major Assets Recovery Agency operation in the Greater
Manchester area.

The West Belfast MP gave the impression he had not a clue
who the County Louth farmer might be.

But Mr Adams appeared to know full well that the Assets
Recovery Agency's official statement had not named any

He insisted that he was not going to be drawn into
responding to any off the record briefing from some
"securocrat hostile both to republicans and the process".

Back in Belfast, the Ulster Unionists described the Assets
Recovery Agency operation as a disturbing development which
would have a serious impact on the political process

So how important was Mr Thomas Murphy to the republican
movement, we enquired?

The 57-year-old politician was not in the mood to expand,
pointing out only that he believed the timing of the raids
was not coincidental.

What would be the impact of the operation on the political
process? "None whatsoever," he replied.

So would he raise the matter with the prime minister?
"Catch yerself on" came his parting reply.

"Slab" was the Louth man that dared not speak his name.

Orange halls

Back in Belfast, the Ulster Unionists described the Assets
Recovery Agency Operation as a disturbing development which
would have a serious impact on the political process.

However the DUP, also in London for talks, appeared far
more laid back - showing no sign of making this a cause

Instead, the party is keen on filling its shopping trolley
with concessions before proceeding to the talks checkout.

First they picked up a new chairman of the Ulster Scots
Agency who met with their approval, followed by the de-
rating of Orange halls.

A new Victims Commissioner is on the way, and DUP sources
are hopeful about big changes in the Policing Board.

The party wants the Parades Commission replaced and is also
pushing for a raft of beneficial financial measures for
Northern Ireland, such as the tax incentives which were
discussed during some of the negotiations which took place
last December.

Sinn Fein also had cash on their mind. They raised the
question of an extension to European peace money with the
prime minister.

They also dwelt on the forthcoming legislation on
transferring policing and justice powers to local

'Police their own areas'

Back in December, Sinn Fein indicated they would call a
special Ard Fheis on policing after this legislation is
passed and after the parties agree the departmental
structure and powers to be transferred.

The first hurdle will be easily overcome, but the second is
far more difficult, tied as it is to overall agreement on

Sinn Fein appear aware of the difficulties involved in
leaving their policing policy in hoc to the DUP, which may
explain why they have expressed interest in initiatives
such as the policing conference proposed by the US and
British governments.

Unionists fear that a mixture of locally recruited
community police officers and locally-based restorative
justice projects will provide republicans with the power,
as the DUP's Sammy Wilson puts it, "to police their own

The government insists that unionist fears are overblown,
and that no convicted IRA men are going to be allowed to
become police officers.

But of course not all republicans have criminal records.

Perhaps if he gets bored of farming and his other alleged
activities, Thomas "Slab" Murphy could consider a new
career, donning a pair of bicycle clips and becoming South
Armagh's new bobby on the beat.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/08 09:44:14 GMT


Provo Quizzed Over Murder Returned To Jail

08 October 2005

An IRA man questioned by gardai over the murder of Joseph
Rafferty in Dublin has been returned to prison without

The man is allegedly the friend of an IRA member suspected
of gunning down the 29-year-old father of one outside his
Ongar apartment on April 12 last year over a jealous

The Provisional, currently serving a prison sentence, was
quizzed by detectives for two hours in connection with the
Rafferty case.

He is an associate of the man gardai believe murdered the
courier, who was originally from Fenian Street in Dublin.

The IRA man was approached by Mr Rafferty's family before
the murder, pleading in vain that a death threat against
their brother be lifted.

The Rafferty family also approached Sinn Féin councillor
Daithi Doolan on three separate occasions prior to the

Sources indicate that the gunman, in his mid 30s, is a
close friend of one of Doolan's election workers and claim
the Sinn Fein man knows exactly who he is.

The courier was murdered over a dispute that stemmed from a
row in a south inner city hotel bar last October.

After the row, Joseph Rafferty was told he was "going to
get it from the 'RA".

Detectives investigating the case believe the killer
watched Joseph Rafferty for two weeks before he dressed as
a construction worker, drew a sawn-off shotgun and shot him
outside his home.

An eyewitness is said to have identified the killer as he
walked away from the scene.

Sources say the gunman is a well-known figure in the Grand
Canal Street area of the city and is well known as an IRA

Associates of the man have mounted a campaign of
intimidation against the Rafferty family in the wake of the

The family has recently warned Councillor Daithi Doolan
that they will seek a court injunction against him if he
continues to use references to the murder in his campaign
literature. The family claim that Doolan has been
constantly "plaguing" them by calling to their home, which
has led them to consider the legal action.

The family dismissed an invitation to meet Gerry Adams as a
PR stunt. The case has been compared to that of murdered
Belfast man Robert McCartney. Both families met in Belfast
last month.


Irish Workers' Party Leader On Fake Cash Charges

The president of the Irish Workers' Party has been released
on bail pending his potential extradition to the United
States on counterfeiting charges.

Sean Garland, 71, from Navan in County Meath, appeared at
Belfast County Court on Saturday.

The US government alleges he and others bought, moved and
either passed as genuine or re-sold high quality
counterfeit $100 notes.

A defence lawyer said Mr Garland "strongly protested" his

The US authorites further allege that Mr Garland "arranged
with North Korean agencies for the purchase of quantities
of notes and enlisted other people to disseminate" the
money, known as "superdollars", with the UK.

The court heard Mr Garland was arrested on Friday night as
he attended his party's annual conference in Belfast.

The warrant for his arrest and possible extradition was
issued on 19 May this year.

The Recorder of Belfast, His Honour Judge Tom Burgess
released Mr Garland on bail provided that three sureties
lodge £10,000 each with the court and that he resides at an
address in County Down.

It is understood that the US authorities now have 65 days
in which to lodge the extradition papers with the court.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/08 12:26:00 GMT


Opin; Mistakes By The White House


The Bush administration took two steps this week that sent
very negative messages on the Irish peace process.

In the first instance, the administration refused to drop
the Sinn Fein fundraising ban which has effectively been in
place since the McCartney killing and the Northern Bank
raid last year.

In the second, as we report in this newspaper, FBI agents
have begun a campaign of seeking to force an individual in
the Irish American community to become an informer and spy
on three leading activists.

There is no way of knowing whether any of this is
coordinated, if it is an attempt by the Bush administration
to somehow coerce further concessions from Sinn Fein in the
wake of decommissioning. If so it is truly a misplaced

Take the fundraising issue. Bush's special envoy to the
North Mitchell Reiss has apparently made it clear that the
issue must await the completion of the stamp of approval by
the International Monitoring Commission which will rule on
how the IRA is dealing with their ceasefire on two
occasions over the next few months.

No doubt Reiss and others believe that with issues such as
Sinn Fein signing on for policing still to be resolved that
the fundraising ban remains an effective issue to push Sinn
Fein in the direction of agreeing on policing.

The FBI move is harder to explain. At a time when the IRA
has effectively ended its existence and a huge breakthrough
has been achieved, the FBI takes the opportunity to seek to
coerce a young man into turning informer against other
members of the Irish community, using his father's
undocumented status as leverage.

That tactic belongs back in the 1970s, when the FBI
ultimately saw how useless it was. The peace process has
made it doubly redundant. Why it should surface again now,
especially when aimed at three individuals who have been
foremost in the battle to win acceptance for the Sinn Fein
peace strategy, beggars belief,

The law of unintended consequences is one we often hear
quoted in connection with Iraq, in which something occurs
that was never planned for. If the FBI is not careful they
could drive some activists straight into the arms of the
IRA dissidents, which would be a tragedy for all concerned.

The three men involved have been powerhouses of the peace
strategy, and it is certainly unlikely the support that was
lined up in America would ever have been achieved without
them. To suddenly begin a spying campaign against them
makes no sense at all.

There is no question that the Bush administration has
played a very useful role in the peace process in Northern
Ireland. Men like Reiss and the current ambassador in
Dublin, James Kenny, have been of enormous assistance at
critical times in the process and have ensured that the
White House keeps close tabs on the issue.

Now, however, at a time when Sinn Fein has every right to
expect that their access to America should be unfettered,
suddenly obstacles are put in the way. It makes no sense.

The reality of long experience dealing with the Republican
movement is that punitive efforts are rarely if ever
successful. The transition from the armalite and ballot box
to the ballot box alone is now complete, and Sinn Fein
should be treated like any other party which wants to come
to America and meet with supporters and fundraise, as is
legal here.

Hopefully these two disturbing incidents are mere blips on
the radar. The White House deserves praise, not
condemnation, for their peace efforts so far. It would be a
shame if that were to change.


Three Freed In Gray Killing Probe

Three of the four men being questioned about the murder of
former loyalist leader Jim Gray have been released without

Gray, 47, the flamboyant former leader of the Ulster
Defence Association in east Belfast, was shot outside his
father's house on the Clarawood estate.

One man is still being questioned by police about Tuesday's

Police have said UDA involvement is a major line of
inquiry. Gray was expelled from the UDA last March.

He was recently released on bail on charges of money
laundering, and was living at his father's home in
Knockwood Park while awaiting his court appearance.

He was shot behind a car parked outside the house on
Tuesday night at about 2000 BST.

The police said Gray had been warned that he was under
threat since his release on bail.

In April, just over a week after being expelled from the
UDA leadership, Gray was stopped by police near Banbridge,
County Down.

He was travelling in a car towards the Irish border, and
police suspected he was trying to leave the country.

The police found a bank draft for 10,000 euro and nearly
£3,000 in cash in his car.

Gray claimed the money had come from the sale of two pubs
in east Belfast.

However, police believed it was obtained through crime
including extortion and drug dealing.

He was charged with money laundering and possessing the
proceeds of crime and was remanded in custody.

As the police investigation continued, detectives seized
more than 100,000 documents and raided council offices,
planning offices and premises used by solicitors, estate
agents and accountants.

He continued to apply for bail which was granted last month
on condition that he lived at the address where he was shot
on Tuesday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/08 09:01:43 GMT


Opin: Jim Gray: Caricature, Cartoon & The Total Goon

By Lindy McDowell
08 October 2005

Before Jim Gray, paramilitaries didn't do pink. To be
honest even after the man they called Doris made it his
signature shade, the paramilitary community still didn't
exactly embrace the pastel thing with anything like the
fervour of Jim.

Jim Gray was different. Even in the UDA madhouse he always
stood out from your average balaclava. Which, given the
unrestrained flamboyance of a wider organisation that has
included a drag queen Chihuahua fancier, a Mexican, an
Egyptian, an exiled Mad Dog and a Bacardi Brigadier, is
indeed saying something.

Gray was a caricature. A cartoon. A goon. He was a great
hulk of a middle-aged man who dressed like a cross between
P Diddy and Colin Montgomerie.

It was the bleach blond hair that earned him the Doris Day
tag. That and a tan so fluorescent he made Peter Hain look

The iconic picture of Jim with a pink sweater slung around
his shoulders, the blousey shirt, the curtain ring sized
earring and the designer shades hanging oh-so-casually from
his hand said it all. Even Johnny Adair thought Jim Gray
was an "embarrassment." And when Mad Dog thinks you're
embarrassing . .

Gray was light years away from the Uncle Andy image of the
UDA with its Elvis sideburns and Brylcreem.

He was the UDA's first metrosexual brigadier. Doris didn't
just extort. He exfoliated. Or, as my friend Davy
Ballantine put it: "Jim Gray - his only crime was

But of course, Gray's crimes were much, much worse than the
gratuitous use of St Tropez tanning spray.

He was a brute and a thug. A classic bully boy notorious
for his cocaine habit and his arrogance. Among the legion
of stories that sum him up are the ones about how he
urinated in the glasses of drinkers in his pub. And how he
punched a customer in the face in a local restaurant,
breaking the man's nose - he didn't like the way the guy
was looking at him.

Although his name was linked to murder, notably the savage
murder of loyalist Geordie Legge, police don't think Gray
himself was a killer. Doris got other people to do his
dirty work.

My own family had some experience of this after Gray took
exception (as UDA brigadiers tend to do) to something my
husband Jim had written in the Sunday World. Let's just say
we had a couple of weeks extra holiday abroad that year.
The security source who advised us to make ourselves scarce
at the time made the point that the likelihood of Doris
himself breaking down the front door was zilch. But there
was a distinct possibility that he'd order somebody else
to. And they'd be too frightened to disobey.

The loyalty of all his underlings, his cronies, his Spice
Boys and his fellow brigadiers didn't last, of course, once
the ARA got Doris in its sights.

The UDA would like us to think that they had Gray "stood
down" because he had offended against their code of honour.
They stood him down because they were frightened he was
bringing the heat on them. For Gray wasn't doing anything
the rest of them hadn't been doing - still aren't doing. He
was feathering his own nest. Like the rest of them, he was
a self serving gangster, pure and simple. His loyalty was
to his own pocket.

His murder this week was despicable and disgusting. But it
is telling that there has been no mass outpouring of grief
from ordinary punters. Only sneering.

According to newspaper reports this week, while Gray was
being gunned down like a dog outside his father's home in
the east, his erstwhile Inner Council colleagues were
meeting in a bar in South Belfast. (That's the alibis
sorted there, then.)

The public response to Jim Gray's death should give these
men some indication of their own standing in the community.
People hold them all in complete contempt. People see them
for what they are.

And that's something that no presidential embrace can cover
- and no amount of moisturiser, fake tan or fluffy pink can
make look good.


Republican 'Instigated' Riot, Court Told

A leading republican was an alleged "instigator" in a riot
last month a court heard today.

During the bail application at Belfast high Court, Crown
lawyer David Hopley said the police view of 49-year-old
Bobby Storey was that he had been an instigator and had
"verbally encouraged" a crowd of up to 40 rioters on
September 4.

He told the court that at around 1.40am on that Saturday,
police received reports of men armed with baseball bats
trying to get into a house at South Link in Andersonstown
in west Belfast.

Mr Hopley said that when officers tried to intervene and
arrest the men, a crowd of up to 40 people "surrounded the
officers" but that when supporting officers arrived, the
crowd became "more hostile and began to attack the police
in an attempt to get the detained person and drive the
police out".

The lawyer said the officers had to use batons and CS spray
to protect themselves, adding that Storey allegedly
physically attempted to prevent the arrest and verbally
encouraged the crowd to prevent it.

Storey, also from South Link, was arrested by arrangement a
month later and during police questioning, he said that he
was not guilty.

He denies charges of riotious assembley, assaulting and
obstructing a constable.

Mr Hopley revealed that Storey has a record "for quite
serious matters in the 80`s" including being jailed for 18
years for possessing guns and ammunition and escaping from
the Maze jail.

Defence solicitor Barra McGrory claimed Storey had been
summoned to the scene of the riot "in order to quell" the

Mr Justice Weir released Storey on his own bail of £500
with one surety of £500, imposing a curfew from 8pm to 7am
and ordering him to sign at his local police station once a


Workers Left Reeling At Factory Jobs Bombshell

By Lisa Smyth
08 October 2005

Workers at a Co Antrim company were last night left reeling
with the news that more than 100 jobs could go at the firm.

Employees at the John Crane UK company in Ballymena were
given the shock news yesterday afternoon before they left
work for the weekend.

It is understood the positions at the company, which
produces coupling, seals and drill bits, could be relocated
to Asia in an effort to cut costs.

Ballymena's DUP mayor Tommy Nichol, who is an employee of
John Crane, said workers were shocked by the the

"Half an hour before we were going home management gave
letters to the shop stewards to give to every employee," he

"It basically said the manufacture of seals and couplings
in Ballymena would cease.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet."

Chris Fox of the Smiths Group, which owns John Crane UK,
confirmed the decision has been taken to enter into a 90-
day consultation period regarding the future of over 100
positions at the company.

However, he did stress that the drill bit division and its
10 workers are safe from the axe and the company is
planning to expand the division, although not to the same
extent of the present size of the firm.

He said: "There is going to be a 90-day period whereby
consultation goes through with unions and employees and the
underlying proposals to move production elsewhere will be

Mr Fox said that relocating the production plant closer to
customers, many of whom are based in Asia, would allow the
company to provide a better service, but he said that the
possible job losses are not confined to Northern Ireland
and the company had been forced to make similar decisions
in other operations throughout the UK.


Victims' Centre Plan 'A Test' For The Government

By Michael McHugh
08 October 2005

A memorial and conference centre for the victims of
violence in south Armagh could be constructed in

The Government is in the final stages of deciding upon an
application costing around £250,000 for a centre for those
who have suffered as a result of the Troubles.

The mainly Protestant support group Families Acting for
Innocent Relatives (FAIR) has submitted the application to
the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers' Victims

William Wilkinson, a researcher within the group, said that
a positive decision by the Government would send out a
message to all of the province's victims.

"We believe success of this application would demonstrate
that the Government accepts that victims need to be treated
fairly," he said.

"A project like this is an indicator of the Government's
determination to do this.

"A lot of people are looking towards this decision as an
indication of the Government's commitment to the rights of

"We see this as a pilot project for south Armagh, as most
of the victims groups are based in Belfast and we want to
see support in this area."

The centre would include conference facilities, spaces for
offices for FAIR and an area for the counselling and the
support of relatives.

It would also include a memorial garden for the victims of
killings in the area.

There would also be a facility for members of the public
and researchers to study the conflict.

FAIR has been supported in the past by Conservative peer
Lord Tebbitt, as well as DUP MP for Lagan Valley Jeffrey
Donaldson, and leading business figures.

Some of its leaders have stood for election under a
unionist ticket.

Group director Willie Frazer and other representatives from
the centre have been involved in touring local councils
canvassing support for their proposals.


Ex-Ulster Scots Chief Slams Irish Bias Rule

By Marie Foy
08 October 2005

An Ulster peer is taking up the gauntlet for a family who
have been refused permission to buy a dream home in
Connemara because their Irish isn't good enough.

Lord Laird, former chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency,
said he was prepared to take the matter to the European

He argued that under European human rights law the Northern
Ireland man and his wife could not be banned from buying
property because of a language barrier.

And the Ulster Unionist accused politicians in the Republic
of "outrageous hypocrisy" for lecturing to northerners
about human rights when such practices existed in the

This is the first time anyone has been prohibited from
occupying a new property in the Gaelteacht because of
provisions to protect Irish.

The family want to live and integrate into the Gaelteach.

They are angry that they have been disqualified and are
appealing to the council to reconsider.

They argue that the ban is "unfair" and "discriminatory".

A council spokesman said that an applicant who failed the
test could take it again.

Lord Laird said that he had already raised the issue with
the Human Rights Commission in the Republic but said it was
like coming up against a "stone wall".

"They don't take an interest in anything they think will
embarrass the state," he claimed.

"It is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the
grounds of their language under European law.

"It says in the Belfast Agreement that the Republic would
introduce human rights legislation to at least the
equivalent level of Northern Ireland.

"Nowhere in Northern Ireland are you excluded from holding
property because you can't speak a certain language."

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