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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 12, 2005
McCausland Gets Internet Support
At 01:58 On 11th July 2005 Craig McCausland was attacked in his own home
and gunned down by a UVF murder gang. Shot in front of his partner and her
two young children. Craig was an innocent victim in the most recent and
ongoing loyalist feud between the UVF and the LVF. Craig was never a
member of any paramilitary organisation, this has been confirmed on two
separate occasions by the PSNI.
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News about Ireland & the Irish
DI 10/12/05 Family Of Teenager Murdered By UVF Get Support
DI 10/12/05 Doubt LVF Is Being 'Pushed Off Stage'
NH 10/12/05 Unionist Leaders Endorse Violence
NH 10/12/05 Unionist Argument Is Hard One To Sustain
DI 10/12/05 Ombudsman Asked To Investigate Minister’s Death
IO 10/12/05 Irish Passports Issued To 25,000 In The North
II 10/12/05 Paisley Handshake 'Next Milestone’
BB 10/12/05 Gray Gunmen 'Endangered' Children
GU 10/12/05 The Death Of Doris Day
BT 10/12/05 Terror Bill 'Not Like Internment'
BT 10/12/05 DUP Query Funding For Bloody Sunday Play
DI 10/12/05 Growing Up W/ The IRA; It's Good Enough For Me
IO 10/12/05 Dublin: 5 Newborn Babies With MRSA Infections
GT 10/12/05 OSU Hosts Conference On Irish Studies
BB 10/12/05 Belfast To Bloom With New Artwork
BB 10/12/05 Causeway Visitor Centre Unveiled
Family Of Teenager Murdered By UVF Get Website Support
More than 100,000 messages sent to internet site created to
fight for justice for Craig McCausland who was shot dead
last summer (http://www.justiceforcraig.com/index.htm)
The family of a Protestant teenager murdered by the Ulster
Volunteer Force (UVF) in July have received more than
100,000 expressions of support on a website set up to
highlight the killing.
Craig McCausland (19), from Dhu-Varren Park in west
Belfast, was shot dead on July 11 during the summer feud
between the UVF and rival Loyalist Volunteer Force.
Six people questioned about the killing have been released
The PSNI has failed to make any further arrests since the
end of August.
The Justice for Craig website, set up by the dead man's
family shortly after his murder, has attracted attention
from the United States and the Middle East.
His relatives have thanked everyone who has taken an
interest in the case.
Craig McCausland's cousin Nichola McIlvenny said: "We want
as many people as possible to help us in our fight for
"Craig was an innocent victim of loyalist terrorists. His
mother was also killed by paramilitaries 18 years ago.
"Both injustices have went unpunished by terrorists who can
seemingly operate with impunity."
Details of the murder of Mr McCausland's mother Lorraine
McCausland also appear on the Justice for Craig website.
She was killed by drunken Ulster Defence Association
members in Tyndale Community Centre.
The west Belfast woman was attacked because a close
relative had been jailed for his part in the murder of a
friend of future UDA boss Johnny Adair.
Both McCausland murders are being probed by the respected
human rights organisation British-Irish Rights Watch.
Group director Jane Winter met the McCausland relatives
twice in the past month.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a gun attack that occurred
just 45 minutes after the murder of Mr McCausland was not
connected to the loyalist feud.
Shortly after the father of one was murdered, an attempt
was made to kill a second young man no more than 90 metres
away on Dhu-Varren Crescent.
The UVF gang members who shot Mr McCausland were believed
to have carried out the attack.
However, the incident was not connected to the UVF-LVF
After killing Mr McCausland, the UVF said he had been a
member of the LVF, a claim denied by the organisation and
by his family.
The UVF leader who ordered the shooting lives a short
distance away from the McCausland home.
He is the son-in-law of the leader of the UVF splinter Red
Hand Commando group on west Belfast's Shankill Road.
A teenager is believed to have fired the fatal shots at his
Senior Loyalist Source Casts Doubt On Reports LVF Is Being
'Pushed Off Stage'
A senior loyalist source has cast doubt on reports that
the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) is to disband.
A statement from the organisation on its future is expected
to be made later this week.
It is understood the LVF may announce an end to its
activities but the paramilitary group is expected to stop
short of declaring its intention to disband.
The LVF's summer feud with the much larger Ulster Volunteer
Force (LVF) has been the catalyst for the upcoming
Since July, the UVF has killed four people who it claimed
had LVF connections — Jameson Lockhart, Craig McCausland,
Stephen Paul and Mick Green.
UVF chiefs threatened to continue the bloodshed unless the
LVF ended its activities. LVF bosses were determined not to
be seen to be taking orders from the UVF but, in a bid to
ease the pressure, the organisation agreed to make a
statement on its future.
Ironically, the LVF was on the verge of standing down
before the UVF murdered Jameson Lockhart on July 1.
It has been involved in internal negotiations on its future
since December last year.
A source close to the LVF said the group was not being
"pushed off the stage".
He said: "They aren't going away at the insistence of the
UVF. Any reports that suggest that or that the LVF is going
to disband are wrong.
"The organisation is likely to announce an end to its
activities but only time will tell if that proves
The LVF is strongest in north Armagh, parts of north and
east Belfast, and in north Down. All of its units are
understood to be supportive of the leadership's plans for
The LVF was formed nine years ago by Portadown loyalist
Billy Wright. He had been the UVF boss in mid-Ulster but
fell out with his colleagues and was expelled by them.
His group was responsible for a double murder in
Poyntzpass, Co Armagh, in 1998.
The LVF called a ceasefire in that year and urged people to
vote "no" in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.
Ignoring its own ceasefire, the LVF also went on to kill
the journalist Martin O'Hagan and Richard Jameson, the UVF
leader in the Portadown area of Co Armagh.
In 1997, members of the Irish National Liberation Army
killed Billy Wright in Long Kesh prison.
The LVF offered the first guns to be decommissioned under
the supervision of General John de Chastelain. Since its
formation in 1996, the LVF has killed 14 people. Ten known
LVF members have been killed in that period.
Unionist Leaders Endorse Violence
(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)
Willie Frazer, spokesman for the Love Ulster campaign and
victims group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, on
his welcoming loyalist paramilitaries "as individuals" to a
rally on October 29.
"There is a difference [between loyalist and republican
paramilitaries] loyalists are not trying to get into the
government. They're not trying to get into the police
force. They're not trying to get 'on-the-runs' returned.
They're not trying to turn justice upside down. They don't
really come into the equation the way the IRA does."
Belfast Orange Order Grand Master Dawson Bailie speaking
about where blame lay for the violence which followed the
disputed Whiterock parade last month.
"The violence I saw at the weekend from the police force
was absolutely shocking. I don't accept any responsibility
for calling people out on the streets to assist us. I feel
Orange Order Grand Master Robert Saulters, drawing a link
between loyalist violence and a growing sense of
disenfranchisement within Protestant communities.
"We may have put the lance in place to lance the boil, but
the boil already existed and was not our making. For years
we have seen nationalists achieve what they want by
violence and the threat of violence. In these circumstances
when frustrated and with no other option we should not be
surprised that some individuals resort to violence."
Leading Ulster Unionist David McNarry speaking after the
loyalist violence surrounding the disputed parade.
"The unionist family no longer trust the British government
to represent their interests at the negotiating table. They
no longer believe the British government share their
concerns, hopes and fears. We feel that we approach
negotiations with one hand tied behind our backs."
October 12, 2005
Unionist Argument Is Hard One To Sustain
(Breidge Gadd, Irish News)
Last week this paper ran an article about loyalist murals
in east Belfast which articulated the list of 'concessions'
to republicans. The article, with its photograph of the
newly erected mural made me sad.
Sad, because the list was rather a pathetic one. It made me
think that people who had to scrape the barrel to find
these examples of discrimination must in themselves be
feeling pretty desperate.
This level of desperation means possibly one of two things.
Either, here is a group of people who have undoubtedly
suffered great injustices – an example would be the black
people in South Africa under apartheid rule – or here is a
group of people so afraid of losing the rest of what they
have that they resort to anything within grasp to
articulate their sense of loss.
The latter and not the former surely must be the case.
Leaving aside these strong feelings for the moment and
focusing on the evidence, it simply is impossible to argue
that Protestants have been institutionally and
systematically discriminated against over the past 30 years
of direct rule.
What they have experienced is the determination of the
British government – both Conservative and Labour
governments – to put right the imbalances generated by the
previous 50 years of unionist discrimination against
Catholics. Righting imbalances at a time when world
economic forces simultaneously eroded the industries that
employed large numbers of Protestant people and their
children was tough luck for the Protestant working class.
As nationalists were given the possibility of equality of
employment opportunity, past certainties about traditional
employment for Protestants simultaneously disappeared. But
no-one can sustain an argument that the British government
set out to deliberately discriminate against Protestants.
No, the list of grievances in the mural reads like a list
of contents from people struggling to adjust to being
knocked off the top-dog podium – a place and a space that
some loyalists believed was their birthright. It reads like
a list written by people with so little self-confidence in
their own ability to succeed that they have to hit out at
perceived gains 'won' by the other side.
Look at some of the key complaints "Army/police stations
closed, home battalions of the RIR disbanded, on-the-runs
allowed to return, Sean Kelly child murderer set free,
Colombia Three remain at liberty".
The first four 'concessions' are the kinds of events that
happen when a peace process is put in place anytime
anywhere. In peacetime we don't need the security buildings
nor the personnel resourcing them that we needed during the
height of the conflict – this is essentially an economic
not a political decision. On-the-runs, the release of Sean
Kelly are arrangements that inevitably happen when
conflict- torn countries move into peace and these
arrangements apply as much to loyalist as to republican
paramilitaries. As for the Colombia Three – this messy
problem for the Irish government is in effect nothing to do
with Northern Ireland but is an issue that will be decided
by the courts in the Republic, courts well-able to take
decisions free from government interference, whether it be
Irish or British.
The rest of the complaint list is the sad bit. Investment
focus on republican areas; bias against Protestant workers
in employment practices; erosion of culture.
For me these grievances personify the pain felt at the
deterioration in the economic and social prosperity and
self-esteem of working-class loyalists and their
realisation that the inexorable rise of nationalist power
and prosperity in the north is here to stay.
Instead of focusing on that hugely significant issue in its
own right the mural typifies a prevalent mindset that is
wedded to blaming others as a way of avoiding
responsibility for working to positively change ones own
There is no doubt that for a myriad of reasons Protestant
working class people have had a tough time.
But it is not only or even primarily for the reasons
articulated in the mural.
And the saddest bit of all is that my saying this will go
unheard. Only Protestant leaders have the authority and
authenticity needed to challenge the mural's story and to
change its artists' future.
October 12, 2005
Ombudsman Is Asked To Investigate The Killing Of A
Presbyterian Minister Who Died Following Severe Beating
From UVF Who Targeted Him Because He Was Homosexual
Gay murder case probe
The Police Ombudsman has been asked to investigate the
murder of a former Presbyterian minister by an Ulster
Volunteer Force police informer.
Nuala O'Loan's office is expected to make an official
announcement within days on whether it will start an
investigation into the death of David Templeton.
The cleric died of a heart attack on March 24, 1997, six
weeks after receiving a severe beating at the hands of a
While recovering in hospital from the attack, the north
Belfast minister told medical staff the names of his
assailants. Staff then gave the names to the RUC.
However, the police failed to take any action against the
UVF gang, which included at least one high-level informant.
The Police Ombudsman has been monitoring the PSNI's failure
to press any charges despite being in possession of this
Mr Templeton was attacked because the UVF discovered he was
In 1995, Customs and Excise discovered an adult gay sex
video in his luggage as he was passing through Belfast
International Airport on a return trip from Amsterdam.
Someone within customs illegally leaked this information to
a Sunday newspaper.
The Police Ombudsman has also been asked to probe whether
RUC detectives had investigated this leak properly.
A spokesman for the ombudsman said: "We have received
correspondence about the Reverend Templeton case, the
contents of which are currently being considered."
A source close to the Templeton investigation told Daily
Ireland that at least one UVF informant had "definitely"
been involved in the killing.
"This man has been involved in a dozen murders since the
early 1990s," said the source.
"He physically murdered Catholic taxi driver Sharon McKenna
in 1993, UVF man Tommy Sheppard in 1996, and Reverend
Templeton in 1997.
"He was commander of the UVF in the Mount Vernon estate in
north Belfast until two years ago.
"A sergeant at Antrim Road police station had been running
him since the early 1990s, although the man is now retired.
"This sergeant knew his informant was involved in a dozen
murders but took no action against him."
Daily Ireland understands that several human-rights
organisations are closely monitoring the Templeton case.
Until his death, the 43-year-old had been the North's
longest-surviving kidney-transplant patient, having had the
transplant from his mother in 1976.
A group of UVF men armed with nail-studded clubs broke into
his north Belfast home on February 7, 1997 and attacked
him. Mr Templeton suffered a fractured skull and two broken
After leaving hospital, he stayed with a friend in south
He appeared to be recovering but later developed deep-vein
thrombosis and later died of a heart attack.
Irish Passports To Be Issued To 25,000 In The North
Up to 25,000 people in Northern Ireland will be issued with
Irish passports this year, it emerged today.
Over 40 post offices across the border will process the
Irish pensioners across Northern Ireland already get free
passports after Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern
announced a waiver scheme in August for all citizens over
Mr Ahern said today: "This year 25,000 people in Northern
Ireland will avail of our new Automated Passport System
through a network of 40 post offices.
"The €27.7m system fully meets all international
specifications and is widely regarded as one of the most
secure in the world today."
Up to 650,000 Irish passports in total will be issued this
year resulting in €33m in revenue.
The Foreign Affairs Department aims to convert all
passports within 10 years from hand-written to machine-
readable versions which can be scanned for biometric data
like fingerprints and eye colour.
Handshake From Paisley 'Next Milestone On The Road To
A HANDSHAKE from Ian Paisley could be the next milestone
towards peace in the North after yesterday's Downing Street
The DUP leader has never shaken the hand of the Taoiseach
or Minister for Foreign Affairs since agreeing in recent
years to meet delegations from the 'foreign government'
operating 100 miles south of Belfast.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed privately last
week the fact that no Irish delegate has ever had their
hand clasped by Big Ian - even though encounters have been
held behind closed doors.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and ministers have twice met Dr
Paisley at the Irish Embassy in Grosvenor Place, London.
But Paisley's movements are minutely choreographed so he
can avoid shaking.
"We are told that he will be coming in that door and that
he will be sitting at that seat and that the meeting can
then begin," a source said. Irish officials are told each
time Dr Paisley will not shake hands.
Paisley is the sole remaining senior Northern politician
refusing to shake hands with political foes.
Mr Ahern last night welcomed what he called his first ever
meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to take
place "out of the shadow of IRA guns".
Speaking at Downing Street after they met for the first
time since confirmation of IRA decommissioning, Mr Ahern
said he hoped to see devolution restored to the North by
spring. Both said they did not want people to lose sight of
how important decommissioning was. Much work still had to
be done before power-sharing. They wanted people on both
sides of the Border to know a crackdown on paramilitary
rackets was well under way. "I think the fact that the
Criminal Assets Bureau is working so well with the Assets
Recovery Agency is tremendous," Mr Ahern said.
and Bernard Purcell
Gray Gunmen 'Endangered' Children
Stray bullets from the gun used to kill ousted UDA leader
Jim Gray could have injured children playing in the area at
the time, the police have said.
Gray, 47, was shot outside his father's home in east
Belfast on 4 October.
Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough said at least
one bullet missed its intended target, adding that Gray was
shot twice in the back.
He said there was "material" suggesting the UDA were
involved. About 170 houses have been visited in the murder
Mr Barraclough said there were children playing in the
vicinity of the murder, which occurred at about 2000 BST.
"At least one round missed Mr Gray and was embedded in the
actual ground next to him," he said.
"I know for a fact, from the witness trawl that we've done
in that area, that the time of night when Mr Gray was shot,
there was a large number of children actually playing on
"Quite clearly the person who fired those rounds had
absolutely no regard whatsoever for those children who were
playing in that street."
Gray was shot dead after being released on bail on charges
of money laundering. The police said Gray had been warned
that he was under threat since his release.
He was living at his father's home in Knockwood Park while
awaiting his court appearance when the killer struck.
On Tuesday night, police returned to the scene of his
killing on the Clarawood estate. They handed out leaflets
and stopped motorists.
Mr Barraclough, who said police were exploring a number of
lines of inquiry regarding a motive for the shooting,
appealed for witnesses to come forward.
"I really want to catch these killers. I think the right
place for them is behind bars in prison for a very long
time," he said.
"We will be doing our very best to get them."
Gray was buried on Tuesday following a service at his
Just 14 men followed the cortege to Roselawn Cemetery,
where he was buried in the same plot as his 19-year-old
Anyone who saw the vehicle believed to have been used in
the shooting, a blue Vauhall Astra, registration number MBZ
2522, is also being urged to contact police.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/12 11:39:50 GMT
© BBC MMV
The Death Of Doris Day
With his penchant for gold earrings and pastel knitwear,
Jim Gray never quite fitted the mould as a loyalist
paramilitary boss. But he certainly lived the lifestyle of
drugs and extreme violence - and last week it finally
caught up with him. Angelique Chrisafis reports
Wednesday October 12, 2005
Inside the modest council house where Jim Gray was shot
dead while unloading his dumb-bells from his silver Mini
Cooper, a tiny crowd of just 14 mourners gathered yesterday
for a private funeral ceremony. In Northern Ireland's
loyalist paramilitary death cult - where brigadiers'
burials are both art-form and pageantry, with hundreds of
mourners and volleys of shots fired into the air by men
dressed as army-surplus clones of the SAS - Gray's muted
goodbye was a sign of how far he had fallen. The shamefully
small send-off from a loyalist estate in east Belfast was
as unbecoming as the hideous acts of violence he had
sanctioned in life.
Gray was once the most flamboyant loyalist godfather in the
Ulster Defence Association, his permatan and bleached
bouffant hair earning him the nickname "Doris Day", though
never to his face. Had he died last year, he would have
been afforded a farewell akin to a state funeral. But his
life and death at the hands of his former loyalist comrades
is a parable of 21st-century Northern Ireland.
For a decade, "Doris" was both the head of the east Belfast
UDA and one of Northern Ireland's flashiest drug dealers, a
paranoid cocaine addict who only accepted banknotes from
drug deals if they were handed to him with the Queen's head
facing up. The "Brigadier of Bling" drove BMWs, ruled
working-class estates with sophisticated extortion rackets
and broke the nose of anyone who looked at him the wrong
way in the pubs that he owned. He was a celebrity gangster
in an organisation mired in racketeering, drug dealing,
extortion and prostitution, and whose declared war against
the IRA was often seen as an afterthought to its criminal
But he was also, it is now suggested by his one-time
loyalist associates, a Special Branch informer, who touted
on his friends. Expelled from the UDA in March for
"treason", he was murdered last week while on bail facing
money-laundering charges. He died the way of many UDA
leaders before him, murdered by his own men in an
organisation that has torn itself apart by feuds, most of
them criminal turf wars rather than ideological splits. But
it was a sign of his total isolation in his final days that
among the six people who were questioned and released over
the murder was a close friend.
This week, instead of the hundreds of newspaper death
notices that normally mark the murder of a loyalist leader
- Gray himself once posted a sympathy notice for a man he
had ordered to be killed - there were only a handful of
messages from his family and former lovers. Instead,
loyalists in east Belfast held a street disco to celebrate
his murder and lit a bonfire to burn an effigy of him with
a curtain ring to represent his gold earring. Even before
he was buried, there were fears that his gravestone would
soon be desecrated.
Jim Gray came from an average family on an average loyalist
estate in east Belfast. In the 1980s, he scrapped his dream
of becoming a professional golfer and focused on working
his way up the UDA, the biggest loyalist paramilitary group
in Northern Ireland.
The UDA had grown up as a loose umbrella for neighbourhood
vigilante groups in working-class Protestant areas in the
1970s, killing Catholics under the cover-name of the Ulster
Freedom Fighters. Gray saw it as a way of getting rich and
acquiring status, allowing him to collect a designer
wardrobe which he would then parade around Belfast.
His life was a bizarre cross between a mafia film and a
Duran Duran video. In the tattoo-tight-T-shirt-and-
moustache world of paramilitary styling, his penchant for
pastel knitwear and Hawaiian shirts was a dangerous game.
"There was always something strange about Jim, wearing
slacks and shoes with no socks, even in winter," the
convicted UDA killer Michael Stone told the Belfast
Gray's apparent bisexuality was always a source of rumours
and jibes in the homophobic circles of the UDA. After his
marriage broke up, his womanising intensified as he tried
to rubbish the taunts. He was caught having sex with a
young woman by two pensioners in the ladies toilets of an
east Belfast working man's club last year.
Even in the UDA's neurotically macho environment - where a
former loyalist drag-artist saw his pet Chihuahua, called
Bambi, shot by rivals - Gray was not afraid to stand out.
He arrived for a UDA meeting with the then Northern Ireland
secretary John Reid in 2002 in a floral shirt with a pink
jumper draped around his shoulders, incurring the wrath of
an incredulous Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, also at the time a
UDA brigadier, who is said to have commented: "That's some
image for our organisation." Adair, whose own dress sense
tended towards football hooligan chic, was later blamed for
having Gray shot in the face. Although Gray's rivals rued
the failure of that assassination attempt in 2002, they
took comfort that they had ruined his looks. Gray spent
£11,000 on plastic surgery to reconstruct his face.
Gray ran his personal criminal empire from an unofficial HQ
at his Avenue One bar opposite the red, white and blue
murals of loyalism's "freedom corner" in east Belfast. He
dealt drugs from Belfast and along Northern Ireland's
monied "gold coast" towards Holywood and Bangor. He made
money from extortion and prostitution and took monthly
trips to Spain to oversee smuggling rackets. Protected by a
trusty gang dubbed the "Spice Boys", he once said he was
not a paramilitary but a "businessman", because plain old
loyalism didn't pay. He lived in a £250,000 flat in a
luxurious gated community near the police headquarters.
For years, Gray epitomised the irony of the crime lord
supposedly fighting for a better society. He met MPs to
discuss prisoners' rights, one minute eating muffins in the
House of Commons tea room and the next, according to his
fellow loyalist delegates, chopping and snorting cocaine in
a five-star London hotel. Before his life was cut short at
47, he had been thinking of investing his money in the
legitimate construction industry which promised to drag
Belfast out of the shadow of the 30-year Troubles in east
Belfast's new "Titanic Quarter".
The same year that Gray met John Reid as part of a loyalist
delegation, his 19-year-old son Jonathan died of a drugs
overdose while on holiday with him in Thailand. Gray had
taken "JJ" out of his top Belfast grammar school at 16 and
introduced him to drugs and paramilitarism. His son died in
a hotel room surrounded by prostitutes after taking a
cocktail of steroids and heroin, after his father, in the
same hotel, allegedly did not reply to mobile calls for
help. It has been said that Gray, famed for his foreign
holidays and cruises, travelled to Thailand regularly as a
sex tourist procuring teenaged boys. He tried to cover up
the way his son died, according to Jonathan's mother, who
had left Grey when her son was four. She told journalists
that she never forgave him.
Gray was not a "trigger-man"; the worst put-down levelled
at him by the foot-soldiers was that he had never fired a
shot in anger during the "war". But he certainly gave
orders to others to maim or kill on his behalf. In 1992, he
is said to have ordered the then east Belfast brigadier Ned
McCreery to be shot dead, allegedly for being a police
informer. Gray conveniently took over McCreery's pub and
his job as boss of east Belfast. Then in January 2001,
Geordie Legg, the UDA man who had carried out the McCreery
killing, met an ugly death after he allegedly stood in the
way of Gray's drugs empire. Legg was tortured and beaten by
Gray and others in one of Gray's Belfast pubs, the Bunch of
Grapes. His body was rolled up in a carpet taken from the
bar and dumped on the outskirts of the city. He had been
repeatedly stabbed and his killers had tried to sever his
head. The bar was subsequently set on fire to destroy the
evidence of torture. Gray went to the funeral to offer his
His violent rages, too, were legendary. He was banned from
one golf club in Belfast after he took a club to the head
of a man who had beaten him. Once, when things weren't
going his way, he is reported to have pulled down his pants
and defecated on the 18th green. He also liked urinating in
the glasses of people in his pub. Once, Gray and his gang
of drunken loyalists gatecrashed a wedding reception at a
hotel near Belfast. When the bride's father asked them to
keep the noise down, Gray ordered the old man to be dragged
outside and battered. During an outdoor Rod Stewart concert
at Stormont, Gray was witnessed leaving the VIP enclosure
to pummel a man in the crowd, repeatedly stamping on his
head in front of the rest of the audience, before calmly
returning to his seat.
In recent years, when he was spending £2,000 a week on
cocaine, his paranoid rages worsened. He kept money in
shoe-boxes and believed people were plotting to kill him.
In 2003, he led a campaign of intimidation against the
Sunday World, a Sunday tabloid which was exposing
paramilitary drug dealing. The paper had faced down the
loyalists for five weeks when one night one of the paper's
senior journalists, Jim McDowell, opened his front door to
a policeman who told him Gray was standing in his pub, the
Avenue One bar, with "more snow up his nose than the Swiss
Alps in January", advocating sending two men to McDowell's
house to shoot him dead. McDowell and his family had to
leave the country for two weeks while Gray cooled off.
For more than a decade, all this was apparently compatible
with Gray's high position in the UDA. But in March, after a
meeting of the leadership, he was expelled. Jackie
McDonald, the UDA leader who plays golf with the husband of
Irish president Mary McAleese, and who wants to turn the
organisation away from drugs and towards community work,
said Gray was guilty of "treason" and "building a criminal
empire outside the UDA". Gray - who once walked into a car
showroom with a carrier-bag full of cash from drug deals
and ordered three BMWs - was an obvious first target for
the UDA's much-vaunted drive to clean up its organisation.
Late last year, after years of bloody UDA feuds, the
government had finally recognised the group's ceasefire
amid scepticism in Northern Ireland, but with Downing
Street hoping it might be the first step towards curbing
crime and drawing the organisation back into the fringes of
the political fold. The UDA now wanted to show its good
But many had doubts. "Getting expelled from the UDA for
criminality is like getting expelled from the Ku-Klux-Klan
for racism," said the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell at the
time. The government's anti-racketeering Assets Recovery
Agency was moving in on Gray. Some said the UDA wanted to
distance itself or was angry that his wealth had not been
pumped back into the "cause".
Eight days after he was ousted, Gray decided to flee to
Spain. He never made it. He was arrested in his silver Mini
Cooper in County Down, apparently heading for the Irish
border, with a banker's draft for €10,000 and £3,000 in
cash. He was accused of money-laundering, possession of
criminal property and concealment of criminal property. He
tried to tell investigators that his wealth came from a
lucky break in a Las Vegas casino and that he had the
In jail on remand, Gray was said to be cracking up,
desperate for cocaine and swinging between strutting off
for visits in a pink shirt and sitting in tears in his cell
saying no one liked him anymore.
Then Gray made what loyalists say was his worst mistake. He
applied for bail. Police cautioned against it, saying he
was under a death threat. By now, even his former closest
allies were convinced he was going to turn supergrass. Some
loyalists wanted to kill him to shut him up; an array of
others had vendettas against him. In September, Gray was
granted bail, to the outrage of local politicians, some of
whom wrote to the lord chief justice demanding an
He was released on condition that he would live at his
father's modest home on a quiet loyalist estate in east
Belfast. He was not allowed to go out at night and was a
sitting target. He still thought he was invincible, though,
frequenting his favourite Chinese restaurant, answering his
door in nothing but gold jewellery and white shorts. One
weekend, he drove to the heart of his former stronghold to
verbally abuse his replacement brigadier's wife before
screeching away with three cars of UDA men in hot pursuit.
He was, in the words of one loyalist, "a dead man walking".
On October 4, at around 8pm, he was shot five times in the
back at close range while he was carrying weight-lifting
equipment from his car. As his body lay on his front lawn,
crowds gathered to photograph the corpse. One spectator
said down his mobile phone: "There's nothing like good
news. I bet you're dancing now."
Last of the caricature brigadiers?
Gray was murdered at a volatile time for loyalism. During
July and August, the Ulster Volunteer Force had killed four
men in a feud with the smaller splinter group, the Loyalist
Volunteer Force, one of whom was shot dead while moving
debris from the rubble of the demolished Avenue One bar,
which Gray had sold. A teenager was killed in north Belfast
in August in what is thought to have been a sectarian
murder by loyalists. During riots last month, both the UVF
and the UDA opened fire with automatic weapons on army and
police in the worst street violence seen in Belfast for 10
years. If Gray's murder is found to have been sanctioned by
the UDA leadership - who have the convenient alibi of all
having been at a meeting at a south Belfast bar when he was
shot - the Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain will be
under pressure to review the group's ceasefire.
But whether Gray was the last of the caricature celebrity
brigadiers remains to be seen. Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, the
former UDA leader who tops the loyalist death list, is in
exile in Bolton. The 5ft 3in bodybuilder, known as the "Wee
Man", was recently back in prison in Manchester accused of
threatening violence against other exiled members of his
gang. The night he was released last month, he beat up his
wife, Gina Adair, and is awaiting sentencing. He would like
to return to Belfast, the only place where he can be
"somebody", but his one foray into Belfast in February, for
a quick photograph in front of a paramilitary mural, was
short and sharp.
With Gray dead, the most colourful figure on the scene is
Andre Shoukri, the UDA's north Belfast brigadier, known as
"the Egyptian". The 27-year-old, with a Belfast mother and
Coptic Christian Egyptian father, flaunts his smart suits,
denies stories of his embarrassing gambling habit and is
the UDA pin-up. He once allegedly charged women in pubs and
clubs £5 for his autograph on shirts, photographs and
loyalist emblems in the run up to July 12.
Meanwhile, there are no murals to the memory of Doris Day,
only graffiti on a wall in east Belfast reading: "Jim Gray
RIP - Rest in Pink".
Terror Bill 'Not Like Internment'
By Brian Walker
12 October 2005
The controversial plan to hold Islamic terrorist suspects
for up to three months does not resemble emergency powers
at the height of the Troubles, Home Secretary Charles
Clarke has insisted.
"It is not internment. It is nothing like what happened in
Northern Ireland," he told a heated meeting with MPs.
The Government was under further attack as the new
Terrorism Bill containing the new measures was published
Because of continuing high level protests from many Labour
MPs and others, the Government may be forced to concede
that a High Court judge should hear police applications for
continuing detention rather than a district judge, the
English equivalent of a resident magistrate.
In fierce exchanges with Labour as well as Opposition
members of the Home Affairs Committee, Mr Clarke eventually
admitted he "did not have a fixation on the 90 day limit".
He also tried to reassure MPs that the new scaled-down
offence of "glorifying terrorism" would not catch
supporters of causes tolerated or approved of by many in
Critics claim those who back force to win a united Ireland
within the Bill's 20 year time span could fall foul of the
DUP Query Funding For Bloody Sunday Play
By Clare Weir
12 October 2005
An Ulster MP today questioned why tens of thousands of
pounds has been gifted to allow a play about Bloody Sunday
to be staged at a Dublin theatre.
Gregory Campbell hit out as it emerged that Bloody Sunday:
Scenes From An Inquiry has found an unlikely financial
backer in the form of the British Council, responsible for
promoting UK culture around the world.
The body has provided almost €30,000 (£20,000) to bring the
production to the Abbey Theatre.
The play, based on public hearings from the inquiry at
Derry's Guildhall, is directed by Nicholas Kent and
presents the story in the form of a courtroom drama.
It was due to make its Irish premiere this week as part of
the Dublin Theatre Festival.
The council's Irish home is based in Ballsbridge - not far
from Merrion Square where the original British Embassy was
set ablaze following the killing of 13 civilians in Derry
by British paratroopers on January 31, 1972.
Tony Reilly, the director of the British Council in
Ireland, said that recent political advances have meant it
The play, starring Sorcha Cusack, has already been staged
at the Tricycle Theatre in London as well as in Belfast and
But Mr Campbell, the DUP's East Londonderry MP, has asked
why so much money has been given.
In the past he has been a constant critic of the Saville
Inquiry into the atrocity, which has cost millions of
pounds over its six-year run. The inquiry is due to deliver
its findings next year.
"I would like to know if similar monies were given to
enable the play to be staged in Belfast, Londonderry or
indeed London - which are all in Britain," he said.
"If not then there are serious questions to be asked. This
is a lot of money on one performance."
Growing Up With The IRA Means It's Good Enough For Me
I grew up with the IRA. Not in the IRA – never had the
nerve – but with the IRA. I remember as an 11-year-old
visiting my brother in Dundalk in my St Mary's uniform when
he was on the run.
He was ten years older than me, but at that time it seemed
much more. These days you wouldn't think there were two
years between us, never mind ten.
As he sat speaking to our mother in an upstairs lounge, he
leaned forward and his jacket moved to the side to reveal a
handgun in the waistband of his trousers. As I sat there
eating crisps and drinking Coca-Cola I thought it was the
coolest thing I'd ever seen.
Occasionally my brother would venture home for a visit and
he'd give me and my brothers 50p each to stand at strategic
corners near our home in Lenadoon looking out for foot
patrols. Which was nice.
Not so nice were the late-night visits by British soldiers
with their faces blackened who ordered us out of bed.
As we left our bedrooms, soldiers would take up position at
the windows in the hope that my brother would make a home
visit in the wee small hours.
Downstairs we were marched – 14 of us in all – and herded
into the front room where we sat through the night in total
silence – over-15s on the chairs, everybody else on the
floor – with a soldier on guard duty at the door.
I remember that in the dark, and with my mother and father
staring powerless at the floor, I would run private films
in my head to pass the time.
The movies involved me downing the guard with a Bruce Lee
leg-throw and incapacitating him with a James Bond karate
chop to the neck.
I'd relieve the stricken soldier of his weapon and,
switching quickly to full automatic, cut a swathe through
his colleagues, downstairs and up, before they knew what
When Lenadoon was a no-go area, young guys would walk the
streets in snorkel anoraks carrying armalites with women's
stockings hanging from them (something about a twist grip,
They used to crouch in the gardens of houses in Carrigart
Avenue near the Suffolk Road in order to keep an eye on the
commandeered Woodbourne Hotel, where at the windows of
upstairs rooms British army snipers and UDA men rubbed
As we played handball in the evenings against the big gable
wall of Blessed Oliver Plunkett school, IRA men would drill
in the 'echoing hall' – the enclosed courtyard where pupils
would gather in the morning to be let into school.
As we thudded the tennis ball off the bricks, the stamp of
marching feet and the call of "clé, deas, clé" drifted
across the school yard.
Later, as a young journalist, I sat across the table from
IRA men that I knew as friends and neighbours and spoke to
them about war, about politics, about death and about dying
and it struck me, as it does up to today, how the IRA was
able to attract the brightest and the best from my estate
and from many others.
These were no mumbling, jewel-encrusted louts, but
intelligent and earnest men on a deadly serious mission.
Twenty years of growing up with the IRA, of seeing and
knowing the men with the guns but never having them pointed
at me, has had its effect.
I recall watching news of the Loughgall ambush in 1987 at
home on TV and feeling sick to the pit of my stomach.
Next day it occurred to me that three years earlier, I had
sat in a bar on the Lisburn Road as news of the mortar
attack on Newry barracks came through and when customers
started shouting anti-IRA remarks at the television, I felt
more angry at the men shouting at the TV than I did at the
men who had fired the mortars.
Though I was struck powerfully by the sense that this was
wrong, more powerful was the sense that there was nothing I
could do about it, that some inchoate notion of comradeship
or shared experience picked up as a schoolboy on the
streets of Lenadoon was stronger than my adult
intellectualising that all violence was wrong.
So it was a relief for me, as the statement emerged
yesterday and the prospect of the IRA going out of business
loomed, to feel... nothing.
No vague, guilty pangs of regret or sorrow, no sense of
being left abandoned or unprotected. Rather, it seemed to
me that this was how it should be – should have been for
quite a few years, in fact.
I'm just sorry now that it's all over that I never told
lies about the IRA the way so many journalists did because
maybe today I'd be the toast of Fleet Street.
I was notorious as having the worst republican contacts of
any journalist in Ireland because the makey-uppy
'republican sources' route was never open to me – I just
couldn't do it, for one thing because I had to look them in
the eye in the supermarket aisle or down the pub; and for
another thing because none of them ever told lies to me.
Which is why when I asked them yesterday if it was really
over and they said yes, it was good enough for me.
Read Robin Livingstone's Here's The Thing in tomorrow's
Five Newborn Babies In Isolation With MRSA Infections
12/10/2005 - 07:34:28
Five babies at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin
have reportedly been isolated after testing positive for
the MRSA 'superbug'.
Reports this morning said the bacterium had been detected
on the infants' skin, but none of them had fallen ill as a
MRSA only becomes dangerous if it infects a wound or enters
the bloodstream, but the children have been isolated as
they can still spread the illness to other people.
Meanwhile, inspections of private nursing homes in the mid-
west and north-east have reportedly found 35 residents with
This morning's reports said the bacterium was found to be
present in 11 nursing homes in the mid-west, two in Cavan
and three in Monaghan.
OSU Hosts Conference On Irish Studies
By the OSU News Service
The 21st-annual meeting of the American Conference for
Irish Studies, Western Region will meet Friday through
Sunday at Oregon State University's Center for the
Humanities. The theme of this year's conference is "Women
of Some Importance."
The keynote speaker is Northern Irish dramatist Nicola
McCarthney. A native of Belfast, she has worked in Glasgow,
Scotland, as well as Belfast, London and Dublin. Scott
Palmer, founding artistic director of the Glasgow Repertory
Co. and now an OSU faculty member, will introduce
Attendees from France and Northern Ireland and scholars
from American colleges and universities including Boston
College, the University of Notre Dame, Baylor University,
Pennsylvania State University, Kansas State University and
Stanford University will present papers. Four of the papers
will discuss the work of James Joyce.
Other conference highlights are:
• Dawn Duncan of Concordia University in South Dakota will
perform her monologue "Clara Dillon Darrow, Irish-American
Pioneer." Darrow was a suffragist and founder of Votes for
Women in the Dakota Territories, and a cousin of Clarence
Darrow and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
• OSU's University Theatre will revive Elizabeth Kuti's
"Treehouses." Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and
Saturday in the Withycombe Hall lab theater. Tickets will
be available at the door.
• Tina Bull and singers of the OSU music department will
perform at 5:30 p.m Friday at the Center for the
• There will be a screening of two short films from Ireland
and Northern Ireland at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Center for
A complete program, including registration form, is
available at oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre.
The conference is sponsored by the Consul General of
Ireland/San Francisco, OSU's Center for the Humanities, the
national American Conference for Irish Studies and several
Belfast To Bloom With New Artwork
A humble flower is set to dominate the Belfast skyline in
three years time.
A 45-metre high structure, depicting a wild bloom, is to be
erected at Broadway roundabout, as a symbol of the
regeneration of the city.
It will be the centrepiece for a major new roads scheme in
the west of the city, and will be visible for miles after
dark when the towering structure is lit up.
Commissioned by Belfast City Council, Trillian is the
brainchild of Californian artist Ed Carpenter, whose
proposal was chosen from hundreds of other submissions.
Carpenter said he felt the image of a flower could
represent a post-Troubles city.
"It represents germination for the future," he explained.
"It represents growth, transformation, evolution, and these
are all subjects which are universal and which we can
identify with and particularly in a city which has had some
negative press around the world, this can be a very
positive symbol both internally and externally."
The artwork will complement plans to install a new
underpass at Broadway, linking the M1 motorway with the
Carpenter said he had been trying to visualise the new
roads structure and "make a physical gesture" which would
be an icon for the city of Belfast.
"It will provide a kind of very optimistic and memorable
large scale monument which will be visible from a great
distance night and day and which can be identified with by
the people of Belfast," he said.
Carpenter, who lives with his wife and two children in the
Coast Range mountains west of Portland, Oregon, has been
responsible for many major pieces of art throughout the
These include Florida's Orlando Tower; the Fishbird Bridge
in Portland, Oregon; Broadway Gateway in Denver, Colorado
and Arizona's Grasshopper Bridge.
While an interest in light has been central to most of
Carpenter's work, he also enjoys projects which require new
approaches and skills.
This has led to an increasing variety in his commissions,
using a wide range of sites and materials.
Trillian will be made of polycarbonate with steel trusses,
and will be supported by steel cables.
Carpenter explained: "The delicacy of nature and the
strength of human resolve are simultaneously suggested in
graceful lines and robust steel.
"Perched and leaning, Trillian suggests life in the
Councillor Bernie Kelly of the council's arts sub-committee
said: "This new landmark for Broadway will create a unique
identity in this area of renewal and regeneration and
engender a real sense of ownership.
"It will also help to create a cultural legacy for the
future and enhance the profile of our creative industries,
artists and craftspeople."
The next phase of the artwork will be mainly funded by the
Department for Social Development along with the Department
for Regional Development and the Arts Council.
The proposed landmark is subject to an official
confirmation of funding.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/11 12:17:38 GMT
© BBC MMV
Causeway Visitor Centre Unveiled
Plans for a new £12m visitors' centre at the Giant's
Causeway have been unveiled in Belfast.
The winning design for the new centre at the County Antrim
landmark was submitted by Dublin based architect Roisin
It was selected following an international competition
which attracted more than 200 entries from architects
across the world.
A fire destroyed the original centre at the causeway in
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the project was
one of the most important developments for tourism in
Northern Ireland in recent years.
"This design is a stunning piece of architecture, providing
a unique space for visitors from all over the world to
appreciate the natural beauty of Northern Ireland's only
World Heritage Site," he said.
The planned building is designed to merge into the contours
of the landscape so as not to disturb the view.
Northern Ireland Tourist Board chairman Tom McGrath said
the new centre would enhance the experience of visiting the
"Having now seen the winning design I am extremely
optimistic that the new visitor facilities will be
acclaimed by local and international visitors alike," he
The causeway is Northern Ireland's top tourist attraction,
with nearly 500,000 visitors a year.
Earlier this year, the body responsible for the designation
of World Heritage Sites received a new plan for the Giant's
The management plan was requested by Unesco following its
mission to the causeway in 2003.
The plan set out how government, the National Trust, Moyle
District Council and others would work together to ensure
the interests of the causeway, its visitors and local
residents, were all catered for.
The Giant's Causeway's unique rock formations of rugged
symmetrical columns have, for millions of years, stood as a
natural rampart against the ferocity of Atlantic storms.
The "discovery" of the causeway was announced in a paper to
the Royal Society in 1693.
At that time, there was furious debate over whether the
causeway had been created by men with picks and chisels, by
nature, or by the efforts of a giant called Finn.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/11 19:17:47 GMT
© BBC MMV
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