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October 07, 2005

McGuinness Describes Talks As Positive

Jim (Doris Day) Gray from Daily Ireland

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DJ 10/07/05 McGuinness Describes Talks As 'Positive'
NH 10/07/05 Loyalists Hold On To Weaponry
DI 10/07/05 Detective Refuses To Deny Gray Was An Informant
DI 10/07/05 Loyalist – Gray Murder Was By A Close Friend
BB 10/07/05 IMC Will 'Judge IRA's Commitment'
DI 10/07/05 Armagh Real IRA And CIRA In Merger Plan
BB 10/07/05 Orange Halls Get Rates Exemption
BT 10/07/05 Adams Hits Out At Assets Swoop
BT 10/07/05 We Won't Be Distracted: Adams
BT 10/07/05 Quiet Farmer Calmly Looks After IRA's Millions
BT 10/07/05 Bid To Break IRA Money Laundering
DJ 10/07/05 Blair Should Tell Dup Where To Go - Says Durkan
PD 10/07/05 Coiste Spokesman Speaks in Cleveland


McGuinness Describes Downing St. Talks As 'Positive'

Friday 7th October 2005

Martin McGuinness told the 'Journal' last night that the
key focus of his party's talks with Tony Blair in London
yesterday was the need for the speedy reestablishment of
the North's powersharing institutions.

Mr. McGuinness, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, and president
Gerry Adams led a party delegation to Downing Street for
talks with the British prime minister and Northern Ireland
secretary of state Peter Hain.

The talks, said the Mid-Ulster MP, had been "good and
positive." "The meeting was a crucially important one which
provided an opportunity to review recent developments and
to discuss how progress can be made," he said.

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

"Key to making progress is the British government honouring
its commitments on policing, demilitarisation, on-the-runs
(OTRs) and the right of citizens to live free from
sectarian harassment. We also presented the British prime
minister with an equality document recently produced by the

"Our discussions also focussed on the widespread sectarian
attacks against Catholics by unionist paramilitaries and
killings by those organisations.

"We also pointed to the fact that the DUP has no difficulty
sitting on commissions with members of those unionist
paramilitary organisations."

The MId-Ulster MP also confirmed that the party delegation
raised the issue of PEACE III funding for the North and
border counties with Messrs. Blair and Hain.

He said: "We were assured by the British Prime Minister
that it will move to ensure that the application for PEACE
III funding is processed quickly.

"This is good news for the many peace and reconciliation
projects which are dependant on EU funding.

"This week, in Brussels, there was obvious concern that the
hundreds of millions of euro potentially available for
these projects might be lost if the British Government did
not apply for it.

"We will be returning to this matter with the British
government in the time ahead, and both governments should
be pressing this issue with the EU in the time ahead."


Loyalists Hold On To Weaponry

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

Following General John de Chastelain's statement that IRA
weapons are a thing of the past, Barry McCaffrey asks if
and when loyalist paramilitaries will follow suit and
catalogues evidence of the huge arsenal they hold.

Despite first engaging with General John De Chastelain
eight years ago the UDA and UVF has still not
decommissioned a single bullet or ounce of explosives.

The Canadian general has admitted that he has not held
talks with UVF go-between Billy Hutchinson in two years.

Mr De Chastelain said that while he has held talks with the
UDA-linked UPRG, there is no sign that organisation is
preparing to decommission any of its weapons.

While there are no official records as to what weaponry the
UVF and UDA possesses, security sources believe that both
groups maintain a significant arsenal.

The UVF is thought to have at least 80 AK47 rifles and
around 100 eastern European sub-machine guns based on the
Israeli Uzi weapon.

It is estimated to have some 500 handguns and 180 grenades,
the majority of which are believed to have come from a
South African shipment in January 1988.

Between 1979 and 1986 the UVF received around 100 colt
commando rifles, 100 Ingram and MAC-10 sub machine-guns and
100 magnum handguns from loyalist supporters in Canada.

Some security experts estimate that the UVF possesses up to
two tonnes of Powergel plastic explosives, stolen from
quarries in Britain over the years.

In June 2000, 400lbs of UVF explosives were uncovered after
a police raid on the New Mossley estate in north Belfast.

In February 2001 more UVF bombs were uncovered after a
search in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast uncovered
a 'coffee jar' bomb, under-car booby trap device and a bomb
hidden inside a fire extinguisher. It also holds on to
hundreds of home-made sub-machines engineered illegally
throughout the Troubles.

In November 1993 a major UVF arms shipment from Poland was
uncovered in Teesport in the north of England.

The shipment included 320 AK47s with 60,000 rounds of
ammunition, 500 hand grenades, 53 pistols with 14,000
rounds of ammunition, two tonnes of plastic explosives
(thought to have been Semtex) and several thousand

It was later claimed that the arms shipment had been part
of an MI6 'sting' operation.

Senior UVF sources later admitted privately that while the
discovery was a 'set back', other shipments had got

In the 1980s British intelligence allowed loyalists to
smuggle in a huge arms shipment from South Africa.

In January 1988 the UVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance combined
to smuggle in a consignment of 200 AK47 assault rifles, 90
Browning pistols, 500 fragmentation grenades, 30,000 rounds
of ammunition and 12 RPG rocket launchers.

The UDA's portion of weapons were recovered after police
stopped senior Belfast loyalist Davy Paine and two others
in three cars in Portadown.

The UVF later lost the majority of its share of the weapons
after they were recovered in the Ligoniel area of north

However the Ulster Resistance weapons were never recovered
and some, including rocket launchers, were later passed
onto Johnny Adair's 'C' Company.

In February 1997 engineer Denis Lindop was jailed for 10
years for manufacturing guns and ammunition at his
Hollywood home in Co Down.

Lindop, who was described in court as a 'UVF quarter
master' had built a gun factory behind his garage where a
cache of 68 guns and component parts for hundreds of other
guns were found in 1995.

Lindop's brother, Desmond, a former British Aerospace
engineer from Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, was cleared of
conspiring to manufacture guns.

A search of his home at the time of his arrest revealed
decommissioned gun components, but no home-made weapons.

Desmond Lindop had been arrested in April 1995 close to his
brother's house where police found 12 Sten magazines, 400
bullets and 1,000 primers in his car.

Although acquitted on the main charges, Desmond Lindop was
convicted of contravening his firearms certificate and
fined £1,000.

In May 2000 European Union funding was withdrawn from a
loyalist prisoners' group after a raid on its offices in
Ballymoney found a rifle, booby-trap device, stun gun,
three replica weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.

In April 2004 police recovered a heavy calibre Bren machine
gun at Bushmills in Co Antrim.

The weapon is believed to have belonged to the UVF.

However the UDA also received home-made weapons.

In the early 1970s it carried out a number of sectarian
attacks using a home-made machine gun known as the
'Whiteabbey Widowmaker'.

It is understood the weapons were made by loyalists working
in some of the north's major engineering factories.

Throughout the 1980s the UDA carried out a number of raids
on British army bases across the north stealing hundreds of

While some of the weapons were recovered, others were used
in a number of sectarian murders.

In 1989 the UDA used a British army handgun to murder
Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

The Browning 9mm pistol was one of 12 weapons stolen from
the British Army's Palace barracks in August 1987.

UDR soldier Steven Fletcher was later arrested in the
Republic and found to be in possession of another handgun
stolen from the Palace Barracks armoury. Fletcher was
jailed for five years in April 1988.

During the trial, he claimed he had sold the guns to
members of the UDA at a drinking club on the Shankill.

In 1990 former UDR soldier Samuel McCoubry was jailed for
14 years for operating the largest weapons factory ever
found in the north.

More than 30 Sten guns and parts for over 1,000 Uzi-type
rapid-fire machine guns were found during a search of
McCoubry's farm outside Ballynahinch.

Up to 800 machine guns were being completed on McCoubry's
premises at the time of his arrest.

Four bullet manufacturing machines were also uncovered
during the search.

McCoubry is thought to have been manufacturing guns for
loyalist paramilitaries for nearly 20 years.

It later emerged he had been subsidised through LEDU (the
Local Enterprise Development Unit) in his legitimate saw-
making business.

Both the UDA and UVF are understood to have received
weapons from McCoubry.

The UDA is thought to possess at least 100 Uzi submachine
guns smuggled from arms dealers in the former Soviet bloc.

It is also thought to have around 100 AK47 rifles and 180
Soviet hand-grenades which also came from the Middle East.

In the early 1990s it carried out a number of rocket
attacks on the offices and homes of Sinn Féin councillors,
as well as an attack on a canteen used by republicans in
Crumlin Road jail.

In January 2003 a UDA arms cache was uncovered containing
an improvised undercar booby trap device, mercury tilt
switches, timers and assorted bomb making equipment.

Between 1999 and 2002 Johnny Adair's 'C' Company is
understood to have received a number of shipments of
eastern European guns through a weapons dealer in

In 2003 masked men were photographed with the weapons for
Adair's 'Christmas calendar' .The UDA is also believed to
have received weapons from right wing groups based in
Britain, including Combat 18.

October 7, 2005


This article appeared first in the October 6, 2005 edition
of the Irish News.


Detective Refuses To Deny Gray Was An Informant

Ciarán Barnes

The PSNI has refused to comment on reports that murdered
Ulster Defence Association boss Jim Gray was a police
informant. The refusal has raised suspicions of collusion
into his death.

At a press conference yesterday, Detective Superintendent
George Hamilton – the man heading the murder investigation
– refused to deny that the 47-year-old had been an

Loyalists have claimed Mr Gray began passing information to
the PSNI after being thrown out of the UDA and arrested on
money-laundering charges in April.

However, there are suspicions Mr Gray may have been working
for the security services for the last five years.

A catalogue of dropped charges and lenient sentences for
serious offences adds weight to these claims.

In 2002, Mr Gray was stopped in a car with an ornamental
sword. He was charged with unlawfully having an offensive
weapon in public but the charges were dropped when the case
reached court two years later.

In December last year, Mr Gray was stopped in a car with
bags of cocaine but no charges were brought against him.

In January this year, he appeared in court charged with
striking a PSNI officer with his car. He was found guilty,
being fined £150 (€220) and given three penalty points.

Detectives were also aware Mr Gray ordered the 1992 murder
of east Belfast UDA boss Ned McCreery, although Mr Gray was
never charged in connection with the killing.

Geordie Legge, the man who murdered Ned McCreery, was
beaten to death in 2001 by Mr Gray and two other men in an
east Belfast pub that Mr Gray part-owned. Again, no charges
were ever brought against him.

After being arrested in April on money-laundering charges,
Mr Gray is understood to have provided detectives with a
detailed breakdown of the UDA's financial operations in
east Belfast. It was these admissions that sealed his fate.

Sinn Féin assembly member Alex Maskey said that, given what
Mr Gray knew, it was likely that the security services
could have set up the loyalist.

Mr Maskey said: "There are a number of people, other than
those in the UDA, who would have liked to see Jim Gray

"He had been given cover for a number of years and could
have revealed a lot of things that people in certain
quarters would not want to be made public.

"Jim Gray had access to information that would have put a
red face on both loyalists and securocrats."

Four men and two women have been arrested in connection
with Mr Gray's murder.

One of them is reported to be a close associate of the ex-
UDA leader. Another is thought to be the new boss of the
east Belfast UDA.

Loyalist sources have said Mr Gray was set up by former
friends who had also been expelled from the east Belfast
UDA in April.

Prior to his murder, Mr Gray had been warned a number of
times that his life was in danger.

The PSNI has said he was not under dedicated protection but
that he had to report to a PSNI station five times a week
as part of his bail conditions.

Ulster Political Research Group spokesman Frankie
Gallagher, who gives political advice to the east Belfast
UDA, compared the dead man to a tyrant.

He said he condemned the killing but added that there was a
sense of relief in east Belfast that Jim Gray was dead.

In December last year, Mr. Gray was stopped in a car with
bags of cocaine but no charges were brought against him.

In January this year, he appeared in court charged with
striking a PSNI officer with his car. He was found guilty,
being fined £150 (€220) and given three penalty points.

Detectives were also aware Mr Gray ordered the 1992 murder
of east Belfast UDA boss Ned McCreery, although Mr Gray was
never charged in connection with the killing.

Geordie Legge, the man who murdered Ned McCreery, was
beaten to death in 2001 by Mr Gray and two other men in an
east Belfast pub that Mr Gray part-owned.

Again, no charges were ever brought against him.

After being arrested in April on money-laundering charges,
Mr Gray is understood to have provided detectives with a
detailed breakdown of the UDA's financial operations in
east Belfast. It was these admissions that sealed his fate.

Sinn Féin assembly member Alex Maskey said that, given what
Mr Gray knew, it was likely that the security services
could have set up the loyalist.

Mr Maskey said: "He had been given cover for a number of
years and could have revealed a lot of things that people
in certain quarters would not want to be made public.

"Jim Gray had access to information that would have put a
red face on both loyalists and securocrats."

Four men and two women have been arrested in connection
with Mr Gray's murder.

One of them is reported to be a close associate of the ex-
UDA leader.

Loyalist sources have said Mr Gray was set up by former
friends who had also been expelled from the east Belfast
UDA in April.

Prior to his murder, Mr Gray had been warned a number of
times that his life was in danger.

The PSNI has said he was not under dedicated protection but
that he had to report to a PSNI station five times a week
as part of his bail conditions.


Loyalist Sources Say Gray Murder Was Carried Out By A Close

Milltown cemetery killer Michael Stone insists Jim Gray was
working for the PSNI

Ciarán Barnes

The murder of former UDA leader Jim Gray is believed to
have been carried out by a close friend.

Loyalist sources have indicated the man, who was also
responsible for killing five Catholics in the 1992 Ormeau
Road betting shop massacre, murdered Gray in a bid to be
readmitted to the UDA.

He was expelled from the paramilitary organisation in March
along with Gray and four other allies.

One of those allies set up Tuesday evening's murder, also
in an attempt to be accepted back into the UDA.

Four men and two women have been arrested in connection
with the Gray murder.

These include a business associate of Gray and the new
leader of the UDA in east Belfast – a position that Gray
held from the mid-1990s until earlier this year.

Murder squad detectives are in no doubt that the 47-year-
old was set up.

He was shot five times in the back as he moved weights from
a car into his father's house on Knockwood Park in east
Belfast. Two gunmen were lying in wait for him.

Loyalists in east Belfast have long held suspicions that
Gray's close friend and killer is a police agent.

In recent years he has had murder charges against him
dropped, and later avoided jail despite being caught with
bags of cocaine and cannabis.

A loyalist source said: "These guys murdered Jim Gray
because they wanted back into the UDA.

"After they were expelled from the UDA they tried joining
the Ulster Volunteer Force [UVF], but were refused.

"These men have been paramilitaries all their lives, they
know no other lifestyle and they were determined to get
back into the UDA even it meant killing their friend."

In a newspaper interview yesterday the UDA's Milltown
cemetery killer Michael Stone insisted Jim Gray was working
for the PSNI.

The man heading the murder investigation, Detective
Superintendent George Hamilton, refused to deny this when
asked at a press conference on Wednesday by Daily Ireland.

There is a general belief that Gray turned informant after
being arrested on money laundering charges in April.

He gave the PSNI a complete breakdown of the UDA's finances
in east Belfast.

This is what sealed his fate, but there are suspicions Gray
may have been working for the security agencies for much

He was in court on a number of occasions during the last
two years, only to see the charges dropped or to receive a
light sentence. And detectives never took any action
against him despite being aware of his involvement in the
murders of two UDA members, Ned McCreery in 1992 and
Geordie Legge in 2001.

Even though detectives had warned Gray he was under threat
several times since he was thrown out of the UDA, Chief
Constable Hugh Orde stressed no protection was given to

Police who had charged him with money laundering offences
did fear he would be killed after he was allowed out of

Mr Orde said: "We objected to Mr Gray getting bail. Indeed
we kept him in custody for some time on serious money
laundering charges.

"He applied for bail and was granted it by the High Court."

UDA leaders in Belfast are understood to have been drinking
in a south Belfast loyalist bar at the time of Gray's
murder, a move that provides them with alibis.


IMC Will 'Judge IRA's Commitment'

Two forthcoming Independent Monitoring Commission reports
will determine the evidence of IRA commitments to peace,
the NI secretary has said.

Peter Hain was speaking after he and PM Tony Blair held
"very productive" separate talks with Sinn Fein and the

Mr Hain said the government would "study carefully" the
dossier presented by the DUP.

Mr Adams said his party had held "a good and a positive

On the DUP dossier for confidence building measures, Mr
Hain said: "Some of these measures have already been
implemented and others will be implemented over the coming

After the talks with Sinn Fein, he said the government
wished to see the political process taken forward.

However, the two IMC reports would make a judgement on
whether the IRA had kept the commitment to peaceful means
made at the end of July, said Mr Hain.

Mr Adams said: "The main focus was about the speedy re-
establishment of the political institutions."

He said he was "quite dismissive of IMC reports" into
paramilitary activity and insisted his party had a mandate
to represent those people who voted for Sinn Fein.

"Let's see what the IMC report says - but until then, let's
focus on the main issues."

Earlier, after meeting the prime minister, DUP leader Ian
Paisley said he wanted "equality" for unionists.

"We're looking for the unionist community to be treated in
exactly the same way as the republicans," he said.

The meetings followed last week's statement from the
independent arms body which said all IRA weapons had now
been decommissioned.

Forthcoming legislation

Meanwhile, the SDLP has held talks with Irish Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern in Dublin.

Party leader Mark Durkan said the meeting focussed on the
need for both governments to persuade the DUP to enter into
power-sharing government.

"The IRA failure to decommission gave unionists a veto over
re-establishment of the Good Friday institutions," he said.

"The IRA has decommissioned, and that unionist veto must
now be gone."

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said:
"The government believes General de Chastelain's
declaration that the IRA has completed disarmament has
created an historic opportunity for progress.

"Despite that, no-one is expecting rapid movement before
January, when the Independent Monitoring Commission will
submit the second of two reports on IRA activity."

Last week, the DUP held talks with the two churchmen who
witnessed the IRA's final act of decommissioning.

The party requested the meeting after questioning the
independence of former Methodist President the Reverend
Harold Good and Catholic priest Father Alec Reid.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/06 15:00:25 GMT


Armagh Real IRA And CIRA In Merger Plan

Ciarán Barnes

RSF denies crisis in its organisation after split

Continuity IRA (CIRA) units in Co Limerick are planning to
merge with the Real IRA in south Armagh, Daily Ireland has

In recent weeks leading CIRA members in Limerick have
visited Real IRA leader Liam Campbell in Portlaoise prison
with a view to linking up with his south Armagh unit.

The move comes in the wake of the CIRA split following the
decision by its nine prisoners in Portlaoise to quit the
organisation. The inmates left after a dispute with the
CIRA in Limerick.

The prisoners accused the Limerick unit of withholding
support funds from their families, while those in Limerick
claimed the inmates were taking drugs and associating with

The mass resignation has left the CIRA and its political
wing Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) in disarray, with two camps
emerging – one in support of the prisoners and the other
supporting the Limerick unit and RSF.

In a bid to strengthen their position, CIRA members in
Limerick have been in negotiations with the Real IRA about
a merger.

One former CIRA member told Daily Ireland the organisation
was "hopelessly fractured".

He said: "The Belfast brigade was stood down two months
ago. They were useless, they kept on losing weapons. A
couple of weeks ago the officer commanding in Dublin was
stood down because he supported the prisoners in
Portlaoise. He was 'arrested' by CIRA members in Bundoran,
Co Donegal, and relieved of his rank.

"The Continuity IRA is in turmoil. There are volunteers in
the North who want to carry on the war, but the
organisation is controlled by armchair generals in Limerick
and Fermanagh. They don't have a clue."

The dissident republican source said the planned merger
between the Limerick CIRA and the south Armagh Real IRA was
a bid by the Limerick units to retain control of the

He added: "They have been frightened by the walk-outs and

"Publicly they are saying everything is fine but privately
they will admit things are very bad and that's why they
want to merge with the Real IRA."

In a statement to Daily Ireland earlier in the week
Republican Sinn Féin admitted a number of members had
resgined, but denied there was a crisis in the

A spokesman said a campaign of spreading unfounded rumours
about RSF was taking place.


Orange Halls Get Rates Exemption

Orange halls are going to be among the community buildings
in Northern Ireland exempt from paying rates, the
government has announced.

The plans to change the way rates are calculated will come
into effect in April 2007.

The halls will be eligible for the exemption as long as
they are not bases for registered clubs and do not have a
liquor license.

NIO Minister Jeff Rooker said it was for halls without a
regular income.

"It isn't just Orange halls, it's community halls, which
includes Orange halls," Lord Rooker said.

"It is conditional on them being available for use by the
wider community, that they don't have a liquor license and
are not being occupied by a registered club.

"If they are doing any of these things they will have a
regular stream of income and can afford to pay their

The plans were announced as part of a 12-week consultation
period on the review of the rating system in Northern
Ireland which was launched on Friday

Lord Rooker said plans to make the system fairer "by basing
rate bills on the capital value of your home from April
2007" are well under way.

"It is essential ratepayers have as much information as
early as possible, given the fundamental changes we are
making," he said.

Capital values of all Northern Ireland homes will be
published in April 2006.

'Fairer system'

"The draft order represents a key milestone on the path to
making the rating system fairer, a process started by the
former Northern Ireland Executive in 2000," he said.

The reforms include the new rate relief scheme for those on
low incomes, transitional arrangements over a three-year
period and a new independent valuation tribunal.

"They will be given effect through a second order in
council, to be brought forward next year."

Stressing the need for change, he said: "Reform is vital to
bring the domestic rating system into the 21st century. We
need to make it fairer and easier for ratepayers to

"The new capital values will achieve this. It is almost 30
years since domestic property in Northern Ireland was last
re-valued. Delay is therefore not an option."

On Thursday, DUP leader Ian Paisley said he received
assurances about the plans to exempt Orange halls from
rates during his talks in Downing Street.

Sinn Fein assembly member John O'Dowd has said any moves on
the introduction of rate exemptions for non-profit making
organisations should be applied across the board.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/07 07:21:58 GMT


Adams Hits Out At Assets Swoop

Raids linked to reputed IRA chief Tom 'slab' murphy

By Debra Douglas
07 October 2005

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams last night claimed raids on
£30m worth of suspected IRA property in Manchester were
part of a political agenda.

Anti-racketeers searched 250 homes and businesses as part
of an investigation linked to Tom "Slab" Murphy, the
Provisionals' alleged Chief of Staff, as both Mr Adams and
Martin McGuinness prepared for Downing Street talks with
Prime Minister Tony Blair aimed at focusing on a fresh push
to revive a power-sharing administration.

Speaking after the raids, Mr Adams challenged the
allegations and hit out at the Assets Recovery Agency's
Belfast chief, Alan McQuillan.

"Have the Assets Recovery Agency named some person?" he
said. "I am not going to respond to what are obviously
briefings headed up by a man, Alan McQuillan, a former
Special Branch officer.

"I don't think it's any accident and I am not surprised
that this is trotted out today.

"This is obviously a political agenda," he added.

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

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

Asked about Mr Adams' claim that "a political agenda" was
at work in the timing of the investigation, Mr Hain added:
"Whether the ARA knew about the meetings I rather doubt.
Certainly their activities are quite independent of any
political negotiations that have been taking place in
Downing Street and that will continue to be the case in the
future when political discussions occur."

Meanwhile, unionists warned that yesterday's offensive
could destroy new attempts to restore devolution in
Northern Ireland.

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

DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, who accused the ARA of
concentrating on loyalist gangsters and ignoring
republicans, backed the raids but said they should have
happened sooner.

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

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

The raids were also welcomed by Alliance leader David Ford
and the SDLP's Alex Attwood.


We Won't Be Distracted: Adams

By Brian Walker
07 October 2005

Gerry Adams has said Sinn Fein "will not be distracted from
putting political institutions back in place," by the
searches at a Manchester property company with suspected
links to alleged IRA Chief of Staff Thomas "Slab" Murphy.

The searches took place as Sinn Fein and the DUP held their
first round of talks with Tony Blair since the IRA
decommissioning act.

This has prompted speculation - denied by Downing Street -
that the timing was more than coincidence.

The Sinn Fein leader added, however, that he "didn't think
it was any accident ... that it was trotted out today," but
did not raise the searches with Mr Blair.

He said he was not going to respond to "briefings headed up
by Assets Recovery Agency chief, Alan McQuillan, a former
Special Branch man."

Denying any co-ordination between the talks and searches,
Secretary of State Peter Hain said he doubted if the ARA
even knew of the talks schedule.

But he warned that the ARA, an independent body, would
continue its work of tracking down assets acquired

News of the raids by Greater Manchester police on the
Dermot Craven property empire first broke in Dublin, where
the Republic's Justice Minister Michael McDowell insisted
that authorities on both sides of the border were not
prepared to go soft on republican crime.

The operation, he said, was at an early stage and he did
not want to prejudge its outcome.

But he insisted London and Dublin would come down hard on
the IRA if they broke the law.

Commenting on the searches in Downing Street, Ian Paisley
said they had come late in the day.

"I wish the police every success and trust people will be
brought to the courts and removed from our society which
they have cursed for far too long," he said.

The DUP will treat racketeering as an ongoing crime.

If this criterion is applied literally, it could be a long
time before self-government is restored.


Closely Watched By Two Police Forces, The Quiet Farmer Who
Calmly Looks After The IRA's Millions

By David McKittrick
07 October 2005

Thomas "Slab" Murphy, the IRA leader suspected of having
millions of pounds invested in property in Manchester, has
for most of his republican career led a charmed life.

He has never been convicted of any offence, despite the
fact that for more than two decades every Northern Ireland
secretary, every chief constable and every general has
spent long hours pondering how to put him behind bars.

In his home area of South Armagh and further afield,
everyone knows he has been highly active in IRA activities,
holding positions such as chief of staff, northern
commander and director of operations. He has also been the
chief money man. He was therefore at the heart of the IRA
for decades, ensuring it had the money to maintain a
campaign which was highly expensive. According to a former
senior member of the RUC Special Branch: "Money was always
a wee bit of a problem - but never too much of a problem to
them. They always have been very good at concealing it. We
reckoned that whenever they were going very well it took
five million a year to run the war."

The IRA's finance department involves a number of people,
but the authorities have always regarded Slab Murphy as its
linchpin, calmly controlling a budget of millions from his
farmastride the border between Northern Ireland and the
Republic. He thus operates in full view of two police
forces, carrying out republican business even though his
premises are assumed to be under intensive intelligence

His name has been known to the wider public since the
1980s, when he stepped from the shadows to sue The Sunday
Times for labelling him a senior IRA member. The newspaper
won the case, exposing Mr Murphy to the full glare of
recurring publicity. The defeat was an embarrassment to
him, but he nonetheless went on to become IRA chief of
staff in 1997, according to A Secret History of the IRA by
the respected journalist Ed Moloney.

He has been continually described as a member of the IRA's
ruling army council by Unionist MPs, including the former
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, who have used
parliamentary privilege to name him in the Commons.

Dublin's Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, made a similar
statement in the Irish parliament earlier this year,
referring to a man who had been killed near the border. He
said: "He knew he was a marked man. His crime was to
testify before a Dublin jury, to tell the truth and point
out that Thomas 'Slab' Murphy was chief of staff of the IRA
and a member of its army council."

Murphy himself is said to be a very wealthy man, owning
large amounts of border land, but the assumption is that he
has not grown rich by helping himself to IRA money. The
belief is that he has been proficient in both financing the
organisation and by separately making money for himself.

The contrast between the two paramilitary figures who have
been in the news this week could not be greater. Jim Gray,
the loyalist leader who has just been shot dead, was
involved in drugs, with a flamboyant lifestyle and a
conspicuous wardrobe which earned him the nickname of Doris

Slab Murphy, by contrast, in person presents the image of
an ordinary, not particularly well off farmer who spends
most of his time mucking about on his farm. Mr Murphy has
been crucial to the peace process, in that he has always
been regarded as a republican "soldier" who concentrated on
financial and military matters and was uninterested in
politics. Yet it seems that, as the process developed, his
thinking evolved and he was in the end persuaded to go
along with the IRA's recent voluntary disarmament.

But although the IRA's violent campaign may be over, it
seems that it retains its cash and property assets. The
battlefield has in effect shifted: now the tussle between
the authorities and Slab Murphy is a financial rather than
a military one.


Bid To Break IRA Money Laundering

By Chris Thornton
07 October 2005

Accountants and other financial experts stepped into the
front line of the battle against IRA criminality today in a
bid to unlock the Provos' huge money laundering network.

Law enforcement agencies in three jurisdictions have the
experts poring over the paperwork seized in raids in
Manchester and Dundalk yesterday.

Thousands of documents dealing with property portfolios
worth more than £30m were seized by the UK's Assets
Recovery Agency and the Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau.

Security sources believe the paperwork could provide a
trail leading back to reputed IRA chief of staff Thomas
'Slab' Murphy.

The governments in London and Dublin believe that the
three-year investigation behind yesterday's raids has dealt
a severe blow to the IRA's financial empire.

The investigation so far is said to have concentrated on
holdings associated solely with Murphy, and tracing any
leads from the paperwork seized will take months.
Yesterday's raids in Manchester involved the holdings of
two Irishmen. Neither man has been accused of any crime.

Officials from the ARA in Belfast joined their London
colleagues for the raids. They involved 250 properties with
a value of around £30m, the ARA said.

A dozen properties, said to be valued at about £3m, were
raided in Dundalk.

The raids sent an important political signal indicating
that the governments are not willing to allow the IRA's
criminal operations to transform into legitimate business

Unionists broadly welcomed the developments.

SF president, Gerry Adams, described the raids as "hostile
to the peace process".

SDLP Policing Board member, Alex Attwood, said the raids
showed "the criminal network is deeper and more extensive
than anyone could have imagined".


Blair Should Tell Dup Where To Go - Says Durkan

Friday 7th October 2005

The british Government is playing a dangerous game by
giving in to the endless demands of the DUP, Mark Durkan
told the 'Journal' last night.

The SDLP leader and Foyle MP says the North's power-sharing
institutions must now be set up to allow political parties
to deliver on their democratic mandates.

Mr. Durkan - who was in Dublin yesterday for talks with
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern - said he believed DUP leader Dr.
Paisley presented a 64-page document of "fresh demands" to
British prime minister Tony Blair during talks at Downing
Street yesterday.

"The British government would be engaging in very, very
dangerous activity if they start giving the DUP gratuitous
concessions because that will create a stream of demands on
other things," Mr. Durkan said.

"Tony Blair should politely tell the DUP where to go with
their demands and force them to fulfil their mandate within
the political institutions."

Mr. Durkan said that competing demands from Sinn Fein and
the DUP would only create a "merry-go-round" of "more
concessions, more demands, more excuses and more blame."
"The two governments need to be standing together on all
issues against all-comers at this stage," said the Foyle

"They need to send a very strong signal to Sinn Fein and
the DUP that they're not running separate hole-inthe-wall
operations where each of them can come and demand their own
concessions," he said.

A five-member SDLP delegation led by Mr. Durkan and which
included MLAs Alex Attwood and Sean Farren held a one-hour
meeting with Mr. Ahern and Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot
Ahern at Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday.

Speaking to the 'Journal' after the meeting, Mr. Durkan
said: "The DUP need to show that it's for real about
exercising its democratic responsibilities and not focusing
on demands like reconstituting the policing boards."

Mr. Durkan said the DUP's behaviour around recent loyalist
rioting put a question mark over the party's attitude to a
lawful society.

Speaking of paramilitary criminality, he added: "Many of us
would have concerns that there's going to be residual
criminal activity.

"We need to be reassured by the British and Irish
governments that a blind eye will not be turned to this
activity," Mr. Durkan added.


Irish Aid:

Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhin from Belfast will talk at an Irish
Northern Aid forum Monday. It will be at 7 p.m. upstairs in
the Flat Iron Cafe, 111 Center St. in Cleveland's Flats. He
is a representative of Coiste na n-larchimi, an
organization that coordinates groups aiding former
prisoners and activists in Northern Ireland. Admission is
$10. Call 216-251-7551.

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