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October 15, 2005

PUP To Keep Links With UVF

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 10/15/05 PUP To Keep Links With UVF
ST 10/16/05 Ervine Keeps Grant In Last Bid To Woo UVF
SB 10/16/05 LVF To Stand Down In The Coming Weeks
GU 10/16/05 Ex-Soldier Says Missing Gun Was 'Seized By RUC'
SB 10/16/05 Ahern: FF In North Would Split Nationalist Vote
ST 10/16/05 Ireland Under Fire Over Extradition
SB 10/16/05 Opin: Legacy Of Sectarianism Is Enemy Within
SB 10/16/05 RTE Calls For Ex-Pat Channel


PUP To Keep Links With UVF
2005-10-15 21:40:03+01

The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) tonight ruled out
severing its links with the Ulster Volunteer Force despite
the group's role in a bloody loyalist feud.

The party said it would instead work in partnership with
all those committed to transforming loyalist communities,
including the UVF.

"The Progressive Unionist Party is committed to conflict
transformation and the processes that empower and build a
strong, confident and vibrant loyalist community," it said
in a statement.

There had been speculation that the party would distance
itself from the UVF, which has been linked to at least four
deaths in its feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The PUP's allowances for the Northern Ireland assembly have
been suspended because the British government has decided
it is not doing enough to curb paramilitary violence by the

PUP chairman Dawn Purvis said that many people thought the
annual conference would be the end of the PUP but added
that the members had come out confident, re-invigorated and

She said the focus of the conference had not been on IRA

"It didn't feature heavily. The focus of the conference was
ourselves," she said.

The PUP is to concentrate on rebuilding confidence and
stability in the loyalist community after the devastating
riots and arson attacks of last month.

"This requires transformation in the communities most
affected by conflict and, importantly, transformation in
the political arena and in particular amongst those
powerful influences that seek to destabilise Loyalism - the
same influences that opposed the calling of the ceasefires
in 1994," it said.

Around 100 PUP members attended the conference, which was
held in the Park Avenue Hotel in East Belfast.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain is still
deciding whether to continue the suspension of the party's
Assembly allowance.


Ervine Keeps Grant In Last Bid To Woo UVF Gunmen

Liam Clarke

THE Progressive Unionist party, political partners of the
Ulster Volunteer Force, has continued to get its annual
grant of £27,000 despite a recommendation from the
International Monitoring Commission (IMC) that it be

The decision by Peter Hain, secretary of state for Northern
Ireland, to continue the funding is an effort to influence
the UVF into permanently renouncing violence by showing
that the PUP still has some political influence.

It is the first time that the government has declined to
act on an IMC recommendation and will be seen as a dent in
the monitoring body's authority.

Officials said the money, a grant to political parties in
the Northern Ireland assembly, was being paid to keep the
PUP functioning as a political party so that it could
influence the UVF in a peaceful direction in the coming

The grant had been withheld in the past financial year and
as a result the PUP had to close an office and lay off
staff. The position will be reviewed in January.

Last month the IMC reported that the UVF had committed five
murders and attempted 15 more as part of a feud with the
Loyalist Volunteer Force. The organisation had also opened
fire with high-velocity weapons on police and soldiers
after last month's Whiterock Orange march.

Tomorrow the PUP leadership will attempt to exert its
influence on the UVF to renounce violence publicly. In a
series of interviews David Ervine, the PUP leader, and his
senior colleagues will call for a process of "conflict
transformation" aimed at bringing UVF violence to a
permanent end.

One PUP activist described the attempt to influence the UVF
in do or die terms.

"Either things will get better or the capacity for the PUP
to do any kind of work will be gone," he said.

At a PUP party conference yesterday, from which the press
was excluded, the relationship with the UVF was discussed
and the prospect of breaking all links was considered. The
PUP, which is left-wing in outlook, has attracted a number
of members with no UVF background who are frustrated by the
continuing violence.

Ervine, himself a former UVF prisoner, and the leadership
won the day with a proposal that the party use its
influence in a final push to end UVF violence for good. The
PUP will attempt to win concessions from the government to
revitalise loyalist communities and persuade the UVF that
there is a political community.

"We don't mind if they disband or become a Prod version of
the Irish National Foresters, but the point is that the
option of using force is removed from the equation for
good. The notion that violence is an option is
unacceptable," he said.

After the conference in an east Belfast hotel, the PUP
issued two statements which were cryptically worded but
positive in tone. One said that the PUP had held a
"wideranging and honest debate", adding that "the issues
dealt with have led us to take some hard decisions".

A second statement added: "The PUP is committed to conflict
transformation and the processes that empower and build a
strong, confident and vibrant loyalist community.
Confidence and stability are central factors in securing a
peaceful future for all our society. This requires
transformation in the communities most affected by

A Presbyterian minister who has been talking to the leaders
of the UVF and the LVF said he was optimistic about a
breakthrough in the feud. The Rev Mervyn Gibson, who sits
on the Loyalist Commission, told the BBC that attempts to
mediate were "still continuing".

Officials believe that the LVF may disband and this will
improve the chances of winding down the UVF.


LVF To Stand Down In The Coming Weeks

16 October 2005 By Colm Heatley

Almost ten years after it was formed to terrorise
supporters of the peace process and kill innocent
Catholics, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) looks likely
to disband in the coming weeks.

Although confusion surrounds the group's intentions - its
leaders first issued an admission, then a denial of its
disbandment - it seems the group is seriously considering
standing down.

A three-month feud with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),
during which two LVF members in Belfast have been killed,
the threat of investigation by the Assets Recovery Agency
and increased isolation within loyalist communities
prompted a rethink within the group's leadership.

The Ulster Defence Association has also made it clear to
the LVF that it wants to end former associations,
increasing that isolation. It is expected that the LVF will
announce its disbandment within the next fortnight, setting
November 11, Armistice Day, as the date for its

The group will attempt to portray disbandment as a
visionary political act but the decision is mainly the
result of its feud with the UVF.

Such a move would officially end the existence of one of
the most violent loyalist paramilitary groups and stabilise
inter-loyalist relations, removing a constantly feuding
group. But the LVF, a loose, dangerous alliance of
loyalists and criminals, still poses a threat to stability
in the North.

Its disbandment will not significantly decrease the threat
posed by loyalist paramilitaries. It is the smallest
grouping, but it may be used to put pressure on the UVF and
UDA to do likewise.

Since it was formed at a "freedom rally'' in Portadown by
former UVF gunman Billy Wright in 1996, the LVF has killed
24 people and been implicated in 13 other murders, mostly
of Catholics.

Wright was joined at the rally by DUP MP Rev Willie McCrea,
whose presence gave the fledgling anti-agreement terrorist
group a huge publicity coup. The LVF was born out of the
Drumcree protests and it reflected the most sectarian and
insular strain of loyalism.

Even by the standards of loyalist paramilitaries the LVF is
regarded as immersed in criminality. The group is a refuge
for fanatical loyalists and the worst criminal elements
within loyalism.

The LVF leaders, who have amassed a fortune from
criminality, are understood to be content to dissolve the
group in the hope that their criminal dealings can continue
in the shadows.

The leadership includes a drug baron from mid-Ulster who is
the son of a Catholic mother, a Belfast businessman who was
a key UVF member up until 1995, and a prominent north
Belfast loyalist who is currently on bail on a drugs

Kenny McClinton, a UVF double murderer turned pastor who
acts as the public face of the LVF, denies the group is
under pressure to disband.

"That is not true and I think all these reports are
mischievous, but what is going on behind the scenes is too
sensitive to talk about in the media," he said.

Reliable loyalist sources, however, insisted that the LVF
will disband.

"There has been a truce called in the past few weeks to
give the LVF leadership breathing space, that is why there
have been no attacks lately, but they are expected to
deliver the goods," said a senior loyalist.

In recent weeks there has been a lull in the UVF/LVF feud,
which has its origins in the success of the LVF in taking
over former UVF rackets in Belfast and mid-Ulster.

The LVF has been responsible for some of the worst
sectarian atrocities over the past nine years. In 1998 the
group is believed to have carried out the petrol bombing
which claimed the lives of three young Catholic children,
the Quinn brothers in Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

In all, the LVF murdered 16 Catholics in random sectarian
attacks. The group also murdered human rights lawyer
Rosemary Nelson who died in a booby trap bomb explosion in

Most of the LVF's murders took place during the marching
season. In recent years it has been accused of being run by
the PSNI Special Branch and British Military Intelligence.

The LVF has a track record of taking seemingly unlikely
political initiatives. In December, 1998, it allowed
television cameras to film the decommissioning body
destroying some of its weapons.

The move was widely discounted as a cheap publicity stunt
but it allowed unionist politicians to increase pressure on
the IRA to do likewise.

The DUP would almost certainly use LVF disbandment to set
another precondition on the IRA despite last month's

The LVF has no official links to any political group but in
the past it said publicly that the DUP is the party 'of
Ulster'. Its leader, Wright, was killed by the INLA in
Maghaberry Prison in 1997. His successor, Mark 'Swinger'
Fulton, hanged himself in Maghaberry Prison in June 2002.

Nationalist politicians are treating the LVF's intentions
with extreme scepticism. Even if it disbands it will still
maintain its arsenal of weapons, some of which come from
UVF arms dumps, English criminals and even dissident

If, as it seems likely, the LVF disbands, it will not seek
any political concessions or entry into the political

Its price for disbandment is more crude - it wants to carry
on its criminal activities in private.


Ex-Soldier Says Missing Gun Was 'Seized By RUC'

Henry McDonald
Sunday October 16, 2005
The Observer

A missing heavy machine-gun an ex-Irish soldier protests he
never stole may be in the hands of the security forces in
Northern Ireland, The Observer can reveal.

A former state agent working inside the Provisional IRA
along the border has claimed the weapon may have been
captured by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1989.

Kevin Fulton, who infiltrated the IRA in the South
Down/South Armagh salient, said he had been in charge of a
General Purpose Machine Gun which he claimed was stolen
from an Irish Defence Forces' base in 1973. Fulton (not his
real name) said that, if the GPMG is being held in a police
armoury in the North, it may be possible to clear the
former member of the Irish Military Police from a charge of
stealing the gun.

Ex-Corporal Michael Donnelly has fought a 30-year campaign
to prove he did not steal the machine gun and hand it over
to the PIRA. Fulton claims that a GPMG stolen from the
Irish army was later discovered after an IRA arms dump was
disclosed in 1989.

'I know that we had two GPMGs in the South Down area, one
was caught in Newry some time between 1989 and 1990. It was
eventually captured. They were the only GPMGs the IRA had.
The other was found in Castlewellan. It may be possible
that the GPMG in Newry may be the one from the barracks in
Dublin,' Fulton said.

Donnelly alleges that IRA bomber James McDaid actually
stole the weapon. McDaid died after the bomb he was
transporting blew up in Coventry 31 years ago. The
Department of Defence in Dublin has said it will only re-
open the case if Donnelly can produce new evidence. 'This
may be the new evidence I have been looking for all these
years to clear my name for a slur that has hung over me for
three decades,' he said.


Ahern: Fianna Fail In North Would Split Nationalist Vote

16 October 2005 By Pat Leahy

Fianna Fáil will not organise in the North for the
foreseeable future, because it would destabilise the
party's relationship with Sinn Féin and the SDLP, Bertie
Ahern has said. Clearly identifying himself as the leader
of nationalist Ireland, the Taoiseach told a party magazine
that "the Peace Process was founded on a tripartite
relationship between Fianna Fáil in government, the SDLP
and Sinn Féin''.

"Establishing Fianna Fáil in the North could destabilise
that key relationship, split the nationalist vote and
ultimately weaken progress towards our shared goals," he

Ahern's comments are a direct contrast to the position
enunciated by Pat Rabbitte in a recent speech, when the
Labour leader said that, until the two communities in the
North solve their problems, no one should think about Irish

Referring to the politics of the North, Rabbitte said: "At
the end of the day, if that's the unmanageable nature and
extent of their problem, then we down here don't have the
solution. And we shouldn't pretend that we do." Ahern's
unabashed espousing of a "pan-nationalist'' role underlines
the growing divide between the government and the
opposition on matters relating to the North, an area
previously marked by almost complete consensus among the
Dublin parties.

While Fianna Fáil says it has no "principled'' objection to
government with Sinn Féin - assuming favourable reports
from the International Monitoring Commission - Fine Gael
and Labour continue to rule out any agreement with Sinn
Féin after the next general election.


Ireland Under Fire Over Extradition

Enda Leahy

AMERICAN and British diplomats have criticised Ireland's
extradition record, saying requests to hand over suspected
criminals seldom come to anything.

Of 12 American requests made since the last successful
application in 1999, five have failed, five are still being
processed and two were jettisoned because the suspects fled
the country.

The republic's reputation on extradition warrants is so bad
that the American authorities waited for Sean Garland to
enter Northern Ireland before requesting that he be
arrested by British authorities last weekend.

The president of the Workers' party and former chief of
staff of the Official IRA was indicted by the American
attorney general last May for allegedly buying and selling
counterfeit dollars from North Korea.

"Ireland just doesn't extradite," said an American state
department official. "You would figure that with so much
understanding between the two countries it wouldn't be such
a problem, but it is.

"Between any two countries legal systems differ and that is
a consideration, but you would expect there to be less of a
problem than there is.

"We extradite people from the Hague all the time, and the
Dutch investigate everything very thoroughly to ensure
their own satisfaction, but in Ireland it's just not the

Garland lives in Co Cavan, yet no request to extradite him
was made to the Irish authorities. He was arrested hours
after he crossed the border to attend the annual ard fheis
of the Workers' party in Belfast last weekend.

There have been just two successful extradition requests
from America in more than 20 years. Last week, a spokesman
for the Department of Justice defended the country's
extradition record.

"It's true that nobody has been extradited to the United
States in the period since 2000, but the reasons for this
vary," he said. "In one case there were problems with the
extradition documentation, in two cases the courts refused
the applications, in one case the attorney general advised
extradition was not possible and another request was
withdrawn," said the spokesman.

Two of the suspects fled Ireland before any action was
taken and five are still being processed.

"It doesn't exactly work even between the two neighbouring
states," said one British diplomat. "Evelyn Glenholmes
springs to mind."

Glehholmes was at the top of Scotland Yard's most-wanted
list for five IRA bombings and three murders, including the
Harrods blast in which six people were killed.

In 1986 a judge in Dublin allowed her to walk free because
her name was spelled without an "s" on the arrest warrant.
Despite nine further warrants, she was never extradited.

Between 1971 and 1980 the RUC issued 80 warrants for arrest
to the republic but only one resulted in an extradition.

Gerard Hogan, a barrister in Dublin and specialist on
extradition law, says historical problems have contributed
to the situation.

"There were difficulties in the 1980s because the Ireland-
America extradition treaty had been improperly ratified.

"I suppose that, during the period of the Troubles in
Northern Ireland, there was a culture of people beating the
extradition rap and that has perhaps been exported into
other types of extradition agreements."

More recently, in the "pink underwear" case, an Irish judge
found that the former priest Patrick Colleary, who was
charged with sexually abusing a boy, 10, could not be
extradited because inmates were paraded in pink underwear
in the prison where Colleary would have been detained until
his trial. The judge was also concerned that the case might
take up to three years to come to trial.

The Sligo-born priest officiated in Scottsdale, Arizona,
where the alleged abuse took place but is now living in the
west of Ireland. He caused further upset when he sent a
Christmas card to friends, gloating that he would not be
spending Christmas behind bars. "My final story of great
joy. I will be home for Christmas. It sure will beat
Madison Street (jail) and Sheriff Joe's menu," he said.

The Garland case followed a decade of investigation by the
FBI into counterfeit "superdollars" — high quality fakes —
being sold by the North Korean government, allegedly to
destabilise the American dollar.


Opin: Legacy Of Sectarianism Is The Enemy Within

16 October 2005

At last week's Downing Street meeting between Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the
Irish government was adamant about adding a new part to the
wider peace process agenda, post-IRA decommissioning.

Dublin is now determined that the wider crisis of
sectarianism and its historical legacy in the North needs
immediate and determined political address. If Dublin has
its way in any new talks, the political parties will be
required to address sectarianism directly.

Further down the road, it is hoped that they will give it
the type of attention which the British government
previously gave to the problem of racism.

As in that campaign, this would involve public exposition
and opinion-forming, and perhaps even a new body charged
with combating sectarianism similar to the role of the Race
Relations Board in Britain. The ambition would be that it
would eventually become a part of the education syllabus at
schools level.

Ironically, as Father Alec Reid discovered last week,
placing fingers into the historic wound that is at the
heart of the North can be an explosive business.

Fr Reid didn't directly address the historic sectarian
context of the Six Counties, but there can hardly be any
meaningful exposition of its political legacy without
addressing the defining subtext, which is sectarianism.

Class and wealth played some small parts in determining
Northern politics down the centuries. In the largest view,
however, from the plantation of Ulster onwards, the
Protestant/Catholic division across political lines was the
defining influence.

Just as religion defined the 17th century political
difference between planter and Gael, it is difficult to see
any radical change in the political landscape in the 21st

The outlooks and attitudes that were frozen in time by the
plantation have barely been disturbed down the centuries

In fact, it might be a very useful moment, given Fr Reid's
admittedly intemperate language, to consider the attitudes
within unionism that drew this reaction, however unwise or
inaccurate some might consider it to be.

Reid argued that, for 60 years - presumably since partition
- the unionist community had treated the Catholic community
like the Nazis treated the Jews. He has apologised for the
remarks, but he has at least opened up a much-needed

Creating a new future in the North requires the beginning,
at least, of recognition and understanding about what so
poisoned the society for so long.

Reid's remarks were about degrees of prejudice. Of course,
the comparison between the Third Reich's anti-Semitism and
the North's avowed anti-Catholicism in the first 60 years
of its existence are simply historically inaccurate.

But who can deny that, for all those years that anti-
Catholicism, like anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, was a
defining part of political discourse, which received
official and unofficial encouragement in the North?

Trapped in a rising tide of nationalist expectations at the
turn of the last century, partition was simply a sectarian
headcount to defuse the crisis that faced British rule in
Ireland by 1920.

The Northern state was actually designed to be a Protestant
enclave in nationalist Ireland. Is it any wonder, then,
that its rulers would have thought or acted otherwise?

It was essentially a new colony created out of the ruins of
a collapsing colony, a line of retreat that came to
represent a demarcation line between coloniser and the
formerly colonised.

Since the rationale for the new state's existence was
essentially sectarian, is it any wonder that it became "a
Protestant state for a Protestant people'', as Lord
Brookeborough once stated?

The overwhelming political tragedy that ensued was that
loyalty to the new state and asserting its citizenship
became deeply embroiled with varying degrees of anti-
Catholicism. Being loyal and being anti-Catholic became one
and the same thing for considerable numbers of unionists.

What utterly complicated the whole context was that Ulster
Protestantism largely had its origins in an Ulster Scottish
biblical notion of covenant that saw Ulster as God's gift
to them - they were therefore a chosen people.

They were Israelites in the lands of the faithless Hittites
and Canaanites who were evil outsiders. This Old Testament
concept categorised all Catholics or 'Romanists' as 'the
enemy within'.

As Paisley's Protestant Telegraph once described it: "We
have a historic and divine mission, we are a special people
not of ourselves but of our divine mission."

In 1985, for example, a daily prayer for deliverance
against the Anglo Irish Agreement was published in the
Belfast Telegraph, which read: "O people of Ulster, you are
God's Israel, chosen seed, God gave your forefathers this
land, these promises are yours."

Fundamental to this notion was that all Catholics were
unclean, unsaved, subversive, and idolatrous. Because these
divinely ordained social and political arrangements were
drawn up long ago, and since God is eternal, nothing can
change. The past is a mere prism to determine the present.

"The fingerprints of the eternal God," as Paisley put it.

The tragic result of this unique confluence of religious
belief and political arrangement created a vast body of
Ulster Protestants who saw it both as their civic duty to
their state and their religious duty to their beliefs, to
treat and regard all Catholics accordingly.

For 60 years, through organisations like the Orange, Black
and Masonic orders and with unionist political leadership
in dutiful quiescence, anti-Catholicism became the
definitive subtext of the Northern ruling classes.
Catastrophically - and consequently - there followed 30
years of republican armed struggle, which seemed to fulfil
all the unionist nightmare scenarios. Indeed, as the
subsequent rise of Paisleyism indicated, the retreat into
barely disguised politico-sectarianism eventually became
almost total.

Fr Alec Reid, a man of truly remarkable moral stature in
whose head the peace process actually began, has now -
however, clumsily and historically inaccurately - raised
this hare. Perhaps the time has come to confront the poison
of sectarianism.

The government's new initiative on sectarianism may prove
just as painful as Reid's blunt words, but the task of
creating a new civic society in the North requires a new
social consensus. That such a construct could be cemented
together using the old building blocks of sectarianism and
mutual suspicion is impossible.

What Alec Reid was talking about was the legacy of
sectarianism. In that, he has - perhaps unsubtly but
nevertheless unavoidably - done us all a favour.


RTE Calls For Ex-Pat Channel

16 October 2005

RTE has called for government funding to provide a
television service for the Irish community in Britain.

Peter Feeney, head of policy affairs in RTE, said the
station was in talks with the Department of Foreign Affairs
and the Department of the Taoiseach about the assistance it
needed to provide a dedicated service with at least six
hours a day of home produced programmes.

"We are exploring how best to provide a service to the
Irish community in Britain, whether through subscription or
sponsorship,'' Feeney said.

"It would cost several million euro a year to secure
platforms with the digital providers in Britain, so it
wouldn't be self-financing. It can't be done without a
government subsidy. "BBC gets funding to provide its world
service, and we would need something similar, because it
can't be funded from the television licence fee."

The Irish community in Britain has been campaigning for a
new Irish television service since the commercial channel
Tara television closed in 2001.

RTE had a 20 per cent share in Tara, which broadcast
homegrown RTE programmes until it shut down.

"The British market has changed enormously since Tara and
it's an opportune time to get back in the market," said
Feeney. "We have the potential to get to a wider audience,
as 15 million people would be capable of receiving an RTE
channel in Britain."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said
the idea had been discussed at length.

"Technical requirements will need to be resolved, but the
issue will feature strongly in the discussions for the next
Broadcasting Bill," she said.

A Department of Foreign Affairs report three years ago
highlighted the isolation of Irish emigrants.

"It is complicated, there are copyright and financial
issues to overcome, but the national broadcaster is taking
every measure to ensure an emigrant television service
becomes a reality as soon as possible,'' Feeney said.

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