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October 21, 2005

S African Parliament Convenes for Adams

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 10/21/05 Parliament Convenes For Adams
BT 10/21/05 Loyalists 'Avoiding Prison In Gun Cases'
BT 10/21/05 Company Reveals Police Phone Tapping Concerns
IV 10/21/05 Former SF Leader Wants Name Cleared
BT 10/21/05 Monastery Speaks Out In Defence Of Fr Reid
DI 10/21/05 Priests Reject FAIR Statement On Monastery
BT 10/21/05 Rodgers' Regret At PSNI 'Scum' Remark
BT 10/21/05 Aldergrove Watchtower Faces Chop
DI 10/21/05 Opin: Patronising Report
UT 10/21/05 Paisley Appointed To Privy Council


Parliament Convenes For Adams

Special sitting for Adams at parliament

South Africa's parliament in Cape Town yesterday convened
a special sitting that was officially addressed by Sinn
Féin president Gerry Adams.

During the keynote address which took place in the Old
Assembly of the parliament, Mr Adams was formally hosted by
the acting speaker Geoffrey Doidge.

Mr Adams also held a private lunch with 20 senior figures
from key parliamentary committees, including defence and
foreign affairs. He described his official invitation to
address parliamentarians as an "exceptional honour".

Mninwa Mahlangu, chairperson of the National Council of
Provinces, said that the South African parliament "attach a
strong significance" to Mr Adams' visit.

Referring to the recent moves by the IRA as "commendable
steps", Mr Mahlangu expressed hope that the peace process
will now be revived.

During a session that lasted 50 minutes, scores of
parliamentary representatives from all South Africa's main
political parties heard Mr Adams discussing the Irish peace
process in the context of global developments.

"Irish republicans have always been firmly
internationalists: our roots lie in the French revolution
and the American revolution," Mr Adams said.

"Our core political value is based on the right of human
beings to be free citizens – liberated, empowered and

"The founders of Irish republicanism saw themselves as
citizens of the world and the Irish fight for freedom as
part of a worldwide struggle of humanity. That remains Sinn
Féin's view today," Mr Adams said.

The Sinn Féin president told parliamentarians that "the
great social, economic and environmental problems" of the
world must be tackled by international co-operation among

Mr Adams called for "strategic partnership" between the
developed world and the developing world, "not as an act of
charity – but as part of our duty and responsibility
towards other human beings".

"We are delighted to see the decline of the old empires but
we are conscious that the old imperial powers continue to
seek ways to exploit their former colonies," he added.

Highlighting that over one fifth of the world's population
live on less than a dollar-per-day, Mr Adams insisted that
"another world – a world of equals – is possible".

"This requires a United Nations which can assert an agenda
which reflects the true needs and interests of the peoples
of the world.

"In other words, efforts to reform and democratise the
United Nations must continue. We believe that foreign debts
of developing countries must be cancelled. We believe
poverty can be eradicated.

"We believe that the cause of international security has to
shift from a purely militaristic agenda which attacks
democratic and civil rights in particular countries to deal
with the real causes of insecurity in the world.

"We believe that the global economy must be re-organised to
allow developing countries the freedom to develop socially
and economically – to manage their own resources with the
developed countries paying fair prices for their products."

Mr Adams said the anti-apartheid struggle demonstrated that
seemingly unalterable conditions can be completely

"We can make the world a better place by making our own
countries – our own regions of the world – better places.

"Let no one here be in any doubt – the end of apartheid has
made a huge contribution to this cause.

"Of course there is a lot more to be done, but progressive
and freedom loving people everywhere owe a great debt of
gratitude to the people of South Africa."

Mr Adams recalled that South African media censorship in
1977 and the British ban on Sinn Féin in 1998 were both
imposed on October 19, remembered this week in South Africa
by Media Freedom Day.

"I note these dates so that we can judge how far our
progressive causes have advanced since then.

"The peace process is a journey. The milestones on that
journey have been signposted since the IRA cessation of
1994 through to the recent IRA initiatives to formally call
an end to its armed campaign and to put its weapons beyond

"There are two big challenges facing Sinn Féin in the next
phase of the peace process. One is to keep the British
government to its commitments. The other is to end the
scourge of sectarianism in Ireland, to forge a new
relationship between unionism and the rest of us.

"I believe there are lessons to be learned from your
process of national reconciliation and I am pleased that
the President and Foreign Minister Zuma are prepared to
facilitate this, if and when this is necessary."

Noting the historical contact throughout the last century
between Irish republicans, such as Arthur Griffith, with
ANC comrades, Mr Adams declared: "What we want in Ireland
is what you have achieved in South Africa. We want our
freedom. It is my conviction that this is achievable."

Mr Adams closed his speech with a quote from the Bobby
Sands poem The Rhythm of Time.


Loyalists 'Avoiding Prison In Gun Cases'

By Chris Thornton
21 October 2005

The Government's chief law officers have received a formal
complaint about loyalists avoiding jail in cases where they
were arrested with illegal guns.

SDLP Assembly member John Dallat complained to the Attorney
General, Lord Goldsmith, and Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian
Kerr, and sent them dossiers of cases where "shockingly
light sentences" were applied.

The Northern Ireland Office and the Irish government also
received the party's dossier arguing that loyalists are
routinely "getting away with it".

The complaint came after three men who confronted police
with a deactivated AK-47 escaped jail at Belfast Crown
Court last week.

The trio - brothers John and Gary McDonald and a friend,
Stephen Maternaghan, all with addresses in Innishrush Road,
Portglenone - had tried to stop a van before they
approached police with the gun, which is incapable of
firing but looks like a working weapon.

Judge Kevin Finnegan gave the men suspended sentences.

Mr Dallat said his party believes the case fits a pattern
where loyalists have received light sentences.

"The SDLP is deeply concerned that far too often, loyalists
are avoiding prison even though they have been convicted of
the most serious crimes," he said.

"We are not alone in this concern. Hugh Orde has publicly
stated that he believes that paramilitaries too often are
getting too light sentences.

"That undermines the rule of law. There's no point bringing
loyalists to court if they are going to just get away with

The dossier presented to the legal chiefs also cites the
case of a loyalist who received a conditional discharge for
having another deactivated weapon, even though he had
recently been freed from jail for a punishment attack and
had other convictions.


Company Reveals Police Phone Tapping Concerns

By David Gordon
21 October 2005

The company that forced an internal PSNI corruption probe
today said it feared its phones had been tapped.

The shock claim came as the police service signalled that
its investigations into past contracts could be widened.

Northern Ireland Sheet Metal Works last week received a
£400,000 settlement from PSNI after a four-year legal
battle over a cancelled contract.

Jim Kirkpatrick, head of the firm, today said: "We have
very strongly-held suspicions that our telephones were
tapped over a long period.

"There was a regular clicking noise when we were on the
phone, particularly when we said certain words."

A PSNI spokeswoman said the force did not comment on
intelligence matters as a matter of policy.

But security sources said police could not have been
involved in any tapping.

"The approval of the Secretary of State is needed for
telephone intercepts," one source said.

"There is no way that would happen in a case like this."

Another source said clicking would not be involved in the
phone tapping technology used by police.

Mr Kirkpatrick today welcomed a pledge by chief constable
Sir Hugh Orde on the extent of the PSNI corruption

But he challenged the police boss to live up to his words
by ordering suspensions of staff members.

"I cannot understand why no one has been suspended," Mr
Kirkpatrick said.

Northern Ireland Sheet Metal Works went to the High Court
after being stripped of a 2001 order to supply armour
plating for police vehicles.

Speaking after the settlement, the judge in the case called
for a criminal investigation.

He also said there was evidence that person or persons
within the PSNI has deliberately undermined the company
through "flimsy" criticism of its provision of the

Sir Hugh yesterday said something had clearly gone wrong
with the contract.


Former Sf Leader Wants Name Cleared

By Mairead Carey

Former Sinn Fein vice president and one time advisor to
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern Phil Flynn has
called on the government to clear his name of any
involvement in IRA money laundering.

Flynn was forced to resign as chairman of the Bank of
Scotland in Ireland as well as from a number of government
advisory positions after being questioned in relation to an
alleged IRA money laundering operation last February, but
eight months later no charges have been brought against

Since then there have been continuous reports linking the
former trade unions boss, to the proceeds of the now
infamous Northern Bank robbery.

Last week in the House of Lords Ulster Unionist Lord Laird
linked Flynn to recent raids in Manchester and Dundalk
which were part of an investigation into the assets of
Thomas "Slab" Murphy, the reputed chief of staff of the

Lord Laird claimed that "much of the information for the
raids came from a raid on premises owned by Mr. Phil Flynn
and, in particular, a notebook that contained detailed
financial information of senior people in Irish society,
including those who support Sinn Fein/IRA."

Flynn described Lord Laird's comments as lies and called on
him to repeat the comments outside the House of Lords,
where they are covered by privilege.

"It's time my government stood up and made a statement
about all of this. They know it's lies," he said.

The repeated comments about him in the House of Lords by
Lord Laird were putting his life in danger and were totally
without foundation, he added.

Friends of the former trade union boss believe that Flynn
is a victim of a sustained media and political campaign
against Sinn Fein.

Flynn had been vice president of the party in the 1980s but
left to take up a more active role in the trade union
movement. He went on to become president of the Irish
Congress of Trade Unions and through his work with the
unions became a close confidante of Ahern.

After retiring from Congress, he became a government
trouble-shooter in the area of industrial relations. He
also got involved in a number of businesses and was
appointed chairman of the Bank of Scotland in Ireland.
Throughout that time, he remained an unapologetic

It was his involvement as a non-executive director with a
finance company called Chesterton Finance and its owner,
financier Ted Cunningham, which led to his present

During a raid on Cunningham's home in Cork, Gardai (police)
found almost €3 million worth of sterling bank notes which
they believe were stolen in the Northern Bank robbery in
Belfast last December. In January, Flynn traveled to
Bulgaria with the Cork financier to look at potential
property investments.

Despite the massive investigation into the alleged-money
laundering, and despite last week's insistence by the Garda
Commissioner that the Gardai could prove that the money
found in Cork had been stolen from

the Northern bank, Cunningham has not been charged with

In fact the only person to face charges as a result of the
raids was Corkman Don Bullman, whom it is claimed is a
member of the Real IRA.

Flynn has always denied that he had any involvement in
money laundering, and has said that he does not believe
that money was being laundered through Chesterton. But the
speculation continues.

In August he was charged in a blaze of publicity with
possession of a pen gun which was taken from his office in

Flynn says the gun was a novelty item which he has had for
over a decade and which he had thrown in the back of a
drawer in his office. The fact that the case, which is
being taken by the Criminal Assets Bureau, is being dealt
with by way of summons to the District Court is an
indication of how minor the offense is, but that has not
stopped some media commentators blowing it out of all

The Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest selling Sunday
paper, ran a front page story quoting unnamed government
officials expressing concern that he may have brought
firearms into Government Buildings.

This week's call by Flynn for the government to clear his
name has so far fallen on deaf ears. A spokesman for the
government said there would be "no comment on anything
surrounding these issues."


Monastery Speaks Out In Defence Of Fr Reid

By Noel McAdam
21 October 2005

Senior clergy at Clonard Monastery in Belfast have voiced
shock and embarrassment over the "harsh words" of
Redemptorist priest Fr Alec Reid.

But they said the peace process would not be where it is at
- including IRA decommissioning - without the efforts of Fr

And the churchmen also offered to meet anyone who has
issues or concerns with the ministry at Clonard.

Their offer came just over a week after the confrontation
between Fr Reid and Protestant victims' group leader
William Frazer during a public meeting at Fitzroy
Presbyterian Church.

In an outburst for which he apologised, Fr Reid said he put
unionist treatment of nationalists in the category of the
Nazis and that nationalists had been treated "almost like

In a letter, Fr Gerry Reynolds and Fr Adrian Egan said
there had been outrage over a posting on the website of Mr
Frazer's group, FAIR (Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives), the day after the meeting.

It said: "The clergy of Clonard Monastery have blood on
their hands as it was they who sanctioned and supported the
use of violence and by both acts of commission and omission
were instrumental in the creation of the PIRA."

The clerical leaders' letter added: "From this comment
(people) can now see for themselves why Fr Alec Reid and
others who were present found William Frazer's insinuations
at the Fitzroy meeting so provocative."

They said Fr Alec understood republican commitment to
violence in Irish politics but never gave up efforts to
demonstrate to them "there was a better way to work for
their goals".

The clergy said Fr Reid spoke harsh words to Mr Frazer
which caused them shock and embarrassment, but Fr Reid was
on record as stating the armed struggle and 1916 rebellion
were wrong political decisions.

In what he had said he was trying to convey a sense of the
nationalist nightmare but in no way denying the unionist
nightmare, they added.


Priests Reject FAIR Statement On Monastery

Brothers angry at Frazer allegations

Ciaran O'Neill

Priests at a Belfast monastery have reacted furiously to
claims that they were instrumental in creating the IRA.

Members of Clonard Monastery yesterday issued a letter
denouncing a statement on the website of the unionist
victims organisation, Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives (FAIR), following recent comments by Clonard
priest Father Alex Reid.

During a public meeting at Fitzroy Presbyterian Hall in
Belfast on October 12, Fr Reid, who was one of two
independent witnesses to the recent decommissioning by the
IRA, said unionists had treated nationalists in the North
like animals, and compared their actions to those of nazis.
He made the comments during a heated confrontation with
FAIR spokesman Willie Frazer.

Fr Reid apologised for his comments after the meeting,
claiming that he had been provoked.

However, in a statement currently being run on the FAIR
website, Mr Frazer makes serious allegations about the work
of Clonard Monastery.

"The clergy of Clonard Monastery have blood on their hands
as it was they who sanctioned and supported the use of
violence and, by both acts of commission and omission, were
instrumental in the creation of the PIRA," he wrote.

Clonard Monastery is home to a community of Redemptorist
priests and brothers, who have been living and working in
west Belfast for more than 100 years.

In the letter released yesterday, Father Gerry Reynolds and
Father Adrian Egan, two of the senior priests at Clonard,
condemned Mr Frazer's statement.

"From this comment of his, your readers can now see for
themselves why Fr Alex Reid, and others who were present,
found William Frazer's insinuations at the Fitzroy meeting
so provocative," said the letter, the full text of which
appears today in Daily Ireland.

The Belfast-based priests admitted they were "shocked and
embarrassed" by the comments made by their colleague last
week, particularly because it hurt people within the
Protestant community who have great affection for him.

But they said it was vital that Fr Reid's key role in the
peace process was remembered.

"In what he said during the Fitzroy meeting last week, Fr
Alex was in no way denying the unionist nightmare. He was
trying to convey a sense of the nationalist nightmare and
he himself apologised for the hurtful way he did it," the
priests said.

"Much of the strong emotional reaction that we felt in
response to the confrontation between Fr Reid and Mr Frazer
at the Fitzroy meeting was due in part to the very raw
truths being exposed before us.

"When faced with such truths we become defensive and
aggressive and lose the opportunity for respectful dialogue
and thereby perpetuate the nightmare.

"Through his unyielding efforts over the years of conflict
to persuade the IRA to forego the armed struggle, Fr Alex
has sought to end both nightmares. And many Protestant
people hold him in the highest esteem because of his
patient life-long ministry for peace."

The priests also invited anyone with concerns about the
work of Clonard monastery to meet with them.


Rodgers' Regret At PSNI 'Scum' Remark

By Jonathan McCambridge
21 October 2005

An Ulster Unionist councillor last night said he regretted
labelling some police officers "scum" following violence
which erupted after the Whiterock parade.

But Jim Rodgers, a former chairman of Belfast District
Policing Partnership, said he would not apologise for his
remarks and claimed Tactical Support Unit (TSU) officers
called him an "Orange b******" during rioting.

Mr Rodgers met with Policing Board chairman Sir Des Rea
yesterday to discuss the comments he made to newspapers -
including the Belfast Telegraph - in September.

He said at the time some TSU officers had contributed to
the violence which followed Whiterock and said they were


Aldergrove Watchtower Faces Chop

By Eddie McIlwaine
21 October 2005

The main watchtower overlooking RAF Aldergrove is to be

The observation post at the camp's checkpoint will come
down this weekend.

And the task of removing the unsightly look-out block will
begin 16 years, almost to the day, since it was built.

This is the latest development in the plan to demilitarise
the province in the wake of the IRA decommissioning of

The tower at Killead Road, Aldergrove, was erected on
October 27, 1989, just as the Berlin Wall was being knocked

Station Commander Baz North has been negotiating for weeks
the removal of all look-out towers around the base.

He has held a meeting with local residents to make them
aware of what is going on at the camp, which accommodates
more than 4,000.

A local farmer said today: "It is good news that this ugly
tower is being removed. I don't think it has been occupied
for the past three or four years."

Along with the tower, other barriers at the checkpoint will
go, including a huge grid, erected to protect the tower
from rocket launchers.

And look-out posts around the camp's perimeter will also
come down in due course.

Killead Road leading to the base will be closed this
weekend to facilitate the work and homes in the area will
be without electricity on Saturday.


Opin: Patronising Report

The latest report of the Independent Monitoring Commission
says exactly what everyone expected it to — that the IRA
has done just what it said it would do. Nearly. With the
patronising tone so beloved of the men who draw up these
reports, the commission says the IRA's move away from
violence is showing "encouraging signs".

There are a few of the usual meaningless attempts to affect
insider knowledge by reference to some incidents whispered
out of the side of the mouth of some spook in a back room.
Having rejected the commission in the past as a convenient
conduit for untrustworthy British intelligence, we are not
going to turn round now and welcome its latest guardedly
positive report.

Instead, we reiterate our contention that it is
unsustainable that political progress on this island should
effectively be in the hands of a number of elderly men in
suits who are making life-and-death rulings on the basis of
secret briefings, most of them from the agents of the
British state in Ireland.

Of course, yesterday's statement is far from the end of the
matter. There is another hoop for republicans to jump
through in the shape of another commission report in
January. Justice minister Michael McDowell says that report
"will provide a greater test over a longer period of the
extent to which the Provisional movement has abandoned
criminality in all its forms". Presumably the report after
that will provide an even greater test, and the one after

The decision to restore moneys payable to Sinn Féin MPs is
the reversal of a decision that should never have been made
in the first place. Republicans in the North have long
since learned to stop saying "thanks, guv" for something
that is theirs in the first place.

Lessons of the ban

It was only a matter of time before a smoking ban was
introduced in the North in the way the ban was introduced
in the South 18 months ago. Around 90 per cent of those
consulted in the North on the matter said a ban was a good
idea, so it's very much a case of roll on April 2007.

What was gratifying in the days after the announcement was
the lack of a knee-jerk reaction on the part of
businesspeople involved in the hospitality industry. That
same industry made life hardest for the Irish government in
its attempts to impose a ban.

Clearly, the steadfastness of Dublin in the face of a well
co-ordinated campaign by the drinks industry, combined with
the obvious success and popularity of the ban since its
imposition, has given Northern publicans and restaurateurs
pause for thought.

Rather than become embroiled in an ultimately futile
campaign against the ban, businesses can concentrate their
efforts on how best to ensure that the lessons of the ban
south of the Border — both good and bad — are learned and
learned well.


Paisley Appointed To Privy Council

Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley is to be
appointed to the Privy Council, Downing Street announced

In a statement, No 10 said: "The Queen has been pleased to
approve that Dr Ian Paisley be sworn of Her Majesty`s most
honourable Privy Council."

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said the appointment was a
"tremendous personal honour" for Mr Paisley and

"recognition of the sea-change in Ulster politics".

The Privy Council officially advises the Queen, but is now
largely ceremonial.

Appointment is for life, but only ministers participate in
its policy work.

Mr Paisley`s appointment is recognition that after a
lengthy political career he is now the leader of the
largest party in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest in
the House of Commons.

He has been in Parliament for 35 years - for many as a lone
DUP voice in the chamber - but now with eight colleagues
sitting with him.

The DUP also has a member in the European Parliament, 33
members of the currently suspended Assembly and 182 local

Mr Paisley is the first member of his party to become a
Privy Councillor and the honour is expected to be followed
in the coming weeks with an announcement that the party is
to be given its first representation in the House of Lords
- something it has been pressing for since becoming the
dominant force within unionist politics in Northern

Two or possibly three members of the party are expected to
be elevated to the Lords. One may even be Mr Paisley`s wife
Eileen who was actually in politics before him.

Mr Robinson, MP for East Belfast, said the appointment of
his leader to the Privy Council was greatly deserved and an
appropriate recognition for an exceptional parliamentarian.

"For close to half a century, Ian Paisley has dominated the
political landscape of our province and far beyond. He is
one MP who consistently captures the attention of the House
of Commons."

Mr Paisley`s vision for unionism and Northern Ireland had
gained more and more public support as time after time his
warnings and judgment had been proven sound, said Mr

He said all the party members "offer Ian their hearty
congratulations, continued love and support".

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