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November 07, 2005

Arson Attack on Holy Cross Nursery School

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 11/07/05 Arson Attack On Nursery School
BB 11/07/05 Pipe Bomb Attack On Family's Home
II 11/07/05 More Arrest Made In Loyalist Investigation
IO 11/07/05 6th Man Arrested In Relation To Bank Heist
UT 11/07/05 Warning Over Unregistered Voters
HS 11/07/05 Dallat Denounces Poster Campaign
BB 11/07/05 Police Seek Troubles Compensation
UT 11/07/05 CCTV Footage Clues To Riot Suspects
DU 11/07/05 GFA Not The Basis For Good Relationship
BT 11/07/05 DUP’s Human Rights Challenge To The Runs Plan
SL 11/07/05 IRA Victim's Daughter To Lobby MPs On Fugitives
BT 11/07/05 A New Political Pamphlet: Beyond Belfast
BT 11/07/05 The Day The Races Were Stopped On Their Tracks
IN 11/07/05 Caller Refuses To Say Where Fourth Bomb Is
DI 11/07/05 Opin: Wrong Message Is Sent To Orangeism
BT 11/07/05 Opin: Nationalists Will Remember Our War Dead
BT 11/07/05 Opin: Howling At The Wind
SF 11/07/05 Text: Adams – 'United Ireland In Our Lifetime'
BT 11/07/05 A Little Goes A Long Way
IN 11/07/05 I'll Meet Paisley, Says Gay Masseur
IN 11/07/05 Search Goes On After Cliff Tragedy
IN 11/07/05 Nuncio's Latin Manuscript To Open Up History
IN 11/07/05 Neeson To Attend Irish Film Premiere
IN 11/07/05 Informing 'The Wrong Man'


Arson Attack On Nursery School

A nursery school in north Belfast has been closed after it
was damaged in an arson attack.

Vandals got through the roof of Holy Cross nursery school
in Ardoyne on Sunday and lit a number of fires inside the

The nursery is linked to the Catholic girls' school which
was the target of loyalist protests in 2001.

However, parish priest Father Aidan Troy said he did not
believe that the attack was sectarian.

"I think it would be very irresponsible of me not to offer
real caution in seeing this as a sectarian attack. I don't
see it as such at this stage," he said.

"I am just hoping that some arrangements can be made later
in the week. But it is an awful tragedy, especially for
children, that there will be no nursery school operating in
Holy Cross.

"We will be extremely interested in finding out who was
responsible for this."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/07 07:29:13 GMT


Pipe Bomb Attack On Family's Home

A woman and her two children have escaped injury in a pipe
bomb attack in County Antrim.

The device was thrown at a house in the Dunvale area of
Ballymena at about 0130 GMT on Monday.

The woman and her 22-year-old son and daughter, 17, were in
the house at the time of the attack.

The blast caused substantial damage to the front of the
house and to the ceiling of a front room. Police said they
were trying to establish a motive.

Bomb disposal experts were called to the scene.

Detectives have appealed to anyone with information to
contact them at 0845 600 8000 or by calling Crimestoppers
0800 555111.

In a separate incident in the town, a fire which badly
damaged a house in the Lantara estate is being treated as

It was reported to police at about 0100 GMT on Monday.

No-one was in the house at the time but a number of
neighbouring homes had to be evacuated for a short time.

Police are investigating how the fire started and have
appealed for witnesses to contact them.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/07 07:24:21 GMT


Further Arrest Made In Loyalist Double Murder Investigation

10:24 Monday November 7th 2005

Police in the North have arrested another man in connection
with the murder of two teenagers in the North five years

The 25-year-old was detained in Coalisland in Co Tyrone
this morning and is being held under anti-terrorism

He is being questioned about the fatal stabbing of 19-year-
old Andrew Robb and 18-year-old David McIlwaine in February
2000, at the height of a loyalist paramilitary feud in

The pair were killed after leaving a nightclub in
Tandragee, Co Armagh, before being dumped at the side of
the country road.

A 54-year-old man was also arrested in Craigavon on
Saturday in connection with the murders, but was later
released pending instructions from the Public Prosecution


Sixth Man Arrested In Relation To £26.5m Belfast Bank Heist

07/11/2005 - 09:29:06

Police in the North have arrested a sixth man in connection
with last year's £26.5m (€39m) heist at Northern Bank
headquarters in Belfast.

The 22-year-old man was arrested this morning in the Co
Down village of Kilcoo.

A 23-year-old man from the same village was brought to
court last week charged with carrying out last December's
robbery. He was also charged with possession of a gun or
imitation firearm and with falsely imprisoning a bank
worker and his wife.

Meanwhile, a 43-year-old man who was also among the five
arrested last week, is due in court later today.

However, last night police would not comment on the
specific charges the man, who was arrested in Coalisland
last week, will face.

Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness has branded
the recent PSNI operation in South Down and Tyrone
connected to the robbery "a pathetic and unjustifiable
expedition which has caused widespread anger within the
broad nationalist community".

He said: "Since the beginning of this operation, a number
of people have had their homes searched and a number of
individuals have been arrested.

"This has been a very bad week for policing. It
demonstrates once again why policing here has to be got
right. We need to replace the sort of partisan, political
policing witnessed in South Down and Tyrone with the sort
of accountable service demanded by Patten."

The Sinn Féin MP hit out at the action by the PSNI,
claiming they had established only a "paper-thin case."

"I have learned this evening that the PSNI plan to charge a
constituent of mine with failing to inform them that he
sold a van similar to one the PSNI believe may have been
used in the robbery," he said.

"This sort of ridiculous phoney charge will fool nobody. As
in the past, I am quite sure that this and other cases will
collapse but not of course in the blaze of publicity
generated by the PSNI in recent days.

"The PSNI, realising the widespread anger caused within the
nationalist community, appear to be trying to justify their
operation with what can only be described as paper-thin


Warning Over Unregistered Voters

Over 300,000 voters could fall off Northern Ireland's
electoral register despite the current drive to persuade
people to secure their vote, it was claimed today.

By:Press Association

Sinn Fein`s director of elections Pat Doherty said he was
growing increasingly worried that the register currently
being compiled and due for publication on December 1 would
result in 240,000 more people being disenfranchised.

The West Tyrone MP warned: "In conversations with both the
Electoral Office and the Electoral Commission it has become
clear that 240,000 people registered currently have not
returned their forms to date for the new register.

"This is in addition to 90,000 households who habitually do
not return their form and those who have slipped off the
register altogether because of the introduction of the new

"In an electoral area with a population of just over 1
million it does not take a genius to work out the impact on
the democratic process if a register is produced with over
300,000 voters missing.

"This is major issue and with the deadline of November 18
looming the electoral authorities have little time to sort
out what is yet another mess."

The Electoral Office and Electoral Commission have been
conducting their controversial annual voter registration
since last September.

Last year, Northern Ireland Office minister John Spellar
announced plans to change the system which forces voters in
the province to fill in electoral registration forms every

The system has been fiercely criticised by unionist and
nationalist parties, with Sinn Fein vice president Pat
Doherty accusing the Government of sanctioning the annual
shredding of the electoral register.


Dallat Denounces Poster Campaign

Monday, November 07, 2005

A politican from county Derry has hit out at a poster
campaign which calls for the elimination of the GAA.

East Derry SDLP local assembly member John Dallat slammed a
loyalist poster denoting the number 5711 which was placed
on the door of his constituency office in Kilrea, county

Decoded, the numbers stand for 'eliminate GAA' with each
number representing a letter of the alphabet.

The poster proclaims 'Stamping out Irish GAA Fascism in

Mr. Dallat says supporters of the LVF may have been
responsible for the posters.

"The appearance of the latest hate material comes as a
disappointment given that we have just been led to believe
that loyalist paramilitaries are either redundant or
'working their notice'.

"To suggest that the GAA is associated with fascism is
grossly insulting and a total misrepresentation of what
this sporting organisation stands for."


Police Seek Troubles Compensation

About 4,500 serving and retired police officers are
beginning legal action to claim compensation for trauma
they said they suffered during the Troubles.

It is one of the biggest such civil action ever taken in
the United Kingdom and is starting in Belfast on Monday.

The chief constable and the Policing Board are being sued
for injuries caused by "a failure to diagnose or treat"
post-traumatic stress disorder.

The case, to be overseen by Mr Justice Coghlin, is due to
last four months.

It is proceeding as a class action with up to 20 individual
cases being selected to represent issues common to all the

The officers claim they were not prepared for what they
experienced and that adequate support mechanisms were not
in place.

Many of them faced direct attack, witnessed terror attacks
at first hand or had to cope with the aftermath of

Others are fighting for loss of earnings after being
medically discharged as a result of what they faced in the
line of duty.

A major issue in the case is the duty of care which the
chief constable owed to his officers.

Leading experts have been engaged to give evidence about
the development of psychiatric and psychological knowledge
during the 30 years of the Troubles.

'Severe trauma'

Dorcas Crawford, a solicitor acting for the Police
Federation in the case, said the group action brought
together "all of the individuals who suffered from those
horrendous incidents".

There was a long history of post-traumatic stress disorder
within the police but that "it just simply wasn't labelled
as such", she said.

"Of course they knew what they were going to face, but so
did their employer - that is the point.

"Their employer was the person responsible for looking
after them when they faced that situation.

"The occupational health unit in the RUC was not set up
until 1986, and by that stage people had 17 years of severe
trauma in their daily duties.

"The force really did nothing effective for far too long
and when they did begin to think about it eventually, they
took far too long to do anything about it," she alleged.

"There was a committee set up in the 1980s and recommended
a package, but very few of those measures that were
recommended in the package were implemented, and those that
did were implemented far too slowly."

Speaking outside the court, Terry Spence of the Police
Federation said symptoms among officers had been identified
by the RUC over many years.

"They didn't take any remedial action to deal with that,"
he alleged.

"They should have taken all necessary steps to
diagnostically deal with this situation and they simply
ignored it."

He added: "It has resulted in marriage break-ups and family

"It has also involved acute alcoholism within the service
and many officers have suffered many traumatic incidents
throughout the years and that has manifested itself in
their personality breakdown."

The Royal Ulster Constabulary became the Police Service of
Northern Ireland under sweeping reforms of the service
proposed by the Good Friday Agreement.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/07 06:37:17 GMT


CCTV Footage Clues To Riot Suspects

CCTV footage of seven men wanted for questioning about
rioting in Belfast was issued today.

By:Press Association

The stills were taken from film recorded during street
violence in the east of the city over two nights in

Police were attacked with petrol and blast bombs on the
Albertbridge Road, where a mob of around 700 people
gathered at one stage.

Gunmen also opened fire on officers during the trouble
which followed a controversial decision to re-route an
Orange Order march.

Dozens of police men and women were injured in the
disturbances which spread across Belfast.

Police said they were trying to identify the people in the
photographs because it is believed they may have
information that could help detectives hunting those

Chief Superintendent Henry Irvine, the District Commander
for East Belfast, said: "Police are using all available
means, including extensive CCTV footage from the scene, to
identify anyone involved in public disorder.

"Our footage is extensive and clearly shows us the
perpetrators of this violence.

"We are asking them to come forward before our officers
have to knock on their doors."

Mr Irvine also urged the public to give his detectives the
information they need.

"Criminal behaviour will not be tolerated," he insisted.

"We are determined to bring before the courts those who
have taken part in serious public disorder."


Belfast Agreement Not The Basis For Good Relationship

DUP Member of Parliament for East Londonderry Gregory
Campbell has today told the Prime Minister of the Republic
that the Belfast Agreement cannot form the basis of the
future relationship between Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland. Mr Campbell made his comments after
Bertie Ahern remarked yesterday that "The agenda of my
Government is the agenda of the Good Friday Agreement".
Gregory Campbell said,

"The DUP desires a constructive relationship on issues of
shared concern with our neighbours in the Irish Republic
that is firmly built upon the foundation of mutual respect
for one another's constitutional status. That
relationship cannot be based in any way, shape or form upon
the unaccountable cross-border structures established by
the Belfast Agreement.

Unionists did not support the Agreement in 1998 and they
certainly don't support it today. There is no way
whatsoever that unionists will accept the Belfast Agreement
as the basis for a better working relationship between
Northern Ireland and the Republic. The unaccountable
nature of cross-border arrangements, their unnecessary
expense and the ridiculous imbalance between the
north/south set up and its east-west counterpart has to be
radically reformed.

The greater the willingness of the Republic of Ireland to
respect and accept the position of unionists and Northern
Ireland's place within the United Kingdom, the more the
relationship between the two countries can be normalised
and enhanced. If Bertie Ahern genuinely believes that
Northern Ireland's constitutional status is settled then
his Government should have no hesitation in creating and
maintaining proper protocols in all dealings between our
two countries or establishing an Irish Consular Office in
Belfast or instituting the same rights for people who
regard themselves as British living in the Republic as
exist for people who regard themselves as Irish living in
Northern Ireland.

I can understand why the Irish Government and indeed the
British Government would want to continue to praise the
failed 1998 deal publicly but they know that there can be
no progress on the back of the Belfast Agreement.
Replacing the Belfast Agreement with a deal that is fair to
both unionists and nationalists has been the DUP's agenda
and will continue to be so."


DUP May Make Human Rights Challenge To On The Runs Plan

By Noel McAdam
07 November 2005

The DUP is set to challenge the controversial "amnesty" for
republican fugitives under the European Convention on Human
Rights, it was confirmed last night.

But with legislation expected this week which could allow
around 60 so-called 'on-the-runs' (OTRs) back on the
streets of Northern Ireland, the party also made clear the
issue would not be a "deal breaker" in terms of talks on

DUP Assembly member Arlene Foster is expected to meet the
Amnesty organisation and head of the NI Human Rights
Commission Monica McWilliams to investigate possible
opposition on the basis that victims' rights are being

"Article 13 of the Convention, which was not enshrined in
United Kingdom legislation, says those who have had rights
violated are entitled to an effective remedy. Obviously
that is broken by acts of murder," the Fermanagh and South
Tyrone MLA said.

"The European Court is a very long route to go down so we
will want to look carefully at the options and take

As Conservatives and Liberal Democrat MPs prepared to
formally oppose the passage of the legislation through
Parliament, the DUP pledged a "multi-faceted" approach to
try to stop the effective amnesty, which has also been
linked to the PSNI's 'cold cases' review of the hundreds of
unsolved Troubles murders.

Alliance leader David Ford said yesterday the legislation
would not get through the House of Commons and the House of
Lords in its current form.

Speaking on the BBC Politics Show, the South Antrim MLA
said he believed there was "virtually no chance" of the
Government's current proposals becoming law without
significant changes - including people seeking release on
licence having to appear before a special judicial

The OTRs should also be linked to the return of people
forced into exile from the province by both republican and
loyalist paramilitaries, Mr Ford added.

Although the final form of the legislation has yet to
emerge, it has also been confirmed that former prisoners
and those convicted - some of whom jumped bail or escaped
from jail or custody - will first have to apply to an
eligibility body to find out whether they qualify for

There was also speculation yesterday that the legislation
could be amended to include members of the security forces
involved in controversial shootings and killings over the

But it is accepted that even the combined forces of the
Opposition Parties are unlikely to prevent the measure, the
result of a deal between the Government and republicans to
bring about IRA decommissioning, eventually becoming a

Mrs Foster, who was in the Ulster Unionist Party when the
'on the runs' controversy first emerged after the Weston
Park talks and the Governments' Joint Declaration, said:
"The reality is: have we the power to stop this. No, so it
cannot be a deal breaker."

Former Sinn Fein press officer Danny Morrison yesterday
accepted an amnesty is on offer but criticised the
Government for surrounding it with the "whole rigmarole" of
a judicial process.

"It's a nonsense. They should just have drawn a line under
the past and moved on. It's not going to work and its going
to be a farce," said Mr Morrison, who no longer speaks for
Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein itself, meanwhile, refused to make public some of
the names expected to qualify for release under the scheme,
expected to be laid in Parliament later this week.


IRA Victim's Daughter To Lobby MPs On Fugitives

By Alan Murray
06 November 2005

IRA victim's daughter to lobby MPs on fugitives

THE daughter of a woman murdered by the IRA in the
Enniskillen massacre will lobby MPs at Westminster this
week to reject an amnesty for terrorist fugitives.

Aileen Quinton, who lost her mother, Alberta, on
Remembrance Day 18 years ago, will join other victims of
IRA violence to urge MPs to challenge Government plans to
allow the Enniskillen bomber and other fugitives to return
to Ulster.

Charles Caufield was named under House of Commons'
privilege by Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson as the IRA
man who built and detonated the bomb which killed 11 people
in the Poppy Day attack in 1987.

Caufield is understood to be among a 50-strong group of IRA
terrorists whom Sinn Fein is seeking an amnesty for.

He is believed to have been living in the United States
since the devastating attack.

On the 10th anniversary of the bombing in 1997, Ms Quinton
staged a candlelight protest outside Sinn Fein's Dublin

Mr Donaldson said Aileen would join other victims at
Westminster this week to advise MPs of the deep opposition
to the Government's amnesty plans.

He said: "Aileen and other victims will gather at
Westminster to lobby MPs from all parties about the
iniquity of this legislation.

"The Government is keeping the details secret because it
knows the reaction it is generating."

And he added: "There is stiff opposition to these secret
plans from MPs across the board.

"There is a good possibility that the Government will be
defeated on this one in the House of Lords.

"The Government is so concerned that they are refusing to
divulge any details - that's how sensitive they are on

The NIO last week refused to discuss the issue or confirm
any details about how many fugitives would be granted an


Beyond repair

A New Political Pamphlet
( claims that the
Belfast Agreement is finished. In this extract from "Beyond
Belfast: Where now in Northern Ireland?", DENNIS KENNEDY
and ARTHUR GREEN argue that a long term settlement cannot
be built on a temporary accommodation

07 November 2005

The Belfast Agreement is beyond repair. Seven years of
trying to work it have revealed fundamental flaws in the
approach it embodied and in the institutional arrangements
under it.

The long-awaited IRA act of decommissioning and the
announced end of its campaign of violence, while welcome,
do not change that reality. Nor will positive reports from
the Independent Monitoring Commission. Large-scale
republican violence may have ceased, but few believe that
criminality will also stop. Most importantly, community
relations are worse than before the Agreement.

Crucially, the IRA's act will not alter the fact that the
majority community in Northern Ireland does not now support
the Agreement. The mandate narrowly secured in 1998 no
longer holds. Most unionists now vote for a party that has
always opposed the Agreement.

Since then the refusal of the IRA to 'go away' and the
steady flow of concessions to Republicans have eroded trust
in Mr Blair's Government and deepened inter- communal

The problem in Northern Ireland has been dragged back, in
many respects, to the stark tribal hostility of nationalism
versus unionism.

The Agreement, like other agreements before it, was not a
settlement but an agreed document. Consensus was possible
only on the basis of 'constructive ambiguity', where the
same words meant different things to different parties.

The Agreement failed not just because it was undermined by
the IRA's tardiness in disarming, but because it avoided
the real issues. The negotiation that led to it was a
missed opportunity.

Instead of trying to juggle with irreconcilable visions of
the future and versions of the past, governments, parties
and the people of Northern Ireland should now confront the
reality of the impasse they have reached and ask whether
their politics actually address the basic problem, or, in
fact, further cement the sectarian divide.

The IRA act of decommissioning is almost irrelevant. As one
relative of a victim said on television, the guns did not
kill people, those who fired the guns did, and nothing has
happened to them. They are unconvicted, unpunished, and
unchanged in their views. The decommissioning, so piously
witnessed, was, among other things, an officially
sanctioned destruction of the evidence that might have
secured the convictions of killers.

It is still unthinkable that a party which refuses to
recognise that the suffering caused by its armed wing for
30 years was in any way futile or immoral should be
admitted, let alone welcomed, into government. Yet this is
the party which the nationalist people have voted into
leadership, and in so doing, have indirectly made Ian
Paisley supreme on the unionist side.

There is no easy way back from this, but it must begin with
a radical rethinking of the meaning of nationalism in
Northern Ireland in the 21st century.

Can an Irish identity be expressed and enjoyed only within
an independent Irish state? Why make unification the
defining factor in nationalist political endeavour when it
is impossible without the majority consent, which is

Why persist in this approach when it is the greatest single
factor keeping Northern Ireland a divided society?

Almost everyone now accepts that cross-community power-
sharing must be a pivotal feature of any devolved
government, but a political determination to dismantle the
state, along with a reluctance to accord it full
recognition, is the worst possible basis for inviting a
minority into sharing power in the government of the state.

The inclusion of Sinn Fein ministers in a devolved
government is now unacceptable to most unionists. Even if
the DUP's professional politicians are tempted into
government, the experiment cannot succeed under conditions
which respected political scientists argue are

New thinking is needed from the two governments if they
truly desire institutional arrangements that will build
community solidarity.

Not all the rethinking has to be done by nationalists and
governments. If unionists want a peaceful Northern Ireland
within the United Kingdom they have to do what they can to
ensure that it is a Northern Ireland in which nationalists
can feel at ease.

Unionists should ask themselves whether defending the right
of every Orangeman to walk where he always did is the
proper way to go about this.

Marching may be the visible sign of a community feeling
marginalised and threatened, but unionists should adopt a
much more nuanced approach to Orange marches if they wish
to win sympathy rather than condemnation.

Similarly, apparent reluctance to condemn Loyalist thuggery
does nothing for the image of unionism or community

UK governments, in their response to violence or the threat
of it, have continually demonstrated that violence works,
but loyalists should realise that whatever short term gains
they think they achieve by street violence come at the high
cost of a wider UK electorate appalled at the sight of
loyal citizens shooting at UK police officers.

The Agreement is beyond repair. Two lessons should be
gleaned from the experience of the past decade.

:: Peace of a sort was bought at the cost of repeated
concessions to the men of violence resulting in a worsening
polarisation of political life, and rampant paramilitary

:: A long term settlement cannot be built on a temporary
accommodation. Under the Belfast Agreement the fundamental
divide over the existence of Northern Ireland was papered
over by complex institutional arrangements and formulations
intended to please both sides but in reality serving only
to heighten expectations on one side and fears on the

A settlement is possible. Even today people from both
communities in many parts of Northern Ireland live and work
side by side without acrimony. It is only in the sphere of
politics, and in the working class ghetto areas that the
constitutional issue dominates and corrupts both public
life and community relations. Remove that issue and much
becomes possible.

Nationalists, including Republicans, say they will accept
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom by virtue of
majority will. In other words the issue is settled, at
least for the foreseeable future.

Yet nationalists continue to make the elimination of
Northern Ireland their primary aim, the focal point of
their politics.

So long as that continues, there will be no normality and
little prospect of cross- community power-sharing.

A change of focus which would give priority to making
Northern Ireland a better place for those they represent,
rather than pursuing the unachievable aim of making it
disappear, would be a start.

l The Cadogan Group was formed in 1991 by a small number of
academics and others in Belfast, unhappy with overall
government policy on Northern Ireland, and with the broad
analysis of the problem shared by the United Kingdom and
Irish governments and by many commentators. The Group
operates as an independent forum and is not linked to any
political party. All the Group's pamphlets, along with
other material produced by Group members, are available on
the Cadogan website


The Day The Races Were Stopped On Their Tracks

PSNI hold back on pointing the finger

By Lisa Smyth
07 November 2005

Police last night refused to confirm whether dissident
republicans were behind a security alert at Down Royal on

The alert, which is likely to damage the province's fragile
tourist industry, came only days after a person claiming to
represent the Continuity IRA said a bomb scare in Belfast
city centre on Thursday was designed to ensure that Ulster
is not portrayed as a "normalised zone which is good for
British investment".

Up to 10,000 racegoers were evacuated from the Co Down
racecourse after a telephone call was made to a charity,
warning that four devices had been left at the complex, but
details were only given about the whereabouts of one of the

During a subsequent search, police discovered a suspicious
object hidden in a marquee that had earlier been packed
with people enjoying the festivities.

This was later found to be an elaborate hoax and no more
devices were discovered. The area was finally declared safe
yesterday afternoon.

Speaking at a press conference at Down Royal, District
Commander for the area Chief Superintendent Ken Henning
would not comment on who was behind the alert.

CS Kenning said: "The investigation is at a very early
stage and we are not able to say who is responsible but a
number of items have been sent for examination.

"What is obvious is that whoever did this was determined to
close this event down and they managed to destroy a family
day out and they are absolutely despicable," he added.

Despite the disruption, CS Kenning said it was imperative
that police took the telephone warning seriously.

"One of the problems we had was that a lot of the racegoers
were not from here and they think that the days of bombs in
Northern Ireland are over, so a lot of people didn't
believe there was really a security alert.

"However, if anyone plants a device and makes a telephone
call and says there is a device, you simply can't take a
risk on that - life is too precious to take a risk."

The alert at Down Royal came only days after a conference
at the Waterfront Hall attended by business people from
across the UK was disrupted by a bomb scare.

Hours after the alert was sparked - forcing thousands of
delegates attending an event for the British Council of
Shopping Centres to relocate to nearby St George's Market -
an anonymous telephone call was made to the Belfast
telegraph claiming that the Continuity IRA was responsible
for the alert.

A caller claiming to represent the republican paramilitary
organisation said: "The Continuity IRA claims
responsibility for the evacuation of 2,000 delegates from
the Waterfront Hall.

"The event has seen Belfast being sold as a normalised zone
which is good for British investment. We remain of the
belief that Britain has no control over Irish affairs and
holding events of the BSCC in Belfast does not gloss up a
failed agreement."


Disappointment and anger typifies reactions

One of the racegoers at Down Royal on Saturday has
described the disruption caused to the thousands of people
at the event.

Robin Greene travelled from Belfast with a group of friends
to enjoy the racing and said everyone was left "extremely
disappointed" that the meet ended prematurely.

"We got there about midday and everyone was having a good
time but we only got to see about three races and then it
came on over the tannoy that there was a security alert,"
he said.

"At first, no-one was paying any attention to the
announcement but they kept repeating that we had to get
onto the racecourse, which is directly in front of the

"They must have found something because we were then told
we had to get further away and we all went to the car park,
which is in the middle of the racecourse."

Mr Greene said the crowd of 10,000 people then had an hour
long wait before it was announced that the event would be

He said: "It was extremely disappointing, even though we
had only come from Belfast and we were lucky enough because
we came up on a bus which took us straight back to Belfast

"There was a group of Scottish lads who had come over
especially for the race and they were obviously really
annoyed, so our situation wasn't as bad as theirs.

"Still, we had all come for a day out and the day had been
really good up to that point and then it was completely
ruined by the alert."

He added: "Whoever did this isn't doing their cause any

SDLP MLA Carmel Hanna said the hoax bomb scare served as a
reminder of republican paramilitaries' attempts to disrupt
day-to-day life in Northern Ireland over the past 20 years.

"I condemn the sequence of bomb scares at the race meet at
the Maze, which led to the abandonment of the meeting,"
said the south Belfast representative.

"It is quite likely that this is the work of dissident
republicans who are bereft of any sense of the enjoyment of

"All they can do is act out their chosen role as begrudging
no-hopers who have nothing to offer anyone - the people who
attended this race meeting were enjoying an innocent day

She added: "In many respects yesterday's incident is
reminiscent of the Provisional IRA's continual disruption
of the Belfast to Dublin railway line for over two decades
- a ludicrous and costly episode perpetrated by thugs whose
purported objective was Irish unity but who spent their
time keeping the people of this island apart."

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has added his voice to the
condemnation. He said that those behind the alert have
nothing to offer the people of Northern Ireland, but
stressed that people will not be intimidated by such

"I know that the organisers of the Down Royal event and
those who plan other events will not allow such tactics to
deter their future plans," he said.


Caller Refuses To Say Where Fourth Bomb Is

By Maeve Connolly

THE telephone caller who claimed four devices had been left
at Down Royal Racecourse only told police where three were
located, it has emerged.

Police officers who examined the area on Saturday found one
suspicious package and alerted army bomb disposal experts
who yesterday described it as "an elaborate hoax".

Chief Superintendent Ken Henning said it was too early to
say who was responsible for causing the evacuation of more
than 8,000 people during one of the biggest events in the
Irish racing calendar.

The alert happened during the Northern Ireland Festival of
Racing and racecourse manager Mike Todd last night said it
would not be possible to run the three remaining races.

One enthusiast, who did not wish to be named, said he had
been looking forward to the 2.10pm race when the emergency
announcement was made.

"You had a mass exit and people driving down a single lane
on the advice of the announcement and at the same time the
bomb disposal vehicles and police and fire engines were
trying to gain access to the racecourse.

"People were asking 'Why didn't they drive up the
racecourse and go in?'

"They said there had been a rehearsal of the evacuation
plans but that didn't look the case."

Despite the warning and the sudden appearance of police
helicopters – one of which landed on the race course –
race-goers did not panic, he said.

"In fact people were taking it largely as being a bomb hoax
– especially the VIPs and people in the marquee who had to
be reminded three times before they got up and moved out."

He said many people left behind handbags, coats, keys and
other personal belongings in the marquee and private boxes
in particular as they fled.

"Cars were left behind too and with the racecourse closed
to the public on Sunday as well, they have not been able to
collect them," he said.

Mr Henning said the telephone warning had been received at
about 1.30pm.

"The caller said there were four devices but gave us
information on the whereabouts of only three devices, which
adds a very sinister element. We carried out a number of
searches today but nothing else was found," he said.

Two races had already been run when the emergency unfolded
and the horses for the 2.10pm event had been saddled and
were about to be brought into the paddock.

Racecourse Manager Mike Todd described it as a "reckless
and pointless act".

"Over 8,000 people from all over Ireland and Britain had a
wonderful day cut short because of the actions of a tiny
minority who remain wedded to the past," he said.

"Our emergency plan worked well and we were very pleased at
the level of co-operation we received from those attending
and working at the racecourse yesterday.

"The evacuation took place without incident and was
completed in 15 minutes."

Mr Todd said bookmakers would refund all bets placed on
races not run.

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis who was at the meeting,
said it cost the racing industry a lot of money, while DUP
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said it would not be
allowed to affect future events.

NIO minister Shaun Woodward also expressed his anger.

"Those who carried out this cowardly deed were clearly
intent on disrupting a major sporting and social event
enjoyed by literally thousands of people."


Opin: Wrong Message Is Sent To Orangeism

News that the International Fund for Ireland has approved a
major grant to a group closely associated with the Orange
Order is not only ethically questionable – it also sends
out entirely the wrong message to the Order and its
satellite groups at a time when hard messages require to be
driven home.

In June the IFI rubberstamped a payment of £250,000 to the
Orange Community Network.

The money, we're told, is for the promotion and development
of community groups and young people, but it would be much
more accurate to say that the money will be spent on the
promotion and development of Protesant community groups and
Protestant young people.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, funding is routinely
handed out by a wide variety of agencies to many worthy
groups in the full knowledge that they are exclusively
Protestant or Catholic, but incredibly, the IFI itself says
that the money which it is about to hand over to the OCN is
"designed to foster community reconciliation."

Given that the OCN organises the vast bulk of its
activities in Orange halls, and given the fact that Orange
halls are for Protestants and Protestants alone, it is hard
to see any scope for "community reconciliation" in any
event or project that might be based in an Orange hall.

The simple fact of the matter, of course, is that Catholics
will be driven off by the very word 'Orange', particularly
given events of recent days when, as Chief Constable Hugh
Orde pointed out, appalling acts of violence and
intimidation took place for which the Orange Order must
bear a large amount of responsibility.

News of the grant comes hot on the heels of our revelation
that the Department of Finance and Personnel has been
proactive in its efforts to ensure that the Orange Order
itself receives special European Peace II funding.

Let's not dwell on the bitter irony of peace money being
handed over directly to an organisation which the North's
leading copper has accused of being largely responsible for
wrecking the place, let's consider instead the implications
of a key government department intervening on behalf of a
sectarian organisation which exists to promote Protestant

It's clearly the case that the disgraceful actions of the
Orange Order in the recent past have received no sanction
from political unionism. Is it also to be the case that
funding bodies – be they government, European or whatever –
will similarly refuse to sanction the Orange Order, and
reward them instead?

If that is the message that is to be sent out, then very
dangerous times lie ahead.

The Orange Order should today be chastened and apologetic;
instead, with money being thrown at it and government
departments intervening on its behalf, it is much more
likely to be emboldened.


Opin: It's A Mistake To Think Nationalists Will Not
Remember Our War Dead

Pól Ó Muirí
07 November 2005

On Wednesday, September 6, 1916, my great-uncle, James
Murray, was killed on the Somme. He was from Donegal, had
enlisted in the Army in Belfast and became a private in the
Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

I only found about James a few years ago while listening to
an Irish-language programme. One inquiry led to another
until, finally, an aunt provided physical proof of James'
existence - a letter he wrote from the trenches and sent to
his mother, my paternal great-grandmother, a matter of
weeks before he was killed. The letter is as lyrical as any
of the poems of Wilfred Owen.

An interesting story. So interesting in fact that RTÉ
decided to make a programme about it (in Irish, as it
happens) and I found myself with a camera crew in France
and Flanders looking for the ghost of great-uncle James and
his fellow soldiers from the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-
speaking region).

Like so many other soldiers from the Great War, James has
no grave. His body was never found but his name is on the
Thiepval Memorial.

I can still remember finding it and being mute with shock
at the thousands of other names from Irish regiments on the

They read like names from a school roll.

We visited the Irish Peace Tower, opened by Mary McAleese,
and we went to the Menin Gate to hear the Last Post being
played. It is an occasion that would bring tears to a
stone. The senseless loss of life still appalls the soul.

How many other great-uncle Jameses from France, Austria,
Russia, Germany and Italy were lost over King and Kaiser's
fight over the size of their boats? (How Freudian is that?)

What surprised me most about the programme was the way in
which others from a nationalist background began to talk
about their own relatives and their wartime experiences.

One had a grandfather who was also on the Somme (and
survived); another had an uncle who was disowned for
joining the British Army; another, a Dub, had an uncle
killed in the retreat to Dunkirk during the Second World

None of them has ever worn a poppy or taken part in any
official commemoration ceremony - nor, for that matter,
have I. That said, since learning of James, I have always
been a lot quicker to dig out the loose change when a
collection tin has been rattled under my nose.

The issue of remembrance is, of course, a fraught one in
this part of the world.

The poppy, rightly or wrongly, is viewed as a unionist
symbol. That may change in time. It would be a mistake,
however, to think that nationalists in Ireland will not
remember their wartime dead this November. They will
remember, not publicly perhaps, but in the privacy of


Opin: Howling At The Wind

Pól Ó Muirí
07 November 2005

The words "bad politics" and the Ulster Unionist Party are
fast becoming one and the same. Witness, Lord Maginnis of
Drumglass' criticism of the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan.
The whole business is too expensive for Lord Magennis'

The Ombudsman received £26.5m between 2001 and 2005 but had
only four successful convictions against police officers to
show for the expenditure.

In its own defence, the Ombudsman pointed out that of the
580 files they had sent to the Director of Public
Prosecutions, they had recommended in almost 540 cases that
there was no basis to justify prosecution.

This would seem to suggest that there has been a campaign
to make as many complaints against the police as possible
in an effort to make them seem heavy-handed: PSNI equals

Of course, the PSNI is not the RUC, for the very simple
fact that people were afraid of the RUC but no-one is
afraid of the PSNI.

Lord Maginnis' attack on the Ombudsman does nothing but add
to the increasingly fractious discussion around law and
order. The Ombudsman is here to stay.

Rather than howling at the wind, the UUP would be better
served by trying to influence the debate about CRJ
programmes, OTRs and other related issues. They might
actually achieve something. Then again, maybe that is what
frightens them.


Text: Adams – 'A United Ireland In Our Lifetime'

Published: 5 November, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP addressing more than
1,000 supporters at a major event in the City West Hotel in
Dublin to mark the 100th anniversary of the party said: "We
will see a united Ireland in our lifetime".

Mr. Adams said:

"As Sinn Féin celebrates its first 100 years, Ireland
stands on the threshold of great change. The people of
Ireland are closer than ever to achieving the united,
independent and prosperous country which previous
generations of our people have struggled for.

"Even though the IRA initiative of formally ending its
campaign and putting arms beyond use occurred only a few
months ago already a debate has started within unionism.
This may take sometime to play out but it is positive none
the less And in the 26 Counties the other political parties
are facing up to the reality that the political landscape
is being transformed. The old political certainties are
being challenged.

"All the main political parties in this state say that
Irish unity is one of their aims. This is to be welcomed.
But aims and objectives are things that must be worked for.
The unity and independence of Ireland must be more than a
mere aspiration.

"In Leinster House this week Sinn Fein put the issue of a
united Ireland back on the political agenda when for the
first time in decades, Irish unity was debated. But much
more needs to happen. We need to see the coming together of
all strands of Irish nationalism, republicanism and the
labour movement to build a new united Ireland.

"Those of us who want to see an end to British rule and the
establishment of the republic need to build new alliances,
to devise and develop new strategies and shared positions
and to drive forward the united Ireland agenda in the time
ahead. A key part of this must be a genuine engagement with
the unionist community. The type of Ireland we want to
create involves the coming together of Orange and Green on
the basis of equality and respect.

"Republicanism is about much more than re-uniting Ireland.
Republicanism is about equality. There is now the wealth in
this state to make that a reality.

"Republicanism is about utilising natural resources for the
national good and not giving them to a multi national
corporations like Shell. Republicanism is about cherishing
all of the children of the nation equally, not about
marginalising or discriminating against them. The fact is
that there is no political will at this time to tackle
these issues because the ethos which guides the
conservative parties favours the wealthy and big business.
Sinn Féin is about changing all of this.

"Irish people are more confident in our ability to tackle
the issues which face us as a nation, to eradicate social
inequality and build an island economy that serves the
needs of all our citizens.

"Irish citizens in the North share that sense of confidence
and are determined to play their part in building that new
Ireland. Nationalists in the North are no longer 2nd class
citizens and fully intend to play their part in the life of
the Irish nation.

"Republicanism is stronger than at any time in recent
memory. We are moving forward with confidence and I believe
that if we work together we will see a united Ireland in
our lifetime." ENDS


A Little Goes A Long Way

Ivan Little is one of Ulster's best-known journalists, with
a career that has taken him from the Portadown Times to the
Belfast Telegraph, UTV and ITN. Now he's penned a brilliant
autobiography. Today, in the first of a two-part series,
dad-of-two Ivan (54), from Belfast, reveals his bizarre
encounters with LVF leader Billy Wright - and how
professional success brought personal heartache

07 November 2005

'You can say goodbye to your privacy and your marriage'

I had applied to drama schools in Bristol and London but
the cost was completely out of my folks' league. And the
thought of spending my life watching cricket as a county
scorer in England didn't thrill me either.

I knew I wanted to stay in Northern Ireland, especially as
I had started going out with a girl I'd met at Grosvenor
High, Belfast, by the name of Joan Beattie. She was in the
form below me but we were the same age. We met at a school
formal on April 1, 1969 - that's right, April Fool's Day.
We were together for the next 15 years, first as a courting
couple, then as an engaged couple and finally as a married
couple (with a beautiful daughter, Emma, coming along in
1978), until yours truly - or not so truly - started to

The private words of welcome to Ulster Television from
Belfast journalism's wisest and wiliest old fox had been
simple, straightforward and unexpected. Ivan McMichael
prowled the courts in the mornings looking for stories and
spent the afternoons in the UTV newsroom writing scripts.

He said to me: "Well, big man, you can say goodbye to your
privacy and to your marriage." I nearly choked on my pint
as the wee man delivered his greeting in Maxies, the pub
next door to Havelock House, on my first Friday night
outing after work. Television was apparently a nail in the
coffin of marriage for reporters and presenters. He also
predicted I would miss the anonymity of papers and radio.

I respected Ivan a lot but I treated his warnings with
scorn. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I can now
say the wee bugger was right on both sides.

In the mid-80s there was talk of me getting a job with ITN
in London, but it wasn't coming from me. It wasn't that I
didn't have the ambition for such a post. It was just that
complications in my personal life meant I didn't want to
leave Northern Ireland and, in particular, Emma.

Ivan McMichael's predictions about my marriage had come
true; it was over. I had only been with UTV a couple of
years when I began seeing someone other than Joan.

That relationship developed out of my participation in
amateur drama, but it wasn't the catalyst for me leaving my
wife. That came later, in 1985, after I became involved
with my UTV colleague, Kate Smith, and we set up home

Telling Emma I was leaving was the most difficult thing I
have ever had to do, especially since I hadn't a bad word
to say about her mum, for whom I still had strong feelings.
Informing UTV about the new relationship and trying to keep
it out of the tabloids became a major priority.

Thankfully in 1985 there was plenty to occupy the
newspapers other than my private life. The Anglo-Irish
Agreement was signed in November, sparking a major storm
among loyalists and winning me an international award.

The 1990s were to prove a crucial decade for Northern
Ireland in the search for peace; and also for me, in my
search for peace of mind. My relationship with Kate Smith
crumbled after four years, a situation made more awkward by
the fact that we sat right next to each other in the

However, it's fair to say that, in 1989, I wasn't exactly
living the lonely life of a recluse. I didn't have far to
travel from my newly acquired apartment to one of my
favourite drinking destinations in south Belfast, the
Wellington Park Hotel. Friday nights were party nights and
the place had become legendary.

The visiting ITN crews, with whom I worked at weekends,
refused to stay anywhere else. Furthermore, one English
soccer team used to come to Belfast for pre-season tours
simply because their manager loved to sample the Friday
night pleasures of the 'Welly,' where even the worst
striker in the land could score.

I used to get stick from my mates that the only reason I
liked going there was because my ugly face was regularly on
television. Honestly though: a balding, overweight one-
legged midget with bad breath and a hunched back could have
pulled in the Welly - and that was on a bad night.

One of the women I met there proved to be more than a one-
night stand. Michelle Savage was a successful solicitor who
became pregnant by me and gave birth to a baby girl,
Claire, in July 1990.

In the midst of my messed-up world at the time, I knew the
relationship with Michelle was unlikely to survive the
madness. I found it difficult to face up to my new

Fortunately, with time, I was able to grow up and to be
there for Claire, who is now a bright, feisty, drama-loving

But back in 1990, I knew I had to get my life straightened
out. If I didn't slow down, the Friday night frolics, along
with ongoing excesses on the merry-go-round of amateur
drama, would catch up with me one way or another. So I
decided to get out of Belfast altogether and rented a small
house in Holywood, Co Down with the intention of settling
down and wising up.

But fate is an ironic bugger. On my very first night in
Holywood, I resolved to have a quiet night in, alone, all
by myself. That was my honest intention; but then a friend
from UTV, Stephen McCoubrey, called to say hello - and we
went up the town for a jar, just the one. You can imagine
my supreme horror at ending up, finally, in the Welly. I'm
still not sure whose fault that was, but I'm certain it
wasn't mine!

However, within minutes of arriving, I spied a girl called
Siofra O'Reilly. She had been a set designer with one of my
old amateur drama groups, the Circle, and quickly became
aware of my designs on her. Fifteen years later, we are
still together.

What makes the whole thing even more ironic is that Siofra
and I had virtually been neighbours in Belfast: just a few
hundred yards separated our homes. Yet, it wasn't until
that night, after my moving eight miles away from Belfast,
that we bumped into each other for the first time.

TOMORROW: Skinny Little - my dramatic weight loss, meeting
the stars, and that word ... phenomenon

Little by Little by Ivan Little (Brehon, £8.99) is on sale
now at Easons and all good bookshops

The odd couple: Billy and me

"Billy Wright needs to see you - and he needs to see you
now," said the man on the other end of the telephone.

"Well, that could be a wee bit difficult," I replied. "I'm
in Enniskillen, waiting to go on stage in a play."

"Right, I'll get back to you," said the caller, one of my
main contacts in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the
ruthless loyalist terrorist group responsible for hundreds
of murders in Northern Ireland. Within minutes, he was back
on the blower.

"Billy Wright will drive to Enniskillen to meet you. He
says he really has to talk to you. Now."

I tried to explain the situation again, insisting that I
was in Fermanagh to act in a play in the local drama
festival at the Ardhowen Theatre. I couldn't simply ask the
audience to hang on for a minute while I nipped outside to
meet one of Ulster's most feared assassins.

"What about meeting him during the interval?" countered the

"Yes, that might work," I said. "But he'll have to be
quick. The interval only lasts 15 minutes."

As I pondered what Wright wanted to tell me that couldn't
wait, the practicalities of the meeting were sorted out.
Within 90 minutes, one of the strangest encounters in my
journalistic career - and there have been quite a few of
them - was taking place in the car park of the Ardhowen
theatre on March 19, 1993. There was me, a senior reporter
of many years' standing with Ulster Television (UTV),
sitting in the back of Billy Wright's car in make-up and
costume, listening to this cold-blooded terrorist calmly
outlining his grievances to me about how he believed the
security forces were harassing him. He claimed soldiers
were being offered £50 bonuses to stop him at roadblocks
and to report back on his movements. He said it was
happening day and night, even as he travelled around
Northern Ireland to watch his favourite soccer team,
Portadown FC.

Just what Wright, who police were convinced was
orchestrating a loyalist campaign in mid-Ulster, wanted me
to do about his problems took a wee while longer to emerge.
As I tried to hurry him up, he said he wanted to record an
interview with me for UTV as soon as possible. I told him
that I would be in touch, but I now had to get back on
stage for the second half of my play which, irony of
ironies - given my companion and the nature of our meeting
- was Neil Simon's classic American comedy, The Odd Couple.

After leaving Wright and two of his henchmen, including his
Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) second-in-command, Mark
'Swinger' Fulton, I dashed back across the car park and
into the theatre again past somewhat bemused-looking
patrons enjoying their interval drinks. I knew that none of
them would have believed for a second the drama which had
just been staged outside the Ardhowen. It was certainly
more intriguing that what was going on inside the theatre.
This episode illustrates perfectly just how odd a coupling
my own twin-track career of journalism and drama has been -
with a notebook in one hand and a play script in the other.

Back in 1986 Ivan had another encounter with Billy Wright

I drew the short straw of going to Portadown to cover the
Eleventh Night bonfires. Sure enough, vicious fighting
erupted between hundreds of loyalists in the Edgarstown
area and dozens of nationalists on the other side of the
so-called peace lines in Obins Street. The security forces
moved in and took up positions in the nationalist enclave
and started firing plastic bullets at the loyalist rioters.
For over an hour we stood among the Protestants, dodging
the baton rounds and filming the rioters, who were dropping
like flies. At one point, a prominent loyalist sidled up to
me and calmly asked: "Do you want us to get the shooters
out?" F**k this, I thought. No way was I having anything to
do with any of this. I reckoned they were only going to get
the shooters out for the cameras. I told my crew to gather
up their gear and we cleared off back to our hotel, The
Seagoe in Portadown. I knew we could be back within minutes
if the trouble did escalate.

I headed off to my bed, but my night's sleep didn't last
long. At around four in the morning, reception rang to say
Billy Wright wanted to see me. Bleary-eyed, I went down to
meet him. He wanted me to go with him to Craigavon hospital
to see the people injured by plastic bullets. I felt like
Mother Teresa as I toured the Accident and Emergency
department, meeting the wounded who eagerly showed me their
bruises. On the return to the hotel car park, Wright talked
to me for over an hour about himself and about his ideals.
He portrayed himself as a loyalist of conscience, a man who
didn't want to see anyone dying in the armed struggle.

Wright prophesied his own death during that and subsequent
conversations. In one interview he said: "I have only one
life and I want to keep it. I am not worried by the IRA.
They are common murderers. But I know that it is only a
matter of time before I am the victim of a political

He also hinted that the authorities might have a hand in
his death. "They are not to be trusted," he said. "I
believe there is a conspiracy to kill me, to appease the
Dublin government and the republican community." Wright was
proved correct inasmuch as he was murdered, though not by
the IRA. It was the INLA who shot him dead while he sat in
a prison van inside the Maze prison, waiting to go on a
visit. His father David is convinced that the authorities
colluded in his son's killing to ensure a smoother passage
for the peace process.

After Billy Wright's murder, his words outside the Seagoe
Hotel replayed in my mind. I dug out the tape of the
conversation to be certain that Wright had, indeed,
foretold his own fate. It must be remembered though that,
on that occasion, Wright also said the security forces and
the intelligence authorities were blaming him for things he
claimed to be innocent of. He insisted to me that they were
spreading disinformation about him, alleging he was running
his own death squad and suchlike. I knew he was guilty as
sin but I wasn't going to argue with him as he sat beside
me in the car, a few miles from where his fellow loyalists
had been bragging about their readiness to produce guns. It
was ironic, too, that, for the next few years, the majority
of the statements the UVF passed to me about their actions
were admissions about murders that Billy Wright had ordered
and orchestrated as he and his cohorts carried out a
campaign of vicious killings in the mid-Ulster.

For some inexplicable reason, one funeral out of all the
hundreds I have attended still plays in my mind as if it
were yesterday. Robin Shields, who had been in the police
reserve, was shot dead by the IRA in September 1980. He
died at his desk in the ambulance depot of the Royal
Victoria Hospital. The grief as his coffin was brought from
his home in the Woodvale area of Belfast was so
overpowering, so intense, that I had to walk away. To cap
it all, a series of IRA bomb scares held up the funeral,
causing some mourners to miss the burial at Roselawn


I'll Meet Paisley, Says Gay Masseur

By Staff Reporter

DUP politician Paul Berry has reportedly enlisted Madden
and Finucane solicitors to represent him at a disciplinary
hearing with party chiefs.

The law firm, one of the biggest in the north, boasts a
large client list which includes a number of well-known

Mr Berry, assembly member for Newry and Armagh, has been at
the centre of controversy over his private life. He was
suspended by the DUP in July over claims two months earlier
in The Sunday World newspaper that he met a male masseur in
a south Belfast hotel.

The masseur claimed a sexual encounter had taken place but
this has been denied by Mr Berry, who is married.

In a separate development yesterday, the gay man, referred
to as 'Gary' told The Sunday World he would be willing to
tell DUP leader Ian Paisley all about his encounter with Mr

"If they want to meet me I have no problem with that," he

"I will sit down and tell Mr Paisley and the rest of the
party exactly what happened in the hotel room.

"They will have to guarantee that I can remain anonymous
because I have to protect my family. But I have no problem
giving evidence. It's time they heard the truth about what

Neither Madden and Finucane solicitors nor Mr Berry could
be contacted for comment last night. But Mr Berry is
reported to have hired the firm because he be-lieved they
were experts in their field and because they were
recommended to him.

Despite the allegations which surfaced just days before
May's elections, Mr Berry still received the highest poll
for a unionist candidate in Newry and Armagh in the
Westminster election and also retained his seat on Armagh
council in the local government elections.


Search Goes On After Cliff Tragedy

By Staff Reporter

The funeral of a 23-year-old man who drowned after a cliff-
top accident at Doolin, Co Clare, took place in Ennis on

The body of Martin Griffin, of Shanaway Road, Ennis, was
recovered from the sea last Tuesday.

Two other men are still missing, feared drowned, after the

The men – named locally as Joe O'Callaghan (34) from Tulla
and Michael Doran (31) from Broadford, both in Co Clare,
are believed to have been in a green Suzuki Vitara with Mr

Debris from the vehicle, owned by Mr O'Callaghan, has
already been recovered, from the sea near Doonagore Bay,
while two bottles of spirits and a shoe were found on the
grassy ledge overlooking the bay.

It is believed the men had slept in the vehicle overnight.

A search for the bodies of the two men still missing
resumed yesterday morning. Weather conditions have been
hampering the search operation.


Nuncio's Latin Manuscript To Open Up History

By Staff Reporter

Et tu Brute?, annus horribilis and ipso facto might be
among the best known Latin phrases still in use today, but
for most of us the language of Caesar, Cicero and St
Augustine is a long dead one.

However, Latin remained the main language of government and
politics across Europe well into the 18th century. Indeed,
it remains the Vatican's vernacular today.

Now Ireland's 17th century history is to have new light
shed on it thanks to a cross-border project involving
University of Ulster academics.

Having been lost in translation for the past 360 years, the
team of academics are translating the correspondence of
Papal Nuncio Extraordinary Giovanni Baptist Rinuccini, who
was sent to Ireland by Pope Innocent X in March 1645.

The project will see Commentarius Rinuccinianus, one of the
most important primary sources for information about 17th
century politics, military history and personnel in
Ireland, Britain and in Europe, translated into English and
made available online.

During their research the experts from the Academy of Irish
Cultural Heritages at the university's Magee campus
uncovered a previously unknown manuscript history of

Dr William Kelly of the translation team said the
Commentarius Rinuccinianus was an important document.

"The Nuncio's memoirs are one of the few surviving key
primary sources for information about the politics,
military history and people of the Confederation of
Kilkenny," he said.

"The destruction of most of the records of the confederacy
in a fire at Dublin Castle in 1711 and later during the
shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin during the Irish
civil war, make the Commentarius one of the few
contemporary accounts to survive."

The only published edition of the Commentarius
Rinuccinianus so far is in 17th century Latin which,
according to Dr Kelly, puts it beyond the grasp of most
people, including some linguists.

"The translation of Commentarius Rinuccinianus is a
monumental project and one which will have a significant
impact on our understanding of the 17th century," he said.

"The lost history of this period will now be readily
available and easily accessible to people of all ages as a
valuable curriculum resource for both teachers and students
at every level."

During initial research the project team discovered a
previously unknown history of Ireland, the Historia, which
was written by Robert O'Connell in the 17th century and
which will now be translated and published.

"In effect, O'Connell's Historia is a history of Ireland
and Europe in the 17th century," Dr Kelly said.

"This work has not been used by historians of the period
and is actually unknown to all but a few. It has not been
translated or published."

The English translation of the Commentarius Rinuccinianus
is due to be completed by October 2007 and will be made
available online.


Neeson To Attend Irish Film Premiere

By Staff Reporter

BALLYMENA-born actor Liam Neeson is to attend the Irish
premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch
and The Wardrobe next month.

Neeson, pictured, voiced Aslan the lion in the film and
friends have said he will attend the gala event at Queen's
University Belfast on December 8.

The premiere will be the final fundraiser in Queen's £44
million library campaign.

The university is paying tribute to Belfast-born CS Lewis
by designing a special reading room in his honour in the
tower of the new library. The filmmakers have provided the
design of the wardrobe doors featured in the film for the
CS Lewis Reading Room. A dinner will be held after the
premiere. Last year Neeson received an honorary doctorate
from the university.

The world premiere of the film is in London on December 7.


Informing 'The Wrong Man'

By Barry McCaffrey

Danny Morrison's transition from the Armalite to the ballot
box to the theatre stage is complete. Sinn Fein's former
director of publicity is fast finding out that the pen is
mightier than the sword, with praise for his writing coming
from Margaret Thatcher's one-time heir apparent Michael
Portillo, among others.

Morrison's play The Wrong Man returns to Belfast this week
after receiving rave reviews in London, Dublin and

It was in London that Morrison came face-to-face with

"He came to see The Wrong Man and was very complimentary
afterwards," the 52-year-old said.

"We shook hands and chatted but he was careful not to be
photographed with me, which is his choice."

Although The Wrong Man is a fictional account of an IRA man
suspected of being an informer, Morrison did not have to
look too far to research the play's main theme.

In 1990 he was sentenced to eight years after being
convicted of conspiracy to murder IRA informer Sandy Lynch.

Freddie Scapaticci, who was also implicated in the case,
was later named as British army agent 'Stakeknife'.

"I have always been fascinated as to why people choose to
inform," he admited.

"Ian Phoenix [former Special Branch officer] once wrote
that he never met an informer who did it for idealistic
reasons. They all had ulterior motives."

As Sinn Fein's director of publicity Morrison came into
contact with a number of informers.

"I often brought people, who had either informed or had
been pressured to inform, to press conferences. The issue
has always absorbed me."

He wrote two-thirds of The Wrong Man during his five years
in the H Blocks.

By the time of his release in 1995 Morrison had already
decided that he too wanted a new identity.

"By the time I got out I had decided that I no longer
wanted to be known as a senior republican. I wanted to be
known as a writer."

He admited that he felt a sense of personal guilt that he
would no longer be at Gerry Adams's side.

"I did feel guilty and selfish when I came out because the
republican movement had been such a part of my life. But
obviously the movement has managed to struggle on without

He now admits that the decision to commit himself to
writing was inevitable.

"To be honest it wasn't such a hard decision. I came out of
jail a middle-aged grandfather who was jobless and

His literary journey led him to adapt The Wrong Man from a
novel to a stage play.

He said one of the biggest challenges was to set his
republican ideals aside to ensure a more authentic drama.

"People expect the play to be republican propaganda but a
writer has to rise above politics.

"I had to tell the human stories of RUC men and loyalists
in an objective and some might say sympathetic manner.

"For some republicans that is hard to take but it is all
about challenging ones own preconceptions.

"At the end of the play the audience comes away not knowing
whether the character Todd was an informer or not.

"It is up to them to decide."

The Wrong Man plays at the Roddy McCorley Club on the Glen
Road in west Belfast from tomorrow to Thursday.

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