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November 26, 2005

Loyalist Warning Not To Return Home

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 11/26/05
Loyalists Warn Couple Not To Return To Home
IN 11/26/05 SF Criticises Go-Ahead For Parade
DI 11/26/05 Neal Confident Partition Out & DUP In Govt w/ SF
IO 11/26/05 SF: Unity Inevitable As Celebrate 100th Brthdy
DI 11/26/05 McDowell Fails To Show In Court
DI 11/26/05 PSNI Drug 'Inaction'
BB 11/26/05 Murphy: NI Councils Overhaul 'Too Sharp'
II 11/26/05 Chief 'Used False Passport On Colombia Visit'
NS 11/26/05 Apartheid
BT 11/26/05 Man Cleared Of Army HQ Attack
IN 11/26/05 Eligible Fugitives Face A Two-Stage Process
IN 11/26/05 SDLP: Has Sinn Fein Let State Off With Murder?
IN 11/26/05 SF: We Did Not Agree To Blanket Amnesty
NL 11/26/05 Widespread Anger Over Peace Moves
IN 11/26/05 Fugitives Bill: PSNI Reviews Warrants
BT 11/26/05 OTR: Killers Expect To Swan Back Into Country
BT 11/26/05 OTR: Tony You Can Never Feel Our Pain
AP 11/26/05 Opin: Sweet Deal For Some, But For Rest Of Us?
DI 11/26/05 Opin: Winds Of Change Blowing All Around North
IN 11/26/05 Opin: Shake-Up Comes As A Big
DI 11/26/05 Opin: Fight For Autonomy Of Catholic Schools
IO 11/26/05 Royal Irish Regiment Awarded Honour
IO 11/26/05 McLoughlin: Former Bishop Of Galway Dies
BT 11/26/05 Books: An Equal Opportunity Terrorist At Large


Writer's family is torn apart by thugs

Loyalists Warn Couple Not To Return To Home

By Ashleigh Wallace
26 November 2005

THE wife of Ulster playwright Gary Mitchell has revealed
how a spate of intimidation at the hands of loyalist
paramilitaries has resulted in her family being torn apart.

Speaking last night, Alison Mitchell said the intimidation
reached a peak earlier this week when their family home in
Glengormley was petrol bombed.

Gary's elderly grandmother, who lived in Rathcoole for over
half a decade, died this week.

However, the Mitchell family - including Gary's parents
Chuck and Sandra - were warned they would be targeted by
loyalists if they returned to the estate to pay their
respects. The stress of the situation became so bad that
Chuck had a heart attack.

Both Gary and Alison have been warned not to return to
their home, which was targeted on Wednesday night. The
couple and their seven-year old son Harry are now sleeping
on floors of their relatives' houses.

A distraught Alison said: "The intimidation started two
years ago when Gary made a film about loyalists called The
Beast Sleeps. He started filming in Rathcoole, where he is
from, but was told to get out.

"When Gary and I got married, we moved to Glengormley but
in the past seven months our family have been subject to
terrible intimidation.

"Chuck and Sandra have been forced out of their home in
Rathcoole and Gary's sister and her young daughter also had
to flee from the area.

"They tried to intimidate Gary's granny but she refused to
be forced out. She died this week and we've told not to
come into the estate.

"Her dying wish was to be buried from her home and we
couldn't fulfil that wish."

Alison said the petrol bombers struck sometime around 9pm
on Wednesday.

She said: "A guy tried to get into the house and another
one wrecked our car. My little boy was screaming, saying he
was going to die.

"My father in law collapsed, had a heart attack and was
rushed to hospital.

"Gary's uncle Geordie also had his home attacked on
Wednesday night. He's disabled and after what happened,
he's now in hospital.

"We've been advised by the police not to return home for
our safety.

"I don't even know where we're going to stay tomorrow

"We are supposed to be living in a peaceful society now and
are lives have been shattered by these rogue


SF Criticises Go-Ahead For Parade

By Barry McCaffrey

A decision to allow a controversial loyalist parade to pass
by the flashpoint Ardoyne shops in north Belfast next week
has been criticised by Sinn Fein.

Apprentice Boys with an accompanying band and supporters
have been given permission to march along a nationalist
section of the Crumlin Road, en route to a parade in Derry
next Saturday.

In June and July Orange Order parades through the area
ended in serious violence between police and nationalist

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan claimed the Par-
ades Commission's ruling to allow Saturday's parade to go
ahead "bears no logic".

"Despite the best efforts of nationalist residents in their
appeals for dialogue year-in and year-out in order to reach

resolution, time and time again the loyal orders are
rewarded for refusing to engage," she said.

"There is only one reason for such a display and quite
simply it's triumphalism."

However, Apprentice Boys spokesman Tommy Cheevers also
criticised a commission ruling that the march should pass
Ardoyne by 8.15am.

"I don't see why they are forcing the parade to go ahead in
the dark," he said.

"This is the last decision to be made by a Parades
Commission which has contributed absolutely nothing to
efforts to build trust between the two communities.

"The Protestant community will be glad to see the back of
this quango."

Accusing nationalist residents of collapsing talks between
the communities, he said: "We were talking to nationalist
residents and had made progress but then Sinn Fein told us
we were not talking to the right people.

"If nationalist residents are going to protest against this
parade I would ask them to ensure that it is peaceful and
dignified, so that we can hopefully re-engage in talks in
the near future."


Congressman Richard Neal Confident Partition Is On Way Out, With DUP Soon Sitting In Government With Sinn Féin

JIM DEE Daily Ireland USA correspondent

Congressman Richard Neal has spent more than two decades
supporting the search for peace in Ireland. Despite the
three-year-plus suspension of the North's assembly, he has
never been more optimistic.

"When you consider where we were 25 years ago and where we
are today, one has to be optimistic," Neal told Daily
Ireland during an interview in his western Massachusetts
constituency this week.

Neal was reared in Springfield, Massachusetts, hearing
stories about Ireland — including some of its darker
chapters — from his grandmother, who emigrated to the
United States from Banbridge, Co Down, in the early 1900s.

"She talked about how cruel it was. She talked about how
her dad slept with a gun in the house. She talked about
what would happen after the parades, the marauding crowds
on the way back," said Neal.

"But I think the pivotal movement occurred when [Bobby]
Sands died. It was very much a galvanising force in my
life," said Neal.

First as a Springfield city councillor, then the city's
mayor, and from 1988 onwards as a US Congressman, Neal
would make the advocacy of US government involvement in
seeking a solution to the conflict in Ireland a personal

"I was always surprised that US liberals never took up the
issue. Where they could see and witness any injustice
anywhere worthy of the great cause, in Ireland, liberals
could never bring themselves to stand up for the
nationalist population," said the Democratic Congressman.

In 1998, Neal believed that the Good Friday agreement was
truly an unprecedented breakthrough that would not fall
apart. He maintained that optimism during the tense and
unpredictable months following the forging of the accord,
through the widespread violence triggered by that year's
Drumcree standoff and the Omagh bombing.

"I was confident because you could see the prosperity
appearing in the nationalist areas. You could see the
demographic trends. You could see the Brits really looking
for a way out," he said.

Around the same time, he took part in a panel discussion in
west Belfast in which the Protestant clergyman Roy Magee
also took part.

"And boy, was I impressed that he would even come. It was
in a hard IRA part of Belfast. And he got up and blamed the
British. Talk about courage. And then you could see the
growing prosperity of the Republic. Unionists could no
longer say that Ireland was a Third World country. So, you
could see all these things percolating. And that gave me

Neal said that, despite some still unresolved issues, the
physical changes in the North alone illustrate how much the
peace process has succeeded. "I mean, the idea that you can
travel from Donegal to Derry and not hit any checkpoints —
you don't know if you are in the Republic or the North; you
don't know where you are while you're driving — that is
remarkable," he said.

He also believes that partition is on its way out. "I don't
see British rule as being indefinite, largely because of
the cost of keeping, I think it's about 9,000 troops now,
and the idea that the North's economy is about 50 per cent
public money," said Neal.

Neal said the only recent misstep in the peace process was
made in Washington when the Department of State denied
Gerry Adams a fundraising visa in order to pressure him
into getting Sinn Féin to endorse the PSNI.

"It was a mistake. I talked to Mitchell Reiss long and hard
about it. It was a huge miscalculation," said Neal.

"To be frank, I think it demonstrates a real lack of
fundamental knowledge about the realty on the ground. Adams
has kept his word. He has brought Sinn Féin in from the
cold. Whether the American government likes it or not, he
represents the largest nationalist party in the North of

Neal views the development of closer ties between Belfast
and Dublin to be one of the Good Friday Agreement's main
achievements. He said that, during a meeting last week in
Washington with Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, he
said to Hain: "'Did you ever think you'd see the day when
Ian Paisley would travel to Dublin?' And he said to me:
'He's doing it again tomorrow to meet the Taoiseach.'"

The Massachusetts Congressman, who co-chairs the ad hoc
committee on Irish affairs in the House of Representatives,
said he was sure the Democratic Unionist Party would soon
sit in government with Sinn Féin.

"My sense is that, at the right moment, the DUP's going to
do the deal," he said.

"Unionist intransigence in dissipating. The word 'No' is
slowly being removed from their playbook. I think that they
want to make the big deal in the end.

"It's the equivalent of Nixon going to China. You really
need a hardliner to make the deal sometimes.

"Look at Israel today. I don't think anybody two years ago
would have thought that Ariel Sharon would break from the
political party he founded to make the final deal because
Likud is not supportive of him any more."

Of course, along with other members of Congress, one of the
most pivotal issues Neal faces these days pertains not to
Ireland but to the war in Iraq.

Shortly after the war began, he told General Richard Myers,
the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that
British soldiers had first been redeployed in the North in
1969 "to protect the Catholic population. But in short
order they became the occupier, they became the day-to-day
targets, they became the face of Britain. And, in some
measure, I think that that's what's happening to us in

"If anybody is going to argue that we should stay on the
present course in Iraq, then I want to know where the light
is at the end of the tunnel," he added.

"Because one thing is very clear — how mistaken Dick Cheney
was about thinking we would be viewed as liberators, about
flowers being thrown, and later saying 'the insurgency is
in its last throes'."

Neal, who voted against the war before it began, said there
were no quick fixes in Iraq.

"I think if we try to escalate the war, the American people
— who are already upset — will become furious. And I don't
subscribe to the argument that you can get out tomorrow,"
he said.

"But I think internationalising the war, coupled with
'Iraqising' the war, will allow us to have an honourable
exit in the course of the next couple of years.

"But I'll also tell you this. It's going to be the dominant
election issue next year because I don't see it getting any


SF: Unity Is "Inevitable" As They Celebrate 100th Birthday

26/11/2005 - 08:27:07

Sinn Féin is holding a cross-border conference in Monaghan
today to mark the exact founding of the party one hundred
years ago.

The conference will focus on planning for a united Ireland
which, according to the party is inevitable.

Party general secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin, says he
believes even unionists now accept that Irish unity will
eventually become a reality, and that they appear to have a
more realistic view of the future than successive Irish

But, he warned that unity will not be brought about without
continual pressure on the mainstream political parties on
both sides of the Irish Sea.


McDowell Fails To Show In Court

Justice minister Michael McDowell failed to show yesterday
at the High Court in Belfast to answer a libel action being
taken against him by the publisher of Daily Ireland.

The action is being taken by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the
managing director of the Anderstown News Group, which
publishes Daily Ireland, and by Robin Livingstone, a
director of Daily Ireland.

The lawsuit relates to comments made by Mr McDowell prior
to the paper's launch in February. The minister compared
Daily Ireland to the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer

Mr McDowell's barrister Brian Fee QC told the High Court
yesterday that the libel action should not be allowed to
proceed because the minister has state immunity.

Mr Fee said Mr McDowell's statement in relation to Daily
Ireland had been on an official Irish government website,
the plaintiffs' letter of claim had been addressed to Mr
McDowell as minister of state, and their writ had been
served at his constituency office at 54 Ranelagh Villages
with a copy to the Republic's chief solicitor, indicating
recognition that Mr McDowell would be involved on behalf of
the Irish government.

"That disposes of the argument, in so far as there is one,
as to whether state immunity applies," said Mr Fee.

The lawyer said Mr Ó Muilleoir had claimed that the
minister's remarks had increased the risk to his life and
the lives of others in the newspaper group, although there
was no such assertion by Mr Livingstone.

"We submit that no material has been laid before the court
which indicates a basis for asserting any increased risk to
Mr Ó Muilleoir as a result of this statement," said Mr Fee.

Michael Lavery QC, for the two plaintiffs, said it was a
matter of public knowledge that all prominent people in the
North engaged in politics might be subject to

"It isn't a very big jump that, by identifying Mr Ó
Muilleoir and Mr Livingstone in the way that he has, it is
bound to heighten the possibility of risk to them," said
the lawyer.

Mr Lavery said that the identifying of Mr Ó Muilleoir, who
had been a member of Sinn Féin and was now running a
newspaper group, had increased the danger of risk to him.

The plaintiffs' lawyer described Mr McDowell's remarks as
scurrilous and outrageous.

Mr Lavery said Mr McDowell had libelled the plaintiffs as
being fascists in the manner of the Nazi regime. Mr Justice
Higgins reserved his decision.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Ó Muilleoir said: "Michael
McDowell's Nazi slur against Daily Ireland was a
reprehensible attempt to try to bully the readers, workers
and investors, and this legal challenge is being taken to
allow Mr McDowell to put up or shut up.

"When we announced our intention to stand up to this
bullying, Mr McDowell said: 'See you in court.'

"Today, rather than come to this court to let a jury decide
on the merits of his Nazi allegations, he is hiding behind
the cloak of sovereign immunity.

"The public will draw their own conclusion from that fact,"
said Mr Ó Muilleoir.


PSNI Drug 'Inaction'

Connla Young

A campaigning Co Antrim great-grandmother yesterday
slammed the PSNI for failing to tackle drug dealers with
links to loyalist paramilitaries who target children in
their area.

Eileen Wright from Lisburn hit out after she and a friend
were asked to present themselves at a local police station.

This followed complaints made by suspected drug dealers
desperate to break the women's will to banish dealers from
their district.

The women, along with mothers from a number of estates in
the sprawling city, have campaigned for several months to
force dealers from the area.

The community campaign is centred on the city's Tonagh

A gang of drug dealers with links to the Loyalist Volunteer
Force has been operating in the estate for the last few

Earlier this week, the PSNI told Mrs Wright to attend
Lisburn PSNI station to answer allegations of intimidation.

The PSNI has come in for criticism recently for failing to
deal directly with Lisburn's growing drugs scourge.

Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Mrs Wright remained

"They asked me if I would like to come down to the police

"The woman I spoke to said the drug dealers have made
allegations that I was involved in putting up anti-drugs
posters in the area.

"I told her I'm 19 stone [121 kilograms], 62 years of age,
riddled with arthritis and hardly able to put my foot
across the gate so I certainly wasn't involved in putting
posters up.

"I'm not wasting my time answering allegations made by drug
dealers, allegations that are not true.

"I told the policewoman it would be a waste of her time and

"If they have evidence, they can arrest me but I'm not
going to that police station. What happens after that, I
don't know.

"They think, by asking me to come to them, they are doing
me a favour. We're on the streets to protect our children."

Mrs Wright and her fellow anti-drug campaigners have
themselves been the victims of intimidation in recent

During a recent protest march, several known drug dealers
took photographs of women taking part.

Mrs Wright is critical of the PSNI response to the drugs

"They are asking the public to give them information and,
when they get it, they don't do anything with it," she

A spokesperson for the PSNI said the force was working to
tackle the problem in Lisburn.

"Police are investigating a number of allegations of
intimidation in the Lisburn area. Police are also
proactively tackling the issue of drugs in the area.

"Between April '05 and August '05, £0.75 million [€1.1
million] of drugs have been seized in the Lisburn area, 27
arrests made in the same time period in relation to drugs,
and 21 people have been charged and 33 reported for drugs

"Police in Lisburn are fully committed to tackling all
crime in the area and would appeal to the public for their
assistance in doing so."

The spokesperson was unable to say how many arrests related
to people caught with drugs for personal use and how many
related to dealers.


Murphy: NI Councils Overhaul 'Too Sharp'

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has admitted
he felt, while in office, the reduction in district
councils from 26 to seven was too much.

Secretary of State Peter Hain announced the measure as part
of the biggest shake-up in Northern Ireland's local
government for more than 30 years.

Mr Murphy said he had looked at a compromise between 11 and
15 councils, as favoured by most local parties.

"You have to ensure nationalists and unionists can work
together," he said.

Mr Murphy said the final consultation on the changes had
not taken place before he left office.


:: 26 councils reduced to seven super councils
:: Maximum of 50 councillors per council
:: Planning responsibility returns to councils
:: Assembly members not allowed to sit on councils
:: Councils to devise community plan for delivery of local

He added: "I'm absolutely sure I would have stuck to that
sort of number before."

Sinn Fein was the only party to back the proposed seven-
council structure, with the others favouring a reduction to

The government predicted £200m a year savings by the plan
which is expected to be implemented over four years.

It encompasses changes in various areas including health
and education administration.

The move follows a Review of Public Administration which
was set up by Stormont.

Mr Hain said the total number of public bodies in health,
education and local government was being cut from 67 to 20.

Each of the seven councils - three in the west, three in
the east, and a council in Belfast - will have a maximum of
50 councillors each.

The dual mandate allowing people to serve as Northern
Ireland Assembly members and councillors will also be
removed. At present this applies to 69 of the 108 assembly

Key decisions will be taken on a cross-community basis and
in future councils will also have responsibility for a
number of major functions like planning and local roads.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/26 09:25:38 GMT


Watchdog Chief 'Used False Passport On Colombia Visit'

THIS is the application for a false passport that the head
of the controversial Centre for Public Inquiry (CPI) used
to travel to Colombia.

Frank Connolly, brother of one of the Colombia Three, Niall
Connolly, is believed by gardai to have used the passport
when he travelled to the South American country with a top
IRA figure - months before the Colombia Three were

The passport application was submitted with a forged
signature of a Belfast priest, Father Thomas Tarney, and a
birth certificate in the name of John Francis Johnston,
with an address in Andersonstown in Belfast.

Neither Fr Tarney nor Mr Johnston knew of the application
when they were later interviewed.

Frank Connolly last night insisted that suggestions he used
a false passport were "completely untrue".

When queried about an application bearing a false name he
said: "I'm not making any further comment." When pressed
further he rang off.

US billionaire Chuck Feeney, who backs a charity which has
commited around $4m (€3.4m) in funding to the CPI, was
shown details of the CPI executive director's links to Sinn

The Irish Independent has learned that Justice Minister
Michael McDowell showed Mr Feeney the documentary evidence
that the CPI's executive director, Frank Connolly, a former
journalist, used a false passport for a secret visit to


The Government has stepped up its efforts to persuade Mr
Feeney's charity to walk away from the self-styled
investigative body. Last night, Mr McDowell refused to
accept Mr Connolly's latest denial about his trip to
Colombia in April 2001.

Mr Connolly told radio presenter Vincent Browne the
Taoiseach "interfered" with his funders, and queried his
(Connolly's) suitability as CPI executive director.

The Taoiseach met with Mr Feeney in August and raised his
concerns regarding the CPI, and a further meeting with Mr
McDowell was arranged.

The Justice Minister has said he awaits an explanation from
Mr Connolly on why he visited Colombia with a senior IRA
man in April 2001.

Speaking after the CPI published a report on the disputed
Shell pipeline in Mayo, Mr McDowell said: "I have the
greatest misgivings about why this self-appointed
investigating body has such an executive director.

"(Frank Connolly is) A person who, for starters, has many
major questions to deal with in respect of his travel to
Colombia under an assumed identity with a known subversive
in advance of the subsequent visit of the Colombia Three."

The minister's misgivings about Mr Connolly are deeply
embarrassing for CPI's chairman, retired High Court Judge
Feargus Flood.

Mr Feeney's charitable foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies,
has pledged $750,000 (€639,000) a year to the CPI over the
next four years.

A senior Government source said it was their understanding
that Mr Feeney's organisation did not intend to renew its
funding of the CPI.

Atlantic Philanthropies has a policy of not discussing its
charitable work with third parties.

Garda intelligence files contain details of Mr Connolly's
trip to Colombia when he passed through immigration in
Bogota on April 19, 2001 using a false passport.

Mr Connolly was using an Irish passport with his own
photograph but in the name of John Francis Johnston. with
an address in Andersonstown, Belfast.

He was accompanied on the trip to South America by a senior
Provisional IRA operative from Belfast, Padraig Wilson, who
also used a false passport in the name of John Edward

Mr Connolly's Spanish-speaking brother Niall, using a false
passport in the name of Ralph McKay, was a third member of
the party.

He later returned to the country as part of the Colombia

All three false passports were fraudulently obtained from
the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Wilson, one of the Provisionals' top bomb-makers, was a
principal contact with General John de Chastelain leading
up to the IRA's decommissioning.


Niall Connolly, formerly Sinn Fein's permanent resident
representative in Cuba, was arrested trying to leave Bogota
airport in 2001 with James Monaghan and Martin McCauley. In
the past Mr Justice Flood has said he never asked Frank
Connolly about allegations that he had used a false
passport to visit Colombia.

But since Mr McDowell has openly asked for an explanation
of Mr Connolly's visit to Colombia using "an assumed
identity", Mr Justice Flood - along with the other members
of the CPI board - will be coming under increasing pressure
to ask their executive director for an explanation.

Frank Connolly has refused to answer the question,
dismissing it as "absurd".

The CPI was accused of being a front for Sinn Fein-IRA
intelligence gathering in the House of Lords earlier this



They don't shop in the same shops, swim in the same pools
or even wait at the same bus stops. Peace has brought more
segregation for Northern Ireland's people, and the
government is colluding in the change. John O'Farrell
writes from Belfast

One day recently in south Belfast a Catholic priest told a
room full of Protestants that they were "like the Nazis".
At about the same time in north Belfast a group of
loyalists picketing a service at a cemetery threatened
Catholic mourners that they would "dig up your graves".
Sectarianism, the force that fuelled more than three
decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland, hasn't vanished
with the coming of peace.

The world greeted the end of the Troubles with relief,
thinking that at last the people of this difficult place
could learn to live together, and so slowly move towards
normality. Of course there would be difficulties, of course
there would be an emotional hangover from all the violence,
but some day in the not-too-distant future, Catholics and
Protestants would trust each other. That is not happening.
The shooting and bombing may be more or less over, but
Northern Ireland is not set on a path - even a long and
winding path - towards a modern, consensual normality.
Instead, the bigoted world-views that cause people to call
each other Nazis and to threaten to dig up corpses probably
have an even tighter grip than they did when the Troubles
began 40 years ago. And the British state has colluded in

Though the word "sectarianism" did not appear in the Good
Friday Agreement, it is enshrined in the so-called peace
process, with the result that Northern Ireland is adopting
a form of apartheid, and the minds and lives of its people
are being partitioned with official blessing.

To outsiders this is most obvious in the politics, where
dialogue scarcely exists. Support for moderate parties has
evaporated and David Trimble and John Hume, never a happy
match but at least able to sit in a room together, have
given way to Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams. That leaves
power-sharing - long a prime objective of British policy -
such a remote notion that the province's elected assembly
has not even been invited to sit for three years.

But the apartheid is also vivid on the ground, and it is
there that its effects are most poisonous and most lasting.
In the Ardoyne district of Belfast, for example, four out
of every five Protestant residents will not use the nearest
shops because they are located in Catholic streets, and the
same proportion of Catholics will not swim in their nearest
swimming pool because it is in a Protestant street. Most
18-year-olds in Ardoyne, of both religions, have never in
their lives had a meaningful conversation (about, say,
family or sport) with anybody of their own age from the
other side of the "peace line" that runs along Alliance

And those peace lines - usually high walls snaking along
the demographic faults, crossing roads and slicing streets
in two - are proliferating: there are twice as many today
as there were a decade ago. With them go other things:
separate bus stops, for instance. Buses passing through the
gate in the wall between White City (Catholic) and
Whitewell (Protestant) in north Belfast must stop on either
side so that no one has to wait among people of a different
religion. Meanwhile, among Northern Ireland's next
generation, nine out of ten children attend segregated
schools. Integration of education isn't even on the agenda.

This new apartheid is not being challenged in the changed,
relatively peaceful atmosphere; it is being turned into an
institution, from the top down. This is because the people
who framed the post-Troubles Northern Ireland believed it
was a way forward: that by acknowledging and accommodating
sectarianism they would tame its scarier edges, and that
"moderate" variations of unionism and nationalism would
emerge the winners. The opposite has happened.

In the realm of politics the story of the drift to the
extremes is well known. As with the "war", so the "peace",
when it came, looked very different to each side. To one it
seemed to guarantee the Union, at least for the time being,
and to mark the IRA's defeat; to the other it began the
creation of institutional equality and offered a template
for a united Ireland that would give unionists equivalent

As time passed, unionists blamed the IRA for not
decommissioning and nationalists blamed unionists for
fearing change. Devolved government was tried and collapsed
four times, sitting for 30 months in total. The language of
Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and Hume's Social
Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) became more immoderate,
but they were out-outraged by Paisley's Democratic Unionist
Party (DUP) and Adams' Sinn Fein. And that proved to be
what the voters wanted to hear.

Now Paisley, 80 next April, leads the fourth-largest party
in the Commons; his wife, Eileen, is about to become a DUP
peer; and he himself is newly elevated to the distinction
of Right Honourable - which is not bad for someone sneerily
dismissed as "yesterday's man" by Tony Blair in 1998.

Sinn Fein is also getting bungs. The (almost) clean bill of
health it received from ceasefire monitors last month means
the party is once again able to claim the £130,000 in
parliamentary expenses denied to it after what Blair coyly
called "the events of earlier this year" - the £26.5m
Northern Bank heist and the murder of Robert McCartney.

Having taken command in politics, these parties are able to
extend their influence into Northern Ireland's many
quangos, so that people "approved" by Sinn Fein or the DUP
are, by right, landing big jobs once reserved for the
"sensible middle". The new post of victims commissioner,
for example, has gone to a candidate promoted by the DUP,
while the human rights commissioner is someone with
nationalist backing.

The state's role is to be what the local disability
activist Michael Morgan calls "the sectarian balancer"
across the range of public action: just as the DUP "gets"
one commissioner and nationalists "get" the other, so Sinn
Fein "gets" official support for the Irish language and
loyalists "get" similar backing for the long-neglected
Ulster Scots dialect. And so on. Increasingly, the fate of
1.7 million UK citizens is in the hands of two parties that
hardly bother to compete with or relate to one another, but
seek above all to ensure dominance of their own
communities. And the state merely acts as their

At the grass roots, the gulf between the two main
communities has been widening. There are no shared
interpretations of current affairs, no common vision for
the future and no collective view of the past. Nor is there
much room for discussion within each bloc.

For many years journalists visiting west Belfast in search
of the "voice of the street" were bemused to find that nine
out of ten voices said exactly the same thing as the Sinn
Fein leadership. The party's ideological dominance isn't
weakening with peace; it is growing stronger. Posters and
murals reinforce the message, as do the local newspapers,
ridiculing all other nationalist opinion, in particular the
SDLP. Daily Ireland, for example, has described the late
Gerry Fitt, the MP and SDLP founder, as an Uncle Tom.

Unionist newspapers are no more generous. Indeed, the
language of the local press, which once was a moderating
force, is hardening just like everything else. The Shankill
Mirror recently launched a "Love Ulster" campaign, warning
its readers that the danger of a united Ireland had never
been closer.

Research for a forthcoming book by the academics Peter
Shirlow and Brendan Murtagh shows the strength of the fear
of "others" in the two communities. Territorial markings
such as painted kerbstones and graffiti screaming "Kill All
Taigs" (Catholics) or "Kill All Huns" (Protestants) act as
frontiers, at once intimidating outsiders and keeping
insiders in line. Surveys of 9,000 people in "interface
areas" found three-quarters refusing to use the closest
facilities because of location. Eighty-two per cent
routinely take longer journeys to gain access to benefits
in "safer" areas; 60 per cent refuse to shop in "other"
areas, many fearing that they will be ostracised by their
own community if they spend money among the other lot.
Ominously, fear of the "others" is most intense in the 16-
24 age group.

These deep feelings can surge suddenly to the surface. In
2001 a rumour that a Protestant pensioner suffered
sectarian abuse at a post office was enough to prompt the
siege of the Holy Cross primary school, where stones,
urine-filled bottles and even a pipe bomb were thrown at
terrified five-year-olds. During riots two years ago around
Short Strand, the Catholic enclave in east Belfast,
loyalist paramilitaries warned local doctors and
pharmacists not to treat or serve Catholics.

Outside the ghettos, you might think, things must be
different - and they are, but not in ways you would expect.
While most western democratic parties devote a great deal
of effort to formulating policies that please the middle
classes, who are more likely to vote than the working
classes, politics in Northern Ireland is distinctly
proletarian. The workers, anxious and engaged, vote in huge
numbers, while the middle classes stay at home.

In particular the Protestant middle class has opted out.
North Down and Lagan Valley, suburban heartlands of the
class, are among the constituencies with the lowest
turnouts in the United Kingdom, because most of these
people don't vote. They have no reason to. Educated
Protestants who have Catholic friends and feel secure in
their British identity tend not to have much time for
sectarian victimology. They have deserted the
organisations, such as the Orange Order, that they
dominated before the Troubles. The UUP still attracts some
businessmen, but it is a dying party, while the booming
DUP, which is largely teetotal and born-again Christian,
does not appeal. It so happens, too, that the middle
classes on both sides do quite well out of direct rule,
which gives them little economic interest in local

This raises another question. For years everyone investing
in Northern Ireland, be it the UK government, the EU, US
agencies or any one of myriad commercial and phil-anthropic
organisations, has aimed to combine reconciliation with
reconstruction. Untold millions, in other words, have been
ploughed into building cross-community trust. What good has
all that money done?

Tom Kelly, a Belfast businessman, has an answer. "Compared
to the North, the republic got roughly one-third of EU
funds made available, but they built a real economy,
creating jobs and opportunity. We preferred the less
travelled road of building an inter-community
infrastructure around what is not there. Despite spending
hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money on community
relations, we have ended up more polarised than ever

One political party sees things Kelly's way: the Alliance
Party, which, with no MPs and just six Assembly members,
has been all but beached by the sectarian tide. Alliance
estimates the cost of underpinning Northern Ireland's
segregated society at £1bn each year. This includes
security costs - having three times as many police per
capita as London, building "peace" walls and cleaning up
after riots - as well as the price of the vast duplication
of services required to spare the two communities from
having to share schools, health facilities, swimming pools
and bus stops. Then there is the price of lost inward
investment and tourism.

If £1bn sounds on the high side, consider this: in April,
the Belfast News Letter reported on a parade by a loyalist
marching band that raised money for victims of the south
Asian tsunami. Marches are sensitive: one side often sees
them as a right and the other as a provocation. Security is
usually required. According to the paper, the cost of
policing this one was £29,444. It raised £500 for charity.

While the conflict that some called the Long War raged,
well-meaning people dreamed of peace, normality, justice
and reconciliation. Now that it is over, what they have got
instead is a very expensive, heavily policed and officially
blessed apartheid.


Man Cleared Of Army HQ Attack

Suspect acquitted of double bomb assault Lisburn barracks

By Staff Reporter
26 November 2005

A BELFAST man walked free from court yesterday after a
judge acquitted him of involvement in the double bomb
attack at the Army's Northern Ireland headquarters nine
years ago.

Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice McLaughlin said he had
considered a "no case to answer application" and had
decided to clear 45-year-old Michael Rogan of involvement
in the bomb attack at Thiepval barracks which left 31
people injured, including Warrant Officer James Bradwell
(46) who died in the months after the attack on October 7,

Rogan, from Easton Avenue in Belfast, was also cleared of
two further charges of collecting information useful to

Rogan was re-arrested last November in Tenerife.

He had been on the run for seven years. Mr Justice
McLaughlin told the court that although he had prepared a
judgment setting out his reasons for the acquittals, it was
not yet ready to be delivered but added that it would be
"handed down in the near future".

The judge's not guilty verdicts come after defence QC Barry
McDonald argued that "there's no evidence of knowledge on
the part of Mr Rogan to cause explosions, or engage in any
criminal or terrorist activity".

During the legal application held on Thursday the lawyer
had further argued that anything beyond stating Rogan
purchased the two Volvo cars was "pure speculation" with
"so many possibilities that could explain purchasing two

He said: "People every day of the week buy cars, that does
not mean they are part of any conspiracy."

Outside the court, neither Michael Rogan nor his solicitor
Peter Madden wished to comment on the judge's decision.


Eligible Fugitives Face A Two-Stage Process

By William Graham Political Correspondent

The Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill is the most
controversial piece of legislation since the signing of the
Good Friday Agreement and if passed it will allow fugitives
called 'on the runs' to return home.

This legislation, which is experiencing a difficult passage
through the Commons, means that paramilitaries or members
of the security forces who committed offences before 1998
will avoid jail terms.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have joined the
DUP, SDLP and UUP in opposing the Bill in the Commons.

The government and Sinn Fein have argued that the
legislation clears up "an anomaly" as under the agreement
people were released from prison and it is now necessary to
deal with those who have not been convicted but nonetheless
have been suspected of offences.

Under the government's plans paramilitaries wanted for
offences before the Good Friday Agreement was signed will
face a two-stage process.

They will have to apply to a certification commissioner who
will decide if they are eligible to participate in the
scheme and then will be brought before a special tribunal
which will have the powers of a Crown Court and will carry
out a trial.

The decision of the certification commissioner could be
challenged through specially appointed appeals

If a certificate is granted, on the run paramilitaries will
be exempt from arrest, questioning and remand, in relation
to offences listed on the certificate.

The second phase of the process will involve a special
tribunal which will decide if an individual should be
prosecuted for a listed offence. But a defendant will not
have to attend the trial.

In the event of a conviction, the person will be eligible
to receive a licence guaranteeing he or she will not be
jailed. Licences will be subject to suspension and could be
revoked if the conditions are broken.

The process will also apply to members of the security

Another important issue to be considered is that the
special tribunals and appeals procedure could drag on for
several years and cost millions of pounds.

It will probably be 2007 before the tribunals are in place
and only then will the extent of the cases be known or how
much the process will cost.

In the Republic the Irish government has also published its
legislative proposals for dealing with 'on the runs' –
opting to use the right of pardon exercised by the
president under the constitution.

As far back as the Weston Park discussions in 2001 both the
Irish and British governments publicly committed themselves
to take steps to deal with such cases.


SDLP: Has Sinn Fein Let State Off With Murder?

By Mark Durkan SDLP leader

That collusion starts with misrepresenting what this
legislation is about. Tony Blair said on Monday that the
legislation just dealt with "an anomaly we had to resolve
in respect of those people who had not been convicted but
had been sought pre-1998".

As for Conor Murphy, he too tried to make it out that it
"should resolve the cases of a very small number of people
who wish to return home."

Untrue. And they both know it.

The fact is that this legislation applies to anybody who
could at any time be charged with any one of the 2,100
unsolved killings of the Troubles. Under laws implementing
the Good Friday Agreement these people faced a maximum of
two years in jail. Now they won't even have to spend even a
single day in court.

It applies not just to IRA people outside the jurisdiction
– but to every unsolved IRA murder.

It applies to every unsolved murder by loyalists – even if
they do not end their activity or decommission a single

It even applies to state murders. State agents – paid by
the public – are to be let away with murdering the public.

And it will apply to all acts that all these people
committed, whether sanctioned or not, right down to
loyalist drug dealing to raise funds for their "cause."

Gerry Adams – two whole weeks after the legislation was
published – now says that he is against letting state
killers go free. So why did Conor Murphy fly over to
Westminster to welcome the legislation the day after Peter
Hain made clear that state killers would be included?

To be fair to Martin McGuinness, he made Sinn Fein's real
position clear. When the SDLP criticised the legislation
for letting state killers off the hook, Martin McGuinness
on BBC's Hearts and Minds programme dismissed our concerns
and said that he did "not envisage that any people who were
involved in the murders of nationalists... is ever going to
be brought before a court in this day and age".

He admitted that state killers would be able to get the
benefit of the legislation but said that the people who
would "gain most advantage from this are those nationalists
and republicans who are on the run for over 30 years".

Not once in the interview did he say that the legislation
should not apply to state killers.

So there you have it. In Martin McGuinness's own words. In
return for the greater advantage of getting their on the
runs back with no

questions asked, Sinn Fein sold out the families, that for
years, it claimed to fight for. It let state killers and
loyalists totally off the hook.

And let's be clear. This legislation does not just deny
families justice, it robs them – and the public – of truth.
Because there is no time limit in this legislation, the
killers of 2,100 have no incentive to come forward and tell
the truth.

They can sit back and wait to see if the police ever come
knocking on their doors – secure in the knowledge that if
they do, they need not worry – they can apply under this
legislation to avoid jail at any time.

The British government even agreed with Sinn Fein that they
don't have to go down to court and listen to how they
shattered victims' lives.

Imagine how the members of the British Army's murderous
Force Research Unit will thank Gerry Adams for that. And
imagine how the IRA man who authorised the Enniskillen bomb
will thank Tony Blair.

So much for "British justice." So much for Sinn Fein's

of Equals". So much for truth and reconciliation.

In their common defence the British government and Sinn
Fein say that this was discussed with all the parties.

The fact is that the SDLP was not privy to the government's
detailed proposals on on the runs at Weston Park and
Hillsborough. But we suspected enough to warn against them.
And when they were published, we made clear that they were
outside the Good Friday Agreement. We also made positive
alternative proposals for truth and justice.

The fact is that the British government has admitted that
it was negotiating these plans with Sinn Fein over the

The fact is that Sinn Fein is the party that claims never
to sign off on anything until it sees the legislation. The
fact is that Sinn Fein knew.

But if a panicked Gerry Adams is now changing position,
there is a simple thing that he must do: Call on Tony Blair
to withdraw this legislation now and go back to the drawing

Meanwhile, the SDLP will work in the House of Commons to
undo the damage of this legislation. We will seek to secure
justice for victims – not least victims of the state who
have been denied justice for so long.

And if the chance for justice has been forfeited by this
side deal, we will seek truth and openness for victims and
the public. That is what the SDLP stands for. People can
trust us, because that is what we have always stood for.
And we always will.


SF: We Did Not Agree To Blanket Amnesty

By Martin McGuinness Sinn Fein chief negotiator

THE British government legislation introduced last week to
deal with the issue of those politically displaced by the
conflict – the so-called on the runs was greeted with
condemnation by unionist and British Tory politicians. That
was entirely predictable. Alongside them and just as
predictably, the SDLP used the British House of Commons as
an opportunity to mount a baseless attack on Sinn Fein. But
less visible was the hurt caused to victims of the conflict
and their families by confusing and inaccurate
representations of this particular issue. For the benefit
of those victims I want to clarify Sinn Fein's position on
the issue of OTRs.

The Good Friday Agreement was an attempt to address, or
create a means to address all of the causes of conflict and
to put in place a peaceful and democratic alternative to
the violence that has afflicted this state since its
inception. An inevitable and essential element of this
approach was the release of political prisoners the vast
majority of whom would never have seen the inside of a
prison had there not been a conflict in our country. Sinn
Fein argued for and achieved this in the negotiations and
the prisoners were subsequently released. As part of this
we accepted, despite our deep opposition to them, that
loyalist prisoners would also benefit from this approach if
the organisations to which they belonged were genuine in
their commitment to the peace process. British forces were
not included in this scheme for the simple reason that
despite their involvement in hundreds of killings and their
collusion in hundreds of others not one member of the
British forces was in prison as a result of the conflict at
that time. In fact the then British secretary of state Mo
Mowlam released the British army murderers of Peter McBride
to ensure this was the case.

In subsequent negotiations with the British and Irish
governments Sinn Fein raised the issue of the small number
of people on the run. These are political exiles who are
displaced from their families and who, if arrested and
convicted, would have been eligible for release under the
terms of the Good Friday Agreement. All of those we were
aware of are Irish republicans and all are firm supporters
of the peace process. The reality is that the IRA has fully
accepted its role in the conflict, called a cessation in
1994 and has this year formally ended its armed campaign.
The various loyalist organisations have all continued to be
involved in sectarian and other violent activity. The
British state has never acknowledged the full extent and
nature of its role in the conflict.

There are no members of the British state forces on the run
because there have been no proper investigations of these
events. But the British government has used the
introduction of this legislation as a further protection
for its agencies and agents – a tacit admission that their
forces were involved in illegal activities throughout this

Sinn Fein did not support, propose, discuss, or accept that
members of the British state forces should be part of this
process nor did we argue for a blanket amnesty. On the
contrary we sought to ensure the scheme would not provide
an amnesty to members of British state forces who carried
out or were responsible for state killings or collusion and
whose activities have always been covered up by the British
government. The scheme published by the two governments at
Weston Park in 2003 related only to OTRs.

Our position on collusion and state violence is clear. We
support the families of the victims in their pursuit of
truth and justice. The British state has always protected
members of its forces against prosecution and in the small
number of unavoidable convictions, the perpetrators have
enjoyed minimum prison sentences, early releases,
readmission to the British army and subsequent promotion.

Many of our party members were among those targeted,
injured and killed. I have personally lost close friends
and comrades. Sinn Fein continues to stand beside these
families. The barefaced dishonesty of the SDLP in claiming
that we support amnesty for British killers is disgraceful.
During the long years that our party was targeted by
loyalist death squads, directed and controlled by the
British state and the RUC Special Branch, the SDLP
dismissed our assertions of collusion. They supported the
RUC in "the impartial exercise of their duties" and they
have done nothing to support these families except when it
is politically advantageous for them to do so. The SDLP's
MPs ignored the victims of collusion when they lobbied MPs
at Westminster. They ignored the victims of collusion who
organised an information event in Stormont. Sinn Fein
attended, the Alliance Party attended but not one SDLP MLA
turned up to talk to the victims of collusion.

The issue of collusion and state violence is a fundamental
issue. The apparatus of collusion remains in place. It must
be dismantled. The British continue to deny the policy of
collusion exists. They must be forced to acknowledge the
truth and those who operated and controlled this policy,
including senior British political figures, who have always
enjoyed impunity, must be held to account.

Sinn Fein will continue to face the British government down
on this and the other injustices which result directly from
the British partition of and presence in Ireland.

The SDLP meanwhile will continue to line out in Westminster
alongside the DUP and the Conservative party attacking Sinn
Fein while they never once raised the issue of collusion
with Margaret Thatcher who was in charge of the British
government at the height of the campaign of collusion
against nationalists and republicans in the 1980s and early


Widespread Anger Over Peace Moves

By Stephen Dempster Political Correspondent
Friday 25th November 2005

The British and Irish governments were last night left
pondering the effect of recent decisions in the peace
process which have even roused the "extreme anger" of the
Alliance Party.

Secretary of State Peter Hain and Irish Foreign Affairs
Minister Dermot Ahern held talks with the Alliance, the UUP
and SDLP at Hillsborough Castle yesterday.

There was also "a heated exchange" with the UUP amid
widespread anger that the process continues to bend over
backwards for Sinn Fein at the expense of morals, human
rights, the rule of law and the majority of political

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy told the News Letter: "We
told the governments that even moderate unionism is
sickened by the OTR legislation and the way the process is

"We then gave a very stark warning that we will not allow a
situation to continue whereby north-south bodies are
allowed to operate.

"We are serving notice that we are reviewing the position
of our party's appointments to those bodies."

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the public were "fed up" with
the suspended Assembly.

He added his party would not be going to "any country
estates for more talks".

And he claimed the DUP had not only failed to stop
concessions to Sinn Fein, but suggested republicans were
getting even more, citing the on-the-runs issue and the
review of public administration.

"Two years ago the DUP sold a false bill of goods to the
electorate," he said.

"They promised to end concessions to republicans. Yet, in
the present plan for local government reform historic towns
like Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge will end up controlled
by Shinners from Crossmaglen. "Unionists are frustrated at
the sheer number and magnitude of the concessions given to
Sinn Fein under the DUP's watch. The perception is that the
process is all oneway traffic."

The DUP boycotted yesterday's talks. It has said that until
concessions are delivered to unionists, it will not engage
in a process to restore devolution.

Alliance leader David Ford said neither Peter Hain nor
Dermot Ahern gave his party answers about how they would
proceed. "I suspect that the only value of the meeting will
be if it causes ministers to wonder why their recent
behaviour has so annoyed a cross-community political party
like Alliance, which is committed to moving this society
forward in partnership," he said.


Fugitives Bill: PSNI Reviews Warrants

By Staff Reporter

Police have started to review warrants in relation to 'on
the run' legislation, as political opposition to the bill
continues to mount.

The DUP yesterday said it would table a series of
amendments to the bill.

Writing in The Irish News today SDLP leader Mark Durkan
claims that the bill represents a new form of 'collusion' –
between the British government and republicans. Sinn Fein's
Martin McGuinness writes that his party opposes the law
being open to security force members and hits out at the
SDLP criticisms.

Although the bill has passed its latest stage in the House
of Commons, the DUP has tabled 55 amendments in a bid to
thwart the legislation.

Its proposals also involve forcing those who benefit from
the plans to serve at least a third of their prison
sentence and for all inquiries into alleged security force
wrongdoing during the Troubles to be halted.

Other amendments include ordering applicants to attend the
special tribunal hearings.


The OTR Storm: These Killers ... They Just Expect To Swan Back Into The Country

Ann McCabe, widow of Garda Jerry McCabe tells Lindy
McDowell why she also is strongly opposed to the

By Lindy McDowell
26 November 2005

IN the State Drawing Room of 10 Downing Street on the same
afternoon that the Offences Bill was being debated in the
House of Commons, Tony Blair listened as the relatives of
police officers murdered during the Troubles told him of
their loss and their anger at his plans to create a
terrorist amnesty.

The families said afterwards that the Prime Minister had
been clearly moved by their stories.

Moved he may have been. But it was equally clear he was not
for moving.

"I know it's a cliché but it's we who are left who have to
serve the sentences, not the perpetrators," said Phyllis
Carrothers, widow of Const Douglas Carrothers, 41, who was
murdered by the IRA outside his home in Lisbellaw in May

Her words have a particular resonance with Ann McCabe. For
Ann's police officer husband was also gunned down by the
IRA. Her five children were also left without a father.

But Ann McCabe's case is different in one crucial respect.
Her husband, Garda Jerry McCabe was killed in the Republic.

And not only have his killers been tried and imprisoned,
she knows that even should the Irish Government wish to
release them as part of a political deal with Sinn Fein,
media and public opinion in the South is so determinedly
opposed to such a move, it is highly unlikely to happen.

Ann, however, says she fully understands the sense of
betrayal and anger felt by victims in Northern Ireland and
in the Republic where the Government has signalled that
OTRs could be given a Presidential pardon.

And she has thrown her full support behind the RUC widows
and other victims of the Troubles in their protest against
the controversial on-the-run legislation.

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, she said, "I
would like to make clear my total opposition to this Bill.
I stand by the RUC widows and families and all the other
victims right across the community - they have my full
support in their opposition to this legislation."

She adds: "The British government has talked about how this
will bring closure. But how can you have closure when the
criminals and killers are brought back and walking free?

"There should be some form of redress for the victims."

The Bill, she points out, has been described as being on a
par with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South

But in that process she argues, the perpetrators had to
face up to their crimes and make some sort of restitution
to the victims.

"This new Bill is against all legal principle. If this is
the way they have to appease the likes of Sinn Fein/IRA I
don't know where we're going. Is it all in the name of
politics? You can't have people in government who have
blood on their hands."

Ann's husband Garda Jerry McCabe was gunned by an IRA gang
in Adare in June, 1996. He and his Garda colleague, Ben
O'Sullivan, who was seriously wounded, had been escorting a
post office lorry when their patrol car was rammed. A
number of men brandishing AK47 rifles surrounded the car
and opened fire.

Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of the
popular and highly respected police officer. Among those
who paid tributes was former Secretary of State, Tom King
who'd met him while attending a meeting of the British and
Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body in Adare

The four IRA men convicted of Jerry McCabe's killing,
including Pearse McCauley from Strabane, Co Tyrone, are
currently held in the low security prison at Castlerea.

Ann McCabe and her family have led a courageous campaign
against the men's early release - something which Sinn Fein
continue to demand.

She's met a number of RUC widows through the Garda
Representatives' Association, has visited them in Northern
Ireland and has hosted visits for them in the South.

"They've been down here to mingle with people and tell
their stories. I have been deeply moved by the suffering of
people from the North.

"One victim whose story particularly touched me was a man
who'd been shot in a case of mistaken identity. He was in a
coma for ages. But what struck me so strongly was how there
was no bitterness in him."

She adds: "At least my husband's killers are behind bars.
The RUC widows have to live with the reality of their
husbands' killers walking around free. I don't even know
how they must feel."

Ann's two youngest children were 15 and 17 when their
father was gunned down. Her son John is himself in the

"All my children," she says, "were very, very badly
affected. All our family were. You would have to go through
it yourself to know what it's like.

" So many people on both sides have gone through it.

"And meanwhile these criminals, these killers, they just
expect to swan back into the country."


The OTR Storm: Tony You Can Never Feel Our Pain

There were emotional scenes in the House of Commons as
controversial legislation which will allow terrorist
fugitives to return to Northern Ireland was debated. DUP
MP, the Rev William McCrea, broke down and wept as he
recalled the night he had to identify the remains of his
two young cousins murdered by the IRA. Here he argues that
the victims are being denied justice

26 November 2005

In attempting to defend the Northern Ireland (Offences)
Bill, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said this week that he
understands the "pain and anguish" the legislation will

Well, I'm sorry Mr Blair, but the truth is that you cannot
feel the pain and the anguish. You can never understand the
pain unless you have been there yourself.

Let me tell you a story about a scene from many years ago
that is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday.

I had gone to the home of a murdered man, a neighbour of
mine, a young lad who had been married only six months
previously. I arrived just as his casket was being brought
into the house. His young widow was standing there in the
hallway. Another neighbour, a woman had just arrived too
and she walked over to the widow, took her by the hand and
said to her: "I'm so sorry. I know how you feel."

"Do you?," said that girl, "Do you really how I feel?"

She said it graciously, and I'm sure the other woman was
deeply sincere in what she'd said to her. But those words
have always stayed in my mind.

Do you really know how I feel?

On Wednesday, in the Commons, I recalled another scene that
will stay with me to my dying day - the scene in a hospital
mortuary where I had to identify the remains of my cousins,
Rachel McLernon who was 21 and her brother Robert who was
just 16.

Earlier that evening I had been singing at a gospel meeting
in Hillsborough. I remember I was singing "Tomorrow's in
God's Hands" and I was talking about how none of us could
know what tomorrow would bring.

On the way home I heard on the news that two people had
been killed in a bomb explosion in Cookstown. But I did not
know then, of course, that it was my own ones. As soon as I
came in through the door my wife met me.

"William," she said, "you're to ring your brother

My first thought was that these were constituents of mine.
But when I rang my brother he broke the news - it was
Rachel and Robert. I had to go to identify them because
nobody else could.

I'll never forget that. I remember looking into Rachel's
face - or part of a face. She'd been a beauty queen. And
that very day she'd got engaged to get married. She'd just
been to show her aunt her engagement ring - she was so
happy that day - and she and her boyfriend and brother, her
boyfriend's sister and a young neighbour were all in the
car when they were flagged down along the road.

We'll never know exactly what happened, but they were asked
for a torch because there was a car which, it appeared, had
crashed into the hedge. These young people, like good
Samaritans, got a torch and went to see if there was
something they could do to help. But there was nobody in
the car.

They were walking away from it; Rachel and Robert were a
good bit behind the others. Somebody said they saw
something in the field. Then the bomb went off.

Rachel and Robert were killed. The others weren't
physically injured. But it goes without saying that they
will carry the mental scars to their graves.

Rachel's mother, Shirley had been a teenage bride so she
and Rachel were closer in age than many mothers and
daughters. They were more like sisters. They were very,
very close. Shirley died not so many years after that. She
was only 43. Even after Rachel and Robert were murdered,
she waited every day for her children to come home. To the
day she died, she waited for her children to come home.

But Shirley, of course, is not listed among the statistics
of the Troubles.

Derek Ferguson was another cousin of mine who was murdered.
He was building a house on the outskirts of Ardboe for
himself, his wife and their children. The night he was
murdered, his wife had gone to get materials for the
building work. The door got a rap and Derek answered it.
The gunmen laughed and called out "Bye bye Derek," as they
gunned him down.

His children saw what happened. His son, a boy of six,
phoned his granny and said, "Nana come quick for bad men
have shot my daddy." When they found the child he was
holding his fingers in his father's bullet wounds
attempting to stem the flow of blood.

I remember Teebane too. I was called to the scene in the
immediate aftermath of that atrocity. I helped the injured.
I walked among the dead bodies.

I know the Teebane families well, I meet with them
regularly. What I know is that people deal with their grief
in different ways. Some people can close it out of their
minds and never talk about it. But what I know from the
Teebane families is that the one thing they are all looking
for is justice. And that is what they are now to be denied.

I think of Rachel and Robert's murder - nobody charged.

I think of Derek Ferguson's murder - nobody charged.

I think of Teebane - nobody charged.

And these are only a handful of cases. I know I have no
monopoly on pain. I know that the pain and suffering I am
talking about here is something that is shared right across
the community, in Roman Catholic homes as well as in
Protestant homes.

Mark Durkan was right in the Commons when he challenged the
Government's line that "this (legislation) is something we
have to do."

Who, he asked was making them do it?

I do not believe Mr Blair, that you truly understand the
pain of the victims.

But I can tell you this, that pain is still very much


Opin: One Sweet Deal For Some, But For The Rest Of Us?...

Mick Hall • 24 November 2005

The deal that seems to have been cut between the PRM and
the British government over the PIRA volunteers, described
in the media as the On The Runs (OTRs), highlights the
danger of an organization that sees itself as the harbinger
of a more open, equal and democratic society becoming
involved in secret negotiations with its old enemy.

Whilst it is perfectly understandable the PIRA leadership
wants to complete its internal housekeeping after standing
down its volunteers, surely when doing so it has a
responsibility to look at the wider picture and the affect
any such deal will have on the nationalist community as a

There is no doubt in my mind that volunteers who have
outstanding charges against them, or who escaped from
British custody during the 'troubles', should if they so
wish, be allowed to return home without fear of state
prosecution and harassment. Whether this should come about
due to a back door trade off with the British State is
another matter.

During the years 1969-97, the law in the north of Ireland
became an arm of counter-insurgency operations as
prescribed by Brigadier Frank Kitson and his ilk, whether
it was internment without trial, the Diplock Courts, the
manipulation of Coroners Courts and paid perjurers with the
system of super grasses. The British State recognized this
fact when they opened the doors of its jails to release
both Republican and Loyalist inmates at the end of the
'troubles'; thus by so doing they all but admitted that
these men and women were political prisoners, not common
criminals as successive British Governments had been
claiming for the previous thirty odd years.

However, when on the 9th of November, the 'Northern'
Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain announced to the
British Parliament the details of the deal for the OTRs and
how the legislation will pan out in practice, it appears
the Brits have either pulled a fast one or, not for the
first time, Republicans have fallen victim to the sleight
of hand of Perfidious Albion.

Mr Hain said, "On-the-runs wanted for offenses committed
before the Good Friday Agreement will face a two-stage
legal process. If they are granted a certificate allowing
them to take part in the scheme, they will be brought
before a special tribunal which will have the same powers
as a Crown court. They will, however, be exempt from
arrest, questioning and remand in relation to the offenses.
There will be no jury sitting at the tribunals. In the
event of a conviction, the person will be eligible to
receive a license guaranteeing that he or she will not be
jailed. The same amnesty applies to members of the security
forces wanted for crimes committed on civilians before the
Good Friday Agreement."

There are two major problems here, one for Republicans and
a second for those within the wider community who have
suffered at the hands of the British security forces. If
OTR Republicans are to put themselves through this process
and gain immunity from imprisonment, they first must
recognize the legality of the northern state-let's judicial
process, something they and their comrades have always
refused to do down the years. Indeed in the past, unless
special dispensation was given by the PIRA leadership, it
was a disciplinary offense for volunteers to recognize the
British legal system in Ireland. Many Republicans, whilst
accepting the ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement still
believe to do so is a step too far, the more so if one is
expected to have a begging bowl in one's hand when doing

For the wider Nationalist community there is an added
problem with what Mr Hain announced and it is this. It all
but gives those members of the British Security Services,
RUC Special Branch and Army Intel, who were party to
grievous crimes in collusion with Loyalist and Republican
Paramilitaries and their political masters, amnesty from
their criminal acts. Thus, those who were behind the murder
of Pat Finucane, the FRU handlers of Stakenife and those
who allegedly helped organize the bombing of Dublin and
Monaghan and countless other acts of State collusion in
criminality will never be punished.

Plus, not only will the victims and their relations of any
State collusion in criminality never recieve closure, let
alone justice, but also lessons will not be learned by the
State. Indeed, it is therefore hardly surprising that talk
is already emerging from Iraq of British Army Intel and the
Security Services acting in collusion with Iraqi terrorist
groups; when those who have committed such acts in Ireland
have been guaranteed a soft landing by the State if their
crimes come to light...

Sinn Fein leaders may well claim such amnesties are par for
the course in conflict resolutions situations and point to
South Africa as an example. But to compare the out-come of
the conflict in SA with the north of Ireland today is
nonsensical; for in South Africa there was a changing of
the guard.

At every level of the Apartheid State Apparatus, there was
a transfer of power. This was especially true across the
upper echelons of the state's machine; whether it were in
the Judiciary, the Chief of Staff of the South African
Armed Forces, heads of the Security Services and Police or
the Parliamentary Committees that had oversight over these

In SA, it was out with the old order and in with the new,
whilst in the north of Ireland the British State still
reigns supreme. The same judges sit on the bench and the
same is true of much of the security services, police force
and army personal. True, these days they may all talk the
language of social inclusion but bar the window dressing,
it is the same old state machine.

If Republicans wish to have any say within this state-let
they will have to recognize this fact and if they do so,
those lower down the PRM food chain will have to doff their
caps accordingly, if they wish to spend their old age in
the home-towns from whence they came.


Opin: Chilly Winds Of Change Blowing All Around The North

Seán Kelly was interned on the word of Peter Hain. Seán
Kelly was released on the word of Peter Hain. The new set-
up for the local councils was announced by Peter Hain, and
his only advice to unionists and the SDLP alike was to get
used to it.

Gearóid Ó Cairealláin

The cold snap hit west Belfast's Falls Road just before
five o'clock yesterday afternoon. Maybe it was a bit
sooner, I don't know. But at five I was out in an Arctic
blizzard with high-flying snowflakes being driven into my
face by a biting, freezing wind and wondering what exactly
happened to all that global warming we have heard so much

Oddly enough, on Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the
day in the Kerry Gaeltacht area around Dún Chaoin (Dunquin)
and Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (Ballyferriter). Hard to imagine
now, but I do believe I was out in a T-shirt, basking in a
pleasant sun and taking in the magnificent views to the
Blasket Islands. Better weather than when I was down in
those parts last June.

The RTÉ weather forecast people seemed to be pretty sure
that the big freeze would definitely come for the weekend,
that it might last one week, two weeks, four weeks or more.
Or else it might not materialise at all. You can't really
say, apparently.

And that is just the metaphor we need for politics in the
North at present. As Mr Zimmerman said: "Something is
happening here, but you don't know what it is…"

There have been announcements, pronouncements, speculation
and statements as well as more than the usual bag load of
nods and winks concerning the restructuring of local
councils, the future of on-the-runs, a de facto amnesty for
members of the British security forces suspected of
carrying out heinous crimes during the war years, and
cross-Border co-operation on health issues.

The unionists smell a rat and are denouncing secret deals
between Sinn Féin and the British government. The SDLP
doesn't want to be left out in the cold so it is denouncing
all around the party as well, although I can't figure out
why… and I still haven't got over the idea of Sinn Féin
being the only party in the North to support the British
government's proposals. But what the hell — just like the
weather, life is upside-down at present.

And just like Dylan's Mr Jones, I may not know what is
happening but I know what I think is happening. I think we
are slowly but surely making our way towards the re-
establishment of the political institutions at Stormont.

Soon we will have the much-predicted British legislation on
justice, and then the next report from John de Chastelain.
One will enable Sinn Féin to hold a special Ard-Fheis on
the party's attitude towards policing, and the other will
be presented specifically to pressurise the Democratic
Unionist Party into agreeing that something along the lines
of what the DUP has always demanded has taken place and the
party can now enter into a new power-sharing arrangement
with nationalists at Stormont. When the big move towards
those political institutions comes along next year, I think
this time it will be the most serious effort to date and
will probably succeed.

For a start, Sinn Féin seems to be doing pretty okay from
direct rule at present, and that should be a warning for
the unionist nay-sayers. Hain seems to be a nice enough guy
and he is cracking the whip. Seán Kelly was interned on the
word of Peter Hain. Seán Kelly was released on the word of
Peter Hain. The new set-up for the local councils was
announced by Peter Hain, and his only advice to unionists
and the SDLP alike was to get used to it.

Get used to Stormont, he said as well, because it is going
to come back and all the hard decisions will already have
been made. He has announced the smoking ban, and an
increase in drinking hours in the pubs. This man is a
dictator. The OTR stuff is a done deal and — listen to this
— money will have to be saved!

Peter Hain has done more direct ruling in the past six
months than the British government did in the previous ten
years. That in itself should tell you that a big change is

Hold on, did you say money? To be saved? Mmm… wonder what
that could mean?

It could mean that the time is coming when the British
government will no longer payroll the superspend of the
Six-County superstatelet. The reorganisation of the local
councils is all about saving money. Without a doubt, the
Brits are going to look at the obese-sized Northern Ireland
civil service that ambles its way through untold millions
each year — and with the Celtic tiger still raking in the
euro in the 26 Counties, economic logic might well dictate
that North-South harmonisation is a sensible way to ease
the burden.

Gerry Adams has already said that Sinn Féin and the British
government see eye to eye on policing and that events will
unfold in the fullness of time. But will the PSNI continue
to be the supersized service that we have at present? Or
will a report be duly leaked that, as well as a change of
ethos and a serious equality balance, the PSNI also needs
to be pruned back to about half the size of what it costs
currently, along the line of An Garda Síochána?

There will be no arguing against cutbacks. I mean, what
government ever refused to cut back and make savings? And
Britain has got a double edge to its swinging sword. The
Six Counties has cost the British taxpayer God knows how
many fortunes already and now they need the money to fund
the war in Iraq.

Maybe that Iraqi puppet government spokesman was right when
he said that the Brits could be out of Iraq within 12
months. But there is much more of a probability that the
war there will be intensified over the same period and that
the British people will be sending soldiers out for years
to come.

Getting the North of Ireland sorted and forgotten about may
well be on the list of things to be done in face of the
real and growing costs of maintaining Bush and Blair's
policy of Iraq madness.

I'm just going to zip up my jacket, face the elements and
wait and see.


Opin: Shake-Up Comes As A Big

By James Kelly

It was bound to come sooner than later. I am told our
colonial rulers in Whitehall have decided that they have
had enough fooling around trying to talk sense into the
mixed-up conglomeration of no men, all that codology of
talks ending in farce in a moated castle.

Paul Murphy was sent over as secretary of state to try the
soft shoe shuffle but got nowhere. Blair, getting anxious
about the delayed peace process, called in a new man, the
imperturbable Peter Hain, with instructions to try shock

He waited around for a while before revealing his hand
which gradually looked more like a mailed fist in the eyes
of the loyalist fool who had likened him to a slick
competitor in Strictly Come Dancing. First came the veiled
threats about the possibility of Union flag wavers having
to pay through the nose for water rates and other services.
There was the hint that UK rates might be avoided if
complacent local politicians exerted themselves to get back
to home rule in the empty Stormont assembly. But the
message did not penetrate the thick skulls of the top
politicians playing footsie over at Westminster to the
neglect of their home supporters.

It was money for old rope swaggering around in the palace
of Westminster as Ulster top dogs with nothing to do while
Hain and his subordinates administered direct rule. Then
came another shock producing fury from old man Ian Paisley
and the UUP. Secretary of state Hain, visiting New York
seeking investment in Northern Ireland told the Irish Echo:
"In future decades it is going to be increasingly difficult
to look at the economy of north and south except as a sort
of island of Ireland economy.

"The Northern Ireland economy though it is doing better
than ever in its history, is not sustainable in the long
term". He added that the government was "deepening north
south cooperation in a number of areas".

Paisley demanded the minister's resignation but that cut no

Most observers realise that it had a deeper meaning. Did
the reference to "future decades" mean that in the event of
a British withdrawal the north's economy would be dependent
on a subsidy of 'x' billions as part of an all-Ireland

The Republic could not afford it, according to Garret
FitzGerald. So who?

Britain as a temporary measure or the EC? Hard to say. A
sad reflection on all those wasted years since the Good
Friday Agreement still to be implemented while the Celtic
Tiger forges ahead.

Anyway it is clear that things are on the move at last.
Hain has stuck a stick of gelignite in the political

It has started to break up in an unexpected quarter. Howls
of pain are coming in from all sides as the news unfolds to
cries of "I can't believe it" that they are about to tear
up the local government map of the north, replacing its 26
blimpish councils in places like Lisburn, Ballymena,
Castlereagh, with a new map of Northern Ireland reduced to
six super-councils with the addition of the contentious
Belfast City Council.

Hundreds of local worthies, including about 70 councillors,
doubling up as MLAs are to be sacked and 142 unelected
quangos are to get the chop. The shake-up has come as a
complete shock and there is likely to be dissension within
the Unionist and DUP parties as it is realised that this
would never have happened if their leaders had not walked
out on devolution. All the new super councils are to be in
place for elections due in May 2009. Meantime a boundary
commission will hear representations and decide the final
shape of the super councils.

Finally do I sleep, do I dream or are there angels about? I
read that DUP leader Ian Paisley spent 90 minutes talking
to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin about the prospect for
a proper constructive relationship between "our two
countries". Further he said all parties must work towards
building a practical rather than politically motivated

Well that's a pleasant change from throwing snowballs at
Jack Lynch.


Opin: Catholics And Nationalists Need To Fight For The Autonomy Of Catholic Schools

Jude Collins

So our British master has spoken. Peter Hain, he of the
expensive suits and fragrant hair, has declared that 26
councils will become seven, 18 health and regional social
services trusts will become five (sort of), and five
education and library boards (ELBs) will become one. Should
we whoop and click our heels or moan and rend our garments
at this news?

Well, both, maybe. If you're one of the many people who
work for the present councils, you'll probably be doing a
bit of garment-ripping, since re-organisation is often code
for job-cuts. If you work in the health area or for one of
the ELBs, you're probably bracing yourself as well. And if
you're a republican you'll probably be pleased but
apprehensive about the final boundary decisions for the
Belfast Council area, knowing that a nibble into
Newtownabbey or Castlereagh or Lisburn will make all the

One group certain not to be doing any cart-wheels are those
people who work for the Catholic Council for Maintained
Schools (CCMS). That body's present statutory position as
hirer and firer of teachers in Catholic schools is to be
reduced to that of adviser. Donal Flanagan, top man at CCMS
says this is bad news, not just for CCMS employees but for
Catholic schools. He argues that his views are in line with
those in Catholic education: dozens of Catholic schools,
we're told, have written in protesting against the CCMS

Does CCMS have the unanimous support of the Catholic
education system? I doubt it. Letters from schools are
usually written by the principal, not the chalk-face
teachers. I'll bet most teachers in most letter-writing
schools never saw the text of the letter of protest that
went out.

The fact is, a lot of teachers in Catholic schools aren't
overly fond of the CCMS. Partly this can be explained by
the predictable tensions that surface in any organisation
between those with power and those without. But there are
many teachers in Catholic schools who see the CCMS as a
threat rather than a support, who experience that body as
less of a sheltering umbrella and more of a dark cloud over
their professional lives. Maybe that's why the Irish
National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), to which most
Catholic teachers subscribe, has said it can live with a
downgrading of CCMS.

Donal Flanagan's argument is that the maintenance of a
Catholic ethos in Catholic schools is tied in with the
existence of the CCMS as a statutory body. Without its
continued existence in that form, the ethos of commitment
in Catholic schools will suffer.

It's a flimsy argument. Take one parallel: teachers in
integrated schools. These teachers are committed to the
ethos of integration, but they don't get hired and fired by
a body comparable to the CCMS. The truth is, the continued
existence of the CCMS in its present form is not necessary
to the continued healthy existence of Catholic schools.

Those who call, not just for a downgrading of the CCMS but
for a rethink about a separate Catholic education system,
argue that at present too many school systems operate here.
There are Protestant schools, Catholic schools, Integrated
schools, Irish-medium schools, Special schools, and soon,
probably, Specialist schools. Running different systems,
we're told, is expensive and illogical. A single school
system would be more cost-effective.

So it would. Unfortunately, we make decisions about
expenditure based on other criteria than cost-
effectiveness. When a theatre or an art gallery or a
leisure centre or a hospital is built, it's not built in
the hope it will make money or even break even. It's built
to serve a section of the community who believe they can
benefit from its services.

Then again there are people who just don't like Catholic
schools. They'll tell you that religion has no place in
schools. Only last week I got a mini-lecture on this point
from an eminent educator, who explained that 'all the
research' shows that being educated alongside people
different from ourselves breaks down barriers and
encourages tolerance. Those who wish to nurture a religious
faith in their children should do so after school hours –
in the evening and at weekends.

This of course is fresh, gently-steaming horse manure. The
idea that a religious faith, which by definition will
permeate every life-crevice of someone committed to it; the
idea that that faith can be inculcated and grown during
free time, as it were, and set aside during school hours,
takes the breath away. As for claiming that separate
education promotes bigotry – in Rabbi Julia Neuberger's
famous faux pas – separate education equals sectarian
education: more manure. I've spent much of my life in and
out of schools throughout the North and not once, in any
Catholic school – or in any Protestant, integrated, Irish-
medium or special school, for that matter – have I heard so
much as a whisper of intolerance being taught.

There are two good reasons for protecting Catholic schools

Firstly, they provide a Catholic education for children.
That is, they help or try to help the young people in their
schools to see that their religious faith, if it is to be
more than a social veneer, permeates all aspects of life.
Catholic schools don't always succeed in this mission. Some
think they fail more often than they succeed. But they do

Secondly, Catholic education supports a sense of Irish
identity. The schools don't talk a lot about this in their
official curriculum, but it's part of what they do.
Children attending Catholic schools are helped to see that
'visiting the capital' doesn't necessarily mean going to
London, that Carndonagh, Clones and Carrickmacross are
Ulster towns every bit as much as Carrickfergus, Cookstown
and Killyleagh – that Irish music and Irish games and the
Irish language are a wonderful source of fun and
fulfilment, as well as a rich heritage to be proud of. They
give children an Irish lens through which to view the

So if you're a committed Catholic, you'll be watchful that
Mr Hain's plans for the CCMS don't signal an assault on
Catholic schools. If you're a committed nationalist, you'll
also be equally watchful, for different reasons.

And if you're anti-Catholic and/or anti-nationalist (Yes,
Virginia, such people do exist), you'll be hoping the
dimming of the CCMS star prefaces a decline in Catholic
education. If without showing it you could lend your hand
to hastening the day, you would. Officially you'd rather be
stripped naked, smeared in honey and tied to an ant-hill
than admit such a thing. So you clothe your
political/religious prejudice in all sorts of financial and
liberal arguments, and speak of the need to foster
tolerance and friendship among our children.

Repeat it to yourself so you stay alert: for political as
well as religious reasons, Catholic education in this state
matters. Some things don't change.

Jude Collins is an academic, writer and broadcaster. His
latest novel is 'Leave of Absence' (Townhouse, £6.99)


Royal Irish Regiment Awarded Honour

26/11/2005 - 13:58:05

The Royal Irish Regiment is being awarded a Battle Honour
by the Queen of England for its service in Iraq, it was
announced today.

The Regiment will be presented with the Theatre Honour
'Iraq 2003' for its part in the military campaign in 2003
when the UK joined the US in invading Iraq and ousting
Saddam Hussein.

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said: "These Honours
represent an historic and traditional means of recognising
the immense efforts British soldiers have made bringing
democracy to Iraq.

"Our soldiers and their families can be very proud of the
role they have performed and the sacrifices they have made
to guarantee a brighter future for the people of Iraq.

Troops from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment are
currently serving in Iraq on a six month tour which is due
to be completed in January 2006.

Based at Fort George near Inverness, the regiment was one
of the first units to deploy at the beginning of the
campaign and its re-deployment this summer marked its
return to Iraq after a two-year absence.

Regimental Colonel, Colonel Mark Campbell, recently
returned to the UK from visiting his men on the front line.

He said: "The award of this Honour is another extremely
proud moment in the long and distinguished history of the
Royal Irish Regiment and its antecedent regiments.

"The Royal Irish Regiment has and will continue to perform
its duty to the highest standard whenever and wherever."

Belfast-born Colonel Tim Collins achieved worldwide fame
for his inspirational eve-of-invasion address to the men of
the RIR in 2003.

He was widely praised for his words – his address hung on
the wall of the Oval Office by President George Bush .

Col Collins told his men: "If you are ferocious in battle
remember to be magnanimous in victory.

He has since left the army and has become a critic of
British government cut backs within the military.


McLoughlin: Former Bishop Of Galway Dies

26/11/2005 - 11:03:44

The former bishop of Galway Doctor James Mc Loughlin has
died at the aged of 76.

He was appointed to the post by Pope John Paul II after the
departure of Eamon Casey in 1993 and had retired last July.


Books: An Equal Opportunity Terrorist At Large

WOUND LICKER by Jason Johnson, Blackstaff Press, £6.99

By Noel McAdam
26 November 2005

THE streets of Norn Iron aren't safe for decent folk again.

There's a cross-community killer on the loose; an equal
opportunity terrorist.

"Harmed and dangerous" Fletcher Fee, for it is he, gets
through a loyalist, a republican and then, for good
measure, a DUP politician and Sinn Fein activist, all in
the space of a couple of weeks. But at least it's all for

Everything about journalist Jason Johnson's first book
shouts out post-peace process Ulster.

The car wash squad at Stormont, where Fee works, would have
had former Fair Employment Commission bosses beaming - even
an Arab works there.

Unfortunately, he's gunned down, too, when he seems to
reach for a pistol during a visit to Belfast's Waterfront
by Salman Rushdie.

Of the now sizeable number of local hacks who turned from
facts to fiction, only a few - Colin Bateman, Keith Baker -
make it to the majors.

Then you have the tradition going back beyond J D Salinger,
and recently regionalised by Irvine Welsh, of dialogue-
driven novels. Fee could have stepped out of Welsh.

It's at this literary junction where Johnson, formerly of
this parish and the Irish Sunday People, has produced a
pacy page-turner which, its grisly violence reduced, could
easily be turned into a good night's telly. In parts it's
very well-written.

For me, though, the plot is just too implausible. No one
gets as close as easily to these victims; the
"relationship" between Fee and Wee Blondie would keep
Relate busy for a year; and there's a timeline discrepancy
which almost threw me.

Jason trowels on the Ulster accent even thicker than Jim
McDonald on speed, so he does - which may be necessary for
a mainland audience.

On the plus side, it's a quick read which kept me going to
the end and shows enough promise for the next one.

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