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November 08, 2005

McBride Seeks Meeting With Spicer

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 11/08/05 Jean McBride Seeks Confrontation W/ Tim Spicer
BT 11/08/05 Shoukri Brothers Held In Early Morning Raids
DI 11/08/05 Loyalist Named On Trial For Doorman Attack
BB 11/08/05 Eighth Man Arrested In Bank Raid
UT 11/08/05 Arson Attack On SDLP McMenamin's Home
DI 11/08/05 Dissidents Say More Chaos Is On The Way
UT 11/08/05 Dissident Link To Keady Murder
UT 11/08/05 Job Loss Warning Over EU Peace Funding
BT 11/08/05 UUP Slams School Reforms
BT 11/08/05 Police In £100m Bid For Trauma Compensation
BT 11/08/05 RUC Man Saw Crowd Clap Brother's Killing
DI 11/08/05 N Korea Gave Official IRA Many Forged Notes
BT 11/10/05 Arsonists Strike At Holy Cross Nursery (update)
BT 11/08/05 Nolan's Game Of Political Football
IN 11/08/05 Opin: DUP Must Stand United On Future
IN 11/08/05 Opin: State Must Take Back True Republicanism
AN 11/08/05 Partition Of Ireland -Amended WSM Paper (Link)
TB 11/08/05 Opin: Power Plays
DI 11/08/05 Opin: Attempt To 'Do A McCarthy' On Shinners
BT 11/08/05 Opin: McCartneys Odd Choice of Bedfellows
BT 11/08/05 Eagles To Land In Dublin For Show


Mother Of Teen Murdered By Soldiers Seeks Confrontation

08/11/2005 - 07:15:14

The mother of a Belfast teenager killed by two Scots Guards
now serving in Iraq was today hoping to confront their
former commanding officer about the decision to allow them
back into the British army.

Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher served three years
in jail for the murder of father-of-two Peter McBride who
was gunned down in the New Lodge district of north Belfast
in September 1992.

In 1998 the pair were allowed to rejoin their regiment and
are currently in Iraq.

Following the launch in the UK's House of Commons of a new
campaign aimed at closing a loophole which enables soldiers
convicted of murder to return to military service, sources
close to Peter McBride's mother Jean said she was hoping to
meet former Scots Guard Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer at
today's Royal United Services Institute conference in

"Jean has been registered for the conference and intends to
confront Spicer directly," they revealed.

The Falklands War veteran is the head of the private
security firm Aegis Defence Services which has been bidding
for US security contracts in Iraq.

Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner, nationalist SDLP leader
Mark Durkan, Labour MP Joan Humble, Liberal Democrat MP
Sarah Teather, Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre and
Helen Shaw of INQUEST last night launched a Parliamentary
campaign against the readmission of soldiers convicted of
rape, murder and manslaughter.

Mr Shiner said he was backing the campaign because there
would be outrage if a soldier convicted of murder in Iraq
was allowed to serve in Northern Ireland.

The Birmingham-based lawyer explained: "If soldiers were
convicted of murder in Basra, sentenced to life
imprisonment, released early and then posted to Belfast
people there would be outraged.

"This is essentially what has happened in reverse in this

"We must end impunity. The Ministry of Defence dismisses
soldiers who fail a drugs test but not those who murder
another human being. This is quite simply unacceptable."

At a public meeting in September, London Mayor Ken
Livingstone also condemned the retention of Guardsmen
Fisher and Wright under Queens Regulations 9404 which
states soldiers given a custodial sentence should be
dismissed unless there are exceptional reasons.

The families of British army recruits who died at Deepcut
barracks in Surrey have given their support to the McBride

Liz Green from Durham in northern England, whose son
Anthony died after he was shot at Ballykelly Army Base, Co
Derry, in 2001 said there were similarities with her own

"Another soldier was convicted of manslaughter for the
killing of my son. He served a year, was released and
readmitted back into the army the next day," she said.

"Soon after he was promoted just as in the McBride case.

"The MoD thinks it's above the law and its time that the
law was changed. The soldier who shot my son dead should
have been automatically dismissed. The soldiers who shot
Peter McBride dead should have been automatically

"Soldiers who bully someone to the edge of suicide or who
murder civilians in Iraq should be automatically

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the family's campaign was
based around a very straightforward principle.

"Nobody who has been convicted of serious human rights
abuses – like murder, rape or torture – should be allowed
to serve in the British army," the Foyle MP said.

"No other European army allows this and nor should the
British army.

"Be it on the streets of Belfast or of Basra, the public
are entitled to know that killers and torturers are not
sheltered in army ranks."


Shoukri Brothers Held In Early Morning Raids

By David Gordon and Chris Thornton
08 November 2005

UDA chief Andre Shoukri and his brother Ihab were arrested
today in a major police swoop in north Belfast.

The pair were among five prominent loyalists lifted in an
early morning operation against organised crime.

A PSNI spokesman said searches in the north of the city
were expected to continue for much of the day.

"The searches are being carried out as part of an operation
into organised crime," he added.

The Shoukris are understood to have been arrested in the
loyalist Westland estate. Ihab Shoukri was only permitted
to return to an address in Belfast late last month
following a variation of bail conditions.

Today's police move appears to have caught the UDA by

One loyalist source said the UDA's political wing, the
Ulster Political Research Group, was in the estate this
morning seeking to find out more information about the

The arrest of Andre Shoukri - nicknamed The Egyptian
because of his family's Middle Eastern background - comes
amid intense rumours of friction between him and other UDA

Shoukri is seen as the last of the "Brigadiers of Bling" -
UDA chiefs known for their expensive clothes and lifestyle.

He and south Belfast UDA boss Jackie McDonald publicly
denied a rift in June this year.

But rumours of tensions persisted, fuelled by a stand-off
between north and south Belfast UDA members in the Sandy
Row area.

The loyalist murder of Jim "Doris Day" Gray - the
flamboyant former UDA boss in east Belfast in September -
prompted speculation of further moves against the remaining
"Bling" elements in the terror organisation.

The Shoukri brothers have long associations with north
Belfast loyalists - with Andre, the younger of the two,
reputed to have taken over the UDA in that part of the city
while still just 25.

When he was fined for speeding earlier this year, a court
heard that Andre earns £150 a week as a barman - but police
suspect he is the main earner behind a number of UDA

In July 2002, Andre Shoukri was part of a UDA delegation
that met Secretary of State John Reid.

Initially an associate of Johnny Adair, Andre wound up
siding with the main body of the UDA in the feud that
brought Adair down.

During the feud, Shoukri was arrested with a gun in his
car. He was initially jailed for six years but that
conviction was overturned on appeal.

Andre Shoukri first came to public notice in 1996, when he
was tried over the death of Dubliner Gareth Parker.

Shoukri admitted punching the 23-year-old. Parker was run
over by a car after being knocked over by the blow.

The loyalist was back in court in 1998, when he was jailed
for attempting to smuggle cigarettes.

Two years later he was jailed again for his part in a
blackmail plot against a Catholic businessman.

Big brother Ihab has a lower profile, but is currently
awaiting trial for UDA membership.


Man Named In Dáil On Trial For Doorman Attack

Ciarán Barnes

The trial begins tomorrow in Belfast's High Court of a
leading loyalist who was named in the Dáil as an Ulster
Volunteer Force killer and police informer.

Mark Haddock, who has spent the last two years remanded in
custody, will appear in the dock for his alleged role in
the attempted murder of pub doorman Trevor Gowdy in
December 2002.

The 39-year-old and his close friend Darren Moore are
charged with attempting to murder Mr Gowdy, falsely
imprisoning him and setting fire to his car.

During a Dáil debate on October 27, Labour Party leader Pat
Rabbitte said Mr Haddock was a long-time police informant.

The TD claimed that, since Mr Haddock turned informer in
1993, the loyalist had been involved in eight UVF murders
with the full knowledge of Special Branch.

Mr Rabbitte told the Dáil: "The central allegation is that
Haddock was not charged with any crime because he was an
informer who had to be protected. He was able to act with
impunity, while the police effectively colluded in his

Mr Haddock has never been charged in connection with any of
the eight killings.

Mr Rabbitte also said the Belfast loyalist had been
involved in the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord Jr and had
been behind an attempt to blow up a Sinn Féin office in
Monaghan town in the same year.

Co-accused Darren Moore was let out on bail three weeks

A bail application by Mr Haddock was rejected over fears
that his release on bail could lead to a power struggle
within the UVF.

Among those in court supporting Mr Haddock at his failed
bail application was David "Reggie" Millar, who was also
accused of attempting to murder Mr Gowdy.

The charges against Mr Millar were dropped in May after the
PSNI admitted to making mistakes while gathering evidence.

Mr Haddock, Mr Moore and Mr Millar were among 12 loyalists
jailed in 1997 for involvement in an attack on Loyalist
Volunteer Force supporters in Co Armagh.

The others were Ronnie Bowe, James Dodds, Albert Ferran,
Gary Haggarty, John Hill, Willie Logue, Mark Quail, Barry
Stockman and Clarke Wallace.


Eighth Man Arrested In Bank Raid

An eighth man has been arrested by police investigating
last December's £26.5m Northern Bank robbery.

The 40-year-old was arrested in Londonderry on Tuesday.
Four men are now being questioned about the robbery, while
two were released without charge.

A 39-year-old man was arrested in Belfast on Monday night
in connection with the robbery.

The latest arrest came as a second man appeared in court
charged in connection with the raid on Monday.

Martin McAliskey, 42, of Ballybeg Road, Coalisland, denied
giving false police statements. He was granted bail.

The charge concerns the alleged purchase, possession and
sale of a Ford Transit van believed to have been used in
the raid.

Earlier on Monday, a 22-year-old man was arrested in Kilcoo
in County Down in connection with the robbery.

On Friday, a 23-year-old County Down man who appeared in
court denied involvement in the robbery. He was remanded in

The robbery happened at the bank's Northern Ireland
headquarters at Donegall Square West just before Christmas
last year.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked
to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions
remain unrecovered.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/08 09:50:58 GMT


Arson Attack On McMenamin's Home

An attempt was made to set fire to the home of an SDLP
politician in County Tyrone.

By:Press Association

West Tyrone MLA Eugene McMenamin said his house in Strabane
was targeted shortly after 10pm last night, when he heard a
bang outside.

Mr McMenamin said: "There was a sheet of flame in front of
the living-room window.

"Outside there was a heavy smell of petrol, as the car had
been doused.

"The idea seems to have been to ignite by throwing a lit
rag tied to a stick, but it failed to catch.

"The house has been attacked before, but I had hoped this
type of cowardly attack was over."

The MLA said the arson attack may be linked to his recent
condemnation of bomb alerts which have caused the blockage
of roads in the town.


Dissident Republicans Say More Chaos Is On The Way

Ciarán Barnes

Dissident republicans are threatening to cause "mayhem"
through a series of bomb hoaxes in the run up to Christmas.

The warning comes after the cancellation of a Co Down
weekend horse racing festival on Saturday, and the
evacuation of 2,000 businessmen from a retail conference at
Belfast's Waterfront Hall last week.

Both events were disrupted by bomb warnings from dissident

Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday a Continuity IRA source
said the organisation was planning other bomb warnings in
the run up to Christmas.

He also claimed dissident republicans were among the 9,000
people evacuated from the racecourse, and were there to
make sure "things went well".

"The race festival was targeted because PSNI Chief
Constable Hugh Orde and a number of senior unionists were
attending," said the source.

"There will be more in the run up to Christmas. We will be
targeting major commercial events and premises."

The PSNI carried out further searches in the vicinity of
Down Royal racecourse yesterday.

Four suspicious packages were found on Saturday afternoon
after dissident republicans telephoned two bomb warnings.

The packages were declared "elaborate hoaxes".

Direct rule Security Minister Shaun Woodward described the
race festival disruption as a "cowardly deed".

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

"Those involved in such activity have no part to play in
any normal, civilised society and only serve to frustrate
the will of the mass majority of people in Northern

Ulster Unionist peer Ken Maginnis, who was at the race
meeting, claimed the cancellation would have a major
financial impact.

He said: "There were lots of very good horses racing and it
meant that horses that were warmed up had to be boxed and
taken off the course.

"They won't come back, and when you consider that some of
these horse owners have come from the length and breadth of
Ireland it's an absolute disgrace."

Last Thursday SDLP Deputy Leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell
warned that the Waterfront Hall bomb scare, which was also
the work of the Continuity IRA, could endanger new

The South Belfast MP said: "All the positive potential that
this conference held for Belfast and its future economic
and tourism development has been put at risk as, once
again, our old problems came back to haunt us.

"To see delegates herded out of the Waterfront and onto the
streets because of a bomb scare was disheartening to say
the least.

"This is not the image of Belfast, and indeed of Northern
Ireland, that we wanted delegates to take away with them.

"But the stark reality is that this is exactly what will
happen. The one memory that will stand out in the mind of
those 2,000 people is their conference being interrupted by
a bomb scare."


Dissident Link To Keady Murder

A man shot and killed in Northern Ireland may have been the
victim of a falling-out between dissident republicans, it
emerged today.

By:Press Association

Martin Conlon, 35, was hit several times in the head and
dumped near the village of Keady in Co Armagh.

He died in hospital several hours later.

Mr Conlon, who came from Armagh city, served a prison term
in the Irish Republic where he had been convicted of
training people in the use of firearms.

He was also known to police in Northern Ireland.

Police are expected to make a statement later on the
murder, but it is believed detectives are working on the
theory that he was killed by dissident republicans who were
one-time associates.

Mr Conlon was discovered unconscious on the Farnaloy Road,
near the Madden housing estate, between Keady and Armagh
city last night. His car was one of two vehicles later
examined by forensic experts.

SDLP councillor Gerald Mallon said: "This has all the
hallmarks of a paramilitary murder. This was a horrific
murder and no family should ever have to face what his
family are facing."


Job Loss Warning Over EU Peace Funding

Hundreds of jobs could be wiped out in Northern Ireland's
community and voluntary sector if special European Union
funds for peace and reconciliation projects are allowed to
run dry, it was claimed today.

By:Press Association

University of Ulster research official Helen Lewis claimed
with the current phase of Peace and Reconciliation funding
due to end next year, many projects were facing an
uncertain future.

She said ahead of a conference on PEACE II funding tomorrow
at the Magee campus in Londonderry: "The community and
voluntary sector is facing a real challenge in the near
future in terms of increasing competition for ever
diminishing funds.

"We hope that this conference goes some way towards
preventing the sector falling off the financial precipice.

"No-one knows whether we will get a Peace III, but at this
stage, without such an extension, it seems certain there
will be a very significant number of jobs lost in the

The European Union has allocated almost €1 billion to
community groups under two Peace and Reconciliation schemes
negotiated by Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson and former
MEPs, the Reverend Ian Paisley of the DUP and John Hume of
the nationalist SDLP.

The funds are awarded to community based projects in
Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Irish
Republic which promote reconciliation, stimulate social and
economic renewal, upgrade local facilities and extend
learning opportunities.

During a visit to Brussels in October, Sinn Fein president
Gerry Adams claimed the EU was willing to set aside at
least €200 million(£140 million) for a third Peace and
Reconciliation scheme.

However to access the funds he said a formal request must
be made by British Prime Minister Tony Blair`s Government.

There are around 4,500 voluntary and community
organisations in Northern Ireland, employing 30,000 people
and running a network of around 72,000 volunteers.

The university`s international conflict research unit
INCORE`s Local International Learning Project will host
tomorrow`s conference along with the Londonderry-based
Cresco Trust, a not-for-profit social economy organisation.

Among the keynote speakers will be independent economic and
public policy consultant Colin Stutt.


UUP Slams School Reforms

By Kathryn Torney
08 November 2005

Scrapping academic selection in Northern Ireland's schools
will rip the heart out of a world-class education system,
it was claimed today.

In an article written for today's education page in
Jobfinder, the UUP's David McNarry has strongly criticised
the Department of Education's plans to radically reform the
school system.

The 11-plus is set to be scrapped and replaced with pupil
profiles which will be used to inform parents and help them
decide which post-primary school would be most suitable for
their child.

Mr McNarry features in the first of a four-part series in
which each of the four main parties' education spokesmen
outline what they would do if they took on the role of
Education Minister in the Assembly.

He writes: "At a stroke, within the next few weeks, the
Minister will act to rip the heart out of a world-class
education system. This is crisis point.

"There's insufficient parental support for Costello's pupil
profile and postcode entry plans, and great antipathy to
changing the system from within the teaching profession.
Put simply, parents want a form of academic selection.

"To proceed against the tide of parental support for
academic selection and to apparently move in the opposite
direction of the Prime Minister will bring crisis after
crisis, impair education opportunities all round and lower,
not improved, standards.

"My first act as Minister would be to reverse the actions
of the Direct Rule Minister."

Meanwhile, support is growing for more schools of mixed
religion as a way of dealing with falling rolls.

Frank Bunting, Northern secretary of the Irish National
Teachers' Organisation, said the problem of the parallel
schools' system in Northern Ireland needs to be addressed.

And the DUP agrees that merging schools to form new
integrated schools is an idea worth considering.

Party education spokesman Sammy Wilson said: "I would also
have no problem with controlled and Catholic maintained
schools merging, but it is likely that the Church may have
more of a problem with this."

For more on both stories, see the education pages in
tonight's Public Sector Jobfinder.


Police In £100m Bid For Trauma Compensation

By Marie Foy
08 November 2005

RUC chiefs must have been aware by the late 1970s of the
potential dangers facing officers exposed to severe trauma
on a daily basis during the Troubles, it was claimed in the
High Court in Belfast yesterday.

More than 5,000 former and serving police officers,
allegedly traumatised by 30 years of terrorist atrocities
in Northern Ireland, have launched a legal bid for

The Government faces paying out £100m in damages if the men
and women involved succeed in their case.

Stephen Irwin QC said that prior to the establishment of
the Occupational Health Unit within the RUC in 1986, senior
RUC management had been lectured by key specialists on
post-traumatic stresses in early 1984.

And records showed the training branch as far back as 1979
recognised and recorded the toll stress could have on

The lawyer told the court their files highlighted the
effect stress had on officers' stamina and its contribution
to marital problems, gambling, alcoholism and even suicide.

Mr Irwin told the judge, Mr Justice Coghlin, that while the
RUC might have believed up to 1975 that the terrorist
campaign could be swiftly ended, that could not be said
beyond 1977.

It was accepted that the RUC were facing a situation that
no-one else in Europe and in developed countries had faced.

The QC said the level of threat to the police was very high
throughout the '70s but the plaintiffs were not suggesting
that the RUC should have been focusing on stress in 1972 or

They said they were putting forward a balanced case and had
tried to pinpoint a sensible time at which the issue should
have been addressed.

"By the time you get to 1977-78 no-one could doubt anything
other than this was a serious, continuing situation. It
wasn't going to go away," the lawyer said.

A confidential hotline offering advice, access to doctors
and counsellors and a secure clinic for officers were among
the steps that could have been taken, and the plans should
have been crystallised by 1980, Mr Irwin said.

A package of measures for police officers suffering from
trauma as a result of the Troubles came too slowly and not
all were implemented, he said.

During the hearing, which is expected to last for at least
four months, 12 individual cases will be set out to
illustrate the basic argument.


RUC Man Saw Crowd Clap Brother's Killing

By Claire Regan
08 November 2005

A former RUC officer told yesterday how 30 years of
policing the border throughout the Troubles - including
tending to the body of his murdered brother - took its toll
on his mental and physical health.

William Harpur (57) spoke out as 5,000 former and serving
police officers went to Belfast High Court to seek millions
of pounds of compensation for trauma suffered during 30
years of terrorist violence.

The officer, who has endured four attempts on his life,
spent nine years in the UDR and 21 years in the RUC before
leaving the force ten years ago through ill health. His
entire career was spent in the Strabane area.

In 1981, he had to identify the body of his brother, fellow
RUC officer Thomas Harpur, who was shot dead by the INLA.

"I was in the bath at home when I got a call from a woman
saying 'We shot your brother', he recalled.

"I went down to where I heard there had been a shooting and
the police officers on duty let me go up to the body.

"My brother was lying there with blood coming out of him.
There was a crowd of people standing round clapping and
spitting in my direction.

"I wasn't prepared for that at all. It's the sort of thing
you never get over. I've seen a few people die in my time.

"Those memories never leave and small things, like seeing a
dead bird in a hedge, bring them back in an instant.

"If that's not stressful, I don't know what is."

In 1989, the father-of-four survived a bomb attack on a
police car in Sion Mills in which he saw one of his
colleagues die.

He said: "I won't go into what I saw that I night out of
respect for my colleague's widow but it has never left me."

Mr Harpur said he takes 17 tablets a day, including anti-
depressants and valium, to ease back pain caused by his
injuries and problems from a heart attack he suffered in

Speaking on behalf of the Disabled Prison Officers
Association, Mr Harpur said he and other colleagues feel
like the "forgotten people".

He said: "They don't want to recognise that we even exist
and that these traumatic events have had a lasting effect
on us.

"My family have suffered too. We live in a complete
fortress. My children never really got the chance to grow


North Korea Gave Official IRA Many Fistfuls Of Dollars In
Forged Notes

Paramilitary group split amid accusations that leaders used
some of counterfeit cash to fund lavish lifestyles

Ciarán Barnes

Daily Ireland today reveals the full extent of the
Official IRA counterfeit dollar scam of the late 1980s and
early '90s.

We can further disclose details of the sophisticated
operation carried out by experienced Official IRA
volunteers to offload the counterfeit $100 bills for
genuine currency in a blitz on financial institutions the
length and breadth of Ireland.

In another exclusive revelation, we can report that, as
well as receiving huge amounts of counterfeit
"superdollars" from North Korea in 1989, the Official IRA
received in that same year a consignment of 50 handguns of
.32 calibre as well as a large amount of ammunition from
President Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.

The weapons were used in robberies throughout Ireland. The
counterfeit cash was exchanged for genuine currency, which
the Official IRA then used to build a multimillion-pound
business empire.

The story began in 1988 when a number of senior Official
IRA men — including a man known as "the Devil", a Belfast
businessman and a veteran paramilitary from the Republic —
visited North Korea to attend celebrations to mark the 40th
anniversary of the formation of the state.

They travelled first to the North Korean embassy in Moscow,
where officials arranged for them to get into North Korea
without the travel documents that are usually required. The
three men stayed in a guarded compound in the capital
Pyongyang for two weeks.

While there, they met then president Kim Il-sung and his
son Kim Jong-il, who became ruler of North Korea and
chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea after his
father's death.

President Kim and his son promised the Official IRA team
whatever help they needed to carry out the "Irish
revolution" to which the Irishmen told the North Koreans
they were committed.

The Official IRA men were shown huge amounts of weapons and
ammunition and the high-quality counterfeit US dollars that
the North Koreans were churning out on state-of-the-art
printing presses.

In 1989, the Official IRA collected its first consignment
of US$1 million in cash from the North Koreans. The money
was moved to the North Korean embassy in Moscow before
being transferred to a popular holiday destination in
eastern Europe to await collection.

The Official IRA organised a group visit to the region.
That group was made up entirely of Official IRA supporters,
mostly married couples and pensioners to avoid suspicion.
The "tourists" took the cash back to Ireland strapped to
their bodies.

Just before the group returned, an Official IRA
representative in Moscow was involved in a shoot-out with
the Russian mafia. This led to the Official IRA losing
$100,000 in fake notes that were also bound for Ireland.

Meanwhile, 28 handguns — still in mint condition and still
in the hands of the Official IRA — were transported to
Ireland via Moscow and France.

With the $1 million in fake notes safely stored in Ireland,
the Official IRA began planning the difficult task of
switching the counterfeit bills for real money. The plot
they devised saw the formation of five four-man teams of
experienced volunteers, a number of whom were the Official
IRA's most successful armed robbers.

Three of the teams were designated areas of the North. Two
teams set to work south of the Border.

The five units visited banks and bureaux de change, where
the high-quality "supernotes" were exchanged for sterling
or Irish punts with no questions asked.

Members of the units were paid either £50 or £100 a day,
depending on how much cash they converted.

Daily Ireland understands that, at the peak of their
activity, the units were between them exchanging between
£30,000 and £40,000 per day.

To avoid fingerprint detection, volunteers in the units
were spraying a liquid solution on their hands known as a
"second skin". However, with so many of the $100 bills in
circulation, banks were becoming suspicious. An attempt by
the Official IRA to change fake currency at two banks in
east Co Antrim in 1990 failed.

The volunteers were not apprehended but bank officials
contacted the US Treasury, which confirmed the notes were

The Official IRA panicked when the RUC shortly afterwards
raided the Belfast home of the organisation's Moscow
representative as part of a counterfeit cash investigation.

This brought an end to its attempts to change the fake cash
in Ireland. By this stage, the country was already awash
with fake dollars.

After sitting on what was left of the counterfeit money for
close to a year, the Official IRA transferred it by plane
to London.

The volunteers who had been involved in changing the fake
cash in the North were sent to England to resume the

They stayed in London's top hotels and lived the high life
during their time in the English capital. Within a short
time, one of the men was arrested in a bureau de change
trying to change a quantity of fake dollars. The remaining
Official IRA men dispersed and the rest of the
"superdollars" were returned to a safe house in Ireland.

The man who was arrested told police he had found the fake
cash in a stolen car. When captured, he had around $1,000
in counterfeit money in his wallet. He later pleaded guilty
in court to knowingly attempting to change fake currency.
He received a light sentence.

Realising the authorities in Ireland and Britain were aware
of the "superdollar" scam, Official IRA chiefs hurriedly
offloaded the money to criminals in continental Europe.

The money made in that counterfeit cash operation was not
returned to the Official IRA. It was used primarily by the
Official IRA men who had visited North Korea in 1988 to
fund lavish lifestyles and set up a number of businesses,
including for the importation of stolen religious icons,
coal and tyres into Ireland in the mid-1990s. This angered
a sizable section of the Official IRA, which broke away
from the rest of the organisation in 1996 and took a
stockpile of weapons with them.

A former Official IRA member told Daily Ireland there was
"no accountability" when it came to funds and "no
democracy" within the organisation.

"The Official IRA was working too closely with the state
for my liking," said our source.

"Many members have suspicions that one of the men who
travelled to North Korea in 1988 is a British agent."

Such was the impact of the "superdollar" scam that the US
Treasury changed the design of its $100 bills in 1996. The
picture on the note of former president Benjamin Franklin
was enlarged.

Even this did not deter the North Koreans, who developed a
new "superdollar" with the "big-headed Benjamin" by the end
of the 1990s. Via the North Korean embassy in Moscow, the
Official IRA later resumed contact with the diplomats who
in 1989 had provided them with the $1 million consignment
of "superdollars".


Arsonists Strike At Holy Cross Nursery

By Brian Hutton
08 November 2005

A north Belfast nursery school was expected to remain
closed today after an arson attack.

Fires were started in the roof space and ground floor of
the Holy Cross nursery on Sunday afternoon.

The structure remains intact but smoke damage and debris
have rendered it unsafe for children to return.

Parish priest Father Aidan Troy said last night that he was
confident the attack was not sectarian.

The nursery is linked to the Holy Cross Primary School. The
girls' school was the scene of violent clashes in 2001 over
a loyalist picket.

"The nursery is on the site of the boys' school, in the
heart of Butler Street, and it's very unlikely that anyone
from outside the community would come that far in," Fr Troy

"I am waiting for the police report, but I think it is
unlikely it was sectarian."

He blamed the attack, which has affected over 50 young
children and their parents, on "mindless, anti-social
behaviour" carried out on a "soft target".

"There's not even enough equipment in there to make
burglary a motive. I think it is just part of a sequence
that is present in our society," he added.

Sinn Fein councillor for Ardoyne, Margaret McClenaghan
branded the attack an "absolute disgrace".

She said: "This is a vital resource for the community and
at a time when our pre- schools are under such pressure
this is the last thing we need to see.

"Those responsible for the attack have only deprived their
community of a service.

"I'd call on anyone who would think of committing such
destruction to schools to stop immediately.

"Places of education should clearly be defined as
distinctive places that should be respected by all."


Nolan's Game Of Political Football

... but which foot will they kick with?

By Maureen Coleman
08 November 2005

Controversial presenter Stephen Nolan has managed to
achieve what the Governments couldn't - getting the DUP and
Sinn Fein on the same team.

In a football first, the BBC man and his team are set to
play a five-a-side match against some of the best known
faces in politics.

But it's all in the name of charity as the match has been
organised as part of this year's BBC Children In Need.

Nolan will be joined by his producer Mike Lee, Sunday
World's Jim McDowell, presenter William Crawley and show
researcher Cameron Mitchell.

Lining up in the opposing team are Ian Paisley jnr of the
DUP, Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff, Alliance leader David
Ford, Jim Rodgers of the UUP and the SDLP's Alex Attwood.

And on hand to make sure there's no foul play will be
referee May McFettridge.

The match will take place next Monday, November 14 at

Nolan said: "It is these politicians that I do battle with
every day.

"I'm sure to look forward to giving them a good run for
their money up and down the pitch.

"I have insisted Jim Rodgers wears a green top and it will
be the first time a Sinn Fein politician wears the colour

"I'm taking this very seriously... game on!"

Free tickets for the football match will be given away on
the Stephen Nolan Show live on Radio Ulster from today
until Friday, each day from 9am to 10.30am.

A collection for BBC Children In Need will be taken at the


Opin: DUP Must Stand United On Future

By Staff Reporter

The DUP is giving every impression that it – like many
other political parties – is split between two groups who
differ fundamentally on a central issue.

It is widely thought that some prominent DUP figures
(reported to include Peter Robinson, Jeffrey Donaldson and
Nigel Dodds) feel that a consensus which would restore a
devolved administration at Stormont is capable of being
reached within the foreseeable future.

They maintain their cool view of the Good Friday Agreement
but recognise that its general framework provides the only
serious opportunity for political progress.

There is another wing in the DUP, influenced by Ian Paisley
jnr, William McCrea and Jim Allister, which simply does not
want to do business with nationalists.

They are not interested in negotiations, and would be happy
to see direct rule continuing indefinitely as the least-
worst option.

Perhaps significantly Gregory Campbell, on the basis of his
latest keynote statement, appears to be moving decisively
towards the latter camp. He said that the Good Friday
Agreement could not provide the basis for relationships
between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and specifically
rejected its cross-border structures.

The cross-border bodies were always at the heart of the
agreement representing the counterbalance to the
abandonment of the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty and the
dropping of the Irish government's constitutional claim to
the entire island.

It is hard to believe the DUP really wants to wipe the
slate clean and return to the old days of political
stalemate which preceded the 1998 breakthrough but it is
essential that party leader Ian Paisley snr clarifies his
own position.

Although the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists have
contributions to make, Sinn Fein and the DUP, as the two
largest parties, will effectively dictate whether or not a
new deal at Stormont is possible.

There are challenges ahead within both traditions and
republicans have already made heartening strides over

An overdue endorsement of the police services on both sides
of the border is the last major hurdle facing republicans.

The DUP, for its part, cannot be allowed to sit back and
demand lists of concessions without outlining precisely
what it is prepared to do in return.

If all the party's leading personalities want to rule out
holding ministerial office in a power-sharing executive
under any circumstances, then the British and Irish
governments will simply have to look at other options which
might well prove deeply unpalatable for the DUP.

However, if pragmatism is to win the day, then all our main
parties should redouble their efforts to make politics work
in Northern Ireland.


Opin: State Must Take Back True Republicanism

By Tom Kelly

Lloyd George once remarked that dealing with De Valera was
"like picking up mercury with a fork". Bertie Ahern is also
a difficult man to fathom and sometimes even more difficult
to understand.

Last week at the Institute of Directors annual luncheon the
Taoiseach said: "The constitutional question is now

For him, speaking as leader of nationalist Ireland, the
leader of Dail Eireann and leader of Fianna Fail – the
Republican Party – the issue was over. But what exactly
closes it now for Mr Ahern that did not close it before?

If Mr Ahern is referring to the surrender of the
Provisionals, is he saying that they are the arbitrators in
the closing of the constitutional question? I hope not.

The constitutional issue is not resolved. It is merely the
constitutional position of the north that is unchanged.
Northern Ireland is and will remain constitutionally part
of the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future. Since
partition the right to remain in or out of the UK has lain
in the hands (or more accurately the votes) of the people
of Northern Ireland who may, by a majority, change their
constitutional position by electing to leave the UK.

This was recognised by our separated political brethren in
the south when they signed the Treaty; when they set up the
Free State; when they outlawed the IRA; when they declared
a Republic; when Lemass visited O'Neill; when Sunningdale
was agreed; when the New Ireland Forum was established;
when the Anglo-Irish Agreement was concluded and when the
Good Friday Agreement was given birth. The 'settlement' of
the constitutional position of the north was never in the
gift of the renegade Provisional movement. For years every
Irish democrat – nationalist or unionist; capitalist or
socialist – has accepted that the constitutional position
of Northern Ireland is underpinned by the principle of
consent and the only organisation out of step with that
viewpoint was the Provisional IRA.

The Taoiseach meant to assure IoD members that the self-
styled proponents of physical-force republicanism were no
longer a threat to their constitutional position and, of
course, he is right.

Messrs Adams, Maskey and Kelly are bound for elected office
in a UK regional assembly in which they will administer UK-
wide policy initiatives with the limited budget awarded to
them by the UK treasury. Their participation in this UK
regional administration copper-fastens their acceptance of
the constitutional position of Northern Ireland which
(sorry Mr Adams) is no less transitional than it was
intended to be in 1921. The welfare of all those who live
on Ireland combined with practicalities of sharing a small
island with limited resources and infrastructure makes
cross-border cooperation an economic and social reality,
not a political imperative.

It is clear from the shenanigans of members of Dail Eireann
that they are in a flap over the electoral threat from the
Provisionals. They need to catch themselves on. Are Fine
Gael so unsure of their Irishness that they need to dig up
Arthur Griffiths and Mick Collins? Or do Mr Ahern and Mr
McDowell really think that a military two-step around the
GPO by the Irish Army will outflank the legitimacy claimed
by the Provisionals?

If they do, they really don't understand the parasitical
nature of the modern-day Provisional movement. Giving back
the Irish State the legitimacy of the 1916 uprising is
commendable but it is years too late. The legitimacy of
physical-force republicanism (or indeed loyalism) at the
turn of the century in the context of that era is justified
but, against the dignified backdrop of eighty years of
Irish military neutrality and the barbarity of the 30 year
Provisional IRA campaign, the reinstatement of the 1916
commemoration is as welcome in modern Ireland as the
spectre of 'comely maidens dancing at the crossroads'.

If the Irish state needs to take ownership of mainstream
republicanism then it should take more responsibility for
the ownership of the Wolfe Tone Commemoration at Bodenstown
as the aspirations of the United Irishmen remain

In the absence of the threat from the military wing of the
Provisional movement, the real challenge for those who
believe in a united Ireland is to persuade non-nationalists
on the island that they have nothing to fear from the
pluralist, egalitarian and fraternal ideals contained in
true republicanism. With the intolerance shown by some to
economic migrants and the inherent greed and self-interest
that wealth has brought, convincing unionists and others
that those ideals exist in modern Ireland could be an
uphill struggle!


The Partition Of Ireland - Amended WSM Position Paper

by National Conference - WSM Tuesday, Nov 8 2005, 11:35am

As amended Oct 2005

The recent WSM conference passed 24 motions amending our
position paper on the Partition of Ireland. Click Here for
full text of the new paper.


November 07, 2005

Opin: Power Plays

"It appears they expect me to go to New York and not go to
any fundraising event. I am a busy man and have no wish to
be just sitting around in New York." - Gerry Adams

After the Northern Bank robbery, the US State Dept. curbed
SF's visas to the states. They didn't bar them from
entering the states, but restricted what they could do
while there, i.e., they couldn't fundraise. I suppose in
layman's terms that was decided along the lines of the
amount of illegally gotten gains SF have access to meant
the half million they get in the states is a piddly amount
they really don't need, especially in light of the influx
of 26.5 million sterling. So taking the fundraising away
but allowing access for political meetings with both
supporters and various Washington people wouldn't do them
that much harm, but would act as a carrot/stick.

As I understand it, Adams can still go to the states, he
just can't raise funds. He did this as recently as
September, when he went to a Clinton shin-dig and met with
15 House Representatives. So too did McGuinness at the time
of decommissioning when he was under the same restrictions.
Adams can keep his commitments, such as the dinner where he
wins the William Flynn award, and the FOSF 100 years
celebration - he just can't fundraise at them. Now,
McGuinness was able to do this in Seattle, San Diego and
other areas, attending what were planned fundraisers but
not raising funds after all to comply with his visa
restrictions. And he was able to continue with his meetings
on Capitol Hill. So there's no reason Adams can't do the
same on this visit, exactly as he did two months ago.
Nothing has changed in terms of further restrictions being
placed on him since then.

(I love this quote, by the way: "Gerry thought the
conference was genuinely hugely interesting," Sinn Fein's
U.S. liaison Rita O'Hare told the Irish Voice. "He met many
different people and was well pleased with his
participation." Makes him sound almost Royal, doesn't it?)

But that's not the issue. It's all about the power play.
Well, for SF that is. I don't think the US is that worried
about playing power trip games - Adams is but a gnat on the
elephant in that respect if you really get down to it (and
that they haven't banned him totally shows as much). But
Adams is using this as a line in the sand to flex his

In his typical fashion, however, he is demonstrating his
power by getting others to do the running for him. 'The
State Department won't let me fundraise, will they not?
Well, we shall see about that, when those pen pushers hear
from my friends.' It's all been about cultivating powerful
friends in the states, the rich and powerful, those Flynns
and Feeneys and O'Dowds, those Hilarys and Kings and
Kennedys. So what is fascinating is watching how McGuinness
is the one with all the quotes of sound and fury and
brinkmanship (not Adams), and the word gets put into the
stateside lobby's ear, and the Committee for Saving SF's
Butt issues a statement signed by some senators, and people
get on the phone to Mitchell Reiss on Adams' behalf, and
even Ted Kennedy who had pointedly snubbed Adams over the
McCartney murder has rallied around the flagpole this time.

But having listened to McGuinness explain things to Martina
Purdy (who dropped the ball by not pressing him further),
one wonders if these stateside power brokers were mis-
informed by the snow-job. For McGuinness made it sound to
Purdy that the issue is Adams being let into the states at
all, not just the fund-raising one. If that were the case I
could see why Kennedy might weigh in behind Adams on this
one, especially with the way things are going politically
with the IRA having just given up its arsenal. But that's
not the case, is it?

The statement from the senators shows some

"Every political party from Northern Ireland has the right
to fundraise in the U.S. We are simply calling for a level
playing field. The ban that prevents Sinn Fein from
fundraising in the U.S. should be lifted promptly," said
the group, which includes Congressmen Joe Crowley, James
Walsh and Richard Neal.

But according to the Irish Times, Sinn Fein can fundraise
in the US:

Sinn Féin is allowed to collect money in the US but since
January this year, visiting politicians from the party have
been forbidden to take part in fundraising events.

It is only that those visiting, such as Adams and
McGuinness, can't participate in the fundraising while

Why Purdy didn't press McGuinness on his ambiguity I am not
sure, she missed a salient point there. She could have even
quoted McGuinness back to himself:

If Gerry Adams has restrictions imposed on his visa this
means you would have the ludicrous and unsustainable
situation where he is allowed to travel to the US, but he
would be banned from attending the fundraising event which
will go ahead in any event.

He is clear that Adams can still travel to the US, he just
can't fundraise, and Adams is attempting to force the

The State Department through its leaks has made it pretty
clear where they stand, and it's not a total ban on SF
people coming to the states for their political work.

the State Department said Sinn Fein officials would be
allowed to enter the United States but could not
participate in fund-raising. A Bush administration official
said yesterday that the restriction could be lifted if
Adams or his party ''make some positive noises" in support
of the overhauled police force in Northern Ireland, which
Sinn Fein has refused to endorse.

The official declined to elaborate, but said the White
House has not given Adams or Sinn Fein a list of

''All he has to do is say something positive" about
policing, said the official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity. ''The bar isn't 10 feet tall."

The stick being used is the money, which I think for the
State Department is largely symbolic - if anyone has a good
idea of how much the Provos are worth it is probably those
pen pushers in the State Department, so they know Adams
missing out on his drop in the bucket isn't the issue. As
well it is likely that the loophole that allows SF to
fundraise in foreign countries will be closing soon anyway,
which makes this a moot point down the line.

So will Adams win his power struggle? Or will this be an
episode that exposes his weaknesses? Will his friends, who
he is using to put pressure on the US to change their
minds, see how influential he is, how important a
statesman, or will they see that he is just a cog in the
machine? When McGuinness went to the states in September,
Sinn Fein was confident that the ban on fundraising would
be lifted in time for the New York dinner this week.

a Sinn Féin spokeswoman said: "The fundraising wasn't a big
part of this trip. He is doing all the political work that
he intended to do on the west coast.

"We are hopeful that on the next trip he will be able to
fundraise. We don't see this as a long-term problem. This
trip was put together at the last minute," she said. Irish

Sinn Fein officials assumed the restrictions would be
lifted after the IRA announced in July that it was ending
its 35-year armed campaign against British rule in Northern
Ireland, and last month's announcement by international
monitors that the IRA had destroyed its hidden arsenal.
Boston Globe

Of course I am sure if the brick wall remains a brick wall,
he will then become a martyr and victim thus obscuring what
this whole thing was about - embarrassment. Poor Gerry, the

UPDATE - Adams has confirmed he won't be going if he
doesn't get paid, calling the US government "amateurish". I
suppose when you look at it in the strictest definition,
as, professional that he is, he won't travel without there
being money involved, he has a point.

There is still a chance he will be going to the US, doing a
contrite about face tomorrow because he doesn't want to be
rude or insulting to his long standing friends and he is
gracious enough to honor their commitments. It wouldn't be
the first time there was a lot of blustery grandstanding
going on from that quarter.

Regardless he has assured his Canadian backers he'll be
there for their checks later in the week.

It has occurred to me that in the wake of giving up all
their guns, this may be all show for the boys, the Big Lad
giving two fingers to Dubya, showing he's still got it,
rather than a rather stupid game of brinkmanship (as he
really can't win it) with the US State Department. I am
sure this non-issue is being played far more in the media
over here than it is in the US media.

It has also occurred to me how much things have changed. It
really wasn't that long ago that it was such a momentous,
real historic act to give Adams visa entry to the US (which
by the way, did not allow him to fund-raise). So it is
audacious to say the least that Adams thumbs his nose at
the State Department in this manner, with an entry
clearance in one hand and a bank book in the other. He can
go to the states, he just wants the money, too.

Funny enough, that visa was granted for similar reasons
that the fundraising element is being withheld now:

Over the last decade, the United States has refused Mr.
Adams a visa because of his involvement in terrorist
activity. His last request was denied in April 1993 for
that reason and he remains ineligible for a visa.

In making the decision to waive Mr. Adams' ineligibility,
the Administration sought assurances from Mr. Adams that he
would renounce violence and support the Joint Declaration.
Following a meeting with our Consul General in Belfast, Mr.
Adams made constructive comments on both these points. He
reiterated his desire "to see an end to all violence and an
end to this conflict." He stated that it was his "personal
and political priority to see an end to the IRA and an end
to all other organizations involved in armed actions." He
also moved forward in stating his willingness to "seek to
persuade the IRA to make definitive decisions on the
conduct of its campaign." And he stated that he is "anxious
to embrace [the Joint Declaration] if it helps the peace
process" and that he is "prepared to go the extra mile."

These statements represent positive steps toward peace by
Mr. Adams and can move the process forward. It is therefore
in the interest of peace that the United States reach out
to Mr. Adams to press him to go forward.

As it is alleged that the IRA committed the Northern Bank
robbery on Mr Adams' watch, as well Sinn Fein covering up
for the McCartney murderers, and whatever other sordid
details that don't immediately jump to mind, the US State
Department in wanting to hear some nice words from Adams
about policing in exchange for the fundraising visa are
consistent in their policy of giving him the waiver that
allows him conditional entry. It took 3 years from that
first historic visa before he was allowed to raise funds on
his visits to the states.

Let's revisit the recent past, last March, when the
Telegraph claimed Bush was fed up with Adams.

Mr Bush was enraged to learn that at the same time as he
was pressing Mr Adams late last year to relaunch the power-
sharing deal, Sinn Fein's armed wing, the IRA, was planning
the £26 million Northern Bank raid in Belfast.

Mr Bush's displeasure has forced Mr Adams to abandon plans
to raise money while in America. The United States
government made it clear that it would not grant him a visa
that permits fund-raising, this newspaper has learnt. Sinn
Fein had claimed that Mr Adams had chosen not to raise
money "to avoid it being made into a contentious issue''.
In reality, he was told not even to bother applying for the
appropriate paperwork for the week-long visit, which began
in Ohio yesterday. American officials are also demanding
major concessions from Sinn Fein, most significantly that
the IRA be disbanded.

"It's hard to understand how a European country in the year
2005 can have a private army associated with a political
party," said Mitchell Reiss, the US envoy for Northern

Adams is probably miffed that he gave up the guns and still
can't raise the funds, but it makes sense from where Reiss
sits to ask for some movement on policing, too. In fact,
now that the IRA is supposed to have gone away, and doesn't
have any guns, it makes less sense for SF to make such an
issue over policing. It's not like they aren't going to end
up supporting the police. It has always been a matter of
when, not if.

I think also, though, that to save some sort of face he had
to make a big deal out of this, had to make it a
'controversary' so it would go down better at the FOSF
shin-dig when they had to explain the situation. Probably
it was more than a little uncomfortable for McGuinness at
his September non-fundraisers, and Adams wanted spared the
same discomfort. So now, he is the victim of the
securocrats in the Bush administration who are anti-peace
process and working towards a pro-British agenda. Pass the


Opin: Attempt To 'Do A Mccarthy' On Shinners Over Alleged
Financial Policy Proposals

Damien Kiberd

In 1969, a new dawn was announced in the politics of the
Free State. The Labour Party proclaimed that the "seventies
will be socialist".

The party had attracted to its ranks a series of talented,
if somewhat conflicted, individuals. Conor Cruise O Brien,
a former diplomat and writer and at one point a key figure
in the UN, stood for election in Dublin North-East. The
distinguished Trinity College historian David Thornley
stood in Dublin West, while TV presenter and agricultural
economist Justin Keating stood in West Dublin. A strange
mood of optimism pervaded the party's ranks that year.

The "dawn" was to prove false. A fairly thorough red scare
developed with Taoiseach Jack Lynch and his acolytes in
Fianna Fail warning about the dangers posed by by what he
called "Trinity Pinkoes" and the Church surreptitiously
campaigning against "alien Marxist ideas". The party's
tally of seats at the ensuing elections to Dail Eireann was
more or less unchanged. Fianna Fail would hold the reins of
power for another four years, until the disastrous
FG/Labour government of the mid-1970s, a government
remembered for entirely destructive wealth tax and its
bizarre addiction to prestige public investment projects
that would have been more at home in Soviet Russia (Irish
Steel, NET being two case studies)

A somewhat similar approach is now being adopted in
relation to Sinn Fein and its economic policies. The
McCarthyite attacks are being orchestrated this time by the
beat-up ex-Stalinites who control what passes for ideology
in the Sunday Independent. Some of these people, who spent
a large part of their adult lives in an attempt to turn
Ireland into a satellite state of the old Soviet Union, now
claim that Sinn Fein policy would create an economic
wasteland in the 26 counties.

The latest massive attack by the O'Reilly-owned newspaper
relies heavily on a pompous and vapid analysis produced by
the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit. Now as
anybody who has studied economic forecasting in recent
years, almost every forecast made by The Economist
newspaper concerning Ireland has been wildly wrong,
particularly in relation to the property market and the
construction sector. Much of the EIU scaremogering is based
on negative political assumptions about the direction being
adopted by republicans rather than on any worked-our
economic projections of the consequences of Sinn Fein
taking part in a future government in Dublin.

RTE has rowed into the McCarthyite campaign with a Prime
Time programme calculated to send shivers up the spines of
all God-fearing citizens. Dire warnings about Sinn Fein's
antagonism to market force economics were voiced over the
past week as TV screens depicted large numbers of shaven
headed men carrying tricolours and marching through the
streets. As propaganda goes, Senator Joe McCarthy could
hardly have surpassed it.

Then, Sinn Fein has set itself up for all of this abuse.
Leaked reports of its alleged economic policies will not
help the party to win votes at any forthcoming elections in
the 26 counties where people want to pay less taxes, and
not more.

The party apparently wants to increase the rate of capital
gains taxation (CGT) but its (leaked) document is
unspecific about the rate it would prefer. The party is
apparently ignoring the fact that Charlie McCreevy's
decision to cut the basic rate of CGT from 40 per cent to
20 per cent some years ago triggered a massive surge in
asset transfers which generated huge revenues for the state
and trebled the aggregate yield from capital taxation,
while simultaneously pumping up the yield from stamp duties
on property sales to a level equal to about 40 per cent of
the total garnered each year by the British exchequer. This
is the money that pays for state services.

The party apparently wants to increase the base rate of
Corporation Profits Tax from 12.5 per cent to 17.5 per
cent. It ignores the fact that the uniform rate of 12.5 per
cent now prevailing in the south has led to enormous growth
in the overall yield from profit taxes to a current level
of between €5bn and €6bn, that the flat rate tax strategy
is being copied in the economies which have learned bitter
lessons after spending decades as part of the old Soviet
system, and that much of the profits tax yield to the
Dublin exchequer is money that might otherwise flow into
the coffers of other governments.

Similiarly the kite-flying about a new top tax rate of 50
per cent simply invites the sort of McCarthyite
caricaturing that has taken place in the Dublin press and
on RTE in recent days. It's all very well to say that this
would only apply to a very small number of taxpayers. The
message that will be spread on the doorsteps by other
parties is that Sinn Fein is into discredited tax-and-spend
economics. Why Sinn Fein's think-tanks are spending their
days concocting ways to raise overall tax revenue in a
state which has been running substantial budget surpluses
defies belief. It is the application of public monies that
has been the central economic problem south of the border
in recent times, not the manner in which taxes have been
collected. The Dublin government has trebled the amount of
cash allocated to health since 1997 yet this has not
resulted in a better deal for the sick. The numbers
qualifying for medical cards have fallen substantially, the
hospital networks have been cored out with large geographic
areas stripped of emergency treatment facilities. The extra
cash has simply been dissipated in the form of higher wages
for a 100,000 strong health workforce that is
simultaneously top-heavy on administration and apparently
unable to improve front-line services for the poor and
those on modest pay.

The same is true in education. Higher allocations of cash
have simply been pocketed by the heavily unionised teaching
sector with no real improvement in the front-line delivery
of services, especially in poorer districts. A mere forty
schools enjoy early start programmes compared to the three
hundred identified as needing such facilities. Public
spending in the south may be low as a proportion of GNP,
but the fact is that it has grown enormously in recent
years without a commensurate improvement in schools,
hospitals, transport etc. The primary result of higher
spending appears to be the creation of a pay differential
of in excess of €10,000 per year between average pay in the
public sector and average pay elsewhere in the economy.
There are 300,000 workers in the public sector (a
proportion of whom are under-paid). There are 1.7 million
in the private sector.

The southern economy tried super-taxation in the not-too-
distant past. Dr. Garret Fitzgerald (ex-Taoiseach), Alan
Dukes (now head of the Institute for European Affairs) and
John Bruton (now EU ambassador to Washington) imposed a
marginal tax rate of 65 per cent on incomes that were about
1.5 times the average industrial wage. The policy failed
abysmally. It did not create equality, it simply
discouraged real economic activity. The public does not
want to re-visit these failed policies. What it does want
is a state apparatus that delivers services appropriate to
the 21st century. What it would tolerate would be a
rationally constructed insistence that the resources that
are available be allocated in a way which provided a better
deal for those people and districts that have lost out in
relative terms in recent years.

Damien Kiberd is a writer and broadcaster. A presenter for
Newstalk 106 in Dublin, he was previously editor of the
Sunday Business Post.


Opin: Mccartney Sisters Have Odd Choice Of Political

Gail Walker
08 November 2005

They're a rum crew, the McCartney sisters. Yes, their
campaign for their brother Robert's killers to be brought
to justice exposed a level of everyday thuggery in the IRA
which that organisation had tried hard for decades to
conceal behind threats and intimida tion of their own

Now, thanks to their efforts and what with the fall-out
from the Northern Bank raid, McCartney-type murders in the
Republic and, lately, the arrests in connection with multi-
million pound gangsterism, racketeering and smuggling, the
cover on that raw criminality has been well and truly

Undoubtedly, the McCartneys have been brave and inspiring
and they've deserved all the plaudits they've received from
governments, presidents, Taoiseachs and PMs.

But the problem is that the weakest part of their campaign
- and the area Sinn Féin exploited to some effect - has
been their willingness to paint themselves as "victims" of
the IRA on the one hand and true members of the republican
family on the other.

There was a part of the McCartney complaint which ran -
"how could they do this to one of us?" There was a sense
that the IRA had betrayed "one of their own" and that,
somehow, the McCartneys represented the true face of
republicanism while the IRA had slid into immorality, loose
living and bad thoughts.

This didn't play well in their native Short Strand, where
many residents joined forces to hoof the remaining
McCartneys out of the area.

It also didn't play well among Sinn Fein voters generally.
Disturbingly, it's reckoned that Alex Maskey's poor showing
in the Westminster elections was less because of the
exposure of IRA involvement in the McCartney case and more
because Sinn Fein - in calling for the mysterious killers
to turn themselves in - was perceived to have bottled it.
Hardline Sinn Fein voters didn't like that.

Now, events at the weekend have highlighted just how weird
these sisters are. Lined up to receive a Women of the Year
award at London's Guildhall, Catherine and Claire refused
to accept it because one of the other recipients was to be
Baroness Thatcher.

A statement said: "Our campaign is one of justice and as an
Irish republican family we feel we cannot share the same
platform with a former Prime Minister who inflicted
injustice on our community."

You will remember that this is the same Baroness Thatcher
who knifed their brother to death in a late-night brawl
outside a bar in Belfast.

Fortunately, the sisters found no difficulty in sharing a
platform in Dublin at the Sinn Fein ard fheis with people
who in no way can be associated in any sense with anyone
who might even have been close to the public house on the
night in question.

Just who were the sisters trying to impress at this late
stage in the proceedings with their crocodile tears for the
sufferings of the republican family? Their former
neighbours in Short Strand, glad to see the back of them?
The leadership of Sinn Féin, who regard them as probably
the worst thing to have happened to the republican
movement, since, er, Baroness Thatcher?

For republicans, you see, the McCartneys are 10 times worse
than any British Prime Minister - they are renegades,
dupes, turncoats, traitors, touts, agents of loyalist death
squads and so on.

Ironically, another sister, Gemma, slamming a new film
based on the hunger strikes which is said to make heroes of
the IRA, states: "Clearly it has airbrushed out the IRA's
degeneration into criminality. When they killed Robert,
whose property were they defending and were they acting
like soldiers then?" She goes on to say: "I can't
understand why they would make a film like this."

Maybe she should talk it over with her sisters because it
seems they can easily understand why such a film would be

The McCartneys' problem is simple. The very organisation
they supported when it murdered people other than their
brother suddenly murdered their brother and, it seems, from
that point on, it was no longer worthy of the support of
the McCartney clan.

Of course, among those people other than their brother whom
the IRA tried to kill was Baroness Thatcher.

But that's not the only irony. An element of the
McCartneys' complaint was that the PSNI were turning a
blind eye to their brother's murder in order to protect the
peace process, and they were calling on Tony Blair, who
apparently hasn't inflicted any injustice on the republican
family, to see that justice would be done. Yet the only PM
in the last 30 years likely to have acceded to every
request, however bonkers, from the McCartney sisters is the
one with whom they wouldn't share a platform.


Eagles To Land In Dublin For Show

By Maureen Coleman
08 November 2005

The Eagles will be landing in Ireland again next year for a
one-off concert in Dublin, it was announced today.

The legendary West Coast country rockers will play an
outdoor gig at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, June 10.

Tickets for the date, priced from €70, go on sale this
Friday, November 11, from Ticketmaster and usual outlets.

The tour, entitled Farewell 1, features Timothy B Schmit,
Joe Walsh and founding members Glenn Frey and Don Henley.

The concert will be a fully seated event.

Since the 1970s the Eagles have sold hundreds of millions
of albums worldwide including Desperado, The Long Run, One
Of These Nights and Hell Freezes Over and are famous for
songs such as Lyin' Eyes, Take It Easy and Hotel

In 2001 the band fired Don Felder and currently tour with
just four members.

The same year they rocked Stormont Castle in Belfast,
playing in front of almost 20,000 music fans.

It was the first time the Eagles had made it to Northern
Ireland and was one of the biggest ever concerts to be
staged here.

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