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November 13, 2005

Pat Finucane's Killer Appeals Sentence

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SL 11/13/05 Finucane's Killer To Appeal Sentence
SL 11/13/05 LVF Boast Of Hidden Weapons Arsenal
UT 11/13/05 UDA Will Discuss Its Future With Govt
SL 11/13/05 Shoukri Arrest May Scupper Arms Move
SL 11/13/05 Mob Turns Out To Support Shoukri
SL 11/13/05 Thug Behind False Face Is Leader Of Feared Gang
SL 11/13/05 London / Dublin Clash Over Wright Probe
SL 11/13/05 Villagers To Cement Case Against Wall
II 11/13/05 A Vote For FF Is No Longer A Vote For Shinners
SB 11/13/05 Opin: 1916 - Raising The Dead
TS 11/13/05 Policing: `Big, Big Onus On Tony Blair'
IN 11/13/05 Policing: SF Casts Doubt On 'Society' Process
UT 11/13/05 Alliance Welcome Bradley's Comments
SL 11/13/05 Sunday Life Comment: Brave Words From Bradley
IN 11/13/05 PSNI Pays £2.95m To Send Staff On Courses
SL 11/13/05 RUC: Queen Not Amused By Name-Dropping
II 11/13/05 Twists & Turns On The Road To One Rule Of Law
SL 11/13/05 Opin: Hypocrisy Of Blair Exposed
BB 11/13/05 Mod Is Criticised Over Memorials
SL 11/13/05 Anglo-Irish Agreement Then Discord
II 11/13/05 Peter Hain: Does He Have Hardest Job In World?
BG 11/13/05 Teddy's IRA Stance Symbolic Of His Roots, Clout
OS 11/13/05 Vi Sherman, 69, Leaves Legacy Of Friends
FB 11/13/05 Obit: Agnes M. Duke

(Poster’s Note: Clicking the link on the title of the story
will take you directly to that story on web. Some sites
require subscriptions.

The full text of the story is still contained in the Irish
Aires News emails or at the Irish Aires News blog. The
link to that site is contained in the title of this post.

Because of time restraints & the need for occasional sleep,
I might not always be able to do the above. Jay)


Barrett Wants Early Release

Finucane's Killer To Appeal Sentence

By Alan Murray
13 November 2005

FORMER UFF terrorist Ken Barrett - who confessed to the
murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane - will argue for
his early release next month.

Barrett is set to go before the Sentence Review
Commissioners - just 15 months after he was handed a life
sentence for the 1989 murder.

The sentence came with the recommendation that he serve a
minimum 22 years behind bars.

But Barrett will argue that he qualifies for early release
from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He is currently being held in isolation at Maghaberry jail
after being transferred from Belmarsh Prison in England in
February this year.

In March, the Sentence Review Commissioners said in a
letter that Barrett may be considered a danger to the
public and could became involved again in "acts of

Barrett transferred to Maghaberry after he was told that he
did not qualify for the early release scheme available to
prisoners convicted of terrorist offences committed before

But his solicitor, Joe Rice, said his client did not accept
that he was a danger to the public - or that he was not
eligible to benefit from the early release scheme under the

Said Mr Rice: "The offences for which he pleaded guilty
relate to a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s and we
are totally oblivious to the evidential basis to the
reasons given which form the basis of this negative
preliminary indication."

Now Barrett will appeal the decision before commissioners
on December 9.

The Stevens team, which investigated the Finucane murder
and allegations of collusion, is still seeking evidence to
mount further trials.

And some loyalists have alleged that despite his
confessions, Barrett was not one of the two gunmen who
murdered solicitior Pat Finucane.

Barrett, who was a police informer, is currently guarded
around the clock at Maghaberry Prison by specially-trained
guards - as is the UVF informer Mark Haddock.

There are fears that both men will be murdered by their
former associates if they are placed in prison
accommodation with other loyalists.

Said one prison source: "Nobody gets anywhere near them in
that special segregation unit and usually there are four
'riot squad' officers right by their side during every
minute of the day.

"They do not have visits in the visiting area because of
there is an estimated risk to their lives and no chances
are going to be taken with their security."


LVF Boast Of Hidden Weapons Arsenal

By Alan Murray
13 November 2005

THE LVF has a stockpile of almost 700 new firearms in
concealed locations across Northern Ireland.

LVF leaders have boasted the group, which stood down at the
beginning of this month, is "better kitted" than either the
UVF and UDA gangs.

In addition to 700 new guns from eastern Europe, the LVF
also claims to have over 200 older weapons dating back to
Billy Wright's leadership. But it says it is in no hurry to
decommission its arsenal.

Senior figures in the group revealed its weapons stockpile
as pressure mounts on the UVF and the UDA to follow its
lead on disbandment.

Sunday Life understands that the LVF smuggled two major
consignments of guns and two smaller caches into Ulster in
recent years.

The most recent consignment of 300 guns is understood to
have been smuggled into Warrenpoint harbour in April last
year. The LVF claims the weapons arrived at the time police
were making a fruitless search at a huge warehouse at
Belfast docks.

It appears the police knew an LVF arms shipment was on its
way, but their intelligence was not completely accurate.

The LVF claims the 300 weapons included Scorpion pistols
with silencers and were successfully secreted in the Mid-
Ulster area. They also claimed another consignment of 275
weapons was secretly smuggled in, but refused to say if
this came before or after the Warrenpoint operation.


UDA Will Discuss Its Future With Govt

Northern Ireland's largest loyalist paramilitary group, the
Ulster Defence Association, is willing to discuss its
future with the British government, a statement from the
organisation indicated today.

By:Press Association

In a statement read by leading loyalist Tommy Kirkham at a
Remembrance Day ceremony in the Rathcoole area on the
outskirts of Belfast, the organisation said it had
consulted its entire membership over a two month period
about the way forward.

However, it criticised the British government for failing
to engage despite requests for meetings with Prime Minister
Tony Blair and the Northern Ireland Secretary.

Claiming the IRA had been defeated, the statement said:
"The Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters
remain intact.

"No better time now, undefeated as we are, to look to the
future but equally so, we must remember the lessons of the

"At this moment in time UDA remains the only group to meet
the decommissioning body. We remain the only group engaging
with the International Monitoring Commission.

"And yet despite our protests of engagement, the government
refuse to discuss progress in a meaningful and lasting way.

"Since June this year we have requested three meetings with
the Northern Ireland Secretary of State.

"Since January 2004 we have requested meetings with Prime
Minister Tony Blair.

"How can the attention and pressure be redirected for
loyalism to make the next move? We have always been willing
to discuss the future.

"We wish to make our position absolutely clear that over a
two month period we have consulted our entire membership.

"On behalf of the Inner Council the message must go out
today that at this time the UDA has a clear understanding
on the future.

"We are open minded and waiting on contact."

More than 800 loyalists heard the UDA statement which was
read out on the housing estate where South Antrim UDA
Brigadier John Gregg lived before he was gunned down in a
loyalist feud.

A colour party of 16 masked men in combat gear representing
different units of the South Antrim brigade led the
Remembrance Day procession.

Wreathes were laid on behalf of the organisation in memory
of its members who had been killed during the Troubles and
also those who had died in the British army in conflicts
around the world.

A statement was read on behalf of the Ulster Freedom
Fighters and Ulster Defence Association in Northern
Ireland, Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Mr Kirkham said loyalists had reasons to celebrate a
victory over the Provisional IRA.

"After all, the Republican Movement have signed up to the
principle of consent, they have agreed to the removal of
Articles Two and Three from the (Irish) Republic`s

"Martin McGuinness and Barbara Brown (Sinn Fein`s Bairbre
de Brun) sat in Stormont under the Union Flag as ministers
of the Assembly and more recently, the Provisional IRA have
according to General John de Chastelain surrendered all
their weapons."

During the service of remembrance a bagpiper played a
lament as poppy wreathes and other floral tributes were
laid on the ground.

The national anthem was also played before the colour party
carrying UDA flags emblazoned with the names of units in
South East Antrim such as Monkstown, Shore Road and Antrim,


Shoukri Arrest May Scupper Arms Move

By Alan Murray
13 November 2005

THE UDA leadership has been warned that the arrest of Andre
Shoukri will hamper moves to disarm the group.

Shoukri - who appeared in court yesterday on a string of
charges - is said to be the UDA's north Belfast brigadier.

And it is understood the north Belfast unit has warned the
UDA's ruling inner council that the arrest of their leader
will hold up plans to meet General John de Chastelain to
discuss weapons decommissioning.

Shoukri himself and UPRG man Tommy Kirkham had been due to
meet the retired Canadian general in the New Year, although
the group has not given any commitment to dump its arm.

No one from the north Belfast brigade was prepared to

But sources in other brigades say the leadership was given
a message by the north Belfast unit on Thursday stating
that the prospects of putting their weapons beyond use next
year or in 2007 would be greatly hampered if Shoukri was

"The message was that if Shoukri was nominated to meet the
General and could be taken off the streets two weeks later,
then the authorities are playing games which would have
consequences. They are not happy at all about it and they
are staying loyal to Shoukri," said one source.

A west Belfast UDA source added: "They're not threatening
disruption, but they are discussing actions which they're
not telling the other brigades about. The phrase 'actions
speak louder than words' is being bandied about, but they
won't say what that might mean."

UDA figures will read out an agreed statement today at
Remembrance Day events in their areas. Senior UDA sources
said that the statement wouldn't contain any dramatic

However, it is expected that a series of meetings will be
taking place later this week with different figures who
could help bring the largest loyalist terrorist group into
the mainstream of politics.

"Shoukri's arrest has complicated things internally, but
everything should stay on course politically unless
something else happens that throws in another mix," one
source said.

It is understood that the UDA statement will compliment the
terror group's membership on its "contribution" to the
peace process and offer a commitment to engage in dialogue
to make further political progress.


Mob Turns Out To Support Shoukri

By Ciaran McGuigan
13 November 2005

THE UDA's north Belfast brigadier Andre Shoukri and his
second-in-command John 'Bonzer' Borland appeared in court
yesterday on blackmailing charges.

The pair were also accused of money-laundering and
intimidation when they appeared in the dock of Belfast
Magistrates Court.

Armed police stopped a mob of up to 100 UDA supporters
entering the Laganside court complex ahead of the five-
minute hearing.

Eventually, only 12 people were allowed into the public
gallery - including Shoukri's brother, Ihab - to hear the
UDA brigadier be accused of blackmailing Witness A between
December last year and May 2005.

Shoukri (28), of Clare Heights in Belfast, was also accused
of intimidating the same woman out of her job last May and
of concealing the proceeds of crime.

Former Irish League footballer Borland (36), of Sunningdale
Gardens in the city, faced the same three charges and a
further three counts.

He was charged with intimidating Witness B and demanding
that he hand over the keys, books and chequebooks for the
former Bonaparte's bar in north Belfast and two counts of
possessing a firearm, or imitation firearm, with intent.

The pair stood with their hands shoved into the pockets of
their jeans throughout the hearing and only spoke to
confirm their names.

A detective sergeant told the court that, when charged,
Shoukri replied: "Not guilty."

Borland made no reply to any of the charges, he added.

Defence lawyer Philip Breen told the court that the pair
had asked the media to "show respect for the principle of a
fair trial" and had urged the police stop the "leakage of
information" surrounding their case.

All the alleged offences are scheduled terrorist offences
and as such would still be heard in front of a judge
sitting without a jury.

Resident Magistrate Bernie Kelly remanded the pair in
custody, to appear again via videolink next month.

Shoukri beat his chest and offered a thumbs-up as they were
led from the dock as supporters applauded.

Borland and Shoukri had been arrested last week following a
number of raids across Belfast.

Two other men had earlier appeared before magistrates to
face charges connected to the same operation.

Shoukri's mother, Kate, who had also been arrested during
the operation, was released by police pending further


Thug Behind False Face Is New Leader Of Feared Gang

By Ciaran McGuigan
13 November 2005

THE man behind this sinister Halloween mask is the new
leader of the vicious UVF gang that battered to death
former RAF signaller Raymond McCord jnr.

His name is Willie 'Mr Muscles' Young and he wore the evil-
looking false face as he turned up at Laganside court
complex to see the former Army boxing champion Trevor Gowdy
give evidence against Young's pal, Special Branch agent
Mark Haddock.

Young was stripped of his mask by the court's security
staff, who were on high alert as Gowdy appeared in court to
claim that former UVF commander Haddock had tried to hack
him to death with hatchets.

And Young, a convicted blackmailer, was nearby when a death
threat was delivered to McCord's father after he turned up
to watch the same trial.

A senior police officer pulled Raymond McCord snr out of
Laganside's court one last Wednesday to warn him of the
threat against him from members of the Mount Vernon UVF -
now under the control of Young.

The top cop warned that loyalists from north Belfast were
planning to attack Mr McCord either INSIDE the court or as
he left.

A police mobile support unit filled the court during the
hearing, and security throughout the complex had been
stepped up as cops feared attacks on both Mr McCord and Mr

Later, riot police had to prevent a gang of youths
attacking Mr McCord as he left the court.

In a sickening twist, the latest threat received by Mr
McCord came eight years to the day that his son Raymond jnr
was beaten to death by a UVF gang, now being led by Young.

Raymond jnr, a former RAF man, was found dumped in a quarry
in Ballyduff on Remembrance Sunday - November 9, 2007.

Said Mr McCord: "It was eight years to the day they
murdered my son, and on that day there was no way that I
was going to give into their threat.

"What Trevor Gowdy has done in standing up and not allowing
himself to be intimidated showed great courage.

"I just wish more victims of the UVF had come along to
support him."

He added: "As for Willie Young, he should keep his mask on,
as he's better looking that way."

A second death threat was delivered to Mr McCord's home by
police later the same night.


London / Dublin Clash Over Wright Probe

13 November 2005

THE Dublin and London governments are at loggerheads over
the inquiry into the jail killing of LVF terror chief Billy

Dublin has told the NIO that it is opposed to any plans to
hold the Wright probe under the terms of the 2005 Inquiries

The move follows claims by Wright's father David that the
terms of the act would limit its scope into allegations of
state collusion in his son's murder by INLA gunmen at the
Maze in December 1997.

Mr Wright wants no limits put on the inquiry.

It is understood that Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern
raised the issue of with Secretary of State Peter Hain
during a meeting last month.

A source said: "Mr Ahern told Mr Hain of the concerns held
by David Wright, his family and a number of human rights
organisations in relation to the Inquiries Act.

"It was also made clear the Taoiseach and his ministers
would continue to follow this issue carefully, in the same
way it does the Finucane, Hamill and Nelson inquiries."

Mr Wright met Mr Hain last month. Mr Hain said he had yet
to decide whether to accede to a request by Lord Randall
MacLean, the inquiry chairman, to use the 2005 Inquiries

An NIO spokesman said last week that Mr Hain is still
considering the request and hopes to make a decision


Villagers To Cement Case Against Wall To Planners

13 November 2005

THE row over one of the most contentious planning
applications in Northern Ireland is set to reach a climax
later this week.

Residents opposed to the erection of the so-called 'Berlin
Wall' in the middle of a Co Down village are to meet on-
site with senior planning officials.

Villagers in Killyleagh thought they had won their battle
to have the wall dismantled. But now the Planning Service
is recommending approval for a scaled-down scheme, with the
retention of parts of the wall.

The campaigners will argue at a specially-convened meeting
on Tuesday that the decision on a revised application
should not be issued until after a planning appeals hearing
into an earlier DoE ruling that the wall should be taken

The wall, which is taller than many of Belfast's
peacelines, was built last year without planning

It overshadows pensioners' homes at Strangford View and was
constructed as a retaining structure for a private housing
development on the adjoining hill.

The new ruling from planners would allow a development of
78 houses and apartments on the hill.

SDLP MLA Margaret Ritchie said: "The wall should come down
and the area should be returned to the way it was. I firmly
support the residents who believe the site is not suitable
for any sort of development."

The developer has refused to comment on the controversy.


A Vote For FF Is No Longer A Vote For Shinners

AS Tom Kitt, the Government Chief Whip, says in a letter to
the editor published today, Bertie Ahern had previously
ruled out a coalition or parliamentary arrangement between
Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein. Many times, in fact.

But somehow the doubts had persisted. Perhaps it was the
way the Taoiseach said it. He's like that. His words are
nearly always right, but his body language sometimes
doesn't fit his spoken word.

That was how he got caught out last week over the Ferns
Report. You cannot condemn the sex abuse of children with a
smile on your face. Nor can you rule out power-sharing with
terrorists with a twinkle in your eye.

It was that subtle distinction, more than anything else,
which led Dan O'Brien of the Economist Intelligence Unit
(EIU) to enter the fray last week. He warned that the
integrity of the Irish State would be undermined by what he
saw as a still possible arrangement between Fianna Fail and
Sinn Fein after the general election.

Despite attempts by the media's usual green suspects to
undermine O'Brien's authority, Bertie knows that the EIU is
widely respected, where it matters, as one of the world's
leading providers of economic and political intelligence.

He knew that O'Brien's analysis, when brought to a mass
audience by the Sunday Independent, would be taken
seriously in the boardrooms of multinational Ireland and in
the homes of the middle class. He also knew that he had
been politically outsmarted, not the the first time, by his
Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, president of the
PDs. McDowell, one of the country's most astute
politicians, had been up telegraph poles before the last
election warning the electorate against giving Fianna Fail
an overall majority, as the opinion polls at the time
indicated they might.

It was this intervention - "One-Party Government? No
Thanks" - which swung voters away from Fine Gael towards
Sinn Fein, depriving Bertie of what could have been a
spectacular achievement, although still leaving him with a
significant one.

In preparation for his appearance on Questions & Answers
with Dan O'Brien last week, McDowell had been provided with
a copy of the EIU's monthly report.

When the Sunday Independent approached him for a comment,
the Minister for Justice immediately seized upon the
political dimension of O'Brien's analysis: that a Fianna
Fail/Sinn Fein arrangement was still on.

"That is what the next election is going to be all about,"
he said.

When Bertie read those comments, and after he had kicked
his own media advisers around a little bit (for they too
were asked to comment), the Taoiseach knew he had to take
the initiative.

Faced with the prospect of McDowell up the pole again, this
time with posters declaring "A Vote for Fianna Fail is a
Vote for Sinn Fein", Bertie indicated to the Sunday
Independent earlier last week that he would have a
significant statement to make, which would form part of
Fianna Fail's general election manifesto. The statement
arrived yesterday morning, and, boy, is it significant. "I
believe the very notion of Sinn Fein in government would
lead to a flight of investment, which is untenable in a
small open economy," he said, taking care of multinational

Sinn Fein's fiscal, economic and EU policies would "deprive
us of that wealth, and surrender Irish workers to
unemployment or emigration", he added, taking care of
middle-class Ireland.

And for good measure: "I would lead my party into
Opposition rather than contemplate coalition with Sinn Fein
or an arrangement for their support in government," taking
care of that sizeable rump of green-necked backbench TDs in
his own party, who would be all on for a greasy fumble
behind the shed with terrorists who would have us believe
they have morphed into statesmen.

The political fog, and moral ambiguity, that had enveloped
Ahern's every comment in relation to the appalling prospect
of his party bending over for Sinn Fein is now dissipated.
No longer can it be said that a vote for Fianna Fail is a
vote for Sinn Fein.

Now that the fog has cleared, though, what are we left

First, the good news. PD senator John Minihan immediately
welcomed the Taoiseach's statement, notwithstanding the
fact that it seems to have removed a major plank of Michael
McDowell's election strategy.

Minihan said: "Not only does it come as a relief to the
Progressive Democrats but to the majority of the Irish

"There is a growing unease in the country at the prospect
of Fianna Fail taking Sinn Fein into government. A lot of
this fear is a result of comment or lack of comment from
senior members of Fianna Fail in recent months.

"The Taoiseach has clarified this issue with this welcomed
and reassuring statement. I and others will sleep better
tonight now that this dark cloud hanging over Ireland's
future has been removed."

The statement, however, represents bad news for Enda Kenny
and Pat Rabbitte.

It is difficult to know with any degree of certainty what
Kenny's position is on Sinn Fein. To date, he's been a
little like the old Ahern, lacking in absolute clarity.
Perhaps that is the curse of all political leaders, intent
on securing transfer votes from wherever they can.

Rabbitte has been more impressive, displaying an
instinctive grasp of the concerns of middle class Ireland,
and of the moral ambiguity on Fianna Fail's backbenches.
That was why, for example, the Labour leader last week
lashed both Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein over their tricolour-
waving contest in relation to the future commemoration of

Rabbitte is now left holding the hand of a slightly
bewildered-looking Enda Kenny, voyeuristically watching
Fianna Fail and the PDs slip back into bed together, Bertie
clearing his throat and mumbling, "Eh, sorry about that."

For us, the voters, the choice is clear. Fianna Fail and
the PDs, or Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens. Take your
pick. And quietly say a prayer of thanks that, come what
may, Sinn Fein will not be in government after the next

Jody Corcoran


Opin: 1916 - Raising The Dead

13 November 2005 By Tom McGurk

Is it my imagination? Has, suddenly, a great historical
goldrush broken out in Ireland? 1916 and all that; Michael
Collins and what party he would have supported and, given
the month that's in it, the proper historical resting place
for the thousands of poor Paddies who were cannon fodder in
bygone imperial wars. All are back in the ring.

The British embassy has joined the historical jumble sale
too. British Empire Medals, if you don't mind, are being
handed out to various well-known, popular but essentially
harmless Irish citizens. Niall Quinn and the Corrs are the
latest recipients.

Even now, one wonders if, for services way beyond the call
of duty, the prospect of an ermine-clad Lord Kevin Myers
(of late and great imperial sunsets) can be far away.

Sebastian Barry's new novel A Long Long Way, shortlisted
for the Booker Prize, has won plaudits. But for the
temptation of nostalgia among the British judges, it would
be recognised for what it essentially is – romantic
historical fiction. The book concludes: "Maybe the helpful,
acidic earth has eaten into the blackness and the quiet
medal is clean and brown, showing, if only to the worms,
its delicate design of a small crown, and a small harp.''
Given the systematic imperial mass murder of millions
across the world from 1914 to 1918, to which particular
artistic worm's eye view of such mind-boggling carnage are
these sentimentalisms supposed to appeal?

Even the national broadcaster is at it these days, with a
reporter embedded with the British invasion forces in Iraq
and featuring, among other things, a series of fairly
gormless interviews with some of the Irish mercenaries in
the British army. I suppose that if some of these chaps get
whacked by the natives, their relatives will be demanding
all sorts of Irish state representation at their funerals.

Last week in Derry, the tricolour was carried at a
remembrance parade apparently to symbolise the Irish and
British war dead. That the men of that time men never gave
allegiance to that flag, but rather to the green flag with
the gold harp, seemed not to matter. But then the parade
was the brainchild of former UDA leader Glen Barr - now in
the state-funded peace business. That may go some way to
explaining the confused historical iconography.

Maybe it's because, with the Northern war over and the IRA
off our backs, there is a perception that a window has
opened on the past, and that it's time to get your spoke in
while there's not too much background noise. Ironic, isn't
it, that over the last 30 years, when Irish historical
legacies was being so bitterly contested against the
background of the North's dreary spires, the chattering
classes largely kept mum? Or, even better, were 'Section

Even in Iveagh House, the midnight candles are burning over
tomes on the Great War.

With Bertie having announced that the Easter parade is on
again, and with the 90th anniversary looming, Dermot Ahern
has had an historical politically-correct brainchild. As he
wrote recently: "It is time to begin a national debate on
the issues raised by both the Somme and 1916."

I'm not quite sure where such a debate is supposed to lead
us. One group was made up of casualties in an imperial war,
the others were victims of an armed rebellion against
imperialism. Of course, both were Irish, but that didn't
make any difference when Irish troops and rebels actually
fought and killed each other in the Dublin streets in 1916.
Is Dermot Ahern's historical debate to lead us to conclude
that, as citizens now of a sovereign Irish Republic, we owe
both sides an equal debt? For example, should France
equally remember the marquis and the soldiers who served

It is not correct, either, that the Irish soldiers of the
Great War have been shamefully forgotten. Far from being
forgotten, they were actually most vividly remembered as
the last Irish generation of cannon fodder for imperial
ambitions, cruelly misled about Home Rule intentions and
the freedom of other European small nations. Even more
importantly, what was also not forgotten was the attempt to
grab more Irish cannon fodder by conscription, opposition
to which helped to turn the military histrionics of 1916
into Sinn Fein's 1918 electoral victory.

As a sidebar, Dermot Ahern is also hoping to get the
British government to grant pardons to the 26 Irish
soldiers who were executed by the British army during World
War I. Come to think of it, shouldn't he also look for
posthumous pardons for the 16 executed in Dublin in 1916?

The 26 men in khaki were among a much larger number shot at
dawn for a variety of reasons including mutiny, refusing to
obey orders and so on. Many, of course, were simply
hapless, shell-shocked wrecks, victims of the military
ethics of the Great War for Civilisation - as it was called
on the campaign medals.

Come to think of it, given the number of imperial gongs
available up at the British embassy for Irish citizens
these days, one would have thought that Dermot Ahern was
pushing at an open door.

But then my most truly subversive instincts lead me to
believe the pardons will come through much closer to Easter
next year. Timing is everything, as they say.

In Charles Townsend's recent and excellent historical re-
visitation of 1916, he reveals - among other fascinating
facts - the origin of the famous green flag with the words
'Irish Republic' in gold emblazoned across it that flew
above the GPO in 1916.

Apparently it began life as one of Countess Markievicz's
bed-spreads. The Rebel Countess, with her incorrigible
predilection for amateur dramatics, did the gold leaf.
Perhaps Con's bed-spread is an appropriate icon for the
searching historical moment in which we find ourselves - a
bit of an Anglo Irish trousseau blowing in the historical
winds above the rebel ramparts.

All of history is iconic and personalised, equally DIY and
grandiloquent, but most of all it is a story told by the
winners to the losers. Eighty-three years into our post-
colonial history, how extraordinary that the debate about
winners and losers is once more being reopened.


`Big, Big Onus On Tony Blair'

PEACE PROCESS U.K. must deliver on promised police
reforms, visiting Sinn Fein leader tells Kenneth Kidd

Nov. 13, 2005. 01:00 AM
Kenneth Kidd
Feature Writer

The British government must start delivering on promised
reforms of Northern Ireland's Protestant-dominated police
agencies if the stalled peace process is to move forward,
says Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

"The policing thing is done and dusted," Adams said in an
interview yesterday.

"What we need on policing is delivery. When they do that, I
will go to the Sinn Fein leadership and seek a special
meeting of our party."

And it's up to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to ensure
that Unionist leaders loyal to Britain return to the power-
sharing arrangements laid out in the so-called Good Friday
Agreement of 1998.

"The big, big onus is on Tony Blair," said Adams.

"It's not just an agreement. It's an international treaty
between the Irish and British governments."

As part of the 1998 agreement, power over policing and
justice was to have been transferred from London to Belfast
and put under civic control.

But those moves have been on hold since 2002, when the
Northern Ireland assembly and its joint Protestant-Catholic
executive were suspended after allegations that a Sinn Fein
member of the assembly was part of an Irish Republican Army
spy ring.

Sinn Fein — pronounced Shin Fayn, which is Gaelic for "We
Ourselves" — is the dominant political party for Northern
Ireland's Catholic minority and favours leaving the United
Kingdom and joining the Irish Republic to the south.

Adams was in Toronto to address the annual dinner of
Friends of Sinn Fein (Canada), formed by Toronto lawyer
Alan McConnell in 2001.

Although its formal membership is tiny — there are only six
members across Canada — Friends of Sinn Fein sold more than
250 tickets, at $150 apiece, for last night's dinner.

Adams cancelled a trip to New York for a similar event last
week after the U.S. government refused to lift visa
restrictions that bar him from fundraising.

(Instead, he spoke to the dinner guests via satellite from

"I think it's very stupid," Adams said of the U.S.
decision, which was intended to put pressure on Adams to
support a reformed policing service in Northern Ireland,
with Sinn Fein endorsement seen as key to political
progress in the British-ruled province, political sources
in Washington said.

"I think it was part of a very amateurish effort to
shoehorn Sinn Fein on the issue of policing."

Adams is also puzzled because it was at his urging that the
IRA agreed this year to give up its armed struggle and
decommission its weapons — a process completed last month
under the eye of retired Canadian general John de

"The peace process was going to go into increasing
difficulty," Adams said. "The atmosphere was quite
poisonous and getting worse. It needed a big initiative and
we have learned that those who want the most change have to
take the most risks.

"But it's also because some were using the IRA as an excuse
not to move (toward peace) and others are genuinely fearful
of the IRA. So, if you take the IRA out of the equation,
you remove the excuse."

His April call on the IRA to abandon its armed struggle
came amid mounting public pressure on the outlawed group,
which had in recent months been linked to a $50 million
bank heist and a brutal killing in a Belfast pub.

Then, last February, the Irish government publicly named
Adams as a member of the IRA's governing "army council" —
something security and intelligence agencies have long said

Adams, who has consistently denied ever being a member of
the IRA, called the laying down of arms "very courageous"
but predicted the decision to disarm "will take some time
for everyone to absorb."

British and Irish officials are scheduled to hold talks in
Northern Ireland later this week. But both the British and
Irish governments say formal negotiations on power-sharing
won't resume until after January, when a monitoring
commission is set to release its second report on
underground IRA activities, including bank robberies and
cigarette smuggling.

Northern Ireland's largest Protestant group — the
Democratic Unionist Party, led by the firebrand Rev. Ian
Paisley — says it will refuse to accept that the IRA has
disarmed until it is shown photographic proof.

Adams says Paisley, given his position as DUP leader, has
to be at the table if power-sharing is to work.

"He's the leader of the party. The best deal is the Paisley
deal. If he makes the deal, there's nobody looking over his
shoulder, creeping up behind him.

"Everybody should know, I'd say, by Easter of next year
whether or not the DUP are serious."


Policing: SF Casts Doubt On 'Society' Process

By Marie Louise McCrory

SINN Fein last night cast doubt over the process whereby
police officers must declare their membership of so-called
secret societies.

It came after the PSNI confirmed that 91 per cent of its
personnel recorded that they were not members of any
notifiable organisations.

Under the Registration of Notifiable Memberships scheme,
officers must declare their associations with groups such
as the Orange Order and Free Masons.

It extends to the loyalist Apprentice Boys of Derry and
Royal Black Institution and nationalist Ancient Order of
Hibernians, as well as any other groups which may be
perceived to be in conflict with an officer's job.

New figures have revealed that 94 per cent of officers have
registered under the scheme – with the majority declaring
they were not

members of any notifiable organisations.

It was further shown that 5.3 per cent of police officers
were members of the Freemasons; 1.9 per cent of the Loyal
Orange Institution; 1.1 per cent of the Royal Black
Institution; and 0.33 per cent of the Apprentice Boys of

Knights of St Columbanus and the Ancient Order of
Hibernians membership was 0.28 per cent, while 0.06 per
cent of officers were members of the Independent Orange

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said: "People will also be
concerned to know how exactly this information can be

"Many people believe that membership of secret societies or
sectarian and anti-Catholic organisations like the Orange
Order is no place for anyone involved in an impartial
policing service."

Police said efforts were being made to ensure those
officers who had not registered did so.

A police spokeswoman said an officer who refused to
complete a registration form would be in breach of an order
and "under the Code of Ethics they would be subject of
disciplinary proceedings."

Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said the scheme
was a "positive step, promoting openness and transparency
and enabling the Police Service to address the diverse
perceptions reflected in the community.

"In responding to this statutory requirement, it is hoped
that the Police Service will be able to strengthen
community confidence in the impartiality of police

Alex Attwood, SDLP Policing Board member, said it was
"encouraging" that 94 per cent of officers had registered
an interest.

Mr Attwood said the 5.3 per cent officer membership of the
Freemasons, though not a surprising figure, was an issue
which needed to be "further looked at".

"The SDLP accept at face value the numbers of people who
have declared to be in marching orders," he said.

"The low numbers should give people confidence that there
is not any interference in police by marching orders."

Ulster Unionist Fred Cobain said: "If people are members of
organisations, it's a matter for themselves provided they
do a professional job.

"I don't think any of the notifiable organisations would
stop anyone from doing a professional policing job," he


Alliance Welcome Bradley's Comments

A call by a senior member of the Northern Ireland Policing
Board for the phasing out of 50-50 police recruitment
quotas for Catholic and Protestant officers is a step in
the right direction, it was claimed today.

By:Press Association

The cross community Alliance Party`s Stephen Farry welcomed
comments from the board`s vice chairman Denis Bradley at
the nationalist SDLP`s conference that the recruitment
quotas were incompatible with a proper human rights

Mr Bradley told the SDLP in Belfast on Saturday: "We have a
50-50 recruitment process at this moment in time but it was
got as an aberration to right an old wrong and to make
right that which was not rightable by any other process.

"It should be got rid of as soon as possible.

"(Chris) Patten did get it right when he said let it go
free floating when you get the numbers (of Catholic police
officers) up to 30%.

"He didn`t say that because it was a nice little thing to
say but you cannot stand on human rights grounds and have
that type of bias.

"You do it provisionally. So when unionist people say to
those of us who claim to be nationalists we do not like the
50-50 situation, then all we can do is look at them in the
eye and say neither do we."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is obliged to
recruit half of its officers from the Catholic community in
a bid to address the historical religious imbalance in the

The measure has been criticised by unionist politicians and
the cross community Alliance Party.

Mr Farry, Alliance`s justice spokesperson, said 50-50
recruitment had done nothing to enhance confidence in the
police across the community.

The North Down councillor said: "The remarks are
encouraging in two respects.

"First, there is an acknowledgement that the quota system
runs contrary to human rights norms.

"Second, there is a recognition that this system cannot be
permanent, and must come to an end.

Mr Farry said his party had always supported a
representative police service but that could achieved
through other affirmative action tools such as working pro-
actively through Catholic schools.

He argued: "This quota has promoted division and not unity
and led to more distrust in the police among various

"Potential police officers, like recruits to any other
profession, must be judged on their merits not on their
presumed religion."


Sunday Life Comment: Brave Words From Bradley

13 November 2005

IF THERE was an EC quota for sacred cows, Northern Ireland
would surely be top of the table.

Denis Bradley was brave enough to propose the slaughter of
one of them yesterday.

Bradley - vice-chairman of the Policing Board - told
delegates at the SDLP's annual conference that the 50/50
Protestant/Catholic recruitment quota would eventually have
to go.

It's often forgotten that Chris Patten's much-derided
report recommended that the 50/50 rule should lapse once
Catholics formed 30pc of the Police Service.

The historical reasons for Catholic under-representation in
policing are well-known - not least the IRA's murderous 30-
year campaign.

But Bradley - who recently suffered a near-murderous
assault because of his commitment to cross-community
policing - makes an even wider point.

For quotas of any sort sit ill with the increasingly multi-
cultural nature of Northern Ireland society.

The road map to all our futures extends far beyond the
ghettos we call unionism and nationalism.

Denis Bradley should be lauded for reminding all of us of
this transparent truth.


THE so-called 'on-the-run' legislation - published by the
Government last week - has caused deep hurt across a wide
cross-section of the community... and understandably so.

Nowhere is that hurt more deeply felt that among the
nearest and dearest of loved-ones brutally maimed and
murdered during the Troubles.

For these close relatives - and, indeed, many people in the
wider community - the prospect of the perpetrators of such
heinous crimes being allowed to return without being forced
to answer for their sins is just too much to bear.

The Government has been at pains to point out that an
amnesty is not on offer and that anyone breaching the terms
of their licence will be re-arrested and face the full
force of the law.

That will not assuage the anger of those who feel let down
and betrayed.

Anyone benefiting from this legislation must be kept under
the closest scrutiny.


PSNI Pays £2.95m To Send Staff On Courses

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

THE PSNI forked out al-most £3 million to send personnel on
courses and conferences in the first nine months of this

The figure is nearly as much as it cost to police the worst
rioting on the streets of Belfast in many years when
loyalists went on the rampage over a contentious march in

The bill for air fares alone for off-icers travelling to
and from conferences in Britain and beyond topped £155,000.

By far the biggest chunk of cash spent was more than £1.8m
on course fees within Northern Ireland, with more than
£520,000 go-ing on conferences held in Britain.

While police said they could not give a breakdown of the
exact nature of the seminars, the price tag is over and
above that spent on training recruits at Garnerville PSNI
college in east Belfast.

The sum, which includes more than £211,000 in course fees
for officers attending seminars outside Britain, raises
questions over expenditure at a time when critics of police
reforms continue to hit out at cutbacks.

Flights proved extremely costly – air fares to Britain
totalled £128,946 and tickets to conferences further afield
cost more than £26,000.

A fraction of the £2,951,518 spent on courses and
conferences – just over £255,000 – went on civilian workers
within the force.

"There seems to be a conference-crazy culture. If you try
and get in touch with someone they always seem to be away
at a conference," a police source said.

"How can they justify it?"

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has long stressed the need to
free up officers, middle management and other top staff
from labour-intensive administration duties.

Last week he revealed that policing the controversial
Whiterock Orange Order march, which de-scended into serious
violence, had cost about £3 million – a sum he branded

The SDLP criticised the riot bill, saying it amounted to a
waste of public money.

Last night Unionist Policing Board member Fred Cobain said
he was deeply concerned at the amount spent on courses and

"I am surprised. Policing all over the world is changing
all the time and you have to keep at the forefront of all
this stuff. I don't have a problem with that," he said.

"But when we are spending that amount of money, someone
needs to take a breath and say, 'in the financial
environment we are in, as far as policing is concerned, can
we afford to spent this sort of money?'

"Is every single conference that they go on looked at with
that in mind?"

However, the PSNI insisted that such seminars were
delivered through "the most cost-effective means available"
and that the amount spent was "minuscule" compared to the
overall budget for policing.


Queen Not Amused By Name-Dropping

By Stephen Gordon
13 November 2005

THE Queen was not amused by the decision to drop the Royal
name for Northern Ireland's police service, it has been

Former CID detective Johnston Brown has revealed how she
disdainfully described the decision to change the Royal
Ulster Constabulary's name as "the meddling of

Mr Brown met the Queen at Buckingham Palace in October 1999
at a reception.

"I shall never forget the Queen's words when I told her of
the hurt most RUC officers felt over the moves, then under
way, to drop the Royal title," he said.

"She said to me: 'This is the meddling of politicians'.

"The disdain with which she made that comment left me in no
doubt that she did not agree with the plans."

Mr Brown was one of a number of RUC officers at the
Buckingham Palace event, which was attended by other senior
members of the Royal family including the Duke of Edinburgh
and the Duke of York.

He recalled how he first raised the RUC name issue with the
Duke of York.

"Prince Andrew pointed out that other UK police forces did
not have Royal in their name.

"When RUC colleagues and myself continued to discuss it
with him, he said 'you should take it up with my mother'.

"When we asked if he really meant that, did he think it
would be appropriate for us to raise it with the Queen, he
replied: 'Absolutely'."

Later, when Mr Brown came face-to-face with the Queen, he
spoke frankly about the sense of hurt that thousands of
current and former RUC officers and their families felt.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr
Brown's recollection of his conversation with the Queen.

The spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on private

"The Queen meets thousands of people each year and it is
not practical to comment on individual conversations."

Johnston Brown's book, Into The Dark: 30 Years In The RUC -
which was serialised in Sunday Life - has been a huge hit
following its release nine days ago.

The publishers, Gill & Macmillan, ordered a second
print run after just three days to cope with the incredible
demand as bookstores reported it was "flying off the


The Twists And Turns On The Road To One Rule Of Law

* Set up in 1922 after partition, the Royal Ulster
Constabulary (RUC) was charged not just with law
enforcement, but with protecting Northern Ireland from
armed subversion.

* Originally planned to be one-third Catholic, nationalist
hostility and intimidation from republicans saw Catholic
RUC membership drop from 21 per cent in 1923 to 17 per cent
in 1927 and 10 per cent in 1970.

* High-ranking Catholics in the RUC included Chief
Constable Jamie Flanagan, Deputy Chief Constable Michael
McAtamney, Assistant Chief Constable Cathal Ramsey and
Chief Superintendent Frank Lagan, who on Bloody Sunday in
Derry failed to persuade the army to let the banned parade
proceed without challenge.

* Mutual antipathy between the RUC and the IRA was
exacerbated by attacks on policemen: in 1957, for instance,
Sean South and Fergal O'Hanlon crossed the border to attack
Brookborough police station, were killed in a shoot-out and
became objects of republican veneration.

* The quasi-militarism of the RUC was widely reviled when
in 1968-9 they reacted in a heavy-handed way to disorder
arising from civil rights marches. The force was reformed
in 1970 and was about to be disarmed when the rise of the
IRA put it under permanent siege.

* Between 1969 and 1998, though they killed only 50, 303
police were killed - 273 by the IRA. In 1983, Interpol
figures demonstrated that Northern Ireland was the most
dangerous place in the world to be a policeman.

* In that same period, at least 10,000 policemen and women
were badly injured, many were intimidated out of their
homes by republican and loyalist paramilitaries, most
witnessed terrible carnage, alcoholism was endemic and more
than 50 officers committed suicide. Backed by the Police
Federation, 5,000 have just begun a class action against
the Chief Constable over what they allege was the force's
failure to help them avoid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

* The last two policemen to be murdered by the IRA were
shot in June 1997, a month before the second ceasefire. The
brilliant republican 'Disband the RUC' propaganda campaign
was intensified, causing much anguish to police who saw
their corporate name blackened internationally.

* A commitment was made in the Belfast (Good
Friday)Agreement of 1998 (which, incidentally, Sinn Fein
has never signed) to set up an independent commission to
make recommendations for "a new beginning to policing in
Northern Ireland with a police service capable of
attracting and sustaining support from the community as a
whole". There was no undertaking to accept its conclusions.

* The Patten commission designed the most accountable and
human rights-oriented police force in the world. Renamed
the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and with
new, neutral symbols, mass redundancies and 50/50
recruiting of Catholics and Protestants, it became
answerable inter alia to District Policing Partnership
Boards, a Policing Board, a Police Ombudsman (Nuala O'Loan)
and an Oversight Commissioner (Al Hutchinson), who reported
last month that 114 of the 175 Patten recommendations had
been implemented but further progress was being hindered by
public disorder and the failure of certain groups to give
their backing.

* Both governments were deeply disappointed that despite
the radical reforms, Sinn Fein refused to follow in the
SDLP's footsteps and endorse the PSNI, but they continued
to hope. At a private conference in 1993, a Sinn Fein
spokesman explained that they wanted not just the full
Patten but Patten Plus.

* Although Sinn Fein condemns dissident attacks on
nationalist members of policing boards, it maintains its
hostility and now insists that its approval depends on the
devolution of policing and justice to a reconstituted
Northern Ireland Executive. Meanwhile, it has been building
up what its Human Rights spokeswoman, Caitriona Ruane,
calls 'a viable alternativeto the PSNI': Community
Restorative Justice (CRJ).

* The fundamental principle of Community Restorative
Justice in other countries is to enable communities to
support the police and criminal justice systems by working
with anti-social individuals. Funded by the American
millionaire, Chuck Feeney - who wants to discourage violent
paramilitary justice - the five loyalist schemes have
police on their management committees. Although the 14
schemes in republican areas refuse to have any dealings
with the police, Sinn Fein have been pressing the British
government to fund them when Feeney's money runs out and to
allow people with criminal convictions to participate.

* As the SDLP's Alex Attwood says, this would result in
"two policing worlds, that of the PSNI, due process and the
rule of law, and that of others, their processes and their

* As of this weekend, it looks as if Downing Street is set
to cave in.

Ruth Dudley Edwards


Opin: Straight Talking: Hypocrisy Of Blair Exposed

By Lynda Gilby
13 November 2005

WE'VE added yet another set of initials to the alphabet
spaghetti of Ulster politics, namely, OTRs - letters which,
I'm sure I don't have to tell you, stand for On The Runs.
There has, of course, been uproar here since Blair
announced plans for a virtual amnesty for terrorists
suspected of heinous crimes.

For once, amazingly, I find myself in wholehearted accord
with Robert Saulters, Grand Master of the Orange Order. He
points to Blair's hypocrisy. Blair, who is so keen to lock
up suspected al-Qaida terrorists for 90 days without charge
or trial, is planning to allow murders to walk about here,
unmolested, among the bereaved relatives of their victims.

Anybody with the slightest shred of morality residing
within them would cry outrage to the heavens at such an
appalling injustice.

There are some crimes upon which no statute of limitation
should be allowed to run out. Nazi war criminals, doddering
about during what must surely, now, be the last days of
their lives, are, even yet being hunted down and called to

The hue and cry here is that no one should be allowed to
get away with murder. But let us, for a moment, look at the
reality: The OTRs already have.

You're not going to tell me that the intelligence agencies
don't know rightly where the vast majority of them are. But
where are the extradition orders? Where is the pressure on
the Republic's government to return them to Northern
Ireland? You tell me.

And let's say, for the sake of argument, that Blair gets
the OTR legislation through the Commons unaltered. What
happens then?

If I understand it, criminals and murderers will have to
'fess up to their offences. Then they will be given a
suitably draconian sentence but only by way of a rap on the
knuckles. For they would then be freed on licence and told
to be good little boys and girls and not to do it again.

So how many OTRs, do you think, would be panting to take
advantage of this very special offer?

I would guess not many. Some of them have been on the run
for decades. They have made a new life elsewhere and life
in Northern Ireland as a paroled prisoner may not hold the
glittering attraction that Orangemen, Unionists and
loyalists presumably think it does.

And what if they did return? Do you reckon that they would
have a snowballs chance of surviving to die of old age?
Neither do I.

In the absence of appropriate official justice, loyalist
paramilitaries would soon deliver their own, peculiar brand
of it.

Another strike against Blair's OTR amnesty appears to be
that it would also free from investigation those cases of
alleged collusion between the security forces and
paramilitaries in some of the very murders which remain
'unsolved' in Northern Ireland.

Even if the OTRs go free, the path must always be left open
for these instances to be thoroughly examined and, and
where feasible, prosecuted.

It is the nature of the beast for terrorists to commit
murder. What do you expect from a pig, but a grunt?

But if such dark deeds are committed or connived at by
those who represent the state, they must be pursued

We shall see.


Mod Is Criticised Over Memorials

The mother of the last British soldier murdered in Northern
Ireland has criticised the Ministry of Defence's policy on

Rita Restorick said it was unacceptable that the MoD
refused to pay for plaques at trees at the National
Memorial Arboretum in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Mrs Restorick's son Stephen was shot dead in County Armagh
in 1997.

Speaking after a special NI service at the arboretum, she
said she felt some bitterness over the issue.

"I feel anger specifically towards our MoD, who refuse to
buy the plaques to put at each tree," Mrs Restorick said.

"A small sum that would only be £72,000 to put a plaque at
each tree, but the families themselves are expected to
provide them.

"Little things like that cause me bitterness, I accept what
happened to Stephen."

Mrs Restorick was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday
Sequence programme.

Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, 23, was shot by a
sniper while manning a checkpoint in Bessbrook in February

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/13 10:07:10 GMT


Anglo-Irish Agreement Then Discord

13 November 2005

THE Anglo-Irish Agreement is 20 years old this Tuesday.

It was the historic pact signed by Margaret Thatcher and
Garrett Fitzgerald at Hillsborough Castle on November 15,
1985 that plunged Northern Ireland into turmoil.

Unionists, who had not be consulted, reacted with shock,
anger and humiliation to the deal which gave Dublin a say
in Northern Ireland affairs.

"Ulster Says No" became the rallying cry as 100,000 people
converged on Belfast City Hall to show their anger.

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley declared Mrs Thatcher a
"wicked, treacherous, lying woman".

Ulster Unionist deputy leader Harold McCusker memorably
described how he felt "like a dog standing in the cold
outside the gates of Hillsborough Castle" while Mrs
Thatcher "sold my birthright".

The SDLP were happy but republicans also cried "sell-out".

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said: "The formal recognition
of the partition of Ireland is a disaster for the
nationalist cause, and far outweighs the powerless
consultative role given to Dublin."

Here is a timeline of key events in the follow up to the
signing of the pact on November 15:

November 15: Tory Treasury Minister Ian Gow resigns in
protest. He was murdered by the IRA in 1990.

November 18: Senator Mary Robinson, a future Irish
President, resigned from the Irish Labour Party
(Fitzgerald's coalition partners) over the lack of
consultation before the AIA was signed.

Novomber 20: Secretary of State Tom King was physically
attacked by loyalist protesters as he arrived for a
function at Belfast City Hall.

November 23: 100,000 unionists gather in Belfast city
centre for the massive 'Ulster Says No' rally addressed by
unionist leaders.

December 11: 38 RUC officers are injured in clashes with
unionist protesters at the first meeting of the new A-I
Secretariat at Maryfield.

December 17: All 15 unionist MPs resign their seats in
protest against the AIA.

March 3, 1986: Unionists attempt to repeat the 1974
Loyalist Workers' Strike with a 'Day of Action'. But while
many Protestants supported the strike action, which caused
chaos, there was also a lot of intimidation with masked
loyalists setting up barricades. The day ended with
loyalist riots. There were 237 reported cases of
intimidation, 57 arrests and 47 RUC officers injured.

Later in the year, it emerged that 150 RUC families had
been forced to move as a result of loyalist intimidation.

But the Government stood firm, and with no power-sharing
executive to bring down, the widespread unionist protests
fizzled out.

The AIA ushered in a long period of political stalemate,
but it was a key moment in relations between Dublin and
London and laid the ground for the Good Friday Agreement of


Peter Hain: Does This Man Have The Hardest Job In The World?

Stuck between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, it's little
wonder Northern Ireland Secretaries usually leave defeated.
But Peter Hain is sure he can smooth-talk his way to
creating lasting peace

By Andrew Mueller
Published: 13 November 2005

When you're in the Cabinet," says Peter Hain, "you have to
be careful of every word you use. In Northern Ireland, you
have to be careful where you put the full stops and the

Late afternoon, and we're sitting in the drawing room of
Hillsborough Castle. This is Hain's residence as Secretary
of State for Northern Ireland (in his spare time, Hain is
also MP for Neath, and Secretary of State for Wales). Hain
has occupied this beautiful 18th-century building for six
months, and still surveys its interior with the gawping
wonderment of a tourist.

"I never had a political career in mind," he explains. "The
idea would have horrified me. I don't mean that I'd have
thought I was selling out, because I've never thought in
those terms. I think you find yourself playing different
roles, and the way things have worked out, I'm playing this
role. It's the same me, with the same beliefs, and the same
commitments, the same passion about human rights and social

While it's tempting to write off Hain's talk of rights and
justice as generic rhetorical pabulum, he has impressive
form in these areas. In the late 1960s and early 1970s,
Hain was a brave, effective campaigner against the
apartheid government of South Africa, the country he'd
grown up in (he was born in Nairobi in 1950). He visited
chaos upon British tours by the South African cricket and
rugby teams. Hain fought the law: he and his followers
staged pitch invasions, and committed minor vandalisms.
Hain fought the power: in 1972, he escaped injury when a
letter bomb failed to explode, and in 1976 stood trial for
bank robbery (he was acquitted of charges widely believed
to have been fabricated by South Africa's intelligence
services). When I mention this laudable record of
resistance to manifest evil, Hain becomes curiously

"You may regard this," he says, "as watching the commas. My
job is to understand both where people are coming from,
across the community divide, and where we need to get to.
To go back over history... I don't think it's helpful to

There are a couple of reasons for Hain's reluctance to
discuss his past, and for having this interview taped by
his director of communications. The first is that any
discussion of the past in Northern Ireland is liable to
descend into a cacophony of competing grievance, whereby
every accusation of Republican/Nationalist malfeasance is
answerable with an equivalent charge of Loyalist/Unionist
brutality, and either or both can be marshalled against, or
supported by, claims of British treachery. It's a form of
argument known here as "whataboutery". Hain, aware that
everything he says will be minutely scrutinised, is at
pains to avoid giving anyone anything to say "what
about..." about.

The second reason for Hain's anguish is that he has,
already, contributed to the lexicon of Whataboutery. During
the 1980s, Hain made several statements in favour of a
British withdrawal from Northern Ireland. For Unionists and
Loyalists, Hain's appointment must have looked like the
referee turning up at an Old Firm match wearing green and
white hooped socks.

"You can go back to lots of things people have said," he
says, wincing. "Things Gerry Adams might have said, things
Ian Paisley might have said, at a time when the Berlin Wall
was still up, at a time when Nelson Mandela was still in
prison. We're in a different world, and that world for
Northern Ireland changed with the Good Friday agreement."

I explain that I'm not attacking him. I'm wondering if it's
possible that his history might be an advantage. Any
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has to deal with
people who have adopted extreme positions, deployed extreme
means. Yet his predecessors generally haven't been the type
you can picture shaking a fist atop a barricade: William
Whitelaw, Tom King, Peter Brooke, Douglas Hurd, Patrick
Mayhew, Peter Mandelson. Hain has been arrested, has stood
in a dock, and would certainly have been monitored by the
intelligence services. He must find more in common with
Northern Ireland's protagonists than most.

"I can understand," Hain concedes, "people who have been
struggling for the cause they believe in. Ian Paisley has
come from way out in the cold into being the leading figure
in Northern Ireland politics, leading the leading party.
It's a huge journey for him. A huge journey for Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness, as well. And I've been on a journey
I wouldn't have expected when I was organising protests."

In the café of Ballymena's Ecos centre, a sort of Northern
Irish Millennium Dome, sits the local Member of Parliament,
Member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly, former
Member of European Parliament, leader of the Democratic
Unionist Party, and Moderator of the Free Presbyterian
Church of Ulster: the Reverend Ian Paisley. Other regional
notables are also in attendance, including Paisley's son,
and fellow Legislative Assembly member, Ian Paisley Jr.

While Hain is shown the centre's consciousness-raising
exhibits, I ask Paisley Jr if I might have a word with his
old man. He asks which paper I'm from and tell him it's The
Independent on Sunday.

"He won't talk to you," grins Paisley Jr.

Whatever it was, I say, I'm sure we didn't mean it.

"No, no," laughs Paisley Jr. "Nothing personal. He doesn't
speak to Sunday newspapers. He never has. He thinks they're
anti-Sabbatarian. "

You're kidding?

"I'm not. If you'd said The Independent, you might have got
away with it, but you've no chance."

I half-believe Paisley Jr is winding me up. He seems the
sort. He has an air of likeable roguishness, contrary to
his father's brimstone. Feeling like I've accepted a
foolish dare - of the order of tickling a sleeping leopard
- I effect an introduction to Paisley Sr through someone
else. I tell him that I understand his objections to Sunday
papers, and offer not to quote him directly in a
publication that is such an affront to the Almighty, and
not to write the feature on the Sabbath.

Almost disappointingly, Paisley laughs, rather than calling
in a lightning strike, and chunters amiably. Peter Hain is
the 15th Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since the
position was established in 1972 and Paisley, who has
dominated Unionist politics for decades, has dealt with
them all. He says he tries to see it from their
perspective, by imagining how he'd feel if he was sent to
do a similar job in Wales, Scotland or England (he is
unable to resist adding that he knows more about Wales,
Scotland and England than most Secretaries of State do
about Northern Ireland). He prefers, he says, to deal with
the person rather than the position. He doesn't disagree
when I suggest that he must have worried about the present
incumbent - and about what Hain's appointment in May said
about freshly re-elected Tony Blair's thinking on Northern
Ireland. But he says that he won't hold 20-year-old quotes
against anyone, and he would never, on the basis of
youthful foolishness, instruct anyone to - and here, I must
break my vow and repeat verbatim his delightful deployment
of local idiom - "Get about ye."

Hain arrived in Britain in 1966, aged 16. The full-time
activism of his youth gave way to a job as researcher for
the Union of Communication Workers, before a by-election
ushered him into the Commons in 1991. He has two adult
children from his first marriage, and in 2003 he married
for the second time, to Dr Elizabeth Haywood. Outside of
work, he has a fanatical fondness for Chelsea football club
and motor racing, while on his website he claims a passion
for the Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics (which is
surely an attempt to buy popularity in Wales). He has
authored several political pamphlets and, in 1995, one
unkindly reviewed novel: The Peking Connection.

While his comments on Northern Ireland are frustratingly
measured, and his discussion of his firebrand past
frustratingly evasive, Hain does, in some other contexts,
confirm the sketchwriters' view of him as preening and not
altogether displeased with himself. His recollection of his
appointment is telling.

"I didn't anticipate it. [But] Tony Blair made it clear to
me before the election that he understood the case for me
getting a bigger job than I'd had. In previous jobs I've
often been given big problems to solve, usually by the
Prime Minister, and I've enjoyed doing them." There's a
chuckle after "Prime Minister" that would be ill-suited by
any adjective but "smug". Without prompting, Hain unfurls
his glittering CV.

"I enjoyed it in the Foreign Office [Hain was Minister of
State there from July 1999 to January 2001] where we made a
lot of progress on the civil war in Sri Lanka, some
progress on Cyprus as well. I was briefly in the Department
of Trade & Industry [Minister of State, January to June,
2001], where there was a big problem with the Miners'
Compensation Scheme, and I was able to crack that. And, of
course, Tony Blair asked me to go and negotiate at the
Convention for the European Constitution [during Hain's
second stint at the Foreign Office from June 2001 to
October 2002]."

Hain mentions Blair frequently. He either admires the Prime
Minister greatly, or wants to look like he does. Judging by
Hain's record, it's the former. He has been an enthusiastic
supporter of even Blair's most controversial positions: for
sanctions against Iraq, for the invasion of Iraq, for ID
cards, for the fox-hunting ban, for foundation hospitals,
for top-up fees.

He has also shown willing to make the odd dash into no-
man's land, earning the enduring resentment of Gibraltar
for discussing the Rock's sovereignty with Spain, enraging
Eurosceptics by describing the proposed EU constitution as
"a tidying-up exercise", and appalling New Labourites with
the subversive suggestion that rich people could pay more
tax. Whether these charges over the top have been
undertaken at Hain's initiative or at the instruction of a
commander seeking to test the range of enemy guns, Hain has
been rewarded by positions which also include stints as
Leader of the House and Lord Privy Seal. Though Hain
fidgets when asked about his transition from scourge of the
establishment to pillar of it, he is not entirely above
using his radical past to purchase some credit.

"There are a lot of people," he says, "now leading the
world, who as students were marching alongside me in the
anti-apartheid movement, and I keep bumping into people who
say 'I was following you, and now I'm prime minister of
this country, or president of that country...' It's quite
amusing, and then you realise that it's our generation
that's in power."

Hain's schedule today also includes a visit to St Louis'
Convent Primary School in Ballymena. One night last August,
the school was targeted by arsonists. Nobody is in much
doubt about the motivation for this attack on a Catholic
school in a mostly Protestant district. In recent weeks,
Ballymena police have taken the step of issuing Catholic
families with fire blankets.

Hain is not the only dignitary visiting today. To audible
intakes of breath from priests and teachers as an
unmistakable white-haired figure lumbers into view, Paisley
also shows up. Guests are ushered into the school's hall,
where what is menacingly described as a "musical
presentation" awaits. Before this begins, headmaster Liam
Corry explains Hain to the students.

"You've heard of Tony Blair? Well, Mr Hain tells Tony Blair
what's going on in Ballymena."

The musical presentation is a performance by the school's
choir, who have been winning local competitions, and who
are as unobjectionable as warbling school kids get. They do
"Sally Gardens", the "Val-da-ree, Val-da-ra" one about
wearing a knapsack on your back, and "We Are Marching In
The Light Of God" - some of which, in tribute to Hain's
background, they sing in Swahili. Hain makes a speech, in
which he admits that he doesn't speak Swahili, and says
that he'd had to ask Paisley to translate. This gets a
laugh, even from Paisley. Hain mentions the arson attack,
offers hope that all concerned can put it behind them, and
tells them to keep singing. "You'll win all the
competitions in Northern Ireland," he assures them, then
pauses, as if worried about commas and full stops.

"Of course, I have to be careful here, because I'll go and
say the same thing in the next town." I'm not sure he means
to say that out loud, but it gets a bigger laugh than the
image of Paisley as an African linguist.

After touring classrooms, Hain faces a scrum of local
media. He speaks of standing "shoulder-to-shoulder" against
sectarianism with Paisley - a man on record as believing
that the Pope is the Antichrist.

Someone asks about the previous weekend's protest at
Newtonabbey's Carnmoney cemetery. It had not been an
edifying spectacle. Catholics attempting to hold a blessing
ceremony in the graveyard had been abused and threatened by
a mob of Loyalist protestors.

"Awful," says Hain. He flails briefly, as any sensible
person would when contemplating such idiocy, and then
lights upon the perfect adjective. "Medieval," he
continues, "a throwback. And they must understand the image
it projects, in Northern Ireland and the wider world."

In his first six months in office, Hain has found himself
dancing, like all recent occupants of Hillsborough, the
two-steps-forward-one-step-back of the Troubles' last
waltz. On 28 July, the IRA formally announced an end to its
armed campaign. On 26 September, General John De
Chastelain, head of the decommissioning body, verified that
the IRA's arsenal had been put beyond use. But September
also saw the province's worst violence for years, when
rioting convulsed several Loyalist neighbourhoods, and Hain
announced that he no longer recognised the ceasefire of the
Ulster Volunteer Force. A couple of hours after my
interview with Hain, former Ulster Defence Association
kingpin Jim Gray is shot dead at his Belfast home. A couple
of weeks later, the paramilitary group the Loyalist
Volunteer Force announces that its murderous jig is up, and
that its feud with Loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster
Volunteer Force is over.

It's hard to say which - if any - of these are at all
Hain's doing, and which have merely taken place on his
watch. Those who make their living observing Northern
Ireland's travails say that the really important meetings
occur at a level above Secretary of State, with Downing
Street dealing directly with Northern Ireland's political
leaders. The Secretary of State, meanwhile, though lacking
the vote of a single citizen of Northern Ireland, has to
run the province, and absorb the irritations of the people
who live there.

"The Unionists and Loyalists," admits Hain, "are in a
pretty belligerent mood towards the British government, the
Prime Minister, almost all the institutions of the British
state. It's a sort of historic inversion of the political
dynamic. That has come at a time when Unionism ought to
feel more secure. The IRA have given up bombing and
bullets. They have accepted that the people of Northern
Ireland will decide its constitutional future. The Irish
government has removed its constitutional claim on Northern

All of this is correct, even if it ignores the low-level
sectarian violence that still plagues Northern Ireland, the
kneecappings and shootings rarely reported anywhere outside
local newspapers. It's also the case, however, that
Unionists have been inflamed by Hain's appointment, and
some of the decisions taken since. There was the
announcement that Northern Ireland-based battalions of the
Royal Irish Regiment would be disbanded. There was the
curiously brief imprisonment of Sean Kelly, an IRA
terrorist who bombed a Shankhill Road fish shop in 1993,
killing nine (he was freed in 2000, like many other
killers, under the Good Friday Agreement). Hain ordered his
re-arrest in June, on receiving information that he was
again involved in terrorism, then set him free a month

"There was a lot of anger about that," Hain concedes. "
There's a lot of resentment in the Unionist community that
the watch-towers started coming down the day after the
IRA's statement. But at least people know where you stand.
My judgement is that even political opponents in Northern
Ireland prefer someone who tells it straight."

Hain's idea of himself as a rugged dispenser of truth is
not universally shared. Among observers of, and
participants in, Northern Irish politics, there is palpable
bemusement about the man and his motives. Certain
adjectives recur, such as "plastic", "robotic" and "
smooth". According to one journalist, "People come away
from Hain kind of shaking their heads, wondering how he's
got this far." One Unionist politician has firm ideas on
this: "The British government believed Sinn Fein were being
driven into a position of doing business, following the
Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney.
It suited Britain to send someone with a background of
supporting troops-out, and Irish unity. Hain has all that.
He's essentially an opportunist, though - maybe the
plastic, android approach is one he has to adopt to go
along with something which is expedient, career-wise."

Hain, not surprisingly, begs to differ.

"It's not pragmatism in the grubby sense," he insists. "I
don't want to pose, or posture, or occupy a position
because I've got a limo and a reasonable salary. I want to
make change. I remember arguing with Tariq Ali, in the late
1960s and early 1970s, who told me I shouldn't be leading
campaigns to run on cricket pitches or rugby pitches, I
should be digging the pitches up, and fighting police
outside, because that's fighting capitalism. That was
revolutionary balderdash. And whilst he was preaching that
rhetoric, we were actually stopping the tour. That defines
my whole approach to politics."

He is also infectiously, and I think genuinely, optimistic
about Northern Ireland. "I don't know," he says, "whether
it struck you today in the same way that it struck me when
I started travelling around here four months ago, but there
is a lot of prosperity."

Indeed. An uninformed visitor to the places we had visited
earlier would never guess anything was wrong. Houses are
large, lawns neat, businesses booming.

"This is," insists Hain, "a really nice place, full of
really nice people. I didn't have a negative impression,
except the negative impression you get when people are
letting off bombs and engaging in this medieval
sectarianism. You wonder how people can do that to each
other. But I saw what otherwise decent people among
Afrikaner-supporting white South Africans did to the black
majority there. And these were people who worshipped God,
looked after their dogs and had tremendously strong family

Any incoming Secretary of State must feel, initially at
least, like Max, protagonist of the classic children's book
Where The Wild Things Are, a small, bewildered boy in a
wolf suit who encounters a weird, dangerous place populated
by grotesque, mysterious creatures. A Secretary of State is
faced with mythic figures such as Paisley, Adams and
McGuinness, and a moral landscape of fluid whataboutery. I
wonder if Hain ever misses the reassuring certainties of
taking a stand on something so obviously wrong as

"That was," he agrees, "a black and white issue. In every
sense. I don't know that I miss... I mean, I'm pleased that
there aren't those old certainties."

Asked what would constitute success, Hain quickly says
"bringing back devolved government". Between Hain and that
ambition lie plenty of moments at least as surreal as Ian
Paisley taking tea with priests in a Catholic school, and
the diplomacy necessary to ask people to accept, as they
had to in 1998, things such as Martin McGuinness, a member
of the IRA's Army Council, serving as Minister for

In the meantime, the Secretary of State's authority is
further-reaching than that of Hillsborough's first official
occupant, Governor James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn. He
had the luxury of 23 years in the job, stamping acts of the
gerrymandered regional parliament, and attending ribbon-
cutting ceremonies. Hain will have rather less time and has
rather more to do.

Former holders of the poisoned chalice

William Whitelaw (March 1972 to November 1973)

First Secretary of State, appointed upon the imposition of
Direct Rule in 1972. Educated at Winchester and Cambridge.
Elected to the Commons in 1955. Held secret meetings with
the IRA, and came agonisingly close to a deal which might
have significantly averted the Troubles. Later became Home
Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister. Died July 1999, aged

Douglas Hurd (September 1984 to September 1985)

Arrived on Tory benches in 1974 via well-worn route of
Eton, Cambridge and Foreign Office. Tenure at Hillsborough
chiefly remarkable for build-up to signing of Anglo-Irish
Agreement in November 1985. After Northern Ireland, served
as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. In former
capacity, he announced the absurd ban on broadcasting the
voices of terrorist representatives.

Patrick Mayhew (April 1992 to May 1997)

Longest-serving Secretary of State, and point man for
initiatives during John Major's premiership. Oversaw some
of the crucial steps towards the current tentative peace,
including secret talks between the British government and
the IRA, and the initial Republican and Loyalist
ceasefires. Now Lord Mayhew of Twysden.

Mo Mowlam (May 1997 to October 1999)

One of New Labour's early stars, Mowlam earnt both
adoration and bewilderment in Northern Ireland for her
unorthodox approach. Presided over the talks which led
eventually to the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.
Famously visited the Maze prison to speak to Loyalist
prisoners in order to revive talks but lost confidence of
Unionists. Stood down as MP for Redcar in 2001. Died August
2005, aged 55.

Peter Mandelson (below, October 1999 to January 2001)

Alleged brains behind New Labour. Made Minister Without
Portfolio following 1997 election victory, in which role he
was largely culpable for the Millennium Dome. Subsequently
appointed Trade Secretary. Resigned in disgrace December
1998 following revelations of a dodgy home loan from a
friend. Dispatched to Hillsborough as part of his high-
profile rehabilitation. Resigned in disgrace January 2001
over claims of fiddling passport applications from friends.
Now an EU Commissioner. One more resignation-in-disgrace
away from keeping the match ball.


Kennedy's Tough IRA Stance Symbolic Of His Roots, Clout

Senator is credited as a key to peace

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff November 13, 2005

WASHINGTON -- In his hideaway office, a living-room-like
lounge in the Capitol, Senator Edward M. Kennedy's ethnic
identity is literally written on the wall.

Among the many family portraits are those of his
grandfather, John ''Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the first Irish
Catholic elected to the US House of Representatives from
New England, and his brother John, the first Irish Catholic
president of the United States.

Like the black-and-white road sign above the fireplace that
indicates Lough Gur, an ancient lakeside settlement in
County Limerick, is just 1 1/2 miles away, Ireland is close
to Kennedy, and this is a year in which he has wielded the
clout on Ireland he has built up over the past four

Last March, Kennedy refused to meet with Gerry Adams, the
leader of Sinn Fein, whose party is allied with the Irish
Republican Army. Kennedy's snub followed a $50 million bank
robbery in Belfast that was attributed to the IRA, and the
Jan. 30 barroom killing of a Belfast man that the IRA
acknowledged was carried out by its members.

The senator's stance underscored that the mainstream
financial and political support the Irish republican
movement had built up in the United States over the past
decade was in danger of evaporating as the IRA continued to
operate as the paramilitary wing of a democratic party. In
July, after Adams publicly called on the IRA to end its 35-
year armed campaign against British rule in Northern
Ireland, the IRA said its war was over. Last month,
international monitors said the IRA had destroyed its
hidden arsenal.

Dermot Ahern, Ireland's foreign minister, said Kennedy's
snub of Adams ''focused minds like no one else could."
Ahern said Kennedy had stuck his neck out for Adams and
Sinn Fein in 1994, lobbying President Clinton to allow
Adams into the United States for the first time, eight
months before the IRA called a cease-fire.

Kennedy's impatience with the IRA, Ahern said, spoke for
most people. Ending its war and giving up its weapons,
Ahern said, ''wouldn't have happened without Ted Kennedy."

Sinn Fein's congressional supporters, including US
Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Springfield,
did not snub Adams, saying to exclude him was unfairly
singling out Sinn Fein when other parties in Northern
Ireland, most notably Rev. Ian Paisley's Democratic
Unionists, were equally to blame for the continued
suspension of the power-sharing government there.

But Kennedy, speaking about the snub for the first time
last week in an interview, said it wasn't a difficult
decision. ''I thought about it for 24 hours."

He was excoriated in the Irish republican press in
personal, vitriolic terms. But Kennedy said he was
convinced he had to make a stand, however unpopular it was
with many longtime supporters.

Instead of meeting with Adams last March, Kennedy met with
the sisters and fiancee of Robert McCartney, a 33-year-old
forklift driver and father of two boys who was slain by IRA
men after his friend got into a barroom argument with them.
Kennedy invited the women back to Washington, and they are
scheduled to meet with him again Tuesday.

''They are very courageous women. I admire them greatly,"
Kennedy said.

The feeling is mutual. Claire McCartney, one of Robert's
sisters, said that of all the powerful people they met in
Washington, Kennedy stood out. While in many places they
found sympathy, with Kennedy they found empathy.

''He knows what it's like," she said.

Kennedy's family history is informed by overcoming
discrimination against Irish Catholics, which was once
systematic in Northern Ireland, and politically motivated
violence, which has been greatly diminished by the peace

He said he has mended fences with Adams, calling to
congratulate him last month after the IRA decommissioned
its weapons.

Earlier this month, Kennedy called on the Bush
administration to lift its ban against Adams and other Sinn
Fein officials from fund-raising in the United States,
saying Adams and his party should be rewarded for their
role in delivering the formal end of the IRA's violent
campaign. The White House refused, saying Adams must
endorse the reformed police force in Northern Ireland
before the restriction can be lifted. In response, Adams
canceled a trip that had been scheduled to include Sinn
Fein's biggest annual fund-raiser in Manhattan.

Kennedy doesn't think the White House has recognized the
historical significance of the IRA's formal ending of its
war and its weapons decommissioning.

He also intends to press Sinn Fein and its constituents to
get involved in policing, and for more concessions from
Protestant unionists. He said the IRA's gestures should be
matched by unionists returning to the power-sharing
government that collapsed over complaints about continued
IRA activity.

''There has to be some reciprocity on the unionist side,"
he said.

Still, even the nation's perhaps most influential Irish-
American politician acknowledges his influence might be
limited in Ireland.

''I'm not so sure," he said, laughing, ''that Reverend
Paisley will listen to me."

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.


Vi Sherman, 69, Leaves Legacy Of Friends Around The World

Linda Florea Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted November 13, 2005

MOUNT DORA -- Vi Sherman had a way about her that drew
people close.

In her birthplace in Ireland and throughout her world
travels, she made lifelong friends who appreciated her
humor, hospitality, empathy and loyalty.

"Her greatest legacy is friendship," said son Mark Patrick
Sherman of Jacksonville Beach.

"Every time we go to a city or town that we had ever been,
and you could go to Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.,
there are always people that know Vi -- it's amazing."

Vi Sherman died Oct. 30 of ovarian cancer while surrounded
by family and friends.

She was 69.

She was born Marie Therese Clare in Dublin, the daughter of
a policeman.

Her father had fought with the Old Irish Republican Army
for the country's independence.

When her older sister immigrated to the United States to
work as a nurse and settled in St. Louis, Sherman followed
and also lived in St. Louis for a while.

She moved to be close to friends in Washington, where she
met her husband, Solomon Sherman, an economist for the
World Bank.

His fluency in seven languages helped open the door to a
job for him with the U.S. State Department Foreign Service.

The couple moved to West Africa, where they lived for three
years and where Mark was born.

After returning to the United States, they had their second
son, Robert Eamonn Sherman, who lives in Neptune Beach. The
family then moved to Paraguay.

After 10 years of marriage, the couple had an amicable
divorce and Vi Sherman moved to Fort Lauderdale with her
sons in 1974.

She was marketing manager for a South Florida company that
opened a satellite office in Mount Dora. When she visited,
she liked the town. She moved to Mount Dora in the mid-

Sherman had always been interested in storytelling and

The Writer's Guild of Mount Dora published a collection of
her short stories, Mark Sherman said.

"Growing up in Ireland, their educational system was good.
Poetry and music is part of their culture and they're very
creative in general," he said.

"She always loved it when my brother and I wrote poetry and
short stories."

She also is survived by three grandchildren.

Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home in Jacksonville Beach handled
the arrangements.

Linda Florea can be reached at
or 863-422-8017.


Obit: Agnes M. Duke

Date published: 11/12/2005

Agnes M. Duke

Agnes McQuade Duke, 86, of Long Branch, N.J., died
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, at Country Manor Nursing Home,
Toms River, N.J.

She was a communicant of St. Michael's Roman Catholic
Church in Long Branch and a member and past president of
the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Long Branch.

Mrs. Duke was born in Dublin, Ireland, and lived in
Westchester, N.Y., before moving to Long Branch in 1952.
She will always be remembered as a loving mother.

Her husband, John J. Duke Sr. died in 1996. Surviving are a
son, John J. Duke Jr. of Toms River and Vero Beach, Fla.;
two daughters, Patty French of Fredericksburg and Mary
Ehlers of Venice, Fla.; her grandchildren, Michael and
Shanon Fleming of Spotsylvania County, Margaret Fleming of
Fredericksburg, Chris and John French of Fredericksburg,
and Sean and Shane Duke, Shannon and Shane McEwan and Erin
and Anthony Celano; and her great-grandchildren, Ashley,
Sarah and Ryan Fleming of Spotsylvania, Stephen French of
Dothan, Ala., Ulian Locilento and Alexa and Kaila McEwan.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday,
Nov. 12, at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, with
interment to follow in Woodbine Cemetery, Oceanport, N.J.

Date published: 11/12/2005

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