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November 30, 2005

Spicer Accused of Attacks - See Video

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 11/30/05 Spicer Firm Is Accused Of Iraq Attacks
MI 11/30/05 Aegis Exposed In Civilian Shooting Incidences
BT 11/30/05 Finucane Killer Calls For Fair Deal
BT 11/30/05 Probe Into Death Of Loyalist Is Ruled Out
UT 11/30/05 SDLP In Council Walkout Over Sinn Fein Remarks
IO 11/30/05 Ahern Defends Planned Pardons For Fugitives
UT 11/30/05 PFC Urges Hain To Rethink Fugitive Law
IT 11/30/05 Hain Rules Out Changes To Fugitives Bill
IO 11/30/05 Blair Rules Out Amnesty For Omagh Bombers
DI 11/30/05 US KKK Distances Itself From Northern Racists
SF 11/30/05 Adams Launches Yr Long Recruitment Campaign
IV 11/30/05 Sinn Fein's Massive Cash Stash
DI 11/30/05 Outrage As Bank Raid Hostage Is Held
BT 11/30/05 Sinn Fein Defends MLA Held Over Claudy Bomb
BT 11/30/05 Probe Review Led To New Arrests
DU 11/30/05 Paisley Junior Welcomes Claudy Arrests
DI 11/30/05 Loyalists Reject Call To Cancel Parades
DI 11/30/05 Opin: Latest Episode In The Marching Saga
DI 11/30/05 Morrison- More Likely ToBe Of Use To Oppressors
DI 11/30/05 Opin: Northern State Is Being Eroded
DI 11/30/05 Opin: Marching Towards End Of Partition
DI 11/30/05 Memoirs Of Holy Cross
DJ 11/30/05 Bloody 'Sunday' Book Tells Families' Story
IT 11/30/05 Casey Return Home To Clear Name Over Allegation
CP 11/30/05 HR Leaders Call For Freedom JeanJuste & Neptune
BB 11/30/05 Maverick Perot Looks At Maze Investment
DI 11/30/05 New Editor At Daily Ireland Appointed
IO 11/30/05 House Price Growth Accelerating
IT 11/30/05 Businessman May Sue Over Bad Weather Forecast
UT 11/30/05 Irish Echo To Go On Sale In Ireland


(See video at: or )

Spicer Firm Is Accused Of Iraq Attacks

by Tom Griffin

A former British army officer is facing new allegations
that men under his leadership have been involved in attacks
on civilians

Tim Spicer, who commanded the Scots Guards in Belfast when
Mark Wright and James Fisher shot dead 18-year-old Peter
McBride in 1992, is now facing claims that mercenaries
working for his firm Aegis Defence Services are behind
attacks on Iraqi civilians revealed in footage posted on
the internet.

The video, which emerged on an unofficial website
maintained by a former Aegis employee, shows a series of
clips of private contractors shooting at Iraqi cars from
the back of a utility vehicle, set to a soundtrack of the
Elvis Presley song Mystery Train. In one clip, Iraqi
civilians are seen fleeing after a targeted car swerves and
crashes into another vehicle.

The footage has since been taken down from the site, found
at, but has re-emerged elsewhere
after its existence was highlighted by the Sunday Telegraph
at the weekend.

The unofficial site was apparently known initially only to
employees of Aegis and other private security contractors
in Iraq.

In one post on the site's forum, the administrator states:
"This site has not been submitted to any search engines and
so is not accessible willy-nilly on the Internet, you need
to know the URL and at present that is only known by Aegis

Other posts record concern about the contents of the video.
One states: "Respectively that footage is the most damning
footage of trigger happy body count hunters that I have
witnessed, it has done nothing but show the company and the
lads it employs in a bad light, and if I was looking to
employ a company that would certainly ensure that Aegis
didn't get the contract."

The British Foreign Office said yesterday that it had
looked into the origins of the footage.

"We've seen the clips on this video and it seems to be
pieced together from a variety of different clips that have
been cut together," a spokesman said.

"There's no indication of exactly where it's come from and
there's certainly nothing to suggest that the vehicle or
staff involved are Aegis contractors."

"Aegis have a contact with the American Defence Department
in Iraq, and anything further to do with their contract
would be a matter for them."

The footage has come to light only days after the Pat
Finucane Centre in Derry lobbied the US Congress to cancel
the Aegis contract, because of Spicer's role in the McBride

"A number of members of Congress expressed concern and
indeed shock at the circumstances surrounding the
contract," PFC spokeman Paul O' Connor said.

"The latest allegations will certainly increase the fears
that this contract has been awarded to the wrong person and
the wrong firm."

"Though it is important to discover whether Aegis employees
were directly involved in these incidents, we should also
remember that Aegis is responsible for directing all
private security movements in Iraq.

"Were these incidents reported to Aegis? If not, then they
are unaware of massive human rights violations occurring on
the ground. If they were reported on the other hand, why
was nothing done about it?"

A spokeswoman for the public relations company which
represents Aegis said the company had no comment.


British Mercenary Firm With Pentagon Contracts Exposed In Civilian Shooting Incidences

Por Wayne Madsen 30/11/2005 às 02:29

November 29, 2005 -- British mercenary firm with Pentagon
contracts exposed in civilian shooting incident in Iraq. A
souvenir video has surfaced on the Internet showing private
security contractors working for Aegis Defense Services
"Victory" Group firing indiscriminately at Iraqi civilian
motorists in Baghdad.

The video was reportedly taken by an Aegis employee and
posted on a web site run by an ex-Aegis employee. The video
has since been removed from the site. The video contains
four clips showing Aegis mercenaries firing at civilian
automobiles. The video's soundtrack includes Elvis
Presley's "Train I Ride." Aegis is run by former British
Scots Guard officer Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, an international
mercenary who has been involved in UN sanctions busting in
Sierra Leone and Bougainville invasion planning in Papua
New Guinea. Spicer's firm, Aegis, was awarded a $293
million security contract in Iraq. Spicer's men also stand
accused of shooting teenager Peter McBride in the back in
Belfast in 1992. That has prompted a number of members of
the Irish Caucus in the Congress to demand the Pentagon
withdraw its contract to Aegis. The Pentagon has rejected
such action.

Pentagon Iraq contractor head Tim Spicer under arrest in
1997 in Papua New Guinea following failed Bougainville
invasion and resulting coup d'etat.

Aegis maintains its head office in London's Picadilly. It
is also reported to have an office on K Street in
Washington, DC.

The Pentagon has had a longstanding relationship with
Spicer. The Pentagon's love affair with mercenary firms
began in the 1990s when they were viewed with favor for
their military activities, including sanctions busting, in
Africa. Under the Clinton administration, mercenary firms
blossomed. Under George W. Bush, they have flourished. On
June 24, 1997, the Defense Intelligence Agency sponsored a
seminar titled "The Privatization of National Security
Functions in Sub-Saharan Africa." This conference ushered
in the present cooperation between mercenaries, oil
companies, diamond and other mineral companies, U.S.
intelligence agencies, the military, and non-government
organizations (NGOs), including the always suspect Human
Rights Watch, an NGO that often obscures and obfuscates
important facts, as it did with the causality of the
Rwandan genocide and as it is currently doing with regard
to offering an incomplete list of CIA prisoner aircraft in

WMR has obtained the attendee list [Page One Page Two] for
the 1997 Pentagon mercenary seminar. Spicer attended along
with two colleagues from Sandline International (for which
Spicer served as CEO), a mercenary firm that had already
been implicated in illegal Sierra Leone and Papua New
Guinea operations.

Mercenary firms, which in neo-con "Newspeak" are referred
to as "Private Military Contractors," "Private Security
Contractors (PSCs), and Personal Security
Details/Detachments (PSDs), are viewed by informed
observers as the future military forces that will continue
to protect US business interests in Iraq after the planned
withdrawal of a large number of U.S. troops next year.
These companies are not governed by any military
regulations or international legal constraints. According
to informed sources within the security contractor
community, three U.S. firms, Phoenix, Anteon, and Sytex,
should be looked at closely by U.S. authorities for their
interrogation operations in Iraq. Sytex is currently
advertising for interrogators for the US Central Command's
Area of Responsibility (AOR), which includes Iraq and
Afghanistan. Military interrogators who were charged with
sexually humiliating prisoners at Guantanamo and Iraq are
now working for firms like Anteon and Phoenix Consulting



Finucane Killer Calls For Fair Deal

By Chris Thornton
30 November 2005

The killer of solicitor Pat Finucane appealed today for
equal treatment under the law after the Government got his
early release hearing delayed.

Ken Barrett, who admitted last year that he carried out the
1989 murder, questioned why his application for freedom has
been put back until next year at the Government's request.

The Government asked for the delay, in part because it says
police only recently revealed that secret intelligence may
have to be used in the case against Barrett's release.

Barrett told the Belfast Telegraph that he is seeking the
same treatment as hundreds of other prisoners who qualified
for early release.

"All I can do is wonder why my application for early
release has taken so much longer than anyone else's," he
said. "And why it has been put back yet again."

Barrett was sentenced to life last year after pleading
guilty to the murder, which is meant to be the subject of
an as yet unscheduled public inquiry.

He is currently held on 24-hour lock-up in Maghaberry

Because the murder was committed before the Good Friday
Agreement was reached, Barrett qualifies for early release.

He initially applied after his conviction in September
2004, but was rejected because he was serving his sentence
in an English prison.

He returned to Magha- berry and re-applied. But the
Government has objected on the grounds that he could be a
danger to society and that he could become re-involved with
the UDA.

The Sentence Review Commission, which will ultimately
decide on the release, scheduled a hearing in Barrett's
case for December 9.

But the Prison Service, acting on behalf of Secretary of
State Peter Hain, asked for a delay earlier this month.

They claimed they had "just been advised" that secret
intelligence could form part of the case against Barrett.
If intelligence is used, it would require a special process
to screen the information from Barrett and his legal team.

The Prison Service also said the hearing would take longer
than the one day scheduled.

Barrett's solicitor, Joe Rice, accused the authorities of
"dragging their heels".

Government lawyers and Barrett's team will now attend a
preliminary hearing next month, at which time his new
hearing will be scheduled.

The Sentence Review Commission has instructed the
Government to be ready "as early as possible in the New


Probe Into Death Of Loyalist Suspect Is Ruled Out

By Chris Thornton
30 November 2005

The sudden death of a loyalist named as the murderer of two
teenagers will not be examined by an inquest, court
authorities confirmed yesterday.

Noel Dillon - a key suspect in the murders of David
McIlwaine and Andrew Robb five years ago - is believed to
have taken his own life. But the decision to issue a death
certificate without an inquest has mystified the father of
one of the victims.

Yesterday, Paul McIlwaine said questions about Dillon's
death - and whether it was linked to the murders - must be
answered. He said he has been told Dillon left no suicide

A bail court heard last week that another suspect told
police that Dillon stabbed Mr Robb with a boning knife and
almost decapitated David McIlwaine. They were found by a
remote road near Tandragee, Co Armagh on February 19, 2000.

Two men were recently charged with the murders after a
nationwide television appeal.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed in January that Dillon, who
had been arrested and questioned shortly after the murders,
had been found dead.

His body was found in a house on the Hamiltonsbawn Road,
Armagh, on January 10 and he was buried three days later.

The death was reported to the Coroner and Dillon's family
was issued with a death certificate later this year,
indicating that there would be no inquest.

"It's hard to believe that one of the main suspects in the
case died in unusual circumstances and there isn't an
inquest," Paul McIlwaine said yesterday.

"I would have thought it would have been automatic.

"Noel Dillon's circumstances were very unusual. He went
into hiding in the south of Ireland after the murders, then
someone put him up in a house in Belfast, and then he's
found dead. We're told there was no suicide note.

"There have been that many things happening during the
whole five-and-a-half years that don't add up. That's no
reflection on the investigating team, but I think some of
these questions need to be answered."

Inquests are frequently held into suicides, but the
decision is left to the Coroner's discretion.

A statement from the Court Service said: "In this case,
having examined the available information, he concluded
that it was an act by his own hand and that no inquest was


SDLP In Council Walkout Over Sinn Fein Remarks

The SDLP has walked out of the monthly meeting of Derry
City Council accusing Sinn Fein of making remarks that
could endanger their members.

By:Press Association

They said today they will not be back in the council
chamber until the remarks are withdrawn.

Pat Ramsay, SDLP leader on the council, said the
allegations made by Sinn Fein`s Kevin Campbell against the
SDLP team "have no substance or foundation, but they could
put the councillors` homes and families at risk of attack."

Councillor Ramsay said: "I am not prepared to let this
happen. The SDLP team will not be returning to the council
chamber unless Cllr Campbell withdraws the allegation he
made at last night`s meeting."

He said the comments made had broken an unwritten agreement
that comments of a personal nature should not be made
during debates in the council.

Sinn Fein said the SDLP had been the first to break the
agreement and Cllr Campbell would not be withdrawing his


Ahern Defends Planned Pardons For Paramilitary Fugitives

30/11/2005 - 12:31:13

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has defended his plan to offer
presidential pardons to paramilitaries wanted in the
Republic for offences committed before the Good Friday

The Government is planning to offer the pardons in tandem
with moves by the British government to allow so-called
"on-the-runs" to return to the North without fear of

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Pat
Rabbitte both slammed the move in the Dáil today, with Mr
Kenny claiming it was part of an underhand deal with Sinn

Mr Ahern said the pardons were agreed in mainstream
negotiations and were not part of any secret arrangement.
He also said the issue surrounding fugitives was crucial to
pushing forward the peace process.


Hain Urged To Rethink Fugitive Law

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain today faced more
demands to go back to the drawing board over controversial
legislation which would see people who committed offences
during the Troubles avoiding jail.

By:Press Association

Relatives for Justice, the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice
For the Forgotten, which represent the families of people
killed as a result of alleged collusion between members of
the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, outlined a
number of concerns about the Northern Ireland (Offences)
Bill, whose second reading was approved last week in the
House of Commons.

In a joint statement the three groups said the legislation
showed no consideration for the rights and needs of
families who have lost loved ones.

"This proposal is a complete non-starter," the said.

Under the Bill, paramilitaries who went on the run abroad
during the Troubles to avoid arrest or members of the
security forces or individuals suspected of unsolved crimes
can avoid arrest and serving a jail sentence in Northern
Ireland by applying to a certification commissioner to see
if they are wanted for specific crimes.

If they are, the commissioner will issue them with a
certificate keeping them out of jail but also initiating a
legal process which will see their offences examined by a
specially set-up tribunal with its own prosecutors and

On-the-run paramilitaries, rogue members of the police and
Army and civilians suspected of crimes before 1998 would
not have to attend the hearings.

If they are found guilty, they will be issued with a
licence similar to the one given to the republican and
loyalist prisoners freed early from jail under the Good
Friday Agreement.

If they offend again, their licences could be revoked and
they would be sent to prison.

Critics of the Bill have hit out at the Government`s
failure to compel those suspected of crimes to sit during
the proceedings of the special tribunal.

Justice for the Forgotten represents the families of 33
people killed in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre have both
campaigned on behalf of the victims of alleged collusion
between members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the
British Army and loyalist paramilitaries.

Human rights group, British Irish Rights Watch has been
highly critical of the Bill, claiming it will be used to
cover up the truth about state involvement in killings.

Sinn Fein, which initially welcomed the legislation because
it would facilitate the return to Northern Ireland of
republicans who have been on-the-run since the Troubles,
has insisted it did not agree to a scheme which would
enable members of the security forces to qualify for
release under licence.

The rival nationalist SDLP has challenged Sinn Fein if it
is opposed to the Bill to tell Prime Minister Tony Blair to
call off the legislation.


Hain Rules Out Changes To Fugitives Bill

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The British government will not tolerate any "wrecking
amendments" to proposed legislation concerning those guilty
of crimes committed before the Belfast Agreement in 1998,
Northern Secretary Peter Hain has said.

Mr Hain also said Sinn Féin had "no prior agreement" with
the government to include members of British forces under
the terms of a Bill dealing with the on-the-runs (OTRs).

He told The Irish Times he was not surprised at the level
of opposition to the Bill which was published earlier this
month and which includes all the Northern Ireland parties
who take seats in the British parliament.

"I expected it, that had been made clear well before," he

He defended the measure, citing an agreement concluded with
the Irish Government at Hillsborough in April, 2003.

"We made an agreement with the Irish Government and with
Sinn Féin over a period of years, and published in 2003,
that we would do this and we are honouring that agreement,
however difficult it is and tough it is for everybody," he

Asked about his government's willingness to accept
amendments tabled by MPs opposed to the Bill, he said: "I
don't know what amendments will be moved until we see what
amendments are on the order paper. I think there'll be
plenty of amendments . . . We won't accept any wrecking
amendments. If there are strong cases put we will look at
that constructively."

Asked specifically what Sinn Féin knew of the British
proposals to deal with the OTRs in advance of publication
of the Bill, Mr Hain said: "We took all of the parties
through it [ the Bill] prior to its introduction. Sinn Féin
have . . . made this request to resolve this outstanding
issue of on-the-runs.

"If you are asking was the inclusion of members of the
security forces within the Bill part of the original
agreement, it wasn't. Sinn Féin had not asked for that and
any attempt to suggest otherwise is simply misleading."

© The Irish Times


Blair Rules Out Amnesty For Omagh Bombers

Relatives of the victims of the Omagh bombings today said
they had received assurances from British Prime Minister
Tony Blair that no one connected with the 1998 atrocity
would be granted an amnesty, even if they are members of
Sinn Féin or the IRA.

Representatives of the 29 victims and those injured in the
blast held talks lasting 45 minutes with Mr Blair at 10
Downing Street to press their case for a full cross-border
public inquiry.

Speaking after the talks, they said that Mr Blair had told
them an inquiry would be impossible until current civil and
criminal court cases arising from the blast were completed,
but did not rule out meeting their request after that

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the
no-warning attack, said Mr Blair had been "very supportive
and as helpful as he could have been".

But he said Mr Blair did not seem to be "up to speed" with
some details of the inquiry - something that was
acceptable, given the complexity of the case.

He said Mr Blair had offered the assistance of a senior
civil servant to help the families with their work and had
promised to look at a dossier which they had prepared
making the case for an inquiry.

One man is currently facing charges in connection with the
Co Tyrone blast, which resulted in the largest single loss
of life of the Troubles.

But the trial of Sean Hoey (aged 36) of Jonesborough, Co
Armagh, is unlikely to go ahead until well into next year.


US White Supremacists Distance Themselves From Northern Racists

by Ciarán Barnes

The Ku Klux Klan yesterday distanced itself from a group
of right-wing fanatics who have been holding white
supremacist meetings in Co Antrim.

In a statement released to Daily Ireland, the United
States-based Klan claimed it had nothing to do with the
group that has been holding regular get-togethers in
Ballyclare, Ballymena, Ballymoney and Coleraine.

A Klan spokesman said: "We have members in foreign
countries but we do not attempt to organise in foreign
lands because we are not familiar with the laws and issues
which other countries may have."

In a direct reference to the north Antrim gang, he added:
"This office knows nothing about them."

The Co Antrim group of fanatics is believed to include a
number of loyalist paramilitaries.

It has masqueraded under a series of different names such
as the White Nationalist Party, the Third Way, and Aryan

Members have carried out leaflet drops and placed posters
on street corners advocating policies such as racial
segregation, the criminalisation of homosexual acts, and
fighting those regarded as "commies".

Those in the gang even dressed up as Klansmen in white
robes with pointed masks and burned a cross on Ballymena's
Clonavon Road.

North Antrim Sinn Féin assembly member Philip McGuigan
said: "The activities of this far-right group in the north
Antrim area are well documented.

"The gang is made up of loyalists who have held meetings
and who have put racist posters and flyers around towns.

"It just goes to show how thuggish they are when a racist
organisation like the Ku Klux Klan distances itself from

"The public has no appetite for these people and they would
do everyone a service if they disappear and take their
hate-filled messages with them."

PSNI records from April 2004 to April 2005 show that 83
racial incidents occurred in the north Antrim area.

This figure accounts for more than ten per cent of all
racist crime in the North during that period.

In total, 813 racial incidents occurred in the North during
the 2004-05 financial year. In the 2002-03 financial year,
226 racist crimes were recorded.


Gerry Adams Launches Year Long Recruitment Campaign

Published: 29 November, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today launched a major
recruitment drive for the party on the 100th anniversary of
its foundation.

Mr. Adams said, "For the past year Sinn Féin has been
celebrating and commemorating our 100th anniversary. During
that time we haven't just been looking to the past but also
planning for the future. Only last weekend we held a major
all-Ireland conference in County Monaghan to discuss
strategies for achieving Irish unity.

"The rapid growth of Sinn Féin, especially in the 26
Counties is testament to our leading role in the peace
process, our work for Irish unity and our agenda for
change. People are joining Sinn Féin because we are a real
alternative to the sham politics that passes for political
discourse in Leinster House. There is little or no
difference between Fianna Fáil, Progressive Democrats, Fine
Gael or the Labour Party. Instead of discussing the
inequality at the heart of government policy, the only
thing that these parties are interested in discussing are
minor changes to the management of the economy.

"Sinn Féin has no interest in the rhetoric of republicanism
or equality. Our task is to make republicanism relevant to
the people of Ireland and to bring about a national
republic on this island. Our task is to build a country
where all are treated equally regardless of income, gender,
ethnicity or geography.

"Today Sinn Féin is embarking on a year long recruitment
drive. In the course of that year we will be holding events
across all 32 counties, involving the entire leadership of
the party. We will be visiting colleges and universities
north and south. And we will be specifically looking to
women and the various ethnic groups, to help shape a new
Ireland based on equality and justice by joining our
party." ENDS


Sinn Fein's Massive Cash Stash

Sinn Fein has a massive $3 million war chest to fight the
next Irish election, according to a weekend report in The
Sunday Business Post. Other parties are furious that, while
Sinn Fein now well may be the richest party in Ireland, the
party still says it spends almost nothing on its campaigns.

Fresh from their best-ever fundraising dinner in New York,
the party is now gearing up for the 2007 general election
in the Irish Republic. They will undoubtedly have full
coffers when the election is eventually called, expected to
be either April or May of 2007.

A study by Trinity College lecturer Liam Weeks discovered
that while Sinn Fein had the largest number of campaign
workers, did more canvassing, distributed more leaflets and
hung more campaign posters than any other party, they
reported the smallest income.

In addition, Sinn Fein sent more personal letters, made use
of the electoral register more and brought more voters to
polling stations than any other party.

Yet, in their filings, the Sinn Fein head office stated
that they had only spent $4,000 on the local elections,
while Fianna Fail reported that they spent over $800,000.

How can Sinn Fein have the greatest turnout and canvassing
effort, yet seem to spend a pittance?

Easy, says the party hierarchy. They simply pay no one, and
there is no question that they have by far the largest
numbers of volunteers of any party perhaps in Irish

However, their opponents claim otherwise, despite the fact
that no evidence has been brought forward. The Labor Party,
Sinn Fein's keenest rivals as they chase the same middle
and working class votes, claim that Sinn Fein just converts
all their assets to cash and pay their workers off the

They point to the Christmas 2004 Belfast Northern Bank
robbery, laid at the feet of the IRA, where approximately
$35 million was stolen, as an example of how Sinn Fein can
easily fund their activities. Sinn Fein, of course, denies
that strongly.

Doubtless we will be hearing a lot more about this as the
election draws near.

Next Election A Cliffhanger

The latest opinion poll in Ireland for the next election
shows that if the contest were held right now Taoiseach
(Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern would likely lose power. The
Star newspaper polled 1,000 people last week on their
voting intentions.

A Fine Gael/Labor/ Greens coalition led by Fine Gael leader
Enda Kenny is preferred over the current government by
about three percentage points, a tiny margin, but a
worrying one for the government given the economic boom at

Fianna Fail retains 34% support, while their coalition
partner the Progressive Democrats are 4 % for a total of
just 38%. However, there are many independents who would
support such a government without actually being part of

Meanwhile, Fine Gael, the leading opposition party, is at
24%, with their partners the Labor Party at 10% and the
Greens, another likely coalition party, at 8%.

Of course, the crucial vote could be the Sinn Fein one. The
poll tags them at 10%, a very high number, and they could
well hold the balance of power. However, if they were to do
so, the Progressive Democrats have vowed not to stay in any
such government.

Meanwhile, not surprisingly, Ahern continues to be Fianna
Fail's greatest asset with over 56% approval of his
handling of the job, well ahead of all the others.

So there is much to play for in the coming year with a very
close run election promised. Right now you would have to
put the odds at even money of Fianna Fail being re-elected,
but the reality is that there is likely to be many shifting
alliances between the smaller parties after the election.

All of which makes it impossible to predict who will be the
next taoiseach.

No to SF / Fianna Fail

The other figure that stands out in the Star newspaper poll
is that voters do not want a Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein
coalition after the next Irish election. Seven out of 10
respondents stated that they could not accept such a

That is not a surprising figure as Ahern has made it clear
that he will not go into government with Sinn Fein because
of the party's economic policies.

But never say never. Given the choice of either staying in
power or leaving it after the next election, Ahern would
not be the first politician to display an extremely
pragmatic approach to that issue. The question is would the
electorate accept it?

Will Gerry Stand?

Finally on the Irish election, some speculation around the
notion that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness might decide
to stand in constituencies in the south in order to
maximize the Sinn Fein vote.

There is little doubt that both could get elected and be a
powerful presence in the next Dail (Parliament).

However, Sinn Fein has long stated that they want to create
a totally southern-based leadership to handle the elections
and political developments in the south. However, it is no
secret that the caliber of Sinn Fein politicians in the
south is not nearly as impressive as those in Northern

So would Adams and/or McGuinness stand? The chances are
still against it, but closer to the election it may become
a real issue as the fight for every vote in a very tight
election becomes a reality.


Outrage As Bank Raid Hostage Is Held

Ciarán Barnes

The arrest of Northern Bank employee Chris Ward in
connection with last December's robbery at its Belfast
headquarters has been described as "politically motivated"
by his solicitor.

The 24-year-old and a female bank employee were arrested
yesterday following dawn raids by the PSNI in the Poleglass
area of west Belfast.

After the heist, Mr Ward appeared on television and
described how he had been taken hostage in the run-up to
the raid.

He explained in detail how he and a colleague had been
forced to facilitate the theft of £26.5 million (€38.7
million) from the bank's city centre base.

In a statement released to Daily Ireland yesterday,
solicitor Kevin Winters insisted that his client's arrest
was politically motivated and without basis.

Mr Winters said: "Mr Ward was a victim in this matter. At
all times, he has been co-operative with all police and
other inquiries.

"He has assisted police in every way he can. He has been
under considerable stress since his ordeal when the robbery
took place."

Mr Winters said his client had been the subject of some
adverse media commentary a short time after the robbery.

The lawyer added: "As a result of prejudicial and
suggestive media commentary, Mr Ward took the decision to
provide an interview with the BBC in order to set the
record straight.

"That interview had the desired effect because it
completely nullified any continued prejudicial media

"In turn, that decision by him has now been used by police
to undermine him.

"Police are now referring to this media interview and are
attempting to use it as some sort of evidential or other
basis to question his credibility.

"It is extremely unfair for police to take this interview
and attempt to compare it with other interviews he gave to
police about his ordeal.

"This approach feeds into a flawed public perception. As
matters presently stand, there is no evidence put to Mr
Ward to justify his arrest and detention."

Earlier this month, three men were charged in connection
with the Northern Bank robbery. All of the suspects said
they were innocent.

A small amount of cash recovered at a PSNI sports club in
Belfast is believed to have come from the robbery.

With the bulk of stolen cash missing, most of it in
Northern Bank notes, the bank was forced to issue
redesigned currency and withdraw the earlier issue in a bid
to make the robbers' haul worthless.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, speaking about the
arrests, said: "People should not be subjected to trial by

"One year on, there is still the same accusation being made
and, one year on, that case has not been advanced at all."


Sinn Fein Defends MLA Held Over Claudy Bomb

PSNI deny political policing claim as four are detained

By Clare Weir
30 November 2005

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin has said he does not believe
that elected members of his party could be responsible for
criminal acts following the arrest of a colleague over the
Claudy bombing.

East Londonderry MLA Francie Brolly was detained yesterday
morning in connection with the 1972 atrocity.

Placard-bearing supporters blowing whistles and sounding
horns gathered outside Dungiven police station on Main
Street after news of yesterday morning's arrests broke.

Seamus Mullan, a prominent GAA member and freelance sports
reporter, was also thought to have been arrested in the Co
Londonderry town.

A 50-year-old man was arrested in the Portglenone area and
a 58-year-old woman was arrested in Dungannon.

All four were taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim
police station.

Mr Brolly was a prominent member of the Civil Rights
Movement and was present on Bloody Sunday.

The Irish language activist and GAA member was elected to
Limavady Council in 2001 but stepped down in accordance
with party policy after being elected an MLA.

Mr Brolly is also a renowned musician along with his wife
Ann, a Sinn Fein councillor and former Limavady Mayor.

The no-warning double bomb attack in Claudy - which killed
nine people, including a nine-year-old girl - has always
been blamed on the IRA, although it has consistently denied
the accusation.

Addressing supporters at a protest yesterday, Mr McLaughlin
said he was confident Mr Brolly would be released without

Mr McLaughlin slammed the PSNI's actions as "dirty tricks"
and accused police and the media of spreading "innuendo"
about Mr Brolly.

When asked if he believed that elected members of Sinn Fein
could be responsible for criminal acts, he replied: "No."

"This smacks of political policing," he said. "I have known
Francie Brolly for the best part of my life. He is an
upstanding member of the community in Dungiven, is
prominent in the GAA and is proud of his language and

"I am confident that he will be released without charge."

He added: "It is a matter of record that Francie Brolly is
the lead spokesperson in our party on Claudy.

"He has consistently said that the families are entitled to
the truth and I agree - let's hear what happened."

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid rejected Sinn Fein's
accusations, saying he had asked for a review of the murder
investigation in 2002 and as a result had developed new
lines of inquiry which had subsequently allowed police to
interview those suspected of involvement.

There have been allegations of involvement in the Claudy
massacre by a Catholic priest and accusations of cover-ups
by church and state leaders.

Amid allegations that priest Fr James Chesney masterminded
the bombing, it was revealed several years ago by police
that both former Secretary of State William Whitelaw and
Cardinal William Conway were aware of the claims about the
clergyman, who died in 1980.


Probe Review Led To New Arrests

By Jonathan McCambridge
30 November 2005

Police last night said a review of the investigation into
the Claudy bombing had opened new lines of inquiry.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid of Crime Operations
also said the PSNI retained the support of the community
after police arrested four men, including Sinn Fein MLA
Francis Brolly, as part of their investigations into the
1972 atrocity.

Mr Kinkaid said: "I asked for a review of this murder
investigation several years ago in 2002. As a result of
that review, we developed new lines of inquiry which have
subsequently allowed police to interview those suspected of

"Nine people were murdered and many more were injured in
the bomb attacks in Claudy. Where police have reasonable
suspicion it is their duty to investigate and try to bring
to justice those responsible."

The Assistant Chief Constable added: "As a police service
we are mindful of, and always uphold and protect the human
rights of any individual we arrest.

"Every person has a right to be deemed innocent until
proven guilty and the Police Service is careful not to
publicly disclose the names of those suspected of

"Equally, we are mindful of the responsibility we have to
investigate these events and to uphold the rights of those
whose lives were taken from them in Claudy in 1972, the
rights of loved ones who were bereaved and those whose
lives were changed forever as a result of injury and loss.

"We know that we have the support of the community in
taking forward this investigation. We would appeal to any
persons having knowledge of the events relating to the
Claudy bombing in 1972 who has not yet spoken to the police
to come forward with information to us."


Paisley Junior Welcomes Claudy Arrests

DUP MLA for North Antrim and Policing Board Member Ian
Paisley Junior has welcomed today's arrest by the Police of
four men in connection with the 1972 bombing in Claudy by
the IRA. Ian Paisley Junior said,

"The arrest this morning of four men in relation to
inquiries about the murder of nine people in Claudy in 1972
are to be welcomed. The innocent victims caught up this
indiscriminate and atrocious massacre have waited over
three decades to see the murder of their loved ones
resolved. The DUP has long said that the 1,800 unsolved
murders in Northern Ireland must be resolved to the
satisfaction of the innocent victims.

I hope that today's actions by the Police leads to
convictions, however, the Government must now remove from
any person who could be convicted of this heinous crime to
be afforded an amnesty that would not see them serve a
single day in jail for their part in mass murder.

Once again, these arrests justify and vindicate our
concerns about the inseparability of Sinn Fein and the
violence of the IRA."


Loyalists Reject Call To Cancel Parades For Best Funeral

Ciarán Barnes

The Apprentice Boys have rejected calls to postpone a
series of weekend parades as a mark of respect for George

The Irish soccer legend will be buried on Saturday, at the
same time as 16 Apprentice Boys' marches are scheduled to
take place throughout the North.

Nationalist residents' groups which had planned to protest
along some of the routes used by the Apprentice Boys have
cancelled their demonstrations as a mark of respect.

However, Apprentice Boys' leaders have refused to bend on
the issue and insisted their parades will go ahead.

Even a last minute plea from a former Ulster Unionist Lord
Mayor of Belfast last night has failed to change their

Leading Orangeman Jim Rodgers called on the Apprentice Boys
and Parades Commission to work together to set a new date
for their Lundy Day march.

His call came after the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group in
north Belfast confirmed they were cancelling a protest they
had planned for Saturday.

Despite this the Apprentice Boys remain adamant that their
parades will go ahead as planned.

Leading member William Hay said moving the date would cause
difficulty and confusion.

"The main Londonderry parade was supposed to take place on
December 18, but we moved it back to December 5 at the
request of traders," he said.

"To move it again would cause all sorts of problems. We are
in a difficult situation becuase we understand and
sympathise with people who want to go to George Best's
funeral, but moving the parade date just isn't possible."

The majority of the 16 Apprentice Boys' parades planned for
Saturday will take place in Belfast.

After each march, members will board buses and travel to
Derry for the main Lundy Day demonstration.

Mr Rodgers, a long time friend of George Best, believes the
conditions exist to reschedule the parades for another

He said: "Other events have been cancelled and postponed.
If the Apprentice Boys could get a new date within the next
week or so I can't see why the parades can't be moved."

Nationalist resident groups said their decision to cancel
parade protests was an indication to of their willingness
to resolve the marching issue through dialogue.

"We hope that the loyal orders acknowledge and recognise
this," said spokesman Joe Marley.

A crowd of up to 500,000 is expected to gather at Stormont
buildings for Geroge Best's funeral.

Leading unionist politicans including Democratic Unionist
Party MPs Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell have said
they will attend.

With the large numbers expected health and safety chiefs
have ordered crowd restrictions. Only 30,000 mourners are
to be allowed into the Stormont estate.

"This is a serious issue. We can't cope with massive
numbers," said a spokesman.


Opin: Latest Episode In The Marching Saga

The latest episode in the saga that is the parades issue
might by now be boring if it wasn't so serious. Just for
the record, the Apprentice Boys propose to walk past the
nationalist Ardoyne shops not as part of a parade, but as
the route to a bus which will take them to a demonstration
80 miles away in Derry. There, the Apprentice Boys will
burn an effigy of Lundy – the panto villain in the
historical pageant that the Boys enact this time every

The feeder walk has been given the go-ahead by the Parades
Commission despite a history of violence and confrontation
there. Once again, a massive military operation will be put
in place in order to allow a small group of men in Sunday
best to give the two-fingered salute to north Belfast
Catholics who would like nothing better than to be left

This year, the annual controversy has been added piquancy
by the fact that the feeder walk in Belfast and the Lundy
proceedings in Derry take place on the same day as George
Best's funeral, which is expected to draw huge crowds to
east Belfast.

The convergence of the two events has impacted not a jot,
it seems, on the Apprentice Boys, who are going ahead with
the feeder march and the Lundy-burning. That is perhaps as
good an indication as any of how hopelessly out of touch
with the modern world the loyal orders are.

The Ardoyne residents, meanwhile, have been astute enough
to recognise that Saturday will be a unique and special
day. They have called off their planned protest in the
belief that to have interface violence detract from the
funeral of a national icon would be grotesque and

How the Apprentice Boys will react to this was unclear last
night, but the development has undoubtedly opened up a
little space where none before existed, and it can't just
be wishful thinking to suppose that the funeral of George
Best could be the unexpected catalyst for positive
development and change for the good.

It's not really important whether this means a cancellation
of the feeder parade in acknowledgement of the residents'
gesture, or some other imaginative and equally generous
gesture which would remove some of the toxins from the
poisoned atmospheree which has hitherto existed. What is
important is that this opportunity is grasped in order to
create some common ground on which future compromise and
progress can be made.

For the Apprentice Boys – an institution which is widely
perceived as old-fashioned and out-of-touch – this is too
good an opportunity to miss. The wonderful sporting legacy
that George Best left us cuts across all ages and all
social and sectarian divisions. Most unionists would agree
that the east Belfast boy who thrilled the world with his
genius and charisma is as much if not more of a Protestant
cultural treasure than any historical tableau. What a
tragedy it would be if the door that has been opened is
slammed in our faces.


Opin: Morrison- Much More Likely To Be Of Use To Oppressors

Danny Morrison

Radio Ulster's Arts Extra – one of local BBC's best
programmes – had an item on last week about the Terrorism
Bill currently making its way through Westminster. The
presenter, Marie-Louise Muir, interviewed John Gray of the
Linenhall Library about that part of the bill dealing with
"indirect incitement/glorification" of terrorism and how it
could be used against librarians.

There are also potential ramifications for the media in
publishing announcements or claims from proscribed
organisations since such statements could be interpreted as
promoting the objectives of terrorism or inciting fear.
Indeed, only this week we have learnt of a suppressed memo
which shows that George Bush had to be talked out of
bombing the Arab television station, Aljazeera, using that
very rationale, that the station was promulgating Islamic

Under the proposed legislation a person commits an offence
"if he – (a) distributes or circulates a terrorist
publication; (b) gives, sells or lends such a publication;
(c) offers such a publication for sale or loan; (d)
provides a service to others that enables them to obtain,
read, listen to or look at such a publication…"

We already have had a foretaste of this in the recent case
of John O'Hagan – as the alleged book borrower. He was
sentenced to three-and-a-half years for having documents
"likely to be of use to terrorists", which included
extracts from two borrowed books from Belfast's Central
Library – biographies on former senior Conservatives, John
Major and Norman Lamont.

Linenhall Library's John Gray told Arts Extra that when the
Northern Ireland Political Collection was first established
in the early days of the conflict the library was visited
by the RUC who said that they would be back in the
afternoon to seize the material and arrest the librarian.
However, the library contacted Stormont and obtained
permission from the then Ministry of Home Affairs to
collect and preserve such material. Under the new
legislation it would be potentially illegal to possess much
of this material particularly if it "glorifies the
commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the
future or generally) of such acts" [of terrorism].

Ironically, one of Linenhall's largest donations came from
Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hartley, a republican archivist of
great prescience who has been collecting material for over
30 years. It was Tom who preserved the history of the
prison protests and hunger strikes contained in prison
'comms' [communications], which are currently held in the
National Library of Ireland.

The issue of what is an illegal document has always been
open to widespread abuse by the political police in
Ireland, North and South.

Former secretary of state, Roy Mason, took exception to
Republican News publishing the confidential itinerary of
Queen Elizabeth's planned visit to the North in 1977 and
ordered a crackdown against the paper. Millions of pounds
were spent mounting a case against the editorial staff of
Republican News and the Belfast executive of Sinn Féin.
Around 15 people were arrested and charged with IRA
membership and conspiracy to pervert the course of public

Many of the documents used against us – I was the editor of
the paper – were from the archives of the Northern Ireland
Public Records Office – documents, including telex messages
and press releases, which Tom Hartley had been lodging with
NIPRO under an agreement that they would not be made
available to the public for 30 years. However, the Special
Branch was secretly seizing the documents almost as fast as
Hartley was lodging them. I was charged with IRA membership
because my fingerprints and handwriting were on a copy of a
telex message which contained an IRA press release. I had
made a synopsis of some paragraphs before re-sending an
edited version of the IRA statement to the Irish People in
New York for which I wrote a weekly column called Seven
Days. I would have been sentenced to five years had it not
been for another exhibit which Tom had lodged and the
Branch had seized. It was another of my telexed weekly
columns, which contained a UVF statement claiming
responsibility for a fatal sectarian bombing. On it were my
fingerprints and handwritten amendments to the UVF
statement. Why wasn't I charged with UVF membership on the
same basis as the IRA charge, I asked the judge, who
agreed, and granted me bail. A few months later the case
against all of us collapsed and the charges were withdrawn.

In 1985, during a debate in Leinster House, Limerick TD
Dessie O'Malley, complaining about the security situation,
said it was clear that: "The IRA calls the shots." That
week's An Phoblacht/Republican News re-used the quote
beside a large photograph of an IRA volunteer and later
Republican publications reproduced the front page
illustration as a poster which sold in its thousands.
Subsequently, the Special Branch raided the Cork offices of
Sinn Féin and charged local organiser, Don O'Leary, with
membership of the IRA on the basis of possession of the
poster. He was sentenced to five years in jail for having a
poster which reproduced the words of government minister
Dessie O'Malley.

In 1986 the RUC seized a blank RUC diary from my car and
arrested me. The diary had been in my car for some time and
hadn't been taken in earlier searches. It had actually been
thrown into my car by an RUC man the previous December at a
checkpoint at Harper's Bridge in Tyrone in exchange for
sweets which he 'stole' from my passenger seat. I took a
court case to have the property returned but the judge
refused. He said that the diary contained information
"likely to be of use to terrorists", that is, the name of
the printer and of businesses which had placed
advertisements. The diary was freely circulating and
available, at least within the unionist community, and only
became 'illegal' when it was in the possession of a member
of the nationalist community. No wonder there is great
concern within British Muslims at this new legislation.

Clearly, with some distorting, almost anything – a telex
message, a news report, a biography, a poster, a diary –
can be turned into an item "likely to be of use to
terrorists" – although through hard experience we know that
in reality all such materials are more likely to be of use
to oppressors.

Danny Morrison is a regular media commentator on Irish
politics. He is the author of three novels and three works
of non-fiction and a play about the IRA, The Wrong Man.


Opin: Northern State Is Being Eroded

Tommy McKearney

Last week's proposals for reforming public administration
in the North may eventually prove to be as significant as
the abolition of Stormont in 1973. For the first time since
the struggle for Civil Rights challenged an undemocratic
unionist regime in 1968, Britain's government is giving
practical recognition to the fact that the political entity
known as Northern Ireland is unworkable.

Peter Hain and the NIO will, naturally, deny any such
intent. Nevertheless, the outworking of this package will
provide for a sharing of local administration between
(rather than by) the contending parties. This impact will
be enhanced as different zones of influence emerge,
something that could ultimately lead to separate cantons if
not outright repartition. This is a fundamental change,
away from previous British policy of treating the area as a
viable homogeneous unit.

Anyone doubting London's attitude change need only consider
what its secretary of state recently told an American
newspaper about the limited prospects for a six-county
economy. Significantly, neither Tony Blair nor his cabinet
contradicted Hain's comments.

That the proposals for local government reform went further
than many expected was predictable in light of unionism's
refusal to work the Good Friday Agreement. By ending its
insurrection, accepting the principle of unionist consent,
demilitarising its army and decommissioning their arsenal,
republicans have compromised to an extraordinary degree.
With unionism demanding still more, even the dimmest Sir
Humphrey could recognise the futility of continuing with
what amounted to the exclusion of the second largest player
on the political field.

Reverend Paisley and his supporters know they can still
alter the RPA findings but only by operating the Assembly.
In this case, though, the cure – a Sinn Féin deputy first
minister - will be as unpalatable in DUP circles as the
ailment and unlikely to be accepted.

Sinn Féin is wise, therefore, to ignore criticism of its
welcome for RPA. The northern state is already deeply
sectarian and allowing unionism perpetuate the unhealthy
status quo through either majority or direct rule takes us

There is something, however, that republicans must be
careful about when or if the new arrangement comes on
stream. Areas where they have influence should not become
Hibernicised, mirror images of unionist dominated councils.
Republicanism is not about bi-lingual road signs, promoting
Catholic maintained schools or developing the GAA. Where
republicans have influence, they should settle for nothing
less than democratic freedom, equality and a fraternal
social system.

Tommy McKearney is a former member of the IRA and now works
as an organiser for the Independent Workers' Union.


Opin: Marching Towards End Of Partition

In recent times justice minister Michael McDowell has
joined the chorus of the various parties in proclaiming his
republican credentials on several occasions.

Now he appears to have gone somewhat further and declared
the reunification is inevitable at some time in the not too
distant future.

Republicans will no doubt be reassured by Mr McDowell's
prediction, as they have been certain of the same outcome
for quite some time, and been working hard to make sure
this inevitable step is taken sooner rather than later.

Republicans and nationalists will also be pleased to see
all the different parties in the South finally coming to
the same conclusion, despite some suspicions about their
motivations for doing so.

Rather than disparage them for their movement on the issue,
Sinn Féin has welcomed each step on the road to
enlightenment from all the parties and the public
statements in support of that goal.

The party realises that despite its differences and the
electoral motives behind such moves, a broad consensus
being communicated to the electorate by all shades of
political opinion can only help to speed the end of
partition and lead to a fairer and more just society here
for all the people of the island.

If Mr McDowell says he supports the idea, who are we to
doubt him?


Memoirs Of Holy Cross

by Aine McEntee

A north Belfast priest who helped children and their
parents through the Holy Cross protest is to publish his
memories of the troubled times which made headlines across
the world.

Fr Aidan Troy's book, Holy Cross: A Personal Experience is
to be released next month and a special launch of the book
will be held in Holy Cross Hall.

Young children going to and from Holy Cross primary school
were subjected to sectarian abuse and violence from
loyalist protesters over a 12-week period in 2001.

Protesters taunted the children, their parents and
teachers, as well as displaying pornographic posters,
throwing balloons containing urine and even pipe bombs.

The scenes of naked sectarianism horrified television
viewers around the world.

Fr Troy had only arrived in Ardoyne a few months before the
protest began and, despite being in place only a few
months, he became a central figure in one of the most
disturbing incidents in the North's recent history.

Fr Troy said he didn't find the book hard to write as the
memories were still fresh in his mind. "I didn't find it
hard to write it at all. This was something I had lived
with for so long, it was almost part of a therapy to gather
it all together," he said.

"I didn't keep a diary during the protest but I had always
kept letters that were sent to me about it, and I kept
those, whether they were positive or negative. I answered
as many as I could at the time because someone had felt it
important enough to write their feelings down. I had a lot
of interest and observation from other people from across
the world and that provided an interesting insight four
years later – what people were actually saying at the time.
They all helped me to do some sort of assessment of what
happened and what it meant to me."

The protest was also the focus of another book, published
last year by Daily Ireland columnist Anne Cadwallader.

Fr Troy is a Passionist priest originally from Bray, in Co
Wicklow. He was ordained in the wake of Vatican II, and was
elected to the general government of his order in 1994, a
post he held until his transfer to Holy Cross parish in

His book will be launched on December 8 in Holy Cross Hall
on the Crumlin Road in Belfast after mass at 7.45pm.
Everyone is invited to attend.

Proceeds of the book will be channelled into the
development of a cross-community family centre in the
parish. grounds.


Bloody 'Sunday' Probe Book Tells Families' Story

Tuesday 29th November 2005

A new book telling the story of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry
from the point of view of victims' families has just been

Written by local journalist and political activist, Eamonn
McCann, "The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out"
is published by Pluto Press and is available from
booksellers priced £10.99.

Of all the grave crises in Northern Ireland's history, the
events of Bloody Sunday are, perhaps, the most notorious
and this unresolved issue continues to be one of the most
significant events in the recent history of the Troubles.

The resulting Bloody Sunday Inquiry has been epic in both
scale and implication.

It is the longest and most expensive independent inquiry
ever undertaken by the British government and has received
evidence from more than 2,500 people.

In this new book, twenty-one wounded survivors and
relatives of the dead describe the campaign which led to
the establishment of the inquiry under Lord Saville.


Eamon Casey To Return Home 'To Clear Name' Over Allegation

Mark Brennock

Former Bishop of Galway Dr Eamon Casey is to return to
Ireland from the UK to contest an allegation made against
him in Ireland which emerged recently.

Mass-goers at Our Lady of Fatima church in Staplefield,
west Sussex, were told on Sunday that Dr Casey (known there
as Fr Casey) had stood aside from ministry and moved to
another premises owned by the diocese of Arundel and
Brighton to prepare for his return to Ireland to deal with
the allegation.

No details of the allegation were available yesterday from
the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, to which Dr Casey has
been attached since 1998. A spokesman said yesterday he
believed it "dates back some time". He said the former
bishop was returning to Ireland so he could "clear his

A spokesman for the Irish Catholic bishops last night said
he had no knowledge of any allegation against Dr Casey.
Spokesmen for the Kerry and Galway dioceses, where Dr Casey
served before resigning in 1992, said they knew nothing
about any allegation. Several attempts last night to reach
Dr Casey were unsuccessful.

Last Friday he moved out of the village of Staplefield, in
the parish of St Paul's, Hayward Heath, before the
announcement was made.

St Paul's priest Fr Martin Jakubas told the congregation -
in a homily and in a letter distributed to parishioners -
that the allegation had recently been forwarded to the
diocese. He said Dr Casey had withdrawn from ministry at
Staplefield to deal with the allegation.

According to one parishioner who heard the homily at
Sunday's Mass, Fr Jakubas characterised the allegation as
either "weird" or "strange". The parishioner, who did not
want to be identified but is known to The Irish Times, said
Fr Jakubas suggested that he thought the allegation was
unlikely to be true.

The parishioner said news of this development had come as a
"bombshell". He said Dr Casey was well liked by the
congregation "for his warmth, humour and humility". He was
also well regarded at the nearby Princess Royal Hospital,
where he served as a chaplain, said the parishioner.

A spokesman for the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, Fr
Stuart Geary, confirmed yesterday that Dr Casey would
return to Ireland to deal with the allegation.

"It is his intention to return and face the allegation. At
the moment he wants to clear his name as one would expect
and understand. He is doing it in the way he thinks is
right. He will deal with it in the best way for him and for
all those who know him," Fr Geary said.

Fr Jakubas said Dr Casey was planning to move back to
Ireland in the next year or so to retire, and that this
allegation had merely speeded up his departure. He said he
could not discuss the matter further and referred queries
to the diocesan communications officer.

Dr Casey, who is 78, had not been in good health recently.
The current primate of the Episcopal Conference of England
and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, was bishop in
Arundel and Brighton when he offered Dr Casey a place there
in 1998, after Dr Casey's contract with the American
missionary Society of St James the Apostle in Ecuador ended
earlier that year.


World Human Rights Leaders Call For Freedom For Pere Jean-Juste And Yvon Neptune

By Bill Quigley

I World Human Rights Leaders Call for Freedom for Pere
Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and Other Haitian Political

By Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans School of
Law. Bill is a volunteer lawyer for Pere Jean-Juste with
the Institute for Justice and Democracy, assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau
des Advocats Internationaux. Bill can be reached at

What do the UN Commision on Human Rights, Irish members of
Parliament, and International Human Rights Lawyers in
Bulgaria have in common? They have all recently called for
the immediate release of political prisoners in Haiti,
specifically for the release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste and
Yvon Neptune.

Louis Joinet, the Haiti expert for the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights, investigated the human rights
situation in Haiti over the past two weeks. Joinet
condemned the jailing of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon
Neptune, former Prime Minister of Haiti.

Fr. Jean-Juste, often called the Martin Luther King of
Haiti, was beaten by a mob in church and arrested by the
police while participating in a funeral on July 21, 2005.
He was immediately declared a Prisoner of Conscience by
Amnesty International and has been held in jail without
formal charges ever since. Yvon Neptune, who was Prime
Minister of Haiti, has been in jail since May 2004 also
without trial. No trials are planned for either prisoner,
or any of the other hundreds of political prisoners jailed
in Haiti.

Joinet told the Associated Press the charges against Jean-
Juste "seem quite weak" and questioned the motives for
detaining the priest, who had been seen by some as a
potential presidential contender in upcoming elections.
"When a prisoner remains in jail longer than what the law
allows, he becomes a political prisoner. This seems to be
the case for Jean-Juste," said Joinet. "If the Haitian
judiciary does not have the means to try the people it
detains, it should be compelled to release them" he

The UN call for the release of Haiti,s political prisoners
follows two other international demands for their freedom.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL),
meeting in Bulgaria recently in early November, called for
freedom for all political prisoners in Haiti and singled
out the case of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste for special mention.

Later in November, members of the Irish Parliament called
for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and all
political prisoners. Parlimentarians of Sinn Fein, the
Green Party, and Independents also called for full and free
elections in Haiti.

The unelected powers of Haiti have labeled Fr. Jean-Juste
"the most dangerous man in Haiti for his unrelenting calls
for freedom for prisoners, his feeding of the poor, and his
insistence on the restoration of democracy.

Meanwhile, elections in Haiti have been postponed yet again
as criticisms of the fairness of the electoral process

Supporters of real democratic elections criticize an
election process which refuses to free hundreds of
supporters of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, like Pere
Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, who are jailed without charges
or prospects of trial.

Supporters of real democratic elections note that even
those who are willing to vote face real problems. Unelected
Haitian authorities have reduced the number of polling
places from over 4000 to only few hundred, with fewest in
the poorer neighborhoods. Compare Los Angeles, a city with
slightly larger population condensed in smaller geography,
which has over 4400 polling places. How would the people of
Los Angeles vote if their polling places were reduced by
90% and mostly located in high income areas?

Lethal mass violence by police and paramilitary groups
continue to plague the poor neighborhoods of Port au
Prince. UN troops have been accused of shielding police
from accountability and even participating directly in
violence in poor neighborhoods.

The people of Haiti deserve democracy as much as anyone
else. Elections in this atmosphere will likely be viewed
more as selections than elections. As Fr. Jean-Juste said
frequently before he was jailed: "Free political prisoners,
stop human rights abuses, and restore democracy. "

Irish leaders said in their statement all political
prisoners must be released and all political exiles must be
allowed to return in order to participate in Haitian
elections. Everyone, not just the rich, must be given an
equal opportunity to vote and have their vote counted in a
fair and transparent manner. Most of all, the violent
repression directed at the poor must stop. Elections should
not be held unless and until these conditions are met.

Free political prisoners. Stop human rights abuses against
the poor. Restore democracy. It is difficult to imagine
legitimate free democratic elections otherwise.

Bill Quigley is a professor at the Loyola University-New
Orleans School of Law. He is a volunteer lawyer for Pere
Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau
des Advocats Internationaux. He can be reached at


Maverick Perot Looks At Maze Investment

By Gareth Gordon

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

He's the Texan billionaire who twice ran for the White

Now Ross Perot, who made his millions in computers, wants
to be involved in the transformation of the government-
owned site of the former Maze prison.

The BBC has been told that representatives of Ross Perot's
property development group - which is chaired by his son
Ross Perot Jr - is one of a handful of international
developers who have been shown around the 360-acre site.

Tony Whitehead of the Strategic Investment Board, which is
driving the project for the government, says the group
specialises in developing old airfields like the former
Long Kesh site.

It is understood Mr Perot himself may be planning a flying
visit to the Maze in January.

Ross Perot is a former lieutenant in the US Navy who went
on to become one of modern America's greatest success
stories making a fortune in computers and earning the title
of "fastest, richest Texan" from Fortune magazine in 1968.

But it is in the sphere of politics that he is best known.

In the 1992 US presidential election, he became the most
successful third-party candidate in terms of the popular
vote since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, with a 19% share.

He was less successful in 1996, but once again received an
unusually high vote for a third-party candidate.

He is still a colourful figure, as much admired for his
business acumen as he is mocked for his eccentricities.

The children's television programme Sesame Street parodies
him with a character called H Ross Parrot.

If his company was to be involved in the Maze, it would be
another intriguing twist to what already has been a
fascinating plot.

'Notorious prison site'

The transformation of what was once Europe's most notorious
prison site into what one official has called "Irelands's
biggest building site" is an audacious plan.

It was once a scene of conflict, hunger strikes to the
death and at least one infamous prison escape. The
government envisages all that being replaced by what would
become a leisure paradise with hotels, bars, restaurants,
an art gallery; a showground and indoor arena; housing and
an industrial zone.

One of the infamous H Blocks would be re-born as a
"Conflict Transformation Centre" along with the hospital
wing where the ten republican hunger strikers died in the
early 1980s.

The latter part is controversial but so, increasingly, is
the building of an £85m 42,000-seater stadium for soccer,
rugby and GAA.

It has become the centre of a tug-of-war between the Maze
site and Belfast where politicians and some other civic
leaders still want the new national stadium to be built.

Already two alternative stadia have been mooted, but the
government says there is no "Plan B."

Unfortunately for them, the soccer and rugby authorities
remain to be convinced, and without their support, there
will be no Maze stadium.

And without the stadium, officials say there will be no
Maze development. The crunch is coming and soon.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/29 21:13:04 GMT


New Editor At Paper Appointed

Daily Ireland has appointed Colin O'Carroll as its new

Mr O'Carroll has been with the paper in the position of
deputy editor since January this year.

He is a highly experienced journalist in both the print
media and broadcasting.

Born in Belfast, he was educated in Australia, where he
worked in newspapers, radio and television.

Returning to Belfast in 1993, he has worked for The Irish
News, The Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Independent, the BBC
and the commercial radio stations Downtown Radio and Cool

Mr O'Carroll said he was looking forward to the challenge
of helping to run Ireland's youngest national daily paper.

"We've got a great young team of journalists who are
helping to build the newspaper.

"We're heading in the right direction and now just have to
continue the work of establishing Daily Ireland as a main
player in the marketplace and to take our message to a
wider audience.

"We are carrying the torch for nationalists and republicans
who want to see a united Ireland, with social justice for
all," he said.

Mr O'Carroll takes up his post immediately.


House Price Growth Accelerating

30/11/2005 - 11:12:42

House price growth has accelerated in the second half of
this year. Prices for first-time buyers are rising at a
much faster rate than for others.

The Permanent TSB/ESRI house price index shows that house
prices for first-time buyers rose by 10.8% in the first 10
months of this year, compared with an average of 6.8% for
all houses. The figure for second-time buyers was 6.1%. The
average price paid by a first-time buyer is now €245,341.

National house prices rose overall by 1.2% in October,
slightly faster than September's 1% rise.

The annual rate of growth moved up from 6.2% in September
to 7.2%.


Businessman May Sue Over Bad Weather Forecast

Fiona Gartland and Paddy Clancy

One of Donegal's best-known businessmen has said he is
considering suing Met Éireann over last week's forecast for
bad weather.

He claims the forecast put people off visiting the
northwest even though the bad weather did not materialise.

However, Met Éireann has defended its weather forecasts
last week, saying it had issued warnings out of concern for
public safety.

Seán McEniff, chairman of North West Tourism, claimed
yesterday that adverse forecasts led to the cancellation of
conferences and room bookings in a number of hotels in
Donegal, including in his son's hotel in Letterkenny,
despite fine weather.

He and his son are considering suing Met Éireann in a
private capacity.

Met Éireann said it had no choice but to issue a severe
weather warning in the interests of public safety.

Last Wednesday the forecasting division issued a 36-hour
warning for the northwest up to midnight on Friday. People
were advised to travel with caution. The country did
experience some snow and high winds and there were some
road closures, but Donegal was not badly affected.

Michael Walsh, head of Met Éireann's general forecasting
division, said the wind alone was a matter for concern.

"We issued a warning for very strong winds and snow
showers, and there were strong winds on the north coast and
there were snow showers. We issue severe weather warnings
in the interests of public safety. That is our first

He said they were satisfied with last week's forecast,
explaining that it was not possible to give the kind of
precision and detail that people perceive as being

"Even the US had problems with forecasting hurricanes and
they have some of the most sophisticated equipment in the

However, Mr McEniff claimed that Met Éireann's forecasts
showed it had no respect for the northwest.

"This carry-on is not on," he said. "We fight hard to get a
conference, and then you lose it because of wrong
information. This is not acceptable in the present day.
It's very, very unfair to Co Donegal."

Mr McEniff, who is also a member of Donegal County Council,
said the issue of legal action for business lost by the
county as a result of the "inaccurate" forecasts would be
down for debate at the next council meeting on December

© The Irish Times


Irish Echo To Go On Sale In Ireland

The USA's top selling Irish American newspaper, the Irish
Echo, goes on sale in Ireland for the first time tomorrow.

The decision was made to cater for thousands of Irish
people who have returned from the States.

The paper is printed in Belfast and will be distributed in
all 32 counties.

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