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November 10, 2005

Spicer Fails To Meet McBride

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 11/09/05 Spicer Fails To Meet Jean McBride
IT 11/09/05 US Seeks Backing For Sinn Féin Stance
BT 11/09/05 IRA Activists To Be Pardoned In Republic
BT 11/09/05 Double Standards Over Cop Killers
IN 11/09/05 Blair’s Defeat Over 90-Day Terror Legislation
SF 11/09/05 SF Briefs On Measures Resolve Issue Of OTRs
BB 11/09/05 Licence Plan For Fugitive Cases
DI 11/09/05 'Truth Process' Call From Relatives
BT 11/09/05 Empey Rounds On Blair Over On-The-Runs
BT 11/09/05 Bloody Sunday Brother Hits Out At Bill
BT 11/09/05 Sister Of Army Victim Speaks Out
BT 11/09/05 Federation Slams Causing RUC Widows Distress
BB 11/09/05 Blair Faces 'Bumpy Ride' Over Fugitive Plan
DI 11/09/05 Amnesty Will Come When Ministers Face Dirty War
DI 11/09/05 Everybodys A Republican At SF Centenary
DI 11/09/05 Political Motives Driving PSNI Agenda
DI 11/09/05 UDA 'To Purge Shoukri'
DI 11/09/05 de Brún: Funds Request Needed
IO 11/09/05 Family Of Victim Meeting US Ambassador Today
BT 11/09/05 Hoax Bomb Brings Derry To A Standstill
IO 11/09/05 Urged To Drop Charges Against Anti-War Actvists
DI 11/09/05 Speaking Out On Society's Neglect
DI 11/09/05 Croker To Host Lectures On 1920 Bloody Sunday
MN 11/09/05 Irish & Black Experiences: Finding Parallels
PL 11/09/05 Flatley Brings Production To Mellon Arena
IT 11/09/05 Tourism Vital To West, Says Study


No Show After Mum Vows To Confront Ex-Officer

Former British army officer Tim Spicer who continues to
defend two soldiers under his command convicted of the
murder of north Belfast teenager Peter McBride has failed
to turn up to a conference after Peter's mother Jean said
she would confront him

Connla Young

A former British Army officer pulled out of a conference
in England after the mother of a Belfast teenager shot dead
by British soldiers threatened to confront him about her
son's death.

Former Scots Guards officer Tim Spicer pulled out of a
London conference organised by the Royal United Services
Institute just days before he was due to speak to a
gathering of former military officers and security
specialists at the organisation's Whitehall headquarters.

Mr Spicer was a lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards when
Guardsmen James Fisher and Mark Wright gunned down Peter
McBride in September 1992.

The 18-year-old was murdered just metres from the door of
his New Lodge home minutes after being stopped and searched
by members of the Scots Guard patrol.

Since his murder, Mr Spicer has continued to peddle a
discredited version of events relating to the incident.

In recent years, the Belfast teenager's mother Jean has
tried to confront Mr Spicer on several occasions without
success. Mr Spicer has pulled out of previous speaking
events after Mrs McBride signalled her intention to attend.

Mrs McBride had planned to attend yesterday's military
conference. She said she was pleased to learn that Mr
Spicer had pulled out of appearing at the conference, which
was partly sponsored by his company Aegis Specialist Risk

"He didn't have the courage of his convictions. He has
slandered Peter and the people of New Lodge by suggesting
they spirited away a phantom explosive device and I am
going to remain a thorn in his side," she said.

Paul O'Connor, of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry, along
with a number of colleagues, held a short protest at the
conference venue yesterday.

"It's interesting that Spicer does not feel able to attend
a conference that his own company co-sponsored," he said.

A spokesperson for the Royal United Services Institute said
Mr Spicer had withdrawn from the conference because of
"business commitments".

Mr Spicer was not available for comment yesterday.

Both Mark Wright and James Fisher were convicted of murder
and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1998, both men were released from prison early and
readmitted to the British Army amid a storm of public


US Seeks Backing For Sinn Féin Stance

Denis Staunton in New York

The US administration has moved to shore up support among
Irish Americans for its Northern Ireland policy following
this week's decision to deny Sinn Féin president Gerry
Adams permission to raise funds in the country.

US special envoy for Northern Ireland Mitchell Reiss
appealed to prominent Irish-American political and business
figures to work with the administration in promoting the
peace process.

"I know that American influence will be immeasurably
greater if the administration has the support of Irish
America," he said. Mr Reiss was speaking in New York at a
dinner for the William J Flynn Initiative for peace awards,
which were given to Mr Adams and former New York governor
Hugh Carey.

Washington gave Mr Adams a visa to travel to the US this
week but he cancelled the trip because of the fundraising

Mr Reiss, who accepted a last-minute invitation to address
the dinner, praised Mr Adams as "a great leader" and
promised to work closely with him.

"I wish Gerry had decided to come this evening . . .
because we still have important work to do . . . In the
coming weeks and months, I'll continue to work with Sinn
Féin and other political parties," he said. In a letter to
Mr Flynn, Mr Adams said the ban had placed him in an
"invidious position" that made it impossible for him to
attend the awards ceremony.

Mr Flynn, who played a key role in securing Mr Adams's
first visa to visit the US in 1994, made clear his
disapproval of the ban.

"I understand his inability to be here, the conflict we
managed to create for him, the dilemma we placed him in,"
Mr Flynn said.

The US administration is impatient with Sinn Féin's refusal
to endorse the Police Service of Northern Ireland and is
concerned that, after the standing down of the IRA,
Catholic neighbourhoods could become prey to dissident
Republicans and criminal gangs.

Sinn Féin says it cannot support the PSNI until it is
brought under the democratic control of locally-elected
politicians in the North.

Mr Flynn said that Sinn Féin and the British government
agreed on the need for "a proper policing service" in the

"We have got to give this new police force in Northern
Ireland a chance. But it must be run by a democratic
government," he said.

Mr Carey said he was disappointed that Mr Adams did not
attend the dinner because he was looking forward to hearing
the Sinn Féin leader declare: "The war is over."

© The Irish Times


IRA Activists To Be Pardoned In Republic

By Tom Brady
10 November 2005

A handful of Provisional IRA activists are expected to be
granted a presidential pardon in the Republic as part of
the measures being introduced by the Irish and British
governments for "on the run" terrorists.

The Irish Government has opted for a straightforward pardon
paramilitaries who qualify - in contrast to the complex
legislation being used in Northern Ireland.

It is estimated that less than 10 activists will qualify
for the pardon.

They are all wanted by the gardai in connection with
terrorist crimes carried out before the Good Friday
agreement in April 1998.

But Justice Minister Michael McDowell last night confirmed
that the "amnesty" group will not include two prime
suspects for the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in June

Fingerprint evidence would have formed a key part of the
state case against the two men - a veteran republican who
had been living in Co Clare but moved to Spain after the
shooting and a Cork man now living in South America.

Gardai have also been anxious to interview a man they
believe sanctioned the abortive Adare robbery which led to
the McCabe murder.

He had been living in Tallaght but fled to Spain after
being demoted from his post as officer commanding the
Provisional IRA in Dublin.

Mr McDowell said last night: "It is the clearly stated
position of the Government that those already convicted of
offences related to the cowardly killing of Garda Jerry
McCabe and the wounding of Garda Ben O'Sullivan will not
benefit from early release.

"Equally, arrangements being proposed in this jurisdiction
for dealing with what have become known as the on-the-runs
will not apply to persons in respect of these offences," he

Qualifying persons must apply to an eligibility body which
is being set up to examine their applications. The body
will then make recommendations on a pardon to President
Mary McAleese.

The British government yesterday introduced its
legislation, which will mean that activists on the run from
the authorities in Northern Ireland can apply for a
certificate guaranteeing them they can return there without
fear of being arrested or jailed for their offence.

A special tribunal with the same powers as a non-jury crown
court will be established to consider the evidence against
them and they will not be forced to appear.

If convicted, they will be allowed to remain free on

The group is understood to include a man alleged to have
been responsible for the Enniskillen bomb blast and another
accused of murdering three police officers.

The suspected killer of an 11-year-old boy in an explosion
is also on the list, while the highest-profile republican
is Sinn Fein lobbyist Rita O'Hare, who was active in the
United States during the summer, explaining the IRA


Double Standards Over Cop Killers

By Chris Thornton
10 November 2005

The Irish government confirmed last night that it will
continue to extol different treatment for cop killers North
and South of the border.

While backing OTR legislation that could see police killers
return to Northern Ireland without going to jail, Dublin
has refused to extend the same provision to men suspected
of killing Garda Jerry McCabe.

Dublin is preparing to bring forward proposals that would
see presidential pardons handed to people suspected of
paramilitary crimes in the Republic.

But Justice Minister Michael McDowell confirmed that the
two republicans wanted over the McCabe killing will not be
eligible for the pardons.

Garda McCabe and his police partner, Ben Sullivan, were
shot by IRA members carrying out a robbery in Co Limerick
in 1996.

Five men convicted of the killing were already refused the
early release that applied to other IRA members.


Blair Suffers Defeat Over 90-Day Terror Legislation

By Staff Reporter

Tony Blair yesterday suffered his first House of Commons defeat since he came to power as MPs snubbed his proposals for police to be allowed to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

The House of Commons instead voted for a much shorter 28-day period, a figure Mr Blair had made clear he considered inadequate for the country’s security needs.

He reacted angrily to the defeat, suggesting that MPs, including a significant number of Labour rebels, had behaved in a “deeply irresponsible” manner.

Mr Blair said that voters would find it “very odd” that MPs had rejected the 90-day proposal, which was strongly backed by senior police officers.

Northern Ireland’s top police officer last night voiced his disappointment at the government’s defeat.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said in some cases police needed “substantially longer” than 14 days if they were to save lives.

Sir Hugh said the new breed of international terrorist cases were often highly complex and difficult to crack.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons’ Northern Ireland Committee he said: “There will be cases, I fear, where we will need substantially longer than 14 days to deal properly with those cases if we are to carry out our duty of preserving life.

“There will be cases, I fear, where 14 days or 28 days are simply insufficient.”

Sir Hugh said in some cases interim charges could be used. But he said that should not be relied upon as a tactic.

He said: “I am disappointed. I do think we need to have a comprehensive system, properly underpinned by judicial authorities, that gives us that opportunity [the 90-day detention] in extremis.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Corrigan, of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, said: “There has been much talk today of numbers – 14, 28 or 90 – but precious little talk of principles.

“Today is a sad day when we see the UK’s political parties bartering over peoples liberties.”

In a serious blow to the Prime Minister’s authority, some 49 Labour MPs voted against the proposal as the government went down to a 31-vote defeat over its flagship Terrorism Bill.

The Commons later voted by a majority of 33 to back the much shorter 28-day detention period.

Mr Blair said: “I have no doubt where the country is on this. The country will think that Parliament has behaved in a deeply irresponsible way today.”

Earlier Conservative leader Michael Howard said Mr Blair's authority had “diminished almost to vanishing point” as a result of the defeat and urged him to consider resigning.

A glum defence secretary John Reid last night described the defeat as “a loss for the fight against terrorism”, while other MPs wondered whether Mr Blair could survive the blow.

One MP said that Mr Blair had now “fallen off the high wire”, while others said his authority had now declined or disappeared altogether.

Mr Reid said: “The terrorist legislation goes through but without that piece of it which we and the country thought right. It was defeated by a combination of the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats and a small number of other MPs.

“It is a big loss for the country, a loss for the fight against terrorism, a loss for the police and a loss for the government. We were right to do what we did, which was to support the police. We have done that.”


Sinn Féin Briefs Mps As Irish And British Governments Bring
Forward Measures To Resolve The Issue Of Otrs

Published: 9 November, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy is in
Westminster today briefing MPs from various parties as the
Irish and British governments bring forward measures to
resolve the issue of On The Runs

Speaking from Westminster Mr Murphy said:

"The British and Irish governments publicly recognised some
years ago that an anomaly had arisen with the Good Friday
Agreement prisoner release scheme regarding people
displaced by the conflict who wished to return home. After

the Weston Park talks in 2001 the British and Irish
governments agreed to bring forward the necessary
arrangements in each jurisdiction to the resolve this

"The legislation published today by the British government
and the announcement by the Irish government should

resolve the cases of a very small number of people who wish
to return home.

"In any conflict resolution process there are from time to
time issues like this which quite clearly need to be
tackled and addressed in a sensible fashion if we are to
build confidence in the future.

"I took the opportunity while here in Westminster to brief
a wide section of MPs from various parties on the
importance for the wider conflict resolution process in
resolving as speedily as possible and with minimal further
confusion this issue in the time ahead." ENDS


Licence Plan For Fugitive Cases

Legislation allowing fugitives from Northern Ireland to
return home has been published.

The proposals cover up to 150 people wanted for crimes
committed before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

They would have their cases heard by a special tribunal,
and if found guilty would be freed on licence without
having to go to jail.

Unionists and terrorist victims have already expressed
their outrage at this law, calling it an effective amnesty.

The DUP brought relatives of terrorism victims to
Westminster to lobby against the scheme.

Between 40 and 150 fugitives could benefit from the scheme,
including the former Sinn Fein publicity director Rita
O'Hare and the IRA Maze escapee Pol Brennan.

The government and Sinn Fein argue that it clears up "an
anomaly" left by the release of those already in jail after
the Good Friday Agreement.

The law sets up a two stage process. First someone who will
be known as the certification officer will decide if
someone is eligible for the scheme.

This could be a paramilitary on-the-run, someone living in
Northern Ireland who is charged with an offence before 1998
or a member of the security forces accused of an offence
committed when they were combating terrorism.

The case would then go to a special tribunal, consisting of
a retired judge sitting without a jury. The tribunal would
have all the normal powers of the Crown court but accused
would not have to appear for their trial.

If found guilty they would get a criminal record but would
be freed on licence. They would have to provide
fingerprints and DNA samples to be granted their licence.

The scheme will be temporary but a precise cut off period
is not specified in the bill - instead its expiry is linked
to the lifetime of the chief constable's historic cases
review team, which is looking at unsolved murders during
the Troubles.

The measures are contained in the Northern Ireland Offences
Bill which is expected to get a rough ride as it makes its
way through parliament.

In a statement, NIO minister David Hanson said: "Sometimes
it is necessary to make difficult decisions in the
interests of entrenching the benefits of peace. This is one
such occasion.

"We want to close the door on Northern Ireland's past of
violence and paramilitarism, and this legislation is one
step in that effort."

Aileen Quinton, who lost her mother Alberta in the 1987
Enniskillen bombing, said the families wanted justice.

She is in London with other victims' relatives to lobby
against the legislation.

"Some things are so important that you just have to do
them," she said.

"We are not looking for vengeance, we are not looking for
sympathy, we are looking for justice and justice has to be
the bedrock of any kind of peaceful or decent society."

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said serving and former
members of the security forces would be unhappy at being
included in the bill.

"I do not anticipate it will be a popular piece of
legislation," he told the Northern Ireland Affairs Select
Committee at the House of Commons.

"Many of my officers will feel this is not right. I know
many soldiers will feel this is not right.

"We need to absolutely clear that the overwhelming majority
of police officers and soldiers did nothing unlawful
throughout the Troubles."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan told the Commons the proposals
represented "collusion on the past" by Sinn Fein and the

He asked the prime minister if he accepted "that victims,
including victims of state collusion, will not only be
deprived of justice, they will be denied the truth".

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the on-the-run proposal was
"ill thought-out, completely unnecessary and an insult to
the victims of terrorism".

"The prime minister is guilty of sending out completely
mixed messages," he said.

"On the one hand he is proposing an effective amnesty for
some of the most barbaric terrorists in this part of the
UK, on the other he proposes tough new laws for terrorists
and terrorist related activity on the mainland."

'Grotesque legislation'

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said it was "almost
impossible" to find the words to describe the "disgust and
revulsion that the vast majority of people in Northern
Ireland of all political persuasion will have" at the

"This abuse of the British justice system is an affront to
all innocent victims of terrorist violence," he said.

Alliance leader David Ford accused the government of
"coming down against the rule of law" in Northern Ireland.

"In drawing up this grotesque legislation, the government
has completely failed to listen to the law-abiding citizens
of Northern Ireland on this issue.

"This is a direct follow-on from a side deal struck between
the prime minister and Sinn Fein four years ago, completely
ignoring the other interested parties, not least the

However, Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness said many people
had been on-the-run since internment more than 30 years

He said while many people had suffered pain, the
legislation was "a sensible measure".

"What is the sense of people being pursued whenever
everybody knows that as a result of the releases under the
Good Friday Agreement they are not going to spend one day
in prison."

On Tuesday, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said
security force members should receive equal treatment.

He said those in the services who found themselves charged
with crimes committed before 1998 should not be
discriminated against compared to paramilitaries.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/09 22:26:39 GMT


'Truth Process' Call From Relatives

Jarlath Kearney

Relatives of people killed by state forces in the North
last night called for new British government legislation on
on-the-runs to be linked to a wider "truth process".

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice said: "Any foregoing
of prosecutions should be linked with a more formal truth

He was speaking to Daily Ireland after it had emerged last
night that new legislation would provide for de facto
amnesty in cases where people have been "on the run".

The move would mean that people who are sought in relation
to specific offences could return to the North.

However, reports suggested that the legislation would also
permit state forces to apply for similar amnesty in
relation to past conduct.

"What we're saying is that amnesty shouldn't mean amnesia
about the past," Mr Thompson said.

"We don't just need a piece of legislation which affects
state forces as well as other combatants, or the
appointment of a victims commissioner as a sop to the DUP.

"We need a much more cohesive and constructive approach to
dealing with all the victims of the conflict in an
inclusive way, and that means more generosity and less

"The other important fact to remember is that, for 35
years, we were told there was clear water and a distinction
between the actions of the security forces and the actions
of illegal organisations, yet it now appears that they will
both be treated equally under the same legislation."

Mr Thompson insisted that "truth and accountability need to
be addressed". He said there was a need for a truth
recovery process that would deal with "all of the
outstanding issues as an integral part of a conflict-
resolution process, and that should apply across the


Empey Rounds On Blair Over On-The-Runs

By Noel McAdam
10 November 2005

Prime Minister Tony Blair was today being told people in
Northern Ireland had been "taken aback" by the inclusion of
the police 'cold cases review' in the apparent amnesty
scheme for On-The-Runs.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey was also due to tell
the Prime Minister this afternoon: "If you wanted to
inflame, insult and agitate people just a few days before
Remembrance Sunday, you couldn't have chosen a better way
to go about it."

Sir Reg said he would also urge Mr Blair to reconsider the
inclusion of the 'cold cases' review arising from the
Troubles and to consult more widely with victims' groups.

The East Belfast Assembly member said the timing of the
legislation alongside the Government's demand to be able to
detain terrorist suspects for up to 90 days - defeated in
the House of Commons - was "grotesque".

"I think people have been opposed to the scheme for the On-
The-Runs from the start but they were taken aback by the
fact that the element of the cold cases review is so

The meeting in Downing Street came after Sir Reg lead a
party delegation to meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin

He said that Mr Ahern was told that his good intentions
were being hampered by the "endless stream of concessions"
to republicans "causing outrage in the unionist community."

The DUP is also to meet Security Minister David Hanson in
the next few days to underline its concerns over the
Government's apparent "amnesty" for On-the-Runs and others.

Strangford DUP MP Iris Robinson said: "The Government is
under no illusion about our attitude to the proposed
amnesty legislation and the fact that law and order in the
province is now being completely compromised as a result of
the continued demands of republicans on the issue of

Sinn Fein, however, which briefed MPs at Westminster
yesterday as the legislation was published, said the scheme
was necessary to build confidence in the future.


Brother Hits Out At Bill

By Sarah Brett
10 November 2005

Cleaning the slate for security services accused of
Troubles crimes is a scandal, the brother of a man shot
dead on Bloody Sunday said today.

John Kelly was speaking as the full impact of the proposed
Northern Ireland Offences Bill kicked in.

The legislation will cover anyone against whom the police
have evidence connected with the Troubles, up to the
signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.

This includes all cases involving soldiers and police
officers as well as paramilitaries currently being examined
in the PSNI's review of historic cases.

On Tuesday, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said
security force members should receive equal treatment to

John Kelly's 17-year-old brother Michael was killed at a
rubble barricade in the Bogside when paratroopers turned on
civil rights marchers on January 30 1972, killing 13

"This legislation lays the ground for all future inquiries
like Bloody Sunday," he said.

"It will mean that if any


Sister Of Army Victim Speaks Out

By Chris Thornton
10 November 2005

A woman whose teenage brother was killed by a soldier says
the 'on-the-run' legislation does not change things for
people whose loved ones were killed by security forces -
because they have already had to live with a "legacy of

But Marie Duffy said it should allow people to come forward
and tell the truth about what they did in the Troubles -
and she called on the authorities to start that process.

Her 13-year-old brother, Brian Stewart, was killed when he
was shot in the face with a plastic bullet in 1976 in Turf
Lodge, west Belfast. Soldiers claimed he was rioting, but
residents said there was no unrest at the time.

Mrs Duffy said a "sham investigation" was conducted into
her brother's death.

"Victims of the British Army and the RUC have had to also
endure the legacy of impunity following the killing of
their loved ones," she said.

She said the new legislation "should pave the way for
facilitating disclosure and telling the truth in the
knowledge that prosecutions will not now arise".

And Mrs Duffy added: "It must act as an incentive for the
truth from all actors to the conflict."


Federation Slams Minister For Causing RUC Widows Further

By Chris Thornton
10 November 2005

Security Minister Shaun Woodward was slammed by police
representatives for causing extra distress to RUC widows
with yesterday's OTR Bill.

And they accused the Government of insulting officers by
extending the scheme to include members of the security

The NIO said Secretary of State Peter Hain is willing to
meet the widows tonight to go over the legislation with

The Police Federation said anyone who committed crimes
should be brought before courts and made to "serve
appropriate sentences".

Federation secretary Terry Spence yesterday wrote a letter
to Mr Woodward, saying the Minister had promised to explain
the Bill to RUC widows.

Mr Spence said he was "dismayed" that Mr Woodward only made
a "late night phone call" to Wilma Carson, head of the RUC
Widows' Association. He said the call had "caused distress
among the widows over the perfunctory manner in how their
feelings are being addressed".

Mr Spence added that the legislation is "totally and
absolutely opposed" by the Federation because it will only
give terrorists "a rubber stamp sentence without fear of

"We know these views are shared by the RUC GC Widows'
Association and the dependants of police officers," he

"This can only be a political decision by the Government
and one which we as police officers find totally
distasteful and morally reprehensible."

Mr Spence added: "Furthermore, the Federation objects
strongly to any suggestion that the application of the new
legislation to police officers and security force personnel
is a sustainable quid pro quo in relation to the IRA and
other paramilitary terrorists.

"In the Federation's view, the rule of law is absolute and
that police officers, security force personnel, terrorists
and other criminals who have committed crimes and acts of
terrorism should be brought before the courts and if
convicted, serve appropriate sentences.

"Your inclusion of police officers and indeed military
personnel within this sphere of justification for this
legislation is totally unacceptable."

Last night the NIO said: "We recognise the importance and
highly sensitive issues this legislation has for RUC widows
and other groups, and that is why Shaun Woodward contacted
them last night. The Secretary of State had already offered
to meet them Thursday evening in order to go through the
legislation in detail with them."


Whether they've fled from justice, are awaiting trial or
simply carried out a paramilitary crime, they won't be
doing time. Chris Thornton looks at the kind of people
who've been guaranteed their freedom by yesterday's OTR

RITA O'HARE was officially a wanted woman for 34 years -
although for most of that time she has lived openly in the
Dublin area.

The 61-year-old Belfast woman was arrested in October 1971,
after she was wounded in the head, back and pelvis during a
gun battle with British soldiers in Andersonstown.

She was charged with attempting to murder Warrant Officer
Fraser Paton, but was released on bail after the lawyer
said her wounds would make "a cripple for the rest of her
life". Her mobility did not fail for long - within a month
she fled over the border.

An attempt to extradite her was turned down by the Irish
High Court, even though she admitted the shooting in a
deposition. She is currently Sinn Féin's US representative.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT If the bill passes, she will
automatically get a certificate allowing her to make an
immediate return to Northern Ireland. The certificate will
prevent police from arresting or questioning her about the
shooting or her escape. Since police already have evidence
against her, a case could be mounted before the new Special
Tribunal, but she would not have to attend and would be
freed on licence if found guilty of the attack.

MICHAEL ROGAN (45) is awaiting trial for the 1996 bombing
of Thiepval barracks and is also accused of being an IRA

Rogan allegedly collected information on police and
soldiers while working for BUPA during the first phase of
the IRA ceasefire. And when that ceasefire broke down, he
is alleged to have helped acquire one of the Volvo cars
used in the bombings. Warrant Officer James Bradwell died
in the blasts.

Rogan jumped bail after being accused of the bombings. He
had been living in the Republic, but was arrested by
Spanish police last year and extradited back to Northern
Ireland. He was then charged with spying offences, since
the alleged crimes only came to light when police turned
over a wider spy ring after he fled.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT If the bill passes before he comes to
trial, Rogan will immediately receive a certificate that
takes his case out of the Crown Court and hands it over to
the new Special Tribunal. The case would probably proceed
there, since prosecutors have been preparing for a trial,
but Rogan would not have to attend and would not serve any
time in jail if found guilty. If he is convicted by the
time the new bill passes, he will immediately receive a
certificate and will be freed.

JOHNNY ADAIR was named in court in 1995 as the killer of
Shankill man Noel Cardwell. Cardwell, who was said to have
the mind of a 12-year-old, was shot in the head two years
earlier in an empty flat off Boundary Way.

The UDA claimed he was an informer, but that was widely
rejected - it seemed more likely that he was killed as the
result of a drunken episode in a loyalist shebeen near the

Adair was not charged with the killing because he was named
by another convicted loyalist.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT At present, nothing - Adair is not being
actively pursued over the killing. But if new evidence
turned up tying him to the murder, police would be entitled
to arrest and charge him.

However, once charged he would be freed and the case would
fall into the remit of the new Special Prosecutor, who
would decide whether the case should go to the Special
Tribunal. The case could be dropped, but if it was pursued,
Adair would not be in line to serve time.


Blair Faces 'Bumpy Ride' Over Fugitive Plan

By Gareth Gordon
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

To the government, the Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill
promises an end to one of the most contentious unresolved
issues of the Troubles - what to do about terrorist
suspects on-the-run?

To many others - chiefly the victims who may now see those
who murdered or maimed their loved ones allowed to return
home without serving a single day in prison - it looks and
feels like an amnesty.

Even someone convicted of a crime as heinous as, for
example, the Enniskillen bombing of 1987, in which 11
innocent people died, will not have to spend a single day
in prison.

But while for some justice itself is now in the dock - even
though those suspected of terrorist crimes won't be joining
it - the question of the so-called "OTRs" won't ultimately
hinder the restoration of a Stormont Assembly in the

There will undoubtedly be amendments sought to this most
controversial piece of legislation, particularly by those
who want the system "time limited".

But while the government faces a bumpy ride - especially in
the House of Lords - opponents can only realistically hope
to slow its introduction, not stop it.

For all the opposition from unionists, SDLP, Alliance, the
Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the issue has been
dwarfed nationally by government attempts - and subsequent
failure - to introduce powers to allow police in Britain to
hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

Once again the government is accused of being tough on
terror elsewhere but pandering to it in Northern Ireland.

But it is a charge ministers have faced before.

And the fact that the bill covers misdemeanours by security
force personnel means the government also avoids the
potential embarrassment of policemen or soldiers convicted
of offences ever being jailed.

The government promised to allow paramilitary fugitives
from justice to return home back in April 2003 during talks
with Sinn Fein.

But it held the introduction of the move back until the IRA
called off its campaign and disarmed.

Those covered by the legislation - and just how many there
are is open to doubt - can now apply to a certification

The resulting certificate will grant them exemption from
arrest, questioning and being remanded in custody while
they wait for their cases to be heard by a retired judge at
what is called a special tribunal.

Officials say it will have all the powers and status of a
Crown Court. Except one - the power to send someone to

Freed on licence

And while there will be a prosecutor, journalists to cover
the proceedings, and members of the public including,
perhaps, victims in the public gallery, there need not be
any defendants for them to "eyeball".

Defendants will not have to attend.

If convicted, they will be sentenced, but immediately freed
on licence - provided they comply with a series of

But no-one will be spending even an hour in jail.

How many such tribunals will be held no-one knows. Nor do
we know how much this system of justice without "end
product" will cost.

We do know that £30m has been set aside already to allow
the police to investigate some of the 1,800 killings which
remain unsolved over the 30 years of the Troubles.

And while the time period covered by the OTR legislation
will not be indefinite, the secretary of state will not
bring it to an end until the cold case review is over - in
case it results in any fresh convictions.

Quite when that will be no-one knows.

By then the OTRs will be home or free to return home; the
politicians will have said their piece; and many victims
will feel that justice has failed them again; but the
political face of Northern Ireland could be very different.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/09 18:29:59 GMT


Opin: Morrison - A Total Amnesty Will Only Come When
British Ministers Face Implication In The Dirty War

Danny Morrison

In April 2003 the British and Irish governments published
an annex to their Joint Declaration which was to address
the anomaly of people 'on the run' (OTRs) who cannot return
to either jurisdiction for fear of prosecution for a
political offence. Under the Belfast Agreement provision
had already been made for the early release of political
prisoners who belonged to organisations which were
observing ceasefires.

Most if not all of those who are 'on the run' are
republicans – for obvious reasons. No RUC officer had to go
on the run for torturing and abusing those in custody. No
RUC officer had to go on the run for shooting unarmed
civilians. No British soldier had to go on the run for
massacring civil rights marchers or killing kids with
plastic bullets. The forces of the state were protected and
often given anonymity. The British Attorney General
protected them with Public Interest Immunity Certificates
to curtail investigations and inquiries. The degree of
systematic cover-up is immense: for example, Sir John
Stevens could only publish 17 pages out of his 3,000 page
report on collusion.

The few soldiers or policemen who did face court were
acquitted. There were exceptions and the few who were
convicted, like Wright and Fisher, the murderers of Peter
McBride, served derisory sentences and were then allowed
back into the British Army.

Unionist leaders throughout the conflict supported
repression, the illegal use of state violence, and acted as
cheerleaders and apologists for those who tortured, abused
and killed, and made excuses for loyalist paramilitary
violence when they weren't standing shoulder-to-shoulder
beside them.

Unionist leaders are frauds and hypocrites, attempting to
occupy a notional moral high ground.

When they speak about the sense of outrage their community
experienced when they saw republican prisoners, who were
responsible for attacks on the RUC and British Army, being
given early release it was a sense of outrage which the
nationalist community never experienced. As I said, those
in the RUC and British Army who killed our loved ones never
went to jail in the first place.

'On the runs' fled the North for a variety of reasons. Some
had been injured in conflict-related incidents. Some had
been beaten in custody and feared a repetition. Some
skipped bail because of the corruption in the courts and
the many miscarriages of justice. Some fled because of the
work of informers.

The Dublin government did all it could to apprehend,
prosecute or extradite republican activists. A few people –
such as Rita O'Hare and Owen Carron – before the few
conscientious judges there were, eventually escaped
extradition using the political exception clause or that
they faced reprisal by state forces on their return. Others
– like Gerry Tuite who escaped from Brixton Prison, and a
number of the republicans who escaped from Crumlin Road
Jail in June 1981 – were convicted under the Criminal Law
Jurisdiction Act (CLJA) and served lengthy sentences in the

That many of those currently 'on the run' have not been
pursued under the CLJA suggests that there is little or no
evidence against them, yet they still fear malicious
prosecution should they return to the North. A lot of them
have settled down in the 26 counties, made homes, reared

Next week the British government is expected to publish
legislation dealing with OTRs, and outlining a process by
which republicans can return or visit their former homes in
the North, as it promised within the context of 'Acts of
Completion' by the IRA.

(Meanwhile, the Dublin government has set a very bad
precedent and reneged on its 2003 commitments. It has
stated that those suspected of involvement in the killing
of Garda Jerry McCabe will not qualify under the OTR
scheme, despite the fact that the courts have declared them
as qualifying prisoners under the early release scheme that
came out of the Belfast Agreement.)

The British legislation is expected to be based on the
somewhat convoluted procedure outlined in the April 2003
Annex on OTRs. Unionists have been aware of these proposals
for years. Indeed, the DUP when they were allegedly
prepared to go into government with Sinn Féin last year
knew that the agreement included a commitment to implement
these proposals.

Now, however, the proposals are seen by unionists as
another opportunity to delay political change and frame the
conflict as one in which they exclusively were the victims.
Thus republicans - more specifically, the OTRs who are the
only people left to pick on - must show remorse and

In the scenario outlined in the 2003 proposals, applicants
would apply to an Eligibility Body, which would have to
satisfy itself that the person was a supporter of the peace
process. Once someone had been declared eligible, he or she
would be granted a certificate to show that they were free
to return to the North without risk of arrest for
questioning or charge.

Once a certificate had been granted, the matter would be
passed to a non-jury Special Judicial Tribunal consisting
of one senior judge. The Public Prosecution Service would
be able to bring charges against any person whom the
Eligibility Commission had declared eligible. The applicant
would not be required to be present at the trial. He or she
would be able to plead not guilty and could decide to
instruct a defence to be mounted. The Special Judicial
Tribunal would not have the power to remand in custody. In
the event of conviction, the Special Judicial Tribunal
would pass sentence, but the person convicted would
immediately qualify for the early release scheme.

(It is all a bit of an expensive and time-wasting farce and
with a bit of imagination could have been resolved more
simply. It also undermines what is called 'the cold case
review' of up to 1,800 unsolved killings throughout the
conflict on which the British government is devoting £30
million. That review, even with the benefit of applying
modern forensic methods to old cases, is unlikely to
produce much.)

Unionists have protested at the proposed legislation and
seek to include confessions and 'a public acknowledgement
of guilt' from OTR applicants as a precondition for
eligibility. They are recruiting Tory MPs, Labour Party
right-wingers and the Liberal Democrats to their cause,
some of whom don't give a damn about the effect reneging on
a deal could have on the peace process and only see it as
another opportunity for attacking Tony Blair who was
humiliated in last week's close vote in the House of
Commons on the new terrorism bill.

However, opposition might also suit the British government.

Despite the many obstacles placed in their way, the
campaigns and some of the inquiries for the truth about
state violence have revealed the black nature of Britain's
dirty war and its collusion in the loyalist assassination

The only ones who can implicate British ministers in the
dirty war are those in the intelligence services who
reported to them. Were they ever to face the prospects of
prosecution they would be sure to threaten to bring down
with them their political masters. It is then that the
British government will issue a comprehensive amnesty.

Not out of a sense of justice. Not for peace,
reconciliation or as part of conflict resolution, but to
ensure that it has got away with murder.

Danny Morrison's play, The Wrong Man, is playing at the
Roddy McCorley Club in West Belfast tonight and finishes
tomorrow, Thursday. Doors open at 7.15pm, for 8pm start.


Everybody Wants To Be Republican As Sinn Fein Celebrates

Mary Lou McDonald

One hundred years old, Sinn Féin celebrated our centenary
year with a birthday bash in the City West Hotel, Co Dublin
on Saturday evening last. It was an occasion to re-evaluate
republicanism past, present and future. The keynote address
by Party President Gerry Adams focused on the journey which
Irish republicans have taken and the emergence of a strong
confident nationalist people prepared to reach out the hand
of friendship and reconciliation to unionists and others.

It certainly seems that everyone wants to be an Irish
Republican these days. Fianna Fail, the SDLP and even Fine
Gael want to get it in on the act lately. This is a welcome
development. The fact that not one other party in the Dail
could bring themselves to support the Sinn Féin motion on
Irish Reunification last week is disappointing.

The historic debate was an opportunity for a consensus to
be reached on the shape and form which a new and agreed
Ireland will take. What is required is more than an
aspiration for Irish unity, but the real practical planning
for how the island can be shared post partition. The other
parties need to move beyond the rhetoric and sit down with
all of those interested in bringing this about. That
planning must start immediately and Sinn Féin is prepared
to share in that workload.

Part of the process of building our new Ireland is through
the recognition of and respect for diversity in Ireland.

In this the Anti-Racist Workplace Week it is important to
remember that we all bear a responsibility for the
treatment of our ethnic minority communities. It is not so
long ago that Irish emigrants were greeted with 'No Irish
Need Apply' when they arrived in Britain in the 1950s and

It is ironic that this initiative comes as Irish Ferries
plans to make five hundred Irish workers redundant,
replacing them with low paid third country nationals who
are expected to work unacceptably long hours.

One of the challenges for the new Ireland is how well we
treat and care for the most vulnerable in society,
particularly our elderly, the infirm, our new communities
and of course our children.

I witnessed at first hand how our children should be
cherished when I travelled to Co Armagh to see the
invaluable work being undertaken at the Ceara School in

Earlier this year, I had hosted an all-Ireland delegation
of parents and professionals on a visit to the European
Parliament in relation to increasing awareness around
autism. The visit was an opportunity to see for myself the
work which is being done.

My tour of the school was a wonderful experience and both
the teachers and children were an absolute credit to the
school. The school was modern and well-equipped, and
without doubt a model which other educational facilities
should be striving to replicate. However, it is clear that
this sector is under resourced and government needs to
underwrite and resource the good work which is being done
throughout the sector in Ireland.


Political Motives Driving PSNI Agenda

Arthurs family tell of children terrorised in early morning
raids they say had nothing to do with the Northern Bank
investigation, but are simply targeting republicans

Jarlath Kearney

Eight year-old Declan Arthurs wanted to be a policeman
when he grew up.

His parents didn't attempt to change his mind. His family
didn't try to sway his opinion. His friends didn't work at
putting him off.

He even went on Ulster Television's School Around the
Corner programme last year and told presenter Frank
Mitchell the profession he hoped to follow.

Events of the past seven days have robbed Declan of his
desire to join the police.

Last Thursday morning Declan was - in the words of his
mother Paula - left "hysterical and screaming" when a heavy
contingent of PSNI members raided the family home in
Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

Declan's ground-floor bedroom windows were hammered by PSNI
members at ten-to-seven in the morning. There was sustained
shouting and roaring. Local people estimated that at least
20 PSNI vehicles were involved in the raid.

Declan awakened bewildered and petrified: his bedroom
windows and the front door being repeatedly kicked and

Upstairs, Declan's parents recognised the familiar thuds
and distinctive engines of an early morning raid. Yet even
Brian and Paula Arthurs admitted their subsequent surprise
about the aggression and intensity of the raiding party.

Seven years after the Good Friday Agreement, the incident
marked the first time Declan had ever been subjected to a
house raid.

After his release as a republican prisoner from Long Kesh
in 2000, Brian was only arrested on one occasion from the
family home. However, Declan slept through that brief
search, which culminated in his father's release without
charge after a short period of interrogation.

Last Thursday - while under house arrest with his mother
and two elder sisters - Declan witnessed Brian taken away
in handcuffs to Antrim PSNI barracks. The PSNI publicly
linked the five hour raid and arrest operation with an
investigation into last December's Northern Bank robbery.

"Among the 39 bags of household material seized were three
telephone books, mobile phones and a computer which
contained school coursework belonging to our daughters -
both of whom are doing exams, one A-levels and one O-
levels," Paula Arthurs told Daily Ireland yesterday.

"Clothes belonging to various members of the family were
taken, including trainers belonging to one of the girls.
Every document in the house was removed. All our money was
seized. They took a courtesy car that Brian was using while
his own car was under repair.

"They took Declan's birthday money from his wardrobe in the
bedroom. They even lifted a one pound coin which was
sitting on the kitchen table, and placed it into an
evidence bag. An entire drawer of receipts and notes in the
hallway dresser was dumped into an evidence bag - without
any pretence at analysing or examining what was being
taken," Paula said.

After Brian's release from Long Kesh in 2000, the Arthurs
family successfully established a couple of small local
businesses. Literally all of the material and petty cash
relating to these businesses was also removed from the
family home by the PSNI.

Brian and Paula are particularly angry about "direct
attempts by the PSNI and by sections of the media to imply
the raid was connected with the alleged seizure of

"They deliberately made it look like that they took
cigarettes and contraband from this house. That's a total

"There were bank-books and cash taken from here which
belonged to our businesses, but the allegation that
cigarettes were taken is completely malicious and
absolutely untrue," Paula said.

"If three or four of them (PSNI members) had come here
quietly and asked through my solicitor for me to be
available, I would have done so, because I have absolutely
nothing to hide," Brian said.

"But the fact that this was a political raid designed to
target me as a republican through the media and involving a
dragnet seizure of everything in this house, demonstrates
that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Northern

"The line of questioning in Antrim interrogation centre
also demonstrates that fact. Not once was a solitary piece
of evidence put before me alleging that I was linked with
the Northerrn Bank incident.

"Instead, the line of questioning was about the current
state of the IRA since the summer: what was the mode, what
was the structure, the membership, the lines of authority,
what are republicans doing and thinking. They were just
trawling for information about republicans.

"Now why would they go to all this trouble, tip off the
media about my arrest, just to spend almost two days of
interrogations asking me about the current state of
republicanism and producing no evidence about their
Northern Bank allegations?

"It's about political expediency and political policing of
a kind this community has witnessed over the course of the
conflict. They came to this house with a political agenda,
claiming it was on the basis of Special Branch

"Is this now the new thing for the IMC report in January?
Are they now going to use these types of incidents to
continually target the political development and support of
Sinn Féin?" Brian asked.

Brian was acting as a Sinn Féin election official in
Dungannon and became the subject of repeated attention from
local PSNI members. At that time, Fermanagh and South
Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew raised public concerns through
the media about the intimidation.

Since then, repeated allegations - which Brian dismissed as
"nonsense" - have appeared in national media suggesting
that he holds a senior position in the IRA. He logged
concerns about this media trend with Mid-Ulster MP Martin
McGuinness, but was unable to take legal action because of
his previous conviction.

The Arthurs family were "not totally surprised" last week
that the increased PSNI attention and orchestrated media
campaign culminated in a major raid. Three weeks ago, Brian
had actually lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman
Nuala O'Loan over the sustained PSNI harrassment.

It was the manner of last Thursday morning's raid,
particularly the traumatising effect on her family, that
deeply annoyed Paula.

"When they came into the house, I kept asking them to calm
down and told them I had three children who were very
upset. They were just f-ing and blinding and then they
refused my brother entry into the house and physically
threw him across the garden.

"I have been raided since I was eight, but this is totally
unacceptable in this day and age. My biggest disappointment
is that because of the political agenda of some people in
the PSNI, my children have been subjected to this totally
unwarranted ordeal.

"I decided I am not going to let this go, because it was
too disturbing for the children and myself. Declan was
threatened that he would end up shot dead like his uncle,
and I had to tell them to stop questioning him. My children
were terrorised by state terrorists," Paula said.

Brian was particularly scathing of the role played by
sections of the media in relation to last week's events.

"I was arrested at seven o'clock and by nine o'clock in the
morning - two hours later - my name was being broadcast on
the news. Throughout the period of my interrogation, it
turns out that my name and family history were being used
to link the so-called 'Northern Bank arrests' with

"I am especially angry that one paper plastered my
photograph and details about my family background across
its front page last Friday morning, in a way that, in my
opinion, clearly played into the agenda of felon-setting
which the RUC/PSNI were engaged in."

Brian also criticised a simultaneous raid on his elderly
parents' home in the Co Tyrone village of Galbally. At
exactly seven o'clock on Thursday morning, 17 PSNI
landrovers arrived at the isolated home of pensioners
Amelia and Paddy Arthurs and surrounded the house. They
seized all of the couple's life savings - despite being in
possession of an improper warrant. Most of the money had
come from a court case against the British government in
relation to the killing of Declan Arthurs, Brian's brother,
during the Loughgall massacre in 1987.

In 2001, the British government was ordered to pay a modest
sum of compensation to the Arthurs family, among others,
after being found to have violated Declan Arthurs' right to
life. Brian said that is the money seized.

"The tactics used against my family were the same tactics I
experienced when I was first arrested aged 17 in 1982.
There is clearly a very serious problem with political
policing in the RUC/PSNI, with a lot of the same
personalities and tactics.

"The fact that human rights abusers are still in the force
and are not answerable or accountable to anyone shows that
these people are not genuine or sincere about a new
beginning. If this is meant to be the new dispensation then
why are they continuing to lift and target innocent
republicans with impunity?"

Recalling that the British government relied on false
intelligence to support an invasion of Iraq allegedly
searching for weapons of mass distruction, Brian added:
"Any so-called intelligence against me by Special Branch is
just as false and untrue as their dodgy dossier. The events
of last Thursday should be seen in that context. It was a
politically-motivated action, a raid of mass distraction."


December 19/20, 2004:

Northern Bank is robbed of £26.5 (€39.2) million, after two
employees are coerced to assist thieves. Despite a traffic
warden reporting suspicious activity around the bank, the
PSNI fails to act. A large white van is used by thieves to
make two trips away from the bank. They escape with
virtually all the contents of the bank's vault.

December 24, 2004:

Homes belonging to prominent republicans in Belfast are
raided by the PSNI. At the home of North Belfast republican
Eddie Copeland, Christmas presents are ripped open and a
large array of personal items are taken. No evidence is
found in relation to the Northern Bank robbery.

December 26, 2004 - January 6, 2005:

Dozens of homes, community organisations and business
presmises in west Belfast are raided by the PSNI. No
evidence is found in relation to the Northern Bank robbery.

January 7, 2005:

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde convenes a press conference
to announce his "opinion" that the IRA was responsible for
the bank robbery. "What I can say is... in my opinion the
Provisional IRA were responsible," Mr Orde said.

January 17, 2005:

The IRA issues a statement denying responsibility for the
Northern Bank raid.

February 9, 2005:

The PSNI commence a two-day search of a farm in Beragh, Co
Tyrone using diggers and divers to take apart a local duck
pond business, allegedly searching for the white van and
proceeds of the robbery. No evidence is found in relation
to the Northern bank robbery.

February 10, 2005:

The Indpendent Monitoring Commission claims Sinn Féin
leaders were "involved in sanctioning" the Northern Bank
robbery before it happened. Republicans bring the North to
a standstill with co-ordinated road protests.

February 17, 2005:

Garda arrest seven people in the South allegedly in
connection with the Northern Bank robbery. No evidence is
found in relation to the Northern Bank robbery. Garda
subseuqently claim they have broken an IRA money-laundering
ring. One person is subsequently charged. A number of PSNI
raids take place in Derry. No evidence is found in relation
to the Northern Bank robbery

February 18, 2005:

£50,000 (€74,000) of money stolen from the Northern Bank
robbery is recovered in the RUC sports and social club at
New Forge Lane, Belfast - premises used by serving and
former RUC/PSNI members. PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde
blames IRA dirty tricks for planting the cash.

June, 2005:

Det Supt Andy Sproule, head of PSNI 'C1' organised crime
branch and senior investigationg officer of the Northern
Bank robbery takes early retirement.

October/November 2005:

Senior Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party
members - Peter Robinson and Sylvia Hermon - ask a series
of questions in the House of Commons about the status of
the Northern bank robbery investigation.

November 1, 2005:

PSNI members arrest two men from Kilcoo, Co Down, allegedly
in connection with the Northern Bank robbery. Both men are
named by the media. One of the men is subsequently charged
with the Northern Bank robbery on the alleged basis that
his DNA was recovered on a hat - which held at least one
other person's DNA - near the home of Northern Bank worker.

November 3, 2005:

Co Tyrone republican Brian Arthurs is arrested amid a blaze
of publicity at his Dungannon home, allegedly in connection
with the Northern Bank robbery. PSNI assistant chief
constable Sam Kinkaid claims that "police do not name or
confirm the names of individuals who have been arrested or
whose property has been searched".

November 7, 2005:

Following a large number of other raids and further
arrests, one person from Coalisland, Co Tyrone is charged
with allegedly obstructing the Northern Bank robbery team.


UDA 'To Purge Shoukri'

Speculation north Belfast 'brigadier' is to be stood down
by leadership as woman is taken into witness protection
programme in wake of raids and arrests

Ciarán Barnes

The Ulster Defence Association is preparing to "stand
down" Andre Shoukri as its boss in north Belfast following
his arrest yesterday.

Detectives from the PSNI's organised crime squad arrested
the 27-year-old, his elder brother Ihab Shoukri, a female
relative, and two other men in a series of early morning

The arrests came after a woman approached the PSNI with
information on illegal money making rackets being run by
the north Belfast UDA.

She is now living in England under the police's witness
protection programme.

Ye Olde Strathmore Inn on the city's Cavehill Road, which
was formerly known as Bonaparte's bar, was also visited by

Last June a PSNI inspector said the premises were "under
the control of a paramilitary organisation". The comments
were made during a Belfast city council entertainments
license application hearing by its then owner, Mandy

Loyalist sources told Daily Ireland yesterday that Andre
Shoukri's arrest signalled the end of his spell in charge
of the north Belfast UDA.

The UDA is planning to replace him with a well-spoken
loyalist who is heavily involved with interface work.

"Andre is finished, there will be no coming back after
this," said one well-placed source.

"Having the PSNI take him off the streets saves us from
doing it ourselves."

In recent months the UDA has been trying to clean up its
gangster image and portray itself as a more political
organisation. In April, the UDA stood down its flamboyant
east Belfast boss Jim Gray, before murdering him .

Andre Shoukri is viewed by many within the UDA as being in
the same mould as Gray. He has powerful enemies within the
organisation including its south Belfast leader Jackie

McDonald and Shoukri's UDA factions clashed during the
summer when a number of bars that their supporters drink in
were paint-bombed.

Last week Andre Shoukri ordered convicted UDA blackmailer
Thomas Potts to begin a poison pen campaign against

Potts sent anonymous letters to newspapers and senior
loyalists in Belfast accusing McDonald of shaming the UDA.
McDonald supporters hit back, initiating a smear campaign
against Shoukri.

Since joining the UDA in the mid-1990s, Shoukri has been in
regular trouble with the law. In 1996 he was jailed for his
involvement in the death of Dubliner Gareth Parker who was
run over by a car after being punched by Shoukri. The
loyalist was back in court in 1998, when he was jailed for
attempting to smuggle cigarettes. Two years later he was
jailed again for his part in a blackmail plot against a
Catholic businessman.

During the 2002 UDA feud, Shoukri was arrested with a gun
in his car.

He was initially jailed for six years but the conviction
was overturned on appeal.


de Brún: Funds Request Needed

Community groups involved in peace and reconciliation
projects in the North could fold if the British government
fails to access at least €200 million (£140 million) set
aside for them by the EU, ministers were warned yesterday.

After a University of Ulster conference in Derry was told
of the cash crisis, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said:
"There is now an onus upon the British government to make a
formal request to the European Commission for the
allocation of an extended period of Peace funding.

"As we emerge from a period of sustained conflict, the
British government has a particular responsibility and
contribution to make towards peace and reconciliation in

"The promotion and empowerment of the community sector must
be a priority for the British government if that sector is
to be able to carry on its vital work of peacebuilding and

"Without wishing to be alarmist, it is increasingly clear
that, if Peace III funding is not secured, then many
community organisations and projects involved in
peacebuilding and reconciliation will find themselves in a
precarious financial position."


Family Of Murder Victim Meeting US Ambassador Today

10/11/2005 - 10:45:36

The family of a Dublin man allegedly murdered by a member
of the IRA is meeting the US ambassador today to discuss
their campaign for justice.

Twenty-nine-year-old Joseph Rafferty was shot dead last
April in the Ongar area of west Dublin.

His family believes the father-of-one was murdered by a
leading IRA man as part of a feud between two families in
the area.

They say he had been warned a number of times beforehand
that he would be "got" by the IRA.

The dead man's family have compared the case to that of
Belfast man Robert McCartney, who was allegedly murdered by
an IRA man in January.

They are hoping today's meeting with US Ambassador James
Kenny will boost their campaign in the same way that a
visit to the United States helped the McCartney's get their
voices heard.


Hoax Bomb Brings Derry City Centre To A Standstill

By Clare Weir
10 November 2005

Londonderry city centre was brought to a standstill and
hundreds of people evacuated after a hoax bomb alert blamed
on dissident republicans.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a white van
parked outside the Strand Road police station at around
1.15pm yesterday. correctArmy Technical Officers also
examined a wheelie-bin, with the area closed off for over
five hours.

The station and the North West Institute of Further and
Higher Education (NWIFHE) and Crown Buildings on nearby
Asylum Road were evacuated as a wide cordon was thrown
around the area between the city council offices, Strand
Road, Northland Road, Clarendon Street and Great James

Students, staff from the Social Security office and
residents were left on the streets for hours, while Strand
Road businesses were also emptied and shoppers kept away
from their cars.

Elderly people at Lavery Fold, opposite the police station,
were allowed to stay in their homes, but parents picking up
youngsters from the Model Primary School on Northland Road
were forced to detour.

A driver ferrying disabled students to and from the NWIFHE
said: "I'm supposed to be getting these kids and bringing
them home and I was stuck for over an hour because I can't
get the bus anywhere near."


State Urged To Drop Charges Against Anti-War Activists

A number of opposition TDs have called on the State to drop
charges against five anti-war activists accused of causing
criminal damage to a US warplane.

The five, who are all members of the Catholic Worker
organisation, attacked the aircraft with axes and hammers
at Shannon Airport in February 2003, as the US was
preparing to invade Iraq.

Their trial has collapsed on two occasions, with the second
falling apart earlier this week due to concerns about the
judge's links to US President George W Bush.

The five are charged with causing criminal damage to the US
plane without lawful excuse.

However, they have argued that they had a lawful excuse as
they were trying to save the lives of innocent Iraqis and
prevent a greater crime from taking place.

The TDs calling for their release include Green Party
chairman John Gormley, Sinn Féin's Aengus O Snodaigh and
independents Finian McGrath and Tony Gregory.


Speaking Out On Society's Neglect

Editor: Maria McCourt

Two influential people, one the President Mary McAleese,
the other the governor of Mountjoy jail in Dublin, have
been speaking out about their concerns for modern Irish

Mrs McAleese says that modern Ireland can be a very scary
place for those who have not benefited from the Celtic
Tiger boom, and who feel left out and disenfranchised as

She says many are being left behind and the country as a
whole could miss the chance to create a society where all
are treated and cherished equally.

Mountjoy governor John Lonergan echoes her concerns citing
poverty and alienation as the greatest dangers facing the
security of Irish society.

He revealed that 75 per cent of all Dublin-born prisoners
in his jail come from just a few blackspots in the city,
citing this as evidence of the effects of poverty and its
accompanying factors of lack of education, addiction and

The fact that two powerful individuals coming from totally
different approaches within society should speak out in
this way is a wake-up call to us all.

The Celtic Tiger has given the country the means to create
a more caring and egalitarian society, yet our health
service and hospitals are being run down, pensioners were
illegally charged for their nursing care, and it seems
every day brings new stories of cruelty and neglect.

It is up to every one of us to do our bit for society and
those less fortunate, but is also incumbent upon the powers
that be to use our new found wealth to properly invest in
the future for us all equally.

In this time of political parties racing to claim
republican hallowed ground, perhaps it is worth pointing
out to them the sentiments contained in the Proclamation
and asking if they intend to honour them.

Cease and desist

The murder of Martin Conlon in County Armagh, suspected to
be the result of some kind of falling out between dissident
republicans highlights once again the need for these
splinter groups to cease and desist from all their

Their actions are pointless, lack any kind of strategy and
have little if any support among ordinary people.

Given the current state of politics on this island, they
will also ultimately fail to accomplish any of their stated

The best thing all these groups can do for Irish unity is
to halt their violent and threatening campaigns right now,
and seek to achieve their objectives along with the rest of
republicans by joining in democratic discourse.


Croker To Host Lectures On 1920 Bloody Sunday

David Lynch

The bloodiest day in Croke Park's history will be
remembered with a series of lectures at GAA headquarters
later this month.

On another day in Irish history known as Bloody Sunday, 14
civilians, including the Tipperary Gaelic footballer
Michael Hogan, were shot dead by British forces on November
21, 1920.

This Bloody Sunday is now seen as one of the central
moments in the War of Independence. The Croke Park killings
brought to an end a vicious day in Dublin after a squad led
by Michael Collins had earlier killed 12 British
intelligence agents.

The GAA Museum at Croke Park will play host to the lecture
series Bloody Sunday: The 85th Anniversary on Monday,
November 21 at 7pm.

Some of the most respected historians in Ireland will take
part. The relationship between history and sport was the
subject of a successful recent conference in Dublin and
this lecture will continue that debates.

The speakers will include Brian Hanley of the National
University of Ireland Maynooth, an author of an account of
the IRA in the late 1920s and early '30s. Dr Hanley will
describe the lead-up to the day and will also discuss the
volunteers and their connection with the GAA.

Marcus de Búrca, author of The GAA: A History, will
describe the harrowing events of Bloody Sunday itself.
Author Jimmy Wren will speak about many of the players who
played in Croke Park on that day in 1920.

The final speaker of the night will be Dr Diarmaid Ferriter
of St Patrick's College in Drumcondra, northwest Dublin. He
is an RTÉ radio presenter and author of the book
Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000.

He will explore the aftermath of Bloody Sunday and the
consequences it had on Ireland during the War of

Admission to the lecture series is €5 or €4 concessions.

To reserve a seat and for further information, call the GAA
Museum at (01) 819 2323 or email


Finding Parallels

Dublin, Ireland, native and ``Get Rich or Die Tryin' ''
director Jim Sheridan draws many parallels between the
Irish and black experiences. The following pairs of movies
illustrate the connection:

``Public Enemy'' (1931) -- Star James Cagney was not from
Ireland, but the actor of Irish-Norwegian descent was
nothing short of iconic among Irish-Americans. One of rap's
most celebrated groups shares its name with this
Prohibition-era gangster classic.

``New Jack City'' (1991) -- In his breakout role, Wesley
Snipes stars as a drug kingpin. The movie's tagline:
``They're a new breed of gangster. The new public enemy.
The new family of crime.'' With Ice-T, above.

``The Commitments'' (1991) -- A group of inner-city
Dubliners start an R&B group with big dreams. The film
chronicles the Irish identification with African-American
popular music that perhaps reached its apex with Van

``The Five Heartbeats'' (1991) -- A group of inner-city
black American singers start a soul group with big dreams.
One memorable scene is based on a legendary anecdote
involving vocalist Jackie Wilson, who influenced Morrison.

``The Quiet Man'' (1952) -- A lonely Irish boxer (John
Wayne) leaves the United States and unexpectedly finds love
in Ireland.

``A Warm December'' (1973) -- A lonely American widower
(Sidney Poitier) leaves the United States and unexpectedly
finds love in England.

``Michael Collins'' (1996) -- Semi-historic dramatization
starring Liam Neeson, above, profiles the ``Lion of
Ireland,'' who led the IRA and fought for the rights of the

``Panther'' (1995) -- Semi-historic dramatization starring
Courtney B. Vance, above left, with Marcus Chong, profiles
the Black Panthers, who fought for the rights of African-

-- Mark de la Viña


Flatley Brings Latest Production To Mellon Arena

Michael Flatley's Celtic Tiger
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Admission: $36.75 to $78.75.
Where: Mellon Arena, Uptown.
Details: 412-323-1919 or

By William Loeffler
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nursing what sounds like a cold, Michael Flatley is happy
to talk about Ireland's resurgence from a moribund economic
backwater to a European Union powerhouse. Ferrari sightings
in Dublin are not uncommon, he says. And even the creator
of the phenomenally successful "Riverdance" and "Lord of
the Dance" is not immune to sticker shock, as happened
recently when he priced houses in the Irish capital.

"It's changed remarkably," says Flatley, on the phone from
his home in Cork. "It's an incredible change. Business is
booming. Dublin is not the city center we knew even 10
years ago."

The republic's turnaround earned it the nickname the Celtic
Tiger in business and financial circles. Flatley took the
name for his show, which he wrote, choreographed, directed
and produced. "Celtic Tiger" opens Friday at Mellon Arena.

"Tiger" chronicles the Irish odyssey through song and
dance, from the occupation and oppression by the British,
the potato famine and the mass exodus to an uncertain
future in America.

Flatley himself was a product of this diaspora.

"I was born in Chicago," he says. "My parents came out in
1947 from Ireland. We traveled back and forth quite a bit
during my childhood. When my folks came here, they had
nothing. But yet America gave us a great start, gave us
great opportunity."

Flatley repays that opportunity with "Celtic Tiger."
Numbers such as "The Vikings," "The Redcoats" and "The
Famine" feature trademark Irish step dancing, combined with
tap and even hip-hop flourishes.

"It's not a history lesson," the show's star says. "It's
the story of Ireland and their struggle to be free. In many
ways, it's a celebration of Ireland and her heroes. And
it's a celebration of the estimated 54 million Irish

"I think every nationality can relate to this, though. Most
nationalities have had a tough struggle, and we've all
ended up here in America."

Flatley's struggles included getting beat up at school. Fed
up, his father signed him up for boxing. He became a Golden
Gloves champion at 17.

He had begun Irish dancing at 11, after being "dragged by
the ears" to the Dennehy School of Dance. He was told he
was too old but persisted anyway. He opened an Irish dance
school after graduating high school. In between
construction jobs, he also toured with the Chieftains.

In 1993, Flatley was invited to dance at the Spirit of Mayo
Festival in Dublin. He impressed Irish President Mary
Robinson and the festival's producers. They commissioned
him to create an interval act (half-time show) for the 1994
Eurovision Song Contest.

The April 30 performance was only seven minutes long, but
it changed everything.

"Riverdance," pardon the expression, was a watershed

"I must say I'm delighted to say we had such an impact on
the entertainment industry, the numbers that we've both
done individually and collectively," he says. "I'm glad
that we've spun off a lot of other shows.

"The down side of that is it makes me very upset when they
don't keep up with the standard. It's very upsetting when
people come up to me and say 'Mr. Flatley, I saw an Irish
dance show and it was very disappointing. Was that one of
your shows?' We work so hard to maintain a high standard."

The toughest thing about creating a new show?

"The endless, endless hours in cold, broken-down dance
studios with sore feet, blisters, sore back. Me, I have to
do the producing, as well. It's my gig. I pay for it.
There's 60 people onstage and 50 people backstage; there's
11 semi trucks and five buses. I work through all that; I
work through all the staff and designing the show. I work
with the composer. It can be overwhelming at times,

William Loeffler can be reached at or
(412) 320-7986.


Tourism Vital To West, Says Study

Lorna Siggins Western Correspondent

Tourism is "275 per cent" more important to the west
coast economy than to the Dublin economic region, according
to a study published today.

Lower spending domestic tourists have replaced high-
spending international visitors, however, says the study
which will be presented to Minister for Arts, Sport and
Tourism John O'Donoghue in Dublin today.

The report by Prof Jim Deegan of the National Centre for
Tourism Policy Studies at the University of Limerick and Dr
Richard Moloney of the Centre for Policy Studies at NUI,
Cork, shows the overall economic contribution of tourism to
the region is €1.9 billion, based on expenditure by over 21
million tourists in 2003. It was commissioned by Ireland-
West Tourism, which has responsibility for counties Galway,
Mayo and Roscommon, and claims to be the first analysis of
its kind for the region.

It shows that most of these visitors were daytrippers,
while overseas visitors have fallen by 12 per cent since
2003. Dublin gained most in terms of tourism growth between
1990 and 2003 due to better transport links and a trend
towards shorter city breaks, the report says. But tourism
is of greater importance to the west, accounting for 7.6
per cent of gross added value in the region compared to 2.8
per cent gross added value in Dublin.

On this basis, tourism is "275 per cent more important" to
the west coast economy, the authors state. Tourism-related
employment accounts for 5.4 per cent of the workforce in
the west, compared to 3 per cent in Dublin. The report says
this demonstrates the importance of strong and sustained
investment, innovation, development and targeted marketing.

In a further breakdown, the authors note that for every €1
spent directly by tourists in the west, a further 51 cent
is generated indirectly. For every €1 million spent, some
10 jobs were created - five directly and five indirectly.

Ireland-West Tourism's chief executive John Concannon said
the study outlined the "massive importance" of tourism to
the west of Ireland economy.

© The Irish Times

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