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November 01, 2005

US Unlikely To Drop Ban on SF Raising Funds

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 11/02/05 US Unlikely To Drop Ban On Adams Raising Funds
SF 11/01/05 Adams Raises Concerns Over Shankill
SF 11/01/05 de Brún To Hold Talks With Finucane Family
IT 11/02/05 Sinn Féin Targets 14 Seats For Next Election
IT 11/02/05 Family To Meet US Envoy On 'IRA' Killing
DI 11/01/05 Prove It's The Real Deal
IO 11/01/05 Sinn Féin Urges Unity 'As Soon As Possible'
DU 11/01/05 SF Has Its Head In The Clouds Over Irish Unity
NL 11/01/05 RUC Officers To Sue Orde
DU 11/01/05 Hain Must Respond To The Demands From Unionists
BB 11/01/05 Belfast Council Condemns 'Nazi' Comments
IO 11/01/05 Derry's Protestants Feel Alienated & Fearful
BT 11/01/05 PSNI Say Children Biggest Problem At Peaceline
IO 11/01/05 Returning Exiles 'Must Face Trial'
TE 11/01/05 RUC Officers Seeks Compensation For Stress
UT 11/01/05 Warning Over Jail's Redevelopment
BB 11/01/05 Greysteel Killer To Serve Terms
BB 10/30/03 Greysteel Tragedy 'Still Vivid'
IT 11/02/05 Minister Rules Out 24-Hr Pub Openings In North


US Unlikely To Drop Ban On Adams Raising Funds

Denis Staunton, in Washington

The United States government is set to deny Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams permission to raise funds when he
visits the country next week.

State department sources told The Irish Times that
Washington is unlikely to drop its ban on visiting Sinn
Féin politicians raising money in the US until the party
makes a move towards joining the North's policing board.

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

The ban was imposed in response to the Northern Bank
robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney. Despite IRA
decommissioning, Sinn Féin negotiator Martin McGuinness was
not allowed to raise funds during a visit to the US last

Seven congressmen last month called for the ban to be
lifted, arguing that it could have a negative impact on the
political situation in the North. However the US
administration believes that the fundraising issue
represents a lever to persuade Sinn Féin to change its
policy on policing.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern told The Irish
Times that the Government had made no representations to
Washington on behalf of Sinn Féin.

"I don't see it as the Government's place to tell the US
government what they should or should not do in relation to
fundraising by another political party," he said. "I think
it's a matter entirely for the US administration to decide
who should or should not fundraise within their territory.

© The Irish Times


Adams Raises Concerns Over Shankill

Published: 1 November, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP for West Belfast this
morning spoke to NIO Minister David Hanson. Mr. Adams
raised with the British Minister his concern at the absence
of a coherent regeneration strategy for deprivation in
urban areas.

In particular he raised with the Minister Sinn Fein's
worries that the approach currently being taken by the
government in respect of the Shankill area is unlikely to
see any substantial progress in the socio-economic
conditions of people living there.

Mr. Adams said:

"I am concerned that a potentially dangerous situation is
developing where working class unionists blame working
class nationalists for their difficulties and that the
British government might feed into this through the
decisions it takes in the allocation of resources.

"The fact is that unionist working class areas have been
politically abandoned for many years by unionist
politicians. Consequently the levels of deprivation and
poverty have increased.

"Any agenda for regeneration and reconstruction needs to be
consistent with the Good Friday Agreement and should ensure
that areas are targeted on the basis of objective social
need. This requires the widest possible consultation and an
inclusive approach to the allocation of resources. This was
the approach adopted in the West Belfast Task Force
initiative." ENDS


de Brún To Hold Talks With Finucane Family

Published: 1 November, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will hold discussions in
Belfast tomorrow afternoon with family of murdered Human
Rights lawyer Pat Finucane. The meeting will explore
avenues in Europe along which the Finucane family can
travel in order to ensure that the British government end
the cover-up surrounding the murder of Pat Finucane in

Ms de Brún said:

" The Finucane family have for many years been campaigning
for the establishment of an Independent International
Inquiry to establish the truth surrounding the murder of
Pat Finucane in Belfast in 1989. Sinn Féin has supported
the Finucane family in their campaign throughout this time.
Throughout these years the British State has continued to
cover up the role played by its agents and agencies in this

" Despite a public commitment to establish an inquiry into
this killing the British government have subsequently
brought forward legislation which, in the view of the
Finucane family would ensure that any inquiry held within
these parameters would not deliver the truth. This
situation is unacceptable.

" Tomorrow's meeting with the Finucane family will explore
avenues in Europe which we can go down in the time ahead to
try and ensure that the British government ends the cover-
up surrounding this killing and see established the sort of
Independent International Inquiry sought by the Finucane
family." ENDS


Sinn Féin Targets 14 Seats For Next Election

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Sinn Féin is confident of winning 14 seats in the next
general election and may want to take part in a coalition,
the party's Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said.

"We have ambitions that can only be achieved in power. I
think Sinn Féin is able and has already demonstrated its
capacity for responsible government," he said.

He sharply criticised Fine Gael and Labour for opposing
plans put forward by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to let Northern
MPs, including those of Sinn Féin, address Dáil Éireann.

Naming Sinn Féin's target gains, Mr Ó Caoláin identified
Cork North Central, Donegal North East, Donegal South West,
Waterford, Wexford and two extra but unnamed Dublin

Sinn Féin, he said, will decide on its attitude to
coalition at a special ardfheis after the election: "The
electorate's decision will decide our future actions," he

Questioned on a nearly complete review of the party's
economic policies, which recommends a 50 per cent tax band
for those earning more than €100,000 a year, he said the
party had no desire to raise taxes for the sake of it.

The review, chaired by party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin,
also favours increasing corporation tax to 17.5 per cent
and giving councillors control over stamp duty rates.

Sinn Féin would prefer if improvements could be made to
public services, especially the health service, through
reform and efficiencies rather than through extra spending,
he said.

"However, we are not opposed to increasing taxation at any
cost. We have to be open and honest. We have been prepared
to say that we would be prepared to do so, if necessary,"
Mr Ó Caoláin said.

Many voters, he said, would be prepared to pay extra tax if
it meant they did not have to pay for private health
insurance to guarantee "themselves a decent level of care.
This is not something that we have been saying on our own.
The Irish Congress of Trades Unions has been saying exactly
the same thing. But we are the only political party
prepared to say it."

Following the next election, Sinn Féin would "actively
consider" coalition, even though many in the party were
"not wild about the idea".

"Make no mistake about it, however, this is a nettle that
Sinn Féin will grasp. The only question is when. The only
party that we would absolutely rule out are the Progressive

The review of the party's economic policies, led by Mr
McLaughlin and former general secretary Robbie Smyth, has
been under way for over a year.

Stamp duty revenue on new and second-hand house sales would
be split between central and local government, rather than
going entirely to the Exchequer - though councillors would
set the rate in their own local areas.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has urged the Taoiseach to push ahead
with plans to let Northern MPs speak on Northern Ireland-
related issues and the Belfast Agreement in the Dáil.

Mr Ahern has proposed that the full Dáil of 166 TDs should
meet as a committee of the House to hear such speeches,
though Fine Gael and Labour believe it would merely award a
major propaganda victory to Sinn Féin.

In a letter yesterday to the Taoiseach, Mr Ó Caoláin said
he had understood that Mr Ahern's original letter had been
written "in the terms of a decision rather than a
proposal". He said he understood the Taoiseach was seeking
agreement from the other parties "on the format and agenda
of the meetings", rather than on the principle itself.

© The Irish Times


Family To Meet US Envoy On 'IRA' Killing

Conor Lally

The family of Joseph Rafferty who was murdered last April
by an alleged member of the IRA is to meet US ambassador
James C Kenny with a view to taking their justice campaign
to the US.

Mr Rafferty's family is to meet Mr Kenny at the embassy in
Dublin next Thursday. While plans for a US visit have not
been confirmed, it could take place as early as this month.

The dead man's sister, Esther Uzell said the family
believed a possible meeting with US politicians, similar to
those attended by the sisters of Robert McCartney, might
assist her family's campaign.

The McCartneys are due to travel to the US again next week.
A meeting with them in New York or Washington has not been
ruled out by Mr Rafferty's family.

"We always said if Joseph's killer was handed up our
campaign would be over straight away, but it doesn't look
like that's going to happen," Ms Uzell said.

"There are a lot of people in the US who support Sinn Féin
and we would like to bring Joseph's story over there in the
same way that the McCartneys highlighted their story. We're
hoping that the ambassador can give us a bit of advice and
some help in organising things."

Ms Uzell and members of her family have already held talks
with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny
and Labour leader Pat Rabbitte. Last month they met a
delegation from the Independent Monitoring Commission in

In its next report in January the IMC is to include its
observations regarding Mr Rafferty's murder and whether it
could be viewed as a break in the IRA's ceasefire, as Ms
Uzell and her family believe.

The commission's January report is seen as crucial
following the IRA's announcement on July 28th of its
intention to stand down entirely. It will be the first time
the commission will have had an opportunity to fully
appraise IRA activity since the July statement.

Mr Rafferty, a 29-year-old father of one, was gunned down
last April in the Ongar housing estate in west Dublin where
he lived. He was originally from the south inner city. In
the months leading to his murder he had become embroiled in
a dispute with a family from that area.

Mr Rafferty was told a number of times by members of the
family he had clashed with that he would be "got" by the

The woman whose sons he had become embroiled with is in a
relationship with a former member of the IRA. The man had
also worked on Sinn Féin election campaigns in the past. He
is the only suspect in the murder.

Ms Uzell believes that because of the suspect's association
with Sinn Féin/IRA the republican movement has a
responsibility to help bring him to justice.

© The Irish Times


Prove It's The Real Deal

Ciarán Barnes

Relatives of Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) murder victims
last night said they are unconvinced by claims that the
organisation is to 'stand down'.

On Sunday evening the LVF said it was standing down all its
units following the announcement of an end to its summer
feud with the UVF.

However, families of those killed by the group are refusing
to put faith in the weekend statement.

Terry Enright, whose son Terry Enright Junior was murdered
by the LVF outside a Belfast night-club in 1997, said he
would take a lot more convincing.

"The LVF is a gang of criminals that tried to cover up its
activities by carrying out sectarian murders," Mr Enright
told Daily Ireland.

"It is going to have to prove it is serious by

Ann Trainor, whose son Damien and his best friend Philip
Allen were murdered by LVF gunmen in Co Armagh in 1998,
also found the move hard to believe.

"There is a lot of evil and jealousy," she said. "It is
hard to believe. The evil will never quit - you can see it
every way."

Loyalist sources believe the LVF will make a second
statement on its future, thought to be in relation to the
decommissioning of its weapons, before the end of the year.

Dates it is currently considering are Remembrance Day on
November 11, and the anniversary of the murder of its
founder Billy Wright on December 27.

The LVF was on the verge of publicly announcing the
standing down of its units in July, but the UVF murder of
LVF-associate Jameson Lockhart resulted in these plans
being put on hold.

Loyalist Commission chairman, Reverend Mervyn Gibson, who
helped negotiate the LVF/UVF truce believes the LVF has
gone away for good.

He told Daily Ireland he was "surprised" the LVF went so
far as to announce its units were being stood down.

"I didn't expect this when I started the negotiations,"
said Rev Gibson.

"But the feud is over and I think the LVF has gone for

Both Sinn Féin and the SDLP cautiously welcomed the LVF

Sinn Féin Assemblyman Gerry Kelly said: "Given the history
of the LVF, nationalists and republicans will of course be
cautious of anything being said or promised by them."

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said: "We must hope that
this truly is the end of the LVF and all its killings, drug
dealing and racketeering."

Unionist politicians took more encouragement from the LVF

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson called on other loyalist
paramilitaries to "follow suit", while Ulster Unionist
leader Reg Empey said the announcement is the latest in a
series of positive developments.

During its nine-year existence the LVF was involved in
sectarian murder and drug dealing.

Ten of its members were killed as a result of feuds with
other loyalist paramilitaries.


Sinn Féin Urges Unity 'As Soon As Possible'

01/11/2005 - 12:57:02

A united Ireland should be created as soon as is humanly
possible, it was claimed today.

Sinn Féin launched details of a Dáil parliament motion
calling on the Irish Government to publish a Green Paper
discussion document on the issue.

The party's Dáil leader, Caoimhghin O Caolain, called on
Irish political parties to unite behind the idea to make it
a reality.

"People are talking about the symbolism of a united Ireland
for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in 2016 but I
believe it should be achieved as soon as humanly possible.
I hope to see it in my lifetime," he said today.

"The political situation has changed enormously and there
will also be huge changes in the decade before us."

The motion, published today, calls for the promotion of
all-Ireland policies and strategies and highlights the need
to persuade unionists on the advantages of unification.

It also says the Government must "prepare politically,
economically, socially and culturally for Irish
unification; identifying measures, including a Green Paper,
which can assist a successful transition to a united

Calling for all-party support, Mr O Caolain pointed out
that Fianna Fáil is known as the republican party and Fine
Gael described itself as "the United Ireland Party" when it
was first founded in 1933.

The motion will be debated tomorrow evening and conclude on
Thursday evening during the party's Private Members' time.

Mr O Caolain, who is into his ninth year as an Opposition
TD, also told a media briefing today that it was inevitable
that Sinn Féin would enter government soon and that its TDs
would become ministers.

"At some point in time, that is a nettle that Sinn Féin
will have to grasp.

"If Sinn Féin is to go from effective presentation of its
policies to effective implementation, we will need to go
into government at some point."

However, he said the party would absolutely rule out any
alliance with the Irish Government's harshest critic,
Justice Minister Michael McDowell, or his Progressive
Democrats party.

Mr O Caolain claimed that Sinn Féin will win seats in eight
constituencies in the next General Election, including
Donegal North East, Donegal South West, Meath West,
Wexford, Waterford, and Cork North Central.

The party is also targeting seat gains in two Dublin
constituencies which have not yet been confirmed.

The leadership would convene a special Ard Fheis to
consider entering a coalition with other parties if the
issue arose.

Mr O Caolain also did not rule out increasing tax rates if
it led to better public services.

"Ordinary people out there are not opposed to paying more
tax as long as everybody is paying their fair share, in a
wholly equitable system.

"People might say that if they pay a little bit more
taxation, they could have a better health service."

The Cavan/Monaghan representative denied Opposition claims
that the issue of speaking rights for Northern MPs in the
Dáil was a "side deal" cut between Sinn Fein and Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern.

"All we're arguing for is the right for MPs to actively
participate in debates in the Dáil chamber on issues that
affect them or they have specialist knowledge of. I do
believe it should happen.

"It would promote positive engagement and dialogue between
north and south politicians and would demonstrate the type
of society we are trying to create on this island."

He said Sinn Féin also advocated voting rights but he
accepted that this was not a realistic short-term goal.


Sinn Fein Has Its Head In The Clouds Over Irish Unity

Reacting to Sinn Fein's call for the Irish Government to
publish a Green Paper on Irish unity, DUP Assembly Member
for Lagan Valley Cllr Edwin Poots said,

"Sinn Fein can push the Irish Government for all the Irish
unity strategies it wants but it will not change the
reality that a united Ireland is a pure pipe dream.

It seems that Sinn Fein is presently engaged in a pitched
battle with Government and Opposition parties in the south
about who is more republican. All the while, they ignore
the elementary fact that a majority of people in Northern
Ireland want to have nothing to do with the idea of Irish
unity and want to firmly remain part and parcel of the
United Kingdom.

Unionists will not, as Sinn Fein states, be persuaded of
the advantages of Irish unity. Unionists remember too
vividly how Sinn Fein's sidekicks in the Provisional IRA
tried to murder and bomb us into a united Ireland for the
past 35 years. The pro-Union people withstood that terror
campaign and certainly aren't going to roll over for Sinn
Fein now."


RUC Officers To Sue Orde

By Joanne Lowry
Tuesday 1st November 2005

Thousands of former RUC officers will next week launch the
largest civil case in Northern Ireland's history.

The post traumatic stress claim against the PSNI Chief
Constable will open in the High Court next Monday on behalf
of 5,000 former RUC officers, some of whom are currently
serving with the PSNI.

The case, which is being led by Edwards & Co solicitors, is
expected to last several months and is being largely funded
by the Police Federation for Northern Ireland and
individual claimants.

The federation believes the service, as employers, was
negligent in preparing officers for coping with the trauma
at the time and caring for them later.

A statement said: "It is time the Government did the decent
thing and accepted that the debt owed to the RUC was not
repaid by the award of the George Cross. It was merely
acknowledged by it.

"The way forward is to recognise the legitimacy of our Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder group action.

"The officers and their families who are tormented by the
past deserve no less."

One source close to the case said: "This isn't about mental
injury or suffering. It's about there not being a
sufficient duty of care by the employers."

In a television programme aired in November 2003, a former
RUC officer said: "The way we were trained is: don't think,
react. But when it's over how do you become a normal

The former RUC members said they had been let down by the
force which, they claim, failed to provide care and
treatment which may have prevented their "broken lives".

One female officer told how she had been sent, aged 19, to
pick up remains from a street bombing where a person had
been killed. She said she hadn't even been given gloves for
the grim task.

Another officer spoke of his feelings of guilt having
survived a 1,000lb landmine explosion which had killed two
of his colleagues in south Armagh.

He said he, and many like him, were still paying the price
while those who carried out the atrocities were walking
about as free men.

One officer even ended up in a padded cell through post
traumatic stress.

The Police Federation said recognition of what the RUC
officers went through is more important than the

One former RUC man said: "We want them to say 'we asked too
much, we're sorry'."


Hain Must Respond To The Demands For Equality & Justice
From The Unionist Community

As he accompanied the Secretary of State on a visit to his
North Belfast constituency today, DUP MP Nigel Dodds has
called on Peter Hain to respond to the demands from within
that community for equality and justice on a range of
issues. Speaking as he showed Mr Hain around a number of
projects dealing with youth provision, housing, culture and
identity, Mr Dodds demanded that, not only should the
government tackle the growing levels of deprivation within
unionist communities, but they should also acknowledge high
levels of disaffection within loyalist and unionist
communities. Mr Dodds said:

"This disaffection is being fed in areas like North Belfast
in particular by the actions of Mr Hain in releasing the
child killer, Sean Kelly, despite clear statements to
indicate that he had been involved in terrorism and the
willingness of government to bend all of the rules of
normal society to accommodate Sinn Fein/IRA.

Peter Hain's visit today has allowed him to see at first
hand some of the difficulties facing the community in this
part of the constituency. It also allowed him the chance
to see some of the work being done on the ground by hard
working people at community level. There is no doubt that
government needs to act quickly to respond to the high
levels of need in many parts of the north Belfast
constituency. However, this must be done as part of a
strategic plan to reinvigorate and regenerate such areas
and not on an ad hoc basis. This will require adequate
resources and a long term commitment to the regeneration

However the cry from the unionist community is also for
equality and human rights. This is the only way forward
for our community and the Secretary of State must recognise
that these fundamental rights are not being afforded to
unionists across a whole range of issues. Continued
concessions to republicans such as the amnesty for "on the
run" terrorists while families have had no form of justice
for such terrible atrocities as Kingsmill and Teebane are
real sores within unionism. They are a legacy of the
failed leadership of appeasement unionism. The denial of
rights to celebrate unionist culture and heritage as seen
in the Parades Commission's determinations over the years
and pandering to the blatantly sectarian agenda of Sinn
Fein IRA must be addressed if there is to be real consent
within the unionist community for the way forward.
Equality is only equality if it is shared by everyone.
Anything less is inequality.

Peter Hain has much to do on many fronts if he is to bring
about the circumstances where real progress is possible."


Council Condemns 'Nazi' Comments

Belfast City Council has passed a motion condemning recent
remarks by Redemptorist priest Father Alec Reid likening
unionists to Nazis.

The DUP motion was tabled by Nelson McCausland and was
passed by 20 votes with 17 abstentions.

It deplored the remarks for the "immense hurt caused to
unionists" and the damage done to community relations.

It also extended sympathy to the Jewish community. Fr Reid
was one of the witnesses to IRA desommissioning.

His remarks were made last month at a public meeting in
south Belfast also attended by Reverend Harold Good, the
Protestant decommissioning witness.

Fr Reid later apologised, saying he had lost his temper.

At Tuesday night's council meeting Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey
accused Mr McCausland of "flogging a dead horse" following
the apology from the priest.

However, Mr McCausland insisted that the issue was very
much alive and said republicans were nervous about their
own sectarianism.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/01 20:54:32 GMT


Derry's Protestants Feel Alienated And Fearful - Survey

01/11/2005 - 17:36:54

Protestants living in Derry feel increasingly alienated and
fearful about the future, research claimed today.

Academics uncovered a tale of two cities and found evidence
of increased segregation in the Waterside area.

But the report also found Protestants were more likely to
enter nationalist areas than they were a decade ago and
experienced no problems working in Catholic workplaces.

Dr Pete Shirlow, of the University of Ulster, said: "There
are obvious improvements, but they tend to be countered by
deep-seated anxieties about the future of a minority
population that, in many ways, feels besieged.

"The situation, experienced by Protestants within the city,
is better in some ways but the future remains uncertain."

Researchers found Protestants felt uncomfortable in
Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and Foyle Street.

They also felt uneasy in the presence of republican
symbols, especially in the City Cemetery.

The report identified a widespread perception among
Protestants that Derry City Council worked to a nationalist
agenda and that unionist neighbourhoods were relatively

Respondents outlined fears of a political and cultural
decline within the Protestant community, which makes up 19%
of the city's population.

Dr Shirlow, a lecturer in human geography, said: "Many of
the study's more contentious concerns were discovered
around questions relating to issues of political and
cultural identity.

"The more serious and negative emotions revealed are based
upon forms of resource competition, a sense of territorial
loss and a perception of a cultural voice remaining

The report found 72% of Protestants felt their community
was in population decline, 75% felt it was in cultural
decline and 80% felt it was in political decline.

More than half – 56% – disagreed that Derry City Council
actively supported all cultural identities, while 71%
believed it had not done enough to quell unionist fears.

Insecurity was reflected in the finding that Protestants
felt safer in predominately Protestant areas.

Just over half believed their community did not want to
share space with the nationalist community while two thirds
felt Catholics wanted them to move out of the city.

Anxiety was expressed about school uniforms and certain bus
routes being used to identify individuals as Protestants.

Despite the concerns, the study found Protestants were
happy to shop and socialise in the Cityside, notably the
Foyleside, Richmond Centre and the Diamond areas.

The vast majority of interviewees said that was not the
case prior to the 1994 IRA ceasefire.

Researchers also found 83% of respondents had never been
treated unfairly in a shop or business because of their
religion, while 61% worked within predominately Catholic

The report was compiled by Dr Shirlow, Professor Brian
Graham and Professor Gillian Robinson of the University of
Ulster and Dr Brendan Murtagh of Queen's University,

It included analysis of census data and a survey of 399
Protestant households.


PSNI Say Children Biggest Problem At The Peaceline

By Sarah Brett
01 November 2005

Children as young as ten are the biggest problem facing
police at Londonderry's most notorious interface, the
city's police chief has revealed.

Chief Superintendent Richard Russell said that in a
Northern Ireland context, the problem is specific to Derry,
with unusually young children responsible for widespread
criminal damage and occasionally violent attacks.

Court appearances relating to the frequent violence at the
Fountain peaceline are so rare because of the age of many
offenders, according to the PSNI. A raft of measures are
due to be introduced after a volatile summer.

A core group of around 30 young Protestants and Catholics
aged on average between 10 and 14 have been identified by
the PSNI as repeat offenders at the Fountain interface -
and detectives plan to visit them all in the coming weeks.

Sectarian tensions and the resulting physical and financial
drain to police resources in the city this summer has also
prompted the PSNI to apply for a £300,000 CCTV package.

Funding permitting, three cameras will be erected at the
Fountain/Bishop Street interface and a further one
installed at the Irish Street and Gobnascale flashpoint.

Chief Superintendent Russell said today: "There is a core
group of young people aged between 12 and 14 - some older
and some significantly younger - who we have amassed a
large amount of photographic evidence on after the parades
on July and August 12 and in the general course of
incidents around the Fountain.

"It amounts to around 30 young people from both sides, but
because of the very young age of many of them we cannot
follow the normal procedures and this is why people don't
hear about court appearances resulting from violence at the


Returning Exiles 'Must Face Trial'

Any scheme allowing on-the-run paramilitaries to return
from exile to Northern Ireland must feature a trial at
which they can plead their guilt or innocence to past
crimes, the British government was told today.

As Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain prepared to
release legislation this month facilitating the return of
on-the-run IRA members and loyalists who fled the North
during the Troubles to avoid arrest, nationalist SDLP
leader Mark Durkan set out six principles which should
guide the British government's legislation.

"First, any on-the-run (OTR) process must respect the rule
of law. Even if nobody will go to prison, there must always
be a trial - at which people can assert their guilt or
innocence," he said.

"If people are found guilty, that must always be

"Second, the OTR process should be time-limited for six
months to a year. That way, those who have been responsible
for the hundreds of unsolved murders have some incentive to
come forward and give their victims closure.

"If there is no time limit, then people who have committed
murders know that they can afford to sit back, say nothing
and wait to see if they are in danger of ever being
charged, knowing full well that if they are, they will not
go to prison. No time limit would show total contempt for
victims' interests.

"Third, the on-the-runs must attend their trial in open
court. One of the most outrageous aspects of the (British)
government's original plans is that the on-the-run does not
even have to appear in court to show some respect for those
they have hurt.

"Fourth, the victim must have the right to make a victim
impact statement. This would allow the victim the chance to
make clear how his or her life was damaged by violence.

"Fifth, it must be limited to crimes committed before the
Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement gave everybody a full
and equal chance to participate in the political process.
Those who failed to do so should not be spared a prison

"Sixth, if an OTR becomes involved in breaking the law, it
should always be possible to return them to prison - like
people released under the Good Friday Agreement."

During an appearance before the House of Commons Northern
Ireland Affairs Committee last week, Mr Hain acknowledged
public concerns about an amnesty for terrorist fugitives
but said undesirable actions sometimes had to be carried
out for conflict resolution.

Unionists have expressed their outrage at the plans to
allow on-the-runs to return and some have also voiced their
concerns about the impact on the cold case review team set
up by Northern Ireland chief constable Sir Hugh Orde into
the 1,800 unsolved murders from the Troubles.

Mr Durkan said his party had not sought the legislation and
stressed that it was not part of the Good Friday Agreement.

The SDLP leader continued: "Many will also question the
timing of on-the-run legislation - when paramilitaries
still will not let those they have exiled come home.

He said: "The SDLP recognises that the on-the-run
legislation will cause all victims enormous difficulties -
be they victims of state violence, of loyalist violence or
of republican violence.

"It is all the more important, therefore, that any on-the-
run legislation does not do them a downright injustice.
That is why the SDLP is setting out key principles that
must be included in any OTR legislation."


RUC Officers Seek Compensation Of Up To £300,000 Each For
Troubles Stress

By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
(Filed: 02/11/2005)

More than 5,000 former Royal Ulster Constabulary officers
are to seek compensation for the post traumatic stress they
allegedly suffered during the Troubles.

Claims that the police failed to prepare officers for the
terrorist atrocities they encountered during 30 years of
violence and failed to help them cope with the trauma will
be heard at the High Court in Belfast next week.

Former RUC officers, some of whom are still serving in its
successor force, the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI), want compensation that would cost the Government
millions of pounds.

The individual claims range from £5,000 to £300,000 for
those who suffered the worst psychological damage
associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The civil case is being financed by the Police Federation
for Northern Ireland and individual claimants. It is
understood that legal expertise has been recruited from the
team that has been working on PTSD cases against the
Ministry of Defence.

The attempt to establish the principle that there was
negligence on the part of the police as employers will
begin on Monday when the lawyers launch their claim against
Sir Hugh Orde, the PSNI Chief Constable and his RUC

If the officers are successful, the amount of compensation
will be determined after the initial case, which is
expected to last several months.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland said the case
was "not about the undoubted trauma endured" but about a
"failure in the duty of care".

The RUC set up an Occupational Health Unit in the mid-
1980s, but the federation will argue that it should have
acted earlier and done more.

The federation said: "The federation believes its employer
was negligent in preparing officers for coping with the
trauma at the time and caring for them later.

"The Government also has an obligation to look after our
officers - an obligation which should be at the heart of
the partnership between policing, the people and
Government." A total of 300 RUC officers were murdered in
the Troubles and 9,000 were injured.

The federation added: "It is time that the Government
accepted that the debt owed to the RUC was not repaid by
the award of the George Cross [in 2000]. It was merely
acknowledged by it. The way forward is to recognise the
legitimacy of our PTSD group action."

Yesterday David Lidington, the shadow Northern Ireland
secretary, praised the RUC's sacrifice, but questioned the
legal action. "There is no doubt, the RUC went through very
traumatic times.

"Many were killed and many had to pick up bits of bodies
after bombings, but I have to question whether this is the
right response. It would be hard to argue that previous
chief constables and senior officers had responsibility for
what was a vicious and ruthless campaign of terrorism."

Earlier this year a landmark ruling awarded an Army veteran
£620,000 damages after his fifth tour of Northern Ireland
in 1993. Malcolm New, a former Royal Welch Fusiliers'
colour sergeant, said he could have served the maximum 24
years if the Army had not ignored his PTSD.

The case followed a judgment in May 2003 when the High
Court in London ruled that damages would be dependent on
the origins of PTSD. The federation is hopeful that the
ruling set a precedent for their case.


Warning Over Jail's Redevelopment

Red tape must not be allowed to get in the way of the
redevelopment of a former prison and Army base in North
Belfast, the Government was urged today.

By:Press Association

During talks with Northern Ireland Office Social
Development Minister David Hanson, Sinn Fein Assembly
member Gerry Kelly and Councillor Caral ni Chuilin said
they had received a commitment that discussions on
transforming the Crumlin Road Prison and Girdwood Army
barracks sites would get under way before Christmas.

Mr Kelly said: "In North Belfast 83% of those waiting for
housing are nationalist and this massive shortfall in
accommodation has to be part of the development of these

"There is also an obvious deficit in leisure facilities in
that part of the city. Consideration also needs to be taken
into the views of both St Malachy`s College and the Mater
Hospital as they neighbour the sites.

"The Mater Hospital, in particular, needs additional land
to develop its services further, this needs to happen as a
priority, and we forcefully put this argument to David
Hanson this morning."

The Sinn Fein MLA suggested the Crumlin Road site had a lot
of tourist potential.

Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he noted, was currently the
second most visited tourist attraction in the Republic.

"There is no reason why a similar impact could be made with
part of the Crumlin Road jail site," he said.

"We look forward to bringing forward detailed ideas and
proposals for the site to the development group in
consultation with the neighbouring communities in the time

"It is important to get the development of these sites
right but it is also important that the development of the
area is not unduly held up through red tape."

Mr Hanson said the meeting as very useful.

"The Master Planning process for the Girdwood and gaol
sites will look at all of the proposed uses for the sites
and will be subject to full consultation with local
interests," he said.

"I believe that this will enable a consensus to be reached
which will bring significant benefits to the people of
North Belfast and the wider city.

"While it would be inappropriate for me to prejudge the
outcomes of the Master Planning process it is clear that
these sites offer the opportunity to address many of the
needs in the area."


Greysteel Killer To Serve Terms

Convicted loyalist murderer Stephen Irwin is to serve out
the eight life sentences he received for the 1993 Greysteel

Irwin had been released under the terms of the Good Friday

However, his licence was suspended after he was accused of
slashing a football supporter with a knife during trouble
at last year's Irish Cup Final.

Irwin, who is 32 and with an address on Belfast's Woodvale
Road, was jailed for four years for that attack last week.

Eight people were shot dead when the Ulster Freedom
Fighters opened fire inside the Rising Sun bar in the
County Londonderry village of Greysteel at Halloween 1993.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening
fire on customers.

Irwin and three other UFF men were convicted and given
eight life sentences for the murders.

It is understood Irwin still has a right to appeal -
although he has not responded to two previous chances to do

Father Stephen Kearney, who was parish priest in Greysteel
at the time of the murders, said relatives of the victims
were relieved Irwin had been ordered to serve the eight
life sentences he received.

They will now have a sense of relief that they will know
for certain that they will not meet him

Father Stephen Kearney

"I am sure seeing his photograph in the paper with the
knife is bound to be very upsetting," he said.

"They will now have a sense of relief that they will know
for certain that they will not meet him.

"It is not that they want him punished - they won't have to
relive it again."

SDLP assembly member John Dallat said he welcomed the move
to have Irwin serve the eight life sentences.

"However I am concerned that he can still apply for earlier
release, but given the notoriety of his crimes the life
sentencing review board should not change their decision.

"I hope the families of the innocent victims he killed will
find some comfort knowing this man will live the rest of
his days behind bars."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/01 22:48:27 GMT


Greysteel Tragedy 'Still Vivid'

The murders of eight people in a loyalist gun attack on a
County Londonderry bar has stirred up vivid memories on the
10th anniversary of the killings.

In one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland
Troubles, two gunmen from the Ulster Freedom Fighters
opened fire on the Rising Sun bar at Greysteel, County
Londonderry in October 1993.

They shot dead seven people, both men and women. Another
man later died of his injuries.

It was an act of retaliation for the IRA's bombing on the
Shankill Road in west Belfast just days earlier, in which
10 people, including one of the bombers, were killed.

Customers at first thought it was a Halloween prank as the
gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening fire on the

You can't help but think about that night and it does
bring back memories which are very vivid

Adrian McAuley


Adrian McAuley of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service,
who was a paramedic on duty the night of the killings, said
the anniversary was poignant.

"We knew it was a shooting, but we didn't know the numbers
of casualties and when we walked inside and looked round,
it looked like there were just bodies everywhere," he said.

"It doesn't actually seem like 10 years. In this sort of
job you don't really spend a lot of time lingering on the
things that have happened. You face a lot of trauma, day in
and day out.

"But on the tenth anniversary, and with it being in the
papers and television, you can't help but think about that
night and it does bring back memories which are very

Three people were convicted in connection with the
Greysteel killings but were later granted early release
from prison under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2003/10/30 07:10:29 GMT


Minister Rules Out 24-Hour Pub Opening Times In North

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has decided against 24-
hour pub opening hours. Instead, in a shake-up of the
North's licensing laws, it is proposing bars can remain
open an extra hour until 2am each day, excluding Sunday.

NIO minister David Hanson has resisted any temptation to
introduce the sort of round-the-clock licensing laws being
considered for England and Wales. In a consultation
document published yesterday, he proposed Northern Ireland
pubs could open until 2am from Monday to Saturday, with
midnight closing on Sundays.

Extensions beyond 2am could be granted for particular
occasions such as New Year's Eve, special celebrations and
sporting events.

Social development minister Mr Hanson said an overhaul of
the liquor licensing laws was necessary so that Northern
Ireland could keep pace with tourism and hospitality
developments and "modern expectations".

The extra drinking time is due to be introduced by mid-
2007. Mr Hanson is also proposing that by 2009 district
councils rather than the courts would decide on licences
for pubs, clubs and hotels.

The PSNI would also have additional powers, including the
authority to temporarily close pubs in breach of the
licensing laws or to restrict opening hours. A penalty
points system against offending pubs is also proposed.

There are also measures to tackle underage drinking,
including the promotion of a voluntary proof of age scheme.
The legislation would also provide greater flexibility and
discretion to pubs and clubs in relation to access for
people under 18.

© The Irish Times

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