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December 19, 2005

Adams & Hain In Talks

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 12/19/05 Adams And Hain In 'Spy Row' Talks
NH 12/19/05 Noraid Chief Warned SF About Donaldson
DI 12/19/05 Spy Scandal Showdown
DI 12/19/05 'We Need To Deal With PSNI Militarists'
BT 12/19/05 There Was No Cover-Up, Says Hain
NL 12/19/05 'Public Should Not Be Misled In Spying Affair'
BT 12/19/05 SDLP Calls On Adams To Resign
DI 12/19/05 Opin: Infrmrs s/b Unmasked B4 Any Future Talks
II 12/19/05 Paperknife Cuts Sinn Fein
NH 12/19/05 'If Denis Is A Tout, Anybody Could Be One'
SL 12/19/05 'Jail Spy Scap For Perjury'
II 12/19/05 Firm Unaware Of Probe By Connolly Inquiry Body
NH 12/19/05 Parades Chief: Decisions Easier Within 10 Years
II 12/19/05 Writing On Wall For Loyalist Murals
BT 12/19/05 IFA Pitches For Views On National Stadium


Adams And Hain In 'Spy Row' Talks

Donaldson statement

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is due to hold talks with
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to discuss the
Stormont spy row.

Mr Adams said he had asked for the meeting following his
party's expulsion of Denis Donaldson on Friday after he
admitted being a British agent.

Mr Adams said he had spoken with Mr Hain by telephone on

On Sunday, Mr Hain said both Sinn Fein and the DUP were
wrong to suggest the government was involved in a cover-up.

However, Mr Adams said his party "were not alone in
indentifying elements within the British system involved in
a campaign to undermine the peace process".

"Senator George Mitchell, Chris Patten and even Hugh Orde
have all spoken of those within the British system working
against the peace process and the implementation of the
Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"Despite the intrigues of these dissident elements,
significant progress has been made.

"However, more would have been achieved, and more quickly
but for their plotting."


4 October 2002: Three men arrested following raid on Sinn
Fein's Stormont office. Power-sharing executive collapses
and government restores direct rule to NI a week later

8 December 2005: Charges against three men dropped "in the
public interest"

16 December 2005: Sinn Fein says Denis Donaldson was a
"British agent" and expels him from the party: he later
says he worked as a spy since the 1980s

Government and police reject the party's claim raid was
politically motivated

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said his party
would be happy to see an inquiry into the affair.

"I don't have any problem whatsoever with an inquiry," Mr
McGuinness told BBC News on Monday.

"I have listened very carefully to the unionists over the
course of the weekend, saying there should be. We would
have no difficulty with that at all."

The DUP's Ian Paisley Junior described the idea that the
devolved institutions could be revived in the current
climate as "a fool's hope".

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said: "Between them,
Gerry Adams and Peter Hain should be privy to almost all
the details about Stormontgate, but today's meeting
promises to be a clash of radically different versions of
the scandal.

"Mr Adams says Mr Hain must take whatever steps are
necessary to rein in those who he calls wreckers within the
British security system.

"But government sources say Mr Hain does not accept Mr
Adams' analysis and is more inclined to believe the advice
of the chief constable, which is that the IRA was involved
in systematic intelligence gathering."

Mr Donaldson said he had been recruited in the 1980s as a
paid agent and deeply regretted his activities.

'Stolen documents'

Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive collapsed in
October 2002 following the arrests of three men, including
Mr Donaldson, who had headed the party's administration
office at Stormont.

Charges against the three were dropped after the
prosecution offered no evidence "in the public interest".

Government sources say Mr Hain does not accept SF's

Unionists have said Mr Donaldson's statement proved the
charges against all three were dropped "in a deal with the
IRA" to secure decommissioning.

However, both the Northern Ireland Office and the Police
Service of Northern Ireland have denied this.

On Friday, the Northern Ireland Office said it "completely
rejected any allegation that the police operation in
October 2002 was for any reason other than to prevent
paramilitary intelligence gathering".

It said "the fact remains that a huge number of stolen
documents were recovered by the police".

Police sources earlier reiterated that the "Stormontgate"
affair began because "a paramilitary organisation was
involved in the systematic gathering of information and
targeting or individuals".

But Sinn Fein has always insisted there never was a spy
ring, calling the whole business "a politically-motivated
stunt to discredit republicans".


Noraid Chief Warned SF About Donaldson

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

Former Noraid publicity director, Martin Galvin, warned the
Sinn Féin ard comhairle about Denis Donaldson's behaviour
around 15 years ago.

Galvin told the Sinn Féin leadership he had "serious
doubts" about Donaldson's judgement and strategy but his
concerns were instantly dismissed.

"I was told that Donaldson's credentials were impeccable,
that he was beyond reproach, and that he had the full
confidence of the Sinn Féin leadership in Ireland," Galvin
told the Sunday Tribune.

"Donaldson had taken an interest in Irish-America from the
late 1980s and was sent over to run the Noraid office in
New York. Almost from the moment he got there, he was a
negative influence.

"He created trouble, he made bad recommendations about
genuine people, he attempted to undermine supporters with
traditional republican credentials and he pushed those with
reformist politics on the North."

Galvin said Donaldson had been sent with the "full
endorsement" of a senior Sinn Féin leader whom he refused
to name. "Given the importance of Irish-America to the
British at that time, it was a great posting for Donaldson.
He had access to all our strategy documents, to our
political contacts, and to details on all the money we

"I began to notice how he tried to push out people who had
hardcore politics and would be more likely to ask questions
about strategy and even challenge Sinn Féin policy changes.

"He would say these people were no good, and he would push
forward those who were far more malleable politically. He
tried to undermine a very senior Belfast republican living
in New York and also the sister of a dead INLA hunger-

Unionists have called for a public inquiry into the
Donaldson/'Stormontgate' affair. However, Sinn Féin's
Martin McGuinness yesterday (Saturday) questioned the point
of an investigation.

The DUP's Ian Paisley jnr said there were many questions to
answer: "There was outrage when Brian Nelson's activities
as a British agent in the UDA were uncovered.

"It was claimed by nationalists that through him, the
security services decided that certain people lived and
others died. We need to be told what information Denis
Donaldson provided about IRA activities and what decisions
were made on the basis of that information.

"We have had too much secrecy, it's time for transparency."
Ex-Republican Sinn Féin vice-president, Des Long, who is
also a former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, said he
wasn't surprised by the disclosure about Denis Donaldson.

He claimed the Belfast IRA leadership was told Sean
O'Callaghan was an informer four years before it was
publicly disclosed, but O'Callaghan remained in place.
"Denis Donaldson is only the tip of the iceberg," Long

It is widely believed in security and unionist political
circles that Donaldson was sacrificed by his British
handlers to protect a more important mole who is both a
senior Sinn Féin and IRA figure.

December 19, 2005

This article appeared in the December 18, 2005 edition of
the Sunday Tribune.


Spy Scandal Showdown

Sinn Féin delegation to grill Hain on British spy scandal
"This isn't the first time a British agent has been
uncovered and what we do in this circumstance, just like in
the other situations we have had to deal with over the
years, we pick ourselves up and we obviously learn the
lessons and face the disappointment of what has happened
over the last while. We have huge responsibilities and we
have to go on and we intend to go on. The Sinn Féin
leadership is not going to lie down." - Martin McGuinness,

The SDLP yesterday said Sinn Féin still had important
questions to answer in relation to the Stormontgate affair.

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley, said Sinn
Féin were trying to exonerate themselves from involvement
in the alleged republican spyring at Stormont by expecting
nationalists to believe the word of Denis Donaldson, who
was last week exposed as a British agent.

During a press conference in Dublin on Friday, Mr
Donaldson, who had been cleared with two other men of being
involved in a spyring at Stormont, dismissed the

"The so-called Stormontgate affair was a scam and a
fiction, it never existed. It was created by Special
Branch," he said.

But Mr Bradley yesterday said the fact that Sinn Féin were
using a paid British agent to protect themselves pointed to
a further cover-up.

"News that there are other British agents in the upper
echelons of Sinn Féin calls into question the ability of
that party to represent the interests of nationalists. The
question now being asked by people is who actually runs
Sinn Féin – and in whose interests.

"Sinn Féin and the British need to come clean about their
respective roles in Stormont gate. All spying activities –
whether on Sinn Féin's or the British behalf – must come to
an end if confidence is to be restored in the political

Direct-rule secretary of state Peter Hain yesterday
defended the PSNI operation in relation to the alleged

The raid on Sinn Féin's Stormont offices in October 2002
led to the suspension of the Assembly. It also resulted in
the arrest of three men including Mr Donaldson.

But ten days ago the Public Prosecution Service withdrew
charges against the 55-year-old Sinn Féin official, his
son-in-law Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William
Mackessy at Belfast Crown Court, claiming it was no longer
in the public interest to proceed with the case.

Mr Hain yesterday disputed the Sinn Féin leadership's claim
that the only spy ring that operated at Stormont was run by
the British intelligence service.

He told ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "Let us remind
ourselves about what happened. Something like a thousand
documents were stolen from the Northern Ireland Office over
which I now preside. They appeared in a west Belfast
situation. They disappeared. They were stolen.

"The police went in, praised by the [Police] Ombudsman, by
the way, because this is the most regulated, supervised
police force now in the world.

"The Police Ombudsman, she said they have done not only
what was justified but what was absolutely necessary. Then
events unfolded and the prosecution felt that they could
not proceed in the public interest."


'We Need To Deal With PSNI Militarists'

Connla Young

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness last night
vowed to resist those seeking to undermine political
progress in the North as the cloud created by the Denis
Donaldson informer revelations continues to hang heavy over

Speaking ahead of showdown talks between the Sinn Féin
leadership and direct-rule secretary of state Peter Hain at
Stormont later today, Mr McGuinness said there is
determination within his party to move beyond the
controversy of the last four days and challenge others to
accept their responsibilities in moving the peace process

Mr McGuinness was speaking just days after former senior
party colleague Denis Donaldson was revealed as a paid
British agent.

The Belfast man's dramatic admission that he was a paid RUC
and PSNI Special Branch and British intelligence agent for
over two decades has stunned republicans across the globe.

Mr McGuinness last night said the British government has
serious questions to answer in relation to the Donaldson

"The simple message for everyone is very clear. There are
hostile forces within the PSNI and there are others who
were probably members of the PSNI and the RUC who are still
very close to the PSNI; the sort of people who are
absolutely dedicated to the destruction of the peace
process and the Good Friday Agreement because they believe
that if they can destroy that, they can set back the day
when citizens have equality, rights, justice, freedom and

"This Sinn Féin leadership isn't going to let those people
win. We are absolutely determined to continue with our work
to defeat these people and that essentially means we have a
responsibility to put it up to the British prime minister,
to Peter Hain, the British secretary of state, to Hugh
Orde, the chief constable of the PSNI, the Policing Board
and to the Taoiseach and all others within the process to
ensure that the activities of these hostile forces within
the PSNI are effectively brought to heel, brought to their
knees. That's the big challenge in the time ahead and we
are up for that challenge."

Mr McGuinness said revelations that the British government
has been spying on Sinn Féin will have consequences.

"That means a lot of very straight talking about things,
like the challenge that was put up to Sinn Féin in terms of
using our influence to bring to an end the IRA campaign, to
deal with the whole issues of arms – one that has been very
successfully dealt with in the course of this year. I think
the type of challenges that republicans have had to face
are now the same sort of challenges that have to be faced
by the British government and others within the process.
And that is, how do we deal with the militarists within the
PSNI, the anti agreement policemen? These are challenges
for the British government now, for Hugh Orde and the
Policing Board.

"We will be demanding answers to very pertinent questions
about the activities of these people, the role being played
by these people to undermine the process and in the same
fashion as republicans have had to deliver the British
government in particular is going to have to deliver big
time. Particularly as they major on the need for Sinn Féin
to become involved in policing. There's no prospect of Sinn
Féin becoming involved in policing until we bring about the
transfer of powers and the achievement of all the
commitments that were made by the British government in
their negotiations with us last December."

The senior republican says the British government is now
under pressure to deliver on key issues.

"It's a very simple scenario which the British have to
deliver on. The British have to face the type of challenges
that we have had to face and give answers to them in the
same fashion we have had to in recent times. They are
essentially going to have to tell us how they intend to
stop the activities of these hostile forces, many of whom
are being paid wages by them on a weekly basis.

"The entire debate around policing in recent times has
centred on the efforts that have been made by the British
government, supported by others, to put pressure on Sinn
Féin in terms of Sinn Féin delivering on policing. It will
be quiet clear to most people, it's certainly very clear to
us in Sinn Féin, as a result of the debates and discussion
that we have had with the British government, particularly
as a result of the events of recent days, the people who
now have to deliver on policing are the British

Mr McGuinness acknowledged the shock felt in republican
circles by last weeks revelations and described Mr
Donaldson's actions as a "betrayal".

"Republicans are obviously very disappointed that someone
like Denis Donaldson would effectively betray his community
and betray republicanism in the way that he did.

"I am around the struggle long enough to know that you
always have to work on the basis that opponents of the
process, which is about trying to achieve the rights of
citizens and the freedom, justice and peace that Ireland as
a nation and the Irish people are entitled to, will
continue to beaver away to undermine those who are
spearheading the struggle to bring about fundamental change
in our society.

"You would be very foolish to ignore the possibility that
the British have got other agents working right through the
entire process.

"I have always worked on the basis that they are trying to
recruit people all the time but I do know that, within
republicanism, for every informer or agent that turned up
over the years, there are thousands and thousands of people
who aren't and thousands and thousands of people who would
never contemplate putting themselves into the type of
situation that Denis Donaldson got himself into.

"So from our perspective, what is important to say is that
if the British had infiltrated the leadership of
republicanism the way that some media commentators, mostly
at the behest of these same people who are hostile to the
peace process, are putting out these stories then
republicanism wouldn't be as strong as it is today.

"Republicanism would have been defeated an awful long time
ago, and I think that clearly shows that these people
haven't got the level of infiltration that they would like
to have within the leadership of Sinn


There Was No Cover-Up, Says Hain

By Jonathan McCambridge
19 December 2005

The Secretary of State has described developments
surrounding the Stormont spy row as "spectacular" but
denied the Government is involved in a cover-up.

On Friday, Denis Donaldson, one of three men cleared of
spying for the IRA at Stormont, was expelled from Sinn Fein
after he admitted being a British agent.

Speaking on ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme, Peter Hain
said: "Last week the DUP was accusing me of residing in a
state cover-up to protect Sinn Fein.

"This week Sinn Fein are accusing the state of hounding
them and being engaged in some kind of conspiracy. Neither
event is true, both can't be right, both are actually

Mr Donaldson has said allegations of an IRA spy ring which
led to the collapse of power-sharing had been "a scam and a
fiction" invented by UK intelligence.

Unionists have said Mr Donaldson's statement proved the
charges against all three were dropped "in a deal with the
IRA" to secure decommissioning.

However, both the NIO and the PSNI have denied this.

Speaking yesterday, the Secretary of State also stood by
the original police operation against an alleged republican
spy ring in 2002.

"This is a turbulent event. Let us remind ourselves about
what happened.

"Something like a thousand documents were stolen from the
Northern Ireland Office over which I now preside.

"They appeared in a west Belfast situation. They
disappeared. They were stolen.

"The police went in, praised by the (Police) Ombudsman
(Nuala O'Loan) by the way because this is the most
regulated, supervised police force now in the world.

"The Police Ombudsman, she said they have done not only
what was justified but what was absolutely necessary.

"Then events unfolded and the prosecution felt that they
could not proceed in the public interest."


'Public Should Not Be Misled In Spying Affair'

Monday 19th December 2005

DUP MLA Ian Paisley Jnr has called on the Prime Minister to
make a statement in the House of Commons on the
Stormontgate affair.

He had harsh words for both Sinn Fein's and the
Government's handling of the affair.

Mr Paisley also accused republicans of using the case of
informer Denis Donaldson to shift the focus from the
dropping of intelligencegathering charges against the Sinn
Fein official and two other men.

"Only Sinn Fein would have the brass neck to claim that the
Stormont spy ring was actually the work of the British," he

"This is just nonsense. Sinn Fein's agenda was and remains
to wreck Northern Ireland. Spying on the Government was an
integral part of that strategy.

"It is important that the public sees the entirety of the
picture and is not distracted by the headline that
Donaldson was an agent.

"Sinn Fein want the public to concentrate on that claim and
be distracted from all of the other facts.

"Exposing Donaldson has served to distract attention away
from the Government's refusal to make public their public
interest reasons on remaining silent about the true nature
of the saga."

Mr Paisley said that all the evidence appeared to suggest
that Mr Donaldson was a "double agent".

He said that the possibility of now seeing anyone who was
spying on the Stormont administration brought to justice
was "fast being eroded before our eyes".

Mr Paisley claimed that the episode made a return to
devolution highly unlikely.

"With trust in such short supply and honesty all but dead,
the very idea that local institutions could be revived
under such a climate is a fool's hope," he said.


SDLP Calls On Adams To Resign

By Jonathan McCambridge
19 December 2005

The SDLP last night called on Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams to resign following the unmasking of a close
political aide as a British spy.

SDLP vice chair Eddie Espie said Mr Adams must accept
responsibility because the "project of super collusion
happened under Gerry Adams' watch".

He added: "For 20 years, Denis Donaldson, one of Adams'
closest allies, has been feeding information to the British
intelligence services.

"Only a few days ago, Gerry Adams was happy to appear
alongside Donaldson on the steps of Stormont, presenting
him as a 'victim of securocrats' and trying to tell
everyone to move on from the Stormontgate affair.

"Now it transpires that Adams was singing the praises of an
arch-British agent.

"Throughout the period of Donaldson's double agency, Gerry
Adams was party leader.

"The buck stops with him. The only option now open is for
Gerry Adams to resign."

Meanwhile, the Alliance Party last night called on the
Government to establish an independent judicial inquiry
into the Stormontgate affair.

Leader David Ford said the situation had now descended
beyond farce.

"We are in some mess when, in a dispute between the
Government and Sinn Fein, many people are not trusting the
Government to tell the truth.

"The Donaldson saga is illustrative of how far we still
have to go. This matter goes well beyond a single criminal
case and right to the heart of government."


Opin: Republicans Should Insist That Blair And Hain Unmask Informers As A Prelude To Any Future Talks

"Republicans are not to blame because the British planted a
spy at the heart of Sinn Féin and paid him for years. There
will be more to follow."

Damien Kiberd

Developments in the last week do not surprise me at all.
The Tanaiste (or deputy prime minister) has emerged from
the shadows to claim that police files are "not
confidential at all".

Now Harney was never the sharpest knife in the box, but
this beats Banagher. Can you imagine a journalist going up
to Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park, or to the office of the
DPP (Director of Public Prospecutions) or even to the
Department of Justice and asking to be given access to the
file of…..say John Gilligan?

They would be quickly told where to go. And this would be
quite proper. Because police files are properly
confidential…..except in the parallel universe occupied by
Ms Harney and Mr McDowell of the Progressive Democrats.

The Justice Minister himself clearly occupied a special
part of that universe. Despite long years at the bar he
does not believe in concepts such as "due process" and
"presumed innocent". In the parallel universe occupied by
the former senior counsel, the decision by the DPP not to
prosecute a member of the public is a trigger for the
unleashing of a hate campaign against the accused citizen.

Mr McDowell recently filleted a police file on one Frank
Connolly, executive director of the Centre for Public
Inquiry, and presented two pages of the file (at least) to
a drinking buddy called Sam Smyth who works for Independent
News and Media. He confirmed this fact to the media,
without invitiation, when he phoned into an RTÉ radio
programme, uninvited.

The leaked two page document was a passport application
made from an address in Andersonstown, west Belfast. Frank
Connolly has been damned in the southern media on the basis
of this leak. The handwriting in this document does not
bear the slightest resemblance to that of Frank Connolly.
Frank Connolly worked for me as a journalist for almost a
decade and I can tell you that there is no similarity
between the handwriting in the document and that of Frank
Connolly. So the minister has effectively chosen to destroy
the journalist on the basis of a selective leak which
contains a false passport application which bears no
relation whatever to the person being attacked by the
minister. Mr McDowell says that the passport was issued for
the use of Mr Connolly, but there is no evidence to this
effect. A grainy photo has also been issued to the southern
media: again there is no evidence whatever to link Connolly
to this image. In parallel, a huge and bogus claim has been
made, namely that Connolly or the Centre for Public Inquiry
or both could represent a threat to the security of the
southern state. There is no evidential basis for such a
claim, which is entirely untrue and preposterous, yet the
south's justice minister persists in making such a
ludicrous claim. Senator Joseph McCarthy, at the height of
his powers, never made such claims in relation to politics
in the USA.

The timing of McDowell's attack is equally curious. Was it
triggered by the return of the so-called Colombia Three
from exile? Or is because of fear of what was coming down
the tracks from the Centre for Public Inquiry?

Mc Dowell's behaviour is all part of a pattern. The
Northern executive and assembly was collapsed when police –
in a televised raid – seized computer discs from Sinn Féin
HQ in Stormont.

The allegation was – at the time – that Sinn Féin was
operating a spyring in Stormont. It now transpires that the
man at the heart of the Sinn Féin spyring was himself a
British spy.

But this does not prevent the Irish Times newspaper from
blaming the whole matter on Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness. The paper says that they are entirely to blame
for this issue. In other words, if one of the great
sovereign powers, plants a spy at the heart of your
political organisation, and thereafter uses the services of
this spy to collapse one of the great bi-governmental
projects of the period and one from which your organisation
is supposed to benefit, then the afflicted party is not the
Sinn Féin party which entered into the process in good
faith but rather the wider public. Nobody has any right in
this scenario, which stretches the imagination to the
limit. The proposition is that you are entirely to blame
for the injury that is inflicted upon yourself.

This is not an isolated proposition. For exemple, the
alleged break-in at the Castlereagh security centre was
used as a stick to beat the republican movement over a
protracted period. There is no evidence at all that there
was a break-in at Castlereagh. Even if there was a break-in
at Castlereagh, there is no evidence whatever as to who
carried out the raid.

All kinds of dreadful information has been leaked to the
media about both Stormontgate and about the alleged break-
in at Castlereagh, but not a shred of real evidence has
been produced. What republicans have to ask themselves is
the following: for how much longer they will permit
themselves to be abused in this way.

It's very much like a game of Strip Jack Naked. The
government demands not merely that the IRA should cease all
operations but that it should disarm as well. Fair enough.
But thereafter does this mean that the "dirty tricks"
department of M15 is similarly disarmed? For how long more
will British intelligence be trying to create havoc within
the Irish peace process? The so-called crisis over
Stormontgate actually collapsed the power sharing
executive, an initiative which was clearly sponsored by two
sovereign governments and which had the goodwill of decent
people everywhere behind it.

Most republicans reacted to the unmasking of Denis
Donaldson by blaming themselves. They asked themselves how
they allowed all of this to happen, how they did not
realise earlier what was going on?

This is not a realistic position. Republicans are not to
blame because the British planted a spy at the heart of
Sinn Féin and paid him for years. There will be more to
follow. You are not just looking for a steak-knife here,
you are looking for the full canteen of cutlery.

But it would seem quite logical to me that Irish
republicans – when next they negotiate with the likes of
Tony Blair and Peter Hain – should begin by insisting that
they do so on equal terms, and that the informers are
unmasked as a prelude to any talks.

This duplicity has been going on not just for decades but
for centuries. The two counsel hired to defend Robert Emmet
in 1803 were both paid agents of the Crown. Needless to
say, he was not acquitted. He was hung, drawn and

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


Paperknife Cuts Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly joins protesters outside North
Queen Street Police Station, in Belfast on Saturday,
following the Stormongate revelations.

IT MAY be that standards are slipping as Stakeknife is
succeeded by Paperknife. But the disclosure that a person
who was seen as a central figure in the Sinn Fein
administration for many years was for most of the time an
agent for British intelligence is more than simply an
embarrassment to the political leadership.

Mr Donaldson was closely associated with the political
tendency in the republican movement, to the extent that he
roused the suspicion and the hostility of the leader of
Noraid when he was in America.

The vehemence with which the Sinn Fein leadership reacted
to his outing is an indication of the extent to which his
defection is seen as potentially destabilising the wider
movement and giving ammunition to those who would question
its direction.

The effects of Stormontgate and the unmasking of Mr
Donaldson, whether by himself, by republicans or by the
intelligence services, will have reverberations for some
time and have its effect on the peace process.

What it does disclose is a deep cleavage in Irish attitudes
to informants. As long as Mr Donaldson was spying for Sinn
Fein he was revered in some circles as a sort of folk hero,
a pimpernel tweaking the tail of the Brits and the
unionists. Now that he turns out to be in the pay of the
Brits he is a different sort of person entirely.

There are now cries of horror, and none more loudly than
from Sinn Fein, that the Brits should have stooped so low
as to have suborned a decent Irish boy, and used him to
obtain information on the activities, criminal or
otherwise, of his colleagues in the republican movement.

There is something deep in the Irish psyche that is
uncomfortable with the idea of spies and informants.

There is a wider view too that in these days of
transparency, police forces should not enlist the services
of informants. And yet, criminals rarely give themselves
up, crimes are rarely solved by brilliant Sherlock Holmes
exercises of deductive logic or solely by forensic science,
but because somebody has been induced to talk.

It is not only embarrassing to the Sinn Fein leadership,
following Stakeknife, that their inner circles should have
been penetrated again. Rumours of further disclosures of
even bigger fish to come, probably deliberately started,
are designed to foster distrust and create more confusion.

There must be those still of a military tendency who will
question the vulnerability, if not the judgment and
gullibility of the political leadership. The desire to
limit damage internally and among the faithful is one
strong reason why Sinn Fein have come out so strongly in an
effort to transfer blame to the Brits and the police, to
divert attention from internal weaknesses, and to prevent
their own members from asking awkward questions.

In the fractured politics of the North, all parties will
claim some gains from the episode. Sinn Fein will seek to
blame the Brits and the securocrats, and use the occasion
to justify having nothing to do with policing until the
code of discipline includes a requirement never to arrest
anyone, much less question them, never to use covert
surveillance or informant or accomplice evidence.

Unionists will use it as an excuse to down tools on power-
sharing and the creation of a local Executive.

Meantime, the MLAs of all parties are still being paid
after three years of failure to deliver the goods, while
Direct Rule Ministers, accountable to no electorate in
Northern Ireland, threaten to punish the rest of the
population with punitive tax increases.

Maurice Hayes


'If Denis Is A Tout, Anybody Could Be One'

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

As grassroots Provisional IRA and Sinn Féin activists look
at their leadership, they could be forgiven for becoming

For following Denis Donaldson's outing as a long-standing
informer, the question now is who else at the highest
levels of the republican movement is working for British

The Provos have always acknowledged infiltration by low-
level informers, but they've taken pride in their ability
to speedily weed these out, and to have a leadership widely
regarded as beyond reproach.

"We're shell-shocked," admitted one west Belfast IRA
member. "Over the years, there have been rumours that
certain people were touts but there were never any about
Denis. He was trusted 110%. Volunteers are angry and there
are plenty of thoughts whizzing about in people's heads -
some of them so dreadful, you don't even want to go there.

"Denis was a republican for nearly 40 years. He'd done his
whack, he'd been friends with Bobby (Sands), he didn't have
a flash lifestyle. If Denis is a tout and he got that far
up the ranks, then anybody could be one."

For years, republicans have ridiculed loyalists for being
heavily infiltrated. The 2003 outing of Freddie Scappaticci
(Stakeknife), the former head of IRA internal security,
coupled with Donaldson's admission, shows that British
intelligence has spent just as much time and money
penetrating the Provo leadership, and has found willing

There is no reason to suspect there aren't as many
informers sitting on the IRA Army Council as on the UDA
Inner Council. Both Donaldson and Scappaticci achieved
hugely powerful positions within the republican movement
which gave them access to its innermost secrets. Questions
will be asked as to who promoted both men and who were
their strongest internal supporters.

A veteran republican said: "Denis was sent to take charge
in America 15 years ago when America was the important
place. When Stormont became important, he's put in to run
it. Now that's no coincidence. He didn't appoint himself.
So I want to know who ensured he got two key posts at the
right times and who were they taking instruction from?"

Donaldson (55) comes from a well-known "blue blood" Short
Strand republican family. He was close to Sinn Féin
strategist, Jim Gibney, and to Seanna Walsh (P O'Neill for
the IRA's final statement), also both from "the Short
Strand clique".

He was sentenced to 10 years in Long Kesh for explosive
offences in 1971. Released after five years, he became
heavily involved in Sinn Féin but was also a senior IRA
intelligence officer, travelling all over the world to meet
guerrilla organisations like the PLO and ETA. Information
he gained during this period would later have proved
invaluable to the British.

He used his Hezbollah contacts in 1987 when he visited
Lebanon to try to free hostage Brian Keenan. He was once
arrested in Paris on a false passport. As he played an
increasingly significant role in Sinn Féin from the 1990s,
he met many Irish and British government officials and
political figures.

"He was good company, very affable," one recalled. "He
liked a pint. He was right in the centre of things and very
close to Adams. I wouldn't say he was intelligent, but he
was cute."

Gerry Adams has down-played Donaldson's role, stressing he
wasn't a member of the ard comhairle or Sinn Féin's
negotiating team. But several sources insist he was part of
Adams' "inner circle", attending key strategy meetings and
having access to a wide range of information. He was said
to be Adams' eyes and ears at Stormont.

"Denis never hogged the limelight," says one veteran
republican. "He was a backroom boy but he was well in
there. Before Stormont, he seemed to live in Connolly House
(Sinn Féin HQs)."

After one stay in the US, Donaldson boasted he had become
friends with actor Mickey Rourke, but generally he kept a
low profile. "Denis never stood on any toes, never made
enemies," the source says.

"He was everybody's friend. He always had a smile. If
certain things were being discussed and he was there,
nobody minded. The attitude would be 'talk away, it's only

While he wasn't an original thinker, Donaldson was
influential from 1994 onwards. "I remember him at one
republican 'family' meeting at the Rodai MacCorlai club
after the ceasefire," says a republican.

"There was unease from the floor about the direction of
things but Denis just kept saying 'trust the leadership'."
Donaldson said he compromised himself, becoming an informer
at a vulnerable time in his life in the 1980s. A married
man, he was a well-known womaniser.

He could have been blackmailed over personal activities,
according to an IRA source: "It's most likely a combination
of that, the threat of being sent back to jail, and
undoubtedly being offered large sums of money for turning."
Despite British payments, he didn't have an affluent
lifestyle, living in a very ordinary house in West Belfast.

The fact his spying went undetected for two decades is
hugely embarrassing for the Provisionals and raises
questions about their internal vetting procedures and the
leadership's judgement. Former Noraid publicity director,
Martin Galvin, raised doubts about Donaldson's behaviour in
the US but says these were instantly dismissed by the Sinn
Féin ard comhairle.

Only last week, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness stood
shoulder-to-shoulder with Donaldson, presenting him as a
loyal party servant and securocrat victim.

Sinn Féin's damage limitation exercise now involves blaming
'Stormontgate' wholly on the intelligence services. Adams
has even insisted there was no Stormont spy-ring. This is
supported by Donaldson. But his outing, and the fact his
family continues to live in the North, means he's in no
position to dispute Sinn Féin's version of events.

Sinn Féin's argument that the spy-ring didn't exist is
accepted by no other Northern party, and there are huge
holes in the thesis. Over 1,000 stolen documents were
recovered in police raids. These documents weren't invented
by the PSNI. The Sunday Tribune has learned that their
existence has been independently confirmed by unionists and
the SDLP.

The documents included names and addresses of a wide
variety of individuals, correspondence to government, and
SDLP and Ulster Unionist papers. An SDLP source says: "The
IRA wasn't planning to kill anyone, this was a political
intelligence-gathering operation."

He cited the case of Niall Binead, a former Sinn Féin
activist and close associate of TD Aengus O Snodaigh, who
was last year convicted of IRA membership. Gardai found
documents in Binead's home relating to the movements of
TDs, including where they drank and gambled.

"There is a history of Sinn Féin gathering intelligence on
its opponents in the South, so it's hardly surprising it's
doing the same in the North" the SDLP insider said.

In Stormontgate, documents were found in Donaldson's home.
Sinn Féin has been aware of this since the 2002 raids. Had
Donaldson taken the documents without sanction, he would
have been immediately expelled from the party. Even if
Donaldson was an agent provocateur, such an operation would
have required Army Council or GHQ (General Headquarters
Staff) approval.

The DPP's announcement that proceeding with prosecutions in
the case wasn't in the "public interest" has been
interpreted as an attempt to protect Donaldson. But it had
the opposite effect, creating media and political
speculation about an informer.

One security source insists Donaldson wasn't the mole who
disclosed the spy-ring. Both SDLP and some republican
sources suspect Donaldson was sacrificed to protect a
second, more senior informer within Provo ranks. The police
visited Donaldson, warning him he was about to be named as
an informer. He could be definitively named only if his
handlers had betrayed him.

The SDLP source says: "History suggests that when one
informer is sacrificed it's to protect someone higher up."
A veteran IRA activist agrees: "When somebody outlives
their usefulness, the Brits are ruthless. They don't think
they owe the person for years of service, they just get rid
of them - one way or the other."

The IRA ceasefire and the publicity surrounding this case
means Donaldson's life should be safe. But there is no
guarantee individual republicans wouldn't take revenge.
"I've known him since I was a nipper and I'd knock his
teeth in if I saw him," said one west Belfast activist.

Donaldson will certainly not continue living in the North,
and perhaps not even on the island. Freddie Scappaticci,
who is living with relatives in rural Italy, is said to be
homesick. A former comrade predicted the same for
Donaldson: "He's a people person. He likes to be in the
middle of the craic. He'll find being out of the North

The whole affair shows that 11 years into the peace
process, the spooks haven't gone away and a very dirty war
is still being fought in Northern Ireland.

An SDLP source said Sinn Féin and the British had "a lot of
explaining to do" on the matter. "They both have reason to
fear the truth about the dirty war. It's becoming
increasingly noticeable how their agendas can dovetail.

"All the parties in the North oppose the on-the-runs
legislation, only Sinn Féin and the British support it. In
the SDLP we now talk of 'Hain-Adams' and 'Sinn Féin/NIO".
Denis Donaldson is surely not the last surprise. Over
coming years, more uncomfortable truths seem inevitable for
republican grassroots.

December 19, 2005

This article appeared in the December 18, 2005 edition of
the Sunday Tribune.


'Jail Spy Scap For Perjury'

By Sunday Life Reporter
18 December 2005

A FORMER Army intelligence handler has called for IRA
superspy Freddie Scappaticci to be jailed for PERJURY.

Force Research Unit whistleblower 'Martin Ingram' believes
that Scappaticci, known as Stakeknife, should be hauled
before the courts for lying in his attempts to gag Sunday

And he has written to retired Metropolitan police chief
Lord John Stevens in a bid to have Chief Constable Hugh
Orde investigate his perjury claims.

In his letter to Lord Stevens, Ingram points to several
leading figures in the security services who would be able
to verify that Scappaticci committed perjury when he swore
an affidavit claiming he was not Stakeknife.

Scappaticci, currently on police bail on murder and
kidnapping charges, would be expected to benefit from the
On The Runs legislation that will see terror fugitives
escape jail sentences for their crimes although their cases
would be heard by tribunal.

If Scappaticci was to be convicted by that tribunal, that
would in effect PROVE that his affidavit in his case
against this newspaper was a pack of lies.

Scappaticci went to court in February last year to try to
prevent Sunday Life serialising a book written by Ingram
and journalist Greg Harkin, Stakeknife: Britain's Secret
Agent in Ireland.

His lawyers asked a judge to overturn a decision by the
Ministry of Defence not to extend an injunction - already
in place in England and Wales - against Sunday Life and
Martin Ingram, a former MoD employee. Part of his case was
that he was NOT Stakeknife.

Said Ingram: "Scappaticci's attempt to censor Sunday Life
and the publication of the book was an attempt to hide the
truth and we were delighted at the time when Stakeknife
lost his action.

"There is now no doubt that all acts of collusion will be
buried in the OTR legislation, therefore allowing the truth
of many cases to be hidden forever.

"In Scappaticci's case, if he were convicted of crimes
including murder, he would be able to walk away a free man.

"I believe the only way of getting Mr Scappaticci to face
any questions is by using the Sunday Life case, to which I
was an interested party, by making a formal complaint of
perjury against him.

"He is and was Stakeknife."

Mr Ingram added: "I do not believe the families who have
been touched by the work of agents and their handlers will
ever get to the truth now and that includes the family of
the late solicitor Pat Finucane."


Port Firm Is 'Unaware Of Probe' By Connolly Inquiry Body

Ben Quinn

DUBLIN Port Company insisted last night that it was unaware
of any investigation into its activities by the Centre for
Public Inquiry.

The CPI - headed by its besieged chief executive Frank
Connolly - was reported at the weekend to be probing a land
deal involving the chairperson of the Port Company, Joe

A former Fianna Fail councillor, Mr Burke is a close friend
and political associate of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Despite running low on funds after the withdrawal of €3.3m
worth of funding by Irish-American billionaire Chuck
Feeney, the CPI was reported yesterday to be pressing ahead
with an investigation into a number of docklands property

One transaction said to be a focus of the CPI's interest
involved Mr Burke, Treasury Holdings, CIE and Spencer Dock.

Controversy has already surrounded a joint venture between
Dublin Port Company (DPC) and private operators to develop
a 32-acre docklands site - a deal which was entered into
without a tender competition.

In what Fine Gael labelled a "sweetheart deal", Dublin Port
land was made available to a consortium of developers, Anna
Livia, in their bid to build a National Conference Centre
and other developments.

The DPC did not seek tenders from other developers.

A CPI report into the controversy was yesterday said to be
within weeks of completion. But a spokesperson for the Port
Company said that she was unaware of the CPI carrying out
interviews with staff at the body.

In relation to the controversy over the failure to tender,
she added that the Port Company was satisfied that it had
fully complied with all of its obligations as a state

Frank Connolly said he had no comment to make when
contacted last night.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Mary Harney last night kept the
pressure up on Mr Connolly over claims by Justice Minister
Michael McDowell that the journalist visited Colombia in
the company of a senior northern republican.

Giving her full backing to her Progressive Democrat
colleague, she said that as minister for justice he had an
obligation to make his comments about Frank Connolly and
the allegations that he travelled on a false passport to
Colombia, where left-wing Farc rebels are intent on
overthrowing the government.

"We are talking about somebody here who was the chief
executive of a body that was going to carry out enquiries,"
she said.

"I think that if someone was involved in transferring
technology from the IRA to Farc guerillas, that person is a
huge security threat."

Saying Mr McDowell had acted in "exceptional circumstances,
she admitted that it "would be difficult" for him if the
allegations were disproved.

She added: "He was right on this occasion. The vast
majority of people in this country would take a very poor
view if he had this information as minister for justice and
decided to bury it."


Parades Chief Says Decisions Will Get Easier Within 10 Years

(Sharon O'Neill, Irish News)

As Sir Anthony Holland prepares to step down as head of the
Parades Commission after a fraught six years at the helm,
he speaks to Chief Reporter Sharon O'Neill in a rare

Do you think the appointment of two loyal order figures to
the new-look Parades Commission was designed to appease

They had that [loyal order figures] before in the
commission that preceded mine, so it is not something that
is new. It wouldn't have worked with my commission because
of the nature and make-up of that commission.

I'm not anti the idea at all.

Do you think there will be any changes to the working of
the commission?

That is set in tablets of stone to some extent. The
legislation sets down how you can do things. There is the
[1998 Public Processions] act and then the act enables
parliament to pass what is called secondary legislation and
they do that by way of statutory instruments.

They set out quite a detailed form of procedure, so there
is not a lot that can change.

People talk about mediation being a possibility, but that
has always been the case except the commission can't be the
mediator – they can promote mediation by appointing people
to mediate.

Do you believe new Parades Commission member David Burrows
(of Portadown LoL, who has played a prominent role in the
Drumcree dispute) should publicly tell Orangemen to abide
by any rulings the body might make?

It would certainly be helpful to the new commission.

Obviously David will make up his own mind as to how he sees
his duties. I think it's quite a bold move to have him on
the commission and one that could be very useful.

It is an imaginative appointment and I think that David has
the ability to rise to an opportunity that was presented to
him and the way that he then addresses and relates to the
Orange Order of which he is a member.

Mr Burrows has refused to rule out taking part in the
Drumcree parade next summer – do you think his credibility
as a commission member would be severely undermined if he
did march?

If he is seen too much to be both involved in the process
and then taking part in it... it seems slightly unfair I
think to the interested observer, but only he can address
it in his own mind.

From my long experience in what I call the law, I always
felt if you were trying to make decisions affecting people,
it is much better if you can be seen to be objective and
stand back from the real issue that is at the subject of
the adjudication process.

If you can do that you give people more confidence in what
you are doing.

If you are going to cross the bridge, having someone from
one part of the community on the commission who is plainly
involved in parading, you are in effect probably accepting
that occasionally he is going to take part in the activity
of which he is adjudicating.

Would bringing someone like (Garvaghy residents spokesman)
Breandan MacCionnaith onto the Parades Commission be a good
idea to bolster nationalist support?

If Breandan MacCionnaith was on the commission it would
certainly get the support of some nationalists. Plainly,
the answer to that is yes.

Whether in fact he would want to do that I don't know.

Would you acknowledge that David Burrows's appointment is
the equivalent to Breandan MacCionnaith being brought on
board the commission?

At first sight the answer must be yes. In my own mind, I
don't think it exactly is.

That is because of my knowledge of the parties involved
over the past six years and while I can't disclose what
that knowledge is – to do so it would be to breach
confidences – I don't think in my own mind I would evaluate
them exactly the same way.

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition has hit out at the
absence of nationalist residents' representation on the
body. What is your view?

If you had no nationalist representation that would be a
perfectly reasonable question for them to put to the
Secretary of State.

But there is nationalist representation, it just happens to
be not the kind that they would personally prefer to see.

When will be the first test for the new commission?

The first decision is the one that occurs for a parade
after January 25.

There continue to be weekly applications for the Portadown
(Drumcree) march and they will have to make that decision.

Cynics have said David Burrows is likely to resign from the
commission in a blaze of publicity in protest at any
decision to block the Drumcree march. Do you think this is

I don't think for one minute that would be a likely case
scenario, because he has really thought it through.

I can't believe anybody applying for this post hasn't had a
very serious thought process.

First of all there is the hassle factor which you have
about security and dislike of people you meet on the

People have passed comments to me on the street which I
won't care to repeat and I don't even live here. So he
would have thought all this through.

When you have a new commission, it is only fair that the
community should give it a chance. It is not there other
than to try and help resolve the complex issues of

After all, what is the alternative?

Has the government/NIO ever tried to influence the
commission's decision-making process on contentious


What was your relationship like with the government and
British secretary of state Peter Hain?

The first I met Peter Hain was when he gave me a dinner to
say farewell.

I have met very few secretaries of state. They always knew
that my bottom line was 'leave me alone and I will do the
best I can' and I was left alone.

Did you ever feel Mr Hain tried to undermine the commission
and did you ever consider resigning over such tension?

I never considered resigning. I never knew of anything that
was going on by Mr Hain to undermine the commission.

How do you believe the Orange Order behaved over the
Whiterock march (which erupted into serious loyalist
violence in September)?

If they didn't take part in the process which led to
adjudication, I would believe that any form of reaction
involving anything other than passive resistance is a bad

My advice has always been that it is in their interests to
engage (with the commission), if only on the basic ground
of loyalty to parliament.

If you are actually engaging in an advisory process of
argument with someone about an issue like parading, it
doesn't make a great deal of sense to absent yourself from
the arbitration process.

To do so for eight years and not to come to the commission
and then at the same time to lambast it for its decisions
strikes me as rather unhelpful to its members.

That is probably what some of the members, particularly in
Northern Ireland, are beginning to feel – that they are not
being heard because they are not going to the commission
with their arguments about why they shouldn't have a parade
in a particular location at a particular time.

Were some unionist leaders guilty of doing too little by
failing to publicly urge people not to take to the streets?

It is not my position to criticise local politicians... I
have always taken the view that leadership is difficult,
particularly in some situations but you have to stick to
what you believe as being the truth of the matter.

In these circumstances, any reasonable politician would
want to be quite clear about advising members of the public
to abide by the law and to behave correctly at all times.

Do you think DUP leader Ian Paisley should have publicly
told people not to take to the streets?

I can't comment for Ian Paisley.

What do you think of unionist criticism of the commission
over the march?

That is part and parcel of the process – you always got
blamed every year Whiterock was no different.

I sometimes thought the criticism that was made was not
particularly well informed, particularly in some cases,
indicated a lack of objectivity.

In your opinion has the make-up of the Orange Order changed
in recent years, with fewer 'respectable' unionists joining
an organisation whose reputation has been severely

The people I met, and I did meet people within the Orange
Order unofficially, privately, seem to be perfectly
reasonable and respectable people who felt constrained by
the official position of the Orange Order.

Do you ever think the order will talk directly to the

They are going to have to. The commission isn't going to go
away unless there is a change of policy by the government
and the act is repealed.

Do you think this will only take place if they get marching
down the Garvaghy Road?

No, I don't think the two are related. I am not even so
sure that the Garvaghy Road is the key area any more. I
think it is more likely to be Ardoyne, which is more

Which marches next year would you be concerned about?

I would be worried sick about the Ardoyne and Whiterock.
But you can't forecast what is going to happen, that is the

Is the Orange Order guilty of complete hypocrisy by
refusing to talk to republicans while openly engaging with

I am not going to accuse the Orange Order of that under any

Can you envisage a day when a Parades Commission is not

Yes I can.

If I had to take a bet on when the parades decision would
probably be much easier and sorted, I would choose sometime
within the next five to 10 years – 2010 to 2015.

By then a lot of things would have moved on. You only have
to see the difference here, six years since I came over.

Do you believe unionist criticism of the body has been

I think it has been not so much as unfair as in ignorance
of the real facts. I think people, if they studied our
decisions which were fairly detailed, would realise we
couldn't afford to be unfair.

I took the job on knowing that we would be criticised and
was fully prepared to accept that. As long as I was happy
we were doing it as best we could.

Do you believe police handling of march operations have
been adequate?

I wouldn't be critical of the police.

Has there ever been any tensions between the commission and
the police?

Not tensions, sometimes we disagreed. Sometimes there have
been times when we thought we would have wished it would
have been done differently and sometimes they [police] have
taken the view that they wish we hadn't made a particular

I can't say there is one particular case where I went 'well
that really was the nth degree over the top'.

This is your first interview in some time. Why have you
chosen not to be more high profile in terms of defending
the Parades Commission's position?

That was quite deliberate.

It wasn't a role this commission wanted to adopt by having
lots of constant publicity. Another commission may have a
different approach.

Any regrets?

No, I can't say I would do anything differently if I
started again.

I have been very lucky to have six absolutely superb

December 19, 2005

This article appeared first in the December 16, 2005
edition of the Irish News.


Cleaning Up Their Act: Writing On Wall For Loyalist Murals

Chris Anderson

THE writing is on the wall for paramilitary murals in
Lurgan and Portadown's protestant estates.

The LVF artwork is to be removed in a new year clean-up and
replaced with "cultural and sporting themes", including a
mural of footballer George Best.

It is understood the decision to remove LVF murals and
trappings in the Co Armagh towns was taken shortly after
the loyalist paramilitary group announced it was standing
down all it's military units last October.

Already LVF flags have been completely removed from
Lurgan's staunchly loyalist Mourneview estate as well as a
number of areas in nearby Portadown.

A loyalist source said work would begin soon to remove all
murals containing portraits of loyalist gunmen and other
graphic paramilitary images in both towns.

"It has been decided to replace these images with cultural
or sporting themes which are more in keeping with the
present climate. One of the new Portadown murals will be of
footballer, George Best."

However, not all the loyalist murals in Lurgan and
Portadown will disappear in the New Year clean up campaign.

It is understood, two murals of murdered LVF leader, Billy
Wright, will remain intact - one in Lurgan's Mourneview
estate and another at Union Street in Portadown's
Edgarstown estate.

"The Billy Wright murals won't contain any paramilitary
images or memorabilia," said a loyalist source.

"That was a deliberate decision. They will be a memorial to
Billy and nothing else." However, the source rejected
claims the LVF had been pressurised into taking the
decision to remove all its murals and flags.

"That is incorrect. The LVF no longer exists as a military
force so therefore there is need for their paramilitary
images to be retained. Former combatants are moving in a
different direction now," the source said.

"There are also plans to set up and develop a community
based network project in a number of areas across Northern


IFA Pitches For Views On National Stadium

By Lesley-Anne Henry
19 December 2005

The Irish Football Association will announce its decision
on whether to back plans for a national sports stadium at
the Maze before the end of January.

According to IFA president Jim Boyce the footballing body
will decide during the next six weeks whether it believes a
stadium outside Belfast is viable.

The IFA boss said: "The Government wants an answer quickly
so we are taking views throughout the association at the

"But Minister David Hanson has made it clear that there is
no plan B and that the Maze is the only show in town."

It is understood governing bodies from football, rugby and
GAA must back the project for the Maze stadium to go ahead.

The GAA has already said it is in favour of the multi-
sports stadium, and Government officials say they are
confident rugby officials will back their plans too.

If the Maze bid is successful it could play host to a
number of Olympic football matches during the 2012 Games.

This means the IFA must also decide if it wants to take
part in a new Great British team to compete in the Games.

Scotland and Wales have both refused on grounds that it
could endanger the future of home nations' independent

"We are keeping our options open on whether we want to be
involved in the Great Britain team. This is only 2005 and
there is still a long way to go to the Games," Mr Boyce

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