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December 28, 2005

Blair Explain Assembly Plot By Secret Services

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 12/28/05
Blair Explain Assembly Plot By Secret Services
DI 12/28/05 'Blair The Betrayer'
DI 12/28/05 British Trying To Pervert Nelson Probe
IO 12/28/05 US Lawyer Criticises Delay In Nelson Inquiry
BT 12/28/05 Drumcree Test For New Commission
DI 12/28/05 City Car Break-In 'Sinister' Says SF
BT 12/28/05 City Centre Barriers May Be Taken Down
TS 12/28/05 NI Artists Denounce Threats Against Mitchell
BT 12/28/05 'Stakeknife' In Spotlight Over 1992 Murders
DI 12/28/05 Subvert Democracy- Could We Do That Down Here?
BT 12/28/05 PSNI Recruitment Costs Soar
DI 12/28/05 Opin: Morrison- Shredding Truth About Informers
DI 12/28/05 Opin: Time To Reflect On The Phrase 'If Only'
DI 12/28/05 Opin: It's Make Or Break Time For Language
NL 12/28/05 Opin: Anti-Social Elements Must Be Faced Down
BT 12/28/05 Opin: Party's Over- Now It's Cold Turkey For SF
BT 12/28/05 Opin: Dissidents? Call Them Spoilsports
NL 12/28/05 Opin: Reservists Must Not Be Cast Aside
BE 12/28/05 Rev. Reid Says ETA Symptom Rather Than Problem
DI 12/28/05 Mayor's Japanese Festival Junket Blasted
DI 12/28/05 Ahern- 'Shining Bush's Shoes' On Shannon
BT 12/28/05 War On Fly Tippers At Ulster Beauty Spots
TL 12/28/05 This 'Moon' Is Full Of Intrigue
DI 12/28/05 Daily Ireland Ends First Year On A High


Blair Told To Explain Assembly Collapse Plot By Secret

The Rt Hon Tony Blair, PC, MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister,

In October of 2002 your government closed down the Northern
Ireland Assembly, charging three people including Denis
Donaldson, then Sinn Féin's head of administration at
Stormont, with running an "IRA spy-ring".

On 9 December, 2005, the "Stormont spy-ring" case ended at
Belfast Crown Court when your government directed that all
charges be dropped.

Seven days later, Denis Donaldson admitted having served as
a paid agent for the British Security forces for 20 years.
The British government has not disputed his claim.

The Assembly, despite its limitations, provided the people
of the North of Ireland with their first opportunity for
democratic debate and self-government on a genuinely
representative basis since the partition of Ireland 85
years ago. It was a remarkable achievement for tolerance
and fairness by all the parties involved in reaching the
Good Friday Agreement.

However, successive British Secretaries of State have twice
acted unilaterally to shutter the gates of Stormont and
shatter the aspirations of people of all political and
religious persuasions in the North of Ireland.

Each time they have cited information from the British
security services of foul play by Sinn Féin. Once again,
this 'information' has been exposed as a fabrication. In
this latest debacle, the only "spy-ring" at Stormont was
that orchestrated by the British security services

The implications are serious in the extreme. British
officials promised devolved government; British officials
have violated that promise and manipulated the fragile
institutions of power-sharing. The result is that, nearly
eight years after the Good Friday Agreement, those
institutions have been in operation for only 20 months,
with direct rule from Britain for the overwhelming majority
of the time.

Your government bears the responsibility for bringing down
the freely and democratically elected Assembly. If this
happened in any other part of the world, a British Prime
Minister would be first in line to condemn such police
state misconduct.

The peoples of Ireland and Britain are all stakeholders in
the peace process. The United States, through President
Clinton and his special envoy, Senator Mitchell, played a
vital role in building cross-community confidence and
securing the Good Friday Agreement.

That confidence has been betrayed and all concerned have
the right to demand a thorough and transparent
investigation into the conduct of those responsible. Unless
British security services are operating without control and
accountability, senior persons in your government must have
known throughout that 'Stormontgate' was a fraud and that
Donaldson was working for your own security services.

The tragic irony is that while the devolved assembly was
allowed to run, it worked better than anyone had reasonably
expected. With cross-community confidence now at an all-
time low, your government bears the responsibility for
restoring hope and breathing new life into a moribund peace

At the very least, all stakeholders in the peace process
have the right to an open and transparent inquiry into how
and why Britain's intelligence services brought the
Assembly down three years ago. Just as importantly, the
British government has to show the resolve necessary by
immediately reinstating the political institutions and make
the Good Friday Agreement work.


Frank Durkin, Chairman, Americans for a New Irish Agenda

Ned McGinley, President,
Ancient Order of Hibernians

James Cullen, Patrick Doherty,
Steven McCabe, Esqs. Brehon Law Societies

Robert Linnon, President,
Irish American Unity Conference

Joe Jamison, President,
Irish American Labor Coalition

Paul Doris, Chairman,
Irish Northern Aid Committee

Sean Cahill, Irish Parades
Emergency Committee

Edmund Lynch, Lawyers' Alliance

Julie Coleman, Secretary, Irish American Action Committee


'Blair The Betrayer'

Powerful Irish-American groups launch fierce attack on
British Prime Minister

Irish-America's most senior political leaders have
strongly criticised the British government's handling of
the peace process.

In an open letter to prime minister Tony Blair yesterday,
the Irish-American lobby, which represents a number of
powerful organisations, called for the immediate
reinstatement of the North's devolved political

Irish-American leaders also insisted "an open and
transparent inquiry" must now be established "into how and
why Britain's intelligence services brought the Assembly

The North's power-sharing Assembly was unilaterally
collapsed by the British government in October 2002
following allegations of a so-called 'republican spy-ring'.

The 'spy-ring' allegations fell apart earlier this month
when three Belfast men – including senior Sinn Féin member
Denis Donaldson – were found not guilty after the Public
Prosecution Service decided not to proceed to trial. Mr
Donaldson has since admitted he was a paid agent for PSNI
Special Branch and MI5 at the time of his arrest in October

"The Assembly, despite its limitations, provided the people
of the North of Ireland with their first opportunity for
democratic debate and self-government on a genuinely
representative basis since the partition of Ireland 85
years ago," the Irish American leaders said.

"It was a remarkable achievement for tolerance and fairness
by all the parties involved in reaching the Good Friday

"However, successive British Secretaries of State have
twice acted unilaterally to shutter the gates of Stormont
and shatter the aspirations of people of all political and
religious persuasions in the North of Ireland. In this
latest debacle, the only 'spy-ring' at Stormont was that
orchestrated by the British security services themselves."

Describing the implications as "serious in the extreme",
the Irish American leaders accused the British government
of having "betrayed" the people of Ireland and Britain.

"British officials promised devolved government: British
officials have violated that promise and manipulated the
fragile institutions of power-sharing. The result is that,
nearly eight years after the Good Friday Agreement, those
institutions have been in operation for only 20 months,
with direct rule from Britain for the overwhelming majority
of the time.

"Your government bears the responsibility for bringing down
the freely and democratically elected Assembly. If this
happened in any other part of the world, a British Prime
Minister would be first in line to condemn such police
state misconduct. The peoples of Ireland and Britain are
all stakeholders in the peace process. The United States,
through President Clinton and his special envoy, Senator
Mitchell, played a vital role in building cross-community
confidence and securing the Good Friday Agreement.

"That confidence has been betrayed and all concerned have
the right to demand a thorough and transparent
investigation into the conduct of those responsible.

"Unless British security services are operating without
control and accountability, senior persons in your
government must have known throughout that 'Stormontgate'
was a fraud and that Donaldson was working for your own
security services.

"With cross-community confidence now at an all-time low,
your government bears the responsibility for restoring hope
and breathing new life into a moribund peace process.

"At the very least, all stakeholders in the peace process
have the right to an open and transparent inquiry into how
and why Britain's intelligence services brought the
Assembly down three years ago.

"Just as importantly, the British government has to show
the resolve necessary by immediately reinstating the
political institutions and make the Good Friday Agreement
work," the Irish American leaders said.


British Trying To Pervert Nelson Probe

US lawyer and colleague says solicitor was a victim of
agents of the state

Edmund Lynch

In the law, there is a time-honoured axiom that justice
delayed is justice denied.

In the case of Rosemary Nelson justice was denied during
her lifetime and has been delayed after her death.

Of course, readers of Daily Ireland are familiar with
Rosemary, her work, her courage and her assassination in a
case marked by overwhelming evidence of collusion by state

She distinguished herself as a legal champion of those
citizens unfortunate enough to have become objects of
government prosecution, harassment, false accusation and

Because of her success within the British legal system,
cowards masquerading as patriots killed her on March 15,
1999. As Daily Ireland readers also well know, Ms Nelson
was the subject of brutish and obscene threats by members
of the RUC for at least three years prior to her killing.

Thus we should not be surprised that an inquiry established
by the British government to investigate collusion by its
own agents has once again delayed the day of reckoning.

As a lawyer and colleague of Rosemary, I find the recent
announcement by the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry of a delay in
public hearings until January 2007 to be contrary to the
interests of justice.

Under threat from RUC

I learned of Rosemary's death as I was en route to a White
House reception hosted by Bill and Hillary Clinton to
celebrate St Patrick's Day and the ongoing peace process in

Obviously some in Ireland and Britain had not yet accepted
the dream of an Ireland of shared dignity and respect for
the law. I, and many others, were in shock that Rosemary
was killed when for two years we had been sounding the
alarm that her life was in danger and she was in need of

Space does not allow me to set forth a complete chronology
of the warnings and appeals sent to British and Irish
officials on Rosemary's behalf. But let me highlight
several of the most significant communications.

March 13, 1997: Correspondence to Sir Louis Blom-Cooper,
Independent Commissioner for Holding Centres reporting
death threats against Ms Nelson by RUC detectives stationed
at Gough Barracks.

April 14, 1997: Attorney Lynch reports to Ms Nelson that
the RUC threats against her were raised by US Senator
Robert Torricelli with British ambassador to Washington
John Kerr.

June 30, 1997: Correspondence from Lynch to RUC Chief
Inspector Day of continuing threats against Ms Nelson by
members of the RUC.

June 30,1997: Correspondence from Lynch to Independent
Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC) chairman Donnelly
reporting threats against Ms Nelson, requesting referral of
matter to the Attorney General of Great Britain and
stating: "I am concerned that if prompt and responsible
action is not taken, Ms Nelson will meet the same fate as
that of Patrick Finucane."

July 17, 1997: Lynch corresponds to Jack Straw, British
home secretary, reporting continuing threats against Ms
Nelson and requests prompt action "to get to the bottom of
the matter". Lynch concludes: "My immediate concern is the
safety of Ms Nelson." Straw does not respond.

July 17, 1997: Lynch writes to Mrs P Russell, ICPC deputy
executive, and requests appointment of an investigator to
promptly conduct a "thorough and unfettered investigation
of the threats against Ms Nelson".

July 24, 1997: British Ambassador Kerr advises US Senator
Torricelli that the ICPC is having "great difficulty" in
pursuing the Nelson investigation because of her ignoring
"suggestions" that she meet with RUC investigators. He
suggests that she contact the Gough Barracks, the source of
threats against her.

July 25,1997: RUC Chief Inspector Day writes to Lynch to
advise that "this matter continues to receive my urgent

July 27,1998: Jerome Shestack, president of the American
Bar Association, writes to Secretary of State Mowlan urging
the British government to take all necessary steps to end
the harassment of defence lawyers in Northern Ireland.

September 9,1997: Simon Rogers, NIO Police Division,
advises that Ms Nelson's complaint is to be closed down
because of her "failure to cooperate".

November 5 and December 1, 1997: Submission of statements
of witnesses to RUC Chief Inspector Day and ICPC detailing
threats by identified RUC officers against Ms Nelson.

January 5, April 20, July 20,

July 21, August 10,

September 10, September 14, September 16,1998: Lynch in
correspondence with RUC, ICPC and Commander Mulvihill of
the London Metropolitan Police citing ongoing harassment
and threats against Ms Nelson by RUC members.

September 21 and 22, 1998: Lynch and Ms Nelson participate
in personal presentation in Belfast of witnesses and
statements to Commander Mulvihill and three investigators
from London Metropolitan Police documenting dates, places
and details of threats against Ms Nelson. Names and
descriptions of RUC officers engaged in misconduct and
obscene threat are provided. Assurances given of full and
vigorous investigation and punishment of offenders. No
discipline enforced against any identified RUC officer
engaged in threats.

November 12, 1998 and January 25, 1999: Lynch communicates
to Mulvihill requesting action and status of investigation.

February 27, 1999: Lynch and five US colleagues meet with
Chief Ronnie Flanagan at RUC Headquarters, Belfast and urge
him to deal with the ongoing threats from his force against
Ms Nelson. He assures the delegation that the matter is
"under investigation".

March 15,1999: Rosemary Nelson is killed in Lurgan

March 15,1999: Lynch telephones Flanagan and is advised in
return message that. "No stone will be left unturned" in
the investigation of the killing of Ms Nelson.

British arrogance

On April 19, 2005 the inquiry into the death of Rosemary
Nelson by the British-appointed inquiry team opened with
great ceremony at the Lurgan Community Centre. The
chairman, Sir Michael Morland, emphasised the independence
of the inquiry and stated that decisions as to the work of
the Inquiry would be "ours and ours alone".

Sadly, this attitude of all-knowing superiority has been
the hallmark of British conduct in Ireland throughout the
relationship of Ireland and Britain.

Sir Michael anticipated that public hearings would commence
in the spring of 2006. That date has now been pushed back
to January, 2007.

Justice delayed truly is justice denied. While living,
Rosemary and her friends and colleagues diligently sought
justice from the British state. She was denied.

For almost seven years since Rosemary's death, truth and
justice have been delayed, avoided and obfuscated in the
search for the perpetrators of the threats and collusion
which took the life of a courageous defender of the rights
of all the citizens of Ireland.

Now we are told that we must wait another year for justice
to be delivered to Rosemary, her beloved family and the
many clients and ordinary people who Rosemary helped along
the way in a life of service to her fellow men and women.

In the view of this lawyer and admirer of Ms Nelson, the
case has not been made for additional delay. The hearings
should commence before witnesses disappear, memories fade
and the wrongdoers enjoy another day of tranquility.

I close with the comments of Martin Luther King Junior
delivered in Memphis a few days before he was cut down by
gunmen. When I hear Dr King's words, I picture Rosemary.

Perhaps you will also.

"Every now and then I guess we all think realistically
about that day when we will be victimised with what is
life's final common denominator – that something we call
death. We all think about it. And every now and then I
think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral.
And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and
then ask myself, 'What is it that I would want said?' And I
leave the word to you this morning.

"I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther
King Junior tried to love somebody. I want you to say that
day, that I tried to be right on the war question.

"I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try to
feed the hungry. And I want you to be able to say that day,
that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked.
I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life,
to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I
tried to love and serve humanity.

"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that
I was drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major
for peace. I was drum major for righteousness. And all of
the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any
money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious
things of life to leave behind.

"But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And
that's all I wanted to say. If I can help somebody as I
pass along, If I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if
I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living
will not be in vain.

"If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring
salvation to a world once wrought, if I can spread the
message as the master taught , then my living will not be
in vain."

Yes, Rosemary Nelson was a drum major for righteousness and
all of the other shallow things don't matter.

And her living was truly not in vain for all who she
cheered with word or deed. We miss her each day. We must
honour her sacrifice by bringing to light the truth behind
her death and resolve that never again will the state be
allowed eliminate one of its most courageous champions of
the rights of the people.

Edmund Lynch is a US attorney who has won a number of
awards for his work in the field of human rights.


US Lawyer Criticises Delay In Rosemary Nelson Inquiry

28/12/2005 - 13:55:35

A lawyer who repeatedly warned the British government that
solicitor Rosemary Nelson was in danger from loyalists has
criticised the delay in holding an inquiry into her murder.

Ms Nelson was killed when a loyalist bomb exploded under
her car outside her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh, in March

The British government announced the establishment of an
inquiry into the murder earlier this year following an
investigation of several controversial killings by Canadian
judge Peter Cory.

However, the inquiry has said it will not be able to begin
public hearings for another year due to the large volume of
evidence in the case.

Ms Nelson's family and supporters say the RUC frequently
intimidated and issued death threats against her, while
there was also unprecedented security activity around her
home in the days before her murder.

This has led to claims that the security forces may have
colluded with the loyalists who killed her.

US attorney Ed Lynch was a friend and colleague of the 40-
year-old mother-of-three who repeatedly warned the British
authorities and the police that she was at serious risk
from loyalist paramilitaries.


Drumcree Test For New Commission

Parades body to rule on January 28 request

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
28 December 2005

NORTHERN Ireland's new Parades Commission holds its first
meeting next week - to decide on the flashpoint Sunday
Drumcree parade.

The outgoing commission meets for the last time tomorrow,
having already made determinations on Portadown district's
weekly application to parade for each Sunday until January

Then the new commission, including former Portadown Orange
district master David Burrows, will next week make a
decision in relation to Sunday, January 28.

Mr Burrows, who is also joined on the new commission by
fellow Orangeman Donald Mackay, who is a member of the DUP,
was not immediately available for comment today.

But Portadown lodge spokesman David Jones said: "I have
received determinations from the commission for every
Sunday in January up until the 21st and there is no change.

"It's really a question of wait and see now. The new
commission is still operating under the same legislation.

"Yes, there are new personnel involved but we are just
watching and waiting to see if there will be a change and
the key date should be January 28."

A commission spokesman today confirmed the new members are
due to hold their first meeting next Thursday and the
outgoing commission its final session this week.

"They can make decisions up to 28 days ahead but are
unlikely to go beyond the 21st," the spokesman added.

Outgoing commission chairman Sir Anthony Holland said he
has already met Mr Burrows, who resigned as district master
earlier this year for personal reasons, as part of what he
called "unofficial contacts with the Orange".


City Car Break-In 'Sinister' Says SF

Party and personal documents were handled

Connla Young

A senior Sinn Féin man is to make a complaint to the
Police Ombudsman after a suspected PSNI break-in operation
was uncovered.

Fermanagh Sinn Féin man Seán Lynch says his car was broken
into early on Thursday by several PSNI men as he visited a
friend's house at Norglen Parade in Belfast. A Sinn Féin
constituency manager for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Mr Lynch
was in Belfast to attend a party meeting when his car was
broken into as he visited friends in the west of the city.

It was only when he emerged from his friend's house that a
neighbour informed him that the PSNI had broken into his
car and searched it without his consent.

The ex-prisoner says he doesn't believe anything was taken
during the break-in but both party and personal documents
were handled.

Seán Lynch described the incident as "sinister". "I am very
concerned about this incident. The PSNI broke into my car
and searched through both party and personal documents.
They didn't leave any notice to say they had done this. I
only became aware of it when a neighbour came out and told

"When you put this in the context of what's going on at the
minute further afield it is disturbing. There is a lot of
political policing going on. I am involved with the six-
county leadership of Sinn Féin and I see this as very

Mr Lynch's solicitor Bernard Corrigan confirmed that his
client is taking the matter further.

"We are treating this most seriously and will be in touch
with the Police Ombudsman."

A spokesperson for PSNI said no vehicle searches have been
carried out in the west Belfast district command unit area
in the last 48 hours.


City Centre Barriers May Be Taken Down

By Michael McHugh
28 December 2005

Security barriers in the centre of Belfast could be removed
following the IRA's decision to decommission arms,
Parliamentary queries have established.

The NIO has confirmed that the future of the barriers at
lower Chichester Street is under "active consideration"
following last August's move by the IRA.

The closed-off route has frustrated commuters for over a
decade, causing a 10-minute delay on trips to east Belfast
and other parts of Co Down.

In a response to questions by Ulster Unionist peer Lord
Laird, NIO Minister Lord Rooker said: "The barrier at lower
Chichester Street is under active consideration."

The decision follows earlier disappointment that a
province-wide review of security barriers did not include
the street.

In the answers, the Government explained: "The barriers at
lower Chichester Street were not included in the (separate)
Northern Ireland Office review because they were deemed to
be a permanent installation and were put in place to
provide a secure area around the courts complex."

Any movement would be a watershed considering the history
of the area. In July 1989, the courts complex was rocked by
a massive car bomb and there have been a number of hoaxes
and alerts.

Security concerns sparked by dissident republican activity
have been cited in the past as a reason for retaining the
barriers and Chichester Street was not considered in a
province-wide review of installations.

Since the closure of the eastern end of Chichester Street,
which runs between the High Court and Laganside Courts to
Oxford Street, traffic travelling from the City Hall
towards the river has been diverted left onto Victoria
Street and round the Albert Clock.

Re-opening the road would remove this 900m diversion,
allowing drivers to travel straight from the City Hall to
the Waterfront Hall.

It would also reduce the sense of separation between the
city centre and the Laganside redevelopment.

Former Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers said: "This is a positive
step forward to bring about normalisation."


NI Artists Denounce Threats Against Playwright Mitchell

Nuala Calvi

Writers in Northern Ireland have spoken out in support of
Gary Mitchell, after the playwright was forced into hiding
because of attacks on his home in loyalist Rathcoole.

Thirty artists, including dramatists Damian Gorman, Tim
Loane, Martin Lynch, Maria McManus and Christina Reid,
signed an open letter drafted by Belfast novelist Glenn
Patterson at a recent conference, declaring: "As citizens
of this country we abhor the intimidation of any of our
fellow citizens. As writers, who gathered in Belfast last
weekend to debate the state of the literary arts, we
condemn the recent attacks on Gary Mitchell and offer Gary
and his family our wholehearted support."

Mitchell's plays, such as Marching On and Forces of Change,
portray the power struggles between Protestant
paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Despite his success and
position as writer in residence at the Royal Court, he had
continued to live within the community he wrote about.

Patterson told The Stage: "Nobody seems to understand,
including Gary, why this has happened at this particular
time. He's been in the public eye for a number of years. It
is surprising to hear of it happening at this stage and it
is frightening. But I haven't heard any writers here
worrying about what they will do or whether they will be
under increased threat themselves.

"We know we live in a society where the paramilitaries
don't tolerate other voices. Not much has changed in that
aspect. Most writers here who write work that engages with
the society and politics of the place have felt themselves
to be potentially in a situation of vulnerability over the
years. But Gary said he doesn't want the paramilitaries
having any control over what he writes and I think all of
us here would agree. You have to go on asking the questions
that the work demands. Gary has done that."

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Front Row last week, Mitchell
said he believed the violence against him was perpetrated
by people who were unlikely to have seen his plays.

"There is a very small minority in north Belfast who are
very jealous and very angry at someone else being
successful and they're using every opportunity they come by
to lash out at me and my family," he said. "I doubt these
people have ever seen anything I've written… [they think]
if the Irish in Dublin are giving me awards I must have
done something wrong, something against this community, so
I think they're using their own interpretation to lash out
at me."


'Stakeknife' In Spotlight Over 1992 Murders

Life could have been saved: group

By Michael McHugh
28 December 2005

THE PSNI team probing the alleged activities of IRA mole
Stakeknife is being urged to re-investigate another brutal
murder of a republican by the IRA.

The killing of Portadown man John Dignam in June 1992 comes
under the spotlight as the row over British informers and
Stormontgate rumbles on.

The PSNI's Historic Enquiries Team (HET) is understood to
be probing the murder as part of the Stakeknife
investigation into allegations surrounding west Belfast man
Freddie 'Stakeknife' Scappaticci.

Mr Dignam, Aidan Starrs and Gregory Burns were murdered by
an IRA team after being dubbed informers despite
Stakeknife, himself a British agent, allegedly being in a
position to save him.

They were found shot dead in a remote field in south

The British/Irish Rights Group has sent a dossier on Mr
Dignam's murder to the Historic Enquiries Team and director
Jane Winter said there were a number of questions which
needed to be answered.

"We have sent a file on one alleged victim, John Dignam,
and we have put in everything which we have been able to
discover about that case and the HET have confirmed that
they will be looking into that," she said.

In addition to being alleged informers, the trio were
accused by the IRA of having killed Portadown woman
Margaret Perry.

"The allegation is that some of the people involved were
working for the FRU and working for Special Branch and if
that is true it is possible that all four murders, of Mr
Dignam, Aidan Starrs, Gregory Burns and Margaret Perry,
could have been avoided," Ms Winter added.

"After what the Perry family went through the thought that
her death could have been prevented is a terrible thought.
If that is true then whoever is responsible should be
brought to book."

Relatives of Mr Dignam have demanded a public inquiry into
the matter and have called for Scappaticci to be summoned
to give evidence.

The HET was handed the files on Stakeknife. The team was
also given files on the murders of the trio by the Stevens
team which had been investigating the killings.

"I think the HET is better placed to look not just at
Stakeknife but at all the issues which Stakeknife has
thrown up," Ms Winter said.

"People have had to live with the stigma of having their
relatives labelled informers and this may not have been

"The HET is quite interested in looking at a pattern of
crimes. They have more information at their disposal than
the Stevens 3 team would be in a position to get as to
which killings were carried out by the IRA's so-call
internal discipline unit and who was involved and the real
truth behind those killings."

A PSNI spokesman said they were not commenting on the


Subvert Democracy, Demolish Democratic Institutions Etc
Etc. Could We Do That Down Here?

Robin Livingstone

Very unfair of Bertie Ahern and Michael McDowell not to
tell us what was said when PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde
found himself on the carpet in Dublin this week. The Irish
government thinks the public deserves to know just what's
going on vis a vis this whole Stormontgate mess. So they
summon the top Trevor to Dublin, grill him for a while and

A usually reliable source (bloke I drink with in the Roddy
McCorley's) said he had it on good authority that during
the meeting Hugh picked a spot on the wall and stared at it
for the full hour without saying a word. Nice image, but I
know better. In fact, such is the extent of my contacts in
Leinster House that on Friday morning an envelope landed on
my desk containing a secretly-recorded tape of the meeting,
which I'm happy to share with you today.

Bertie: Thanks for coming today, Hugh. Got a bit hairy out
the front there with those Shinners and their placards,

Hugh: You should try the old plastic bullets, Taoiseach.
Those nice SDLP fellas agreed to let us have another five
million after one of my senior officers told them that he'd
be happy to fire one at his daughter's head from five
paces. The place is coming down with them – we'll send you
down a few if you like.

Bertie: Let me think about it, Hugh. Anyway, about this
Denis Donaldson thing. What's the story?

Hugh: Taoiseach, I can categorically assure you that there
was an IRA spy ring at Stormont, and to prove it I have
here the thousand documents we found in West Belfast.

Sound of briefcase clicking and papers rustling.

Bertie: And you got these where, exactly?

Hugh: Under the bed of a top republican.

Bertie: Whose name is...?

Hugh: Denis Donaldson, codename Gnome.

Bertie: And he works for...?

Hugh: Me.

Bertie: You can see the little problem we have here, Hugh.

Hugh: Yes, I admit it sounds a little strange, but the fact
is that the chap never said a thing about it to us.

Bertie: Hmmm. Let me see if I've got that... Donaldson was
a spy in your pay, but this Stormont thing was a bit of a
nixer, a homer, if you like.

Hugh: You could put it that way, yes.

Bertie: You never knew a thing?

Hugh: Nothing.

Bertie: Say you swear.

Hugh: I swear.

Bertie: On your mammy's head.

Hugh: This is getting ridiculous.

A seat scrapes, a cough is heard.

Michael: I'm going to speak frankly, Chief Constable.

Hugh: Get away.

Michael: PSNI Special Branch has been engaged in the
systematic subversion of democracy on this island. It has
conspired to bring down democratically elected institutions
and ignored the most basic tenets of jurisprudence and due
process in a flagrant attempt to further its own narrow,
reactionary political agenda.

It is in effect an unelected junta which has usurped the
primacy of the people. Politics as we know it has ceased to
exist in the North and what we have instead is a ruthless
star chamber which has made the executive/judiciary/police
concept redundant in the 21st century.

Hugh: Your point is?

Michael: Do you want a job?

Bertie: Gentlemen, if we could get back to the matter in
hand. You will recall, Chief Constable, that when this
Denis Donaldson business broke, I told the media that I had
long been suspicious about the whole thing.

Hugh: Yes, Taoiseach.

Bertie: I think it's important that, for the record, I
explain why I didn't speak out publicly at the time.

Hugh: It's not necessary, I'm just relieved you didn't.

Bertie: What happened was, when I told Tony that I thought
the whole thing smelt a bit, he sent a bloke down to give
me a private briefing.

A bit like this one, come to think of it. And it went
great, I believed him, actually,

I thought he sounded convincing, a bit like you do today,
come to think of it. And so I forgot about it and went to
Old Trafford. Blackburn in the Carling Cup. Three-nil,
Giggsy special just before half-time, Ruud double to wrap
things up in the second half. Do you like the footie, Chief

Hugh: Taoiseach, before we wrap things up, I should point
out that I would be very disappointed were you to reveal
anything I've said here today to the media.

Bertie: Chief Constable, I'm shocked. This government is
not in the habit of dispensing sensitive information to the

Michael: Hear, hear.

Bertie: By the way, how was Donaldson compromised?

Hugh: It was stupid to plump for codename Gnome. Once
somebody heard that the ball was up in the slates.

Bertie: Well, Chief Constable, I want to thank you for
coming here today.

Hugh: My pleasure, Taoiseach. If I could just have a word
in private if you don't.

Sound of seats scraping, footfalls, a door opens and
closes. Hugh: I read what you said in the paper the other
day about some blokes you went to school with earning more
money than you because they're in the private sector. Very

If you're interested in improving your, ah, pension
arrangements, call this number any time. Ask for Trevor,
tell him

'The daffodils are blooming early in Ballsbridge this year'
and he'll be happy to meet you in a mutually convenient

Bertie: Isn't the peace process a wonderful thing
altogether, Chief Constable?


PSNI Recruitment Costs Soar

Over £5m spent appointing 530 new officers in a year

By Jonathan McCambridge
28 December 2005

The soaring cost of police recruitment in Northern Ireland
was branded "staggering" today after it emerged that over
£5m was spent recruiting 530 new officers in one year.

The chairman of the Policing Board's finance committee has
claimed it is impossible to justify the high level of
spending which is approaching £10,000 for every new PSNI
constable appointed.

But the Government has defended the cost and said the huge
number of people applying to join the PSNI - 13,000 every
year - is pushing the costs in the privatised recruiting
process up.

However, it has also emerged that the Government and PSNI
are to look at ways in which savings can be made in the
pre-appointment process.

The current 50/50 recruitment system was introduced as part
of the Patten reforms in 2001 and is operated by the
Consensia Partnership, an independent recruitment agency
for the PSNI.

Security Minister Shaun Woodward has revealed in the House
of Commons that in the 2002-2003 financial year £3,794,761
was spent on regular police trainee recruitment and 414 new
recruits were appointed.

In 2003-2004 the cost had risen to £4,553,610 and 528
constables were appointed. In 2004-2005 £5,071,988 was
spent and 531 officers were appointed.

Policing Board finance committee chairman Sammy Wilson
said: "These are staggering totals and the worrying thing
is they are getting higher; it is now almost £10,000 spent
for every officer who is appointed.

"Imagine how many police officers' wages you could pay with
£5m a year.

"I think a lot of people would have accepted high costs
when the recruitment process was beginning in 2001, but it
cannot be justified now. This is a standardised, mass
production process but it continues to rise.

"This whole recruitment process is being underwritten by
the Northern Ireland Office and there does not seem to be
any limit to the costs. I think people should be worried
about this."

Mr Wilson also said the 50/50 recruitment process, which
means half of all successful candidates must come from the
Catholic community, contributed to rising costs.

But a spokeswoman for the NIO responded: "On average there
are 13,000 applications a year for 440 constable training
posts in the PSNI - this massive level of interest adds to
the expense involved.

"We are satisfied this compares favourably with other
public sector recruitment exercises.

"The PSNI and NIO are currently examining the recruitment
process and considering where any cost-effective changes
could be made to the pre-appointment stages."


Opin: Danny Morrison - Shredding The Truth About Informers

Danny Morrison

"Literature takes up the cause of the restless… prose
should aim to keep people in touch with their roots, to
shore up their self-esteem."

So wrote Christa Wolf, one of Germany's most acclaimed
prose writers and a member of the Communist Party in East
Germany until her resignation in 1989, five months before
the fall of the Berlin Wall. A hero to many on the left she
was viewed as a 'loyal dissident', criticising aspects of
the communist regime but essentially remaining faithful to
'socialism' as a better alternative to the capitalist west.
Nevertheless, for over 20 years she was under constant
surveillance by the Stasi (the Ministry for State

Given that it is 15 years since the collapse of the Berlin
Wall, and 14 years since German reunification, I had
forgotten how domestically oppressive the ironically-named
German Democratic Republic (GDR) had been.

For Christmas, among the books I received as presents, was
one from my son titled, Stasiland by an Australian author,
Anna Funder, which I couldn't put down. First published in
2003, it is a personalised account of a sojourn in Berlin
and eastern Germany and includes interviews with Stasi
victims and their perpetrators, few of whom show any

Stasi surveillance of its 17 million citizens in East
Germany was breathtaking. It is estimated that under Hitler
there was one Gestapo agent for every 2000 citizens but
that in the GDR there had been one Stasi officer or IM
(Inofizielle Mitarbeiter – unofficial collaborator) for
every seven citizens. The Stasi used torture, murder and
blackmail, infiltrated the workplace, churches, and
schools, and controlled the media. Suspected dissidents
were denied employment or promotion and people attempting
to escape to the West faced being shot - though the
government 'sold' selected categories of its citizens for
hard cash to West Germany, and in its 40-year history
almost one-quarter of the GDR's population fled to the

The Stasi destroyed careers and relationships and bred such
mistrust and paranoia that everyone suspected everyone else
of being an informer. They read people's mail in secret
rooms above post offices, tapped tens of thousands of phone
calls daily, and checked the angle of television aerials on
roofs to make sure that none were turned towards West
Berlin to receive alternate views.

Small roneo printers, typewriters and, later, photocopiers
were all controlled by licence. Books such as George
Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984, the writings of Alexander
Solzhenitsyn, amongst others, were banned.

Die Wende – the 'Turning Point' – came in 1989 with the
collapse of communism, the fall of the wall and the
peaceful revolution. Thousands of people surrounded the
Stasi headquarters and its district offices where agents
were attempting to destroy millions of documents, including
ones that covered deaths in custody or implicated some of
West Germany's Federal Republic politicians and journalists
who had taken bribes or acted as informers for the Stasi.
In one section of the HQ such was the frenetic pace of
destruction that over 100 paper shredders burnt out under
the strain.

However, 15,000 sacks of documents, index cards,
photographs and unwound tapes and film were recovered and
in 1990 there was a widespread debate throughout Germany
about what to do with them and whether if they were made
public there would be revenge attacks on collaborators
(which, in the end, never materialised).

Some files were destroyed, some were locked away. Just
prior to reunification in 1990 the only democratically
elected parliament of the GDR passed a law granting the
right for people to see their own files and this provision
was included in the Unification Treaty.

Access to one's files is regulated by the Stasi File
Authority. In Nuremberg initially up to 40 people – known
as 'the puzzle women' (though they include men) – have been
painstakingly matching strips of paper and putting shredded
documents back together.

"You start with the corners, and fill in the rest from the
shape of the edges," said one woman. "We get clues from the
sort of paper it is, the typeface or handwriting and so

Another worker said: "Sometimes the satisfaction is in
knowing that when people find out what happened to them it
might give them some peace of mind – why they lost their
place at the university, or what happened to the uncle who
disappeared or whatever. It gives those affected an insight
into their own lives."

Another woman told Funder: "When I find love letters I
think, good grief, they really opened everything – and how
many hands did these pass through? How many times were they
copied. I'd hate for that to have happened to me. I don't
feel too good about seeing them myself when I piece them

Since 1995, they have worked through 260 sacks. However,
the director of the Nuremberg project estimates that at the
rate of restoration – ten pages per day per worker – it
will take 375 years before all the files are reconstructed,
unless the German government, which looks unlikely, deploys
more resources on this 'truth recovery' process.

One interviewee for the book, Miriam Weber, was jailed at
16 in 1968 for trying to escape to the West. In jail, she
said, the criminals were encouraged to abuse the political
prisoners. In 1980 her partner Charlie was arrested for
swimming in the Baltic Sea, close to a Swedish boat. He was
suspected of 'attempting to flee the Republic', was
harassed, then arrested and interrogated and died in
custody. Miriam was never told the exact circumstances of
his death and although she thought she had buried Charlie's
body she suspects the Stasi might have cremated his remains
to cover up the cause of death.

Obviously there are major differences between the situation
as it was in East Germany, where there was state terror but
no armed struggle, and the conflict in the North of

Here, British Intelligence and the RUC through a variety of
methods recruited a variety of informers. One of the most
high-profile was the recently 'outed' Denis Donaldson who,
presumably, given his role within Sinn Féin, was largely
involved in political espionage.

But it would be a mistake to think that the British just
stopped at Sinn Féin. I am sure that in Whitehall there are
voluminous reports and fat diplomatic files of confidential
meetings down the years between British officials and
opinion makers from within the nationalist community
(including clerics and the SDLP) which report interesting
political intelligence on republicans. And that is a quite
separate phenomenon from those of their adherents and
supporters who felt that the demonisation of republicans
made informing morally acceptable.

Miriam Weber stated that since the Stasi files were opened
informers routinely argue that their information didn't
harm anyone.

"But how can they know what it was used for?" she said.

For over 20 years the writer Christa Wolf was under
constant surveillance by the Stasi. She argued that
literature could shore up people's "self-esteem" but in
1993 her reputation was seriously undermined. Stasi files
revealed that she too had been a secret police informer
from 1959 to 1961; had reported on colleagues and friends
and submitted their letters and manuscripts for inspection
when she worked as an editor on contemporary German

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


Opin: Lots Of Time To Reflect On The Phrase 'If Only'

Nelson's PILLAR

The Dáil has adjourned for over a week now and won't
resume until the January 25.

This column doesn't begrudge our hard working TDs their
Christmas break, though it does seem an inordinately long

They will have been busy this last week or so sending
festive cards to grateful constituents. This was an
uneventful session, with very few of our notables shining.
Nonetheless this column after careful consideration and
much deliberation has decided to make the following awards.

To Michael D for the funniest remark of the session.
Michael entertained us all with his description of Dermot
Ahern as the Minister for Fornication.

For-brass-neck of the session our Minister of Justice
Michael McD. It isn't that he has a bigger brass neck than
any of the rest; he just polishes it in public more often.

For red-face of the session Willie O'D, who overshadowed
even Conor Lenihan in the amadán stakes when he brandished
his weapon for everyone to see.

This was also the session when the Ceann Comhairle said
'frig'. But for this column the triple whammy award goes to
Ivor 'the engine' Callely. He receives the Ho! Ho! Ho!

It's not every day that a Junior Minister overshadows the
budget, a Taoiseach and a Finance Minister. Ivor no doubt
will spend the festive season reflecting on the deep
meaning of the phrase 'if only'.

Two timing

Northern politics dominated the media this time last year
and returned again and again many times since then. It's
probably appropriate then that the year ends in the same

This column thinks that's a good thing though it's
regrettable that a lot of the issues were negative ones and
even when this was not the case, the media coverage
certainly was.

Bertie waltzed his way through it all. Though he stumbled a
few times the peace process remains one of his strong

The Shinners also received a huge amount of media coverage
and the relationship between them and the FFers was
analysed ad nauseum.

The rather different relationship between the FFers and the
SDLP has not received the same attention. On the face of it
the Dublin establishment are doing what they've always done
when John Hume was the leader.

That is the party in government treats the SDLP as its
northern wing. At the beginning of the year Grumpy Durkan
was vicious in his attacks on Bertie and the FFers.

Then fences appeared to be mended and ministers, both
Bertie's and Mary's were almost queuing up to attend SDLP
events. That practice continues as the year ends. But most
deputies will tell you that Grumpy Durkan's crowd now
appear to be sidling up to Labour.

I'm sure Bertie has noted this, everybody else has. Maybe
Mark figures that Fianna Fáil won't be in the next
government. Whether they are or not it is always a mistake
to take the FFers for granted. Even a bigger mistake to
two-time them.

Road Deaths Crisis

It seems there has hardly been a weekend without news of
people being killed on our roads. 2005 was the worst year
yet. 517 people have been killed so far – and the year
isn't over.

There is no available record of people injured but all in
all it's a dreadful situation. Any government looking to
the next 12 months has to see this as a crisis which needs
to be tackled.

The Minister of Justice should put as much energy into this
task as he does into other matters, which he has famously
designated as threats to the security of the state.

Education, tighter licensing regulations, a crackdown on
drunken or reckless driving are all parts of a very urgent

Una O'Higgins O'Malley

This column extends sympathy to the family of Una O'Higgins
O'Malley who died last Sunday. Una's father Kevin O'Higgins
was executed by the IRA in July 1927.

He was Cumann na nGaedheal Minister for Justice and
External Affairs and a trenchant Free Stater. She was five
months old when her father was killed.

She entered into the consciousness of this column when she
picketed the Shinners at 44 Parnell Square in the 1980s.

These protests received a lot of media coverage. But she
also spoke out in support of the protests for the H-Block
prisoners and the women in Armagh at a time when most
establishment figures remained quiet on the issue or
hostile to the prisoners' campaign.

The main theme of Ms O'Higgins O'Malley's campaigning was
for reconciliation. In the late 1980s she had memorial Mass
said for her father and his killers. She was also one of
those brave souls who founded the Glencree Centre for Peace
and Reconciliation.

You don't have to agree with everything that Una O'Higgins
O'Malley said, but this column did admire her for her
courage. Go ndéana Dia trócaire uirthi.

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office revealed
that almost one-fifth of the population this year is at
risk of poverty.

The worst-off predictably included lone parent households,
the ill and disabled, the unemployed and those who live on
their own.

There are many such unfortunate people here in the capital.
So count your blessings if you are one of the four fifths.
Enjoy your Christmas.

But if you know someone who might be lonely, do some small
thing to help them enjoy Christmas also.


Opin: It's Make Or Break Time For Language

Editor: Colin O'Carroll

The opening of the offices of the Language Commissioner in
Spideál, Conamara, this September marked a significant step
forward in the modernisation of the battle for the Irish

As witth the granting of full working status to Irish
within the EC earlier in the year, the creation of the post
of An Coimisinéir Teanga represents a growing seriousness
in the government's approach to the survival of Irish.

Almost since the establishment of the Free State, official
efforts lacked a strategic underpinning and depended unduly
on the goodwill of the government of the day. In the North,
of course, even the cúpla focal approch was a bridge too
far for the British who viewed An Ghaeilge as a "non-

The advent of the Official Languages Act in the Republic
has brought the language fight firmly into the 21st
Century. Indeed, the launch last week by Minister Éamon Ó
Cuív of a new advertising campaign on MTV to encourage
young people in the Gaeltacht to speak their native tongue
is just the latest weapon in the increasingly sophisticated
marketing of Irish.

Today, the Irish can hold their heads high in the company
of their counterparts in Catalonia, Québec, Wales and the
Basque Country — areas where the bulldozer advance of the
dominant language has been successfully challenged. These
strides forward must not encourage complacency for, as
Language Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin warned earlier this
month, the next decade is make-or-break time for Irish.

As Ireland heads towards the centenary of the 1916 Rising,
the future of the Irish language will be sealed.

In an optimistic, if realistic, assessment of the
language's prospects, Mr Ó Cuirreáin insisted that making
the right decisions in 2006 could ensure we really have
something to celebrate in 2016.

In July of next year, the Official Languages Act will come
fully into effect — its three-year introductory period
ending at that time. Also, early next year, Minister Ó Cuív
will publish an ambitious vision document on the future of
An Ghaeilge which should spur government and public alike
to action.

That document will spell out the massive progress made in
less than 100 years, but will also challenge the Irish
people and their institutions to move further from the
rhetoric of language promotion to the hard, practical work
of providing the support mechanisms and everday recognition
Irish needs if it is to prosper. Steps towards the
introduction of an Irish Language Act in the North and the
continuing grassroots support of six-county activists for
An Ghaeilge should inspire all who wish to see Irish

Experts estimate that 6,000 languages are in danger of
extinction in the next 100 years, reducing the number of
languages extant on planet earth to around 700. That's a
language lost a week, every week for 100 years.

Seán Ó Cuirreáin predicts that the gains won for Irish in
2006 — or the losses suffered — will dictate the language's
fate. That's a wake-up call to everyone who believes a
united Ireland without a living Irish language would be a
hollow victory indeed.


Opin: Anti-Social Elements Must Be Faced Down

Tuesday 27th December 2005

SADLY, in the more peaceful times of the post-Troubles era
in Northern Ireland there are still violent and vicious
antisocial elements in our society who, even at Christmas,
are prepared to spoil life for others in the community.

An appalling arson attack which forced 10 people, including
a 75-year-old pensioner, to flee their Portadown homes on
Christmas Day is the kind of madness which this Province
must avoid if we are to have long-term permanent peace and

Yesterday, those who would callously deprive the people of
Northern Ireland of normality were again at their work -
telephoning bomb warnings to the Down Royal racecourse at
the Maze.

The calls led to the cancellation of the Boxing Day meeting
and it resulted in major disappointment for the 5,000
people who had flocked to the venue expecting highly
enjoyable holiday sporting entertainment.

This was the second time a Maze event was disrupted -
dissident republicans were blamed for an elaborate hoax on
November 5 and, while police are still investigating
yesterday's incident, the same elements may well have been

Sensibly, Maze course officials have pledged that the show
must and will go on and yesterday's meeting has been
rescheduled for today, with the punters being given a
voucher for a free £5 bet on any horse of their choice.

The Ulster sporting public should turn out in large numbers
at the Maze today to support those attempting to ensure
that the event goes ahead.

An odious Bill

SECRETARY of State Peter Hain is clutching at straws over
the Government's odious on-the-runs legislation which
creates an amnesty for republican and loyalist
paramilitaries guilty of the most heinous crimes.

Mr Hain incredulously describes the Northern Ireland
[Offences] Bill as "an essential building block" for the
peace process here and he foolishly chides the
Conservatives and other Opposition groups at Westminster
for having the good sense to oppose the legislation in the
Commons and in the House of Lords.

The Government, in needlessly and insensitively drawing up
this Bill, was clearly on board with Sinn Fein-IRA, but the
irony is that the republican movement has now broken ranks
and wants the legislation binned, because of the inclusion
of an alleged "rogue" element in the security forces who
might have colluded in serious crimes.

Conservative spokesman David Lidington gave Peter Hain a
frosty and quite appropriate response, echoing the views of
the overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland people when
he said: "In this Bill we are looking at something that
would allow people who have committed barbaric murders to
go free without serving one day in prison, or even
appearing themselves in court."


Opin: The Party's Over... Now It's Cold Turkey For Sinn

By Lindy McDowell
28 December 2005

YOU wish it could be Christmas every day? I've always
thought there was something a bit, well, suspect about the
sentiment in that old Seventies song.

All that bell-ringing bonhomie - who could possibly stick
it? Apart from Sinn Fein, that is.

In recent years, for the Shinners, it must indeed have
seemed like it was Christmas every day. Lavished with
presents and political largesse by the British and Irish
Governments, feted and fawned over by the Americans, their
every wish was instantly fulfilled.

Like the spoilt brat whose Christmas wish list is more
expansive than the Argos catalogue, every day they seemed
to come up with yet another new demand. And like a pair of
doting grannies, Tony and Bertie saw to it that what they
wanted, they got - and then some.

Meanwhile in America, Sinn Fein were asked to all the best
parties. The champagne flowed, the tributes gushed and the
money poured into their coffers. At times they must have
had to pinch themselves to believe that this was really

At a time when the spokespersons for other terrorist
organisations were being made to feel about as welcome as
bird flu, there they were being cosied up to by the rich,
the powerful, the famous and anybody whose granny's cousin
once spent a fortnight in Galway.

Sinn Fein had become the richest, most cosseted political
party in the British Isles. All this and hardly a word of
criticism from the media.

Like Santa himself, it was as if the Republican Movement
was exempt from censure.

It was as if asking searching questions about the true
intentions of an organisation which brought 30 years of
murder and misery to Northern Ireland was on a par with
asking sceptical questions about a big bloke in a red suit
who brought joy to little children.

It just wasn't on. You were beneath contempt if you even

Then 2005 dawned. The year of the Shinner centenary. So not
just Christmas every day - but an anniversary every day to

But suddenly, inexplicably, like a balloon on the day after
Boxing Day, it all began to slowly deflate.

What brought this about?

The Provo raid on the Northern Bank, the killing of Robert
McCartney... it wasn't that republicans hadn't done much
worse things in the past. Maybe it was simply that they
were still doing them. Brazenly. And lying about them.

Lying not to boring old you and me who actually live in
Northern Ireland and have to face the consequences of the
ongoing actions of pararmilitaries on all sides - oh no, it
was worse than that!

The Provos and their representatives in Sinn Fein were seen
to be lying to those who once supported them so blindly in

Take the return of the Colombia Three. Once that would have
been seen as a notch on the republican bedpost - a definite
strategic score.

But Colombia and its narco-terrorists, the Farc, are too
close for comfort to the US for many there to feel blasé
about the potential fallout.

What the hell had they been doing in Colombia in the first
place? That is the question that continues to haunt many
one-time unquestioning supporters.

The election though - surely that was a result for Sinn

Not entirely. The pre-match analysis had suggested Team
Durkan was about to be wiped off the pitch. Far from it.

Not only did Mark Durkan himself survive the fixture but he
has turned out to be one of the leading scorers in the
local political game, consistently putting it in the
Shinner net, time and time again in recent months.

In Dublin, meanwhile, Irish Justice Minister Michael
McDowell was repeatedly lobbing it past them too.

Assured, straight-talking and brave, McDowell has provided
an intelligent and incisive foil to the legendary
pretentious waffle of Gerry and co.

And suddenly in the south he was not alone.

In Dublin, more searching questions are now being asked
about the Republican Movement than were ever voiced when
the Troubles were at their height.

True, there is still a section of the media that tends to
take the Shinner version of events immediately at face
value - like a child who clings to belief in Santa's
circumnavigation of the globe without asking the obvious
questions; like How? And, can this possibly be real?

And then finally, for Christmas this year, Sinn Fein got a
spy ring. The top-level, deluxe model. The one that comes
with one already unmasked spy, Denis, and hints on how, if
you look hard enough, there are more to be discovered.

For many of the party supporters, with confidence already
wavering, this was the hammer blow.

That sheen of success and invincibility which once
surrounded the party has been badly punctured in 2005.

It's not just that the balloon's deflating. Maybe the
bubble's burst...

For, where once the whiff of sulphur gave the Shinners a
perverse cachet of glamour, now what hangs about the party
is the distinct smell of suspicion.

Just how do you tell Shinner from spy? Within their own
ranks, who can even they trust anymore?

The OTR legislation, that impressive gift from the
Governments, has had to be spurned.

The White House is no longer an automatic home from home.

And sections of the media which previously gave a tougher
grilling to the winter weather man than to this, the party
that represents a terrorist organisation that murdered
almost 2,000 innocent people, is coming under real media

Wish it could be Christmas every day? Not if it's another
turkey like this one's been, eh Gerry?

Hark, that's not herald angels singing. That's Denis and
the other as yet unfrocked members of the spy ring.

And that tinkling sound in the background? That's not
sleigh bells.

For Sinn Fein, this festive season, that's the ringing of
warning bells...


Opin: Dissidents? Call Them Spoilsports

28 December 2005

Christmas is a time of celebration for most people, but for
some it is merely an excuse for excessive drinking,
destruction and disruption. From Poleglass to Downpatrick
there were thugs on the loose over the holiday period,
ready to burn, wreck or spoil a day out for thousands.

Once again, the races at Down Royal have had to be
abandoned because of a bomb threat. It is so easy to leave
a parcel unattended or pick up a phone and render all the
work of the organisers and the caterers, as well as the
bookmakers and the race-goers, null and void.

It must give some deluded person somewhere a feeling of
omnipotence, to be capable of ruining the simple pleasure
of a day at the races, with all the lost revenue that is
involved. Thankfully the "business as usual" spirit is not
yet dead, but everyone who has an interest in keeping
tradition and horse-breeding alive must be aware that bills
can only be paid if punters are allowed to follow their
sport in peace.

Any one of a number of dissident organisations may be
involved, or none, but essentially the wreckers are
frustrated spoilsports. Their lives are unfulfilled and
they are determined that others should suffer for their

The same must apply to the gang of teenagers who went on
the rampage in the Poleglass/Dunmurry area of west Belfast
on Christmas Day night. Fired up by drink or drugs, they
smashed windows at a primary school, burned bins, tried to
set fire to shops and ripped out stairwells in much-needed
new homes.

There were too many of them to be confronted by concerned
citizens, so they were free to do their worst. Here is a
section of society that is out of control, because it fears
no one - certainly not the police, who would be the last
people to be called out by the local political

A whole community finds itself at the mercy of such
delinquents, because politicians have decided that the
police, even after years of 50-50 recruitment, are still
unapproachable. They may not have stemmed the violence on
the night, but at least there would be some hope of
eventually finding and punishing the culprits.

As it is, people have to pick up the pieces themselves and
the only solution supplied by a Sinn Fein politician is
more investment in schools, the community sector and
community policing. Anything to avoid encouraging respect
and co-operation with the PSNI, increasingly branded as
"political". There is no alternative, everyone must learn,
to policing backed by the law.


Opin: Reservists Must Not Be Cast Aside By Government

Wednesday 28th December 2005

THROUGHOUT the Troubles of the past 35 years in Northern
Ireland, the police reserve units provided a very necessary
back-up in security and routine patrolling to the RUC,
PSNI, and the Army.

Regrettably, the Government has taken a decision to
effectively phase out the crucial role of PSNI reservists
by the middle of 2007 and an important ingredient of
policing in this Province will be lost.

The significant role of the police reservists, both full-
time and part-time, has never been fully recognised by
successive Conservative and Labour governments over the
span of the Troubles and the DUP is to be commended for
pressurising Prime Minister Tony Blair and PSNI Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde to fully acknowledge the
contribution made by these dedicated and gallant officers.

Police reservists suffered horribly at the hands of IRA
terrorists: indeed, one in six of the 303 RUC officers
murdered in the Troubles were from these units.

Many reservists did the same work as regular police
officers, but received less financial inducements and, on
retirement, they were not adequately compensated.

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey is spearheading a DUP
campaign to get a better deal for the reservists and he
hopes to enlist the wholehearted support of the Police

"Our campaign is all about ensuring that the Government
gives these men and women the due recognition that they
deserve," said Mr Storey.

Like the Home-based battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment,
which are due to be stood down in 18 months' time, the
police reserve should not be cast aside without a generous
and much-deserved financial package from Government.

Slow progress

AS another year draws to a close, the Northern Ireland
public can look back on 12 months of relative peace when
paramilitary activity was less pronounced than it had been
for the past 35 years.

Despite the marked reduction in violence, however,
political progress towards restoration of a devolved
administration at Stormont has been just as elusive and
this vista was not helped by the negative effects of an
unaccountable and undemocratic Direct Rule regime which bit
hard across the various spectrums of society during the
past year.

The very palpable absence of trust and confidence on the
political scene and in community circles, largely due to
the long and vicious IRA terror campaign and recent
unparliamentary and disruptive activity by republicans, has
created an impasse which may take years to unravel.

The Independent Monitoring Commission publishes its next
report early in the New Year and interest will focus on how
far the Provisional IRA has moved from its criminal and
terrorist agenda.

Reports indicate that the IRA has not been as active, but
with the organisation still intact it would be foolish to
believe that all the weapons are out of circulation and
criminal racketeering at an end.


Rev. Alec Reid Says ETA "Symptom" Rather Than Problem

The Catholic priest Alec Reid and the Protestant minister
Harold Good believe that ETA laying down its arms would
give the peace process a boost

Edurne Begiristain – GASTEIZ (Vitoria)

The work of the Catholic priest Alec Reid and the
Protestant minister Harold Good as mediators in the
Northern Irish peace process has given them sufficient
experience to speak optimistically about the end of the
Basque Country's political conflict. Both are convinced
that peace will arrive in the Basque Country "sooner rather
than later", because they feel that all the players and
political parties favour dialogue and negotiation.

For their work in favour of peace and mutual understanding
in Northern Ireland Reid and Good have received the René
Cassin prize, which is awarded every year by the Department
of Justice, Employment and Social Security of the BAC-
Basque Autonomous Community Government. These two Northern
Irish clergymen acted as independent witnesses of the IRA's
arms decommissioning process.

A few hours before the award-giving ceremony the media had
an opportunity to speak to them during a working breakfast
offered in Gasteiz (Vitoria). It was also attended by the
BAC Government's Justice Minister Joseba Azkarraga and the
Director of the Office for Human Rights Jon Mirena Landa.
Azkarraga said Alec Reid and Harold Good were examples for
moving the peace process in the Basque Country forward. In
his view, the "pro-active commitment" made by the two Irish
clergymen in favour of dialogue and peaceful means was an
example for the public at large in the Basque Country. This
was how Azkarraga introduced the two René Cassin award
winners to the media yesterday.

Reid and Good also referred to the similarities between the
conflicts in the Basque Country and in Northern Ireland,
particularly because both countries were trying to achieve
peace. "The two countries are extremely beautiful but at
the same time they each have a sad history; they are two
countries that want to bring about peace," said Good.

But in the Irish case the two clergymen felt that the
ceasefire announcement by the IRA had been "a decisive
step" to move the political process forward and the
decision taken later to decommission their weapons helped
the process even further. In view of this, Reid and Good
said ETA should also follow the IRA's example and lay down
its arms. Reid did however feel that ETA was not the
problem, but a "symptom" or "manifestation" of the Basque
Country's political conflict. He pointed out that ETA would
not cease its activities while it is continually being
blamed for the conflict. Indeed, the Catholic priest felt
that "respect for human rights lies at the heart of the
conflict and if the roots of the problem are not addressed,
peace will not be achieved". Reid did however feel that if
ETA were to lay down its arms, it would "facilitate" the
start of a peace process in the Basque Country, because
from that point onwards it would be up to the political
parties to continue down that road.


Ex-Belfast Mayor's Japanese Rose Festival 'Junket' Blasted

Ciarán Barnes

A former Belfast mayor who has criticised council
colleagues for taking too many publicly-funded trips abroad
is set to fly to Japan to attend a rose show – all at
ratepayers' expense.

Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers will be jetting off to the Land
of the Rising Sun in May along with the Democratic Unionist
Party's (DUP) William Humphrey and senior Belfast city
council official Maurice Parkinson.

The trio's week-long trip is expected to cost the public
£3,210 (€4,696).

Based in the city of Osaka, the council delegation is to
attend the World Rose Convention which will see them take
in a series of lectures, tours and rose shows.

The decision to attend the convention and its cost to the
ratepayer has not gone down well with some councillors who
have questioned its value.

Mr Rodgers' participation has also raised eyebrows given
his past criticism of council 'junkets'.

However, Belfast's former first citizen says he is ready
for any flak that may come his way.

"Of course I am going to be criticised if I fly out to
Japan," said Mr Rodgers.

"I'm conscious of how much this is costing the ratepayer
and for that reason I'm going to make a decision on whether
to go once I see the programme of events.

"If I don't feel it to be worthwhile I won't go. I don't
want to be accused of squandering public money."

During the last council term, Mr Rodgers spent almost
£1,000 (€1,462) of ratepayers' money on trips to Brighton
and Newcastle in England, and Glasgow in Scotland.

The Japan trip will be the first time his council
colleague, William Humphrey, has been away on a publicly
funded jaunt as he only joined the City Hall in May.

The controversy surrounding the upcoming World Rose
Convention is not the first time councillors in Belfast
have had bother with the event.

In 1988, hardline unionist Frank 'Pudsy' Millar took three
weeks off to attend the convention in Perth, Australia.

His council colleagues mistakenly thought they were sending
him off to Perth, Scotland, when giving the trip their seal
of approval.

On his way to Oz, Mr Millar found time to stop off in Los
Angeles and Singapore – all at the public's expense.

Belfast played host to the World Rose Convention in 2001.

A council report claims attendance at the event is
"important in helping to ensure the profile of Belfast is

The Rose Society of Northern Ireland shares this view, also
describing the convention as a "very important event".


Ahern Is 'Shining Bush's Shoes' On Shannon, Says US

Controversial linguist and long-time critic of US foreign
policy Noam Chomsky to deliver lecture

Senan Hogan

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is "shining the shoes" of US
president George Bush by allowing Shannon Airport to be
used by American war planes, it was claimed yesterday.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Ireland next month,
controversial academic Noam Chomsky also accused the Irish
government of being the US' obedient servant.

Speaking about the refuelling of US military aircraft at
Shannon, Dr Chomsky asked: "Is Mr Ahern following the will
of the Irish people or is he following orders from

"It can only be justified if the goal of the government is
to be the obedient servant of the global superpower.

"This tells you that western politicians despise democracy
and prefer to shine the shoes of the power."

A persistent critic of US foreign policy, Dr Chomsky is to
deliver the Amnesty International annual lecture at Trinity
College, Dublin, on January 18.

The Irish Human Rights Commission said last week that the
government must inspect US planes landing at Shannon to
ensure terror suspects are not being transported to alleged
torture camps elsewhere.

The government reiterated that it had no reason to question
repeated assurances given by US authorities that prisoners
are not being ferried through the airport. It called for
any credible evidence to the contrary to be handed over to

Dr Chomsky, who has a cult-like following among left-wing
activists and students, was dubbed 'the Elvis of Academia'
by U2 singer Bono.

The professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology received an honorary fellowship from UCD's
Literary and Historical Society in 2002.

The 77-year-old also said that the US invasion of Iraq in
2003 without full UN support showed utter contempt for
global democracy.

"New Europe follows orders from Crawford, Texas," he said.

"I cannot think of any other example in recent history of
utter contempt for democracy expressed so clearly and
accepted by Western politicians.

"We had a public vilification of France because it didn't
shine George Bush's shoes. Therefore we had to have
'freedom fries' instead of French fries in the Senate lunch

A fearless critic of political injustice around the world,
Mr Chomsky also admitted to frequent threats on his life
for his outspoken views.

"I get regular death threats but I don't take them
seriously. The death threats and the need for police
protection comes from writings and talks on the Middle East

Dr Chomsky also claimed that US militarisation of space was
driving the world to disaster.

"Sooner or later there will be conflicts over this," he

"Russia has already said that if the US proceeds with its
plans for militarisation of space, then it will use force
to respond. And China has said the same thing. Russia has
enormously increased its offensive military capacity in
direct response to the huge Bush effort on this.

"These are ways of consciously driving the world to

The academic claimed the European Union was forcing free-
market economics on member states.

"The debate is usually over whether the EU should adopt the
Anglo-American model of free market capitalism. That is
ludicrous. The UK and the US aren't free-market societies.
The business community in those countries wouldn't for a
moment allow free markets to operate internally."


War On Fly Tippers At Ulster Beauty Spots

By Dan McGinn
28 December 2005

MEMBERS of the public are being enlisted in the fight
against the destruction of one of Northern Ireland's best-
loved beauty spots.

Fly tipping has been on the increase along the coastline in
the Ards Peninsula, with domestic and household waste being
dumped in a region which has been designated an area of
special scientific interest.

Although Ards Borough Council has succeeded in securing
more than 100 prosecutions for fly tipping over the past
two years, it is urging members of the public to turn in
anyone they observe dumping waste illegally during 2006.

Borough inspector Richard Brittain condemned those behind
the dumping.

"This illegal dumping is not only selfish and anti-social
and spoils the landscape, but also poses a serious threat
to the health of wildlife," he said.

"A minority of people have been going to secluded beaches
and car parks to dump waste. We tend to find a lot of
household waste being dumped there, but there is also
industrial waste from the seafood industry, from builders
and retailers.

"But it has to be said that the vast majority of people are
responsible and do use the civic amenity sites that the
council has provided.

"Nevertheless, we are reminding the public we need their
help to combat this problem and that there are also hefty
fines for this kind of activity. They can face fines of up
to £2,500."

Ards Council has identified illegal dumping hotspots which
are being monitored by the borough inspector's team to
discourage potential fly-tippers.

Council staff also have a number of ways to identify the
owners of rubbish or where it has originated.

Members of the public who witness illegal dumping have been
advised by the council not to approach the person concerned
but to note the time, date and location and write down the
licence plates of any vehicles involved and a description
of the person involved before contacting them.

"Many of the people who dump waste along the coastline are
just being lazy," Mr Brittain said.

"We want to eradicate this problem and we would like
members of the public who witness this activity to report
it immediately to our office."


This 'Moon' Is Full Of Intrigue

by Kelly Clisham

When Sean McKeown and Dave Reynolds started talking about
forming a new theatre company several years ago, they took
a look at the theatrical landscape in the area and realized
something was missing Ð the classics. Works of drama from
the likes of the Ancient Greeks to Shakespeare were rarely,
if ever, being produced locally, and they wanted to change

McKeown and Reynolds were certain that there was an
audience who wanted to see the greats as well, so the
Gaslight Theatre Company was born. The company has had
great success with the Bard's work, from comedies such as
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" to heavier stuff like "Romeo
and Juliet. " When choosing their season for this year, the
folks at Gaslight decided it was time to take the next step
and produce a piece by an American master. After looking at
several scripts, McKeown, who was slated to direct, chose
"A Moon for the Misbegotten" by Irish-American Pulitzer
Prize winner Eugene O'Neill.

In talking about his upcoming production, McKeown says,
"I'd call it a love story, but that sells it a bit short."

Set in 1923, Jim Tyrone, the eldest son in O'Neill's
masterpiece, "Long Day's Journey into Night," has returned
to his family's Connecticut farm. Coping with the recent
death of his

beloved mother and with all of his sins in tow, the wreck
of a man seeks solace from Josie Hogan, the town harlot.
The strong willed Josie and Phil, her hard-drinking Irish
father, are Jim's closest friends and 20 year tenants of
the farm. Jim has promised to sell the newly inherited
property to the Hogans, but they fear that greed will cause
him to betray them and sell it to their neighbor, a much-
despised oil tycoon.

The fate of the Hogan's livelihood, Jim's salvation and
Josie's deepest love all come together when Jim and Josie
spend one night together under the mystical influence of
the titular moon.

While "Moon" is certainly no romantic comedy, neither is it
a dark tragedy that is so often associated with the
playwright. What "Moon" is, according to McKeown, is real.
"It's a very human story that I think speaks to everybody.
It's a drama. It's very true to life. Parts are funny,
other parts are very powerful."

McKeown admits his time in the director's chair for this
production has been his biggest theatrical challenge and
says that "Moon" has taught him a great deal about the
process of storytelling.

"One of the dangers of O'Neill is if it's done well, it can
be very captivating. If not, it can potentially be very
boring. We work every night at keeping the story from
becoming anything other that it is and keeping the
characters from becoming stereotypes. The challenge is
what's fun about it. This is definitely a show that sends
me home talking to myself almost every night, and those are
usually the best nights."

While the director is clearly working hard, downing some
dinner in the car just prior to the

interview on his way to work on the set (designed by Dave
Reynolds), he credits his cast with the production's
amazing progress in intense rehearsals during a busy
holiday season. The five member cast, composed of Jack
Evans, Christa Manning, Robert Hughes, Greg Korin and Adam
Orseck, has been rehearsing two to four hours per night
(and it's not even the grueling final week before curtain
known as hell week). Their two day vacation for Christmas
Eve and Christmas Day has been their longest break so far.

"At auditions, the main reason everyone gave for signing on
is they wanted to work on O'Neill. Everyone involved is
right on the same page with what we want to present to the
audience. They've sacrificed a lot. Everyone has put a lot
of their other plans on hold."

So now with just under a week to go until opening night,
and a cast and crew firmly committed to bringing this
uniquely American classic to the stage, McKeown is hoping
that the chance to see a work rarely produced in the area
will be a draw. Or perhaps the playwright's reputation for
creating real, broken characters firmly based in his own
life experience. Or even O'Neill's Irish-American heritage.
Or if none of those more noble facts pull the audience into
the seats, McKeown offers Gaslight's reasonable ticket

" It's a chance to see O'Neill and it's cheap. Tickets are
only seven bucks. It's the chance to see American theatre
at its best. For the price of a movie, you'll get to see
some of the best actors in this area sink their teeth into
something really challenging."

If you go:

What: A Moon for the Misbegotten, produced by the Gaslight
Theatre Company

When: January 3-7 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: King's College Theatre in Wilkes-Barre

Tickets: $7

Info: 824-8266 for reservations or more information


Daily Ireland Ends First Year On A High

Investors back the second round

Máirtín ó Muilleoir

As 2005 comes to a close and Daily Ireland nears its
landmark 300th edition, it's time to thank investors,
readers and supporters who made the birth and remarkable
success of this republican newspaper possible.

Daily Ireland's currency has been news, and to mark the end
of the year with exclusive coverage of the Stormontgate and
Spygate controversies is a great credit to the newspaper's
news team.

This week's exclusive interview, by our US correspondent
Jim Dee, with former Castlereagh holding centre chef Larry
Zaitschek was picked up by our colleagues in all the main
broadcast and print media while authoritative commentators
from all walks of life have gone to our pages first to get
an accurate assessment of the nationalist community's
reaction to the Spygate scandal.

The impact of Daily Ireland on the Irish media scene has
been profound and impressive in 2005 with our editors,
columnists and feature writers appearing in all the main
broadcast media across the country — in the past week
alone, Daily Ireland's flag has been carried on RTÉ, Radio
Ulster, Raidió na Gaeltachta and on almost every
independent radio station in the country.

But it's not only in government, political and media
circles that the editorial comment and coverage of Daily
Ireland is assessed but in every location where supporters
of a United Ireland come together.

Through the platform of, we have added
a totally new global dimension to news coverage from

The addition of Dublin correspondent David Lynch to our
newsteam and the opening of a new office in the capital has
strengthened Daily Ireland's national coverage and will be
augmented in the New Year with the appointment of
advertising agency representation in Dublin.

On a shoestring budget, our promotional teams have made
Daily Ireland a household name and for their efforts were
nominated for a prestigious marketing award in October.

They are already gearing up to leverage Jarlath Burns and
our other sports commentators to ensure the paper continues
to enjoy a high-profile during the upcoming Championship
season. But the cornerstone of their campaign remains the
subscription model — if you don't have a subscription to
Daily Ireland, go now to and get one —
which continues to enjoy strong support nationwide.

It's not only in its editorial pages that Daily Ireland has
been making the news, we've also broken ground in our legal
challenges to funding blocks by British government agencies
and remain confident that justice will be done — not to
mention standing up to the bully-boy tactics of a certain
government minister. Thousands of pages of British
Government documents have now been accessed through
discovery and the patterns of bias they reveal at the
highest levels make for sorry reading seven years after the
Good Friday Agreement promised equality for all.

Ultimately, our success is down to the support of our
investors, especially in the US (where we have welcomed
three new substantial backers to our second round of
funding) and the backing of our readers: practical patriots
who understand that a daily newspaper which tells the whole
story is a vital building block in the new Ireland.

For that support, Daily Ireland says thank-you just as we
thank this newspaper's marvellous and unrivalled team.

We have been given a fair wind in the first 11 months — not
least by many of our media colleagues — and we are poised
for further progress in 2006, courtesy of your support.

Go raibh Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi mhaise agaibh uilig.

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