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December 04, 2005

Portadown Army Base Considered For PSNI

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 12/04/05 Portadown Army Base Considered For PSNI Station
BB 12/04/05 Police Injured In Parade Violence
SL 12/04/05 Frontline Support For Feud Victim's Family
BB 12/04/05 Ex-RUC Head To Review Iraq Police
SL 12/04/05 Doris Stole My Art!
II 12/04/05 Time To Call A Halt To 'OTR' Economy In North
SL 12/04/05 Face-To-Face With Justice
SL 12/04/05 Opin: Straight Talking: Scrap It Now
NH 12/04/05 Opin: Sinn Féin Arrogance & SDLP Opportunism
II 12/04/05 Chuck Feeney Taken For Long & Expensive Ride
BG 12/04/05 Opin: The Rising Revisited
II 12/04/05 Words New Ammunition Up The North
BB 12/04/05 A City Mourns For The Belfast Boy
SL 12/04/05 Links To Various Other George Best Articles


Portadown Army Base Considered For PSNI Station

By Sunday Life reporter
04 December 2005

AN Armagh military base - which is due to close next month
- could have a new future . . . as a police station.

Fort Mahon barracks in Portadown is being considered as a
new base for local cops, who are set to move from Edward
Street in the town centre.

Robert Smith, DUP deputy mayor of Craigavon, said it would
be good move for both the police and civilian workers.

He said: "I would welcome the move and it would also save
the cost of having to build a new police station in the
Portadown area.

"A PSNI move to the Mahon site could also save a number of
civilian jobs there, which would have been lost had the
base closed."

But Mr Smith said he would still like to see some form of
police presence retained in the centre of Portadown.

Earlier this year, the Army confirmed it intended to close
Fort Mahon and relocate two companies of the RIR to Drumadd
in Armagh.

The current police station in Edward Street station is
unsuitable for modern-day policing.

One police source said: "Mahon has been a military base
since the early 1970s and it would be an excellent location
for the PSNI in Portadown.

"The buildings are in good condition and were purpose-built
for the military, so they can easily be adapted to suit the
needs of the PSNI.

"It would be a welcome change from the cramped conditions
at Edward Street - it would also be more cost-effective
than building a completely new station."

The Mahon camp has its own helicopter landing-pad, security
towers, fortified sangers and CCTV system.

A public consultation process is currently under way in
Portadown to discuss the closure of the Edward Street

The process is due to end shortly, when the local District
Policing Partnership (DPP) decides the next step.


Police Injured In Parade Violence

Three men have been charged with disorderly behaviour
following disturbances in Castlederg on Saturday.

Three police officers were hurt during the trouble which
flared as Apprentice Boys returned from Lundy celebrations
in Londonderry.

It is understood the marchers tried to go through a
nationalist area.

Parades Commission members consulted with police before the
Apprentice Boys were allowed to walk part of the way down
the Lurganboy Road in the town.

The Sinn Fein assembly member for West Tyrone, Barry
McElduff, said the Parades Commission determination had
banned the parade from entering the nationalist part of the

"Listening to the people on the ground in Castlederg,
nationalists are very, very unhappy at the fact that this
loyalist parade was able to enter the Lurganboy Road area
of Castlederg," he said.


"Certainly, this is a matter I'll be taking up directly
with the Parades Commission and indeed, Irish government
minister Dermot Ahern."

Three men, aged 20, 33 and 28, were charged with disorderly
behaviour and other offences and will appear at Strabane
Magistrates Court later this month.

Earlier on Saturday, the annual Apprentice Boys parade to
mark Lundy's Day in Londonderry passed off without major

However, police officers were atacked by youths throwing
stones and bottles at Butcher's Gate.

There were five arrests, but the PSNI said they were
generally pleased at how the day had gone.

Originally, 3,500 marchers, including 25 bands, were due to
take part in the parade, but numbers were affected due to
George Best's funeral in Belfast.

The parade marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of
Derry's gates by 13 young apprentices against the forces of
the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Bandsman marched in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, before
heading to Derry.

The PSNI said they had intended to police the Derry event
in a way which would enable city life to continue as
normally as possible.

Police said they would seize drink and said anyone
displaying illegal emblems would have them confiscated and
could face prosecution.


The Parades Commission placed conditions on the parade by
the Ligoniel Walkers Club in north Belfast.

No music other than a single drumbeat was to be played
between the junction of Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road and
the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road.

Earlier this week, Belfast Ulster Unionist councillor Jim
Rodgers suggested the parade should be postponed as a mark
of respect to George Best's family on the day of his

However, DUP assembly member William Hay said it would not
be possible due to the large numbers of people who were
going to Derry from England, Scotland and Wales.

Colonel Robert Lundy is reviled by loyalists as a traitor.

He was governor of Derry when the city came under siege
from King James' army and his notoriety stems from his
efforts to persuade the defenders to surrender.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/04 10:02:56 GMT


Frontline Support For Feud Victim's Family

By Stephen Breen
04 December 2005

THE heartbroken family of an innocent loyalist feud victim
have been backed in their campaign for justice - by the US

Sunday Life can reveal an American soldier - currently
serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq - has written to two
leading US senators in a bid to highlight the killing of
Craig McCausland.

Sergeant Devin Leonard, from New Mexico, told relatives of
the 20-year-old murder victim he has raised the case with
leading Republican senator Peter Domenici, and Democrat
senator Jeff Bingaman.

The two politicians, who are close friends of US
congressmen Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and John McCain, are
former members of the Irish American 'Ad Hoc' committee.

Although Craig's relatives have also written to around 20
congressmen in Washington, they believe a letter from a
serving US marine in Iraq will can only help their

At present, e-mails sent to senators from soldiers in the
war-ravaged region are usually given priority over other

Said Sgt Leonard: "As an Irish American from New Mexico, I
have had an interest in Northern Ireland for several years

"But after reading about the horrible death of Craig on the
internet, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to Craig's

"That's why I have asked my state senators to look into
this matter, and to use the influence of Irish America to
push for an in-depth investigation into this matter, to
help bring the cowardly perpetrators of this crime to

"I have also asked that they contact Tony Blair and Peter
Hain and ask them to meet with Craig's family at once.

"My prayers are with Craig's family, and hopefully Irish-
America can help his family find justice."

Craig's cousin, Nichola McIlvenny, welcomed the support
shown from the US marine.

Added Nichola: "I would like to thank this marine from the
bottom of my heart for the help and support he has shown

"It is great to hear that our campaign is even being heard
about in Iraq as we never thought it would leave our

"It is a sad time when we have to look to other nations to
get justice for our loved ones who have been murdered in
cold blood.

"I hope with our efforts and support from people like this
man we will get the justice we deserve but have to fight


Ex-RUC Head To Review Iraq Police

Britain is sending a former NI policing chief to Basra in
southern Iraq to carry out a review of policing there.

The BBC has learned Sir Ronnie Flanagan is going to Iraq
because of growing concerns about the infiltration of the
country's police force by insurgents.

Sir Ronnie is the former chief constable of the Police
Service of Northern Ireland, formerly the RUC.

He told the BBC it was clear "a lot still has to be done"
to improve policing in Iraq.

"In the four provinces for which we are responsible a lot
of progress has been made, but a lot still has to be done,"
he said.

"I think there's a recognition that probably in standing up
and training the Iraqi army, more progress has been made in
that area.

"We're probably almost a year behind in terms of progress
with policing.

"And I think what needs to be done now is that a total
concentrated effort needs to be made by all the Coalition
forces to ensure that concentration upon policing is

Security forces

Defence Secretary John Reid said Sir Ronnie would be
looking at the effectiveness and neutrality of the police.

"The vast majority of Iraqi security forces are courageous
and are doing a very good job," he told the BBC.

He added: "We are almost 10 years on from the beginnings of
the Good Friday Agreement and we don't even have acceptance
in Northern Ireland, from the whole community, about
policing there.

"So, in a much different situation, with much more
difficult problems in Iraq, it would be surprising if we
were able to accomplish this overnight, but we are steadily
making things better."

It would be surprising if we were able to accomplish this
overnight, but we are steadily making things better

John Reid

Defence secretary

On Friday, Mr Reid said Iraqi security forces could take
control of some UK-run areas of Iraq in 2006.

Mr Reid inspected British troops and met new members of the
Iraqi army during a visit to Basra.

He said the quality of the 210,000 Iraqi security forces
meant the handover could start next year.

But he stressed British troops would not leave completely
until Iraqi forces could "defend their own democracy".

The trip comes amid a growing debate over how long UK
forces should remain on the ground in Iraq.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has said British troops
could leave by the end of 2006. Ninety-eight UK soldiers
have died since the invasion in 2003.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/04 12:55:15 GMT


Doris Stole My Art!

Stone tells asset cops he wants his paintings back

By Stephen Breen
04 December 2005

GRAVEYARD killer Michael Stone was last night at the centre
of a row with the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) over two
mystery £20,000 paintings.

The Milltown murderer told Sunday Life the two items -
completed during his time in the Maze Prison - were stolen
by murdered crime boss Jim 'Doris Day' Gray.

Stone claims Gray took the paintings from one of his former
business associates in 2002, after the former UFF hitman
was accused of 'treason'.

The killer-turned-artist claims he was living away from
Northern Ireland when the paintings were taken.

He has now instructed his solicitor to ask ARA chief Alan
McQuillan if his agency knows of the whereabouts of the

Stone made the request after Gray's assets - worth around
£200,000 - were frozen by the ARA last month.

His assets included an interest in a house at Knockwood
Park in the Clarawood Estate, proceeds from a Northern Bank
draft for 10,000 euro, a BMW M5, £3000 cash, money held in
several bank accounts, pensions, insurance policies and an
18-carat gold bracelet.

Stone claims his paintings may have been given to one of
Gray's close pals as a "present".

Said the cemetery killer: "Gray was off his head on cocaine
and he believed I was trying to take over in east Belfast.

"When I was out of the country he approached a former
business associate of mine and told him the UDA was taking
the paintings because I had been accused of treason.

"The business associate didn't know what to do because Gray
ruled through fear in east Belfast at the time.

"I was determined to see Gray before his killing but as I'm
not going to get the chance now, I want the ARA to tell me
where they are. They belong to me."

Added an ARA spokeswoman: "No paintings were mentioned in
the High Court and if Michael Stone contacts the ARA, we
will deal with it.

"This is only the first stage of the investigation relating
to Jim Gray and we don't comment on individual cases.

"There will be further enquiries into the origins of the
frozen assets and into the existence of any unidentified
assets, with the intention of applying for a recovery order
in due course."

Gray was shot at his father's house on Tuesday, October 4
while he was on bail on money laundering charges.

The murdered gangster's finances were among the first five
cases handed to the Assets Recovery boss Alan McQuillan in


Time To Call A Halt To 'On The Run' Economy In The North

CEANN COMHAIRLE: Rory O'Hanlon is as much a victim as the
cause of all that is wrong

TEN days ago at Westminster, the two largest unionist
parties and the SDLP made common cause on a major issue.
They all united to oppose the Labour Government's bill that
gives the On-the-Runs (OTRs) a virtual amnesty for their

For many MPs from all parties, the argument on the bill
produced one of the most passionate and emotional Commons
debates in recent years.

Last week when the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary body
met in Edinburgh, the British politicians' mood of anger
about the OTRs legislation had intensified, rather than

Their mood of dissatisfaction, however, was matched by the
growing Irish fury about this Government's proposal to give
the IRA's fugitives from justice a presidential pardon, and
a State guarantee of immunity from future prosecution for
their past terrorist acts.

The consensus view among British members was that the
Labour bill is now unlikely to pass through the Commons
without major amendments. And should it do so, the measure
seems set for defeat in the House of Lords. For the bill's
subsequent reintroduction, next November, would delay its
passage to 2007, as the Lords can only veto a billonce. The
Irish pardonwould follow passage of the British

Mark Durkan best expressed the overall attitude of Irish
and British members of the parliamentary body.

The SDLP leader, who had made a memorable speech at
Westminster, emulated that performance last Monday with his
contributionin Edinburgh.

There he told his Irish and British parliamentary
colleagues that when he,and others, sold the GoodFriday
Agreement in 1998,he had given both the victims of unsolved
paramilitary crime and the voters some specific

First, that those who were on the run would be pursued,
arrested, charged and prosecuted for their crimes. Second,
that they would serve two years before qualifying for early

But the Northern Ireland (Offences) bill, if now passed, he
said, would make liars of the pro-Agreement parties and of
him, both on that issue, and on a related one.

For he, like others, including Irish and British Government
ministers, had also promised that the early release of
paramilitary prisoners would follow IRA and Loyalist
decommissioning of their weaponry.

In fact, the reverse occurred. All the prisoners were
released, and five years later the IRA fully
decommissioned, while Loyalist decommissioning has yet to
take place.

The virtual amnesty for the OTRs now proposed was never
contemplated bythe agreement.

The British Government took the opportunity the bill has
provided to offer members of the security forces who have
committed criminal acts the same legal right as the
fugitive terrorists; both could purge their guilt beforea
tribunal. That addition, however, had not been discussed
with the Irish Government, or indeed, it seems, with Sinn

In negotiation, constructive ambiguity allows parties to
subscribe to a common agreement who may later disagree on
what it means, and how it will operate. And while

'The DUP makes regular visits to Dublin, and the
north/south bodies are seen as less threatening'

that kind of political obfuscation may be necessary to
secure an agreement, ultimately, it will prove insufficient
to sustain it, as the Good Friday Agreement has

If some calculated ambiguity on decommissioning was
required to win Sinn Fein/IRA acceptance of the accord, the
republican movement ruthlessly exploited its own failure to
honour the terms of the agreement.

It did so to increase its negotiating leverage on other
issues (like OTRs). And that, as Mark Durkan said, has
involved both Governments in secret deals, in side deals,
and pseudo deals. These private arrangements have generated
huge mistrust on all sides,and eroded public support for
the agreement.

As the Northern historian and commentator, Paul Bew, who
addressed the parliamentary body, put it: the narrow ground
of Northern Ireland politics has been "poisoned". And he
feels it will be impossible to restore the spirit that once
animated the agreement. For the polls, he said, now show a
high degree of public indifference about the restoration of
devolved government, among two thirds of Northern Ireland's
Protestants, and one half ofits Catholics.

Instead, he detected a shift in the mood of unionist and
nationalist Ireland where, for unionists, north/south
relations were no longer a "neuralgic issue". The DUP makes
regular visits to Dublin, and the North/South bodies are
seen as less threatening. And if, as seems more than
likely, devolution cannot be restored, then a modified form
of the Good Friday Agreement, without devolution, might
provide the only political way forward, he contends.

But whatever happens on the political front, the state of
the Northern Ireland economy is set to become a far greater
concern, as the British Government attempts to reduce its
huge annual subvention to the North.

Harold Wilson, in the middle of the Ulster Workers Council
strike, which brought down Sunningdale in 1974, dismissed
the people of Northern Ireland as spongers on the British

And he asked: "Who do these people think they are?"

His insult was met with public outrage. And for a time
people wore sponges in mock protest at his remarks.

Three decades later, Peter Hain recently described the
North as a failed economic entity, one which was "over-
governed and over-administered". His shock tactic has had a
sobering effect. The public response was much more muted.

For this time the public knew his analysis was right.

In 1974, the annual subvention from Westminster to ensure
Northern Ireland enjoyed parity of public service with the
rest of Britain, was €300m. Currently, it is €5bn (17 times
greater) and rising, despite a decade of virtual peace, and
a relatively buoyant economy.

It means the North spends €5bn more than it raises in
revenue, which also means the British taxpayer pays the

At first glance the performance of the Northern Ireland
economy appears impressive. Unemployment, which is below 5
per cent, is at a 26 year low, and similar to here.
Employment, which is at a record high, saw some 10,830 jobs
created in the last year, but just over a tenth of the rate
here. And while the rate of economic growth has matched the
UK average, it has underperformed the far more rapid pace
of expansion in the Republic.

The full dimensions of the economic problem were clearly
identified by Stephen Kingon, managing partner at Price
Waterhouse Cooper, Belfast, in a presentationto the
parliamentary body. There he outlined some of the bleaker
facts of the Northern economy.

The public sector is too big, the private sector is too
small, and there are too few entrepreneurs. The Northern
Ireland economic model is unsustainable. In the short to
medium term, however, the small private sector cannot
compensate for a decline in public spending, via a
reduction in the €5bn subvention.

If the politicians have come to accept this harsh new
economic reality, they are slow to admit it too publicly.

And yet tackling Northern Ireland's structural economic
difficulties will becomeas important and as necessary as
dealing with the North's equally intractable

Joseph O'Malley,


Face-To-Face With Justice

By Alan Murray
04 December 2005

A SENIOR SDLP politician - who has accused the courts of
being too lenient with loyalist terrorists - is to take up
an offer to meet the Lord Chief Justice.

John Dallat says he also wants to ask Sir Brian Kerr his
view on the legal mechanism proposed by the Government to
deal with all 'on-the-run' terrorists.

The East Londonderry MLA has been critical of sentences
handed out to loyalists.

Three weeks ago, Sir Brian wrote to Mr Dallat saying: "It
would be preferable for you to seek my views on the
background to a judicial matter before you comment

John Dallat had claimed loyalists were regularly given
suspended sentences, even if they had massive criminal

He said: "That undermines the rule of law. There's no point
bringing loyalists to court if they are going to just get
away with it".

In his three-page letter, Sir Brian said the judiciary
expected criticism to be "properly informed".

He added that the SDLP man's comments had only served to
"undermine confidence in the criminal justice system".

John Dallat's initial response to the letter was to claim
the LCJ's comments "smacked of censorship".

He said public representatives had a duty to raise
important issues on behalf of their constituents when they
happened, and not at some distant time in the future.

But yesterday he said he felt it would be useful to meet
Sir Brian to discuss a number of matters which were
concerning both nationalists and unionists.

He said: "Sir Brian has said it would be preferable for me
to hear his views on the background to a number of cases
before I make any further comments, and I think I will take
him up on that.

"I would also like to ask him how he views this quasi-
judicial set-up the Government is envisaging for the so
called 'on-the-runs' and whether he would endorse it or
even allow some of his judiciary to take part."


Opin: Straight Talking: Scrap It Now

By Lynda Gilby
04 December 2005

I SEE that Peter Hain has appointed two prominent Orangemen
to the Parades Commission. Come again? Isn't that a bit
like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank? Mr Hain
reckons that this brings a completely new dynamic to the

He is keen to point out these new appointments, including
SDLP man, Joe Hendron, a Womens' Coalition election
candidate, a lay magistrate and a former chair of the Women
in Business Network, represents a range of all interests
and, for the first time, a gender balance on the

So, since when did balance of any sort resolve anything in
this country?

You can see what is likely to happen, can't you?

After the Orange boys have been out-voted on enough major
parades, what's the betting that their resignations will
whiz through the air like stink bombs to land in Peter
Hain's lap?

The commission is committed to banning contentious parades
where the parties concerned cannot reach accommodation and
trouble is likely to ensue, and the Orange Order is
committed to their "right" to tramp the Queen's highway,

A mere two Orange appointees won't have enough clout on the
commission to kick a polystyrene model of an Easter bunny
into touch.

Surely this numbers game can't have escaped the notice of
the three main Protestant marching organisations, all of
which have given a cautious welcome to the Orange
appointments and to Hain's statement.

If they have any wit at all they will know that they've
been thrown those appointments like you would throw a dog a

So, how long will their new pledge to work with the
Government to resolve parading issues last?

Like to lay odds on it?

Me neither.

Apart from anything else, you may be sure that some
republican spark will soon find some bright tactic
provocative enough to push the Orange organisations into a
corner, where they will feel no option but to withdraw
their co-operation.

A bright, shiny new Parades Commission, with more balance
than a tightrope walker, is not what is required to
encourage dialogue.

This column makes no apology for repeating it's long-held
contention that the commission should be abolished.

In its place, put two civil servants (clerical officer
level would do) to rubber-stamp the following arrangement
with monotonous regularity.

In the event of a proposed contentious parade, where
opposing parties cannot resolve the issue between
themselves, then the Orange men get to play Grand Old Duke
of York on alternative years. One year they march, one year
they don't.

That way, everybody gets to be equally outraged for half of
the time.

For you may be sure nobody is going to be happy for half of
the time, so attached are we to victim-hood in this


Opin: Sinn Féin Arrogance & SDLP Opportunism

(Eamonn McCann, Sunday Journal)

The SDLP criticism of Sinn Féin for collaboration with the
Brits over the NI Offences Bill is well-founded. If the
Shinners really didn't cop on until after the Bill was
published that the Brits would ensure that their own side
was covered, they are too gullible to be let out on their

I don't believe they are gullible. I think they were
focused so narrowly on their own concerns—specifically, on
winning concessions which would enable them to sell
decommissioning and policing to their rank and file—that
they either lost sight of the interests of any wider
constituency, or just assumed that families bereaved by
State murder would accept whatever Sinn Féin recommended.

On the other hand, there's none of us as naive as Mark
Durkan seems to imagine when he claims that his party has
been up to speed and on the ball on this issue all along.
The first objections to the inclusion of British soldiers
in the measure came not from Irish Nationalists of any
stamp but from British Conservatives angry that soldiers of
the Queen were being put on the same moral plane as Provos.
It was only when this brouhaha bounced the issue into the
mainstream that the SDLP cottoned on that the Shinners had
left themselves wide open, and normally off-target Marksmen
began taking aim.

Sinn Féin arrogance had been matched by SDLP opportunism.

The intellectual level of the dispute was accurately
reflected at local level in the yah-boo bust-up—"You
started it!", "Naw, it was yousens!"—at Derry council last
week. A pair of party prize-fighters re-enacted the
scratching-match on Friday morning on Foyle. If I'd been
Jenny Witt, I'd have dispensed with the questions after the
first couple of minutes and given the pair of them a clip
on the ear.

The Nationalist rivals have no disagreement when it comes
to serious examples of Irish parties collaborating with
imperialism. Both aim for a hugger-mugger association with
the leading imperialist operators on the planet, the US

There may be governments here and there every bit as
odious, or even more so, but there's none as powerful or as
ready to use violence to impose its will on the world as
the Bush-Cheney regime.

Yet the attitude of the SDLP to Bush-Cheney is, "Yessir,
yessir, three bags full, sir!"

Whereas the attitude of Sinn Féin is, "We'll make that four
bags, sir!"

Only a dwindling minority of Americans would abase
themselves before Bush in this manner.

Listening to Conor Murphy and Alex Atwood disputing the
high moral ground with regard to collusion with imperialism
on Hearts and Minds on BBC on Thursday night was like
watching two bald men mud-wrestling for possession of a

December 4, 2005

This article appeared in the December 4, 2005 edition of
the Sunday Journal.


Chuck Feeney Being Taken For A Long And Very Expensive Ride

IT'S SAD to see a good man suckered, and the Irish-American
Charles (Chuck) Feeney is a very good man. Feeney could
afford to live like an emperor, yet he owns no property,
flies economy class, dresses off-the-peg and wears a $15
plastic watch.

Having given his children modest endowments, he is engaged
in the considerable job of giving his enormous fortune away
before he dies: "giving while living" is his motto. Yet,
though he is highly intelligent and well-read - and became
a billionaire through flair, courage and industry - Feeney
has been badly suckered.

No philanthropist has poured money into Ireland like
Feeney. Between 1992 and 2002, his foundation, Atlantic
Philanthropies, gave $702m - $548m of which was to the
Republic. If the presidents of our universities don't say
prayers daily in gratitude for Feeney's munificence, they
are an ungrateful bunch. They have no other way of
rewarding him, for Feeney hates publicity and wants neither
honorary degrees nor buildings named after him.

Feeney's areas of interest dictate where and on what
Atlantic Philanthropies focus. In 2004, of total grant
funds of $165.7m, 43 per cent went to projects in the US,
17 per cent to Vietnam, 13 per cent to South Africa and -
considering the size of our little island - a whopping 13
per cent ($22.1m) to the Republic and 2 per cent ($3.2m) to
Northern Ireland. The charity's new focus is on
disadvantaged children and youth, ageing, population
health, reconciliation and human rights.

There's no doubting the integrity and compassion of Feeney
and the board of Atlantic Philanthropies. The problem is
that the republican movement has taken cynical advantage of

Feeney was introduced to Gerry Adams in the early Nineties.
"I talked to him and I liked him," said Feeney. "He was
very straightforward."

Feeney spent much time and money encouraging the republican
movement down the political path: from 1995 for three years
he, personally, (Atlantic Philanthropies is debarred by its
constitution from funding political movements) provided the
Sinn Fein office in Washington with $720,000.

"The goal was to establish a Washington office to put Sinn
Fein on a respectable platform where they could say 'this
is what Sinn Fein does, we're not the IRA'."

It was during this period that the IRA, under Adams, broke
its ceasefire with a bomb at Canary Wharf that killed two

Feeney has to be too shrewd to have gone on believing Sinn
Fein and the IRA to be separate, but he was undaunted.
Post-Agreement, he began directing large sums of money
towards rehabilitating green and orange paramilitaries. In
2002, for instance, £1,968,000 went towards helping
politically motivated ex-prisoners become involved in
"positive political and community development".

That same year, £85,000 was awarded to Community
Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) under a programme called
'Equality, Rights and Justice', followed in 2003 by a
three-year grant totalling £926,000. Northern Ireland
Alternatives (NIA), its loyalist equivalent, got £860,000.

Feeney's objective was to stop the knee-cappings and
beatings, and worse, by providing some kind of non-violent
community alternative while policing was being sorted out.
Three years on, while NIA is cooperating with the police,
CRJI refuses to do so: its 14 schemes have
institutionalised parallel policing in its ghettos.

So, as Atlantic Philanthropies invested millions in human
rights programmes, it had been suckered into bank-rolling
people who interrogate children suspected of anti-social
behaviour and intimidate those who offend them.

SDLP MP Eddie McGrady said: "Sinn Fein's strategy of
promoting restorative justice as an alternative to the
police enables them to maintain their control over
communities and use it to substitute the community control
exercised by the IRA."

He said he had received reports of restorative justice
members carrying out "stop-and-search patrols on local
youths" in South Down.

The third suckering of Feeney was the Centre for Public
Inquiry, in 2004 awarded €4,000,000 "to promote a high
standard of integrity, ethics and accountability across the
public and private sectors in Ireland".

The Centre's executive director, Frank Connolly, brother of
Colombia Three Niall, is a republican of long standing
whose clear agenda is to dig dirt on political parties
other than Sinn Fein. This was obvious to sceptics. Rumours
were rife of his having travelled on a false passport to
Colombia in 2001 with the IRA's Padraig Wilson.

Unfortunately Feeney - like Mr Justice Feargus Flood and
Professor Enda McDonagh, whom Connolly recruited to the
board - took him at face value, even after the Taoiseach
and the Minister for Justice pointed out he was dodgy. Now
that there appears to be proof of Connolly's crime, they
all face serious embarrassment.

I once suggested to Sinn Fein that the party adopt the
slogan: "Never give a sucker an even break" ("Na tabhair
orlach don oinseach," as John A Murphy obligingly
translated it). How much more betrayal will it take to
convince Feeney and good people like him that republicans
are as brilliant as they are ruthless in suckering even
non-suckers like himself?

Ruth Dudley Edwards


Opin: The Rising Revisited

"The Irish people need to reclaim the spirit of 1916,"
Ireland's prime minister, Bertie Ahern, recently declared.
But not everybody in Ireland agrees on how to reclaim it.

By Kevin Cullen December 4, 2005

DUBLIN --WHEN BERTIE AHERN, Ireland's prime minister,
recently declared it was time to reinstate the military
parade that used to commemorate the Easter Rising, the
quixotic and short-lived rebellion launched by a small band
of Irish republicans against the British empire in 1916,
the idea was both embraced and rejected here as

''The Irish people need to reclaim the spirit of 1916,
which is not the property of those who have abused and
debased the title of republicanism,'' Ahern declared at his
Fianna Fáil party's conference in October, in a not too
subtle dig at Sinn Féin, the party long considered the
political wing of the Irish Republican Army and now a
rising force in Irish politics.

The term ''republican,'' once meant to embrace anyone who
wanted an independent, united Ireland, became synonymous in
the 1970s with someone who supported the IRA's campaign of
violence. But in recent years, and especially since the IRA
announced last July that its armed campaign was over, there
has been a concerted effort by Irish nationalists who
didn't support the IRA to reclaim the republican mantle.

And yet, if everybody in the Republic of Ireland, as it
seems, wants to be known as a republican these days, not
everybody agrees on how to celebrate the country's violent
birth-and many see the whole issue as having as much to do
with contemporary partisan politics as with historical,
deeply felt nationalism.

Crushed in five days, the Easter Rising of 1916 was
unpopular with most Irish. But the British government (not
for the first or last time) badly misread Irish opinion.
They executed 15 of the Rising's leaders, and in doing so
elevated an act of hopeless rebellion to that of selfless
martyrdom. Within six years, a more popular and effective
guerrilla war forced the British to sue for peace and grant
independence to 26 of Ireland's 32 counties.

For nearly half a century, the idealism and sacrifice of
the 1916 leaders were celebrated every Easter, as Ireland's
small military forces paraded past the General Post Office,
the rebel headquarters, on O'Connell Street, Dublin's main
thoroughfare. But that patriotic display was mothballed in
1970, after conflict broke out in Northern Ireland, and the
Provisional IRA, claiming to have inherited the role of the
1916 rebels, began an armed campaign against British rule
in the six counties left out of the earlier settlement.

The IRA had little support in the Republic of Ireland,
where most people were horrified by its bombings and
assassinations. There is, here in the south of Ireland, a
widely held view that the murder and mayhem carried out by
the ''old'' IRA in the 1920s was noble and necessary, while
the same sort of acts committed by the modern-day
Provisional IRA were neither.

Ahern's motives in proposing the revival of the military
parade are partly personal. Among the handful of paintings
that hang in his office is a portrait of one of his heroes,
Padraig Pearse, the Easter Rising leader. But, according to
some analysts, his motives are also political: Once reviled
in the Republic, Sinn Féin's political support is growing,
and polls suggest it will add to the five seats it holds in
the 166-seat Irish parliament at the next general election,
which must be held by 2007, making it a potential kingmaker
in the next coalition government. Ahern has ruled out
Fianna Fáil, Ireland's largest party, having Sinn Féin as a
coalition partner after the next election.

Maurice Manning, a historian and former senator for Fine
Gael, Ireland's second largest party, sees Ahern's plan to
reinstate the military parade, coupled with a plan
announced last month to convert the General Post Office
into a national monument, as ''a panic move by Bertie and
Fianna Fáil.''

''This is all about short-term politics,'' says Manning.
''I wouldn't say the country is coming to terms with its
revolutionary past. Irish people don't like to talk about

Manning said there is a tradition of rival parties
''airbrushing'' each other out of the history of Irish
nationalism. He said Eamon de Valera, the Fianna Fáil
founder, had the words of the Irish national anthem altered
in the 1930s, changing a reference to Fine Gael to one
about Fianna Fáil.

''Sinn Féin is trying to do to Fianna Fáil what Fianna Fáil
did to Fine Gael,'' said Manning. ''In Ireland, there is a
tendency of history to repeat itself.''

It isn't just Fianna Fáil that wants to reclaim some of the
revolutionary chic that Sinn Féin has used to raise its
political profile in the Republic (and millions of dollars
in the United States). Fine Gael last week held a ceremony
to pointedly note that Arthur Griffith, who founded Sinn
Féin in 1905, also founded a separate group that went on to
become Fine Gael after the Irish Civil War in 1923.

''It is vital that we rediscover and celebrate the true,
inclusive Sinn Féin, not the version of the party and its
ethos that has been hijacked by a certain section of Irish
nationalism to achieve its own narrow ends,'' said Enda
Kenny, Fine Gael's leader.

Martin Ferris, one of five Sinn Féin members of the Dail,
Ireland's parliament, scoffed at what he called Fine Gael's
blatant attempt to hijack Sinn Féin's growing popularity.
Ferris, a former IRA commander, embodies the remarkable
transformation of the republican movement. In 1984, he was
arrested on a boat off the Irish coast after it had taken
on $1 million worth of weapons and ammunition that had
sailed out of Boston Harbor, bound for the IRA. A few years
ago, he stood on the deck of a boat sailing on Boston
Harbor, the guest of honor on a Sinn Féin fund-raising

By announcing at his party's annual conference plans to
reinstate the Easter parade, Ahern allowed his political
enemies to dismiss the move as partisan. But even beyond
those who see Ahern's moves as politically motivated, some
are uncomfortable with the thought of using a military
parade to celebrate the founding of a country that, for all
its revolutionary roots, sees itself today as proudly
nonbelligerent and nonaligned.

Mary Banotti is the grand-niece of Michael Collins, a 1916
leader who dodged execution, led the guerrilla army that
won partial independence, and signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty
ending the war with the British, only to be shot dead as a
traitor by former comrades. Sitting in a restaurant here
last week, Banotti seemed torn when the subject of the
parade was raised.

''I remember enjoying the parade as a child,'' said
Banotti, whose great-uncle founded the Irish army. ''But I
have grave doubts about the wisdom of bringing back the
parade. My sense is that it will be divisive, rather than
bring people together.''

Larry Murray, a Dublin taxi driver, was more enthusiastic.
He always voted Fianna Fáil, until recently when, in his
late 40s, he switched his allegiances to Sinn Féin
candidates for the first time.

''I'm a republican, always was. It's only now that I can
say that quite openly,'' said Murray, standing near
Boland's Mills, the building that de Valera occupied while
trying to hold off British troops in 1916. ''It's time the
country celebrated its roots.''

Manning, the historian, doubts that celebrating the
country's revolutionary roots is the same as debating and
learning from them.

''If you called for a debate of 1916 today,'' Manning says,
''you'd have an empty hall.''

Kevin Cullen, the Globe's former Dublin bureau chief, is a
projects reporter for the Globe.


Words New Ammunition Up The North

NOT content with fighting over every inch of the North, the
battling Northern Irish have now claimed new territory, a
thing called Wikipedia, the internet's biggest

Wikipedia's biggest plus is that anyone can edit its
articles. Its biggest minus is that both communities in the
North have decided to do just that. And drive the rest of
the world mad by doing it.

Wikipedia's big "thing" is what it calls 'NPOV' (Neutral
Point of View). So everyone edits everyone else's work to
try to agree an NPOV balance. That was till the Fighting
Northern Irish came along. Forget analysis. The northerners
fight over words. One republican nut went and changed every
reference he could find in its 800,000 articles from
'Northern Ireland' to 'Six Counties'. While everyone else
on the planet was changing it back again, along came a
loyalist nut and changed it to 'Ulster'.

Another republican replaced "the loyalist UDA" with "the
unionist UDA", just to provoke unionists. And sure enough
they went ballistic. Meanwhile a Real IRA crank replaced
'Republic of Ireland' references with 'Irish Free State'
and called an American "a west Brit" for changing it back.

And of course both sides were waging edit wars on the Ian
Paisley and Gerry Adams pages, and fighting over whether
Provisional should go before 'Sinn Fein'. Another Real IRA
nut changed the "Republican movement" page about world
republicanism, into a redirect to 'Republican Sinn Fein'.

Whole pages descended into edit wars (well, northerners do
love wars), while everyone else looked on, muttering, "What
the hell is wrong with these guys?"

I only went to the website to research an article about
Wikipedia and take a break from reading about nutty
Northern Ireland - only to find that even there the flaming
northerners can't stop fighting. And then they wonder why
we are all so fed-up with them!

Jim Duffy


A City Mourns For The Belfast Boy

By Nuala McCann
BBC News website

His was a homecoming with a touch of that magic that lit up
the glory days.

George Best, who kicked a ball on the working class streets
of Belfast's Cregagh estate and grew up to become one of
the world's greatest footballers, could not have dreamed
his life.

Thousands lined the route to Stormont

Perhaps as a small child, he put his face up against the
great iron gates at Stormont gazing at the white wedding
cake of Parliament Buildings.

But could he have ever guessed that so many would come to
say their goodbyes?

They braved driving rain and biting cold to stand first in
the line at Stormont gates.

It was a long, freezing vigil for brothers Alan and Nicky
Eccles and their friend Jason Wallace from Greyabbey in
County Down.

The teenagers, who were not even born when the footballer
was at his peak, wanted to be there.

They waited from 2300 GMT on Friday night.

"We just stuck it out", they said. "It was worth the wait.
He was a sporting genius - a special talent."

A banner fluttered above them on Stormont gates. It read:
"My dad told me you were the best footballer in the world -
that's good enough for me."

For Anona Matchett from Portadown, it was a pilgrimage. Her
husband Ernest was such a fan that he chose to go to
university in Manchester because George was playing there
at that time.

"My husband has died", she said, "but I know that wherever
he might have been in the world, he'd have travelled home
to say goodbye to George."

Loaded with deckchairs and coffee flasks, Anona and her
sister Linda sat outside from dawn waiting to get in.

By 0800 GMT, sniffer dogs were finishing a final search of
the grounds.

Huge screens flashed neon pictures of a young George
telling the story of his legendary style on and off the

At 0830 GMT the gates opened and the crowds poured in.

Fathers brought young children. Fans in Northern Ireland
colours walked in. People on crutches and in wheelchairs
made their way in a sea of colour up towards Lord Carson's

But politics was another world and Best was never one for
taking sides.

It was the footballing hero the fans remembered. The
screens flashed up the glory years. They recalled how he
lit up old black and white screens with his sparkle and
wild boy ways.

To locals, he was technicolor in the monochrome world of
1970s Belfast - a living legend with an E-type Jag who
happened to be from up the road.

The steps of Stormont were a carpet of colour, as floral
tributes were laid from all over the world.

Northern Ireland's leading goal scorer, David Healy, could
not be present, but his family were and he kept in touch
with his father, Clifford, by mobile phone as the family
waited for the cortege.

Rain poured down

Inside mourners gathered. Sir Alex Ferguson, Sven Goran
Eriksson, Sir Hugh Orde, politicians.

But there was also room for the human touch. Ten fans were
plucked at random from the crowd outside. It was the Best
family's wish that they should be invited in for the

The football magic of George Best will live on forever

Olav Grinde, Bergen, Norway

As the rain poured down on Stormont, the grounds mushroomed
umbrellas and as the cortege came round the corner into
sight and police moved into place, the crowds broke into
spontaneous applause.

Best's son Calum waved from the car. Flowers and scarves
were showered on the hearse.

Fans waved banners - one read: "Maradona good; Pele better;
George Best."

At Stormont's steps, a lone piper played as Best's old
footballing friends carried him part of the way up to the

Small boys from Cregagh Rangers, George's first football
club, lined the way.

Inside the singers, Peter Corry and Brian Kennedy were
among those preparing for the ceremony.

Outside on the sidelines, the crowd waited and watched,
whispering their final farewells.

In the Great Hall, Best's friends spoke about his goodness.

His team-mate Dennis Law said he hoped they would meet
again - "but not too soon".

Former player Bobby McAlinden recalled a friendship
stretching back 46 years to when he was a skinny 15-year-
old, playing for Manchester City and George was a skinny
15-year-old playing on the other side.

He said George showed him great generosity in every way.

"He made me his room-mate, team-mate, his partner in a
desirable property - he was the greatest friend I ever

They shared a birthday and every year George rang Bobby in
America on the day - it was inevitably the middle of the

"I'll not get that call next May - but I have my memories",
added Mr McAlinden

After the ceremony, the cortege was brought out and borne
back down the Prince of Wales Avenue to the main gate of
the Stormont estate.

The crowd broke out once more into applause.

Afterwards it was quiet on the sidelines as people
remembered what they called "the beautiful boy and his
beautiful game".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/03 12:35:47 GMT


Our Wee Country At Its Respectful Best
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
IMAGINE all the people?

Bestie's Fondest Of Farewells
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
NEVER have I witnessed anything like the scene yesterday
when Belfast said goodbye to George Best, its favourite

An Appreciation
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
HE WAS courted by princes and presidents, wined and dined
by the rich and famous and welcomed into some of the finest
palaces and castles in the world.

A Belfast Child Is Homeward Bound
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
LONG before dawn, thousands had gathered along the route
which would take George Best on his final journey.

Let's Remember Only His Greatest Deeds
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
ON A MORNING awash with emotion and drenched by a Belfast
deluge, George Best in death managed one last time what had
always come so easily in life.

VIPs Honour Our George
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
AMONG those attending the funeral were:

The Poem That Brought The Best Boy To Tears
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
Farewell our friend, but not goodbye,

Calum Thanks The People Of Belfast
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
AFTER the funeral, Calum Best, thanked the people of
Belfast for the send-off they'd given his dad.

Adoring Fans Rise Early To Pay A Poignant Salute
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
JUST as they did at his beloved Old Trafford in midweek,
thousands of football fans descended on Stormont yesterday
morning to pay their respects to the world's greatest-ever

We Did Our Best For You, George
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
I WAS doing all right up to then.

Best Friends Forever
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
BOBBY McAlinden, a friend of 46 years, told the assembled
mourners that he and George Best shared the same birthday -
May 22, 1946 - and that he would miss a phone call on that
day next year from George to wish him well.

GB's Spirit Is With Us All, Says Barbara
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
GEORGE Best's sister, Barbara, paid tribute to her brother
on behalf of the entire Best family.

Final Moments Of Best Family's Longest Journey
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
IT WAS as the family had wished - a private and dignified
burial with only Best's loved-ones present to say their
last farewells.

Tears And Applause As Cregagh Says Farewell
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
IT WAS a send-off from his family home in east Belfast that
George Best would have been proud of.

Bestie Fought To The End
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
FORMER Manchester United great Denis Law admitted at
yesterday's funeral that George Best showed a remarkable
fighting quality in the last few weeks of his life.

A Proud Day For Geordie
Publication Date: 04 December 2005
SPAIN '82 hero Gerry Armstrong last night described his
overwhelming feeling of relief and sadness as George Best
was laid to rest.

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