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December 07, 2005

SDLP - Security Forces Not In Original Deal

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News about Ireland & the Irish

NL 12/07/05 Security Forces Not In Original Deal- Durkan
BT 12/07/05 Politicians Debate 250 Alterations To OTRs Bill
BB 12/07/05 Bank Raid Accused In Frame Claim
IO 12/07/05 Frank Connolly Hits Back At Colombia Claims
IO 12/07/05 Sinn Féin Accuses McDowell Of Abusing Privilege
NH 12/07/05 Feeder Parade In Breach Of Ruling
IO 12/07/05 Mandela Activist Joins Bill Of Rights Conf
BT 12/07/05 Teachers Welcome Pledge To End 11-Plus
WP 12/07/05 Forgiveness Is Bitter Pill In N. Ireland
BT 12/07/05 Tracey's Tragedy ... Blair's Dilemma
DJ 12/07/05 Meet Me Face To Face
FT 12/07/05 The Freedom Of The City, Finborough Theatre
IN 12/07/05 Discover The Healed Lands Of Northern Ireland


Security Forces Not In Original Deal, Says Durkan

Wednesday 7th December 2005

Mark Durkan came under fire last night, after he said he
could reluctantly accept the On-the-Runs deal but not the
security forces being added in to the package.

The SDLP leader said he did not want terrorists to escape
jail terms but the Government had shook on a deal with Sinn
Fein and he could see it must be honoured.

However, he stridently objected to "state forces" being
able to avail of the scheme too.

"Given that the deal was specifically for On-the-Runs - I
see no problem with holding the Government to the original
promises of this agreement," he said.

"I may not like it, but if the Government say those are the
grounds on which they are honour bound" he could accept it.

The security forces were not in the original deal, though,
said Mr Durkan.

He was responding to a DUP attempt to have the Bill
differentiate more clearly between terrorist offenders and
members of the security services.

If there must be a Bill, the DUP wanted an amendment that
would clearly state security forces were eligible after
committing offences during "efforts to combat terrorism in
Northern Ireland".

This would clearly discern terrorists from the security
services, said the DUP, because there was "no moral
equivalence" between them.

Mr Durkan said the DUP was now using the Bill to try to
cover-up collusion by cementing in an amnesty for Crown

MP Jeffrey Donaldson retorted: "We are not seeking to
cover-up anything.

"We believe that people guilty of the crimes you are
talking about should go before the proper judicial process.

"My party believes in justice and that means convicting
terrorists, security forces or anyone else guilty of a

"But if this Bill is forced through it would be absurd if
terrorists benefited and the security forces didn't."

Government Minister David Hanson accepted what the DUP was
trying to do but rejected their amendment.

He said: "We recognise the differences between terrorist
organisations and members of the security forces but
members of the security forces could be charged with the
same offences as terrorists and this bill is offences


Politicians Debate 250 Alterations To On The Runs Bill

By Brian Walker
07 December 2005

The Secretary of State has said the Government will keep
its word to Sinn Fein by not forcing IRA fugitives to
appear in court when they return to Northern Ireland.

But he has hinted he could be forced to compromise if the
majority view in Parliament is weighted against it.

Mr Hain was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph hours after
MPs of all parties attending the Commons unleashed a bitter
attack against the Bill on the first day of detailed
scrutiny in committee.

Committee sessions will extend over the next two Tuesdays
and Thursdays and MPs may sit into the small hours picking
apart 250 amendments.

This record number of proposed alterations is designed to
bury the Bill under its own weight. The Government may seek
a truce with MPs later but is adopting a "wait and see "
attitude now.

Leading for the DUP, Peter Robinson called the Bill
"profane and unacceptable in every direction."

To SDLP leader Mark Durkan it was "the most awful
legislation to do with Ireland that the House has ever had
in front of it."

Joining the chorus, Ulster Unionist Sylvia Hermon predicted
it would never make it through the Lords.

It is when the Lords seek to block the Bill that ministers
are likely to offer concessions.

Commenting on the latest attacks, Mr Hain held out hopes of
a compromise over demands to set a formal time limit on the
whole process. He will have powers to do so himself.

"On the time limit, there may not be a lot of difference,"
he said.

Asked if he thought Sinn Fein would stop co-operating if
the Bill was changed to compel offenders to plead before
tribunals in person, he replied that "any party that does
not attend Parliament to persuade their fellow members on
the detail of the Bill, though not its principle, have only
themselves to blame."

On Gerry Adams' objections to including the security forces
in the conditional amnesty he said: "I will not accept
their removal. I took the decision to include them with the
Prime Minister's full support in the late summer."

The issue of bringing the security forces within the scope
of the Bill produced the first crack in the parties' united
front, when Mark Durkan was pressed by Peter Robinson.

Asked by the DUP deputy leader to say if he would oppose an
outcome which would benefit terrorists but not the security
forces, Mr Durkan said he "saw no problem in holding the
governments to account on the original premise of the
legislation ".

Mr Hain said he would "wait and see " what changes
opposition parties could unite around.

But he added: "The principle of the OTRs Bill, including
their non-appearance before the tribunal, was agreed at
Weston Park."


Bank Raid Accused In Frame Claim

A bank worker charged with a £26.5m robbery has accused
police of "hounding and torturing his family and friends"
in order to "frame" him.

Chris Ward, 24, from Colinmill, Poleglass, has been charged
with the 2004 Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

He appeared at the city's magistrates' court on Wednesday
where he spoke only to confirm he understood the charge.

But the court heard that when charged, he said police had
held him "longer than the hostage takers" to frame him.

"Police have bugged my house (and) a holiday in Spain, went
through all my phone records, my bank accounts, hounded my
friends - even going as far as Australia," he was reported
to have said, when he was charged at Antrim police station
on Wednesday.

"They have tortured my family in an attempt to frame me
with the Northern Bank robbery.

"Police have failed in all these attempts. They have held
me longer than the hostage takers who seized me last year."

A detective inspector told the court he could connect Mr
Ward with the charges.

The court was told that the case against him was based on
four main areas: his actions on 18 and 19 December; his
actions on 20 December, the day of the raid; his original
account of what happened and a works rota.

Mr Ward was remanded in custody to appear by video link
next month.

He was arrested just over a week ago at his Poleglass home.

The bank robbery was the biggest cash theft in UK history.

Three men have already been charged in connection with the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/07 13:00:25 GMT


Frank Connolly Hits Back At Colombia Claims

07/12/2005 - 12:47:56

The director of the Centre for Public Inquiry today accused
Minister for Justice Michael McDowell of joining a witch
hunt against him, over claims he was connected to an IRA
plot to sell information to Farc guerrillas.

Frank Connolly denied he had travelled to Colombia using a
false passport, and said the allegations were made to
detract from the centre's independent inquiries on Trim
Castle and the Corrib Gas project.

Mr McDowell last night accused Mr Connolly of being linked
to the IRA scheme to provide Colombian terrorists with
bomb-making information in return for cash.

In a written reply to a Dáil question by independent TD
Finian McGrath, Mr McDowell claimed that Mr Connolly
travelled to the Farc-controlled region of the war-torn
country on a false passport in April 2001 along with
convicted IRA member, Padraig Wilson.

Mr McDowell said under Dáil privilege Mr Connolly also
travelled with his brother, Niall, one of the Colombia
Three, who re-appeared in Ireland in August after jumping
bail in Bogota.

But Mr Connolly said he was the victim of a campaign of
vilification which had descended to a more vicious level
since his appointment to the position of executive director
of the Centre for Public Inquiry (CPI).

"The Minister has done a grave injustice and damage to me.
He has joined what has become a veritable witch hunt
against me.

"He has also done incalculable damage to the integrity of
his own office.

"It is patent to me however that the real target of the
venom and mendacity which has been visited upon me is the
Centre for Public Inquiry," he said.

Mr Connolly claimed the centre had been targeted by
elements of Irish society who were hostile to a body
established to carry out independent scrutiny.

"On Saturday 26 and 27 last, in what was patently a
considered and timed response to the publication of the
report on the Corrib Gas controversy from those seeking to
protect vested interests, the same false allegations were
again published by Independent Newspapers concerning me.

"Further, the Minister for Justice, Mr Michael McDowell,
participated in the attacks and has now repeated the
allegations under Dáil privilege," he said.

Mr Connolly accused the minister of trying to damage his
position at the CPI, as well as attempting to destroy his
reputation and career as an investigative journalist.

He also said confidential documents had been leaked from a
garda investigation file to a member of the board of
Atlantic Philanthropies which funds the CPI, and to
Independent Newspapers.

"While it is difficult for me as one citizen of a state to
defend myself when my character is attacked by a minister
of government and a powerful newspaper group I will always
defend my integrity," he said.


Sinn Féin Accuses McDowell Of Abusing Privilege

07/12/2005 - 08:21:38

The Irish Justice Minister has abused parliamentary
privilege by repeating unfounded allegations in the Dáil,
Sinn Féin claimed today.

Michael McDowell last night accused the director of the
Centre for Public Inquiry, journalist Frank Connolly, of
being linked to a plot by the IRA to provide Colombian
terrorists with bombing-making information in return for

In a written reply to a Dáil question by independent TD
Finian McGrath, Mr McDowell claimed that Mr Connolly
travelled to the Farc-controlled region of Colombia on a
false passport in April 2001 along with convicted IRA
member, Padraig Wilson.

The visit was a well-organised sinister enterprise, the
minister claimed.

Mr Connolly last night rejected the allegations and accused
the minister of being part of a "witch hunt" aimed at
destroying the Centre for Public Inquiry, which promotes
ethics and accountability in public life.

Mr McDowell claimed under Dáil privilege that Mr Connolly
also travelled with his brother, Niall, one of the Colombia
Three, who re-appeared in Ireland in August after jumping
bail in Bogota.

Sinn Féin today accused Mr McDowell of abusing his powers
within the Dáil.

A party spokesman said of the minister's claims: "It is an
outrageous abuse of parliamentary privilege by the minister
as these allegations are completely unfounded."

In his reply to Mr McGrath, Mr McDowell said he had been
informed by gardaí that prior to the arrest of the so-
called Colombia Three in August 2001, authorities had
established that three Irish people also entered Farc-
controlled territory on false passports, and one of those
was Frank Connolly.

He added under Dáil privilege: "On the basis of
intelligence reports furnished to me, the [April and
August] visits appear to have been connected with an
arrangement whereby the Provisional IRA furnished knowhow
in the use of explosives.

"The consideration received by the Provisional IRA under
the arrangement is believed to be the payment of a large
amount of money by Farc, which finances its activities by
its control of the cocaine trade in the area of Colombia
which it controls."

Mr Connolly is expected to make a statement today to
completely refute the allegations.


Feeder Parade In Breach Of Ruling

(Seamus McKinney, Irish News)

The Parades Commission has said the Apprentice Boys
breached its ruling on a feeder march in Co Tyrone at the

Three people were arrested on Saturday night during clashes
between a small number of nationalists and police at
Castlefin Park in Castlederg.

On its return from the main Lundy's Parade in Derry, the
Apprentice Boys Garvetagh club assembled to march in

On reaching Lurganbuoy Road it was met with a line of
police but when marchers produced a letter from the Parades
Commission they were allowed to proceed part of the way
along the road, which leads to three nationalist areas.

However, it has emerged that the letter did not specify
Lurganbuoy Road and had no legal weight.

In its ruling on the disputed parade last week, the
commission stated: 'The parade is prohibited from entering
that part of its notified route comprising Priest's Lane,
Ferguson Crescent, Killeter Road, Alexander Park and
Lurganbuoy Road."

The same ruling applied last year but the parade did march
along part of Lurganbuoy Road.

When marchers objected to this year's determination, a
letter was sent from the Parades Commission confirming that
the same restrictions as last year applied.

DUP assembly member Thomas Buchanan said he showed this
letter to police in Castlederg and based on that, police
allowed them onto Lurganbuoy Road.

Mr Buchanan said the Apprentice Boys had not breached any
determination but had been allowed through police lines "on
the strength of the letter".

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said the letter had
no legal weight and the official notification clearly
stated that the march could not go onto Lurganbuoy Road.

He said the commission would take their actions into
consideration if and when the Apprentice Boys applied for
another parade in Castlederg.

A police spokesman said a letter was shown to officers on
the ground.

Based on it and a discussion with a Parades Commission
observer, the police then allowed the march to proceed.

Sinn Féin councillor Charlie McHugh welcomed the Parades
Commission statement that the Apprentice Boys breached the
official ruling.

He claimed trouble only arose after police let the march
through their lines onto Lurganbuoy Road.

Mr McHugh said people from nearby nationalist homes were
surprised and confused by the police actions.

December 7, 2005

This article appeared first in the December 6, 2005 edition
of the Irish News.


Mandela Activist Joins Bill Of Rights Conference

07/12/2005 - 07:07:12

A former African National Congress activist appointed by
Nelson Mandela as a justice to South Africa's
Constitutional Court has been lined up for a two day
conference on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Over 100 people from the public, community and voluntary
sector were gathering in Armagh today for a conference
organised by the Human Rights Commission which will be
addressed by Albie Sachs.

Mr Sachs was appointed in 1994 by President Nelson Mandela
to the constitutional court.

At the age of 17 as a second year law student at the
University of Cape Town he embarked on a career as a human
rights activist and anti-apartheid campaigner.

As a barrister he defended many victims of the apartheid
regime and had his home raided by the security police as
well as having banning orders restricting his movement.

Mr Sachs was placed in solitary confinement without trial
twice after being detained.

In 1966, he fled South Africa and spent 11 years studying
and teaching law in England before moving to Mozambique
where he worked as a law professor and researcher.

In 1988, he was targeted by the apartheid government's
security agents in a car bomb attack but survived, losing
an arm and sight in one eye.

Working closely with Oliver Tambo, the ANC leader in exile,
he drafted the organisation's code of conduct during the
1980s and played a key role in the drafting of a new
democratic constitution for South Africa.

In 1990 he returned to the country and was a key member of
the ANC's negotiating team in the talks which led to a
democratic South Africa.

During his time in the constitutional court the 70-year-old
justice gained notoriety across the world for declaring a
constitutional right for same sex marriages in the case of
the Ministry of Home Affairs versus Fourie.

A play entitled 'The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs' based on
his writings about his time in solitary confinement has
been critically acclaimed in theatres across the world.

During the two-day conference, participants will take part
in workshops and panel discussions to suggest ideas on the
way forward for a Bill of Rights.

Chief commissioner Professor Monica McWilliams said the
Human Rights Commission had been facilitating as wide a
consultation as possible on a Bill of Rights for Northern

"We want to discuss openly how best to take the debate
forward in an inclusive, positive and constructive manner
during the coming year and we look forward to listening to
the views of participants at this conference," she said.

"The Bill of Rights must reflect the mandate set out for
the Commission in the Belfast Agreement.

"Every political party is on record as being in favour of a
Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and there is
overwhelming public support for the idea.

"The challenge for the newly reconstituted Human Rights
Commission is to make the idea a reality in the near


Teachers Welcome Pledge To End 11-Plus

By Kathryn Torney
07 December 2005

Teachers in primary schools will celebrate the Government's
committment to end the 11-plus in Northern Ireland, it was
claimed today.

Frank Bunting, northern secretary of the Irish National
Teachers' Union, said he welcomed the commitment in
legislation to outlaw academic selection from 2008.

"The child abuse involved in the annual 11-plus branding of
the majority of our primary school pupils as failures has
now finally been laid to rest," he said.

"INTO and the vast majority of teachers in primary schools
will celebrate this development."

However, the DUP's education spokesman Sammy Wilson
criticised the Government's plans.

He said: "One size fits all education does not work. This
has been the case on the UK mainland where it has so
spectacularly failed.

"Children need education to suit their own individual needs
and the best and most fair way to do this is through
academic selection.

"My concern is that academically gifted children from areas
of social deprivation will never get the chance to go the
schools which are best suited to their needs."

However, nationalist politicians broadly welcomed the
Minister's announcement.

Sinn Fein education spokesman Michael Ferguson said: "I
broadly welcome the end of the 11-plus because it was a
system that branded 80% of our children as failures every

SDLP MLA and party education spokesperson Dominic Bradley
said: "The ending of the 11-plus will help to create
equality of opportunity, broaden choices and enhance
standards for all.

"But adequate resources must be made available to ensure
that reform is achieved without compromising existing high
standards and that teachers are supported appropriately in
introducing the changes."


Forgiveness Is Bitter Pill For Some In N. Ireland

Victims of Violence Upset by Bill That Would Offer Amnesty
to Their Attackers

By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 7, 2005; Page A19

MARKETHILL, Northern Ireland -- Thirty-three years after
Sam Malcolmson was shot by an Irish Republican Army gunman,
the wound in his side is still open and leaking fluid. He
has to change the dressing constantly. He takes morphine
four times a day for blinding pain caused by bullet shards
lodged in his spine.

He has spent thousands of sleepless nights pacing his house
on crutches, he said in an interview, often thinking of his
mother, who died of a heart attack at his hospital bedside
the day after he was shot.

Sam Malcolmson was shot by an IRA gunman in 1972. (Kevin
Sullivan - Twp)

"People tell me I should forgive and forget so we can all
move on," said Malcolmson, who was a 22-year-old police
recruit when the IRA ambushed him in 1972. "They are asking
an awful lot."

The British government is asking for such forgiveness on
the grounds that it will help seal the peace in Northern
Ireland after more than three decades of sectarian
violence. In London, Parliament is debating a bill that
would allow fugitives who committed violent crimes during
the 30-year conflict, such as the man who shot Malcolmson,
to return home with guarantees that they would not serve
time in prison.

Prime Minister Tony Blair told Parliament that the bill was
"a very difficult" but essential part of peacemaking. The
measure would follow the IRA's announcement in July that it
had laid down its weapons for good.

"I don't minimize the anger there will be in some quarters,
or the anguish if you are the relative of a policeman in
Northern Ireland who was killed," Blair told legislators.
"But I also genuinely believe we need to get this out of
the way and dealt with so we can get on with the really
tough" task of rebuilding the province's government and

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, Blair's top official
for the province, said in an interview that the fugitives
bill was "painful but necessary to bring closure on the

"The history of conflict resolution and this world is that
sometimes you have to do things you ideally wouldn't want
to, to bring closure," Hain said. Asked what he would tell
victims' families, he said he would say that he understands
the "appalling horror" of their experience but that "at
least you can have the comfort of knowing that there won't
be more victims like you in the future."

The measure has met ferocious opposition from people who
say Blair is asking too much in the name of peace.

During debate recently in the House of Commons, David
Liddington, the Conservative Party's top official for
Northern Ireland issues, said the bill "undermines the rule
of law" and betrays victims. Iain Duncan Smith, the former
Conservative Party leader, called it "grubby and
reprehensible." Commons backed the bill, 310 to 262, on a
preliminary vote last month; a final vote is expected early
in the new year.

Northern Ireland's war pitted so-called loyalists, who
support continued British rule of the province and are
mostly Protestant, against republicans, most of them
Catholic, who want to unify Northern Ireland with the
Republic of Ireland to the south. The war took more than
3,600 lives.

The 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that forms the basis
for the peace process provided for the release of hundreds
of prisoners on both sides who had been convicted of crimes
during the war. But it did not deal with people suspected
of crimes who had fled -- largely to Ireland or the United
States -- before they could be tried.

It is unclear how many people would be covered by the
legislation. Sinn Fein, the IRA-affiliated political party,
estimates the number to be a few dozen. Government
officials have said it is about 70, while opponents of the
bill have suggested 150.

Among the best-known people who may benefit is Rita O'Hare,
Sinn Fein's representative to the United States. O'Hare was
charged by British prosecutors with involvement in an IRA
attack on British soldiers in 1972 but fled to Ireland
before she could be tried.

Sam Malcolmson was shot by an IRA gunman in 1972. (Kevin
Sullivan - Twp)

She was convicted there for smuggling explosives to an IRA
inmate. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's deputy leader, said
in an interview that the British government still considers
O'Hare to be a fugitive.

McGuinness said Sinn Fein supports the plan because it is
"part of the political process and the peace process that
have transformed the north of Ireland."

"Whenever conflict comes to an end, there will be difficult
issues for people to face up to," McGuinness said,
acknowledging "the understandable difficulties for victims'

Under the plan, fugitives suspected of committing crimes
before the Good Friday agreement could apply to have their
cases considered by a special tribunal. Police and
witnesses would give evidence, but the fugitive would not
have to attend in person. If found guilty, defendants would
be given suspended sentences and probation. They would be
required to serve a sentence only if they committed another
crime while on probation.

While officials said the vast majority of such people are
IRA members, the measure would also cover loyalist
paramilitary fighters or anyone else who committed crimes
"in connection with terrorism" in the province before the
Good Friday agreement.

Officials said that could include British soldiers and
police who sometimes covertly backed illegal Protestant
paramilitary groups.

McGuinness said police and soldiers should not be covered.
He said thousands of republicans have been jailed while few
British security personnel have served time for their roles
in the violence. "They are up to their necks in collusion,
but they have never stood before a court," he said.

Nowhere are passions about the issue felt more deeply than
here in southern County Armagh, a patchwork of fields
blanketing beautiful rolling hills southwest of Belfast,
along the border with the Irish republic. The towns and
villages and muddy back roads were scenes of some of the
worst sectarian fighting, and British army commandos in
full combat gear still patrol the streets. Many of the
killings here were personal -- victims and their killers
were often neighbors.

Some family members of victims have said publicly that they
support the fugitives bill and favor reconciliation over
justice. But Malcolmson and a victims group called Families
Acting for Innocent Relatives are strongly opposed to it.

Interviewed in the group's office, Malcolmson said he was
sure he knew who shot him and his partner as they drove
along a country road. Malcolmson said the man is a well-
known IRA member who fled south to Ireland years ago and,
under the current proposal, would be allowed to return to
Northern Ireland without facing jail time.

"I could be standing in some shop with the guy who shot me.
That's hard to take," said Malcolmson, constantly shifting
in his chair, wincing from pain that shoots down his left
leg, which is held straight by a steel brace. "They want us
to just swallow hard and accept back the gunmen. If this is
peace, I don't want any part of it."


Tracey's Tragedy ... Blair's Dilemma

The happy young girl with pig-tails wearing her Brownies'
uniform smiles out from a battered old photograph. It is
the image which shook Prime Minister Tony Blair and his
hugely controversial plans to provide an amnesty for
terrorists through on-the-run legislation.

07 December 2005

RUC constable Tracey Doak was just 21-years-old when the
police car she was driving was destroyed by a 1,000lb IRA
bomb near the Killeen/Newry border in May 1985. Tracey and
three colleagues were killed instantly. She had been due to
get married only months later. No-one has ever been brought
to justice.

Recently Tracey's father Beattie, himself a former police
officer and chairman of the RUC George Cross Parents'
Association, travelled to Downing Street to personally
challenge Tony Blair over his plans for on-the-run

The laws mean that those wanted for offences committed
before the Good Friday Agreement will have their slate
effectively wiped clean without having to appear before a

Beattie showed the Prime Minister photographs of Tracey as
a child and asked him: "How is my daughter different from
the policewoman who was murdered in Bradford?" The Police
Federation, which organised the trip, hoped that bringing
the Prime Minister face to face with the forgotten victims
of Ulster's terrorism would persuade him to amend a bill
that political parties in Northern Ireland and Britain are
lining up to oppose.

The legislation this week began its committee stage in the
House of Commons and scores of amendments have been tabled.

Outraged politicians are demanding that changes are
introduced into the Bill so that on-the-runs have to appear
before a court.

Beattie (67) and his wife Jean (68) are like thousands of
other people who voted reluctantly for the Good Friday
Agreement because they hoped it would bring stability to
Northern Ireland. They would never have voted yes if they
had known about Government plans for on-the-runs. They say
the planned legislation is a slap in the face to all the
parents who live with pain and grief every day.

From when she was young Tracey Doak wanted to follow in the
footsteps of her father and older brother and join the RUC.
Her father Beattie remembered how she used to walk around
the house wearing his police tunic.

She joined the RUC Police Cadets in 1980. At 18 she
graduated from the training college at Enniskillen and was
posted to Newry.

Her mother Jean remembered: "She was a very bubbly girl, an
infectious, enthusiastic personality who was into her
sports and music. When she got her first pay cheque from
the RUC she went out and bought a piano and used to sit
playing it until late into the night.

"After she was murdered we got a letter from a colleague
who said when he first arrived at Newry station he was
sitting down in the canteen on his own and this girl came
up and started talking to him - that was Tracey, that was
the sort of girl she was."

On the day Tracey died she had phoned her father in the
morning to ask for advice about filling out forms for a
transfer to Antrim station. Coming close to her wedding day
she was keen to work closer to her home.

Beattie said: "Later that morning I was working in the
front garden cutting the hedge when I saw a police car come
up the drive, I knew straightaway that she was dead. They
got out and just said, 'There is no easy way to tell you
this Beattie'."

Tracy and her three colleagues were ambushed by an IRA bomb
as they were escorting a money van travelling north.

Beattie said: "The body was not identifiable, you can
imagine what a 1,000lb bomb would do. I remember going to
Newry to bring her body home. I saw her foot in the coffin,
it devastated me and the whole family.

"You never forget, it is in your mind every day. Every
morning when you wake up it is there and every night when
you go to bed. It is a pain which does not go away."

Beattie and Jean have watched over the years as the RUC in
which Tracy served has evolved into the PSNI. They have
supported political efforts to bring peace to the province
- until OTR laws were brought before parliament

Jean said: "We had no idea about this at all. The night
before the Bill had the first reading in the House of
Commons a Government minister rang me at home to tell me it
was coming and said he was sure some of our members would
be upset. He told me it would be read in the House the next

"Before the second reading we met David Hanson at Stormont
and he told us that on-the-run laws were not included in
the Good Friday Agreement but the Government had always
envisaged they would be part of it

"If this had been in the agreement we would not have voted
for it. We voted yes reluctantly because we hoped it would
bring stability. If we had known we would not have voted
for it, I know the other parents feel the same

"This was brought in through the back door, it is an awful
slap in the face for us. To think that someone could come
back home without any punishment and could end up living in
the same street as our children."

Beattie continued: "The Police Federation rang me up and
asked if I would go over to Downing Street with some of the
other parents to talk about the plans. I did not have to
think about it for a second. They told me on the Monday and
I went over on the Tuesday."

While there, Beattie and other parents met with the leaders
of all the political parties in Northern Ireland and

"We were very well received by all the parties and they all
agreed this should not become legislation. It is a Bill
which would not become legislation in any other part of the
UK, allowing terrorists to come home and have a free life
when they have denied our daughter her life. This will not
bring stability or justice."

Ironically the parents of RUC victims were in London at the
same time that the media and politicians were demanding
justice for the family of Bradford constable Sharon
Beshenivsky who was shot dead during an armed robbery. The
significance was not lost on the local man.

"While I was in with Mr Blair I showed him a photograph of
Tracey as a child in her Brownie uniform. I asked him what
is the difference between the policewoman murdered in
Bradford and my daughter. He looked at me and said there
was no difference.

"I told him the murderers in Bradford would be facing life
imprisonment while the murderers of Tracey will not even
come before the courts. He did not have an answer for that.

"You look and see the way the media is treating the killing
in Bradford. When Tracey was killed it was an everyday
occurrence and it got very little press coverage because it
happened every day.

"When I talked to the Prime Minister he appeared to be
upset and emotional, he was embarrassed and uncomfortable.
I think this was the first time it had been brought home to
him what he is actually doing. He indicated the Bill might
be changed because the human rights of victims may be
violated under European Law."

Beattie and Jean and the rest of the parents of officers
killed during the Troubles would like to see the Bill
scrapped. Instead they may have to settle for amendments
which water down some of its more controversial aspects.

Beattie said: "This Bill should never become law. In a
democratic society we are entitled to justice. There is no
place for these people back in society."


Meet Me Face To Face

By Joe Doran
Tuesday 6th December 2005

A man, whose mother was killed in the Claudy bombing, last
night claimed he knows the identity of the people
responsible for the atrocity - and has challenged them to
meet him face to face.

Liam McLaughlin's mother, Rosemary, was one of nine people
who died when three IRA car bombs ripped through the
village in a no warning attack in 1972.

Mr. McLaughlin, who now lives in America, says the bombers
owe his family and the relatives of the other victims an

He was speaking to the "Journal" from his home in Chicago
just days after four people, including Sinn Fein MLA,
Francie Brolly, were arrested in connection with the
bombing but were later released without charge.

After his release, Mr. Brolly said that he had nothing to
do with the atrocity and had no foreknowledge of what would

Mr. McLaughlin, whose mother was 51-years-old when she was
killed, said police investigating the bombing agree that
without firm evidence no one is ever likely to be

He says 19 people were involved in the attack and many
still live in the Derry and South Derry areas. The others,
he says, live outside Northern Ireland.

"I just want to sit down face to face with these people,
look them in the eye and ask them why.

"I know who they are and I know they deny involvement in
it. If they did agree to meet with me I know they would
just lie again.

"But I want the satisfaction of sitting down with these
people and telling them what I know to be fact."

Mr. McLaughlin was due to take his first step yesterday in
requesting the face to face meeting.

He says the reason why nine people, including three
children, died was because the bombers were a "crowd of

He also questioned an alleged cover up by the British
Government of the involvement of a Catholic priest in the

It has been claimed that the late Father Jim Chesney was in
charge of the IRA unit which carried out bombing.

Soon after the story emerged, detectives said the
government and Church shielded the cleric.

The PSNI later announced a senior detective was to lead a
new investigation into the attacks.

"The question is why did the British Government do a deal
with the Catholic Church that let the bombers walk free.
Who are they protecting?," said Liam.

He added: "The Government has bent over backwards to
appease terrorists. They are getting everything they want
and not going to jail for their crimes.

"All those responsible need to do is own up and say sorry.
That would go a long way to placating everybody.

"Every time this issue comes up in the papers its like our
loved one has died all over again. It's not nice."


The Freedom Of The City, Finborough Theatre

By Ian Shuttleworth

Published: December 7 2005 02:00 Last updated: December 7
2005 02:00

The winners of the inaugural Dan Crawford Pub Theatre award
astutely end the London theatre year by drawing together
two of its significant threads. In 2005 the capital has
already seen three important productions of plays by Brian
Friel and two runs of Richard Norton- Taylor's latest
verbatim tribunal drama Bloody Sunday. Now here is the
first revival in 30-odd years of Friel's drama inspired by
the gruesome events in Derry in 1972.

Friel shifts the action by a couple of years, reduces the
number of victims to three, and (in what is almost an act
of charity, in the historical circumstances) invents a
tenuous reason for their being shot dead by the British
Army: that, having taken refuge from rubber bullets and CS
gas, the three found themselves in the city's Guildhall and
were mistaken for terrorists occupying the symbolic citadel
of Protestant ascendancy.

The evident depth to which Friel was stricken by the events
of Bloody Sunday is reflected in his efforts to find a way
to treat the material dramatically. His usual naturalistic
portrayal of the trio in the parlour sits at the centre of
a most un- Friel-like agitprop collage: testimony to a
Widgery- style whitewashing inquiry, sociological lectures
about the culture of poverty as experienced by the city's
Catholic population and the consciousness-raising effect of
civil rights movements such as Derry saw in the late 1960s,
pulpit speeches from priests and even political ballads.
These last, in portraying the victims as brave republican
"volunteers", collude with the official British line.

The director Anna Jones treads skilfully through this
labyrinth. Claire Cogan shines as a no-nonsense mother of
11 and Nick Lee as a civil rights activist. Richard Flood
is less at ease as a ducker-and-diver who enjoys the
mischief of the situation. And life imitates art: the real
Guildhall has seen the premieres of a number of plays by
Friel, and most recently has hosted the second judicial
inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday.

Tel 020 7373 3842


Discover The Healed Lands Of Northern Ireland

Brendan Seery

December 07 2005 at 11:51AM

As the cold rain slants down from the grey, mucky cloud
blanket above, the moss-conquered walls of the fortress
town grow slick with the moisture, as they have done for
the past 400 years.

Below, the simple, workers' terrace houses of the Bogside
seem to huddle close to keep out the sodden reality of an
Irish winter.

It's a grim (to African eyes, to be sure) European
industrial town.

Almost impossible to see what songwriter Phil Coulter
admired in Derry (or Londonderry to the British and its
Protestant residents) when he penned his haunting ballad
The Town I Loved So Well.

All around you see evidence that things have changed

A large, simple stone guards the Bogside with the words:
"You are now entering Free Derry" - a reminder of the time
the area's Nationalist residents declared their own UDI
against British rule for a brief time. Further along that
main road hover the ghosts of January 30 1972 - Bloody

On that day, bullets from British Army Parachute Regiment
troopers cut down 14 men who were part of an anti-
internment march held by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights

From the parapets of Fortress Derry - the walled centre of
the town - one can pick out the detail in a Bogside wall
mural of a 14-year-old girl who died in crossfire between
Irish Republican Army (IRA) gunmen and British troops while
on her way home from school.

Her family steadfastly refused to allow her image to be
used in a mural until it looked as though an end to "the
Troubles" was in sight.

That light at the end of a bloody and convoluted sectarian
tunnel came on Good Friday 1998, a day honoured as sacred
by both the Catholic and Protestant sides of this
internecine Christian feud.

Belfast in 2005 is a modern, European industrial city

Now that the IRA has finally laid down its arms and
Protestant Loyalists have done likewise (both of those in
theory, at least), peace is becoming a reality.

The mural shows the girl alongside an Armalite rifle which
is buried, muzzle first, in the soil. At the top of the
mural hovers a butterfly - the Butterfly of Peace - but it
is strangely blank, just a bare outline.

It has been left that way as a symbol of the many doubts
that linger about whether, after centuries of violence,
this troubled island will finally see real peace.

If that happens, the butterfly's wings will be decorated.
And perhaps, in the words of Coulter's song, that "bright
brand new day" he prayed about will have dawned.

All around, you see evidence that things have changed. And
that change is becoming a powerful tourist attraction.

On my last visit to Ireland, 17 years ago, Belfast was a
city under siege, Derry racked by violence, and the symbols
of Northern Ireland were the Land Rovers of the armoured
security force and the fortified concrete walls - concrete
walls needed to temper the ferocity of IRA car bombs.

Now, we and our Derry Tourist Centre guide are more
concerned with tempering the effects of the chilly rain.

Behind us, on top of the wall overlooking the Bogside, is a
British Army post now being dismantled. Its tall tower
still sports multiple TV cameras and communication
antennas, but these have been disconnected and will soon be

In Belfast our guide, Ken McElroy, points out the Divis
Towers building, standing sentinel over the Catholic-
dominated Falls Road area, and where once the British Army
commandeered the top three floors and festooned them with
all manner of electronic devices in one of the world's most
sophisticated "observation posts". It's been shut down.

All down the Falls Road, the murals remind you of the
Nationalist struggle against British rule. Portraits of the
struggle's martyrs - including Bobby Sands - adorn the

While in jail for terrorism offences, Sands was elected a
member of the British parliament and later, still in jail,
starved himself to death in 1981, fighting to to the end to
be treated as a prisoner of war rather than a common

On the other side of town, in the Protestant Shankill Road
district, the murals pledge everlasting loyalty to the
British Crown and celebrate the victories of the Crown and
Protestantism - and its servants such as Oliver Cromwell
and the Hollander William of Orange - over Catholic and
Jacobite forces.

One especially chilling painting, which occupies one side
of a double-storey house, features a hooded gunman taking
aim down the barrel of a rifle. Eerily, the barrel, and his
killer's eyes beneath his black balaclava, follow you.

The chill doesn't come from the late afternoon winter air.

But these days it's the tourist buses, not the armoured
cars, that roam the Falls and the Shankill. During the
Troubles, Northern Ireland was in many respects more
prosperous than its southern neighbour, the Republic of
Ireland (the "Free State" to Catholics).

Now the South is booming along with the North. And Northern
Ireland is looking at attracting the hordes who deluge the
South annually and who, until the past five years or so,
ignored the North because of security concerns.

Belfast in 2005 is a modern, European industrial city
under-going a rejuvenation and renaissance in its city
centre and proudly marketing its history.

That past is not only about the Troubles. This is the city
where the Titanic was built and you can still see the
massive dry dock where she was completed before heading out
for brief sea trials and that famous, fatal maiden voyage.

Soon the Titanic Quarter - a huge marina, housing and
restaurant and shopping complex - will be completed and
will become a major tourist attraction.

Belfast, once one of Europe's major industrial cities, was
also the cradle of a number of inventions, including the
mobile heart defibrillator, which has saved many a heart
attack victim's life by "jump-starting" a failing organ.

The city's restaurant and nightlife scene reflects its new,
relaxed, confident style. The prosperity in the North and
the South has triggered an explosion of leisure activity
and opportunities.

But it is the slogan of the Belfast Tourist Authority that
best sums up the transformation of this wartorn land:
"Belfast. Better Believe it." Northern Ireland is better.
And the best way to believe it is to see it for yourself.
You won't be disappointed.

If you go

Getting There: Ireland is easily accessible, with both
Dublin and Belfast now connected regularly to most major
European cities. South Africans are most likely to go to
Northern Ireland via London and then Belfast. Or, a
Northern Ireland leg can be added to a tour of England and
Scotland: regular ferries run between the British Isles and

Getting Around: A good way is to hire a car - but get a
small one because, not only will it be easier to manoeuvre
on some of the narrow country lanes, it will also use a lot
less fuel, which is an important consideration when the
stuff costs R11 a litre.

Speed limits in Northern Ireland on the open roads are
generally 100km/h and 120km/h on the short stretches of
freeway that there are.

Don't be fooled by the apparently short distances - it'll
take you some time to cover them, so give yourself time -
and dawdle, because it is Ireland, after all.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star
on December 02, 2005

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