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January 25, 2006

Paisley Remarks Like Those Before Finucane Murder

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/25/06 Paisley Remarks Like Those B4 Finucane Murder
BB 01/25/06 Man Charged With Loyalist Murder
IT 01/25/06 Durkan Says Parties Must Stick To Agreement
IN 01/25/06 SDLP Voices Opposition To MI5 Takeover
BN 01/25/06 IRA Suspect Extradited From Spain To Germany
IN 01/25/06 Ex-IRA Bomber Wins £100 But Faces Huge Bill
BB 01/25/06 Ex-UUP Councillor Denies Forgery
SF 01/25/06 None Indep Garda Complaints Proc Criticised
MN 01/25/06 SF Buck Convention
IN 01/25/06 New Rules Forbid Foreign Donators
BN 01/25/06 North: Bingo Hall Money Used To Pay Ranson
NH 01/25/06 Opin: No More Excuses
IN 01/25/06 Opin: Outcome Of IMC Report Is Very Predictable
IN 01/25/06 Opin: Green Clearly Visible In US Policing
BB 01/25/06 Priest Offers 'No Handshake Option'
IN 01/25/06 Burns Night Sees Haggis Orders Soar
ML 01/25/06 D Curran: Friends, Fam Honor Irreplaceable Man


Paisley Remarks Mirror Those Of Douglas Hogg Prior To Murder Of
Pat Finucane

Published: 25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly today
said that Ian Paisley's remarks linking local solicitors to IRA
activity mirrored those made by former British Minister Douglas
Hogg which preceded the killing of Pat Finucane.

Mr Kelly said:

"Given the history of Douglas Hogg's remarks linking solicitors
to the IRA and the fact that within days of his infamous
statement in the British House of Commons unionist paramilitaries
in collusion with British State agencies had murdered Pat
Finucane, Ian Paisley's statement yesterday evening was to say
the least highly irresponsible and highly dangerous.

"Unionist paramilitaries in the north have in the past
demonstrated a willingness to kill solicitors and human rights
lawyers. It is also a well documented fact that unionist
paramilitary organisations have claimed that they looked to the
DUP leader for direction. Paisley‚s claim like Hogg‚s before him
has no basis in fact for his statement and it is deliberately
placing members of the legal profession here in a very dangerous

"Ian Paisley should immediately withdraw his remarks and seek to
minimise the undoubted damage and offence which he has already
caused." ENDS


Man Charged With Loyalist Murder

A 35-year-old man has been remanded in custody charged with the
murder of UDA member Roy Green.

Iain Rea of Annadale Crescent, Belfast, was also charged with
possessing four guns, rifle parts, cartridges, plastic explosives
and a detonator.

Mr Green, 32, was shot dead in the Kimberly Street area of south
Belfast on 2 January 2003.

Mr Rea did not speak during the hearing and shook his head when
asked if he had anything to say to the charges.

He was also accused of having imitation firearms with intent to
cause fear of violence.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/25 11:59:18 GMT


Durkan Says Parties Must Stick To Agreement

Last updated: 25-01-06, 07:10

The North's political parties must return to the 1998 Belfast
Agreement in any deal to restore devolution, nationalist SDLP
leader Mark Durkan claimed in Washington last night.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan

After meeting Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House of
Representatives' Democrats, the Foyle MP claimed the
comprehensive agreement thrashed out in December 2004 by Sinn
Féin and the Democratic Unionists amounted to a significant
rewriting of sections of the Agreement.

"Parts of the deal that were being worked out in December 2004
have been overtaken by events and parts of that deal were not
cracked up to what they were meant to be," he told said.

"If you take an issue like policing, it appears that all they did
was kick the issue into touch and create more stand-offs."

Mr Durkan also met George Bush's special envoy to Northern
Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss.

The SDLP leader said it was clear from his discussions today that
Irish Americans and US politicians were keen to see political
progress in Northern Ireland.

Parts of the deal that were being worked out in December 2004
have been overtaken by events and parts of that deal were not
cracked up to what they were meant to be.

Mark Durkan, SDLP

The SDLP delegation had been questioned about the shifting of
positions by Sinn Féin and the British government on the
controversial Northern Ireland Offensive Bill which was withdrawn
by the Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain in the House of
Commons after fierce opposition from other parties and criticism
by victims groups.

The SDLP leader said Americans were also eager to see political
progress on policing, with Sinn Fein finally signing up to the
accountability structures in Northern Ireland.

"People do not want parties holding back on policing or on the
restoration of the institutions," he said. "There is a feeling
that if people hold back on one issue like policing they should
be signing up to, it gives other people excuses to hold back on
another aspect of the agreement.

"There is an attitude here that people understand in the US that
the issues around IRA activity and with respect to
decommissioning created suspension of devolution.

"The people are looking positively and are saying that if these
issues have been removed, then there should be progress towards
re-establishing the political institutions and keeping them
nailed down."

© 2006


SDLP Voices Opposition To MI5 Takeover

By William Graham Political Correspondent

The Security Service, more commonly known as MI5, should not be
allowed to take over intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland –
the SDLP said last night.

Yesterday the SDLP discussed the issue with Irish government
officials in Dublin and voiced its total opposition to such a

MI5 is the UK’s security intelligence agency based at Thames
House in London.

The agency lists its responsibilities as being responsible for
protecting against covertly organised threats to national
security including terrorism, espionage and “the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction”.

The situation at present in Northern Ireland is that C3 – the
PSNI intelligence branch (formerly known as Special Branch) – is
responsible for intelligence gathering.

When the PSNI gathers national security intelligence it reports
to the Secretary of State Peter Hain and when it is dealing with
criminal intelligence it is accountable to the Policing Board.

It is understood that the SDLP has already had meetings with
senior PSNI officers and NIO officials to make its strong
opposition known to MI5 taking over this role.

The SDLP has also had discussions with the head of MI5 in the

The SDLP’s Alex Attwood yesterday pointed to the importance of a
consultation paper accompanying the draft legislation on the
devolution of policing and justice regarding the role of MI5.

Mr Attwood disclosed that his party has been briefed separately
by the police and MI5.

He said that “MI5 basically want to take over intelligence
gathering in the north. We are opposed to that”.

“There are compelling intelligence reasons why they should not
have this role,” he said.

“The police should have the primacy and have exclusive
responsibility for intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland.

“Also there are political reasons – nationalists don’t identify
with MI5 and have no confidence in MI5.”

The SDLP claims that the current system is working well and
points, for example, to the fact that loyalist paramilitaries’
activities are being closed down and assets seized.

“If MI5 took over this work they would hold onto information and
not pass it on. They are focused on building up an intelligence
system rather than putting people behind bars,” Mr Attwood said.

According to Mr Attwood there

is some recognition within the PSNI about concerns over an MI5

Meanwhile, SDLP leader Mark Durkan travelled to Washington
yesterday for a series of briefings with US political leaders.

He was due to meet Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the
House of Representatives and President Bush’s Northern Ireland
special envoy Mitchell Reiss.

“The SDLP’s message on Capitol Hill is simple. It is time for the
governments to set a date for restoration of the political
institutions,” Mr Durkan said.

“It is time for people to get real and get on with implementing
the Good Friday Agreement for all the people of Ireland.

“It is time to end the notion of any level of direct rule in
Northern Ireland and time to bin any suggestion that the flawed
‘Comprehensive Agreement’ of 2004 is any basis

for progress.”

Mr Durkan said that people in the US agreed with the SDLP that
the time for ‘posturing and grandstanding’ was over.

“They share our frustration that almost eight years after the
Good Friday Agreement and so much positive work on both sides of
the Atlantic, that political progress and the full implementation
of the agreement has been stalled for so long,” he said.

“The mood in Irish America and among politicians is clear and
they see the way forward as simple.

“They and the SDLP want to see the DUP work the agreement, Sinn
Fein to fully embrace the new beginning to policing and all
criminality in all its forms end.

“Americans are also mindful that not just republicans but
loyalists have to face their responsibilities and they agree with
our analysis that loyalists must wind up all of their activities
or be shut down.”


IRA Suspect Extradited From Spain To Germany

25/01/2006 - 11:42:36

A suspected member of the IRA wanted over an 1989 attack on a
British army base in Germany has been extradited from Spain,
prosecutors said today.

Leonard Joseph Hardy, 44, from Antrim, Northern Ireland, was
arrested in August in a hotel in the Spanish resort city of

Hardy is suspected of taking part in the attack on the British
army’s Quebec barracks in Osnabruck in 1989, in which 12 bombs
were planted at the base.

The attack was foiled by a workman who spotted the devices.

Prosecutors said he was one of at least five IRA Active Service
Unit members that planned the attack, planting the bombs – made
of a total of 265lbs of military-grade plastic explosives –
around the base.

One exploded but caused no injuries, while the others
malfunctioned, prosecutors said.

Four others involved in the attack were convicted in Germany in
1995 of attempted murder and sentenced to several years

Hardy was flown to Frankfurt on Monday and taken into custody by
federal police.

No date was immediately set for a trial.


Ex-IRA Bomber Wins £100 But Faces Huge Bill

By Staff Reporter

A former IRA bomber who took an English police force to court for
wrongful arrest has been left with a legal bill estimated at
several hundred thousand pounds.

Glasgow-born Scott Monaghan was awarded £100 in damages at the
High Court yesterday from Northumbria Police but was ordered to

pay most of the defence team’s costs.

He had been held in custody for 60 hours in 1999 on suspicion of
the attempted murder of IRA informer Martin McGartland on
Tyneside more than six years ago.

Monaghan (39) was jailed in 1993 for 15 years – with another 989
years to run consecutively – but was released from the Maze under
the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He had pleaded
guilty to 80 offences.

Monaghan told police about his part in a series of IRA arson
attacks which caused around £1 million of damage to businesses
from December 1991 to January 1992.

He also admitted involvement in two bomb attacks in Belfast – one
destroyed the Department of the Environ-ment offices in Adelaide
Street and the other damaged Donegall Pass RUC station.

Monaghan was arrested when the car he was driving – which was
rigged as a bomb – drove through a west Belfast checkpoint and
crashed into a police car.

IRA informant Martin McGartland was shot outside his home in

Monaghan – then an electronics student at Glasgow University –
was arrested eight months later.

He was released on bail, although this was cancelled eight months

In 2003 he began proceedings against Northumbria Police for false
imprisonment, assault and wrongful interference with goods.

Following a six-day High Court case, sitting in Newcastle, the
Glaswegian heard that his main claims had failed and the force
had been entitled to arrest him.

But Mr Justice Bean did find Northumbria Police should have
returned items of his property more promptly, having held them
for four years.

Detective Chief Superinten-dant Chris Symonds told the court
there had been reasonable grounds to consider Monaghan was a

He was similar in description to a man believed to have been
involved in planning the attempted murder and there was also
intelligence from Northern Ireland that someone in the IRA called
‘Scott’ had been involved.

The court heard that a tape recording of a suspect involv-ed in
planning the ‘hit’ also sounded like Monaghan, according to a

Monaghan brought the case on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and his
side was ordered to pay 95 per cent of the defence costs for the
period 1999-2004.

However, the judge ordered the defence to pay the full costs for
almost the last two years of the case, because it failed to
disclose an important document until a month before it opened.

A Belfast legal source said the costs could be as high as several
hundred thousand pounds but Monaghan could still appeal the

Northumbria Police deputy chief constable David Warcup said it
had felt the arrest was legitimate “from the outset”.

“Once in custody, he was treated in exactly the same way as
anyone else held on suspicion of committing such a serious
offence,” he said.


Ex-UUP Councillor Denies Forgery

A former UUP councillor has denied forgery and false accounting
over the development of a Fermanagh golf course.

Raymond Ferguson, a solicitor of Lakeside Avenue, Enniskillen, is
accused of drawing up a false invoice and a cheque for more than

At Armagh Crown Court it was alleged he submitted these to the
Tourist Board to get a grant worth 40% of the amount.

The invoice and cheque were in the name of Castlehume
Developments, a company in which Mr Ferguson was a partner.

The prosecution allege that Mr Ferguson forged the invoice and
then paid a cheque for the same amount into a bank account
created in the name of a golf course designer.

It was then allegedly withdrawn again from that account on the
same day.

The case continues.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/25 13:09:57 GMT


Failure Of Minister To Introduce Fully Independent Garda
Complaints Procedures Criticised

Published: 25 January, 2006

Commenting on the motion before the Dáil today to approve the
appointment of Justice Kevin Haugh, Carmel Foley and Conor Brady
to the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission, the Sinn Féin
spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó
Snodaigh TD, reiterated his dismay that the Minister has opted
not to introduce a fully independent complaints procedure under a
single Garda Ombudsman with powers at least equivalent to those
of Nuala O'Loan's office covering the Six Counties.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Fein has already made it clear that
our preference would be for a single Garda Ombudsman with powers
at least equivalent to those of Nuala O'Loan. The Minister failed
to make the case for his chosen model. We also regret the fact
that the Minister failed to make a 'proven track record in Human
Rights advocacy' the fundamental criteria for appointment to the

"However, I welcome the demise of the Garda Complaints Board and
hope the Ombudsman Commission will facilitate the receipt of
complaints without delay." ENDS


SF Buck Convention

Sinn Fein’s convention was filled with hope that a Mayo seat is
within their grasp.

A nation with whom sentiment is nothing is on its way to cease
being a nation at all. Few who attended the Sinn Fein Convention
in the Gateway Hotel in Swinford last Sunday week could argue
with the fact that sentiment and remembering means a lot to Sinn

Remembering. Around the wall of the room hung banners of Frank
Stagg, Michael Gaughan, Jack McNeela, Kathleen Lynn and Michael
Davitt. All Mayo people proud and true. Sinn Fein heroes belong
to the nationalist tradition. No banners here to the corporate
Ireland of recent years.

A Poblacht na hÉireann banner, with photos of the seven
signatories, was draped behind the Convention table. A reminder
of a tradition that has always been part of the Irish psyche no
matter how much the revisionists try to write it out of our

Around 200 delegates had gathered to choose a candidate in this
exercise in democracy. Ten years ago, I doubt very much if they
would have seen such a gathering. Even still, there are people
who will vote for Gerry Murray who were still reluctant to ‘be
seen’ at the Sinn Fein gathering in Swinford.

But no matter. Sinn Fein is on the march and they have a good
candidate in the field. Murray is capable and even his most
stringent critics will not deny this fact. The Charlestown
publican and playwright does his homework well. He is an able
councillor, one of the best in the Chamber.

In a General Election, Gerry Murray will attract a lot of
personal votes, outside of the Sinn Fein constituency. That, at
the end of the day, is a major plus factor, and one that puts
Murray into the running for a seat.

This fact will not be lost on Sinn Fein. Were they to take a seat
in Mayo, it would be perceived as a fantastic achievement. They
believe that Gerry Murray’s selection provided the party with the
best chance of a Sinn Fein seat since the 1920s.

You could sense that momentum in Swinford. There was a passion
and idealism about the reception accorded from the floor that I
have not seen for some time at party conventions.

Castlebar’s Caitriona Ruane, now an MLA for South Down, held sway
with the delegates. "If the fields, bogs and boreens of Mayo
could talk, they would tell a big story to the parties trying to
lambast Sinn Fein," she told them in tones soft and low.

Caitriona’s grandfather, Charlie Gilmartin from Kiltimagh, was a
Fianna Fail member of Mayo County Council in the sunny long ago.
The times they are a changin’.

It was clear Sinn Fein were up for the challenge in the next
General Election. The Sunday Independent, and its ultra liberal
stance in so many issues, was blasted by Caitriona Ruane.

"The Sunday Independent can throw everything they want at us. But
we are growing and we’re here to stay. We are the fastest growing
party in Ireland and the only all-Ireland party."

Noel Campbell from Castlebar, elected to Castlebar Town Council
for the first time in 2004, was nominated to contest the
convention but withdrew in favour of Gerry Murray. "From running
just two candidates in the 1999 local elections, Sinn Fein now
has representatives on Mayo County Council and the Town Councils
in Castlebar, Westport and Ballina. Pearse Doherty got a large
share of his huge vote in the European election here in Mayo,"
said Cllr Campbell.

Gerry Murray was all business-like as he delivered his acceptance
speech. First elected as a Fianna Fail councillor in 1999, he
became disillusioned with the party and left, before later
joining Sinn Fein.

The Convention heard how Fianna Fail had made every effort to
target Murray’s seat in the Swinford Electoral Area in the
Council Elections in June, 2004, only for Murray to wipe the
ground with them and head the poll with close on 2,000 votes.

Remembering again. "One hundred years ago the founders of Sinn
Fein began an epic journey towards Irish independence and the
sovereignty of the Irish people.

"Many sacrificed their lives, their liberty and their livelihoods
to achieve Irish freedom. We continue to be inspired by the
example of selflessness," Gerry told the appreciative gathering.

He launched a head-long attack on the thinking of those in Fianna
Fail, Fine Gael and the PDs. "This is the same mind-set that
sustained and anchored British rule in this country for over 800
years. It is the same mind-set and mentality that Republicans
have had to struggle against for centuries. The reality is that
Sinn Fein represents disadvantaged communities across the country
who have long been abandoned by both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael."

It was clear that the ‘The Great National Resources Robbery’
which he blames on former Fianna Fail ministers, will be a trump
card in his election campaign.

That he has a strong hand on this issue in undeniable. The
handling of these matters by certain politicians has been
incredible and a scandalous sell-out of our national interests.

For the first time in our lifetime, Sinn Fein has a chance, even
if it be something of an outside one, but a chance nonetheless,
of winning a seat in Mayo. In Gerry Murray, they have acquired a
strong candidate who can appeal to a wide cross-section of the
Mayo electorate.

Caitriona Ruane sensed that opening too. "The West’s awake, so
get marching and start moving," she urged the delegates to loud

The National Anthem was sung with gusto at the conclusion of the
Convention. Sinn Fein had their man in the field. They were on an
election footing. The campaign was under way. The old party
moulds were there to be broken, and no stone would be left
unturned in the quest for a seat in Mayo.

Remembering. Roots. Drawing sustenance. In Swinford, the battle
had begun. The troops were ready and the sights were firmly fixed
on May 2007 and count day in the Traveller’s Friend Hotel in
Castlebar. For the first time in eight decades, Sinn Fein believe
they are really at the races in Mayo.


New Rules Forbid Foreign Donators

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Northern Ireland’s political parties will still be able to raise
funding abroad but not receive donations under new electoral
rules to be introduced next year.

Parties can receive individual donations of more than £5,000 from
people in the UK or the Republic but in future this has to be
declared to the Electoral Commission.

The donor details will be kept confidential for security reasons
and only UK nationals and Irish citizens will be entitled to

These new rules come into operation from October 2007 and will
certainly impact on any political party which currently receives
large donations from the United States.

However, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has confirmed to The
Irish News that these new rules only apply to donations and not

Therefore if for example politicians from the north speak at
fundraisers in the US their parties can still receive that

Sinn Fein, the SDLP and, in more recent years the Ulster
Unionists, all fundraise in the the United States.

Yesterday NIO minister with responsibility for political
development David Hanson said the government was clear that there
needs to be more effective regulation of donations to political
parties operating in the north to bring arrangements into line
with Britain.

He said they also recognised the need to take account of the
legitimate concerns that have been expressed about the potential
risk of intimidation of donors and to ensure that “the special
place of Ireland in the political life of Northern Ireland is

“We are therefore planning for legislation that will require
political parties to notify the Electoral Commission of donations
over £5,000 but provide for donor details to be kept
confidential. UK nationals on the electoral register and Irish
citizens will be entitled to donate,” he said.

“This will take effect in October 2007. The legislation will also
provide for an opportunity to move to full transparency in
October 2010 if the circumstances allow.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hanson also confirmed that government legislation
will remove the requirement on people in Northern Ireland to
secure their vote every year.

A bill will be introduced replacing the annual voter registration
process with a system using information from public bodies to
update the list on a regular basis.

Under the government’s plans, individual registration and the
requirement for people to supply three personal identifiers –
their signature, their date of birth and national insurance
number – will remain.

The Chief Electoral Officer will have the power, on the approval
of the secretary of state, to carry out a full canvass of voters
if it is needed to fully refresh the register


North: Bingo Hall Money Used To Pay Ranson

25/01/2006 - 13:10:24

Bingo hall money was used to pay the ransom to free a kidnapped

The victim, aged 18, was threatened after he was seized from an
alleyway in the staunchly republican Ardoyne district of North
Belfast last night.

A gang bundled him into a car and used his mobile phone to call a
family member demanding cash for his safe release.

It is understood a relative of the teenager, whose parents are
both dead, was ordered to go to a bingo hall at the Yorkgate
entertainment complex about two miles from the scene of the
abduction and get the money from a safe.

An undisclosed sum of more than £1,000 (€1,450) was left at an
arranged drop-off point on Harding Place, off the New Lodge Road,
before the victim was released at 10.30pm.

He was not injured, but political representatives who spoke to
the family said he had been left terrified by the ordeal.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly urged anyone with
information to report it to the appropriate authorities in a bid
to capture the gang.

With many in the Ardoyne community still refuse to recognise
Northern Ireland’s police service, Mr Kelly said: “People will
make up their own mind.

“People will go to the PSNI and there are people who will not.

“What I want is information brought forward so these people can
be brought to justice.”

Mr Kelly added that explicit threats were made that the victim
would be hurt unless the ransom was produced.

“This was a young 18-year-old man who has been taken away and put
through all sorts of hell to line the pockets of some person or


Opin: No More Excuses


Opponents of equality are swiftly running out of road as they
scramble desperately for more excuses to keep Sinn Féin out of

The International Monitoring Commission (IMC), that pet of
government, may throw the know-nothings a lifeline this week with
risible claims that the IRA is still active. As the letters pages
in this paper testify, and as the dogs in the street know, the
IRA has stuck to the very letter of its instruction to its
volunteers to engage in no activity whatsoever.

That's the case no matter how many big wigs are trotted out to
tell the public otherwise.

But it's not only the IMC which can put a spanner in the works in
the period ahead. The SDLP, sadly, has now got itself embroiled
in talks with unionists about alternatives to the Good Friday
Agreement. It's understandable that the SDLP, smarting from
losing top dog position to Sinn Féin, would want to dream up a
system which gives them more clout than their democratic mandate
allows. However, it's a foolish path to take for if unionists
think they can get a workable arrangement at Stormont without
full Sinn Féin involvement and total powersharing as envisaged by
the Good Friday deal, they'll jump at it.

The lesson throughout all the reforms introduced since the Good
Friday Agreement is that unionists will always oppose meaningful
change. It's only when that change is imposed on them that they
accept new realities. That was the case in Belfast City Hall
where they said they could never do business with Sinn Féin but
then took their medicine when the courts told them to like it or
lump it. It was the same with one-man-one-vote and the
disbandment of the B-Specials, not to mention reform of the RUC,
the release of prisoners and fair employment legislation. It
would be a blunder of monumental proportions for the SDLP to
pander to the DUP by giving them a way out of the Good Friday

January 26, 2006


Opin: Outcome Of IMC Report Is Very Predictable

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Everyone’s waiting with bated breath for next week’s performance
of the NIO’s puppet theatre, the so-called Independent Monitoring
Commission (IMC). Will it, won’t it, support the view of one of
our district commissioners, turn-coat Tory Shaun Woodward, that
the IRA as an organisation is no longer involved in criminal

It’s clear both Dublin and London have already decided that there
will be enough in the IMC report to enable them to arm-wrestle
the DUP to the conference table. Bertie Ahern’s response in India
to the Policing Board leak made that obvious. Besides, Tony Blair
is visiting Ireland tomorrow to start the ball rolling. Most bet
it will have rolled into a bunker by St Patrick’s Day. All very

What is equally predictable is that all concerned will turn a
blind eye to that part of the IMC report which will certainly
state that the UDA and UVF are still up to their necks in murder,
drug-dealing and racketeering. It will also confirm that there is
no UVF ceasefire. Just as both the DUP and UUP paid no attention
to the alleged remarks of assistant chief constable Sam Kincaid
about continuing loyalist activity in his briefing to the
Policing Board, so they will say nothing about the contents of
the IMC report which relate loyalist terrorist groups.

It’s a perfect example of the despicable quality of unionist
political representation. The UVF and their horrible little
client, the Red Hand Commando, whose activities the security
forces have always ignored, continue along with the ‘wee teams’
of the UDA to batten on the districts unionist politicians
represent. There, extortion and violence ensure that no
investment goes into those districts which sink deeper and deeper
into poverty and dereliction. Yet not one word from unionists
about loyalist gangsters. Instead, unionists remain obsessed with
the IRA which now has no impact whatsoever on their districts.

It’s not just the usual parts of Belfast, south Antrim and north
Down which suffer from the depredations of loyalists. Take
Ballymena. It has one of the worst records for hard drugs in the
north. Have you ever heard a speech from any of the Paisley
family addressing the issue of hard drugs in their own bailiwick?
You can hardly say ‘back-yard’ since Paisley pere lives in east
Belfast. Well have you? Have you heard them demanding the police
round up the loyalist gangs which control the drug trade in
Ballymena? Does it strike you that the Paisley family spend more
time pontificating, sorry, preaching, about what’s going on in
nationalist constituencies than in their own?

Mind you, unionist politicians are not alone in their total
disregard of the threat loyalists pose to the people they
represent. Magistrates regularly let known loyalists walk free
from court or with suspended sentences. Judges blithely believe
loyalist thugs who claim to have been operating under duress and
pat them on the head.

As for the shiny new police service, it’s an open secret that
still today it harbours within its ranks officers who have
protected from prosecution loyalist killers who have been and
remain informers. Who have they killed in recent years? Why, none
other than fellow unionists. Do we have to wait for the police
ombudsman to reveal as much as she can about UDA and UVF killers
who have enjoyed immunity because of their role as informers? Why
can’t the chief constable take action against these police?

After all, Sir Hugh Orde knows more than anyone else about the,
shall we say, unorthodox methods police here have always used to
run informers. It was Sir Hugh who did the spade work for the
various Stevens’s inquiries. If he doesn’t know, then no-one
knows. Oh yes, you might say, those inquiries covered events 15
and more years ago. Fair enough.

What about events since Sir Hugh took over?

Do we really have to wait for the ombudsman’s report to tell us
how many ordinary Protestants have been killed in recent years by
loyalist gangsters who are police or MI5 agents? Does the chief
constable not know? If he doesn’t, why not? One thing you can be
sure of is that no unionist politician is going to be bothered
asking any of these questions.


Opin: Green Threads Clearly Visible In US Policing

By Ray O'Hanlon - Letter from America

In Billy Joel’s song Officer O’Leary will be forever walking the

In reality, however, you would have to check out a few of New
York’s police beats to find a cop named O’Leary – or O-apostrophe
anything for that matter.

The days when the New York police department looked and sounded
like it was policing the Kerry mountains, the rolling farmland of
the Irish midlands or the wilder corners of Tyrone, have well
taken their leave.

The nametags on the blue uniforms of today’s NYPD speak of just
about every national and ethnic background.

And that is only appropriate in a city that considers itself the
unofficial capital of the world.

But the Irish are hanging in there, mostly by virtue of those
Irish-American officers who have carried on the legacy of their
immigrant ancestors.

This continuing green thread in the blue uniform is aided in part
by the city’s willingness to allow serving police officers to
live outside the formal boundaries of the great metropolis.

The American-Irish are today mostly inhabitants of the suburbs.
As a result, an encounter with an ‘Irish’ cop on a Manhattan
street would most often be with an officer who lives on Long
Island or up the Hudson River in Rockland County, parts of which
are virtual dormitories for the city’s police precincts and fire

An Irish cop with a city address would be a less likely encounter
and if he, or she, had one it would most likely be on the outer
edges of Queens or Staten Island, the city borough that mostly
looks like a suburb anyway.

Nevertheless, despite this continued access for the suburban
Irish – some city politicians would prefer a city residence
requirement for the NYPD – the Irish cop has had to move over and
make room for fellow Americans of numerous other backgrounds.

And not just in New York.

Boston and Philadelphia boast much more diverse police forces
these days and Chicago is no longer the city where Mayor Daley –
the old Mayor Daley – once defined diversity as “nine Irish guys
and a Swede”.

Still, there are Irish names yet about.

The Boston force is headed by Kathleen O’Toole.

The NYPD’s commissioner is Ray Kelly and the head of the
department’s public information office is a man whose name might
have had him arrested in another time and place – Michael

The Los Angeles police department has Irish-American Bill Bratton
in charge, while the chief of police in exotic Miami is a son of
the rather less sunny Liberties area of Dublin, John Timoney, who
formerly headed the force in Philadelphia.

What has occurred in Irish-American policing in the past few
decades is a mirror of what has been the case in politics, the
military, the professions in general and the corporate world: the
Irish have worked their way to the top.

And they have also diversified their employment base.

As a result, Irish-born beat officers on the New York force are
harder to find.

But the city was reminded of one of its cornerstone traditions in
recent days, though in a sad way.

Officer Francis Hennessy, a Longford native, had patrolled the
streets of Brooklyn for eight years until the fateful day when he
collapsed and died from a brain aneurysm while rushing in
response to a report of a man wielding a gun.

Days later, in the aftermath of the gunning down in the Bronx of
a Clare man John Kelly, the investigation was assigned to a Mayo
man, detective Sean Murray who, in turn, is attached to a
detective squad led by a Donegal native, Peter McCormack from

So the Irish-born or first-generation Irish cop hasn’t gone away
entirely. In some cases he or she has merely traded a uniform and
a badge for a detective’s suit or indeed attorney’s one, both
prosecutorial and defending.

Patrick Fitzgerald, playing the Eliot Ness role in the Washington
perjury and spy revelation case, is the son of immigrants from Co

It’s not lost on many American-Irish that there is a certain
irony in their input into law enforcement given that their
immigrant ancestors were so often portrayed as rebels and law
breakers by a hostile press.

Proof positive that no matter which angle you approach it from,
the story of the Irish in US law enforcement is an arresting one.

Unfortunately, the reminding stories this past couple of weeks
have been of the more sobering sort.


Priest Offers 'No Handshake Option'

A Londonderry priest has given parishioners the choice of whether
or not to shake hands with others at Mass.

The parish priest in Ballymagroarty has said he has had a letter
from a Mass-goer worried that the traditional "sign of peace"
could spread germs.

Father Patrick O'Kane suggested that if people are concerned they
should just nod and smile at their neighbour.

"Personally I think these fears are misguided but that does not
make them any less real," he said.

"The option we have introduced allows people to nod and smile,
rather than shake hands, so people will not feel rejected by not
having their gesture recognised."

Fr O'Kane said he thought the concern was "media-driven and has
no medical basis because we can't live in a germ-free world".

"The new option is just to cater for a very small minority."

The best way we can avoid them is to wash our hands correctly,
using soap and water and drying you hands very well afterwards,
using a paper towel or else a cotton towel

Angela Thompson

Foyle Health Trust

The parish priest said it was a matter of choice.

However, many parishioners said they had no problem with shaking
the hands of those beside them.

But some said people had "a right to opt out".

Angela Thompson from the Foyle Health Trust said as long as
people washed their hands regularly and thoroughly there was
little risk of spreading germs.

"People should be worried about spreading germs," she said.

"The best way we can avoid them is to wash our hands correctly,
using soap and water and drying your hands very well afterwards,
using a paper towel or else a cotton towel."

Sinn Fein Councillor Billy Page said he was there when the move
was was announced and said there was "a sense of dismay and utter
disgust" over it.

"I have never seen anyone refusing to shake hands with anyone
else," he said.

"I am sure the church gets all types of crank letters. Do they
have to take them all as gospel?"

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/25 07:15:10 GMT


Burns Night Celebrations Sees Haggis Orders Soar

By Marie Louise McCrory

Orders of haggis in Northern Ireland are said to have trebled on
last year in the run up to Burns Night. Preparations are now all
but complete for events around the north and Scotland to mark the
traditional celebration which takes place today, on the birthday
of poet Robert Burns.

Haggis, made of sheep’s liver, heart and lungs, finds itself the
centre of attention at the celebration.

It may not, for some, be the most appealing of culinary dishes
but according to Harry Marquess, of Marquess Farm Meats in Co
Antrim, haggis is becoming more popular.

The butcher said his shop at Old Stone Hill, Muckamore, has seen
its orders for haggis treble in the last year.

“This year, we did about five or six functions for it,” he said.

“It is brought in from Scotland. It is getting a lot more

Mr Marquess, himself a lover of haggis, said many of the orders
for the dish were for Burns Night events.

“I have heard a lot of talk about it [haggis],” he said. “I had
someone in who had been at a Burns Night in London and that was
the first time he had tried it and thought it was very nice.”

Burns Night events are due to take place at a number of venues
tonight and at the weekend in the north.

A respected poet, and the writer of Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns
reputedly had a love for whisky, women and poetry.

He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, in 1759, to a poor tenant
farmer and was the eldest of seven children.

He grew up working hard on his father’s farm but became well

At 15, Robert wrote his first verse, My Handsome Nell, which was
an ode to subjects including whisky and women.

His father died in 1784 and Robert, along with his brother
Gilbert became partners in the farm.

Robert however was drawn to poetry and a more adventurous life.

By the time his first collection was published, he had fathered
several illegitimate children, including twins to Jean Armour,
who later became his wife.

He was on the brink of emigrating to the West Indies when Poems –
Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – Kilmarnock Edition, was
published to critical acclaim.

He eventually moved to Edinburgh where he became a celebrity for
his work.

He had to take on a job as an excise man to make ends meet and
had at that stage married Jean Armour.

He continued to write poetry.

Burns was only 37 when he died of heart disease but in that last
year of his life he had written some of his most-respected works,
including The Lea Rig, Tam O’Shanter and O, My Love is Like a
Red, Rose.

More than 10,000 people attended his funeral.

His standing as a respected poet is marked by a Burns Night event
which starts with the Selkirk Grace. The company is then asked to
stand to receive the haggis. A piper leads the chef, carrying the
haggis, to the top table, while the guests accompany them with a
slow handclap.

The chairman, or invited guest, then recites Burns’ poem To A

When he reaches the line ‘an cut you up wi’ ready slight’, he
cuts open the haggis with a sharp knife.

The company applauds and stands to toast the haggis with a glass
of whisky before tucking into a traditional Burns Night supper

This includes Cock-A-Leekie soup, haggis, neeps (turnips) and
tatties (potatoes), followed by Cranachan, a dish made of cream,
oatmeal, honey, raspberries and sugar.

A guest gives a short speech on Burns, this can range from light-
hearted to literary, with an aim of outlining the greatness and
relevance of the poet today.

It is recorded that the main speech is traditionally followed by
a more ‘light-hearted’ address to the women in the audience.
Originally, this was a thank-you for preparing the food and a
time to toast the ‘lasses’ in Burns’ life.

It is then the turn of the women to detail men’s foibles in a
humorous manner.

Once the speeches are complete the evening continues with songs
and poems, these vary to fully show the different moods of Burns’

The evening ends with the company standing, linking hands and
singing Auld Lang Syne.


Friends, Family Honor 'Irreplaceable' Man

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

By Mike Burke

HOLYOKE - Daniel P. Curran, one of Holyoke's premier volunteers,
died Jan. 16 after a long bout with cancer at the age of 66.

More than 300 of his "close friends" honored Curran, the longtime
Ancient Order of Hibernians' local chapter president last month
at The Wherehouse? on Lyman Street.

Curran, a retired Holyoke firefighter and volunteer for many area
organizations, was also known for his penchant for building
floats for the annual Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade.

The program Dec. 2 included talks by Mayor Michael J. Sullivan,
friends Bobby Cameron and Paul Hogan, and tributes from his
brother James (Jimmy), owner of The Wherehouse?, and fellow
retired firefighter Jack McCarthy.

Tributes were given by several after learning of Curran's death.

Mayor Sullivan, a close friend, said, "No one worked harder at
being disliked so unsuccessfully than Danny."

That was in reference to Curran's dour outer shell which everyone
could see through. Underneath he was a fine and truly friendly

In a serious vein, the mayor said that someone like Curran was
"irreplaceable in our city. Anytime a tough job needed to be
done, there was Danny and there is his brother Jimmy. They are
the best we have."

City Councilor Raymond H. Feyre, spokesman for the Holyoke St.
Patrick's Parade Committee, called Curran a "stalwart member of
the community. He and his brother Jimmy responded whenever a
difficult job had to be done."

McCarthy said Curran was "a great guy, tough guy. He worked on
Truck 2 out of South Holyoke and never backed off when the going
got tough and in those days, back in the '70s, there were some
tough situations."

Rev. Francis X. Sullivan, parade chaplain, said "Dan was a fine
man and he will be missed. He was an example of courage and faith
for all of us."

Curran's daughter, Eileen Curran, former Channel 22 and Channel
40 news anchor and weekend anchor for Channel 4 in Boston, also
spoke glowingly in December about "growing up with Dan Curran. It
was a life full of laughter and love."

Curran, at the time, said he thought the event was "a great
night. I'm just surprised this many people showed up."

A number of retired and present Holyoke firefighters attended in
support of their friend.

State Rep. Michael F. Kane, D-Holyoke, presented Curran with a
recognition from the House of Representatives.

Curran friend and fellow AOH official Tim Allen was master of
ceremonies and Sister Judith Kappenman, SSJ, said grace before
the meal.

A native of Holyoke and a graduate of its schools, Curran
constructed parade floats for the AOH, Holyoke Community College,
Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Teachers Association, Holyoke
Magnet Middle School and the Irish Cultural Center at Elms

Three of Curran's floats won the Elmer Harrington Award for best
parade float in 1981 for HCC, 1982 for the Teachers Association
and in 1993 for Magnet Middle School.

Curran also volunteered for the AOH and the Cultural Center and
the Medical Center, along with Heritage State Park, the Holyoke
Merry-Go-Round, the Holyoke Lodge of Elks and Celebrate Holyoke.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Maurice A. Donahue
Memorial Scholarship fund of the AOH. Donahue, the late state
Senate president and longtime Holyoker, was a member and
supporter of the AOH during his lifetime.

Curran leaves his wife, Marlene; his four daughters and their
families, Patricia and Edward Meon and their children Jeffrey and
Melissa; Donna and Brian Shipman and their children Kelly and
Laura; Eileen and Robert Halloran and their children, Sean
Daniel, Liam and Grace; and Pamela Curran. He also leaves his
wife's son and his family, James and Sheri O'Donnell and their
children Shane and Ryan.

Besides his brother, Jimmy, and Jimmy's wife, Joyce, he leaves
two sisters and their spouses, Anne and Pete O'Kane and Peggy and
Robert Wrede.

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