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January 20, 2006

US Politicians Hopeful For Restoration

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 01/20/06 US Politicians ‘Hopeful’ For Restoration
RE 01/20/06 Restored Irish Assembly Not Seen This Year
BT 01/20/06 Retired Police 'Escape Probes'
BN 01/20/06 Belfast Shooting Victim Dies
BB 01/20/06 Unsolved NI Murders Probe Begins
IN 01/20/06 Cultural Body May Scrutinise The GAA
BT 01/20/06 Stormontgate Fiasco Cost £9m
IN 01/20/06 SF Pressure As Worker Says He Was Informer
SS 01/20/06 Allegations Of IRA Moles In RTE & Govt
BN 01/20/06 Court To Review SF Man's Murder Conviction
UT 01/20/06 Murder Review 'Difficult For Family'
DJ 01/20/06 'Sunday' Poster Doesn't Breach Anonymity
BB 01/20/06 IFA 'Backs Maze Stadium' Proposal
BN 01/20/06 McDowell Hoodwinking Public Garda Strength
BT 01/20/06 Mafia Expert Targets Ulster Gangs
BT 01/20/06 Sinn Fein To Meet Palestinian Envoy
BT 01/20/06 I Sneaked Adair Back Into The Shankill
IN 01/20/06 Top Policeman On Drink-Drive Charge
TO 01/20/06 Ulster Lukewarm About Murder Probe
ST 01/20/06 Opin: Police States Handcuff Leaders
IM 01/20/06 Opin: Jim Slaven Scotland's Donaldson?
GU 01/20/06 Opin: Explosive Charges
IN 01/20/06 Opin: Peace Pilots Have Heads In Clouds
IN 01/20/06 Opin: Smears Benefits Political Police
IN 01/20/06 Pogues To Get Meteor Music Award
BT 01/20/06 Clergyman Honours His Catholic Grandfather


American Politicians ‘Hopeful’ For Restoration

By Jarlath Kearney

A delegation of senior United States Congressmen
yesterday called for the restoration of the North’s
political institutions in 2006.

Since arriving in Ireland on Monday, Jim Walsh, Brian
Higgins and Timothy Murphy have met senior figures
from the Irish and British governments, as well as the
main political parties in the North.

Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Mr Walsh — who
is also chairman of the Friends of Ireland group in
Congress — called 2006 “a crucial year”.

Describing the delegation’s visit as “helpful”, Mr
Walsh said he would see US envoy Mitchell Reiss within
the following 48 hours. Mr Reiss is scheduled to visit
Ireland next week.

“The timing for us was around the IMC [Independent
Monitoring Commission] report, and the idea is to try
and create some momentum in the process,” Mr Walsh

“I think there really will be tremendous pressure to
move this year and as soon as possible. People are
asking when the government will be up. Will the DUP
join in government with Sinn Féin? And will Sinn Féin
join the Policing Board?

“That is all a lot to ask in one year but I believe it
could happen,” Mr Walsh said.

“I would certainly echo the statements that have come
out of both governments that 2006 is a critical year
and that politics in 2007 dictates there won’t be much
movement then because the two governments will be in

“So 2006 is critical and the priority must be to have
a big push before the marching season. I think the
will is there with most parties.

“We talked to Sinn Féin about policing and I get the
sense from them that it’s ‘when not if’. The fact that
the IRA fully decommissioned and that Sinn Féin is
unequivocally vested in the democratic process are
factors that sent a huge signal to people in the US
last year.

“People are hopeful that the devolved power sharing
will be up by the end of the year or sooner,” Mr Walsh

After the SDLP’s meeting with the Congressmen, party
leader Mark Durkan said: “Let us give the IMC a chance
to give a report and let us all do justice to that
report by reading the full balance of that report, not
just in relation to what it says about the IRA but
what it says about loyalists as well.

“Yet again, US Congressmen showed a clear interest in
the our peace process. Like us, they are impatient for
progress. They want to get things moving.

“We made clear that the two governments should name a
date for restoration now. That is the only way to put
pressure on the parties and end the posturing and
grandstanding and the endless negotiations.”

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy criticised the SDLP for
relying on the monitoring commission’s upcoming
report. He said Mark Durkan’s party was departing from
the Good Friday Agreement.

“Following swiftly on from the publication by the SDLP
of proposals to replace the power-sharing executive
with British government-appointed commissioners and
their talks with the DUP and UUP on measures well
short of the Agreement, the SDLP have now voiced
support for the IMC exercising a veto over the
political process,” Mr Murphy said.

“The IMC is not part of the Good Friday Agreement. It
was set up outside the terms of that Agreement and is
little more than a vehicle used by the securocrats to
further frustrate efforts to see progress made towards
the re-establishment of the political institutions and
the implementation of the other outstanding matters.”

The Newry and Armagh MP described the SDLP’s
endorsement of the commission as “deeply worrying”.

He added: “Nationalists and republicans, however,
should be clear that, despite the current position
being adopted by the SDLP departing from the Good
Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin will not countenance
settling for less than the Agreement in any future
talks or negotiations.”


Restored Northern Irish Assembly Not Seen This Year

Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:41 AM GMT
By Siobhan Kennedy

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Northern Ireland is highly unlikely
to re-establish its suspended provincial government
this year as a number of key hurdles -- chief among
them security -- have yet to be overcome, analysts

A pledge by IRA guerrillas to down arms last year
raised hopes the Democratic Unionist Party, which
supports continued ties with Britain, would talk with
IRA political ally, Sinn Fein, about reviving power-

The Northern Ireland Assembly, set up under a 1998
peace deal to give pro-British and pro-Irish opponents
a shared role in running the province's affairs, was
suspended in 2002.

Repeated attempts to restore it have between thwarted
by mutual mistrust sown over three decades of
sectarian conflict.

Earlier this week, DUP leader Ian Paisley reiterated
his party's hard line on the issue, saying there was
no prospect of an executive including Sinn Fein for
the foreseeable future.

Though analysts say Paisley's bark is sometimes worse
than his bite -- the two sides were very close to a
deal in 2003 -- the prospect of any breakthrough this
year looks very remote.

"I don't think anything will happen in 2006," Irish
nationalist commentator Brian Feeney told Reuters.
"There are so many things that still have to be
arranged, particularly policing, which is Sinn Fein's
main demand."


Irish nationalists, who want to unite the mainly
Protestant province with the mostly Roman Catholic
Republic of Ireland, are deeply mistrustful of a
Protestant-dominated police force they say is overly
harsh in its treatment of Catholic communities.

As part of any restored assembly, Sinn Fein wants to
transfer policing and justice powers from London to

"They're not just talking about a revival of the old
agreement but they're adding on policing and justice
and ministries. This is the key sticking point," said
Paul Bew, professor of Irish History at Queen's

He said the DUP would never agree to such a proposal
as long as Sinn Fein is still allied with a non-
disbanded IRA.

"If it changes, or the devolution of peace and justice
ceases to be part of the equation of a deal, then I
think you might get a different situation. But the DUP
is definitely saying 'We're not prepared to accept


The issue of security is due to come to a head early
next month when Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain,
will put forward legislation that paves the way for
policing and justice to be devolved to Northern

The move is largely academic for the moment since,
with the assembly on ice, there is no local government
for Westminster to devolve power to.

At around the same time, the province's ceasefire
watchdog, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC),
is expected to publish a report that Britain and
Ireland hope will form a basis for fresh talks on
restoring local government.

Views are mixed on whether the IMC, which said late
last year the IRA was keeping to its pledge to down
arms, will give the guerrilla group a clean bill of

Media reports said this week one of Northern Ireland's
most senior officers had contradicted claims by a
British minister that the IRA was no longer involved
in organised crime.

The DUP immediately jumped on the comments as proof
any power-sharing assembly with Sinn Fein would not

"We're not going into government with unreconstructed
terrorists," a spokesman for the DUP said.

Whether or not the IMC report gives the IRA the thumbs
up, the DUP is insistent its voters will need a long
time to accept IRA violence has gone away for good.

Asked when the DUP would consider an assembly with
Sinn Fein, the spokesman said: "Whenever the unionist
community is convinced. There's no confidence ... at
the moment".

The DUP, which has said it favours devolution in
principle, plans to lay out alternatives to a full
return of the assembly next week, such as restoring it
without the executive, so it could have a
"scrutinising role" over direct-rule ministers.

Sinn Fein, however, has said it will not accept
anything that moves away from the principles laid down
in the Good Friday Agreement. Hain has said he will
look at alternatives but that they have to be
acceptable to all parties.

The most likely outcome, analysts say, is that the
British and Irish governments will spend the rest of
this year thrashing out the issues and a deal will be
struck in 2007, when elections for a new Northern
Ireland Assembly are already scheduled.

"It will happen -- there's no alternative," said
Feeney. "Both governments, British and Irish, are
determined that eventually this will come to pass,
it's just when. Right now it's too early, it's too big
a jump for Sinn Fein and the DUP."

But the pressure for progress will be on. Hain has
already threatened to suspend assembly members' pay
and postpone the 2007 elections if no decisions are
taken by mid year.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


Retired Police 'Escape Probes'

By Michael McHugh
20 January 2006

Former police officers are escaping investigation by
the Police Ombudsman's office because they have
retired, human rights lobbyists claimed today.

The legal loophole allows retired officers to refuse
co-operation with Nuala O'Loan's office and has been
highlighted as the stream of complaints about Troubles
incidents continues.

Jane Winter from the British/Irish Rights Watch
pressure group said the matter needed to be pursued.

"Many of the incidents which the Ombudsman
investigated are looking at cases which are very old
and involve retired officers," she said.

"At the minute these officers are retired and are
beyond the reach of the Ombudsman's office."


Belfast Shooting Victim Dies

20/01/2006 - 10:41:58

A man shot in a loyalist area of Belfast has died,
police revealed today.

The 22-year-old victim is believed to have been hit in
the head during an attack at a house in the Shankill

He was taken to hospital following the shooting last
night but later died.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said
detectives investigating the shooting were still
trying to establish the exact circumstances.


Unsolved NI Murders Probe Begins

A specialist team has begun to review unsolved murders
committed during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The Historical Enquiries Team, which has a budget of
more than £30m, will re-examine almost 3,300 killings
between 1968 and the 1998 peace accord.

The squad of about 100 detectives and support staff
will need between five and seven years to complete its

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde,
said he hoped it would bring closure to many families.

"The families have a right to know as much as we can
tell them," he said.

"If there are lines of inquiry to follow which gives
us an opportunity to go to court, that team will
deliver against that.

"If not, we will brief families fully and frankly on
our assessment of the investigation and hopefully
bring more comfort to them and more closure than
they've had up to date."

Jail terms

The review team, led by retired Metropolitan Police
Commander David Cox, will use the latest forensic
science and intelligence analysing technology.

Mr Cox said the team's two main aims would be to
"offer answers and a greater level of resolution to
bereaved families".

"I do not for a moment underestimate the complexity of
this challenge or the potential emotional stress for
relatives associated with re-visiting these tragic
events," he said.

"That is why families will sit at the very heart of
our investigations, and that is why our primary
objective will be to work with them to achieve some
measure of resolution for them."

There will be two distinct investigative units - one
will be made up exclusively from officers from outside
Northern Ireland, who would work on cases, where, for
example, there had been allegations of security force

The team said they would be operationally independent
from the PSNI, but would report to the chief

The Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, said it
was quite possible that people would serve jail terms
as a result of the new murder investigations.

He told the BBC some of the murders involved members
of the security forces and all would be investigated

"We're dealing with some of the most horrific
circumstances ever in Northern Ireland's troubled
history, the worst.

"Twenty, 30 years ago, things were done which should
not have been done, either by terrorists or in some
cases - a limited number of cases - by members of the
security forces. All of them will be investigated and
there will be closure on them."

'Past issues'

The BBC's Ireland correspondent Kevin Connolly said
the relationship between republicans and unionists is
not good enough for a Truth and Justice Commission.

Inquiries focusing on the 30 years of the Troubles are
long and expensive, he added - Lord Saville's inquiry
into Bloody Sunday has taken seven years and cost more
than £150m.

Mr Connolly said: "Some way has to be found to deal
with the many issues from the past that dominate the
day-to-day political agenda.

"The cold case team is the government's latest

Work on the first 100 cases is due to begin on Monday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/20 12:15:56 GMT


Cultural Body May Scrutinise The GAA

By Barry McCaffrey

The British government is preparing to set up a new
commission to rule on matters such as paramilitary
flags and a diverse range of cultural activities
including the GAA.

Senior Northern Ireland Office sources last night
confirmed that the government was preparing to
announce the establishment of the Cultural Commission
to run alongside the Parades Commission.

The new body, understood to be the brainchild of
Secretary of State Peter Hain, will have
responsibility for a wide spectrum of issues relating
to nationalist and loyalist signs of cultural

NIO sources say it will have authority to impose
restrictions on events relating to loyal orders, the
Ancient Order of Hibernians, St Patrick’s Day, the
Twelfth and festivals such as Feile An Phobail (West
Belfast Festival).

It was claimed that the new commission would also have
powers to rule on GAA events, although it is unclear
what implications that would have for the association
and other sporting bodies.

Its creation is seen as being linked to unionist
demands that the parades debate should be widened to
include all expressions of cultural identity,
including the GAA.

Meanwhile, the Parades Commission yesterday banned an
Orange Order march along the Garvaghy Road later this

The newly appointed commission, which includes
Orangemen David Burrows and Don McKay, said it could
not allow the parade because of potential damage to
community relations in other parts of the north.


Stormontgate Fiasco Cost £9m

Demands for answers over spending of taxpayer cash

By Noel McAdam
20 January 2006

A total of 451 prison officers were forced to move
home in Northern Ireland as a result of the
Stormontgate spy ring scandal, it emerged last night.

And the total cost of the hundreds of re-locations to
the public purse was more than £9m, the Government
disclosed. Direct Rule Minister Lord Rooker also
revealed that the associated security measures brought
the total costs up to £24.6m.

The figures added fuel last night to demands for a
full Parliamentary debate as the political controversy
refused to fade away.

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan said: "It is
inconceivable that a scandal that cost taxpayers
millions in any other part of Government would not be
properly investigated or even debated at a
Parliamentary level."

In a Parliamentary answer to the UU party president,
Lord Rooker said that a total of 451 prison officers
were moved under the Assisted Home Removal Scheme at a
total expenditure of £9,387,279.

The Minister, whose brief includes finance and
personnel, said that the overall expenditure on the
Prison Service security measures amounted to £24.46m.

Lord Rogan said: "The Stormontgate fiasco will not go
away despite the numerous attempts by the Government
to sweep it under the carpet and then move on.

"The astronomical costs to taxpayers of this episode
demands further investigation and explanation.

"The bill for the relocation of prison officers and
associated security measures (of) over £ just
the tip of the iceberg.

"Under the circumstances and given Lord Rooker's
reply, I call on the Government to instigate a proper
Parliamentary debate. The public deserve answers."

His call came after DUP MP Nigel Dodds also demanded
the Government provide full disclosure rather than
"dribs and drabs of information".

"The Government's whole handling of this episode has
been abysmal," he said. "The Government needs to start
giving straight answers to straight questions about
'Stormontgate' and tell us the whole truth," he said.


SF Under Pressure As Election Worker Says He Was

By Maeve Connolly and Seamus McKinney

SINN Fein is under renewed pressure after a Co
Fermanagh election worker became the latest republican
to reveal that he was a paid informer.

Sean Lavelle has said he passed information to Special
Branch “since the early 1980s”.

The veteran republican from

Donagh, Lisnaskea, whose brother Michael and sister-
in-law Mary were cleared of storing weapons for
dissident republicans in 2004, claimed he had been
“pressurised” into working for the security forces
after he had been arrested in 1980.

It was unclear last night why Mr Lavelle has chosen
now to reveal a 20-year career of working for police
intelligence, although it has been sugges- ted that he
will not be challenged by republicans to leave the
Donagh area.

Understood to be in his early sixties and from a well-
known republican family, Mr Lavelle released a
statement through his solicitor in which he apologised
to those he had hurt.

“I deeply regret my activities and the hurt which they
have caused to my family and to my community,” he

Fermanagh Sinn Fein assembly member Thomas O’Reilly
said he was “not particularly surprised” by the
admission which he claimed was further evidence the
security forces wanted to continue its “dirty tricks

“It has long been clear that Special Branch have
cajoled and pressurised people into working for them
over many years and it’s clear that Special Branch
remain a negative force today and have an agenda which
is about preventing progress in the peace process.”

Asked what kind of information Mr Lavelle could have
passed to his handlers, Mr O’Reilly said he had “no
idea” but added “any information is certainly harmful
to his local community and it’s something that
shouldn’t be happening”.

He said there had been no suspicion that Mr Lavelle
was a British agent.

In 2004 Lord Justice Campbell acquitted Michael and
Mary Lavelle of storing guns, bullets, explosives at
their Donagh home.

The couple’s son Emmett, a teacher, had also been
arrested in connection with the discovery in fields
close to the family’s Lettergreen Road home. He was
charged with membership of the Continuity IRA but all
the charges against him were later dropped.

Michael Lavelle had also been charged with membership
of the Continuity IRA but was cleared.

The items had been found during a two-day search in
February 2003 and the haul included balaclavas,
berets, disposable suits and unused car number plates.

Earlier this week Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said
he expected more people from within party ranks to be
outed as informers.

Last month the party’s head of administration at
Stormont, Denis Donaldson, admitted he had been
working as a paid British agent for Special Branch and
MI5 for more than 20 years.

Asked about Mr Donaldson’s secret double life, Mr
Adams said: “You are going to get more alleged agents
or real agents being trotted out in the time ahead.”

Mr Donaldson was one of three men charged in 2002 with
operating a spy ring at Stormont and the furore led to
suspension of devolved government.

Late last year the case against the men collapsed.

From the Short Strand in east Belfast, Mr Donaldson
befriended hunger striker Bobby Sands in prison in the
early 1970s and a photograph of the pair taken by a
fellow prisoner who had smuggled a camera into Long
Kesh was seen around the world on Mr Sands’s death.


Allegations Of IRA Moles In RTE And Govt. Offices

DO you know that RTÉ has two senior executives who are
also members of the IRA? Or that there are 200 IRA
moles in Government departments up to and including
the Taoiseach's office? Or that three lecturers in a
Dublin college for journalism are poisoning the minds
of young people with Sinn Féin propaganda?

Certainly Johnny Laird, a Unionist peer, believes such
to be the case and before Christmas, under the
protection of parliamentary privilege, said so in the
British House of Lords. Laird, who goes under the
amusing title of Lord Laird, has a reputation for
making slanderous allegations against people with whom
he disagrees, knowing that House of Lords privilege
ensures that those who are publicly abused have no
recourse to protect their reputation.

He has previously named journalists and academics as
"republican sympathisers" and made a string of other
allegations against leading members of Sinn Féin. He
says he bases his remarks on information supplied by
the Gardaí and clearly enjoys the cushion of
parliamentary privilege, a procedure that he used when
he targeted Frank Connolly's Public Inquiry Centre as
a “Sinn Féin intelligence gathering operation”. He did
that some time before our own Justice Minister
destroyed in a cowardly fashion Connolly's livelihood
and reputation, also with the assistance of the
comfort blanket of parliamentary rights.

Under House of Lords and Oireachtas privilege,
individuals who are pilloried by public
representatives in the Dáil or Westminster cannot
resort to legal action to clear their names although
it is considered bad constitutional precedent to
identify people without serious corroborating

Amazingly, the Unionist Peer of the British Realm
claims the proof for his assertion that RTÉ has been
infiltrated by "extreme republican sympathisers" lies
in the highly negative reaction by sections of the
media, in particular RTÉ, against the Minister for
Justice, Michael McDowell. "It is not a coincidence",
he said, "that instead of being lauded for his anti-
republican speeches, Minister McDowell has found
himself the subject of vilification in the Irish

A bemused RTÉ said they did not know who Laird was
referring to, or what incidents he was using as
alleged corroborative evidence. It suggested that if
he had a problem he should contact the Broadcasting
Complaints Commission. In response, Laird vowed to
name the RTÉ men in the House of Lords the first
chance he got.

Interestingly, while most sections of the Irish media
considered his attack on RTÉ as the ravings of a loony
lord, the Sunday Independent published Laird's
comments in full, even going so far as to repeat the
names of the three lecturers he slandered – a move
that may or may not have had something to do with the
fact that he is a public relations consultant for
Independent Newspapers!

For someone who can't stand anything with a republican
tinge Laird, a former advisor to David Trimble, has no
problem accepting money from Irish republicans; from
Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, in particular. From 1998 to
2004 he fronted the Ulster-Scots Agency, an
organisation he set up to promote the Ulster-Scots
'language'. The agency is funded by grants from the
Northern Ireland Department of Culture and Ó Cuív's
Department of Gaeltacht Affairs and has a budget of
over two million euros, a quarter of which comes from
the Irish government.

Oddly enough, no one had heard of the Scots-Ulster
'language' before Laird resurrected it in 1998,
although linguists argued that something approximating
a Scottish dialect was known to exist in darkest
Antrim but that it had absolutely nothing in common
with Scots Gaelic. They described it as a kind of
'make it up as you go-along' jargon – or as a civil
servant in Ó Cuív’s department sarcastically told this
scribe: "it’s English spoken with a Ballymena accent,
drunken Prod gibberish".

In 2004 Laird resigned from the Ulster-Scots Agency
shortly before British government auditors sharply
criticised it for excessive spending on entertainment,
‘research’ into Orange lodges in Ghana and for
‘festive events’ during the marching season. Its
budget was cut by £600,000, prompting Laird to
complain that the British and Irish governments were
betraying Protestant culture. He defended his own bill
of £692 for taxis to Dublin as due to a concern about
his personal security which he linked to his practice
of wearing a kilt!

Some years ago Hugh Oram wrote a book about Irish
newspapers. In it, newspapers like Sir Anto's organ,
the Sunday Independent, were seen through rose-tinted
glasses. He presented a cheerful, fair-minded world in
which hacks were renowned for their meticulous care
with news and comment as they documented Ireland's
cultural, political and social progress – light years
away from the Sindo's scurrilous depiction of the lady
injured in the car crash that killed Liam Lawlor as a

One wonders what Mr. Oram now thinks of the onslaught
on the new newspaper, Daily Ireland, not yet a year
old. The Sindo sneered at it for daring to call itself
a 'national newspaper'; for its 'whingeing
editorials', its absence of 'government' advertising,
its ‘low’ circulation; and for the fact that its
readers, staff and directors were people with a
nationalist interest. (Even before the newspaper ever
hit the streets Minister for Justice McDowell, a
former writer for the Sunday Independent, described
Daily Ireland as a "Nazi rag").

Hardly fair comment! But then, maybe the Sindo
believes its Sunday morning readers are in such a
state of lazy collapse that they don't take seriously
anything it says about Daily Ireland, or indeed about
anything at all. Mr Oram refers to a comment made by a
Sindo editor, Aengus Fanning – that if you can get a
laugh out of a reader, it's worth 2,000 words. That
comic philosophy, it seems, still prevails.

Oh dear! The Blueshirts are in the wars. The party's
policy of allowing one vote per member to select
election candidates has led to fears that bogus
members are being registered – people seen once at an
election convention and never again. The practice is
known as 'convention stuffing' and is designed to
assist candidates who are up against the long
established party faithful. What concerns Fine Gael
elder lemons is that voting power is falling into the
hands of gougers who have been in the party for only a
few months. That, they complain, is very, very

And then, there's the revelation that Fine Gael has
been dangling the begging bowl under the noses of
National Toll Roads, Cement Roadstone Holdings (the
gang building Israel's evil apartheid wall), Treasury
Holdings, an assortment of builders, property
speculators and Musgraves, owners of SuperValu and
Centra chains.

No conflict of interest at all in seeking donations
from such captains of industry, says the Rip-Off
Ireland party, even though it earlier accused National
Toll Roads of making massive profits – "NTR takes all
the gain and the public takes all the pain"; or that
the profits of Cement Roadstone Holdings were
extracted in a way that was both "anti- competitive
and anti-consumer". Accepting cash from them is simply
politics, Enda Kenny style. Another word might be


Court To Review SF Man's Murder Conviction

20/01/2006 - 07:52:22

A Sinn Féin Assembly member is to have his conviction
for the murder of a policeman reviewed by the Court of
Appeal, it emerged today.

Raymond McCartney, a former head of the IRA in the
Maze Prison and now an MLA for Foyle, and fellow Derry
man Eamon McDermott were convicted of the murder of
off- duty Detective Constable Patrick McNulty in
January 1977.

They denied involvement in the murder and four years
ago referred their case to the Criminal Cases Review
Commission, claiming they were brutalised in police
custody and confessions were fabricated.

The Commission concluded that evidence of ill-
treatment of other terrorist suspects had not been
presented to the trial judge and that may have had an
effect on the credibility of the police officers

Mr McCartney spent 17 years in prison and also came to
prominence in the first IRA hunger strike in 1980 when
he fasted for 53 days.

Mr McDermott spent 15 years behind bars and has been a
journalist at the Derry Journal for 10 years.

Mr McCartney was also convicted of the murder of
English businessman Jeffrey Agate in Derry a week
after Mr McNulty was gunned down at a garage in Strand
Road where he had left his Ford Escort car for

Mr Agate, managing director of the local Du Pont and
the vice chairman of the Northern Ireland branch of
the CBI, was shot dead as he arrived home from work by
IRA gunmen in Talbot Park.

Mr McCartney has played a key role in Sinn Féin’s
peace process strategy and in May 2004 took over from
Mary Nelis as one of the party’s two Assembly members
in Foyle.


Murder Review 'Difficult For Family'

A Sinn Fein Assembly member whose murder conviction is
being referred to the Court of Appeal today
acknowledged the difficulty that would cause for an
RUC officer's family.

By:Press Association

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Londonderry journalist
Eamon McDermott were yesterday informed by the
Criminal Cases Review Commission that their conviction
for the January 1977 murder of off-duty RUC officer
Patrick McNulty was being referred back because the
trial judge did not appear to have taken full account
of claims that terrorist suspects had been brutalised.

Mr McCartney spent 17 years in jail for the murders of
Mr McNulty and businessman Jeffrey Agate one week

Mr McDermott served 15 years for Mr McNulty`s murder.

Mr McCartney, who spent 53 days on hunger strike in
the Maze Prison in 1980 and later became the IRA`s
commanding officer in the jail, welcomed the decision
to refer the case back.

However, he acknowledged today the grieving which the
McNulty family had been going through.

"I only found out about this development yesterday and
it is welcome because it will highlight the methods
used to torture people in Castlereagh," the Sinn Fein
MLA said.

"We put in the application four years ago to the
Review Commission.

"Having said that, we have to be very conscious when
talking about this that there are people who are
grieving and that process of grieving continues for

"While this process has been highlighted it will evoke
memories for them.

"It will be difficult for them in their grieving
process. That is totally accepted and understood."

Mr McNulty was gunned down in January 1977 as he left
a Ford Escort for servicing at a garage on
Londonderry`s Strand Road.

One week later, Mr Agate, a director at Du Pont, was
shot dead by the IRA at his home in Talbot Park.

Mr McCartney and Mr McDermott denied involvement in Mr
McNulty`s murder and had claimed that their
confessions had been fabricated and that they had been
brutalised in police custody.

Mr McCartney has been an Assembly member in Foyle
since May 2004.


'Sunday' Poster Doesn't Breach Anonymity Ruling

Friday 20th January 2006

The Saville Inquiry says a decision to use the
photographs of two soldiers in this year's
commemoration poster does NOT breach an anonymity

The poster - a popular collectors item --features a
photograph of Britain's top army officer, General Sir
Mike Jackson, who was a captain when he served with
the Parachute Regiment in Derry on January 30, 1972.

However, the poster also includes images - taken in
1972 - of two unidentified soldiers who were in the
city on Bloody Sunday.

The Saville tribunal had ruled that no pictures could
be published of those soldiers granted anonymity while
giving evidence.

However, a spokesperson for the Inquiry says that, as
the pictures included on the poster have previously
been in the public domain - and as they are not
accompanied by the soldiers' names - there has been no
infringement of the ruling.

John Kelly, whose brother, Michael, was among those
shot dead on Bloody Sunday, believes the poster
"contains a very powerful message." "In my opinion, it
sums up the very essence of this year's commemorative
programme which is entitled: 'towards justice'.

"For far too long these people have remained hidden.
It is time that the people of Derry saw them, as it
were, in the flesh."


IFA 'Backs Maze Stadium' Proposal

NI football authorities have voted in principle to
support a new multi-sports stadium on the former Maze
prison site.

The Irish Football Association met in Belfast after
being told by Sports Minister David Hanson that he
needed a decision before the end of January.

The government wants the 42,000 seater stadium to be
used for major football, rugby and gaelic games.

IFA Chief Executive Howard Wells said the decision was
in the best interests of football in the province.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "Obviously we are
trying to deliver things that are in the best
interests of football.

"There is a lot of emotion. The real issue is that
there is a period of time when we will have to work
with the other sports and government to work out a
business plan which suits football."

Feasibility study

Councillors in Belfast had appealed to the IFA to
defer its vote as they hope the stadium will be
located in the city.

In March, the government said the Maze site near
Lisburn was the only viable location for the new

Two alternatives to the proposed national stadium at
the former Maze Prison site were last year dismissed
by Mr Hanson.

Supporters of rival plans for Maysfield and Ormeau
Park in Belfast said the Maze site would lack

The developers behind the Ormeau Park proposal said
the feasibility study was complete and would be
presented to council members on 23 January.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/20 07:42:23 GMT


Minister 'Hoodwinking' Public On Garda Strength

20/01/2006 - 09:49:17

Justice Minister Michael McDowell is “hoodwinking” the
public into accepting a police force that is not
properly trained, a gardaí representative body warned

PJ Stone of the Garda Representative Association (GRA)
said Mr McDowell’s plans for a 4,000-strong unpaid
volunteer garda reserve force was a smokescreen to
disguise the failure properly to equip and resource
the garda force.

“This is a smokescreen as far as we are concerned in
relation to a force that is not being properly

“There are members of the force going out on duty and
the feedback from our AGMs that they are actually
concerned for their own safety and the best response
from this Minister is to introduce a reserve force,”
Mr Stone said.

“The reality on the ground, even taking into account
the numbers of people being introduced into the force,
is that there are simply not enough members of the
force to be detailed for duty.”

He said Mr McDowell’s response to bring in a reserve
force was an admission there were not enough fully-
qualified members of the gardai to do the job.

Mr Stone said Mr McDowell was attempting to “hoodwink”
the public into accepting a police force that was not
properly trained.

Last night, Mr McDowell called upon garda associations
to back him on plans for a 4,000-strong volunteer
garda reserve force and claimed the force had to
change in order to prosper.

In response to fears by organisations such as the
Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI)
and the GRA over powers of arrest, he acknowledged the
reservists would be given the right to arrest for
things such as obstruction and public order offences.

Mr McDowell said he had not yet drawn up detailed
plans on training of the volunteers but admitted it
would be to a lower level than professional gardai.

The AGSI said the volunteers would have only 24 hours
training, in relation to basic law and garda
procedures, and would have full powers of arrest.

The GRA said the reserve force was introduced in the
UK as it was facing difficulties in recruiting full-
time members of the force.

But there were no problems in recruiting people to
become full time members of An Garda Síochána with far
more applicants than training places.

Mr Stone said the reserve police scheme in England was
now encountering major difficulties with authorities
having to resort to pay reserve police constables to

“The Minister is now going to introduce a scheme into
Ireland where people will be expected to work for
nothing and do a job which requires great training,”
he told RTE Radio.

Mr Stone said a member of the gardai almost lost his
life in an incident last year as he was not equipped
with a stab proof vest.

“You won’t get an officer in England going on duty
without one, you won’t get an officer in England or
Wales going on duty without their CS gas, we don’t
have those in Ireland,” he said.

“I have a force at the moment that is not being
properly resourced, not properly equipped and the
minister is walking away from his responsibilities.

“The Garda Síochána is a motorcar that needs a set of
tyres, what is the Minister giving us, a grommet in
each one of them,” he said. “We need action from this
Minister in respect of resources for this force.”


Mafia Expert Targets Ulster Gangs

Hitting assets 'broke the Cosa Nostra'

By Jonathan McCambridge
20 January 2006

An Italian Mafia expert has predicted that organised
crime gangs in Northern Ireland can be smashed if the
authorities continue to target their assets.

Academic Luigi Sergio Germani said that many of the
tactics which were used by Sicilian police to break
the power of the Cosa Nostra could be similarly
applied to the province which has seen a large
increase in organised crime gangs.

Mr Germani, professor in security studies at Link
Campus University, Rome, was in the province recently
where he is studying the involvement of republicans in
organised crime.

He said the Assets Recovery Agency, which has
economically targeted both republican and loyalist
criminals, could bring down counterfeiting and robbery

He said: "There are a lot of similarities if you look
at the Provisional IRA and Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian
Mafia), both exert a form of state control over their
areas and their communities.

"In Italy when there are conflicts and disputes it is
easier to go to the Mafia bosses than it is to go to
the state, it is the same thing in nationalist areas
of Northern Ireland. Both have this form of parallel
justice. In Sicily if someone steals your car then you
go to the Mafia rather than the police

"But the Italian police have had much success in
dealing with Cosa Nostra, there are lessons for the
security forces here from the Italian experience.

"It seems to me that in Northern Ireland so far the
state has not employed its full force against
paramilitary crime."

Mr Germani said the Italian police started to have
great success against Cosa Nostra when they started
targeting their assets in 1982.

"There was also a strong witness protection scheme
which led to a lot of people giving inside information
against the Mafia. The authorities also kept the
bosses isolated when they were in prison because they
could still control the organisation from inside."

He added: "The Provisional IRA have a lot in common
with the Mafia but it seems to me their objectives are
still more political while the Mafia is economic."


Sinn Fein To Meet Palestinian Envoy

By Ashleigh Wallace
20 January 2006

A meeting between Palestinian's new ambassador to
Ireland and representatives from Sinn Fein was due to
take place in Dublin today.

MEP Bairbre de Brun and her party colleague Caoimghin
O'Caolain were due to meet with Dr Hikmat Ajjuri to
discuss the current political climate in both the
middle east and in Ireland.

Ms de Brun is set to travel to Palestine next Monday
as an international observer for the elections which
are due to take place there next Wednesday.

The Northern Ireland Euro-MP said: "Today's meeting
with the new Palestinian ambassador is an opportunity
to discuss the current political climate in


How I Sneaked Adair Back Into The Shankill: Film Maker

By Clare Regan
20 January 2006

Investigative journalist Donal McIntyre told today how
he sneaked exiled former UDA commander Johnny Adair
back into the Shankill in the dead of night just a few
weeks ago.

The award-winning filmmaker revealed details of the
documentary he is currently making with the ousted
loyalist terror boss.

The producer and director was reluctant to give away
the most fascinating revelations from his adventures
following 'Mad Dog's' efforts to settle in the
Scottish town of Troon where he is living after his
release from prison.

But McIntyre did reveal that some of the filming,
which has been taking place over the last four months,
did take place in Northern Ireland.

"We returned to Belfast with Johnny Adair a couple of
days before the New Year. He took us back to some of
his old haunts and safe houses in the Shankill area
when there was no-one around," he said.

"We went to within yards of the homes of men who want
to kill him. For Johnny, it was quite a scary
experience. It wasn't really as frightening for us, we
had taken all the usual safety precautions."

McIntyre said he asked to do the documentary because
of a fascination with Adair's reputation.

"Politically, Northern Ireland politics does not
ignite my fire. But the thing I am interested in is
people who live on the edge. Adair is a major figure
from the loyalist side. He's a character and I was
fascinated by that."

The journalist said he would be making no judgment on
the terrorist and would let viewers make their own
decisions. Filming is to go on for another six weeks
and it is hoped the programme will be broadcast
sometime in April.

"There will be an expected dance between the image
that Adair wants to portray and the best that we can
get out of him," he added.

"We make no moral judgment. We just follow him and
take a measure of the man. We tell the truth."

McIntyre will next be seen on our screens with the
two-part documentary, A Gangster's Funeral, which will
broadcast on Channel Five this Monday and on January

The programme revisits Dominic Noonan in Manchester -
a gay, Urdu speaking criminal who has spent half his
life in jail.

"We catch up with him as he faces trial on charges of
kidnapping and torture and deals with the consequences
of his brother's murder," McIntyre added.

"It gives you an idea of the kind of approach that we
take to these documentaries. Like Adair, he's a
fascinating man who lives on the edge."


Top Policeman On Drink-Drive Charge

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

ONE of the north’s top policemen is to appear in court
next month charged with drink driving.

The detective chief superintendent is attached to the
force’s crime operations division and worked for the
intelligence unit C3, formerly known as Special

Noel Topping was detained in the Belmont area of east
Belfast last August and questioned on suspicion of
drink driving. It is understood he was not on duty.

A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions
(DPP) and a spokesman has confirmed: “A summons has
been served in relation to two offences – failing to
provide a specimen when unfit and driving when unfit
through drink or drugs.”

Last July Mr Topping addressed the Policing Board
following the return to prison of IRA bomber Sean

The PSNI yesterday refused to comment when asked if
the officer had been transferred to other duties, or
suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the court

Sanctions open to the force if any officer is
convicted of drink driving range from dismissal,
‘requirement’ to resign, reduction in rank, decrease
in pay, a fine, reprimand and caution.

The senior policeman faces up to six months in jail if
convicted and/or a maximum fine of £5,000 and
automatic disqualification.

Up to a £1,000 fine and a discretionary driving ban
can be enforced if a person fails to provide a breath

Failure to provide a specimen of urine and blood
carries a maximum six month jail term and/or a fine of
up to £5,000 – plus the loss of your driving licence
for a year.


Ulster Lukewarm About Unsolved Murders Probe

By Sam Knight and agencies

The largest "cold case" review in British policing
history was launched today, when more than 3,000
partially unsolved murders committed during the
Troubles were re-opened for investigation.

The Historical Enquiries Team of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland (PSNI) will re-examine a total of
3,268 killings in the Province between 1968 and the
Good Friday Agreement in 1998 that are believed to be
related to political violence.

The total number includes cases where a perpetrator
was caught but some suspects are believed to have
escaped prosecution.

Of the more than 2,000 entirely unsolved murders,
around 300 are believed to be "security-related
deaths", including the deaths of children hit by
plastic bullets, and the killings of 211 Royal Ulster
Constabulary officers.

Launching the £32 million review, David Cox, the
former Metropolitan Police Commander who will lead the
team, said the aim was to provide a "measure of
resolution" for the families of victims.

"What we want to say today is that we are here, we are
up and running, and to let people know how they can
contact us if they need to," he said. "We have two
main aims - to offer answers and hopefully a greater
level of resolution to families, and to identify and
explore any remaining or new evidential opportunities
that exist."

The historical cases review is seen by many observers
as a substitute for a broader "truth and
reconciliation commission", as established in post-
apartheid South Africa. David Sharrock, Ireland
Correspondent for The Times, said today that the
review was being understood as "a step in that
direction" but the overall reception was lukewarm.

"It's not going down particularly well on the ground,"
said Sharrock. "Certainly on the radio this morning
and on the phone-in shows, people were saying, 'Some
of these cases are 30 years old.' Victims have said:
'How is this going to bring back my father or my
murdered brother?' The money has also raised concerns.
Can't £32 million be better spent?"

The Government has already admitted that few case
reviews will lead to prosecution. Mr Cox said today
that the primary aim of his team, which includes
retired detectives from the RUC and the Garda, was to
achieve psychological closure for the families of the

"I do not for a moment under-estimate the complexity
of this challenge or the potential emotional stress
for relatives associated with revisiting these tragic
events," he said. "That is why families will sit at
the very heart of our investigation and that is why
our primary objective will be to work with them to
achieve some measure of resolution for them."

Detective Superintendent Phillip James, who worked on
Sir John Stevens's inquiry into the killing of the
Catholic lawyer Pat Finucane and allegations of
collusion between paramilitaries and British security
agents, will assist Mr Cox and his staff of 84.

The first 100 cases to be reviewed, including a murder
committed in April 1969, will be handed out to
officers on Monday, Mr James said today.

The investigation, first announced by Sir Hugh Orde,
the Chief Constable of the PSNI, in September 2004,
will seek to resolve notorious cases that have
gathered dust in police archives and never resulted in
prosecutions despite widespread knowledge of those

Those include the 1976 Kingsmills massacre, when
republican gunmen ordered ten Protestant workers out
of their minibus and shot them dead. Multiple killings
by security forces will also be re-examined, including
the ambush of eight IRA men and a passer-by, who were
killed when the SAS foiled an attack on a police
station in Loughgall in 1987.

Cases of killings by the police will be investigated
by the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan. Despite
promises that these cases will be investigated
separately from the rest of the review, republican
groups have questioned the independence of the

Victims' groups offered the inquiry tentative support
this morning. A spokesman for Families Acting For
Innocent Relatives (Fair), which presented detectives
with a dossier on the Kingsmills massacre earlier this
month, said the review could provide resolution "if
there's no political interference".

"Certainly the men and women who are working on the
review are excellent people and we wish them well in
their endeavour," said the spokesman. "But we're still
somewhat apprehensive. We don't know how much teeth
this will have... Nothing is ever what it seems in
Northern Ireland."


Andrew Greeley

Opin: Police States Handcuff Elected Leaders

January 20, 2006

By Andrew Greeley

As the United States slips ever closer to becoming a
national security state -- one in which the security
apparatus becomes a state within a state -- it becomes
useful to consider what such a state might be like.

The United Kingdom provides a scary example. To this
very day, MI5 and the Special Branch police units
appear to have the power on occasion to ignore and
frustrate the plans of the duly elected government. In
the 1970s, it was alleged the security forces used
blackmail to force the resignation of left-wing Labor
Prime Minister Harold Wilson on the grounds that he
was an agent of the Soviet Union. It seems more
likely, however, that Wilson was forced out by his
Labor Party colleagues who were worried about what
seems to have been a rapidly increasing Alzheimer's

It was also alleged that in Northern Ireland the
security forces were behind a strike of utility
workers against Wilson's attempt at power sharing
between Protestants and Catholics in that remnant of
English imperialism. Since the securitat in Ireland
has traditionally conspired against Catholic rights,
such a claim is on a priori grounds not improbable.
Furthermore, in two much more recent incidents, MI6
and the Special Branch seem to have been instrumental,
first, in destroying the power sharing assembly
established by the Good Friday agreement and secondly
in sinking a more recent attempt to revive it.

A couple of years ago, the Police Service of Northern
Ireland showed up at Stormont Castle, the locale of
the assembly, and confiscated large quantities of
documents from the offices of the Sinn Fein party. The
police hinted broadly that three Sinn Fein men they
had arrested were guilty of running an IRA
intelligence operation within the castle.

Almost as if awaiting a signal, the Loyalist members
walked out of the Assembly -- though they continue to
collect their salaries (six figures in Euros). The
three men were charged but not brought to trial. It
appeared as time passed that the documents relevant to
the alleged IRA plot were a relatively small bundle
which were kept not at the PSNI offices but in an
agent's house.

A few weeks ago, the charges against the three were
dropped. The reason, it turned out almost immediately,
was that Sein Fein had discovered that the alleged
leader of the IRA plot in Stormont was an agent of the
security services. An office of the English government
had conspired against that government to destroy a
compromise solution to the Northern Ireland battles on
which the government and its ministers had worked for
years. The Police Service and its chief, Sir Hugh
Orde, were revealed to be either liars or unwitting
tools of dark and sinister forces deep within the
English bureaucracy.

Other attempts to restore the Good Friday agreement
floundered when a large and well-organized gang raided
a bank in Northern Ireland and removed (allegedly)
$100 million in cash. Immediately the Police Service
announced that the thieves were members of the IRA. As
days and weeks passed, some of the money was
recovered, but no one was arrested -- though homes of
Republican suspects were searched.

The full story on this theft is not yet known, though
Sinn Fein leaders deny the IRA was involved (which
does not necessarily mean that some rogue members did
not cook up the scheme). However, the robbery was
counterproductive to the Republican moves toward
restoring the agreement and the assembly -- and
delayed again serious negotiations.

Both events fed the paranoia of the Protestant working
class in Northern Ireland -- the same people who
smashed Wilson's plans almost 30 years ago. They also
deepened the motives for stonewalling that Northern
Protestant leaders such as Ian Paisley and David
Trimble have practiced for the better part of seven

One has to ask whether Prime Minister Tony Blair is
capable of controlling his spooks. It would appear he
is not. Both he and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
have insisted that time is running out. Unless a
solution is reached in the next couple of months --
before Blair leaves office -- there may not be a
chance for peace in Northern Ireland for another

The CIA and the FBI are currently in eclipse in this
country. Indeed, control is increasingly concentrated
in the Defense Department. Yet, as security agencies
gain more and more secret power, the risks that they
will become the real government are certain to


Opin: Is Jim Slaven Scotland's Denis Donaldson?

by Freelance Journalist Thursday, Jan 12 2006, 3:10pm

The recent events regarding "Stormontgate" are now
reaching to Scotland.

Is Jim Slaven Scotland's Denis Donaldson?

The similarities between the two men are remarkable
and has led to many republicans claiming that it has
more to do with design than accident. After recieving
a phone call from a New York based journalist asking
me to confirm some aspects of a story that they were
going to publish in the United States I decided that
this was in the public interest and as a freelance
journalist I had a duty to put this story into the
public domain on this side of the atlantic. Here is a
man in my home city and who I have met on several
occasions thinking that he was an unrepentant Irish
republican and now I discover that it is all a lie.

Jim Slaven and Denis Donalson were extremely close and
everything that Mr. Slaven done in Scotland was
relayed to Denis Donaldson through his positon on the
International Affairs Dept. of Sinn Féin through which
Mr. Slaven gave details of everything that happened in

The 'Stormontgate' affair is well known to everyone
but how many people know about another spying case
this time in the Scottish Office. In October 1996 a
senior Scottish republican was revealed to be Sinn
Féin's mole within the Scottish Office-this man was
Jim Slaven. Mr. Slaven who had never been a member of
Sinn Féin was also the source for his own outing.
Strange you may think but when one considers the fact
that he was acting on his own the episode takes a more
sinister turn."I was IRA's mole in the Scottish
Office" screamed the headline in the Daily Record at
the time. Many observers noted that the individual in
question was also the leader of a well known Irish
republican group based in Edinburgh. Two moles none of
whom were acting on behalf of the Republican
Movement.How such a prominent figure with such a high
public profile could secure a vacancy within the
Scottish Office beggars belief and poses the question
of how did he pass the stringent security checks?

Denis Donaldson has been credited with the exposure of
the Columbia 3. A huge camaign was organised to
promote the case of the Columbia 3 of which Jim Slaven
was involved and through his involvement he even
managed to visit the men while they were held in a
Columbian prison. On his numerous journey's to Ireland
Mr. Slaven experiances no special attention from the
Special Branch, a feat which cannot be shared by the
many travelers to and from Ireland who don't have Mr.
Slaven's public profile. Denis Donaldson was known to
have a similar history of traveling with ease, where
he did not have to endure the harrassment from those
Special Branch officers who made it their duty in life
to detain and question anyone with a history of
supporting militant republicanism. Denis was never
subject to the same level of scrutiny as other Irish
republicans whilst traveling to and from the United
States and Mr. Slaven was not suject to the same level
of scrutiny as other Irish republicans as he traveled
from Scotland to Ireland, even after traveling to
Columbia to visit the Columbia 3.

Cairde Na hÉireann was set up in Scotland in 2004
whilst Cairde Sinn Féin was set up in America in 1995.
Both orginisations have been accused of attempting to
undermine the previously stalwart republican
solidarity groups in their respective countries. It is
of no surprise that Denis was one of the key
architects of Cairde Sinn Féin in the United States
whilst Jim Slaven was the key architect of Cairde Na
hÉireann in Scotland. Once each orginisation had been
established all traces of the militant republican
tradition had been wiped clean.

In 2002 Jim Slaven was along with others again at the
centre of controversy. When Her Majesty the Queen went
to Scotland in 1999 to officiate at the opening of the
newly devolved parliament Slaven along with some of
his closest associates staged a protest in support of
disbanding the RUC they were promptly arrested after
breaking a cordon and charging towards the coach and
horses carrying Her Majesty the Queen. All of the men
were held over night and subsequently charged with
displaying provocative posters, shouting slogans,
scaling a security barrier and approaching the
carriage during a procession which included Her
Majesty the Queen and placing the public in a state of
fear and alarm..After 3 years the case collapsed in
suspicious circumstances when KEY WITNESSES INCLUDING
Denis's case his case was dropped after 3 years
because the DPP stated that it was no longer in the
public interst to continue with after he was accused
of running a spying ring inside Stormont.

Mr.Slaven who is unemployed has been noted for his
ability to travel extensively by air and stay in the
best hotels while many of his employed comrades have
trouble in affording the cost of travel to various
republican events.

Coincedence or something more sinister?

This is just the beginning there are more revelations
to come regarding the activities of Mr. Slaven.


Opin: Explosive Charges

Renewed allegations that the IRA is reneging on its
ceasefire commitments could scupper the chances of a
return to power-sharing this year, writes Henry

Thursday January 19, 2006

Northern Ireland minister Shaun Woodward. Photograph:

Political hand grenades were tossed into the laps of
British ministers in Northern Ireland this week, when
three anti-crime agencies declared that the IRA was
still engaged in organised crime.

The devices were lobbed on Tuesday by the head of CID
at the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the
boss of the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) and a senior
official from Her Majesty's Customs a private briefing
of Northern Ireland's central Policing Board.

What they had to say to the politicians, academics and
community representatives who scrutinise the work of
the PSNI was devastating, and the shockwaves are still

Shaun Woodward, the Tory-defector turned New Labour
security minister at the Northern Ireland Office
(NOI), took the full force of the blasts and their
fragmented parts have probably inflicted mortal wounds
on the prospects of a political settlement being
reached in 2006.

Last week Mr Woodward told the local press in Belfast
that all IRA activity had ceased. He made his remarks
in advance of a report by the independent monitoring
commission, the body that overseas the IRA and
loyalist ceasefires. The government and their
counterparts in Dublin were hoping the commission
would give the IRA a clean bill of health, stating
that its paramilitary activities were defunct and thus
opening the way for the Reverend Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionists to embark on talks with Sinn

If the report was meant to be the route map towards
restoring a power-sharing government, then it is now
in tatters. In a statement that appeared to contradict
the minister's analysis that all paramilitary
activities by pro-peace process republicans had
ceased, the three agencies told board members
including both the DUP and the nationalist SDLP, that
although the IRA had halted all robberies and so-
called "punishment shootings and beatings" it was
still engaged in organised crime.

Predictably the DUP seized upon the information as
evidence that the republican movement has not yet made
the complete journey towards non-violent,
constitutional politics. Mr Paisley's son told local
radio with barely concealed glee yesterday that the
findings of the three security agencies vindicated the
DUP's strategy of playing a long game with republicans
that could take several years before there is a new

Sinn F&ecuate;in's response has been equally
predictable. Martin McGuinness, the party's chief
negotiator, stressed that not only has the IRA adhered
to its statement last July that effectively their
"war" was over, but also questioned the integrity of
the sources who briefed the Policing Board. Mr
McGuinness certainly has a point when he highlights
the role of loyalist paramilitaries who have continued
to shoot, beat and maim anyone who crosses them in
their own communities. Indeed only last night a
loyalist group shot a 19-year-old man in the legs in
front of his family in Bangor, Co Down.

Nonetheless, the agencies assessment that the IRA is
still mired in criminality - and of a highly
sophisticated and hence extremely lucrative nature -
illuminates a central problem for the two governments.
The economic empire originally built by republicans to
finance the conflict and now redirected to fund the
political struggle is so vast that it will take years
to dismantle, even assuming the willing collaboration
of the IRA.

Combined with the ongoing lack of trust between
unionism and republicanism, itself a product of
allegations of a republican spy ring at Stormont, and
the revelation that Sinn Féin official Denis Donaldson
had been a British agent for 20 years, this by-product
of the "armed struggle" has become a major obstacle on
the route back to a power-sharing executive. Taken
most cynically it provides the DUP with an excuse not
to share power with Sinn Féin and justify that stance
in the eyes of a unionist electorate that has shifted
sharply to the right.

The bitterest irony of all for republicans is that
their strategy of effectively buying their way into
power north and south via a highly organised and
exorbitantly funded political machine turns out to be
greatest obstacle towards their goal.

· Henry McDonald is the Observer's Ireland editor


Opin: Peace Process Pilots Have Heads In Clouds

By Newton Emerson

Last Thursday I was surprised to find myself sitting
two rows behind Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly on
the evening flight from London. They may or may not
have been surprised to find themselves sitting two
rows behind Nigel Dodds and Archbishop Robin Eames.
Luckily there was no trouble – Robin is fine as long
as you don’t mention religion. Nor was there even a
murmur of reaction from the other frequent flyers. Why
would there be? It is obvious enough that this
happens, once you see it with your own eyes. Nutters
of both persuasions may cling to their mantras of
‘British withdrawal’ and ‘No surrender’ – but the
shuttle diplomacy of the peace process grinds on, year
after year, meeting after meeting, while each side
waits for its lunatic fringe to grow too old, tired
and floppy. If only the green biro brigade would use
some of their apparently plentiful spare time to hang
around City Airport for a week, watching the comings
and goings of our tribal elders, they might realise
that absolutism is the dogma of a dying age. Once the
DUP refused to share a studio with republicans – now
they happily share the limited bathroom facilities of
an Airbus A320. Once Gerry Kelly was arrested in
Heathrow after bombing the Old Bailey – now he strolls
through the terminal with law enforcement protection.
Once Sinn Fein was an Irish socialist party – now it
travels business class with British Midland. All of
which is absolutely marvellous, of course. Two days
after this particular flight of the earls Gerry Kelly
informed the faithful that a move on policing is now
imminent. “This will present further challenges for
all activists,” he said – meaning they will soon have
to blot up the green ink they have loyally spilt while
toeing the preceding party line. It would be great if
all concerned could bring this in for a landing, but
alas the peace process pilots seem unaware of serious
turbulence ahead. Policing Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan has
now completed her inquiry into the 1993 UVF murder of
Raymond McCord jnr. The findings are believed to
implicate Special Branch informers in the murder of at
least 13 people, including some of the most sickening
and pointless killings of the Troubles. British-Irish
Rights Watch, which has seen a preliminary report,
describes it as “as bad as it gets”. Had the NIO not
attempted to stall the ombudsman’s office by refusing
extra funding, this would all have been revealed two
years ago and much of the fallout would now have
dispersed. There was never going to be a ‘good time’
to publish the McCord report so the best time would
have been as soon as possible – but even this simple
insight is beyond the scheming half-wits who manage
our political progress. So that report now hangs over
the prospect of republican policing participation just
as movement seems most likely. Worse yet the report
has been passed to the Public Prosecution Service,
which is standard practice prior to publication, at
precisely the moment when their own credibility lies
in tatters following the Stormontgate fiasco. What
excuse will the PPS use to suppress Ms O’Loan’s
findings until a ‘better’ time? They can’t play the
“public interest” card again without looking like a
pack of jokers. Meanwhile, in the lingering absence of
answers, speculation fills the void. Last week
Carnmoney priest Fr Dan Whyte said there was a
widespread belief that the murderers of Danny
McColgan, Ciaran Cummings, Gavin Brett and Gerard
Lawlor have escaped justice to protect UDA informers –
and that is beginning to look like a safe assumption.

Since his appointment four years ago, Chief Constable
Sir Hugh Orde has radically reformed the PSNI and
largely addressed the problems inside Special Branch.
He is in a position to answer any charges levelled by
the McCord report – indeed, he could have answered
them years ago. But instead he must answer them this
year, as Sinn Fein prepares to come aboard. Sinn Fein
in turn will have to convince supporters primed with
the hopeless and infantile slogan “Same old, same old
RUC” that this is no longer the case – just as the
worst excesses of the RUC come to light.

Martin McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and whoever they were
meeting in London last week think that a Sinn Fein
move on policing can fly with Nuala O’Loan’s bombshell
still ticking in the hold. Might they all have had
their heads in the clouds just a little too long?


Opin: Smear Campaign Only Benefits Political Police

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

So Hugh Orde, chief constable of the PSNI, believes it
is acceptable behaviour for his force to be running
agents inside Sinn Fein. He said as much on the BBC’s
Good Morning Ulster the week after Denis Donaldson was
revealed as an informer.

He defended using informers as an essential part of
his policing operation and refused to deny he had
agents in other political parties.

About the existence and his knowledge of Donaldson he
refused to comment on the grounds of ‘security’. A
handy redoubt when cornered.

The journalist might well have asked him to assess the
likely political impact spying on republicans would
have on his stated ambition of getting Sinn Fein to
join the police board and endorse the PSNI.

Equally he might have been asked did those Special
Branch officers, who ran Donaldson have his support.
They were after all involved in the plot which brought
down the democratically elected power sharing

There are other questions, which arise from the
Donaldson affair and have implications for the future
attitude of republicans to policing.

For example who is behind the smear campaign against a
number of highly-respected Belfast republicans
alleging they are informers?

Over the last three weeks the PSNI delivered letters
to four well-known republicans claiming their lives
were in danger because they were about to be named in
the media as informers. Two of the four were named in

There is only one group of people whose interests are
served by this smear campaign and that is the Special
Branch, the political police.

For them it is an opportune time to run a black
propaganda operation against republicans. They have an
acronym for such occasions – ‘psy-ops’.

Donaldson being revealed as an informer was meant to
create an internal crisis of confidence for
republicans – to generate an atmosphere of paranoia
and suspicion. The political police hopes that by
falsely accusing other republicans the suspicion would
deepen and spread.

After years of trying and failing to destabilise the
peace process these people are trying through a
disinformation campaign to destabilise Sinn Fein.

They are the same people who have colluded with
loyalists and killed hundreds of nationalists.

With a background steeped in killing people bringing
down a government or running a smear campaign would
not cause them a thought.

However, their behaviour should cause a thought to
those who have urged young nationalists and
republicans to join the PSNI on the grounds that there
is a new beginning to policing.

We need to hear from archbishop Sean Brady. In my view
he used his office as leader of the Catholic people of
this country to recruit for the PSNI. What does he
think of this murky affair?

Similarly Des Rea and Denis Bradley of the Policing
Board need to tell the difference between those in the
PSNI behind Donaldson and the smear campaign and those
in the RUC who ran the loyalist death squads.

The SDLP should explain why after four years on the
Police Board they have failed to curtail the
activities of the political police. What do they have
to say about the executive which they served in being
overthrown by the Special Branch who they support?

The SDLP have become part of the police establishment.
They condone the PSNI running informers, arresting
people like Francis Brolly, raiding republicans’
homes. So much for the new beginning.

If those behind this latest offensive against
republicans thought it would dissuade them from
tackling the policing issue then they calculated

Two hundred republicans from across the six counties
met in Belfast last weekend to discuss policing and
justice in an all-Ireland context.

The meeting was preoccupied with policing in the

In his speech to the conference Gerry Kelly, Sinn
Fein’s policing spokesperson asked: “In the poisoned
atmosphere created by political policing is it
possible to achieve a new policing dispensation?

The answer to that is yes.”

He also said that when Sinn Fein’s policing proposals
are implemented “There will be no force within a
force. There will be a new police service serving the
people of Ireland’s interests, free from partisan
political control.”

Political police and Hugh Orde take note.


Pogues To Get Meteor Music Award

By Staff Reporter

The Pogues, famed for controversial frontman Shane
MacGowan’s antics, will be presented with the lifetime
achievement award at this year’s Meteor Ireland Music
Awards, organisers said last night.

The band were first formed by MacGowan, famous for his
rotten teeth and hard drinking, Spider Stacey, Jem
Finer and James Fearnley in Kings Cross London in

On hearing of the award Spider said: “It’s a fantastic
accolade to be given after all these years and we hope
that everyone will enjoy the evening as much as we

The award will be presented at the glitzy ceremony in
the Point Theatre, Dublin, on Thursday February 2.

Originally known as The Pogue Mahones, the band played
the London pub circuit with Andrew Ranken on drums and
Cait O Riordan on bass before changing their name to
The Pogues.

Philip Chevron and Terry Woods later joined the band,
and Darryl Hunt replaced Cait O Riordan.

The Pogues will take to the stage along with The
Darkness, Westlife, Jamie Cullum, Damien Dempsey, Bell
X1 and Republic of Loose.

Last year’s lifetime achievement award went to Aslan.

Previous winners also include

The Dubliners, Bob Geldof, U2’s manager Paul
McGuinness and Christy Moore.

Fr Peter McVerry, a campaigner of young homeless
people will also

take star place when he is presented with the e100,000
(£70,000) Human-itarian Award.

The former Portadown-based priest and veteran
campaigner, who founded the Arrupe Society in 1983 to
provide care and accommodation for homeless boys, is
being presented with the award in recognition of his
and his work colleagues’ tireless work.

Previous recipients of the Humanitarian Award and
donations include Sir Elton John, Christina Noble,
Bono, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Adi Roche.

On the night there will be 17 Meteor Ireland Music
Awards presented. Six of the categories are chosen by
the public via text messages.

The Hope for 2006 Award for up-and-coming bands will
be voted for by 2FM listeners. Music industry

representatives will chose the rest.

U2, The Corrs, Hal and Bell X1 are vying for Best
Irish Band, while Damien Dempsey, Joe Chester and
Christy Moore are bidding for Best Irish Male.


Clergyman Honours His Catholic Grandfather From

Bishop puts headstone on grandfather's US grave

By Alf McCreary
20 January 2006

A senior Church of Ireland clergyman has travelled to
the United States to erect a headstone in honour of
his grandfather who was a Donegal Catholic.

The Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Rev Harold
Miller, said today that during a visit to Chicago some
years ago he took time off to try and trace the grave
of his grandfather Danny McGinley, who had married his
mother, a Protestant, in Belfast at the turn of the
previous century.

In 1912 Mr McGinley went to Chicago to try to find
work, with the intention of bringing his family over
to America later on.

Tragically, he was killed in a train crash in Chicago
shortly after he arrived and he was buried in an
unmarked grave. His wife and family never went to
America and stayed at their home in the Sandy Row area
of Belfast, where they faced financial hardship due to
the loss of the bread-winner.

The bishop learned of the family history through his
mother, and on a visit to the US several years ago he
enlisted the help of the city hall authorities in

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I discovered that my
grandfather had been killed by Engine No 95 from the
Chicago-Illinois railway. The city officials also told
me where he was buried, and that the grave was

"I wanted to do something about it, and with the help
of Carol Ackah, another surviving grandchild, it was
decided that our grandfather's grave should have a

At the end of last summer the bishop was again in the
US and a headstone honouring Danny McGinley was
erected at his hitherto unmarked grave.

The bishop told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was an
unforgettable experience to be able to trace my
grandfather's grave in the US and later to erect a
headstone in his honour.

"I felt very emotional because of what might have
been, and I often wondered how the family would have
fared if my grandfather had lived on. I also realised
that all my life my mother, who had worked on the
switchboard at the Unionist Party headquarters and had
been a woman of her time, had not felt able to talk
publicly about my grandfather being a Catholic. I am
now proud and pleased to do so.

"My family roots have long been one of the driving
forces in my work for reconciliation."

The bishop's family later moved to the Shore Road area
of Belfast and he was a member of the Methodist Church
before becoming an Anglican. He became Bishop of Down
and Dromore in 1997.

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