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February 03, 2006

200 Cops Have Criminal Records

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 02/03/06 200 Cops Have Criminal Record
DI 02/03/06 PSNI Won’t Become Representative Until 2027
DI 02/03/06 US Examines ‘Options’
IN 02/03/06 Decommissioning Can’t ReHappen, Its Done: Adams
BT 02/03/06 IMC Set To Examine Arms Body's Conclusions
IN 02/03/06 IMC Defends Position In Light Of Legal Action
BB 02/03/06 North-South Trade 'Benefits All'
SF 02/03/06 Less Than 1 In 4 Key NIO Staff Catholic
BT 02/03/06 Salary Threat Over Assembly 'Paralysis'
IT 02/03/06 Paisley Calls For New Form Of Power-Sharing
BB 02/03/06 DUP To Lobby For American Support
BN 02/03/06 DUP Will Only Share Power If IRA Disbands
GU 02/03/06 Paisley Refuses Top Job Under Current System
NL 02/03/06 Road To Peace Still Blocked By Provos
BT 02/03/06 Border Station To Be Shut In Armagh
DI 02/03/06 Probe Over Solicitor’s ‘Bug’ Claims
UT 02/03/06 Orde Facing Quiz Over Bugging Of Solicitor
SF 02/03/06 Gerry Adams To Address Ógra SF Natl Congress
BT 02/03/06 BNP Ldr Walks Free As Race-Hate Prsctn Fails
IN 02/03/06 CCTV Images Capture Sectarian Attack On Home
DI 02/03/06 PSNI ‘Won’t Call Attack Sectarian’
DI 02/03/06 Republican Under Threat From Dissidents
IN 02/03/06 Man With Rep Links At Centre Of Smuggling Probe
DI 02/03/06 Opin: Over To You Blair – It’s Time For Action
DI 02/03/06 Opin: Mary, Hang Your Head In Shame
IN 02/03/06 Opin: Political Vacuum Is No Longer An Option
BT 02/03/06 Opin: No Room For Doubts Over IRA Weapons
PH 02/03/06 ILIR To Discuss Illegal Immigration In Meeting
BN 02/03/06 Bishop Casey To Return To Ireland Tomorrow
SF 02/03/06 Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter Has Tourism Potential


200 Cops Have Criminal Record

POLICE REPORT: No equality in PSNI recruitment until 2027

by Ciarán Barnes

- 148 constables, 19 sergeants, 28 full-time reservists
and five part-time reservists have a criminal record

- Police failing to implement recruitment targets laid down
by Patten Commission

– only 16 per cent of force is Catholic

Two hundred officers currently serving in the PSNI have
criminal convictions, Daily Ireland can reveal.

Northern Ireland Office (NIO) statistics show 19 sergeants,
148 constables, 28 full-time reserve officers and five
part-time reserve officers have criminal records.

The figures came to light on the same day that Deputy Chief
Constable Paul Leighton confirmed seven officers were
convicted of drink-driving last year.

At a meeting of the Policing Board, he revealed a further
28 officers may be prosecuted for alcohol-related motoring
offences. Mr Leighton claimed the prosecutions showed PSNI
members are treated in the same manner as the public.

The statistics have alarmed politicians and policing board
members worried at the high-levels of criminal convictions
among members of the PSNI.

SDLP assemblyman John Dallat last night called for a review
of the criteria used to decide whether officers with
criminal convictions are retained.

He said: “Police officers are supposed to lead by example,
but clearly in the cases of these 200 officers they have

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey accused the PSNI of trying to
cover up rates of criminal convictions among its officers.

He said: “It should come as no surprise that a culture of
concealment has transported itself from the RUC to the

During yesterday’s Policing Board meeting, independent
member Pauline McCabe questioned the disciplinary action
taken against PSNI members convicted of drink-driving.

PSNI bosses have admitted that of the seven convicted only
one was dismissed. Ms McCabe said: “Members were shocked we
hadn’t taken a tougher line on these offenders.”

Confirming 200 members of the PSNI have criminal
convictions, direct-rule minister, Shaun Woodward, said:
“The majority of the offences concerned are traffic
offences. People with serious or terrorist backgrounds are
not considered to be suitable to serve in the police

A PSNI spokesman said: “We are very clear on the
regulations concerning standards to join the PSNI. The PSNI
continue to adhere to the regulations determined by the

Last week, police chiefs admitted a Co Down detective
convicted of fraud is still in the pay of the PSNI. Charles
Metcalfe was given a 12-month suspended sentence after
admitting earning hundreds of pounds a day as a bodyguard
in Iraq while on official sick leave at home.

In Belfast County Court on Tuesday, former PSNI officer
Alan Leckey was found guilty of dangerous driving. The
actions of the 40-year-old, who received a police pension
after retiring on health grounds, were branded
“disgraceful” by the judge.


PSNI Won’t Become Representative Of Wider Society In North
Until 2027

by Jarlath Kearney


PSNI statistics reveal that the force will not become
representative of wider society in the North until at least

The projections are based on the current recruitment trends
for the 9,409-strong force at January 1, 2006.

The present percentage of Catholics in the PSNI stands at
just 16.39 per cent (1543 members).

It can also be revealed that only one officer from the
Garda Síochána has taken part in a mutual personnel
exchange – without police powers – with the PSNI since new
protocols were exchanged between the Irish and British
governments at Hillsborough a year ago.

The revelations emerged as PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde
launched his force’s annual report in Belfast yesterday.

Figures obtained by Daily Ireland demonstrate that the PSNI
is failing to implement the target of recruitment laid down
by the Patten Commission report which emerged from the Good
Friday Agreement.

Eight years after the agreement and six years after the
introduction of the Police Act 2000, key elements of the
Patten Commission’s recommendations on policing remain

For instance, the Patten Commission recommended that the
full-time Reserve should be disbanded, a recommendation
which the PSNI has failed to fulfil.

The Patten Commission also recommended that the part-time
Reserve could be significantly expanded to increase the
rate of Catholic composition. Again, the PSNI has failed to
progress this recommendation.

The PSNI Reserve (encompassing both full-time and part-
time) accounts for 20 per cent of the force (1,890

Since the reserve has historically been even worse in terms
of its composition than the overall force (currently 5.9
per cent Catholic members), major changes to this element
of the PSNI could impact rapidly on overall Catholic
participation. However, both the PSNI and NIO have resisted
implementing the Patten Commission recommendations in this

The PSNI have been implementing the 50:50 recruitment
programme at entry level which the Patten Commission

However, based on current recruitment trends, the PSNI is
failing to meet the target for the number of Catholic
police officers which the Patten Commission recommended by
2005 – namely 18.7 per cent.

By 2006, the commission said the number of Catholic police
officers should be 20.6 per cent.

As the latest statistics demonstrate on January 1, 2006,
the number of Catholic police officers in the PSNI is just
16.39 per cent.

Given that the number of PSNI members since 50:50
recruitment was introduced has increased at a rate of just
1.3 per cent annually, it would take over 20 years – until
2027 – for the force to achieve parity with current
community representation across the North.

The Policing Board yesterday announced that it had, in
principle, agreed to explore the possibility of recruiting
civilians to patrol local areas with limited powers.

However, this suggestion – which has been put forward by
the PSNI – does not correspond with the Patten Commission’s
recommendation to significantly enlarge the part-time
reserve in mainly nationalist areas.

Welcoming moves to introduce the new initiative of police
community support officers, Policing Board chairperson, Des
Rea, failed to address the PSNI’s failure to implement the
Patten Commission’s recommendations.

“At today’s meetings, Board Members’ discussions also
reflected the desire to meet and implement the requirements
of the Patten Report in a way, which meets the needs of
policing today, while taking account of developments in
England & Wales: ensuring that the operational needs of the
service are met; and guarding against any potential for
PCSOs to become a route into policing for paramilitaries,”
Mr Rea said.


US Examines ‘Options’

by Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams yesterday declared that
both governments carry “a big onus” to urgently restore the
North’s political institutions.

Mr Adams was speaking after unionists seized on Wednesday’s
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report to play down
hopes of political progress.

Ahead of next week’s intensive political negotiations
planned for Hillsborough, it has been reported that the
American government is examining options for ‘joint
management’ of the North by the Irish and British

State Department envoy, Mitchel Reiss – who was visiting
Ireland last weekend – has been quoted in an interview with
the Derry News as examining “joint management” of the North
by both governments.

Mr Reiss was reported to have said that the US
administration will support greater Irish involvement if
the DUP refuses to enter the ministerial executive under
the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

“That’s [joint management] an intriguing aspect of the Good
Friday Agreement, and it’s one I’ve been doing a lot of
thinking about myself. I don’t want to admit failure first
– so let’s see if we can get Plan A up and working and then
we need to consider alternatives. The US is absolutely
committed to this process but the final solution must lie
within the Agreement,” Mr Reiss said.

Mr Adams yesterday refused to discuss ongoing PSNI
allegations of IRA bad faith in relation to the disarmament

“I don’t accept anything the IMC says. The IMC is a child
of the two governments... a road to disaster for the peace
process. Ever since they brought beads to the natives, they
have used these types of sleeveens to do their business,”
he said.

“The IRA stuff is finished. The weapons issue is finished.
What happened in July can’t rehappen. It’s done. The focus
has to be on the big picture.”

“There is a big onus on the governments. We need action not
rhetoric. We need to see a serious effort to get the
political institutions up and running in the short term.

“There is a difference between giving the DUP sensible
space and pandering to them. The DUP cannot have a veto.
That’s not tenable. The big effort in the next few months
has to be getting the institutions up and running.”

The SDLP’s policing spokesperson Alex Attwood said
republicans and the DUP were both using the IMC report “for
their narrow purposes”.

“The IMC report should not be cherry-picked. Everyone
should face up to its positive conclusions and the other
negative or neutral conclusion. The DUP and Sinn Féin
refuse to face facts and retreat to outdated politics,” he

“This is not the basis to make a success of next week’s
negotiations. The DUP and Sinn Féin are pursuing politics
that leads nowhere and frustrates people’s hope.

“The two governments need to understand that this is what
the DUP and Sinn Féin are bringing to the negotiating
table. Both will not respond to soft words and quiet
encouragement,” Mr Attwood said.

Speaking during a meeting of the North’s policing board
yesterday, the PSNI chief constable Huge Orde refused to
comment on private briefings given by his force to the IMC.

“I have certainly delivered everything we’re objected to do
in a very honest, frank and open way to enable them to make
judgments and add that to other intelligence and
information they have,” Mr Orde said.

Yesterday’s meeting was interrupted by anti-collusion
protesters who called for an end to political policing.


Decommissioning Can’t ‘Re-Happen’, It Is Done: Adams

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has insisted the issue of
IRA weapons is finished and last year’s decommissioning
can’t “re-happen”.

Mr Adams criticised what he described as the “nonsense and
farce” of the latest Independent Monitoring Commission
(IMC) report, which alleged the IRA may have held on to
some of its weapons.

He also said “other ways” may have to be devised to move
the process forward if the DUP continues to veto a power-
sharing assembly.

Mr Adams did not reveal what this would entail, emphasising
instead that the focus should be on the ‘plan A’ of trying
to restore the political institutions.

But his remarks will be seen as significant ahead of next
week’s political talks involving the British and Irish
governments and the parties, including the DUP, Sinn Fein,
the UUP, SDLP and Alliance.

Questions are being raised behind the scenes as to whether
the governments will try to put pressure on the DUP to move
towards devolution within an acceptable timeframe.

If the DUP digs its heels in and refuses to move then key
questions arise as to what arrangements the governments
would make for joint management of the political process
and perhaps increas-ed north/south cooperation.

After this week’s controversy over the IMC report and
whether or not the IRA has retained some arms, the DUP and
UUP have both made clear that a power-sharing executive
including Sinn Fein is off the political radar.

Mr Adams was asked yesterday what he meant by finding some
other way forward.

“I am not prepared to talk about what is sometimes referred
to as plan B when our main focus has to be on plan A,” he

“What is plan A? It is getting the Good Friday Agreement in
place including the political institutions.

“There is a difference bet-ween giving the DUP sensible
space and pandering to them.

“So, a huge effort should be made to try and get the
political institutions in place.

“If the DUP refuse to be part of that or continue with
their negative agenda then we have to, with the governments
and all of the other parties that want change, to devise
other ways forward.”

The West Belfast MP said Spike Milligan could not do a
better job of writing the scr-ipt for the political
situation – “an assembly which does not meet... politicians
who stand for elections and who seek office but don’t take

He said this was being tolerated by the governments, while
issues which matter to people like housing, health,
education or farming were being handled by ‘fly-in, fly-
out’ direct rule ministers with neither the confidence nor
the mandate to their jobs.

Speaking at a press conference in Conway Mill in west
Belfast, Mr Adams referred to what he called “the nonsense,
charade and farce” that developed after the IMC report.

“People are totally and absolutely cheesed off by what
passes for politics here. We who are at the core of this
process of change have to be very resilient, patient and
tenacious,” he said.

“It is obvious there are many elements, anti-Sinn Fein,
anti-change elements, who are prepared to seize upon any
excuse to dilute or delay the process of change.

“A year or so ago I said I was not going to be commenting
on IRA stuff and all of that. That was during another
seasonal round of the merry-go-round.

“The IRA stuff is finished. The weapons issue is finished.
What happened in July can’t re-happen. It is done.

“Rather than fill acres of newsprint or days of
broadcasting time with commentary on all of that... let me
make it very, very clear as far as we are concerned that

the focus has to be on the big picture.”

Meanwhile, SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell has urged
the governments to set a date for devolution.

“It is high time the DUP stopped playing games and started
getting serious about getting politics working again,” Dr
McDonnell said.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey has called on Secretary of State
Peter Hain to clarify unambiguously the government’s true
position to be after the IMC report.


IMC Set To Examine Arms Body's Conclusions

By Noel McAdam
03 February 2006

Northern Ireland's paramilitary watchdog will examine the
international arms body's conclusions that the IRA has
decommissioned all weapons under its control in its next
report, it was confirmed today.

The Independent Monitoring Commission - still under fire
from Sinn Fein and the DUP - is to assess the implications
of the surprise Decommissing Commission report.

IMC member John Grieve, the former Metropolitan Police
Deputy Assistant Commissioner, also pointed out it has a
different job to do from the arms body headed by General
John de Chastelain.

He also indicated that the IMC had completed its new report
by the time it saw the unscheduled report from the
Independent International Decommissioning Commission.

His comments came as Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey
called on General de Chastelain to release an inventory of
IRA weaponry to tackle public confusion.

After a meeting with the IMC, Sir Reg said: "He has
indicated he will not give an inventory until all the
paramilitary groups have decommissioned, but some of them
may never disarm.

"How can the public have any confidence that these
sensitive security issues are being properly handled when
there is a clear conflict between the Security Minister
Shaun Woodward and the police, and the Minister and the

Sinn Fein, meanwhile, insisted it was time the British and
Irish governments pressed ahead with their stated intention
to restore the Assembly and power-sharing Executive this

Gerry Adams said: "The IRA have dealt decisively with the
issue of arms. It cannot be done again. Those opposed to
this process are attempting to bring all of us down a cul-

As the countdown to Monday's political talks at
Hillsborough began, the Sinn Fein president said the
governments needed to display political will and match
their rhetoric with action."

The DUP, however, reiterated its demand that the IRA must
disband. North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the IMC had
stated the Provisionals have not disbanded.

"The fact that we continue to have P O'Neill statements
serves to prove that the PIRA are still in existence, but
for what purpose? " he asked.

Meanwhile, Alex Attwood of the SDLP accused both the DUP
and Sinn Fein were "cherry-picking" from the IMC report and
warned the Government the two parties will not respond to
quiet encouragement.


IMC Defends Position In Light Of Legal Action

By Staff Reporter

THE IMC has defended its independence after confirmation
that it is to be challenged in the courts.

High Court proceedings in London, issued on behalf of Sinn
Fein MP Conor Murphy, argue that the IMC cannot be seen as
independent because of former Metropolitan Police Deputy
Assistant Commissioner John Grieve’s position as director
of the John Grieve Centre for Policing the Community

As previously reported in The Irish News, legal submissions
state: “The John Grieve Centre has confirmed that it
receives payments from the PSNI for PSNI delegates who
attend Commissioner Grieve’s centre.

“The John Grieve Centre also confirm that PSNI officers
deliver lectures to seminars and conferences organised by,
and for the benefit of [the centre].”

Mr Murphy’s lawyers argue that any direct or indirect
financial relationship between Mr Grieve and the PSNI
renders the IMC incapable of delivering “independent or
fair” reports.

There is no suggestion that Mr Grieve has acted illegally
or improperly.

Initially an IMC spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate
to comment on an ongoing court case, but reiterated the
commissioners’ publicly stated independence.

Since then a spokesperson has added that the John Grieve
Centre is an “academic centre of learning” and not a
private company.

They confirmed that in the two year period 2003-04 payments
totalling £865 made on behalf

of approximately six PSNI delegates, attending conferences
organised by the John Grieve Centre, were received by the
Buckinghamshire Chiltern University College.

“John Grieve does not receive

any remuneration from either

the John Grieve Centre or the Buckinghamshire Chiltern

College,” the spokesperson said.

“The centre was named in his honour and his connection with
the centre is in the pro bono public role of chair of the
centre’s advisory board [non executive] which provides
strategic advice on the centre’s direction.”

They denied Mr Grieve’s role could impact on the
independence of IMC reports.


North-South Trade 'Benefits All'

The people of NI and the Irish Republic can "have the best
of both worlds" by maximising trading opportunities,
Secretary of State Peter Hain has said.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday, Mr Hain agreed the two
economies, on some occasions, "could be in competition".

He said, however, it would be possible to identify areas to
co-operate "and then play to our respective strengths".

Mr Hain said he and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern
would carry out a north-south economic audit.

"I expect that this will demonstrate other areas in which
the historic lack of effective co-operation has hindered
both economies and where there is scope to make more
progress," he said.

"I want a joined-up inward investment strategy, because
very often the real competition is not between north and
south, but between the island of Ireland and places like
eastern Europe."

The Northern Ireland secretary said "business itself" was
leading the way in north-south co-operation, with northern
contractors already heavily involved in infrastructure
projects in the south, and particularly in Dublin,
providing many jobs in Northern Ireland.

"An increasing number of northern companies are already
operating on an all-island basis and finding it worth their
while, in business terms, to do so," he said.

"Examples are found in virtually all sectors of the
economy, but particularly in food and drink, the media,
banking, retail and in the industrial sector."

Mr Hain stressed that "energy" was also a priority area.

"Both governments are fully committed to getting the
necessary legislation in place later this year to allow the
creation of a single wholesale energy market for the island
of Ireland and where we already have companies from one
jurisdiction operating successfully in the other," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/02 22:21:40 GMT


Less Than 1 In 4 Key NIO Staff Catholic

Published: 3 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, Caitríona
Ruane MLA has said that Sinn Fein will call for urgent
action to address the huge under representation of
Catholics with the core of the NIO and demand that the NIO
along with a number of other organisations, including th4e
BBC, is designated under Section 75 of the Equality

NIO Minister has revealed that only 155 out of 657 core
departmental staff, dealing with issues including equality,
criminal justice and security and political development,
based in the north is Catholic. This represents just under
24% of personnel.

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the NIO, along with
a number of other agencies and bodies, should be designated
under section 75 of the equality provisions. These latest
figures show that it a cold house for

Catholics. It is also unacceptable that the NIO refuses to
monitor in detail the deployment of Catholics throughout
the department and demonstrates the urgent need for the NIO
to be designated.

"We will again be raising the issue of inequality across
the civil service and the urgent need for effective
monitoring and radical action to tackle the structural
inequality and discriminatory practices, such as the ban on
Irish nationals from key civil service posts, in the
political negotiations.

"The NIO has huge power in the state and wields particular
influence in the peace process. It is very worrying that
the level of Catholic under representation is lower in the
NIO than in any other government department." ENDS


Salary Threat Over Assembly 'Paralysis'

03 February 2006

The average £85,000 going in salaries and allowances to
Assembly politicians will not continue to be paid if the
"state of paralysis" on the restoration of the institutions

That was the warning issued in Dublin yesterday by Northern
Secretary Peter Hain who said it was not a case of him
"wielding a big stick" but of the people demanding that
something was done.

Mr Hain said the total cost of the Assembly since it was
suspended three years ago was £78m, adding: "We can't keep
spending this money for nothing."

"It's not possible to have an Assembly elections in May
2007 when there is not an Assembly to elect representatives
to," he added.

"No serious political figure in Northern Ireland disagrees
with me on these points."

The Northern Secretary played down differences in the
respective reports on IRA activity by the International
Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent
International Commissioning on Decommissioning (IICD),
headed by General John de Chastelain. "I don't see a real
difference between them," he said. "I got exactly what I
expected in the IMC report.

The bigger picture is that things have changed massively
even in the past few months," he said.

Mr Hain said he accepted that Ian Paisley and the DUP would
not be "galloping into Government tomorrow". But he said he
did believe that there was "an appetite" to move things
forward, adding that nobody believed the status quo was

He felt that, like the other parties, Dr Paisley wanted to
see the Assembly up and running again.

Mr Hain said that in next week's talks at Stormont, he
looked forward to hearing the views of all the parties,
including the DUP who had put forward a "very interesting"
set of proposals. "2006 is a make or break year for
Northern Ireland," he said.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he recognised there
were still problems to be resolved before the Northern
institutions could be restored.

Referring to the IMC findings, he said: "Obviously there
are issues in the report where we would like to see no
blips whatever.

"We don't want to see anything about references to arms or
criminality or any such issues," he said.


Paisley Calls For New Form Of Power-Sharing

Last updated: 03-02-06, 12:23

A new form of power-sharing will have to be set up in the
North before Democratic Unionists enter into a government
with Sinn Féin, the Rev Ian Paisley has said.

If there is an act of treachery, then under the Belfast
Agreement the government falls

Rev Ian Paisley

Speaking ahead of the party's annual conference in Belfast
tomorrow, the DUP leader claimed the previous model of
power-sharing under the Belfast Agreement was "incapable of
withstanding crises".

Dr Paisley said: "It would have to be a proper democratic
system. We must have a foundation that cannot crumble and
we must have an opportunity to build something that holds.

He said: "If there is an act of treachery, then under the
Belfast Agreement the government falls. But we should have
a government that stays like a rock - the waves may come
and go but it's still there."

He continued: "I think we have to get back to proper
democracy - a voluntary coalition or even a type of
government that might be balanced more on a committee
system as long as it is democratic and as long as the
elected representatives of the highest strata have the
final say."

Both governments will convene talks on Monday aimed at
restoring the power-sharing institutions.

But democratic unionists have dampened prospects of an
early breakthrough in the political impasse by insisting
that an accommodation with Sinn Féin - in the short term -
was not on the cards.

The DUP this week published a 16-page document, entitled
Facing Reality, which proposed a phased restoration of the
institutions, with the appointment of ministers deferred
until unionists are satisfied that all alleged IRA
criminality has ceased.

Mr Paisley also claimed the Ulster Unionist Party has lost
pole position in unionism for good. He said he did not
believe his rivals would ever recover from being reduced to
one MP.

He accused the UUP of never being able to relate to
working-class Protestants.

Additional reporting PA


DUP To Lobby For American Support

Democratic Unionists may appoint a representative in the
United States to put the party's case to opinion formers,
the DUP leader has said.

On the eve of his party's annual conference in Belfast on
Saturday, Ian Paisley said the time was right to lobby for
support in America.

Mr Paisley also intends to accept an invitation to meet
four US senators in Washington in March.

Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists have established strong
links in America.

"About 100 years ago there were Ulster societies all over
the place but they merged themselves into the country," Mr
Paisley said.

"The Irish have never fully merged themselves. It is still
Irish America. We need to address this issue.

'Right time'

"This is the time to do it because the present
administration in Washington is more favourable than the
Democrats," he said.

The DUP leader, who will be 80 years old in April, also
insisted that he has never contemplated retiring from

"If I were to give in at this stage, all my followers would
be aghast," he said.

"They would be saying: 'The Big Man must know we are going
to lose.' I just couldn't afford to do that," he said.

The Democratic Unionist Party became the largest party in
Northern Ireland, after it captured nine Westminster seats
in the 2005 election.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/03 12:23:16 GMT

“I was in Tennessee recently at a very good church meeting
where we had 2,300 men at supper,” Paisley said.

“There were a lot of state senators and congressmen there,
a lot of judges, businessmen and people from the
educational hierarchy.

“There were also a lot of Roman Catholics and one man said:
’You know, you are not selling your story here. You are
missing out’.

“He said people in Northern Ireland always think the place
to go to is Boston. But he said ’America isn’t Boston and
you need to wake up to that’.

“So we decided at our parliamentary body meeting that we
would take this very seriously. It is a big task.
Everything has to be registered if you want to lift a

“But we wouldn’t be expecting to go out there for the
purpose of raising money. However, we will need to raise
money to get this operation started.”

Sinn Féin has been very successful in raising funds in the
United States and Canada among the Irish diaspora. The
party’s representative in North America, Rita O’Hare, is
also regarded as an effective lobbyist in Washington.

The Ulster Unionists have a Washington bureau.

Mr Paisley said Sinn Féin’s success in the US was down to
the Irish American community’s retention of its own
distinct identity.

“About 100 years ago there were Ulster societies all over
the place but they merged themselves into the country,” the
DUP leader said.

“The Irish have never fully merged themselves. It is still
Irish America. We need to address this issue. This is the
time to do it because the present administration in
Washington is more favourable than the Democrats.”

Mr Paisley confirmed he had received an invitation from
four US senators, including veteran Democrat Edward
Kennedy, to meet them in Washington in March, which he
hoped to do.

The DUP leader was also invited to this year’s State of the
Union address from President Bush but was unable to attend.

“I had an invitation to come over and attend the State of
the Union address from the Speaker of the Congress but I
told him I would not be available,” he said. “But certainly
the next time I would be prepared to go.”


DUP 'Will Only Share Power If IRA Completely Disbands'

03/02/2006 - 08:37:27

The prospect of political progress in the North is fading
further today following an insistence from the Democratic
Unionist Party that it will not share power with Sinn Féin
unless the IRA completely disbands.

The comments were made by party spokesman Nigel Dodds last
night as the DUP prepares to hold its annual conference
this weekend.

The Irish and British governments want the party to enter
talks on power-sharing arrangements based on the IRA's
promise to end all non-peaceful activity.

The Independent Monitoring Commission said earlier this
week that the republican movement was making real progress
towards honouring this promise.

However, Mr Dodds said the report from ceasefire monitoring
body had justified DUP caution that the IRA was as far from
democracy as ever.

He asked why people in the North should be forced to put up
with the IRA in any form when Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell had himself said that the group's existence was


Paisley Would Refuse Top Job Under Current System

Hélène Mulholland and agencies
Friday February 3, 2006

The Rev Ian Paisley today ruled out being Northern
Ireland's first minister unless there were significant
changes to the province's system of devolved government.

Mr Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist party, called
for changes to the system of government on the eve of his
party conference, claiming the previous model of power-
sharing under the Good Friday agreement was incapable of
"withstanding crises".

The last assembly was suspended three times before
allegations of a republican spy ring in October 2002 led to
current period of direct rule, run by a team of ministers
from Westminster.

Speaking ahead of a new round of talks next week to revive
the assembly, the North Antrim MP said: "I could not be
first minister under the agreement."

"It would have to be a proper democratic system. We must
have a foundation that cannot crumble and we must have an
opportunity to build something that holds.

"But we should have a government that stays like a rock -
the waves may come and go but it's still there."

Northern Ireland needed to get back to "proper democracy, a
voluntary coalition or even a type of government that might
be balanced more on a committee system as long as it is
democratic and as long as the elected representatives of
the highest strata have the final say," he said.

As the DUP prepared for a new round of talks next week to
revive the assembly, Mr Paisley refused to entertain
sitting at a cabinet table alongside Sinn Fein's Martin
McGuinness, in light of revelations made by the ceasefire

A report earlier this week by the Independent Monitoring
Commission did little to improve trust between the two

While the IMC said the provisionals appeared to be moving
in the right direction, the commission alleged members of
the group were still involved in spying, criminal activity
and violence.

There were also claims that IRA members have held on to
weapons, including handguns, despite carrying out a final
act of disarmament last September.

Mr Paisley ruled out shared government with Sinn Fein MP
Martin McGuinness as he attacked his rebuttal of the IMC

"I don't see that [happening] because what McGuinness said
on Wednesday was absolutely atrocious," he said.

"I think he showed that they (the IMC) have put their hand
on a very delicate spot."

The Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain, and the Irish
foreign minister, Dermot Ahern, will host talks next Monday
aimed at reviving devolution.

Both ministers had hoped the IRA's declaration last July
that it had ordered its units to end their armed campaign
and the completion of the provisionals' disarmament
programme would boost the prospects of restoring the

Earlier this week, the DUP published its 16-page Facing
Reality document which, in the absence of power sharing,
advocated phased devolution - recalling the assembly before
an executive.

The party outlined a number of ways the assembly could

These included assembly members scrutinising the work of
British ministers through Stormont committees or having
full-blown devolution without ever nominating a team of
devolved ministers to run government departments.

The party suggested senior civil servants in the government
departments would instead have to face MLAs on assembly


Road To Peace Still Blocked By Provos

Stephen Dempster
Friday 3rd February 2006

On the eve of his party's conference tomorrow and ahead of
fresh political talks, DUP leader Ian Paisley has been
speaking exclusively to News Letter Political Editor
STEPHEN DEMPSTER about the need for the IRA to disband and
his wish to live in peace with Roman Catholics

Ian Paisley has said the IRA must disband to remove the
blockage to democracy and allow him to live in peace with
Roman Catholics. The DUP leader has warned his party will
not be budging on issues of terrorism, crime and
powersharing government when political talks begin next

The IRA must budge. "We are in a battle between democracy,
and criminality and terrorism," he said.

"Unionism is on the side of democracy and unionism must
have a win.

"We are strong but if we were weak and the terrorist won,
it would be disastrous for this Province. We have to stand
firm on these issues." He continued: "I am sickened and so
are the people of Northern Ireland, when we are told you
folks (unionists) have to make a move.

"We have to make no move. We have fulfilled everything that
has been asked of democratic parties to take part in these
talks. We have nothing to give to the IRA. "How could any
country have such people in its government?" He continued:
"It's the IRA which has to give up its violence. The IRA
must disband and there must be a complete finish. And it
must be a finish, to quote the Prime Minister, which
everyone believes in." With this the bottom line, Mr
Paisley went on to say a power-sharing government was still
"entirely feasible" in the right circumstances. Those who
said his party were blocking the path to progress were
wrong, he insisted.

The DUP's wish to progress has been outlined in its Facing
Reality document, earlier this week, proposing ways to
restore the Assembly, without returning to a situation
where Sinn Fein would be in government until republican
crime has ended. Mr Paisley said these were common sense
arrangements, given the current situation of IRA crime,
intelligence gathering and reports of weapons being
retained. The governments and the SDLP may be prepared to
have criminals and terrorists in government.

The DUP was not. "The IRA has to come up to the level, but
they have no intention of coming up to the level," he

But in this situation, is the DUP not running the risk of
London and Dublin losing patience and a slide into Anglo-
Irish joint authority? "I don't believe so," he said. "They
need the DUP for a deal and if we hold firm it will be Sinn
Fein/IRA who suffer for their crimes." He continued: "What
I think will happen is that the unionist people, by their
determination, will get themselves out of this trap that
was laid by nationalists and republicans and Ulster will be

The people, including hundreds and thousands of Roman
Catholics, will make a choice for democracy and whether to
go into the Irish Republic. Their choice will be to stay in
the United Kingdom.

"People know the DUP is right not to share power with
criminals and terrorists. The American people are getting
to know the IRA now and the Roman Catholic people are sick
of them.

"I want to see a day where we all, whether Roman Catholics
or Protestants, Jews or others can live together in peace.

"Where everyone respects the other man's point of view but
no one rejecting the principle of democracy and once that
principle is established, it rules for good." But if the
IRA did disband and did come up to the mark, would Mr
Paisley ever sit down in government with Sinn Fein?

He responded: "Do you really believe that is going to
happen, anybody that says that is living in a world that's

"All I will say is come to me when that glorious day comes,
ask me do I think it will come - no."


Border Station To Be Shut In Armagh

By Jonathan McCambridge
03 February 2006

One of the last remaining border outposts of the PSNI is to
close, the Policing Board has confirmed.

The members of the board yesterday endorsed the Chief
Constable's proposal to close the police station at
Middletown in Co Armagh.

The heavily fortified barracks is in a staunchly
nationalist area and its high security requirements make it
a suitable candidate for closure, police believe.

The station has operated for some time on restricted
opening hours and police have said that its closure would
free up more officers on the ground.

Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said: "Having
considered detailed information on the PSNI's consultation
with the local community on the proposed closure, the plans
for alternative policing arrangements for the Middletown
area, and the views of Armagh District Policing Partnership
and their consultation with the public, the board has
decided to endorse the proposal.

"However, the closure of any police station is a sensitive
issue. In this instance the board is pleased that the
alternative policing measures being put in place will be of
benefit to policing in the area.

"Both the board and Armagh DPP will observe developments
closely in order to ensure that alternative arrangements
set out in the commitment document will ensure that the
people of Middletown are not disadvantaged in any way by
this closure and that policing with the community continues
to be the focus of the police in the area."

He added: "The board therefore believes that the closure of
Middletown station will allow for more effective and
efficient use of police resources."

The closure of the Middletown base is part of the PSNI
Estates Strategy which plans for the construction of new
police stations as well as the maintenance, upgrading and
security review of existing stations.

The strategy also identified 61 stations for review and
possible closure.


Probe Over Solicitor’s ‘Bug’ Claims


A CO Derry solicitor was being questioned by the PSNI last
night after police allegedly bugged confidential
conversations with suspected paramilitary clients.

As officers were given more time to interview Manmohan
Sandhu (41), the Law Society of Northern Ireland demanded
an urgent meeting with Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

The body claimed it was the first case it had dealt with
such a high level of intrusion.

Chief Executive John Bailie said: “When we talk about
solicitor-client confidentiality it’s not something which
works for the benefit of the solicitor.

“It exists for the benefit of the client.

“If a client is supposed to have a committed a criminal
offence he needs to speak to his solicitor candidly.”

Mr Sandhu, from Limavady, was arrested on Tuesday at Antrim
Serious Crime Suite.

He is being questioned about alleged membership of the
loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force.

His solicitor, Joe Rice, claimed the arrest was based on
evidence and intelligence from covert listening devices
planted at the centre.

Mr Sandhu’s private consultations with as many as 50
clients over the past nine months were allegedly taped.

Mr Rice said: “This raises the issue of whether solicitors
in Northern Ireland can continue to professionally advise
clients because they cannot guarantee their advice will be
confidential and free from state interference.

“Mr Sandhu vehemently protests his innocence and believes
that will be established if this ever runs its course.

“It’s a sad day for our criminal justice process that we
cannot assure our clients that our consultations in police
stations are confidential.”

The PSNI refused to comment on what Mr Sandhu was being
questioned about.

A spokeswoman said last night: “We can confirm that we have
made an application for the extension of the detention of a
man that is being questioned at the Serious Crime Suite in

“That has since been granted for a further 48 hours,” he


Orde Facing Quiz Over Alleged Bugging Of Solicitor

The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland is to be questioned about allegations that a
solicitor arrested for suspected terrorist offences was
secretly bugged during confidential meetings with clients.

John Bailie, the Law Society of Northern Ireland`s chief
executive, will demand an explanation when he meets Sir
Hugh Orde in Belfast on Monday to discuss the case.

Manmohan Sandhu, 41, was detained by anti-terrorist
officers on suspicion of membership of the loyalist
paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force.

Mr Sandhu, from Limavady, Co Londonderry, was arrested on
Tuesday at Antrim Serious Crime Suite, Northern Ireland`s
only holding centre for terrorist suspects.

Detectives questioning him have been told he can be held
until Saturday before deciding whether to charge him.

His solicitor, Joe Rice, claimed the arrest was based on
evidence and intelligence from covert listening devices
planted at the centre.

Mr Sandhu`s private consultations with as many as 50
clients over the past nine months were allegedly taped.

Mr Bailie has arranged to hold talks with Sir Hugh after
being urged to intervene by Mr Rice.

A spokesman for the Law Society chief added: "He will be
making no comment about the meeting in advance."

Mr Rice, who stressed his client vehemently protests his
innocence, claimed the case posed a huge threat to his

"This raises the issue of whether solicitors in Northern
Ireland can continue to professionally advise clients
because they cannot guarantee their advice will be
confidential and free from state interference," he said.

"It`s a sad day for our criminal justice process that we
cannot assure our clients that our consultations in police
stations are confidential."


Gerry Adams To Address Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress

Published: 3 February, 2006

Ógra Shinn Féin's National Congress will take place in the
ATGWU Hall, Middle Abbey Street in Dublin this weekend.
The Congress will begin on Friday (3rd) and conclude on
Sunday 5th. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will address
the congress at 1.30pm on Saturday 4th.

Over the weekend young republicans will discuss a range of
motions on the peace process, Irish unity and the 25th
anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes. There are also a
range of motions protesting at the giving away of the
Corrib gas field, calling for an end to the use of Shannon
Airport by US military en route to Iraq and supporting
demands for Irish citizens in the Six Counties to be
afforded the right to vote in the next Presidential
election campaign.

On Saturday Ógra Shinn Féin will announce details of a
nationwide suicide prevention campaign.

The Congress will be open to the media between 1pm and
3.30pm on Saturday 4th.


BNP Leader Walks Free As Race-Hate Prosecution Fails

By Ian Herbert
03 February 2006

The Crown Prosecution Service's high-risk strategy of
bringing race hate charges against the British National
Party (BNP) appeared to have backfired last night as its
leader walked free from court and vowed that he would not
tone down his language.

The Crown Prosecution Service's high-risk strategy of
bringing race hate charges against the British National
Party (BNP) appeared to have backfired last night as its
leader walked free from court and vowed that he would not
tone down his language.

Nick Griffin was cleared of two charges relating to
speeches filmed by a BBC undercover documentary team, and
the jury failed to reach verdicts on two others. His co-
defendant, Mark Collett, was cleared of four similar
charges, and the jury failed to reach verdicts on a further
four counts in his case. The men will be retried on the
unresolved indictments, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
later disclosed.

The risks attached to pursuing Mr Griffin through the
courts were evident on the steps of the Leeds courthouse
late yesterday when, in the full glare of the TV cameras,
the BNP leader made a victory speech out of his acquittal.

"If the Crown Prosecution Service feel they must continue
to persecute us for speaking the truth, we will see them in
court," he said. " This evening, millions of people in
Britain will be holding their heads a little higher and
walking a little taller."

The impending retrial prevented the CPS from discussing its
decision to bring the BNP to court, but Labour MP Shahid
Malik said it had been important to test existing
legislation. "The publicity [the BNP gains] might be
negative, but it is a price worth paying. This case was in
the public interest," he told Channel 4 News.

Mr Griffin's defence team concluded his speech to the jury
as MPs began to debate proposals to make inciting religious
hatred an offence. Labour's defeat on those proposals mean
that the CPS would be unable to use them against the BNP in
a case such as this.

Those who campaign against the far right fear the court
verdict will embolden Mr Griffin, who appeared in one of
the windows of the courtroom as soon as the jury was
discharged and was cheered by supporters carrying Union

Mr Griffin said the court case had been "very good for the
party", which had secured £20,000 from one donor ­ the
single biggest donation it has received.

The Searchlight organisation urged the public to continue
to challenge the BNP's philosophy. "People should not feel
scared or frightened to question or correct the language
that the BNP use," said a spokesman Nick Lowles. "There are
going to be a lot of people who might now feel they
cannot... and it is a concern that this [result] silences
criticism of the BNP."

The 14-day trial heard how Mr Griffin, 46, and Mr Collett,
24, were charged with offences in relation to a series of
speeches they made in West Yorkshire in 2004. They formed
part of a BBC documentary on the BNP, The Secret Agentwhich
was broadcast in July of that year.

Mr Griffin argued that the comments he had made were a
political rallying cry to party members and potential
supporters rather than an incitement to any kind of hatred.
He also argued that his target was not race but religion
(Islam) ­ and that, as the law stood, could not be a crime.

Mr Griffin said he was not commenting on "Asians" as a
racial group. His occasional use of the word "Asian" during
verbal attacks on the Muslim faith was a mistake,
attributable to the fact that he was thinking on his feet.
He expounded his political views so vigorously that the
judge twice reminded him the trial was not a party
political broadcast.

In closing their cases, both defence counsel referred to a
judgment made by Lord Justice Sedley in the High Court in
July 1999 in which he said: " Free speech includes not only
the inoffensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the
eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative
provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only
to speak inoffensively is not worth having."

But Mr Malik said freedom of speech did not mean the right
to " persecute and frighten" and that it had never been "an
unqualified principle." He said: "If you look at [this case
and the] cartoons that are fanning the flames in Europe [a
reference to those of the Prophet Mohamed, first printed in
Denmark], Muslims will feel they are the new Jews of
Europe. We've discovered [today] that there's a gaping hole
in the legislation and we need new legislation to plug that

A CPS spokeswoman said that Mr Griffin would face retrial
on one charge of using words and behaviour intended to stir
up racial hatred, under Section 18(1a) of the Public Order
Act. He will also stand trial on one count of using words
or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred under Section

Mr Collett will face two charges of using words and
behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred, and two
further counts of using word and behaviour likely to stir
up racial hatred.

The contentious statements

Nick Griffin on Stephen Lawrence:

"Notorious for taxing the younger kids for their dinner
money and he was a drug dealer."

Verdict: not guilty

Griffin on Islam:

"This wicked vicious faith has expanded from a handful of
cranky lunatics about 1300 years ago, to its now sweeping
country after country before it."

Verdict: none reached

Griffin alleging that white girls are groomed for sex by
Muslim men:

"Their good book tells them that that's acceptable."

Verdict: none reached

Mark Collett on asylum-seekers:

"They're not just coming here to take money out of our pot
that we've paid into, they're coming here to take our whole
country, to take everything. "

Verdict: not guilty

Mark Collett on Asian men:

"They don't go out mugging Asian grandmas, they don't go
stabbing each other, they don't go trying to solicit sex
off little Pritesh or little Sanjita, they go straight to
the whites 'cos they are trying to destroy us and they are
the racists... Let's do our best and let's show these
ethnics the door in 2004."

Verdict: none reached

Mark Collett on asylum-seekers:


Verdict: none reached


Chilling CCTV Images Capture Sectarian Fire Attack On Home

By Marie Louise McCrory

• SINISTER ATTACK: The front door of a house in the Co Down
village of Stoneyford yesterday after an overnight
sectarian fire attack carried out while a young Catholic
family slept inside PICTURE: Colm Lenaghan

CHILLING CCTV im-ages show the mo-ment when a gang of men
tried to set fire to a Co Antrim home in an attack the
family have described as “purely sectarian”.

The Catholic couple and their five-year-old daughter
escaped injury when petrol was poured on their front door
in Stoneyford early yesterday and set alight.

The attack was caught on a CCTV camera which the couple had
installed at their home in the mixed Stonebridge Meadows
estate after two previous incidents.

Images show three men approaching the house just before
1am. They initially appear to be scared away but return
minutes later and an accelerant – believed to be petrol –
is poured over the front door and set alight.

They are seen running from the scene as flames and smoke
appear at the front of the property.

The 31-year-old man who lives at the house with his 26-
year-old partner – neither of whom wanted to be identified
– said they were woken by a neighbour raising the alarm.

The couple expressed concerned for their daughter.

“As soon as we got down the stairs the whole door was
engulfed with the flames,” the woman said.

“I didn’t know how I was going to get her out.”

Her partner used a garden hose on the flames until
firefighters arrived.

He said it was the third time the house had been targeted
by “sectarian cowards and bigots”. In previous attacks the
front door was smashed and paint bombs thrown.

“They come at night when people are in bed,” he said

The householder said people living in the estate wanted to
be left alone to live in peace with each other.

“You feel like you are hitting your head off a brick wall.
You fix your house up every time it happens,” his partner

She said she and her neighbours just wanted to be left to
live alongside each other.

“Nobody wants it up here,” she said.

Paul Butler, Sinn Fein’s Lagan Valley representative, said:
“It follows a pattern of attacks against Catholics in the
mixed village which Sinn Fein has highlighted.

“We utterly condemn this act and call upon [DUP Lagan
Valley MP] Jeffrey Donaldson and other unionist politicians
to not just condemn this act but use their influence with
loyalists to bring this sectarian campaign to an end.”

Mr Donaldson said yesterday: “All sectarian attacks are to
be condemned and attacks of this nature are wrong.”

However, police said they were not treating the attack as
sectarian but “as related to an ongoing dispute between


PSNI ‘Won’t Call Attack Sectarian’

by Ciarán Barnes

The PSNI has been criticised for refusing to describe an
arson attack in a predominantly loyalist Co Antrim village
as sectarian.

Yesterday morning petrol was poured around the front door
of a nationalist home in the Stone Bridge Meadows area of

Scorch damage was caused to the front of the property after
the petrol was set alight. There were no injuries.

In a statement yesterday, the PSNI said the incident was
not sectarian, a claim rubbished by Sinn Féin.

Lisburn councillor Paul Butler, who spoke with relatives of
the family who were targeted, said it was common knowledge
the attack had a sectarian motive.

He said: “This is the third attack on this home in the last
year. This family has had their house and car windows
smashed on previous occasions by loyalists.

“Loyalists are actively trying to drive Catholics out of
Stoneyford. By refusing to describe this latest attack as
sectarian the PSNI is covering up for those responsible.”

Mr Butler said he will be raising the issue of sectarian
attacks in Stoneyford with representatives of the Irish

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said it is investigating an
incident in the area.

She said an accelerant was poured over the front door of a
house and set alight, causing damage to the property.

“No one was injured and the attack is not being treated as
sectarian,” she added.

Last summer the homes and cars of nationalists living in
Stoneyford were targeted in a series of attacks, which
occurred a short time after loyalists staged a series of
parades the area.


Republican Under Threat From Dissidents

by Ciarán Barnes

GardaÍ have warned a Co Kerry republican that his life is
under threat from the Continuity IRA.

Detectives called to John O’Shea’s home in Ballylongford
last week to warn him of the death threat.

They said he was being targeted by dissident republicans.

The 45-year-old is a former member of Republican Sinn Féin,
the Continuity IRA’s political wing, who resigned in the

Mr O’Shea quit after a dispute over funding for Continuity
IRA prisoners jailed on Portlaoise’s E4 landing.

Last August, ten of the inmates resigned from the
Continuity IRA complaining their families were not getting
financial help from Republican Sinn Féin.

Their departure caused a major split in Continuity IRA and
Republican Sinn Féin ranks with mass resignations
throughout Ireland.

The entire Republican Sinn Féin cumann in Ballylongford
left the party, joining the new Concerned Group for
Republican Prisoners (CGRP).

Since joining the CGRP, Mr O’Shea says he has received
threatening telephone calls from Continuity IRA members.

At Christmas, he was forced to change his home telephone
number because of the frequency of the calls. Undeterred
though, he continues to collect money for the families of
inmates on E4.

Mr O’Shea told Daily Ireland that although worried by the
death threats he has no plans to end his prisoner work. He
said: “I’ve been part of the republican movement since I
was 16 years-old and I’m not going to walk away now.

“I’m taking these latest threats seriously, but I will not
allow the Continuity IRA to stop me working for the E4

“I am calling on those targeting me to leave me alone. I
pose no threat to anyone.”


Man With Republican Links At Centre Of Fuel Smuggling Probe

By Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent

A south Armagh businessman is the subject of a cross-border
investigation into a fuel laundering racket believed to be
run by republicans.

The man, who now lives in Co Louth, is believed to have
become wealthy selling contraband diesel and petrol while
using his legitimate businesses as a front.

The authorities in Northern Ireland have previously carried
out an investigation into his tax affairs but the man has
continued to operate his businesses south of the border.

Garda sources confirmed that the businessman is being
investigated by detectives who believe he works hand-in-
hand with republican paramilitaries in the lucrative
smuggling industry.

Sources said that the middle-aged individual, a keen racing
fan, had been the subject of unconfirmed speculation and
rumours for many years but was “very well-known” and his
family was well-liked.

He has a number of relatives still living in the south
Armagh area.

The fuel laundering trade is estimated to be worth £130
million a year with illegal petrol and diesel said to
account for half the fuel used in Northern Ireland.

A spokeswoman for the Revenue Commissioners said the sale
and use of laundered oil continued to be a “serious factor”
in the Republic last year with 127 detections, including 21
retail outlets/oil distributors, 71 hauliers and 311,404
litres of laundered oil seized.

The latest data shows that auto diesel is selling at E1.42
in Northern Ireland compared with E105.5 in the Republic.

Unleaded petrol is selling at E1.35 in the north compared
with E105.2 in the south, highlighting “the profits to be
made smuggling duty paid auto diesel and petrol from south
to north”.

Meanwhile, detectives are continuing to investigate the
activities of a second south Armagh businessman who was at
the centre of a series of raids in Dublin, Meath and Armagh
this week.

The Provisional IRA sympathiser is believed to play a key
role in a multi-million euro money laundering scheme, with
funds from the 2004 Northern Bank robbery being channelled
through a E100 million property empire.

Gardai are combing through dozens of files, computer disks
and hard-drives seized during searches of more than 20
businesses by around 100 officers during a four-day period.

Raids took place on a prominent Dublin city centre hotel, a
well-known pub as well as homes

and the offices of solicitors and accountants.


Opin: Over To You Mr Blair – It’s Time For Action

Gearóid Ó Cairealláin

The IMC has basically said that the IRA are a pack of
liars who tried to pull a fast one last summer by going on
TV all over the world, announcing their dump arms order and
directing members to cease all military activity and
concentrate their attention on the political and democratic
methods of achieving their aims.

According to the IMC, that was just a cock-and-bull story,
a merry dance set to lead the good people of Ulster up the
garden path with Séanna Breathnach singing the lead and P
O’Neill beating the big drum. On video, too.

And what a shrewd politician that Ian Paisley is. Big Ian,
he read the cards right, saw all the signs. He knew what
the Provos were up to. Just felt it in his waters. What a
sap that De Chastelain guy was.

Decommissioning my eye. They’ve kept their guns – God knows
how many – and probably half of their bombs as well. And
they are spying all over the place, gathering intelligence
on everybody from the top cops to the street-rat drug
dealers. More or less just continuing on with business as
usual except for the fact that they haven’t actually shot
anyone or blown up a building… they haven’t gone away, you
know, they may as well go back to doing what they do best.

Anyway, that’s more or less what your average unionist has
extracted from this week’s ‘bullshit of the highest order’.
Republicans, nationalists and others persons of sanity beg
to differ, and we are no further along.

It had been hoped for a while that the IMC would be forced
to report positively about the IRA ceasing all activity,
thereby clearing the ground for moves towards talks between
Sinn Féin and the DUP with a view to restoring the
institutions at Stormont toute suite. Now we can see that
that pipedream was also a load of bullshit. It is time to
get real.

The DUP are against having the institutions at Stormont re-
invigorated because that would mean sharing power with Sinn
Féin. Sharing power with Sinn Féin means having someone
like Martin McGuinness or Gerry Kelly being elevated to
ministerial position in order to govern the good people of
Ulster. The Prods.

As far as Paisley is concerned, Sinn Féin will never govern
the good people of Ulster.

This week’s IMC’s report gave Paisley the excuse he needed
to stall the peace process even further. But why are we
surprised at this? It was for this very reason that the IMC
was established, in order to provide the DUP with copper-
fastened excuses to continue to drag their feet, slow
things down to less that the pace of your average crippled
snail, and hold out for better times to come.

The DUP’s hope is that, after continued periods of
frustration and refusal, the British government will
eventually concede that the Good Friday Agreement is dead
and must be replaced by something else, some other
agreement that would be acceptable to the DUP.

So let us not get duped into pretending that the next IMC
report might be more positive about the IRA, thereby
whipping the mat from under the feet of Big Ian. The next
one, and the one after that, and all consequent IMC reports
are just as likely to hum the tune the DUP want to hear.

You don’t have to be a genius to work it out. Rocket
science it ain’t. The IMC is made up of political, security
and intelligence figures from within the unionist camp.
These people do not want the implementation of the Good
Friday Agreement because it would signal the end of their
bigoted little six-county power structure. Unionist
political, security and intelligence figures provide the
IMC with ‘reports’ of IRA ‘activity’ which, in turn, allows
the DUP to stomp and snarl, and the self-serving circle is

And if the IMC ever did run out of steam and if everyone
from Ballymena to Downing Street was agreed that the IRA
had ceased to be active in any shape or form, the DUP would
find some other excuse. The same unionist political,
security and intelligence figures would come up with
something else. At this rate, nothing can stop Paisley
stopping everything.

But Tony Blair could.

The basic problem is that no-one has made it clear to the
DUP that the alternative to the Good Friday Agreement will
be much worse for them than the Good Friday Agreement. They
simply have no incentive to share power with the rest of us
because the consequences of not sharing power with Sinn
Féin are, well, not sharing power Sinn Féin. And the DUP do
not want to share power with Sinn Féin.

It is time for Tony Blair to get real. He said in the
British parliament this week that the British government
cannot force parties into working together. Maybe not, but
he can make the consequence of not working together so
painful and unpleasant that the voters would force their
parties into working together.

First off, he could make it clear that the institutions are
going to be set up, re-empowered and allowed to function
with no pull-down clause for unionists. Then if the DUP
decide not to take part, they will only be denying their
own constituents access to the powers of government.

He could announce that from a future date – say 12 months
or so – all economic support for the six-county state will
be channelled through the Stormont Executive. So if the DUP
decide to absent themselves from the system, the only
result will be hitting their own constituents where it
hurts the most.

The British prime minister has the power to make it clear
to the DUP that the days are long gone when unionists
decide what happens and what doesn’t happen in the North of
Ireland. There no longer is a privileged class, and
certainly no privileged party.

Tony Blair could let the DUP know for a fact that the
institutions are going to be set up in, say, May of this
year, and if they do not like that idea they can test their
support at the elections that will be held the following

Tony Blair can say a number of things. He has options. But
sitting back and waiting for the DUP to decide the time is
right to share power with Sinn Féin is not one of them.

He has to get real. He has to take action.


Opin: Mary, Hang Your Head In Shame

Editor: Colin O’Carroll

The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, said yesterday that she hopes
that by the time of the next Independent Monitoring
Commission (IMC) report – due out in April – there will
have been substantial progress on the issue of ‘IRA
criminality’. In saying this, she appears to accept without
demur the unionist contention that political progress is
impossible in the light of the latest report, published on

Depending on which unionist party you listen to, progress
is impossible either for the foreseeable future, or
forever. The British government, which set up the IMC
outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in a
desperate and ultimately futile bid to save David Trimble,
has been scrupulous in its efforts to avoid any hint that
the IMC report might be a barrier to political progress. Ms
Harney, on the other hand, seems to have accepted that the
ball is up in the slates – at least for another three
months – as a result of what’s contained in the report.

That unionist politicians would eagerly fall on this
intellectually threadbare and evidentially worthless
document as an excuse to dig their heels in was as
inevitable as it was depressing. But for a senior member of
the Irish government to side with the unionists in ruling
out immediate and substantial progress is a huge

Or perhaps Ms Harney agreed with the Minister for Foreign
Affairs (that’s foreign, remember, as in north of Dundalk
and east of Donegal) when he called a speedy resumption of
power-sharing in the North. If so, then maybe she’d be so
good as to clear things up for us.

If there’s been a more unedifying spectacle than
politicians in the Dáil lining up to take cynical and
dogmatic positions on the back of the IMC report then we’d
like to see it. Or maybe we wouldn’t. The UUP and the DUP
have no interest in analysing the IMC report – the
soundbites about continuing intelligence gathering and the
headlines about arms being kept are enough for them. But at
the very least we should expect Irish politicians who are –
nominally at least – still behind the peace process to look
long and hard at this report before shooting off at the
mouth about it.

For it is our contention that this report would be rejected
as lacking rigour and credibility by a Leaving Cert
student. Were it ever to be dissected in a legal forum –
which it won’t – it would be laughed out of court in 30
seconds. And yet some experienced and astute politicians in
the Dáil are accepting it without question and – worse –
accepting the proposition that this shoddy and flimsy
document is enough to hold up political progress. It is

We recommend that those who are waving the IMC report over
their heads and shouting ‘told you so’ read the document in
its entirety, rather than just the bullet points on the TV
news. And after they’ve done so, we defy them to reach a
different conclusion from ours.


Opin: Political Vacuum Is No Longer An Option

By Denis Bradley

I believe in God but does God believe in me? It was the
favoured expression of an old priest friend of mine.

Sinn Fein and the DUP might do worse than ask themselves
something similar. ‘I believe in Britain but does Britain
believe in me?’ is the DUP version and for Sinn Fein it is
‘I believe in Ireland but does Ireland believe in me?’

The last few years of politics have been like watching
paint dry and within the general population it has nurtured
cynicism and apathy. But the political stalemate has had
one beneficial effect.

It has stripped away all the superfluous issues and has
shone the spotlight on the central one that has underpinned
all of the divisions and all of the troubles that has been
our lot for all too many years. Are we British or are we
Irish or are we both?

And returning to the original question, which of those two
countries wants us the most or, more pertinent, which of
them wants us the least?

When Tony Blair met Bertie Ahern in Dublin last week the
body language and the somewhat inarticulate press
conference was interesting.

Most commentators that I read described the summit as
lacking in substance and direction.

I don’t think that is true.

For the first time in a long time, and maybe for the first
time ever, both prime ministers admitted that the political
vacuum was not an option. Both talked about the dangers in
the undergrowth of political stalemate. Nothing
particularly new in those observations but both then went
on to assert that if the parties here were unwilling or
incapable of reaching an accommodation then it was the
responsibility of the governments to do something. None of
this was said with any great force or passion. It came out
in a stuttering and stammering manner.

They were sticking to the script that Plan A is still a
devolved government accompanied by the all Ireland
institutions but plan B was reluctantly, delicately even,
being placed on the table.

So what is plan B?

Well, if it involves both governments, it can only be one
thing. It is a form of joint management, joint authority or
joint governance. It can be called any of those or indeed
some other juxtaposing of words but what it means is that
both governments take responsibility for governing the
north. It means that both put in ministers to run the
various departments. It would probably be about three
ministers from each government, chaired by a type of
secretary of state. Both governments would put in money to
continue the financial subvention that is necessary to keep
the economy going (the money will become the difficult and
defining factor).

There is no other plan B and if the impasse is too
dangerous to be allowed to continue and our politicians are
incapable of reaching an agreement or sustaining an
agreement and if both governments have to take
responsibility, then what else are they talking about and
what else can they do?

Unionist politicians of all shades go berserk at the
mention of joint authority. They cry foul and dangerous.

I have known politicians from that tradition who have been
able to discuss a united Ireland with more equilibrium and
rationality than they have been able to discuss joint

Those same politicians talk quite eloquently and sensibly
about the need for Sinn Fein or the IRA or both to reassure
and build trust in the unionist community. They never
appear to understand or address the converse of that very
sensible argument. They never seem to understand that the
nationalist/Catholic community needs reassurance and
confidence about their future.

And they are certainly not getting it at the moment.

Every vibe coming from unionist politicians and
particularly from the DUP is that they would be more than
content to live under direct rule forever and a day.

Joint authority has much to recommend it. It incarnates the
spirit of the Good Friday Agreement in giving equal
expression to both traditions. It neuters all the
paramilitary organisations. It draws a clear line between
politically motivated actions and criminal actions. It
encourages all of our parties to move beyond the
suffocating parameters of the Troubles.

It shames our own politicians and prods all of them into
finding a way into their own regional government. But maybe
its greatest attraction is that it will slowly but very
surely evoke and define an answer as to whom we believe in
most and, more importantly, who believes in us?


Opin: No Room For Doubts Over IRA Weapons

03 February 2006

Normally it is the political parties that disagree with
each other but at present Northern Ireland is being treated
to the unusual spectacle of a difference of opinion between
the province's two official monitoring bodies.

On the day the Independent Monitoring Commission was due to
publish its report, the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning weighed in with an
unscheduled submission, dealing with the crucial question
of whether the IRA had held onto some weapons.

The result is that the main burden of the IMC's report has
been overshadowed by yet another decommissioning row. The
IMC says it has "credible information", presumably from
PSNI Special Branch and MI5, that not all the IRA's weapons
were handed over for decommissioning.

For its part, the IICD says it checked with the IRA and
security sources in the Republic and was reassured it had
been correct in its assertion that all weaponry had been
put beyond use. The two bodies have different views on what
is a key question and the public is left to draw its own

The shadow of the gunman has returned to haunt the peace
process. Inevitably, the fall-out of this divergence is
already undermining next week's attempt by the two
Governments to revive political talks.

Despite the progress that has been made, trust is still in
short supply, and the IMC's reports on the decommissiong
question - albeit unconfirmed - do nothing to encourage the
unionist parties to engage with Sinn Fein. While unionists
must not be unreasonable in their demands, this problem
must be resolved in a way that leaves no room for doubt.
Guns must be removed from the political equation.

A crisis is building but one way to build confidence would
be for the IICD to publish more details about the weaponry
that has been decommissioned. An inventory has been
promised, once all organisations have disarmed, but such a
publication could and should be accelerated.

Inevitably, the dispute over weapons has taken the
spotlight off other key areas of the IMC report, most
notably its assessment that the IRA supertanker is
gradually turning in the right direction. Clearly this is
all going to take time, and even the next IMC report in
April may not be able to give the IRA a completely clean
bill of health.

Gradually, Northern Ireland is emerging from the troubles,
but challenges still lie ahead - not least in the
decommissioning of loyalist weaponry. If a prosperous new
future is to emerge, all paramilitary arsenals must be

For all its qualifications, the IMC's report raises
questions about republicanism's bona fides that must be
answered. As ever, political progress hinges on openness
and transparency.


Feb. 03, 2006

Group To Discuss Illegal Immigration In Meeting Here

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, a New York group,
is holding a town-hall meeting from 7:30 to 9:30 tonight at
the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.

The meeting will address various congressional proposals to
deal with illegal immigration. The hotel is at 201 S.
Christopher Columbus Blvd. Admission is free. - Gaiutra


Bishop Casey To Return To Ireland Tomorrow

03/02/2006 - 07:37:17

Former Bishop Eamonn Casey is reportedly set to return to
Ireland tomorrow to live out his retirement in his former
Co Galway diocese.

The 78-year-old fled Ireland in 1992 after the revelation
that he had fathered a son with an American woman whom he
had been involved with for some time.

Dr Casey had already indicated his intention to return to
Galway once a sexual assault allegation against him was
dealt with.

However, reports this morning said he had grown weary of
waiting for Gardaí to contact him in Britain and was
planning to return home himself and make contact with
detectives investigating the case.

A woman has accused Dr Casey of sexually assaulting her
when she was a child more than 20 years ago, but he has
vigorously denied the allegation and says he is confident
of being vindicated.


West Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter Has Tremendous Tourism
Potential - de Brún

Published: 3 February, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will meet with
representatives of West Belfast based Irish Langauge
Development Body Fobairt Feirste at their Falls Road
offices 'An Nasc' later morning (11.00am) to receive an
update on progress with plans for the development of a
designated 'Gaeltacht Quarter' in West Belfast.

Fobairt Feirste has been working along with other Irish
Language and Business interests in partnership with
representatives of DCAL. DSD and DETI to progress the
recommendation of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill
Task Force for the creation of a Gaeltacht Quarter
Development Board and the creation of a designated
Gaeltacht Quarter centred on the Irish Language corridor on
the Falls Road.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Today's briefing with Fobairt Feirste provides an
opportunity to receive an update on developments for the
Gaeltacht Quarter in the heart of West Belfast. The Irish
language has been thriving in recent years across the city
of Belfast. In spite of government neglect and indifference
to the language both north and south, the Irish language
community has worked hard to ensure the sustainability of
the education system, cultural and economic sectors.

"The plans for the development of the Gaeltacht Quarter are
both exciting and ambitious and are rooted in the
recommendation of the Ministerial Task Force which
recognised the unique regeneration opportunity presented by
properly resourced development of the cultural cluster
centred on the Falls Road into a designated Gaeltacht
Quarter. Such a development would compliment the massive
revival of the language and promote a self

contained area where language enthusiasts can live and
work. It would also open up further employment
opportunities for Irish speakers and is a unique selling
point for the City of Belfast in terms of attracting
visitors and potential investors to a vibrant and unique
cultural quarter. The Gaeltacht Quarter would undoubtedly
become a long term tourist and regeneration centre on the
Falls Road.

"It is now essential that there is a strategic focus
between local businesses, the Irish language sector, the
relevant British government departments and Belfast City
Council to prime-pump activity in the area and to the
develop a comprehensive business case and development plan
for the Gaeltacht Quarter.

"The recent decision to designate Irish as an official
working language of the European Union is a testament to
the tenacity of Irish language enthusiasts from across
Ireland to influence European decision-making. A similar
level of commitment to the Gaeltacht Quarter will ensure it
comes to fruition and receives the support of the local
community as well as that of government.

"I will be also looking to other European regions to look
at similar cultural-based regeneration models with a view
to facilitating linkages and partnerships and to seeing
what lessons which can be learned from them." ENDS

Note to Editor:

Forbairt Feirste was established in 1994 to 'promote our
cultural heritage through economic regeneration'. The
organisation's main aim is 'the creation of jobs and new
opportunities for Belfast's' Irish speaking community'.

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