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February 26, 2006

Collusion Probe Delays Complaints

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ST 02/26/06 Collusion Probe Delays Complaints
BB 02/26/06 Six Officers Injured During Portadown Riots
IT 02/26/06 Portadown Violence Connected To Dublin Riots
IN 02/26/06 Loyalists Given Jail Sentences On Appeal
GU 02/26/06 Orange March Sparks Dublin Riots
UT 02/26/06 37 Arrested Over Dublin Riots
RE 02/26/06 Reports Suggest Irish Riots Planned In Advance
BB 02/26/06 Thirteen Charged Over Dublin Riot
ST 02/26/06 Who Let The Mob Run Free?
BN 02/26/06 Gardaí 'Were Unprepared For Dublin Riot'
UN 02/26/06 Garda Commissioner: No Prior Warning On Scale Of Riots
II 02/26/06 Gardai Missed A Clear Sign That A Riot Was On The Cards
ST 02/26/06 Republicans Told: ‘Do All In Your Power To Stop It’
ST 02/26/06 Loyalists Forced To Retreat As Riots Halt March
II 02/26/06 Crazed Thugs Beat 'Orange B****rd' Bird
BN 02/26/06 McDowell: Rioting Republicans Set Agenda Back Five Years
II 02/26/06 White House Snubs Adams As Raffertys Prepare To Meet Bush
BB 02/26/06 Man Held Over Loyalist Guns Released
ST 02/26/06 Before Omagh Gardai & MI5 Were Told. Why They Did Nothing?
SB 02/26/06 FG Gains Still Not Enough For ‘Alternative Government’
UR 02/26/06 The Sanitized Horrors Of Guantánamo Bay
IN 02/26/06 Opin: DUP’s Outdated Rhetoric No Longer Fools Anyone
II 02/26/06 Opin: If Anyone Forgot, Violence Is What Republicans Do
NU 02/26/06 Bk Rev: Ò Brádaigh: Life & Politics Of Irish Revolutionary
CL 02/26/06 Bk Rev: The Story Of His Life
ML 02/26/06 County Kerry Mayor Toireasa Ferris To Visit Wmass
BN 02/26/06 Charity Climbers Set Sights On Four Peaks Challenge


Collusion Probe Delays Complaints

Liam Clarke

THE Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has
paid an outside legal expert almost £500,000 to consider
files on security force collusion it received nearly three
years ago.

The revelation will fuel public disquiet at the cost of the
inquiry into murders committed during the Troubles and the
level of official delay in reaching conclusions about any
matter where intelligence is involved.

The files, prepared by Sir John Stevens, were submitted
early in April 2003. According to the PPS, the Stevens
files “refer to nine members or former members of the
security forces who have been reported for prosecution
decisions”, but “a number of other persons are reported on
the files for information”.

About 20 people are thought to be involved in total. The
most senior member of the security forces to be referred
for a prosecution decision is Brigadier John Gordon Kerr.
He is the former head of the Force Research Unit (FRU), a
British military intelligence informant-handling unit found
guilty of collusion by Stevens.

The Stevens inquiry centres around the murder of Pat
Finucane, the Belfast solicitor gunned down in front of his
family on February 12, 1989.

By the time Stevens submitted the files with a finding that
collusion had occurred, his inquiry had already cost £4m.
Since then it has been extended to include the activities
of Freddie Scappaticci, the IRA’s deputy head of internal
security who was also a British agent.

The cost of these further inquiries had already risen to
£9m. No members of the security forces had been prosecuted
by the time the Stevens probe was merged with the PSNI’s
historic inquiries team last year. The team has a budget of
£30m and covers all murders committed during the Troubles.

Last November Dave Cox and Phillip James, who head the
inquiry, said it was unlikely that any members of the
security forces would face prosecution as a result of the
Stevens probe.

Despite this the PPS is continuing to consider cases even
though it has no real idea of the cost involved and no
target date for decision-making.


Six Officers Injured During Portadown Riots

Six police officers have been injured during rioting
involving up to 100 people in Portadown town centre.

One officer is reported to have sustained serious facial
injuries during the disturbance.

Two police vehicles and a number of other vehicles were
damaged. A 30-year-old man has been charged with assault
and disorderly behaviour.

The trouble broke out in the early hours of Sunday at about
0100 GMT when bricks and bottles were thrown.

At one stage, a group of men attacked a woman police
officer and forced her to the ground before kicking and
punching her.

The 30-year-old man is due to appear before Craigavon
Magistrates Court next month.

Meanwhile, a 34-year-old man has been released on bail
pending further police inquiries.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/26 10:06:54 GMT


Portadown Violence Connected To Dublin Riots

Last updated: 26-02-06, 12:16

The SDLP has condemned rioting in Portadown overnight in
which six PSNI officers were hurt.

A police spokeswoman said over 100 people were involved in
the throwing of missiles and the damaging of vehicles in
the High Street and Edward Street area.

A police officer sustained "serious facial injuries" and a
female officer kicked an punched by a group of men, the
spokeswoman said.

Two men were arrested. A 30-year-old man is due to appear
before Craigavon magistrates next month charged with
disorderly conduct and assault. Another man was freed on
bail pending further inquiries.

The SDLP's Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said the violence
may have been a reaction to riots in Dublin yesterday.

She said: "Whether this is related to the violence in
Dublin or not makes no difference whatsoever. Violence of
this nature is wrong and cannot be tolerated. Just like the
scenes in Dublin earlier in the day, I have no doubt that
the violence in Portadown was orchestrated by a few bad
apples of our society."

It was "particularly horrific that a female police officer
was assaulted so viciously", she added.

© 2006


Loyalists Given Jail Sentences On Appeal

By Catherine Morrison

THREE loyalists who escaped jail despite mounting a road
block at an Orange arch and pointing an AK47 rifle at
motorists and police were given twoyear sentences on appeal

Stephen Maternaghan (23) and brothers John (28) and Gary
McDonald (22), all of Innisrush Road, Portglenone, admitted
using the deactivated weapon to stop vehicles in the Co
Antrim village on July 12 2003.

They were sentenced last October to three years each in
prison, suspended for five years.

However, the case sparked an angry reaction from
nationalists, amid demands for zero tolerance for those
convicted of gun crimes.

The Attorney General ruled last month that their suspended
sentences were too lenient and referred the case to the
Court of Appeal.

At a hearing yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr,
sitting with Lord Justice Nicholson and Mr Justice Girvan,
overturned the sentences.

The men had previously claimed the road-blocking operation
was to protect an Orange arch which had been destroyed by
fire in the past.

At their trial, defence lawyers claimed the trio had been
drunk and “misguided and stupid in the extreme” displaying
an “aberration of behaviour totally out of character”.

The men attended the court yesterday, which heard that a
total of four men were involved in several incidents in the
early hours of the Twelfth but one escaped.

Sir Brian relayed the sequence of events that night, which
saw two men – a father and a son – being threatened at
gunpoint during two separate incidents.

Both motorists believed they were being fired upon by the
armed and masked men, the court heard.

When police arrived on the scene, Sir Brian added, the
gunman adopted a “kneeling position” and appeared on the
verge of opening fire.

After an officer identified himself, the men ran off into
nearby fields, where three of them were apprehended.

The imitation gun, a pick-axe handle, live and blank
bullets and a balaclava were later recovered during

The maximum sentence for causing an affray is life
imprisonment and possession of a real, deactivated or
imitation weapon carries a maximum 10-year term.

Overturning the suspended sentences, Lord Chief Justice Sir
Brian Kerr described the offences as “pre-planned” and
“sinister” and said the original sentence “should not have
been passed”.

“To be confronted by masked men apparently armed must be a
terrifying experience and those concerned must have feared
for their lives,” he said.

“Our society – perhaps more than most – requires a clear
understanding amongst all its sections that law is enforced
by the police service and the criminal justice agencies and
that any attempt by individuals to

take the law into their own hands will be dealt with

Sir Brian congratulated the police officers for their
restraint, remarking that they could have opened fire on
the men, who gave every appearance that they were about to

“We are loath to accept that this episode was planned out
simply to protect property,” he added.

“We consider that this was a planned operation and that the
offenders had armed themselves not only with the means of
intimidating those travelling on the road to stop but also
with weapons that could have been used to inflict violence
upon them or their vehicles.”

The trio were each ordered to serve two years in custody
and one year on probation.

They were given 48 hours to surrender themselves into


Orange March Sparks Dublin Riots

26 February 2006 08:33

The first loyalist march in Dublin since Partition had to
be rerouted after thousands of republican protesters rioted
in the centre of the Irish capital on Saturday, with
several Irish police among 40 people injured.

The main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, became a battle
zone as up to 2 000 rioters tore up building materials
being used in major renovation work in the road and hurled
them at Irish police. Shops and hotels closed their doors,
and at least three Irish police officers were taken to
hospital as rioters hurled scaffolding poles, bricks,
slates and rocks at their lines.

Violence raged throughout the afternoon as protesters
opposed to the Love Ulster rally, involving Orangemen and
relatives of Irish Republican Army (IRA) murder victims,
fought running battles with Irish police. Cars were set
alight and fireworks thrown at police. Shops near O'Connell
Bridge were looted as the riot squad combined with a
mounted unit initially prevented demonstrators, some of
whom were chanting "IRA, IRA", from crossing the River

Among those injured in the clashes was veteran Irish
television reporter Charlie Bird. There were reports the
RTE journalist was attacked by a mob outside a hotel in
O'Connell Street. A photographer was also set upon by a
gang on the steps of the Gresham hotel.

The chaotic scenes took place during a weekend when Dublin
was meant to be showcasing itself as a world tourist
destination. Thousands of tourists were in the city for
Sunday's Six Nations rugby international between Ireland
and Wales, and for the Jameson Dublin International Film

After an hour-long stand-off, the march headed by unionist
victims' spokesperson Willie Frazer was stopped from its
proposed route along O'Connell Street. Unable to clear the
area of demonstrators, Irish police ordered loyalist
marchers and their three bands on to buses and made them
drive over to the Dail.

Irish police tried several times to remove the protesters,
many of whom hid their faces with Celtic scarves, from
O'Connell Street, but they reassembled in side streets. As
the rioting continued on the northern side of the Liffey,
the loyalists protested outside the Dail gates at about
2pm, the tunes of the Orange bands echoing to empty streets
that the police had cordoned off.

By 3pm, the rioters had forced their way across O'Connell
Bridge where there were further clashes with riot officers.
A car was set alight in the middle of Nassau Street while a
small group of rioters smashed up the headquarters of the
Progressive Democrats, the junior partner in the ruling
coalition. During the attack on the party office, the
rioters used wheelie bins to smash windows and damage the
front door. Rioting also erupted in Temple Bar, the city's
main tourist quarter.

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochana said that by early
afternoon six people had been taken to hospital, including
the three Irish police officers, and 12 people arrested.
But the final injury figure was potentially much higher.
The chaos was largely due to demonstrators vastly
outnumbering those deployed to police the rally.

Ruairi O'Bradaigh, president of republican party Sinn Fein,
which organised the protest against the Love Ulster rally,
compared the scenes to riots outside the British embassy in
1981 over the republican hunger strike at the Maze.

"I haven't seen anything like this for 25 years; in fact,
this is much worse. They [the authorities] underestimated
the depth of resistance to this march," said the veteran
republican leader, as fireworks exploded and bottles
smashed at garda lines beside the statue of protestant
nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell.

One of those protesting against the loyalist march, Sean
Fallon, who described himself as an ordinary GAA-supporting
non-political Dubliner, said: "If the loyalists had just
come down and laid a wreath somewhere and then met a
government minister, I wouldn't have minded. But to try and
walk down our main street waving the Union Jack, playing
Orange tunes and generally rubbing our noses in it is going
too far. That's why I'm here."

The Love Ulster rally was organised by the South Armagh-
based Families Acting for Innocent Relatives. One speaker,
the Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson, said the trip
to Dublin had been worth it because people exercised their
civil rights. -- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers
Limited 2006


37 Arrested Over Dublin Riots

Almost 40 rioters were arrested yesterday after Republican
demonstrators ran running battles with riot police across
Dublin city centre over a disputed unionist parade.

By:Press Association

As order was restored to the Irish capital, gardai
confirmed 37 people were in custody on a number of charges
including public order offences, causing criminal damage
and riotous behaviour.

Six gardai were injured in the sustained violence as around
1,000 protestors launched attack after attack on police
lines forcing the Love Ulster rally involving Orangemen and
relatives of IRA murder victims to be cancelled.

Eight other people suffered injuries and a number of
walking wounded were also seen on the city streets after
rioters used rubble from building works on O`Connell
Street, the city`s main thoroughfare, as missiles.

Dozens of fireworks exploded in the faces of riot police
while flares, bricks, paint bombs and bottles rained down
in indiscriminate attacks on officers. One journalist was

Gardai said much of the rioting was fuelled by drink.

Those in custody are expected to appear before the courts
over the next few days.

As the rioting spread across the city centre, youths using
petrol bombs set a line of cars ablaze yards from the front
door of Leinster House, the Irish Parliament buildings.

Barricades were erected by protestors at the front of the
GPO on O`Connell Street, the headquarters of the 1916
Easter Rising, as rioters charged police and fought hand-
to-hand battles with around 100 officers. Bins were also
set on fire.

Dozens of Welsh rugby fans, in Dublin for the weekend`s Six
Nations clash with Ireland, took refuge in hotel foyers as
the violence went on.

Up to 1,000 unionists and campaigners, who had travelled
across the border, were prevented from marching through the
capital and instead put on buses and driven to Leinster
House where a short parade was held.

But as the demonstrators closed in on the unionist rally
and threatened to breach security barriers, the march
organisers were bussed out of the city.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a Democratic Unionist MP and one of
those due to speak at the event organised by the victims
group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), met
with Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell while trouble

A gang of around 30 youths smashed windows in Mr McDowell`s
Progressive Democrat party offices. Metal chairs and tables
from nearby restaurants were used as missiles as mounted
police and garda dog teams arrived on scene to break up the

Mr Donaldson, Ulster Unionist deputy leader Danny Kennedy
and FAIR director William Frazer handed a letter of
complaint to Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

And they also asked the Minister thank the gardai for their
professionalism and courage and express their profound
regret that members of the force had been injured.

The rioters were roundly condemned by leaders on both sides
of the border.

President Mary McAleese said the violence was totally

"The unnecessary violence which erupted in Dublin city
centre is totally unacceptable," Mrs McAleese said.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, condemned those involved in
the violence.

He said: "There is absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful
scenes in Dublin today.

"It is the essence of Irish democracy and republicanism
that people are allowed express their views freely and in a
peaceful manner.

"People who wantonly attack Gardai and property have no
respect for their fellow citizens."

And the Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said: "All
efforts to provoke sectarian conflict on our island must be
vigorously opposed.

"There can be no place in modern Ireland for sectarianism
or efforts to support such attacks for political gain."

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, said the rioting was
entirely wrong and reprehensible.

"There is no justification for what happened this afternoon
in Dublin. Sinn Fein had appealed to people to ignore this
loyalist parade and not to be provoked by it," Mr Adams

"Our view was that it should not be opposed in any way and
we made that clear.

"Regrettably a small, unrepresentative group, chose to
ignore our appeal. Their actions were entirely wrong and

Mr McDowell claimed the riot was orchestrated political

"I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms acts of
thuggery, brutality, cowardice and inhumanity which have
been unleashed on the people of Dublin this afternoon at
the hands of an organised mob who came to Dublin with the
intention of deliberately creating mayhem in a peaceful and
prosperous city," the Minister said.

"The only message these people have managed to convey to
the people of Dublin and of Ireland is that sectarian
violence is, once again, being unleashed against all of the
principles of the Good Friday Agreement and the
overwhelming wishes of the Irish people.

"The cowardly actions of a small, wholly unrepresentative
number of people will not deter the Government in our
pursuit of peace, reconciliation and inclusive democratic
politics in Northern Ireland."

Shops, across the city`s busiest retail districts, shut
their doors as the thugs went on the rampage. It has been
estimated the clean-up operation could cost tens of
thousands of euro while gardai on the streets also
questioned why steps had not been taken to remove rubble
from building works in the city off the streets.

Gardai maintained a strong presence throughout the city
centre last night in a bid to round up small groups of
rioters who had dispersed throughout the city.


Reports Suggest Irish Riots Planned In Advance

Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:31 PM GMT

Violence flares in Dublin streets

By Jodie Ginsberg

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Riots in Dublin may have been
orchestrated weeks in advance by hardcore Irish
nationalists, local media suggested on Sunday, but a senior
police officer said there had been no indications that
violence was planned.

In scenes more usually associated with Belfast in Northern
Ireland, police fought running battles with hundreds of
rioters in central Dublin throughout Saturday afternoon. At
least three cars were torched and 14 people were taken to
hospital, six of them police officers.

Newspapers said ringleaders had co-ordinated the violence
on mobile phones and brought petrol to burn cars and
rubbish bins. The mob hurled bricks, fireworks and glass
bottles at police, forcing the closure of Dublin's main
shopping streets.

Police said on Sunday 41 people had been arrested.

"The mob came well prepared, with many carrying petrol
bombs and canisters. Some had been summoned by text
messages ... and there are unconfirmed reports that
republicans were bussed in from Northern Ireland to take
part," The Sunday Times reported.

Rioting began around midday as crowds of Irish nationalists
gathered to protest against a march due later in the day by
relatives of people killed by IRA paramilitaries.

But Assistant Police Commissioner Al McHugh said his
officers had no indication that riots were planned.

"The intelligence that was available to us indicated that
nothing of the scale that took place was going to take
place," he told state broadcaster RTE.

"The parade was hijacked by a number of hoodlums and
gangsters who came out of the local pubs who were hell bent
on causing damage, who were armed with hammers, petrol


Opposition parties suggested the police and City Council
had been under prepared and called for an investigation.

"Given the publicity that surrounded the march, I am
surprised that the gardai seemed ill-prepared to deal with
the violence that erupted," said Labour party leader Pat

Others questioned the low-key police presence ahead of the
planned relatives' march -- subsequently called off -- and
asked why metal fences and paving stones being used for
street repairs were left out where rioters could turn them
into missiles.

Northern Ireland is no stranger to violence but it rarely
spills over into the Republic.

Some 3,600 people were killed in the 1970s, 80s and early
90s in a conflict that ran along Northern Ireland's
national and religious divides.

Though the violent "troubles" largely ended with a 1998
peace deal, Northern Ireland's communities remain deeply
divided and tensions often flare up into riots.

The last time Dublin experienced such violence was in 1981,
when hundreds of people attacked the British embassy to
support nationalist hunger strikers in a Northern Irish

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


Thirteen Charged Over Dublin Riot

Thirteen people have appeared in court charged in
connection with rioting in Dublin city centre.

The trouble broke out after republican protestors tried to
stop a loyalist march and rally through the Republic of
Ireland's capital on Saturday.

Irish police and youths fought pitched battles along
O'Connell Street and 41 people were arrested.

More people are expected before emergency court sittings in
Dublin on Monday in connection with the violence.

Disturbances broke out in O'Connell Street, where a Love
Ulster rally to remember the victims of republican violence
was to start.

Stones and fireworks were thrown after republican
demonstrators mounted a counter-march.

Rioting continued for several hours and cars were burned
and shops looted as the trouble moved towards Government
Buildings, where some of the Love Ulster marchers held a

The offices of the Progressive Democrats political party
were also attacked.

Violence condemned

The party's Michael McDowell, justice minister in the
Republic's coalition government, met a Love Ulster
delegation including DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, before they
left in buses for home.

Irish police manned overbridges along the M1 towards the
border, but trouble flared in Dundalk where missiles were
thrown at Love Ulster coaches.

Thirteen of the 41 people arrested were charged with public
order offences before a special sitting of Dublin District
Court on Saturday night.

Four people, including two men and two women, were charged
with smashing the windows of a store on O'Connell Street
and looting the contents. Several others were charged with
public order offences, including throwing bricks and glass
bottles at police.

There has been widespread condemnation of the violence with
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern saying there was
"absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful scenes".

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said he was "not
clear" if the disturbances in Portadown on Sunday were
linked to the earlier violence in Dublin.

Mr Hain said people had the right to protest peacefully,
but it was very important they also worked together rather
than "provoke each other".

He said people should cooperate "in this critical period
when we're going up to political negotiations on the future
of Northern Ireland".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/26 11:25:06 GMT


Who Let The Mob Run Free?

Jan Battles and Liam Clarke

GARDA management and Dublin city council were criticised
last night after the hours of rioting by republicans
yesterday afternoon, the worst disruption in the capital
for over 20 years.

Despite clear evidence that republicans had been planning
for weeks to stop a loyalist parade down O’Connell Street,
gardai were not prepared for the onslaught by a republican
mob which hurled bricks, bottles, steel bars and billiard
balls, and fired rockets at police.

The city council has been blamed for leaving a ready supply
of missiles for the rioters, with kerbing stones and debris
from the O’Connell Street construction works being turned
on gardai by up to 300 rioters.

Millions of euros of damage and lost business resulted
after republicans burned cars, broke shop windows and
rampaged through Jervis Street Shopping Centre. The four
hours of violence were the worst seen in Dublin since the
H-block protests of 1981.

Up to 50 people, including 30 gardai, were injured in the
clashes, which began at about 12.45pm on O’Connell Street,
which was packed with Saturday afternoon shoppers.
Republican rioters, some wearing hoods and keeping in touch
through headsets, covered their faces to avoid being
identified by CCTV cameras.

The mob came well prepared, with many carrying petrol bombs
and canisters. Some had been summoned by text messages
early yesterday morning, and there are unconfirmed reports
that republicans were bused in from Northern Ireland to
take part in the carnage.

Journalists as well as gardai became targets. Charlie Bird,
RTE’s chief news correspondent, was one of those injured.
He was admitted to casualty in the Mater hospital but
released shortly afterwards.

The garda riot squad was deployed and at least 40 people
were arrested. Most of the stores on O’Connell Street
closed as rioters set fire to building rubble and shoppers
fled in terror.

The Love Ulster parade was cancelled and many of the
busloads of loyalists and supporters who had travelled from
Northern Ireland left. A small delegation including Jeffrey
Donaldson, the DUP MP, and Danny Kennedy, an Ulster
Unionist MLA, was bused to Leinster House to meet Michael
McDowell, the justice minister, and hold a small parade on
Kildare Street.

Kennedy said: “Obviously we are appalled at the way
republicans have attempted to treat us here. We came in
peace. We laid wreathes on both sides of the border this
morning in memory of innocent lives that have been lost.”

Pat Rabbitte, the Labour party leader, said last night that
given the publicity surrounding the march, “I am surprised
that the gardai seemed ill-prepared to deal with the
violence that erupted. McDowell must seek an immediate
report from garda authorities about preparations for
today’s march and the level of protests they anticipated.”

O’Connell Street reopened for normal business last night,
but Dublin city council said that the clean-up on that
street alone will cost €50,000.

As of 7pm, 13 people had appeared before Bridewell Court in
connection with rioting, of whom 10 had Dublin addresses.
Three were non-nationals. Two were released on bail and
eight were sent to Cloverhill Prison. A large number of
individuals arrested were juveniles and were released into
the custody of their parents.

When the republican protesters learned that some of the
unionist group had reached Leinster House, they moved
towards Kildare Street. Cars were set on fire en route.
Lines of riot police eventually them.

The rioting was condemned yesterday. President Mary
McAleese said it was “totally unacceptable”. Bertie Ahern,
the taoiseach, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for the
disgraceful scenes in Dublin today. It is the essence of
Irish democracy and republicanism that people are allowed
express their views freely and in a peaceful manner.”

McDowell said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms
acts of thuggery, brutality, cowardice and inhumanity which
have been unleashed on the people of Dublin this afternoon
at the hands of an organised mob who came with the
intention of creating mayhem in a peaceful city.”

He said he was shocked to see gardai injured by people
“carrying and defiling our national flag”.

Donaldson said last night that he had been escorted to the
border by gardai, but that was due to happen anyway.

“We were about to start our rally [at Leinster House] when
a mob of 200-300 people appeared at the end of Nassau
Street and attacked the gardai.

“So we were denied the right to walk and we were denied the
right to speak.”

Sinn Fein moved quickly to distance itself from the
rioting. Gerry Adams, the party leader, described the
actions of those responsible for rioting in the city centre
as “entirely wrong and reprehensible”.


Gardaí 'Were Unprepared For Dublin Riot'

26/02/2006 - 13:11:57

Justice Minister Michael McDowell today admitted An Garda
Siochana had prepared for a low key peaceful unionist
parade through Dublin city – not the hours of rioting
instigated by republican counter-demonstrators.

As opposition parties questioned why gardai were not ready
to deal with the hundreds of thugs who fought running
battles with officers, the Minister said a preliminary
report would be on his desk in the next 24 hours.

Insisting he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the
garda review, Mr McDowell admitted the force had expected a
day of peaceful protest.

“Obviously An Garda Siochana had prepared for a low key
event in which these 200 to 300 hundred people from the
border regions effectively of Northern Ireland who wanted
to bring to the attention of the people of Dublin that they
too have had their victims in all of the troubles,” Mr
McDowell said.

“They intended to do a peaceful march down O’Connell Street
and over to Dáil Eireann. They intended to bring a number
of loyalist bands with them. They intended to do shopping
and then go back up north and this was their democratic

“The gardaí were faced with this situation I would imagine
and this would be the crux of what turns out in the

The Minister told Today FM he had spoken to Garda
Commissioner Noel Conroy and senior gardaí and added that
alternative policing arrangements for the parade would be
addressed in the report.

Six gardaí were injured in the sustained violence as
hundreds of protestors launched attack after attack on
police lines forcing the Love Ulster rally involving
Orangemen and relatives of IRA murder victims to be

Eight other people suffered injuries and a number of
walking wounded were also seen on the city streets after
rioters used rubble from building works on O’Connell
Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, as missiles.

Dozens of fireworks exploded in the faces of riot police
while flares, bricks, paint bombs and bottles rained down
in indiscriminate attacks on officers. One journalist was

Mr McDowell suggested senior gardai would review whether
O’Connell Street should have been closed off, or if the
marchers should have been offered a different route.

And he also said one alternative would have been to have up
to 2,000 gardaí lining city centre streets to prevent any

In all, gardaí made 41 arrests including two women and two
foreign nationals.

Some 13 people were charged at special sittings of Dublin
District Court but detectives believe video evidence will
be crucial in catching ringleaders who led rampagers
through the city’s busiest shopping districts.

All those who appeared in court were aged between 17 and
30, gardaí have confirmed.

Gardaí will also use CCTV footage from businesses across
Dublin city centre as part of investigations into the
sustained rioting which brought the capital to a standstill
on Saturday.

It is understood the Dublin City Business Association have
contacted gardai and offered to hand over all footage from
several flashpoints on O’Connell Street, Ashton Quay,
Temple Bar, the Jervis Centre and Nassau Street.


Asst Garda Commissioner: No Prior Warning On Scale Of Riots

14:02 Sunday February 26th 2006

The Assistant Garda Commissioner says police had no prior
warning that riots on the scale of those which took place
in Dublin city centre yesterday would happen.

Speaking this afternoon, Al McHugh also says what happened
in the capital was not just a Garda issue.

Assistant Commissioner Al McHugh says Garda preparations
for yesterday's rally were based on an assessment that the
event was low risk.

Despite numerous reports from members of the public of
advance warnings, he said police had no intelligence -
including from the PSNI - to indicate that violence was

The Republican Sinn Fein counter-protest was hijacked by
local gangsters, he said.

Referring to the fact that many of those arrested yesterday
were minors, he said society has a lot of questions to
answer today too.

Assistant Commissioner McHugh also it was Dublin City
Council's responsibility to talk to construction firms
working in the area about securing building sites -
material from which was used as missiles.


Gardai Missed A Clear Sign That A Riot Was On The Cards

Jim Cusack

GARDA management failed to anticipate yesterday's riot
despite clear evidence thatrepublicans were planning a
violent assault on the small loyalist march alongO'Connell

According to the Department of Justice, the Government gave
no instructions on policing the march. But the Justice
Minister was "briefed" that the policing operation would be
"low key and non-confrontational".

However, if gardai wanted to know what was being planned,
they simply had to buy a copy of Saoirse, the monthly
newspaper published by Republican Sinn Fein. It is sold
from the newspaper stalls on O'Connell Street and costs

The paper carried a red headline proclaiming"Oppose
loyalist march" alongside a picture of rioting Orangemen at

The message was simple: naked sectarianism and violent

The violent response from the Celtic-shirt wearing rioters
was also stoked up by hostile newspaper and radio reports
in the last week.

The Sinn Fein-backed Daily Ireland newspaper ran a story on
Thursday saying that the marchers would carry pictures of a
Co Armagh Protestant murdered by the IRA who, it claimed,
was involved in the murder of dozens of Catholics. This
story was parroted on at least one Dublin radio station
that day.

Despite this provocative coverage, the gardai had,
according to some reports, just 54 riot police on duty
yesterday. According to the Justice Minister, there were
300 gardai (including some trainees) available to police
the march. But garda sources told the Sunday Independent
that there were only about 100 gardai in the O'Connell
Street area when the trouble started.

Gardai took a hammering for almost three hours before the
first batton charge.

Because of the roadworks, the gardai found it almost
impossible to deploy properly and they could not even
contain the thugs in O'Connell Street, with sections of
them breaking through to Nassau Street and the Grafton
Street shopping area.

The Irish media, as much as the organisers of the riot,
need to examine their own role in yesterday's events. The
march was widely described as "loyalist" and the organisers
tainted with various hues of extremism.

In fact, the Love Ulster movement embodies the peaceful
demonstration of Protestant reaction to the successful
claim on victimhood by Northern republicans.

While republicans have successfully trumpeted the claim
that only Catholics were victims of the Troubles, the Love
Ulster movement sets out to show that Protestants were
murdered in their hundreds by the IRA - mainly in Ulster's
rural areas where they are still very much kept under siege
by aggressive Catholic nationalism.

The scene was very clearly set for a violent confrontation
in the main street of the nation's capital yesterday.

Yet, once again, garda management failed to anticipate and
respond in force to the threatened violence.

Less than four years ago, another inadequate garda response
to a riot by anti-globalisation rioters left the gardai
reeling from pictures of badly-managed gardai resorting to
batons to quell disturbances in Dame Street.

However, no major internal inquiry took place and, as
yesterday showed, few lessons were learned by the forces of
law and order. Instead, seven individual gardai who were
captured on video tape were charged with assault. Juries
acquitted all but one.

The juries in the cases against the gardai appeared to have
a better sense of what happened on May Day than garda

Yesterday's events will require a major re-evaluation of
garda management. It appears to be unable to learn lessons
from the past and particularly in relation to intelligence-
gathering before potentially explosive public-order


Republicans Told: ‘Do All In Your Power To Stop It’

Reporting team: Enda Leahy, Dearbhail McDonald, Stephen
O'Brien, Liam Clarke, Jan Battles, Siobhan Maguire, Juno
McEnroe, Max Kelly and John Burns

THE text messages were sent out to republicans and
sympathisers early yesterday: get to the GPO at 10am, they
said. Between 150 and 200 people responded to the call, but
they did not congregate so as to avoid coming to the
attention of gardai.

“A lot of the faces were familiar to each other,” said one
republican who turned up. “They’d be known from city centre
bars where they watch Glasgow Celtic football matches.”

At about 10.45am the republicans made their way towards
Parnell Square, individually or in small groups. “It would
have been too obvious if they had marched up O’Connell
Street,” the republican said. “Some went up Henry Street,
others went up North Earl Street.”

When they came in view of CCTV cameras they pulled up their
hoods and covered their faces with scarves. They were
clearly determined to cause trouble, but gardai should have
known that much earlier.

No sooner had organisers of the Love Ulster parade
announced last December their intention to march down
O’Connell Street than republicans made it clear that they
were going to prevent it. Republican Sinn Fein called on
its supporters to “do all in their power” to stop the

Those summoned by text message yesterday were joined by
bus-loads of republicans from Northern Ireland, gardai told

There are suspicions about how Republican Sinn Fein, a
splinter group, was able to summon such huge numbers. The
estimated strength of the party, which is believed to have
links to the Continuity IRA, is 250 active members, mostly
very young or very old.

The belief is that although Provisional Sinn Fein told its
members to “ignore what will clearly be a provocative and
sectarian march”, some of them turned up anyway.

Willie Frazer, the Love Ulster march organiser, said:
“Republican Sinn Fein didn’t have the ability to organise
this. There were people there from Sinn Fein who were
recognised by both the media and gardai.”

Danny Kennedy, another organiser, said: “The strength of
numbers protesting, and the level of organisation, would
suggest that Republican Sinn Fein had assistance from
mainstream Sinn Fein.”

Gerry Adams’s party already has its alibis lined up. Last
week all Sinn Fein branches in Dublin were instructed not
to attend yesterday’s protest and to busy themselves in
constituency campaigns instead.

“We were told to have alibis,” said a Sinn Fein councillor
in Dublin. “All we can do now is sit back and say ‘we told
you so’.”

Yesterday morning republicans hid down alleys, in buildings
and shops, with the apparent intention of attacking the
parade before it entered O’Connell Street. But gardai
twigged the plan and faced the wrath of the thugs
themselves. Loyalist marchers were hemmed into Parnell
Square but avoided injury.

Some time later, when the republican mob heard that a
delegation of loyalists had made it to Leinster House, it
headed in that direction itself. Blocked from entering
Kildare Street, it set upon the Kilkenny Design Centre on
Nassau Street, chanting “Up the ’Ra” and smashing windows
in the store using parking cones, and burning cars.

Afterwards Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) justified its actions
in a statement. “The scenes witnessed in Dublin today only
serve to illustrate how out of touch the 26-county
political establishment was with the depth of opposition to
the routing of a loyalist march through Dublin,” it

“The people of Dublin have shown their rejection of the
ideology of sectarian hatred and bigotry represented by
those who organised this march. The routing of such a march
through Dublin was a completely irresponsible act with
scant thought given to the consequences or the dangers it
posed to people.”

RSF was formed in 1986 following a split at the Sinn Fein
ard fheis, after most republicans voted to take seats in
the Dail. Led by Ruairi O Bradaigh, the party became
increasingly irrelevant as the years went on, issuing
statements opposing the peace process, IRA disarmament and
the Good Friday agreement.

The Continuity IRA, after a few forays in the mid-1990s,
also became an increasingly irrelevant outfit. It was the
only republican paramilitary group never to declare a
ceasefire, but riddled with garda moles it was unable to
effect any military operation of note either. Some of its
members appear to be loaning out their terrorist expertise,
including pipe bomb building capabilities, to criminals.


Loyalist view

Loyalists Forced To Retreat As Riots Halt Ulster Love March

Reporting team: Enda Leahy, Dearbhail McDonald, Stephen
O'Brien, Liam Clarke, Jan Battles, Siobhan Maguire, Juno
McEnroe, Max Kelly and John Burns

UP to 700 people travelled south for yesterday’s Love
Ulster parade, most of them in buses, according to William
Frazer, of the South-Armagh-based loyalist victims’ group
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), one of the
main organisers of the event.

One bus load departed from the Ulster Unionist party
offices in Albertbridge Road in east Belfast. It consisted
mainly of women, many of them police widows, but including
Michael Copeland, a UUP councillor.

The journey south was uneventful, apart from a breakdown on
the bus. Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP MP for Lagan Valley,
travelled to Dublin by car because he, like most unionist
MPs, still requires an armed police escort on either side
of the border.

At Parnell Square, the rallying point before the march,
Donaldson was struck by the warmth of the welcome he
received from “the ordinary decent people of Dublin”, some
of whom shook his hand and welcomed him to the city.

“We had everybody lined up, we were ready to go, when the
word came through they had blocked O’Connell Street and
there was serious rioting with republican elements
attacking the gardai,” said Donaldson.

Frazer spoke to the police, who told him “there was no way
Republican Sinn Fein could gather that sort of crowd,
especially as well organised as they were. They were hiding
in buildings and everything. All of a sudden there was a
massive turnout of people from nowhere, because we were
near ready to set off.”

Danny Kennedy, a unionist MLA, said he was told by gardai
that some Sinn Fein activists had been spotted among the
rioters, and that protesters had been brought in from the
north, including two bus loads of them from Newry. “It
shows how much trouble people are prepared to go to in
order to be offended by unionists,” he said.

Police believe the rioters’ plan was to wait until the
parade got into O’Connell Street and then break into the
middle of it. The loyalists were instead put back on their
buses and brought to Dawson Street, where the intention was
that they would walk the couple of hundred yards down
Molesworth Street to Leinster House to make their speeches.

One Dubliner appeared with a placard that read “Your grief
is our shame”, a comment on the parade’s theme of
highlighting Protestant victims of republican violence and
condemning the Irish government for assisting in an amnesty
for IRA fugitives.

Copeland went over to shake hands. The unionist councillor
said: “His eyes were moist at that stage and he
subsequently ended up in tears because people who had lost
relatives told him about their stories as they greeted him.
One chap who spoke to him had lost five relatives while
serving in the security forces.”

The mood of reconciliation did not last long. A mob of 200-
300 republicans had drifted down from O’Connell Street and
appeared at the end of Nassau Street and resumed their
attacks on gardai.

“At that point I had the impression the guards were coming
close to meltdown,” said Copeland. “They were appealing to
people to just get on any bus we could and as we departed
from Leinster House the rioting mob was coming towards us.

“I ended up on a different bus than the one I came down on,
but there were mainly women on that one too. We headed in
convoy to the ring road, and the gardai had actually
blocked the motorway for us. It was a strange sensation
driving along it with no other traffic.”

On the road north the gardai were manning most of the
bridges, but on one, between Drogheda and Dundalk, concrete
blocks were hurled at the buses. Fortunately none

With most of the marchers gone from Dublin by 2.45pm,
gardai were left with the task of bringing Donaldson,
Frazer, Kennedy and two others who asked not to be named to
meet Michael McDowell, the justice minister. The meeting
was meant to be in Leinster House, but such was the
intensity of the rioting that it had to be moved to the
Berkeley Court hotel on Lansdowne Road. Kennedy said: “The
meeting with the minister was meant to be about victims’
rights, but instead it was largely concerned with the
events of today. The rioters had changed the agenda.”


Crazed Thugs Beat 'Orange B****rd' Bird

CHARLIE Bird told the Sunday Independent last night of his
savage beating at the hands of three rioters who called him
an "Orange bastard".

RTE's ace correspondent was lucky to be alive after his
terrifying ordeal.

But the plucky newshound just said he was "very sore and
hardly able to walk".

He took a savage beating as rioters ripped through Dublin's
main thoroughfare.

He told the Sunday Independent: "It all happened so
quickly. It was a terrible shock. One minute I was standing
in the crowd as the missiles were being thrown, the next,
one guy turns around as says, 'Charlie Bird, you Orange

"I never expected to be singled out, and honestly, if it
hadn't been for the two special branch guys who pulled them
off me, I would not be talking right now. I was bending
over thinking 'this cannot be happening to me, this cannot
be happening to me.'

"They suspect I have a hairline fracture in my cheek, but
they won't know until the swelling goes down.

"They just kept hitting me and hitting me. It was like I
was dreaming."

The incident was witnessed by a number of us. We saw
Charlie running through the crowd, being chased by three
angry men.

They grabbed him and beat him and it was only after he
temporarily broke free that it become clear who he was.
Many were puzzled as to why they picked on the reporter
whom the IRA contact when they want to talk to the world.

At first Charlie, with blood streaming down his face, tried
to flee. Between the Spire and the Luas line, people saw
how he suffered a serious beating.

One attacker, hell-bent on causing as much injury as
possible, caught up with Charlie and began beating him
again, hitting blows to the head and body. The seasoned
reporter could do nothing but hold his arms over his head
to protect himself. At first, people seemed unsure as to
what was happening, and stood back but when Charlie was
knocked off his feet, people began shouting: "Leave it out,
leave it out."

"Die you f***er, I'm gonna kill you," could be heard as
blow after blow found their mark.

Then two men standing on the corner of Abbey Street and
O'Connell Street went to Charlie's aid - but they were then
set upon by the attackers. The intervention enabled Charlie
to wrench himself free and escape to safety.

Witnesses standing around, wanting to avoid direct
involvement, could be heard calling the attackers
"scumbags", while cries of "f*** off and go home" came from
all around.

As Charlie Bird fled down Abbey Street, bloodied and
battered, those responsible, who were themselves injured as
a result of the ugly targeted attack, were swiftly escorted
away before they could be taken into custody.

Confronted by bystanders angry at what they had just
witnessed, Charlie's attackers had to fight their way out.

Daniel McConnell


McDowell: Rioting Republicans Set Agenda Back Five Years

26/02/2006 - 12:43:56

The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has said that
republicans responsible for yesterday's riots in Dublin
have put back their political agenda by five years.

Speaking on radio this morning, the Minister said that all
the riots did was prove that at the heart of what
masquerades as Republicanism is actually a "sectarian hate-
filled force".

He said the blame for the rioting in Dublin lies solely
with the republican movement.


White House Snubs Adams As Raffertys Prepare To Meet Bush

Jim Cusack

THE family of Joseph Rafferty, the young Dublin man
murdered by the IRA last year, will not meet Gerry Adams at
the White House on St Patrick's Day as Adams will not be
allowed near the American President.

The event will be a major coup for the family's 10-month
campaign for justice in the face of a wall of silence
erected around the murder by the IRA and Dublin members of
Sinn Fein. As well as being excluded from the meeting with
President Bush, Adams has also been told he will not be
allowed to take part in a Sinn Fein fund-raising breakfast
in Washington being organised by US supporters.

While the Rafferty family are to be invited to meet
President Bush, sources in Washington say Adams will be on
the invitation list to a White House hospitality area along
with dozens of others and will not meet President Bush. It
is understood this is officially because of Sinn Fein's
refusal to support the Police Service in the North and
because the IRA continues to be involved in organised crime
and holds on to weapons.

While restrictions have been placed on fund-raising, the
Raffertys' invitation has come personally from the US
special envoy to Ireland, Dr Mitchell Reiss, a senior
figure in the Bush administration, who has taken a personal
interest in their case.

It is the second year in a row that Adams will be
confronted with relatives seeking justice for a murder
carried out by members of the IRA and Sinn Fein. Last year
he met hostility as Robert McCartney's family took centre
stage at St Patrick's Day celebrations.

The ground for the Rafferty family's invitation to the
White House was laid last month when they went to
Washington and met top US politicians including senators
Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Last year Senator McCain
launched a scathing attack against Sinn Fein and the IRA in
a speech after a dinner attended by Adams.

Sources in Washington told the Sunday Independent that
while last year's partial act of decommissioning by the IRA
and its statement saying it was ending "all activities"
were welcomed, President Bush will still not meet Adams so
long as the IRA remains in existence and continues to store
arms. The sources say that the IRA's involvement with other
terror groups, such as Farc in Colombia, and evidence that
it continues in existence means it is still regarded in
Washington as being on the wrong side in the international
war on terror.

Joseph Rafferty's sister, Esther Uzell, confirmed yesterday
the family had been invited to the White House on condition
that this was supported by the Taoiseach. They received Mr
Ahern's endorsement on Thursday and they will be formally
included in the St Patrick's Day guest list.

Despite intense lobbying on Adams's behalf by a number of
low-level US Congressmen, the Bush administration has
refused to allow the Sinn Fein leader an unqualified
welcome. Last November, Dr Reiss refused Adams permission
to take part in a fund-raising dinner at a top New York
hotel where close to a $1m was raised. Adams refused to
travel because he could not be physically present but spoke
live to the gathering via a satellite link.

It is expected Adams will still go to Washington despite
the clear snub from the White House and State Department.

Gardai have completed their investigations into the murder
of Joseph Rafferty and a file has been sent to the Director
of Public Prosecutions. However, the Sunday Independent
understands that despite the fact that detectives and the
Rafferty family know that several people were aware of the
murder plot, not a single witness made a statement to

The main suspect, a long-serving IRA man in central Dublin
linked to organised crime, is said to have been told his
services will no longer be needed during Sinn Fein's
election campaign next year. He had previously worked as an
election agent.


Man Held Over Loyalist Guns Released

Police investigating the seizure of weapons in south
Belfast, believed to be linked to loyalists, have released
a man.

Twelve handguns, a rifle, a detonator and explosives were
discovered in the house on Burmah Street off the Ormeau
Road, on Friday night.

A number of other items were also seized. Two men and a
woman are still being questioned.

Police have said paramilitary involvement is a line of

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/26 10:14:56 GMT


Focus: Four Months Before A Car Blew Up In Omagh, The
Gardai And MI5 Were Told It Would Be There. Why Did They Do

Liam Clarke

The security services’ determination to protect informers
cost innocent lives, and has shocked the victims’ relatives

Sam Kinkaid, Northern Ireland’s most senior police
detective, read carefully from a typed sheet to the group
of bereaved relatives gathered around the boardroom of
Omagh library last Wednesday.

“I was sitting directly opposite, looking him in the eye,
and I could hardly believe it,” said Michael Gallagher,
whose son Aidan was one of 29 people (including a woman
pregnant with twins) murdered in the August 1998 Real IRA
bombing. Kinkaid was saying that gardai and MI5 had
withheld intelligence from two informers.

One of the sources was Dave Rupert, an American trucker who
infiltrated the Real and Continuity IRAs for MI5 and the
FBI. The second source was Paddy Dixon, a crooked motor
dealer who supplied stolen cars to terrorists and kept the
gardai informed.

Kinkaid, an assistant chief constable, retires tomorrow. In
his final months of service he has delivered a series of
shocks to the political system. It was he who pinned the
Northern Bank robbery on the Provisional IRA; he who
revealed to the Northern Ireland policing board that IRA
decommissioning was incomplete. Sinn Fein branded him an
old-style securocrat, but this time it is the security
establishment, north and south, that will be embarrassed by
his claims.

Yet this is no solo run. Peter Sheridan, Kinkaid’s
successor as assistant chief constable, sat beside him in
Omagh library last week, nodding in agreement. So did
Superintendent Norman Baxter, who heads the Omagh
investigation on a day-to-day basis, and Colin Monteith,
his No 2. All three agreed that MI5 had known five months
in advance of a plot to bomb either Omagh or Londonderry
with a Vauxhall Cavalier car, and knew that one of the
suspects lived in Omagh.

They passed on details of the plot to gardai, but never
told the RUC, as the Northern Ireland police force was then
known. Meanwhile, the gardai knew from Dixon that a car had
been stolen for an attack on Northern Ireland, but had not
intervened for fear of blowing his cover.

The result, as Sheridan told the grieving relatives, was
that both Omagh and Derry were on a low state of alert when
the bombers struck in August, using a Vauxhall Cavalier. An
anonymous telephone warning on August 4 saying a gun and
rocket attack on Omagh was planned for August 15 was
discounted as a crank call by Special Branch. Even after
the attack, the gardai and MI5 withheld the information.

Stanley McComb, whose wife Ann died in the bombing, said:
“We are trying to get on with our lives and something like
that brings it all back and it makes us frustrated, mad . .

“We want to meet Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5,
and Michael McDowell, the Irish justice minister, and we
want straight answers.”

THE evidence behind Kinkaid’s claims comes from two main
sources: e-mails sent by Rupert to his MI5 handlers while
he worked in Ireland between 1996 and 2001, and notes kept
by John White, a garda detective who handled Dixon under
the direction of Detective Chief Superintendent Dermot

Rupert, from upstate New York, had moved to Chicago, where
he was mixing with the hardline Irish Freedom Committee
(IFC) when an FBI agent, Ed Buckley, recruited him in about

Rupert’s business was failing, so his motive for co-
operating with the FBI was at first financial. According to
Lou Stephens, a financial investigator who formerly headed
Irish operations in the FBI, Rupert had been “heavily
financed and probably defaulted”.

Rupert headed for Bundoran, Co Donegal, where he befriended
Joe O’Neill, a veteran republican who owned a pub in the
town. Later Rupert rented a bar of his own, the Drowse Inn,
in Leitrim, which he loaned to the Continuity IRA for
meetings. It is thought the premises were bugged.

Working under MI5 direction, but without the knowledge of
the gardai, Rupert presented himself as a wealthy American
who could bring money and guns from across the Atlantic to
the dissidents. He insinuated himself into the confidence
of Michael McKevitt, the Provisional IRA’s former
quartermaster general in charge of weaponry. McKevitt was
attempting to set up a new IRA to supplant the
Provisionals, who were on ceasefire. The fast-talking
Rupert seemed heaven-sent and McKevitt appointed him head
of the Real IRA in America.

In 2003 Rupert gave evidence against McKevitt on charges of
directing terrorism and some, but not all, of the e-mails
he sent to his MI5 handlers were revealed in court in a
heavily edited form. One e-mail from Rupert to his handlers
claimed Jennings had said gardai “did not care what
happened in the north, only what happened in the 26
counties”. Jennings denied this.

On April 11, 1998, Rupert told his handlers that republican
dissidents were planning to bomb “Derry or Omagh” and that
he had taken part in a scouting operation. MI5 informed the
gardai and three suspects were arrested, including a man
from Omagh, but later released.

In a later e-mail, MI5 confirmed that the terrorist plot
had only been delayed. It wrote to Rupert: “We disrupted
the intention to use the car bomb, but maybe not for long .
. . Mr (Tony) Blair owes you a beer.”

Amazingly, this information was never passed to the PSNI.
Nor was it given to Nuala O’Loan, the Northern Ireland
police ombudsman, when she conducted an investigation into
the intelligence background to the Omagh bombing. Neither
was it made available to Mike Tonge, now chief constable of
Gwent, who conducted an independent inquiry on behalf of
the Northern Ireland policing board. Senior security
sources say that Tonge’s team specifically asked MI5 if it
had any relevant intelligence and were told that it had

Rupert’s role was not disclosed to the gardai until 2000,
when the e-mails were handed over for the purpose of
prosecuting McKevitt. Jennings was therefore not in a
position to cross-reference them with the intelligence he
was receiving from Dixon through White.

Dixon had allowed the gardai to bug a number of vehicles he
had stolen for the Real IRA. On March 21, 1998, a bomb was
seized in Dundalk and two terrorists arrested with 1,200lb
of explosives in one of Dixon’s cars. A few days later, a
red BMW 318 stolen by Dixon’s gang and filled with
explosives was caught at Dun Laoghaire, where it was being
put aboard a ferry en route to London.

On May 19, Dixon received IR£10,000 after two 500lb car
bombs were stopped by the gardai near the border and two
terrorist suspects arrested.

A British security source said: “The pattern seemed to be
that if the gardai could make a seizure in the republic
they did so, but they were not so good at passing on
information to the British authorities.”

The problem was that each garda success increased the
chances that the Real IRA would make the link with Dixon.
The PSNI told the Omagh families that, based on White’s
testimony, four bombs were let go through by gardai to
protect Dixon’s cover. The first was a mortar attack on
Moira RUC station in February 1998 in which several police
officers and civilians were injured. The second vehicle, a
Fiat Punto stolen in Hartstown, was used in an unsuccessful
rocket attack in Beleek in May. On May 13, a vehicle
containing home-made explosives was, according to White,
let through and later found burnt out.

The last one was the Omagh bomb, contained in a maroon
Vauxhall Cavalier, precisely the type of vehicle Rupert had
warned was likely to be used in Omagh or Derry. This time
Dixon did not steal the vehicle. The Real IRA asked him to,
but at the last moment said it had found one elsewhere.

White says a senior garda officer told him: “I think we
will let this one go through.” The garda’s reasoning was
that Dixon was under suspicion and being tested by the Real
IRA. The gardai have denied that White met this officer in
a bar in Castleknock, but the PSNI suspect he did because
White has supplied them with expense forms signed by the
senior officer, showing he had been in the bar that day.

According to White, after the bombing the senior officer
told him not to write a report on the incident. To avoid
suspicion, Dixon was arrested but warned not to make any
statement or reveal his role.

In 2002, Dixon was resettled in Britain under a false
identity with the help of MI5. On January 10, 2002, three
days before Dixon entered a witness protection programme,
he had a last meeting with White and, according to a tape-
recording of the conversation now in the hands of the PSNI,
he predicted: “They (the Real IRA) had got a car and
(gardai) . . . knew it was moving within 24 hours at that
stage. The Omagh investigation is going to blow up in their

HUGH ORDE, the PSNI chief constable, will shortly write to
Tony Blair, the prime minister, and Noel Conroy, the garda
commissioner, outlining the findings of his force’s
inquiry. He is likely to say that the PSNI wants to
interview Dixon as a matter of urgency.

For the Irish authorities, the matter is closed. A tribunal
headed by Dermot Nally has found White’s allegations to be
baseless. But its detailed findings were never made public.
That tribunal never interviewed Dixon, Baxter or Kinkaid,
who wrote three times offering his assistance.

MI5 also considers the matter to be at an end. Last night a
Home Office source said: “There is nothing to substantiate
the allegation that there was accurate intelligence about
any plot against Omagh.” Asked about the resettlement of
Dixon he said: “We don’t normally comment on the actions of
the security service and we won’t in this case.”

The Omagh families are not prepared to accept that the case
is closed.

It was the worst atrocity of the Troubles, and the most
stunning because Northern Ireland was thought to be at
peace. The notion that it could have been prevented seems
certain to haunt the police and security services in
Ireland and Britain for years to come.


FG Gains Still Not Enough For ‘Alternative Government’

26 February 2006 By Pat Leahy

So the budget bounce has been deflated. Fianna Fail has
dropped two points and Fine Gael has picked up two since
the last Sunday Business Post/Red C tracking poll four
weeks ago, narrowing the gap between the two largest
parties to ten points.

The picture has altered since last month, but the
fundamentals of government formation have not; it’s still
all to play for.

After the shock of last month’s sharp drop, the poll is
moderately good news for Fine Gael. Adding two points in
the course of a month is a good few weeks’ work, especially
if you’re taking support directly from the government,
although events suggest that Bertie Ahern might be more
responsible for the shift than Enda Kenny.

Other movements in the numbers since last month have been

The Progressive Democrats have recovered one point, as have
Sinn Fein (in the wake of the party’s televised ard fheis).

Labour drop one and the Greens drop two, while independents
gain one.

If today’s results were reflected in a general election,
Fianna Fail would suffer grievous losses - in excess of 15
seats, probably - and the present coalition would certainly
lose office.

However, while Fine Gael would undoubtedly gain seats, the
‘‘alternative government’’ could not, on these numbers,
become a reality.


The last poll was the first taken after a generally well-
received budget that will generate increases in take-home
pay and other allowances for the vast majority of voters.

In addition, the Dail had been in recess for almost two
months, depriving opposition politicians of a platform.
During such times, governments tend to dominate the debate
- for their own good or ill. Oppositions find it difficult
to break through and make their voice heard.

Over Christmas and during January, Enda Kenny was mostly
anonymous, while Labour leader Pat Rabbitte’s comments
about immigrant workers and job displacement ensured at
least that his voice was heard.

The movements in support for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail
shown today suggest that suspicions that the timing of the
last poll was advantageous to the government and Fianna
Fail were probably correct.

Not Sean Haughey again

By contrast, sampling for today’s poll was conducted last
week against a background of continuing controversy over
the appointment of a junior minister.

But although much political coverage has been devoted to
the Sean Haughey/Sile de Valera/Mary Wallace triangle,
there’s no evidence that this is what caused the drop in
Fianna Fail support. There’s no evidence that the public
really gives a damn who the junior minister for forestry

Internationally, however, there is evidence to suggest that
voters expect and appreciate strong leadership from their
political chiefs. This, in turn, suggests that it’s not the
fact of Haughey’s disappointment, or de Valera’s
discomfiture, that matters - it’s the lack of decisive
leadership that may have hurt.

There were other notable events the previous month,

:: hearings at the Mahon Tribunal, where payments to mostly
Fianna Fail politicians were detailed
:: the comments of President Mary McAleese about the Danish
cartoons in Saudi Arabia and about the 1916 Rising at home
:: the anniversary of the Stardust disaster
:: the decision to sell off the Great Southern hotels
:: plans for new tolling on the M50
:: ongoing talks on a new national partnership and wage
:: the publication of the Finance Bill and the ending of some
tax incentive schemes.

Some of these - such as the Finance Bill - the government
clearly wanted to talk about.

But its failure at managing the politics of ministerial
appointments meant the impact of policy was diminished.

On a broader level, this has been a recurring failure - and
probably the most significant weakness - of the government.

Its politics has undermined its policy.

Any chance of a government?

However, despite the movements outlined above, the general
frame of the picture is not greatly altered from last
month. Were an election held now, neither the governing
Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrats coalition nor the
proposed alternative government of Fine Gael/Labour/Greens
would command sufficient Dail seats (83) to elect a

So what does that mean for the next government? Well, the
most important thing to realise about the formation of the
next government is that it won’t happen for another 15
months or so - unless the taoiseach is consistently telling

That caveat having been entered, if the polls are showing
the same sort of numbers in 12 months, then things could
get deeply uncomfortable for Rabbitte, bound by his own
word to shun Fianna Fail, but pushed towards Ahern’s eager
embrace by Dail arithmetic.

Sinn Fein (which sees a marginal rise to 10 per cent)
advertised its desire for government at the party’s ard
fheis last weekend, but that prospect - at least after the
next election - remains an extremely remote one.

Fine Gael and Labour have categorically ruled it out, and a
Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein administration (even if Ahern did a
U-turn) seems unlikely to command a Dail majority.

In terms of Dail seats, the tipping point is up at about
78-79 seats.

Get above that and either the present coalition or the
alternative can probably cobble together a government with
the (expensive) support of independents.

But both blocs have a way to go before they get there.

Tracking the trend

Two polls don’t make a trend but, thus far at least, the
sequence is following the pattern shown by polls in the
previous two years: the government starts strongly after
the budget and the Christmas break, but the opposition
makes progress during parliamentary terms.

This effect may be due as much to government mishap as
opposition ingenuity.

If this trend is followed for the next few months, it’s
likely to bring Fine Gael up and hold Fianna Fail down - or
deplete them further.

And if Fianna Fail is still in the mid-30s with less than a
year to go to an election, it will have a destructive
effect on constituency discipline - the secret weapon that
enabled Fianna Fail to attain a large ‘‘seat bonus’’ (49
per cent of the seats with 42 per cent of the vote) at the
last election.

In that respect, the battle - national and local - is well
and truly on.

Not all gloom for government

Unloved though it may be, it’s not all doom and gloom for
the government.

Governments have the power to influence events and shape
the debate, which is way beyond what the opposition can do
- although it has to be said that the current
administration has not proved particularly adept at using
this advantage.

But as today’s poll shows, economic confidence is still
strong, and the key right track/wrong track indicator is
still in the government’s favour (it has, however, declined
since it was last polled 12 months ago).

A year ago, the massive majority that believed that the
country was on the right track presaged good poll numbers
for the government, although that was to dissipate in the
second half of the year.

Economic confidence is still strong and with SSIA moneys
and special childcare payments to come, government
strategists hope that at least some of the feel-good factor
will rub off on them.

Meanwhile, the campaign to portray the opposition as
untrustworthy on the economy will intensify on all fronts
in the coming months.


The Sanitized Horrors Of Guantánamo Bay

The U.S. has adopted the practice of force-feeding
detainees who hunger strike

Keith Barratt ("Welshman")
February 25, 2006

The United States and Iran share an expression of public
opinion, one that still causes considerable distress to the
majority of British:

[In 1997] the people of Hartford, Connecticut, dedicated a
monument to Bobby Sands and the other Irish Republican Army
hunger strikers…. The monument stands in a traffic circle
known as "Bobby Sands Circle," at the bottom of Maple
Avenue near Goodwin Park. The Iranian government named a
street in Tehran after Bobby Sands. (It was formerly
Winston Churchill Street.) It runs alongside the British

Readers may or may not be familiar with this part of
Northern Ireland’s history, involving the death through a
hunger strike of the IRA detainee. Bobby Sands was 27 years
old when he died, 5 May 1981, after 66 days without food.
Nine other IRA prisoners died following him in the same
strike. Sands and his fellow strikers were protesting their
reassignment from political prisoner status back to
criminal status; poltical status was won the previous year
through a hunger strike. Sands was elected to Parliament
several days after he began his protest. The British
government's unwillingness to concede to the prisoner's
demands during the second strike, which led to the death of
Bobby Sands and the other detainees, resulted in much
greater sympathy for the IRA from Irish nationalists and
greatly strengthened the movement as well as earned
recognition from people around the world. A further brief
summary is given by the Cain Institute.

Before discussing the aspect of force-feeding that is
taking place now in U.S. prisons, I want to step back a bit
further into British history. I first became aware of the
question of force-feeding through an excellent BBC
docudrama many years ago about suffragettes, who employed
civil disobedience in the UK from 1900 to 1920 in order to
achieve the vote for women.

Many were imprisoned and used hunger strikes to further
their cause. The authorities could not let these women,
many of whom were connected to leading families in the
country, die and become martyrs. They were forcibly fed.

The BBC did not hide what this meant in their dramatization
of the events. They showed the women being bound to chairs,
their heads pulled back by their hair, and the rough-handed
prison warders thrusting large-diameter rubber tubes down
their throats and pouring in a food mixture through a

So that you take what follows as seriously as you take all
other acts now being done in our name, I ask you to sense
the ugliness of the abuse, your mouth being forced open,
the taste of that tube, and the abomination of the act. For
surely we have become so accustomed to these atrocities
that our newspapers can discuss them calmly and
objectively. But you can no more be objective about these
horrors than you can calmly debate in Congress where and
when torture might be acceptable.

Yet what follows is classified not as torture but as
"prisoner welfare." Constance Lytton was force-fed in
October 1909. Her book Prison and Prisoners included an
account of her experiences:

Two of the wardresses took hold of my arms, one held my
head and one my feet. The doctor leant on my knees as he
stooped over my chest to get at my mouth. I shut my mouth
and clenched my teeth…. The doctor seemed annoyed at my
resistance and he broke into a temper as he pried my teeth
with the steel implement. The pain was intense and at last
I must have given way, for he got the gap between my teeth,
when he proceeded to turn it until my jaws were fastened
wide apart. Then he put down my throat a tube, which seemed
to me much too wide and something like four feet in length.
I choked the moment it touched my throat. Then the food was
poured in quickly; it made me sick a few seconds after it
was down. I was sick all over the doctor and wardresses. As
the doctor left he gave me a slap on the cheek. Presently
the wardresses left me. Before long I heard the sounds of
the forced feeding in the next cell to mine. It was almost
more than I could bear, it was Elsie Howley. When the
ghastly process was over and all quiet. I tapped on the
wall and called out at the top of my voice, "No Surrender,"
and then came the answer in Elsie’s voice, "No Surrender."

As is happening now in Guantánamo Bay, nasal insertion was
also employed. Mary Leigh, a member of the WSPU, was
forced-fed in September 1909:

On Saturday afternoon the wardress forced me onto the bed
and two doctors came in. While I was held down a nasal tube
was inserted. It is two yards long, with a funnel at the
end; there is a glass junction in the middle to see if the
liquid is passing. The end is put up the right and left
nostril on alternative days. The sensation is most painful
— the drums of the ears seem to be bursting and there is a
horrible pain in the throat and the breast. The tube is
pushed down 20 inches. I am on the bed pinned down by
wardresses, one doctor holds the funnel end, and the other
doctor forces the other end up the nostrils. The one
holding the funnel end pours the liquid down — about a pint
of milk… egg and milk is sometimes used.

Emmeline Pankhurst, who was then in her fifties, endured 10
hunger strikes. Kitty Marion underwent at least 200 force-
feedings in prison while on hunger strike. Emmeline
Pankhurst’s sister, Mary Clarke, was taken ill at her home
in Brighton soon after release from prison and died of a
broken blood vessel, probably as a result of being forced-
fed in Holloway Prison.

In Parliament James Keir Hardie, one of the founders of the
Labour Party, said:

In reply to a question of mine today, Mr. Masterman,
speaking on behalf of the Home Secretary, admitted that
some of the nine prisoners now in Winston Green Gaol,
Birmingham, had been subjected to "hospital treatment," and
admitted that this euphemism meant administering food by
force. The process employed was the insertion of a tube
down the throat into the stomach and pumping the food down.
To do this, I am advised, a gag has to be used to keep the
mouth open.

That there is difference of opinion concerning the horrible
brutality of this proceeding! Women worn and weak by
hunger, are seized upon, held down by brute force, gagged,
a tube inserted down the throat, and food poured or pumped
into the stomach. Let British men think over the spectacle.

In 1913 the British Government sought a better way to treat
such prisoners. The Prisoner’s (Temporary Discharge of Ill
Health) Act came into force. Suffragettes were now allowed
to go on hunger strike, but as soon as they became ill they
were released. Once the women had recovered, the police
rearrested them and returned them to prison where they
completed their sentences. This successful means of dealing
with hunger strikes became known as the Cat and Mouse Act.

Now step forward in time to the 1970s and ’80s. Prisoners
detained for terrorism in Northern Ireland undertook hunger
strikes in support of demands that were unacceptable to
British public opinion. In words so terribly familiar
today, the Cat and Mouse Act could not be employed, on the
grounds that alleged IRA gunmen could not be let loose on
the streets. At the same time, the British government could
not countenance creating martyrs by letting them die.

Debate on force-feeding came to a head in the UK in the
1970s when two Irish prisoners, Dolours and Marian Price,
legally challenged the Home Office’s right to force-feed in
any case other than where refusal of food arose from a
medical or psychiatric condition. It caused a furor, and
the prison policy of involuntary feeding that earlier IRA
prisoners had experienced was overturned. In 1981 the
wishes of hunger strikers were respected and doctors
supervised death-fasts in Northern Ireland. The death of
Bobby Sands came as a result. The policy was subsequently
refined, so that when prisoners became too weak to
communicate effectively, the prisoner’s priest met with
family members so that a final decision on intervention
could be taken.

The hunger strikes came to an end, in part because of the
realization that each of the families of the strikers would
ask for medical intervention whenever the strikers lapsed
into unconsciousness. At the same time, on 6 October 1981
James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
announced a series of measures that went a long way toward
meeting many aspects of the prisoners’ five demands.

The relevance of this history to Guantánamo Bay will become

The New York Times of February 9, 2006, includes this

United States military authorities have taken tougher
measures to force-feed detainees engaged in hunger strikes
at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after concluding that some were
determined to commit suicide to protest their indefinite
confinement, military officials have said.

In recent weeks, the officials said, guards have begun
strapping recalcitrant detainees into "restraint chairs,"
sometimes for hours a day, to feed them through tubes and
prevent them from deliberately vomiting afterward.

Some officials said the new actions reflected concern at
Guantánamo and the Pentagon that the protests were becoming
difficult to control and that the death of one or more
prisoners could intensify international criticism of the
detention center.

Colonel Martin said force-feeding was carried out "in a
humane and compassionate manner" and only when necessary to
keep the prisoners alive. He said in a statement that "a
restraint system to aid detainee feeding" was being used
but refused to answer questions about the restraint chairs.

The Times quotes lawyers representing six of the prisoners:

"It is clear that the government has ended the hunger
strike through the use of force and through the most brutal
and inhumane types of treatment," said Thomas B. Wilner, a
lawyer at Shearman & Sterling in Washington, who last week
visited the six Kuwaiti detainees he represents. "It is a

The extent of this disgrace is indicated in the article:

The Guantánamo prison, which is holding some 500 detainees,
has been beset by periodic hunger strikes almost since it
was established in January 2002 to hold foreign terror
suspects. At least one detainee who went on a prolonged
hunger strike was involuntarily fed through a nasal tube in
2002, military officials said.

Since last year, the protests have intensified, a sign of
what defense lawyers say is the growing desperation of the
detainees. In a study released yesterday, two of those
lawyers said Pentagon documents indicated that the military
had determined that only 45 percent of the detainees had
committed some hostile act against the United States or its
allies and that only 8 percent were fighters for Al Qaeda.

These words are chilling: "'This is just a reality of long-
term detention,’ a Pentagon official said. 'It doesn’t
matter whether you’re at Leavenworth or some other military
prison. You are going to have to deal with this kind of

We do not know the exact methods adopted to force-feed
these prisoners, not least because the Pentagon is
reluctant to go into details and some of its statements

Until yesterday, Guantánamo officials had acknowledged only
having forcibly restrained detainees to feed them a handful
of times. In those cases, the officials said, doctors had
restrained detainees on hospital beds using Velcro straps.

Two military officials, who insisted on anonymity because
they were not authorized to discuss the question, said that
the use of restraint chairs started after it was found that
some hunger strikers were deliberately vomiting in their
cells after having been tube-fed and that their health was
growing precarious.

In a telephone interview yesterday, the manufacturer of the
so-called Emergency Restraint Chair, Tom Hogan, said his
small Iowa company shipped five $1,150 chairs to Guantánamo
on Dec. 5 and 20 additional chairs on Jan. 10, using a
military postal address in Virginia. Mr. Hogan said the
chairs were typically used in jails, prisons and
psychiatric hospitals to deal with violent inmates or

In the absence of more information, our sources can only be
those quoted in The Times:

…a Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah, told [his lawyer] last
week that around Dec. 20, guards began taking away items
like shoes, towels and blankets from the hunger strikers.

Mr. Odah also said that lozenges that had been distributed
to soothe the hunger strikers’ throats had disappeared and
that the liquid formula they were given was mixed with
other ingredients to cause diarrhea, Mr. Wilner said.

On Jan. 9, Mr. Odah told his lawyers, an officer read him
what he described as an order from the Guantánamo
commander, Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood of the Army, saying
hunger strikers who refused to drink their liquid formula
voluntarily would be strapped into metal chairs and tube-

Mr. Odah said he heard "screams of pain" from a hunger
striker in the next cell as a thick tube was inserted into
his nose. At the other detainee’s urging, Mr. Odah told his
lawyers that he planned to end his hunger strike the next

This description echoes the words of one of those IRA
prisoners in Northern Ireland, before the British
government was made to face its inhumanity in 1981. Sinn
Féin’s Gerry Kelly, in an interview with the North Belfast
News in 2004, said:

"They press their knuckles into your jaws and press in
hard. The way they finally did force feed me was getting
forceps and running them up and down my gums," he said.

"I opened my mouth, but I was able to resist after that,"
said the Sinn Féin man in the interview.

"Then they tried — there’s a part of your nose, like a
membrane and it’s very tender — and they started on that.
It’s hard to describe the pain. It’s like someone pushing a
knitting needle into the side of your eye. As soon as I
opened my mouth they put in this wooden bit with a hole in
the middle for the tube. They rammed it between my teeth
and then tied it with cord around my head.

"Then they got paraffin and forced it down the tube. The
danger is that every time it happens you think you’re going
to die. The only things that move are your eyes.

"They get a funnel and put the stuff down."

The New York Times quotes a government official:

"There is a moral question," the assistant secretary of
defense for health affairs, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr.,
said in an interview. "Do you allow a person to commit
suicide? Or do you take steps to protect their health and
preserve their life?"

There is indeed a moral question — one that the
international community has answered, and it reaches very
different conclusions from those apparently reached by the
United States.

The World Medical Association, which includes support from
the British Medical Association, has deemed the involuntary
feeding of hunger strikers as coercive and provides an
alternative route. Its statement, adopted by the 43rd World
Medical Assembly in Malta in November 1991 and editorially
revised at the 44th World Medical Assembly at Marbella,
Spain, in September 1992 can be read here. The preamble is

The doctor treating hunger strikers is faced with the
following conflicting values:

There is a moral obligation on every human being to respect
the sanctity of life. This is especially evident in the
case of a doctor, who exercises his skills to save life and
also acts in the best interests of his patients

It is the duty of the doctor to respect the autonomy which
the patient has over his person. A doctor requires informed
consent from his patients before applying any of his skills
to assist them, unless emergency circumstances have arisen
in which case the doctor has to act in what is perceived to
be the patient’s best interests.

This conflict is apparent where a hunger striker who has
issued clear instructions not to be resuscitated lapses
into a coma and is about to die. Moral obligation urges the
doctor to resuscitate the patient even though it is against
the patient’s wishes. On the other hand, duty urges the
doctor to respect the autonomy of the patient.

Ruling in favour of intervention may undermine the autonomy
which the patient has over himself.

Ruling in favour of non-intervention may result in a doctor
having to face the tragedy of an avoidable death.

A doctor/patient relationship is said to be in existence
whenever a doctor is duty bound, by virtue of his
obligation to the patient, to apply his skills to any
person, be it in the form of advice or treatment.

This relationship can exist in spite of the fact that the
patient might not consent to certain forms of treatment or

Once the doctor agrees to attend to a hunger striker, that
person becomes the doctor’s patient. This has all the
implication and responsibilities inherent in the
doctor/patient relationship, including consent and

The ultimate decision on intervention or non-intervention
should be left with the individual doctor without the
intervention of third parties whose primary interest is not
the patient’s welfare. However, the doctor should clearly
state to the patient whether or not he is able to accept
the patient’s decision to refuse treatment or, in case of
coma, artificial feeding, thereby risking death. If the
doctor cannot accept the patient’s decision to refuse such
aid, the patient would then be entitled to be attended by
another physician.

The excellent New York Times report came and went with
little remark in the mainstream press. The treatment of
prisoners on hunger strike by forcible feeding continues.

"Saving" prisoners from their hunger strike is a deceptive
distortion of a cruel and unacceptable coercion that needs
our urgent attention to bring to an immediate end. If we
dare not allow prisoners to seek death as a means of
escaping their circumstance or because they want to make
martyrs of themselves, and yet we cannot meet any of their
demands for the promise of a fair trial or some relief from
their seemingly endless imprisonment, why cannot we follow
the procedures demanded by the World Medical Association?
If this is not acceptable, why cannot we adopt the British
measures in Northern Ireland, which respected prisoners’
wishes until the point when imams and families can be
involved in the decision-making regarding medical

Our answer at the moment is to revert to a practice that
was discredited as cruel and barbaric a hundred years ago.

Please show the mercy to these people that seems absent in
our lawmakers and bring this issue to the attention of
Congress through your representatives. I shall be doing so
in the United Kingdom. Perhaps our Canadian and European
friends can also raise questions on this treatment of
detainees with representatives of their own government to
increase international pressure.

Note: I do not want to reawaken the deep hurt of such
recent events that is still keenly felt on both sides of
the Atlantic. The deaths of Bobby Sands and his nine
colleagues were some of the many, many tragic consequences
of the troubles. I pay my respect to him and his dedication
to his convictions now, although I cannot accept his
support of violence in response to the wrongdoings he saw
as being perpetrated by the British government.


Opin: DUP’s Outdated Rhetoric No Longer Fools Anyone

By James Kelly

A note of desperation has entered into Paisley’s failed
attempts to disrupt the peace process. A second attempt to
reheat the sectarian pot to boiling point by his grotesque
attack on President McAleese, described in Dublin as a
“black farce”, was followed quickly by a clumsy attempt to
tear up general De Chastelain’s final decommissioning
report on IRA arms, by labelling it as a “cover-up”. Why
they admitted this dangerous enemy of the peace efforts in
to bully the Canadian head of the international commission
passes comprehension when the world and his wife knew that
the end result would be more of his twaddle about the plot
to ‘sell Ulster down the river’. He emerged from the
meeting with a completely distorted account of the
commission’s report and the corroboration of the
independent witnesses. Dr No flogging up the nonsense about
the IRA retaining a few guns for personal protection, told
a waiting press that the MI5 and PSNI must now “tell the
truth” (his version). Then came the typical old
troublemaker’s scare headline which might yet land him in
court under the new British Legislation. Here it is: “They
[Police and MI 5] should tell the people what they know so
that the people can be forearmed to meet what is going to
happen, because those arms are going to be used against the
Protestant population of Northern Ireland.”

SDLP leader Mark Durkan was right to condemn this reckless
and inflammatory statement as an “incitement to sectarian
warfare” such as we have suffered in the past and giving
the loyalist paramilitaries an excuse to hold on to their
weapons. Fortunately not many people are fooled any longer
by Paisley’s outdated rhetoric and there are bound to be
rumblings inside the DUP at the spectacle of Robinson,
Dodds and Donaldson looking the other way when their
ancient leader rants on as he heads for the cliffs. Is this
the way forward led by a mad Mullah?

For the moment our attention to local punk politics has
been diverted by the surprise copy-cat bank raid in
Tunbridge, England where an armed gang, dressed as police,
stole £50 million, dwarfing our claim to notoriety with the
Northern Bank heist of a mere 27 million quid. Ah well, we
have other claims to fame. Bow your heads and wonder about
the future of dear old neverneverland as we are told that
White, the runaway Shankill butcher, has been unmasked as a
highly paid police informer in the dirty war. We used to
joke about dirty-work-at-the-crossroads but we never
guessed it would become so dirty in the sick counties, a
lovely country, spoiled by a vile breed, some of whom have
fled to God-knows-where but one day we hope and pray, to
see the rest in our imagination off out of our sight in a
slow-boat to China, or preferably outer Mongolia.

By that time a new generation ridiculing the likes of
Paisley and their ‘bordermania’ will have awakened to a new
and exciting future of the island of Ireland, in the
forefront, as a bridge between the new Europe and America.
It will take time, but not too

much delay, we hope, for those who have already seen the
light but have hesitated to cast aside all our old orange
and green shibboleths, to embrace the real way forward.

Finally a remarkable article in Thursday’s London Times on
the ‘Irish Economic Miracle’ by George Osborne, British
Tory shadow chancellor, should give food for thought to all
those here, industrialists, business chiefs, entrepreneurs,
academics, educationalists and opinion makers, who see the
implications for the north.

Osborne writes that a generation ago it would have seemed
laughable for a British politician to go to Ireland to see
how to run an economy. Not so any more.

So that’s why he travelled to Dublin to listen and learn.

“Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining
example of the art of the possible in long-term economic
policy-making,” he says.

“After centuries of lower incomes Irish average incomes are
now 20 per cent higher than in the UK. After being held
back for decades the productivity of Irish companies – the
yardstick of economic performance – has grown three times
as quickly as ours over the past 10 years.

“What has caused this Irish miracle and how can we British
emulate it? First, Ireland’s education system is world-
class. It is placed third or fourth in the world. By
contrast Britain is ranked 33rd”.

There is much more.

He says Ireland is no longer on the edge of Europe but
instead is an Atlantic bridge for high-tech companies and
stays ahead in world-class research and development.
Capital goes where investment is most attractive. Tax rates
are only 12.5 per cent while Britain’s is becoming the
highest in the developed world.

Author Osborne, who is MP for Tatton, concluded that
“Ireland has created a dynamic economy.

They have much to teach us, if only we are willing to


Opin: In Case Anyone Had Forgotten, Violence Is What
Republicans Do

LEST you had been lulled into thinking republicans were all
about chicks in mini-skirts and equality, we all got a good
reminder yesterday what they're all about. Every
schoolchild in the country and every Provo-suckered yuppie
radical should have been brought into O'Connell Street to
witness the aftermath of the battle of Dublin yesterday and
been told: "Always remember, this is what they do and this
is what they do best."

It was the kind of thing you'd expect in the Middle East,
or in France. It was the kind of thing we like to think
we're too civilised for in this country. It was the kind of
thing you'd expect to see in Northern Ireland.

It was the kind of thing, don't forget, that the people of
that state have lived with for nearly 40 years. And now
it's down here too.

And let's not scurry to blame the people who've been
repaving O'Connell Street for what seems like a decade now.
Let's not blame the people who left that street like a
building site, or a rioter's dream. We can't stop leaving
building blocks lying around in case someone might pick
them up and throw them at the cops. Should we ban glass
bottles as well? They are the kind of precautions you need
to take in a mad house.

It is republicanism, the violent tradition of
republicanism, and indeed republicanism's reverence for
violence, that allowed what happened yesterday to happen.
They tore apart our town, they tried to kill our cops, they
ripped our fire engines to bits. They attacked the heart of
this country and the very people we trust to protect that
heart and it is Irish republicanism's twisted morality that
made this acceptable.

And let's not be fooled into thinking that this was about
politics in any real way. This was about the sectarianism
that is at the heart of republicanism in this country. This
is about a group of people who would deny another group the
very right to exist. This is about one tradition's
heartfelt need to wipe out another tradition, to ethnically
cleanse Irish unionists and Protestants and everything they
believe in.

On this occasion they wouldn't even allow them to remember
their dead. Republicans killed the people that were to be
remembered on Saturday's march and as if that wasn't enough
they shat all over their memory again this weekend. We
should be disgusted at ourselves for allowing this culture
to thrive, disgusted at what some of us have become, no
more than animals. We should remember too that no matter
how much peace they talk, republicans at their heart will
do whatever is necessary, shamelessly so, to deny
minorities their right to exist.

I met a foreigner on O'Connell Street. He asked me what had
happened, and I told him, half ashamed.

"It's just like Iraq where I am from," he said. "People
talk a lot about democracy and then do things like this.
Because up here," he said, motioning to his head, "they
never change. Ireland has been free for 80 years now but
still nothing changes." It was a depressing thought.

Of course, he wasn't the only foreigner around. This
happened in the heart of tourism country. This didn't
happen in some kind of no go area. It kicked off next to
Ireland's premier shopping street and moved on to even more
salubrious and central areas of town.

And all the tourists were there - watching, horrified.
Because everybody loves the Irish, after all. Nobody thinks
we'd attack our own cops and attack other people just for
being different or for disagreeing with us. But some of us

Republicans disgraced us internationally on Saturday. And
you know what the most embarrassing thing is? The Orangemen
got on their buses and quietly went home while we tore our
city asunder. And they're supposed to be the crazy ones.

Brendan O'Connor


Bk Rev: Ruairí Ò Brádaigh: The Life And Politics Of An
Irish Revolutionary

Robert W. White
Indiana University Press, 2006
Book Review by Fran Quigley

In his biography of die-hard Irish revolutionary Ruairí Ó
Brádaigh, Robert White would have written an entertaining
book even if he had simply pieced together the tale of a
complicated man living in a complicated time and place.

Ó Brádaigh led the Irish independence movement Sinn Féin
during the 1970’s and early 1980’s era of armed resistance
and prisoner hunger strikes, and still heads the dissident
organization Republican Sinn Féin. As a former chief of
staff for the guerilla resistance of the Irish Republican
Army, Ó Brádaigh has been labeled by some as a hero and by
others a terrorist.

That extreme profile does not mesh easily with the image of
the now 73-year old Ó Brádaigh who is a grandfather of 13
and a long-time vocational school teacher. Ó Brádaigh is a
devout Catholic and believer in just war theory who found
himself bitterly disappointed when Pope John Paul II
condemned the Irish violent resistance to British rule. In
all these contrasts and historical complexities, White, the
Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has chosen a
subject who would make a compelling character for a novel.

But Ó Brádaigh and his tableau are both quite real, which
is what makes this biography transcend entertainment to
become a valuable tool for understanding not only the Irish
resistance, but the stubbornness of popular resistance in
Palestine, Iraq, and a half-dozen other locations around
the globe. Ó Brádaigh, a second-generation revolutionary,
represents uncompromising rebels everywhere.

Like most leaders who refuse to compromise, Ó Brádaigh has
paid a price for his principles. In 1983, he lost his
leadership in Sinn Féin to the craftier and more media-
savvy Gerry Adams when Ó Brádaigh opposed Sinn Féin’s
participation in the Dublin parliament. Now the leader of
the much less powerful Republican Sinn Féin, Ó Brádaigh
rejects both the IRA cease-fire and the 1998 Good Friday
Agreement, which allows the constitutional future of
Northern Ireland to be determined by the majority vote of
its citizens.

White uses his generous access to Ó Brádaigh, his family
and his papers to provide a thorough portrayal of the man
and his movement. White also provides the sociologist’s
view of the struggle within the struggle of the Irish
resistance. History has shown that revolutionary social
movements fizzle into mere reform efforts when the
revolutionary leaders decide to participate in the
government they wish to overthrow. When Ó Brádaigh says,
“If you think you can keep one leg in the streets and one
leg in Parliament, you’ve a bloody awful mistake,” scholars
of social movements nod their heads in agreement.

White is one of those scholars, and he sympathetically
outlines Ó Brádaigh’s view that the Gerry Adams-led Sinn
Féin is doomed to follow the lead of tragic Irish
revolutionary leaders like Mick Collins, Eamon de Valera
and Cathal Goulding, who failed to reunite Ireland because
they were weakened by their participation in the government
they initially swore to replace.

White notes that the recent peace process has been good for
Ireland, and does not dismiss the possibility that Sinn
Féin’s choice of reform over revolution will lead to a just
ending to “the troubles.” But when Ó Brádaigh walked out of
Sinn Féin for good in 1986, he first gave a farewell speech
that made clear his intentions on accepting the
“degradation and shame of collaborating with the British.”

“Never, that’s what I say to you — never,” he said. The
Good Friday Agreement may have brought some measure of
peace to Ireland, but White’s compelling biography makes it
clear that, unless and until the British withdraw
completely, Ó Brádaigh and his fellow die-hards won’t give
up the fight.

(Poster’s Note: This book can be purchased at:
ionary.html )


Bk Rev: The Story Of His Life

All Will Be Well A Memoir John McGahern Alfred A. Knopf:
294 pp., $25

By Thomas McGonigle, Thomas McGonigle is the author of
"Going to Patchogue" and "The Corpse Dream of N. Petkov."

THE standing army of Irish poets, in Patrick Kavanagh's
felicitous phrase, is ever expanding, but the number of
field marshals of modern Irish prose is decidedly fewer and
simpler to name: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Flann
O'Brien, Francis Stuart, Aidan Higgins and the youngest
among them, John McGahern.

McGahern was treated as an heir to this powerful lineage
with the publication of his first novel, "The Barracks"
(1963), which takes place in a rural police station and
focuses on an abusive father and his children. With his
second novel, "The Dark" (1965), McGahern established
himself as a controversial writer because of the book's
overtones and hints of inappropriate intimate relations
between a young man, his father and a priest.

The subsequent banning of the book by the censorship board
in Ireland and McGahern's marriage to a divorced woman
(resulting in his dismissal as a primary school teacher in
Dublin) gave him an unnervingly lurid reputation. Today all
of that seems a long time ago and a little embarrassing in
the aggressively secular and modishly trendy Ireland of
2006. Happily, McGahern's writing has endured. And so has
he, living and writing on a farm in County Leitrim.

More than 30 years ago, I reviewed "Nightlines," McGahern's
first collection of stories, and found his work to possess
an acid-like incisiveness. No sentimentality, no coyness
and no avoidance of the carnal wounds that people carry.
His candor made other writers look dishonest. This was also
true of the fiction that came after: "The Leavetaking,"
"The Pornographer," "The Collected Stories" and an award-
winning novel of an Irish Republican Army veteran, "Amongst
Women." My opinion even weathered the appearance of his
most recent and rather bloated novel, "By the Lake," in

But with the publication of the memoir "All Will Be Well,"
the reader moves into a treacherous place. Only time will
tell whether McGahern has ruined his reputation and the
desire of readers ever to seek out the novels that gave him
his place in the world. Those books are so boldly imagined
that it comes as a shock to realize, with "All Will Be
Well," that what we credited solely to McGahern's art draws
much from his own life.

This is not to say that "All Will Be Well" is a poorly
written book, a bad book, an unmoving book, an unfelt book.
In fact, it would be easy to write a review praising
McGahern's memoir — its words fill me with awful feelings
of a powerless identification with McGahern, his brothers
and sisters (he is the oldest of seven) and their bleak

From the moment of their births, the children endured a
constant and unrelenting campaign of physical and
psychological abuse by their policeman father. The memoir
also relates McGahern's development as a writer and follows
his movement from Ireland and back again. One of the milder
moments of paternal abuse occurs when word comes that his
mother has succumbed to breast cancer after many years of
illness. Her death is at the core of this book, severing it
into two. Their father, the teen McGahern and his sisters
and brothers (some barely out of diapers) begin to say the

"The girls were confused by all the emotion and strangeness
and had reverted to laughing again, looking at one another
mischievously through latticed fingers, until my father
paused and said, 'Can no respect be shown to the dead or do
I have to enforce respect?' They were frightened and began
crying again. 'Crying isn't respect. The respect your poor
mother needs now is prayer.' "

"All Will Be Well" is an icy, meticulous delineation of the
torment that a father inflicted upon his children. At the
same time, McGahern creates a touching portrait of enduring
Irish womanhood in the figure of his schoolteacher mother.
When she's hospitalized for the first time, she writes to
her husband: "Yes I know where I stand now and so God knows
best. I am sure with His help I will be quite alright. I am
not a bit worried about it at all … it is awfully good of
you to fast and I think it is too much for you. But you
know best. Still it is a lot to do. I place my trust in God
knowing all will be well."

After the death of their mother, the children are taken
care of by a series of housekeepers while McGahern notes
the almost obscene eagerness of his father to find a new
wife. By accident, McGahern does well in school and
receives a scholarship to a top boarding school, then to a
teachers college in Dublin, and discovers the artist's
voice that both saves and banishes him.

But here is the mortal risk McGahern is taking with this
book: Will his readers ever return to the novels, in
particular "The Barracks" or "The Dark," if they now
realize that those fictional records of abuse and pain were
essentially autobiographical, a fact that McGahern denied
at those rare times when he talked about it?

By saying little about his work, and by living abroad in
England, Finland and the United States, McGahern allowed
his work to represent itself, and he avoided being a public
personality. The novels were read with little reference to
him and became known as reliable touchstones of artistic
daring because they insinuated readers into the intricate
knot created between the abuser and the abused, the beater
and the beaten. To follow the fiction with a memoir seems
to fly in the face of the wisdom of Tolstoy, who started in
autobiography and moved into the higher truth of fiction.

It is painful to quibble with McGahern's memoir. He gets so
well the isolation, the sheer loneliness of Irish country
life, the petty nastiness, the meanness, the stultifying
hypocrisy of church and state. At the same time, he deftly
describes the great consolation of religious faith, a faith
separate from its priestly embodiment. The memoir seems, in
spite of itself, to be a testament to the enduring comfort
one may find in the practices of the Catholic Church (much
like the novels of Georges Bernanos).

And yet, "All Will Be Well" stumbles because McGahern never
once reflects on why he is writing this book: The reader
assumes that McGahern must have decided to "tell the truth"
and was no longer willing to allow his fiction to speak for
him. He falls into a simple chronological narrative and the
fake superficial authority that comes with this approach:
It all presumes one has control of such material, that one
can make sense of everything. We know life isn't that way.
His novels and stories, on the other hand, require the
engaged and active complicity of the thoughtful reader.

McGahern's enduring power as a storyteller remains in his
stories, which invite collusion and imagination. Often I
have heard in Ireland, from those with a historical bent,
that time erases much of a writer's work and all anyone can
hope for is to be remembered for a lyric (if that). I would
send the reader to the brief "Korea" in McGahern's "The
Collected Stories" for all that is great and good in his
work: A father tries to cajole his son into immigrating to
America because he has heard that, once the son is there he
might get drafted and be killed in the line of duty — the
father would be entitled to a large death benefit.

No one should be discouraged from reading "All Will Be
Well," but any reader should plan to stop at the moment of
the mother's death — what comes after that is the usual
story of a clever boy from the provinces getting on in
school, becoming a teacher, learning to write, the
scandals, the divorce, the return to Ireland after years
away. Of course, along this predictable route, the language
is always stunning, and the final words of this review
should be his: "We grow into an understanding of the world
gradually. Much of what we come to know is far from
comforting, that each day brings us closer to the
inevitable hour when all will be darkness…. We grow into a
love of the world, a love that is all the more precious and
poignant because the great glory of which we are but a
particle is lost almost as soon as it is gathered." •


County Kerry Mayor Toireasa Ferris To Visit Wmass

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SPRINGFIELD - The mayor of County Kerry, Ireland, will
visit here next month as part of a four-city United States
tour aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties
between the two countries.

County Kerry Mayor Toireasa Ferris, at 26 the youngest
person ever to hold the title, will visit the Springfield
area March 18 through March 20.

Her time here will include marching in the Holyoke St.
Patrick's Parade and meeting with mayors in Holyoke and
Springfield, as well as U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-

In a telephone interview, Ferris said she hopes to
establish more formal ties with several American cities,
but especially Springfield because it is the sister city to
Tralee, the headquarters of the county government she
oversees in her one-year stint as mayor.

"I'm thoroughly excited about the trip," she said. "I'm
looking forward to meeting the people of Springfield,
especially the people with County Kerry roots."

In addition to Springfield, Ferris will visit Chicago,
Boston, and New York during her 10-day trip. The trip is
part of a focus on strengthening ties in areas around the
world where many Irish immigrants landed after leaving
their impoverished homeland.

"Those immigrants are the reason our economy is as strong
as it is now. Those are the people who went away to find
jobs and sent home the pound or two whenever they could so
their loved ones back home could survive," she said.

Indeed, the United States now has more people of Irish
ancestry than there are residents of Ireland. Forty million
Americans claim Irish ancestry, far more than Ireland's
current population of 4 million.

Ferris recently made an official visit to England to gauge
interest in stronger commercial and cultural ties. She
hopes to organize an event soon to draw people with County
Kerry roots who are living outside the country.

She will promote the plan on her visit next month.

"We're very eager to draw investments to County Kerry. If
this trip can help market that, it would be a huge
success," she said.

Ferris is hoping for a chance to meet some of the four
surviving natives of Great Blasket Island who now live in
Springfield. The small island, located off the Dingle
Peninsula in Kerry, was evacuated by the government in

Ferris was elected to a five-year term on the County Kerry
Council in 2004, and was chosen as mayor by her fellow
councilors last year.

She is a full-time councilor based in Tralee, but travels
frequently to towns and villages across County Kerry.

She holds a law degree from the University of Limerick, and
recently earned a master's degree in human rights and
criminal justice from Queens University in Belfast.

Ferris and her family are long-standing members of the Sinn
Fein political party.

Her father, Martin Ferris, is a Sinn Fein member of the
Irish Dail (national legislature), representing Kerry
North. He is also the party spokesman on agriculture and
rural development and marine and natural resources.


Charity Climbers Set Sights On Four Peaks Challenge

26/02/2006 - 11:19:19

Charity hikers are set to raise over €500,000 for the
homeless as they scale the island’s four highest mountains
in one weekend.

Focus Ireland’s ’Four Peaks Challenge’ in June features
climbs of Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry, Co Mayo’s Mweelrea,
Slieve Donard in Co Down and Co Wicklow’s Lugnaquilla.

Begun in 2001, the event drew a record 64 teams last year
and raised €483,000 in sponsorship.

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Andrews, who took part in the past,
said: “It was great craic while also raising money for such
a good cause.

“I hope even more teams than last year will take up this
exciting challenge again this year.”

Focus Ireland fundraising director Mark Mellett said: “It
is a fantastic challenge for people of all different
abilities and levels of fitness.

“Teams can take the peaks at their own pace and really
enjoy the event while raising money to support Focus
Ireland’s work with people who are homeless.”

People wishing to take part can enter a team made up from
their friends or company and raise €4,000 in sponsorship.

Teams should be a minimum of three and a maximum of five
climbers plus at least two auxiliary team members for
driving and support.

The challenge begins with the climb up Carrauntoohil in the
afternoon of Friday, June 9.

On Saturday, teams will drive to Mweelrea in Co Mayo and
complete this peak in late afternoon.

Drivers will then transfer teams to Slieve Donard in Co
Down which will be climbed on Sunday morning.

The final peak, Lugnaquillia in Co Wicklow will be scaled
later that day.

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