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February 07, 2006

Finucanes To Voice Inquiry Doubts

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BB 02/07/06 Finucanes To Voice Inquiry Doubts
BT 02/07/06 Stevens Break-In: No Link To Ulster Probe
BN 02/07/06 Plea Over Undocumented Irish In US
BT 02/07/06 Was Greysteel Killer An Agent For RUC?
BT 02/07/06
Parties Invited Back For More Talks On Feb 20
BT 02/07/06 IMC And IICD Are United: Minister
BB 02/07/06 Where Do The NI Parties Stand?
NL 02/07/06 Big Guns Honour Her Majesty
BT 02/07/06 Right To Privacy Is Shaken By Bugging
BB 02/07/06 Lawyer 'Gave Information To UVF'
BT 02/07/06 No Bail For Omagh Bombing Accused
IN 02/07/06 Families Call For Justice
IN 02/07/06 35 Yrs Since 1st Soldier Shot Dead In Troubles
KS 02/07/06 Once Considered A Relic, Paisley Regains Clout
NL 02/07/06 IMC Arms Verdict Gets More Support
IN 02/07/06 Opin: Time Politicians Realised Plan B Impact
IN 02/07/06 Opin: DUP Still Singing From Same Hymn Sheet
BN 02/07/06 No Body Found On Wreck Of Sunken Rising Sun
TC 02/07/06 Ulster Catholic Schools Prepare For Change


Finucanes To Voice Inquiry Doubts

The family of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is to meet NI
Secretary Peter Hain to discuss proposals for an inquiry
into his murder.

Mr Finucane, 39, was killed by loyalist paramilitaries at
his home in 1989.

His family have said they do not think an inquiry held
under the Inquiries Act would be able to get the truth.

Mr Finucane's killing was one of the most controversial in
30 years of the Troubles due to allegations of security
force collusion.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended separate
inquiries into Mr Finucane's murder, and three other
controversial killings.

These were the killings of solicitor Rosemary Nelson,
leading loyalist Billy Wright and Catholic father of two
Robert Hamill.

The Finucane family, human rights campaigners and
nationalist politicians, as well as Judge Cory, have
expressed alarm at moves by the government to ensure the
tribunal into Mr Finucane's murder is held under the
Inquiries Act, which was passed earlier this year.

They have claimed the Act will suppress the truth about
what happened, with Amnesty International saying crucial
evidence could be omitted from any final report at the
government's discretion.

The human rights group has urged judges not to sit on the
inquiry into Mr Finucane's death.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/07 07:57:27 GMT


Stevens Break-In: No Link To Ulster Probe

Tyneside police reveal incidents

By Chris Thornton
07 February 2006

Tyneside police said today that two break-ins at offices
used by Lord Stevens do not appear to be related to his
long-running investigations into Northern Ireland

While the break-ins recalled a controversial fire at Lord
Steven's Carrickfergus office in 1990, the police statement
suggested there would be no effect on the senior
policeman's final report into the murder of solicitor Pat

Reports of the break-ins - which occurred within ten days
of each other - emerged as the Finucane family were
preparing to meet Secretary of State Peter Hain today.

Mr Finucane's family has also arranged a ground-breaking
meeting with DUP leader Ian Paisley next week, to explain
the family's opposition to the Government's terms for
holding an inquiry into the murder.

Northumbria Police said there was no indication that the
break-ins over successive weekends were connected to Lord
Stevens' work in Northern Ireland or his investigation into
the death of Princess Diana.

Large sections of his Northern Ireland work have been
handed over to the PSNI, but some strands are said to be
continuing. Also Lord Steven's interim report on the
Finucane case, submitted two years ago, has not been
followed by a final report.

A police statement said two laptops and cash were stolen
from the offices in Gosforth, Tyneside during the first
break-in at the end of January.

Nothing was stolen during the second break-in last weekend,
police said.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police, where Lord
Stevens runs the Diana and Finucane investigations, said no
sensitive material was stolen.

Lord Stevens office in Northern Ireland was famously burned
in January 1990, the night before he was due to arrest Army
spy Brian Nelson for questioning about collusion between
the UDA and the security forces.

Lord Stevens has a home in Northumbria, where he was chief
constable before becoming Commissioner of the Metropolitan

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Detectives in
Newcastle are investigating two break-ins at the Dobson
House office block in Gosforth.

"The first one happened over the weekend of January 28/29
and two laptop computers and a quantity of cash were
stolen. In the second break-in this weekend, nothing was

"There is nothing to suggest that this burglary is in any
way linked with his work as the Commissioner of the
Metropolitan Police or any investigations that he has been
involved in either now or in the past.


Plea Over Undocumented Irish In US

07/02/2006 - 11:49:31

Councils in the Republic were today urged to join an all-
island campaign to prevent 25,000 undocumented Irish
immigrants in the United States becoming the victim of
tough new laws.

SDLP Assembly member PJ Bradley has written to every county
and city council manager in the Republic urging them to
debate the impact on illegal Irish immigrants of anti-
terrorism plans by US President George W Bush.

The South Down MLA said: “Many people have yet to realise
the determination of the US Government to introduce
stringent anti-terrorism measures.

“There are currently over 50 proposals in the form of Draft
Bills up for debate and many of these are being openly
supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“It will require a significant degree of lobbying to
influence the thinking of both Congress and the Senate, but
lobby we must.

“I have been in touch with every county and city council
manager in the south of Ireland requesting them to table
the issue for discussion in their council chambers and to
lend their support to our undocumented in America.

“The SDLP has already commenced the process by introducing
Notices of Motion for discussion in all 26 councils in the

In November President Bush began lobbying for stronger
immigration controls.

His plans include tighter security along the Mexican
frontier but also moves to permit migrants with a job offer
to stay in the US temporarily for three years with the
possibility of a three-year extension if they return to
their home countries for a year to apply for a new work

Alternative proposals have also been tabled by Republican
Senators John Kyl and John Cornyn and Democratic Senator
Edward Kennedy and Republican John McCain.

There are estimated to be around 11 million undocumented
workers in the United States, amongst them 25,000 Irish.

Last month SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell met the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in New York, which
involves prominent Irish American businessmen such as Irish
Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd and former Congressman Bruce

The group was formed to ensure Irish immigrants do not get
left behind in any deal on the US legislation.

Mr Bradley said today the SDLP and the immigration lobby
group supported the Kennedy/McCain Bill because it would at
least give the undocumented an opportunity to obtain a
green card.

“It would allow those that were residing in America on 12th
May 2005 the opportunity to register by paying a $1000
registration fee and submitting their names for a
background check,” he said.

“But at least when all checks are found to be satisfactory
a green card should be forthcoming. “

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has staged a number
of rallies in New York and Philadelphia, with others
planned for Boston on Thursday, in Queen’s in New York, San
Francisco and Washington.

Their inaugural meeting in Yonkers in New York saw over
1,000 people sign up to the campaign.

Mr Bradley said: “People living here with relatives working
in the US should advise them of the pending meetings and of
the information they can obtain by attending.”


Was Greysteel Killer Knight An Agent For RUC's Special

By Alan Erwin
07 February 2006

A sectarian mass murderer responsible for one of Northern
Ireland's worst terrorist outrages was a police agent, it
was claimed yesterday.

Loyalist killer Torrens Knight was shielded by Special
Branch before he massacred eight people at Greysteel, Co
Londonderry, SDLP Assembly member John Dallat has been

Allegations that a rifle used in the atrocity was moved
before officers could recover it are being examined by the
Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

Mr Dallat said a Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldier had
backed up his concerns.

He said: "In recent weeks a serving member of the RIR
telephoned me to say the guns were moved by a member of the
Special Branch who was protecting the identity of Knight,
who was a double agent.

"He went on to claim that one of the guns was used at
Greysteel, while the whereabouts of the other is unknown.

"His knowledge of the event clearly indicates that his call
is genuine."

Knight (36), was part of an Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
team behind the horrific attack on the Rising Sun bar on
Halloween night, 1993.

Gunmen walked into the packed pub, shouted "Trick or treat"
and then opened fire.

By the time they had finished 19 people were wounded. Eight
died from their injuries, seven of them Catholics.

Knight was jailed for life for those murders and the
killing of four Catholic workmen in Castlerock, Co
Londonderry, seven months earlier.

He was released from jail in July, 2000, under the terms of
the Good Friday Agreement.

But Mr Dallat, who has been studying the case for years,
has disclosed new details of a weapons find he was told of
between the attacks in Castlerock and Greysteel.

Two high-powered rifles belonging to the UFF were
discovered by anglers on the Agivey River at Hunter's Mill,
near Aghadowey, Co Londonderry.

"The find was reported to me and passed on to a senior
police officer in Coleraine who immediately organised a
search without results," the East Londonderry MLA said.

"This was a dreadful period in East Derry when 14 Catholics
and five Protestants were murdered between 1991 and 1994.

"Much of the detail has been with the Police Ombudsman for
a considerable period of time, and I am glad that now there
is an official search to find why many of those who lost
their lives were not protected."

He added that, after the Castlerock murders, a senior
police officer reassured him that the UFF gang were being
closely watched and arrests would follow. "It was during
this time that the guns were discovered. There was no
dispute that the UFF had carried out the killings," Mr
Dallat claimed.

"I have waited a long time for this investigation and I
hope the investigation team are successful in gleaning why
so many innocent people lost their lives and why the UFF
ran amok for so long before finally being caught," he

An investigating officer from the Ombudsman's office has
confirmed to Mr Dallat that his concerns were being probed.

"We are currently conducting initial research with regard
to the allegations contained within your draft witness
statement," he was told in a letter.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman refused to
comment on the case.

"Any allegation of wrongdoing on the part of an individual
officer should be reported to the Police Ombudsman so a
proper investigation can be carried out," she said.


Parties Invited Back For More Talks On Feb 20

Hope for way of taking talks forward by April

By Noel McAdam
07 February 2006

The political parties will come together again at
Hillsborough Castle in just under two weeks, it was
confirmed today.

As the Government attempts to inject momentum leading
towards meaningful devolution negotiations, the parties
have been invited back on Monday, February 20.

That is the day after Sinn Fein's ard fheis, its annual
conference, in Dublin and following publication of the
framework legislation for the devolution of justice.

In the meantime, the parties will have further meetings
with Political Development Minister David Hanson and begin
to meet among themselves. The DUP said it is due to meet
the SDLP and Ulster Unionists.

A joint letter from the British and Irish Governments
following yesterday's round of bilateral meetings said
there would be "an intensive programme of discussions" and
further dates have been diaried beyond February 20.

The two Governments hope the parties can agree on a way of
taking the talks forward by April - but accept the
timeframe is short.

The parties were also told yesterday that any amendments to
the Northern Ireland Bill, which could include ideas from
the collapsed Comprehensive Agreement of December, 2004 and
proposals from the earlier review of the Good Friday
Agreement, will need to be in place soon.

In effect the Government is working back from the date of
the next scheduled Assembly elections, May of 2007, and
attempting to agree the necessary steps which would have to
be taken to reach a viable consensus, which remains a long
way off.

"No one is suggesting there isn't a lot of work to be
done," a senior talks source said. "But overall the
atmosphere was positive and good.

"People are bringing forward serious ideas - not just the
DUP, although the focus was on their document, but the SDLP
and others."

Secretary of State Peter Hain, who co-chaired the meetings
with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, said he believed
devolution is a "real possibility in the near future".

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said, however: "There is a
question. Are the Governments in charge or is Ian Paisley
in charge? Is Ian Paisley going to be part of a new
dispensation or is he not?

"Our position is that only decisive action by the
Governments will find the answer to that question.
Otherwise Ian Paisley will grandstand and do all of the
type of things he has done for the last 40 years."


IMC And IICD Are United: Minister

By Brian Walker
07 February 2006

Security Minister Shaun Woodward has dismissed claims of
differences between the IMC and the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) over
whether the IRA have held on to guns.

Addressing a Westminster committee session to renew, for a
final year, the order granting an amnesty to paramilitaries
who are decommissioning their arsenals, Mr Woodward said
that both bodies were united in saying last week they had
"no reason to doubt" the IRA leadership was committed to
"eschewing terrorism".

"This order has become an annual event. Last year, just
after the Northern Bank robbery, members were disappointed
that so little progress had been made on decommissioning.
This year we have to recognise the huge progress that has
been made since last year, " said Mr Woodward.

In the absence of DUP committee member Nigel Dodds who was
attending the Hillsborough talks, Tory MPs Laurence
Robertson and Ben Wallace challenged the minister for
glossing over the reports that IRA members were holding
onto weapons, beyond " a limited number of handguns kept
for personal protection, or some items the whereabouts of
which were no longer known".

Mr Robertson who is a front bench spokesman, insisted there
were "differences of interpretation" between the IMC and
General de Chastelain's commission.

On prospects for a complete end to all IRA illegal activity
he said: "I share the minister's sense of hope but not his
sense of optimism."

In the dispute over IRA weapons, his colleague Mr Wallace
pleaded with ministers: "Don't hoodwink us. Give it to us
warts and all. Next year (when the amnesty period runs out
for paramilitaries) "we will say enough is enough".

On Wednesday, the IRA's decommissioning record will come
under further scrutiny by the full House, when MPs take the
decision on restoring their parliamentary allowances.

In what is nominally a free vote, the Conservatives and the
DUP have pledged to vote against the Government.


Where Do The NI Parties Stand?

As efforts continue to kick-start the stalled political
process, BBC Northern Ireland's politics team have written
a series of articles looking at the key issues for the main


Northern Ireland's biggest party, the DUP, came close to
doing a deal with Sinn Fein in December 2004.

But now it appears in no mood to share power with
republicans in the near or medium-term future.

The DUP is unhappy with many aspects of direct rule,
including Peter Hain's proposed reforms of local government
and education.


Sinn Fein's spin machine has been working overtime lately.

It follows the debacle over "on-the-run" fugitives, the
"Stormontgate" spy affair, and the International Monitoring
Commission report which accused republicans of illegally
gathering intelligence, among other things.

The party was undoubtedly bruised over the OTR legislation,
and forced into a U-turn before Christmas.


The SDLP leadership might have brightened when it heard
Martin McGuinness reminding listeners that the SDLP had
long been dismissed as the "Stoop Down Low Party".

The fact that the Sinn Fein negotiator made the effort to
attack means the SDLP is still viewed as a threat.


The Ulster Unionists showed in the old executive at
Stormont that they were willing to share power with Sinn

But now, in the wake of the latest Independent Monitoring
Commission report, the party says the immediate return of a
power-sharing executive is not on the political radar.

Instead, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey says the
report proves that republicans cannot let go of crime or
covert intelligence gathering.


The Alliance Party's frustration after recent meetings with
ministers has been ill-disguised, as was leader David
Ford's anger with Peter Hain following the Northern Ireland
secretary's threat to cut the salaries of assembly members
if there isn't progress by the summer.

The gist of Mr Ford's argument is, "tell me what we have
done wrong" - especially since the cross-community party is
unlikely to qualify for any new executive.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/07 10:27:31 GMT


Big Guns Honour Her Majesty

By Philip Bradfield

(Poster’s Note: 3 dozen (36) people showed up for this!
The military probably outnumbered the spectators. But then
again, it was cold. People love the Queen a lot more on
warm days. Jay)

Tuesday 7th February 2006

A 21-gun salute to the Queen was moved away from her
Hillsborough residence yesterday so as not to disturb
political talks aimed at restoring the Assembly.

Instead, it took place at HMS Caroline in Belfast Docks,
despite accusations from the DUP the move was pandering to
Sinn Fein's presence at Hillsborough Castle.

Three massive ceremonial field guns fired 21 blank 105mm
shells across open water to mark the anniversary of the
Queen's accession.

Despite a biting wind, around three dozen civilian
spectators turned out, each one issued with ear plugs.

A local Territorial Army unit, 206 (Ulster) Battery Royal
Artillery Volunteers, carried out duties crisply to barked
orders, each report from the guns echoing and whistling
around the docks, followed by the clink of a massive brass
shell casing hitting the tarmac.

Major Peter Geary of the Royal Artillery said the change of
venue was not particularly unusual: "It used to be done at
Stormont and, more recently, has been at Hillsborough, but
this is MoD property at HMS Caroline and we have done it in
other locations."

The salute is carried out simultaneously across the other
UK capital cities on six annual occasions laid down by
Buckingham Palace.

The Chief Fire Officer for Northern Ireland, Colin Lammey,
took the inspection, thought to be the first time a non-
military guest has done so.


Right To Privacy Is Shaken By Bugging

Law Society meets Orde over taping of solicitor

By Jonathan McCambridge
07 February 2006

The right of the public to confidential legal advice could
have been damaged by the bugging of a Londonderry
solicitor, the Law Society has told the Chief Constable.

Manmohan 'Johnny' Sandhu (41), of Colby Avenue,
Londonderry, appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday
where he was charged with attempting to incite murder and
frustrating a police investigation into a loyalist feud

The court heard that the only evidence against Sandhu
related to conversations he had with various clients at a
consultation room at the Serious Crime Suite in Antrim
which were secretly taped by police.

A PSNI officer told the court that the unusual and serious
nature of the alleged offences justified the tactic.

But the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland
Rory McShane and its Chief Executive John Bailie met with
Sir Hugh Orde yesterday to express their concern about the
protection of the individual's right to avail of
confidential legal advice.

At the meeting it is understood that the chief constable
told the Law Society that there were limited and rare
circumstances when the principle of solicitor/client
confidentiality may be set aside according to powers
outlined in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

Mr McShane said: "The Society believes that the vital
issues of principle which have arisen, including the
reconciliation of the provisions of the 2000 Act with
fundamental human rights, require further consideration.

"The chief executive and I will now consult further with
the membership as represented by the Council of the Society
and the Criminal Bar Association."

Sandhu faces five charges in total which include four of
attempting to pervert the course of justice and one of
attempting to incite murder.

He faces two charges of perverting the course of justice by
frustrating a police investigation into the murder of
Jameson Lockhart on July 1, 2005 in Belfast. Mr Lockhart
was shot dead by the UVF last summer at the beginning of
its bloody feud with the LVF.

Sandhu was also yesterday charged with two counts of
perverting the course of justice in a police investigation
into the attempted murder of Jonathan Hillier on August 19
last year. He is also charged with attempting to incite an
unknown person to murder Mr Hillier.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Hanley from the PSNI Serious
Crime branch told the court yesterday he could connect
Sandhu to the offences.

He said that when the charges were put to him on Sunday
Sandhu had replied "definitely not guilty" to all five

Sandhu's lawyer Paul Dougan asked the detective to confirm
that his client had undergone 22 separate interviews at
Antrim Serious Crime Suite and that he had fully co-
operated with the police and vigorously denied all the
offences. Mr Hanley said that was correct.

Resident Magistrate Robert Alcorn remanded Sandhu in
custody to appear in the same court through a videolink on
February 28.


Lawyer 'Gave Information To UVF'

A solicitor used his position to pass information to senior
members of the loyalist paramilitary UVF, it was alleged in
a High Court bail hearing.

Manmohan Sandhu, 41, of Colby Avenue in Londonderry, was
granted bail.

On Monday, he had denied attempting to incite a murder and
four charges of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Sandhu was granted bail, on the condition that he
surrenders his Indian passport and stays out of Antrim
police station's serious crime facility.

The charges faced by Mr Sandhu on Monday related to a
murder and attempted murder - both carried out by the UVF -
during a loyalist feud last summer.

It was alleged on Tuesday that Mr Sandhu had used his
position as a solicitor to pass information to senior
members of the UVF.

Police allege he did this by mobile phone from a
consultation room at Antrim police station.

The prosecution claimed on one occasion Mr Sandhu phoned an
unknown person, indicating that a taxi driver, already
recovering in hospital from gunshot wounds after a failed
murder bid, should be "taken out".

Mr Sandhu's office was in Limavady but the majority of his
criminal law practice was in east Belfast, the court heard.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/07 13:02:48 GMT


No Bail For Omagh Bombing Accused

By Alan Erwin
07 February 2006

An electrician accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh
bomb massacre was refused bail over fears he may flee to
the Republic.

A judge told Belfast Crown Court he could not release Sean
Hoey (36), as he had tried to escape arrest by hiding in

With the south Armagh man facing 58 charges involving 14
separate terrorist attacks, Mr Justice Weir insisted the
allegations against him were too serious to back the case
put forward by his defence.

Even though Hoey has been on remand for nearly 900 days, he
now faces another seven months behind bars before standing
trial in September for the Omagh outrage.

The accused, of Molly Road, Jonesborough, near the border,
denies involvement in the August 1998 no-warning strike on
the Tyrone market town.

As well as killing 29 people and unborn twins, the massive
car bomb detonated by the Real IRA injured hundreds more.

Hoey has also been charged with a series of other dissident
republican attacks across Northern Ireland during the same

Although his defence argued that he has been on remand
eight times longer than any suspect in England can be held,
Mr Justice Weir accepted Crown fears that he may not turn
up for trial.

The judge's concerns were heightened by Hoey's bid to
escape when he was seized at his home in September 2003.

Mr Justice Weir said: "The conclusion I have reached is
that there is a well-founded fear that if released on bail
the applicant would fail to surrender to it.

"He attempted to evade arrest and to hide himself when
police came to arrest him the last time.

"The fact he lives close to the border, has family living
there and has a history of employment in the Republic of
Ireland, means he would find it more straightforward than
others to establish himself in there if he chose to do so."

Friends of Hoey, who sat expressionless in the dock, were
prepared to lodge £50,000 in cash, a farm and land as
sureties that he would not flee if released.

His mother, Rita, was also ready to hand over her total
savings of £1,500 and put up the family home as assurance,
Mr Justice Weir was told.

But as Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aidan was
killed in atrocity, listened from the public gallery, the
judge set out why he could not agree to the request.

The most serious charges against Hoey were the 29 murders,
he stressed.

Mr Justice Weir accepted Hoey had been in custody for some
time and would have to wait months before the non-jury
trial could get under way.

However, he did not accept that the delay had been

"Given the gravity and extent of the charges the applicant
faces, I consider that no conditions the court might impose
could guard against the risk of the applicant absconding,"
he said.

"I must refuse the application for bail."


Families Call For Justice

By Barry McCaffrey

The families of six Belfast men shot dead in controversial
circumstances say their campaign will continue until they
find the truth about the killings.

North Belfast men Jim Sloan, Jim McCann, Tony Campbell,
Brendan Maguire, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy were shot
dead in a 90-minute period in the New Lodge area on the
night of February 3/4 1973.

While the British army admitted shooting four of the men
dead, the killing of Jim Sloan and Jim McCann has never
been claimed.

The IRA later admitted that Mr Sloan, Mr Campbell and Mr
McCann had been members but insisted they had ‘not been on
active service’ when killed.

None of the six men were armed when killed. The Ministry of
Defence later paid compensation to their families.

Speaking at a commemoration to mark the 33rd anniversary of
the killings, John Loughran’s grandson John said: “To date
no British soldier has been brought to book for the

“Does this send a signal that the British government is
interested in peace building or conflict resolution when
they cannot face up to what they did over 30 years ago?

“If they are serious about the future then they must deal
with the impunity afforded to their state forces.

“The need to deal with the past in a collective way is the
only way forward.

“A way that addresses all hurts.”


35 Years Since First British Soldier Shot Dead In Troubles

By Eamon Phoenix

Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the death of the
first British soldier killed in the Troubles and the first
killed on Irish soil since the Black and Tan War of 1919-

Gunner Robert Curtis, a 20-year-old trainee surveyor with
the Royal Artillery was on patrol in the New Lodge district
of north Belfast on the night of February 6 1971 when he
was struck by a bullet from a Thompson sub-machine gun.

The shooting occurred during a fierce gun-battle between
troops and members of the emergent Provisional IRA.

The incident followed several days of intense rioting in
the Ballymurphy and Crumlin Road areas. According to
military accounts, Gunner Curtis was killed by a bullet
which was almost spent and which entered his shoulder at
the edge of his flak jacket and pierced his heart. His
comrades did not realise he was dead until a lighted
cigarette placed in his mouth failed to light.

A colleague told the inquest that his unit was being
attacked by around 100 rioters when he heard a burst of
automatic fire and saw two soldiers fall to the ground.

It seemed that the fatal shot was fired from the direction
of Templar House, one of a number of high-rise flats
overlooking the New Lodge Road. Four other soldiers were
wounded, one of whom died a week later.

The television gameshow presenter and former Irish
journalist, Henry Kelly was on the ground in the New Lodge
when Curtis lost his life. At the time he had no doubt that
the shots marked a serious escalation in the campaign of
violence of the Provisional IRA.

One British officer told him: “They have given us a bloody
nose but we will not let them away with this.”

The IRA actually lost a member at almost the same time as
Gunner Curtis was hit. James Saunders, the 22-year-old
Officer Commanding of the Bone district, shot dead by a
military sniper in the Old Park district.

On the same evening, a Catholic civilian, Barney Watt was
killed by a British army marksman in Ardoyne.

Security force claims that the victim was carrying a blast
bomb were rejected by eyewitnesses.

The death of Gunner Curtis is often seen as signalling all-
out war between the British army and the IRA. On the
following day, the Unionist Prime Minister, Major James
Chichester-Clark declared on television that “Northern Ire-
land was at war with the Irish Republican Army Provision-
als”. A week later, following clashes at an IRA funeral in
north Belfast, the Stormont government – which was still
responsible for security – banned the wearing of military-
style uniforms by ‘subversive organisations’.

Gunner Curtis left a pregnant young widow who gave birth to
the soldier’s daughter six months later.

Expressing her shock at her husband’s violent end, she told
the press: “It seems so stupid, so pointless, such a waste
of life. I never thought of him as a soldier. And when he
went to Ireland they all told me that there was no real
danger of a soldier getting killed there.”

The identity of Curtis’s killer was soon public knowledge.
According to Lost Lives, the definitive work on the victims
of the Troubles, the IRA sniper responsible was a local
man, Billy Reid who was shortly to pass into republican
folklore. Three months later, in May 1971, Reid too was
shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with British troops
close to Belfast city centre. Ironically, he was killed in
Curtis Street near the College of Art.


Once Considered A Political Relic, Ulster Leader Regains

Chicago Tribune

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - The Rev. Ian Paisley,
approaching his 80th birthday, mounts the pulpit of his
Belfast church and prepares to do battle with the devil.

Paisley, an iconic figure who for half a century has
embodied Northern Ireland's stubborn refusal to make peace
with itself, is a large man with a shock of white hair and
a penetrating gaze. He is armed with the Bible and a
righteous anger.

On this Sunday, his wrath is aimed not at his old mortal
enemy, the Irish Republican Army, but at new legislation
proposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair's government that
would eliminate street prostitution by moving it into
small, licensed brothels.

"The spirituality of our nation is being slowly but
deliberately drained away," he tells the gathered faithful.
"Evil and Satanic powers have taken over the leaders of
this country, and we have the darkness of apostasy upon

He warns that without "a mighty national cleansing revival,
there will be no hope for this nation. It will go down the

Paisley is a master preacher of the old school. He shuns
the microphone. "I think microphones have destroyed public
speaking. You don't get the real rhythm, the real melody of
the human voice," he explained afterward.

His unamplified voice can rattle the rafters of the church,
and even when it drops to a whisper, his words are
perfectly audible.

There is something almost Shakespearean to these Sunday

"He is one of our greatest actors," said Paul Bew, a
political scientist at Belfast's Queen's University. "When
it comes to politics and thespian skills, his only rival is
Tony Blair."

But little more than five years ago, "The Doc," as his
friends call him, was being written off as yesterday's man.
With the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998, it
seemed that moderates on both sides of Northern Ireland's
sectarian divide had finally prevailed. Paisley's sworn
enemies - the Irish Republican Army and its political wing,
Sinn Fein - agreed to give up the armed struggle and
decommission their weapons.

Only Paisley rejected the power-sharing deal and vowed to
destroy it. When 71.7 percent of voters in Northern
Ireland, including 55 percent of Protestant voters,
approved the agreement in a referendum, it appeared that
Paisley's days in politics were over.

His health deteriorated in 2004, and there were doubts that
he would live much longer.

But quite unexpectedly, Paisely is back, his health
restored and his political stock soaring. In last May's
general election, Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, the
DUP, emerged as the most powerful of Northern Ireland's
four major parties, with nearly 34 percent of the vote.
Sinn Fein was second with 24 percent. The moderates who
brokered the Good Friday deal were shunted aside. Noble
Peace Prize winner David Trimble failed to win in his own

Few see Paisley's comeback as a good sign for Northern

"No constituency which gives its political support to such
a leader as Paisley possesses a plausible vision of its own
future," Max Hastings, the journalist and historian, wrote
in The Guardian newspaper. "We are witnessing the last
writhings of a society left beached by the march of

Despite the relative calm brought by the Good Friday
agreement, the political center in Northern Ireland has
collapsed, mostly because the IRA was slow to decommission
its arms and because of a growing sense among the mainly
Protestant unionists that the Catholic republicans had
somehow gotten the better of the deal. Unionists, or
loyalists, want Northern Ireland permanently linked with
Britain; republicans, or nationalists, want the north to be
united with the Republic of Ireland.

Self-rule in Northern Ireland was suspended three years ago
after the discovery of an IRA spy network inside Stormont,
the government headquarters. Talks aimed at restarting
self-rule got under way this week.

Last Wednesday, the Independent Monitoring Commission, the
ICM, which keeps tabs on Northern Ireland's paramilitary
groups, issued a generally upbeat report saying that while
there was evidence that some members of the IRA are still
involved in criminal activities, and that a few still
possess weapons, "We are of the firm view that the present
(IRA) leadership has taken the strategic decision to end
the armed campaign and pursue the political course which it
has publicly articulated."

But that was not good enough for Paisley.

"The criminal activity of the IRA has not altered one iota.
Their enlisting of people, their training of people in arms
may not be as open as it was, but it's still going on," he
said during a recent interview in his Stormont office.

"No, I think the IRA/Sinn Fein must really go out of
existence. You can't have in government any body of men
that as a last resort have the final veto of the gun. All
the times that there had been any attempt to do business,
Sinn Fein at the end of the day had that threat," he said.

If there has been one constant in Northern Ireland's
"Troubles" over the past 50 years, it has been the booming
voice of Ian Paisley saying no.

In person, Paisley can be gracious and engaging, and he is
pleased to reflect on a political career and spiritual
ministry that often intertwined.

The son of a rural Baptist preacher, Paisley said he
underwent a personal conversion at age 6. As a teenager,
working on a farm in County Tyrone, he heard the calling to
follow in his father's footsteps.

He began theological studies at the Barry School of
Evangelism in Wales and later at the Reformed Presbyterian
Theological Hall in Belfast. A few years after his
ordination, he helped establish the fundamentalist Free
Presbyterian Church in Ulster, which he now leads.

Paisley was close friends with Bob Jones Jr., the American
evangelist, and the honorific "Doc" that Paisley enjoys
derives from an honorary degree awarded to him by Bob Jones
University in Greenville, S.C.

"Yes, I'm a literalist as far as the message of the Bible
is concerned," Paisley said. "I believe the Bible says what
it means and it means what it says. I know that Christ is
real, he's a living person, and I know that the devil is

Not surprisingly, he also sees politics in stark terms of
good versus evil, with the "good" embodied by the
"Protestant throne of Britain" and "evil" by the Roman
Catholic pope, whom Paisley believes to be the anti-Christ.
Back in 1958, he accused Princess Margaret and the Queen
Mother of "spiritual fornication and adultery with the
anti-Christ" after they had an audience with Pope John

He emerged on the political scene in the 1960s as a
forceful and often belligerent spokesman for maintaining
Protestant prerogatives in Northern Ireland. Once, in a
debate with firebrand Catholic civil rights activist
Bernadette Devlin, Paisley declared he "would rather be
British than be fair."

Paisley was frequently at the forefront of marches or
protests that would turn violent and he was a master at
using his rhetorical gifts to whip up the mob's anger. To
most of the world, he appeared a crude rabble-rouser, a
clownish character, certainly a demagogue.

Paisley rejects the demagogue label. "I had a right to be
angry, because the things that were happening in my country
would have made any patriot unhappy," he said.

He chuckled when reminded of the occasion in 1988 when he
attempted to disrupt a speech by Pope John Paul II to the
European Parliament. Paisley, who was a member of the
parliament from 1979 until he retired in 2004, rose from
his seat and shouted out, "I denounce you as the anti-
Christ." Other MPs set upon him with kicks and punches,
while the pope was reported to have looked on "with bemused

Paisley counts this as a great triumph: "What I said was
carried in every newspaper in the world, whereas there was
very skimpy mention of the pope's message. ... I won the
day, but I got a terrible hiding. My tailbone was fractured
by the kicking I got."

At the Northern Ireland talks under way this week, all eyes
are on Paisley and the DUP.

"This is probably the toughest time we are going to have in
negotiations because the British government has given away
so much that I have to claw back," he said last week.

He rejects the suggestion that he is holding up progress.

"I am holding up nothing," he snapped. "It's the IRA that's
holding it up. They refuse to be democratic. And I refuse
to sit in a government with them because they have shown,
by their own admissions and activities, that they are not

Paisley's DUP is more than a one-man band. A generation of
younger men, including one of Paisley's sons, Ian Paisley
Jr., manage the DUP's day-to-day business. Some from this
generation are seen as political and ideological
pragmatists, willing to deal with Sinn Fein to reap the
rewards of their own party's electoral strength.

But they will have to wait their turn.

"Assuming Paisley's good health, there is no likelihood of
a deal in 2006," said Queen's University's Bew.


IMC Arms Verdict Gets More Support

By Philip Bradfield
Tuesday 7th February 2006

A growing number of sources are coming out in support of
the IMC verdict that the IRA has retained part of its
arsenal, contrary to statements from the Government and
John De Chastelein.

A senior republican, MI5 and the PSNI have all broadly come
out in support of International Monitoring Commission
claims that the IRA has retained a wide range of weapons
for purposes beyond that of personal protection.

And barrister and UKUP leader Bob McCartney has strongly
reiterated claims that the fingerprints of a secret arms
deal with the IRA are all over the latest Northern Ireland
firearms legislation.

A republican source said yesterday that the British and
Irish governments knew that IRA weapons would be retained
for "self defence" from dissident republicans and

He said: "The only way for Adams and McGuinness to face
these problems down [when trying to sell final
decommissioning to the IRA membership] was to say that a
certain amount of weaponry could be held back for defensive
purposes. Both governments knew that every last gun would
not be handed over," he said.

However, the IMC went much further, saying the IRA had
retained a range of different types of weapons "beyond... a
limited number of handguns for personal protection".

Yesterday, it was reported the IMC based its report on MI5
and the PSNI Crime Operations Department intelligence. A
senior police source said there was "significant
intelligence" the IRA retained part of its arsenal, adding
that there had been "difficult units" which were not going
to "roll over for Adams and McGuinness".

Barrister and UKUP leader Bob McCartney also believes a
secret deal has been done, a claim widely circulated in
September Press reports. He said: "Under the Firearms
Northern Ireland Order 2004, the Secretary of State can
bypass the Chief Constable in issuing licences for a wide
range of prohibited weapons. The timing and choreography of
this legislation bears all the hallmarks of a deal in the
making, whether or not the licences were finally issued."

However, a NIO spokesman insisted the legislation was
common throughout the UK and necessary to give better
regulation of gun clubs and collectors. He repeated the
Secretary of State's position that the Independent
International Commission for Decommissioning believed the
IRA had completely decommissioned.

Although the IMC is clear the IRA leadership has decided to
leave terrorism behind, the glaring discrepancy between it
and the IICD on the extent of IRA decommissioning remains.
It is reported the IMC is to meet the IICD to seek a


Opin: Time Politicians Realised Impact Of Plan B

The Tuesday Column
By Breidge Gadd

Denis Bradley, in his opinion piece in this paper last
week, suggested that the two governments for the first time
might be moving into Plan B for Northern Ireland.

I think Denis is on to something.

In fact Plan B could be a short/medium-term strategy which
can become a long-term strategy should Plan A not happen.

Plan A, a local law-making assembly, is of course the
preferred objective. It has two major attractions. One is
that the nationalist and republican community here are (or
were before all the prevaricating of unionists) prepared to
accept it. The other is that a Northern Ireland assembly
dovetails well into governmental arrangements that are up
and running for the rest of the United Kingdom in Wales and

It was quite obvious from the way that the direct rule team
conducted themselves post Good Friday Agreement, during the
first collapse of Stormont and again at the beginning of
this latest spell, that ministers were asked to maintain a
watching brief and do as little as possible regarding
active government. Presumably the assumption was that
frustration borne of political inaction would provide an
impetus for a return to local democracy.

However, it is becoming obvious that, as Denis suggests,
there has recently been a deliberate and significant change
in policy.

Gone is the laissez faire approach. Ministers have become
galvanised into action. Perhaps they began to realise that
local politicians were never going to cut the mustard and
take hard decisions. They must also have decided that
passive direct rule was too cosy a comfort blanket for some
and that actually the continuation of direct rule held
positive opportunities to move things on.

But if forced into long-term direct rule it was going to be
direct rule but not as we knew it. The paternalist
indulgence characterising previous periods of caretaker
ministry has gone. Politicians and people alike will no
longer be indefinitely cushioned by generous budget
subventions condoning political inaction while we bicker
and baulk at taking on real responsibility for our own

The secretary of state and his team will act on our behalf
to develop a slimmed down Northern Ireland which has
effective and efficient health and education services fit
for purpose in the 21st century. If the country were a
business, one would assume we were being prepared for take
over or a buy out. Indeed the most important recent
statements from a secretary of state since Peter Brooke’s
retrospectively famous “no strategic interest” speech are
Peter Hain’s recent comments on our economy. Put baldly, he
tells us Northern Ireland is not an economically viable
entity. To survive we are interrelated – not with England
Scotland or Wales but with our other half – the Republic of
Ireland. For nationalists this is sweet talk indeed as we
all know that where the economy goes other aspects of life
will surely follow. For a unionist though it must be
fearsome and troubling news.

Here with the PM’s backing is a dynamic secretary of state
with a determined ministerial team running a benevolent
despotism free from the restraints of participative
democracy telling us that he will decimate local
bureaucracy, modernise education and rationalise school
provision, develop an effective health service and
establish a proper collaborative relationship with the
south. All this will move ahead apace.

Meanwhile, unionist parties here will continue to devote
energies to finding 101 reasons not to join in government
with republicans.

Of course Peter Hain will give them more time –
constructive time that he will use to institute modern
management of Northern Ireland, time to enable us to become
economic blood brothers with the south. This strategy has
the positive and willing support of the PM and the
taoiseach and of a growing number of people tired with the
obsessive preoccupation of politicians with breathing life
into a geriatric (albeit with good pension provision) IRA.

Unless local politicians start to realise the impact of
Plan B – a repositioning of Northern Ireland within the
British Isles, they could find that by the time they agree
to do business together, all the real business decisions
have been taken in their absence.


Opin: DUP Still Singing From Same Old Hymn Sheet

By Susan McKay

There was no need for the DUP to hire the Ramada Hotel.

Paisley’s cathechism hasn’t been rewritten. What do we
hold? “What is ours”. What will be given? “Not an inch”.

What will there be? “No surrender”.

What is surrender? “Compromise”.

When will we surrender to Ulster’s enemies? “Never”. What
is anyone who talks to Sinn Fein or the Dublin government?
“A traitor”.

Whose faith shall we uphold? “The faith of our fathers”.
With whom will we have no truck? “Those who pursue terror
and criminality”. Where is the Good Friday Agreement?
“Buried in a Sadducee’s grave”.

The faithful love the old routines.

They gave Paisley a rapturous ovation before he even
started, knowing and adoring what they were going to hear
and they gave him another one when he finished.

This year’s comic turn was given by Sammy Wilson.

Gerry Adams “hugs trees”, he sniggered but he should be
worried about his colleagues talking to “the branch”.

Oh how they laughed.

The DUP has had a good year.

In December 2004 Paisley demanded IRA humiliation and the
IRA duly humiliated itself, with the Northern Bank robbery
and the shocking murder of Robert McCartney.
Decommissioning, delayed

too long, no longer had the political leverage to bring
back devolution.

The outing of Denis Donaldson as a British agent has left
Sinn Fein visibly reeling. Martin McGuinness, ugly with
anger over last week’s IMC report, did himself no favours
with his “bullshit” outburst (his ‘Balderdice’ was a nice
one though, it has to be admitted).

Paisley raised a guffaw on Saturday over McGuinness’s rage.
The DUP has Sinn Fein where it wants it, stamping its foot,
shouting that it’s not fair and demanding that the British
bring back Stormont.

Paisley junior said it last year and Gregory Campbell said
it last month: “The Provos may be in a hurry but we are

The DUP vowed it would wreck the Good Friday Agreement.

Now it claims it has killed it.

“Read my lips,” sneered Robinson. “The Belfast agreement is

Robinson, who has been deputy leader of the party for a
long, long time, has taken new steps towards keeping a
youthful look. First the hair-do and now the laser surgery.
Not for him the slow SDLP slide towards the cardigan.

But the truth is, the DUP has condemned another generation
of politicians into the backwater of direct rule.

Sinn Fein can demand all it wants and the SDLP can claim
that the DUP isn’t “in sole control”. The harsh reality is
that devolution without the support of Paisley and his
people cannot be made to work.

The DUP’s hypocrisy is, as ever, outrageous. Intent upon
reuniting the unionist family, it has been happy to be seen
side by side with loyalist paramilitaries on the Whiterock
Road and at Larne Harbour in the past year.

It has ignored the IMC’s school report on the UDA, UVF and
LVF (dire).

It knows full well the significance of the IRA’s destroyed

But for now, that doesn’t matter.

The DUP is still gathering the Protestant voters in and the
old messages of sectarianism and intransigence are working.
Unionists didn’t like sharing power with nationalists and
they hated sharing it with republicans.

There is an element of revenge about it all.

The DUP would rather see working-class Protestants sitting
and failing the 11-plus than have a hated ‘IRA godfather’
as minister for education.

(Never mind that McGuinness

was explicitly tackling the educational failure of children
in the loyalist ghettos to thrive.)

The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Sinn Fein’s
current weakness happens to suit the Irish government.
Don’t forget there’s an election next year in the Republic
and Sinn Fein will do a lot less well while being forced to
plead for power in the north than it would if its leading
figures were back sweeping past Lord Carson’s furious
statue in ministerial cars.

Paisley can’t hold back the tide forever.

He is preoccupied with death.

He says he’s dug the stinking grave of the agreement with
his spade of truth.

He said back in 1986 that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was in
the Sadducee’s grave as well. The Sadducees didn’t believe
in resurrection – but Paisley does.

He knows power sharing will be born again but is too much
of a bigot to embrace it.

The poet WR Rodgers wrote of him long ago: “There, but for
the grace of God, goes God.” There’s time for him to change
that legacy but surely not much more of it.


No Body Found On Wreck Of Sunken Rising Sun

07/02/2006 - 12:05:21

The body of missing fisherman Pat Colfer has not been found
on the wreck of the Rising Sun, which was raised from the
seabed off the coast of Co Wexford last night.

The vessel was brought to the surface at the request of the
Colfer family, who believed the fisherman's body may still
have been trapped inside.

Mr Colfer and his colleague Jimmy Myler both died when the
lobster boat sank near the Saltee Islands last November,
but the former's remains have never been recovered.

The Rising Sun was brought to Rosslare and searched today,
but no trace was found of the missing skipper's body.


Ulster Catholic Schools Prepare For Change

Posted on February 07, 2006 Email To Friend Print

Measures are being taken by the body which oversees
Northern Ireland’s Catholic school to ensure they are ready
for forthcoming legislation which will see a radical
overhaul of admission procedures and curriculum
arrangements. Bishop Donal McKeown of the NI Commission for
Catholic Education said it had set up a regional board,
which would consult with communities on how best to deal
with the matter. And the commission, which comprises the
diocesan and religious trustees for Catholic schools, said
it proposed "to introduce the new admissions and curriculum
arrangements into Catholic schools in a planned, structured
and inclusive way". "The structured approach to be
undertaken will enable the Catholic sector to adequately
prepare for the new arrangements in education which will be
required over the next five years," added the bishop.

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