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February 16, 2006

MI5 Tried To Set Up Bombing

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 02/16/06 MI5 Tried To Set Up Bombing: McGuinness
BT 02/16/06 Assembly Elections Could Happen This Year
IN 02/16/06 Loyalist Loan Of £45,000 Paid To Assets Agency
IN 02/16/06 ‘One Of The Troubles Most Notorious Killers’
BN 02/16/06 Blair Cancels Trip Amid Falling Expectations
BT 02/16/06 Blair Make Or Break Offer To Ulster
SF 02/16/06 Repblcns at Ard Fheis Are Determined & Focused
IT 02/16/06 SF To Be Election Kingmakers - McGuinness
UT 02/16/06 'Sinn Fein Poised To Win Foyle Commons Seat'
BT 02/16/06 Sectarian Thugs Go On Rampage In The Shankill
BN 02/16/06 Cocaine Found In Toilets Near Dáil Chamber
SF 02/16/06 Government's Failure On Drugs Inexcusable
BT 02/16/06 Blair Plans Swift Anti-Terror Moves
GU 02/16/06 Q&A: The Glorification Of Terrorism
IC 02/16/06 Did Wales Create First Terrorist Prison Camp?
IN 02/16/06 Heist Trial Not Likely For Two Years
IN 02/16/06 North Not Ready For ‘Normal Courts’
AP 02/16/06 2006 Ballymurphy Pogroms
BT 02/16/06 Opin: MI5, Secrets, Informers And The PSNI
IN 02/16/06 Opin: Army, Lies And Videotape – Familiar Ring?
NL 02/16/06 Opin: Robinson Is Needs To Face Reality
IN 02/16/06 Opin: Decision Time Then On To Phase Two
IN 02/16/06 Events To Mark Spanish Conflict
IV 02/16/06 1916 Items Up For Auction
PR 02/16/06 World War 1 Soldiers' Death Records Now Online
IN 02/16/06 Developers Agree Meeting W/ Outraged Residents
DR 02/16/06 Folk Project Shows Historical Irish Songs
ZW 02/16/06 Saluting Our Veterans: Patrick McGuinness


MI5 Tried To Set Up Bombing: McGuinness

16/02/2006 - 10:49:16

A member of MI5 tried to coax loyalists into launching a
bomb attack on Martin McGuinness’s home, he alleged today.

As the British government prepared to publish legislation
enabling the transfer of policing and justice powers to a
future devolved administration at Stormont, Sinn Féin’s
chief negotiator any lead role it may give to MI5 in
running informers and agents in the North.

He also claimed a considerable amount of work on policing
and justice would still have to be done before his party
could participate on bodies designed to hold the Police
Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to account.

Mr McGuinness said: “We are totally opposed to any MI5 role
in intelligence-gathering, let alone giving it the lead

“In the circumstances of restored political institutions,
we believe it should be the responsibility of the
government in the North to deal with all of these matters.

“Anyone who knows anything about the history of MI5 knows
it has played a very negative role in events in the North
over the past 25 years.

“Indeed I was informed at one stage that a member of MI5
tried to encourage a leading loyalist paramilitary to throw
30lb of gelignite through the window of a house I was
living in in Derry.

“The experience of MI5 among republicans has been very bad
and I have to say anyone who thinks it is acceptable for
MI5 to have a role in intelligence-gathering is living in
cloud cuckoo land.”

MI5 is expected to take over the primary responsibility
from the Police Service of Northern Ireland for running
agents and informers in the North in late 2007.

In preparation for its role, the organisation is believed
to be preparing to move to a new base in at Palace Barracks
in Holywood, Co Down.

The proposal has, however, been criticised by SDLP leader
Mark Durkan who warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair at
a meeting in London yesterday that his party would oppose
any role for MI5 because it will be unaccountable to the
Policing Board or an executive at Stormont.

PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde has, however, defended the
move, calling it a healthy split in responsibilities.

With Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain due to announce
a new look Policing Board in April, there has also been
considerable interest in whether Sinn Féin will take up the
seats it has so far refused.

Republicans will not participate in the board because they
argue police reforms have not gone far enough despite their
endorsement by the Catholic Church, the Irish and US
Governments and the SDLP.

They have also accused elements within the PSNI of
authorising and mounting politically-motivated policing
operations against republicans.

Sinn Féin has long argued for legislation committing the
British government to the transfer of policing and justice
powers from Westminster to Stormont.

However as his party prepared to debate 37 motions on
policing and justice affecting members on both sides of the
border at its annual conference in Dublin this weekend, Mr
McGuinness said there was still considerable work to be

“In the negotiations that took place in December 2004 Sinn
Fein outlined what was required,” he said.

“In the course of the coming days we are going to see the
enabling legislation made public. That will have to be
examined very carefully to see if it meets the needs of our

“So there’s still quite a lot of work to do. The
publication of the enabling legislation on its own is not
going to be enough to resolve differences.

“There will also have to be crucial discussions between the
Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin and others about how
we deal with policing and justice in the context of a
restored Assembly.

“There are a lot of ideas circulating as to how a
department would work and how it would fit into the 10
ministries. We have our own ideas but we want to hear what
the DUP and others have to say.”


Assembly Elections Could Happen This Year

By Chris Thornton
16 February 2006

The Government appeared ready to bring forward Assembly
elections last night - sending Ulster to the polls for the
fourth time in four years.

A bill published at Westminster today is expected to give
Peter Hain the power to call the elections early, meaning
the contest scheduled for May 2007 could be held this year.

The provision is included in a sweeping bill that covers a
range of issues, from steps towards an all-Ireland
electricity market to a homegrown Minister of Justice.

There are no indications Mr Hain has a definite date in
mind for the poll, but the legislation will allow him to
call an Assembly election to endorse any power-sharing deal
between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Today's bill will also give Mr Hain the power to pass
policing and justice powers from London to Belfast - a key
Sinn Fein requirement for endorsing policing.

The bill will be accompanied by a discussion document
setting out proposals for how a department of justice would
operate in Ulster.

Those options include letting a First and Deputy First
Minister take care of justice issues or setting up twin
justice and policing departments - one to be run by a
unionist minister and one by a nationalist.

The parties would be expected to decide on the shape of
justice devolution during talks to restore the Assembly.
Talks sources, however, have confirmed that there have been
no detailed discussions yet.

Secondary legislation setting up a justice department would
only be pushed through Parliament after the parties agree -
and the Assembly formally asks Mr Hain to do it.

Today's bill is also expected to formalise Government
proposals to keep political donors in Northern Ireland
anonymous for another three years.

And it will restrict foreign donations - bringing Northern
Ireland parties in line with the Republic - meaning only
Irish citizens and some specified bodies can make donations
from overseas.

The wide-ranging bill is also expected to bring in a
rolling electoral register in order to address problems
with a falling vote pool, introduce an all-Ireland
wholesale market for electricity, and extend some organised
crime laws from Great Britain to include Northern Ireland.


Loyalist Loan Of £45,000 Paid To Assets Agency

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

A north Down businessman – former owner of an infamous
scrapyard – has handed over £45,000 to the Assets Recovery
Agency (ARA) which had been loaned to him by a murdered
loyalist paramilitary.

It was confirmed yesterday that Ignatius Geddis, who now
owns a stud farm on Belfast Road, Bangor, has reached a
settlement with the body which in turn agreed to drop a
court action to seize the money.

Mr Geddis received the loan from Jim Johnston in 1999 and,
as part of the deal with the ARA, also relinquished an
Isuzu Trooper which he acknowledged belonged to the estate
of the murdered loyalist.

Johnston, a drug dealer who was also a senior figure with
the UVF-aligned Red Hand Commando was shot dead outside his
luxury Crawfordsburn home in May 2003.

The loyalist had been implicated in the killing of another
loyalist paramilitary, LVF member Stephen Warnock, who was
shot dead in front of his three-year-old daughter in
September 2002.

In November 2004, Johnston’s large detached house, complete
with stables, was sold for more than £400,000 to a mystery

The property went under the hammer after the estate of the
dead loyalist came under the scrutiny of the ARA. The
agency had obtained a High Court order to seize more than
£1 million of Johnston’s assets.

Yesterday the ARA confirmed that in light of the £45,000
voluntary repayment and return of the vehicle, it had
agreed not to pursue civil recovery proceedings.

“The agency does not allege that Mr Geddis’s conduct
amounts to money laundering,” the ARA said.

ARA assistant director Alan McQuillan said: “Criminals will
attempt to hide cash which is derived from criminal
activities in a number of ways.

“One of these is to make loans to other people. It is
important that everyone realises the Proceeds of Crime Act
means we can come after such loans and recover them.”

Mr Geddis’s solicitor yesterday pointed out that his client
fully cooperated with the agency and agreed to repay the

Brian Spears described the case as an “ordinary event”,
adding it was in a “different category” to others high-
profile investigations undertaken by the agency.

“It [the ARA press release] did confirm there was no
suggestion of any money laundering on Mr Geddis’s part –
that is important,” he added.

Mr Geddis is a well-known figure and was at the centre of a
long-running dispute with residents in the upmarket Helen’s
Bay area over the state of his scrapyard in Crawfordsburn
Country Park.

Brandished the ‘blot on the landscape’ – he also declared
at one point plans to dump over 100 German U-Boats on his
land to dismantle them after purchasing the rights to the

The state of his land, turned into a scrapyard and a used
car lot, has also caused a stir at Westminster over the

Mr Geddis sold the site last year for reportedly more than
£5 million.


‘One Of The Troubles Most Notorious Killers’

By Keith Bourke

Torrens Knight’s part in two of the north’s worst
atrocities made him one of the most notorious killers of
the Troubles.

Knight was part of the four-man gang that killed eight
people in the Greysteel pub massacre and was part of
another UFF unit which murdered four Catholic workmen in

On October 30 1993 armed and masked men walked into the
Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel, Co Derry, shouted “trick or
treat” and sprayed the lounge with bullets.

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

Armed with a sawn-off double barrelled shotgun, Knight
stood guard at the bar door while Stephen Irwin and Jeffrey
Deeney went inside.

Knight later told police he was prepared to use the shotgun
on anyone who happened to come along during the attack.

He drove the getaway vehicle, which he then unsuccessfully
tried to burn.

Knight admitted being part of a UFF gang that shot dead
four Catholic workmen in Castlerock in March 1993.

Television pictures of Knight were flashed around the world
after he had been charged with the Greysteel massacre.

“What about Kelly?” he screamed at journalists, a reference
to IRA member James Kelly killed in the Castlerock attack.

In addition to eight life sentences for the Rising Sun
killing, Knight received a further four life terms for the
Castlerock attack.

In July 2000 he was freed from the Maze under the Good
Friday Agreement. He served seven years of his life

In 2003 there were reports that he was to assume control of
the UDA’s north Antrim and Derry ‘brigade’.

Earlier this month it was claimed that Knight was a police
agent and was shielded by police before the Greysteel

Last year fellow Greysteel killer Stephen Irwin was jailed
for four years for slashing a football fan with a knife
during the 2004 Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park in south


Blair Cancels North Trip Amid Falling Expectations

16/02/2006 - 08:25:07

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has cancelled plans to
visit the North next week in an effort to kick-start fresh
talks on restoring the power-sharing institutions.

Mr Blair was planning to deliver what Downing Street has
described as a major speech intended to push forward the
long-stalled peace process.

However, he has now postponed the visit amid growing
pessimism about the prospects for fresh peace talks.

The Irish and British Governments want the talks to go
ahead following the Independent Monitoring Commission's
conclusion that the IRA is genuine about its commitment to
end all illegal activities.

However, the DUP is refusing to even consider sharing power
with Sinn Féin unless all IRA activities end and the
organisation is completely disbanded.

Despite the DUP stance, representatives of the two
governments are still laying the groundwork for new peace
talks and are due to discuss the current state of play with
the Northern parties at Stormont today.


Blair Make Or Break Offer To Ulster

By Brian Walker
16 February 2006

The Prime Minister is about to face the people of Northern
Ireland and its parties with a make or break decision on
the future of self-government in the province.

According to Downing Street, having met the DUP, the SDLP
and the Ulster Unionists yesterday, Mr Blair now has a
clear view of the position of the three parties, but has
still to meet Sinn Fein.

A bold strategy of intensive negotiations is favoured by
the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists, but the DUP insist they
have yet to be given an entry point to meaningful talks.

Mr Blair has put off for a short while a major speech in
Belfast mooted for next week, to give himself "more time
for reflection".

When he eventually comes, he will put out a prospectus for
the political future to the people as well as the parties,
and pose the basic question: "Do you want an Assembly with
powers or do you want to close the thing down?"

If there are grounds for proceeding short of full
agreement, the un-suspension of the Assembly will proceed
before the summer to create a forum of public debate for
the negotiations.

"Because there is no real politics, people don't know
what's going on," Secretary of State Peter Hain told the
Belfast Telegraph.

And he added: "If these talks fail to get off the ground,
there is the question sitting there of the Assembly
allowances and you will find I am serious."

Mr Hain said: "We are absolutely determined there will be
progress by the summer or it will be brought to an end."

The Secretary of State has told the parties he wants to
crack the details of the workings of the Assembly by March
6, the follow-up date for today's talks about Assembly
structures and the other strands.

Agreement at this level would provide for an interim
Assembly and a fall-back position.

Mr Hain insists he's confident he can get agreement on
Assembly structures "which are quite technical", although
they will require consultations between the parties.

Whether or not full agreement is reached next month, the
Secretary of State intends to table amendments in April to
the basic Northern Ireland Bill being published today.

These will allow a new Assembly to be set up if a deal is
finally done.

Official sources indicate that Mr Hain's proposals for
Assembly changes would allow the DUP to claim that the
Belfast Agreement is being replaced, although its basic
architecture would remain.


Republicans Gathering For Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Are
"Determined And Focused"

Published: 16 February, 2006

Speaking at the launch of the Clár for the 2006 Sinn Féin
Ard Fheis, the Party's leader in the Dáil and TD for
Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said the mood of
delegates would be "very determined and focused". He also
said the two main themes of the weekend deliberations would
be Irish Unity and Equality which he said "tied in
perfectly" to the fact that we are celebrating both the
90th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and the 25th
Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This years Ard Fheis takes place as
we mark two pivotal landmarks in, not only the republican
calendar, but in Irish political and social life in
general. The two main themes of the Ard Fheis, Unity and
Equality, tie in perfectly with the 90th Anniversary of the
1916 Rising and the 25th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger
Strikes. These themes are reflected in the motions, the
speeches and a number of key policy documents, which are
being presented to delegates this weekend.

"The mood at the Ard Fheis this weekend will be very
determined and focused. We expect the turnout this year to
be in excess of last year's record attendance. Over the
weekend we expect more than 2000 delegates and visitors
from across all 32 counties and abroad to be in attendance.
We will discuss almost 500 motions, which is a substantial
increase on last year and would indicate a healthy debate
within a continually growing party on a wide range of

"We will also welcome a number of new elected
representatives following the election of Newry and Armagh
MP Conor Murphy last May along with a host of new
councillors making Sinn Féin the second largest party at
local authority level in the Six Counties, overtaking the
SDLP and the UUP.

"Talks to revive the political political process and to
implement the Good Friday Agreement have already begun and
it is clear that despite the IRA's decision to formally end
its armed campaign the DUP are still attempting to prevent
progress. Elections in the 26 Counties will also take place
sometime in the next year and a half with Sinn Féin poised
to make serious advances. Over the weekend we will be
setting out our proposals for government, north and south
on a number of key areas -

· moving the peace process forward

· Irish re-unification including an EU support package and
all-Ireland integration

· all-Ireland healthcare, job creation and infrastructure

"Some of the key debates are around all-Ireland
integration, the peace process, Sinn Féin in government,
the economy and natural resources, promoting workers
rights, and policing and justice. The wide-ranging motions
reflect the high level of debate that is ongoing through
the party. We expect a good and constructive weekend of
debate and discussion which will inform the development of
our policies over the coming year." ENDS


SF To Be Election Kingmakers - McGuinness

Last updated: 16-02-06, 10:38

Sinn Féin may be in a position after the next general
election to determine who will form the next Government,
chief negotiator Martin McGuinness claimed today.

The next Dáil election is expected to be held next year.

On the eve of Sinn Féin's three-day ardfheis in Dublin, Mr
McGuinness predicted wide gains for his party.

"Pundits are saying Sinn Féin is going to double its
representation in the Dáil and if that's the case, then
that could conceivably cast the party in the role of
kingmaker," he said.

"However we shouldn't get carried away. I travel the length
and breadth of this island for selection conventions and
party functions, and what I say to members at all these
events is, our job is first and foremost to get our people

Mr McGuinness said if an approach was made to his party
about giving its support to the next government, Sinn Féin
would hold a special conference and consult its grassroots
before making any decision.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the
Progressive Democrats have all told Sinn Féin at various
times in the past year that it was not acceptable as a
partner in government.

© 2006


'Sinn Fein Poised To Win Foyle Commons Seat'

Sinn Fein will capture the SDLP's Westminster seat in
Foyle, Martin McGuinness predicted today.

By:Press Association

However the Mid Ulster MP appeared to scotch rumours that
he may switch constituencies to prise the seat away from
SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

On the eve of his party`s annual conference in Dublin, Mr
McGuinness told PA: "I have heard this idea discussed in
the media over the course of recent years.

"I was proud and honoured to be elected MP for Mid Ulster
in 1997. That was a major event in my life and I believe it
was a key contributing factor to the fundamental change
that has occurred in the political landscape in the Six
Counties (Northern Ireland).

"That result reverberated across the north and translated
into further electoral successes in West Tyrone and
Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

"I have been elected to serve the people of south Derry and
east Tyrone and I`m proud to represent them as long as the
voters of Mid Ulster want me."

Following Sinn Fein`s emergence as the largest nationalist
party in the 2003 Stormont Assembly elections, hopes were
high in the party that general secretary Mitchel McLaughlin
would capture Foyle during last year`s General Election
following the retirement from the House of Commons of
former SDLP leader John Hume.

Some party strategists boldly predicted on the day of the
election count the seat was theirs.

However SDLP leader Mark Durkan, a protege of Hume, won
Foyle with a comfortable 5,957 majority after a fiercely
fought campaign.

In the local government elections on the same day, the SDLP
also held on as the largest party in Derry City Council
despite republican claims before polling day that Sinn Fein
would leapfrog them.

With Foyle mainly covering Londonderry and Mr McGuinness a
native of that city, there has been persistent speculation
that he might be the candidate to capture the seat for Sinn

However the Mid Ulster MP shrugged off the suggestion and
paid tribute to his colleague Mr McLaughlin.

"Mitchel was a tremendous candidate for us in Foyle," he

"We had hoped to capture the seat. It didn`t happen and all
credit to Mark for winning the seat.

"But I don`t think people can overlook the fact that for
the first time in the constituency`s history, 15,000 people
voted for Sinn Fein that`s the highest level we have ever

"I do believe we will take Foyle. People should bear in
mind that we won a seat from the SDLP at the last
Westminster election.

"Conor Murphy captured Newry and Armagh and that was quite
a turnaround."


Sectarian Thugs Go On Rampage In The Shankill

OAPs fearful after homes attacked

By Claire Regan
16 February 2006

Pensioners living in a tight-knit Protestant community last
night spoke of their fear after a group of thugs went on
the rampage, shouting sectarian abuse and attacking homes.

Windows in four homes belonging to elderly and disabled
residents in Boyd Street, in the Lower Shankill area of
Belfast, were smashed when a group of young men and one
woman attacked them with traffic cones at around 2.30am
yesterday. correct

At least one car was damaged and several front doors had
visible boot marks where the youths had tried to kick them

Police have confirmed they are treating the incident as
sectarian after the hooligans were heard shouting "Orange
b******s" and "Up the 'Ra" as they made their way along the

William Hood (60), who suffers ill health, has lived in the
street for 38 years.

He had to get his living room window replaced yesterday
after a traffic cone was hurled through it, smashing a
lamp, destroying a set of blinds and damaging a table.

He said residents have to deal with abuse from people
walking through the street at night on a regular basis.

He said: "We are absolutely sick of this happening. This is
a very quiet area and we just want to live here in peace.

"But this is happening nearly every day now. We've had
enough. There must be something the police can do."

Neighbour Edward Carson and his wife Elizabeth, both aged
59, were woken by "shouting and barging" outside.

"They threw a cone at the front window but luckily the
window didn't smash. When I went out the next morning, I
noticed a large dent on my car where the door had been
kicked at," Mr Carson said.

"They then smashed in the front window of the woman's home
next door. It's pathetic."

DUP MLA Diane Dodds visited residents whose homes were

She said it was believed the group were coming from the
city centre and used the street as a short cut on their way
to the Carrick Hill or New Lodge areas.

"This is a very vulnerable community because of its
proximity to the city centre and this has been happening on
a fairly regular basis. These residents, many of whom have
lived here for a very long time, shouldn't have to put up
with this."


Traces Of Cocaine Found In Toilets Near Dáil Chamber

16/02/2006 - 09:07:18

A tabloid newspaper report this morning claims cocaine is
being snorted in Leinster House.

The Irish Daily Mirror says tests it conducted on swabs
taken from the toilets at Leinster House found traces of
the class A drug.

The newspaper said the toilets tested were close to the
visitors' bar and just metres from the main Dáil chamber.

Gráinne Kenny of Europe Against Drugs is calling for gardaí
to be drafted in to investigate the matter.

"This is our seat of government," she said. "Drugs are
destroying this country. This can't be swept under the

Fine Gael TD Damien English, meanwhile, said the tests
showed that Ireland has a drugs problem and that stronger
government action is needed to inform people about the
dangers involved.

"The only way to tackle it is through education and trying
to convince people that they don't need drugs and that
they're not good for them," he said. "That's where this
Government is failing."


Government's Failure On Drugs Inexcusable

Published: 15 February, 2006

Speaking in advance of the National Drugs Crisis protest at
the Dáil this afternoon Sinn Féin spokesperson for Justice,
Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, slammed
"the inexcusable failure of the Government to recognise
that any viable response to the state's poly-drug crisis
must involve communities."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "This failure is evidenced by the
absence of a community sector representative from the
National Drugs Strategy Team. The government needs to sit
up and listen today to the demands of the local level
bodies and communities most affected by drugs.

"If the government parties want to address the drugs crisis
they need to appoint a Minister with sole responsibility
for drugs, provide Local Drugs Task Forces with a mandate
to draw up response plans and adequate resources to
implement theses, and establish a realistic timetable for
the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy, as the
Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign and Sinn Féin have
repeatedly requested.

"On a positive note, I welcome the commendable efforts of
the Garda Siochana to address the supply-end of the drugs
crisis including the seizure of 25 kilos of cocaine on the
North Strand last night and €600,000 worth of cocaine in
Cherry Orchard over the weekend and call on the Minister
for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to immediately
increase the resources available to the Garda Drugs Squad."


Blair Plans Swift Anti-Terror Moves

By Brian Walker
16 February 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair has survived one of the most
gruelling weeks of political life with most of his anti-
terror plans intact.

The launch of ID cards along with new passports and the
passage of the law glorifying terrorism are likely to be
followed by swift action on the ground.

The whole scene affecting international terrorism is to be
tightened up.

In Northern Ireland, MI5 takes over the national security
lead role from next year but the Chief Constable has
assured MPs he will have access to all relevant
intelligence and that most paramilitary activity is now
treated as crime falling entirely within the scope of the

In the Commons debate on passing the ban on glorifying
terrorism, claims that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern could be
arrested in the UK for praising the 1916 Easter Rising have
been dismissed.

And officials have given assurances that loyalist and
republican murals will not be caught by the new law.

If the Lords finally allows the controversial anti-terror
Bills to pass, new powers will be made available to the
police within weeks.

Monitoring of internet traffic for inflammatory material
will be stepped up.

The period for which terror suspects can be held without
charge will be doubled from 14 to 28 days, albeit with a
weekly review.

Police are likely to target bookshops stocking and
distributing terrorist publications and monitor more
closely those suspected of terrorist training at home and
in camps abroad.


Q&A: The Glorification Of Terrorism

Simon Jeffery explains the issues surrounding the proposed
new offence of glorifying terrorism

Wednesday February 15, 2006

What is the glorification of terrorism?

The phrase comes from the government's terrorism bill. It
was in use at the time of the 2005 Queen's speech, when the
intention to pass a new bill was announced, but it was not
until after the July 7 London bombings that it became an
established part of the political lexicon.

Six days after the attacks, Tony Blair said the new anti-
terror laws would aim to "pull up this evil ideology by its
roots" by tackling incitement to terrorism. He announced a
two-week consultation on a variety of measures, including
how the law against those "glorifying" terrorism could be

What happened?

Glorification - a person who "glorifies, exalts or
celebrates" a terrorist act - made it into the draft
legislation published the following September.

The legislation threatened a five-year jail sentence for
anyone glorifying a terrorist act committed over the last
20 years. The small print said the home secretary would
draw up a list of historical terrorist acts that it would
be a criminal offence to glorify.

The following month, the list was abandoned, the jail
sentence reduced to 12 months and the definition of
glorification tightened up so it was necessary to prove the
intention was to incite further acts of terror.

Even in its revised form, the offence did not get through
the Lords when the upper chamber revised the legislation.
Today, the government is attempting to win a vote that
would reverse that decision and restore it to the bill.

What are the arguments?

In the Lords debate, the Home Office minister, Baroness
Scotland of Asthal, told peers the government did not
believe it "acceptable that people should be allowed to
make statements which glorify terrorism".

She said ministers believed such statements made it "more
likely their audience will themselves commit acts of

Those who oppose the proposed offence argue that existing
laws are already used to prosecute individuals such as Abu
Hamza, who would appear to be targets of the glorification

What is the alternative to glorification?

In striking down glorification, the Lords proposed an
offence of "describing terrorism in a way that would
encourage people to emulate it".

The Tories accuse Downing Street of manufacturing a "bogus"
spat over the issue in order to make the prime minister
look tougher on terror than his opponents. Dominic Grieve,
the shadow attorney general, said the alternative wording
proposed by the Lords actually made the legislation

The home secretary, Charles Clarke, said the Lords
amendment referred only to words which might lead a
listener to emulate terrorism, meaning placards and images
such as those carried on the anti-cartoon protests in
London would not be covered. He said amendment would allow
the glorification of terrorism "with impunity".

What about free speech?

When the bill was first proposed, there were fears the
offence of glorification risked criminalising such figures
as the Irish taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, when he commemorated
the 1916 Easter Rising.

In the Lords debate, Baroness Scotland made it clear that,
under the revised form of the bill then under
consideration, prosecutions would proceed only when it
could be shown a suspect clearly intended that terrorist
acts should be emulated.

Mr Clarke received unexpected support in this area today
when the organisation representing university vice-
chancellors said they were satisfied ministers had met
their concerns about the section on intent.

Universities and academic unions had feared a history
lecturer who quoted statements by revolutionaries or a
politics class shown an Osama bin Laden video could face
jail for glorifying terrorism.

The most common challenge to glorification (not entirely
sidestepped by the sections on intent) is where it would
leave the supporters of a figure such as Nelson Mandela and
the ANC's struggle against apartheid-era South Africa,
which used violence.

Geoffrey Bindman, a leading human rights lawyer, told the
BBC's Today programme that the law could become a
"dangerous inroad on freedom of speech" if it was used
against people who said it could be necessary to use
violence against a repressive regime.
What are the existing laws?

The laws currently available to prosecutors come from a
number of acts. Hamza's conviction included four charges
brought under the Public Order Act 1986 of "using
threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with
the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

The first conviction of a Muslim preacher - that of
Abdullah el-Faisal in 2003 - was also first use of the 1861
Offences Against the Person Act for soliciting murder
without a specific victim (he called for the killing of
Jews, Hindus, Americans and non-believers).

Existing terror laws - those of 2000 and 2001, which the
current bill replaces - do not deal with such soliciting or
incitement. Hamza's sole charge under the Terrorism Act was
for the possession of a document, the Encyclopaedia of the
Afghani Jihad, containing information "of a kind likely to
be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of


Did Wales Create First Terrorist Prison Camp?

Feb 16 2006
Darren Devine, Western Mail

WALES 'pioneered' Guantan- amo Bay-style prison camps with
a detention centre used to hold the men who went on to win
the Republic of Ireland's independence, it was claimed

About 1,800 Irishmen were held at the Frongoch camp near
Bala, in North Wales, including figures who would go on to
play key roles in the Republic's first Government.

The author of a new book on the camp points to parallels
between the treatment of Irishmen imprisoned at Frongoch
after the Easter Rising rebellion of 1916 and the terror
suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

Welsh broadcaster and journalist Lyn Ebenezer, whose book
Fron-Goch and the birth of the IRA is being launched in
Ireland later this month, said, "In Frongoch they were
there without charge and without trial as in Guantanamo. Of
the 500 in Guantanamo only 10 have been charged.

"Another interesting connection is that at Guantanamo the
detainees have turned to hunger strikes, which also
happened at Frongoch.

"In 1916 there were as many as 200 on hunger strike in

Among those imprisoned was Michael Collins, who later
negotiated the settlement with the British authorities that
led to the creation of the Republic.

Instead of crushing the sprit of those detained, Frongoch
effectively became a university for nationalists from all
over Ireland and reinvigorated their opposition to British

Mr Ebenezer believes Guantanamo, as was the case with
Frongoch, contains a mix of radicals and apolitical
prisoners who were simply caught up in the US's war on

At Frongoch, those indifferent to politics were radicalised
by their closeness to so many leading Irish nationalists
and Mr Ebenezer believes Guantanamo may be similarly

"There were men at Frongoch who had nothing to do with the
Easter Rising, but they were all thrown in together and
they then became sympathetic to the movement.

"There must be a few in Guantanamo with no connection with
terrorism. Some will have been together there for four
years - that's long enough to generate a hell of a lot of

"At Frongoch the longest anyone stayed for was seven

Frongoch started life as Wales's first whiskey distillery,
but when the company folded the building was later
converted to a prison camp for German soldiers captured
during the First World War.

When they left, the men who orchestrated the Easter Rising
took their place in January 1916 and most of these were
released around seven months later, with only a hard-core

The men held at Frongoch were members of the Irish
Republican Brotherhood, but they would later rename the
organisation the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Mr Ebenezer said the prisoners attracted the sympathy of
local Welsh people, but throughout the rest of Wales they
were viewed, as in England, as terrorists.

"All the research I've done shows they were treated very
fairly by local people, who deplored the way they were
treated by the British.

"But as far as the rest of Wales goes the reaction was
exactly as it was in England - even trade unionists turned
against them and regarded them as terrorists."

During the 1930s the prison camp at Frongoch fell into
dereliction, with some of the buildings sold off to local

Ironically, relatives of those imprisoned there returned in
the 1950s - but not to see the site of their forebears'

Instead, the Irish who arrived 40 years later came to work
on the controversial Llyn Celyn reservoir, which was
created after the tiny Gwynedd village of Tryweryn was


Heist Trial Not Likely For Two Years

By Staff Reporter

Two men accused of the £26 million Northern Bank robbery
are unlikely to stand trial for two years, Belfast
Magistrates Court has heard.

The claim was made by a solicitor for Christopher Ward and
Dominic McEvoy when they appeared on remand yesterday.

Mr Ward (24), a Northern Bank employee from Colinmill in
Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast, and Mr McEvoy
(22), a builder from Mulandra Park, Kilcoo, Co Down, are on
High Court bail.

They are charged with armed robbery at the bank’s
headquarters at Donegall Square in Belfast city centre on
December 20 2004.

Mr McEvoy is also charged with falsely imprisoning bank
official Kevin McMullan and his wife Karen are their home
at Loughinisland, Co Down.

A prosecution lawyer said the defendants were on six-week
remand periods – two weeks longer than normal – and asked
for another six weeks because of the complexity of the

Defence solicitor Joe McVeigh said a longer period of up to
three months would be in order.

“This case will be in the magistrates court for up to 18
months before there is a committal hearing to send the
defendants for trial,” he said.

Also in the dock was Martin McAliskey (39), a self-employed
salesman of Ballybeg Road, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, who is
also on bail on a charge relating to a white Ford Transit
van alleged to have been used in the heist.

Resident Magistrate Desmond Perry remanded all three
defendants on continuing bail for eight weeks until April


North Not Ready For ‘Normal Courts’

By Staff Reporter

The security situation is improving but Northern Ireland is
not yet ready for normal courts, an independent review has

In his annual report on the operation of the Terrorism Act
2000 in Northern Ireland, Lord Carlile of Berriew backed a
government move to extend until July 2007 the act’s
application which was due to expire this month.

Lord Carlile said he wanted to see the end of judge-only
Diplock courts by next year but

this would not be possible until all political parties and
sectarian organisations made clear to their constituencies
that jury intimidation was unacceptable.

Although there were “real grounds for optimism” conditions
were not right for an end to the “scheduling” of cases for
trial without a jury, he found.

“On the evidence I have seen and heard, I believe that the
security situation in Northern Ireland and the continuing
danger of intimidation of those called for jury service,
justifies the continued scheduling of offences,” Lord
Carlile wrote.

He welcomed Secretary of State Peter Hain’s decision to
drop a proposed amnesty for “on-the-runs” which he said
would have created “real legal and jurisdictional

The issue might be better dealt with by the creation of a
peace and reconciliation commission, alongside the
reinvestigation of outstanding cases, he added.

Assessing the security situation, Lord Carlile said:
“Despite the continuing difficulties over the resumption of
devolved government, I detect growing confidence in the
public that there is an increasing return to normal civil
life without the constant fear of violence.”


2006 Ballymurphy Pogroms

According to Victor Notorantonio, the attacks on his family
last week so far include:

4 attacks on one house on the Ballymurphy Road; another
home on the Ballymurphy Road was petrol bombed twice and
the occupants threatened; one family member, after threats
and criminal damage, was frightened away; a house on
Divismore Park was petrol bombed twice; two homes in Dermot
Hill were petrol bombed 3 times, another home in New
Barnsley was also petrol bombed; 6 homes on Whitecliff
Parade have suffered criminal damage, been stoned, burgled,
had cars destroyed and been set on fire, with one home
being petrol bombed more than 4 times; one of the homes on
Whitecliff parade that was broken into, set on fire and
destroyed belongs to Victor's 78 year old mother, whose
husband Francisco was murdered by the UDA at the same house
in 1987; at a home in Glenalina Park threats were made and
the house suffered criminal damage; the family's shop was
completely destroyed and their hairdressers has been shut
down; one family dog was attacked and another family dog,
who had returned to its home while being minded elsewhere,
was badly burned when inside the house while it was petrol
bombed. One of the homes was also petrol bombed while a
woman was inside, and death threats have been made to the

Anthony McIntyre • 14 February 2006

Almost 37 years after loyalist gangs backed by armed police
and B-Specials stormed the Falls and set fire to
nationalist dwellings, the unthinkable is happening again.
This time in the midst of West Belfast's Ballymurphy
estate, from where the nearest loyalist is about half a
mile, nationalist homes are being burned by other
nationalists and people are fleeing a la the refugees of
1969. Were these activities taking place in Larne there
would be a nationalist political outcry, led by Sinn Fein
and the SDLP. Yet when it happens in their own backyard,
the response has been pretty muted. The unionist political
parties have said even less. Perhaps their attitude is that
every nationalist should incinerate another and in turn be
burned at the stake for it.

What is going on in Ballymurphy, and which has provoked
such widespread silence, is nothing short of a pogrom
against an extended family, some of whose members were
involved in the brutal knife killing of local father of
six, Gerard Devlin. Armed with the mindset of the racist
those behind the incendiary attacks are targeting people
because of the family they happen to be born into and not
because of any individual culpability they might bear.

Ironically, the most outspoken and persistent condemnation
of the arson attacks has come from the extended Loughran
family, currently mourning the loss of their relative,
Gerard Devlin. Its dignity, resilience and character in
adverse circumstances are far removed from the 'see no
evil, hear no evil, speak no truth' posture adopted by
nationalist politicians and the so called community press.
Having experienced the pain of recent bereavement the
Loughran family seem determined to ensure it arrives at the
door of no one else.

In his television interview Thomas Loughran, who was
injured in the same incident which saw Gerard Devlin lose
his life, framed his narrative in religious imagery. His
late nephew was, he said, surrounded as Jesus had been by
the Jews in Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ. A Jewish
analogy can also be constructed to help narrate the current
pogrom. The events at the homes of the Notorantonio family
echo Kristallnacht when Jewish property was destroyed in a
blitz of violence perpetrated by Hitler's Nazis.

The police, who in 1969 participated in the burnings, this
time refrained. They have positioned their considerable
manpower and resources in the area but seemingly only for
the optics. Their contribution to preventing arson-bent
gangs has been negligible, their very visibility
underlining the absurdity of their presence. Perhaps they
are being faithful to the parity of esteem concept. Useless
in loyalist Garnerville, useless in republican Ballymurphy,
it seems they couldn't catch Asian bird flu were it to
afflict West Belfast.

Viewing events, there are some who see the burnings as the
product of a local anger, the catalyst for which was a
gruesome knife murder, rather than local republicans
seizing an opportunity to exact vengeance on a family they
have long been at odds with. Perhaps. The PSNI tend towards
such a view. When I interviewed the police chief overseeing
the Ballymurphy incidents, Peter Farrar, he was emphatic
that he had no information leading him to believe that
there was any group other than hoods involved in the arson
attacks. His view was that the perpetrators were young
people with a specific knowledge of the back garden system
of Ballymurphy, enabling them to strike at will and to
evade police detection.

Sinn Fein's position is not that far removed from the PSNI.
Eager to stillborn any suggestion that the IRA might be
involved, the party has been floating the idea that hoods
and 'Sticks' have been behind the burnings. While there
seems to be nobody buying into the notion that the Sticks
are to blame, the idea that hoods might be responsible was
reinforced in the nascent stages of the arson attacks when
the local dogs in the street were ready as ever to bark out
more than a name or two. The bulk of the people on the dog
radar screen considered arsonists are not even republicans
never mind IRA members. They have been a thorn in the side
of the IRA for years and would be more than capable of
pursuing a course of action independent of anything the IRA

Against this is an alternative view which raises doubts
about matters being so straightforward. The firebombing
spate exudes the appearance of being methodical and
organised; planned arson, coordinated arson, reasoned
arson, rather than the random outburst or spontaneity that
instant anger gives rise to.

Outside a Belfast courtroom on Thursday, a solicitor for
two men accused of murdering Gerard Devlin, claimed on
their behalf that the burnings were being organised by
Community Restorative Justice. The head of CRJ, Jim Auld,
was quickly out of the traps to dismiss this. Auld would
seem to have facts on the ground to back him. Even in the
undergrowth there are no whispers that CRJ personnel are

But the IRA has not proved immune to such murmurings. The
Notorantonios are adamant that the organisation is behind
the attacks. They point to incidents where they claim IRA
members issued threats directly to family members, telling
them to leave the area and shut down their business
properties. The grapevine, both local and further afield,
is abuzz with rumours lending weight to the claims of the
Notorantonios. People in the Short Strand, Ormeau Road,
Markets, Andersonstown and Twinbrook say matter of factly
that it is 'the Ra.' Some of those have arrived at their
judgement as a result of the way in which the Sinn Fein
press has glossed over and underreported the arson
campaign. Locally, the dogs in the street have audibly
shifted the pitch of their bark over the course of a week.
Some republicans are strong in arguing why the IRA would be
orchestrating the pogrom, although weak in citing evidence
that would lead a detached observer to share this view.

With each passing day, as the burnings continue unabated,
the suspicions that a hidden hand is at play have been
bulked out with substance. On Friday evening, if the
account of Charlotte Notorantonio is accurate, that hand
was displayed. Her home was petrol bombed while she was
inside it. She maintains that for days IRA figures had
allegedly been observed peering through the windows to
ascertain if the house was occupied. When her daughter left
the house, the assailants struck. Unbeknown to them
Charlotte was at home, saw the attackers approach and ran
out to confront them. She says she recognised one of them
as an IRA member. Her daughter on her return journey to the
family home claims to have identified a number of IRA
members known to her pulling off masks as they ran through
a nearby alleyway.

If it is true that the IRA is involved, it would confirm
the view of its republican critics that it has lost its way
completely and has now become the very ogre it initially
arose to defend communities against - a hideous mutant that
burns nationalist families out of their homes. If it is not
involved it, like the PSNI, has done little to halt the
pogrom. If Sinn Fein homes were subject to such sustained
and focussed attack, the republican community would be
mobilised post-haste. Were the homes of the murderers of
Robert McCartney to be treated likewise, Sinn Fein would
have intervened immediately - and rightly so.

The community of Ballymurphy faces being dragged towards an
abyss. An outrage on the scale of the murder of the Quinn
children by loyalists some years ago is an outcome that is
beckoning if the current torching of homes is not halted.
The only honest response that republicans and police could
offer in the aftermath was that they followed the 1969
example of Jack Lynch: both stood idly by.


Opin: Viewpoint: MI5, Secrets, Informers And The PSNI

16 February 2006

Although Government plans to make MI5 - the UK's internal
security service - the lead intelligence agency in Northern
Ireland have been known for some time, only now are they
receiving the scrutiny they need. The SDLP and Sinn Fein
have already lodged their objections and there is a general
worry about how much information a highly secretive London-
based agency will share with the PSNI in crime

The concern is compounded by today's publication of
Government proposals for transferring policing and justice
powers to a devolved Assembly. While Northern Ireland
Ministers, in a future administration, could be responsible
for the PSNI, they would have no control over intelligence-
gathering by MI5, which answers to the UK government.

There have been so many reports of collusion, confusion and
protection of informers, over the years, that there is
little public confidence in the intelligence services -
including the PSNI Special Branch, now merged with CID, and
MI5. Crude bugging devices have been discovered, notably in
Sinn Fein offices or cars, and the investigations of
serious crimes like the Castlereagh break-in, Stormontgate
and the Northern Bank heist have made little progress, for
want of reliable informers.

If giving MI5 a greater role than it already has can bring
solutions, it will be welcomed, but it is fraught with
difficulty. According to the Chief Constable, Hugh Orde,
the police will still be responsible for gathering
intelligence on people suspected of non-terrorist crime,
leaving MI5 to concentrate, presumably, on terrorists who
are a danger to the UK in general, like Al-Qaeda and
dissident republicans.

The problem, as always, will be in distinguishing between
republicans involved in "ordinary" crime, who will be
targeted by the PSNI, and those who might at some stage
resume a terror campaign in Britain. Some will be suspected
of both, with good reason, and there has been a reluctance,
in the past, for MI5 to share its informers' secrets.
Conflicts of interest will obviously occur.

In this day and age, it is hard to understand why the
police and customs officials have failed to break the back
of the cross-border fuel-smuggling industry, for instance.
It may not be a danger to the Government, but it creates a
corrosive climate of criminality, even if claims that it
funds political parties are unfounded.

A sceptical public will judge the Government's plans for
improvements to security and intelligence-sharing by
results, not promises. It will be hard enough to get the
parties to agree a deal on devolution that could eventually
put a Sinn Fein Minister in charge of the PSNI. An enhanced
role for MI5 can only make it harder.


Opin: Army, Lies And Videotape – Familiar Ring?

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

They didn’t have handycams in the 1970s. Would it have made
a difference if they had existed? Probably not. There were
miles of video footage of British soldiers beating people
here – baseball bats were their preferred weapon though
anything available would do, boots, fists, heads, bottles,
torches, rifles-butts. You name it, they used it.

There’s television footage from the 1970s of a young thug
in British army battledress beating a man more than twice
his age down the New Lodge Road with a baseball bat. Not
low-quality, grainy, pixellated footage like the assault in
Iraq but plain, clear broadcast quality. The result?

People in nationalist districts here can only laugh at the
hypocrisy of the reporting of assaults in Iraq and the
responses from Tony Blair.

You could write the script. ‘Finest army in the world.
Trained to the highest standards. Thuggish behaviour not a
reflection of the vast majority of soldiers. British army
best in the world at, wait for it, winning hearts and
minds.’ One silly reporter intoned with a straight face
that the British soldier honed his skills at winning hearts
and minds on, yes, the streets of Belfast and Crossmaglen.

For the record, the British army was guilty of systematic
torture here 35 years ago and the British government had to
defend itself in international tribunals against the case
brought by the Irish government which ran on into the mid-
1970s. The umpteen inquiries instituted into army and
police brutality came to nothing of course.

One memorably decided that the matter of its inquiry was
not torture because the perpetrators didn’t take a pleasure
in it. So it was only inhumane and degrading treatment. So
that’s OK then.

Alongside the systematic torture inflicted on nationalists
in 1971 was the constant, casual, daily brutality meted out
by individual soldiers and also organised violence by
notoriously savage marines and paratroopers. Their savagery
was supervised by corporals and sergeants, usually the most
sadistic men in the units who didn’t get to be NCOs because
they were full of the milk of human kindness but because
they were horrible. The brutality lasted as long as the
British army was on the streets. It was endemic and

People in nationalist districts dreaded when a regiment was
leaving. The 10 days or so before it left saw a rapid
increase in violence from soldiers confident that they
would soon be in Germany or Cyprus and far from the threat
of retribution. They need not have worried. On the rare
occasion when any of them was ever brought to court for an
assault their officers and their mates lied through their
teeth. The compliant courts always believed them rather
than the untrustworthy fenian victim.

Woe betide anyone daft enough to complain to the RUC or
army about an assault. The soldier who was the subject of
the complaint would be told immediately who complained so
his mates could go out and beat the complainant to pulp. In
the worst units, such as the paras or marines, the same
soldier would go out and beat up the complainant again, and
again. All with complete impunity. It wasn’t because the
average soldier was anti-Irish.

He was of course, his small particle of brain stuffed with
national stereotypes. It wasn’t just that. The sort of
casual brutality the recent video in Iraq portrays went on
everywhere the British army was deployed: Cyprus, Aden,
Kenya and, yes, Iraq where the British army first inflicted
itself on its people in the 1920s using machine guns and
aerial bombardment to enforce borders, artificially devised
by the British government. Remind you of anywhere?

The truth is that the average British soldier was extremely
frustrated here simply because he could not behave in the
disgusting manner to which he was accustomed when operating
farther afield. As one veteran officer complained in 1971:
“It’s not like shooting gollies in the jungle.”

At least the British are quite open about why they are
worried about the Iraqi video footage. They’re afraid of
reprisals from suicide bombers.

Too late. On past evidence around the world the everyday
behaviour of British troops in Iraq recruits more
insurgents than any video.

Hearts and minds? Lies and videotape.


Opin: Robinson Is The One Who Needs To Face Reality

Thursday 16th February 2006

The recent DUP document is ironically named Facing Reality
but clearly this is the one thing the DUP and their papers
don't do.

At one point it states "any agreement must command the
support of both nationalists and unionists" - the Assembly
must be democratic... etc." So one must ask Peter Robinson
which part of the political reality he hasn't woken up to -
Sinn Fein represent the nationalist and republican
community not the SDLP. Throughout Facing Reality the DUP
never face the fact - it's Sinn Fein you have to form a
government with. To defend Northern Ireland - Northern
Ireland needs its own Assembly - nine MPs at Westminster
cannot prevent water charges, the Review of Public
Administration or the education reforms.

Only an Assembly can and only a Northern Ireland Assembly
will secure Northern Ireland's place within the Union.

Yet there is another "reality" - Sinn Fein is quite happy
not going into government with the DUP. They don't need it,
they have other options and options that will benefit them
and their republican agenda.

Ironically enough, by Peter Robinson keeping them out of
Stormont he is helping to fulfil Sinn Fein's dream. Locked
out of a "partitionist, unionistdominated government" at
Stormont, in the mouth of an election in the Republic of
Ireland - the timing couldn't be better.

As Bertie Ahern starts to wind up his republican
credentials, surely the southern electorate will not forget
the "bhoys from the North" in such circumstances.

Clearly, Sinn Fein engineered David Trimble's downfall so
that "predictable unionist" would be ushered in.


Opin: Decision Time Then On To Phase Two

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

In an interview on the BBC’s Hearts and Minds programme
last week British secretary of state Peter Hain stated
frankly there would not be assembly elections next year
unless there was a breakthrough in the current

The assembly’s natural life cycle ends in 2007. Elections
to this forum are held every four years, the last was in
November 2003.

Hain’s introduction of a deadline is not only important, it
is essential to test the DUP’s willingness to embrace the
new political realities opened up by the peace process.

These realities include accepting the days of unionist
domination are over; accepting Sinn Fein’s electoral
mandate, sharing power with Sinn Fein; taking part in an
all-Ireland ministerial council and accepting the equality
and human rights provisions of the GFA.

Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Alliance and UUP accept with varying
degrees of enthusiasm the GFA and its indispensable
provisions. Thus far the DUP does not.

Hain’s deadline was also inevitable for another equally
valid reason. It is indefensible to continue to finance a
phantom body, the assembly, and pay wages to those elected
to it.

The survival of the peace process has depended on the
parties accepting the need for compromise.

It was not easy for republicans to accept the terms of the
GFA. They made huge compromises by doing so. They did so on
the basis that the promised new reality which would emerge
from a fully functioning agreement would allow them to work
peacefully and effectively for reunification and

To help achieve this the IRA called a ceasefire. This was
followed up with several arms initiatives and last July 28
the IRA formally ended its armed campaign and last
September it put all its arms beyond use.

Parallel with these decisions, Sinn Fein changed its
constitution to allow its representatives to sit in a
northern assembly and executive. Sinn Fein’s Martin
McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun were effective ministers in
that executive – much more effective than British direct-
rule ministers.

During the negotiations leading up to the GFA republicans
had concerns about an assembly and executive on the grounds
that unionists would abuse it for sectarian purposes. But
they were convinced of its value as an arena wherein
republicans and unionists could be reconciled with each
other after centuries of conflict. For its short life span
the assembly was a success.

Sinn Fein also supported the island-wide referendum
endorsing the GFA on the basis that it represented an
interim stage to full unity.

Under David Trimble’s leadership his party also took
difficult decisions. The UUP entered into negotiations with
Sinn Fein.

It accepted the GFA, albeit reluctantly, participated in an
executive and the all-Ireland ministerial council which
included the SDLP and Sinn Fein. It protested then
acquiesced when the RUC was replaced with the PSNI.

While parties supporting the peace process took fundamental
decisions which challenged their supporters the DUP
campaigned to wreck the agreement and the hard-won peace.

It stood outside the consensus for peace and change and
whittled away at the confidence of unionists. David Trimble
did not help his cause. Many of his arguments fed into the
DUP’s claims of ‘sell-out’.

All of that is recent history. It may well be judged in
time as phase one of the long journey to a new political
dispensation on this island. If that turns out to be the
case then we may well be on the threshold of phase two.

This phase could involve the quantum leap forward everyone
has been waiting on since the IRA’s first cessation in
August 1994.

Though it appears unlikely this could see a new executive
with a DUP first minister and a Sinn Fein deputy first

Failing that the British and Irish governments must work
together to implement all other elements of the process of
change set out in the GFA.

They must then address the democratic deficit arising from
the absence of power-sharing institutions including the
all-Ireland ministerial council. Either way Peter Hain has
to stick to and implement his deadline.

It is decision time for the British government and the DUP.


Events To Mark Spanish Conflict

By Barry McCaffrey

A year-long series of events will be unveiled in Belfast
today to mark the Irish involvement in the Spanish Civil

Around 275 Irishmen, 77 from the north, fought with the
International Brigade against General Franco during the
Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, with 20 losing their

The men were known as the International Brigidistas and
were joined by socialists from all over the world to oppose
Franco’s efforts to overthrow the Spanish government.

While many of the 770 other Irishmen who joined Eoin
O’Duffy’s Irish Division to fight on the side of Franco
were devout Catholics, the International Brigades were made
up of Protestants, Catholics and dissenters.

However no memorial exists to commemorate the Irish
involvement in the war.

To mark the 70th anniversary of those who fought with the
International Brigades, a new group is planning to erect
four murals in north, south, east and west Belfast.

The series of events will be officially launched at the
Linen Hall Library in Belfast today at 11.30am.


1916 Items Up For Auction

By Mairead Carey

THE only original copy of the Irish national anthem is to
go under the hammer in the coming weeks, in an auction of
memorabilia from the Easter Rising of 1916.

A typewriter belonging to Michael Collins, a Tricolor said
to have flown over the GPO during the Easter Rising, and
the telegram from the British government announcing the
formation of the Irish free state are also up for grabs.

So too are poignant letters from the leaders of the rising
to their loved ones, written the night before their

Among them are a letter from Thomas Clarke to his wife
Kathleen, and a letter from fellow rebel Sean McDermott to
the mayor of Limerick.

Auctioneers believe that the written copy of the anthem
“The Soldier’s Song” or “Amhran na bhFiann” will fetch
between ¤800,000 and ¤1.2 million and is likely to go to a
bidder outside the state.

The song was written by Peadar Kearney on two pieces of
paper nine years before the rising but was popularized by
the 1916 rebels. It was chosen as the national anthem in

Despite the recent attempts by the Irish government to
reclaim the spirit of 1916 from the Republican movement,
there has been no indication that it will pay for the items
to be kept in this country.

The auction, to be known as the “Independence Sale,” will
be jointly hosted by James Adam and Sons and Mealy’s
Auctioneers in the James Adam salesrooms in Dublin during
the week of April 12, which coincides with Easter.

“This sale is unique in every respect. No sale of such
national importance has ever been held before, and we
imagine it won’t be matched for a long time after,” said
Stuart Cole, director of James Adam and Sons. “Many of the
items consigned for auction are one-offs.”


World War 1 Soldiers' Death Records Now Online

Thursday February 16, 5:39 am ET

LONDON, February 16 /PRNewswire/ --

- New Online Search From Reveals Details
of Where a Soldier was Born, Lived and Enlisted

Over 700,000 British soldiers died in WWI, with one in
eight soldiers never returning home. For frontline units,
the casualties were as high as one in five. Now a new
searchable index on , the UK's leading
family history website, has made it possible to search for
those who died in the Great War(i) and discover online a
soldier's place of birth, residence and where they

The online records will be able to help anybody interested
in genealogy looking for a relative that died whilst
serving for the British army in WWI. The indexes on include every rank, from soldiers to
lance corporals that served in the British army. It also
details support staff, such as 'nags men' and musicians,
who usually enlisted as non-fighting men but sometimes
became stretcher-bearers, facing the brutalities of the
front line.

Elaine Collins, Business Development Manager, from family
history website says:

"So many families lost relatives in WWI and many might well
wonder what happened to their ancestors. Placing these
records on is a great boon for many
genealogy novices searching for a relative who died in the
Great War. They can now see where their ancestor enlisted
and which regiment they joined which means they can now
pinpoint exactly where the battalion was fighting on the
day their ancestor died.

"The internet has made researching your family history
easier as well as more accessible. Indeed has witnessed a growth in people
researching their past, particularly following the huge
popularity of the BBC TV series Who Do You Think You Are?"

It wasn't just the frontline troops that were killed during
the war. 37,000 officers were also killed, including Field
Marshall Lord Kitchener.

Example Index- Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl of Khatoum

The index for his death shows that Kitchener was Secretary
of State for War and drowned at sea on the HMS Hampshire on
6 June 1916. The index also details that Kitchener, a Field
Marshall, for the Commands and Staff regiment received a
number of decorations for his part in WWI including GCMG -
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael & St George.

Notes to Editors:

(i)The records cover deaths of anyone serving for the
British Army within the period from 4 August 1914 to the 11
November 1918 and in a few cases up to 25 March 1921. The
data comes from two lists of those who died during WWI
published by His Majesty's Stationary Office on behalf and
by authority of the War Office in 1921. The records cover
all parts of the British Isles including Scotland, all of
Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The amount of information held on each soldier varies, but
a full entry will give

:: Surname
:: Forenames
:: Initials
:: Place and country of birth
:: Place of enlistment
:: Place of residence
:: Rank
:: Army number
:: Regiment/Corps etc
:: Battalion etc
:: Date of death
:: How he died
:: Theatre of war
:: Supplementary notes, which include information such
as former army numbers and regiments

In 2003, became the first website to put the
complete indexes to all the births, marriages and deaths in
England & Wales from 1837 online. Previously, the only way
to perform such a search would have been either to travel
to the Family Records Centre in London or to visit certain
record repositories and libraries. The births, marriages
and deaths searched are scans of originals - enabling you
to view a piece of history from your own home. In August
2004, added the WWI, WWII and Consular
records to the website, meaning users can now search for
British nationals who were born, married or died overseas
between 1761 and 1994. In March 2005,
also added the fullest available transcriptions and images
of the original documents of the 1861 census.


Developers Agree Meeting With Outraged Residents

By David Wilson

PROPERTY developers behind plans to build houses beside an
historic castle in Co Derry have agreed to meet residents
opposed to the project.

Developers are awaiting approval from Limavady Borough
Council for the 24-unit housing scheme adjacent to Dungiven

The 17th century building has been extensively redeveloped
in recent years after a community-led drive to restore it
to its former glory.

Following the efforts of the Glenshane Community
Development Limited (GCDL), the castle reopened in 2001
after two years of work.

It now provides self-catering holiday accommodation, aiming
to promote the rural landscape it occupies as a major

It has ‘B1’ listed building status and its immediate
surroundings include a church, graveyard and an environ-
mental park. The housing plans have been met with vehement
opposition and more than 400 letters of objection have now
been lodged with planning officials.

DUP MEP Jim McAllister, a barrister qualified in planning
law, is among those who have supported the campaign. In a
letter to planners, he claimed the proposed development was
an “application unworthy of approval”.

DUP colleague and East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has asked
in the House of Commons what protection the castle enjoyed
through its listed building status.

The Ulster Architectural and Heritage society has also
forwarded a letter of objection to planners, claiming the
development would have a detrimental effect on the setting
of the castle. Mairead McCormack Kelly of the GCDL said it
was hoped planners would take into account the concerns for
the castle.


Folk Project To Host Show Of Irish Songs That Reflect

By Robert Hicks
Special To The Daily Record

Ireland is unique among European nations in its
documentation of culture. Lacking an Industrial Revolution
and largely untouched by the Renaissance, Irishmen became
marginalized in Western Europe.

"It's one of the ethnic cultures that lends itself very
well to documenting the history through songs," said
legendary Irish musician and folklorist Mick Moloney who
teaches in the Irish Studies program at New York

"We stored a lot of our intensity in things that didn't
require a lot of physical possessions. We stored it in
storytelling and singing," he said.

"And we stored it in instruments that were relatively cheap
to buy. We banked our cultural intensity in the singing and
music. There's always been a love of the arts going back to
Celtic culture. I think it's a combination of all those
things that explains why we continued that same pattern
when we came to America."

Four years ago, Moloney received a commission to document
the Irish-American experience in song on a CD and companion
book entitled "Far From The Shamrock Shore."

"I became interested through the music. The music just
appealed to me when I was growing up in Ireland," he said.
"The music led me to the background to all the tunes and
songs, which are tied up with the social history. That, of
course, was tied up with migrations and colonization, all
the big themes in Irish life."

The Folk Project will present Irish Song and Story: Legends
of Irish Music at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Friday. Celtic guitarist John Sherman will open for an all-
star Irish group consisting of vocalist and multi-
instrumentalist Moloney, vocalist and guitarist Robbie
O'Connell, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist John Doyle,
fiddler Athena O'Lochlainn and Eastern regional champion
stepdancer Regan Wick and his students from the Wick School
of Irish Dance in Boonton.

"It'll be a mixed bag of songs," Moloney said from New
York. "We all sing as well as play instrumental music, but
for the show we'll be concentrating mostly on Irish and
Irish-American songs. We'll do some new songs, too."

The group will also perform some instrumentals and dance
pieces. There will also be some solos and duets.

A year ago, the group first performed together at an Irish
Week festival in Elkins, West Va. and as part of the group
Greenfields of America at a large Irish music festival in
Milwaukee, Wisc.

"We had such a good time singing as part of both those
experiences. We decided, 'Hell, we're enjoying this so much
we'll take it on the road for a bit,'" he said.

Moloney has a long history of performing with O'Connell and
Doyle in different combinations since the early 1980's and
mid-1990's, respectively.

He first met O'Lochlainn, who now lives in Tuscany, Italy,
at Irish music sessions after she came to New York from San
Francisco to perform in Riverdance on Broadway.

After performing in Morris Township, Cumberland, R.I., and
Boston, the group will record Irish and Irish-American
songs for a forthcoming studio CD.

"It'll basically be song material and we'll try to focus on
those songs that have a connection to America," he said of
the CD. The group will conclude its brief tour at the
Marasco Center for the Performing Arts in Monroe Township
on March 1. In March, Moloney will also release a new CD,
"The Songs of Ed Harrigan and David Brahm,"consisting of
New York City songs documenting the Irish-American
immigrant experience from 1870-1900.

Songs in the Irish and Irish-American traditions differ
topically, ranging from life in Ireland and leaving the
homeland to come to America to the Irish-American
experiences of living in urban tenements and working as
construction workers, railroad laborers, canal builders and
city politicians in urban America, as well as a
romanticized vision of rural life back in Ireland.


Saluting Our Veterans: Patrick McGuinness

By Dan Russo, STAFF WRITER02/15/2006

McGuinness moved to Haverford in 1963 and is an active
member of the Irish of Havertown, a local group dedicated
to celebrating Ireland's cultural heritage. Photo by Anne

Since Ireland was neutral, Patrick McGuinness was not
obligated to serve in the military during World War II.

The carpenter from the Emerald Isle, however, gained a
unique perspective on the conflict while surviving air
raids in London and other cities where he worked converting
British civilian ships like the Queen Mary into troop

"We got hit several times," recalls McGuinness, now 89.
"Hitler knew where all the factories were. You never get
over the shock. My brother got killed working."

Born in 1916, McGuinness grew up on a farm near Athlone,
Ireland, one of 10 brothers and sisters. After serving as a
groom for horses and as a jockey he underwent training as a
carpenter, at a time when electric power tools were still
unheard of.

The young man then went to Dublin for greater economic

"Ireland was very bad in those days," he says sitting in
his Havertown home as pictures of his family and farmhouse
hang on the walls. "Now, it's the best country in Europe."

In 1939, just as the United Kingdom and Germany declared
war on each other, McGuinness went to London. He was first
required to sign up for the English Army.

Authorities later told him he didn't have to fight if he
didn't want to, but, like many skilled laborers of the
time, he was needed in other ways.

He traveled around the country for the duration of the war,
working in places like Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and
South Hampton.

German bombers constantly targeted industrial sites,
sometimes sending hundreds of aircraft into the skies above
the workers. It was in one of these raids that his younger
brother John, also a tradesman, lost his life.

Destruction became part of an every-day routine, as did a
7-day work schedule.

"I was in Liverpool when they were bombing," remembers
McGuinness, who says the crews took shelter when they
could, but often just kept working.

"It was terrible," he says. "There was 1,000 bombers every
night that used to go in there. I was lucky I didn't get
killed. When a bomb falls near you, you get a shock."

McGuinness became part of the Amalgamated Society of
Woodworkers, an international union, which helped him find
employment in his travels across the world following the

McGuinness met his wife during his time in London, and the
couple went to Toronto, Canada after the war ended in 1945.

"I liked it because I built stairs," recalls McGuinness,
with a smile. "They had no stair makers."

The northern cold, however, proved too much for the
McGuinnesses. They then crossed the border.

McGuinness found a job with McShane and McCusky
Construction Company in Washington, D.C.

Over 10 years, McGuinness traveled to Florida, New York,
and other southern states. The couple bought a house in
Haverford in 1963.

McGuinness' family still runs the farm in his hometown, and
some of his brothers and sisters now live in Dublin full

McGuinness retired in 1980. His wife died in 1992. He now
lives by himself, and remains an active member of the Irish
of Havertown, a local group dedicated to celebrating
Ireland's cultural heritage.

©News of Delaware County 2006

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