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February 08, 2006

Spec Branch Knew of Finucane Threat & Did Nothing

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IN 02/08/06 Special Branch Knew Of Threat To Finucanes
IT 02/09/06 Taoiseach Brits WillNot Back Down On PF Inquiry
IT 02/08/06 Nearly £9m Spent On Finucane Inquiry So Far
BN 02/08/06 DUP Call For Closure Of Finucane Inquiry
SF 02/08/06 SF Will Continue To Support The Finucane Family
BB 02/08/06 Sinn Fein MPs' Funding Restored
IE 02/08/06 Hundreds Rally At Philly ILIR Meet
IN 02/08/06 ‘DUP Wrecking Process’
IT 02/08/06 Judgement Reserved In Appeals Of Five IRA Men
IT 02/09/06 Unrest Persists After Ballymurphy Killing
SF 02/08/06 Omagh For Irish Unity- Strabane To Follow Suit
UT 02/08/06 Girl Hurt In School Bus Attack
DI 02/08/06 Love Ulster Counter Demo
BB 02/08/06 Businessman Denies 'IRA' Claims
IN 02/08/06 Opin: IMC Suits The Last-Ditchers In The DUP
TE 02/08/06 Opin: Bribing The IRA Is No Way To Win Peace
IT 02/09/06 Opin: Dangers Of Glorifying The Rising
IT 02/06/06 Opin: Crowning Moment For UVF Gunrunners Of ‘14
IT 02/06/06 Parade To Mark Rising's Anniversary
IT 02/06/06 Council Urged To Buy MacDiarmada's Letter


Branch Knew Of Threat To Finucanes

By Barry McCaffrey

POLICE Special Branch was aware of a UDA plot to kill the
family of Pat Finucane but failed to inform them of the
threat, The Irish News has learned.

Senior NIO sources last night confirmed that Special Branch
had been alerted that the UDA in north Belfast planned to
murder members of the family in summer 2003.

However, despite evidence of a murder plot Special Branch
failed to inform the Finucanes that their lives were in

It is understood that:

• the family only learned of the UDA plot through a third

• when the Finucanes questioned the NIO about the threat,
Special Branch denied being aware of any danger

• the security forces only admitted knowledge of the threat
following the intervention of the Irish government

• the murdered solicitor's family were put on the key
persons protection scheme following confirmation that their
lives were under threat.

The UDA murder plot came at a time when retired Canadian
Judge Peter Cory was actively investigating allegations of
security force collusion in Mr Finucane’s 1989 murder.

An NIO spokesman last night refused to explain why police
had failed to inform the Finucanes that their lives were
under threat.

He would only say the NIO did not discuss the security of

On Monday the family are due to hold talks for the first
time with Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley at


Taoiseach Fears British Will Not Back Down On Finucane

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he fears the British
government will not back down on its refusal to hold a full
public inquiry into the 1989 killing of Belfast solicitor
Pat Finucane.

The Finucane family was dissatisfied with Northern
Secretary Peter Hain on Tuesday after he insisted that an
investigation would have to be carried out under new
legislation which allows British ministers to block
evidence and testimony from being made public, or going
before an inquiry.

"As things currently stand, however, I fear that the
British are set on their ways.

"I get no impression that they are willing to change their
approach," said the Taoiseach.

"However, I will continue to press the British prime
minister strongly on this. I even raised the case last year
with President Bush.

"I regret that the British have not shown a willingness to
meet the family's needs," he went on.

"I understand that it was a difficult meeting and that the
family are not satisfied with British proposals for an
inquiry into Pat Finucane's murder.

"Our sympathies are with Geraldine Finucane and her family
in all of this.

"We have made it clear, consistently, that we wish to see a
full public inquiry held as was envisaged at Weston Park,
and recommended by Judge Cory.

"The circumstances of this case demand the maximum
openness," he went on.

Nearly €13 million has been spent on the latest police
inquiry led by former metropolitan police commissioner Lord
John Stevens into the killing.

Speaking yesterday, Ian Paisley jnr, a DUP representative
on the Northern policing board said: "There's been
absolutely no public benefit from the inquiry or the money
spent on it."

The inquiry has now been transferred by chief constable Sir
Hugh Orde to the review team investigating over 3,000
unsolved murders.

He said: "The cost of the Stevens III inquiry to date is
£8,916,936 (€12,991,649). However, it is anticipated that
the cost of the inquiry will significantly reduce as the
investigative capacity of the Stevens team is being reduced
from 30 to 11 officers.

"The current status of the inquiry is that as of February
2006 all outstanding matters are being handed back to C8,
the historical inquiries team."

© The Irish Times


Nearly £9m Spent On Finucane Inquiry So Far

Last updated: 08-02-06, 17:36

Nearly £9 million has been spent on the latest police
inquiry into Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane's murder, it
was revealed tonight.

The cost of former Scotland Yard chief Lord Stevens' third
inquiry into a loyalist assassination shrouded by
allegations of security force collaboration was branded a
waste of money by the lawyer's family.

And unionists have called for the seven-year investigation
to be brought to an immediate halt.

Ian Paisley Jr, a DUP representative on the Northern
Ireland Policing Board, said: "There's been absolutely no
public benefit from the inquiry or the money spent on it."

Stevens III was launched in 1999 to re-examine claims that
special branch and military intelligence assisted the
Ulster Defence Association unit who shot Mr Finucane at his
north Belfast home ten years earlier.

It confirmed in April 2003 that rogue police officers and
soldiers plotted with loyalist terrorists to murder
Catholics during the 1980s, including the Finucane killing.

Now the Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde —
who once ran the inquiry — has disclosed how much has been
spent on it so far.

Sir Hugh also confirmed it was being scaled back and taken
over by a new unit given a £30m budget to examine more than
3,000 unsolved killings during 30 years of violence.

He said: "The cost of the Stevens III Inquiry to date is

"However, it is anticipated that the cost of the Inquiry
will significantly reduce as the investigative capacity of
the Stevens Team is being reduced from 30 to 11 officers.

"The current status of the Inquiry is that as of February
2006 all outstanding matters are being handed back to C8,
the Historical Enquiries Team."

Stevens III loyalist hitman Ken Barrett was convicted of
the Finucane murder and six others for handling terrorist
documents, Sir Hugh stressed.

The Public Prosecution Service is also studying 27 files on
police officers and members of the security services
arising from the investigation.

© 2006


DUP Call For Closure Of Finucane Inquiry

08/02/2006 - 17:44:11

Nearly €13m has been spent on the latest police inquiry
into Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane’s murder, it was
revealed tonight.

The cost of former Scotland Yard chief Lord Stevens’ third
probe into a loyalist assassination shrouded by allegations
of security force collaboration was branded a waste of
money by the lawyer’s family.

And unionists have called for the seven-year investigation
to be brought to an immediate halt.

Ian Paisley Jr, a DUP representative on the Northern
Ireland Policing Board, said: “There’s been absolutely no
public benefit from the inquiry or the money spent on it.”

Stevens III was launched in 1999 to re-examine claims that
special branch and military intelligence assisted the
Ulster Defence Association unit who shot Mr Finucane at his
north Belfast home ten years earlier.

It confirmed in April 2003 that rogue police officers and
soldiers plotted with loyalist terrorists to murder
Catholics during the 1980s, including the Finucane killing.

Now the Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde –
who once ran the probe – has disclosed how much has been
spent on it so far.

Sir Hugh also confirmed it was being scaled back and taken
over by a new unit given a £30m (€43m) budget to examine
more than 3,000 unsolved killings during 30 years of

He said: “The cost of the Stevens III Inquiry to date is
£8,916,936 (€12,991,649).

“However, it is anticipated that the cost of the Inquiry
will significantly reduce as the investigative capacity of
the Stevens Team is being reduced from 30 to 11 officers.

“The current status of the Inquiry is that as of February
2006 all outstanding matters are being handed back to C8,
the Historical Enquiries Team.”

Stevens III loyalist hitman Ken Barrett was convicted of
the Finucane murder and six others for handling terrorist
documents, Sir Hugh stressed.

The Public Prosecution Service is also studying 27 files on
police officers and members of the security services
arising from the investigation.

The findings of collusion was endorsed by retired Canadian
Supreme Court judge Peter Cory, who urged public inquiries
into the Finucane case and three other controversial
murders in Northern Ireland.

Establishing potentially lengthy tribunals is expected to
cost the Government millions of pounds.

Around £155m (€225m) has already been ploughed into the
Bloody Sunday probe in Derry.

After seven years Lord Saville is due to deliver his
findings on the 1972 shooting of 13 civilians by
paratroopers later this year.

The Finucane family, who claim a UK-government-proposed
inquiry will shield the truth, accused the authorities of
squandering funds.

Michael Finucane, the solicitor’s son, said; “The money
that was spent on the Stevens investigation would have been
far better spent preparing for a proper inquiry.

“Stevens was asked to return to Northern Ireland in 1999
after we submitted our confidential dossier to the
Secretary of State at that time, Mo Mowlam.

“That work has been ongoing for seven years; so much could
have been achieved in relation to an inquiry in that time.”

He added: “The Stevens investigation on the whole hasn’t
proved to be anything more than a delaying tactic.

“It doesn’t command public confidence because it hasn’t
been an open, transparent inquiry – something a police
investigation by its very nature cannot be.

“In this case that inevitably leads to distrust among the
wider public, that’s why a public inquiry is necessary.”

Mr Paisley, whose party and Policing Board colleague
William Hay received the information in a written response
from Sir Hugh, was equally scathing of Stevens III.

The investigation destroyed the protection for a key
informant shot dead by former paramilitary associates.

William Stobie, an ex-UDA quartermaster involved in the
Finucane plot, was killed at his north Belfast home weeks
after the criminal case against him collapsed.

“This inquiry has resulted in the exposure of a potential
witness/defendant who has ultimately been murdered, and
therefore no justice prevailed there” Mr Paisley claimed.

“It has subsequently resulted in the debacle of the
Finucane’s being being granted an inquiry based on the Cory
recommendations, only for it to be stymied by the family.

“From what I can see the inquiry is over and it should be
brought to a halt now.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland insisted the best
way forward was for the probe to be passed to the new team
headed up by retired Met commander David Cox – who worked
on Stevens III.

A spokeswoman said: “It’s the view of both the Chief
Constable and Lord Stevens that these investigations are
best advanced by the recently established Historical
Enquiries Team, within whose remit they firmly fall.”


Sinn Féin Will Continue To Support The Finucane Family

Published: 8 February, 2006

Speaking after yesterdays unsatisfactory meeting between
the Finucane family and the British Secretary of State
Peter Hain, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice
issues Gerry Kelly pledged his party’s ongoing support to
the family in their campaign for the truth.

Mr Kelly said:

“ The Finucane family have for many years been campaigning
for the establishment of an Independent International
Inquiry to establish the truth surrounding the murder of
Pat Finucane in Belfast in 1989. Sinn Féin has supported
the Finucane family in their campaign throughout this time.
Throughout these years the British State has continued to
cover up the role played by its agents and agencies in this

“ Despite a public commitment to establish an inquiry into
this killing the British government have subsequently
brought forward legislation which, in the view of the
Finucane family would ensure that any inquiry held within
these parameters would not deliver the truth. This
situation is unacceptable.

“ Sinn Féin will continue to support the Finucane family in
their campaign for the truth. It is also important that the
Irish government do likewise. They need to make it clear to
the British government that the sort of concealment and
evasion which has been the mark of the British government
approach to this case up until now and also to the inquires
established into the Dublin/Monaghan bomb and the Seamus
Ludlow case is unacceptable and must end and end.” ENDS


Sinn Fein MPs' Funding Restored

MPs have voted in favour of two government motions aimed at
restoring Westminster allowances worth about £500,000 to
Sinn Fein's five MPs.

The allowances were withdrawn last year after allegations
of IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the government was
implementing the recommendations of the Independent
Monitoring Commission's report.

The move has been criticised by the Democratic Unionist

The debate on Sinn Fein's allowances lasted several hours
on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking during prime minister's questions, Nigel Dodds,
DUP MP for North Belfast, asked Mr Blair how the government
could justify restoring Sinn Fein's allowances.

"Giving the confirmation of continued illegality,
criminality, spying and racketeering, practiced and
sanctioned at the highest level, by senior members of Sinn
Fein/IRA; will the prime minister note what was in the IMC
report and read it instead of spinning it?" he said.

IMC report

However, Mr Blair said the government was acting in a "fair
and balanced" way.

"It is absolutely correct that they (the IMC) draw
attention to (IRA) criminal activity and we made it clear
that was a significant problem," he said.

"However the report also says of the IMC: 'We are of the
firm view that the present PIRA leadership has taken the
strategic decision to end the armed campaign and pursue the
political course which it has publicly articulated.'

"So if one's being fair and balanced, I think both things
have to be put into the equation.

"They also go on to recommend specifically the lifting of
the financial sanctions imposed against Sinn Fein. Now
these were imposed in March 2005 after a previous IMC

"This is an IMC report saying it is right now to lift
those. That's why we are acting as we are."

The government had also proposed paying Sinn Fein £80,000 a
year assistance for the party's representative business.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said the party was entitled to the

"The allowances that are afforded to people isn't dependent
on anyone sitting at Westminster," the Newry and Armagh MP

The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up by the
British and Irish governments in January 2004 to monitor
the activity of paramilitary organisations.

Backdated payments

It also monitors the "normalisation" of security measures
in Northern Ireland.

Its four commissioners come from Northern Ireland, the
Republic of Ireland, Britain and the US.

Both payments will be backdated to November last year.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Liddington, Conservative
spokesman on Northern Ireland, said the oath of loyalty to
the Queen should be re-examined, if it would mean Sinn Fein
MPs taking their seats in the House of Commons.

Mr Lidington said a general commitment to uphold the law
and democratic politics could be considered as an
alternative to the compulsory oath.

However, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he did not
envisage any circumstances ever in the future in which any
Sinn Fein MP would take their seat.

Mr McGuinness said, while it was quite legitimate for Sinn
Fein elected representatives to go to Westminster to engage
with other parties, they did not recognise the right of the
British Parliament to rule over any part of Ireland.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/08 19:52:23 GMT


Hundreds Rally At Philly ILIR Meet

By Sabina Clarke

PHILADELPHIA --- The crisis facing undocumented Irish
immigrants in Philadelphia was placed front and center on
an unseasonably balmy evening last week when the Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform road show stopped over at a
leading city hotel.

Between three and four hundred people gathered at the Hyatt
Regency on Philadelphia's waterfront on Friday, Feb. 3 --
this despite rumors of an impending immigration raid, which
organizers believe may have kept some away.

As with previous ILIR meetings, much emphasis was placed on
the need to press area politicians on the need for
immigration law broad enough to include the tens of
thousands of undocumented Irish across the U.S.

The Philadelphia Irish community was well represented at
the meeting with the Rev. Gerry Burns, Mike Nolan, AOH
immigration liaison representing AOH President Ned
McGinley, Geri Garvey, Irish Apostolate in Washington and
Chuck Harvey, Local 98, Electrical Union, representing
Union Leader and mayoral candidate John Dougherty.

Dr. Jack Worrall, professor of economics at Rutgers
University, and past president of the Federation of Irish
American Societies, chaired the event.

ILIR chairman Niall O'Dowd gave an impassioned talk about
the group's mission.

"We're here with a message of hope. This is the first time
in 15 years that immigration reform is being discussed in
Congress. We have friends in high places; we have friends
in Congress. Together we can change the laws."

O'Dowd urged everyone in the room to become a member of
ILIR and to sign up for a lobby day, March 8, in
Washington, D.C.

He called on the Irish community to deluge the offices of
Congressman Rick Santorum and Senator Arlen Specter with
emails, voice mails and phone calls. "Senator Specter is
waiting for your call, he just doesn't know it yet," he
said, drawing a big laugh from the crowd.

"Now is the time to strike. We need to send a strong
message on St. Patrick's Day."

Joe Hackett, first secretary at the Irish embassy in
Washington said that immigration reform was a top priority
with the Irish government.

He talked about the contributions of the Irish to the
economic and social fabric of the United States, adding
that despite this, "no community is as marginalized as much
as the undocumented Irish in the United States. This is why
everyone should be behind this bill."

"The Irish voice needs to be heard. The Irish government
needs all of you so that we can get this done together," he

Kelly Fincham, executive director of ILIR, made the point
that what the undocumented Irish in America want was not
amnesty but earned legalization.

Tom Conaghan, president of the Federation of Irish American
Societies and director of Philadelphia's Irish Immigration
and Pastoral Center, who hosted the event, said: "If we add
our voices to the bigger voice, we'll all get there

Conaghan spoke about the difficulties the campaign was up
against in the current political climate with the word
"immigrant" being tossed around with the word "terrorist."

Bill McLaughlin, president of the Irish American Business
Chamber offered an interesting tidbit about President
George Washington, who declared in a proclamation that we
should celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.

He, too, urged everyone present to be vocal saying, "They
listen to the loudest voice."

Grant Lally, the newly elected president of ILIR, joked
about being the only Republican on the program.

On a more serious note, he stressed that immigration was a
bipartisan issue while noting the number of prominent
Republicans at the event, including Martin Gillespie, who
was responsible for corralling the Catholic vote for
President Bush's reelection campaign.

Samantha, an undocumented immigrant from New York, put a
human face on the debate.

She began her remarks with, "I have a degree in psychology
and I work as a bartender. I have the same hopes and dreams
as Irish immigrants before me."

Her emotional delivery rocked the house. She was followed
by an unidentified male undocumented immigrant who threw
down the gauntlet with "Philadelphia, it's time to stand up
and be counted."

And that will likely occur as another rally in Philadelphia
is already being planned for a later date.

This story appeared in the issue of February 8 - 14, 2006


‘DUP Wrecking Process’

By Staff Reporter

SDLP leader Mark Durkan last night claimed to the British
and Irish governments that the DUP was trying to wreck the
Good Friday Agreement on two fronts.

Mr Durkan said that first Ian Paisley’s party was trying to
get the so-called ‘comprehensive agreement’ that it
negotiated with Sinn Fein implemented.

“Second, they are pushing their proposals for a half-baked
assembly, no north south agenda, and a continued role for
direct rulers,” Mr Durkan said. But Mr Durkan said “none of
this is on.”

According to Mr Durkan the ‘comprehensive agreement’ in
2004 subverted the Good Friday Agreement. He said: “It gave
the DUP new vetoes over the rest of us – and threatened the
SDLP with automatic exclusion. The SDLP did not negotiate
it – and we will not accept it.

Mr Durkan said the DUP’s proposals on phased devolution
also would lock everyone into a half- way house, and not
let them out without that party’s say so.

“We believe that the best way forward is the Good Friday
Agreement,” he said.


Judgement Reserved In Appeals Of Five IRA Men

Last updated: 08-02-06, 16:53

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgment on
appeals by five Dublin men against their convictions for
membership of an illegal organisation.

The three judge court heard closing legal submissions on
behalf of the five men and for the DPP after which Mr
Justice Hardiman, presiding, said the court would give
judgment at a later date.

The men were each jailed for four years at the non-jury
Special Criminal Court on February 21st last year for
membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the

The appellants are Thomas Gilson (25), of Bawnlea Avenue,
Jobstown, Tallaght; Patrick Brennan (42), of Lindisfarne
Avenue, Clondalkin; Sean O' Donnell (33), of Castle Drive,
Sandymount; John Troy (26), of Donard Avenue and Stephen
Birney (32), of Conquerhill Road, Clontarf.

After conviction, Chief Superintendent Peter Maguire told
the court that all the men were members of the Provisional
IRA, were attached to that organisation's Dublin Brigade
and were answerable directly to its leadership.

During the 24-day trial, the court heard the men were
arrested after an off duty Special Branch detective,
Detective Garda Michael Masterson, noticed suspicious
activity around three vehicles - a Nissan Almera car, a
Nissan Micra car and a van.

The court heard gardaí recovered a large quantity of of
Sinn Féin posters, including election posters for Sinn Féin
TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, from the Nissan Almera car in which
they also found a stun gun, a CS gas canister, a blue
flashing light and a beacon.

Gardaí also found two pickaxe handles, a lump hammer, three
portable radios, cable ties, balaclavas and fake Garda
jacket in the van.

Four of the men were found seated on the floor of the van
and two of them, Gilson and O'Donnell, were dressed in fake
Garda uniforms, the trial was told.

Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly, the head of the Garda
Special Branch, told the trial that he believed each man
was a member of an unlawful organisation.

In their appeal, the man are challenging the admissibility
of that opinion evidence and they are also alleging their
arrests were unlawful.

Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann,
otherwise the IRA on October 11th, 2002.

© 2006


Unrest Persists After Ballymurphy Killing

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The PSNI has drafted in extra officers to deal with
continuing nightly trouble in Ballymurphy in west Belfast
following the killing of Gerard Devlin there on Friday.

There have been more than a dozen arson attacks in the area
since Mr Devlin was beaten and fatally stabbed. A number of
people have also fled.

His death follows a long-running feud between two families
in Ballymurphy. While two men have appeared in court in
connection with his killing there has been no let-up in the
disturbances the stabbing provoked.

On Tuesday night a petrol bomb was hurled at the
conservatory of a house at Dermot Hill Park. Fire crews
were also called out to deal with a fire at the rear of a
house at nearby Whitecliff Parade. A petrol bomb was also
thrown at a car in the area on Tuesday. In previous days
there were several similar attacks.

The police and local community leaders have appealed for an
end to the attacks. The temporary commander for west
Belfast, Supt Peter Farrar, said police were devoting
considerable resources and working with the local community
to end the attacks and threats.

© The Irish Times


Omagh District Council Declares For Irish Unity- Strabane
To Follow Suit

Published: 8 February, 2006

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Cllr Barry Mc Elduff says that
last night Omagh District Council officially declared for
Irish Unity and that Strabane District Council is almost
certain to follow suit next Tuesday night.

He issued the statement following the passing of a Sinn
Féin motion challenging An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his
Dublin government administration "to begin to pro-actively
pursue all-Ireland agenda policies in accordance with the
democratically expressed wishes of the majority of Irish
citizens in this part of the 32 counties"

The motion was passed with: 9 Sinn Féin councillors voting
for, 6 unionists voting against, 1 independent abstaining
with the 3 SDLP and the other independent councillor
absenting themselves from the debate.

Speaking following the successful passing of the motion
Barry Mc Elduff said,

"Last night's Council decision is a highly significant
statement showing that the majority of people of this area
want Irish Unity. It also sends a powerful message to An
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Dublin government
administration that we expect the same rights and
entitlements as Irish citizens in the 26 counties and that
we expect the Dublin government to begin to pro-actively
pursue initiatives, policies and strategies aimed at

achieving a United Ireland, which is the stated objective
of all nationalist parties on this island.

"This message will undoubtedly be reinforced when this
motion is debated in Strabane District Council next
Tuesday. We can no longer be treated as second-class
Irish citizens in our own country and the primary onus is
on An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his administration to
bring us into a new era of equality and to begin to take a
lead in planning for Irish Unity.

Motion to Omagh and Strabane District Councils

Propose that:

· This Council welcomes the fact the Irish Unity is now the
stated objective of all nationalist parties on the island
of Ireland including the present Irish government

· This Council therefore believes that An Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern TD has a unique responsibility in giving practical
expression to his administration's and nationalist
Ireland's stated objective on the issue by immediately

commissioning a Green Paper on Irish Unity: a paper
focussing on the compelling logic of this outcome in
political, social and economic terms as well as spelling
out what pro-active strategy his government is going to

undertake in pursuance of the stated objective of
nationalist Ireland.

· This Council further calls on An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
TD to an initiate a holistic consultation process amongst
all sectors of society north and south to assist in the
formulation of a Green Paper.

· This Council further calls on An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
TD to give immediate effect to the Constitution's
recognition of the entitlement of every person born on the
island of Ireland to be part of the Irish nation by
legislating for: six county representation in Dáil Éireann,
the right of people in the six counties to vote in national
referenda on articles of the Constitution and the right to
vote in Presidential elections.

· This Council communicates the above requests in writing
to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD.

Notes to Editors:

· Omagh Council has at least a 13/6 Republican/ Nationalist
majority: 10 Sinn Féin, 3 SDLP, 3 DUP, 3 UUP, 2 Ind (From
nationalist background but politically unclassified). Full
monthly meeting of ODC takes place on Tuesday7th February.

· Strabane Council has an 11/5 Republican/Nationalist
majority: 8 Sinn Féin, 2 SDLP, 1Ind Nat, 3 DUP, 2 UUP.-
Fill monthly meeting of SDC takes place on Tuesday 14th

· Sinn Féin launched its Green paper on Irish Unity in
February 2005


Girl Hurt In School Bus Attack

A girl was injured by thugs who stoned her school bus in
north Belfast today.

By:Press Association

She suffered facial wounds when windows were smashed during
the attack near Ardoyne shops.

Pupils from Castle High School were on board the bus when
it was pelted with rocks on the Crumlin Road.

Democratic Unionist MLA Diane Dodds claimed the attack was
fuelled by religious hatred.

She said: "This is yet another example of a crude sectarian
attack on Protestant schoolchildren and must be condemned.

"I understand police vehicles were in the vicinity of this
attack and yet no-one has been caught."

Mrs Dodds, who claimed the gang fled into the Ardoyne,
vowed to question how the incident was allowed to happen.

"Children travelling in the area must be allowed to do so
free from such attacks," she said.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman confirmed
officers were alerted at 3.25pm.

A bus driver told police two windows were smashed.

The spokeswoman said: "We have a report of one pupil
sustaining minor injuries to her face."


Love Ulster Counter Demo

by Ciarán Barnes

Dissident republicans have unveiled plans for a counter
demonstration against the planned Love Ulster parade
through Dublin.

On February 25, up to 1,000 loyalists, accompanied by
prominent unionist politicians and members of the Orange
Order, are expected to march in the centre of the capital.

At Christmas, the Continuity IRA threatened to disrupt the
demonstration, describing it as a display of unionist

Yesterday, the organisation’s political wing, Republican
Sinn Féin (RSF), made public its plans to picket the

Supporters will gather at the top of O’Connell Street next
to the Parnell monument as loyalists march past.

With both groups set to come within yards of each other,
there are fears of clashes.

RSF vice-president Des Dalton said the Love Ulster parade
represented “sectarianism, bigotry and racism”.

“Those who are organising this march represent the same
people who have burned homes, schools and churches across
the six counties,” said Mr Dalton.

“They represent groups who have murdered innocent
uninvolved people as a matter of policy simply because of
their religion. They speak about tolerance, yet when was a
nationalist parade of any kind, cultural or political, been
allowed to take place in Portadown or east Belfast?

“Many nationalist communities are afraid to even display
GAA club or county colours in case of loyalist attack,”
added Mr Dalton.

“We are calling on all of our members and supporters as
well as all who oppose this march to join us on February

Love Ulster organiser Willie Frazer has said the
organisation will co-operate with the Garda to avoid

“There will be around half-a-dozen bands, though many more
were interested in taking part,” he said.

“In the region of 200 to 300 victims will go and Orangemen
too. We would expect to take around 1,000.”

Love Ulster rallies similar to that organised for Dublin
are being planned for London and Brussels.

Last October, the group held a rally on Belfast’s Shankill
Road, attracting a crowd of 30,000 loyalists.

Love Ulster says it wants to spread the message of unionist
discontent beyond the North.

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) leader Jackie McDonald
helped launch the campaign in August.

The loyalist paramilitary boss’ involvement drew widespread
condemnation from nationalists and victims campaigners.


Businessman Denies 'IRA' Claims

The DUP's Peter Robinson has used parliamentary privilege
to claim that a leading Belfast businessman is linked to
what he termed "IRA dirty money".

Mr Robinson said Peter Curistan was a key investor in the
Odyssey Centre in his East Belfast constituency.

Mr Curistan told the BBC he refuted the allegations and had
already launched legal proceedings against a newspaper over
similar claims.

He challenged Mr Robinson to repeat his claims outside of

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/08 20:53:51 GMT


Opin: IMC Suits The Last-Ditchers In The DUP

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

The US National Football League’s TV producers stepped in
to censor lyrics from two songs as the Rolling Stones
played at half-time in Sunday’s Super Bowl XL final.
Understandable, given that Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe
malfunction’ in 2004 cost CBS a record $550,000 dollars in
fines. ABC who were broadcasting the final didn’t want to
suffer a similar fate. It’s a pity the NIO has no power to
fine their very own old boy band, Lord No-votes and the
Spooks. Perhaps they could use a sliding scale starting
with verbosity, moving up through pomposity and ineptitude,
culminating with interference in the political process? The
truth is that the British administration here has created a
Frankenstein monster which is going to continue blundering
through the NIO’s puppet theatre pulling down the scenery
and smashing the props until someone kills it off.

You thought decommissioning was a matter agreed in the Good
Friday Agreement to be dealt with by the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) didn’t
you? No, apparently not. Lord No-Votes and the Spooks of
the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission can second-
guess the IICD. No good General de Chastelain lamely
protesting in his report last week that decommissioning is
his ‘area of responsibility’. Sorry mate, Lord No-votes
knows better even if he has no evidence you understand,
just ‘credible’ intelligence. Like he would know.

You thought criminal justice was to be dealt with by the
Criminal Justice Review in Annexe B of the Agreement didn’t
you? Nope. Lord No-votes and the Spooks are into that too.
They address community restorative justice in detail as
they have done in two previous reports, and from their zero
expertise in criminal justice, pontificate on which areas
of crime should or should not be included in such schemes.
There’s a lot more but those two examples will suffice to
demonstrate that the self-importance of these guys is such
that there is no end to what they believe their remit can
encompass. More important however, as long as the IMC
crashes about the political stage like Mr Blobby, there
will never be a clean bill of health for any group. There
can’t be because the IMC rely on intelligence, that is
tittle-tattle, whispers, anonymous titbits which for some
reason they see fit to retail publicly.

Now the absurd aspect of this performance is that the NIO
has access to all this stuff itself but normally in a
democracy it would be a political decision whether to act
on the intelligence or not. Incredibly the British
administration handed that political responsibility to the
IMC and thereby gave them a veto over political progress.

Nowhere else in the world does such nonsense operate. Even
the IMC has to admit that. It was with some considerable
disbelief that the Irish government watched this happening
in 2004. You’ll notice that although the IMC has an office
in the Republic you don’t hear them doing much huffing and
puffing about paramilitary activity there.

Michael McDowell does that very well himself thank you by
selecting his own intelligence reports to hand to favourite
journalists. The Irish government retains political
control. It is true and it must be acknowledged that, while
the IMC handed the DUP a shiny bauble last week, there was
and is no intention on the part of the DUP to cooperate in
establishing functioning institutions under the

Good Friday Agreement. That will remain the case until they
cut a deal with Sinn Fein next year. Even if the IMC report
had been entirely favourable to the IRA the DUP would still
have professed itself unmoved.

However we’re fast approaching the point where Lord No-
Votes and the Spooks will become an embarrassment to
everyone and not just to the NIO.

At the moment they suit the last-ditchers in the DUP.

What happens next year when the DUP is ready to sign up to
a deal with SF only for the IMC to emerge and provide
another dollop of what Martin McGuinness called
‘Balderdice’? There’s worse. They can even report on
whether political parties in a working assembly are ‘living
up to the standards required of them’. What could the IMC
do? Recommend suspending the assembly? For any party to
agree to operate under such conditions is nuts.


Opin: Bribing The IRA Is No Way To Win Peace

By Kate Hoey
(Filed: 09/02/2006)

At what point will the British government stop feeding the
beast? Yesterday, despite opposition from all sides of the
Commons, it pushed a measure through to reinstate the
parliamentary allowances of the four Sinn Fein MPs who were
suspended in March 2005 after the Northern Bank raid and
the murder of Robert McCartney.

The allowances of £260,000 will cover five months of the
financial year, backdated to last November. In addition, a
new payment of £85,000 - similar to the "short" money given
to parties for parliamentary research - is to be awarded.
This is new exclusive state funding for just one political
party and is for something called "representative

The contrast with the Government's conduct towards the 108
members of the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly could
not be more striking. These local representatives have been
out of work since the collapse of devolved institutions
which followed the discovery of an alleged IRA spy ring in
the autumn of 2002. Peter Hain, the secretary of state, has
warned them that they face cuts in their salaries,
allowances and research budgets.

On the one hand, Mr Hain has claimed that there is
"widespread discontent regarding Assembly members' pay and
allowances while the Assembly is not sitting". On the
other, the Government is feathering the nest for the four
Sinn Fein MPs who abstain from parliamentary business at

So what has changed since the suspension of these
allowances in March 2005? At that time a report by the
International Monitoring Commission was damning enough for
the Government to seek sanctions against Sinn Fein. The IRA
responded with its statement of last July, endorsing purely
democratic and peaceful means and later undertaking a major
act of decommissioning.

The latest report of the IMC, published last week, is
rather less salutary about the prospect of a new dawn.
Unsurprisingly, the IMC does not believe that the IRA has
the capacity to go back to war. But it does conclude that
the culture of criminality continues within the movement.
Most significantly, intelligence gathering - which led to
the collapse of devolved institutions in the first place -
continues with the sanction of the leadership.

I applaud the instincts that have driven the peace process
in Northern Ireland. But in the search for a final solution
to the continued suspension of devolved institutions in the
province, the Government increasingly seems to be chasing
its own tail. It is so irretrievably locked into this
process that it has often appeared more eager to reach a
political conclusion than any of its partners. The weakness
of this negotiating position is clear: Tony Blair and Mr
Hain will do anything to unlock the door but they remain
fixated on the idea that Sinn Fein has the only key. Even
in the House last night, Mr Hain used a form of blackmail
alleging that if the resolutions were not passed then those
who opposed would be responsible if the peace process
stalled in future.

Most recently, legislation to grant amnesty for those who
are still on the run from the authorities in connection
with crimes committed during the Troubles was bludgeoned
through. Later, Mr Hain was forced into an embarrassing
retreat and withdrew the legislation, but there is a core
logic in operation. However unpalatable in the short-term,
the calculation is that the "on the run" and parliamentary
allowance legislation are necessary small steps towards
progress on the big issues of devolution and power-sharing.
The logic of this realpolitik is flawed. The Government is
contributing to a public mood in Northern Ireland that is
increasingly hostile to any sort of devolved power-sharing

There are concerns about the moral sensibilities
surrounding these issues and the existence of double
standards. But the Government has also created the
impression that the peace process is, in effect, a
bilateral negotiation and a succession of "dirty deals"
with the IRA. This has eroded the underlying principle of
the Good Friday Agreement - the attempt to govern Northern
Ireland through a stable consensus based on majority
support from both communities. The effect of this new
departure on the moderate parties in Northern Ireland has
been devastating.

The Government drew the IRA into the peace process by
allowing it to foster a number of delusions - not least,
delusions about the nationalist/Unionist demographic
balance in Northern Ireland and the long-term prospect of a
united Ireland. The IRA was led to believe that it could
still deliver Irish unity. But at some point the republican
movement was going to have to come up short. It was going
to become clear that the objectives of the movement could
not be achieved during Mr Adams's political lifetime.

Ideally, this realisation would only sink in when
republicans were caught up in the working of devolved
institutions in the north and the parliamentary process in
the south. But Sinn Fein does not have that relatively
comfortable resting place. There is no realistic prospect
of the return of devolution in the north and the party has
sagged in recent opinion polls in the south. Even in the
aftermath of the "on the run" fiasco, the Government's
instinct is still to throw Mr Adams fig-leaves, but is it
doing him any good? More importantly, is it helping the
long-term prospects for a sustainable peace?

The Prime Minister intends to speak in Belfast later this
month. Comparisons will be made with his Harbour
Commissioners speech of 2002 when he told the IRA that it
had reached a "fork in the road". On that occasion, Mr
Blair told the IRA that its capacity to go back to war had
been undermined by the effects of September 11. If it was
true then, it is true now. The Government has to tell Sinn
Fein there will be no more concessions. By offering a
gratuitous financial bonus to a party whose MPs have no
intention of representing their constituents in Parliament,
he has shown a contempt for those who are committed to
parliamentary democracy. The question is what else is he
willing to bribe Sinn Fein/IRA with?

Kate Hoey is MP for Vauxhall


Opin: Dangers Of Glorifying The Rising

Mary Raftery

Perhaps the most striking aspect of President Mary
McAleese's speech on 1916 last month was how old-fashioned
it was.

Her talk of heroes and sacrifice sounded as if the past 30
years of critical historical analysis of the Easter Rising
had never happened. In fact, her rhetoric was rooted firmly
within the spirit of 1966.

That year marked the 50th anniversary of the Rising, and it
was celebrated with an unholy glee. Military parades
abounded. Politicians fell over themselves to be seen
reviewing the troops. The Merry Ploughboy was top of the
music charts. "I'm off to join the IRA," the nation sang
with gusto, ". . . where the bayonets flash and the rifles
crash, to the echo of a Thompson gun." Soldiers lined up on
the roof of the GPO, dramatically silhouetted against the
sky, pointing their rifles upwards as the four aircraft of
the Air Corps flew low along O'Connell Street.

For anyone growing up at the time, it was heady stuff.
There could be no greater glory than to die for Ireland.
Favoured school children were selected to read the
Proclamation to local gatherings all around the country.
The really lucky ones got to participate in the enormous
pageant at Croke Park.

Most dramatic of all was RTÉ's contribution. A bare four
years old at the time, the station marked the occasion with
its first big drama. Insurrection was broadcast in
instalments on each night during Easter Week. It was an
all-action series, full of blood, guts and gunfights, with
little dialogue to interrupt the excitement. It would be
hard to underestimate its impact on the nation.

Until then, television drama and movies had always been
about other people - cowboys and Indians, Germans and the
Allies, cops and robbers on the streets of foreign cities.
Now, suddenly, we had our very own goodies and baddies. And
in neighbourhoods all over Ireland, we put our toy guns to
good use, slaughtering hordes of evil British soldiers in
the name of Ireland.

Insurrection was an extraordinary construct when viewed
from this distance. A device of reportage was used, with
actors playing reporters holding microphones and speaking
to camera in the middle of the GPO as bullets and bombs
exploded around them. This presentation of drama as
incontrovertible fact ruthlessly excluded any other
interpretation of events.

It was history in black and white - and in more ways than
one, as colour had not yet arrived to Irish television. In
fact, so visceral was the portrayal of the Rising that I
have a clear (but impossible) memory of some of the scenes
being in vivid colour, particularly the dying Joe Lynch,
shooting Brits while singing patriotic songs, his face
covered in lurid blood.

What perhaps best sums up the spirit of the time is a scene
from Insurrection in which a group of rebels, surrounded
and believing themselves doomed, kneel to say a decade of
the rosary in Irish. The camera zooms slowly into one young
hero with a pistol in one hand and rosary beads in the

The historical adviser to Insurrection was Kevin B. Nowlan,
professor of history at UCD. In 1991, on the 75th
anniversary of the Rising, he expressed deep unease at the
impact of the drama. He felt that it might have led some
people to believe "that this kind of activity was good in
itself, that it's the right way to proceed in the
achievement of a national goal. That kind of effect is one
that I would have been, and am still, worried about." There
can be little doubt that the smug and wholly uncritical
public glorification of violent nationalism in 1966 played
a significant part in the emergence of the violence in
Northern Ireland three years later.

While there are some important differences, the parallels
between the 1916 rebels and the IRA of the 1970s and beyond
were simply too uncomfortable to allow the Irish State to
engage in any large-scale public commemoration of the
Rising during the decades of the IRA campaign of violence
in the North.

Both groups were unelected minorities whose lack of
democratic mandate did not inhibit their claim to act on
behalf of the Irish people. The impossibility of
celebrating one while repudiating the other was self-
evident. Thus there was no significant official marking of
the 75th anniversary of the Rising, or indeed of the 80th.

Now, as the centenary looms, and with peace in our time, it
seems that perhaps it is safe to get back in the water.
President McAleese would have us rediscover our heroes,
reignite our pride in their selfless sacrifice, and march
off again to Dublin, in the green, in the green.

But it is not as simple as that. We have learned the hard
way that commemorations have a habit of turning into
uncritical orgies of celebration with potentially lethal
consequences. Perhaps instead of a commemoration, we could
more usefully mark significant anniversaries of the Rising
with a National Day of Argument, thus ensuring that its
messy and complicated legacy would never again become
obscured by any sentimental longings for past certainties.

To be fair to Mary McAleese, all she was doing was engaging
in that argument.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Crowning Moment For The UVF Gunrunners Of 1914

Newton's Optic: The importation of 25,000 rifles by the
UVF in 1914 is now recognised as the birth of unionism,
writes Newton Emerson

Queen Elizabeth has strongly defended the legacy of the UVF
ahead of the 92nd anniversary of its historic gunrunning

"They were Northern Ireland's idealistic and heroic
founding fathers and mothers, your Davids to their
Dáithís," said the indefeasible sovereign yesterday.

The queen's speech was cleared in advance by the British
government, which hopes that the celebrations will reclaim
the UVF's reputation from present-day loyalism.
Incidentally, the original UVF has no connection to the
current UVF apart from its name, objectives, methods,
philosophy, imagery, symbolism and politics.

In April 1914, with the help of its gallant allies in
Europe, the UVF landed 25,000 German rifles and three
million rounds of ammunition at various ports around
Ulster. "Operation Lion" was slightly controversial at the
time but is today recognised as the birth of modern

"Some people cannot use the word 'unionism' without
qualifying it by the word 'narrow'," said her majesty.

"However it is the other lot who are narrow-minded - so

The queen added that many members of the UVF belonged to
"an international Presbyterian brotherhood which brought
them into wider contact with the world than even the most
well-travelled papal nuncio."

Those "out" in 1914 included Maj Fred Crawford, who
organised the arms shipment; Bonar Law, who later became
British prime minister; James Craig, who later became
Northern Ireland's first prime minister; and Sir Edward
Carson, who went on to found the state.

Addressing the first Stormont parliament in 1921, Sir
Edward said: "From the outset let them see that the
Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant

The queen believes that Carson's noble vision has finally
been vindicated.

"For many years, the social agenda of the UVF represented
an unrealisable aspiration - until now, that is, when those
idealistic words have started to become a lived reality and
a determined ambition."

Operation Lion is traditionally commemorated on Ulster Day,
September 28th, which marks the 1912 signing of the Ulster
Covenant and Declaration by over half a million people -
including 2,000 in Dublin.

They swore: "To stand by one another in defending, for
ourselves and our children, our cherished position of equal
citizenship in the United Kingdom." Cherishing children
equally is a unique aspect of British culture.

"The apparent naivety of the words of the covenant and
declaration has filled out into a widely-shared political
philosophy of equality and social inclusion," said her
majesty. "Men, women, rich, poor, black, white - anyone
could join, as long as they weren't a Fenian."

In recent years the celebration of Ulster Day has been
largely the preserve of sectarian extremists; however, the
queen believes that it is time for everyone else to isolate
those extremists by celebrating Ulster Day right alongside

"The UVF was opposed by the imperial British government of
the day," explained her majesty. "There is a tendency for
powerful and pitiless elites to dismiss with damning labels
those who oppose them. That was probably the source of the
accusation that 1914 was an exclusive and sectarian

"It was never that. Maj Fred Crawford's friendship with the
German arms dealer, Bruno Spiro, shows that the UVF was
always an outward-looking internationalist movement." Maj
Crawford was awarded the CBE in 1921.

His relevance to whatever the government is up to right now
must never be forgotten.

© The Irish Times


Parade To Mark Rising's Anniversary

Stephen Collins

A military parade in Dublin on Easter Sunday, April 16th,
is planned to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916

The Government also plans to mark the Battle of the Somme
later in the year.

About 2,500 personnel representing all branches of the
Defence Forces together with representatives of ex-service
personnel and veterans of UN service will take part in the
parade on Easter Sunday. It will also include members of
the Garda Síochána, representing their service abroad with
the UN. The Air Corps will stage an aerial fly-past.

The parade will depart from Dublin Castle, pass through
Dame Street, College Green and O'Connell Street. The 1916
Proclamation will be read outside the GPO and appropriate
military honours will be rendered.

Earlier that morning a wreath will be laid in Kilmainham
Gaol followed by a State reception at Dublin Castle that

Shortly before Easter the National Museum at Collins
Barracks will open a newly prepared exhibit on the Rising,
following the transfer of the 1916 room from the Museum
Building in Kildare Street. An Post plans to issue a
special commemorative stamp.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has invited the Oireachtas to
offer advice on the appropriate scope and content of a
commemoration programme to mark the Rising's centenary in
2016. Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea will chair the
first meeting.

Close to July 1st, the Government plans to commemorate the
90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, in which many
Irish soldiers died.

Last night Fine Gael defence spokesman Billy Timmins said:
"Fine Gael is broadly supportive of the commemoration of
the Easter Rising but believes the commemoration should be
expanded over time to include all the events of that

© The Irish Times


Council Urged To Buy MacDiarmada's Letter

Paddy Clancy

Leitrim County Council has been urged to bid for 1916
patriot Seán MacDiarmada's last letter from his death-cell.
The letter is being auctioned at a sale of historical
documents on April 12th at the James Adam salerooms in

A motion that the council is to seek to buy the letter -
expected to fetch up to €20,000 - was passed at a meeting
earlier this week.

Cllr Michael Colreavy said it would be "a disgrace" if the
letter was allowed to fall into private hands. He wanted it
purchased for the people of Leitrim because MacDiarmada,
from Kinlough, was one of the county's greatest heroes.

MacDiarmada wrote the letter in his cell in Kilmainham jail
on May 11th, 1916, the day before his execution for his
part in the Easter Rising.

It was written to the family of Edward Daly, a commandant
in the Irish Volunteers, who was executed a few days

He wrote: "I have been sentenced to a soldier's death to be
shot tomorrow morning. I have nothing to say about this
only that I look on it as part of the day's work." There is
a replica of the letter in the national library.

The original was offered for auction by the family of an
unnamed prominent Donegal member of Fine Gael who died some
years ago.

Leitrim County Council's Fine Gael chairman Gerry Reynolds
said: "A big issue now will be where will the council get
the money. It doesn't have those kind of funds sitting on

© The Irish Times

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