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March 07, 2006

Dail to Debate Finucane Inquiry Call

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 03/07/06 Dáil To Debate Finucane Murder Inquiry Call
SF 03/07/06 Gerry Adams Outlines Strategy For Ending Impasse
BB 03/07/06 Adams Urges Swift Assembly Recall
BB 03/07/06 UUP Move Over New Policing Board
BB 03/07/06 Republican Will Face Kidnap Trial
BB 03/07/06 Raid As UDA 'Planned Crime End'
BN 03/07/06 Orde Seeks To Revoke Bail Of Prominent Belfast Loyalist


Dáil To Debate Finucane Murder Inquiry Call

07/03/2006 - 13:09:36

Members of the Dáil are to debate a motion calling for the
establishment by the British government of a proper inquiry
into the murder of a Belfast solicitor.

TDs will debate tomorrow a private members’ motion urging
the British government to take heed of criticism by Pat
Finucane’s family and others of their inquiry into security
force involvement in his murder by loyalists.

Mr Finucane was gunned down in front of his family in
February 1989 by members of the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

UDA hitman Ken Barrett was jailed last year after pleading
guilty to the shooting.

However, an investigation by former Metropolitan Police
Commissioner Sir John Stevens found evidence that the
gunmen colluded with members of British military

An inquiry was recommended by retired Canadian judge Peter

However, the Finucane family, Judge Cory, nationalist
politicians, the Government and opposition parties in
Dublin and human rights organisations have been critical of
the British government’s decision to pass a new Inquiries
Act in 2005, changing the terms under which a tribunal
would be set up.

They believe the legislation gives the British government
too much of a say over what evidence will be made available
to the inquiry and what can be heard in public.

The family, which has insisted it will not co-operate with
the inquiry if it is held under the terms of the 2005 Act,
fears crucial evidence will be withheld on the grounds of
national security.

The motion which will be debated by TDs tomorrow describes
an inquiry set up under the 2005 Act as limited and notes
it had been rejected as inadequate by Judge Cory, the
Finucane family, the Government and human rights groups.

It backs Government moves to highlight the case in the
United States, the United Nations and the Council of Europe
in Strasbourg.

The motion concludes: “The Dáil calls on the British
government to reconsider its position on the Finucane case
to take full account of the family’s objections and amend
the UK Inquiries Act 2005.

“(It) calls for the immediate establishment of a full,
independent, public judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat
Finucane, as recommended by Judge Cory, which would enjoy
the full co-operation of the family and the wider community
throughout Ireland and abroad.”


Gerry Adams Outlines Strategy For Ending Impasse

Published: 7 March, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP was today joined by
party colleagues Caitriona Ruane and Conor Murphy at a
press conference this morning. Mr Adams said that he has
written to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British Prime
Minister Tony Blair outlining a strategy for ending the
current political impasse. Mr Adams said "This involves the
two governments meeting the parties and setting out a
timetable by which suspension will be lifted and an
Executive formed. This should be completed before the
summer and well in advance of the loyalist marching season.
If the DUP rejects this then the two governments should, on
the basis of joint government decision making, get on with
delivering those many parts of the Good Friday Agreement
that they have direct responsibility for."

Mr. Adams said:

"The stated objective of the current talks is to get the
political institutions up and running as quickly as
possible and involving all of the parties. This is the
position of the Irish and British governments, Sinn Féin
and all of the other parties with the exception of the DUP.
The challenge is how to achieve this and what should happen
if this objective cannot be realised.

“In my view the governments accept that the current talks
are going nowhere. The cancellation of Mr. Blair’s recently
scheduled speech and the postponement of tomorrow’s talks
at Stormont is evidence of that.

“Tomorrow’s summit at Downing Street could be an
opportunity to rectify this.

“But shadow boxing with the DUP – marking time –
maintaining an Assembly that is prevented from functioning
– seeking to exclude Sinn Féin from talks - or entertaining
the establishment of political institutions which fall far
short of the Good Friday Agreement, is not the way forward.

“The DUP have been the lead party in unionism for more than
two years. They have had plenty of time to make up their
mind about whether or not they are going to embrace the new
dispensation. The longer the political vacuum continues the
more difficult it will be to get the political institutions
back up and running. The governments need to face up to
this reality. They need to commit themselves to making
progress well in advance of the marching season.

“I have written to both the Taoiseach and the British Prime
Minister outlining an approach which Sinn Féin believes
will advance the political and peace process and determine
whether the DUP is up for joining a power sharing
government with all of the other parties.

“This involves the two governments meeting the parties and
setting out a timetable to lift suspension and form an
Executive. This should be completed before the summer and
well in advance of the Orange marching season.

“If the DUP rejects this then the governments, on the basis
of joint government decision making, should get on with
implementing those many parts of the Good Friday Agreement
for which they have direct responsibility. This would
include action to give effect to the provisions of the Good
Friday Agreement on Equality and Human Rights, Irish
Language, Victims, Symbols and Emblems along with an
expansion of the all-Ireland elements of the Agreement,
including the areas of co-operation and the number of
implementation bodies.

“The governments have a responsibility to ensure that the
process of change is moved ahead.” ENDS


Adams Urges Swift Assembly Recall

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has urged the British and
Irish governments to recall the Northern Ireland Assembly
and have ministers elected by April.

Mr Adams has written to Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern before
the prime ministers meet on Wednesday to finalise a
strategy for restoring devolution.

Mr Adams said any notion of an assembly without full powers
was "dead".

He said the DUP should agree to devolution, otherwise the
governments should work closely together.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said on Monday that
the two prime ministers would not be pushed aside by
anything which would get in the way of the process.

Talks planned for Stormont on Wednesday have been

However, Mr Hain said Political Development Minister David
Hanson would soon be briefing the parties.

He will speak to them on the paper for the preparations for
the restoration of the institutions, said Mr Hain.

'Lack of direction

Mr Hain and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern will also
attend the prime ministers' meeting on Wednesday.

Some politicians believe the postponement of the talks in
Belfast was a sign of a lack of direction in the political

Mr Hain had highlighted Wednesday as a target date for
potential changes to the rules of any future Stormont

Downing Street said neither a joint British-Irish news
conference nor a definitive policy statement was expected
after this week's prime ministerial talks.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in 2002
following allegations of a republican spy ring at the
Northern Ireland Office.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/07 11:43:11 GMT


UUP Move Over New Policing Board

Ulster Unionists are expected to nominate three
representatives to the new Policing Board, although the
government has asked for two names.

The party disagrees with the formula used to decide the
make-up of the new board, due to take office in April.

Last week NI Secretary Peter Hain wrote to the four main
political parties inviting them to make nominations.

He gave the DUP four places on the new board and the Ulster
Unionists two places.

That reflects the strengths of the parties in November last
year when the government invited independent members to
apply for the board.

The Ulster Unionists argue that the government is not
reflecting either the result of the 2003 elections or the
position since last month's resignation from the DUP of the
Newry and Armagh MLA Paul Berry.


UUP leader Sir Reg Empey believes the government should be
doing its sums on the basis of the 2003 Assembly results
prior to the defection of Jeffrey Donaldson and two other
Ulster Unionists.

That would give the UUP three seats on the new board.

Sir Reg is expected to nominate his deputy Danny Kennedy,
the North Belfast MLA Fred Cobain and the Fermanagh MLA Tom

Sinn Fein has confirmed that it will not be making
nominations for its two allocated places at this stage.

The SDLP have been asked to put forward two nominations,
which is a reduction in their team.

Sinn Fein has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board
and other institutions its support, insisting more
legislation is needed before it can sign up.

The party said it needed to see more power transferred to
local politicians before it would consider nominating

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/07 12:48:24 GMT


Republican Will Face Kidnap Trial

A republican is to go on trial over the kidnapping of a
businessman in the Irish Republic more than 20 years ago.

The Court of Appeal in Dublin upheld an appeal by the DPP
against a High Court order stopping Brendan McFarlane's
trial going ahead.

McFarlane, from Jamaica Street in north Belfast, has been
on bail since 1998 accused of falsely imprisoning Don Tidey
in 1983.

McFarlane was one of 38 IRA prisoners who escaped from the
Maze jail in 1983.

He was later caught in Amsterdam and extradited to Northern

He was released on parole from the Maze in 1997.

McFarlane was arrested by gardai in 1998 and charged with
the unlawful possession of a firearm and falsely
imprisoning supermarket chief executive Don Tidy near
Ballinamore, County Leitrim in 1983.

However, his trial collapsed after gardai lost items
including a milk carton, a plastic container and a cooking
pot - all of which, it was claimed, had his fingerprints on

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed that decision
and on Tuesday the Supreme Court by a four to one majority
ruled that the former IRA member should face a retrial.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, said the
result of the forensic analysis of the three missing items
had been preserved and photographed allowing for
independent and meaningful comparison of fingerprints.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/07 12:46:59 GMT


Raid As UDA 'Planned Crime End'

Loyalists arrested during a raid on a Belfast bar were
preparing to announce an end to all Ulster Defence
Association crime, a court has heard.

The claim was made during a police application to have the
bail revoked of prominent loyalist Ihab Shoukri.

He was arrested along with 16 others in north Belfast. He
was later released.

A defence solicitor said the police believed they were
involved in "show of strength" but had actually been
discussing the end of UDA criminality.

Mr Shoukri, 31, from Alliance Road in north Belfast, denied
membership of the Ulster Freedom Fighters and Ulster
Defence Association at his last court appearance.

At Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday, the judge was asked to
examine if Mr Shoukri was in breach of bail conditions
imposed while he awaits trial.

A defence solicitor said his client had been downstairs in
the Alexandra Bar in the Tiger's Bay area, when a
specialist police unit fired up to 70 CS gas canisters into
the building to try to capture those at a meeting in an
upstairs room.

He told the court: "It's somewhat ironic that the plea had
been advanced by police that the individuals in the
upstairs bar were involved in some sort of show of

'Gladiatorial contest'

"In fact they were attending a meeting, the result of which
was to announce the end of all criminal activities by the

"Police have documents to prove that."

A Crown lawyer said she accepted Mr Shoukri was "not
dressed in paramilitary gear."

"It's the police case that by the defendant being present
on the date in question with persons in paramilitary
uniform and with UDA documents, he has re-offended and his
bail should be revoked," she added.

But a defence solicitor said there was no substance to the
evidence against Mr Shoukri.

He added: "The chief constable has sought some sort of
gladiatorial contest to pitch himself against the

Defence said it was "scandalous" that the move should be
made against Mr Shoukri simply for being in a bar having a
pint when the raid happened.

He also disputed police claims that Mr Shoukri was in a
downstairs store with men dressed in paramilitary gear when
it was raided.

Judge Tom Burgess reserved his ruling until Wednesday.

Eleven men have been remanded in custody in connection with
the police raid on the bar.


Meanwhile, a statement allegedly found during the police
raid has been read out at a separate High Court bail

It said: "We must now take our fight into the political
arena. However, this does not spell the end for the UDA. We
want to reassure you all that the Ulster Defence
Association is here to stay."

The handwritten document was read out as three men,
including the owner of the Alexandra Bar, applied for bail.
All three were released.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/07 13:19:42 GMT


Orde Seeks To Revoke Bail Of Prominent Belfast Loyalist

07/03/2006 - 08:20:02

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde is seeking to have a
prominent Belfast loyalist returned to jail for attending
an alleged UDA meeting in the city last week.

Ihab Shoukri, whose brother Andre is the leader of the UDA
in north Belfast, is currently on bail awaiting trial for
alleged membership of the loyalist paramilitary group.

The 31-year-old was among 17 men arrested during a dramatic
police raid on the Alexandra Bar last Thursday night.

However, he was not among the 11 men who were charged in
court yesterday with arranging a meeting in support of the

The PSNI has claimed the meeting on Thursday night was a
dress rehearsal for a planned show of strength by the
loyalist paramilitary group the following night.

Mr Orde is taking a High Court case today seeking to have
Mr Shoukri returned to prison for breaching his bail

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