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March 12, 2006

DUP May Hold Arms Talks With UDA

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News About Ireland & The Irish

ST 03/12/06
DUP May Hold Arms Talks With UDA
UT 03/11/06 DUP Backs For Loyalist Who Move Away From Violence
DI 03/11/06 UVF Charges Are Dropped Against Pair Of Loyalists
BT 03/11/06 UVF Plea For Help To Catch Killers
Di 03/11/06 Finucanes Set For US
NY 03/11/06 Peter King: GOP Hails Maverick Who Opposed Bush On Ports
ST 03/12/06 Kidnap Finally Catches Up With Sinn Fein Warrior Priest
ST 03/12/06 Voters’ Register Is 20% Wrong
ST 03/12/06 'Slab' Raid Is Trouble For Sinn Fein
IN 03/11/06 Brutal Sectarian Murder Is Subject Of New Book
IN 03/11/06 Opin: It’s Great To Hear Age Of Miracles Has Not Passed
SB 03/11/06 Opin: Easter Rising: Shots That Changed The World Forever
DI 03/11/06 Opin: SDLP Adopts Thatcher’s View Of Martyrs
ST 03/12/06 Opin: Slab Must Pay


DUP May Hold Arms Talks With UDA

Liam Clarke

THE officer board of the Democratic Unionist party will
this week decide whether to meet the UDA, Northern
Ireland’s largest paramilitary group, in an effort to
persuade it to stand down and decommission weapons.

Last week Peter Robinson, the DUP deputy leader, met Rev
Mervyn Gibson, the chairman of the Loyalist Commission, to
discuss the issue in detail. The commission, which includes
representatives of loyalist paramilitaries, clergymen and
community leaders, aims to bring an end to loyalist

Robinson said: “This is a job I was asked to do by the DUP
executive and I will be reporting back to them on what Rev
Gibson told me. Then they will take a view.”

It is understood that Gibson told him the UDA is unlikely
to decommission its weapons in the foreseeable future. That
option had been considered but no agreement had been

The group is prepared to take a number of measures,
including announcing an end to criminality and the winding-
up of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the part of the
organisation used to carry out murders.

A Loyalist Commission source said: “These measures may
appear cosmetic to the outside world but they are
significant to the UDA itself. I can already see a fall-off
in extortion and there are big moves against drug dealing.”

Last week the UDA said it was moving towards peace after
police raided the Alexander bar in north Belfast, during a
Latino night. The PSNI arrested 17 people who were
allegedly involved in a dress rehearsal for a loyalist show
of strength. UDA sources say the display was part of a
process of reassuring their members before making new peace

But last week the International Monitoring Commission (IMC)
took a more nuanced view. It argued that “loyalist
paramilitaries are heavily involved in organised and other
crime” including drugs and have shown themselves capable of
extreme violence. “We believe there are signs of a possible
readiness to turn away from some of their present
criminality,” the IMC said.

The UDA has been making peace overtures for some time. An
announcement was expected by some loyalist sources after a
meeting between 10 UDA leaders and Martin McAleese, husband
of the Irish president, on February 8. The expected move
failed to materialise.


DUP Backing For Reforming Paramilitaries Who Want To Move
Away From Violence

The Democratic Unionists support those within loyalist
paramilitary organisations who wish to turn their back on
crime and terrorism, a senior member of the party insisted

By:Press Association

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said there were signals
from some people within loyalist terror gangs that they
wanted to edge towards a peaceful strategy.

The East Belfast MP, along with party colleague Nigel Dodds
met the chairman of the Loyalist Commission, Reverend
Mervyn Gibson, on Monday to discuss efforts to move the
Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force
away from crime and paramilitary activity.

He said: "There are signals that there is a significant
number of key figures within loyalist groups who are edging
their organisations towards a new situation.

"Our party would obviously welcome that and want to
encourage that, unlike others who may want them to remain
mired in criminal and paramilitary activity.

"From our point of view, as a party that is very strong in
the loyalist areas in which they operate, we have a mutual
interest to see stability in those communities.

"We want to encourage that process."

In recent days the Ulster Defence Association`s inner
council released a statement insisting its members were
behind moves to move it away from paramilitarism.

The Ulster Volunteer Force have also held internal
discussions in the wake of last year`s move by the IRA to
declare an end to its armed campaign.

However, the Independent Monitoring Commission, has said in
a number of reports that the UDA, UVF and other loyalist
groups are involved in criminality.

Mr Robinson told PA his meeting with the chairman of the
Loyalist Commission, an umbrella group involving church
leaders, politicians and paramilitary representatives, was
to ascertain whether the terror groups were planning to
transform themselves.

"Nigel and I met the Reverend Mervyn Gibson to discuss with
him the extent to which he felt loyalist paramilitaries
wanted to end their campaigns," the DUP deputy leader said.

"We have yet to discuss the full details of that meeting
with party officers but we went with the insistence that
the party would encourage loyalist paramilitaries to
undergo the transformation."


UVF Charges Are Dropped Against Pair Of Loyalists

by Ciarán Barnes

Charges of Ulster Volunteer Force membership have been
dropped against two Co Antrim loyalists.

Clifford Allison and Charles McCann, who were arrested in
2003 at a PSNI checkpoint, will stand trial for conspiracy
to cause grievous bodily harm and the possession of
offensive weapons. The pair appeared in Belfast Crown Court
yesterday to have their bail conditions varied.

Mr Allison, of Waveney Road in Ballymena, and Mr McCann of
Gorthill Drive in Ballyduff, are both banned from entering
Antrim town unless it is to visit their children, a doctor
or for employment purposes.

They are not allowed to have any contact with each other.
They have to observe a curfew from 11pm to 7am and report
to the PSNI three times a week.

Judge Tom Burgess postponed making a decision on their
variation application until next Tuesday.

In October 2003, the PSNI stopped two cars at a checkpoint
on the Caddy Road in Randalstown, Co Antrim. Five men were
arrested, including Mr Allison and Mr McCann.

All five men were charged with UVF membership, conspiracy
to cause grievous bodily harm, and possession of offensive
weapons. Charges against three of the men were later

It was not specified in court yesterday when the UVF
membership charges were dropped against Mr Allison and Mr

The equipment they were alleged to have been carrying when
stopped by the PSNI included woollen balaclavas, metal
batons and latex gloves.

At an earlier hearing, a detective claimed he had enough
evidence to link Mr Allison and Mr McCann to the charges.

A solicitor representing the pair questioned why they had
been detained at Antrim Serious Crime Suite for two days
before being charged.

He said that only four interviews had been carried out with
each defendant, while five detective teams had been
available. The solicitor said: “Is it not true that the
reason why the investigation appeared so slow is that the
evidence against Allison and McCann is circumstantial in

The detective replied: “The evidence against all is
strongly circumstantial, physical and verbal.”

Mr Allison and Mr McCann will appear in court next Tuesday
for a decision on the variation of their bail conditions. A
date has yet to be set for their trial.


UVF Plea For Help To Catch Killers

By Chris Thornton
11 March 2006

THE UVF today made a surprise appeal for witnesses to help
police catch the killers of two teenagers allegedly
butchered by members of the loyalist group.

A statement from the group's Mid-Ulster unit said its wider
membership was appalled at the murders of David McIlwaine
and Andrew Robb outside Tandragee six years ago "and the
ferociousness of the attacks".

The group said its leadership had not sanctioned the
murders of the boys, who were stabbed repeatedly and had
their throats cut after a night out in the Co Armagh town.

"We fully support the families in their campaign for
justice and no one should impede them in respect of that,"
the statement said. "In addition we urge anyone with
information, no matter how trivial, which may help the PSNI
to resolve the case, to come forward."

A spokesman for the family of David McIlwaine welcomed the
statement, which he said had been made after more than a
year of contact with the UVF.

"Over the last year the family have been in talks with the
leadership of the UVF," he said.

"We welcome the statement. At no time did we believe the
UVF had sanctioned the killings. The UVF in Portadown has
been particularly helpful in this matter over the past two

The Portadown teenagers were murdered in February 2000,
during a feud between the UVF and the LVF. Although the
boys were not involved in the LVF, a bail hearing last year
was told that they were attacked when Andrew Robb allegedly
made disparaging remarks about Richard Jameson, a UVF
commander who was shot by the LVF a few weeks earlier.

The command staff of the UVF's Mid-Ulster Brigade said it
was issuing today's appeal in order to help the McIlwaine
and Robb families "in their quest for justice".

"IN the immediate aftermath of the murders of David
McIlwaine and Andrew Robb on 19 February 2000 the UVF
refrained from making any statement in the hope that the
perpetrators would be brought to justice through due
process," the statement said. "Now over six years later,
the families are still struggling in their quest for

"Consequently the command staff has taken the decision to
release this statement in the hope that in some way it will
assist in this pursuit."

The terror group's statement about the killings was issued
amidst speculation that the group is planning to stand down
on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in

Police have made major strides forward in the murder
investigation within the past year. Last November, after a
£10,000 reward was offered during a Crimewatch
reconstruction of the killings, two 25-year-old men were
charged with the murders. Steven Leslie Brown, of Castle
Place, Castlecaulfield, Co Tyrone, and Mark Burcombe, from
Ballynahinch Road, Lisburn, deny two counts of murder.
Another man allegedly involved in the killings, Noel
Dillon, died last year in an apparent suicide.


Finucanes Set For US

By Connla Young

The family of the murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane
will visit the United States this weekend to brief
politicians about their concerns over British government
plans for an inquiry.

The Finucanes have demanded an independent international
inquiry into the murder. Pat Finucane was gunned down in
February 1989 by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in collusion
with several British security force agencies.

Members of the family have voiced concern about plans to
investigate the killing under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The solicitor’s widow Geraldine and her son John have been
invited to the United States by Congressman James Walsh,
the chairman of the Friends of Ireland group, US envoy
Mitchell Reiss and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Geraldine Finucane said she hoped to raise her concerns
with a range of US politicians.

“We are looking forward to this trip to update everyone of
our serious concerns about the British government’s failure
to set up the type of inquiry recommended by Judge Peter
Cory and to implement Judge Cory’s recommendations as
agreed at the Weston Park talks.

“The British government is in flagrant breach of its
commitments given at the Weston Park talks, and it stands
alone and indicted before the international community.

“Over the last number of months, we have held meetings with
many political and ecumenical leaders, and each and every
one of them have supported the family’s position regarding
the British government’s failure to honour its

The campaigning widow said she was hopeful of meeting US
president George Bush during her visit.

“This week, the Irish parliament fully gave its support,
with an all-party motion being passed in the Dáil stating
that the failure to hold a public inquiry as quickly as
reasonably possible could be seen as a denial of the
agreement at Weston Park and demanded that the British
government immediately establish an inquiry as recommended
by Judge Cory.

“I intend to build on this support in Europe and on my
visit to the USA, and I am very pleased that the Irish
government is assisting me to do so by arranging meetings
on Capitol Hill and a possible opportunity to meet with
President Bush,” she said.


March 11, 2006

G.O.P. Peers Hail Maverick Who Opposed Bush On Ports

By Raymond Hernandez

WASHINGTON, March 10 — Representative Peter King of New
York is the kind of Republican who has been something of an
outcast in the clubby world of Washington Republicans. He
can be pushy, outspoken and fiercely independent — a New
Yorker, that is.

Case in point: after Newt Gingrich of Georgia became House
speaker following the Republican takeover of the House in
1995, Mr. King accused the Republican leadership in
Congress of appealing to "barefoot hillbillies."

These days, however, that brash style has elevated Mr.
King's standing among his fellow Republicans, who are
breathing a sigh of relief after the collapse of the Bush
administration's plan to give a Dubai company control of
six American ports.

Mr. King was the first Congressional Republican to break
ranks publicly with President Bush in mid-February and join
Democrats in criticizing the port deal as a potential
threat to the nation's security.

And in the few short but furious weeks that followed, Mr.
King has gone from being a ragtag rebel to becoming a
driving force in the political groundswell that killed the
ports deal.

But while the collapse of that deal has proved to be one of
the biggest embarrassments of Mr. Bush's presidency, there
is a growing sense in Washington that Mr. King, the new
chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security,
helped steer his Republican colleagues toward safer
political waters on an issue that could have haunted them
in the fall elections.

"He saved them," said Representative Joseph Crowley,
Democrat of New York.

Ron Bonjean, a spokesman for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, put
a different spin on the episode. He said Mr. King had the
"right instincts" in staking out a position for the
Republican caucus — even though he did it without
conferring with Mr. Hastert beforehand.

"The day the Dubai issue broke he was out front," Mr.
Bonjean said. "Before the speaker had a chance to get to
him and talk to him about the issue, he was already
implementing the message we wanted him to send."

The stature that Mr. King, a seven-term representative from
Long Island, has achieved was underscored by a series of
phone calls he received earlier in the week from Vice
President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, the president's
political guru, as the opposition to the port deal rapidly
spread in Congress. Both men, Mr. King said, seemed to be
searching for a resolution to the looming showdown.

"They were both cordial calls," he said.

In recounting the last few weeks, Mr. King — whom CNN
dubbed "King of the Ports" — often sounded as though he
could hardly believe the rapid and unexpected turn of

"I have to keep pinching myself on all this stuff," he

He also expressed a measure of regret at having been behind
a furor that isolated Mr. Bush from allies in Congress, if
only temporarily. He said he has a personal fondness for
the president that dates back to the months following the
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, when, he says,
Mr. Bush privately welcomed him and many 9/11 families to
the White House for support.

"We have a big picture of him holding my grandson," Mr.
King said, describing a photo that sits on the desk in his
office here in Washington.

Any tension between the men appeared to have broken during
a curious encounter Mr. King had at the White House, where
he happened to be attending a bill-signing ceremony on
Thursday, just as word spread that the port deal had

Mr. Bush, after entering the room, went over to Mr. King,
pinched his cheek (after faking a punch) and declared,
"Good work," before walking away.

Part of Mr. King's independence has as much to do with
political considerations as with his temperament.

Though he opposes abortion rights and supports strong
measures to stem illegal immigration, he has frequently
worked with Democrats to block Republican policies in
Washington that he felt were inimical to the interests of
his constituents, including proposed cuts to Medicaid and
homeland security funds for New York.

Perhaps most famously, Mr. King aroused the ire of the
House leadership when he opposed efforts to impeach
President Clinton over his affair with a White House
intern. Instead, Mr. King joined House Democrats in
circulating a proposal for censure.

Despite his differences with Republican colleagues, Mr.
King has spent the past few years trying to work his way
back into the fray.

In one telling example, he refused to join Democratic and
Republican lawmakers who criticized the Bush
administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, instead
placing blame elsewhere.

His efforts seemed to pay off a few months ago, when
Republican leaders, chiefly Mr. Hastert, supported his bid
to become chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security.

In a sense, the furor over the port deal was his first
major test since taking over as chairman in September.

And his colleagues say his willingness to challenge
Republicans, including even the president, may work to
their political advantage in the end.

"What's obvious is that he is not afraid of speaking his
mind," said a senior official on Capitol Hill, who was not
authorized to speak publicly about Mr. King. "He may
disagree with us from time to time. But that gives him even
more credibility when he agrees with us on our positions."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


The Sunday Times March 12, 2006

Kidnap Finally Catches Up With Sinn Fein Warrior Priest

Profile: ‘Bic’ McFarlane

On the run immediately after the 1983 Maze prison break-
out, Brendan “Bic” McFarlane and other IRA escapees took
over an isolated farmhouse near Dromore, Co Down, and held
its occupants hostage. After checking radio news bulletins
for reports of the escape, McFarlane and his gang gathered
a few useful items for their night-time trek on foot across
the border.

Before he left, the IRA commanding officer in the Maze and
the brains behind the break-out wrote and signed a list of
the items he had taken — a map and a compass among them.
McFarlane told the family to bring the list to Sinn Fein
headquarters in Belfast, where full compensation would be

Earlier that day, the escapees had shot a prison officer in
the eye and stabbed another in the chest. The man later
suffered a heart attack and died. It was the biggest prison
break-out in British history, but hadn’t gone entirely to
McFarlane’s plan, although 38 IRA men had managed to break
free from what was supposedly the most heavily fortified
prison in Europe.

By the time McFarlane’s gang arrived at the Dromore
farmhouse, roadblocks were being erected throughout
Northern Ireland and RUC helicopters were circling
overhead. It seemed almost farcical that McFarlane should
fret over taking a few pounds worth of possessions
belonging to his hostages, who included two small children
and a baby, for whom the trauma of being held captive by
terrorists surely vastly outweighed the loss of a map or

McFarlane was in the Maze serving five life sentences for
the 1975 bombing of the Bayardo bar on the Shankill Road,
in which five Protestant civilians died. What made the
attack particularly horrific was that those who had tried
to escape the explosion had been machine-gunned by the

Although the IRA has now stood down and decommissioned,
McFarlane is facing more time. Last week the Supreme Court
in Dublin decided that he should stand trial for the
kidnapping of the supermarket executive Don Tidey in
December 1983. Tidey was taking his 13-year-old daughter to
school when he stopped at what he believed to be a garda
checkpoint. A gun was put to his head and he was bundled
into a waiting car. A few days later his photograph was
sent to Associated British Foods, and this was followed by
a phone call demanding a IR£5 million ransom.

The gardai eventually tracked Tidey and his kidnappers —
four in all — to Derrada Wood in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.
In the subsequent shoot-out, a trainee garda and a soldier
were killed. Tidey’s kidnappers escaped.

McFarlane was arrested in Amsterdam two years later,
extradited to Northern Ireland and released on parole from
the Maze in 1997. He was then charged with Tidey’s
kidnapping, but challenged this on the basis that gardai
had lost a number of exhibits containing fingerprints — the
central evidence in the case. The Supreme Court ruled last
week that the trial can proceed — paving the way for a
fascinating case involving one of the IRA’s most notorious

McFarlane was born in 1951 and grew up in the Catholic
Ardoyne area of north Belfast. His family was deeply
religious and he served as an altar boy at the local
church. At 17 he joined a missionary school in Wales to
begin his studies to become a priest.

According to Fr Aidan Troy of Holy Cross in Ardoyne, in
another world he would indeed have been Fr McFarlane. Troy
has worked with him on several occasions over the past few
years since McFarlane’s release from prison.

“He’d be a big figure in the area, to put it mildly,” he
said. “On a personal level I find him amazingly respectful
to me. During the Holy Cross protest he was a very
affirming presence. He was always very calm.”

Fr McFarlane never got to hear confessions, however.
Returning home in the summer of 1969, McFarlane decided his
community needed guns more than they needed God, and he
joined the IRA.

For his role in the Bayardo bar bombing, McFarlane was
sentenced to a minimum of 25 years. He earned the nickname
Bic, after the pen maker, because he took notes during IRA
meetings in the Maze. In 1978, McFarlane made his first
attempt to escape, dressed, not surprisingly, as a priest.
The bid failed, McFarlane’s “special category” status was
withdrawn, and he joined the dirty protest in the H-blocks.

McFarlane’s cell was next to Bobby Sands’s, then officer
commanding of the IRA in the prison. In March 1981, when
Sands began his hunger strike, he gave his job to
McFarlane. Asked why, Sands is said to have replied:
“Because you will let me die.”

Last year Richard O’Rawe, another former prisoner, revealed
that four days before the fifth of 10 hunger strikers died,
the IRA was offered a deal by the British in which the
“underlying substance” of their demands were conceded. In
his book Blanketmen, O’Rawe suggests that the deal was
rejected by the IRA leadership in order to ensure the
victory for Owen Carron in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone by-
election caused by Sands’s death. O’Rawe’s book caused a
huge spat with McFarlane, who said no such deal had been

McFarlane’s role in the hunger strike brought him into
contact with Gerry Adams, who was in charge of
communicating IRA Army Council decisions to the prisoners.
Since then McFarlane has been unwaveringly loyal to the
Sinn Fein leader.

Two years after the hunger strikes ended, with no
concessions and no deals, McFarlane was still the officer
commanding at the Maze as the prisoners staged a mass
break-out. He used a food delivery van to sneak 38 men out
past 40 prison officers and 28 alarm systems. Fifteen were
caught in the vicinity of the prison, four were captured
the following day, 19 got away, with three never being

McFarlane was arrested in Holland alongside Gerry Kelly,
now a North Belfast MLA. They successfully fought
extradition for more than a year, but were then sent back
to Northern Ireland to serve the remainder of their

Just a month before his arrest in 1998 by gardai, McFarlane
had been pictured shaking hands with the Irish president,
Mary McAleese, also from Ardoyne. His capture was
criticised by Sinn Fein, who described it as “deeply

The gardai are basing the Tidey charges on items recovered
from the kidnap site, including a milk carton and a plastic
container, on which fingerprints were discovered. Although
the items went missing from garda headquarters during
renovation work, the fingerprints had been photographed and
a forensic analysis done.

While the eight-year legal wrangling over the Tidey case
proceeded, McFarlane returned to “civilian” life in
Ardoyne. He is married with three children, and has formed
a band, Tuan, which is a regular on the republican
entertainment circuit.

Sinn Fein describes him as a voluntary worker, and he has
been a vocal supporter of the party’s political stance,
appearing beside both Adams and Kelly at rallies and
reiterating former prisoners’ support for the direction the
party is taking.

Still, many found McFarlane’s contribution to the 2001 Sinn
Fein ard fheis revisionist, if not downright hypocritical.
He made a rousing speech denouncing sectarian violence,
without mentioning he had done time for bombing a
Protestant bar and machine-gunning the customers as they
tried to escape.

Anthony McIntyre, a vocal critic of the Sinn Fein
leadership, praises McFarlane despite disagreeing with his
politics. “He doesn’t ostracise you the way other people in
the party do,” McIntyre said. Despite this popularity in
his own community, McFarlane has never sought election.
More than Kelly or Martin McGuinness, he would be a hate
figure for most unionists.

Sinn Fein says that even if he’s convicted of the Tidey
kidnapping, McFarlane is covered under the terms of the
Good Friday agreement and should be released within two
years. But despite his loyalty to the party, McFarlane must
regret Sinn Fein’s recent rejection of an “on the run”
amnesty offered by the British and Irish governments. If
enacted, it would have meant McFarlane getting a
presidential pardon, courtesy of the woman with whom he so
controversially shook hands, Mary McAleese.

Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.


Voters’ Register Is 20% Wrong

THE government is to consider scrapping the “dangerously
flawed” electoral register and using this year’s census to
create a more accurate one, after pressure from opposition
parties, writes Daniel McConnell.

The register is oversubscribed by 650,000, meaning that it
is more than 20% inaccurate, just 14 months before the
general election.

Figures obtained from local authorities reveal that more
than one-fifth of the 2,993,909 registered voters in the 42
electoral constituencies are bogus or inaccurate, leaving
the system “wide open to abuse on election day”, according
to political analysts and opposition TDs.

The responsibility of maintaining the register falls to
local authorities, but it has not been treated as a

The inaccurate register is now at “crisis point”, according
to Fine Gael and Labour. They have suggested the
information that census collectors gather in the coming
months be fed into the electoral list. The opposition has
also suggested appointing an electoral czar to oversee the
register and remove the onus from the local authorities.

Most of the concern centres on Sinn Fein, which has been
accused of engaging in “less than appropriate” behaviour at
previous elections, and also of impersonation in Northern
Ireland. The Labour party has discussed with northern
parties, including the SDLP, the “dirty tricks” allegedly
being used by Sinn Fein in the north, which it may seek to
use in the south. Sinn Fein said such suggestions were an
attempt to tarnish the party following its surge in the


The Sunday Times March 12, 2006

'Slab' Raid Is Trouble For Sinn Fein

GOLF 40, a British Army observation tower on top of
Crotlieve Mountain near Forkhill, is jokingly referred to
as the Slab Murphy Memorial Watchtower. Long after the
Troubles ended, it was kept open precisely with last
Thursday’s series of raids on Murphy’s property a couple of
miles away in mind.

Last year Golf 20 and Golf 30, its two companions, were
decommissioned in a blaze of publicity. Both were closer
than G40 to Murphy’s farm and smuggling complex in
Ballybinaby, but it was G40, on elevated ground two miles
away, that commanded the best view. So effective was its
imaging equipment that car numbers going into the complex
from either side of the border could be read.

During the IRA campaign Murphy, the organisation’s chief of
staff, had studied carefully the areas of “dead ground”
invisible from the three towers. He built a concrete wall
and sheds to protect his smuggling empire, to facilitate
the movement of explosives and to minimise the
opportunities for surveillance.

At first light on Thursday, soldiers, who live in an
underground chamber deep in the mountain, had an excellent
view of Ballybinaby from G40. What they missed was picked
up by a British Army Lynx helicopter hovering nearby. Under
their watchful eyes, a huge security operation swung into
place from 6am. It will probably be the last significant
operation that G40 sees before it is demolished later this

From Newry and Armagh on the northern side of the border,
more than 100 troops and a similar number of police and
customs officers converged on Murphy’s estate. The 50-
vehicle convoy paused at No 45 Larkin’s Road to search a
derelict building and to establish a road block. “We want
to seal off the area as a crime scene,” a police source

Soldiers fanned out into the fields to secure the area,
while on the southern side of the border a smaller convoy
of 30 vehicles with gardai, customs, army and Criminal
Assets Bureau (CAB) personnel swung into action,
establishing its roadblock at Ballybinaby’s crossroads,
just a short distance from the British operation. There
were unmarked detectives’ cars and marked garda cars,
Emergency Response Unit 4x4s, technical bureau staff in
crime-scene vehicles and vans for taking away seizures.

The search used great sensitivity to the political boundary
running through the farm. Members of the garda mapping
division were present and a PSNI source said: “A lot of
planning went into it. This was a joint operation so that
we would both be able to search in our own jurisdiction.
Any mistakes would have legal resonance.”

They searched all day but could not find “Slab” Murphy, who
is believed to have slipped the cordon. Garda sources say
his half-eaten fried breakfast was still on the table when
they arrived, suggesting he had fled after getting a few
minutes’ notice of their arrival.

The security forces on both sides of the border must now
sift through a vast haul of documents, computers and disks
that they recovered. Evidence will be compared with
information seized by the CAB in the south and the Assets
Recovery Agency in Manchester during raids last year in
relation to a property portfolio linked to Francis Murphy,
Slab’s brother. Up to 12 vehicles, about 30,000 cigarettes,
a large quantity of fuel suspected of being illegally
laundered and approximately €450,000 of cash in euro and
sterling were seized, as well as £414,000 (€600,000) in
cheques found in plastic bags in the hay shed.

There were also two shotguns and chemicals that could be
used for laundering diesel.

The finds looked impressive as garda and PSNI officers
drove them away that evening, but Murphy’s absence gave
some cause for concern. Gardai and CAB believe the IRA
commander may have hid himself, presumably in his night
clothes, in a bunker. Another possibility is that after
being warned by lookouts of approaching vehicles, he sat
out the raid in the home of Michael Conlon, his friend and
neighbour. Conlon’s house was not included in the search
operation and consequently could not be entered.

Some sources in Irish customs suggest that the IRA leader
had been tipped off well in advance and was able to remove
the most incriminating material. They point to a break-in
at Dundalk courthouse, where documents relating to the
raids were held, on Wednesday evening. “I’m surprised Slab
didn’t leave out a cake for us,” one officer said.

However, gardai have discounted any link between the
Dundalk break-in and the raid. Their main concern on
Thursday was seizing evidence. Arresting Murphy was not an
objective, although he would have been lifted if he was
there. On past form, gardai expect him to present himself
in Dundalk station in the next few days.

If he did have advance warning, he did not share it with
his brothers Francis and Patrick, or with Francis’s wife
Judy, all of whom were caught in the dragnet. They were
intercepted attempting to leave the secured area in a 4x4
and arrested on suspicion of revenue offences but released
without charge.

The operation against the Murphy family’s financial
interests has been dogged by problems. Last year the swoops
in Manchester, directed at companies linked to Judy and
Francis, had to be moved forward by several months because
of leaks to the media.

It will take months of careful sifting to determine whether
any evidence can be put before a court, and whether laptop
computers found in Murphy’s barn contain financial secrets
of the IRA.

This game is being played for high stakes. Noel Conroy, the
garda commissioner, and Sir Hugh Orde, the PSNI chief
constable, the next day promoted the raid as a showcase for
a coming era of cross-border co-operation. In briefings
afterwards the CAB, gardai and PSNI all scrambled for the
honour of being portrayed as the lead agency in the

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, said he expected
nothing would be proved against Murphy, who he embraced as
one of his key supporters.

“Tom Murphy is not a criminal, he is a good republican,”
said Adams. “He is also, very importantly, a key supporter
of the Sinn Fein peace strategy and has been for a very
long time.” Asked if he believed Murphy was just a farmer,
Adams said: “If he denies being a member of the IRA, then I
have to accept that.”

THE Sinn Fein leader’s endorsement of Murphy could come
back to haunt him. Far from being an innocent man who made
whatever few shillings he has from farming, as Adams
claimed, Murphy is a rich smuggler who led the IRA in south
Armagh throughout the Troubles but never served a jail
sentence. Murphy’s unsavoury past was laid bare in a series
of court cases that he took against The Sunday Times after
this newspaper accused him of vetting terrorists to take
part in a bombing campaign in Britain in the 1980s. A
Dublin jury found him to be a man of worthless reputation
who had plotted murder and other terrorist acts and was
involved in smuggling and criminality.

Sean O’Callaghan, a former garda agent within the IRA,
testified at one trial that he attended IRA meetings at
which both Adams and Murphy were present. One was a
Revolutionary Council meeting in 1983 and the second was an
Army Council meeting in 1984 or 1985.

Eamon Collins, a former IRA intelligence officer from
Newry, told a 1998 hearing that his unit had murdered a
Catholic civilian in mistake for a police officer. After an
IRA internal inquiry carried out by Freddie Scappaticci,
who was himself a British agent, Collins was sent to meet
Murphy who exonerated him. “He introduced himself,” Collins
testified. “He said, ‘I am Tom Murphy and I am here as a
representative of the Army Council’.”

Collins added that after hearing his explanation of the
fatal mistake, Murphy “accepted that. He told me that I had
been fully exonerated and I was fully reinstated. I was
very impressed by his manner”.

Immediately after the libel case, a campaign of
intimidation started against Collins, culminating in his
murder on January 27, 1999. It was a frenzied attack in
which he was beaten, stabbed and had a crowbar pushed
through his face.

Despite his high-ranking role in the IRA, and Adams’s
description of him as “no criminal and a good republican”,
Murphy denounced IRA violence in an attempt to win the
libel case against The Sunday Times. At one stage he
claimed that he did not know where the Maze prison was or
what an IRA funeral was like.

The juries heard clear evidence of his criminality. At one
point he had difficulty in deciding his date of birth
(August 26, 1949) because, he explained, different dates
had appeared on a forged passport and driving licence that
he sometimes used.

Murphy had used one of these forged passports to travel to
Greece in 1986 to meet Nasser al-Ashour, a colonel in
Libyan military intelligence, to arrange the importation of
weapons. The arms importation came to an end with the
seizure of the largest shipment, on the Eksund, in French
waters in 1987. A statement given to the French authorities
by Hopkins documents Murphy’s hands-on involvement in the

The court also heard how Murphy had thrown a breeze-block
at Seamus Colgan and Mick McGill, two Irish customs
officers, and how his complex had been a centre for
smuggling and attacks on the British Army in the Troubles.

It was all a far cry from the life he portrayed of a small
farmer who left school at 14 and earned a precarious living
raising cattle on a smallholding straddling the border.

THE truth is that the end of the Troubles has been the
undoing of Murphy. While friends, neighbours and employees
died, went to prison or were exiled, he prospered, amassing
a fortune estimated at £35m.

His control of the local IRA was essential to controlling
these assets. During the terrorism campaign, security
forces could watch from towers but could not enter the area
except by helicopter. Larkin’s Road, which winds its way
across the border beside the Murphy family home, could be
regarded as “Slab’s Road” and other smugglers were charged
a “tax” for driving contraband along it.

All deals could be settled on a handshake. Murphy could pay
off his suppliers, as he paid Hopkins, with bundles of
crumpled banknotes without fear of being ripped off because
he had the deadly muscle of the IRA behind him. Anybody who
complained to the police could be shot or exiled. Even
sales of local land went through only on his say-so.

It was the power of a feudal warlord, but it receded as
soon as the war was over. Any attempt to continue it in
peacetime risked exposing Adams and Sinn Fein to ridicule.
Now the prospect of Murphy’s criminal empire unravelling in
court must be the Sinn Fein leadership’s worst nightmare.

Adams has begun uneasily to prepare a damage limitation
exercise. He has defended Murphy, his old friend and ally
in the IRA, by condemning the police for their actions and
the media for their coverage of the raids. “The thrust is
about demonising and vilifying,” according to Adams. “It is
about setting aside the huge work that has been done to
bring us all to the point where we are at the moment in
terms of the peace process. And then to try and portray
what’s going on as the dregs of a terrorist campaign which
is being exploited by these super-duper godfathers.”

He did condemn smuggling as “wrong” and said “we support
the pursuit of criminal assets. Anybody involved in
criminality should face the full rigours of the law, and
that includes the right to a fair trial”.

The message was this: if the mud sticks to Murphy, Adams
will step aside. There will be no “free Slab” campaigns if
the smuggler ends up behind bars.

As Sinn Fein prepares itself for the Irish general election
in 2007, and a possible northern assembly election this
year, it is desperate to present a clean image. It has been
quick to decry past political corruption exposed in the
Dublin tribunals and to exploit each revelation to score
against Fianna Fail.

But in “Slab” Murphy, Adams faces his own sleaze factor and
IRA corruption dwarfs anything that emerged from the Dublin
planning system. The best option for Sinn Fein is if
nothing is proved, but if it comes to a choice between
electoral success and Murphy’s friendship, Adams may not
find it that difficult a call to make.

Murphy: for the record

Thomas “Slab” Murphy owes The Sunday Times more than
£600,000 (€870,000) for legal fees as a result of a
disastrous 12-year libel battle he pursued. He lost and was
branded by an Irish jury as a man of worthless reputation
who plotted murder. The newspaper will hope to recover some
of its costs from assets seized by the British or Irish

On June 30, 1985 The Sunday Times published an article
entitled “Portrait of a check-in terrorist” in which Murphy
was identified as head of the IRA’s northern command. The
piece said that he had helped to select terrorists for a
bombing campaign against 12 British seaside resorts.

Two years later Murphy sued for libel in Dublin. In 1990
the trial was abandoned on technical grounds. When it was
reheard later that year, Murphy lost. He appealed to the
Supreme Court, which in 1996 ordered a retrial. The
retrial, in May 1998, lasted nine days. It took the jury
less than one hour to conclude that the newspaper had
established that Murphy was a terrorist who had directed
bombings and murder. He appealed for a retrial but dropped
his case in 1999.


Brutal Sectarian Murder Is Subject Of New Book

By Barry McCaffrey

One of the most brutal sectarian murders in Belfast’s
history is the subject of a new book.

Bloodstains in Ulster by Tom McAlin-don, pictured, looks at
the horrific killing of Catholic woman Mary McGowan at her
Ponsonby Avenue home in north Belfast on Easter Saturday

The 51-year-old was att-acked by Robert ‘The Painter’
Taylor (21), from the nearby loyalist Tiger’s Bay area.

Taylor strangled the mother-of-one and beat her over the
head with a spanner before repeatedly stabbing her with a

He then took boiling hot soup from a stove, poured it over
her head, turned on a gas cooker and left her to die.

However, she lived long enough to identify Taylor to four
people, including an RUC man.

A murder trial began in July 1949 but ended in a hung jury.

A retrial in October that year found Taylor guilty of
murder and he was sentenced to hang.

But in a bizarre twist, he walked free.

His legal team successfully argued that the jury and RUC
guards had spoken to members of the public, meaning that
the 21-year-old could not have been guaranteed a fair trial.

Having had two trials, Tay-lor could not be tried again.

The case was said to have both captured the imagination of
Belfast’s citizens and divided them.

Taylor was rumoured to have attempted to emigrate to
Australia and later Canada but it was later claimed that he
remained in north Belfast and died in 2004.

Mr McAlindon, professor of English Literature at Hull
University in England, was a Belfast schoolboy at the time
of the murder.

The author said the case had divided Belfast along communal

“Taylor intended to rob Mrs McGowan but there is no doubt
that he had also planned to murder her,” he said.

“His release was accepted in sullen silence by the
nationalist minority.

“The fact that Northern Ire-land’s sectarian politics had
made a nonsense of justice and the law seemingly came as no
surprise to increasingly embittered nationalists.”

The academic added that the brutal murder was an omen of
what was to come in Belfast 20 years later.

“The murder and the courts allowing Taylor to walk free was
a symptom of the sectarian politics and the corrupt legal
system which existed,” he said.

“It fed into a sense of nationalist resentment which
erupted with the civil rights 20 years later.”

• Bloodstains in Ulster is published by Liffey Press and
priced £11.95.


Opin: It’s Great To Hear Age Of Miracles Has Not Passed

By James Kelly

Hard to believe but here are the two governments after that
30-minute get together of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at 10
Downing Street telling us that work is in progress to
produce a “blue print” of the way forward for the
restoration of devolution at stormont. They even promised
to come up with the goods before the infernal marching
season. It’s great to hear that the age of miracles has not

Meantime Paisley’s ‘road-map’ of the way backward has been
dumped. Remember? Something about a ‘shadow’ talking shop
up on the hill with direct rule by the current team of
Labour ministers continuing until Tib’s eve. Dr No – me and
my shadow was nowhere to be seen leaving poor Peter
Robinson, his second in command, holding the cantankerous
DUP baby to deal with the unexpected news from the IMC that
the IRA war is really over and they no longer pose a terror
threat! He could only come up with the weasel words that
the IMC report “does not negate or disguise the fact that
the IRA still exists and is engaged in criminal activity”.

No mention by the DUP spokesman or unionist apologists of
the IMC indictment of the plague of Ulster loyalist
paramilitaries, their participation in organised crime and
drugs while their capacity for extreme violence had been
demonstrated last summer and in September in Belfast.

Are they now considering their future?

Was that gathering of the North Belfast Brigade of the UDA
in a pub a show of force? Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde,
says it was no “teddy bears’ picnic” when the police
stormed in to make mass arrests. The Belfast Telegraph
broke the uneasy unionist silence declaring in an
editorial: “Their only course is to quit the scene, not
simply going underground, as one statement has implied.
Their presence and their criminality shames the

unionist cause.”

Whatever about the nuisance of the moronic republican
dissident groups, which the IMC believes the police can
deal with, it’s good to know that the normalisation
programme of troop levels cut and military spy towers
demolished is going ahead rapidly in Belfast, Derry and
along the border and soon we will no longer be awakened
from our sleep in the middle of the night by hovering
helicopters. Robinson, by the way, dismisses all this
activity as “so called” normalisation. Whatever does he
mean? Will Dr No tell us when he reappears out of the

So the big deal whispered in the ears of gullible media
newcomers at Westminster was a resounding flop and its
author confirmed in the mind of all intelligent persons as
a bigoted crackpot.

When will the unionist people of the north wake up to
realise that they are on the road to nowhere led by the old

Can Sir Reg Empey, who occasionally talks sense before
slipping back into the old mould, hold the unionist fort
until a new and charismatic leader appears from nowhere
like the up-and-coming young Cameron challenger of the
outdated Tory leadership in Britain?

Finally, that was a very moving experience yesterday to be
present at the memorial service in the Belfast City Hall
for my old friend Gerry Fitt. His death in London came as a
great shock to his many friends and it was a happy thought
by his beloved daughters to arrange the memorial in his old
happy hunting ground the Belfast City Hall for the many
admirers who were unable to attend his funeral Mass in
London. It was here as a city councillor that Gerry cut his
teeth as a lively politician and I remember vividly the
impression he made as an irrepressible character soon to
create a sensation by winning the hard fought West Belfast
election for Westminister. In the House of Commons he made
many friends in the Labour party shocked by his revelations
about the impact of the unionist discrimination policy. He
even persuaded Prime Minister Harold Wilson to jettison the
so-called convention which up to then the Tories had used
to prevent discussion about the many scandals at Stormont.
This was a major breakthrough in the political relations
between Stormont and Westminister, hastened the upsurge of
the civil rights campaign and the rise of the new Social
Democratic and Labour Party. The rest of the story is
history and I have before me a picture taken by Brendan
Murphy in The Irish News of August 18 1999 headed ‘SDLP
founders brought together after 20 years’. It is captioned
‘five friends... the five remaining co-founders of the
SDLP, brought together for the first time in 20 years
yesterday for the Requiem Mass for Paddy Devlin. From left,
Lord Gerry Fitt, John Hume, Paddy O’Hanlon, Austin Currie
and Ivan Cooper.’ The story said that although they had
political differences their personal friendships had never
ended. Austin Currie said: “We came through too much
together to forget those days. That comradeship still
exists and I know it will continue.”


Opin: Easter Rising: Shots That Changed The World Forever

12 March 2006 By Tom McGurk

The public commentary ever since Bertie Ahern announced the
revival of the 1916 memorial parade has been fascinating.

A curious collection of voices have raised all sorts of

Kevin Myers has been in full spate in The Irish Times, the
various letters columns of the newspapers have been filled
and some Fine Gael, Labour and Green members of Dun
Laoghaire Rathdown Council voted against the 1916
Proclamation being displayed in their building.

Some callers to RTE radio are even protesting about the
blood-curdling sentiments of the national anthem.

When one compares this public reaction to, for example,
France’s annual Bastille Day celebrations or the recent
Trafalgar bicentenary celebrations in Britain, the
differences in national character are most interesting. At
one level, where our own history is concerned, we still
behave like a dysfunctional family. At another, it is
fascinating to see that the post-colonial process is taking
so many generations to depart the national DNA.

Most of the complaints have been utterly silly - half-baked
historical facts compounded with a stew of prejudice and
private anger. Myers in The Irish Times has been
threatening to turn into his own caricature, his dinner
party history lessons growing ever more tedious. How
remarkable, for example, that his schoolboy fetish with
militarism still excludes the notion of the Irish using
force for Irish ends.

Out of all this correspondence have come some truly bizarre
historical misunderstandings.

Take, for example, the idea that with Home Rule on the way
the republican rebellion was totally unnecessary.

It’s good dinner party talk, but it’s historically absurd.
Home Rule and the concept of an Irish Republic were not
simply totally different things, but they were actually
diametrically opposed to each other.

Given that the Redmondite Home Rule party was largely
composed of the Irish middle class and large farmers who
had done well out of the late 19th century land reform,
Home Rule was intended to give an emerging Irish class, who
were now doing well out of John Bull’s Other Island, a
share in their own colonisation.

It was actually a subtle method of harnessing - while
simultaneously subverting - Irish national aspirations to
the wider imperial agenda. A Home Rule parliament was
simply a devolutionary device to corral the growing demands
for Irish democracy into a legislature whose ultimate
control lay under the Crown and the Commons. If the notion
of an Irish Republic was freehold, then Home Rule was no
more than tenancy.

What has also characterised the recent 1916 grumblers has
been their remarkable inability to understand the nature of
the colonial relationship between Britain and Ireland.
Complaints are being made that the 1916 leaders never
sought democratic mandates (in what elections to what Irish
parliament might they have stood?) and that their actions
were entirely unmandated.

The fact that revolutionaries by definition seek to alter
national perspectives so radically that they must act
first, and subsequently seek approval, is still being

It was actually the precise circumstances of the colonial
relationship between Britain and Ireland, and the growing
threat of Home Rule to cunningly alter it, that made Pearse
and company act in the way they did. Believing as they did
in an sovereign Irish people, British rule in Ireland was
entirely a product of conquest and therefore devoid of
moral authority.

Even worse, not only would Home Rule have merely changed
the appearance of the old colonial relationship, it would
also democratically mandate it for the first time. The
sovereign Irish people were about to vote for mere tenancy
status in their own country.

The use of force by the men of 1916 was also determined by
the exact nature of the colonial relationship. Force and
the threat of superior force by the imperial power was the
context in which all Irish political discourse was

This was vividly illustrated only three years later when
the democratic will of the first Dail was met by state

And most importantly of all, since the fear of the ruled
being killed by the superior force of the ruler is at the
heart of all colonial relationships, Pearse’s idea of the
blood sacrifice was about directly confronting that fear.

Subsequently, after the stonebreakers’ yard in Kilmainham,
the imperial myth that might was right was destroyed for
ever in the Irish imagination. The sacrifice of 1916 was
about revealing the true nature of the colonial
relationship to the Irish people and thereby creating the
imaginative context whereby sovereignty could at last be
imagined and then asserted.

Thus the revolutionary act was attained.

Importantly, this revolutionary assertion of an indigenous
national sovereignty in the context of the imperial world
of the period gave 1916 and its Proclamation global
significance. No wonder Lenin, Gandhi and the young Mao
were so affected by it. In the generations that followed,
all across the world, subjugated peoples everywhere found
inspiration in 1916. Its imaginative power hastened the end
of the imperial and colonial ages and, critically, its
wider context as both cultural and political revolution
created a template that changed the world.



SDLP Adopts Thatcher’s View Of Martyrs

On March 1, 2006, Mark Durkan, SDLP leader and Foyle MP,
talked about IRA “criminal” records. On March 1, 1981
,Bobby Sands, H-Block prison leader, and soon to be MP for
Fermanagh and South Tyrone, embarked on a hunger strike to
demonstrate that republican prisoners in the H Blocks and
Armagh Jail were not criminals.

In the course of the hunger strike, ten republican
prisoners died and the world was left in no doubt that
republican resistance to British rule was not a criminal

Twenty-five years to the day, it seems Mark Durkan has
forgotten the events of his own youth and decided to join
Margaret Thatcher in trying to criminalise republicanism.

In case I am being unfair to Mr Durkan I wonder could he
answer the questions below.

Was Bobby Sands a criminal? Was Francis Hughes a criminal?
Was Raymond McCreesh a criminal? Was Patsy O’Hara a
criminal? Was Joe McDonnell a criminal? Was Martin Hurson a
criminal? Was Kevin Lynch a criminal? Was Kieran Doherty a
criminal? Was Thomas McElwee a criminal? Was Mickey Devine
a criminal?

Ten men died in the H- Blocks to defeat the criminalisation
of Irish republicanism. They succeeded and a sordid
soundbite from Mark Durkan will not change that fact.

Colm Barton


Opin: Slab Must Pay

Twenty years after The Sunday Times first revealed that
Thomas “Slab” Murphy was the main fundraiser of the
Provisional IRA, the police forces on both sides of the
border have finally moved to put him out of business.

In the intervening years, Murphy has made tens of millions
of euros from his criminal activities, money that was used
to bankroll the Provisional IRA’s campaign of terror in
Northern Ireland, Britain and Europe, and no doubt filtered
into Sinn Fein’s political campaigns too.

Murphy’s criminality, and his links to terror, have made
him one of the wealthiest gangsters in these islands. If
the combined efforts of the republic’s Criminal Assets
Bureau and Northern Ireland’s Assets Recovery Agency can
shut him down and claw back the proceeds of his crime, they
will have struck a significant blow for democracy and
normality in Northern Ireland.

Murphy is one of the most senior and most sinister members
of the republican leadership. He believed himself to be
untouchable, and years of inactivity by the security forces
will only have reinforced that belief.

When he was named as an IRA leader by The Sunday Times in
the mid-1980s, Murphy’s reaction was to deny the charge and
to sue for libel in Ireland, supremely confident that
nobody would dare testify against him. In this he was
mistaken. Brave and honest men — such as Eamon Collins,
Sean O’Callaghan, Brendan McGahon, a former Fine Gael TD,
and Dan Prenty, a former garda detective inspector — got
into the witness box on behalf of this newspaper and Murphy
was proved wrong. He lost his case, and his reputation.
Collins later paid with his life for his willingness to
testify against Murphy; he was beaten to death by members
of the Provisional IRA.

Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, who denies that he
was ever a member of the IRA, says that Murphy is not a
criminal but a “good republican” who is “a keen supporter
of the Sinn Fein peace strategy”.

As always, his choice of words is careful, but contains
both menace and mendacity. Adams’s warning to the
authorities is implicit: mess with Murphy and you endanger
peace. And in Adams’s perverted sense of morality, there is
no such thing as a criminal republican. Just as he believes
that the men who shot down garda Jerry McCabe were not
criminals, so he believes that Murphy the smuggler is a
good republican and upstanding citizen.

The police and the Irish and British governments must pay
no heed to his words. Murphy has played a central role in
the subversion of Irish democracy, north and south of the
border. It was an affront to society that he remained
unchallenged and open for business eight years after the
signing of the Good Friday agreement. The governments have
tolerated the republican movement’s slow transition from
terrorism to democracy long enough.

Adams claims to support the recovery of criminal assets and
says that criminals should face the full rigours of the
law. Yet he cannot bring himself or his party to co-operate
with or endorse the Police Service of Northern Ireland. His
support for Murphy may be deemed essential within
republican circles, but it makes a mockery of his
pretensions to be a democrat. It is imperative, though,
that the CAB and ARA maintain their pressure on all the
criminals who have profited from years of terror.

A show of strength on a border farm plays well in the media
for a day, but the real proof must come from the recovery
of assets and from the prosecution of those involved.

The move to shut down “Slab” Murphy has been too long
coming, and the delays have cost lives. This must not be a
false dawn.

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