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March 10, 2006

Fund Raising Catch To Adams' US Visit

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BT 03/10/06
Fund-Raising Catch To Adams' US Visit
BT 03/10/06 MPs Meet To Discuss Powers Of Assembly
IN 03/10/06 Major Smuggling Raids Target Ex-IRA Chief Of Staff Murphy
BT 03/10/06 Police Swoop On Border Crime Gang
BT 03/10/06 Bid To Smash IRA War Chest
IN 03/10/06 UDA Denies Attacking Catholic Taxi Driver
IT 03/10/06 Conroy And Orde To Address Crime Conference
BT 03/10/06 Now RIR Soldiers Can Depart With Dignity
BT 03/10/06 SDLP Blows A Fuse Over Stun Guns
GU 03/10/06 US-UK Extradition Treaty
BB 03/10/06 NI Education System 'In Turmoil'
BT 03/10/06 Dad's Anger Over Derry Grave Attack
BT 03/10/06 Doctors Call For End To Force Feeding
IN 03/10/06 Concern Over Loyalist Funds
BT 03/10/06 Opin: Just Reward For Years Of Sacrifice
IM 03/10/06 UK To Ban Wild Animals In Circuses
IN 03/10/06 New Bobby Sands Biography Launched (Links To Excerpts)


Fund-Raising Catch To Adams' US Visit

By Chris Thornton
10 March 2006

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been invited back to
the White House for St Patrick's Day - but he will not be
allowed to raise cash while in the US.

Mr Adams is expected to take up the invite, along with
other Northern Ireland politicians, for the annual Shamrock

However, the family of a Dublin man murdered by republicans
will be among those taking centre stage at the annual

Relatives of Joseph Rafferty, who was shot dead in a Dublin
housing estate last April by a man believed to be a former
IRA member, will meet President George W Bush during a
special VIP gathering.

Their meeting will mark the second year in a row that Mr
Bush has chosen to highlight victims of republican violence
at the high profile event. Last year he welcomed the
sisters of Robert McCartney, the Belfast man stabbed to
death by IRA members.

Northern Ireland politicians were not invited to last
year's ceremony because of the disquiet following the
McCartney murder and the Northern Bank robbery.

But Mr Bush decided this week to approve the return of
politicians, in part to recognise the IRA pledge to become
"purely political".

Reports from Washington say US envoy Mitchell Reiss phoned
Mr Adams last night to invite him to the White House.

But he was also informed that his visa conditions will not
allow him to attend a Sinn Fein fund-raising breakfast in
Washington next Thursday.

Fund-raising has been a sore point between Mr Adams and the
US recently. In November he refused a trip to New York
after being told he could not attend a fund-raising event.

He ended up speaking to the Sinn Fein dinner by a satellite
link-up, and later called on Mr Bush to rein in "anti-Sinn
Fein elements" in the US administration.

An official announcement is expected from the White House
later, but it is believed invitations have been extended to
the main party leaders.

However, it is not thought any of them will meet US
President, George Bush.

Invites are believed to have been issued to Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams, DUP leader Ian Paisley, Ulster
Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Invites have also gone to the Alliance leader David Ford
and the Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine.

The DUP leader is unlikely to join him at the White House -
his party have no plans to send a delegation to Washington.

The family of murdered Dublin man Joseph Rafferty are
making arrangements to travel to the White House for St
Patrick's Day after confirmation they will receive the
invitation today.

There was some confusion last week whether they would be
invited to the formal gathering in Washington.

Joseph's sister Esther Uzell said she was unconvinced the
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern supported their campaign to meet
President Bush.

“We did put a lot of pressure on the Taoiseach in the last
week and a half. We feel we are entitled to be there, and
we want to be there to step up our campaign," she said.

“I still don’t know who put the pressure on to get the
invitation, but all I do know is that I got confirmation
from the embassy yesterday that we should receive the
invitation today,” she said.


MPs Meet To Discuss Powers Of Assembly

By Brian Walker
10 March 2006

The doubtful prospects for the Assembly will be exposed on
Monday, when MPs debate Government plans to give it new
powers - even though its survival looks increasingly bleak.

The Miscellaneous Provisions (Northern Ireland) Bill
introduced last month already provides for eventually
transferring justice and policing powers from Westminster
and allows the Secretary of State to call a snap election
ahead of the set date of May next year.

Plans to put into the Bill a legal framework for the next
Assembly have had to be delayed, after Sinn Fein and the
SDLP flatly refused to go along with the Tony Blair's
earlier idea of bouncing the parties into the present
Assembly in shadow form, ahead of full restoration with
Executive powers.

Mr Hain's framework was thought to resemble that laid out
in an aborted deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein in
December 2004. Despite pressures on parliamentary time, it
now seems the necessary amendments must await a new plan
from the Prime Ministers in a few weeks' time.

Speculation among the parties centres on a new bid to
recall the full Assembly in the autumn and "roll d'Hondt

A first attempt to form an Executive would be made within
the six weeks required by law. Assuming failure, and to
avoid a crash or an election at that stage, the Assembly
would again be suspended, perhaps only for a day.

This would trigger a fresh six weeks period and buy more
time to try to reach a deal. If this tortuous plan
succeeded, an election would be called. If it failed, the
Assembly would be scrapped.

Next Wednesday, Tony Blair faces a serious reverse if, as
seems likely, he is forced to rely on Conservative votes to
approve his controversial secondary schools reforms for
England. Latest estimates suggest he will fail to win a
Labour majority by about ten votes. The DUP have denied
reports that they will support the Conservatives who Labour
fear may switch to oppose the Bill at the last minute.
Deputy leader Peter Robinson said the DUP are pledged to
support the Prime Minister on the issue.


Major Smuggling Raids Target Ex-IRA Chief Of Staff Murphy

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

TWO brothers of former IRA chief-of-staff Thomas ‘Slab’
Murphy were arrested in one of the biggest cross-border
security operations against organised crime.

Frank and Paddy Murphy, aged in their fifties and sixties,
were last night released by detectives – as was the wife of
one of the men – pending reports to the Director of Public

In a further twist, gardai last night said they were
treating as sinister a break-in at Dundalk courthouse on
Wednesday night.

A judge there granted nine search warrants to the Criminal
Assets Bureau, which spearheaded yesterday’s operation.

The Irish News understands senior republican Slab Murphy
was not at home when gardai raided nine properties in north
Louth at around 7am.

It was a massive swoop comprising of 120 Garda personnel.

Although the PSNI refused to say how many of its officers
were in-volved, it was estimated 400 members of both
forces, including Irish and British army support and
customs, took part. More than E200,000, as well as 8,000
litres of fuel and thousands of cigarettes, were seized by
police probing smuggling and money laundering.

The PSNI focused its operation on south Armagh and Newry.

Six premises in Keady and Crossmaglen were raided –
thousands of cigarettes and fuel were seized as well as a
dozen vehicles, documents and computer records.

The PSNI refused to say whether the raids were connected to
paramilitaries while gardai said they were not linked to
any current organisation.

It remains unclear whether Slab Murphy will be detained.

Earlier gardai stressed three arrests were incidental to
yesterday’s raids which were primarily focused on
intelligence gathering.

The development came five months after the Assets Recovery
Agency targeted more than 200 properties in Greater
Manchester, reportedly linked to the affairs of Slab

The agency was not involved in yesterday’s searches but The
Irish News understands there are links to last October’s
raids in the north of England.

Police sources yesterday confirmed that information
gathered in the Manchester operation was forwarded to the

That operation was part of a criminal investigation, while
the Manchester searches were part of the civil side of the
complex probe.

Hundreds of thousands of documents were seized in Britain
which focused on two businessmen, Dermot Craven and Brian

When the 44-year-old publicly denied any wrongdoing, Mr
Craven revealed that he had telephoned Frank Murphy after
his luxury home in the village of Bowden was raided.

Confirming he and his partner were business associates of
Frank Murphy, Mr Craven said: “I have never met this man
[Slab Murphy], spoken to him or carried out any business
dealings with him.

“I have met Frank Murphy a number of times. He is a really
nice guy.

“At that time I did not know Thomas Murphy was Frank
Murphy’s brother.”

Sinn Fein last night declined to comment on the latest
development while the SDLP, DUP and UUP all welcomed the


Police Swoop On Border Crime Gang

By Jonathan McCambridge
10 March 2006

Irish police released three people without charge last
night after a massive cross-border operation to smash an
organised crime gang in the south Armagh area.

A file on a man in his early 50s, one in his mid-60s and a
woman in her early 50s is to be prepared for the Director
of Public Prosecutions.

Several properties were searched after the PSNI, garda and
customs officers swamped the border area as part of a major
offensive against money and fuel laundering.

Twelve vehicles, up to 30,000 cigarettes, 8,000 litres of
fuel and about £200,000 in sterling and euro notes were
seized as well as fuel laundering equipment.

Two shotguns as well as computers and boxes of documents
were also taken away for examination.

Police would not confirm any paramilitary link to the
operation but one of the first properties to be searched
belonged to Thomas 'Slab' Murphy (62), alleged to have once
been the IRA chief of staff. He was not one of those

Hundreds of officers took part in the operation which
targeted residential and business premises in Newry,
Crossmaglen, Keady and north Louth.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Bobby Hunniford said it was part
of an intelligence-led investigation into organised crime.

"Organised crime merely puts profits into the hands of
criminals and undermines legitimate businesses in the
areas," he said.

He said part of the "normalisation process" was that people
did not want organised criminal gangs operating in their
area. He said police were responding to a number of
requests from people within the community.

Garda Superintendent Kevin Donohoe said the searches were
part of an investigation which had been jointly planned for
some time on both sides of the border.

The operation began at 6am yesterday and was led by
officers from PSNI Crime Operations Department's Organised
Crime Branch, supported by the District Command Unit from
Newry and Mourne, Armagh DCU and colleagues from HM Revenue
and Customs.

An Garda Siochana, Customs officials from Belfast and the
Republic, some of whom work closely with the Criminal
Assets Bureau, were also involved.


Bid To Smash IRA War Chest

Police swoop on home of former leader

By Jonathan McCambridge and Tom Brady
10 March 2006

Police on both sides of the border will today begin poring
over mountains of evidence - including laptop computers -
seized during a massive security force offensive targeting
the IRA's financial empire.

Yesterday police raided the home of former IRA chief of
staff, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, and seized computers and
thousands of documents.

Laptop computers, which could be vital to unlocking the
IRA's multi-million pound war chest, were found under bales
of hay.

It has also emerged that a garda helicopter crossed the
border into Northern Ireland during the operation after the
PSNI requested assistance in tracking down a suspect.

PSNI and gardai spokesman said the searches - among the
biggest ever seen in Ireland -have now been completed.

Garda Superintendent Kevin Donohoe said he was hopeful the
raids would result in people being brought before the

Twelve vehicles, up to 30,000 cigarettes, 8,000 litres of
fuel and about £200,000 in sterling and euro notes were
seized as well as fuel laundering equipment.

Two shotguns as well as computers and boxes of documents
were also taken away for examination. Three people who were
arrested have now been released pending reports.

Detectives from the gardai and the PSNI carried out checks
at Murphy's home which straddles the border at Ballybinaby
which is between Hackballscross and Crossmaglen before 7am

Murphy was not at home during the raid and the area was
sealed off as detailed searches were completed.

On the southern side of the border gardai searched nine
properties including Murphy's own house, his family home,
houses occupied by several others living nearby and the
offices of a solicitor's firm in Dundalk.

The PSNI also searched six houses and businesses in
Crossmaglen and the nearby village of Keady, and officers
also served orders on several businessmen, requiring them
to provide full audits of their accounts to the anti-
racketeering authorities.

Thirty boxes of documents were taken away for inspection
along with the computers that had been located in a

DCU Commander for Newry and Mourne, Chief Superintendent
Bobby Hunniford, said: "The searches are in support of a
major intelligence-led investigation into suspected money
laundering and fuel laundering linked to an organised
criminal enterprise.

"Organised crime enterprises put profits into the hands of
criminals and undermine legitimate business. Our intentions
are to investigate and disrupt these criminal networks,
bring charges wherever possible and use the Proceeds of
Crime Act to confiscate illegal profits.

"It required many resources to be out on the ground during
the search but we have tried to minimise any disruption as
far as possible."

The raids follow a major joint operation last October which
culminated in raids on a €44m property portfolio in
Manchester and a dozen properties in Dundalk carried out by
the Assets Recovery Agency. 'Slab' Murphy later denied any
connection with that property.


UDA Denies Attacking Catholic Taxi Driver

By Barry McCaffrey

The UDA has denied involvement in an attack on a Catholic
taxi driver at the weekend.

In a statement yesterday the UDA claimed that it was not
involved in an incident during which a gun was placed to
the driver’s head at Ligoniel in north Belfast on Saturday

In a call to a Belfast newsroom on Sunday a man claiming to
represent the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name previously
used by UDA, claimed to be responsible for the attack and
threatened further attacks.

Following that incident Catholic taxi drivers in north
Belfast were warned they were under threat.

However, a statement from the UDA rejected responsibility
for the attempted murder bid.

“Within recent days the name of the so-called Red Hand
Defenders has emerged once again,” it read.

“We wish to state categorically that there is no Red Hand
Defenders and they do not exist.

“The individuals using this cover name are criminals who
are motivated by self gain.

“Those who use that name were stood down and that is a
matter of public record.”

Insisting that its ceasefire was still in place despite 11
north Belfast loyalists being arrested at an apparent show
of strength in north Belfast last week, it stated: “The UDA
carry out the wishes of its entire membership.

“That membership is saying quite clearly that they are
committed to a process of change and will not be deterred
from that path.

“We are confident that our current policy will see us
through any attempt to derail this process.”


Conroy And Orde To Address Crime Conference

The heads of the Garda and the Police Service of Northern
Ireland will today outline their vision of the future of

Garda commissioner Noel Conroy and PSNI chief constable
Hugh Orde will speak at a conference on policing in the
21st century at a time when co-operation between the two
forces has reached unprecedented levels.

Gardaí and the PSNI were involved in yesterday's massive
cross-Border raids investigating oil laundering.

The conference at the Waterford Institute of Technology
will also be addressed by Breda Allen, chairwoman of the
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

© The Irish Times/


Now RIR Soldiers Can Depart With Dignity

By Brian Walker
10 March 2006

The cost of disbanding the three home battalions of the
Royal Irish Regiment will be £240m, the Armed Services
Minister Adam Ingram has told MPs.

But as the figure was released, unionist and nationalists
politicians continued wrangling over the issue.

Reacting to the announcement, DUP leader Ian Paisley said
it was "a day of shadows for Northern Ireland".

"The majority of the people of Northern Ireland do not
believe that this was the time to remove defences against
terrorism," he said.

But, he added: "I am personally glad that the socio-
economic difficulties that these men will have to face in
getting employment in the province have been recognised by
the Government and we will continue to discuss these
matters with the Government.

"We salute the memory of the gallant dead and the bravery
of all who fought the good fight and we wish them and their
families, God's richest blessing."

Ulster Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon said she was
disappointed a fund for widows and other relatives similar
to the Police Fund had not been announced.

But Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said the money should
have been used to improve public services. "Sinn Fein have
argued that demilitarisation should and could release
millions of pounds for use on frontline services such as
health and education, and to tackle decades of under
investment and neglect," she said.

"Rather than seek a British Exchequer subvention of
millions for the exclusive benefit of the unionist
population, I believe that many people in places like
Fermanagh and Tyrone would prefer to see this money spent
on improving the roads infrastructure, improving local
schools and in developing the local economy."

As the DUP today ticks off one of its main 'shopping list'
demands to the government, Political Correspondent Noel
McAdam examines the Royal Irish Regiment pay-off package

Even in the lowest ranks departure should come with
dignity. For a Royal Irish Regiment private with just five
years' service will receive a total redundancy package of
£42,400 tax-free.

But the vast majority of the 1,900 full-time soldiers of
the RIR have on average much longer service - including a
few with up to 40 years.

For it was confirmed yesterday individual redundancy
packages will include service with the Royal Irish Rangers
and Ulster Defence Regiment which were amalgamated to
create the RIR in 1992.

So a lance-corporal with 16 years' service will receive
approximately £42,470; a sergeant serving 18 years almost
£91,500 and a major with 22 years' service around £151,200.

All the discharges of part- timers are to be completed by
March 31 next year but the full-time element could take up
to another year.

The £28,000 one-off payment for full-time soldiers will
amount to around £71m of the scheme's total cost of £240m.

There had been some consternation in the ranks recently
when reports spread that the total pay-off for most
soldiers would amount to £20,000.

But the DUP, which has negotiated with the Government since
it announced disbandment of the Home Service battalions
following the IRA's 'standing down' statement, believes
yesterday's package will go a long way to easing the hurt
and anger felt by many in the rank-and-file.

"We think it does put the issue to bed," a source said.

DUP leader Ian Paisley met Tony Blair on Wednesday to
finalise several points of the package. He, along with
deputy leader Peter Robinson and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey
Donaldson, have had around seven meetings involving Defence
Secretary John Reid and Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram.

The GOC, Lieutenant General Sir Redmond Watt, said the
"substantial" package acknowledged the impact disbandment
will have on serving soldiers. He said: "It recognises the
social and economic difficulties soldiers and their
families may experience as a result of the disbandment of
the Home Service and the importance of assisting them as
they return to civilian life."

Colonel Mark Campbell, RIR Regimental Colonel, said there
had been considerable uncertainty since last August's
disbandment announcement, but he believes a better deal had
been achieved.

Sources said the severance packages were broadly comparable
with what former RUC officers received as a result of
policing reforms.


SDLP Blows A Fuse Over Stun Guns

10 March 2006

The introduction of 50,000-volt stun guns by the PSNI will
be opposed on the Policing Board by the SDLP.

Board member Alex Attwood hit out at the "headlong rush" to
introduce TASERs and said there are concerns about their

"The SDLP is totally opposed to the introduction of TASERs
- even for the limited purposes that the PSNI wants them,"
he said.

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde recently approached the
board about buying a dozen of the weapons, which use jolts
of electricity to incapacitate people.

Sir Hugh wants them as a less lethal option than firearms.
He told the board specially trained officers would use the
US-made weapons.

TASERs deliver six watts of electricity at 50,000 volts
through two barbed electrodes that attach themselves to the
targeted person.

But critics of the device say it has been associated with
more than 100 deaths in the US and Canada.

According to reports, TASERs have been recorded as a factor
in 15 deaths in the US.

The weapons were approved for use in Britain last year.

But Mr Attwood said: "There is also a dearth of proper
research about their safety - especially their effects on

He said the time set by the board for public consultation -
two-and-a- half weeks - is "woefully insufficient" and
wants it extended.

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said it is "essential
for the police to have access to a range of equipment to
meet difficult and often dangerous policing situations."


9am Yesterday in parliament

Press Association
Friday March 10, 2006

US-UK Extradition Treaty

The US-UK extradition treaty was "grossly disproportionate
and unbalanced", Mr Heath said. Mr Hoon said the treaty
involved a "significant level of negotiation" and reflected
the "different constitutional arrangements" in the US.


NI Education System 'In Turmoil'

Northern Ireland's education system is in turmoil and its
politicians must work together to get it back on track, a
teachers' union leader has said.

The NASUWT's newly elected president, Arthur McGarrigle,
has also called on the government to guarantee new teachers
a job.

Mr McGarrigle also said the surplus of teachers in NI was
"a waste of talent".

According to the union, only one out of five teachers who
qualified in NI last year were able to find full-time jobs.

"The other four-fifths - what's happening to them, we are
not quite sure," he said.

"Some of them are getting day-to-day subbing jobs, some are
getting extended maternity leave subbing jobs.

"The rest of them, unfortunately, are either leaving
teaching altogether or are leaving Northern Ireland to find
a teaching job elsewhere."

Mr McGarrigle also said untrained staff were being employed
to teach in classrooms.

He said the problems in Northern Ireland's education system
could best be dealt with by assembly members going back to
work together in a devolved assembly.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/10 06:46:32 GMT


Dad's Anger Over Derry Grave Attack

Thugs vandalise last resting place of 19-month-old tot

By Geraldine Mulholland
10 March 2006

An Ulster father has spoken of his heartache after a
callous vandal desecrated the grave of his late baby

Sean Carr, an SDLP councillor in Londonderry, hit out at
the "thug" who unleashed the thoughtless destruction on the
resting place of his 19-month-old daughter, Carey-Ann.

He said: "The grave is of our daughter Carey-Ann who will
be dead 14 years this year. She was brain-damaged at birth.
She was blind and deaf and we had to feed her with a tube,
and she died when she was just 19 months old.

"We had a big headstone with two statues on it and whoever
did this kicked one of the angel statues and it smashed all
over the grave.

"I wouldn't think we were purposely picked out, but Carey-
Ann's grave is along the main road."

Two other headstones, including that of another child's,
were targeted in the mindless attack carried out in Derry's
City Cemetery near the Creggan Estate at 5.30pm on

Sean added: "I am absolutely shocked and appalled at this
sheer destruction and violence. To intentionally damage a
sacred headstone is beyond belief.

"I was devastated to learn that my own daughter's headstone
has been smashed. This has caused extreme anguish and
distress among my family. My thoughts are with the other
families who faced this awful destruction.

"The staff in the cemetery work very hard to ensure that it
is kept clean, tidy and in excellent condition for those
who come to pay their respects to their loved ones. We want
it to stay that way," he added.

A man arrested has been released pending the preparation of
a police report into the matter.


Doctors Call For End To Force Feeding

10 March 2006 10:09

More than 250 leading doctors have called on the US to end
the practice of force feeding prisoners at its detention
camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Some 500 prisoners are still being kept in the US base in

In an open letter published in the British medical journal
The Lancet, the doctors say prisoners have the right to
refuse treatment, including feeding.

The doctors come from seven countries, including Ireland.

They say medical personnel involved should be disciplined
by their professional bodies.

The US has argued that the Geneva Convention does not apply
to prisoners at the camp. It says the prisoners are enemy


Concern Over Loyalist Funds

By Barry McCaffrey

Nationalists last night raised concerns over controversial
government funding of a loyalist museum.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office yesterday criticised the
Department for Social Development (DSD) for making a
£98,000 payment to Fernhill House Museum, despite any
proper funding application or economic appraisal.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams claimed the payment raised
“questions about structured political bias.”

“There have been a litany of highly controversial and
dubious decisions by BRO (Belfast Regeneration Office) in
relation to allocation of resources and funding,” he said.

“In the context of other decisions, this audit office
report adds to the fundamental questions about structured
political bias and discrimination by BRO and DSD.”

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness described the lack of
proper DSD funding guidelines as “bizarre”.

“I have heard of fast-tracking but this is ridiculous,” he

Mr Maginness also raised concerns that DSD funding had been
based on the fear of a “political fall-out” if it had
refused to fund the loyalist project.

“I am alarmed at what the auditor has uncovered and will be
asking what measures have been taken to insure that this is
not allowed to happen again.”

DSD insisted the decision to support Fernhill was in line
with its criteria and designed to tackle disadvantage
through economic and social regeneration.


Opin: Just Reward For Years Of Sacrifice

10 March 2006

As the government has made clear, this is a unique
arrangement, acknowledging in tax-free sums of £14,000 to
part-timers and £28,000 to full-time members - plus normal
redundancy payments - the abnormal conditions under which
the soldiers have served. Not only were they under threat
when on duty, but they and their families could never relax
even in their own homes as long as paramilitaries were

A small number of long-serving senior officers will do even
better, with total settlements of £150,000, and a
"significant" number will receive from £50,000 to £100,000.
In the same way that reform of the RUC cost the public
purse dear, the disbandment of local army battalions cannot
be obtained without considerable outlay.

As lately as last Christmas, the government was apparently
offering only £20,000 to full-time RIR soldiers, so
lobbying by both the DUP and UUP has had a significant
effect. Despite the low overall unemployment rate, soldiers
made redundant will have difficulty finding new jobs,
especially in rural areas.

By the time the closures take effect next year, the
government will be well on course to reduce the Army's
commitment here to the peacetime level of 5,000. And while
it will have been heartened by the latest Independent
Monitoring Commission report, accepting that the IRA is no
longer a terrorist threat, unlike republican dissidents, it
must know that the continuing political deadlock will add
to the tensions of the coming marching season.

The public need to know that whatever arrangements are
being made, partly to satisfy demands for demilitarisation,
there will always be sufficient military back-up for the
PSNI, in emergencies. Only last year, the police had to
endure days and nights of extreme violence in parts of
Belfast, enforcing Parades Commission rulings.

The DUP will credit itself for obtaining an over-the-odds
settlement for the Home Service RIR, to be followed by
regeneration packages for loyalist areas, but the
government will be expecting greater co-operation, in
return. Warnings were issued that the government's
treatment of the RIR would have an influence on the DUP's
attitude to negotiations on devolution, so how will the
party now react?

The safest option is always to wait and see, rather than
make a false, unpopular move. Yet the alternative to
dialogue is increasingly dictatorial direct rule, which no
one wants.


UK To Ban Wild Animals In Circuses

International Animal Rights Press Release Friday March
10, 2006 10:31 by John Carmody - Animal Rights Action
Network (ARAN) ARAN Po Box 722,
Kildare, Ireland 087-6275579

News Release

Yesterday Defra Minister Ben Bradshaw announced to the
House of Commons that a ban on the use of certain wild
animals was being planned for the UK under the Animal
Welfare Bill.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mark Pritchard has
asked: What changes are proposed to animal welfare
legislation in Northern Ireland; and if the Minister will
make a statement.

On Tuesday a dramatic billboard, organised by Animal
Defenders International (ADI) calling for a ban on the use
of wild animals toured Belfast before moving on today to
Dublin. This is part of a global campaign by ADI to end the
use of animals in travelling circuses. In Ireland ADI are
working with the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) to
promote the campaign.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI: "This is wonderful
news from Parliament and we are now waiting with bated
breath for confirmation that the prohibition on wild
animals in circuses will be effective in Northern Ireland -
we can see no reason not to implement a ban here. We have
always had a very positive response to our campaigns from
people in Northern Ireland, and already councils in Belfast
and Moyle have banned animal circuses from their land.

"The simple fact is that travelling from place to place,
with limited space and long periods on transporters animal
welfare will always be compromised in travelling circuses.
We are delighted that Defra have acknowledged this
fundamental problem."

ADI's undercover investigations in the UK are widely
credited with turning public opinion against the use of
animals in circuses and leading ultimately to Defra's
statement yesterday. Last year the group released the
findings of investigations into circuses touring Ireland.

The Irish findings included video of an elephant being
kicked and punched and a camel being hit across the face
with a broomhandle.

Related Link:


New Bobby Sands Biography Launched (Links To Excerpts)

By Keith Bourke

A biography of hunger striker Bobby Sands was launched in
Belfast last night. Bobby Sands: Nothing But An Unfinished
Song was written by Queen’s University Belfast academic
Denis Hearn.

The book charts the life of Sands from his childhood
through to his leadership role in the 1981 Hunger Strike,
his election as MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone and his
death on May 5 of that year.

Mr Hearn was born in New Mexico and is of Irish and Native
Alaskan (Aleut) ancestry. He moved to Belfast in the 1970s
when he was a student and a journalist. His articles for In
These Times and the Guardian introduced the H-Blocks prison
conflict to a broader audience.

Since the mid-1990s he has taught at Queen’s, where he is a
professor of social and economic change.

Reading about revolutionary leader Che Guevara sparked Mr
Hearn’s interest in Sands.

“I read a biography of Che Guevara in 1997 and thought it
was an interesting way to look at a certain social
situation,” he said.

“It was then that Bobby Sands came into my head and that a
comprehensive biography has yet to be done.

“The Irish-American community have an interest but his name
has faded in other places. I wanted to show him to new
activists around the world.”

Mr Hearn said Sands and the H-Block campaign had an
influence on revolutionary movements across the world.

“He’s had a direct effect on the Zapatistas and the ANC who
embarked on hunger strike campaigns in the wake of his

“He has also had an impact on governments and their
policies. One reason why the US in coalition with Britain
refuse to allow hunger strikes in Guantanamo is because of
Bobby Sands.”

Mr Hearn spent six years researching the book and said he
was fascinated by his subject.

“What I really found extraordinary about the man was his
ability to reinvent himself over and over again,” he said.

“From the cages to Twinbrook, to the H-Blocks – in each
period he is reinventing himself. He becomes more
politically sophisticated and aware.

“When I started I hadn’t a clue what I think about him. I
respected what he did, regardless of whether I agreed with
his politics or not.

“I was taken by him as I learned more about him. I was
impressed by his energy and I do admire the guy.”

However, Mr Hearn said he was very conscious of the fact
that he did not want the book to become a study in hero

“There are things in the book some people are not going to
like reading about but I didn’t want the book to turn into
some kind of hero worship. I was honest and refused to
whitewash anything,” he said.

This book can be purchased at the Sinn Fein Book Shop at

Daily Ireland ran excerpts of Denis O’Hearn’s biography
Bobby Sands: Nothing But an Unfinished Song. Below are
links to them. If you can’t access them there they are
posted at

DI 02/27/06 Bobby Sands:
Childhood Before Sectarian State
Got Vicious
( )

DI 02/28/06 Bobby Sands:
Becoming Politically Radical In
Long Kesh
( )

DI 03/01/06 Bobby Sands:
‘There’s Only 1 Solution… Back On
Hunger Strike’
( )

DI 03/02/06 Bobby Sands:
Pursuing &Winning Freedom Through
Books At Bedtime
( )

DI 03/03/06 Bobby Sands:
Resolve Is Strengthened In Face Of
( )

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