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March 26, 2006

Republicans Mark Maze Hunger Strike

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 03/26/06 Republicans Mark Maze Hunger Strike
BB 03/26/06 MLAs 'To Face Assembly Ultimatum'
SL 03/26/06 Cops Bar Thug From Bouncer Work
SL 03/26/06 Share Gadaffi Cash Says Shankill Man
SL 03/26/06 Unionists Bid To Thwart Shinner Mayoral Hopes
SL 03/26/06 Loyalist Victim: My Living Hell
IT 03/27/06 Murphy Inquiry To Focus On Three Oil Firms
IT 03/27/06 Oil Smuggling Racket Used Cross-Border Pipe
SL 03/26/06 Opin: Comment: Sir Reg Right To Talk To Loyalists
IT 03/27/06 Opin: McDowell's Sandwich Of Despair
IM 03/26/06 Rossport 5 Court Appearance
IT 03/26/06 US Taxmen Look To Ireland As Alleged Scams Are Revealed


Republicans Mark Maze Hunger Strike

Republicans in Northern Ireland today lit candles to mark
the 25th anniversary of the Maze Prison hunger strike.

IRA and INLA men in the top security Co Antrim jail began a
fast in March 1981 and by the time it was called off in
October ten had starved themselves to death.

To mark the anniversary of the start of the hunger strike
candles have been lit and placed in the front windows of
republican homes across Northern Ireland.

Bic McFarlane, one time IRA Officer Commanding in the Maze,
said the commemorative candle was an initiative aimed at
remembering in a small way the sacrifices of the 10 men who
died. He said it was also a way of showing continuing
solidarity with their families, 25 years on from the events
of 1981.

"We choose Mothers' Day as the day when we are asking
people to place the candle in the window of their homes as
a particular tribute to the immediate families of those who
died and as a tribute to the courage they displayed
throughout those long and difficult months from March to
October 1981."

The first to die was Bobby Sands who began the fast and was
elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone the following
month in a by election.

His death on May 5th 1981 after 66 days without food was
followed by the biggest funeral ever seen in Northern
Ireland - an estimated 700,000 lining the route to Milltown
Cemetery in west Belfast.

The fast was a battle of will between republicans and the
British government of Margaret Thatcher. They wanted
political status - in essence Prisoner of War status - in
the jail.

Their five demands were to be allowed to wear their own
clothes, given the right not to do prison work, freedom of
association, extra recreation facilities, more letters and
visits and restoration of remission lost in previous

The British government refused, but what the men wanted was
essentially phased in quietly in the months after the
hunger strike was called off.

© The Irish Times/


MLAs 'To Face Assembly Ultimatum'

The political process in NI is reaching "a crunch time",
Secretary of State Peter Hain has warned.

Mr Hain said plans to "bridge the gap" between unionists
who want a shadow assembly and nationalists who oppose this
would be announced within weeks.

He warned the gate "at the end of that bridge" would either
"open to devolved government" or close, meaning assembly
allowances and salaries would stop.

"There will be no get-out clause of an early election," he

"People have to make their minds up. It is a crunch time."

Mr Hain told the BBC's Politics Show: "This assembly has
been in existence for nearly four years - they have all
been paid not to do their job. It has cost over £80m.

"We can't continue like this. Everybody agrees with that.
This plan will provide that bridge between the two

"Nobody will be able to avoid taking a decision. That would
be the choice that confronts them."

Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive collapsed in
October 2002 following the arrests of three men over the
"Stormontgate" affair.

In December 2003, the House of Lords agreed that assembly
members would continue to receive a reduced salary of
£31,817 a year as they had "representative" duties and
constituency offices to run.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/26 15:46:49 GMT


SDLP 'Trusts Ahern' On Shadow Assembly Plan

Alan Murray
26 March 2006

THE SDLP trusts Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's judgment in
proposing to temporarily restore the Stormont Assembly.

Senior party sources say that's the case despite their own
reservations that Ian Paisley will attempt to taper the
arrangements to fit his party's strategy.

Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair are expected to visit Belfast
in a fortnight's time to outline proposals which would see
the Assembly recalled for a six-week period before the
summer with a further 14-week period of activity pencilled
in for the autumn.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan (pictured) said he was concerned
that the two Governments would come "in low" and that the
Assembly would remain "low" in what it could do.

But one senior SDLP official said that while there was
concern within the party over what the two Governments
might unveil on April 6, Bertie Ahern was trusted.

"We believe that the Taoiseach knows our concerns and knows
what we don't want to see and we expect that he and Tony
Blair will outline proposals that will see some real and
meaningful engagement at Stormont that should lead to the
creation of an Executive."


Cops Bar Thug From Bouncer Work

Ciaran McGuigan
26 March 2006

A LOYALIST thug who battered two off-duty cops and left
them for dead has been banned from working as a bouncer . .
. by the POLICE!

Vicious Norman Withers (39) left one of the officers brain-
damaged when he jumped up and down on his head as he lay

He was caged for the savage attack - and STILL expected
cops to recommend him as a pub doorman.

Larne Borough Council operate a scheme whereby door staff
have to be registered, as part of applications for
entertainment licence renewals.

They heard Withers' application and threw it out on the
recommendation of police.

Said one police source: "It would be absolutely galling for
police in Larne to see that thug legitimised by adding him
to a register.

"If the aim of this registration scheme is to reassure the
public, it won't be done by having the likes of Withers
anywhere near it."

A council spokesman said: "We considered a report in
relation to the door supervisory regulations, and, in
accordance with police advice, (the person) should not be
registered with the door supervisor scheme."

Withers was the ringleader of a gang of four who handed out
the beating to the off-duty cops in Larne in 1987.

An eyewitness, who was also attacked, looked on in horror
as Withers and his cronies repeatedly kicked and punched
the two cops. He then stamped on their faces and heads.

Trial judge Mr Justice McCollum said he'd never seen a more
serious attack that had fallen short of murder.

Withers was handed sentences totalling 36 years for the
savage assault and spent eight years behind bars.


Share Gadaffi Cash Says Shankill Man

Ciaran McGuigan
26 March 2006

VICTIMS of IRA violence who are suing Libyan leader Colonel
Gadaffi have been urged to share any compensation offer
with the families of men and women murdered by loyalist

A number of relatives of IRA victims are taking a civil
action against Gadaffi and his government, claiming that
for more than three decades he supplied war materials that
left their loved ones dead or maimed.

At the forefront of the legal action is Michelle
Williamson, whose parents Gillian and George were killed
when the IRA blew up Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill
Road in 1993.

Their campaign, first raised in Sunday Life three years
ago, follows the massive £1.7bn package offered by Libya to
the relatives of the Lockerbie atrocity.

Alan McBride, who lost his wife Sharon in the Shankill
bomb, welcomed the action, but called for any money that is
paid out to be shared among all the victims of terrorist
violence in Northern Ireland.

He suggests that compensation from Libya, if forthcoming,
or any reparations for suffering during the Troubles should
be brought together into a central fund.

"I am all in favour of people going after justice. Colonel
Gadaffi sponsored terrorism in Northern Ireland, and should
be targeted," he said.

"But the other side of the coin is that it does not sit
easy for me when the quest for justice is one-sided.

"If the action was to be successful, I would much prefer
the money to be distributed throughout Northern Ireland,
and to all victims of violence, not just those who have
suffered at the hands of the IRA, but all those who have
suffered terrorist violence from whatever grouping.

"I would much prefer to see any forthcoming money pooled."

Lawyers working for the IRA victims are preparing to file
lawsuits in the United States on behalf of American and
British citizens who have been affected by IRA violence,


Unionists Bid To Thwart Shinner Mayoral Hopes

Joe Oliver
26 March 2006

Unionist councillors in Belfast are trying to cut a deal
with the other parties in a last-ditch bid to stop a
convicted Provo BOMBER taking the post of Lord Mayor.

But one UUP councillor admitted yesterday: "If recent years
are anything to go by, then Sinn Fein are virtually past
the post.

"There is a lot of activity behind the scenes, because
there are concerns at a republican holding the chain of
office in the centenary year of the City Hall."

The DUP's Wallace Browne is due to step down from the
mayoral office when his term ends in May.

And Sinn Fein have insisted that they are next in line for
the top post.

The party is maintaining a low profile over its nominee -
but it is widely expected to be former republican prisoner
Caral ni Chuilin.

Ni Chuilin was jailed for nine years in 1989 for her part
in a foiled IRA bomb-plot to wipe out RUC officers.

The north Belfast councillor, who represents the Oldpark
ward, served just four years of her sentence for a string
of terrorist offences - including possession of explosives
with intent and membership of the IRA.

The only previous woman elected to the post of Lord Mayor
was Ulster Unionist Grace Bannister in 1981.

Sitting Sinn Fein councillor Alex Maskey made history in
2002 when he became the first republican to take the top
post in Belfast.

The UUP is to meet shortly to select its candidate from
three long-serving councillors - Ian Adamson, Bob Stoker
and Jim Rodgers - who have all previously served as Lord

They can rely on the support of the DUP, PUP and one

But it is the four Alliance councillors on the 51-member
body who hold the balance of power.

Another UUP councillor told Sunday Life: "Obviously, there
is some horse-trading to be done and, doubtless, some may
go with the argument that it is Sinn Fein's turn to take
the mayoral post.

"However, things can change if people are open to argument.

"And if just one councillor was detained or absent on the
night, then you could be looking at a totally different
ball game."


Loyalist Victim: My Living Hell

Stephen Breen
26 March 2006

An innocent survivor of a bloody loyalist feud today speaks
for the first time about the barbaric gun attack that left

Brave David Hanley - who was just two millimetres from
death after being cut down in a hail of bullets by an LVF
gunman - told Sunday Life about his amazing fight for life.

"I was scared to live at the start but I am now refusing to
lie down," said the 21-year-old north Belfast man.

"I have decided to tell my story because I hope it will
provide hope to those who are also suffering in life."

David, whom police say has no links to any paramilitary
organisation, was just three days away from his 21st
birthday when he was shot.

He was walking his dogs - Cracker and Bud - when a lone LVF
gunman jumped from an alleyway on the Upper Crumlin Road
and shot him in the head.

The evil terrorist then stood over his prone body, pumping
five more bullets into his stomach.

The round fired into David's head went in one side and
emerged out the other, rupturing his optic nerves and
shattering part of his brain.

David, who suffered severe internal injuries and has
undergone a series of major operations since, decided to
speak to us in the hope his remarkable story can provide
hope and inspiration to others.

He said: "I approached death's door but God closed it for
me. I think I have survived this attack because I am here
for a reason. My Lord is looking down on me.

"The holes in my body are not nice and my life may be in
tatters, but I'm determined to do my best to make the most
of the time I have left on this planet.

"I have lost my sight but I hope I will see the light again
some day. I know that God will help me through the days
that lie ahead."

He hopes his story will inspire others who are suffering.

"I want to tell them to keep fighting and to keep a stiff
upper lip.

"I suffered horrendous pain but I am refusing to take anti-
depressants because I know that my Lord is with me every
second of every day."

David lost his sight, the use of one of his legs, was
fitted with a colostomy bag, and:

• His skull was left shattered;

• two titanium plates will have to be fitted to his head;

• both his stomach and liver were damaged;

• for seven months he could not open his mouth more than

• had brain fluid leaking and lost a number of teeth;

• surgeons performed two major colostomy reversal

• his weight dropped from 12st to six-and-a-half stone.

Added the 21-year-old: "It is a miracle that I am still
here talking about what happened to me. I don't know of
anyone else who has suffered the injuries I did and

"My dad, who lives in Texas, thought he was coming home to
Northern Ireland to bury his son. When I was in intensive
care my family thought I was going to die.

"My family were physically sick when they saw me after the
shooting, and I know they must have thought they would
never get to hear my voice again.

"Sometimes I think I'm immune to pain after everything I've
been through.

"Nobody can believe the way my body is building itself up .
. . I will keep going and make my family proud."

David refuses to waste time on the gunman who shattered his
life, saying: "I wouldn't lower myself to think about them.

"They will have to answer to God, and when I'm judged I
know I will have nothing to worry about.

"I obviously remember that day but I don't choose to go
there because I'm still traumatised about it.

"I would also like to see justice some day because I don't
want these people doing to any other innocent person what
they did to me."

Although generally confident of making a good recovery, he
remains haunted by the fear his injuries could lead
ultimately to his premature death.

"When I am gone I just want to tell people to carry on," he

"I know it won't be the same, but I don't want them to feel
the pain."

David, a big Manchester United fan, is also determined to
remain as independent as possible despite his disabilities.

It was initially thought that David's mum Valerie would
have to give up her job to care for her him, but she
remains in work as David prepares to move into his own flat
next month.

He added: "God saved my life but I also could not have got
through this without the doctors, my 'golden' friends and
my family.

"Just because I have lost my sight doesn't mean I have lost
my independence and I'm looking forward to moving into my
own place next month. Once I am settled in, I intend to
join a church group so that I can maybe help others and
continue to pray to God.

"Before I was shot I was very active and I am now trying to
build up my strength again by lifting a few weights and
eating the right food.

"I also hope to get a voice-activated computer and phone so
that I can rest, relax and rapidly recover over the coming

"My mum's obviously heartbroken at what's happened and I
also want to give her strength. I get by on four hours
sleep a night but that's enough for me as I continue to
build up my life."

Brilliance of surgery team hailed

The brilliant surgeon who saved David's life revealed that
he had been just millimetres from death.

In his only interview since the LVF attempt to kill the 21-
year-old, Kishor Choudhari - a consultant neurosurgeon at
the Royal Victoria Hospital - said Davd was "very lucky" to
be alive.

The neurosurgeon, who hopes to have a case study on David's
injuries and recovery published in a medical journal, will
keep in contact with his patient and his family during his
long road to recovery.

Said Mr Choudhari: "In normal circumstances, I would expect
someone who received the same injuries as David to die.

"But he went through a marathon operation and this is what
saved his life.

"If the bullet in his head had been a few millimetres to
the left or right, he would have died - he is very lucky.

"As his optic nerves were unfortunately damaged, there was
nothing we could do about his sight. The few millimetres
made the difference between him being alive or dead."

The neurosurgeon, who has worked at the RVH for 11 years,
refused to take credit for saving the David's life.

"The fact that David is alive is down to everyone who has
helped care for him at the Royal. I co-ordinated the
management of his care, but everyone - surgeons, nurses and
staff in intensive care, radiology and physiotherapy - have
all played a part. The teamwork was excellent."


Murphy Inquiry To Focus On Three Oil Firms

Conor Lally

The investigation into the assets of the alleged former
chief of staff of the IRA, Thomas "Slab" Murphy, is
centring on three oil companies which have been operating
in the north Co Louth area since 1983, The Irish Times has

Gardaí believe the Murphy family effectively controls these
companies. Evidence has now been unearthed of direct
involvement in all three companies by at least some members
of the extended Murphy family.

One of the companies is Ace Oils Ltd which is still
trading. Gardaí believe this succeeded two other companies,
also registered to the north Louth Ballybinaby townland and
also controlled by the Murphy family.

Thomas "Slab" Murphy lives in a farmhouse at Ballybinaby.
His two brothers, Patrick and Frank, also both live in
houses there with their wives.

The first company which operated on a formal basis from
Ballybinaby was Cowan Oils Ltd. According to records at the
companies office, it was registered in 1983.

The directors are listed as Rosemary Murphy, who is married
to Patrick Murphy, and Judy Murphy, the wife of Frank

The company is now in liquidation after tax assessments
were raised on it in the mid-1980s. The assessments were
never paid and the company was formally put into
liquidation in the early 1990s.

When this liquidation took place, a new company called
Trillfield Ltd was formed. This traded in the fuel business
from the same address in Ballybinaby.

According to records at the companies office the directors
of Trillfield Ltd were Thomas ("Slab") Murphy and Ann Kirk,
with an address at Drumkeith, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan. Ann
Kirk is Thomas "Slab" Murphy's only sister.

Trillfield Ltd came to the attention of the Revenue
Commissioners in the early 1990s and after an investigation
tax assessments were raised against it. The company was
wound up a short time later. Around the same time Ace Oils
Ltd was established.

It traded from the same address at Ballybinaby,
Hackballscross, Co Louth, as Cowan Oils Ltd and Trillfield
Ltd before it. According to accounts at the companies
office, the current directors are Ann Brennan (37),
Cornonagh, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh and Joseph McEntee (30),
the Crescent, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh.

The Irish Times has learned that extensive inquiries on
both sides of the Border have failed to identify and locate
either of these people.

A third director of Ace Oils Ltd is Ronan Kirk (30),
Drumkeith, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan. Ronan Kirk is a nephew
of Thomas "Slab" Murphy. He is Ann Kirk's son.

Ronan Kirk was before the courts late last year in relation
to his role in smuggling fuel across the Border from the
North to the South. He was convicted in December 5th last
after being detected crossing the Border into Co Monaghan
with an oil tanker containing laundered fuel. The vehicle
was confiscated from him and he was fined €1,900.

Much of the documentation seized by gardaí, PSNI and
Revenue officials from the North and South in the March 9th
cross-Border operation relates to the activities of Ace

However, gardaí believe some of the business it engaged in
was legal.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) is to focus its
investigation on determining how much revenue was raised
through the three companies since the early 1980s.

It will then estimate the amount of taxes that have not
been paid and a tax assessment with penalties and interest
will be prepared.

Already a bill of €4 million has been served on Thomas
"Slab" Murphy. Further demands are likely to follow.

© The Irish Times


Oil Smuggling Racket Used Cross-Border Pipe


More details are emerging about what gardaí found at the
farm of Thomas "Slab" Murphy, writes Conor Lally.

Gardaí and Revenue officials investigating oil laundering
facilities found on the farm of Thomas "Slab" Murphy, of
Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, believe it was one
of the most expertly constructed they have ever found.

Senior officers working on the case also believe those
behind the operation had succeeded in manipulating the
farm's location straddling the Border to a much greater
extent than other owners of Border properties involved in
smuggling down the years.

The Irish Times has learned that Thomas "Slab" Murphy and
his associates had been smuggling laundered fuel over the
Border in a pipe which was connected to two major tank
systems. All of the tanks were situated in an outhouse that
straddles the Border.

One half of the tank system was in the South while the
other half was in the North. The fuel was being smuggled
across the Border in a pipe connecting the two systems,
making the smuggling activity virtually impossible to

Gardaí believe fuel was being smuggled from the North or
South depending on the taxes being applied to fuel and the
resultant retail price differential in these jurisdictions
at different times.

Gardaí believe large quantities of sterling notes seized at
the Murphy farm proves that those operating the oil laundry
were illegally selling laundered fuel throughout Northern

The company at the centre of the investigation is Ace Oils
Ltd, which is registered at an address in Ballybinaby.
Thomas "Slab" Murphy, the alleged former chief of staff of
the IRA, has no registered interest or role in the company
but gardaí believe he, with others, effectively controls

Financial records seized during the March 9th raids have
revealed the company has been trading in large quantities
of sterling for a considerable period.

There is no legitimate reason why a company operating in
the Republic would have done so much of its business in
sterling currency. Gardaí have established that Ace Oils
Ltd has no registered interest in the North.

While the analysis of financial records seized, both on
printed paper and on laptop computers, is still at an early
stage, gardaí believe the paper trail created by those
running the operation strongly indicates money laundering
has been taking place.

More than €1 million in cash and cheques were seized in the
raids. Great efforts had been made in the firm's financial
records to hide the funds' origins.

The Irish Times understands that this may make it more
difficult for the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) to identify
those involved in the wider smuggling network, particularly
those who bought laundered fuel in commercial quantities
for resale.

Garda sources said despite Thomas "Slab" Murphy having no
registered interest in Ace Oils Ltd, the fact that the
company's records were found on the Murphy family farm is
strongly indicative of his interest in the firm. This link
will need to be firmly established by gardaí as the
investigation progresses.

Some of the records seized relate to a working farm in the
Ballybinaby area which is believed to be owned by the
Murphy family.

While the €1 million in cash and cheques seized was put
under the control of a Criminal Assets Bureau receiver by
the High Court last week, no application in respect of the
farm has been made.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Taking Umbrage At Truth

Lynda Gilby
26 March 2006

WE are very fond of outcries in Northern Ireland. Touchy
isn't the word for it.

So, wouldn't you just know how predictable all last week's
"whataboutery" was in response to Tony Blair's remark that
Muslim terrorists were practically blood brothers with
Protestant bigots who committed murder for no other reason
that their victims were Catholics.

Did the man lie?

Of course he didn't. So have Protestant bigots committed
sectarian murder? Of course they have.

But because Blair did not condemn republican murders as
well as loyalist ones, the balloon has gone up.

Around 30 Catholics have been murdered by loyalists since
Tony Blair took office.

They have also murdered 61 Protestants - 45 of them fellow
loyalist paramilitaries.

The IRA, by contrast, certainly demonstrated an
indiscriminate policy in their bombing campaign of the
early Seventies, when, at places like Oxford Street bus
station in Belfast, they didn't pause to ask themselves
what denomination the bits of people being shovelled into
bin liners had originally been when they were still in one

Men, women, children, Protestant, Catholic, Seventh Day
Adventist, Muslim or Hindu, we're all the same to them.

All murders are an outrage and the method, or lack of it,
of selecting the victim is almost immaterial.

Regular readers will know by now that Mr Blair is most
emphatically not my favourite politician.

But throughout Northern Ireland scads of unionists and
loyalists are lurking, poised, just waiting to take

So much so that you can't help thinking that they derive
considerable enjoyment from it.


Opin: Comment: Sir Reg Right To Talk To Loyalists

26 March 2006

EFFORTS by unionist leaders to encourage loyalist
paramilitary organisations along a purely political path
should be applauded and intensified.

While it is tempting to regard such contacts as
breathtakingly naive, another school of thought suggests
some influential loyalists are genuinely seeking to
transform their organisations.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey was right when he said yesterday
both main unionist parties - the DUP has also been active
in this area - had a special responsibility to persuade the
UDA, UVF and other loyalist groups to commit to exclusively
peaceful means.

That does not mean turning a blind eye to the rampant
racketeering and criminality endemic in some loyalist

On the contrary, it is incumbent on politicians of every
hue to support the forces of law and order in coming down
heavily on those who will not - or do not want to - change
their ways.

However at every stage of the political process it has been
necessary to take calculated risks for peace.

Maintaining lines of communication with loyalists who are
committed to embracing the democratic process and leaving
their old, outdated, and pernicious ways behind them is

This goodwill should be reciprocated by loyalists engaging
wholeheartedly in the sort of active community politics
that will make a real difference to peoples' everyday

A treat for mums

MANY anniversary days are little more than opportunities
for commercial exploitation but one of the honourable
exceptions is Mother's Day.

So if you're a mum reading Sunday Life today, hopefully a
thoughtful son or daughter will have made breakfast and
ordered you to put your feet up.

Given your workload for the other 364 days of the year, you
deserve it.


Opin: McDowell's Sandwich Of Despair


Over a decade ago, as the last rainbow coalition prepared
to take power, the then PD leader Desmond O'Malley
gleefully predicted that a certain newly-appointed Labour
minister would "go mad in office", writes John Waters.

This failed to happen, or, if it did, was to pass without
particular notice. Now, lamentably, it is one of Mr
O'Malley's own protégés who seems fair set on such a
course. It has already been remarked that his likening of
Richard Bruton to Dr Goebbels is but the latest in a series
of episodes which give cause for deep alarm as to the
emotional stability of the Minister for Justice. So far,
nobody has asked why.

The maddening of Michael McDowell is, in one sense, the
best show in town: hugely entertaining and wildly
unpredictable. But there is a serious side, a human tragedy
which we must surely regard with sympathy and compassion.
It's all great fun until someone loses an eye.

Mr McDowell was responding to a Fine Gael press release
about the number of gardaí on the streets of Dublin, which,
because it was a slow news day, ended up as the lead story
on the Irish Independent. His description of Mr Bruton as
"the Dr Goebbels of propaganda" was possibly more worrying
for its tautological construction than its offensiveness,
suggesting that the normally elegantly-phrased Minister
was, at that moment, radically unhinged. Twice in a five-
minute interview the Minister said he was "angry" with
Richard Bruton. Why? Because Mr Bruton has distorted
figures supplied to him by Mr McDowell in a parliamentary
question. This made the Minister "very angry" and "really

It seems obvious from his general behaviour and
increasingly frequent outbursts that Mr McDowell is
afflicted by some kind of progressive emotional malaise, at
the back of which may lie a deep sense of disappointment,
even despair. Several clues to the source of this condition
were to be observed in his recent speech to a PD event in
Waterford, in which he likened the present coalition
administration to a sandwich. "It's not the more bulky
bread which gives a sandwich its taste," he declared.
"Rather, it's the meat which gives a sandwich its flavour.
. . I have to say that I find the focus on who will be the
next taoiseach to be significantly overblown. If the
history of the last 35 years has taught us anything, it is
that the most important party in a government is not the
senior party but the junior party. The larger party may
provide the taoiseach, but the junior party provides the
essential direction of the government."

This provoked much commentary focusing on the political
implications, but none on what it told us about the
emotional state of the Minister. One requires no more than
a casual knowledge of Freud to comprehend it as a cry for
help, a vainglorious protestation that says more in its
subtext than its superficialities. His choice of metaphor
suggests that Mr McDowell feels not merely trapped but
trapped by lesser entities. With his high-protein PD
colleagues, he feels squeezed by thick wedges of simple
carbohydrates. But even more interesting is that he
referred to a meat sandwich rather than some of the more
exotic sorts of fillings - lentils and brandy butter,
avocado and tulip - one would expect to be consumed in his
own constituency. Here we find a hint as to the Minister's
disaffection: despite his trumpeting of the self-importance
of the PDs, he feels himself party to a hang sangwich.

We should remember that Mr McDowell was once not merely a
member, but an especially blessed member, of Richard
Bruton's Fine Gael. Seated on the right-hand side of Garret
FitzGerald, he was poised, we now comprehend, to inherit
the kingdom of what passed for Irish liberalism.

Instead, in a fit of petulance and impatience, he defected
to the PDs, perhaps imagining this to offer a more assured
route to greatness. The outcome of that impetuousness must
be especially galling for him now, since in recent times he
has gained a genuinely elevated place in the affections of
the Irish people. For many years, history lay like a shadow
between him and the popular imagination, but following the
success of the revisionist project, he is now in a position
to inherit an increasing legacy of delayed respect for his
grandfather, Eoin MacNeill.

A lot of people can't stand him, but many others regard him
with immense affection, largely on account of his stances
against sundry unmentionables, but by no means least for
the entertainment value of his tantrums. Had he stayed in
Fine Gael, Mr McDowell might now be the taoiseach-in-
waiting. Instead, trapped in a buttery embrace with Fianna
Fáil, he contemplates facing the end of his career without
having attained the heights to which he feels entitled.

Sadly, due to the PDs obsession with tokenism and political
correctness, he has not even attained the highest office
within his own party, bringing to mind John Lennon's
merciless response when asked if Ringo was the best drummer
in the world: "He's not even the best drummer in the

© The Irish Times


Rossport 5 Court Appearance

National Environment Event Notice Sunday March 26,
2006 19:20 by brynn - Shell to Sea

Protest at the Four Courts

The Rossport 5 are scheduled to appear in the Four Courts
in Dublin on Monday March 27th at 10:00 a.m. (Remember to
set your clocks ahead one hour this weekend!) Supporters
will assemble outside: please join us! This issue remains
unresolved, with Shell Oil and the Irish government
persistent in their efforts to force this dangerous
pipeline on the people of north Mayo.

The Rossport Five (Micheál Ó Seighin, Willy Corduff,
Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath and Philip McGrath) are
expected to attend the High Court on the morning of Monday
27th March. President of the High Court Mr Justice Finnegan
was to deliver his final judgement on the case, but it is
uncertain now whether Monday's hearing will include a final
sentencing of the men. Members of the Shell to Sea campaign
are planning to protest outside the Four Courts from 10
o'clock onwards.

Quote: Máire Ní Sheighin, of Dublin Shell to Sea, said:
"This may well be one of the last appearances of the
Rossport Five in court, so Shell to Sea activists from
Dublin and Mayo will gather outside the court on Monday
morning, to draw attention to the case, and to Shell and
the government's continuing efforts to force a dangerous
experimental high pressure gas pipeline on to the people of
north Mayo."

The Rossport five received a standing ovation at the Green
Party Annual Conference in Kilkenny which they attended on
Saturday 25th March.

For more information call Tadhg McGrath on 0876181620.
Related Link:


US Taxmen Look To Ireland As Alleged Scams Are Revealed


US revenue authorities think Ireland is being used by
wealthy Americans to launder their money to evade paying
tax. Seán O'Driscoll reports on a revealing case in New

United States federal prosecutors in New York are
continuing to investigate the use of Irish companies
following one of the alleged biggest tax scams ever
recorded in US history.

It has emerged that a company called Sligo (2000) Co was
allegedly used by accountants KPMG to shelter tens of
millions of dollars for wealthy US investors.

The US attorney's office in southern Manhattan has indicted
two senior accountants and a lawyer attached to KPMG for
setting up bogus currency trades through Sligo (2000) Co
Inc, which allegedly ran a tax "sham" through a Dublin-
based company called Epsolon Ltd.

One Dallas financier and his wife put $39 million into the
scheme. The couple claimed they did not have to pay US
taxes on an Irish company but then allegedly reimported the
money to the US just six days later, claiming a net loss
for tax purposes.

They are also alleged to have converted their Irish
company, Epsolon, to an American partnership in the same

According to records in the Companies Office in Dublin,
Epsolon was incorporated on November 6th, 2000, but was
dissolved on October 29th, 2004. Two directors are listed:
Franklin Montgomery of 25 West 54th Street in New York and
Keith Tucker of Turtle Creek Boulevard in Dallas, Texas.
The registered office in Dublin was 2 Argyle Square,
Morehampton Road, Donnybrook.

The Irish Times has been shown e-mails from one lawyer
indicted in the scheme in which he allegedly tried to have
the Irish shelter approved by his law firm without properly
assessing whether it was legal.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US equivalent of
the Revenue Commissioners, now claims that the couple who
benefited from the scheme, Mr Tucker, a Dallas-based
financier, and his wife, Laura Bynum Tucker, owe $21.7
million in unpaid tax and penalties for involvement in the

KPMG, the fourth largest accounting firm in the US, has
admitted that it was involved in setting up illegal schemes
through which wealthy clients avoided over $11.2 billion in

The three indicted for using Irish companies in the scheme
were at the very top of KPMG's tax service, including the
former vice-chairman of KPMG's tax services, a KPMG tax
partner and a partner at the New York legal giant Brown &

While federal prosecutors in New York prepare to bring the
three to trial in New York in September, their clients have
sought to distance themselves from any wrongdoing.

In a petition filed at the tax court in Washington DC, the
Tuckers have sought to overturn the demand from the IRS for
$15.5 million in unpaid taxes, plus $6.2 million in

The IRS has insisted that the Tuckers must paid the tax and
fines after deducting over $39 million from their tax bill
in 2000 based on what the IRS claimed in court documents
was a "sham" in which the Tuckers claimed to have lost tens
of millions on currency trading though the Dublin company,
Epsolon, but which was really a front for a tax-avoidance

In its petition to the tax court in Washington DC, the
Tuckers say Sligo (2000) bought 99 per cent of Epsolon Ltd
from a company called Cumberland Investment Ltd on December
18th, 2000.

Three days later Epsolon bought $156 million of "multiple
foreign currency options" from an investment company and
sold them back to the same investment company on the same

The Tuckers' petition argued that the sale of the foreign
currency options resulted in Epsolon gaining $51.26
million, which they claimed was subject only to Irish tax

However, six days after that sale Epsolon was converted to
a partnership in the US, liquidating its Irish assets and
recording a $39.5 million tax-deductible loss. The IRS
claims this was nothing but a "sham" to avoid paying US

The lawyer who approved the scheme, R.J. Ruble, a former
partner of KPMG's legal advisors Brown & Wood law firm, was
"centrally involved" in the preparation of the Dublin
scheme, according to the indictment.

The US attorney's office claims that in a letter on June
28th, 2001, Mr Ruble told the Tuckers that the Irish scheme
was the best way for them to avoid tax. Prosecutors have
also obtained an e-mail that Mr Ruble sent in which he said
that he would "need to write opinions to Sligo (2000)
Company Inc". Mr Ruble has since been dismissed by the

Others indicted for the Dublin scheme include Jeffrey
Eischeid, who was head of KPMG's "innovative strategies
group", and Jeffrey Stein, who was vice-chairman of KPMG
tax services.

KPMG has admitted that it was involved in a massive illegal
tax scheme for years. It agreed in August 2005 to pay $456
million to the US government to avoid criminal prosecution,
and admitted that it set up illegal tax shelters which
allowed wealthy investors avoid $11.2 billion in taxes.

Seventeen KPMG executives and two other people are under
indictment, and are expected to go to trial in September.

Last month, it emerged that President Bush's former Irish
ambassador, Richard Egan, invested $62 million in a KPMG
shelter that the IRS described as an "economic sham".

Mr Egan, who strongly denies any wrongdoing, is suing the
IRS to recover the $62 million that was taken from him, and
has argued in court documents that he was working on the
advice of an unnamed "international accounting firm".

Mr Egan had hoped to avoid having his name linked to the
KPMG lawsuit but a New Jersey judge last month ruled that
the media could name 61 investors, including Mr Egan, who
are taking a lawsuit against KPMG.

Mr Egan, the billionaire owner of the EMC computer company,
invested the $62 million with KPMG as soon as he became
Irish ambassador, according to the IRS.

Mr Egan, one of President Bush's most successful
fundraisers, was Irish ambassador for just 15 months before
he resigned.

© The Irish Times

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