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March 07, 2006

SF Councillor Receives Loyalist Death Threat

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 03/07/06 Sinn Féin Councillor Receives Loyalist Death Threat
DI 03/07/06 Loyalist Slams RHD Statement
IT 03/08/06 SF Accuses Lisburn Council Of Discrimination
CL 03/07/06 Immigrants Take Action
DI 03/07/06 Facing The Truth
BT 03/07/06 Omagh: The Questions That MI5 Has Still To Answer
BB 03/07/06 PMs Attempt To Find NI Route Map
IT 03/08/06 Orde Says Shoukri Should Be Returned To Jail
BB 03/07/06 Top US Official Denies 'Torture'
SF 03/07/06 Adams In Dublin On Wed To Launch Easter Lily Campaign
AP 03/07/06 IRA Veteran To Stand Trial For Kidnapping
DI 03/07/06 Sinn Féin Faces Criminal Claims
DI 03/07/06 Family Of Murdered Man’s Visit To Bush Unconfirmed
GU 03/07/06 Opin: Forgiveness Doesn't Mean Loving Your Husbands Killer
IN 03/07/06 Opin: DUP Must Do More To Lead Troubled People
BN 03/07/06 National Museum Gets Original Copy Of 1916 Proclamation
IM 03/07/06 Bobby Sands Book Launch - Dublin


Sinn Féin Councillor Receives Loyalist Death Threat

Published: 7 March, 2006

Banbridge Sinn Féin Councillor Dessie Ward has today
detailed the latest loyalist death threat against him after
the PSNI arrived at his home yesterday evening (Monday 5th
March) to deliver notification of the threat.

Speaking today Mr Ward said:

"Yesterday evening the PSNI arrived at my home to inform me
that my life was under threat from unnamed loyalist
paramilitaries. I was not home at the time and they left a
sheet of paper which explained that loyalist paramilitaries
are currently targetting me.

"This is the latest threat against my life and comes after
a more general one in September of last year. It appears
that this latest threat is more specific.

"Since election to Banbridge Council there has been a
systematic campaign of vilification directed towards me by
a number of unionist councillors. These same councillors
must now condemn the threats against my life." ENDS


Loyalist Slams RHD Statement

By Connla Young

A former loyalist prisoner has condemned the threat issued
by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD) that branded all former
republican prisoners as “legitimate targets”.

Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday former Ulster Volunteer
Force (UVF) prisoner Robert Morton said the Red Hand
Defenders tag is simply a flag of convenience used by the
UDA to claim attacks on nationalists. The RHD issued their
statement on Sunday as the group claimed responsibility for
trying to kill a nationalist taxi driver the previous

Last night the Belfast-based loyalist, who served a total
of 12 years behind bars, said the majority of loyalists
condemn the threat.

“The Red Hand Defenders are the UDA. When they don’t want
to claim anything they use that name, a bit like the IRA
and Direct Action Against Drugs. I think this is about
people trying to get a piece of the action. It’s about
people trying to legitimise their own activities. But it’s
still dangerous for all that. The UVF would not tolerate
that sort of behaviour. The UVF is smaller and much more
disciplined. I can categorically say there is no chance in
hell of this happening with them. It’s over as far as the
UVF is concerned.

“I believe that in the not too distant future there will be
a formal stand down. My understanding, after talking to
senior men, is that they will not surrender their guns. As
for this threat the vast majority of loyalists will condemn
it and not stand for it.”

In 2001 and 2002, the UDA in north Belfast used the RHD
cover name to claim the murders of three young men, Gavin
Brett, Danny McColgan and Gerard Lawlor. Mervyn Gibson,
from the Loyalist Commission, yesterday said he was not
aware if the threat to republicans is genuine. “It could be
anybody using that name for that reason. I don’t believe it
would be linked to an organisation.”

Former hunger striker Raymond McCartney, MLA, who chairs
republican ex prisoner group Coiste na n-Iarchimí, said he
was concerned by the threat.

“We would have hoped that such threats were a thing of the
past. Our network is involved in building for the future
and this work will continue.

“Ex-prisoners are involved in extensive community activity
aimed at cementing peace and addressing the legacy of the
conflict. Despite this activity, there are those who seek
to demonise ex-prisoners, seeking to relegate them from
public life, criticising any funding that ex-prisoner
groups receive, questioning the legitimacy of ex-prisoner
involvement in community organisations. This climate
creates the conditions within which such threats are seen
as acceptable.

“Coiste has been involved in building relationships with
individuals and groups from across the political spectrum
on the island. This work will continue despite threats from
wherever they emanate.”

Ardoyne parish priest Fr Aidan Troy said there was a degree
of unease in the nationalist community as a result of the

“There is a feeling of fear. I am hoping and praying there
is no escalation in this. The attempt on that man’s life
was awful. I think at this stage people are being cautious
but we are moving towards a feeling of foreboding. It’s
like points on a scale – if five goes into the red then we
are getting close to that.This benefits nobody and
reignites memories of the bad old days. Nobody has any
doubt that this must be taken very seriously. It would be
very foolish for us not to take this threat seriously. It
only takes one person to pull a trigger. I don’t think
anybody is dismissing this.”

Belfast North DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the attack on the
taxi driver was “vile” and “utterly abhorrent”.


SF Accuses Lisburn Council Of Discrimination

Sinn Féin has called on the Equality Commission to
investigate allegations of discrimination by Lisburn

Sinn Féin human rights and equality spokesperson Caitríona
Ruane and Lisburn councillor Paul Butler led a protest at
the council offices - the first to be held under the
party's anti-discrimination campaign.

Ms Ruane claimed the council's record of discrimination was
shameful. "We will bring our campaign to smash
discrimination to the streets and to the door of those who
discriminate - wherever they are," she said.

"Sinn Féin will confront, expose and challenge
discrimination wherever it exists. "This protest is just
another part of that campaign. Lisburn is under the
spotlight. We will not let Lisburn Council off the hook.

Mr Butler alleged Lisburn council had failed to deal with
discrimination over the allocation of council positions,
the Irish language, the provision of play spaces, rights
under civil partnership legislation and flags and emblems.

Sinn Féin has said it would mount protests at other
councils, government departments and agencies like the
Northern Ireland Office and Invest Northern Ireland .

© The Irish Times/


Immigrants Take Action

City Limits WEEKLY
Week of: March 7, 2006
Number: 525

New York advocates iron out differences and rally around
McCain/Kennedy bill. > K. Angelova

New York’s immigrant groups are putting aside their
differences to push for the McCain/Kennedy bill, which
offers undocumented workers paths to permanent residency,
and will be discussed at Judiciary Committee hearings on
immigration later this month. “Working only within your own
community is not enough,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive
director of the New York Immigration Coalition. Although
language and cultural barriers often prevent different
ethnic groups from working together, Hong said, most
immigrants care deeply about the same issues: education,
healthcare, work and travel. Yet Irish immigrants, who have
taken the lead on the bill so far, have an advantage over
many other groups. “The Irish have political and historical
ties with many politicians, especially with Senator
McCain,” said Hong. “They can do targeted lobbying on their
own.” Some say the Irish get special treatment. On February
17, Senator Charles Schumer spoke at an Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform (ILIR) event, prompting a minor backlash
first reported by the New York Sun. “Many immigrants,
especially those of color, were slighted by Schumer’s
appearance at the Irish meeting," said Monami Maulik, a
leader at Immigrant Communities in Action, an advocacy
group. "Politicians should show the same level of
commitment to all groups.” Still, there are also new
alliances being drawn. Immigrant groups are working with
religious and business organizations such as Catholic
Charities and UNITE to raise concerns about illegal aliens.
Hong said ILIR was recently asked to join her coalition.
ILIR Vice-Chair Kiernan Staunton said he didn't know the
status of that request. But “as long as everybody is
working for the passage of the Kennedy/McCain bill," he
said, "we are on the same page." (K. Angelova) [3/7/06]


Facing The Truth

Tommy McKearney

Twenty-five years after Bobby Sands began a hunger strike
that demonstrated the political roots and character of the
Northern Irish conflict, the BBC is still peddling a
distorted version of the facts. Using the inappropriate
title Facing the Truth, BBC2 began broadcasting a three-
part series last Saturday night that brought together what
the programme makers described as “victims and killers”.

Had the programme makers used the terms “combatants” and
“civilian casualties”, we might have queried the show’s
artistic merit but not its subliminal political message.
Using words such as “killers”, “perpetrators” and “victims”
conveyed a value judgment about the nature of the conflict
here that the programme makers would not dare use if
describing the current conflict in Iraq.

Facing the Truth is being promoted and broadcast across the
BBC’s UK network. Local viewers shouldn’t be alarmed,
though, if they missed BBC2’s trilogy. Later this week, the
locally broadcast Spotlight will continue with a further
batch of programmes in a similar vein.

So, while republican Ireland is commemorating events that
foiled British government attempts to define the Irish
conflict as an incomprehensible feud between warring
tribes, the Beeb is endeavouring to perpetuate this
damaging piece of disinformation. Readers can decide
whether this is coincidence or conspiracy.

We may complain about the programme’s insinuations, as the
small cross-community group Healing Through Remembering did
but to little avail. The difficulty is that, while the
British government allows us to change elected
representatives occasionally, we are stuck with the state’s
appointed broadcasters.

In a mass-media age, democratic access to the airwaves is
next only to the electoral franchise. Contrast the
establishment’s broadcasting institutions on this island to
the refreshing contribution made to public discourse by the
website broadcaster Indymedia. Democratic almost to a
fault, Indymedia allows the public to place material on its
pages with minimum restrictions on content. The venture is
not without its difficulties, chief of which is that it is

The call for equal access to the media should be a central
demand of every radical democrat. It is long past the time
that establishment broadcasting should be made to face the

Tommy McKearney is a former member of the IRA and now works
as an organiser for the Independent Workers Union.


Omagh: The Questions That MI5 Has Still To Answer

For almost eight years, MI5 kept intelligence about Omagh
to itself. Before the agency takes over as the senior
spying organisation in Ulster, it may have to explain why

07 March 2006
By Chris Thornton
Of our Special Investigation Team

For almost eight years, MI5 kept intelligence about the
1998 Real IRA atrocity to itself. Before the agency takes
over as the senior spying organisation in Ulster, it may
have to explain why

Michael Gallagher can picture the scene, days after the
Omagh bomb claimed the life of his son, Aidan, and 29
others, including a woman pregnant with twins. "Prince
Charles was walking down the street through the rubble, as
well as the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and all
these other people," Mr Gallagher said in his soft,
insistent way.

"At the same time people in MI5 would have sat like the
rest of us watching it but didn't have the presence of mind
to tell the senior investigating officer what they knew.
What happened?"

It's a question that will not be answered easily. Nor is it
the only question awaiting an explanation about MI5's
previously undisclosed link to the intelligence failures
before and after Omagh. With the agency due to take over
intelligence primacy in Northern Ireland next year, the
Government will be asking what the effects will be on that
important transition.

Sir Hugh Orde indicated to the Policing Board last week
that information withheld by MI5 - concerning a possible
plot to bomb Omagh - did not handicap the bombing
investigation. Mr Gallagher and some of the other Omagh
relatives are not reassured: they feel that call would have
been better made when the investigation was fresh, not
nearly eight years later.

Others scrutinising the intelligence transition have their
concerns. They note that MI5 failed to pass on the
information to the police when the RUC was nominally in
charge of intelligence gathering, and wonder what will
happen when MI5 is in charge. "If that's what happened
under police primacy, it's going to be worse when police
don't' have primacy," said Alex Attwood, an SDLP member of
the Policing Board.

It has now been 13 days since Sam Kinkaid, the outgoing
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, told the Omagh families
that detectives had discovered a potentially crucial scrap
of information that had been passed to MI5 four months
before the bombing, but never reached the RUC.

The information was discovered when Detective
Superintendent Norman Baxter, the man currently in charge
of the Omagh investigation, recently travelled to America
to find out what David Rupert knows.

Rupert, the 6ft 5ins American truck driver who infiltrated
dissident republicans for the FBI, knows a lot about the
people who bombed Omagh. He spent months in the company of
Real IRA and Continuity IRA members, and his evidence sent
Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt to jail in the Republic.

Although an FBI operative, Rupert's adventures in Ireland
were handled in part by MI5. He communicated with the
British agency by email and among the information retained
by the FBI, Superintendent Baxter found the possible Omagh
warning. In April, 1998, four months before the bombing,
Rupert had warned MI5 of a plot to bomb "Derry or Omagh"
with a Vauxhall Cavalier car. The particular plot he
referred to was foiled.

The Cavalier was significant because it was the model of
car later used in the attack - a model apparently preferred
by dissident bombmakers because the suspension could be
modified to disguise the weight of the load it was

Last week, Sir Hugh Orde was asked to address the issues in
front of the Policing Board. He said he was constrained
about what he could say, because Jonesborough man Sean Hoey
(36), is still awaiting trial for the bombing.

He did not comment in detail about how the intelligence
could have been acted upon before the bombing, although he
noted that with hindsight it is easier to see significant
details like the type of car and potential target town than
it is in advance, when hundreds of pieces of information
are being assessed and little is known for certain.

He made one point forcefully. "It's the view of the senior
investigating officer - who I spoke to only two hours ago -
that the Security Services did not withhold intelligence
that was relevant or would have progressed the Omagh
inquiry," he said

Sir Hugh did not say nothing was withheld, although it was
subsequently reported that he had. Information was
withheld, but Sir Hugh argued that it was not relevant to
the investigation. The people Rupert warned about, he said,
had been involved in a different dissident IRA cell from
the one that bombed Omagh.

But Sir Hugh's answer begged further questions. Why, for
example, if the material was not relevant, had four senior
PSNI officers met the Omagh families to brief them about
it? And in 1998, shouldn't it have been the detective in
charge of the investigation - not MI5 - who decided how
relevant the warning was?

A crucial point is that the evidence was not passed for
years afterwards, despite ample opportunities to do so.

The RUC reviewed the Omagh investigation and was not told.
A Policing Board review was not told, in spite of a request
to MI5. Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been aware of
Rupert's alert for several years, but will not say whether
she found out from MI5 or the Garda, who got access to the
FBI emails before McKevitt's trial.

"The point is the police didn't have sight of it," said Mr
Attwood. "If that's what happened under police primacy,
it's going to be worse when police don't' have primacy.

"That situation is going to be compounded when MI5 is
handed primacy.

"How can police be confident that in the new order they
will see everything?"

MI5 is keeping mum. The Home Office and NIO have repeatedly
declined requests from this newspaper to talk to MI5 about
the intelligence transition.

The Omagh families have asked to meet Eliza Manningham-
Buller, the director general of MI5, as well as Sir Hugh,
about the consequences of the Rupert information.

The Omagh relatives have become a powerful lobby group.
They won unprecedented funding from the Government for a
civil case against suspected bombers, and they became the
ultimate arbiter in the dispute between the Ombudsman and
Sir Ronnie Flanagan. They may be difficult for MI5 to


PMs Attempt To Find NI Route Map

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are to
meet in London for a further round of talks on the stalled
NI political process.

The talks are aimed at finding a route map out of the
political deadlock as nationalists demand the government
recall the assembly this spring.

Talks due for Stormont on Wednesday, involving the two
governments and local parties, have been postponed.

Government officials said this was because of logistical

However, 8 March was the date set by the secretary of state
for agreement on rule changes to any future assembly.

Wednesday's meeting in Downing Street is not expected to
yield a joint press conference or any definitive policy
statement from Mr Blair and Mr Ahern, with the focus
already shifting to next week's St Patrick's Day events in

Sinn Fein want the governments to set a deadline for the
DUP to get into an assembly with nationalists before the

'Certain arbitrary date'

However, Nigel Dodds of the DUP called on Mr Blair to "face
Sinn Fein down" and go for devolution without an executive.

Speaking ahead of the talks, he said: "Our message to Tony
Blair is clear - further procrastination will achieve

"Get on with the job of creating the maximum amount of
devolution which is possible in the circumstances and
clearly that does not include executive-style devolution.

"Recognise also that we will accept no kind of time-limited
option which demands a move to executive style government
at a certain arbitrary date."

On Tuesday, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams urged the
British and Irish governments to recall the assembly and
have ministers elected by April.

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

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/08 01:19:16 GMT


Orde Says Shoukri Should Be Returned To Jail

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde today said he wanted
Ihadb Shoukri returned to jail because he had breached the
terms of his bail by consorting with paramilitary figures.

Sir Hugh said his officers had gone to court today to apply
to have Mr Shoukri's bail revoked because the terms of his
freedom had been gradually watered down by the courts
against police wishes.

He said when Mr Shoukri, brother of UDA leader Andre, was
first granted bail he was on a 7pm to 7am curfew, barred
from entering Belfast and barred from mixing with known

Mr Shoukri was among 11 people arrested last week after a
raid on a bar near his home in north Belfast. Police allege
those arrested were planning a loyalist show of strength.

Counsel for the Crown at Laganside Magistrates Court today
said the defendant was not dressed in the paramilitary gear
worn by some of the others but insisted police regarded him
as a senior UDA member who was part of the meeting.

Mr Shoukri escaped arrest 18 month ago for being found in
Belfast despite being banned by his bail conditions from
the city.

Due to legal proceedings against a number of men arrested
in the Alexander Bar, Sir Hugh said he was constrained in
what he could say about the policing operation.

But he said: "This was a major operation, we were not
visiting some teddy bear's picnic. Eleven people were
charged with serious terrorist offences, and a further six
or seven reported to the Crown Prosecution Service."

© The Irish Times/


Top US Official Denies 'Torture'

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has defended the
treatment of terrorism suspects held at the US military
base at Guantanamo Bay.

Speaking on a visit to the UK, Mr Gonzales denied prisoners
at the camp in Cuba had been tortured.

He told the BBC that of thousands of allegations of
mistreatment, only five had been found to be genuine.

He also denied the US had used airports in Europe to
transfer prisoners to countries where they would be

Last month a UN report called for the prison camp at
Guantanamo Bay to be closed immediately, saying prisoners
had no access to justice and were subjected to treatment
that amounted to torture.

Mr Gonzales said his message to critics was "we hear what
you're saying".

"We are aware of your concerns, we are here to communicate
exactly what's going on in Guantanamo," he said.

"If there are alternatives, we are always willing to look
at that."

'Interests of America'

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Gonzales said the
detention camp was necessary in the interests of America
and was consistent with the provisions of the Geneva
Convention, which deals with the treatment of prisoners of

He would not say whether the US government planned to close
the camp.

"We have been and continue to reassess all of our
activities in the war on terrorism to ensure they are in
fact effective and to ensure they are in fact lawful," Mr
Gonzales said.

The attorney general said only five cases of torture had
been verified at Guantanamo Bay.

He acknowledged some people had a different interpretation
of what constituted torture.

"There is a disagreement about what constitutes cruel,
inhumane or degrading treatment. The notion that you can't
embarrass or insult someone, I would question if that makes
sense today," he said.

Mr Gonzales also said the relevance of some provisions of
the Geneva Convention were questionable in respect to "this
new kind of war, against this new kind of enemy".

"I'm not talking about the basic provision of human dignity
- I'm talking about provisions that say you have to provide
these detainees with commissary privileges, a monthly
allowance - I think the average British citizen would say
that sounds rather strange."

UK airspace

Mr Gonzales said the US respected the sovereignty of every
European country when asked if rendition flights had moved
through UK airspace or UK airports without the government's

The UK government has said there have been no requests for
such flights since 11 September 2001.

"We do not render individuals where we believe it's more
likely than not that they will be tortured," Mr Gonzales

Mr Gonzales also said he wanted to see the UK-US
extradition treaty ratified as soon as possible.

The UK government is unhappy their parliament has ratified
the treaty, but the US Senate still has not - which makes
extradition easier for prosecutors in the US than in the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/07 16:36:56 GMT


Gerry Adams In Dublin On Wednesday To Launch Easter Lily

Published: 7 March, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be in Dublin
tomorrow (Wednesday 8th) to launch the annual Easter Lily
campaign. Mr. Adams will be accompanied by Aengus Ó
Snodaigh TD, Caitríona Ruane MLA and Sorcha Nic Chormaic
from Dublin South. The event is being launched on
International Womens Day to honour the women of Cumann na
mBan who first introduced the lily and to celebrate the
activism of women who are involved in political activity in
communities across Ireland.

Mr. Adams will use the launch as a platform to call on
women to join Sinn Fein in greater numbers and to work with
the party to deliver justice and equality on a local,
regional and national level as well as advancing the cause
of Irish reunification.

Mr. Adams will also set out the party's position in advance
of the planned talks between the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and
the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London tomorrow.

There will be a photo-op at the gates of St. Stephens Green
(Grafton Street) at 11.30am on Wednesday 8th.

Dublin Sinn Féin will be leafletting DART stations across
the city tomorrow morning as part of a countrywide
recruitment campaign for women to join the party.


IRA Veteran To Stand Trial For Kidnapping

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — Brendan "Bik" McFarlane, a legendary
Irish Republican Army figure who oversaw the biggest prison
breakout in British history, should stand trial for
kidnapping, the Irish Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling reopened memories of one of the bloodiest IRA
acts in the Irish Republic: the 1983 kidnapping of
supermarket baron Don Tidey, when the outlawed group shot
dead a police officer and soldier the moment the
kidnappers' hideaway was found.

McFarlane, a confidante of Sinn Fein party chief Gerry
Adams, was arrested in the Irish Republic in 1998 and was
charged with the false imprisonment of Tidey and possessing
a firearm with intent to endanger life.

But McFarlane has been free on bail since then, while his
legal team fought a protracted battle with state
prosecutors. In 2003, Ireland's second-highest court ruled
that McFarlane could not receive a fair trial because
police had lost three evidence exhibits from the
kidnappers' hideaway _ a cooking pot, a milk carton and a
plastic container _ that allegedly had McFarlane's
fingerprints on them.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned that verdict in a
4-1 ruling that should allow the case against McFarlane to
begin later this year.

Justice Adrian Hardiman, reading the verdict, said police
had retained sufficient photographic and forensic evidence
from the three objects for the case to proceed.

He said McFarlane's lawyers had failed to demonstrate "that
any additional advantage might have accrued to the
defendant on the basis of a comparison with the actual mark
made on the item as opposed to photographs of them."

Hardiman chided Ireland's police for what he called "an
unfortunate inability to keep track of evidence," and cited
embarrassing examples from other high-profile cases when
detectives lost key documents and forensic clues.

In November 1983, an IRA unit disguised as police officers
seized Tidey. They held him for more than three weeks,
demanding the equivalent of $7.5 million in ransom. A joint
Irish police and army search found the kidnappers'
hideaway, freeing Tidey.

But the IRA kidnappers killed a police officer and a
soldier as they escaped _ an exceptional event, because the
IRA had a policy of not attacking security force members in
the Republic of Ireland.

McFarlane received five life sentences in 1976 for his role
in a gun-and-grenade attack on a Protestant pub in Belfast
that killed three men, a woman and a 17-year-old girl.

He became "officer commanding" IRA men inside Northern
Ireland's Maze prison during the group's 1981 hunger
strike, which left 10 inmates dead. His secret, smuggled
communications with Sinn Fein's Adams outside the prison
formed a major part of the IRA narrative of that threshold

In September 1983, McFarlane oversaw the biggest escape in
British penal history when 38 IRA members, including
himself, overpowered guards and shot their way out of the
Maze. He was arrested in Amsterdam in 1986 and extradited
to Northern Ireland, then became one of the first IRA men
to walk free from the Maze following the 1998 Good Friday
peace accord. Police in the neighboring Irish Republic
immediately re-arrested him, citing the fingerprint
evidence from the Tidey kidnapping.


Sinn Féin Faces Criminal Claims

By Jarlath Kearney

Democratic Unionist Party assembly member Norah Beare has
described Sinn Féin as “the only major party which is still
involved in terrorism and criminality”.

The Lagan Valley member, who is a close colleague of senior
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, said “outstanding issues of IRA
criminality” were blocking progress.

“The only way out of the current impasse is to finally make
it clear to republicans that they have to deal with the
outstanding issues of IRA criminality or everyone else will
move on without them,” Ms Beare said.

“In his conference speech a few weeks ago, Gerry Adams
outlined five priorities for Sinn Féin, one of which was
for republicans to reach out to increase its understanding
of unionism and develop a stronger relationship with it.

“Yet in the same speech, Gerry Adams included Brit-bashing
references to the Easter Rising and the hunger strikers,
praised the ‘courage of IRA volunteers’ and proclaimed that
‘the IRA has removed itself from the scene’.

“All those things only serve to further alienate unionists
and this again demonstrates that republicans want
everything on their own terms,” the DUP assembly member

“How different it could be if republicans were to divert
their energy towards securing a final and verifiable end to
IRA criminality and genuinely embrace democracy,” Ms Beare

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness called for “an
end to DUP efforts to stop the equality agenda at the heart
of the Good Friday Agreement”.

“The key to all of this, of course, is political leadership
from all parties, including the DUP. Republicans have shown
by example the need for engagement across society.

“But it is time that the DUP stopped sending mixed signals.
They need to stop their messing about and engage in the
political and peace process,” the Mid-Ulster MP said.

SDLP senior negotiator Seán Farren called on the DUP not to
interfere with the progress and potential of North-South

“The growing significance of the North-South agenda is to
be seen on a daily basis. North-South trade continues to

“An all-island energy market is being put in place.

“North-South co-operation is intensifying in health, in
education, in research, in environmental protection, in
agriculture, in culture and the arts.

“Above all, an all-island approach to infrastructural
development is now becoming a high priority.

“It would be economic as well as political madness not to
include strong provisions for expanding and developing the
North-South agenda within the context of restored

“Any move to restore institutions to be signalled in the
near future must make this a central objective.

“DUP proposals that such provisions should await a lengthy
review would only delay the benefits that can flow from a
strategic approach set by restored institutions to North-
South planning,” Mr Farren said.


Family Of Murdered Man’s Visit To Bush Unconfirmed

by David Lynch

There is no official confirmation yet that the family of
the murdered Dublin man Joseph Rafferty will be guests of
US president George Bush in the White House on St Patrick’s

Despite reports that Joseph Rafferty’s relatives would be
guests, family friend and Fianna Fáil councillor Garry
Keegan told Daily Ireland that this had “yet to be

Mr Keegan accompanied the Rafferty family on a trip to the
United States last month. He said neither he nor the family
had immediate plans to try to freeze “Sinn Féin’s US

There had been reports from the US last month that Mr
Keegan had sought a legal avenue to freeze the party’s
assets there. However, Mr Keegan indicated to Daily Ireland
yesterday that this was no longer on the agenda.

“There are no real moves yet, to be honest. It is not the
intention of the family to pursue that at the moment,” he

The family say Joseph Rafferty was shot dead by a former
member of the IRA.

On last month’s trip to the US, the family held meetings
with prominent US politicians, including senators Hillary
Clinton and John McCain.

Mr Keegan said: “We got a good response and we called on
people to help put pressure on the Sinn Féin leadership on
this matter.”

The Independent Monitoring Commission has said only that a
member or former member of the IRA “may” have been involved
in the killing of Joseph Rafferty in Dublin in April last

Justice minister Michael McDowell said last September that
the Garda Síochána did not believe the IRA had been
involved. “It is important for me to acknowledge, however,
that it is, at this point at least, the professional
assessment of the Garda authorities that the killing of
Joseph Rafferty was not an operation sanctioned by the
Provisional IRA and that it was carried out without the
tacit approval of the Provisional IRA,” he told the Dáil.

Mr Keegan said yesterday that he and the family still
maintained that someone “closely associated with the IRA
and Sinn Féin” had killed Joseph Rafferty.


Irish Actor Refused US Entry For Oscar Ceremony

By Connla Young

An Irish actor who starred in an Oscar-winning film spoke
last night of the moment when he was refused entry to the
United States to attend the ceremony.

US customs officials turned back Dublin actor Ruaidhrí
Conroy as he was travelling to Hollywood. The actor then
missed the celebrations that took place after the Irish
film Six Shooter picked up the best short film award at
Sunday’s showpiece event.

The US authorities turned back Mr Conroy because he
outstayed his visa on a visit to the United States in the

The Dubliner starred in the film alongside award-winning
Irish actor Brendan Gleeson in playwright Martin McDonagh’s
debut film.

The devastated actor last night told Daily Ireland of his
disappointment at missing out on the Oscar celebrations.

“It was a few days ago, and I’m over for it now but it was
awful at the time.

“Nine years ago, I was doing a play there, and I didn’t
have the right visa inside my passport,” he said.

“It’s a pity I couldn’t get to the ceremony. I would have
liked to have been there but it’s not the end of the

Now out of work, the actor said he was delighted with the
success of the film.

The black comedy was written and directed by Martin

John McDonnell, co-producer of Six Shooter, spoke of his
delight at the award.

“It is absolutely fantastic. We are absolutely delighted.
It’s terrific for Irish cinema and for Martin and everyone

“It wasn’t a gamble at all because the script was so
fantastic that there was no risk whatsoever.

“It was possibly the best script I have ever read. It leapt
off the page. What we needed to do was a good job on a
terrific script,” he said.

The film has been shown twice on RTÉ. It is to be aired on
Channel 4 tomorrow.


Opin: Forgiveness Doesn't Mean You Have To Love Your
Husband's Killer

In Northern Ireland and South Africa, justice has been
sacrificed for peace, but to forgo revenge is a painful and
admirable act

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday March 8, 2006
The Guardian

Tears, especially male ones, are becoming a frequent sight
on British television. In the past week alone, several of
the ambitious, thrusting men competing to be Alan Sugar's
apprentice on BBC2 cracked under the stress and started
welling up. Meanwhile, minor celebrities, worn down by the
strain of singing pop duets for Just the Two of Us,
similarly shooed away the camera, lest it discover them

Yet the men on another BBC programme remained steadfastly
free of tears. In Facing the Truth, victims and
perpetrators of violence in Northern Ireland met each other
under the gentle gaze of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They told
and heard stories to break the heart, and sometimes their
eyes grew moist, but these men did not cry.

These remarkable films, shown over three successive nights,
prompted a whole range of thoughts. First, they were a
reminder of the sheer strangeness of the Troubles. Citizens
of this country recalled their campaigns to kill each
other; how they saw themselves and their targets as
"soldiers", how they studied files, drawn up by self-styled
"intelligence officers", telling them how to track down and
murder their quarry. How they did this while pretending to
live ordinary lives. Michael Stone, notorious for his 1988
killing spree at Milltown cemetery, used to rub dirt and
sand into his clothes so that his wife would think he was a
builder. One of his targets drove a Mother's Pride delivery
van. Few described it this way at the time, but these
programmes left little doubt: on the streets of the United
Kingdom, there was a civil war.

Facing the Truth prompted a question: why has Northern
Ireland not had its own truth and reconciliation
commission, analogous to the one Archbishop Tutu chaired in
South Africa? Why had it been left to television, to the
BBC, to organise one? Watching, it became clear the
province needs such a process: there is no shortage of pain
or people yearning to bear witness.

But the programmes asked a larger question. For what was
noticeable in several of the filmed encounters was a
subtle, unstated pressure - not on the culprits to show
contrition, but on the victims. Those who had lost limbs or
loved ones were under pressure - to forgive.

Carefully and sensitively, the grieving relatives were led
to a climax: how would they close the meeting? Would they
be able to reach out and shake the hand of those who had
wrought such havoc? There was something uncomfortable about
this, for it is part of a larger pressure, not confined to
this TV series, which demands that those who have suffered
most must also be the most generous.

Which is why I feel for the Rev Julie Nicholson, the vicar
who has quit her Bristol pulpit because she can no longer
preach forgiveness - not after her daughter, Jenny, was
killed in the July 7 bombings last year. As a Christian,
Nicholson clearly felt under enormous pressure to say she
could forgive Mohammed Sidique Khan, who had blown up
himself and six others at Edgware Road station. But she
could not do it.

And now I wonder why we ask such a thing of those who have
been bereaved so cruelly. Of course, there are people who
are able, somehow, to meet this challenge. The mother of
Anthony Walker, the Liverpool teenager murdered by racist
thugs wielding an ice axe, somehow emerged from the trial
of her son's killers to declare: "I have got to forgive
them. I still forgive them." Last year the mother of
Abigail Witchells, stabbed in front of her toddler child,
spoke of her "enormous sadness" on hearing of the suicide
of her daughter's presumed attacker. She said his death was
the "real tragedy of the story" - and that she had forgiven

I confess to being both in awe of and baffled by the
compassion of such people. Of course, none of us can know
how we would respond to so desperate a plight, but I
struggle to understand how you could forgive the killer, or
attempted killer, of your own child. I do not know how it
would be possible to hold anything in your heart but rage
and pain.

There are philosophical objections one could muster too.
Surely the only person who can forgive a crime is its
direct victim: Anthony Walker has the authority to forgive
his killers - but he is not here. For believers, I have
sympathy with those who say that if forgiveness is in the
hands of anybody it is, like judgment, in the hands of God

But these are not the prevailing or even popular
assumptions. Instead, we exalt those who can forgive and
regard those who cannot as guilty of a kind of moral
weakness. We demand that those who have been brought low
reach highest.

There might be a way through this - and it would begin with
an attempt to define our terms. Forgiveness has entered
casual parlance as a psychological term, shorthand for
"moving on", for no longer holding a grudge, even for
feelings of equanimity or empathy towards the person who
hurt you.

"If it is that, it can't be done," says Giles Fraser, vicar
of Putney and author of Christianity and Violence. He
dismisses the idea of "loving" the man who has harmed you
or your family as "morally perverse, even if I understood
what it meant. How could feelings of anger and loss coexist
with that love?" That definition of forgiveness, the one we
seem to demand from those who have suffered most, is little
more than "cheap Christian rhetoric".

No, forgiveness should be a much more realistic, pragmatic
business. In Fraser's eyes, to forgive someone is merely to
vow that you will not respond to their crime in kind. If
they have killed, you will not kill back: you will choose
instead to end the cycle of violence. On this definition,
forgiveness is the literal opposite of revenge.

This is a move that is much easier to imagine. Sylvia
Hackett, whose husband Dermot was murdered by loyalist
paramilitaries, has clearly moved beyond wanting to do to
Michael Stone what he and his comrades did to her. But on
Monday night's programme she seemed to feel that was not
enough; she forced herself to walk over to Stone and shake
his hand. When he placed a second hand on hers, she
recoiled and fled from the room. It was too much. She may
not have wanted to kill Stone, but nor did she want to be
his friend. Yet our present day notions of forgiveness
confuse the two.

Not that the eschewing of revenge should be considered
something small: it is not forgiveness lite. In most
circumstances, we can give up our right to seek direct
vengeance in favour of justice: we may not kill the
killers, but at least we will see them behind bars. But in
some places - Northern Ireland and South Africa among them
- there is not even that comfort. Justice has been
sacrificed in the pursuit of peace. That is why Michael
Stone, originally sentenced to 684 years in jail, is now a
free man, released under the Good Friday agreement.

So we should alter what we mean by forgiveness. It is not a
syrupy inscription in a greetings card; it is a painful,
practical step taken by those who want to end the killing.
It is not some impossible ideal: it is, properly defined,
achievable - and no less admirable for that.


Opin: DUP Must Do More To Lead Troubled People

By Susan McKay

Unionists are busy insisting we remember the sacrifice made
by Protestants in the security forces who were murdered by
the IRA during the Troubles. Republicans are busy insisting
we remember the sacrifice made by the IRA men who died
during the 1981 Hunger Strike. Political talks flounder.
Prime ministerial visits are deemed futile and are called
off. Speeches and deadlines for progress are abandoned. The
past clamours. The future is on hold. Meanwhile, now, in
March 2006 in north Belfast, a UDA gunman puts a pistol to
the back of a Catholic taxi driver’s head.

Thankfully, the victim was not killed. But the appalling
attack was followed by a threat of more to come. It looked
for a recent while as though the loyalist paramilitaries
might be approaching a decision to disarm, though
everything about it was vague and contradictory. But they
seemed to feel under pressure, not least from the Assets
Recovery Agency.

Enter the Reverend Ian Paisley to say of the claim by the
Independent Monitoring Commission that the IRA might have
failed to hand over all its guns: “They should tell the
people what they know so that the people can be forearmed
to meet what is going to happen because those arms are
going to be used against the Protestant population of
Northern Ireland.”

Mark Durkan described these remarks, made just weeks ago,
as “disgraceful, reckless and inflammatory” and accused
Paisley of deliberately stoking the flames of sectarian
hatred. The SDLP leader was right. To armed loyalists
claiming to be the defenders of Protestants against the
IRA, the DUP leader’s words must translate: “Hold on to the
guns, boys.” Just like his warning about “the spark which
kindles the fire there will be no putting out” before the
Whiterock riots. Or Paisley junior’s that there’d be
trouble in Ballymena if a republican parade was allowed.

There was already trouble in the Paisley heartland and it
escalated. Catholic and mixed-religion families were
subjected to sustained intimidation including death threats
and petrol bombings.

There were sectarian attacks on churches, businesses and
schools. Few arrests were made and the courts have been
dismayingly lenient to those who have faced charges. In
January this year, one man was given a suspended sentence
and last week another got the same. These were not petty

People were traumatised. Families had to leave homes they’d
lived in for many years. Two loyalists who stopped cars at
gunpoint in the area were initially given suspended
sentences but the Court of Appeal subsequently, and with
justice, sent them to prison.

Last weekend’s murder bid came within 24 hours of the
PSNI’s raid on a north Belfast bar in which a UDA ‘show of
strength’ was to take place. (Some of those present were
said to be in ‘battle dress’, though such attire is not
really required when you go out to do battle with a taxi
driver.) Those arrested included Ihab Shoukri, who was
already facing charges relating to paramilitary activities.
He had been given bail, had been caught breaching its terms
but had not been remanded. Once again, despite clearly and
indeed ostentatiously breaching his bail terms this
weekend, Shoukri has been bailed. On the previous occasion
a prosecuting barrister told the judge there were “certain
things I am not at liberty to go into at the moment”.

The police had, it seems, been tipped off about what was to
happen in the pub. There have been new and troubling
disclosures in recent weeks about loyalist informers. It
has emerged that one of the Greysteel and Castlerock
murderers was in the pay of MI5 and that the UDA guns used
were protected by state agents.

It has been claimed that John White, close ally of Johnny
‘Mad Dog’ Adair, formerly a leading figure in the Ulster
Democratic Party and before that a UDA killer, was a
Special Branch agent.

The chief constable has said more than once that the
protection of agents must not impede the investigation of

We need to know a lot more about what the authorities
currently know about the UDA, and even more importantly,
what they are doing about it.

The DUP must do more than condemning individual attacks, it
must unambiguously demand that loyalists immediately
decommission their arms and admit their war is over.

It must show itself willing to lead its troubled people
into government. These are dangerous times. Let there be no
more deaths to haunt our future.


National Museum Gets Original Copy Of 1916 Proclamation

07/03/2006 - 14:25:01

The National Museum of Ireland has announced it has
acquired an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation of

The family of Mr Joseph McCrossan, who worked for many
years as librarian in the Oireachtas, have donated the

Speaking at the announcement, the Minister for Arts, Sport
and Tourism, John O'Donoghue said: "I am very pleased that
the National Museum of Ireland has acquired this valuable
document. It will help interpret, in a very real way, the
new 1916 exhibition being built by the museum."

"We are deeply honoured to be presented with this document,
which represents one of the most important historical
documents in modern Irish history," Dr Wallace, Director of
The National Museum said.

"We are extremely grateful to the McCrossan family for
their co-operation in making this significant document
available to the National Museum and to the State"

Research has proven it difficult to state how many
Proclamations survived the Easter Rising but they are of
great rarity.

In recent years, some copies surfaced from private
collections but were subsequently sold for large sums of

This copy donated to the National Museum has been examined
in great detail and there is no reason to doubt its

Michael Kenny, Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland
confirmed: "It is in good condition and comes with a good

"The proclamation was picked up in O’Connell street in 1916
by Mary McCrossan, the paternal grandmother of the
McCrossans, who hid the document in the lining of her hat
to protect it."


Bobby Sands Book Launch - Dublin

Dublin Miscellaneous Event Notice Wednesday March 08,
2006 01:44 By Sinéad Ní Bhroin Sineadnibhroin@Eircom.Net
087 9266764

You are warmly invited to the launch of a new book BOBBY
SANDS, Nothing but an Unfinished Song by Denis O'Hearn on
Friday 10th March, Padraig Pearse Centre, 7pm, Pearse
Street, Dublin.

The event is being hosted by Left Republican, which has
recently relaunched its magazine (see details below). If
you subscribe to the magazine you receive this new book & a
2nd new publication at a reduced cost along with 6
sequential bi-monthly magazines. To find out more about
Left Republican Review or to subscribe go to

'Bobby Sands, as this magnificent biography reminds us, was
a hero for the whole world and yet broad Belfast to the
core. We cried when he died, but he laughed in the face of
tyranny and taught us the deepest meaning of comradeship.'
Mike Davis

Hope to see you on Friday.

Left Republican is an independent political platform
bringing together left, republican, feminist and green
voices from across Ireland in a spirit of open debate and
dialogue. We aim to provide a space for all shades of
progressive opinion in Ireland and to provoke discussion on
political, economic, strategic and organisational issues.
We also aim to provide a platform for those forces and
voices from across the globe who are struggling for
independence, socialism, democracy and peace. Our motto is;
‘Those who have lost the ability to criticise themselves,
have lost any idea of who they are’ and in that light we
hope to create a space for open, free and constructive
criticism, the aim of which is to strengthen progressive
movements in Ireland and further the goals of Irish
independence, political and cultural equality and economic
and social justice. Left Republican believes that another
world is possible, based on freedom, empowerment and

Left Republican
253 Antrim Road
Belfast BT15 2GZ
Tel: +44 0 28 90 753072 / Email:


Fullerton Son Critical

By Eamonn Houston

The son of murdered Sinn Féin councillor Eddie Fullerton
was critically ill in hospital last night after a road
accident in Co Donegal.

Albert Fullerton was injured in a car crash on the road
between Drumkeen and Ballybofey, just outside Letterkenny.
No other vehicle was involved in the accident, which
happened at 7am yesterday.

He was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital, where he was
described as being in a critical condition in the
hospital’s intensive care unit.

Sinn Féin councillor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, a close friend,
said last night: “He is critically ill. We are all dearly
hoping that he will pull through.”

An Ulster Freedom Fighters gang shot dead Eddie Fullerton
in his Buncrana home in May 1991. Albert Fullerton has
campaigned for a full inquiry into his father’s death amid
allegations of collusion in the murder.

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