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April 02, 2006

SF: Decision Time For The Two Governments

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 04/02/06
Doherty - Decision Time For The Two Governments
BB 04/02/06 Paisley Plays Down Executive Plan
SL 04/02/06 Durkan: Hain Power Grab Is 'Undermining GFA'
UT 04/02/06 Rea Expected To Return As Policing Board Chairman
SL 04/02/06 Parades Body To Rule On March At Centre Of Court Battle
BN 04/02/06 Omagh Bomb Relatives Frustrated Over Prosecutions
SL 04/02/06 Alliance To Shatter Connolly Memorial Window Proposal
SL 04/02/06 Slain Cabbie's Family Make Cover-Up Claims
SL 04/02/06 PSNI In Justice Probe At Police Watchdog
SL 04/02/06 Five-Star Cellblocks
SL 04/02/06 Scap Approaches Collusion Probe
SL 04/02/06 Adams Faces Backlash After Slab Farm Raid
SL 04/02/06 I'll Buy Slab Farm
SL 04/02/06 Tensions Rise Over UDA 'Fine'
SL 04/02/06 Row Mounting Over Mournes Park Proposal
SL 04/02/06 Opin: A Day Of Reckoning For Ulster's Parties
BN 04/02/06 New Baby For Murder Campaign Family
SL 04/02/06 Dublin Pardon 'Impossible' For Executed WW1 Soldiers
RT 04/02/06 Ceremonies Mark John Paul II's Anniversary
RT 04/02/06 Boat In Sea Tragedy Not Licensed: Bahrain
SL 04/02/06 The Ulster Covenant Has Been Digitised


Doherty - Decision Time For The Two Governments

Published: 2 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty speaking this morning
said “It’s decision time for the two governments.” He said
“In the coming days the Irish and British governments are
due to set out their proposals for the restoration of the
political institutions. It is vital that these proposals
are guided by the principles at the heart of the Good
Friday Agreement and not by the insatiable demands of Ian

Mr Doherty said:

“This month marks the eight anniversary of the Good Friday
Agreement. It is nearly twelve years since the IRA called
its ceasefire and last year it formally ended its armed
campaign. Despite all of the progress that has been made,
the reality is that there is a deepening political crisis -
power-sharing institutions set up under the Good Friday
Agreement haven’t functioned for nearly three years and key
elements of the Agreement are at risk of vanishing

“Sinn Féin, the Irish and British governments and most
other political parties believe that the best way to end
this impasse is through the restoration of the Assembly,
the Executive and all-Ireland structures. The only party
preventing this from happening is the DUP.

“Once again this morning Ian Paisley set out the DUP's
position. It is clear that there has been no road to
Damascus conversion. The DUP remain as opposed to the Good
Friday Agreement as they were in 1998. They are opposed to
power-sharing political institutions. They are opposed to
key elements of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The difference now is that the governments seem intent on
allowing Ian Paisley to dictate their approach to the way
forward. This is deeply concerning to nationalists and
republicans throughout Ireland.

“Sinn Féin wants to see the political institutions
restored. We want to see an end to British day release
ministers making a mess of the economy and taking
disastrous decisions in relation to health, education,
farming and transport. But creating mickey mouse work for
a Shadow Assembly with no real powers is not the way
forward. It would be a costly, undemocratic farce.

“We believe that the suspension should be lifted and the
Assembly reconvened to elect a First and Deputy First
Minster and the appointment of Ministers. If this fails to
happen then the Assembly should be scrapped and the
salaries paid to the MLAs should be withdrawn. The
governments should then proceed with all of the outstanding
aspects of the Agreement.

“In the coming days the Irish and British governments are
due to set out their proposals for the restoration of the
political institutions. It is vital that these proposals
are guided by the principles at the heart of the Good
Friday Agreement and not by the insatiable demands of Ian


Paisley Plays Down Executive Plan

DUP leader Ian Paisley has said it is nonsense to say the
NI executive will be formed before the summer.

This follows speculation the British and Irish prime
ministers will set a deadline for efforts to restore the
assembly later this week.

Political sources have told the BBC assembly members are to
be called to Stormont on 15 May for a six-week period to
try to form an executive.

Mr Paisley said the foundations for such decisions had not
been laid.

"I don't know what they're going to do, " he told the BBC's
Sunday Sequence programme.

"I have read the papers, I have read all the conflicting
reports from various politicians who think they know, and
to say that they're going to call the assembly together to
try to get an executive set up is absolutely nonsense.

"They can't do that, and it's not going to happen because
the foundation for such a decision is not even laid and the
foundation, of course, must be the end of terrorism."

Mr Paisley, whose party has suggested the formation of a
shadow assembly, is due to meet Tony Blair on Tuesday.

"I think we are not going to have an executive but why do
they not turn the assembly into a body that has power to
consider important matters?" he said.


However, SDLP leader Mark Durkan has said the DUP should
not have a veto over devolved institutions.

Speaking at the Irish Labour Party's annual conference in
Dublin on Saturday, Mr Durkan said: "The DUP have rights
under the agreement. They do not have rights over it."

He added: "I would love to be able to say that I see more
positive potential in the latest proposals from the two
governments than I currently do.

"The SDLP encourages them to be firmer and go further.

"We have to hope that what the taoiseach and prime minister
announce on Thursday will not just be the source of shadowy
assembly that would be right up the DUP's street because
that could only lead to a dead end."

Earlier this week, BBC Northern Ireland political editor
Mark Devenport said the assembly would break for summer
before being recalled in September for 12 weeks until the
end of November.

He also said the political parties have been told the
British and Irish governments are considering holding more
talks at a stately home during the summer recess to deal
with outstanding problems.

An emergency bill is expected to be put through Westminster
to change some of the Stormont rules.

News of the deadline followed a series of talks between the
Irish premier and some of Northern Ireland's political
parties in Dublin on Thursday.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/02 10:22:32 GMT

The Northern Ireland Assembly should be allowed to have its
say on key issues affecting the North even if a devolved
government cannot be formed, the Rev Ian Paisley insisted

“But why do they not turn the Assembly into a body that has
power to consider important matters and let the government
know what the elected representatives feel about these


Hain Power Grab Is 'Undermining GFA'

02 April 2006

NORTHERN Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has been accused of
trying to hand himself powers which could undermine the

Yesterday, SDLP leader Mark Durkan claimed there were plans
for new legislation which would enable Mr Hain to change
the way institutions under the Good Friday Agreement

He told the Irish Labour Party's annual conference in
Dublin: "Their proposals will involve new legislation.

"The British Government have some plans for that bill to
include powers for the Secretary of State to alter aspects
of the institutions and change working principles of the
Agreement by Order-in-Council.

"The Good Friday Agreement is not the property of the
British Government to chop and change at their own will or
the whim of those opposed to it."

The two governments are expected to recall the Assembly in
May to give it six weeks to form an executive. But if it
proves impossible, new legislation is expected to park the
Assembly through the marching season and recall Stormont in
September with new rules.


Rea Expected To Return As Policing Board Chairman

Sir Desmond Rea today looked set to return as chairman of
the new Northern Ireland Policing Board.

By:Press Association

With members due to meet to make the appointment next
Thursday, it also emerged that wealthy property developer
Barry Gilligan is a clear favourite to take over from Denis
Bradley as vice chairman.

Sources today said Pauline McCabe, another independent
member on the authority which holds Chief Constable Sir
Hugh Orde to account, could be his only challenger for the
number two job.

The 19-member board was reconstituted by Secretary of State
Peter Hain last month, with independent representatives
outnumbering politicians.

Although the shake-up led to Ulster Unionist claims that it
had become an unelected quango, no opposition to Sir
Desmond continuing as chairman for another four years has

He has signalled his willingness to serve again, and his
election appears guaranteed.

Mr Gilligan, a Belfast-based businessman who owns the old
Crumlin Road Courthouse, is also in a strong position to
take the vice-chairmanship.

Several members of the Board who have identified him as the
preferred choice are believed to have urged him to stand.

Mr Gilligan, who was also appointed by Mr Hain for a second
term, today refused to comment on whether he intended to go
for the position.

Ms McCabe, a self-employed training and business consultant
who lives in south Down, is also understood to have some

Crucially, however, internal opposition to her appointment
has been expressed.

Whoever takes the role is expected to adopt a different
style from Mr Bradley, the former priest who helped broker
secret peace talks between the British Government and IRA.

The new Board, which includes Dawn Purvis of the
Progressive Unionist Party and former Irish rugby
international Trevor Ringland, will meet for the first time
informally in Belfast on Tuesday at their Clarendon Dock

Then a two-day residential course in Limavady, County Derry
has been arranged for Thursday and Friday.

The Board will elect their chair and vice-chair on the
first day. Membership of the various committees will be
dealt with a day later.


Law and order

Parades Body To Rule On March At Centre Of Court Battle

Exclusive by Joe Oliver
02 April 2006

THE Parades Commission insisted last night that it would
deal "objectively" with an application for a controversial
Orange Order parade - in spite of spending thousands in
legal fees upholding a decision to ban it.

The newly installed seven-member Commission - including two
Portadown Orangemen - is expected to meet this week to
issue a determination on the traditional Easter Sunday
parade in Dunloy.

It has been banned for the past seven years, with police
preventing Orangemen marching along a bitterly contested
250-yard stretch of road from their hall to a nearby

The Order has been locked in a court battle with the
commission over the ban for almost two years.

The case is currently before the House of Lords, awaiting a
ruling concerning the discovery of documents.

The Order launched the action and has said that, if
necessary, it will pursue it all the way to the European
Court of Human Rights.

It is convinced that the parade ban in Dunloy was
orchestrated by a small group of Sinn Fein supporters in a
village that has never been known for sectarian divisions.

Said an Orange Order spokesman: "We feel there is no
justification for continuing to ban what is a traditional
church parade and believe it to be in breach of legislation
governing human rights.

"In this particular case, no one can understand why such a
parade in Dunloy by 24 elderly men is considered dangerous
to community relations.

"And we can only wonder how an unelected quango like the
commission can deal fairly with this year's application
when it is already spending taxpayers' money in the courts
to defend the banning order."

A spokesman for the commission would only say: "The
commission views all applications entirely objectively."

As Sunday Life revealed last month, there is now a major
push at Government level to finally resolve the issue of
contentious parades.

The initiative, which has the full backing of Tony Blair,
has already involved the Orange Order, community leaders
and senior NIO officials in a series of behind-closed-doors

The Order is also set to meet the SDLP for the first time
to discuss the parades issue and Secretary of State Peter
Hain is also expected to become involved.

It has been accepted by all sides that there can be no
repeat of the orgy of violence that erupted following last
September's banned Whiterock parade which cost an estimated


Omagh Bomb Relatives Frustrated Over Prosecutions

02/04/2006 - 10:38:09

Far more people should be charged with the Omagh bomb
outrage, victims claimed today.

On the eve of their first formal meeting with Northern
Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, relatives demanded
prosecutions on the same scale as in the London and Madrid

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among 29 murdered in
the dissident republican strike on Omagh, also revealed his
fears that the British and Irish governments may cut a deal
with the terrorists.

He said: “Will they do something with the Real IRA and then
find themselves in the embarrassing position of having to
release those responsible for the bombing?”

So far only south Armagh electrician Sean Hoey, 36, has
been charged with killing those caught up in the August
1998 blast. He is due to go on trial in September.

Mr Gallagher and other relatives will meet Sir Hugh and
Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter, the detective in charge
of the investigation, weeks after failing in their bid to
have talks with the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-

They wanted to meet her to discuss allegations that the
security service withheld intelligence months before the
bombing that either Omagh or Derry were to be possible

Dame Elizabeth told the families she had nothing to add to
Sir Hugh’s statement that no relevant intelligence which
could have progressed the inquiry was kept back.

But at PSNI headquarters in Belfast on Monday they are
expected to urge police to go after more suspects.

Their frustration has been intensified by the criminal
offensive against the Islamic militants who murdered 191
people in the March 2004 Madrid train bombings.

More than 100 people have been held in connection with the
attacks, with at least 20 still in custody.

Charges have also been brought against several men accused
of involvement in the London bomb plot weeks after 52
people died in the July 7 2005 suicide attacks on the
England capital.

“More people north and south of the border should be
charged with Omagh,” Mr Gallagher said.

“I don’t think there’s been the degree of co-operation
between the police forces which the families have been led
to believe, and that’s for political reasons.

“The greatest fear the families have is that both
Governments will come to an arrangement which legitimises
these terrorist crimes.

“The victims’ haven’t been listened to.”


Alliance To Shatter Connolly Memorial Window Proposal

02 April 2006

PLANS by Sinn Fein councillors in Belfast to honour
republican hero James Connolly seem doomed to failure.

The party wants to create a stained glass window in the
City Hall in memory of the controversial socialist figure
who was executed after the 1916 Easter Rising.

The issue has divided nationalists and unionists ahead of
tomorrow night's monthly council meeting.

But we can reveal that the Alliance Party - whose four
members hold the balance of power on the 51-strong council
- will vote AGAINST the proposed memorial.

Born in Dublin, Connolly lived in Scotland until 1910 when
he came to Belfast to work alongside trade union leader
James Larkin.

His role in the dock workers strike led to him becoming a
key figure in the Irish labour movement, going on to be a
founder of the Irish Labour Party.

In 1916 he moved to Dublin to lead the Irish Citizens Army
in the GPO during the rising.

After the insurgency was quashed, the wounded Connolly was
strapped to a chair to be executed.

Sinn Fein's Fra McCann said the erection of a memorial to
commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising was
an essential part of being a shared city.

"Belfast City Hall has been filled with the symbolism of
unionism and the British Army since it was opened," he

"There is little or no sign that nationalists make up half
of the population of this city.

"A stained glass window dedicated to Connolly would be a
sign that both traditions can be equally respected."

The DUP's Nelson McCausland vowed unionists would oppose
the motion, claiming: "1916 was directly responsible for
poisoning and polluting Irish political life for the past

The move to honour Connolly with a memorial was passed last
month by the council's policy and resources committee.

But committee member Mervyn Jones told Sunday Life last
night: "There was some confusion over that vote and we as a
party would not be supporting a memorial when it comes
before the full council on Monday."

He added: "I do not think a stained glass window in memory
of Connolly is appropriate, particularly as it is not the
100th anniversary of this event.

"My party would, I believe, support some form of
commemoration, perhaps a lecture and exhibition putting the
Easter Rising in its historical context, without any
political point scoring."


Slain Cabbie's Family Make Cover-Up Claims

By Ciaran McGuigan, Chief Reporter
02 April 2006

RELATIVES of a taxi driver gunned down outside a Co Tyrone
snooker club four years ago believe his killers are still
free because an informer is being protected.

And after learning that phone records that could have
provided crucial clues in the investigation into the
slaying of Barney McDonald have been destroyed, they fear
the killers may never be brought to justice.

The 52-year-old dad-of-eight was blasted to his death in
April 2002 as he arrived to pick up a fare outside a
snooker club in Donaghmore.

As he sat outside the club, two gunmen emerged from bushes
and fired four shotgun blasts into the car, killing him

A number of people have been arrested in connection with
the murder, but as the fourth anniversary approaches no one
has ever been charged.

Mr McDonald's brother-in-law Kieran O'Donnell believes that
the killers continue to escape justice to protect an

His suspicions were heightened recently when cops wrote to
him to tell him that the mobile phone records of a crucial
witness had been destroyed (though not by police) and were
no longer available to them.

Mr O'Donnell told Sunday Life: "Barney was shot that night
and died within half a second of the trigger being pulled,
but his family's worries were only just beginning.

"I have watched the family trying to cope with this and
that's continuing four years after.

"I just want these people to be caught and to go to jail
and do their time.

"The people who pulled the trigger were probably paid. It's
the people that have set it up, and then covered it up, who
have put us through hell."

"My main question is why kill Barney?

"He was of no political significance, killing him solved no
problem, no one could have benefitted and nothing was
gained. So why?

"This I do know: There are shadowy elements in the security
services who knew that night that Barney was getting
murdered. They have assisted in the people getting away."

He added:"After four years the police tell me now that the
mobile phone records (of a major witness) have been

"My first question at the time of the murder is as relevant
now as it was then -how was it that Barney ended up in
Donaghmore that night?

"Who was this mystery taxi fare that he arrived to

The investigation has already been probed by the Police
Ombudsman, who found that "no evidence that the police had
not conducted a proper and thorough investigation".

And the case is currently being investigated by the Serious
Crime Review Team.


PSNI In Justice Probe At Police Watchdog

Exclusive by Alan Murray
02 April 2006

DETECTIVES are probing allegations that employees in the
Police Ombudsman's office attempted to pervert the course
of justice.

Sunday Life understands that none of those under PSNI
investigation has been suspended from duty pending the
outcome of the inquiry.

One member of Nuala O'Loan's staff, who has been suspended
from duty, made the allegations following the trial last
year of PSNI officer Michael Coote who was acquitted of
attempted wounding.

Neither the PSNI nor the Ombudsman's office would confirm
the precise nature of the criminal investigation.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman office said it couldn't make
any detailed comment on the PSNI investigation.

But he confirmed that allegations had been made against
four members of staff and a former member of staff.

The spokesman added that the allegation of conspiring to
pervert the course of justice had not been made against all
five, but he couldn't give further details until the police
investigation was completed.

However, Sunday Life understands that the one suspended
member of staff who made the allegations was responsible
for contacting the PSNI and asking them to investigate the

DUP Euro MP Jim Allister said: "The public is entitled to
know how this serious allegation came to light."


Five-Star Cellblocks

£450 a day to keep these nasties inside

By Ciaran McGuigan and Andrew Bushe
02 April 2006

THEY are the most dangerous terrorists in Ireland - and it
costs more than £450 a day to keep them behind bars.

According to new figures released by the Republic's
department of justice, it costs more than £150,000 a year
to keep prisoners - including Border Fox Dessie O'Hare -
locked up in its maximum security Portlaoise jail.

O'Hare and Real IRA leaders Michael McKevitt and Liam
Campbell are among the most notorious jailbirds to have
been held in the Portlaoise in the last year - at a
combined cost of £1,500 each day.

The extra security arrangements needed for the subversives
and special category prisoners held in Portlaoise means the
annual cost per prisoner is a hefty six-figure sum.

The five-star-hotel-style charges at the jail are three
times the average cost of detaining offenders in the rest
of the Republic's 15 jails.

And the sky-high figures are matched in Maghaberry, where
the cost of keeping remand prisoners, such as UDA boss
Andre Shoukri and his henchman John 'Bonzer' Borland,
behind bars easily tops the £450 mark, according to

The Northern Ireland Prison Service refuses to say how much
it costs to house inmates at its maximum-security
Maghaberry Prison.

In the last financial year, it cost an average of £86,000
to keep a prisoner in one of Ulster's jails - equivalent to

However, that figure is an average that covers low-security
Magilligan Prison and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre
as well.

"The individual costs at Maghaberry are substantially
higher than anywhere else, given the very strict regime
that is needed there," said one well-placed source.

"They would be much higher than that for Magilligan and
much higher than average."

Prison authorities on both sides of the border say that the
costs of keeping prisoners locked up are falling each year.


Scap Approaches Collusion Probe

Superspy's solicitor contacts tribunal

Exclusive by Alan Murray
02 April 2006

IRA SUPERSPY Freddie 'Stakeknife' Scappaticci has been in
contact with the inquiry set up to probe the IRA killings
of two senior RUC officers in 1989.

A solicitor acting for Scappaticci has approached officials
acting for the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin to seek legal
representation for his client.

It is believed the tribunal is likely to hear evidence from
another former British spy inside the IRA, linking
Scappaticci to the brutal murder of a farmer.

Scappaticci, formerly a senior figure in the IRA's ruthless
internal security unit, fled his west Belfast home in 2003,
after being outed as a British spy and exposed for spilling
the beans of leading republicans to TV journalists.

Judge Peter Smithwick will conduct the inquiry into the IRA
murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and
Superintendent Robert Buchanan, who were ambushed near the
border shortly after leaving a meeting at Dundalk Garda

A former Army agent who uses the pseudonym Kevin Fulton has
alleged that a retired Garda passed the IRA details of the
two RUC men's movements.

It's understood that Fulton, who also worked for MI5, has
also alleged that the same former Garda passed information
to the IRA which led to the terrorists abducting and
killing Cooley Peninsula farmer Tom Oliver in July 1991,
for allegedly being a police informant.

Fulton is expected to allege that Scappaticci was involved
in Mr Oliver's murder.

Last week Fulton would only say: "I know details about a
number of incidents and I have already informed the
tribunal that I am prepared to go to Dublin to reveal what
I know."

The Smithwick Tribunal confirmed to Sunday Life that a
lawyer for Scappaticci had been in verbal contact with the
inquiry about possible legal representation at the


Adams Faces Backlash After Slab Farm Raid

By Alan Murray
02 April 2006

GERRY Adams is coming under increasing pressure from
hardline republicans in the border area as the British and
Irish governments prepare to give the kiss of life to the

Nationalist sources in South Armagh say the Sinn Fein
president is facing a backlash from hardline republicans
following the major security raids on the property of the
IRA's former chief-of-staff, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

And while there is no suggestion that the IRA's ceasefire
is under any threat, sources in the area say Murphy and his
supporters are stunned and angry at the massive raid on his
property by the Garda and the PSNI last month.

Further actions by the Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau to
freeze nearly €1m in cash and cheques found at his farm,
which straddles the border, have enraged the quietly spoken
republican who directed the IRA's military campaign in the
decade before the 1994 ceasefire.

"They're blowing the froth off the beer just at the moment,
but there is definite anger within the ranks and especially
with those close to Slab," said a local source.

"It's just sinking in that the old ways and the old rackets
are going to be brought to an end and it is a shock to the

"Since the 1994 ceasefire they've continued on with their
rackets in South Armagh, lining their pockets and making
their investments in England, but the big hit on Slab has
caused everyone involved in it to stop in their tracks.
They're thinking if they can hit Slab, then everyone's scam
is at risk, and they're very worried and definitely not
happy," the source added.


I'll Buy Slab Farm

Frazer plans memorial centre for IRA victims on site of
seized property...

By Stephen Gordon and Chris Anderson
02 April 2006

MILLIONAIRE former IRA chief-of-staff Thomas 'Slab'
Murphy's 'bandit country' home could become a memorial to
the victims of Provo terrorism!

The extraordinary plan has been revealed by victims'
campaigner Willie Frazer, who claims he has backing from
two rich American supporters to buy the border farm that
was raided a fortnight ago by the Republic's Criminal
Assets Bureau.

Mr Frazer - who was in the US last week representing the
south Armagh victims' group Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives - said the financial support was "all in place"
if CAB puts the property up for sale.

CAB has already slapped Murphy with a £3m tax bill as part
of an operation targeting his alleged involvement in
organised crime.

"I am definitely in the market for Slab Murphy's house and
land," said Mr Frazer.

"There could be no better place for a memorial centre than
the home of a notorious IRA godfather.

"A building that was once synonymous with IRA terrorism
would become a living memorial to the victims of that

Four members of Mr Frazer's family, including his UDR man
father James, were murdered by the IRA in south Armagh.

Mr Frazer said plans for a memorial centre had been in the
pipeline for some time. But now, with CAB putting the
squeeze on Murphy and his alleged fuel smuggling empire, he
was hoping the farm, which straddles the Armagh/Louth
border at Ballybinaby, would come on the market.

He envisages the memorial centre would include:

:: A memorial garden with the names of all innocent victims
of IRA violence engraved in stone;

:: multi-functional hall for social and sporting events;

:: a human rights library;

:: disability rehabilitation facilities.

He said the centre would provide counselling and support
services for the victims of IRA violence.

"If I secure Murphy's property, work on the memorial centre
will begin as soon as possible.

"I would hope it would be a place where victims can feel
they belong. It will also bring home to visitors precisely
what happened here during 30 years of IRA murder and

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy had assets worth €900,000 seized by
CAB during the 'Operation Achilles' swoop.

Operation Achilles saw 300 members of the Garda and PSNI
raid properties on both sides of the border, including the

Cash and cheques totalling £650,000 were found hidden in
hay bales, and fuel tankers, laundering machinery, computer
equipment and other records were seized.

Murphy, who has denied any wrong-doing, has not commented
on the raids.


Tensions Rise Over UDA 'Fine'

By Alan Murray
02 April 2006

TENSION is growing between two UDA units over the fining of
a drug dealer in west Belfast.

Convicted killer Paul 'Gull' Hamilton has told UDA friends
in north Belfast that he handed over £25,000 to three
senior figures in the organisation in the Shankill Road

But the Shankill trio, Jim Spence, Eric McKee and Matt
Kinkaid have denied that they got £25,000 from Hamilton two
weeks ago and are seething at the claim.

It's not disputed that the former life sentence prisoner
was 'fined' £50,000 when he was summoned to a meeting with
the three UDA figures at a Shankill club three weeks ago.

Hamilton was told that the fine was for selling large
quantities of hard drugs in Belfast.

He protested he was selling the drugs in the university
area and not in their patch but was told it didn't matter,
he was using the UDA's name and that wasn't acceptable.

He was also told that if the organisation hadn't been
observing a ceasefire, he would have been shot for his drug
peddling activities.

Spence, McKee and Kinkaid have said that no money was
handed over and they're angry that they're being accused of
pocketing the cash.

"People are very angry at what this man has claimed and
they also suspect that some figures in the north Belfast
brigade are giving this drug dealer support and that could
lead to trouble," one source in the west Belfast brigade

But the UDA's north Belfast brigade is denying that
Hamilton is being given any support.

Said one north Belfast UDA source: "Nobody in the north
Belfast brigade is supporting his drug dealing or anybody
else's but he has claimed that he handed over £25,000 to
three leading figures in the west Belfast brigade. We can't
stop him saying that - it's for west Belfast to sort out.

"Gull knows people in north Belfast but the brigade has no
position on it or him."

Other UDA sources say two figures in the terror group's
south Belfast brigade are major drug dealers.

Said one source: "Nobody's shedding any tears for Hamilton
but there are two serious dealers in south Belfast that the
rest of the organisation is talking about. When are they
going to be put out of business?

"The organisation can't say it's cleaning up its act on one
side of the river while in another brigade, they're
cracking away at drug dealing under the nose of a


Row Mounting Over Mournes Park Proposal

02 April 2006

A ROW is brewing over designating the Mournes as a national

Farmers in the area have warned they are "generally
opposed" to the plan - even before a working party reports
its recommendations for consultation on a national park in
the Mournes.

And already moves are under way to persuade councillors in
Down and Newry and Mourne to ensure no decisions are taken
on the national park until "an exhaustive consultation
process" has been carried out with local communities who
will be affected by the decision.

Sinn Fein MLA Willie Clarke asked Down District Council
last week to ensure Lord Rooker orders a full economic,
equality and environmental impact assessment of the

Said Mr Clarke: "I asked the council to oppose the proposal
to transfer responsibility for area planning to the Mourne
National Park Authority before it has even been

The campaign has been boosted by the decision of Donard
Ulster Farmers Union group that it is not entirely
convinced by the plan, with its members reported as
"generally opposed".

However, the working group has rejected claims that it is
trying to impose the park on farmers and communities.

The SDLPs South Down MLA Margaret Ritchie accused Sinn Fein
of "jumping the gun" with its motion and trying to scupper
plans for management of the Mournes.

She said: "We should be encouraging residents of the
Mournes to participate in the consultation process.

"It is misleading to infer or suggest the national park
will make decisions on planning applications for houses or
will have development control posers."


Opin: A Day Of Reckoning For Ulster's Parties

02 April 2006

THE visit of the British and Irish Prime Ministers to
Northern Ireland next week signals a fresh bid to breathe
new life into the paralysed political process.

If the speculation is accurate, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern
are expected to announce a timescale for the recall of the
Assembly ahead of efforts to re-establish full-scale
executive devolution.

Whether all of the parties will sign up to attending a
recalled Assembly with limited powers remains to be seen.

The task for the two governments is to produce a model that
meets both unionist demands for as much devolution as
possible, short of an executive, and nationalists'
preference for full-scale executive devolution in line with
the Good Friday Agreement.

Apparently, the first attempt hinges on the recall of the
Assembly on May 15 for a six-week period followed by two
further recalls of a similar duration after the summer

The parties would then be faced with the stark choice of
forming an executive or closing down the Assembly, with
November 24 seemingly regarded as the cut-off date.

Imposing deadlines on political progress in Northern
Ireland have failed spectacularly in the past, but
Secretary of State Peter Hain has been unambiguous in his
resolve to see the matter settled one way or the other in

So, it appears there is no doubt a day of reckoning is
coming for all of the parties.

Can they work through their differences in relation to the
speed at which full power-sharing executive devolution is

While the routes they take may vary, that remains their
ultimate destination.

Operation a success

"Operation Banner" is not a phrase with which the vast
majority of people here will be familiar.

It is the codename under which the Army has supported the
police in anti-terrorist missions for 35 years.

And the fact it is ending on July 31, 2007, is surely a
welcome sign of more peaceful times ahead.


New Baby For Murder Campaign Family

02/04/2006 - 13:16:02

A sister of murdered Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney
has given birth to a baby boy named after her dead brother,
it emerged today.

Paula McCartney, who was thrust along with her four sisters
and her brother’s partner Bridgeen Hagans into the
international media spotlight following her brother’s
murder last year, gave birth to Robert junior on Thursday.

He was born 10 days prematurely.

Details of the pregnancy were kept hidden as the family
campaigned last year for justice in their brother’s case.

Robert McCartney was savagely beaten and stabbed outside a
Belfast city centre bar in January last year.

Following pressure from the family, the IRA expelled three
members and Sinn Féin also took action against a number of
party members who were present in the bar at the time of
the attack.

A friend of Robert McCartney was also stabbed during the

Last month Robert’s sister Catherine and his mother
Kathleen travelled to the White House and met senior US
politicians including Senator Edward Kennedy in Washington
to urge them to apply more pressure on Sinn Féin to help
them achieve justice.

The family has been critical of Sinn Féin’s refusal to
encourage republicans who were present in the bar to give
information directly to the Police Service of Northern
Ireland team investigating the murder.

In addition to playing a prominent role in the campaign to
secure justice for Robert’s murder, Paula McCartney has
been raising five other children and also pursuing a
women’s studies degree at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Following threats from republicans, she and her family were
forced to leave their home last October in the nationalist
Short Strand.


Dublin Pardon 'Impossible' For Executed WW1 Soldiers

By John Hunter
02 April 2006

THE Irish government has been warned that it is not in a
position to pardon the majority of the 26 Irish soldiers
executed for desertion during the First World War.

For 17 of 'shot at dawn' soldiers came from what is now
Northern Ireland and a legal expert has warned it would be
"constitutionally impossible" for Dublin to pardon them.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern last week faced calls
in the Dail to grant pardons to Irishmen executed by the
British Army for cowardice at the front-line in WWI.

The Scottish and Welsh Assemblies are also being lobbied to
make a similar move after Defence Secretary John Reid ruled
out granting a general pardon to 306 executed soldiers.

The current debate follows an Irish government report
released last week on the 26 known Irishmen among the 306
British soldiers executed for desertion and disobedience at
the front from 1914 -18.

The Irish government has committed itself to pressuring
London for pardons for those 26 soldiers, because of a
"military system of justice which was seriously flawed".

Clear evidence of medical afflictions, particularly shell-
shock, class-bias and "disparity in the treatment of
different nationalities" were noted last week by Mr Ahern.

Most of those executed were shot for desertion, striking an
officer or disobedience.

They include Shankill Road men James Templeton (20) and
James Crozier (18) and Falls Road man Lance Corporal Peter
Sands (27), all of whom served with the Royal Irish Rifles.

Campaigners claim most of the executed men were suffering
from shellshock.


Ceremonies Mark John Paul II's Anniversary

02 April 2006 11:01

Special masses are being celebrated at cathedrals around
the country to mark the first anniversary of the death of
Pope John Paul II.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady, is celebrating a
Mass in Armagh this morning which is being attended by
members of the Polish community.

Other masses for the Polish community are being held in
Cork and Dublin.

Huge crowds are expected in his native Poland, including
open air masses in Krakow where the pope spent half of his

Pope Benedict XVI will address crowds in Krakow from the
Vatican using a satellite link.

A vigil will take place in St Peter's Square this evening.


Boat In Sea Tragedy Not Licensed: Bahrain

02 April 2006 10:01

Officials in Bahrain have said the cruise boat which
capsized on Thursday killing at least 57 people had not
been licensed to sail.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry said the ship's owner had
applied for a licence, but never completed the procedures.

Officials say the vessel had never been inspected and was
registered only as a fishing boat.

Amongst the dead was an Irish citizen, 52-year-old Derek
Cunningham from Drogheda, Co Louth.

The boat's captain is being questioned by police.


Net Scan
By Joe Mitchell
02 April 2006

• The 1912 unionist petition in opposition to Home Rule -
known as
The Ulster Covenant - Has Been Digitised By The
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

This considerable archive holds the names of 237,368 men
who put their names to the historic covenant and 234,046
women who signed the parallel declaration.

This body of information - a treasure trove for family
history buffs - is fully searchable by surname, forename,
parliamentary division, district and the name of agents who
took the signatures.

Unfortunately, addresses can be difficult as a search
option because of a lack of consistency when the records
were first compiled - in some cases, the name of a town is
given, but not the street, whereas in others the street
name is given, but no town.

The site comes with information on the political and
historic background to the September 1912 document,
famously written in blood by at least one signatory -
Frederick Crawford, who went on to become the UVF's
Director of Ordnance.

Also included are non-unionist views of the whole affair,
including a (still-humourous) skit on the wording of the
original document printed in the Irish News.

A superb resource.

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