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May 07, 2006

British Knew of Loyalist Collusion

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SB 05/07/06
British Knew Of Loyalist Collusion
BB 05/07/06 Gang 'Should Turn Themselves In'
BB 05/07/06 Alert Fails To Halt Prison Honour
BN 05/07/06 Spanish Police Arrest Suspected Real IRA Smuggling Gang
IT 05/07/06 McDowell Confirms Suspensions About Prison Officers Suspension
IT 05/07/06 2 Irish Arrested In US Over Immigrant Ring
IE 05/07/06 Mega Moment
IT 05/06/06 Opin: Bertie May Make History By Harnessing Easter Rising
BN 05/06/06 Boston Chief Of Police In Running For Garda Post
BN 05/06/06 Call For Tribute For Famine Victims
IT 05/06/06 Friel's 'Faith Healer' Opens On Broadway To Standing Ovations

(Poster’s Note: Sorry about irregularity of news posting. Over the next
week my life might return to some normality. Jay)


British Knew Of Loyalist Collusion

07 May 2006 By Colm Heatley

The British government wanted to increase the Ulster
Defence Regiment’s intelligence-gathering role in the mid-
1970s, despite knowing that the group was infiltrated by
loyalist paramilitaries.

The proposal is contained in a Ministry of Defence (MoD)
memo from 1974, which has only recently come to light. It
states: ‘‘We have agreed that the extension of the UDR’s
intelligence-gathering function is a good thing."

This is despite earlier MoD memos acknowledging that
loyalists paramilitaries were UDR members. At the same
time, the British government relaxed vetting procedures for
UDR recruits. Another MoD memo warns that the relaxed
procedures should remain secret because the British
government was then fighting a case related to the North in
the European Court of Human rights.

According to the documents, the British government was
briefed on the internal status of the UDR in 1975.

In the mid-1970s the UDA and UVF were carrying out murder
campaigns against nationalists. In 1974, the groups were
responsible for murdering more than 100 innocent Catholics.

Throughout the Troubles, nationalists regularly complained
that the UDR colluded with loyalists to murder Catholics.
The UDR patrolled nationalist areas in the North, operating
vehicle checkpoints and taking personal information from

A number of UDR men were convicted in the courts on serious
terrorist charges in the 1980s and 1990s.

The revelation that the UDR’s intelligence role was to be
increased in the 1970s has caused serious concern within
the nationalist community.

‘‘We now have a very definite paper-trial going back to the
1970s through to the 1990s, which shows that at the highest
levels of the British government, it was aware of
collusion," said Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre.

‘‘It raises fresh concerns about the many murders committed
by loyalists colluding with the British Army in the 1980s
and 1990s."


Gang 'Should Turn Themselves In'

Four men who admitted their part in kidnapping a dissident
republican should "make themselves available to the court",
Martin McGuinness has said.

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show, the Sinn Fein MP said
the men had nothing to gain.

They failed to turn up in court last week to be sentenced.

The men had pleaded guilty to the kidnapping of Bobby
Tohill from a city centre bar in 2004. The police blamed
the operation on the IRA.

"I think what they should do is to recognise that they are
placing themselves, their families at a particular
disadvantage," said Mr McGuinness.

"There is no gain for them whatsoever. What they should
clearly do is present themselves to face the charges that
they pleaded guilty on."

The men were released on bail last December and were
expected to appear in court last Friday.

Two of the men, who are all from Belfast, are Gerard
McCrory, 33, from Dermott Hill Road and Harry Fitzsimmons,
36, from Spamount Street.

The other two are Liam Rainey, 31, from New Barnsley
Crescent and Thomas Tolan, 34, from Ballymurphy Parade.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/07 12:26:27 GMT


Alert Fails To Halt Prison Honour

A security alert has failed to disrupt celebrations
granting the Freedom of the City of Lisburn to the Northern
Ireland Prison Service.

At least 10 homes were evacuated while Army bomb disposal
experts examined a suspect package on Saturday.

It was found at the back of the civic centre, where the
ceremony was being held, but was later declared a hoax.

Chief Superintendent Ken Hennings said the actions had been
despicable and intent on disrupting the ceremony.

"It is despicable that there are those still willing to
cause disruption and upheaval," he said.

"I have no doubt that those responsible were intent on
disrupting the ceremony taking place in the civic centre -
thankfully we were able to allow the ceremony to continue
throughout the alert."

Speaking at the ceremony, Prison Service Director General
Robin Masefield said it was a great honour for all the
staff who had faced testing times in the past 35 years.

"The recognition which Lisburn City Council has bestowed on
us and the wider Prison Service family today is immensely
appreciated," he said.

"The professionalism and dedication of prison staff on
behalf of the public during some of Northern Ireland's
darkest days cannot be questioned."

The Lisburn area has been home to two of Northern Ireland's
main prisons - the Maze Prison which closed in 2000 and
Maghaberry which opened in 1987 and remains as the main

Mr Masefield said that between 1974 and 1993, some 29
prison staff, eight at the Maze, had been murdered by

"Many more were injured, on and off duty, or had their
homes attacked," he said.

"Countless others had their lives uprooted, while they and
their families were forced to re-locate due to the
terrorist threat.

"It is on occasions such as this that we particularly
remember these colleagues."

He outlined the difficulties of serving in the Maze, which
housed some of Northern Ireland's most notorious
paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles.

"While the attention of the world was often on the
prisoners, many of our staff had to endure a daily routine
of fear and intimidation," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/06 16:54:44 GMT


Spanish police arrest suspected Real IRA smuggling gang

07/05/2006 - 14:18:30

Spanish police arrested two suspected members of the Real
IRA in the southern city of Malaga for allegedly attempting
to smuggle 500,000 packets of cigarettes to Britain, the
Interior Ministry said today.

Both men were being held on suspicion of attempting to
smuggle tobacco after police swooped on two trucks carrying
the cigarettes, the ministry said in a statement.

Authorities said they had conducted a two-year
investigation before arresting the men, who the ministry
identified as Thomas Philip C., of Dublin, and Aaron
William J., of Lisburn.

During the investigation, police determined that several
people from Northern Ireland had taken up residence on
Spain’s south coast and were suspected of "collaborating
directly" with armed groups linked to the Real IRA.

Police investigators believe the money raised by selling
cigarettes smuggled from Spain to Britain – where tax on
tobacco makes them considerably more expensive – could have
been used to finance activities linked to suspected
terrorism, the ministry said.

One truck was loaded with 250,000 packets of cigarettes and
the other contained 248,000, the total value of which was
estimated to be more than £683,000, the ministry said.

An average pack of 20 cigarettes in Spain costs about £2
compared to about £5 in the UK.

Both suspects were taken to a police station in Madrid for
further questioning.


McDowell Confirms Suspensions About Prison Officers Suspension

Ali Bracken

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has confirmed that a
number of prison officers were suspended and facing
criminal proceedings in relation to drug smuggling.

"A number of prison officers are suspended in relation to
criminal proceedings pending in a number of cases," Mr
McDowell said on RTÉ radio yesterday evening.

However, Eugene Dennehy of the Prison Officers' Association
said he was unaware that any prison officer was facing
charges in relation to drug smuggling.

"I heard McDowell say there are suspensions...I'm not aware
of anyone suspended for drugs," he told RTÉ radio yesterday

Mr McDowell was responding to comments by Mr Justice Dermot
Kinlen, the inspector of prisons, that the prison system
was a failure. He said he "accepted there were problems
within the prison system" but rejected that it was a

However, he said that most Irish people agreed with his
opposition to conjugal visits and letting prisoners out
during the day. "He might think I'm conservative. I think
I'm common sense."

Mr McDowell said he was not surprised by Mr Justice
Kinlen's comments as he had indicated his feelings to him
at a recent meeting.

"Mr Justice Kinlen told me in conversation that he felt
that I had not treated him well as an inspector and that,
like a dog that's been... ill-treated, he would turn on me
and that he was about to turn on me. So, I feel that his
remarks today are a little bit unbalanced," Mr McDowell
said. He was already acting on a number of points raised by
Mr Justice Kinlen, he added.

Mr Justice Kinlen told RTÉ news that the Minister for
Justice was too conservative and that the prison service
was too bureaucratic. The inspector described his position
as a facade and said the human rights of prisoners in jails
all over the country are being breached every day.

© The Irish Times


2 Irish Arrested In US Over Immigrant Ring

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

US police have arrested two Irish people after uncovering
an alleged Irish immigrant smuggling ring operating through
the Canadian border. The raids followed the arrest six
months ago of a US immigration official on the Canadian

US police and the Department of Homeland Security are
investigating payments made by a leading Irish businessman
on behalf of an illegal immigrant. Several other people in
the Irish community in New York are also being sought for

The raids on Thursday took place in Philadelphia and in the
heavily Irish-populated neighbourhoods of Woodside, Queens
and Woodlawn in the Bronx. In Woodlawn, immigration
officers and police raided the apartment of a Co Cavan man
who fled before they arrived.

In separate raids, a leading Irish businessman was
questioned on charges of sending payments to a US
immigration official on the Canadian border. A woman from
Co Down who works in mid-Manhattan was arrested and charged
with entering the US while banned under a previous
immigration violation. She was charged and released on

Both the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Woodside and
the Aisling Irish Center in Woodlawn have been fielding
calls from Irish people concerned about further raids.
Sandra Boyle, deputy director of the Emerald Isle
Immigration Center in Woodside, said that the raids were
highly targeted and were not a general raid on the Irish

A spokesman for the Irish consulate in New York said a man
arrested in Philadelphia and a woman arrested in New York
were being given consular assistance.

© The Irish Times


Mega Moment

Irishwoman makes case for reform before 500,000 at Chicago

By Ray O'Hanlon

The crowd was papal in proportion, the occasion arguably
fundamental to the future of her adopted city and country.

But Clodagh Murphy from County Wexford was undaunted. She
stood before a sea of people in Chicago's Grant Park Monday
and reminded America that the Irish were in the front lines
of the fight for immigration reform.

Murphy, who hails from a quiet spot between Enniscorthy and
New Ross and speaks for Chicago Celts for Immigration
Reform, was standing on a podium in front of a crowd
estimated to have been in excess of 500,000.

Murphy, to huge cheers from the throng, reminded all
present, and America beyond the Windy City limits, of the
story of Annie Moore, the young Irishwoman who was the
first immigrant to step ashore at Ellis Island more than
100 years ago.

Annie Moore made history. Clodagh Murphy made a point, and
perhaps a little history too, in front of probably the
largest crowd ever addressed by an Irish immigrant on U.S.

On a day billed as "A Day Without an Immigrant," last
Monday saw the Irish march alongside other immigrant groups
in large numbers in cities across the country.

But much of the Irish effort in support of comprehensive
immigration reform was focused on calling state and federal
legislators in support of a Senate compromise that would
result in a path to earned legalization.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform's Web site urged
people to "let your fingers do the marching."

"We thought it a much more targeted and focused way of
getting our message across," said ILIR executive
chairperson Kelly Fincham.

This story appeared in the issue of May 3 - 9, 2006


Opin: Bertie May Make History By Harnessing Easter Rising

Inside Politics:

On this weekend in 12 months' time the votes in the next
general election will be counted, according to informed
guesswork among Fianna Fáil backbenchers, writes Stephen

If they are right the first Saturday after the May bank
holiday of 2007 will reveal whether Bertie Ahern has pulled
off the remarkable feat of winning three general elections
in a row.

The favoured timetable for the next election involves the
Taoiseach dissolving the 29th Dáil on the day it resumes
business after next year's Easter recess.

Mr Ahern would use the first day of the Dáil summer session
as the launching pad for a three-week campaign, with the
election scheduled for the Friday after the May bank

Fianna Fáil TDs had a jaunty air about them as they
discussed this scenario this week. The latest opinion poll
has shown a rise of 5 per cent in the party's standing, and
they are now confident they have seen off the twin threat
of Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, thanks in no small measure to
the Taoiseach's decision to have an elaborate 90th
anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising.

Launching the book What If by historian Diarmuid Ferriter
based on his popular radio series, Minister for Education
Mary Hanafin asked rhetorically: "What if Bertie Ahern did
not have the 1916 Easter parade? Would Fianna Fáil have
gone up 5 per cent in the polls?"

WB Yeats in one of his late poems posed the question: "When
Pearse summoned Cuchulain to his side/ What stalked through
the Post Office?"

Politicians are now wondering what stalked through the
political landscape when Bertie summoned Pearse to his side
this Easter. The early signs are that the Taoiseach has
successfully harnessed a major historical event to the
cause of Fianna Fáil.

The other parties were caught in a quandary. By simply
endorsing the Taoiseach's approach they knew they would
facilitate his political strategy but, if they opposed it,
they ran the risk of appearing both churlish and "anti-

The issue posed different dilemmas for Fine Gael and Sinn
Féin, and both parties seem to have been caught on the hop.

Sinn Féin looked foolish for criticising the parade because
of the involvement of the Army.

The failure of senior party figures to show up on Easter
Sunday indicated a continuing failure to fully recognise
the institutions of the State, and that raised questions
about the party's current approach to a settlement in the

Fine Gael made the opposite mistake of not being critical
enough of the whole project even when it was clear that the
Taoiseach was intent on using it for party advantage.

Enda Kenny did protest at Mr Ahern's Fianna Fáil gloss on
modern Irish history, but he nonetheless took his place on
the reviewing stand and lauded the parade.

Mr Kenny was probably on to a loser no matter how he
reacted, but a colder analysis from the very beginning
about the place of 1916 in Irish history might have served
Fine Gael better.

If others accept without a murmur the contention that the
1916 Rising is the sole inspiration of Irish independence,
then Fianna Fáil is on to a winner every time. The
Taoiseach was able to capture the event for party advantage
because the other leaders allowed him to set the rules of
the game.

He will now be sorely tempted to have another big
commemoration next year even if the 91st anniversary does
not have quite the same resonance.

When he first announced his intention of reviving the
parade at the last Fianna Fáil ardfheis, Mr Ahern promised
an annual event. Although Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell has expressed doubts about the wisdom of trying to
repeat the project next year, it may prove politically
irresistible. The 5 per cent rise in support for Fianna
Fáil after the parade is significant.

The threat facing the party in the next election is that
Fine Gael may eat into its vote from one direction while
Sinn Féin takes a slice off it at the other end of the
spectrum. A Sunday Business Post/Red C tracking poll
indicated that the party had managed to repel both

It is too early to say whether the trend in April will hold
through the early summer but it has given the main
Government party a timely morale boost.

It also again showed that the Government recovers ground
during periods of political calm, particularly when the
Dáil is in recess. There is an obvious lesson about the
timing of the next election, and that is why most Fianna
Fáil TDs expect it to take place directly after next year's
Easter holiday.

The Taoiseach, though, could face a dilemma if the next few
polls show the Fianna Fáil vote continuing to strengthen.

If the Easter recess is good for the Government, the summer
recess is even better as Opposition parties simply do not
have the means of applying sustained pressure over the long
holiday period.

It could make sense for Mr Ahern to forward his election
plans to next October and go to the country straight after
the summer holiday.

That, however, remains unlikely; the Taoiseach has
repeatedly stated his intention of going the full five-year
term and almost everybody expects him to do so.

© The Irish Times


Boston Chief Of Police In Running For Garda Post

07/05/2006 - 10:34:00

There is mounting speculation that the Chief of Police in
Boston will become the first head of the Garda Watchdog.

The Government is in discussion with Commissioner Kathy
O'Toole about leading the Garda Inspectorate.

The independent body was written into legislation in the
2005 Garda Siochana Act and will have powers similar to the
Police Ombudsman in the North.

The Inspectorate was designed to replace the Garda Siochana
Complaints Board.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has already met the
Irish-American while visiting Boston last year.

Both the Department of Justice and O'Toole have confirmed
this preliminary approach.

The Minister is expected to announce the new Chief
Inspector, who will police members of the Gardaí, in the
next few weeks.


Call For Tribute For Famine Victims

07/05/2006 - 10:54:54

Irish people and emigrants abroad should observe a minute’s
silence later this month for victims of the Famine, it was
claimed today.

One million died and hundreds of thousands were forced to
flee the island after the collapse of the potato harvest
between 1845-1848.

The Committee For The Commemoration Of Irish Famine Victims
believes the 19th century disaster is as important in the
state’s history as the 1916 Easter Rising which is
currently celebrating its 90th anniversary with events led
by the Irish Government.

The group is calling on people in the 32 counties as well
as emigrants living abroad to observe a minute’s silence at
2pm on May 28.

Every year on that day the Dublin-based Commemoration
Committee leads a small procession from the city’s Garden
of Remembrance to the Famine Sculptures in the docklands.

The Committee is also lobbying the Irish Government to
designate an annual all-Ireland memorial day to the victims
of the Famine.

Committee chairman Michael Blanch said: "Every household on
the island has a relative who died in the Famine.

"It was only three generations ago and the victims were
both Catholic and Protestant, so any commemoration can
build bridges between the two communities.

"Every country remembers disasters in its history whether
it is the Holocaust or America’s 9/11 atrocity and we
cannot understand why Ireland doesn’t have an annual

Mr Blanch envisages that the location of the commemoration
could be rotated every year between the island’s four
provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster.

The Commemoration Committee also believes that the Memorial
Day would be a gesture of solidarity towards people
suffering in famines occurring in regions across the world
like Somalia and Darfur.

It is generally believed that one million people died in
the Famine and an additional one million others emigrated.

But Mr Blanch claims that the disaster could have
indirectly halved the population as the all-Ireland
population was over eight million people in 1845 but had
shrunk to approximately four million by the 1911 Census.

There are up to 70 million people abroad who claim Irish
ancestry – many of whom are descended from emigrants who
fled Ireland during the Famine, he added.

The Committee has lobbied the Gaelic Athletic Association,
the Irish Farmers Association and the British Government on
the issue since it was established in 2003.

Former Riverdance star Michael Flatley has supported the
campaign by making a donation.

The Government previously marked the 150th anniversary of
the Famine in the 1995 and the GAA also moved the 1947 All-
Ireland Football Final to New York’s Polo Grounds to honour
the centenary.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern suggested in the Dáil parliament in
May 2005 that the Famine could be incorporated into the
National Day of Commemoration – a annual ceremony to mark
Ireland’s war dead.

But the Committee said this occasion specifically remembers
dead Irish soldiers, and not civilians which comprised the
Famine victims.

Opposition leaders Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte and Trevor
Sargent all support calls for a memorial day and a Labour
Party motion on the issue is currently before Dublin City


Friel's 'Faith Healer' Opens On Broadway To Standing Ovations

Belinda McKeon

It was the first true summer evening in Manhattan, long and
pleasant, and on West 45th Street, a large crowd gathered
to watch stars of the stage and screen walk the red carpet
to the Booth Theater.

It was opening night on Broadway for the Gate Theatre
production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer and, as the camera
bulbs flashed, the playwright - in New York for the
occasion with his wife, son and daughter, and flanked by
the play's producers, Michael Colgan and Sonya Friedman -
ventured a cautious smile. Advance bookings have been
strong and there was a full house for last night's
performance, with Hollywood actors Frances McDormand and
Holly Hunter in the audience.

Christopher Meloni of Law and Order fame, who starred last
year in the Gate production of Arthur Miller's A View From
the Bridge, came with Tamara Tunie, his co-star. Also in
attendance were director Neil Jordan, actor Gabriel Byrne,
novelist Joseph O'Connor, U2 manager Paul McGuinness and
dancer Jean Butler.

Afterwards, Friel was introduced to two playwrights whose
work is also storming Broadway: John Patrick Shanley,
author of Doubt, and Martin McDonagh, whose play The
Lieutenant of Inishmore opened the previous night at a
neighbouring theatre following a successful off-Broadway
run. Surveying the gathering was prominent US producer
Gerald Shoenfeld, who owns and operates several theatres on

Inside the packed theatre, the atmosphere was warm and
eager, and the cast members - Ralph Fiennes, Cherry Jones
(in the role played in the Dublin production by Ingrid
Craigie) and Ian McDiarmid - were greeted with loud
applause and a prolonged standing ovation. Flowers for all
three actors were thrown to the stage by audience members.

At the after-party in a Bryant Park restaurant, reporters
from New York television stations greeted the arriving
artists. Having done his duty for the photographers, Friel
retreated to the back garden, chatting with family, friends
and well-wishers and smoking a celebratory cigar with

© The Irish Times

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