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May 31, 2006

McAllister Running Out of Asylum Time

News About Ireland & The Irish

PB 05/31/06 Irish Ex-Convict Quickly Running Out Of Time In Asylum Quest
SF 05/30/06 McGuinness Confirms Sinn Féin Participation In Committee
BT 05/31/06 All Parties Expected To Sign Up For Committee On Devolution
BB 05/30/06 Leading Loyalist Shot In Attack
SF 05/31/06 Haddock Shooting - Who Controls Loyalist Gangs?
BN 05/31/06 Haddock Shooting 'Highlights Need For Collusion Inquiry'
BN 05/31/06 UUP Under Fresh Pressure To Sever Links With PUP
BN 05/30/06 Dublin/Monaghan Bombings Inquiry Extended
BN 05/30/06 TV Hurled At Police In Belfast Attack
BN 05/30/06 Minister Upbeat Over Sellafield Ruling
SF 05/30/06 Sinn Féin To Respond To Launch Of Long Kesh Proposals
SF 05/31/06 Government Body Accused Of Supporting Partition
NL 05/31/06 Opin: Don't Blame The DUP
BT 05/31/06 Opin: In The Dock?
BT 05/31/06 Opin: Timing Is Still A Key Devolution Factor
BB 05/31/06 Loach Rebuts 'Anti-British' Claim


Irish Ex-Convict Quickly Running Out Of Time In Asylum Quest

By Matthew Verrinder
The Associated Press May 30, 2006 4:41 PM

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey stone mason branded a terrorist
by the United States government for a 25-year-old assault
on a police officer in Northern Ireland is hoping two
congressmen can help halt his impending deportation.

Malachy McAllister, 48, was imprisoned in the United
Kingdom for being a masked lookout in a 1981 ambush that
wounded a Royal Ulster Constabulary officer outside a
Belfast pub. In April, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals cited the conviction in denying the asylum plea of
McAllister and his two teen children.

On Thursday, a court-ordered delay of McAllister's
deportation expires; Homeland Security Department officials
say they will not immediately throw him out of the country.

"I'm at the mercy of Homeland Security," McAllister said
recently while attending a gathering of Irish-American
officials in New York City. "We would just like to
disappear into anonymity, but we can't. If they come for
us, they come for us. We can't do anything about that."

McAllister, a former member of the Irish National
Liberation Army, which opposed British rule in Northern
Ireland, served more than three years in prison for the

In 1988, after his release, masked British loyalists armed
with assault rifles stormed his Belfast home and fired 26
rounds, narrowly missing his mother-in-law and children.
Within weeks he took his family and fled, first to Canada
before settling in Wallington, a working-class suburb 15
miles west of New York City, in 1996.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said the
agency won't schedule McAllister's deportation until July
10, a three-month window after the federal appeals court's
ruling so he can exhaust any appeals to the Supreme Court.

McAllister's supporters doubt an appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Court will work, and are instead seeking help through
Congress and the Bush administration.

Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., is pushing a bill to allow the
family to stay. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who is
chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has sent
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff a letter
lobbying for the family to stay and said they would face
harm if sent back.

"He was targeted in Northern Ireland," King said. "There is
a threat to his life and his family's if they go back."

McAllister, who admits to his crimes with the INLA but
contends they were committed during a civil war, not as an
act of terrorism, said he was considering hiring a video
company to film him in daily life - cooking dinner or
driving daughter Nicola to college classes - so he can send
it to Homeland Security to show he's not a threat.

McAllister was ordered deported in late 2003, and two days
later Homeland Security agents came for him, but he had
already left for work. The agents staked out his house for
days, but McAllister stayed away and was able to remain in
the country after the federal appeals court agreed to hear
his case.

McAllister's lawyers argued to the court that the
definition of a terrorist was unconstitutionally broad and

"The definition includes a great deal of conduct, but all
of this conduct could reasonably constitute terroristic
activities," Judge Jane R. Roth wrote in the ruling.

Given a choice of fleeing or being deported, McAllister
said he has no intention other than "obeying the law and
accepting the circumstances."

But he questions the logic of being returned to a homeland
where danger lurks.

"What does sending me back prove? My family and I are no
threat to the security of the United States," McAllister
said. "Every day my options are getting slimmer and


McGuinness Confirms Sinn Féin Participation In Committee

Published: 30 May, 2006

Speaking after a meeting of the Sinn Féin Assembly group in
Stormont this morning, the party Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness confirmed that his party would participate in
the committee proposed by Peter Hain to prepare for the
restoration of the Good Friday Agreement political

Mr McGuinness said:

"The only reason Sinn Féin is playing any role in the Hain
Assembly is to deliver a power-sharing Executive.

"With this as our central focus, Sinn Fein will attend the
meeting of the Preparation for Government Committee next
Tuesday. Real work needs to be done to prepare for the
restoration of the political institutions. Sinn Fein will
participate in this committee with the intention of
urgently completing this work.

"We will not be involved in a talking shop either in the
Assembly or in this committee. The key question remains
however, whether or not the DUP are prepared to engage
positively. If they are, this committee could achieve early
progress. But if the DUP remain in rejectionist mode, then
the rest of us need to move on with the implementation of
all other aspects of the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS


All Parties Expected To Sign Up For Committee On Devolution

By Noel McAdam
31 May 2006

The SDLP has warned the Government's 'set up Stormont'
committee could be used by the DUP to block devolution -
but has said it will take part. Sinn Fein said it will be
there too - but called on the DUP to attend.

Alliance will also take part in the 'task force' - but
voiced concerns the committee won't be able to do its work.
The DUP has yet to make a decision but is expected to
attend, and the UUP will almost certainly be there.

The Preparation for Government Committee, to be chaired by
Assembly speaker Eileen Bell, is to meet on Tuesday.

But SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he was concerned over
Secretary of State Peter Hain's suggestion that talks would
be with the governments and not between parties on the

He said he feared the committee could be used 'to set
preconditions for the restoration of the Agreement's


Leading Loyalist Shot In Attack

Leading Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary Mark Haddock is
critical after being shot in County Antrim.

The attack happened just before 1600 BST near Mossley Mill
in the Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey.

It is understood Haddock, 36, has been taken to the Royal
Victoria Hospital in Belfast with multiple wounds.

He is currently on bail on a charge of attempting to murder
doorman Trevor Gowdy at a social club in Monkstown nearly
four years ago.

Haddock was named in that court case as a leading UVF
member. Judgement in the trial has been reserved.

It is understood Haddock was shot between five and eight

It is believed he then staggered out of the house and made
his way to a neighbour's house and an ambulance was called.

Part of the Doagh Road has been sealed off as police carry
out a follow up investigation.

It is understood Mr Haddock had an address in the area for
the last two-and-a-half years and had been living there on
and off. He is originally from the Mount Vernon area of
north Belfast.

BBC Northern Ireland home affairs correspondent Vincent
Kearney said Mark Haddock was accused of several murders
and membership of the UVF in the Irish Parliament last

"The claims were made by Pat Rabbitte, leader of the Irish
Labour Party, in October," he said.

"Mr Rabbitte claimed Mark Haddock ordered the murder of
Raymond McCord, 22, who was beaten to death by a UVF gang
in Newtownabbey in November 1997.

"He also claimed Haddock had been involved in eight other
murders - and said he had not been charged with any of them
because he was working as a Special Branch informer who was
allowed to act with impunity.

"Mark Haddock has not been charged in connection with any
of the killings listed by Mr Rabbitte.

"However, the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan is conducting
an investigation into the murder of Raymond McCord and that
report is expected to be completed next month."

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said he was shocked at the

"This is an appalling incident which will be condemned by
all right thinking people," he said.

"Regardless of circumstances no one has the right to take
the law into their own hands and I would call upon anyone
with information to assist the police in order to bring
those responsible to justice."

East Antrim assembly member Roy Beggs Jnr also condemned
those behind the shooting.

"The perpetrators of this barbaric act must be swiftly
taken off the streets and subjected to the fullest rigour
of the law," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/30 19:59:36 GMT


Haddock Shooting - Who Controls Loyalist Gangs?

Published: 31 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly
today said that yesterdays murder bid on Special Branch
agent and senior UVF figure Mark Haddock, again raised
serious questions about who actually controlled the
loyalist gangs.

Mr Kelly said:

"It is widely accepted that Mark Haddock was a senior
figure in the UVF. The gang he was believed to be leading
carried out numerous murders. It is also widely believed
that Mark Haddock was controlled and directed by the
Special Branch throughout this period while he was engaged
in killings with the full knowledge of his handlers.

"The Police Ombudsman is currently completing an
investigation into Haddock's activities and those of the
Special Branch figures who controlled him. The attempt to
kill Haddock last night follows a long standing pattern.
Billy Stobie, another Special Branch agent and a man
involved in the murder of Pat Finucane died in similar

"Many will believe that last nights attempt to murder Mark
Haddock was an attempt to silence him and help prevent
further allegations of widespread and systematic collusion
between the Special Branch and the loyalist death squads
emerging. Those members of the Special Branch who handled
Mark Haddock would have much to gain from his death. This
reality raises serious questions about who controls these
gangs and who controlled the loyalist gang involved in
yesterday evenings murder bid." ENDS


Haddock Shooting 'Highlights Need For Collusion Inquiry'

31/05/2006 - 14:52:10

The campaign group An Fhirinne is stepping up its demands
for a full public inquiry into alleged collusion in the
North following the attempted murder of a senior loyalist
last night.

The group says the shooting of Mark Haddock makes it even
more urgent for an inquiry to be established as many
loyalists involved in collusion could be killed before it
even gets underway.

Mr Haddock, a senior member of the Ulster Volunteer Force,
is believed to have also been a police informer.

An Fhirinne spokesman Robert McLenaghan says this would
appear to show that collusion between the British security
forces and loyalist paramilitaries went deeper than
previously feared.

"It is now apparent that collusion went to the highest
levels, not only of the British government, but of the
loyalist death squads themselves," he said.

"The British government effectively took control of
organisations like the UVF, like the UDA, and turned them
into killing machines.

"They gave them information. They gave them weapons. They
ensured there'd be no prosecutions or no effective


UUP Under Fresh Pressure To Sever Links With PUP

31/05/2006 - 14:56:05

The Ulster Unionist Party is coming under pressure today to
sever its links with the Political Unionist Party.

PUP leader David Ervine joined the UUP's Assembly group
earlier this month in a move designed to ensure a unionist
majority on any future power-sharing Executive.

The UUP was widely criticised at the time because the PUP
is the political wing of the Ulster Volunteer Force, which
is still deeply involved in extortion, drug-dealing,
violence and paramilitarism.

The UUP is now coming under fresh pressure to sever its
link with Mr Ervine following the attempted murder of a
leading UVF member in north Belfast last night.

Mark Haddock is in a critical condition in hospital after
being shot a number of times near his home in Newtownabbey.

His former UVF colleagues are the prime suspects in the

The SDLP has responded by urging the UUP to reconsider its
relationship with the PUP, while Ulster Unionist MLA Esmond
Birnie has admitted that the relationship may have to be
severed if the UVF was behind the murder attempt.


Dublin/Monaghan Bombings Inquiry Extended

30/05/2006 - 19:37:17

A Government inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan
bombings, which was due to report this month, has been
granted an extension until July 31.

The Commission of Investigation led by barrister Patrick
MacEntee needs more time to examine information provided by
an unknown individual it met outside the state a week ago.

"The Commission is satisfied that this person is the person
whom it had been seeking in relation to the outstanding and
unresolved area of its terms of reference," Mr MacEntee
said in an interim report published tonight.

The senior counsel said the May 31 deadline was no longer
adequate and the Cabinet today agreed to his request to
revise the timeframe to July 31.

Survivors and relatives of the atrocities, which killed 33,
marked the 32nd anniversary in Dublin last week.

The inquiry, which began a year ago, has previously asked
the Government for extra time to complete its

It had believed in late April that it had completed its
investigations as well as it could until it was presented
with new information by the Justice for the Forgotten group
representing victims.

"This information, when taken with the information already
available to the Commission, was sufficient to warrant one
final attempt to further the investigation of this
particular aspect of the terms of reference," Mr MacEntee

The Commission said it met this person outside the state on
May 23.

A woman who was nine months pregnant was among the victims
when loyalist paramilitaries detonated three cars bombs in
Dublin and one in Monaghan on May 17, 1974.

Speculation has since continued that British security
forces were involved in assisting the terrorists carry out
the atrocity.

No-one has ever been brought to justice and the British
government has refused to hand over some files for reasons
of national security.


TV Hurled At Police In Belfast Attack

30/05/2006 - 16:32:58

Police were attacked with a television set during mob
violence in north Belfast.

Three officers were injured as trouble flared in the New
Lodge district.

CS Spray was fired by officers who also drew batons in a
bid to disperse the crowd of up to 50 people.

Two brothers were arrested following the clashes on Monday

Sinn Féin claimed police provoked tensions by assaulting a
young man they had challenged about the dog he was walking.

Councillor Caral Ni Chuilin vowed to complain to Police
Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan over the officers' alleged

But the PSNI insisted several warnings were issued during
the confrontation on the New Lodge Road at around 8.30pm.

They had stopped a 29-year-old man, who was with a dog,
over outstanding money warrants, a spokeswoman said.

His brother, also wanted for the same reason, arrived on
the scene, she added.

"The brothers were warned several times about their

"A hostile crowd had also gathered, and when both brothers
were eventually arrested for disorderly behaviour a
struggle ensued.

"CS Spray was used on the 29-year-old."

He was charged with two counts of assault on police and
resisting arrest.

As tensions heightened, up to 10 officers were called to
the scene.

During the struggle two of them suffered bruising and
swelling to their faces, while a third was struck on the
mouth by a missile hurled from the crowd, police said.

"A television set was also thrown at officers," the
spokeswoman added.

"The brother of the 29-year-old ran off. He was stopped by
officers in the Mallusk area a short time later and
conveyed to custody.

"He was later released pending reports."

Police are understood to dispute Ms Ni Chuilin's claims
that she identified herself to officers only to be verbally

They also deny officers questioned the man about the
legality of his dog.

The Sinn Féin councillor claimed trouble started when he
sent for a relative to produce papers proving the animal's

"During this period, the PSNI became agitated and
aggressive and produced CS Spray which they sprayed on his
face," she said.

"They held him over the bonnet of a car and when I arrived
on the scene I attempted to ascertain his name and was
repeatedly verbally assaulted by PSNI officers.

"This young man was in obvious discomfort and kept saying
that he could not breathe."

Ms Ni Chuilin also alleged officers refused to tell her
where the suspect was being taken as they bundled him into
a vehicle.

"As they withdrew from the area, the PSNI threatened to
attack local people with batons," she claimed.

"The conduct of the PSNI was highly aggressive and they
have once again shown complete contempt for the people of
the New Lodge area.

"I will be contacting the Police Ombudsman's Office to
complain about the assault and their ensuing hostility to
the local community."


Minister Upbeat Over Sellafield Ruling

30/05/2006 - 16:04:44

The Minister for the Environment says a ruling by the
European Court of Justice makes it easier for Ireland to
pursue its goal of closing Sellafield.

The court says the Government acted illegally by taking a
case against the nuclear facility to the UN.

But the Government says the decision now puts the onus on
the European justice system to deal with matters like

And Minister Dick Roche said: "We'll be on much more
familiar ground when we take the case to the EU."

"What this case has done is that it's made European Law,"
the Minister said today.

"It actually makes it very clear that the European Court of
Justice can adjudicate in a case like this, and we'll be on
much firmer ground now."


Sinn Féin To Respond To Launch Of Long Kesh Proposals

Published: 30 May, 2006

Sinn Féin representatives on the Long Kesh/Maze
consultation panel Paul Butler and Raymond McCartney today
attended the launch of the proposals for the site by the
British Direct Rule Minister David Hansen.

Speaking to those assembled Cllr. Butler said:

"Sinn Fein welcomes the publication of this plan for the
future of the former Long Kesh prison. This report follows
on from the recommendations of the Maze/Long Kesh
Consultation Panel which was endorsed by Sinn Fein and the
other main political parties on how best the site could be

"Sinn Fein's primary concern has been to see the
preservation of part of the Long Kesh site because of its
historical importance not just to republicans but to the
wider community as well. We are pleased to see that the
prison hospital, where ten republican prisoners died on
hunger strike, an H Block, a cage and other prison
buildings, which make up the listed prison buildings, will
be central to the proposal for an International Centre for
Conflict Transformation.

"The history of this site has many sides and is populated
by republicans, loyalists, prison wardens, British soldiers
and politicians, Prime Ministers and Taosigh. It is a place
associated with the conflict here over the last 30 years
and it mirrored and informed the development of the
conflict outside these walls.

It housed perhaps 25,000 republican and loyalist prisoners.

15,000 prison officers worked there.

The families of all these 40,000 people were intimately
bound up with the place.

200,000 people (or 1 in 8 of the population of the 6
counties) would have a strong connection with the site.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has
visited political prisons across the globe, said that Long
Kesh prison had the strongest community links of any prison
in the world.

"Long Kesh is a unique example of international prison
history. It was both an icon and a microcosm of the
conflict. It is a contested space; it has contested
histories and contested policies. However, it now provides
us with a huge opportunity to bring about a major physical
expression of the ongoing transformation from conflict to

" Much work has still to be done on how we can bring about
the vision we have for this site.

" We will study the proposals carefully and give our
considered response in due course.

"We recognise that these proposals have the potential to
bring about significant long term social and economic
benefits to the whole of the community. In particular this
report if implemented offers the chance to provide new
social and economic opportunities for the nearby deprived
communities of Old Warren, Twinbrook Seymour Hill Poleglass
Knockmore and Lagmore.

"The opportunity now exists to open a new chapter on this
site. That chapter will hopefully be an entirely different
one to that which has gone before. For our part Sinn Fein
wants to see and help bring about a new beginning to this
site whereby all of the community can reap the benefit of."


Government Body Accused Of Supporting Partition

Published: 31 May, 2006

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has accused Ordinance Survey
Ireland of supporting partition after they removed the Six
Northern Counties from a 150-year old map of Ireland.

At the beginning of the week Ordinance Survey Ireland (OSI)
launched a new website - - that
contains a series of old maps of the country. The maps were
drawn years before partition, meaning they would have
covered all 32-counties. However, OSI has removed the North
from images of the maps posted on its website. A notice on
the website reads: "Please note that currently maps
covering Northern Ireland are not contained within this

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "These maps were drawn up many
years before the partition of this nation and so Ordinance
Survey Ireland would have access to the maps of all 32
Counties. It is most unfortunate that they have developed
such a partitionist mindset. They are affectively
supporting partition. I would call on them to make all the
maps of Ireland that they have in their possesion available
to all interested parties on this island and beyond.

"It would also be beneficial for them to make contact with
their counterparts in the Six Counties to encourage All-
Ireland co-operation on these matters and on any future
projects." ENDS


Opin: Don't Blame The DUP

THE man who has accused Martin McGuinness of being a
British spy last night dismissed Sinn Fein claims that the
DUP was behind the allegations.

Former Army intelligence officer Martin Ingram told the
News Letter that he had been researching the republican
leader's alleged links to MI6 for two years.

"There's no DUP agenda," he said. "The only DUP member I
have ever met was Jeffrey Donaldson and that was to ask him
to press the case of Kevin Fulton (a former British agent
seeking Government support] with the Prime Minister.

"I'm a nationalist, for goodness' sake. I believe in a
united Ireland. I do not come from a unionist perspective.
That has been on record for years. Why would I push a DUP

agenda of some sort?"

Ingram was speaking after a political row erupted
yesterday, when Sinn Fein blamed "elements in the DUP" for
the allegations that Martin McGuinness was a British spy.

They said people in the DUP were intent on scuppering any
chance of devolution involving republicans.

Senior DUP figures dismissed the claims as a deliberate
distraction and a bid to move the focus off the spying

MP Gregory Campbell asked what benefit the DUP would gain
from Mr McGuinness being labelled a British agent?

He added: "I do not know if Martin McGuinness is or is not
an agent. I doubt we will ever know.

"But how would such allegations have any impact on the
prospects for peace?

"We are not concerned with whether McGuinness was or is a
British agent, and it does not affect our approach to Sinn
Fein and getting an Executive up and running.

"We are concerned with ending republican criminality and
paramilitarism; that's where the focus remains. That's
where the prospects for peace lie.

"Besides, if anyone was giving information to the security
forces to save lives, that would be a good thing."

The News Letter has learned that an internal Sinn Fein
briefing paper names a DUP member – with a security
background – as the person promoting the claims to unsettle
the peace process.

Mr McGuinness said some inside the DUP "were doing their
damnedest" to scupper any chance of devolution which
involves republicans.

He said it was "like deja vu" because, just as in 2004 when
the Comprehensive Agreement collapsed – in the wake of Ian
Paisley's "sackcloth and ashes" comments – there were
people in the background trying to unsettle the chances of

He claimed to have been aware for some time that the DUP or
elements of it had been pushing this story.

This was vehemently refuted by a DUP source who said the
McGuinness story was ultimately "a bit of a side show"
which had nothing to do with the real political issues.

For the DUP, he added, the claims in the McGuinness Sunday
newspaper story that MI6 had colluded in the murder of
British citizens, including soldiers and police, was more
of an issue.

But Mr McGuinness referred back to the first public
reference or claim that he may be a spy, which was made by
MP William McCrea in the House of Commons on February 8.

He suggested the DUP was being fed information, and it had
raised its head now because it was a crucial moment for the
peace process and elements in the party "absolutely and
totally oppose restoration of the political institutions".

"From information which I have, I believe we are talking
about people who have been hostile to the process from the
very beginning," he said.

"I have had information for some time which I have not
disclosed but we have been aware of this for quite some

The Sinn Fein MP said a DUP member with British
intelligence links was to blame.

31 May 2006


Opin: In The Dock?

By Lindy McDowell
31 May 2006

Martin McGuinness - the new James Bond. Can we believe it?
Like most stories, the truth of this one will come out in
the wash. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

But almost as fascinating as the allegation itself has been
the way in which the media has handled this story.

In the aftermath of the Sunday World report revealing that
the former Army intelligence officer Martin Ingram had
named McGuinness as a spy, pictures were taken of the Sinn
Fein number two at a GAA match.

He was smiling. A point which was seized upon and laboured
in several media reports as a reflection of how unfazed
Martin was by the allegations. They didn't really expect
him to be sitting there gnawing his fingernails up to the
elbows, did they?

Remaining unruffled is a spy trademark. So if this really
is Special Agent Martini McGuinness, shaken not stirred is
entirely in order.

The reporting of the story, mind you, was nowhere near as
odd as the non-reporting of the story.

By Monday, the BBC still hadn't touched it. Why?

Who do they think Martin McGuinness is? John Prescott?

And, after all, this is the same broadcasting corporation
which had no problem about reporting exactly the same claim
when it was made by exactly the same source against Freddie
Stakeknife, a member of exactly the same republican
hierarchy as Martin McGuinness. So why the decision to
ignore the allegation this time round?

That the man making the claim is the same source, Martin
Ingram, is, of course, central to this story. Whether or
not you respect his methods or his motives or share his
political views, it would be fair to say that Martin Ingram
has credibility.

He was right on Scappaticci. Is it likely he would scupper
that credibility now in order merely to take a pop at
Gerry's Derry sidekick?

As for McGuinness, himself, what do we know of him?

Again, the contribution of the media to the sum of what we
know about Martin - or more precisely what we don't know
about Martin - deserves to be examined. Along with Gerry
Adams, Martin McGuinness has played a pivotal leading role
in the terrorist organisation behind a 30 year campaign of
bloody and remorseless sectarian slaughter in Northern

Thousands of people lost their lives in that campaign. Ten
of thousands more had their lives devastated.

Yet of these two key players in that campaign we know so
very little.

We know generalities not specifics.

The media that camps en masse outside the door of a
supermodel to record sightings of her druggy boyfriend,
that will mercilessly rake through the past of a two-timing
soap star or a politician playing away from home (or
croquet at Dorneywood) - that same media seems to come over
all coy when it comes to the suits of Sinn Fein.

It would be fair to say that we know more about the past
activities of the average Big Brother star than we know
about the past activities of Messers Adams and McGuinness -
two of the most influential players in public life in
Northern Ireland.

Pertinent questions which could and should be asked
include: What precisely did you do during those years of
the Troubles?

What position did you hold?

What orders did you give?

For years these two men have spearheaded the republican
campaign aimed at uncovering 'collusion' between security
forces and loyalists. For collusion, read use of informers
and agents.

They have called for public inquiries, openness and
transparency and full and complete disclosure.

Full and complete disclosure, eh Martin?

Be careful what you wish for, the Chinese say.

Your wishes might come true.


Opin: Timing Is Still A Key Devolution Factor

31 May 2006

There was never going to be an easy way of getting the
parties at the Assembly to agree ways and means of
restoring devolution, but the creation of a 14-member
Preparation for Government committee is a useful first
step. Although opinion is divided on its remit, it should
concentrate minds, away from the public gaze, on the
remaining obstacles.

Debating the issues in the full Assembly would only
increase divisions, so the Secretary of State, Peter Hain,
has chosen a practical alternative, which all the parties
should utilise. As soon as the two Premiers, Tony Blair and
Bertie Ahern, get involved, towards the end of June, the
true negotiations can begin, but until then the politicians
can at least try to sound each other out in the all-party

So much has happened, since the election in November 2003
put the DUP and Sinn Fein in the driving seat, that old
policies must be reviewed.

A year later they almost clinched the Comprehensive
Agreement for restoration of the Assembly, until the row
over decommissioning photographs and then the bank heist
and McCartney murder intervened.

Determined pressure brought about the IRA statement,
followed by decommissioning, and now both unionists and
nationalists are agreed that devolution would be an
improvement on dictatorial direct rule.

An immediate problem is that while the DUP and UUP would
want the committee to debate the issues of the day - like
water tax and council closures - Sinn Fein and the SDLP are
wary of it becoming a mere talking shop. Their focus is on
restoration of the executive and revival of the Good Friday
institutions, fearing indefinite delaying tactics.

Both sides would have to agree, however, that there is
little enough time to reach agreement before the November
24 deadline. The Blair-Ahern visit will raise the tempo,
but even if the marching season is quiet, the holidays and
the parliamentary recess will leave only a few weeks to
hammer out what, at best, would be a conditional consensus.

Consultation, if not an election, would be essential on the
terms, which will require republican support for the police
as well as an end to DUP boycotts of north-south bodies.

Even in the best of circumstances, the obstacles are
formidable, but they have been added to by the
destabilising influence of recent events. Sinn Fein will be
in defensive mode, recovering from the sensational
allegation - hastily denied - that their chief negotiator,
Martin McGuinness was a British agent, and the DUP, already
cautious, will be pondering on the future of Peter Hain, a
possible successor to John Prescott, Tony Blair's
discredited deputy. So many issues and so little time for


Loach Rebuts 'Anti-British' Claim

Director Ken Loach has dismissed claims his award-winning
film The Wind That Shakes The Barley is anti-British.

"Nonsense," he told BBC Breakfast. "We could have shown
things that were much worse than are actually in the film."

He also said accusations that his film could be seen as a
recruiting tract for the Irish Republican Army were "a
cheap shot" and "barely worth answering".

The film, about Ireland's struggle for independence from
Britain in the 1920s, has just won the Palme d'Or at

In Tuesday's edition of the Sun, columnist Harry MacAdam
calls The Wind That Shakes The Barley the "most pro-IRA
film ever".

Its plot, he continues, is "designed to drag the reputation
of our nation through the mud".

'Legendary brutality'

In the Daily Mail, Ruth Dudley Edwards writes that Loach's
purpose is to "encourage direct comparisons between the
Ireland of 1920-22 and present-day Iraq".

"This, of course, requires the portrayal of the British as
sadists and the Irish as romantic, idealistic resistance

The film, told entirely from the perspective of its Irish
characters, shows British soldiers to be indiscriminately

Loach, however, said this was a true depiction of how the
Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries behaved.

"Their brutality is legendary - no one would question
that," he said.

He added that the film was "about a group of people, mainly
young lads, who are fighting to get an army of occupation
out of their country".

"You could compare them to the French Resistance and the
Partisans in Italy."

Before The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Loach had been
nominated for the Palme d'Or seven times.

He won the jury prize in 1990 for Hidden Agenda, a drama
about a British army shoot-to-kill policy in Northern

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/30 10:27:38 GMT

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