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May 29, 2006

SF Demands Law Change On Former RUC Detectives

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 05/29/06 Sinn Fein Demands Law Change On Former RUC Detectives
BT 05/29/06 Is Hain Marching Into Summer Of Discontent?
GU 05/30/06 Loyalists Blamed As Racist Attacks On Migrants Double
SF 05/29/06 Tyrone Ex-Pats Hope For End To US Limbo -Mc Elduff
BN 05/29/06 IRA Accused Was Member At 15, Court Hears
CB 05/29/06 Ahern Dismisses McGuinness Spy Claim
BT 05/29/06 A Key Player In Sinn Fein And The IRA For Over 30 Years
IT 05/30/06 Motives For IRA Murders Questioned
IM 05/29/06 McDowell Attacked By AOH & Mother & Child
BT 05/29/06 Opin: IRA Hawk Or MI6 Superspy?
CB 05/29/06 Opin: Sectarianism Alive And Well In Northern Ireland
IT 05/30/06 Opin: Davitt's Land Struggle Has Finally Been Lost
IT 05/30/06 Davitt Recalled As Great Humanitarian
IT 05/30/06 Dogs Banned From Clare Beaches


Sinn Fein Demands Law Change On Former RUC Detectives

Published: 29 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on policing and
justice has said that the British government must change
the law to empower the Police Ombudsman to hold retired
members of the RUC or PSNI fully to account for wrongdoing.

Mr Kelly said:

"In the last few weeks, I have met with David Hanson, NIO
minister for justice and Nuala O Loan, the Police
Ombudsman. I have discussed my concerns with them both. I
also raised these serious concerns with Paul Goggins and I
demanded that he close the loophole in the legislation to
ensure anyone engaged in policing can be held fully to

"The case for the Police Ombudsman to be given this power
is compelling. It is made by those who have declared their
intention to try and thwart investigations by the Police
Ombudsman and by those who resign, retire or take sick
leave whenever such investigations close in on them,
sometimes removing or destroying evidence of their
wrongdoing in the process. Political detectives have no
future in policing and Sinn Fein is determined to see those
responsible for wrongdoing held fully to account for their

actions." ENDS


Is Hain Marching Into Summer Of Discontent?

The sorry saga of the Orangemen on the Parades Commission
is back in court tomorrow. Chris Thornton reports on how
Peter Hain could pull something out of the fire - or get
badly burned

By Chris Thornton
29 May 2006

The future may not be so Orange. Tomorrow three judges are
to sit in the Court of Appeal and reconsider the status of
loyal order members on the Parades Commission.

The case is unlikely to merit lengthy articles in law
reviews, but it will have significant political impact.
Already it has been cited as a sign of Mr Hain's
determination to have parades neutered as an issue over the
summer. Others say it may signal whether, to use a phrase
Mr Hain may have encountered during his year in Ulster, the
Secretary of State is wise enough.

Mr Hain is hoping the court will reverse Mr Justice
Morgan's ruling that removed David Burrows, a former
Portadown District Master, from the Commission on May 19th.
The appeal has turned into something of a gamble: Mr Hain
could get Mr Burrows reinstated, but equally a counter-suit
filed by Garvaghy Road resident Joe Duffy could bar the
Secretary of State from putting any member of the loyal
orders on the Commission.

Mr Burrows was removed from the Commission because the NIO
made a procedural mistake. Mr Justice Morgan ruled that the
NIO had acted unlawfully in soliciting applications from
three loyal orders without considering whether they should
also ask residents' groups, like the Garvaghy Road
Coalition, to put forward some applicants.

The judgment explicitly left Mr Hain with the option of
reinstating Mr Burrows himself. But that would be
tantamount to admitting a mistake. In defiant mood, Mr Hain
declared the judgment "odd", and swore last week "to defend
to the end…the Northern Ireland Office appointments
procedure. It's impartial, it's objective, it follows all
the rules as we've consistently done on every occasion,
including the Parades Commission."

"It's clear that for Hain this has become a personal
thing," said one political source.

The facts won't change. The NIO showed an apparent
preference for the loyal orders in setting up the
Commission to decide on their parades. Additionally,
applicants for the Commission were told that any potential
conflicts of interest would be explored at interview. But
presumably the Orange candidates were not questioned,
because the officials conducting the interviews concluded
that they did not have any conflict of interest – a finding
that the original judge found inexplicable.

References did not play a direct part in the judgment, but
the court case established that Mr Hain selected two
candidates - Mr Burrows and his Orange brother Don Mackay -
who were not even supported by their own referees. Mr
Mackay resigned over the resulting row. Some nationalists
have started to wonder out loud if it's not some plot to
undermine the Commission.

The facts will get no better for the Commission even if Mr
Hain wins. If he loses, he could find things are worse. The
Court of Appeal could endorse Mr Justice Morgan's findings,
but it could also go further. With a display of tactical
smarts, Mr Duffy's lawyers have filed a counter suit to Mr
Hain's appeal. This will have the effect of widening the
arguments that the three judges will have to weigh up
tomorrow, while giving Mr Duffy a second shot at more
fundamental questions than whether the NIO messed up the
applications process. They are arguing that Mr Hain
actively discriminated against nationalist groups. They
also want the court to declare whether "prominent members
of the Orange Order" should be allowed on the Commission at
all. After Mr Mackay's resignation - and before Mr Burrows'
dismissal - the SDLP suggested that Mr Hain could balance
out the Commission by replacing Mr Mackay with someone from
a residents' group. After all, Mr Hain's reason for
appointing the Orangemen in the first place was the insight
they could bring.

Breandan Mac Cionniath, the chief spokesman for the
Garvaghy Residents Coalition, argues against that result.
He says it would be wrong for the likes of himself to be on
the Commission, because it should be as neutral as

He will be firmer in that view after seeing how the
Commission line-up that included Mr Burrows dealt with the
apparent Orange conflict of interest. A day or so before
his dismissal, Mr Burrows took part in a Commission meeting
about Saturday's Junior Orange Parade in Portadown. A Sinn
Fein delegation that met the Commission said Mr Burrows
should not take part in the meeting, since he was once the
Portadown District Master. The Commission said it was
enough that Mr Burrows declared his interest - he did not
have to remove himself from the meeting.

Mr Hain could still pull something out of the fire. But if
he wins tomorrow's case, he may still find that the affair
has hardened the loyal orders' conviction that the parades
process is stacked against them.

"Without a doubt the legislation and how it's applied are
totally biased against only one side of the community,"
said Tommy Cheevers, a senior Apprentice Boy who was
briefly a member of the original Parades Commission. "We
would be in a position currently of saying that there would
be no purpose whatsoever in people like Don Mackay and
David Burrows putting themselves forward to join the
Commission. The dilemma is that we don't think Sinn Fein
and the SDLP should have a say in who can and can't be on
the Commission either.

"Personally I feel that if there were people from the loyal
orders and the residents on the Commission, then the debate
could start properly. But as far as the Commission is
concerned now, the damage is done."


Loyalists Blamed As Racist Attacks On Migrants Double In Ulster

· East European workers driven out of lodgings

· Police say violence is one of their biggest challenges

Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Tuesday May 30, 2006
The Guardian

Racially motivated attacks, including pipe bombs, bricks
hurled through windows and assaults, have risen sharply in
Northern Ireland, according to the latest police figures.
Loyalist paramilitaries are believed to be behind a
significant proportion of the reported incidents, which
have doubled in the past two years.

Migrant workers, mainly those from new EU states working in
meat-packing and food-processing businesses, are being
targeted in the latest wave of attacks. Many east Europeans
have been driven from their lodgings. In the most recent
attack a Polish man suffered multiple fractures to his
skull and face after being attacked in Co Derry. The man,
who had been selling pictures door to door, was found badly
injured in the Station Road area of Magherafelt on Saturday
evening. A week earlier two Poles living in Derry's
Waterside had their car windows smashed and were assaulted.

In towns such as Dungannon there have also been clashes
between rival ethnic groups. Officers were recently called
to break up fights between Lithuanians and workers from
East Timor. During 2005-06 the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI) recorded 936 racial incidents, of which 746
were subsequently deemed to be racist crimes. The previous
year there were 813 incidents, of which 634 were confirmed
as crimes. In 2003-04, 453 racist incidents were reported.

"Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly diverse at a
very quick rate," said Inspector Robin Dempsey of the
PSNI's community safety branch. "It is one of the biggest
challenges for the police. Many racial crimes involve
criminal damage - graffiti and broken windows. Unless
there's a witness it's difficult to solve. These attacks
involved pipe bombs, letter boxes burnt out, paint bombs
and petrol bombs. The more serious have the potential to
cause deaths. Some loyalist paramilitaries have an interest
in the British National party. Loyalist paramilitaries are
involved, though the organisations deny they have
sanctioned attacks."

Northern Ireland's ethnic minority population was recorded
as 14,000 in the 2001 census, accepted as an underestimate.
The true figure, say the police and the Northern Ireland
Council for Ethnic Minorities (Nicem), is probably 35,000
in settled communities, plus at least 35,000 migrant
workers. Northern Ireland's population is 1.67 million. Two
murders have been blamed on racist attacks, one in 2004 and
the other in the mid-1990s.

"The BNP is very active in Northern Ireland," said Patrick
Yu, Nicem's executive director. "But there have been
attacks in [republican areas of] west Belfast, too. After
the ceasefires we became the next target."

Leish Cox, of the Chinese Welfare Association, said the
community had experienced a rise in attacks, some by
loyalist paramilitaries. "When we tried to build a Chinese
community centre there were leaflets circulated saying
'yellow invasion' and claiming the threat was worse than 30
years of IRA activity."

Daniel Holder, of Animate, a group working with migrant
workers in Dungannon, said: "Hate crime is only the tip of
the iceberg; there's a broader problem of racist attitudes


Tyrone Ex-Pats Hope For End To US Limbo -Mc Elduff

Published: 29 May, 2006

West Tyrone Barry Mc Elduff says that with many Tyrone ex-
pats and their families eagerly awaiting the outcome of the
campaign to win legal status for the estimated 40,000 plus
undocumented Irish Living un the USA, Sinn Féin President
Gerry Adams MP has been in touch with the offices of senior
US Congressional and Senate leaders lobbying them to keep
up the pressure to successfully resolve the issue.

Barry Mc Elduff said,

"With decisions pending on this important issue many Tyrone
ex-pats and their families back home will be hoping that an
end is in sight to the limbo status that many people have
found themselves in.

"Many ex-pats have not been able to return to Ireland, even
for the funerals of relatives, for fear of not getting back
into the US. I have met many of these people myself during
political engagements in New York, Philadelphia, and San
Francisco and heard at first hand the awful dilemmas that
they have faced.

"The campaign to secure legal status for the estimated
40,000 plus undocumented Irish living and working in the
USA has garnered massive support both here in Ireland and
the US and Sinn Féin has fully supported this campaign.

"Last week, Gerry Adams was in touch with Senators Ted
Kennedy and John McCain and Congress members Jim Walsh and
Richard Neal urging them to keep up the pressure to
successfully resolve the issue in the short time that


"Gerry Adams has also spoken to Grant Lally, the President
of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, to assure him
Sinn Féin's ongoing support and political assistance."


IRA Accused Was Member At 15, Court Hears

29/05/2006 - 17:16:03

A Detective Chief Superintendent has told the Special
Criminal Court he formed the opinion that a Dublin man was
a member of the IRA when the accused was approximately 15
years old.

Det. Chief Supt. Philip Kelly, who heads up the Special
Detective Unit, was giving evidence in the trial of Vincent
Kelly, now 21, who was arrested when gardaí found a handgun
hidden inside a van stopped on the Malahide Road in north
Dublin in June last year.

Mr Kelly of Empress Place, Ballybough, Dublin has pleaded
not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation
styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh
na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on June 7, 2005.

Det Chief Supt. Kelly told Mr Tom O’Connell SC,
prosecuting, that based on confidential information
available to him, he believed Mr Kelly was a member of an
illegal organisation styling itself the IRA on June 7,

He said he did not base his belief on any of the
investigations, admissions or actions of the accused at
that particular time.

Under cross-examination by Mr Diarmuid McGuinness SC,
defending, the witness said he had formed his opinion
approximately six years before that date and agreed that Mr
Kelly would then have been 14 or 15 years old.

He said he believed Mr Kelly continues to be a member of
the IRA. The witness told Mr McGuinness that he had not
spoken to the DPP for the purposes of getting a direction
on the charge against Mr Kelly and he said he did not
convey to the DPP the basis on which he had formed his

Det. Chief Supt. Kelly told the court he was claiming
privilege over the information available to him, because he
said if he disclosed it, it could damage other security
operations against the IRA and would also endanger life.

Detective Sergeant Donal Prenty from the Special Detective
Unit at Harcourt Square gave evidence of conducting a
number of interviews with Mr Kelly on June 9, 2005, in
which he denied he was a member of the IRA.

In the final interview which commenced at 8.38pm that day
he agreed Mr Kelly had told him that he was exercising his
right to silence.

The accused made no reply when it was put to him that he
was part of an IRA unit involved in extorting money from
drug dealers in the Dublin area.

He again stated that he was not a member of an illegal
organisation and agreed the IRA was such an organisation.

Det. Sgt Prenty said the note was read over to Mr Kelly who
declined to sign it. He agreed with Mr McGuinness, for Mr
Kelly, that apart from the questions his client would not
answer under legal advice, he had denied membership of the
IRA at virtually every opportunity when this was put to

The trial at the three-judge court over which Mr Justice
Richard Johnson is presiding, continues tomorrow.


McGuinness British spy claims are 'nonsense'

Security sources rubbish reports

By Brian Rowan
29 May 2006

Some of the most senior political and policing sources in
Northern Ireland today dismissed reports that Martin
McGuinness was a British spy.

The claim was made in a Sunday newspaper and sourced to a
former agent handler known as Martin Ingram, who worked for
the Army's Force Research Unit.

The report also claimed that MI6 was the "driving force"
behind the IRA's so-called human bomb attacks on military
checkpoints, which pre-dated the 1994 ceasefire.

But senior political, police and other security sources who
have spoken to this newspaper say they have no knowledge of
McGuinness' alleged agent role.

"I believe it's nonsense," a former Northern Ireland Office
security official told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I'm aware of some of the crimes he (McGuinness) was
involved in.

"He did terrible things . . . dastardly things," the source

"Even the most intrepid handler at a senior level wouldn't
have touched him. I firmly believe it's not true."

As well as being Sinn Fein's chief negotiator in the peace
process, Martin McGuinness has held leadership positions at
the very top of the IRA - on its Army Council and Northern

"I was working at the highest level and I never ever saw
anything (to suggest McGuinness was an agent)," a former
senior Special Branch officer told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I would be extremely surprised. He (McGuinness) has been
so committed (to the IRA) for so long," the source added.

"If it were true, Martin Ingram wouldn't know," another
source said.

"This would be a bigger scandal for the British Government
than the IRA," he continued.

He means a bigger scandal because of the role McGuinness is
alleged to have had in the IRA's violent campaign
stretching across three decades.

"I just don't believe it," the source said.

According to security assessments, McGuinness still held an
IRA leadership position at the time of the London Docklands
and Thiepval Barracks bombs in 1996.

The Special Branch and the security services had no prior
knowledge of the attacks.

There was certainly no evidence at that time to suggest
that the British had a spy at the heart of the IRA

"That (having McGuinness as an agent) would be the jewel in
the crown," a senior police source said.

Sinn Fein described the reports as "rubbish".

'Martin Ingram' produced what he said was a secret service
document detailing a conversation between an agent labelled
J118 and other people.

He claims J118 was Martin McGuinness.


Ahern Dismisses McGuinness Spy Claim

Published on 30/05/2006

Irish Premier Bertie Ahern has dismissed claims that Sinn
Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness was a British spy.

Mr Ahern insisted allegations made by former Army
intelligence officer Martin Ingram, which were carried in a
Sunday newspaper, could not be believed and suggested the
incident may have been designed to damage the peace

"A lot of things, I believe, but I wouldn't believe that.
I'd find that just impossible," Mr Ahern said.

"I suppose it's put out to do a bit of damage, but I
wouldn't believe them," he added.

Mr Ingram identified Belfast republican Freddie Scappaticci
as the prized British agent, Stakeknife, within the IRA two
years ago - an allegation he denied before fleeing his home
in the west of the city.

The allegation about Mr McGuinness also followed the
unmasking last year of Sinn Fein's former head of
administration at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, as a spy.

He was gunned down in April at a remote cottage in
Glenties, county Donegal in the Irish Republic after
details of where he was laying low emerged.

Sinn Fein has angrily dismissed claims that Mr McGuinness,
who admitted in May 2001 in a submission to the Bloody
Sunday Inquiry that he was the IRA's second in command in
Londonderry in 1971, worked for MI6 during the 1990s.

A party spokesman also rejected claims that the allegation
against Mr McGuinness was supported by documentary

The Irish tabloid, the Sunday World, printed a transcript
of a conversation which Mr Ingram claimed was a
conversation between Mr McGuinness and an MI6 handler.

Mr McGuinness was Education Minister in the last Stormont
Executive and only last week was nominated by his party
leader Gerry Adams to be the next Deputy First Minister.

Barry Weir


A Key Player In Sinn Fein And The IRA For Over 30 Years

By Claire Regan
29 May 2006

For more than three decades, Martin McGuinness has been one
of the most controversial figures in Irish politics and one
of the republican movement's most prominent members.

The 56-year-old, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, is married
with four children. He has been MP for Mid Ulster since
1997 and grew up in the Bogside in Londonderry.

Like Gerry Adams, now Sinn Fein president, Mr McGuinness
has a long history of involvement in Sinn Fein and the
republican movement.

He is unique among MPs in that he is an acknowledged former
senior member of the IRA and has confirmed he was second-
in-command of the Derry Brigade at the time of Bloody

He was also a member of the secret IRA delegation that met
Willie Whitelaw in 1972 and has been senior negotiator for
Sinn Fein since the mid 1980s.

Mr McGuinness was deeply involved in the talks that
resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.

When those talks led to setting up the Executive, he was
installed as its first Education Minister - despite having
failed the 11-plus, which he abolished.

Mr McGuinness has said he turned to republicanism after
witnessing the 1960s government repression of the
nationalist community and its failure to prevent the
escalating violence that destroyed the civil rights

When the Provisional IRA began to emerge in key nationalist
areas in 1969 and 1970, Mr McGuinness joined up and rose
through its newly-formed ranks.

In 1971, it is thought he became the 21-year-old commander
of "Free Derry" and appeared at a Provisional IRA press
conference where the new leadership offered to talk peace.

During the 1970s he avoided internment- but not trial - for
terrorism-related offences in the Republic. He was jailed
twice there for IRA membership.

His first meeting with British politicians came in July
1972 when the Provisional IRA leadership was secretly taken
to London for what turned out to be failed talks with the
British government.

He was elected to the short- lived Assembly of the early
1980s. During the 1990s, Mr McGuinness was involved in
secret exchanges of information with the British
Government, via intermediaries.

By the 1997 general election, politics bore fruit for Sinn
Fein as both Mr McGuinness and Gerry Adams were returned as

Characterised as a dispassionate strategist, Mr McGuinness
became Sinn Fein's chief negotiator in the Good Friday
Agreement talks.

His 2003 appearance before the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, to
talk voluntarily about the IRA's activities, became one of
the most eagerly-awaited moments of the process. He
confirmed he was second-in-command of the Derry Brigade at
the time of Bloody Sunday.


Motives For IRA Murders Questioned

Tim O'Brien

University of Ulster academic Prof Henry Patterson has
questioned whether the conflict in parts of Northern
Ireland was a simple "war of liberation" or an exercise in
"ethnic cleansing" carried out by the IRA.

Prof Patterson said unlike other struggles for liberation,
it was the "self designated 'anti-imperialist' force that
killed far more victims of the Troubles than did the state

Addressing the sixth international conference of the
Spanish Association for Irish Studies at the University of
Valladolid in Spain, he detailed the murder of Fermanagh-
based UDR members on their farms, a feature which continued
on and off until the 1980s.

At this point, he said Gerry Adams had realised the
political damage the killings were doing to his efforts to
build a pan-nationalist alliance, while the Ulster
Unionists had already branded the IRA campaign as "genocide
against the Protestant people".

Prof Patterson said the Provisional IRA was responsible for
48 per cent of deaths while the RUC was responsible for 1.4
per cent and the UDR 0.2 per cent. "Even if it was accepted
that there was widespread collusion between state forces
and loyalist paramilitaries and 50 per cent of those killed
by loyalists was added to the security forces' figure, it
would still amount to only 17 per cent of all deaths," he

In his address - War of National Liberation or Ethnic
Cleansing: IRA violence in Fermanagh during the Troubles -
Prof Patterson examined the IRA campaign in that county.

The politics professor noted that during previous campaigns
the IRA leadership had decided that the part-time B-
Specials would not be targets. But the UDR, which replaced
the B-Specials, was targeted from the outset. In 1972 six
members of the UDR in Fermanagh were killed, four of them
on their Border farms. Four farming families with UDR
members sold their land and animals in the Garrison area to
move to safer areas.

Prof Patterson emphasised different phases of the campaign
against UDR part-timers in the area. In the seven years
after 1972 only one UDR man was killed in the county. That,
he believed, was partly as a result of revulsion at the
killing of a UDR man and his wife on their farm and partly
because the IRA leadership was dominated by southern-based
activists who had taken part in earlier Border campaigns
and who may have had qualms about attacking part-time UDR

The situation changed at the beginning of the 1980s, he
said, when hardline northern activists took control of the
Provisional IRA.

It changed again when political considerations also led to
the Provisional IRA unit in Fermanagh being disbanded when
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams began his attempt to build a
pan-nationalist alliance with the SDLP and Fianna Fáil in
the late 1980s, he said.

"The IRA in Fermanagh had carried out a number of widely-
condemned killings including the Enniskillen Poppy Day
bombing in which 11 people died and the shooting of a 21-
year-old Protestant girl sitting in a car with her fiance."

Prof Patterson said the potential political costs to Sinn
Féin of such activities led to the standing down of the
local IRA unit.

Prof Patterson said: "No doubt many Provisionals then and
now would sincerely and forcefully deny that their campaign
in Fermanagh was a form of ethnic cleansing." Yet he said
"that the killings struck at the Protestant community's
morale, sense of security and belonging in the area was

© The Irish Times


McDowell Attacked By Ancient Order Of Hibernians And Mother And Child

National Rights And Freedoms News Report Monday May
29, 2006 13:30 by Fergal

It is perhaps the ultimate struggle for many people. A
decision that would divide many to the very core. Usually
many people would be happy seeing people throw stuff at
McDowell thinking he deserves everything he gets. But who
do they support when it is Anti-Gay Catholic extremists.
This is a real moral conundrum

A conference last Friday to discuss legal rights for same
sex couples was infiltrated by members of the Ancient Order
of Hibernians, Mother and Child and The National Mens
Council of Ireland

The anti-gay protesters screamed at the minister as he
tried to formally open the conference and then they hurled
a copy of the Constitution at him.

They were heard to say "why do you want to pimp my child",
"are you in favour of buggering our children"

The men had mingled with the crowd before the meeting
opened and stood up screaming abuse once the minister took
the podium.

The fracas was videoed by members of the mother and child

A conference last Friday to discuss legal rights for same
sex couples was infiltrated by members of the Ancient Order
of Hibernians, Mother and Child and The National Mens
Council of Ireland

The anti-gay protesters screamed at the minister as he
tried to formally open the conference and then they hurled
a copy of the Constitution at him.

They were heard to say "why do you want to pimp my child",
"are you in favour of buggering our children"

The men had mingled with the crowd before the meeting
opened and stood up screaming abuse once the minister took
the podium.

The fracas was videoed by members of the mother and child

A conference last Friday to discuss legal rights for same
sex couples was infiltrated by members of the Ancient Order
of Hibernians, Mother and Child and The National Mens
Council of Ireland

The anti-gay protesters screamed at the minister as he
tried to formally open the conference and then they hurled
a copy of the Constitution at him.

They were heard to say "why do you want to pimp my child",
"are you in favour of buggering our children"

The men had mingled with the crowd before the meeting
opened and stood up screaming abuse once the minister took
the podium.

The fracas was videoed by members of the mother and child

When some of the men left they also physically threatened
conference delegates until they realised the TV cameras
were on them


Opin: IRA Hawk Or MI6 Superspy?

Sensational claims that Martin McGuinness is a spy have
grabbed the headlines. Northern Ireland's leading security
expert Brian Rowan gives his assessment

29 May 2006

He is the public face of Sinn Fein in the peace process,
but that is only part of his story.

The private Martin McGuinness - the Martin McGuinness of
Northern Ireland's war - is a man often portrayed as the
"hawk" of the IRA leadership.

But was he also a British spy?

That is what a number of Sunday newspapers reported and
hinted at yesterday.

If it is true, if he was an agent, then it was concealed
from some of those who have sat and who sit in the most
senior policing, security and political offices in Northern

And, if it is true, then in the words of one source, "This
would be a bigger scandal for the British Government than
the IRA."

Indeed, it would be such a scandal, that the source
concluded, "I just don't believe it."

He means a scandal because of McGuinness' alleged role in
the IRA's violent campaign stretching over three decades.

Another source – a former senior security official in the
Northern Ireland Office – suggested that "even the most
intrepid handler" at a senior level "wouldn't have touched"
the republican leader.

This source knows the Martin McGuinness of Northern
Ireland's war – knows him because of the intelligence
reports he read in those years before the ceasefire.

"I'm aware of some of the crimes he was involved in," the
source said.

"He did terrible things…dastardly things."

And on the allegation that McGuinness was an MI6 spy, he
responded, "I firmly believe it's not true."

The claim is being sourced to a former agent handler known
as Martin Ingram who worked in the Army's Force Research

But would he know? Would he have access to this most secret
of all intelligence information?

According to a number of sources, who have spoken to this
newspaper, the answer is no.

McGuinness as an agent would have been "the jewel in the

"The people who are claiming to know just wouldn't know," a
senior Northern Ireland Office source said.

But what did he believe? Could the spy story be true?

"It sounds nonsense to me," he said. "I just don't believe

Nor does the former senior Special Branch officer who spoke
to this newspaper.

"I was working at the highest level and I never ever saw
anything (to suggest McGuinness was an agent)," the source
said. "I would be extremely surprised. He has been so
committed (to the IRA) for so long," he added.

This source claimed that in his IRA leadership role,
McGuinness attended regular meetings "to say what
(operations) could and could not take place".

"People were being killed," he said.

He had no knowledge to suggest that the republican leader
was a spy. "Definitely not," was his response.

The Special Branch officer had worked on many operations
with MI5 in Northern Ireland.

"Six (MI6) helped us on many things we did foreign," he
said. The officer had also been at intelligence meetings in
London to discuss Northern Ireland. There had been no
discussion of McGuinness as an agent, and he said if it was
true, the Force Research Unit would not know.

"There's no way the FRU would have been near McGuinness,"
he said.

A senior serving police officer also spoke to the Belfast

If McGuinness was an agent, he should know.

So did he have any information to support what was being

"The answer is no," he told me. "It's nonsense."

Republicans are aware that this story on Martin McGuinness
has been bubbling up for some time now.

They are also aware that for several weeks another
journalist had the information that was published
yesterday, but his newspaper has not yet printed the story.

Last night, a senior Sinn Fein source dismissed what was
reported yesterday as "rubbish", but why has this story

If it is not true, then who has produced a document and
other details in an attempt to label McGuinness as a spy,
and what is their motivation for doing so?

This is different from Stakeknife and Stormontgate –
different from the other informer stories.

As journalists we were able to get to sources who with
certainty could confirm the agent roles of Scappaticci and

That has not been the case with McGuinness.

At the highest levels of policing and politics here – in
the offices where people should know – there has been no
confirmation of what is alleged. Indeed, there has been a
very sceptical and dismissive response to what has been

So how could such a story be concealed from people in such
senior positions – not just currently but over a
considerable period of time?

And, if it was concealed from them, how could Martin Ingram
get confirmation of something so secret?

These are just some of the questions that arise out of what
has emerged.

We need to know more, and if that more is produced by way
of proof, then the worlds of politics and policing here
will not only be surprised but shocked, and then they will
want the "scandal" explained.

Are we really to believe that the IRA hawk was a British


Opin: Sectarianism Alive And Well In Northern Ireland

CBC News Viewpoint May 29, 2006

Clare Byrne is a journalist living in Dublin who
contributes features to national newspapers and news
magazines, including the Irish Times and the Irish
Independent. She is also a part-time French teacher. Clare
moved back to Ireland late last year after some ten years
overseas – in France, Belgium and, most recently, Canada.

She spent two years in Montreal from 2002 to 2004 where she
worked as a reporter and newswriter with Radio-Canada
International and was also a regular contributor to the
Montreal Gazette.

In Northern Ireland, you can usually tell whether someone
is Catholic or Protestant by the football team they
support. Catholics are fans of the Catholic club, Glasgow
Celtic, whereas Protestants support the Glasgow Rangers.

All Saints' Church in Ballymena, Country Antrim, was awash
with green-and-white Celtic jerseys marked "Mickybo RIP"
recently as a popular 15-year-old Catholic teenager was
laid to rest after being beaten to death by a gang of
youths, apparently because of his religion.

The few wearers of royal-blue Rangers dotted here and there
stuck out like sore thumbs.

Michael McIlveen was a Catholic in a town that is four-
fifths Protestant and where sectarian tensions run so high
many Catholics say they are afraid to go into the town
centre alone for fear of being physically attacked.

Long after the ritual of almost daily bombings has ceased,
there is still something very rotten in the British
province of Northern Ireland.

Although it's been eight years since Protestant "unionist"
parties seeking to remain within the United Kingdom and
Catholic "nationalists" anxious to achieve a united Ireland
signed a peace deal ending the 30-year "troubles,"
sectarianism at the community level is alive and thriving.

One of the reasons behind the hatred is that almost
everybody in the province of one million people knows at
least one of the more than 3,600 people killed and 36,000
injured by the other side during the conflict.

The hatred runs both ways, but most observers agree that
Catholics, still a minority in Northern Ireland – 44 per
cent to the Protestants' 53 per cent in 2001 – are the butt
of most of the attacks.

The North Antrim town of Ballymena, in the fiefdom of
firebrand Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley, has
a particularly sorry reputation in this regard.

Although the town is only one-fifth Catholic and four-
fifths Protestant, the Catholic population there, like
elsewhere, is growing, prompting fears among some
Protestants of a gradual erosion of their identity.

Only recently, a member of an armed Protestant militia was
convicted of the attempted murder of a Catholic in
Ballymena, during which the latter overheard his attackers
discussing how to carve up his body with a saw.

Other times, intimidation is used to try to force out
Catholics. In the late 1990s, a Catholic church in
Ballymena was regularly besieged by Protestant extremists,
and mass-goers were forced to run a gauntlet of jeering

In the case of Michael McIlveen, the most shocking factor
was the young age, not just of the victim, but of those
accused of the attack. Of the seven teenagers charged in
connection with his murder, two are also only 15.

A bishop at Michael's funeral condemned the manifestations
of sectarianism that marked out neighbourhoods in towns and
cities as "no-go areas for the other side."

Graffiti, painted kerbs, flags (the Union Jack or the Irish
Tricolor) and murals on gable ends depicting dead militants
all serve to demarcate turf as Catholic or as Protestant.

Protestants refer to Catholics disparagingly as "fenians,"
a secret rebel society dating from the mid-1900s, or
"taigs" (origin unclear), while Protestants are "huns"
(possibly because of the link between Protestantism and

A Canadian friend once told a story about some time he
spent in Northern Ireland as a young man. After
establishing that he was a foreigner, the first question on
everyone's lips was: "Are you Catholic or Protestant?" (He
was, in fact, Jewish.)

Young "taigs" and "huns" trade insults and threats on the
youth website, with the volume of abuse swelling
in the wake of McIlveen's murder.

For an adult reader, the messages can make for an amusing
read because of the childlike texting language used ("U'll
get wot's cum n 2 u, u drty taig"), but in view of recent
events such threats cannot be dismissed.

Many people were blaming the ongoing mudslinging by
political parties in Northern Ireland for the upsurge in
sectarianism. What is clear is that the failure of
unionists and nationalists to hold together a power-sharing
government has obviously had a trickle-down effect.

It is often joked that Paisley does not have the word "yes"
in his vocabulary after a lifetime spent saying "no" to
measures aimed at giving Catholics a greater say in the
province's affairs.

His arch-enemies in Sinn Fein, the political wing of the
IRA, have also been guilty of dragging their feet on the
path to peace. It took seven years after the Belfast
Agreement for the IRA to hand over all of its weapons.

On May 15, the warring parties were back in the Northern
Ireland Assembly for the first time after a three-and-a-
half year hiatus and, in a rare moment of unity, observed a
moment's silence for Michael McIlveen.

"If some other mother's child gets killed as a result of
sectarianism, we need to be sure we're not responsible, we
have to set the example," Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

As one commentator noted, maybe now politicians in Northern
Ireland will start telling us what they're for, not what
they're against.


Opin: Davitt's Land Struggle Has Finally Been Lost


Michael Davitt's egalitarian solution to land distribution
has never been more remote, writes Diarmaid Ferriter

Michael Davitt died 100 years ago today in a Dublin nursing
home at the age of 60. One of the wreaths sent to his
funeral service at Clarendon Street Church was from the
Jewish community in Ireland.

This was partly in recognition of his robust defence of
their integrity in 1904 following sermons in Limerick in
which the Redemptorist priest Fr Creagh incited hatred
against them for coming to Ireland "to fasten themselves on
us like leeches and to draw our blood".

Davitt's response, written in January 1904, included a
protest "as an Irishman and as a Catholic, against the
spirit of barbarous malignity being introduced into
Ireland, under the pretended form of a material regard for
the welfare of our workers".

Davitt's intervention in this ugly episode came after he
had already denounced the pogroms being directed against
Russian Jews, following a journalistic visit there in 1903,
and at the beginning of another extraordinarily busy year.

For the next few months, he was in the United States,
attempting, among other things, to dissuade congressmen
from pursuing an Anglo-American arbitration treaty, on the
grounds that it should not be signed in the absence of
Irish independence. In June, he travelled to Russia for a
second time to report on political and industrial unrest

Other political and journalistic crusades during his career
incorporated visits to South Africa, New Zealand,
Australia, Poland and Hungary, where he advocated social
reform, nationalism and labour rights.

His sixth and last book, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland,
was another notable event of 1904, a 700-page tome giving
his account of the land struggle of the late 19th and early
20th centuries, which has remained an important source for
the history of that period. It is the best known of
Davitt's books, a treatise on the issue most Irish people
will remember him for: his quest to bring about the demise
of the landlord class in Ireland and an equitable solution
to the problem of Irish land ownership.

The activities of the last few years of his life, which
included campaigning for the British Labour Party in the
general election of 1906, and defending state-aided,
secular education, encapsulate the many strands that
punctuated his career as a social activist, journalist,
historian and politician. So too, did his prison
experiences which led to him being a passionate advocate of
penal reform.

Born in Straide, Co Mayo, in 1846, his impoverished family
emigrated to Haslingden in Lancashire in 1850 where, seven
years later, he lost his right arm in an industrial

The following decade he joined the IRB, and having become a
full-time Fenian activist in 1869, was charged with
treason-felony and sentenced to 15 years' penal servitude
in 1870. Released seven years later, he returned to Ireland
and embarked on the crusade for land reform with which his
name will forever be associated, establishing the Irish
National Land League in 1879. He also initiated the Ladies'
Land League, the first political organisation in Ireland
led by women.

In his 1981 biography, TW Moody observed that Davitt "was
the best loved and most trusted of all the national chiefs
of his day", but he also suggested that Davitt felt
compelled, despite the complexity of his political life, to
retrospectively present it as a self-consistent whole in
his autobiographical and history writing.

1882 was a turning point in Davitt's career due to the
formation of the Irish National League to replace the Land
League he had founded, a development that marked the
encroachment of Parnell's Home Rule Party on the land
question. It was also the year in which Davitt made his
first speech advocating land nationalisation, and he
retrospectively dismissed the National League as a "purely
parliamentary substitute for a semi-revolutionary
movement". It is perhaps the greatest paradox of his career
that, while regarded as a national icon and so closely
identified with the struggling tenants he sought to
champion, his solution to the land question was
fundamentally at odds with the Irish love affair with
private property.

The usurpation of his leadership by more conservative
elements propelled him to campaigns further and wider and
more radical, yet he remained loyal to the Home Rule ideal,
having abandoned the Fenianism of his youth. He served as
an MP for northeast Cork and south Mayo during the 1890s.

There was a certain uneasiness to all this; despite his
more socialist beliefs about land ownership, and his labour
sympathies, he believed it was necessary to maintain his
association with the more conservative of his political
contemporaries, but he was an uncomfortable parliamentarian
and difficult to categorise politically.

His most recent biographer, Carla King, has accurately
observed that "in a sense his career mirrors the interplay
of forces that made up the 'Irish Question' in the late
19th century", and that "in the breadth of his vision as an
Irish nationalist, social thinker and internationalist,
Davitt may fairly be seen as a founding father of Irish

Some of his contemporaries were dismissive of his political
contribution. James Connolly unfairly maintained he was "an
unselfish idealist, who in his enthusiasm for a cause gave
his name and his services freely at the beck and call of
men who despised his ideals". He did much more than that;
he managed, by holding together diverse groups and
opinions, to set a new agenda and force a fundamental
change in land policy, and by extension, in attitudes
towards Home Rule.

He also aspired towards an inclusive nationalism.

He was an exceptionally generous man, who lived in relative
poverty due to his inability to ignore the material needs
of others. It is difficult to have anything but admiration
for the devotion he displayed to so many causes, his
relentless work rate, his capacity for campaigning and the
fact that he was largely self-taught.

Recently, the opponents of the Corrib pipeline insisted
their struggle is on a par with Davitt's. His legacy lives
on in other ways, not least to demonstrate the fact that,
in the 100 years since his death, Ireland has witnessed one
of the greatest ironies of its history - the Irish social
revolution of the late 19th century, in which the political
and social power of the landlords was broken by their
tenants, has been replaced by a native class of landowners
and speculators, who sometimes exercise their domination of
land and the property market in an even more invidious way
than the most wretched 19th-century landlords.

The egalitarian solution to land redistribution Davitt
sought has never been more remote. Many young Irish people
cannot afford to buy houses, while their richer peers have
become a landlord class in eastern Europe. Davitt's angry
ghost should continue to haunt us.

Diarmaid Ferriter lectures in Irish history at St Patrick's
College, DCU

© The Irish Times


Davitt Recalled As Great Humanitarian

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

Michael Davitt was an "international humanitarian" whose
true worth has been "eclipsed by the men and women of the
1916 generation", according to the author of a new

Contemporary politicians owe the founder of the Land League
a great debt for a variety of reasons, Bernard O'Hara,
registrar at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, has
found. A little known fact is that Davitt campaigned for
salaries to be paid to members of the Westminster
parliament long before payment was introduced in 1911.

Mr O'Hara is the author of Davitt, which was published in
Castlebar, Co Mayo, last night, on the eve of today's
centenary of Davitt's death. Among those present were 11 of
Davitt's grandchildren, the most senior of whom, Fr Tom
Davitt, spoke at the function along with Mayo County
Council cathaoirleach, Cllr Henry Kenny (FG).

"To understand Davitt, one has to understand his social
conscience, and his support for national and international
humanitarian causes, including the Boers of South Africa
and the Jews of Russia," Mr O'Hara told The Irish Times.

"It was a reflection of his global standing that laudatory
obituaries were carried of him all over the world after his
death in 1906."

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó
Cuív is due to lay a wreath this afternoon on Davitt's
grave in Straide, Co Mayo.

The Michael Davitt Memorial Association is hosting a
conference from next Friday to Sunday, at which the keynote
speaker will be Senator Martin Mansergh. Friday's opening
session, chaired by former Irish ambassador Noel Dorr,
takes place in the Davitt Centre, Straide, while
participants at the Pontoon Bridge Hotel on Saturday will
include Davitt biographer Carla King, Donncha O'Connell of
NUI Galway's law faculty, Prof Brian O'Connor of Queen's
University Belfast, and Fionnuala O Connor and Patsy
McGarry of The Irish Times.

Last night's event also marked the opening of an
exhibition, produced by Ivor Hamrock of Mayo Library, which
covers all aspects of Davitt's life, from his early years
and emigration to England to the Land League and his
international work.

The exhibition will run in Castlebar until June 30th, and
can be viewed on the internet on

© The Irish Times


Dogs Banned From Clare Beaches

Gordon Deegan

Dog owners face fines of up to €1,270 if found taking their
dog - even those on a lead - for a summer afternoon stroll
on Clare's beaches from this Thursday.

The ban on dogs is to come into force from June 1st to the
end of August between 11am and 6pm. Clare County Council
confirmed yesterday that gardaí have been drafted in to
support the implementation of the contentious beach bylaw.

A council spokesman said there would be a "softly-softly"
approach at first when the emphasis would be on education.
The bylaws state that dog-owners face on-the-spot fines of
€125 and fines up to €1,270 if a case goes to court.

The spokesman said gardaí were supportive of the bylaws.
However, he said that apart from expenditure on signage, no
additional funding has been made available to implement the
new laws.

Clare's dog warden will not be in a position to enforce the
ban at the busiest time, weekends, as he works Monday to

But beach lifeguards, other council staff and gardaí will
be imposing the new laws.

The bylaws will also seek to control littering, lighting of
fires, camping, trading and regulate the use of motorised
craft and water sports activities at Clare beaches.

Chief Supt Liam Quinn welcoming the bylaws, said: "For a
long time, we have campaigned for the introduction of such
bylaws. They give the gardaí and Clare County Council the
authority to rid the county's coastal amenity areas of

"The number of fires being lit and parties being held on
the county's beaches concerns me. The beach bylaws will
enable gardaí to limit this activity."

The council's environment special policy committee
chairwoman, Cllr Patricia McCarthy, said: "It is very
welcome that the bylaws are coming into force in the
interests of safety, health and well-being of the

"Dogs banned from beaches is standard practice all over the
Continent and it is not safe to have dogs roaming on
beaches. It will take time for the bylaws to settle down."

However, Cllr Joe Carey (FG), who voiced his opposition to
the move earlier this year, yesterday described the beach
bylaws "as a draconian measure".

He warned: "The council may come to regret the decision as
Clare is a tourist county and the ban on dogs is not a
family-friendly policy."

Cllr Colm Wiley (FF) said: "I don't think the dogs ban will
work because the council has neither the staff nor the
resources to enforce the law. I hope the ban doesn't work
because people should be able to bring their dogs for a
walk on the beach if the dog is on a lead."

The council imposed a ban on dogs from the county's beaches
in spite of opposition from the Irish Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) and international
best-selling author Nuala O'Faolain.

ISPCA general manager Mark Beazley urged the council to
leave a section of each beach accessible to dogs on a year-
round basis, marked out by wooden posts or signage.

A submission from Nuala O'Faolain, who owns a house near
Lahinch, offered similar views to the ISPCA. "It seems a
pity to prohibit families and visitors the company of their

"Couldn't part of the beach be designated dogs allowed?"
she asked.

The beaches to be included are Lahinch, Kilkee, Bishop's
Quarter, Spanish Point, Doolin, Seafield, White Strand
(Doonbeg), Carrigaholt and Brews Bridge.

© The Irish Times

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