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July 04, 2006

IAUC: McAllister Plea

News About Ireland & The Irish

IE 07/04/06 IAUC: McAllister Plea
SL 06/18/06 Ellen McAllister: Show My Son Some Clemency
DI 07/04/06 PSNI Logo On Cross Sparks Church Anger
DI 07/04/06 ‘I’m Not A Terrorist Threat,’ Says Pilot
BT 07/04/06 Assembly Meeting Will Discuss Lack Of Progress
BB 07/04/06 PSNI Appoint Assistant Chief To Deal With Inquiries
BN 07/04/06 TD Hits Out At New Defence Force Legislastion
BB 07/04/06 McGuinness: Disappeared Issue 'Can Be Solved'
BB 07/04/06 Call To Halt US Extradition Laws
EX 07/03/06 McGuinness Urges Peace In Sri Lanka
BG 07/02/06 Fighting For Their Voice
IN 07/04/06 Sectarian Attacks Condemned
IN 07/04/06 Unionists Fail In Attempt To Block Parade Funding
IN 07/04/06 Dissident Republicans Blamed For ‘Viable’ Nail Bomb
ND 07/04/06 Three IRA Members Were 'Special Branch Agents'
IE 07/04/06 U.S. Clears Iraq Shooters But Were Key Witnesses Ignored?
SL 07/02/06 Booklet Claims Terror Chief Was Framed
IN 07/04/06 Opin: Collusion Issue Is Now An Undisputed Fact
BT 07/04/06 Opin: Future Is As Clear As The Past, As Usual
IN 07/04/06 Opin: Blame Game Is Hitting The Headlines Again
IN 07/03/06 Opin: Display Of Maturity At Commemoration
IN 07/04/06 Opin: Death Brings Fr Faul
BT 06/28/06 Opin: Fr McManus: Why Priest Was Never Made A Bishop
IN 07/04/06 Opin: Irish Brigade In Spain Were Victims Of Friendly Fire
IN 07/04/06 New Book Describes Legacy Of Tears Left By IRA Violence
DN 07/04/06 ‘I’m Not A Terrorist Threat,’ Says Pilot
HC 07/04/06 Genealogists Discover Royal Roots For All
SF 07/04/06 Féile An Phobail - A Winning Formula: Adams


McAllister Plea

The Irish American Unity in Action Committee has made
another plea to the U.S. government on behalf of Belfast
native Malachy McAllister.

In a letter to Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Jackson, the committee asks for Jackson's "intervention" in
the case of McAllister and his children, Nicole and Sean.

The letter outlines the McAllister family's long running
bid to secure political asylum in this country and refers
on part to the recent sympathetic interpretation of the
case by federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry.

"The Secretary of Homeland Security surely has the
discretion to suspend the deportation proceedings against
Malachy McAllister and his family," the signatories stated
in the letter.

"We are making this request for two reasons. Not only has
Mr. McAllister lived peaceably in this country for more
than 10 years and has proven himself to be absolutely no
threat whatsoever to this country, he has also actively
supported the Good Friday agreement and has been a strong
proponent of the Irish Peace Process which reflects the
current policy of the administration," they argued.

"Clearly, the McAllisters deserve to remain in this country
where they have lived peacefully and have contributed so
much for so many years," the committee members concluded.

The letter bore 17 signatures including those of AOH
National President Ned McGinley, Frank Durkan of Americans
for a New Irish Agenda and James Cullen of the Brehon Law


Show My Son Some Clemency

Mum pleads with US to allow ex-INLA man back to country if
he visits dying dad in Ulster

By Stephen Breen
18 June 2006

The mother of a former INLA man facing deportation from the
United States has accused the Washington government of
stopping her son visiting his seriously ill father.

Ellen McAllister, from Belfast's lower Ormeau Road, told
Sunday Life that Malachy McAllister is "desperate" to visit
dad Robert, who has Alzheimer's.

The mother-of-eight fears that if her son makes a brief
visit, he won't be allowed to re-enter the US.

Said Mrs McAllister: "My husband is very seriously ill and
needs 24-hour care and attention. The only thing that keeps
him going is his desire to see his son again.

"Malachy went to America because loyalists fired over 30
shots into his living room and his kids' bedroom - what
else was he meant to do?

"He is worried that if he makes a visit there is no way the
US authorities will let him in again. This whole nightmare
is destroying him."

She added her son had been an "upstanding member of the
community" since he emigrated to the US.

"My son and his two kids are no threat to anyone, their
whole life is in America," she said.

A Federal Judge in New Jersey - who admitted she had "no
choice" but to allow the deportation of the former
republican - urged US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to
intervene in the case.

McAllister (48), who has met with former US President Bill
Clinton to discuss his case, is facing expulsion from his
adopted country because of a conviction in the 1980s.

The builder was jailed when he signed a police statement
after being implicated by republican supergrass Harry

He fled Ulster in 1988 after Red Hand Commando terrorists
came within inches of killing him and his family.

The weapons used in the attack were later found - along
with McAllister's personal details - in a loyalist arms

His family are being backed by US congressmen Joe Crawley
and Steve Rothman, as well as other senior politicians.

Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey has also offered to meet the
family to discuss the case.


PSNI Logo On Cross Sparks Church Anger

No Catholic representatives at launch of new police scheme

By Connla Young

The PSNI moved to defuse a row with the Catholic church
last night over the use of a Christian cross on official
police literature.

The two groups were set on a collision course after the
PSNI imposed an image of their logo on a cross in a bid to
promote a the Police and Churches Together (Pact) group.

A PSNI pilot scheme, the project hopes to bring church
leaders together to discuss issues of common concern with
the PSNI.

So far the scheme has been launched in Newtownabbey,
Dungannon, Antrim and Limavady.

Last night a spokesperson for Catholic church said that
although she hasn’t seen the Pact logo the ancient
Christian symbol of the cross should always be respected.

“A cross being used on an alter or a church should carry
the image of Christ but plain crosses are also used to
symbolise various aspects of the church.

“It’s common to see crosses being used.

The cross is a traditional symbol and should be respected
as such especially when it’s being used for artistic or
commercial reasons. It should be used sensitively,” said
the spokesperson.

The Pact scheme was launched in Limavady last week at a
breakfast hosted by the borough’s District Policing

However, a spokesperson for the partnership refused to
confirm the identity of Catholic church representatives who
attended the event.

Daily Ireland understands that no members of the Catholic
clergy were in attendance although a number of lay people
did take part.

A spokesperson for the DPP confirmed that representatives
from non-Christian churches were not invited to the event
which involved almost 50 people.

An unholy row may have been averted last night after the
PSNI moved to clarify their use of the cross.

“This logo was not intended to cause offence to anyone,” a
spokesman said.

“The scheme aims to strengthen links between the police and
Christian denominations in the area and its ethos reflects
values deeply held by a large number of people.

“This is just one example of the many initiatives the
police try to develop with individual groups to encourage
mutual respect and benefit.”


‘I’m Not A Terrorist Threat,’ Says Pilot

by Ciarán Barnes


A Belfast pilot dubbed a “terror threat” by the US
government faces being sued by US president George Bush.

Michael Philips last week received a letter from the US
Department of Homeland Security threatening to sue him
unless he returns his private pilot’s licence.

The aviation fanatic was granted the licence in 1996 after
learning to fly in Florida.

However, he returned it to the US Federal Aviation
Authority the following year, not having put in the flying
time needed to maintain the licence.

Despite having given up his licence and not having flown a
plane since 1997, the US Department of Transportation wrote
to Mr Philips last month to inform him that his licence had
been suspended because he was considered a terrorist

Two weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a
further letter warning Mr Philips that he would be sued
unless he returned the licence.

This letter branded him “a risk of air piracy or terrorism
or threat to airline passenger safety”.

A mystified Mr Philips told Daily Ireland he had no idea
why the US authorities were pursuing him.

“The accusations the US authorities are making about me are
ridiculous,” he said.

“But they are also very, very serious when you consider how
they are branding me an air pirate and a threat to
passenger safety.

“What are they going to do next? Accuse me of being a
member al-Qaida?”

Mr Philips called on the US government to reveal why he was
considered a terrorist threat.

“I have a clean record so I find it amazing that the US
government could put me in the same bracket as Osama bin

“I gave my pilot’s licence up years ago. The US government
should know that. They are pursuing me for something I
don’t have,” he said.


Assembly Meeting Will Discuss Lack Of Progress

By Noel McAdam
04 July 2006

Secretary State Peter Hain was today poised to summon a
meeting of the Assembly - its first in a month.

The issue for debate will be the progress, or lack of it,
of the Preparation for Government Committee. But Sinn Fein
was privately making clear its members are unlikely to

The expected move comes after the multi-party group
yesterday failed to agree over how to take its task -
identifying obstacles to the restoration of devolution -

Apart from the Assembly meeting on Friday, Mr Hain is
understood to have suggested the committee set up a range
of sub-groups to examine specific issues including
policing, the devolution of justice and the potential
economic 'peace dividend' package.

Sinn Fein is, however, opposed to what it calls "talking
shop" Assembly debates - discussions on issues over which
the Assembly has no power - while the DUP is reluctant to
agree to expand the 14-strong committee into sub-groups.


PSNI Appoint New Assistant Chief

The police have appointed a new assistant chief constable
to deal with public inquiries into a number of
controversial deaths.

Alistair Finlay is expected to take up the NI post in the

He will be responsible for police input into inquiries into
the deaths of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill, and Billy

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the appointment would
allow other senior officers to concentrate on new cases.

Mr Finlay, who is currently serving with Strathclyde
police, will also be responsible for responding to a report
by the Police Ombudsman later this year which is expected
to heavily criticise the conduct and management of a number
of police informers.

He may also oversee the work of the Historical Inquiries
Team, which has been given five years to re-examine more
than 3,000 deaths during the Troubles.

Rosemary Nelson, a solicitor, was killed in an under-car
booby-trap bomb explosion in Lurgan in 1999.

LVF leader Billy Wright was targeted and murdered inside
the Maze Prison by jailed members of the Irish National
Liberation Army in 1997.

Robert Hamill, a Catholic, died in hospital after being
attacked by a loyalist mob in his home town of Portadown in

Public inquiries into their murders were ordered by the
government in April 2004 following a report into
allegations of security force collusion in their deaths.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/04 11:44:27 GMT


TD Hits Out At New Defence Force Legislastion

04/07/2006 - 07:03:53

Proposed new defence legislation infringes upon Ireland’s
neutrality and weakens the United Nations’ ability to
effectively respond to iternational troubles, Sinn Féin TD
Martin Ferris said today.

The Defence Forces (Amendment) Bill will allow Ireland to
join other European nations in ending troops as rapid
response units to areas of conflict ahead of larger forces.

“In particular, we are opposed to the integration of the
defence forces into the EU battle groups, the elimination
of the triple-lock safeguard and the underhand manner by
which the Bill is to be passed at midnight following less
than two and a half hours debate by the Dáil,” Mr Ferris,
who was addressing a meeting of the Peace And Neutrality
Alliance (PANA) on the legislation, said.

“Not only does the proposed legislation imply a gross
infringement of the principle of Irish neutrality, but in
addition they will weaken the United Nations’ ability and
capacity to respond to international crises effectively,
since European troops will be diverted to these battle
groups and other non-UN forces.”

The Green Party has been severely critical of the Bill,
accusing the Government of rushing the bill through the
Dáil in order to deliberately prevent debate on such a
contentious issue.

The Labour Party, meanwhile, has also expressed concern
about the manner in which the legislation is being
introduced given the effect it could have on Ireland's
policy of neutrality.

The Bill was passed by the Seanad last week and will be
brought to the Dáil ahead of the summer recess.

The legislation would allow Irish troops to go off with the
battlegroups prior to UN approval and without Dáil approval
for certain operations.


Disappeared Issue 'Can Be Solved'

Republicans have not given up hope of resolving the
"Disappeared" issue, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has

DUP leader Ian Paisley is to meet the mother of Columba
McVeigh, murdered in 1975 but whose body remains missing.

In 1999, the IRA offered to help locate the bodies of the
nine Disappeared. Three victims were found in 1999 while
one was uncovered in 2003.

Mr McGuinness said his party was "not satisfied" with this
and would continue striving to help the victims' families.

"We have been partially successful in that there have been
a number of cases resolved as a result of the endeavours of
republicans," he said.

"But we are not satisfied with that.

"We want to continue to appeal to people to help in
whatever way they can to ensure that families like the
McVeighs can find some comfort after the terrible ordeal
they have been through over the course of many decades."

The so-called Disappeared are nine people murdered by the
IRA during the Troubles whose bodies were not found for
decades. Five remain undetected.

In October 2003, the IRA apologised for the grief suffered
by their families.

Paisley meeting

On Monday, the mother of IRA murder victim Columba McVeigh
said she appreciated the help of Mr Paisley who wants to
help pursue the search for her son's body.

The 17-year-old from Donaghmore in County Tyrone was
kidnapped, killed and secretly buried in 1975.

It is understood a meeting will take place between the DUP
leader and the McVeigh family this week.

In 2003, Mrs McVeigh said she had given up hope of ever
finding her son's remains, after a 14-day police excavation
at bogland in County Monaghan turned up nothing.

The operation was the third dig in the area and followed
new information passed to the Irish Government by the IRA.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/04 08:19:44 GMT


Call To Halt US Extradition Laws

The UK should put on hold controversial extradition laws
which allow fast-track removals to the US, Liberal Democrat
leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said.

Sir Menzies said the 2003 Extradition Act was a
"constitutional disgrace" given that the US Senate had yet
to ratify the treaty behind the laws.

Three UK bankers, who deny guilt, are wanted in the US over
Enron. They are due to be extradited this month.

The government denies claims that the extradition
arrangements are one-sided.


The extradition laws have faced criticism because they do
not require the US to provide "prima facie", or solid
evidence of wrongdoing, to extradite a UK citizen.

Until it is ratified in the US, Britain however must still
provide the US with evidence of "probable cause" if it
wishes to extradite someone from the US.

The Extradition Act was established in the wake of the 11
September attacks in 2001, and was intended to accelerate
the extradition of terror suspects.

But is has been the centre of controversy following the
decision to use it for non-terror related allegations.

Sir Menzies said the arrangements were not reciprocal and
were a "piece of ineptitude" by the UK Government.

"We have this extraordinary situation in which we
essentially have a unilateral treaty," he said.

"Both countries signed this treaty, Britain has ratified
it, we've changed our domestic legislation so that it
conforms to the treaty.

"But in the United States, the Senate, largely under the
influence of the Irish lobby which is determined to prevent
any question of suspected IRA terrorists being extradited
back to the United Kingdom, simply refuses to sign."

Banker trio

Sir Menzies said ministers could pass a new law to suspend
the extradition obligations until the US Senate ratified
the treaty.

The act is being used to extradite NatWest executives David
Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby.

This month they failed in an appeal to the European Court
of Human Rights for the extradition to be postpone.

The Home Office said the bankers' lawyers had argued that
the men should not be extradited as their alleged offences
were mostly committed in the UK.

But that argument had been rejected by the courts, who had
upheld the home secretary's decision to allow the
extradition, said a spokesman.

He insisted the extradition obligations were not

"That was the case but the new arrangements have redressed
this," said the spokesman.

"The US has always required all extradition requests from
any country to show probable case.

"In practice, this differs very little from our term:
'information which would justify the issue of a warrant for
the arrest of a person'."

The UK required from America information of a similar
standard to that needed from most European countries, he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/04 08:26:56 GMT


McGuinness Urges Peace In Sri Lanka

03/07/2006 - 22:33:39

Martin McGuinness today urged the Sri Lankan government and
Tamil Tiger rebels to prevent the island nation from
slipping back to full-scale civil war, his party said.

McGuinness, deputy leader of Sinn Féin, is a former leader
of the IRA, which fought for decades to end British rule in
Northern Ireland before giving up its weapons in July 2005
as part of a peace deal.

His meeting with Tiger political leader S.P Thamilselvan in
the northern rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi comes as Sri
Lanka’s four-year-old peace process stands on the verge of
collapse amid escalating violence that has killed more than
700 people since December.

“My core message was that both sides need to act decisively
to prevent the downward spiral into all out conflict,” Sinn
Féin quoted McGuinness as saying in a statement issued in

“The reality is that, just as in Ireland, there can be no
military victory and that the only alternative to endless
conflict is dialogue, negotiations and accommodation,” he

McGuinness said the Sri Lankan government and the
Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam, or LTTE, could benefit
from the lessons learned in Northern Ireland’s peace

“I am very keen to share my experiences as one of the
leaders of the Sinn Féin movement in Ireland, not just with
the leaders of the LTTE, but also with Sri Lanka,” the pro-
rebel TamilNet Web site quoted McGuinness as saying.

McGuinness, meanwhile, criticised the European Union for
recently banning the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist

He called the decision a “huge mistake ... to demonise the
LTTE and the political leaders of the Tamil people,”
TamilNet reported.

The Tamil Tiger rebels began fighting the government in
1983 to create a separate homeland for the country’s ethnic
minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of

More than 65,000 people were killed before a Norway-
brokered cease-fire was signed in 2002. Both sides accuse
the other of being behind the recent spike in violence that
threatens the truce, but each denies it.

McGuinness’ visit, which was unannounced, was approved by
the Sri Lankan government, which provided him a military
helicopter to visit rebel territory.


Fighting For Their Voice

Irish immigrants seek role in D.C. debate

By Will Kilburn, Globe Correspondent July 2, 2006

At first glance, the scene last weekend at two pubs could
have been mistaken for that of a typical summer Sunday,
with pints flowing, bands playing, and patrons in soccer
jerseys smiling, laughing, and trading stories. But along
with the celebratory air, the gatherings at the Banshee in
Dorchester and the Green Briar in Brighton also had a sense
of urgency: Organized by local members of the Irish Lobby
for Immigration Reform , the morning-till-last-call events
were fund-raisers for a bus trip to Washington, D.C., last
Wednesday to make sure Irish voices are heard as Congress
prepares to debate the future of immigration in America.

``I want to live here, have a life, family, buy a home.
This has been my home for seven years," said 30-year-old
Kevin Shaw of Dorchester, an undocumented construction
worker originally from Belfast who attended the Banshee
event. ``So if I want to become legal, this is our only

``People don't generally associate Irish people out here as
having problems with immigration," said one of the Green
Briar event's organizers, 32-year-old Jimmy Gallagher of
Needham, a construction worker who left Sligo 13 years ago
with his family. ``But there's well over 45,000
undocumented Irish here right now that are living in the
shadow. They can't get driver's licenses, they can't get
work, they can't get benefits, nothing."

Such has been the case for some time now, but after a
Republican-sponsored bill was proposed late last year which
would effectively criminalize undocumented immigrants, a
number of Irish immigrants in New York formed the Irish
Lobby last December with the intention of adding their
voices to the debate. A Boston chapter was formed soon
after, and made its presence known in March when about
1,000 people from the Boston area joined 1,400 others from
New York and across the country in Washington to meet with
members of Congress, including Arizona Senator John McCain
and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, himself the
descendant of Irish immigrants. Following the March trip,
members of the Boston contingent said Kennedy told them
they'd helped change the minds of five senators and keep a
compromise bill alive.

``This organization could not have grown in the strength
and the size that it has without them," said Kelly Fincham
, a former journalist who is now the executive director of
the organization at its main office in New York. A native
of County Louth , Fincham confirms that the group
continually fights the perception that Irish are trying to
beat the system somehow.

``I'm sick and tired of people saying to me, `My parents
came over in such-and-such; you should all just stand in
line,' " Fincham said. ``Everyone would stand in line if
there was a line, if there was a system."

While many at last weekend's events have their hearts set
on staying in the United States and being able to drive
legally, buy a home, and live without fear of being
deported -- a number also said they look forward to the day
when they can visit relatives in Ireland and not have to
worry about being allowed to return to their adopted home.

For more information about the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform, go to

© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


Sectarian Attacks Condemned

By Barry McCaffrey

A Sinn Fein councillor yesterday raised concerns after a
sectarian attack on Catholic homes in Lurgan at the

Lurgan councillor Michael Tallon said that a loyalist crowd
attacked nationalist homes on Antrim Road in the town
shortly after 6.30pm on Sunday with stones, bottles and at
least two petrol bombs.

He said one elderly Catholic woman was struck on the
shoulder while a young boy sustained severe injuries to his

Mr Tallon questioned why the loyalists were not identified
by police on CCTV as the gang made its way through a public
park to attack the nationalist homes.

Mr Tallon said the weekend attacks were the latest in a
series of similar incidents in recent weeks.

“Over the past two weeks, gangs of loyalists have been
roaming Lurgan Park seeking out nationalist victims.

“In one incident, two children returning from the swimming
pool adjacent to the park were assaulted and in another
incident two Catholic girls were also assaulted in the
park’s play area.

“I will be raising these matters within council and
directly with council officers as this park is owned by
Craigavon Council.”

A PSNI spokesman confirmed police had been called to a
number of incidents in Lurgan on Sunday evening, including
stone throwing between two rival groups in the Antrim Road

The spokesman said police maintained a presence in the area
until the early hours of yesterday morning.


Unionists Fail In Attempt To Block Parade Funding

By Barry McCaffrey

UNIONISTS on Belfast City Council last night failed in
their attempt to withdraw funding for the St Patrick’s Day

Earlier this month unionists had succeeded in withdrawing
£110,000 funding for the March 17 celebrations.

However, at a full council meeting last night Sinn Fein,
SDLP and Alliance councillors united to overturn the
funding ban.

DUP councillor Sammy Wilson claimed that unionists had felt
alienated from this year’s carnival and that local traders
had reported a downturn in business on the day.

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers claimed the
celebrations were a “waste of taxpayers’ money” and that
people had been too afraid to enter Belfast city centre on

St Patrick’s Day because of a fear of violence.

However Alliance councillor Tom Ekin accused unionists of
carrying out a campaign of “scaremongering” against this
year’s March 17 carnival.

“I listened to a unionist councillor on the radio on the
morning of the carnival telling people not to come into the
city because there would be trouble,” he said.

“I was there and I saw nothing untoward at the event.

“I just wonder how many more people would have come along
if it hadn’t been for Sammy Wilson’s scaremongering.”

SDLP councillor Bernie Kelly said she had attended this
year’s carnival and had witnessed a major improvement on
previous years.

“I accept that things can be improved upon but I have to
say it was more inclusive and the police said they were
happy with it,” she said.

“We now need to be building on what has been achieved.”

Sinn Fein councillor Michael Brown said that a report into
this year’s carnival had shown that while a minority of
Protestants had attended the event, they had enjoyed
themselves and had not felt intimidated or alienated.

“I think one of the major problems we have is that there
are some people in this council who are not happy
supporting anything which has an Irish dimension to it,” he

“The council is hosting an ‘Orangefest’ exhibition in city
hall and we as republicans and nationalists have not
objected to it.

“We would have hoped that unionist councillors could have
done the same and that we could have moved away from the
sectarianism that passes for politics in this chamber.”


Dissident Republicans Blamed For ‘Viable’ Nail Bomb

By Keith Bourke

Dissident republicans may have planted a nail bomb in a Co
Derry village, police have said.

Police said the device, described as viable, could have
easily caused death or serious injury.

The bomb, complete with a command wire, was packed with

The centre of the village was closed after police received
reports at around lunchtime on Sunday that a suspicious
object had been found.

A number of homes in the William Street area were evacuated
as British army technical officers were called to the

PSNI district commander for the area, Chief Inspector Paul
Douglas, condemned those responsible for the “sectarian

“In recent months we have been making huge efforts to
prevent sectarianism and sectarian attacks in the district
and to now find such a lethal and indiscriminate device
concealed in a residential area of Bellaghy is not only
very sinister but is something that everyone in the village
should be concerned about,” he said.

“Those who manufactured the bomb and planned to carry out
an attack on the people of Bellaghy deserve to face the
full rigours of the law and I would appeal to anyone who
has any information about the incident to come forward as
assist us with our enquiries.”

Police came under attack from stone-throwing youths as
roads which had been closed during the alert were reopened.

Sinn Fein councillor Oliver Hughes said he could not
believe that someone would carry out such an act.

“This is to be totally condemned. It’s absolutely
disgraceful. Some-thing has got to be done to make sure
that those responsible are brought to justice,” he said.


Three IRA Members Were 'Special Branch Agents'

A FORMER army officer has claimed that three members of the
IRA’s South Down unit which killed eight soldiers in bomb
attacks during 1989-90 were Special Branch agents.

The unnamed officer has also alleged that security chiefs
not only allowed the attacks to go ahead despite knowing
about them in advance, but then continued to use the

The incidents referred to include an explosion which killed
three members of the Parachute Regiment in Mayobridge in
November 1989 and the so-called human bomb attack in which
a Royal Irish Rangers soldier died outside Newry the
following October. Also mentioned was a landmine attack
which killed four UDR men outside Downpatrick in April

According to the army officer, all or some of the agents
were involved in each of the three blasts, although none of
them knew that their colleagues were also working for
Special Branch.

“RUC Special Branch was running these men hands on,” he
told a Sunday newspaper. “They knew the IRA was planning
these attacks – the agents were providing police with that
information. Yet the attacks were allowed to proceed and
several soldiers died needlessly.”

The former officer alleged that the Mayobridge device was
built by a top IRA bomb maker who was later linked to the
1998 Omagh atrocity, while it was detonated by another
leading Provisional. Neither of these men have been charged
in relation to the attack.

It is claimed that the information about the agents was
uncovered as the Police Ombudsman probed the IRA murder of
Constable Colleen McMurray in Newry in March 1992.

“Relatives of the dead soldiers have a right to know why
their loved ones were callously sacrificed,” the officer
commented. “They should be asking the Police Ombudsman to
investigate these deaths.”


Botched investigation?

U.S. Clears Iraq Shooters But Were Key Witnesses Ignored?

By Ray O'Hanlon

U.S. military investigators have cleared a private security
company linked to the apparent shooting of Iraqi civilians.

But according to a leading Irish human rights group, the
investigators ignored a central witness and a number of
additional key witnesses in the case.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the U.S. military
had concluded its investigation into a video that appeared
to show private security contractors shooting at civilian
vehicles in the Baghdad area.

The video was attributed to employees of Aegis Defense
Services, a private contracting company run by former
British army colonel Tim Spicer.

Spicer remains a highly controversial figure in Northern
Ireland due to his command of the Scots Guards Regiment
when unarmed Belfast teenager, Peter McBride, was fatally
shot in the back by regiment members in 1992.

The Washington Post reported that army investigators had
failed to find probable cause in what the video showed to
be the machine-gunning of civilian cars.

No one would be charged with a crime as a result of the
investigation, an army spokesman told the Post.

The spokesman said that agents with the army's Criminal
Investigation Division had reviewed the facts available
concerning the incident to determine if there was any
potential criminality that fell within the division's
investigative purview.

"The review determined that no further investigative effort
on the part of Army CID was warranted," the spokesman said.

Details of the investigation have not been made public
beyond statements released to the Post. However, the
findings will be shared with the British and South African

Aegis, which has a $293 million Pentagon contract for its
work in Iraq, is British run while the alleged triggerman
in the shooting incidents is South African.

Army investigators said they believe that British and South
African officials will come to the same conclusion as the

The Pentagon mounted its investigation into the contents of
the video earlier this year.

In a letter to New York's Sen. Charles Schumer -- who had
earlier expressed unease over the video contents in a
letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- a top
Pentagon official said at the outset that the U.S.
Department of Defense was "disturbed" by the scenes in the

The video, which first appeared late last year on a Website
run by former Aegis employees, shows four separate clips in
which automatic fire is directed from the rear of an SUV at
civilian cars.

In one of the clips, a Mercedes car traveling behind the
SUV is hit and rams into another car stopped on the road.
People are seen running from the car struck by the Mercedes
-- but nobody gets out of the Mercedes itself.

The video clips are accompanied by a recording of the Elvis
Presley song "Mystery Train."

While events in Iraq are a long way from Belfast, memories
of Spicer and the Scots Guards are still all too fresh.

The Pentagon's deal with Spicer was recently raised with
the Bush administration's special envoy to Northern
Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, by the Derry-based Pat
Finucane Center.

And Jean McBride, mother of Peter McBride, met with Reiss
and the U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Dean Pitman, last

"There is a direct link between what happened on the New
Lodge Road in 1992 and what is happening in Baghdad today,"
Paul O'Connor of the PFC told the Echo after the meeting.

O'Connor said that during the meeting, Reiss had confirmed
that Aegis was being investigated.

In recent days, Reiss has been informed in an email letter
by the PFC that it was contacted by an individual "who
wishes to provide vital information to the trophy video
investigation" being carried out by the Pentagon.

"This man has informed us that he is a former Aegis
employee, Mr. Rod Stoner. He has informed us that he was
present in the vehicle when the shooting occurred and that
he was responsible for posting it on the website.

"He has also informed us that Aegis showed no interest in
interviewing him during their internal investigation which
apparently ended earlier this year. Most disturbing of all
is his allegation that Aegis have refused his repeated
requests to be put in contact with those within the
Pentagon responsible for the investigation into the video.

"Mr. Stoner has also informed us that it is his
understanding that none of those present in the vehicle
have been contacted by the Pentagon, or indeed by any
official investigating the video. If true this would
suggest that a cover-up has taken place of matters
concerning serious criminal wrong doing, including murder,"
the letter to Reiss added.

The PFC said it remained concerned that the Pentagon might
not take the appropriate action and was therefore copying
its email to a number of legislators and other interested

The center said it was not itself in a position to
establish the accuracy of the allegations that had been

"But we wish to take this opportunity to repeat our long
held belief that the U.S. government should not have
awarded such a contract to an individual who has sought to
justify the murder of an unarmed innocent teenager on the
streets of Belfast."

Copies of the email letter to Reiss have been sent to
Consul General Pitman, Irish foreign affairs minister
Dermot Ahern, Lt. General Stanley Green, Inspector General
of the U.S. Army and a number of U.S. legislators including
Senators Schumer, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Edward
Kennedy and John McCain.

This story appeared in the issue of June 28 - July 4, 2006


Booklet Claims Terror Chief Was Framed

By Ciaran McGuigan
02 July 2006

Garda Special Branch officers tried to trap jailed Real IRA
leader Michael McKevitt by planting bomb-making materials
in his home, a family member has alleged.

The claim is made in a recently published booklet - The
Framing of Michael McKevitt - in which McKevitt's sister-
in-law Marcella Sands re peats claims that the Real IRA
terror boss was the innocent victim of a set up by MI5/FBI
agent David Rupert.

And she claims that the attempt to plant mercury in his
home was to try to put him behind bars without exposing the
involvement of the US and British intelligence agencies in
the case.

She claims that Garda officers who were searching Michael
and Bernadette Sands-McKevitt's home at Blackrock, Co Louth
produced a container containing mercury and tried to get
the couple to handle the container.

She wrote: "Had the Gardai succeeded in getting Michael and
Bernadette's fingerprints onto the container, this may have
been a different scenario.

"One could pose the question that if Michael and
Bernadette's fingerprints were found on the container would
Rupert's evidence with its inherent flaws be required?

"If so, it almost certainly would have prevented the
exposure and embarrassment of the MI5/FBI stitch-up."

She also describes how Irish cops interfered with letters
that had been written by her brother Bobby Sands during the

And she claims that FBI agent David Rupert was told what
charges McKevitt was to face months before he either made a
statement against him, or the Co Louth man had been

The pamphlet to highlight the challenge to McKevitt's
conviction was backed a number of clergy, including
Monsignor Raymond Murray.

Monsignor Murray said: "For me, it is a strong argument for
the legal innocence of Michael McKevitt on the charge of
directing activities of an illegal organisation and
membership of the same organisation, namely the Real IRA."

McKevitt is currently serving 20 years for directing
terrorism after being the first person to be convicted of
the offence in the Republic, largely on the word of Rupert,
who was paid to infiltrate the Real IRA.

The offence came into being following emergency legislation
passed in the Republic in the wake of the Omagh bomb, in
August 1998.

His appeal against the conviction was dismissed by the
Court of Appeal last December.


Opin: Collusion Issue Is Now An Undisputed Fact

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

Former Canadian supreme court judge Peter Cory asked
himself, when investigating whether collusion existed in
the murders of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson
and Billy Wright: ‘How should collusion be defined?’

To help him he opened a dictionary and read – to collude
means to conspire, connive, collaborate, plot and scheme.

To further assist he sought the definition of connive – to
deliberately ignore, overlook, disregard, pass over, take
no notice of, turn a blind eye, wink, excuse, condone, look
the other way, let something ride, pretend ignorance or
unawareness of something one ought morally or officially or
legally oppose, fail to take action against a known wrong
doing or misbehaviour, to violate a law, indulge, tolerate
or be secretly in favour of, sympathise with or understand.

When Judge Cory closed his dictionary he decided to cast
the net as widely as possible when defining collusion. He
did so as he said in his report because the public need to
have confidence in government agencies, particularly the
state’s armed forces.

This was not an idle exercise or a play on words by the

He was investigating the circumstances surrounding four of
the most high-profile killings of the conflict.

Using his own definition he reported that collusion existed
in all four killings.

Some years before Cory’s investigation, Sir John Stevens,
one of Britain’s most senior policemen, defined collusion
during one of his three investigations into it thus – “the
wilful failure to keep records, the absence of
accountability, the withholding of intelligence and
evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved
in murder”.

In his 14 years of investigating, Stevens said: “I found
all these elements of collusion to be present.”

He also found a ‘culture of obstruction’ which was
‘widespread in parts of the [British] army and RUC’. On
occasions it was more than obstruction. A room Stevens was
using to plan arrest operations against loyalists was
destroyed. He described it as a “deliberate act of arson”.

His plans to arrest British army agent and UDA man Brian
Nelson were thwarted when Nelson’s handlers tipped him off
and he fled his home.

In terms of collusion the Nelson case is by far the most
significant. It embodies all the agencies required to make
collusion effective in its execution, its cover up and the
protection of those involved.

The state is there in the shape of Nelson’s British army
handlers and advisers. The loyalists are there through
Nelson. The system is there to protect both. At the trial a
British army colonel identified as ‘J’, who we now know to
be Brigadier Gordon Kerr, appeared as a character witness.

Nelson, it is believed, was personally involved in the
deaths of 10 people, the targeting of 16 others, while six
others named on his files were killed after his arrest.

With direct assistance from British Intelligence Nelson
smuggled from South Africa, in January 1988, a huge
consignment of weapons for loyalists. Included were 200 AK
47 assault rifles.

A report by the Belfast-based Relatives for Justice (RFJ)
into the use of these weapons estimated that 230 people
were killed, 185 of them Catholics.

Aware of the horror caused by these weapons and the
involvement of British Intelligence and Nelson in procuring
them the commanding officer of the British army, Sir John
Wilsey, said in January 1997 that he was “certainly not
ashamed of Nelson’s role”.

In the same report RFJ said that all multiple killings
carried out by loyalists after March 1988 involved the use
of their South African weapons.

Two weeks ago the families of the six people killed in
Louginisland in 1994 accused the RUC-PSNI of collusion with
the killers.

The weapons used were South African. An RUC agent allegedly
supplied the car used in the massacre. The RUC later
destroyed the car and any potential forensic evidence which
may have remained. They failed to link a hair sample found
with the weapons to anyone.

There are serious questions to be asked about the entire

Clearly, anyone of these failures meets Cory’s collusion
test. He was right to cast the collusion net widely. For
decades republicans raised the issue of collusion but were
dismissed as propagandists. It is now an undisputed fact.

It is time the British government admitted its role in the


Opin: Future Is As Clear As The Past, As Usual

By Barry White
04 July 2006

That was a great phrase which some backroom boy in London
or Dublin came up with: "joint stewardship".

In case you missed it, that's what Tony Blair and Bertie
Ahern (or their successors) have planned for us, if we fail
to miss the set-in-concrete deadline of November 24 for a
new power-sharing executive.

It falls on a Friday, so under the grand plan the MLAs
would select the Stormont Executive's ministers that day
and by midnight Peter Hain would make a Restoration Order
for the Assembly. On Monday, bright and early, "Ministers
arrive at departments. Executive meets."

But what if agreement cannot be reached? "Salaries and
allowances for MLAs and financial assistants to parties
stop." In December, Tony and Bertie meet again to launch
"new British-Irish partnership arrangements".

Clearly, that could mean anything, or nothing, so which
will it be? Could the decision to order an all-Ireland
study of Travellers' health, which went on the web within
24 hours of the Stormont summit, and involves the two
departments of health, be the shape of things to come? (We
already know of two sinister plots, to reduce cross-border
phone charges and offer free all-Ireland travel for

The governments want to keep us guessing, so that unionists
will do anything to avoid these "arrangements", but they
have dropped a few hints in the past. In April, they said
that if devolution had to be "deferred", there would be
implications for their "joint stewardship" of the process.

Detailed work began three months ago on "British-Irish
partnership arrangements" to ensure that the Good Friday
Agreement - "the indispensable framework" - is "actively
developed". It would mean a "step-change" in advancing
north-south co-operation.

Did "joint stewardship" imply "joint authority"? Oh no,
Peter Hain told MPs at Westminster. Its meaning had been

There had been some "unhelpful spin from some elements in
Dublin. It was a very carefully-chosen phrase; it did not
imply joint authority or joint government."

Apparently unionists needn't be scared, any more than Sinn
Fein need be scared that acceptance of the police will be
made a pre-condition for restoration of devolution. It
won't be, Hain said.

The picture is as clear as mud, but that's the intention.

Everyone knows, but some unionists, that Northern Ireland's
economy must become less dependent on subsidies and the
public service. Everything has been tried, except an
attempt to make us more like the Republic than Britain,
more EU-friendly and attractive to investment. The new era
could start on November 25, though it's hard to see
devolution being abandoned completely.

If joint stewardship means what it says, Northern Ireland's
status as an "integral" part of the UK may be about to
change forever. Unionists please note - and suggest some
realistic alternatives, or else ...


All those reviews of Ken Loach's Cannes prizewinner The
Wind that Shakes the Barley had me braced for a pro-IRA
film of the heroic rebels against the dastardly Brits.

In fact, it is more anti-war than anti-Brit, using the
1920-21 War of Independence to bring out the corrupting
effect of intervention by an external occupation force and
the dehumanising consequences for all concerned - the
occupiers and the occupied, as in Iraq.

Like all fact-based dramas about the Irish question, it
reduces the combatants to stereotypes - the reluctant
rebels who would rather be playing hurling and the arrogant
Brits and Anglo-Irish, treating the natives as halfwits.
The violence of the Black and Tans, unemployed ex-soldiers
in support of the beleaguered police force, is well
documented, but I hope there was good evidence for some of
the most excruciating scenes, like fingernail pulling by
pliers, and summary execution for answering with Irish
instead of English names.

Interest picks up in the latter part, when the 1921 Treaty
is agreed and the boyos are split between the pragmatic
Pros and the fundamentalist Antis. (For Treaty, read Good
Friday Agreement, with Gerry Adams playing Michael Collins
and Michael McKevitt of the Real IRA as De Valera.)

The pin-up hero, Cillian Murphy, goes with the Antis,
sticking to his socialist principles (which would be shared
by Respect-supporting Loach) and forcing his former
comrades into the role of state defenders, like the Brits.
Round and round and down it goes, as we here know only too
well. I'm sure there's a good film to be made about this
crucial period, but someone more subtle than Loach should
make it.


If there's a problem, throw taxpayers' money at it and see
if it works - that's the Labour way. As someone who enjoys
the spectacle of the Twelfth, I wish the £30,000-a-year
promoter of Orangefest the best, but only if he reduces it
to one day of the year. Now for Greenfest, on March 17.


Opin: Blame Game Is Hitting The Headlines Again

By James Kelly

The prime minister and the taoiseach flew to Belfast the
other day to sound out the future for Ulster devolution.
Why they bothered nobody knows for after consulting the
political parties they found things in a bigger mess than
ever. Both governments are responsible for the implementing
of the international treaty, the Good Friday Agreement,
ratified on April 10 1998 but after years of frustration
and fiddling the power-sharing assembly has still to
achieve devolution. The latest effort, forming an executive
from the opposite poles of Paisley’s DUP and Gerry Adams’s
Sinn Fein, requires something approaching a miracle.
Neither party seems anxious to take on the responsibility
of government and the blame game is hitting the headlines
again. Vociferous in opposition they enjoy the indulgence
of power without responsibility.

So, if the two premiers expected a more realistic approach
they were sadly disappointed. Ian Paisley was forthright
claiming that the DUP would not be “bought”. Was he
referring to the odd event of his wife, Eileen, suddenly
elevated – along with members of his party – to the

It looked like a deal but only time will tell.

The SDLP and Ulster Unionist party hit out at both Sinn
Fein and the DUP for trying to frustrate the attempt to
restore government and end direct rule from Westminster.

Both premiers will return in October for a last-minute
attempt to establish what looks like an Alice in Wonderland
solution. They are adamant that if all else fails plan B
will come into operation after the deadline on November 24.

This will mean joint British and Irish rule for the Sick
Counties. What form that will take has still to be
revealed. Interestingly, the question arises, has that been
the intention all along, and now more than ever, as a
consequence of the public apathy here with the no-men and
their paramilitary links with criminal activity?

Looking in at Westminster’s set piece of Prime Minister’s
Questions and the sight of Paisley senior, ensconced on a
back bench with the Scottish Nationalists, prompts the
suspicion that he and his henchmen are now preparing for
their new role. After the dismissals of the Stormont MLAs –
a rearguard campaign at Westminster against the two
governments involvement in government of the sick counties?

Has Charles Haughey’s famous rejection of Norn Iron as a
‘failed entity’ come home to roost at 10 Downing Street and
are the powers behind the scenes now preparing for the
long-term future of the island of Ireland as the Atlantic
offshore link between the European community and the United

Driving south last week one continues to be amazed at the
impressive modern roadways including the great toll link
circling clear of the Dublin-bound traffic, southward
contrasting with the slow motion attempts to clear the
southward bottle-neck around Newry.

Then there is the big construction work on a north-south
link between the ferry ports of Rosslare and Larne. And
where are the border and the old customs huts which the IRA
ritually blew up to mark royal visits to the Wee North? All
gone for a Burton in our new world of change?

But there are some things which never change. If Tony Blair
motored along the Lisburn Road in Belfast the other day he
would be amazed to see more Union Jacks than he would see
in a month of Sundays in London. Yes, Ulster is British but
also brutish in certain locations.

Here’s a tip. If you are going abroad to get away form the
so-called ‘cultural’ exercises of the marching seasons
don’t let on that you are domiciled in ‘Ulster’. Just say

Why? Well I have before me this six-column headline in The
Times ‘Report labels Ulster as race hate capital’. David
Sharrock, Ireland correspondent, reports a surge of racist
attacks directed at migrant workers here. Six racially
motivated attacks targeting eastern Europeans took place
last weekend, including three women, beaten with baseball
bats by masked thugs who forced their way into their home
in the village of Cloughey Co Down. On Sunday morning a
house in Carrickfergus, where several Polish people were
living, was damaged in an arson attack. And on Saturday a
Lithuanian was assaulted at a house in Castledawson Co
Derry. The same evening Lithuanians were attacked in two
houses in south Belfast. The attacks coincided with the
publication of the NI Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM)
report in which Dr Robbie McVeigh criticised the Public
Prosecution Service here. He said it was ridiculous in a
situation where Northern Ireland had been identified as the
race hate capital of Europe they had a criminal justice
system that could not begin to tell them if anyone had been
prosecuted for that kind of racist crime.


Opin: Display Of Maturity At Commemoration

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

This makes me proud to be Irish” – words spoken by a
Belfast unionist at the Somme Commemoration held at the
Irish National War Memorial, Islandbridge, Dublin, on
Saturday. Nationalists also commented that the Republic has
now come of age and the word “maturity” was on many lips.
What was striking was the display of eleven flags of
nations who shared the tragedy of the Somme 90 years ago.
While the Irish Tricolour flying at half mast dominated
most of the proceedings, the Union flag, flanked by the
flags of other nations, was given pride of place at the
centre of the cross memorial to casualties of 1914-18 and

People talked openly about relatives who participated or
became casualties at the Somme and many felt a sense of
liberation after the years of amnesia. Medals relating to
both World Wars and other conflicts were proudly worn as
people remembered friends and relatives with sadness and
pride. One Dublin man displayed a long row of medals
reflecting service throughout Europe during the Second
World War. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was escorted to the
ceremony by the Army Chief of Staff while President Mary
McAleese inspected a Guard of honour and laid a wreath in
the memorial gardens.

UUP, SDLP, Alliance, Sinn Fein and DUP politicians mingled
with the crowds and loyalists later joked about their
discomfort at the playing of the Irish National Anthem. The
British Ambassador was present and wreaths were laid by
representatives of nations who fought at the Somme. Members
of the Royal British Legion laid Books of the Dead on the
Cenotaph. Thomas McGoilla, President of the Workers Party,
was there remembering his stepbrother killed at the Somme.
He had come for personal reasons and not to celebrate the
terrible inhumanity. The Grand Master of the Royal Black
Preceptory wore his Black sash while carrying an Orange
sash across his arm.

I had been asked to speak at another act of remembrance
that day marking the anniversary of a more distant battle
at Oldbridge beside the River Boyne in 1690. This,
according to the old Julian calendar took place on July 1.
The event was organised by republicans linked with the
Robert Emmet Association who had marked the bicentenary of
Emmet’s Rising of 1803 with a statue to Emmet’s friend and
confidante Anne Devlin. They came together with others who
wished to see great events of Irish history remembered on
all sides.

I planned to talk about the sense of insecurity and
alienation from things Irish felt by unionists in Northern
Ireland and pro-British people in the Republic. I was to
emphasise the need for events, actions and dialogue that
could transform the negativity of division into something
positive and affirming. However, having observed the
dignity and respect conferred on the Union Flag in Dublin,
I reflected again on what I planned to say. Islandbridge
was of historic significance because the Somme Battle was
marked officially by the Irish authorities. It was
precisely what was needed to help break the enmity that
divided communities. While of historic significance, in
itself it will not change things dramatically. It was one
step on the journey to new relationships between the
peoples of this island and of these islands.

To demonstrate the siege mentality that helps block greater
toleration and cooperation I quoted prayers at the opening
and close of every Orange Lodge meeting. In the closing
prayer Orangemen call on God, as a “strong tower of
defence”, to “deliver us from those great and imminent
dangers by which we are now encompassed”. They pray they
should never become “prey to our enemies” but rather be
protected “against the designs of those who seek to
overthrow” their religion. The preamble to the Irish
constitution supports this mentality using religious
language and suggesting that Irish people engaged in
“heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful
independence of our Nation”. This implicitly excludes

pro-British people and others in the Republic from being
fully Irish. However, with due respect being shown to the
flag that symbolises Britishness in the Irish capital city,
perhaps more people may feel they can join the unionist
above in saying, “This makes me proud to be Irish”.


Opin: Order Must Strive To Broaden Appeal

03 July 2006

Only a few years ago the idea that the Twelfth could become
a major tourist attraction would have brought howls of
derision. People literally fled from Northern Ireland
during the marching season to avoid the annual
confrontations between opposing communities. The television
images which flashed around the world were of mayhem and
violence not cultural diversity.

But now the Department for Social Development has put up
£104,000 to help the Orange Order develop its
demonstrations for tourism. It is a bold step and one that
challenges the Order to find ways of broadening
understanding and acceptance of its culture.

Orange leaders have welcomed the funding, hailing it as
another step toward full and proper recognition of their
tradition. But it is the Order's tradition that some
perceive as the stumbling block to its wider acceptance.

No-one can deny that the Order has every right to celebrate
its Protestantism and culture, but it is also seen as
having a vehement anti-Catholic streak which manifests
itself most obviously in the appearance of "kick-the-Pope"
bands and loyalist paramilitary trappings at some parades.
Until the Order can remove those sectarian trappings the
demonstrations will remain alien to half the community. The
Order is also regarded as having undue political influence,
further alienating it from nationalist opinion.

Yet there are tentative signs of progress. Last year the
Order drew on the province's Ulster-Scots heritage to
introduce more cultural activities both on the roads and at
the fields. Music, dancing, floats, even stilt walkers
brought a new dimension to the day at several venues and
pointed towards how the image of the Twelfth can be
softened and broadened.

Templates of a kind have already been established through
the work of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Maiden
City Festival now in its eighth year and also in Belfast
where divisive symbols at this year's St Patrick's Day
celebrations were less in evidence in recognition of
unionist concerns.

All this of course requires compromise and the ability of
the Orange Order and its opponents to enter into genuine
discussions on issues that divide them. The determination
of the Order to march along traditional routes which are
now heavily populated by Catholics, or the creation of
spurious interfaces by republicans, needs to be tackled in
an honest manner.

Few will envy the challenge facing the new development
officer whose job is to put the Twelfth on the tourism map.
It will not happen overnight but it could transform the
marching season into a time many more could enjoy.


Opin: Death Brings Fr Faul

By Anthony Mcintyre

After the conclusion of the 1981 Hunger Strike I and many
other republican prisoners came to reject Denis Faul.
Although the bulk of us were not church goers we insisted
that all republicans boycott his Masses on our wings.

Hooked on our own approved line, we blamed him for bringing
the Hunger Strike to a premature end before it forced the
hand of the Brits and the restoration of political status.

It hurt him deeply.

Given the enormous support he afforded us throughout the
years of prison protest he must have felt let down at our
hostility and our need to find a scapegoat. From that point
on his criticisms of our movement seemed to be much more
acerbic. He came to see us as fascists. Yet the true
measure of the man was to be found in his incessant
campaigning against those who treated us unjustly.

I first met Denis Faul in 1974 in Cage 10 of Long Kesh when
he was hearing confessions. Then he was an iconic figure in
my mind as a result of the tremendous work he had done in
bringing to light British injustices. And this great man
was hearing the confession of a 17-year-old. I felt

When I returned to prison there he was again. By now I
wasn’t going to confession but he would be available for
those who were and to preach the gospel.

During the Blanket protest he was a regular on Sundays to
celebrate Mass in the prison canteen. We all went. It was
the only time we could associate with each other. Denis
made no secret of the fact that he was an inveterate
smuggler. Pulling clingfilm-clad tobacco from his socks he
ensured that Sunday nights were a source of relief for
those who derived pleasure from a smoke.

An avid football fan, he told us the scores of all the
games and it was from him that we first learned of that
illustrious name Diego Maradona. It was amazing how we
could follow the football so avidly within the prison
despite never reading a match report, watching a game on
TV, or listening to it on radio. Denis was largely
responsible for that.

The Sunday before Bobby Sands died he told us that our
resilient comrade had fallen into a coma.

We knew then it was over for Bobby.

Our hopes, that had been so built up by his capturing the
Fermanagh/South Tyrone seat, crumbled as we listened to
Denis. Nothing now was going to intervene and save the life
of this pre-eminent IRA leader. Brendan Hughes’s
announcement two days later that Bobby had slipped away was
something we were mentally prepared for. It was devastating

As the Hunger Strike ploughed forward it should have begun
to look ominously like First World War soldiers storming
trenches they could never hope to take.

Ourselves alone failed to see it.

Our emotions were bizarre. I had one punch-the-air moment
during the entire thing, when Laurence McKeown’s mother
intervened to take him off it.

Yet, absurdly, I continued to think that carrying on with
the strike was the only option. There was neither rhyme nor
reason to it at that point. We could not go forward and
there was no going back.

I do not blame our determination on our own supposed
recalcitrant personalities or any fanaticism that was then
attributed to us. It was an attitude tempered in the
vicious crucible of the H-Blocks. But something had to
break the cycle of prisoner deaths and families’ despair.
That something was a man called Denis. He moved to bring a
halt to it.

In doing so he saved the lives of many great men.

It took some years to come to terms with and some have
still not. In many ways it took his death to bring him the
vindication he so deeply deserved.

It came in the form of an intensely moving letter to The
Irish News from a relative of a dead hunger striker. The
writer simply said: “we asked Fr Faul to help us bring an
end to the dreadful and unnecessary hunger strike”.

When first diagnosed with cancer he said he hoped he would
reach the age of 84, the innings his father achieved. I
hoped it too. It was not to be.

Standing at his graveside last week in Carrickmore, one of
three former Blanket men, I felt that we had come to bury a

• Anthony McIntyre is a former IRA prisoner and edits
online magainze

The Blanket. Susan McKay is on holiday.


Opin: Why Priest Was Never Made A Bishop

28 June 2006

Father Denis Faul was the classical old-style Irish
Catholic priest: very educated and erudite, doctrinally
orthodox and socially conservative.

He was tailor-made to become a leading bishop. Why, then,
did that never happen?

There is only one possible answer: because he took on Her
Majesty's Government and rightly accused it of injustice
against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

He, therefore, violated the one taboo. He could have
criticised any other government in the world and still have
got the mitre.

In the late 70s and early 80s, when both the London and
Dublin Governments (with the compliant help of much of the
Irish and British media) were doing all they could to
demonise the Irish National Caucus, Fr Faul fearlessly
stood up for us, twice coming to the United States on a
Irish National Caucus speaking tour and lobbying of

Fr Faul was a human rights champion. He was a most
effective communicator. May his noble Irish soul rest in

FATHER SEAN McMANUS Irish National Caucus, Washington,


Opin: Irish Brigade In Spain Were Victims Of ‘Friendly Fire’

On This Day/July 4 1937
By Eamon Phoenix

LEGIONAIRE Padraig Mac an Bhaird, who is a member of
General Eoin O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade in Spain and who has
returned to Belfast where he resides in the Falls district,
told an interesting story to an Irish News reporter

A native of Newry, he went out with the first batch of the
Irish Brigade.

When he reached Portugal he and his colleagues were greeted
by a number of clergymen, among whom was a priest, Fr
McVeigh from his native town.

Speaking of the engagement in which Lieutenant Hyde of Co
Cork and Legionaire Chute of Tralee were killed by mistake
by insurgents, he said the Irish Brigade were wearing
German tunics and insurgent hats and were marching to
relieve the insurgents when suddenly General Franco’s force
opened fire on them.

“They mistook us for the Reds,” he said,
“and when they commenced to fire on us
we thought they were Reds and our men returned fire.”

When the mistake was discovered, the captain of the
insurgents waved a white flag and the firing ceased.

His biggest experience of the fighting was on one occasion
when 1,200 shells were dropped near their lines inside 12

“We estimated,” he said, “that hundreds had been killed on
our side but it was afterwards found that the casualties
were remarkably small. At times we were so near the Red
trenches that we used to shout across at each other.”

Members of the Irish Brigade suffered terribly from thirst.

They were not allowed to drink water which was poisonous
owing to the streams being filled with the dead bodies of

The Newry man remarked: “The Moors (Spanish North African
troops) and Germans thought a lot of us and used to supply
us with cigarettes. The Germans were in charge of the heavy
artillery and each gun was guarded by 30 insurgents. The
Germans said they would prefer 10 Irishmen to 30

According to the Newry man, General Franco, the Nationalist
leader, was idolised among the troops for his bravery and
‘wonderful leadership’.

Legionaire Mac an Bhaird said reading of the Red atrocities
in the press prompted him to go out with the Irish Brigade.

He left his job to do so and is now unemployed with a wife
and children to support.

Belfast Boer War veteran dies

CAPTAIN Charles McDonnell, who died on Saturday following
an illness, at his residence 13 Cooke Street, Belfast, had
for the past eight years been connected with the Belfast
depot of Shell-Mex.

A native of Belfast, Captain McDonnell retired from active
service in the army in 1920 after a distinguished career.

He served for many years with the Sherwood Foresters and
saw service in two wars.

Following the South African campaign in 1902, he was
stationed in India, China and Malta, and during the Great
War, was sent to the Dardanelles.

Later, while serving on the Western Front,
he was taken prisoner.
He leaves a widow, four sons and two daughters.

One of his sons, Charles, was formerly a member of the
Irish News reporting staff.


New Book Describes Legacy Of Tears Left By IRA Violence

By Maeve Connolly

A new book that tells the stories of 12 Protestant families
who suffered at the hands of the IRA has gone on sale.
Maeve Connolly meets the author

A VICTIMS’ group has published a moving book telling the
stories of 12 Protestant families who suffered at the hands
of the IRA in south Armagh.

A Legacy of Tears author David Patterson said innocent
victims felt as though they had been forgotten and their
voices silenced.

“The wider community has sought to airbrush the victims out
of the picture,” he added.

Many of the families had members in the security forces and
would have been living under threat in the Armagh area.
Others were targets simply because of their faith.

They belong to victims’ group Saver/Naver which helps
people in south, north Armagh and mid-Ulster areas who are
suffering from hardship or distress as a result of the

Speaking yesterday at the book launch in Stormont, Mr
Patterson described how he had spent time with the
families, many of whom had had a loved one murdered.

“They wept, some times 30 years after having lost a loved
one. Their pain and grief was so poignant that I wept with

He said their stories were “the tip of the iceberg” and
that no-one had been prosecuted for any of the crimes
committed against the families between 1973 and 1992.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson was among the many politicians who
attended yesterday’s launch.

He had two cousins in the security forces who were killed
in the Troubles and said he was looking forward to reading
the book “but not with any joy in my heart”.

Mr Donaldson said books like A Legacy of Tears reminded him
why he was in politics and “why we continue to strive for a
complete end to violence and hatred”.

“This book will be a reminder of that need to persevere in
the work of bringing about a political settlement that will
bring justice and lasting peace to the people of Northern

He said Prime Minister Tony Blair had been given a copy of
the book when he visited Stormont last Thursday.

UUP West Tyrone assembly member Derek Hussey also has
strong family connections to the security forces.

He said that during the Troubles the Protestant community
had “pushed away” the television cameras when loved ones
were murdered but nationalists had “embraced the cameras”
and this meant the suffering of the Protestant community
had not been told.

Reatha Hasson chairs Saver/Naver and is a former welfare
officer with the UDR which involved visiting the homes of
all soldiers who were killed or injured and attending the
funerals of those murdered.

She said one of the comments which had struck her in the
book was that of a mother whose 25-year-old son had been
shot dead – “We know for sure that we would rather be the
parents of the murdered than to be the parents of the


‘I’m Not A Terrorist Threat,’ Says Pilot

by Ciarán Barnes

A Belfast pilot dubbed a “terror threat” by the US
government faces being sued by US president George Bush.

Michael Philips last week received a letter from the US
Department of Homeland Security threatening to sue him
unless he returns his private pilot’s licence.

The aviation fanatic was granted the licence in 1996 after
learning to fly in Florida.

However, he returned it to the US Federal Aviation
Authority the following year, not having put in the flying
time needed to maintain the licence.

Despite having given up his licence and not having flown a
plane since 1997, the US Department of Transportation wrote
to Mr Philips last month to inform him that his licence had
been suspended because he was considered a terrorist

Two weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a
further letter warning Mr Philips that he would be sued
unless he returned the licence.

This letter branded him “a risk of air piracy or terrorism
or threat to airline passenger safety”.

A mystified Mr Philips told Daily Ireland he had no idea
why the US authorities were pursuing him.

“The accusations the US authorities are making about me are
ridiculous,” he said.

“But they are also very, very serious when you consider how
they are branding me an air pirate and a threat to
passenger safety.

“What are they going to do next? Accuse me of being a
member al-Qaida?”

Mr Philips called on the US government to reveal why he was
considered a terrorist threat.

“I have a clean record so I find it amazing that the US
government could put me in the same bracket as Osama bin

“I gave my pilot’s licence up years ago. The US government
should know that. They are pursuing me for something I
don’t have,” he said.


Genealogists Discover Royal Roots For All

By MATT CRENSON AP National Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

— Actress Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree _
hanging from her family tree are Catherine de Medici and
Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the
Conquerer and King Harold, vanquished by William at the
Battle of Hastings.

Shields also descends from five popes, a whole mess of
early New England settlers, and the royal houses of
virtually every European country. She counts renaissance
pundit Niccolo Machiavelli and conquistador Hernando Cortes
as ancestors.

What is it about Brooke? Well, nothing _ at least

Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear,
experts say the odds are virtually 100 percent that every
person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or

"Millions of people have provable descents from medieval
monarchs," said Mark Humphrys, a genealogy enthusiast and
professor of computer science at Dublin City University in
Ireland. "The number of people with unprovable descents
must be massive."

By the same token, for every king in a person's family tree
there are thousands and thousands of nobodies whose births,
deaths and lives went completely unrecorded by history.
We'll never know about them, because until recently vital
records were a rarity for all but the noble classes.

It works the other way, too. Anybody who had children more
than a few hundred years ago is likely to have millions of
descendants today, and quite a few famous ones.

Take King Edward III, who ruled England during the 14th
century and had nine children who survived to adulthood.
Among his documented descendants are presidents (George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Zachary
Taylor, both Roosevelts), authors (Jane Austen, Lord Byron,
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning), generals
(Robert E. Lee), scientists (Charles Darwin) and actors
(Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Brooke Shields). Some
experts estimate that 80 percent of England's present
population descends from Edward III.

A slight twist of fate could have prevented the existence
of all of them. In 1312 the close adviser and probable
lover of Edward II, Piers Gaveston, was murdered by a group
of barons frustrated with their king's ineffectual rule.
The next year the beleaguered king produced the son who
became Edward III.

Had Edward II been killed along with Gaveston in 1312 _ a
definite possibility at the time _ Edward III would never
have been born. He wouldn't have produced the lines of
descent that ultimately branched out to include all those
presidents, writers and Hollywood stars _ not to mention
everybody else.

Of course, the only reason we're talking about Edward III
is that history remembers him. For every medieval monarch
there are countless long-dead nobodies whose intrigues,
peccadilloes and luck have steered the course of history
simply by determining where, when and with whom they

The longer ago somebody lived, the more descendants a
person is likely to have today. Humphrys estimates that
Muhammad, the founder of Islam, appears on the family tree
of every person in the Western world.

Some people have actually tried to establish a documented
line between Muhammad, who was born in the 6th century, and
the medieval English monarchs, and thus to most if not all
people of European descent. Nobody has succeeded yet, but
one proposed lineage comes close. Though it runs through
several strongly suspicious individuals, the line
illustrates how lines of descent can wander down through
the centuries, connecting famous figures of the past to
most of the people living today.

The proposed genealogy runs through Muhammad's daughter
Fatima. Her husband Ali, also a cousin of Muhammad, is
considered by Shiite Muslims the legitimate heir to
leadership of Islam.

Ali and Fatima had a son, al-Hasan, who died in 670. About
three centuries later, his ninth great-grandson, Ismail,
carried the line to Europe when he became Imam of Seville.

Many genealogists dispute the connection between al-Hasan
and Ismail, claiming that it includes fictional characters
specifically invented by medieval genealogists trying to
link the Abbadid dynasty, founded by Ismail's son, to

The Abbadid dynasty was celebrated for making Seville a
great cultural center at a time when most of Europe was
mired in the Dark Ages. The last emir in that dynasty was
supposed to have had a daughter named Zaida, who is said to
have changed her name to Isabel upon converting to
Christianity and marrying Alfonso VI, king of Castile and

Yet there is no good evidence demonstrating that Isabel,
who bore one son by Alfonso VI, is the same person as
Zaida. So the line between Muhammad and the English
monarchs probably breaks again at this point.

But if you give the Zaida/Isabel story the benefit of the
doubt too, the line eventually leads to Isabel's fifth
great-granddaughter Maria de Padilla (though it does
encounter yet another potentially fictional character in
the process).

Maria married another king of Castile and Leon, Peter the
Cruel. Their great-great-granddaughter was Queen Isabel,
who funded the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Her
daughter Juana married a Hapsburg, and eventually gave rise
to a Medici, a Bourbon and long line of Italian princes and
dukes, spreading the Mohammedan line of descent all over

Finally, 43 generations from Mohammed, you reach an Italian
princess named Marina Torlonia.

Her granddaughter is Brooke Shields.


Féile An Phobail - A Winning Formula: Adams

Published: 4 July, 2006

This morning Féile an Phobail launched this years programme
for the August Festival. A section of this years programme
is dedicated to Siobhan O'Hanlon who recently passed away
and who in addition to being a key member of Gerry Adams
staff was a member of the Féile Management Committee for
many years.

Gerry Adams MP said:

"Féile an Phobail is a tribute to the resilience and
dedication of hundreds of activists over almost 20 years.

"The imagination and innovation which has marked successive
Féile is a testimony to all of you here today, and the many
others who have contributed to it since 1988.

"The Féile has transformed West Belfast in the summer. Its
combination of community events and the arts, as well as
its determined outreach to young people is a winning
formula which is now being replicated by communities across
the north, as well as in the south.

"Congratulations to all involved in putting together this
amazing programme.‚

The West Belfast MP singled out several events which he
hopes to attend. These include:

"The Rev. Brian Kennaway‚s talk on 'The Orange Order' a
Tradition Betrayed‚ is a must on Saturday 5th at 12 noon in
Culturlann; Peter Taylor's 'Journalism and Conflict' in St.
Mary's on the 11th is another discussion well worth a
visit, and of course there is 'My Kind of People' in the
Westwood Centre on Saturday the 12th.

"Finally, there is the Carnival Parade. Each year it gets
bigger and better but there‚s still room for more floats
and participants. So, if you want to take part contact the
Féile committee and join in the craic on Sunday the 6th

Concluding the West Belfast MP criticised the approach of
the government and government departments and agencies to
the funding of Féile.

Mr. Adams said: "Despite the fact that the Féile is one of
the most successful community based festivals on these
islands each year there is a battle over funding.

"And each year a variety of excuses for further reductions
in funding allocations.

"This year has been different in that the funding cuts have
been even more severe and essential jobs within the Féile
have been lost. It is a disgrace that this community
festival is treated in this way. Despite this we continue
to speak to the Secretary of States office in an effort to
resolve these matters before August." ENDS

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