- Name: Jay Dooling
- Irish Aires Home Page
- IA Houston Links
- IA Links Page
- IA News Links
- Irish Aires Archived
- IA Email Lists
- Irish Aires Blog
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- February 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- January 2010
- April 2011
- May 2011
- June 2011
- July 2011
- August 2011
- February 2012
News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
August 09, 2006
Ex Terror Cops Arrested in McCord Murder
Raymond McCord Jnr
Murdered in 1997
News About Ireland & The Irish
BT 08/09/06 Ex-Terror Cops Arrested
SF 08/09/06 Arrests Are Tip Of Collusion Iceberg
DI 08/09/06 To Oust Jim Spence
IN 08/09/06 Appeal For ‘Final Jigsaw Pieces’ In Murder Hunt
IN 08/09/06 Murder Of Schoolboy Was ‘Carefully Planned’ Attack
IN 08/09/06 Catholic Victim Still Critical After Attack
IN 08/09/06 Find Raises Questions About UVF Ceasefire
HR 08/09/06 Cunningham Family Told UVF Was Involved In Henry Murder
DI 08/09/06 Questions Asked As Saville Is Delayed
DI 08/09/06 Speculation BS Report Being Delayed For Political Reasons
DI 08/09/06 Bombings Inquiry Report Extended
BB 08/09/06 Dissidents Linked To Shop Fires
SF 08/09/06 Newry Attacks - Wrong And Unacceptable
IN 08/09/06 Dissident Parade Set To Go Ahead
BT 08/09/06 Rasharkin Residents Bid To Halt Parade
BT 08/09/06 Unionist Gardiner Digs Up A Nationalist Plot
BT 08/09/06 I Didn't Help Rebel, Says Former Adair Friend
BN 08/09/06 SF Protests Against Private Hospitals On Public Grounds
DI 08/09/06 DUP Vetoes Irish Street Signs
DI 08/09/06 McRandal Family: Sack PSNI Officer
DI 08/09/06 Opin: Dealing With The Remnants Of Fear And Loathing
DI 08/09/06 Opin: Lord Saville, Why Are We Waiting?
IN 08/09/06 Opin: Nothing Is True Until It’s Officially Denied
IN 08/09/06 Opin: Lessons Drawn From Larne Case
IN 08/09/06 Opin: Decommissioning Double Standards
IA 08/09/06 Irish Pilot Cleared
NW 08/09/06 Bk Rev: Omagh Bomb Informant Writes About His Double Life
IN 08/09/06 Allegiance - Churchill & Collins, Assembly Rooms
DI 08/09/06 Irish In Argentina To Receive Funding
Ex-Terror Cops Arrested
By Jonathan McCambridge
09 August 2006
Two former detectives were today arrested by Police
Ombudsman staff probing an RUC investigation into a
sinister UVF murder.
The two former policemen were arrested in dawn swoops by
Ombudsman officers assisted by PSNI officers, who have been
investigating the murder of Raymond McCord Jnr, who was
beaten to death in 1997.
They are being questioned on suspicion of attempting to
pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public
It is understood that one of the men arrested is former CID
man Trevor McIlwrath. He was taken away from his home in
Carrickfergus shortly after 7am today.
Neighbours contacted the Telegraph to say unmarked police
cars were outside the premises and a search was ongoing.
It also emerged that the home of McIlwrath's former
colleague Johnston Brown was searched.
Speaking to the Telegraph from abroad, Mr Brown said: "They
are searching my house at the moment. I am sure I will be
arrested when I return home. I have nothing to fear. This
is the price you pay for speaking out."
A spokesman for the Ombudsman's office said: "We have
arrested two men this morning as part of a major
investigation. They are both former police officers. They
were both arrested shortly after 7am. We have searched two
He added: "They are being questioned by our investigators
at separate police stations over a number of matters,
including attempting to pervert the course of justice and
misconduct in public office. These arrests are part of our
investigation into the Raymond McCord case. PSNI officers
assisted in the operation."
A PSNI spokesman refused to comment on the operation.
Raymond McCord Jnr was beaten to death near Belfast in 1997
by members of the UVF.
Arrests Are Tip Of Collusion Iceberg
Published: 9 August, 2006
Commenting after the arrest of a number of former RUC
members as a result of the Police Ombudsman investigation
into the activities of Special Branch Agent Mark Haddock,
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice issues Gerry
Kelly said "that the arrests are the tip of a collusion
Mr Kelly said:
"We are led to believe that these arrests are the result of
the Police Ombudsman inquiry into the activities of Special
Branch agent Mark Haddock. The Special Branch and British
Intelligence had thousands of agents within loyalism
controlling and directing the death squads. These
arrests are the tip of a collusion iceberg.
"In recent years we have had a drip feed of information
surrounding events like Loughinisland and the murder of Pat
Finucane. We have now started to hear more about the
activities of individual agents like Mark Haddock and
Torrens Knight, the Greysteel killer. But this is not
enough. We need full exposure of the policy of collusion
and British State involvement in the murder of citizens.
"This issue will not simply disappear. will
continue to support the families of those who have lost
loved ones through the British policy of collusion in their
campaign for the truth." ENDS
To Oust Jim Spence
By Ciarán Barnes
A senior Ulster Defence Association figure who was
questioned about the murder of the human-rights solicitor
Pat Finucane is to be “stood down” by the organisation.
Jim Spence is the latest be targeted as part of an
The is demanding a share of a British government grant
of £30 million (€45 million) to areas in return
for winding down.
In recent weeks, the has expelled the high-profile
figures Andre and Ihab Shoukri, Alan McClean and Charlie
Calderwood. sources have confirmed that west
Belfast man Jim Spence is the latest target of the internal
The veteran man has held various high-ranking positions
in west Belfast’s upper Shankill area since the mid-1980s.
Over the past few years, he has been plagued by rumours he
is an informer.
Sources on the Shankill have told Daily Ireland that Mr
Spence may be planning to skip the country before any
action is taken. He recently sold a house in the West
Circular Road area of the city.
The problem that leaders have in removing the 45-year-
old is that he controls much of the group’s finances in
They are fearful that if he flees the country he will take
hundreds of thousands of pounds of illegal cash with
“People are treading carefully because Spence is the money
man in west Belfast,” said a well-placed source.
“There is no doubt that he is set for the chop but it has
to be done in a way in which he can’t get away with all the
Jim Spence acquired a small fortune following the jailing
of former west Belfast boss Johnny Adair in 2002. While
Mr Adair was inside, he controlled the cash coming in from
his highly lucrative crime empire.
Mr Spence supported moves to oust the then imprisoned
Mr Adair in order to keep the crime boss’ cash. As a
result, Mr Adair, who now lives in Scotland, has an intense
hatred of his former friend.
Mr Spence has been questioned several times about the 1989
high-profile killing of Pat Finucane.
Brian Nelson, a British army and double agent, has
claimed he gave Mr Spence military intelligence on Pat
Finucane, which was then passed to a Shankill Road gunman.
Appeal For ‘Final Jigsaw Pieces’ In Murder Hunt
By Bimpe Fatogun
Police have identified the two people they believe murdered
north Belfast teenager Thomas Devlin.
Confirmation that detectives have homed in on two “prime
suspects” in the 15-year-old’s brutal killing comes as his
family prepare to mark the first anniversary of his death.
There have been nine arrests during the year-long hunt for
his killers – with the two main suspects questioned a
number of times.
Thomas’s mother Penny Holloway said the family now have
information that the attack on the schoolboy and his two
friends was a “carefully planned” murder bid.
“There are two prime suspects and police aren’t looking for
anyone else,” she said.
The detective leading the investigation said the focus is
on securing the evidence which will lead to a successful
conviction of Thomas’s murderers.
“Those individuals will always have to look over their
shoulder,” Superintendent Simon Barraclough said.
“They’ll never know when the police are coming for them,
whether it is going to be in the bedroom when they’re going
to sleep – if that is when police are going to come and
seize them – or during the day as they are going about
However, the “final pieces of the jigsaw” continue to elude
police, who have turned once again to the public for help.
Murder Of Schoolboy Was ‘Carefully Planned’ Attack
By Bimpe Fatogun
DETAILS about the killing of north Belfast schoolboy Thomas
Devlin have revealed a “carefully planned” murder bid.
Parents Jim Devlin and Penny Holloway have described how
their son was selected by his killers for a calculated
The 15-year-old was stabbed a number of times after being
set upon as he walked home with two friends – aged 16 and
19 – from a petrol station on the Antrim Road in August
The trio were just doors from Thomas’s Somerton Road home
when they were jumped from behind by two grown men – at
least one of whom was armed with a knife.
Thomas was stabbed five times in the back and his 18-year-
old friend was also injured.
At the time police said a sectarian motive was one of
several being considered.
However, the detective heading the investigation yesterday
said it was simply a case of “sheer badness”.
Mrs Holloway agrees that his killers could have had no way
of knowing the religion of their victims – one of whom was
in fact a Protestant.
“We believe now that it was quite carefully planned there
on the Somerton Road,” she said.
“(The killers picked) the most vulnerable spot and that’s
where they pounced. They waited ‘til they got them just
where they wanted them.”
She said Thomas and his two friends were completely
unprepared for what had happened.
“These were three lads having a good time, joking and
laughing up the street. They didn’t have any worries,” she
“But for the two people who killed them it was quite
carefully planned. They had obviously taken a knife out
with them and you don’t take a knife out unless you’re
going to use it.”
Ms Holloway said no words were exchanged and the assailants
did not even make an effort to start a fight as
justification for what they were to do next.
“They just jumped on them from behind. One attacked one of
his friends and the other went after Thomas. The intention
was to have killed both of them.”
The detective leading the investigation said the focus was
now on securing evidence which would lead to a successful
“Those individuals will always have to look over their
shoulder,” Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough said.
“They’ll never know when the police are coming for them.
Whether it is going to be in the bedroom when they’re going
to sleep – if that is when police are going to come and
seize them – or during the day as they are going about
• IN TOMORROW’S IRISH NEWS: A full interview with the
Devlin family and the officer leading the hunt for Thomas’s
Catholic Victim Still Critical After Attack
By Seamus McKinney
A CATHOLIC victim of an attack in Derry is still in a coma
more than three weeks on.
Paul McCauley (29) remains in the high-dependency unit at
Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
The father-of-one suffered serious head injuries when he
was attacked at a going-away party for a friend in a garden
in Derry’s Waterside area on July 16. He had been helping
to clear up after the party when the attack happened.
He was initially treated at Altnagelvin Hospital but was
transferred to Belfast within hours and remained in a
critical condition for more than a week.
Two other men were injured in the attack – one suffering a
broken jaw – which police believe involved up to eight
assailants. A 15-year-old youth has been charged with the
attempted murder of Mr McCauley.
Mr McCauley’s father Jim told The Irish News yesterday
there had been no change in his son’s condition since it
improved slightly from critical to seriously ill.
“He is out of intensive care but he is still in the neuro-
surgery ward and remains in a coma,” he said.
Mr McCauley said his family, along with friends of his son,
were still maintaining a round-the-clock vigil by his
“The horror of the whole thing is seeping in. Basically, we
are focusing on Paul but we are realising the full horror
of it,” he said.
“Everybody has just stopped work to be here.”
Mr McCauley paid tribute to the doctors and medical staff
at the Royal who he said were providing the best possible
care for his son.
He added that many of the Derry victim’s friends were
visiting and giving their support and he had been
overwhelmed by the good wishes of strangers since the
“The support from across Northern Ireland has been just
phenomenal. The support the family has and the weight of
prayer across the community from callers has been amazing,”
The attack provoked an angry reaction in Derry, with all
parties on the city council uniting in their condemnation.
Find Raises Questions About UVF Ceasefire
By Barry McCaffrey
Concerns increased last night over the state of the UVF’s
ceasefire after it emerged police recovered 20lbs of high-
powered explosives during a search in a estate.
The find – one of the biggest seizures of
explosives in many years – would have been enough to power
10 car bombs.
Police reported on Sunday that they had found “munitions”
during planned searches in north Belfast but refused to say
what had been found or where the searches had taken place.
However, the Irish News has now learned that officers
uncovered 20lbs of Powergel during searches in the
Powergel is one of the most powerful commercial explosives
available and has been used by both the UVF and .
The amount recovered is understood to have caused concern
among security forces.
It was seized on the same day that PUP leader David Ervine
warned of the potential of a “violent reaction” if
the British and Irish governments pursued a policy of
cross-border cooperation without a northern assembly in
“It would be my dream that there won’t be violence,” he
said, “but the reality is that when you make a people
voiceless there will be a reaction and a response.”
Mr Ervine urged unionist politicians to share power with
to avoid a political vacuum.
He later insisted his comments had referred to the UVF and
that he did not believe it intended any return to violence.
Powergel has been used by loyalists a number of times,
including the car-bomb murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson
In June 1994 IRA man Martin Doherty was killed after he
stopped the UVF from planting an 18lb Powergel bomb inside
a Dublin bar during a function.
In February 2002 a Catholic woman in Tyrone, who was seven
months pregnant, escaped after a Powergel bomb was
discovered underneath her car.
In 1996 the UVF left two 10lb Powergel bombs at Dublin
airport in response to the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in
A senior source last night admitted that the
explosives had belonged to the UVF.
However, he denied they signalled a UVF return to violence.
“It was old explosives which had been there for some time,”
he said. “There is no change in the UVF’s ceasefire.”
Mr Ervine said: “I was not aware of this discovery but it
is to be expected that if there are explosives out there
then police will find them from time to time.
“I do not believe it signals any change in the UVF’s
Meanwhile, last night police were conducting searches in
the Westlands estate in north Belfast – the former
stronghold of the ousted Shoukri brothers – in connection
with “serious crime”.
A number of items were taken away by British army experts.
Cunningham Family Told UVF Was Involved In Henry Murder
Aug 09, 1:30 pm
The family of the murderer Carndonagh teenager Henry
Cunningham has been told officially for the first time that
the UVF group was involved in his murder 33 years
The news was confirmed to the family following a meeting
with the Historical Inquiries Team set up to help resolve
unsolved murders in the north during the troubles.
16 year old Henry Cunningham was shot dead as he travelled
home from work in Belfast with his three brothers in August
His brother Robert says the family have also learnt that
the Irish Government made no effort at the time to assist
in the inquiry.
Questions Asked As Saville Is Delayed
By Eamonn Houston
Politicians in Derry last night called for the chairman of
the Bloody Sunday inquiry to explain a lengthy delay in the
publication of the tribunal’s findings.
Lord Saville of Newdigate presided over the marathon
inquiry which was set up by British prime minister Tony
Blair in 1998 into the 1972 massacre in which 14 people
were shot dead by British soldiers.
There is growing unease in Derry that the publication of
the findings of the tribunal may be held up for political
Sinn Féin MLA, Raymond McCartney, said that a lack of
communication by the inquiry team with the victims’
families could lead to claims that the British government
is holding up the report because of potential
Veteran campaigner Eamon McCann and SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey
also voiced concern about the delay in the publication of
The Saville Inquiry finished its hearings two years ago.
Although a massive amount of evidence was heard, Derry
representatives say that the families of the dead should be
briefed on the progress of the report.
The inquiry has blamed the delay on the amount of evidence
to be considered.
A spokesperson for the inquiry told Daily Ireland last
night that the families would be given “substantial notice”
ahead of the publication of the report.
Mr McCartney said last night that Lord Saville should make
direct contact with the families and brief them on progress
and the estimated time frame for the publication of the
“In the absence of correspondence between the inquiry and
the families it could give rise to fears that this report
is being held up for political reasons,” he said.
Mr McCann said that the findings of the Bloody Sunday
inquiry had the potential to expose the British government
as “a major player in the conflict in the North”, and not a
Mr Ramsey said that the families and civilian witnesses who
gave evidence to the Inquiry are entitled to know its rate
In his opening statement in Derry’s Guildhall in the spring
of 1998, Lord Saville said the inquiry needed to be fair
“Those requirements must not only be met through the
inquiry, but also must be seen to be met. This we shall
endeavour to do,” he said.
Spokesperson for the families of the dead, John Kelly,
recently made a public appeal for the inquiry to give an
indication of progress to date.
The final report will be presented to the secretary of
state the day ahead of its general release.
Speculation Growing That Bloody Sunday Report Is Being Delayed For Political Reasons
By Eamonn Houston
On January 29, 1998, the now embattled British prime
minister Tony Blair made a statement in the House of
Commons announcing the second probe into Bloody Sunday to
be headed by Lord Saville of Newdigate into the massacre
carried out by members of the elite Parachute Regiment in
Derry’s Bogside 26 years earlier.
The circumstances of the killings are well known. Thirteen
unarmed civilians – a fourteenth died later – were shot
The first probe, headed by the late Lord Widgery, was
widely regarded as a “whitewash”, largely exonerating
members of 1 Para of wrongdoing on January 30, 1972.
In 2006, the families of the dead and those wounded on
Bloody Sunday still await the publication of the findings
of the Saville inquiry.
The inquiry was set up to assess “new evidence that was not
available to Lord Widgery”.
Its terms of reference were to inquire into “the events of
Sunday 30th January in 1972 which led to loss of life in
connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day,
taking into account any new information relevant to events
on that day”.
The extensive inquiry interviewed and received statements
from approximately 2,500 people.
Some 921 of these people were called to give evidence in
It was the largest undertaking in British legal history.
The judges, headed by Lord Saville, retired two years ago.
There is unease among families and the nationalist
population in Derry about the reasons for the delay.
“Where the state’s own authorities are concerned, we must
be as sure as we can of the truth,” Tony Blair said in
Today he is preoccupied. The official line from the Bloody
Sunday Inquiry since the winding up of hearings in Derry
and Central Hall Westminster has been that the huge amount
of evidence is responsible for the delay.
There is no doubt about the weight of the evidence, but the
legions of solicitors and barristers and legal teams
employed, including the three-man tribunal panel have still
not delivered the final report.
On April 3, 1998, Lord Saville issued the opening statement
of the Inquiry.
The object and duty of the inquiry was “to seek the truth
about what happened on Bloody Sunday. We intend to carry
out that duty with fairness, thoroughness and
The final report, when published, will first land on the
desk of direct-rule secretary, Peter Hain.
With the North’s political process in logjam and British
paratroopers and troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq,
the question in people’s minds is: is this report
deliberately being held back?
It would neither be politically expedient, nor morale
boosting for British troops to be slammed – as the Saville
inquiry will undoubtedly do – while British forces are
involved in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the families of the Bloody Sunday dead, and
those wounded, are condemned to a waiting game – something
they have become accustomed to over decades.
The last press notice was issued by the inquiry almost a
It stated that those affected by Bloody Sunday – the
families and the civilians of Derry who joined the Civil
Rights march on that day – would be given substantial
notice of the publication of the report.
Derry anti-war campaigner and veteran socialist campaigner
Eamonn McCann, who was present on the Bloody Sunday civil
rights march, said that the contents of the final report
are likely to be embarrassing for the British government
Throughout the Troubles, he said, the British government
portrayed itself as a “referee” in a sectarian conflict.
“This was a very British atrocity,” said McCann.
“Bloody Sunday, much as they would like it to, does not fit
into the pattern of other killings, such as the Enniskillen
bomb, Teebane, etc.
“This report, when it is published will show the extent to
which the British were major players in the conflict in the
North and not referees.
“The problem on Bloody Sunday was the murderous attitude of
the paras – and this is a complication, a potential
embarrassment and scandal for the British government.”
Derry MLA Raymond McCartney urged inquiry chairman Lord
Saville to address the families to end speculation that the
findings of the probe into the killings may be stalled for
He said: “In the absence of Lord Saville addressing the
families, there will be growing speculation that this
report is being delayed for political reasons.
“The families have had no correspondence and some
explanation of the delay is needed.”
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said that deep psychological wounds in
Derry caused by the killings cannot begin to be healed
without the publication of the Saville report.
“There is much anticipation across this city about the
Inquiry and its findings.
“People are anxious to hear the findings and for the
families, it may give peace of mind,” he said.
“People would hope that there are no political reasons
behind this delay.”
Bombings Inquiry Report Extended
By Mick Hall
An extension for final report of the commission of
investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings has
been extended to October 31.
The Irish government has established a commission of
investigation into the collusion between the British
security forces and paramilitaries in the 1974
bombing of Dublin city and Co Monaghan in which 34 people
lost their lives.
Many of the victims’ families have been pressing for an
independent inquiry of over 20 years.
The commission is investigating why the Garda investigation
was downgraded in 1974, and why gardaí did not follow up on
a number of leads which pointed in the direction of the
cell with connections to British army captain
Robert Naraic and which operated out of north Armagh.
Questions over missing departmental Garda intelligence and
other documentation are also being examined.
The extension of the deadline for the final report was
sought by Patrick McEntee SC. The prominent legal
representative is the only member of the commission.
Dissidents Linked To Shop Fires
Dissident republicans are being blamed for several
suspected firebomb attacks in County Down.
Two stores were destroyed and two others badly damaged in a
series of overnight fires in Newry.
Police said it was a "devastating attack" and warned there
could be unexploded devices at other premises.
blamed "micro organisations". Ulster
Unionist Danny Kennedy said dissidents were "marking the
anniversary of internment".
About 125 firefighters and 26 appliances tackled the blazes
which erupted at about 0225 BST on Wednesday.
They destroyed JJB Sports and CarpetRight stores, whilst a
TK Maxx store and MFI outlet were badly damaged. Damage has
been put at hundreds of thousands of pounds.
About 20 homes were evacuated during the incident.
Chief Inspector Gary Hagan said a link to dissidents was
one line of inquiry.
This kind of incident is an attack on the whole community
Northern Ireland Office
"It is difficult to comprehend or understand what would be
in the mind of people that would want to carry out these
kind of attacks, that have left potentially large numbers
unemployed and the commercial heart... badly, badly
damaged," he said.
He also urged the business community to check their
"It is possible that some of these devices are still in
location and haven't actually activated. It is vitally
important that we locate those as soon as possible," he
"This has happened in Newry last night and it is possible
it could happen in other cities, in other towns in other
Danny Kennedy said the attacks had struck at the heart of
the city's commercial centre.
"It is absolutely sickening that these people have
terrorised the commercial centre of Newry with an action
intended to strike fear into the hearts of businesses and
shoppers alike," he said.
Davy Hyland of said the attacks looked like the
work of dissident republicans.
He added: "There is very, very little if any support for
what happened. Newry has been through difficult times, but
in recent years it has gone through a resurgence. Jobs are
now in danger of being lost."
David Hanna of the Chamber of Commerce said the apparent
return of firebomb attacks was "distressing".
Walter Johnston of the Fire and Rescue Service said it was
"most unusual" to have this type of incident at the same
time involving four premises.
"We're almost certain it was malicious fires, but how they
actually were started we are not sure yet. The buildings
were totally secured when the fire crews arrived," he said.
SDLP assembly member Dominic Bradley described the attacks
Mr Bradley said: "This type of wanton destruction of
property and jobs only underlines once again the utter
futility of violence and should be condemned without
reservation by all right thinking people."
A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said: "This kind of
incident is an attack on the whole community.
"Attacks such as this are a matter of serious concern. It
places both jobs and livelihoods in jeopardy."
Meanwhile, Army technical officers have been dealing with a
number of security alerts in Newry, County Down.
An alert at Merchant's Quay has ended after it was declared
a hoax. However, the social security office at Bridge
Street is still evacuated.
Drivers are being warned of possible delays.
Wednesday is the 35th anniversary of the introduction of
internment when hundreds of men were arrested in
nationalist areas and detained without being charged.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/09 12:45:46 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Newry Attacks - Wrong And Unacceptable
Published: 9 August, 2006
Commenting after four stores were seriously damaged in
suspected fire bomb attacks overnight in Newry the local MP
Conor Murphy said:
"It is believed that these stores have been damaged by
incendiary type devices. It is suspected that this is the
work of one of the micro organisations. These
groups are opposed to the peace process and opposed to the
Good Friday Agreement.
"The destruction of these businesses has caused much anger
in the Newry area this morning and are particularly
worrying for those people employed in these four stores.
"These groups have little or no support within this
community and they do not have a strategy to deliver Irish
unity and independence.
"It is incumbent on all of us in political leadership to
make it clear that politics can work and that politics can
"I would call on those responsible for this incident to
look objectively at the current political situation and to
carefully consider your options. This sort of activity does
nothing for this community and is an attack on the peace
process which is supported by the overwhelming number of
people on this island.
"This activity is wrong and should stop." ENDS
Dissident Parade Set To Go Ahead
By Maeve Connolly
A DISSIDENT parade is to go ahead tonight in
Ballymena with the organiser confident there will not be
Paddy Murray said the Parades Commission determination has
curtailed the internment commemoration parade to a “five
yard” stretch of Fisherwick estate in the Co Antrim town.
The commission has also ruled that no music should be
played and the event must last no longer than 30 minutes.
Mr Murray said the determination had forced him to change
his plans for the parade which he said had the support of
the majority of residents in the nationalist estate – a
claim refuted by nationalist and unionist politicians.
“Because of the restrictions put on us we decided to just
put the band’s colour party out and march the five yards to
the police line and turn back and then there will be two
speeches by myself and Paul Lyttle from the IRSP (Irish
Socialist Party). The anthem will be played and
then we’ll disperse,” Mr Murray said.
“It will breach the Parades Commission who said there’s no
music to be played but you can’t have a parade
and not have the anthem.”
The William Orr band which is attending the march is a
flute band from Rathenraw estate in Antrim and played at
last year’s parade which was the first of its kind in the
William Orr was a Presbyterian United Irishman who was hung
in Carrickfergus in 1797.
Mr Murray predicted the parade would pass off peacefully.
“Both groupings have said their supports will be
steering clear of it. The only protest we expect is from
More than 500 loyalists staged a counter protest last year
during which they burned tricolours and waved flags.
They were held at a distance from Fisherwick by police in
Meanwhile, there was concern that trouble might break out
in the Dunclug area at last night’s
intern-ment commemoration bonfire. There was rioting at
last year’s event which police said had been orchestrated
to lure officers and fire fighters to the area where they
came under attack.
Up to 50 people were involved in the overnight disturbances
during which two cars were stolen and set alight.
blamed it on drunken youths “from outside the
Rasharkin Residents Bid To Halt Parade
By Lisa Smyth
09 August 2006
Residents of the mainly nationalist village of Rasharkin
are today due to meet with the Parades Commission ahead of
a contentious parade there next week.
More than 1,200 loyalists and 40 bands are expected to
attend the annual parade next Friday evening, prompting
fears of a clash between participants and protesters angry
at the presence of loyalists marching through the centre of
A questionnaire carried out in Rasharkin has revealed that
over 95% of residents are totally opposed to the parade
taking place. These statistics will be presented to the
Parades Commission today in an effort to stop the parade
from being staged in the village.
The march passed off peacefully last year after the Parades
Commission ordered a number of restrictions, although there
were reports of tricolours being set alight as the parade
moved through the village.
councillor for the area, Daithi McKay, will be
heading up the group of residents at the meeting with the
Parades Commission this morning.
He has expressed extreme concern that many of the bands
which have applied to participate in the parade have links
to both the and the UVF.
He also noted that the Rasharkin Residents' Association
will present a 100-page document to the Parades Commission
detailing alleged breaches of restrictions imposed on last
"The decision by Ballymaconnelly Band to try and flood this
village with loyalists on August 18 is simply pure and
utter madness," said Mr McKay.
"One of the bands invited to Rasharkin is the Freeman
Memorial Band from Coleraine, named after a UVF member who
blew himself up in Coleraine in the 1970s.
"We will be telling the Parades Commission that this parade
remains unacceptable to residents in this village.
"This is a 90% nationalist village and its residents have
rights that must be upheld.
Mr McKay added: "The people in this village will continue
to have no confidence in the Parades Commission whilst it
continues to facilitate paramilitaries marching
• Ballymena's police chief has appealed for calm ahead of a
dissident parade being held in the co antrim
town tonight. the parades commission restricted the friends
of william orr parade to a small section of the nationalist
fisherwick estate and also ordered that no music be played
and that bands disperse within half an hour of the start
time. Last year in the run up to the same event, which
marks the anniversary of the introduction of internment
without trial, there was considerable tension in Ballymena
and on the night several hundred loyalists descended on the
estate and had to be headed off by riot police. But tension
has not been as high this year and police do not anticipate
there will be any organised counter-protest.
Ballymena's police commander, Superintendent Terry Shevlin,
has urged all with influence to use it to ensure a peaceful
outcome to the parade.
Unionist Gardiner Digs Up A Nationalist Plot
By Linda McKee
09 August 2006
Craigavon Borough Council has been accused of a 'fragrant'
disregard for sensitivities after a Lurgan resident
complained about a flowerbed planted in green, white and
Ulster Unionist councillor Sam Gardiner said he delivered
the message to the council after he was contacted by an
angry constituent offended by the apparently nationalist
planting scheme at Tannaghmore Gardens.
Last night, the council denied rumours that staff had
responded to the complaint by replanting the controversial
Mr Gardiner said he was amazed when the thorny issue then
surfaced in a Sunday newspaper.
He said he had visited the gardens himself and discovered
the bed was "tidy, with good blooms on it".
"A person called in and expressed their concern about the
colour scheme they were using - and I passed on their
"I wasn't lodging an official complaint or anything like
that. If anybody comes into my constituency office I follow
it up, otherwise I wouldn't be doing my job," he said.
Mr Gardiner said people seemed to be touchy about colour
schemes at this particular time of the year.
"The Ulster Unionist Party had a barbecue in Tannaghmore
Gardens on Friday night and it was excellent and nobody
passed remark on flowerbeds or anything," he added.
I Didn't Help Rebel, Says Former Adair Friend
By Claire Regan
09 August 2006
A former comrade of Johnny Adair last night slammed reports
that he is helping exiled terror boss Alan McClean as "a
pack of complete and utter lies".
Jim 'Sham' Millar said he has not clapped eyes on McClean
since he himself fled to Bolton after the serious split in
the in February 2003.
He angrily refuted reports in a number of Sunday newspapers
that he and his brother-in-law Jackie Thompson are trying
to find McClean a new home since he was forced to flee
Belfast last week.
Millar, Thompson and 'Mad Dog' Adair were among the so-
called Bolton Wanderers who fled to the town in the north-
west of England shortly after they were forced from the
Shankill by the in 2003.
The 'C' Company gang fled in the wake of the murder of
brigadier John Gregg.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from his workplace in
Bolton, Millar said he no longer has any contact with
Adair, who is now living in Scotland. And he insisted he
has not offered to help McClean find a place to live.
"I have not said a word to McClean since I left the
Shankill. I have a fair idea where all this rubbish
information is coming from and I can tell you it is a pack
of complete and utter lies," he said.
"I'll put it like this: McClean is about as welcome in
Bolton as I would be back on the Shankill. There's no way
either Jackie or I have offered to find him somewhere to
Millar said he had "closed that chapter" of his life.
"I have a very happy life here in Bolton now. I am working,
have a house sorted and everything was going very well
until these lies appeared in the paper," he added.
"I have closed that chapter in my life now. I don't want
anything to do with the wrangling back in Belfast."
Former 'C' Company man McClean, his family and a small
group of supporters had to flee their stronghold in the
Westland Estate last Thursday night following a stand-off
with hundreds of mainstream men on Thursday night. He
is now understood to be in Blackpool.
SF Protests Against Private Hospitals On Public Grounds
09/08/2006 - 13:46:40
Sinn Féin is holding demonstrations outside 11 public
hospitals this morning to protest at plans to build private
hospitals on the grounds of the facilities.
Sinn Féin says the move is flawed and will not free up as
many beds as promised by the Government.
Several medical experts have also been critical of the
plan, claiming it will lead to a two-tier health system.
Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald says the Government should
be focusing on providing a proper public health system to
everybody in the country.
She says the private hospitals plan is a distraction that
will use up resources that should be directed towards
improving the public system.
Speaking outside St James's Hospital in Dublin this
morning, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said taxpayers
should not be providing subsidies for private businessmen
seeking to make a profit from healthcare.
DUP Vetoes Irish Street Signs
By Ciarán Barnes
Plans to erect bilingual street signs in a nationalist
housing estate on the edge of west Belfast have been vetoed
by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Locals hoping to move into newly constructed homes in the
Hazel area of Lagmore wanted their streets to have both
English and Irish place names.
The Housing Executive supported the move as did local
postmen who said delivering mail to streets with bilingual
signs would present no problems.
However, the DUP has wrecked the plans by insisting on only
English street signs going up on Hazel Crescent, Hazel Glen
and Hazel View.
At a meeting of Lisburn City Council’s town planning
committee on Monday, a majority of DUP councillors ruled
that Irish signs should be banned from the streets.
Lagmore residents have reacted angrily to the decision, as
have nationalist politicians who accused the DUP of
backtracking on a bilingual signs deal.
When Lisburn was going for city status in 2001, Sinn Féin
councillors said they would only support the move if the
council agreed to sign up to a bilingual signs policy.
Unionists reluctantly entered into the agreement, which the
DUP totally ignored on Monday evening.
Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler accused the DUP of being
He said: “The DUP has a total intolerence of minorities and
in particular the Irish-speaking community. Once again
Lisburn City Council has lived up to its name of being one
of the most bigoted councils in the North of Ireland.”
DUP councillor Stephen Moore, who argued against erecting
the Irish street signs, said putting them on streets in the
Lagmore area would create a “sectarian ghetto”.
McRandal Family: Sack PSNI Officer
Beating victim’s brother hits out at police neglect
By Alan Erwin
A PSNI officer should be sacked for her involvement in the
bungled probe into a sectarian beating that left a man
brain-damaged in Co Antrim, the victim’s family said
Relatives of Gerald McRandal, a 33-year-old Catholic,
called for action after a report said major errors in the
attempted murder inquiry had contributed to the collapse of
the suspects’ trial.
Gerald McRandal’s brother Noel said one of the men cleared
had later hanged himself.
Noel McRandal said Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s scathing
assessment of the investigation in Larne had shown alarming
He said: “It was police neglect right from the word go.
“From leaving the crime scene unattended to the lack of co-
ordination, there are lessons to be learnt.”
Former labourer Gerald McRandal was attacked in October
2002 at the entrance to Larne’s Gardenmore House tower
block, where he lived.
The assault happened minutes after he had left his mother
at a nearby flat.
Two men were charged with trying to kill him and another
three were accused of withholding information. All five
walked free in January 2004.
The case against them was hit by eight key witnesses
withdrawing evidence. It fell apart when it emerged that a
police officer had never disclosed to the defence a
notebook she had used on the night of the attack.
This notebook contained the name of one of the accused,
which was not transferred into her official police record.
Police took an hour to shut off the crime scene, allowing
potential evidence to be contaminated, Mrs O’Loan found.
The ombudsman found that the initial file sent to the
Director of Public Prosecutions had been poorly compiled
and had been missing key elements, including statements
from the two officers first at the scene. Mrs O’Loan has
urged the PSNI to take action.
Her report recommended that one officer be disciplined and
another get extra training.
Noel McRandal demanded tougher punishment. He said the
officer had been experienced enough to know better.
“I don’t think she should be in her job because she’s
obviously not capable of doing it.
“What other mistakes has she made over 12, 14 years’
service and what other mistakes is she likely to make?
“Is every other investigation going to fall apart at the
seams?” said Noel McRandal.
He said doctors had said his brother’s condition would not
improve. Gerald relies on a Zimmer frame and constant
“Gerald has no recollection of what happened but he knows
he got a bad beating and nobody was brought to justice,”
Noel McRandal said.
“He gets very aggressive and disgusted with the whole
thing. He can’t understand why people can do that to him
and still walk the streets,” he said.
Noel McRandal, a taxi driver, said the suspects had
paramilitary links in Larne.
“I see them in passing and they know who I am,” he said.
“It’s like rubbing salt in the wounds. You get the
impression they are saying: ‘Look at me. I’m free.’”
Opin: Dealing With The Remnants Of Fear And Loathing
By Danny Morrison
“I felt a little bit uncomfortable because there we were in
the West Belfast Festival, in a area, and this
was a play where we have a very disgruntled member of the
Protestant and unionist community exposing the weaknesses
of his community to, frankly, an audience who probably
wants to hear that.
“I don’t want to get into rampant generalisations here but
I felt a real discomfort of the fact that Gerry on
down was watching this exposé, and where was Gary’s own
That was the view of Karen Fricker, a theatre critic with
The Guardian, on BBC Radio Ulster’s Arts Extra during a
discussion of Gary Mitchell’s new play, Remnants of Fear.
The play, produced by Dubbeljoint, premiered during Féile
an Phobail. Mitchell wrote the play in response to being
petrol-bombed out of his home in north Belfast last
December by teenagers sent out by the Ulster Defence
The play is the story of how Tony, one dead-end 17-year-old
youth from the Rathcoole estate in north Belfast,
is alienated from his father (a former member who has
turned against paramilitarism and recognises that the IRA
campaign is over) and is lured into violence by
his flashy uncle (a “godfather” if ever there was one).
The play can be legitimately criticised for its
imperfections and for what works or doesn’t work
dramatically. It can also be appreciated at a number of
levels, including its comic elements, particularly in the
glimpses we get of the pathetic, closed world of Tony and
his sectarian, brainless cohort Darren, both under the
spell of Tony’s uncle Geordie. There is also the conflict —
albeit undeveloped — between the brothers Geordie and
Charlie, Tony’s father. Charlie offers Tony his love but a
mediocre life, whereas Geordie offers him the excitement of
violence, instant power and money.
For decades, unionist politicians would excuse
violence by claiming that it was a reaction to IRA
activity. In Remnants, Mitchell exposes the self-serving
nature of paramilitarism, which whips up fear and
stokes sectarianism to maintain its dominance so that it
can continue with its rackets and corruption. He exposes
loyalists as phoney patriots.
Arguing with Geordie, Charlie says there was no ( )
war but that the IRA was fighting the British government
and its army. He says that now “the only thing the
Protestant people need to be protected from is the ”.
This is a recurrent theme in Mitchell’s work and explains
why he is not popular in unionist quarters. It resulted in
him being driven from his home.
The arts establishment here has had a lukewarm approach to
Mitchell’s work, yet he is a talented writer, an award-
winning playwright and was writer in residence at the Royal
National Theatre in London, where he had to go to get his
It has to be more than a suspicion that there are those
within the arts establishment here who have used their
influence to protect the unionist cause, to promote one
play and demote another.
The irony, of course, is that many of these critics and
some of those who have the power to fund new artistic
commissions and ventures publicly disdain overtly
“political” drama as being the anathema of art. It is a
view I would largely sympathise with and something I
learned slowly. But for many years, these same self-
righteous people have lambasted the likes of Dubbeljoint
for its canon whilst themselves clearly behaving as
cultural commissars, invidiously given to their own
In the play, the character Charlie makes a statement that
the IRA has disbanded, that there is little or no
corruption within areas and that IRA volunteers
emerged from jail with university degrees. In a few simple
phrases, he articulates a general truth that explains, for
example, the relative peace and peace of mind in
nationalist areas, the high morale and, if one wanted to go
further, the reasons for the electoral success of Sinn
For Fricker, Charlie’s comments represent Mitchell sinking
“to the level of unsupportable propaganda”. On the BBC, she
mentioned the experience of the late Robert McCartney’s
family to infer that “this [ ] stuff” (widespread
intimidation and corruption) has its equivalence on the
nationalist side, which is patently not the case.
The nationalist people in west Belfast, who make up the
majority there, are no different from nationalists across
the North. There is no need to reprise all that they have
been through in the conflict except to restate that, whilst
all sides suffered, nationalists and unionists are not
mirror images of each other.
Féile an Phobail is an example of a cultural phenomenon
that, regrettably, has yet to be replicated within unionist
communities. It has an ethic, widely supported in west
Belfast, of striving for inclusiveness.
That means inviting into the area one’s critics, be they
Democratic Unionist politicians, Free Presbyterian
ministers, representatives of the Orange Order, parties
associated with paramilitaries, and revisionist
historians and journalists.
Gregory Campbell, probably to his surprise, received a
spontaneous standing ovation when he entered St Louise’s
College on the Falls Road three years ago to be the first
member of the DUP to speak in west Belfast. The audience
was not patronising him. After all, he came to restate the
DUP’s hard-line message, a message the community did not
want to hear but it was courteous and heard him out.
Fricker has reservations about Mitchell’s play being
performed in west Belfast and asks: “Where was Gary’s own
community?” True, only a small number of venturous
Protestants or unionists are likely to see the play
performed on the Whiterock Road. Many unionists don’t want
to see it — though they should — but that is no reason to
raise a question about the right of nationalists to see it
and, in particular, west Belfast nationalists.
Fricker also had reservations about Gerry being
present. After all, he is only the MP for the constituency!
The play, she says, is “an exposé of the unionist community
but the revelations aren’t that startling or surprising”.
She appears to assume that would be gloating at
hearing a message he and his constituents “probably want to
hear”. Is she suggesting that, out of respect for unionist
sensibilities, should not have gone? If she is, then
she is setting yet another standard for republicans and one
not required of unionists.
It would be a very short-sighted nationalist or
indeed who gloated at the spectacle of continuing
violence or at the poverty within unionist working-class
areas, caused by inept political representation and
degradation by paramilitaries.
Presumably, Fricker would prefer Remnants of Fear to have
premiered in front of a perceptive and mature audience,
let’s say in the West End, rather than in “smug”
nationalist west Belfast.
Many critics, as I know, bring to their work a measure of
their own political prejudices, which of course they deny
doing. They do so, particularly in respect to novels or
plays written by republicans or plays that might have a
political subtext that challenges the usual orthodoxy.
It is then that we see their true colours. It is then that
we see who it really is who resorts to a level of
unsupportable propaganda and unfair criticism.
Editorial: Lord Saville, Why Are We Waiting?
The families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre,
along with the rest of the country and people interested in
justice around the world, are still waiting for the truth,
34 years after British soldiers shot dead 14 unarmed people
in Derry and severely wounded many others.
The relatives are calling on the chairman of the latest
inquiry into the killings, Lord Saville of Newdigate, to
tell them why the investigation’s report is taking so long
There is still no timetable for the publication of the
report, two years after the long-running inquiry involving
hundreds of witnesses and a battery of lawyers and
Even after it does make its appearance, its first stop will
be the desk of direct-rule secretary Peter Hain. where it
will presumably be pored over once again before the public
is deemed mature enough to finally read it for themselves.
The fear among the families and other interested parties is
that the current British government, aware of the damning
findings of the Saville inquiry, which is thought to blame
the paratroopers in Derry on the fateful day for gunning
down innocent people, is seeking to minimise the effect on
its public and its military, by delaying its release or
seeking to water down its conclusions.
Interested parties fear this may be partly because of the
situation Britain under an increasingly embattled Tony
Blair finds itself in in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also
because of the unpalatable truth that their vaunted
soldiers ran amok on Bloody Sunday, and possibly proof of
the even more devastating suspicion, that they were allowed
and encouraged to, as part of a strategy emanating from the
This would totally destroy the myth that Britain was only
ever acting as an impartial referee in Ireland, a stance it
likes to portray itself as having around the world, a
position now largely in tatters a a result of the recent
revelations on collusion with paramilitaries.
Given the initial Widgery Report’s findings into Bloody
Sunday, slammed at the time as a British government
whitewash and now generally accepted as such, it’s
essential that people are reassured that there is no
attempt at damage control being attempted in this instance.
The Bloody Sunday families have waited decades for a proper
and public inquiry and now, two years since the end of the
probe, are still waiting to see its report and at last,
hopefully, learn the truth of what happened on that tragic
It’s time for Lord Saville to speak out and tell the
families, and the rest of us, why it’s taking so long to
reveal the findings of his inquiry, and reassure them that
its conclusions are not being tampered with to perpetuate
the official myths of Bloody Sunday.
Opin: Nothing Is True Until It’s Officially Denied
By Brian Feeney
On August 3 the British administration here issued a
statement about those known as ‘the Disappeared’ – people
killed and secretly buried by the IRA during the Troubles.
The statement followed a British-Irish Intergovernmental
Council meeting on July 25 when a report of the Independent
Commission on the Location of Victims’ Remains was
The statement was a classic of its type. It was entitled
‘Governments announce next steps on location of
disappeared’. There then followed a list of ‘measures’ that
were going to be adopted, accompanied by a couple of
sentences from our beautifully maintained proconsul for the
In reality what was being announced was the end of the
search for the Disappeared.
After the list of ‘measures’ came the crux of the decision,
namely that further excavation would only be undertaken if
and where it’s assessed there’s a good prospect of
successful recovery of remains. In other words there would
be no more digging.
All the other ‘measures’ – great word that – are just flim-
They’re going to set up a database of DNA taken from
relatives. They’re going to look at maps, forestry records
and aerial photographs from when the people disappeared and
compare them with current imagery – which instantly prompts
the question, you mean they haven’t done all that already,
taken those ‘measures’, like six years ago when searching
Oh yes, and there’s a confidential phone number in case
somebody involved has a brainwave.
Our proconsul’s couple of sentences are equally misleading.
He said “the British and Irish governments are committed to
doing what they can to find the bodies”.
Well they’re not in fact. Our proconsul was being cheeky –
he went beyond the communique agreed with Dublin on July
The communique said that the two governments were committed
to do “all that is reasonably possible” to recover the
bodies. Quite a difference there you’ll agree.
Needless to say, the communique is the truth. The problem
The gardai excavated 85,000 sq metres searching for Jean
McConville’s body alone. They spent hundreds of fruitless
man hours traipsing through bogland and stripping off top
soil looking for other remains.
It’s too costly and it’s the Irish government which has to
do the heavy lifting.
Anyway, you’ve got to hand it to the NIO. The statement was
a runaway success.
Despite it saying the opposite of what it meant, we had
media interviews with people welcoming the statement and
looking forward to developments.
There won’t be any. The forensic scientist hired by the
commission has been talking to IRA survivors, who were
involved at least in the burials of the bodies, and he has
concluded that there’s no more useful information
available, certainly nothing to justify spending tens of
thousands of euro on speculative digs.
Why couldn’t the NIO say any of that? Why couldn’t they
just come clean instead of creating a false impression of
progress? The answer is that it’s the nature of the beast,
It’s true that this British government is the most sleekit
since Anthony Eden’s, to such an extent that no-one any
longer believes a word any of its members utter, from Tony
Blair right down to the hapless political hacks he sends
over here to sign papers twice a week. As a result, Blair’s
governments will always be associated with the words ‘lies’
It must therefore have been a godsend for the New Labour
chancers on the make over here to find such accomplished
spinners waiting for them at the NIO, people who have had
experience, over a generation in some cases, of pulling the
wool over the eyes of a largely respectful and supportive
After all, for years wasn’t there a war on? The NIO enjoyed
the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s face it, if it came to a choice between the NIO
version of something and the version, which
would the responsible unionist-dominated media choose?
So sit back through the next few weeks of the dead centre
of summer and enjoy announcements from the NIO, which they
wouldn’t try on at other times and remember, in Norn Irn
nothing is true until it’s been officially denied.
Opin: Lessons Drawn From Larne Case
By Ray O'Hanlon
The glaring flaws in the police investigation into a
vicious and apparently sectarian attack in Larne, Co
Antrim, can only be a matter for considerable concern.
In the recent past, complaints from the family of the
victim would have been unlikely to make serious progress.
However, an intervention by the police ombudsman, Nuala
O’Loan, has again proved of huge importance.
Gerald McRandal, then aged 29,was left severely disabled
and suffering from brain damage as a result of a brutal
assault close to his home in the centre of Larne on October
There were strong suggestions of a sectarian motive, and
the possibility of paramilitary involvement could not be
The location of the attack, which took place during heavy
rain, was not sealed off until an hour later, leaving
little chance of recovering evidence there.
Charges were subsequently brought against two men, but they
were dropped when it emerged that one police officer had
transferred her notes from an unofficial to an official
notebook during the investigation.
The indications are that most of the problems were caused
by a lack of police manpower, with only two officers
available to attend what could easily have been a murder
Just five other officers were on duty that night in the
entire Larne region, which has a population of almost
Mrs O’Loan has recommended that disciplinary action should
be taken against two officers, although she also praised
other aspects of the police investigation.
Mr McRandal’s family remain devastated by his injuries, but
have expressed satisfaction with Mrs O’Loan’s report.
It is also appropriate that the entire matter has been
placed in the public domain, and not left gathering dust in
a confidential file.
The onus must now be on the Policing Board to ensure that
the general issues over staffing levels within the police,
and the specific recommendations from Mrs O’Loan, are
Opin: Decommissioning Double Standards
By Ray O'Hanlon
The discovery by police of 20lbs of high powered explosives
in a part of north Belfast is a deeply alarming
Sources within the UVF have accepted responsibility for the
cache, but denied any plans to launch a bombing campaign.
However, it is ludicrous that an organisation which is
supposed to be on ceasefire should be storing such material
in a built-up area close to nationalist districts.
The seizure underlines the need for unionist politicians to
intensify their efforts to secure decommissioning.
Some elected representatives dispute the extent of
disarmament while ignoring the fact that
loyalists have retained 100 per cent of their weaponry.
This is entirely unacceptable. It is essential that double
standards are removed from the debate on decommissioning.
Irish Pilot Cleared
By Sean O’Driscoll
A Northern Ireland pilot who was placed on the no-fly
terrorist list has had his name cleared by a Massachusetts
35-year-old Robert Gray sued the U.S. Transportation
Security Agency last year after he was unable to return to
his home in Lisburn in Northern Ireland to visit his
mother, who was suffering from a serious illness.
He was also unable to fly on a plane on a honeymoon with
his fiancée after they married.
It now appears almost certain that the TSA mistook him for
The TSA had placed him on the no-fly list, which forbids
even sitting as a passenger on any US plane, even though
Gray had previously flown US planes with Senator Ted
Kennedy and Congress-man William Delahunt on board.
His suspicious were first aroused when he was denied
permission to upgrade his commercial pilot’s license to fly
larger planes and was unable to resume his work at Cape Air
The TSA claimed that Gray, a Northern Ireland Protestant
with no links to groups, was a ‘’threat to
aviation or national security,’’ and claimed it had
obtained ‘’derogatory information’’ about him.
Gray, who has been living in the US since 1993, was placed
on the no-fly list in September 2005 and had to take other
jobs at Cape Air until January, when federal officials
removed his name from the list.
In court this week, the TSA reached an agreement and
released a statement that Gray “does not pose a threat to
aviation or national security.’’
Bk Rev: Omagh Bomb 'Informant' Writes About His Double Life
BY COLM BRADLEY
'Unsung Hero' is the latest in the long line of books
portraying Northern Ireland's dirty war. This is an
autobiography of the life of Kevin Fulton (not his real
name) who, apparently, for 21 years worked as a 'mole'
within various paramilitary organisations.
He describes how he made bombs, planted bombs, carried out
shootings, was involved in kidnap and executions of IRA
informers, and all. Fulton claims that all this activity
was carried out with the full knowledge of his handlers.
Fulton came to prominence in the media when a series of
Sunday newspaper articles blew his cover in 2000 and, since
then, he has proved to be a thorn in the side of the
security forces. He has constantly claimed he was abandoned
by his handlers to be executed, and that he has been denied
compensation and a new identity which he claims were
promised to him.
One of the main claims Fulton made against the security
forces was that he had forewarned the RUC of an imminent
bomb that the Real IRA was planning in mid August 1998. The
Omagh bomb happened three days after Fulton had passed on
his information. He remains convinced that had his
'information been followed up, the Omagh atrocity could
have been prevented.'
Fulton implies that the his intelligence was not acted upon
in order to protect the identity of another, more
The book traces his background, how, as a young Catholic
from Newry, he grew up with a fascination for the army. His
grandfather's stories of fighting for the British in World
War II helped develop his romanticised view of Army life,
and it grew over the years.
Considering his religion and the turbulent time in which he
was growing up, Fulton kept his ambition quiet. Indeed, his
ability to conceal his real motives and actions began at an
early age for he was to keep his call-up a secret from all
his friends and family.
According to Fulton, he was quickly identified by the
intelligence services as having the potential to infiltrate
the movement and act as a secret agent for them.
It is clear that Fulton was charmed, groomed and
manipulated into this life as an agent. It was not one he
wanted, for the young Fulton comes across as a naive boy
who simply fell in love with the idea of army life. It was
his complete trust of his superior officers and a
willingness to please them that was to steer Fulton into a
life of lies, deceit and death.
In hindsight, perhaps he should have heeded the words of
his liaison officer who warned him about becoming an agent:
"There will be no medals in this new role. If you are found
dead in a ditch, we won't claim you. You will die an IRA
Given this cold appraisal, it is rather surprising that
Fulton expected to be kept safe by his handlers at all.
After a 'dishonourable discharge' was arranged from the
army, he returned to his home town of Newry and went about
establishing himself in Republic circles. This proved a
long, slow and sometimes painful process. His first attempt
to join the Provisionals three years after his discharge
was a humiliating experience where he faced interrogation
before being discarded. 'Not IRA material', was their
Fulton and his handlers decided he needed to prove his
worth to the IRA leadership and, so they arranged a heist
of some video equipment promising the IRA a cut. They
agreed but, after the operation went belly up, Fulton found
himself serving a stint in jail. This was to prove his
ticket into the IRA. By not 'grassing' on any IRA people
involved in the robbery, he had endeared himself to the
leadership in the Newry area.
Fulton was released in 1986, and by 1988 he was a fully
fledged member of the IRA. It is interesting to note that
Fulton always felt more at home with IRA members that his
handlers, something he describe as the perverse nature of
Northern Ireland. Indeed, Fulton openly talks about IRA men
being cold blooded killers in one sentence and, in the next
Fulton does not seem to have a clear political ideology.
One gets the impression that he sees himself very much as a
soldier who was on one side of a war, and who saw his role
as vitally important in saving peoples lives.
Fulton battled with his conscience daily and, at one stage,
he asks his handlers; "What if one of my bombs caused an
Enniskillen," to which his handlers assured him that if he
did not make the bombs, somebody else would and that his
long term role was saving peoples' lives.
Fulton describes how he 'lived every minute of every day
being harassed, threatened and abused by the RUC' as he
lived the life of an IRA man.
When his cover was finally blown in 2000, Fulton describes
how he had to tell his wife and family that for 21 years he
had lived a lie. He has spent from that day to this on the
run and cannot see his family in Northern Ireland.
After his allegations concerning the handling of the
information he had provided for the Omagh bomb, he was
described by Ronnie Flanagan as a 'Walter Mitty' character.
The then RUC Chief Constable concluded that Fulton's
information was 'retrospective' and 'found to be without
any foundation whatsoever."
However, Nuala O'Loane, the Police Ombudsman disagreed and
described Fulton as a reliable source.
Whether you agree with Flanagan or O'Loane will bear a huge
influence on how you view Fulton.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to read, 'Unsung Hero' and
judge for yourself.
The book is now available in hardback and is available in
Eason's Bookshop, Enniskillen. It is published by John
Allegiance - Winston Churchill And Michael Collins, Assembly Rooms
By Lynne Walker
Published: 09 August 2006
With so many puffs in the press about whether Mel Smith,
playing Winston Churchill in Allegiance, would light up the
politician's trademark cigar on stage, there was a danger
that the essence of this new play might disappear in a fug
of media smoke. Smoking in any public place is now
prohibited in Scotland, and Smith has made much capital out
of the fact he could hold but not light a Romeo y Julieta
"rolled on the thigh of a Cuban maiden".
Smith is portraying the statesman in the context of a
meeting between himself - then Colonial Secretary - and the
former leader, Michael Collins, in Churchill's
London home in 1921. With his jowl spilling over his
collar, his neck stiffening and his fingers wagging as if
pursuing their own agenda, Smith has slipped most
convincingly into Churchill's large shoes. He smacks his
lips, sometimes swallows his words and punctuates his
sentences with a gravelly grunt.
Playing opposite the Greatest Englishman can't be easy but,
as the rebel IRA leader with a mythical reputation Michael
Fassbender has the unusual advantage of being a direct
descendant of Collins. At first both men edge cagily around
the other, Collins railing against the Black and Tans - "so
named," slips in Churchill smoothly, "purely for sartorial
There's no denying that Mary Kenny's keenly imagined script
gives Churchill the better lines in this sparky encounter
between British Imperialism at its most rampant and Irish
Nationalism at its most potent. But Fassbender endows
Collins with a magnetism and quiet intelligence, his
forecasting of his death taking on a real poignancy.
Between them the two characters downed whisky, brandy and
champagne in such abundant quantities that surely some
Scottish ban on drinking coloured liquid on stage must
already be in the pipeline. Whatever unlikely alliance this
encounter helped Churchill and Collins to form in the midst
of these secret negotations over the Irish question, Smith
and Fassbender convey the increasingly warm relationship
between the two men, their dialogue only slightly hampered
by poor amplification. They wistfully compare family notes,
Collins smiling at the memory of the father he worshipped,
Churchill blubbing about the death of a young daughter.
But the intrusions on the stage of a narrator in the form
of the director Brian Gilbert, who neither looks nor sounds
like an actor, nor bears any resemblance to a professional
speaker, is inappropriately dressed and clutches a spiral-
backed notebook, is a disastrous and unnecessary element in
an otherwise absorbing entertainment.
To 13 August (0131-226 2428)
Irish In Argentina To Receive Funding
150th anniversary of Mayo-born founder of Argentine navy –
Admiral Browne – next year
By David Lynch
Irish groups living in Argentina will for the first time
receive funding from the Irish government.
Foreign Affairs Minister of State Noel Treacy has announced
first time grants totalling €42,000 (£28,303) to three
Irish-Argentine community organisations.
The organisations are the Fahy Club, the Federation of
Irish-Argentine Associations and the Southern Cross
“The distinct experiences of the Irish who settled in
Argentina make a rich contribution to the fascinating
history of the Irish diaspora,” said Mr Treacy.
“The descendants of the men and women who left Ireland and
settled in Argentina are also distinguished by the fact
that they form the largest community of Irish descent
outside of English-speaking countries.
“Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the death of
Admiral Browne, the Mayo-born founder of the Argentine
“We take great satisfaction in the very significant and
positive role played by Admiral Browne and many other
illustrious Irish figures in developments in Argentina.
Their descendants continue this proud tradition right up to
the current day. We look forward to developing our
connections with the Irish-Argentine community further.”
In 2006, foreign affairs funding for emigrant services has
reached €12 million (£8.08 million), an increase of 45 per
cent on 2005.
The bulk of this funding directed to Irish community
organisations in Britain.
The Southern Cross newspaper receives a grant of €12,000
This Spanish-language newspaper is owned and managed by the
Since its establishment in 1875, it has played a key role
within the community.
The purpose of the grant is to enable it to invest in new
equipment and to support the preservation of early editions
of the newspaper.
The Fahy Club is located in Buenos Aires and is named after
Fr Anthony Dominic Fahy who was born Loughrea, Co Galway
and died in Argentina in 1871.
He was chaplain to the then growing Irish community in
Argentina in the mid-19th century.
The club plays an active role within the Irish-Argentine
community and the purpose of the grant is to contribute
towards the costs updating its facilities.
The Federation of Irish-Argentine Associations links
together the Irish societies located in across Argentina.
The purpose of the grant is to support an executive
secretary for the federation.
To Subscribe to Irish Aires News List, click HERE.
To Unsub from Irish Aires News List, click Here
No Message is necessary.
Or get full news from Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste http://irishaires.blogspot.com/atom.xml into a News Reader)
To August Index
To Index of Monthly Archives