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August 03, 2006

PSNI Allows UDA Mob in Ardoyne Area

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 08/03/06
PSNI Allow UDA Mob To Congregate In Ardoyne Area
BB 08/03/06 Hopes Over Averting Loyalist Feud
UT 08/03/06 Loyalists Blocked By Police In North Belfast
CN 08/03/06 Bishops Appeal To The Orange Order
BT 08/03/06 Ballymena SF Councillor Receives Death Threat
DU 08/03/06 Paisley Meets Secretary Of State
UT 08/03/06 Phoneline Set Up For Information On Disappeared
UU 08/03/06 UUP: Direct Rule Has Not Served Us Well - McNarry
IC 08/03/06 Casement Rally Is Set To Go Ahead
IN 08/03/06 Priest Calls On Nationalists To Let Police Probe Crimes
IN 08/03/06 Opin: Nationalists Have A Right To Proper Policing
IN 08/03/06 Opin: Venue Ought To Be Changed
IN 08/03/06 Opin: Politicians’ Silence On UDA Feud Is Deafening
IO 08/03/06 Dublin Airport Prepares For Busy Bank Holiday


PSNI Allow UDA Mob To Congregate In Ardoyne Area

Published: 3 August, 2006

North Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan
today accused the PSNI of allowing hundreds of UDA members
many carrying baseball bats and other weapons to congregate
in nationalist area adjacent to Ardoyne last night. She
said that the PSNI strategy was about "protecting one
faction of the UDA while trying not to upset the other".

Cllr. McClenaghan said:

"Last night the PSNI allowed hundreds of UDA members many
carrying baseball bats and other weapons to leave
Ballysillan and set off to confront rival UDA members in
Westland. Instead of preventing the march leaving
Ballysillan the PSNI decided to allow the UDA mob to leave
before stopping them in the heart of a nationalist area
adjacent to Ardoyne before they reached the loyalist
Westland estate.

"A number of nationalist people fearful of the mob fled
from their homes while the PSNI stood back and watched.
Only for the restraint and discipline shown by the
nationalist community in Ardoyne a potentially serious
situation was averted and I would prise them for their

"But that does not take away from the complete failure of
the PSNI operation last night in North Belfast. The
strategy was clearly about protecting one faction of the
UDA while trying not to upset the other. The victims in all
of this was the nationalist community in Ardoyne who were
expected to tolerate a unionist paramilitary mob
congregating in their area. This is completely

"People in wider society are watching this latest unfolding
episode within the UDA with a mixture of disbelief and
horror. People don't particularly care which faction of the
UDA is running its drug empire or conducting sectarian or
racist attacks. What people want to hear from the UDA is
that they are winding up their operations, ending their
attacks and finally engaging with the IICD." ENDS


Hopes Over Averting Loyalist Feud

Loyalist and security sources have said they hope a
potential feud within the UDA has been averted after a
leading member of a breakaway faction left NI.

The police said they escorted a convoy of cars out of the
Westland estate "as a number of people felt under threat".

It is believed Alan McClean and his family travelled to
Dublin to catch a flight out of the country.

It came after 300 Ulster Defence Association supporters
gathered in the Oldpark area of north Belfast.

Tensions have been high following a weekend stand-off
between the factions.

Alan McClean is widely believed to have taken over the
leadership of the UDA in north Belfast after Ihab and Andre
Shoukri were expelled from the organisation last month.

Mr McClean, his wife and two sons, a younger brother of the
Shoukris and a small number of supporters left their homes
at about 0400 BST on Thursday to catch a flight out of the

The PSNI said some of its officers were forced to draw
their weapons in Ballysillan because of the serious

Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson said houses had been
attacked in the Ballysillan and Tyndale areas earlier in
the evening by crowds armed with cudgels and baseball bats.

"Our officers went into deal with that. At one stage our
officers were between two mobs and actually had to draw
weapons to protect themselves - luckily they didn't have to
discharge the weapons," he said.

A large crowd gathered very quickly and officers were
ordered to go to the Westland estate area, he said.

'Gathering information'

The officer said loyalist representatives had met
nationalist community leaders "and reassured them that
there was no threat to nationalist residents".

"There was a convoy of cars that left Westland Road area in
the middle of the night and police did accompany them as
far as the Westlink.

"This was to prevent any breach of the peace or attacks and
was about preventing any loss of life.

"We realised they were people from the Westland Road area
and wanted to leave the area and obviously felt under

He said police were still gathering information about the
occupants of the cars.

"If we can firm up on the intelligence, perhaps with this
faction gone it might ease the situation - but I don't know
that as yet."

A Sinn Fein spokeswoman said nationalist residents felt
intimidated and some had left their homes in fear.

The loyalist protests follow the expulsion of leading north
Belfast loyalists Ihab and Andre Shoukri.

Earlier this week, members of the UDA's so-called ruling
council held talks with representatives of the breakaway

It followed a weekend stand-off between the rival factions
and a public show of strength by the UDA leadership.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/03 10:25:26 GMT


Loyalists Blocked By Police In North Belfast

Riot police have blocked a large crowd of loyalists from
entering the Westland Road area of north Belfast.

Police officers were called last night after several
hundred loyalists gathered in the Silverstream area.

The crowd dispersed at around 1am.

Tensions are brewing in north Belfast following differences
between rival Ulster Defence Association (UDA) factions.

Sinn Fein have voiced their concern at last night`s

The Police Service of Northern Ireland`s north Belfast
district commander, Chief Superintendent Gary White, has
appealed for calm following the incident and called on
those with influence to `use it accordingly`.


Bishops Appeal To The Orange Order

Number: 5831 Date: Aug 4

The retired Bishop of Repton has urged members of the
Orange Order to be open to dialogue with Irish Republicans
in a July 12 speech in Co Fermanagh. Bishop Henry Richmond,
a member of the Martyrs Memorial lodge in Oxford and an
Orangeman for over 52 years, told BBC Radio Ulster that
since the Second Vatican Council the Roman Catholic Church
had moved forward in its teachings and would likely meet
the theological ambitions of the Protestant Reformers.

Bishop Richmond also told the Orangemen of Maguiresbridge
the Orange Order should be open to dialogue with its
opponents and engage directly with Northern Ireland’s
Parade’s Commission and Catholic resident groups. In
addition to his Orange interests, Bishop Richmond has been
active in support of progressive causes within the Church
of England. A “conference consultant” to the Lesbian and
Gay Christian Movement’s “Halfway to Lambeth” Conference in
2003, Bishop Richmond served on the LGCM’s advisory
platform along with Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire
and Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster.

Although the Church of Ireland is divided over the issue of
human sexuality, the diocese of Clogher in Ulster, which
covers Co Fermanagh, and is home to many of the Order’s
local leaders, is not, and is strongly conservative. The
Irish News noted Bishop Richmond’s “pro-gay stance made him
a curious choice as a platform speaker for the Orange
Order.” Participants at the rally report Bishop Richmond’s
remarks were met with a polite, though cool, response.


Ballymena SF Councillor Receives Death Threat

By Lesley-Anne Henry
03 August 2006

Ballymena's only Sinn Fein councillor says she will not be
deterred despite a death threat against her.

Monica Digney (51) became the first republican to sit in
the DUP-dominated chamber when she was elected in May last

Councillor Digney says that she has since been the victim
of a "systematic campaign of vilification" and blamed
sectarian bigots for the latest threat.

She claims a post card, signed 'Ulster Loyalists' read:
"Warning - either shut your trap or be shot" was sent to
her via Ballymena Borough Council offices.

"I received a phone call from the council officers saying
that they were in possession of a post card which was sent
to me care of the council office.

"It had a threatening message printed on it," she said.

"I was obviously very distraught and totally perplexed. But
I have a job to do and I have been democratically elected
to do it. I thought we had gone long past the stage of
death threats.

"I have every right to be there. They are not going to put
me off, absolutely not.

"Being a member of Sinn Fein is controversy enough. Some of
these people just won't accept that we are democratically
elected and we are here to do a job. They just want to keep
Ballymena with that hard, bitter, Protestant name that it
has the name for. Ballymena has a horrendous name

"But there is an unbelievable number of nationalists who
contribute to the rates and deserve to have

DUP deputy mayor of Ballymena Councillor Maurice Mills
condemned the threat.

He said: "No-one in this life has the right to issue a
death threat to anybody. I condemn it without reservation."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "We never comment on
threats made on individuals. When we are made aware of a
threat, we inform the individual accordingly."


Paisley Meets Secretary Of State

Speaking today after meeting with the Secretary of State at
Hillsborough Castle, DUP Leader Dr Ian Paisley said,

“I put to the Secretary of State bluntly and forcibly the
concerns of the unionist community and all right thinking
people in Northern Ireland about the security situation.
People are also annoyed at the conclusions drawn by the
Government that Sinn Fein/IRA is fit for office despite all
of the evidence to the contrary.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee which
included MPs from the Labour Party listed several examples
of ongoing IRA illegality especially in relation to
organised crime. In recent days, we have seen a diesel
washing operation which was capable of generating millions
of pounds of income each year uncovered in Cullyhanna. We
have also heard how the sister of IRA informer Martin
McGartland was told by Police that her safety was under
threat. This news broke immediately after the Secretary of
State’s comments that he believed the IRA had ended all of
its illegal activity.

Republicans still don’t support the Police and law and
order. Only yesterday, Sinn Fein forced a DPP meeting in
Dromore County Tyrone to be cancelled after their concerted
campaign in the local area. It is clear that Sinn Fein/IRA
is still involved in terror and crime and does not deserve
the clean bill of health the Secretary of State gave them.

I also raised the issue of community restorative justice
schemes and the fears many people have over paramilitary
involvement in them. I made it clear to the Secretary of
State that the Police and the criminal justice system must
be at the core of CRJ schemes.

The focus should not be on unionists. The DUP are
democrats. The spotlight should remain firmly on those who
have failed to reach the basic democratic standards
required to hold public office. The DUP has a mandate to
settle for nothing short of republicans being committed to
exclusively peaceful and democratic means. The November
deadline is not a deadline for the DUP. It is for
republicans to convince the community that it has ended its
terrorist and criminal campaign."


Phoneline Set Up For Information On Disappeared

A confidential telephone number and address are to be set
up to help locate the bodies of people abducted, murdered
and secretly buried by the IRA, it has been announced.

By:Press Association

British and Irish Government officials hope the telephone
line and PO Box address will encourage more people to come
forward with information about the exact location of the

The move is one of a series of a measures announced by both
Governments today in conjunction with the Independent
Commission for the Location of Victims Remains.

As a result of a report received earlier this year from the
commission, the two Governments also plan to:

:: Collect DNA samples from the closest biological
relatives of the remaining disappeared, securing any
surviving medical and dental records;

:: Retain the forensic expert they appointed to help the
search for the remaining bodies and establish a project
team within the commission to take forward the
recommendations of its report;

:: Carry out non-invasive surveys of all locations where
bodies are believed to have been buried, including
examinations of all relevant contemporary mapping, forestry
records and aerial photography of the sites, using imagery

:: Use other experts and resources where beneficial,
including existing body disposal sites;

:: Establish a family liaison officer and a point of
contact for the media within the commission.

The bodies of five people the Provisional IRA has admitted
having kidnapped and killed have not yet been recovered
from sites in the Irish Republic.

They are:

:: Columba McVeigh, 17, from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, who
the IRA abducted in 1975 and accused of being a spy. Her
body is believed to be buried near Emyvale, Co Monaghan;

:: Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright, both 25, who disappeared
from the Andersontown area of west Belfast in October 1972,
and who the IRA claimed were buried at Coghallstown, near
Navan, in Co Meath;

:: Danny McIlhone, from west Belfast, who went missing in
July 1981 and whose body is believed to be concealed at
Ballynultagh in Co Wicklow;

:: Brendan Megraw, 24, from Twinbrook, on the outskirts of
west Belfast, who was abducted in April 1978 and is
believed to be buried at Oristown, near Kells, in Co Meath.

Four bodies have been found.

On the day the commission was formed in May 1999, the body
of Eamon Malloy, from north Belfast, who went missing in
1975, was recovered in a coffin in an old graveyard in
Faughart, Co Louth.

The remains of John McClory, 18, and Brian McKinney, 22,
from west Belfast, who disappeared in May 1978 were also
discovered in marshlands in Cloghagh, Co Monaghan.

In August 2003, a man walking with his children on Shelling
Hill beach in Co Louth discovered the remains of Jean
McConville, a 37-year-old Belfast mother of 10, who was
abducted in December 1972 for treating a wounded soldier
outside her home, following two unsuccessful digs in the

The forensic expert has also looked at the cases of four
disappeared who the IRA and the Irish National Liberation
Army (INLA) have not claimed as having abducted.

They include Co Armagh men Charles Armstrong, 57, from
Crossmaglen, who vanished in August 1981, Gerard Evans, 24,
who was last seen alive in Castleblayney in Co Monaghan in
March 1979, and Captain Robert Nairac, 29, who disappeared
in south Armagh in May 1977.

Seamus Ruddy, a 33-year-old member of the Irish Republican
Sociality Party, is believed to have been abducted in
France in May 1985, murdered and buried by members of the
INLA, to which his party was allied.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said today that both
governments were committed to doing what they could to
bring closure to the heartache of those families whose
loved ones` remains had not been found.

"At the core of this tragedy we have a number of families
grieving for the return of the remains of their loved ones
and it is important that they are kept fully informed of
the work of the commission," he said.

However, Mr Hain added that it was vital the expectations
of the families were not raised unrealistically, especially
since a number of excavations in previous years had proven


Direct Rule Has Not Served Us Well - McNarry

August 1st, 2006 David McNarry MLA

Ulster Unionist Education Spokesperson David McNarry has
again voiced his concerns over surplus places in primary
schools, saying it is disgraceful that a sustainable
schools policy is still some way off.

In a statement, the Strangford MLA said: “Direct Rule has
not served us well.

“Look at primary schools. For over a decade, the underlying
trend was a positive one for primary schools. But Direct
Rule has somehow contrived to turn this around.

“The numbers of primary school teachers has slipped from
when Labour took power – but the rate of slippage has
steadily increased under Direct Rule.

“In 1999, Northern Ireland had 8,751 full time equivalent
primary school teachers; in 2002 there were 8,753. In the
three years of Direct Rule following 2002, Northern Ireland
lost 400 teachers.

“The trend from 1992 was toward improved pupil/teacher
ratios. But under Direct Rule, the pupil/teacher ratio has
risen from 19.7 to 20.0.

“I don’t think this can be explained by school closures.
The number of primary schools has stayed broadly the same
since suspension.

“Nor can it be explained solely by demographics. Pupil
places have fallen steadily over the past 10 years, but
only since the hand over to Direct Rule have real problems

“In business, Direct Rule’s management will cripple
manufacturing. In public administration, Direct Rule has
managed to sectarianise local government. In local finance,
Direct Rule is squeezing more and more out of hard-pressed
householders. And in primary schools, Direct Rule’s ad hoc
approach is steering Northern Ireland into dangerous

“This year, there are 34,390 surplus places in primary
schools. What does the department do about it? It posts up
a £69 million underspend at a time when it is forcing
boards to make drastic cuts in services. The government may
say that these resources are not lost, but this at least
tells us that government has not reacted quickly enough to
resolve problems.

“This is not the efficient, targeted, strategic approach
that’s required. This is just more of the clueless
mismanagement that we’ve come to expect.

“So let’s not think of Direct Rule as a benign institution.
Angela Smith juggled a number of portfolios, and between
arriving at DENI in May 2005 she spend just 82 days in
Northern Ireland up to the end of last year.”

He added: “Despite the critical importance formative early
years play in developing ability in literacy, numeracy,
communication and creativity, the Direct Rule establishment
initiated and led a debate that solely focussed on post-
primary education.

“The implications of falling rolls can be viewed as an
opportunity. School funding is currently measured per
pupil. If DENI maintains current funding levels, and
resists the temptation to allow it to parallel falling
rolls, government would be making a significant commitment
to investing in smaller class sizes for our children.

“In Northern Ireland, New Labour sells us ‘year zero’
economics, unsustainable futures. In England, New Labour
pledges ‘forward not back’, ‘investment not cuts’ and
‘Building Schools for the Future’.

“The Labour Party’s 2005 Manifesto states: “All primary
school children will have access to high-quality tuition in
the arts, music, sports and foreign languages.”

“Yet these were among the first services to be withdrawn
under Direct Rule’s education cuts. Primary schools should
be places in which all children are enriched by exposure to
arts, music, languages and sports.

“A devolved assembly would ensure that the department
learns from its mistakes. Getting early development right
is key to improving educational outcomes in the long term.
That means getting the right environment in place to make
primary and pre-primary work for all our children.”


Casement Rally Is Set To Go Ahead

by Damian McCarney

The national hunger strike commemorative rally looks set to
go ahead at Casement Park after the chairman of Antrim
County Board told the Andersonstown News that he will not
be “standing at the gates directing people away” from the

Next Sunday’s Casement event, intended to be the focal
point of this year’s 25th anniversary hunger strike
commemorations, looked in jeopardy this week after the
GAA’s Dublin-based Central Council said after a meeting on
Saturday that the event ran contrary to GAA rules which
forbid the use of GAA grounds for political events.

However, County Chairman John McSparran says he will not be
drawn into a dispute with GAA chiefs on the matter.

GAA speaks on Casement rally “I can assure everybody that
the relevant authorities within the GAA in Antrim will not
become involved in any confrontation whatsoever.

“Within the GAA in Antrim we are only too well aware that
the vast majority of clubs, if asked, would consider this a
non-political event and be happy for this event to go ahead
in Casement Park.”

The Antrim Board claim that they had initially contacted
the Central Council in February to receive clearance for
this latest event. The move was made after the 20th hunger
strike anniversary event, also held in Casement, drew
criticism from Central Council.

John McSparran said that by not providing an early response
the Central Council had “created a situation which is very

He continued: “We were aware that within the GAA in
general, and particularly the 26 counties, objections may
be voiced about this event being held.

“In order to try to ensure that no dissent within the
association in general, we brought it to Central Council’s

“We also made it clear that before any decision was taken
that they needed to be aware of what the opinion in the six
counties would have been, and due cognisance of that should
have been taken into consideration.”

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams will be the guest
speaker at the rally which also includes a music concert
and follows a large march and dramatisation of the hunger

Peadar Whelan of the National H-Block Armagh Commemoration
Committee said, “This parade is not party-political.

“It does not contravene GAA rules and we expect the parade
to go ahead as planned as it did in 2001 in Casement.”

When asked what will happen if the August 13 event goes
ahead as planned, a spokesperson for the GAA said, “Central
Council of the GAA will have to meet to decide what
sanctions will be imposed.”

The next Central Council meeting is due to take place in

The spokesperson also said that as far as he was aware,
“The first time it was discussed was at a meeting of
Central Council last Saturday.”

Journalist:: Damien McCarney


Priest Calls On Nationalists To Let Police Probe Crimes

By David Wilson

A DERRY priest has called for police to be allowed to
investigate criminal activity in a nationalist area of the

Fr Aidan Mullan was speaking after an attack on the home of
an elderly couple in Gobnascale in the Waterside.

A large boulder was thrown through the bedroom window of
Bobby and Bridie O’Don-nell’s home early on Monday.

Mr O’Donnell, who underwent heart surgery last week, said
he viewed the attack as an attempt on his and his wife’s

The couple believe they were targeted because their son
works as a community activist in the area.

Fr Mullan said people in the area must accept such att-acks
are not anti social behaviour but “criminal activity”.

He said that, as such, it was the responsibility of the
PSNI to investigate.

“I think we are moving along to say we cannot be a society
who polices ourselves. We do need to bring in the police,”
Fr Mullan said. He said nationalists had little choice but
to accept the PSNI.

“Our community is moving in that direction. I am not saying
people are ready to accept the police but a community that
does not have police will resort to the law of the jungle.”

Fr Mullan said he understood that accepting the PSNI would
not solve all societal problems and that successful
policing depended on both the cooperation of the community
and the community being able to place trust in the police.

Last month Fr Mullan confronted “young thugs” who built
roadblocks in Gobnas-cale as police tried to inves-tigate
the attempted murder of 29-year-old Paul McCauley.

Mr McCauley was attacked at a barbecue at nearby Chapel
Road and remains in hospital.

Fr Mullan had to negotiate the roadblocks on his way to
Altnagelvin hospital to give Mr McCauley the Last Rites.

An appeal to parishioners to join him in taking a stand saw
more than 50 people take to the streets.


Opin: Nationalists Have A Right To Proper Policing

By Jim Gibney

Any future decision by republicans to endorse policing in
the six counties will be on a par with those landmark
decisions which republicans have already taken over the
last decade of the peace process.

These have included the IRA’s decision to call its first
cessation, its decision to put their weapons beyond use and
its decision to end the armed campaign last July.

That is the scale of the decision facing republicans in
relation to policing.

The IRA’s historic decisions over the last decade could
only be taken when the political conditions were right, not
perfect, but right.

Considerable risks were taken by the republican leadership
in making these difficult decisions, dependent as they were
on the active support of IRA volunteers, members of Sinn
Fein and the wider nationalist support base.

These IRA initiatives were taken to advance the freedom
struggle. However, these initiatives challenged the core
beliefs of the constituency which supported the
organisation through 25 years of war; a war with roots in
more than 200 years of republican resistance.

Anyone of these issues mishandled could have provoked a
backlash from the republican base which would have
undermined the republican peace strategy and in turn the
peace process.

There is historical precedent for this fear, which we are
reminded of in Ken Loach’s new film The Wind That Shakes
The Barley, when republicans parted company and fought a
civil war over the 1921 Treaty.

The issues decided upon over the last decade were obviously
under the control and jurisdiction of the IRA leadership.

They managed them carefully and intelligently and in doing
so gave a boost to the peace process at critical times when
it was under pressure.

In a normal democratic society support for policing is a
basic principle. Therefore lack of support can lead to a
breakdown of society as can be seen from the history of the
six counties.

The six-county state is not a normal democracy. Policing
has never been normal – it has always served unionist
interests. Political policing continues to be a feature of
life in the six counties.

The promised new beginning to policing requires more

Two weeks ago Martin McGuinness, speaking at the Magill
summer, school said, “I have no doubt that some day a
republican could hold ministerial responsibility for
policing north and south”.

This is not an ill-thought-out remark. Republicans will
approach the issue of policing in the same way they
approached the Good Friday agreement (GFA).

The institutional framework of the GFA in practice and
functioning provides republicans with a new state in the
making. Taken together the all-Ireland Ministerial Council,
the Executive and the Assembly will deal with matters
affecting people’s lives across Ireland. It is on this
basis republicans support the GFA. They seek to create a
society in peaceful transition to a united and independent
Ireland. They will approach policing in the six counties in
terms of this transitional view.

Republicans seek to create the maximum amount of political
change to ensure policing is lifted out of the sectarian,
suffocating and narrow confines of the six counties and
placed in an all-Ireland arrangement.

Sinn Fein over years has put policing at the core of
negotiations with the British government.

They do so because nationalists more than anyone else have
been on the receiving end of oppressive and sectarian
policing at the RUC’s hands.

Nationalists have a right to a proper policing service now;
to feel safe in their own homes.

This service must be impartial, not engaged in political
policing and not run by MI5 or any other British
intelligence agency.

Opposition to MI5’s involvement in policing does not just
come from republicans.

The Irish government and the SDLP are also opposed to it.

The transfer of policing and justice powers from London to
Belfast will help ensure that the malign influence of
British securocrats is ended.

If republicans secure the changes needed, then for the
first time since partition nationalists and republicans
will not only join the police but they and their community
will have ownership of it – a far cry from the days when
the RUC were the Orange state’s militia.


Opin: Venue Ought To Be Changed

By Newton Emerson

THE 1981 Hunger Strike which ended with the deaths of 10
prisoners in the H-blocks was a tragic event and one which
had enormous political significance both at the time and in
the years since.

It has been commemorated every year since 1981 and is being
marked again this year with marches, rallies and other
events all over Ireland.

Those who organise these demonstra-tions are perfectly
within their rights, as are the many people who will attend

But a decision to hold the main comm-emoration at a GAA
venue in Belfast has put that organisation in an invidious

It is understood that a meeting of the GAA’s central
council and management committee has decided that the event
planned for Casement Park breaks two of its rules.

Rule 7a states “The association shall be non-party
political” and goes on that “No committee, club, council or
representative thereof shall take part, as such, in any
party political movement”.

Rule 44a states that GAA property, in-cluding grounds,
“shall be used only for

the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the
games controlled by the association”.

There are a number of venues near that part of Belfast
which would be just as suitable for the holding of a
political rally. The Falls Park and Dunville Park are two
locations which have hosted political gatherings in the

And given the use of a north Belfast leisure centre for a
meeting to sort out difficulties within the UDA, there can
be no problem with a legal organisation using public
property for such a purpose.

It is not too late for the organisers of this Belfast
commemoration to change the venue.

Not to do so could lead to difficulties for the GAA, an
organisation which does so much good work for the community
and which does not deserve to be placed in this position.


Opin: Politicians’ Silence On UDA Feud Is Deafening

By Newton Emerson

Still no official statement from the DUP on last weekend’s
loyalist violence. The party has replied to a News Letter
article by Peter Hain and also issued a press release on
IRA criminality but apparently it has nothing to say about
the UDA mob rule which paralysed north Belfast.

This is strange, given that the faction-fighting all took
place within the parliamentary patch of Nigel Dodds MP, who
had no problem criticising police action against the UDA’s
Shoukri brigade when the Alexandra Bar was raided six
months ago.

Still no official statement from the Ulster Unionists
either. Now that they are allied to the UVF they can hardly
intervene in a UDA feud without looking even dumber than
they look already. The Shinners have also been tactically
taciturn – they can’t call on the state to enforce the rule
of law when they don’t ‘recognise’ the state, its forces or
its laws. But diverting as it is to ponder the stinking
hypocrisy of the sectarian parties, it is purely a

Local politicians don’t determine policy towards the UDA
their silence merely facilitates those that do. The
question we really need to ponder is this: Who has decided
to ‘peace-process’ the UDA via managed feuds, selective
prosecutions and localised suspension of public order?

No doubt Chief Constable Sir Hugh could provide some useful
answers. When last year’s UVF-LVF feud resulted in similar
scenes of mob rule in east Belfast, the PSNI claimed that
nothing could be done because no complaints had been
received from the public. This was a despicable attempt to
pass responsibility for its own job on to the very
communities it is supposed to be protecting. It was also
complete nonsense. The police can always press charges
without receiving a complaint and there are plenty of
relevant charges available, from unlawful assembly to
behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

As 500 UDA members were able to hold a ‘show of strength’
on the Shankill last Saturday without suffering a single
arrest, loyalists can safely assume that they are exempt
from all such charges if they gather in adequate numbers.
Sir Hugh might say that he has insufficient resources to
handle things differently – but he has rather conspicuously
failed to say anything of the kind.

The Alexandra Bar raid demonstrated that the PSNI is
perfectly capable of rounding up an entire UDA faction
without sparking off a

bloodbath. So why has it only ever rounded up the one UDA
faction that has just fallen out with all the others?

Sir Hugh Orde has expressed frustration with the way the
courts handle loyalist cases. Is the PSNI receiving its
peace-process signals from the Public Prosecution Service?
The PPS is responsible for both prosecutions and bail

Until this year it operated a clear revolving door policy
towards loyalists, including the Shoukris – until a
mysterious foot was suddenly jammed in that door in the
case of the Shoukris alone. The director of the PPS is Sir
Alasdair Fraser QC, who demonstrated after the Stormontgate
fiasco that he sees no reason to explain himself to anyone.

However, Sir Alasdair does answer directly to UK attorney
general Lord Goldsmith, who sits in the cabinet. The
cabinet is formally advised on Northern Ireland matters by
Jonathan Phillips, the NIO permanent secretary and former
NIO political director.

Implementation of peace process policy is handled day-to-
day at cabinet level by the prime minister’s chief of
staff, Jonathan Powell, but because Tony Blair has never
held a cabinet vote during his entire term in office,
ultimate responsibility for loyalist peace processing goes
right to the top. The situation in Dublin is much the same.
Irish president Mary McAleese is most strongly associated
with southern overtures towards the Jackie McDonald faction
of the UDA – but whether or not this was her idea, it is
inconceivable that she would pursue it without the
taoiseach’s full permission. Bertie Ahern has recently
confirmed this by meeting the ‘mainstream’ UDA himself.

Perhaps these establishment figures in London, Dublin and
Belfast are correct in their cynical approach – but they
must still be held accountable for the consequences. Last
year the UDA murdered three people, including one Catholic
and one

Protestant civilian.

Those victims are unlikely to be its last. Is official
policy towards the UDA striking the right balance between
overreaction and appeasement?

We would have a much better chance of an answer to that
question if our two largest parties could bring themselves
to ask it.


Dublin Airport Prepares For Busy Bank Holiday

03/08/2006 - 12:05:52

More than 370,000 passengers are expected to travel through
Dublin Airport over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Over 2,270 flights will arrive and depart between Friday
and Monday, with an additional 300 charter flights added to
the normal schedule.

The passengers figures are up 14% over the same period last

Travellers are being warned to check in at least 90 minutes
before their flight is due to depart, but are also advised
not to arrive hours in advance.

Additional customer care staff will be working throughout
the terminal building during the weekend to manage check-in
queues and help passengers.

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