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August 06, 2006

SF Criticizes UK Attitude To Dublin & Monaghan Bombings

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 08/04/06 SF Criticises UK Attitude To Dublin & Monaghan Bombings
BN 08/04/06 SF Call On Shell To Clarify Legal Position
SF 08/05/06 Gerry Adams Addresses - Vision For The Future
GU 08/06/06 Stone Braces Himself For A Return To Jail
SL 08/06/06 Ex-Army Man Considers Going Public Over Spy Bomb Claims
GU 08/06/06 Omagh Bomb Families Back Whistleblower
BN 08/06/06 Provisionals Using Cover To Mask Violence, Says Unionist
SL 08/06/06 Dozy Hain Caught Napping
TO 08/06/06 Ervine Warns Of Violence Over Cross-Border Co-Operation
SL 08/06/06 UDA: Divided They Stand
SL 08/06/06 McClean Break
BB 08/06/06 Eighth Arrest In Murder Inquiry
BG 08/04/06 Opin: Hot Air On Immigration
SL 08/06/06 Opin: Let's Have One Big Carnival
SL 08/06/06 Opin: It May Be Radical, But It'll 'Payoff' In Long Run
GU 08/06/06 Review: Home Truths Hurt Most
IO 08/06/06 Internet 15 Years Old Today
SL 08/06/06 JFK Library Online
IT 08/07/06 Survey Charts The Future For Croagh Patrick


SF Criticises UK Attitude To Dublin And Monaghan Bombings

04/08/2006 - 16:19:10

Sinn Féin has criticised the British government's defence
of its attitude towards the Dublin and Monaghan bombings

The party says it is wrong of the country's ambassador to
Ireland to say there has been no cover-up to determine the
alleged involvement of military intelligence in the

Stuart Eldon has said the level of co-operation with the
Barron inquiry must take into account protection of the
lives of people who were involved at the time.

Deputy Aenghus O'Snodaigh claimed today that Britain has
not managed to disprove its involvement.

He said: “All fingers over the years have pointed to an
involvement through collusion by the British army and their
agents in Ireland and they haven't disproved that.”

“They haven't shown us what they've done since to arrest
people, to charge them yet you have the British ambassador
saying that they knew who was involved and they're trying
to protect them.”


SF Call On Shell To Clarify Legal Position

04/08/2006 - 15:06:15

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin
Ferris TD, has today called on Shell to clarify whether or
not it intends to proceed with its legal action against the
Rossport Five.

Ferris was commenting on yesterday’s statement from the
company in which it referred to its intention to “review
the legal position with regard to the ongoing injunction

The Kerry North TD said: “It is important that Shell
clarify exactly what it intends to do in regard to the
ongoing injunctions against the Rossport Five.

“While the Shell statement merely refers to a review, the
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny claimed that he had been
informed by Shell’s deputy managing director that they were
going to “drop” the injunction.

“Given the considerable pressure being placed on the men
concerned, and the large amount of spin and obfustacation
surrounding every aspect of this issue, it is vital that
Shell state plainly whether or not they intend to abandon
their legal threat against the men.

“Otherwise, we can only continue to conclude that
yesterday’s announcement was an effort to avoid having to
make available the documents subject to the order of
discovery made by Justice Mary Laffoy last Monday.”


Gerry Adams Addresses - Vision For The Future

Published: 5 August, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be one of a group
of panellists who will today address the issue of 'Vision
for the Future' at the North Belfast Summer School in
Belfast castle.

The discussion which will be facilitated by Susan McKay,
will also include Michael Copeland MLA, Alasdair McDonnell
MP and David Ford MLA.

The following is an extract of Mr. Adams comments in which
he will set out Sinn Féin's vision for the future and
address the need for engagement between republicans and
unionists. The Sinn Féin leader will also address the issue
of the DUP and the implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement, and of the 'step change' that will be required
in advancing the process irrespective of any decision the
DUP might take.

Mr Adams will say:

"Our task as political activists and leaders is to build on
the progress that has been achieved and construct political
arrangements and forge new relationships which will ensure
no return to the failures of the past.

The two key words concepts of our republican future are
'change' an 'equality'.

Republicans are for positive change - progressive and deep

We are about transforming society in this city, as well as
on this island.

Irish republicanism has a vision of a new society.

A society which delivers the highest standard of services
and protections t all citizens; guarantees equality of
treatment to all; is inclusive of al citizens; and in which
there is a redistribution of wealth for the well being of
the aged, for the advancement of youth, for the liberation
of women and the protection of our children.

The Good Friday Agreement is one vehicle by which much of
this can b accomplished.

That is why those who are afraid of change, who are against
equality are s opposed to it. Our past was built on
division. Our future has to b different. Our future is a
future together. How do we achieve that? We nee to reach
out to each other. We need to listen to what each other has
to say. Not in a patronising way. There must be genuine
enlightened dialogue between all of us who share this

Sinn Fein has established a Unionist Engagement Department.

It sounds very formal almost academic. It isn't.

This is a serious effort by Sinn Fein, in a formal
structured way, trying t do something which should be
second nature and common sense to us all, t talk to our

The aim of the department is to promote dialogue with
Unionists at ever possible opportunity. And as an aid to
this engagement process we are currently working on a
charter of principles and ideas which sets out common
values and provides a basis for discussion.

Republicans wish to engage with Unionism on such issues as
Equality, Participation and Tolerance; to agree a new
democratic future. We recognise that we also have a journey
to travel in developing our own understanding through such
initiatives. The changes that are happening, and will
continue to happen, will challenge us all. Let us meet
these challenges together and shape a future which
addresses the needs of all our people.

Of course reaching agreement, ending sectarianism, building
a shared future would be no less challenging but more
easily accomplished if Ian Paisley an his colleagues were
prepared to reach agreement in the upcoming discussions.

His recent outburst over dead bodies and there can be no
compromise in hi July 12th speech is evidence of the gap
which still exists.

I am repeatedly asked if Ian Paisley will sign up to a deal
with Sinn Féin. The truth is I don't know. I have already
proposed him for the position o First Minister. I am
prepared to do so again.

In my opinion he will only accept that position if he knows
that the two governments are totally and absolutely
resolute about continuing with process of real change.

Of course, it may be that sharing power in an Executive and
in an Assembly structure is more than the DUP leadership
can deal with at this time.

But if that is so it only means setting aside one part of
the process o change.

The implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and of its
potential for further progress can still be advanced across
all its social, economic, cultural, and institutional

The DUP may have a veto over the Assembly and All-Ireland
Ministerial Council but the governments can produce any
number of new accords an treaties enhancing and building
upon the work of the existing implementation bodies, as
well as developing new and stronger all-Ireland

Sinn Féin is currently discussing these matters with the
two governments.

So, what is required is a continuum of a process which will
bring about equality in this part of the island and take
practical steps across the island to ensure that we have
the very best quality of life possible for all of our

What is required is a step change.

This means deepening and broadening the number and remit of
the current number of implementation and co-operation

It means new governmental partnership agreements on all
issues effecting people.

The restructuring of the local councils also open up
opportunities particularly in the border areas for co-

It means building upon a single island economy. In the
north we have an economy which is a basket case and which
will remain so as long as it is linked to the British
economy and run by British Ministers.

There is no economic merit in partition even for the
business o commercial classes.

Why can't we harmonise the health services? There is also
the question o improving our transport infrastructure, and
our common energy needs.

Think of an issue, any issue and it would benefit from an
all-Ireland approach.

That is the future."



Stone Braces Himself For A Return To Jail

Terrorist comrade's evidence could shed light on UDA murder

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday August 6, 2006
The Observer

Michael Stone, one of the most notorious loyalist killers
of the Troubles, may soon be back in jail on the word of a
terrorist comrade.

Stone gained international infamy in 1988 when, in front of
the world's cameras, he staged a lone gun and grenade
attack on mourners at the funeral of three IRA terrorists
killed by the SAS in Gibraltar. His attack, at Milltown
cemetery in Belfast, killed three people and injured
dozens, but after serving almost 12 years he was released
under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The Ulster Defence Association terrorist is resigned to
going back to jail. Under the terms of the early release
scheme, if charged with any offence, Stone automatically
goes back to prison on remand. 'My lawyer has told me to
prepare to make myself available to hand myself over to the
PSNI or be arrested,' he said yesterday.

The Observer is aware of the identity of a UDA 'brigadier'
from Mid-Ulster who has allegedly cut a deal with the PSNI
and will name names for past loyalist crimes. The man is
understood to face fraud and extortion charges, including
embezzlement of £700,000 from a Belfast law firm.

Stone said he also knew the name of the 'brigadier'. 'I'm
not naming anybody in particular. When I was doing what I
did I had the persona of a loner acting on my own,' he
said. 'Not too many brigadiers at the time wanted to know
me, but there are people still out there who know certain
things. And I believe there's one in particular who's
trying to cut a deal by sacrificing me and saving his own

'I've heard rumours about a certain boy going to sink me.
Fair enough. If anything is proven and I have to do a
couple more years in jail, I'll do them. But I don't see me
having to serve out my whole sentence again.'

If all 20 alleged offences date to before Easter 1998, then
under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement Stone would
receive an amnesty for them. However, a trial would shed
light on the activities of the UDA and its murder squads in
the late Eighties, when Stone was an active assassin.

Stone, 50, who was sentenced to a total of 850 years,
became an author and an artist on his release from the Maze
and on a television discussion this year chaired by
Archbishop Desmond Tutu he faced the family of one of his

This year Stone went to the PSNI's serious crime suite in
Antrim, where he was questioned for several days about up
to 20 different offences during the Troubles, including
attempted murder and supplying weapons for UDA
assassinations. He had made a series of high-profile
admissions about other crimes apart from the funeral

Asked about his decision to go to the PSNI, Stone said: 'I
heard whispers, so I walked in before I was pushed. I was
questioned about things, but I just sat there, silent, and
stared at a spot on the wall.'

Stone warned the 'brigadier': 'Somebody's cutting a deal to
Judas me. He's not going to do that. And he may forget that
I may know more about him, which could put him behind

The PSNI has questioned Stone about a series of terror
attacks and planned assassinations in Mid-Ulster. He was
asked about a plan to bomb a border Garda Siochana station.
He was also questioned about a number of UDA hides across
Mid-Ulster in old farmhouses, barns and bunkers.

If he is found guilty, Stone could have his licence
withdrawn and revoked. He had severed his links with the
paramilitary group and divides his time between London and
Spain. He also visits Belfast, where he maintains contact
with nine of his children.

His attack on the funeral made him a loyalist folk hero.
The jacket he wore during the attack was auctioned at a
social club in Scotland and raised £10,000 for loyalist
prisoners in the Maze.

One of Stone's successors in the UDA, Johnny 'Mad Dog'
Adair, said Stone inspired him to join the terror group's
murder squad.


Ex-Army Man Considers Going Public Over Spy Bomb Claims

By Chris Anderson
06 August 2006

The ex-Army officer, who claimed three different Special
Branch spies took part in a series of IRA bomb attacks
which claimed the lives of eight soldiers, says he has not
dismissed the possibility of meeting the Police Ombudsman.

But he says any future meeting with Nuala O'Loan's
investigators could only take place when he was certain the
"climate" was right for him to go public and make his
identity known to the Ombudsman's office.

The mother of one of the soldiers killed has welcomed the

The former officer made his claims about the three Special
Branch spies in Sunday Life earlier this year.

He alleged the men were involved - either individually or
collectively - in:

• The bomb blast which claimed the lives of three members
of the Parachute Regiment near Mayobridge, Co Down in
November 1989.

• The landmine attack which killed four UDR soldiers
outside Downpatrick in April 1990 and:

• The 'human bomb' attack on an army checkpoint at Killeen,
near Newry that killed RIR soldier, Cyril Smith in October

The ex-officer claimed the three spies were all members of
the IRA south Down unit during the 1980s and 1990s.

He also said security chiefs continued to use the men to
gather intelligence in the south Down area in spite of
knowing they had all been involved in murder.

In the aftermath of the IRA ceasefire of 1994, one of the
spies was relocated outside Northern Ireland by the RUC,
after he told Republicans he had been working for the
security forces.

"I want to re-assure the families of these soldiers I never
ruled out the possibly of meeting the Police Ombudsman",
the officer said.

"I said a meeting would only take place if and when the
climate was right for me to go public. But, the Police
Ombudsman's office already has knowledge of these three
individuals, through an earlier investigation in Newry.

"The families should ask the Ombudsman about this earlier

It is understood the Police Ombudsman's office is currently
investigating the Downpatrick bomb attack and the death of
RIR soldier Cyril Smith.

Yesterday, Ranger Smith's mother, Bernie said she was
delighted to hear the former officer had not ruled out a
meeting with the Police Ombudsman.

"Its good news as far as we are concerned," she said.

"All we want is the truth and I would welcome an
opportunity to speak with this ex-Army officer myself. But,
I do understand his position and the dangers he would face
if he went public at this time."

Mrs Smith said she had met with members of the PSNI's
Historical Enquiries Team last Wednesday morning.

She confirmed a HET investigation into her son's murder was
currently under way.


Omagh Bomb Families Back Whistleblower

Campaigners accept assurances about informer

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday August 6, 2006
The Observer

Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing have rallied
behind a Garda whistleblower who insists that his
commanders ignored a prior warning about the massacre in
order to protect an informer.

The families of the 29 men, women and children who died in
the Real IRA blast in August 1998 said last night they were
'100 per cent behind' Detective Sergeant John White, whose
allegations have rocked the security services on both sides
of the Irish border.

The Garda detective has also vowed to lift the lid on
alleged illegal bugging of criminal suspects in custody
throughout the republic, including conversations between
prisoners, lawyers and families. He will make his
allegations of unlawful bugging public when the Morris
Tribunal investigating Garda corruption resumes in the
early autumn.

White came under fire yesterday after it was reported that
an Irish government inquiry into his claims found his
informant, Dublin car thief Paddy Dixon, had no prior
knowledge of the planned attack on Omagh. However, White
hit back yesterday, pointing out that he had never said
Dixon had known exactly where the bomb was intended to go

'On 25 July, 1998, I went to a senior officer in the Garda
Siochana and told him that Paddy Dixon had told me there
was going to be a Real IRA bomb attack within two weeks in
Northern Ireland,' said White. 'I never alleged Dixon knew
the precise location of the target. But I repeat again that
I will stand up in any future public inquiry and tell the
world that I was told by a senior officer to let the bomb
through in order to maintain Dixon's credibility ... with
the Real IRA.'

Dixon infiltrated the Real IRA for the Garda and since the
Omagh massacre has lived abroad under a witness protection

White's critics claim that the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, after conducting interviews with Dixon last April,
concluded he knew nothing about the Omagh bomb plot.
However, the PSNI has not commented officially about
Dixon's evidence or its interrogation earlier this year.

Dixon had provided intelligence on nine different Real IRA
bomb plots between February and August 1998, including a
thwarted attack on the Grand National at Aintree. He helped
organise the theft of cars for the Real IRA that were used
to transport bombs and mortar rockets into Northern
Ireland. Five attacks were prevented thanks to Dixon's
information but four were allowed to go ahead to maintain
his credibility.

'Dixon knew about the bomb plot all right,' White insisted
yesterday. 'He was asked to steal the car for the operation
and he warned me about an imminent attack in Northern
Ireland. The truth is, and I would say this in a court of
law, this one was allowed to go through.'

Last night relatives of the Omagh victims said White had
their full support. Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died
in the bombing, said: 'We never had any confidence in the
Irish government's inquiry. So it comes as no surprise that
they are playing word games.

'Paddy Dixon didn't know where exactly, but he had enough
information to convince his handler that an attack was on
its way, and nothing was done to stop it.

'What we now need in order to seriously test John White's
disturbing allegations is a cross-border independent public
inquiry. What have the two governments got to be afraid


Provisionals Using Cover Names To Mask Violence, Says Unionist

06/08/2006 - 17:33:37

A unionist MP today expressed concern that the Provisional
IRA or dissident republicans could be using a cover name
for the organisation to allow vigilante violence to take
place in the North.

David Simpson, the Democratic Unionist MP for Upper Bann,
voiced alarm at a claim received by a Co Armagh newspaper
that a group called Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD) were
behind the savage beating of a man last month in a flat in
Lurgan by a masked gang wielding baseball bats.

The man was treated in hospital for leg and arm injuries.

A caller to the Lurgan Mail purporting to be from DAAD and
using a codeword claimed the attack hours later.

It is alleged that DAAD was previously used by the
Provisional IRA as a flag of convenience to claim a number
of murders.

These included the shooting dead of 23-year-old Francis
Rice in Lenadoon, west Belfast in April 1994, 31-year-old
painter and decorator Ian Lyons in a car in Connor Park in
Lurgan in January 1996 and 30-year-old Brendan Campbell
outside a restaurant on the Lisburn Road in south Belfast
in February 1998.

However, security sources have expressed surprise that the
provisionals, having declared last year an end to all armed
action in a bid to boost efforts to restore power-sharing,
would carry out a vicious assault in the nationalist
Taghnevan area of Lurgan.

Mr Simpson said today if the provisionals were found to be
responsible it would have serious political implications as
the Irish and British governments tried to persuade his
party to go into a devolved government at Stormont
featuring Sinn Féin before November 24.

“What is additionally worrying about this particular attack
is that responsibility for it has been claimed by an
organisation that is universally accepted as a cover for
the Provisional IRA,” he observed.

“If DAAD did carry out this brutal attack it would then be
the case that this was no so-called dissident organisation
but the work of the Provisional IRA.

“The repercussions of such a situation would be that it
would prove that the IRA’s terrorist structure remains in
place and that the IRA continues to engage in paramilitary

“It would also make a joke of the Secretary of State’s
assessment that the republican movement has ended its
violent campaign.

“Coupled with the threat to the sister of IRA informer
Martin McGartland and the Northern Ireland Affairs Select
Committee report into organised crime, it is clear that if
this claim is true, that republican paramilitaries are very
much alive and kicking.”

A PSNI spokesperson said today they were aware of the claim
that had been made to the newspaper.

While there was some speculation the cover name had been
adopted by the more hardline republican Continuity IRA, Mr
Simpson said the apparent re-emergence of DAAD was

“Whenever the DUP says that all republican terrorism and
criminality must end we mean all of it,” he continued.

“The ’sub-contracting’ of vigilantism, or worse, will not
be tolerated and nor will well worn excuses like republican
violence is the work of individuals and not the

“We want to see Northern Ireland develop into a society
where democracy flourishes and the rule of law is
respected. This sort of activity, irrespective of the
source, is the stuff of the past.”


Dozy Hain Caught Napping

By Stephen Breen
06 August 2006

Secretary of State Peter Hain dozed off during a meeting
last week with the father of a loyalist murder victim and a
local MP!

Angry Raymond McCord - whose son Raymond Jnr was battered
to death by UVF informers - said Mr Hain started to nod off
three times during the Stormont meeting last Tuesday.

Embarrassed Ulster Unionist MP Lady Hermon confirmed Mr
Hain had begun to doze off and said Mr McCord had "every
right to feel furious" at the way he was treated.

Mr McCord, who vowed never to meet Mr Hain again, accused
the Ulster supremo of "tarnishing" his son's memory.

The campaigning father, who believes his son's killers were
led by a police agent inside the UVF, was accompanied to
his first meeting with Mr Hain by Lady Sylvia, MP for North
Down and wife of Sir Jack Hermon, the former RUC Chief

Said the north Belfast man: "If I had been a paramilitary I
would not have been treated this way. I couldn't believe it
when he started to doze off.

"I will not be meeting this man again because of the way he
treated me. Imagine dozing off during a discussion about
the murder of a young man by an agent of the state!

"One minute we were talking and the next his head was
dropping and his eyes were closing.

"It was as if he was at home sitting in front of the TV. I
was talking to him about an agent of the state being
responsible for murder and the UVF in general, and he
wasn't the slightest bit interested.

"The only thing I got from him was no comment. His attitude
put me in real bad form for a couple of days. It says a lot
about the view of the Labour Party to terrorist victims'

Lady Sylvia also hit out at Mr McCord's treatment: "I had
to apologise to him because he didn't get anything from the
meeting. He was furious with the way he was treated and I
can understand this. Mr Hain must have had other things on
his mind when he was talking to us.

"I agree with Mr McCord when he said he (Hain) started to
doze off. The case of Mr McCord's son is very controversial
and it will be interesting to see what the Government has
to say when (police ombudsman) Nuala O'Loan's report comes
out. I am fully behind his campaign and will do all in my
power to help him."

A spokesman for the NIO refused to comment on the sleeping
claims, adding: "Mr Hain listened very carefully to what Mr
McCord had to say.

"The Secretary of State fully understands and supports his
demands that those responsible for the horrific murder of
his son are brought to justice.

"He hopes the report by Nuala O'Loan and the work of the
historical inquiries team will move the case forward."

The meeting was arranged to discuss Ms O'Loan's report into
Mr McCord's son's murder and the role of informers inside
the UVF.

The campaigning father has vowed to write a letter of
complaint to Prime Minister Tony Blair.


Ervine Warns Of Violence Over Cross-Border Co-Operation

Liam Clarke

DAVID ERVINE, the leader of the Progressive Unionist party
(PUP), the political wing of the UVF, has warned there
could be a violent loyalist reaction if the British and
Irish governments pursue a policy of cross-border co-
operation without a local assembly in place.

“It would be my dream that there won’t be violence, but the
reality is that when you make a people voiceless there will
be a reaction and a response. We have seen it so many times
in the past,” said Ervine.

Stating that he believed the IRA’s war was over, he urged
unionist politicians to share power with Sinn Fein to avoid
a political vacuum.

The comments are likely to cause further problems for the
Ulster Unionist party (UUP). Earlier this year, Ervine and
the PUP were co-opted into the party’s assembly team. The
move prompted protests from leading figures, including Lady
Sylvia Hermon, the UUP’s only MP, who believed the link was
a hostage to fortune. One councillor resigned over the

In April the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) found
that the UVF was still “active, violent and ruthless”. It
said it continued to recruit and train new members and had
refused to decommission its weapons.

Ervine stressed yesterday that he was working to avoid
violence. He said that if devolution was not restored “my
big fear is that unionism will find itself with no voice,
upset, angry and corralled”. He said the onus was on the
Democratic Unionist party to reach a power-sharing deal
with Sinn Fein to avoid this happening.

Ervine argued that loyalists and many unionists had agreed
to the cross-border dimension of the Good Friday agreement
only because the cross-border elements favoured by
nationalists were under the control of an assembly.

“Without the assembly the deal is off as far as my
community is involved, it is absolutely gone,” Ervine said.

Under the current arrangements, there are six defined areas
of cross-border co- operation. These have been placed in
“maintenance mode” while negotiations for the return of the
assembly continue. Nationalists, however, have demanded
that they be expanded and Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland
secretary, has said that cross-border functions will be
enhanced under a “plan B” prepared by the Irish and British

If a power-sharing executive cannot be formed by November
24, the assembly will be closed and plan B will be
implemented. Last week, the two governments talked of Irish
government involvement in the allocation of housing and
joint trade missions.

Last week it emerged that the Irish government was building
a £6m (€8.9m) mansion to house civil servants working in

Ervine urged unionist politicians to do all they could to
avoid the fall of the assembly in order that the situation
be stabilised.

He warned unionists that if they did not do a deal now, the
political vacuum could last a long time because next year
the British government “could be involved in two wars” and
“Bertie Ahern would be focusing on the Irish election”.

As he spoke, all the main parties were privately predicting
that the November 24 deadline would not be met. Over the
next couple of weeks, redundancy notices will be sent to
staff employed with the allowances received by assembly

Parties were warned by the Northern Ireland Office last
week to “get their affairs in order” because these
allowances will be “terminated” on November 25 unless an
executive is formed.


UDA: Divided They Stand

By Alan Murray
06 August 2006

The UDA remains divided despite the bloodless end to
tensions in north Belfast last week.

For the south east Antrim 'brigade' is not bidding to
restore its position on the terror group's 'inner council'.

The 'stay away' brigade has no plans to contact the UDA's
controlling body, which is expected to have a
representative from the north Belfast brigade back on board
before the end of the month.

But there are doubts that south east Antrim might ever
restore the link.

Nobody from the south east Antrim leadership would comment
about the outcome of the inner council's confrontation with
north Belfast.

But one figure aware of the thinking of the leadership said
"nobody was getting into a flap".

He said: "The situation in north Belfast now doesn't change
their thinking on the situation. They are happy in what
they are doing and have a policy they're comfortable with.

"They're not going to engage in a frenzy of media comment
or sniping.

"Some even cancelled holidays in case that gave the
impression they were running away from something.

"There's no internal split or disagreement, they accept the
UDA policy statement that paramilitary organisations should
be eradicated and follow that policy."

Sources in other UDA brigade areas say they're sceptical
that divisions within the organisation can be healed.

One UDA veteran said: "The sniping is continuing from some
figures in the Ulster Political Research Group who have
never fired a shot in anger.

"The suggestion made by someone connected with the inner
council element that the south east Antrim brigade would
have to sit in some waiting room before being called into
the headmaster's study to explain themselves indicates the
wrong thinking that is dominating the inner council and the

"They forget that the six UDA brigades have always been
autonomous. Some of the UPRG don't know when to keep it
buttoned and they may be the biggest obstacle to south east
Antrim rejoining the inner council, if it ever decides to
do that."

A rift within the UPRG - which saw its best known
politician, Tommy Kirkham, distance himself from the
grouping - shows no sign of being healed.

Kirkham refused to make any comment about last week's
developments in north Belfast, but a close friend said:
"Tommy's had enough of certain people. They are continuing
to snipe at him in the papers, but it doesn't bother him."


McClean Break

By Stephen Breen
06 August 2006

Runaway UDA terror boss Alan McClean last night blasted the
jailed Shoukri brothers, claiming: "I wish I'd never
clapped eyes on the b*******".

The ousted loyalist let rip against his north Belfast
allies just hours after his family and a group of
supporters fled their stronghold in the Westland estate,
following a tense stand-off with hundreds of mainstream UDA
men on Thursday night.

McClean - who is now holed-up in Blackpool - said: "I wish
I'd never met them - it's OK for them two because they are
safe in jail, but I'm not."

Exiled McClean in verbal volley at jailed brothers

Exiled terror boss Alan McClean last night blasted the
jailed Shoukri brothers, claiming: "I wish I'd never
clapped eyes on the b*******".

The ousted loyalist let rip against his north Belfast
allies just hours after his family and a small group of
supporters fled their stronghold in the Westland Estate,
following a tense stand-off with hundreds of mainstream UDA
men, on Thursday night.

McClean - who wore a bullet-proof vest and was armed with
two Uzi sub-machine guns during the showdown with the UDA -
is now holed-up in Blackpool.

Said McClean: "I wish I'd never met them - it's OK for them
two because they are safe in jail, but I'm not.

"They didn't have to go on the run with their families and
now I'm stuck in England because of the Shoukris."

He made the outburst in a phonecall to former friend and
ally Johnny Adair, himself now exiled in Scotland.

Adair told Sunday Life: "I caught him off his guard when he
spoke to me, but he is definitely not too pleased about the
Shoukris. He told me he hates them.

"McClean was a former 'C' company man and it is interesting
to see the Shankill exiles helping him now, because he was
part of the mainstream UDA which put them out.

"One of his men told me they had buried all the gear
(weapons) in north Belfast and they would return some day
to use it."

But a senior UDA source dismissed the idea of McClean's
return and claimed he had planned his exile months in

Said the source: "McClean was like a madman the other night
because he wanted to go out on a high.

"He has all sorts of money and will probably have houses
lined up for the Shoukris when they get out. McClean is
crying wolf now about the Shoukris and, if he did say these
things, his claims will just fall on deaf ears.

"He was planning to wreak havoc before he left and he was
planning his exile as far back as last month. He got young
men to wreck homes because he was like a madman.

"McClean thought he had the backing of south east Antrim
and his men believed this because the leader of that
brigade was always up in the Westland (estate).

"The Combined Loyalist Military Command has said it will
not tolerate another organisation crippling loyalist
communities with criminality.

"There is total relief in north Belfast now McClean is

"He told Adair: 'I should have listened to you all along,
because it looks as if you were right about the UDA

Sunday Life understands McClean has been offered homes in
the north of England by Shankill exiles including Jim
'Sham' Millar.

The Shoukris' brother, Yuk also fled his home, and headed
for the south of England.


Eighth Arrest In Murder Inquiry

An eighth person has been arrested in connection with the
murder of a Scottish man in County Londonderry.

The 17-year-old was arrested on Sunday over the murder of
Ronald Mackie, 36, outside a football club in Tobermore.

Mr Mackie was attacked by a gang before being pushed onto a
road, where he was hit by a car on 29 July. Police made a
new appeal for information on Saturday.

Three men have already been charged with murder. Another
teenager remains in police custody.

Two others were released without charge and another on
police bail.

A week after the murder, police stopped vehicles and people
in the Tobermore area to hand out leaflets appealing for

The victim, from near Stirling in Scotland, had been
watching a band parade before going to the club.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/06 14:49:19 GMT


Opin: Hot Air On Immigration

August 4, 2006

HOW DOES a bill become a law? If it's immigration reform it
goes into a tortuous , slow-motion blender. Huffy speeches
and election-year politics distort the issues. Immigration
crackdowns are dishonestly passed off as cures for all
manner of national ailments. And hope for real change

There are 19 immigration hearings being held by the US
House this month. Promoted as a chance to ``listen to the
opinions and ideas of the American people," the schedule
looks like a slam-the-Senate-Democrats talking tour. In San
Diego, Evansville, Dubuque, Concord, and other cities, the
hearings propose to ponder slanted questions such as ``Do
the Reid-Kennedy bill's amnesty provisions repeat the
mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of
1986?" and ``How are US workers impacted and potentially
displaced with the Reid-Kennedy bill?"

Republican John McCain's name is strangely absent, even
though the Arizona senator is a cosponsor of Reid-Kennedy,
which is better known as the McCain-Kennedy bill. The
timing of the hearings is suspicious, seemingly meant to
delay action until after the November elections, so that
House members can pontificate without actually doing

The approach bespeaks no broad interest in moving past the
House's flawed enforcement-only nostrums. Also missing is
engagement with this pressing question: How does the
country create both secure borders and legal ways for
immigrants to work here?

Progress may come from a plan proposed by Representative
Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, and Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchinson, a Texas Republican. The details are
problematic; workers without papers would have to leave the
country and reapply at so-called Ellis Island centers for
legal status, something many would be unlikely to do. The
plan does, however, clearly recognize the need for both
enforcement and a guest worker program. And Pence's
involvement shows that some House Republicans are willing
to compromise, putting needed pressure on House Speaker
Dennis Hastert to move the issue out of endless debate

The other key figure is President Bush. Yesterday, he
toured the Texas border and called for more technology and
manpower. ``We have an obligation to secure our border," he
said, ``and we have an obligation to treat people with
decency and respect."

True enough. But the president should be more aggressive in
pushing Congress to pass a realistic immigration bill.

In fact, the country has already been increasing border
security since Sept. 11. The vast majority of immigrants,
of course, are not terrorists. They come here to work hard
and contribute to the economy. What's still needed is a
solution that addresses them.


Opin: Let's Have One Big Carnival

By Alan McBride
06 August 2006

In a divided society, often two or more of something are
introduced when normally one would do.

In the southern states of the US before reform, there were
separate restrooms for whites and blacks; in South Africa
during Apartheid, there were separate beaches for whites,
blacks and coloureds.

Here in Northern Ireland, the British Government, kindly
funds two or more of many things when one would do; and in
one particular case, they fund 108 of them.

A month ago I wrote about the great festival of loyalism
surrounding the Twelfth of July.

We're fast approaching the corresponding event in the
calendar of the other main social group in this part of the
planet - the commemoration of internment.

For the young and/or uninformed among you, on August 9,
1971, the British Government introduced internment without

As the Republican song I heard in a north Belfast youth
club put it, "armoured cars and tanks and guns, came to
take away our sons".

A good number of terrorists were rounded up and jailed; so
were a large number of innocent people. Long Kesh became

The nationalist/republican community were not going to let
this gross injustice be forgotten and so each year the
anniversary was a significant event.

As a kid, my memories of this were not just of bonfires
that rivalled the size of our own, but rioting, hijacking,
banging bin lids, (the old steel ones you understand), and
at times a full-scale assault on the security services.

It's not that way any longer. So what happened?

You can hear different versions of the story, but certainly
the death of 15-year-old Seamus Duffy in the New Lodge in
1989, killed by a plastic bullet during the disturbances
that year, was one of the incidents that led community
activists to propose the idea of holding a festival
instead, and diverting their young people away from
violence and the dangers of confrontation with the security

What has emerged is a celebration of music and culture that
attracts big name bands and visitors from many other

In recent years I've been to hear Status Quo, Atomic Kitten
(at the behest of my daughter, I hasten to add) and Midge
Ure at the West Belfast Festival, and Hothouse Flowers and
Bad Manners at Ardoyne Fleadh.

Last year I went to hear the Proclaimers (and in the
delightful company of a Presbyterian minister from Co
Antrim). I would love to see the same kind of thing
happening in the area I grew up in - but with the current
state of things, it doesn't seem likely in the near future.

So who is going to step forward and provide leadership to
the unionist/loyalist community, to make the Twelfth into a
festival that everyone can join in?

Who is going to promote the Orange marches as a flamboyant
pageant of music and costume?

The recent provision of £100,000 by the Northern Ireland
Office to fund a development worker for three years
(evidently the first item on the DUP's shopping list as
they follow Sinn Fein's lead in bleeding the Brits for
every penny they can get), is hardly going to turn around
generations of "if we don't get down it this year, we'll
march down it twice the following year" attitudes within
the Orange Order. And will there ever be a time when
Northern Ireland can celebrate its diversity in one huge
summer fiesta? (There is no need for argument over the date
- it could start on the 9th and end on the Twelfth, just
like the summer fiesta already enjoyed by most of the
public sector middle classes here at the expense of the
British taxpayer).

Do we have to have two, when one would be better?

If we want to make the most of the funding available (which
would have to be made more secure and not just a matter of
political expediency) and realise the economic benefit of
attracting visitors to Northern Ireland, then a single
summer carnival that promotes the best of all cultures is
where the future lies.

That sort of change only happens in small steps in this
country and the first step that both sides could take is to
ask themselves about how welcoming their respective
celebrations are to the other.

Seeing effigies of the head of your church being burnt on a
bonfire doesn't exactly hold out the olive branch to
Catholics. And some of the statements made over the PA at
Ardoyne Fleadh in recent years have been totally
insensitive towards Protestants, as was the assertion at a
concert in Andytown attended by a friend some years ago
that "there are no Orangies here", at which her ex-interned
companion kept her arm held down.

The organisers of these events have got to ask themselves
some serious questions: if they want their British
paymasters to continue to subsidise their summer of fun,
they are going to have to show a bit of leadership and
start to market Northern Ireland as "One Community -
Cultural Diversity Welcome Here".


Opin: It May Be Radical, But It'll 'Payoff' In Long Run

The sooner we resign ourselves to high-handed direct rule
for the foreseeable future, the better.

It hardly matters who is in charge at Stormont, we all know
the inmates took over the asylum long ago.

Well, that's not quite true. A small batch of Neanderthal
criminals were driven out of Northern Ireland last week, so
that's a few less to worry about.

The depressing thing is that it was not the forces of law
and order that sent them into exile. All the police were
able to do was to keep the relative peace while allowing
one faction of the UDA - through intermediaries - to
'ethnically cleanse' the other.

The UDA possesses all the political sophistication of a
standard lamp. It is an organisation almost exclusively
designed for the manufacture of illicit money. It has an
intimidatory stranglehold over its communities and, despite
the dough being poured into "community regeneration",
which, one suspects, will be filtered through their
"charities", its personnel are not about to take a pay cut.

Likewise, Sinn Fein, in its plans for "restorative
justice", is doubtless keen to maintain an iron rule over
its own areas.

Here's a radical idea. Pay them off. All of them. Billions
of British, American and European money has been poured
into this tiny patch of territory, and all to no avail. So
why not just hand each of the hallions on both sides an
extremely handsome pension on condition they retire -

Believe me, it will be cheaper in the long run.


Review: Home Truths Hurt Most

People don't always thank you for being honest in Northern
Ireland ...

Paula Shields
Sunday August 6, 2006
The Observer

Writer Gary Mitchell cuts a remarkably relaxed figure for
someone whose latest play, Remnants of Fear, has just
premiered at the Rock Theatre in Belfast and whose family
has been threatened and attacked by the loyalist force the
UDA. With more reason than most for first-night nerves, his
work, often set in his own Protestant community, has earned
him the enmity of the paramilitaries and a ban from
entering north Belfast.

Mitchell was unaware of the diktat until last November when
he returned to Rathcoole, the housing estate where he grew
up, for his grandmother's funeral, and youths from the
local UDA damaged the homes of his family and friends in
the area in protest.

In the immediate aftermath of the violence, it was not
clear whether the writer could continue his work.
'Initially, it seemed that maybe I would be better off not
writing about Northern Ireland ever again. When you have an
eight-year-old boy, your wife and disabled pensioners to
think about, now that you know that the organisation is
going to attack your family, you do have to ask: is this
really worth it?'

But those close to him rallied, and from a new base
elsewhere in the city, Mitchell began to wonder about the
perpetrators. 'I knew there were 24 teenagers involved in
all these coordinated attacks on my family, but somebody
had to tell those teenagers that there was a legitimate
reason to attack me, and that's what I started thinking
about.' The result is Remnants of Fear, the portrayal of a
community in crisis using one UDA family at war with
itself. In a play that is also surprisingly funny in
places, Mitchell underlines the alienation of this working-
class, macho world.

Produced by Dubbeljoint in nationalist West Belfast, a fact
that won't endear him to the loyalist force either, it
explores the lure of paramilitarism in a society where
alternatives are few. 'A lot of the teenagers in Rathcoole
are, as I was as a young man, still full of fear. They're
fearful of the Catholic community, but they're also
fearful, as all adolescents are, of the world outside, of
growing up, of responsibility. Who's actually reaching out
to these people? No one more so than paramilitary

'They're offering them security, a place in society,
responsibility, money, drugs, good times, and what is the
rest of society offering them? Very little. So the
teenagers who were convinced to attack me and my family
became the focus of this play.'


Internet 15 Years Old Today

06/08/2006 - 10:33:21

The internet is celebrating its 15th birthday today.

Tim Berners-Lee first unveiled his World Wide Web project
on the August 6, 1991.

There are now almost 900m people online around the world
and more than 100m websites.


JFK Library Online

More than eight million documents relating to JFK,
including the handling of the Cuban missile crisis and his
visit to Ireland in June 1963, will soon be made available
on the net.

This mammoth digitising project was undertaken by the John
F Kennedy Library in Boston and will include photographs
and audio recordings as well as papers relating to 300 key
members of staff who worked in the Kennedy administration.


Survey Charts The Future For Croagh Patrick

Liam Horan

About 15,000 pilgrims from 26 countries, with every
continent represented, climbed Croagh Patrick in this
year's Reek Sunday pilgrimage, a survey of climbers has

The survey, conducted on the annual Reek Sunday climb on
the last Sunday in July, also showed that climbers from
every county trekked up the holy mountain in west Mayo.

The Civil Defence, which carried out the survey, has
concluded that about 15,000 people took part in the
traditional pilgrimage, which stretches back hundreds of

"We spoke with about 11,000 climbers, and we estimate
another 4,000 continued through our information points
without stopping to complete our survey.

"The figure is thought to be less than in other years, but
there was a very bad downpour of rain at about 8.30am which
may have frightened locals off," said Mayo Civil Defence
officer John Maughan.

"The ratio was 60 per cent male to 40 per cent female,
while about 175 people climbed it in their bare feet. We
had climbers from all over the world, including Sweden,
Denmark, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Holland, Latvia, India,
Hungary, and Canada. Every continent was represented."

The figures will help to plan future traffic arrangements
for the annual climb, which sees pilgrims converge on the
village of Murrisk at the foot of the mountain.

"A lot of interesting figures came up, for example, of the
15,000 who climbed, about 3,500 were climbing for the first
time," said Mr Maughan, who was joined by 50 Civil Defence
colleagues from Kerry, Cavan, Donegal, Meath, Sligo and
Mayo in conducting the survey.

"The busiest time for climbers was between 10 o'clock and
11 o'clock on the Sunday morning. It has always been said
that a lot of people climb it during the night, but we
found that only about 1,000 people climbed it then."

A park-and-ride facility may be considered in the future to
avoid lengthy traffic delays at Westport and Murrisk.

© The Irish Times

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