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August 28, 2006

Sinn Fein and DUP Agree On Something

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 08/28/06 Sinn Fein And DUP Agree On Department
BT 08/28/06 Bands 'Played On At Catholic Church'
IN 08/28/06 Marching Season Passes Off Without Major Trouble
IN 08/28/06 Disillusioned Republicans May Challenge SF At Polls
BT 08/28/06 McAleese Belfast Visit Takes In Home For Elderly
BT 08/28/06 Cameron: We Were Wrong To Call Mandela A Terrorist
IM 08/28/06 Ógra Shinn Féin Held A Successful Annual General Meeting
IN 08/28/06 Opin: Irish And British Becoming Increasingly Obscure Terms
IN 08/28/06 Opin: The Orangemen With Green Ballot Papers
IN 08/28/06 Opin: Plans For Post-Paisley Era Are Well Under Way
IN 08/28/06 Opin: Sectarian Attacks Get Usual Hot Air Response
IN 08/28/06 Opin: Injustice Must Always Be Opposed And Exposed
IN 08/28/06 Celtic Woman Record TV Show For US
RT 08/28/06 Lethal Snake Kept At Secret Location
MW 08/28/06 Film: Fr Mychal Judge: Saint Of 9/11

Sinn Fein And DUP Agree On Department

By Noel McAdam
28 August 2006

The DUP and Sinn Fein have reached agreement on one key
aspect for a future devolved government - a single
department for policing and justice.

The SDLP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance also shared the
consensus on the future shape for a devolved department
with a sole Minister.

The all-party Preparation for Government committee rejected
splitting policing and justice into two departments - which
would have allowed for one unionist and one nationalist
minister - or that its functions could be subsumed within
an expanded First and Deputy First Minister's Office.

While many key issues remain to be resolved, with little
apparent 'meeting of minds', the cross-party agreement on a
single Department can be viewed as an indication of the
valuable work being carried out at the committee, which now
meets three times a week.

A senior Sinn Fein representative, however, argued that DUP
members have yet to engage meaningfully with his party.

Upper Bann Assembly member John O'Dowd said: "In the sense
of identifying areas of common purpose, the DUP still have
not directly engaged with Sinn Fein. They won't even look
directly at us across the table."

But he also warned the DUP that without agreement by the
Government's November 24 deadline, there will be a whole
new political landscape.

Bands 'Played On At Catholic Church'

By Deborah McAleese
28 August 2006

Royal Black Preceptory members are facing prosecution after
an alleged breaching of a Parades Commission determination
that music not be played outside a Catholic church.

Community leaders, politicians and preceptory members today
said they were concerned at news that the PSNI is
investigating the alleged breach and preparing a report for
the Public Prosecution Service.

The Parades Commission had ruled that no music other than a
single drum beat could be played outside St Matthew's
Church on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast on Saturday.

But bands accompanying RBP Chapter No4 played music as they
passed the church on their outward and return routes.

The commission's deliberation followed an incident last
year when bands played while a funeral took place. Parade
supporters branded the determination ridiculous and claimed
that the bands played hymns. One onlooker said one of the
bands played The Sash.

Castlereagh UUP councillor Michael Copeland MLA said the
bands playing was the "least problematic of all possible

"The bands had passed before any service had commenced. Had
the bands decided not to play it is my belief that people
down there might have embarked on some other course of

The UUP's Jim Rodgers said: "There was great anger over the
ruling. It was a very bad decision and unnecessary."

A spokeswoman said the PSNI was investigating a breach of a
Parades Commission determination and a report is being
prepared for the Public Prosecution Service. The commission
meets on Wednesday for reports.

Marching Season Passes Off Without Major Trouble

By William Scholes

The quietest marching season in many years ended on
Saturday with the Royal Black Institution’s ‘Last Saturday’

A number of contentious parades, including in Aughnacloy,
Co Tyrone and east Belfast, passed off without trouble,
although the east Belfast procession broke a Parades’
Commission determination by playing music as it passed St
Matthew’s Church at Short Strand.

Several bands played hymns as they went past the church
with one playing the Sash.

A Royal Black spokesman said the parade passed St Matthew’s
before 7pm Mass was celebrated.

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers, who observed the
parade, said the commission determination had needlessly
heightened tensions.

"Only four police officers and one Land Rover were needed
to police the parade as it passed Short Strand, which
proves to me that this was never a contentious parade," he

"Someone I know well who lives in the Short Strand phoned
me afterwards to tell me they were pleased everything had
passed off so well."

Sinn Fein councillor Paul Maskey said the parade had caused

"As soon as they got to the chapel, they started to play
music, yet they had observed silence as they passed their
own memorial on the other side of the road," he said.

The question of parades passing Short Strand needed to be
urgently addressed, Mr Maskey said.

"Parades are going to be passing that area right up to
December," he said.

"The organisers need to be talking to the residents of
Short Strand."

Northern Ireland enjoyed such a quiet marching season
thanks largely to "a lot of hard work from local
communities", Mr Maskey said.

"It hasn’t always been easy, but the credit must go to the
residents and residents’ groups who have done so much that
things have been kept peaceful.

"The loyal orders need to take responsibility and start
dialogue with residents.’

Mr Rodgers said that despite the quiet summer, many
nationalist residents’ groups were "still hell-bound on not
allowing people to express their traditions".

"We need to learn to accept each others views in this
country," he said.

"It has been a quiet summer, and I would have to pay
tribute to community activists who have worked extremely
hard at interface areas."

The Parades Commission has said it will no longer accept
any group refusing to engage in dialogue over contentious

Meanwhile, the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black
Institution, William Logan, used the Last Saturday
demonstration in Coleraine to warn against a "drift from
Biblical standards to a more secular and material society".

Disillusioned Republicans May Challenge SF At Polls

By William Scholes

Sinn Fein could face an electoral challenge from
disaffected republicans opposed to the Good Friday
agreement and the peace process.

A meeting in Toomebridge, Co Antrim, tomorrow will bring
together Real IRA and Continuity IRA members, along with
other republicans disillusioned with the leadership of
Gerry Adams.

The group includes around 40 Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein
members from south Derry who have defected in recent weeks
and the son of murdered INLA leader Dominic McGlinchy, also
called Dominic.

Veteran Derry republican Mickey Donnelly, a former internee
and ‘hooded man’ who successfully sued the British
government on torture charges, will be at tomorrow’s
meeting. He has been heavily critical of the Sinn Fein

Mr Donnelly said those involved were particularly
disenchanted because of the Good Friday Agreement, which
they believe rather than contributing to a united Ireland,
copper-fastens partition.

"The agreement is finished anyway. It’s a lame duck," he

"That is one of the reasons this meeting is happening now –
it’s time has come.

"People see Sinn Fein falling apart and losing support on
the ground."

With the groups involved in tomorrow’s meeting covering
such a wide range of opinion, Mr Donnelly said its priority
would be to "find an issue that people can agree on".

Protests highlighting the agreement’s failure may be a
favoured course of action, although Mr Donnelly said "it
won’t be militaristic".

"We may oppose Sinn Fein candidates in elections," he said.

"In Derry, for example, I’m pretty sure that council seats
are there for the taking, if we run on an abstentionist,
anti-partition ticket."

Former IRA hunger striker Marion Price, a member of the
Real IRA-aligned 32 County Sovereignty Movement, will also

She said the event’s purpose was "decide on a way forward
for republicanism".

"I don’t think anyone is approaching this with a pre-
arranged outcome in mind – it is not a Sinn Fein ard fheis
where everything is decided before the meeting," she said.

One disaffected republican, not involved in the meeting,
told The Irish News that opposition to Sinn Fein had
reached a "critical mass" within republicanism.

"There’s a lot of people disaffected with the provisional
movement right now and that has been building for some
time," they said.

"Within that group is a large section of republicans who
would like to oppose Sinn Fein but not return to war, and
instead argue over what they believe republicanism is."

Against the background of a recent upsurge in dissident
activity – including the planting of a bomb at the partly-
constructed Co Louth home of Ulster Unionist peer Lord
Ballyedmond – there are fears that the alliance of
disaffected republican groups and individuals may lead to a
renewed terror campaign.

"There is no support in the nationalist community for a
return to war," a republican source said.

"Adams could have avoided this but he has allowed the
opposition to reach critical mass.

"But with so many different groups involved, it will
probably fail anyway, probably in a dispute over whether
they should be abstentionist."

A Sinn Fein spokesman said he was unaware of any split
within the south Derry ranks.

"Nobody is defecting from Sinn Fein. There’s no split that
I’m aware of," he said.

The party was unconcerned about tomorrow’s meeting.

"They can hold their meetings. It doesn’t affect us," he

McAleese Visit Takes In Home For Elderly

By Alf McCreary
28 August 2006

President Mary McAleese was scheduled to tour a
Presbyterian residential home for elderly people as part of
a visit to Belfast today.

Accompanied by her husband Dr Martin McAleese, the
President was due to be welcomed by the Presbyterian
Moderator Dr David Clarke to Adelaide House in south
Belfast. She was expected to meet Lindsay Conway, the
Presbyterian Director of Social Service, Linda Wray the

Services Manager, and the Head of Home at Adelaide, Irene
Bowman. She will also meet senior staff as well as
residents and their families.

Mr Conway said: "The President is supportive of our work,
and we are delighted that she will have the opportunity to
see some of our activities at first hand."

Adelaide House is one of nine housing programmes run by the
Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and they include homes for
older people, sheltered accommodation projects, and a
nursing home.

A spokesman said: "These are open to people of all faiths
and of none."

Cameron: We Were Wrong To Call Mandela A Terrorist

By Andrew Grice
28 August 2006

David Cameron has made another decisive break with the
Conservative Party's past by admitting that Margaret
Thatcher had been wrong to brand Nelson Mandela's African
National Congress (ANC) "terrorists" during the struggle
against apartheid.

The Tory leader, who met Mr Mandela during a visit to South
Africa last week, said: "The mistakes my party made in the
past with respect to relations with the ANC and sanctions
on South Africa make it all the more important to listen
now. The fact that there is so much to celebrate in the new
South Africa is not in spite of Mandela and the ANC, it is
because of them - and we Conservatives should say so
clearly today."

Writing in The Observer, Mr Cameron praised the former
South African president as "one of the greatest men alive"
and said his overwhelming impression was "not how violent
the armed struggle or Soweto uprisings were, but how

As Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher refused to back
sanctions against South Africa and pursued a policy of
"constructive engagement".

Lord Tebbit, her former party chairman, accused Mr Cameron
of failing to understand what happened. "Because of his
age, Mr Cameron is looking at these events as part of
history. Others of us who lived through them and had input
into the discussions at the time see things very
differently," he said. "The policy of the Thatcher
government was a success."

The Tory leader will be relaxed about Lord Tebbit's
criticism, hoping that it will help him to send a signal to
a new generation of voters that the party is changing. But
his ally George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, denied that
the leadership was ditching Thatcherism. "We don't want to
pick a fight with our party members. Nor do we need to pick
a fight with the memory of Margaret Thatcher, or with
Margaret Thatcher herself," Mr Osborne said.

Interviewed in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Osborne hinted that
the limited tax cuts the Tories are expected to offer at
the next election could involve abolishing stamp duty on
share transactions.

The Treasury challenged the Tories to explain how they
would find the money. "Anyone who wants to abolish this tax
needs to explain how they will plug the £4bn gap in the
public finances it would leave, and pay for the vital
public services it funds," a spokesman said.


Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin Appoint Enthusiastic New Organiser

Monday August 28, 2006 14:19 by The Sun Burst –

Ógra Shinn Féin 07909516638
Ógra Shinn Féin Held A Successful Annual General Meeting
according to new Ógra Uladh organiser, Andrea OKane.

Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin held their AGM on Saturday 26 August
in Belfast.

The day started with a vigil for suicide prevention and
over 1,000 leaflets were distributed throughout Belfast
city centre, whilst the vigil was taking place.

ÓSF activists send clear message outside City Hall while
others leafleted extensively

The AGM was then held in Belfast city hall. The meeting
began with an Ógra review of the last years activities,
which reported a major increase in both the activities and
profile of Ógra Shinn Féin. The outgoing officer board
reports were as encouraging, all reporting increased
activity, professionalism and membership.

This election of a new officerboard, returning familiar
faces to continue their sterling work for the upcoming
year, however there was a noticeable number of young faces
on the officerboard, who are taking on various portfolios
for the year on behalf of Cuige Uladh Ógra Shinn Féin.
Following this the new officerboard came into effect and
began their new term, as the meeting of the uladh cuige
then took place.

Barry McColgan, who was recently appointed National
Organiser for Ógra Shinn Féin stepped down at the meeting
and handed over the reins of Uladh organise, Andrea OKane.

Speaking following the meeting, Andrea OKane said she was
looking forward to the challenge in taking up the post of
Uladh organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin,

There has been massive growth throughout the last year in
Ógra. I would like to see this growth continue and I am
pleased to take up the post of Uladh Organiser of Ógra
Shinn Féin. Three main priorities at resent are bring the
suicide prevention campaign to an end with the presentation
of a petition to both the London and Dublin governments
demanding an all Ireland approach to suicide prevention.

Another priority will be the upcoming freshers fayres in
various colleges and further education institutions, and a
general recruitment campaign, we will also be mobilising a
large Ógra contingent to attend a major health rally in
Dublin in October on Saturday 21st October.

Taking up the post of Uladh organiser presents a major
challenge for myself, but also presents a major opportunity
for myself to help the growth and development of Ógra Shinn
Féin in Ulster.

Related Link:

Opin: Irish And British Becoming Increasingly Obscure Terms

Patrick MURPHY

While the prospect of a united Ireland has never been more
remote, the future unity of the United Kingdom also looks
decidedly shaky.

More than 20 British citizens from High Wycombe and
Walthamstow are in custody in connection with anti-British

Some Britons even refuse to fly with their fellow citizens
because of their appearance.

Thus the good news for Irish nationalists is that Britain,
as they imagined it, no longer exists.

The bad news is that Ireland, as they would like to imagine
it, does not exist either.

On both sides of the Irish Sea we are witnessing a serious
outbreak of history.

Britain is internally divided on three levels –
nationality, religion and ethnic mix.

In terms of nationality it has always had an identity

England and Wales together form Britain. Add in Scotland
and you have Great Britain. Throw us into the mix and you
have the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland. (So whereas we are part of the UK we are not part
of Britain. If you are confused, contact your nearest
unionist party.)

The problem has been addressed by giving the Scots and the
Welsh (but not the English) their own parliaments.

Thus while Scottish MPs can vote at Westminster, English
MPs cannot do the same in Edinburgh. Conservative Party
pressure on the issue means that Gordon Brown may fail to
make it to Number 10, not because he is not capable but
because he is not English.

On top of this growing political division, Britain is also
splintering along religious and ethnic lines.

Despite its liberalism, the Church of England plays a
political role as the state religion – the monarch is head
of the Church. Meanwhile the government seeks political
messages in the Muslim faith.

While the two Churches cooperate, their differences are
highly politicised by British foreign policy.

The attitude in some Muslim communities now resembles the
way Catholics opted out of the new state of Northern
Ireland in 1922.

It took 50 years for tensions here to boil over. It may not
take that long in some parts of England.

At the same time almost half a million migrants from
Eastern Europe alone have registered to work in Britain in
the past year. (The wealth they generated under communism
arrived shortly before them, at places like Chelsea soccer
club.) While some will return home, many will become
British citizens.

Ethnic change in Britain is reflected in Ireland.

The PIRA’s campaign of ‘Brits Out’ has not been replicated
to expel the hundreds of thousands of Poles, Lithuanians or
Nigerians – presumably on the basis that they are willing
to do jobs the Irish do not want.

Opposition to immigrants comes mainly from loyalists who
want to keep Ulster British. (Now, what sort of British
would that be? Would it be English, British, Great British
or UK-ish?)

While it is quaintly amusing to query the concept of
Britishness, it is just as entertaining to define modern

De Valera’s image of comely maidens dancing at the cross-
roads has disappeared with leprechauns, Lent and
republicans not recognising Stormont.

It is no longer a case of Mise Eire. Now we have Mise
Latvia, Mise Slovakia and, indeed, Mise Universe, for all
those who can reach an EU country from any part of the

The debate on the merits of the Irish language has been
superseded by the enlightening deluge of living languages
in the Republic.

Ireland may be going through a period of change similar in
significance to the Flight of the Earls in 1607, which
ended Gaelic rule in Ulster. This time, however, the Irish
‘earls’ are economic, buying businesses in Bulgaria and
property in Portugal.

The difference now is that the new arrivals are not causing
the lifestyle changes. They are merely responding to
opportunities created by those changes.

Thus ‘Ireland’ and ‘Britain’ are increasingly obscure
terms. They still describe our location on the planet but
they conceal the complex and ever-changing mix of humanity
which now inhabits both states.

While changes in Britain add to the country’s internal
instability, Ireland’s existing divisions appear no worse.

If we are no longer sure of what is meant by ‘British’ or
‘Irish’, how do we know what ‘nationalist’ or ‘unionist’
now mean? Yet in the next few weeks politicians here will
try to build a political system on these very terms.

Those obsessed with history have failed to notice that they
have been overtaken by a new and radical addition to it.

Opin: The Orangemen With Green Ballot Papers

By Roy Garland

Professor Jonathan Tonge of the University of Liverpool and
other researchers found that over 5 per cent of Orangemen
surveyed were likely to vote SDLP. A further 14 per cent
prepared to consider giving SDLP second preference. More
startlingly perhaps, 2 per cent would vote for Sinn Fein if
they couldn’t support their favoured unionist party. Orange
leaders were reportedly staggered by this and demanded to
know who these people were and why they were still in the
Orange Order.

Tonge said potential Orange Sinn Fein supporters might have
misread the question but some DUP Orange supporters are so
consumed with hatred for Ulster Unionists that a vote Sinn
Fein is not impossible as when the DUP is not standing. At
the outer edge of fundamentalism people want things to be
clear and simple and regard those who support compromise as
suspect. To this day they see David Trimble and previous
unionist leaders like Terence O’Neill and Brian Faulkner as
personifying Lundy par excellence because of their

As justification, some will refer to Revelation 3:16
because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will
spew thee out of my mouth. This favoured text is used by
fundamentalists to suggest that compromise equals treachery
as is 2 Corinthians 6:17 come out from among them and be ye
separate, saith the Lord and touch not the unclean thing.
It would be embarrassing if their thinking was more widely
known because there is little appreciation of this kind of
rubbish in the wider community. Thus their less palatable
views lie hidden until the mask of reasonableness slips to
expose the naked truth as when the Big Man claimed at the
Twelfth that ongoing blood sacrifice was essential.

Winston Churchill is credited with saying his opponents
were those who faced him across the chamber in the House of
Commons whereas his real enemies were scheming behind his
back. Similarly many DUP people see their real enemy as
supposedly compromising unionists whereas Sinn Fein is only
their political opponents.

Their bitterest invective is reserved for those they
characterise as traitors and Lundies or, as in the case of
Jim Molyneaux, Judases. Prof Tonge found support for this
attitude among young Orangemen – those with romantic views
of the years of violence who dislike fellow Orangeman David
Trimble almost as much Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein is also a convenient whipping boy for the DUP
which leads to ambivalence and tension but adds to the
excitement of those hooked on adrenalin. It might be hard
to actually vote Sinn Fein – even anonymously, while the
IRA exists – so the next best thing is to vote SDLP who
maybe compromisers but of the other tribe.

The ceasefires of 1994 left fundamentalists in confusion
and in danger of loosing direction completely. Things
became no longer black and white and they yearn for old
certainties. Ancient enemies brought stability of a kind to
those with bleak perspectives based on life as an ultimate
struggle between good and evil. So every so-often the Big
Man reminds supporters that the perennial enemies of Ulster
remain and who precisely they are. And yet a degree of
secret mutual respect remains because at least Sinn Fein
knows who they are and where they stand.

If some kind of deal could be cobbled together between the
DUP and Sinn Fein, and the DUP now seem unsure about Sinn
Fein’s performance in the Devolution Committee, it would be
based on a claim they had achieved a glorious victory.

People know that meaningful human life requires compromises
but the Big Man must convince supporters and, let’s face
it, it is in all our interests, that they have ‘won’ this

In that event, the rest of us could take quiet satisfaction
knowing that the emperor has no clothes and it is we who
have won the peace.

Opin: Plans For Post-Paisley Era Are Well Under Way

By Tom Kelly

Gerry Adams once said that: ‘the political process needs to
be driven and that David Trimble was a learner-driver who
should not be in the driving seat’. The Good Friday
Agreement ensured that David Trimble was not alone in the
driving seat as he had, in the joint office of First and
Deputy First Minister, Seamus Mallon and latterly Mark
Durkan in the front seat working dual controls.

Unfortunately even the existence of dual controls could not
prevent the executive from crashing. Here we are in late
2006 with two different front seat drivers but no car.

Sinn Fein seem genuinely interested in restoring the
executive but there is little more that they can concede to
the DUP that would seem to make a difference. Backing the
police would be a momentous moment in the history of
militant, modern day republicanism but in the short term
even it is unlikely to lure the DUP into government with
Sinn Fein.

It seems equally clear that Dr Paisley feels under no
pressure to move quickly at all. After all this is the man
who has made a career out of deriding every liberal
unionist and he is unlikely to want his final legacy to
include the handing over the joint stewardship of Northern
Ireland to the political successors of the Provisional IRA,
especially if he has responsibility for one half of the
joint stewardship.

My old Policing Board adversary, Baby Doc has shown no
inclination to back any serious attempt to enter into joint
government with Sinn Fein and certainly behind the affable
and media friendly exterior, he is more than a chip of the
old block when it comes to interpreting any word of
compromise as a concession. Martin McGuinness was right to
point out that the make up of the DUP nominees on the
Restoration of Government Committee is hardly a positive
indication of its willingness to act in a spirit of

Planning for the post-Paisley era (whether he likes it or
not) is well under way, as the competing factions of the
DUP line up their prospective candidates. Peter Robinson
and his more pragmatic supporters know as Burns says;
‘there’s many a slip between cup and lip’ and therefore at
this critical time will not want to be seen as being soft
on Sinn Fein.

Hopefully, Nigel Dodds and Robinson have already struck an
internal deal – to prevent Robinson becoming the DUP
version of Albert Reynolds, when the latter sought the
Irish Presidency only to be confronted with an ABA (Anyone
but Albert) campaign, which resulted in the then surprise
victory of Mary McAleese.

If the DUP feel that dealing with the republican movement
as an organisation in transition mode is difficult, how
much more difficult is it for Sinn Fein to deal with the
DUP leadership in transition.

A comprehensive deal with Paisley’s imprimatur would make
it easier for any natural successors like Robinson to sell
to the wider Unionist community. The absence of that
imprimatur may be tempting for the fundamentalists in the
DUP who want to play out the waiting game (or as they
privately call it the Sinn Fein decontamination period)
well into 2007.

Whichever way one looks at it, the day Paisley or his
successor signs a deal with Sinn Fein, the days of
political apartheid in Northern Ireland are over. Such a
settlement, while way short of anything any Provisional
thought they were fighting for in the 1970s through to the
1990s is for some the long count down to the end of the
project that was Northern Ireland.

Paisley now stands at the crossroads once faced by Carson,
Craig, O’Neill, Faulkner and Trimble. Does he opt to cut
the best deal available for unionism or does he consign
unionism to the political pragmatism of any British
government and the inevitable tide of demographic change
which will come to Northern Ireland?

It is not an easy choice but nor should be for the man who
has offered unionism the sterile politics of protest. Now
that fate has handed him what he most coveted – the
leadership of unionism – that same fate could be his
undoing whatever he chooses. As he dithers, he knows the
‘dreary steeples of Tyrone and Fermanagh’ – once so
comforting in an ever changing world to Winston Churchill
in 1922 – are less reassuring under the green haze emerging
west of the Bann. His moment is fast approaching and to
paraphrase Yeats: ‘The ghost of Terence O Neill, Is beating
on his door’.

Opin: Sectarian Attacks Get Usual Hot Air Response

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Just before dawn on Sunday morning a group of masked men
tore away part of the metal fencing guarding a family’s
central heating oil tank and set fire to the feed pipe,
causing a huge fireball.

The flames engulfed the rear of the house and could easily
have incinerated the woman and her three-month-old baby who
were asleep in the upstairs bedroom. The bedroom itself was
badly damaged by the blaze.

A few observations about this attack.

For about five years now, igniting the oil tank of a house
has been the preferred loyalist method for terrorising
Catholics out of a district.

It’s simple and cowardly. There’s no danger to the fire-
raisers. They need no equipment like petrol bombs or any
material which could incriminate them.

The result is instantly catastrophic to the house, so the
residents have no alternative but to leave. This fate has
befallen a number of Catholic families in the greater
Belfast area but also, needless to say, in other parts of
the north where Catholics are prey to murderous sectarian

Sunday’s arson attack in the Whitewell district was a
repeat of arson on oil tanks there last summer, which is
why there were metal railings round the tank set on fire.
Eventually loyalists will succeed in killing people when
they carry out one of these attacks.

No-one has ever been convicted for one of these attacks.
Indeed it would be interesting to know how many, if any,
have even been arrested for questioning about one of these

At least in this recent case the police said they are
treating the arson as sectarian. Usually trying to get the
police to admit an attack is sectarian is like pulling
teeth. Their normal and ridiculous response is that they
are ‘seeking a motive’.

In Whitewell the police know that the attacks are
organised, that they come from an area which the UDA
dominates and that for some time the UDA there has been
organising provocative sectarian attacks to ‘blood’ its
junior members. So far the police response has been sadly

However, it’s par for the course. Over the last few years
when loyalist gangs have mounted sectarian campaigns
against Catholics the police have been slow to take action
and have largely failed to protect the Catholic population
by doing anything proactive. That’s what happened in Larne,
in Ballymena and worst of all, Ahoghill.

Who can forget the crass intervention of the PSNI deputy
chief constable Paul Leighton last summer who explained
away sectarian attacks there as "disputes between
neighbours" and because people weren’t "getting on with
each other"?

The fact is that sectarianism is endemic in the north –
always has been. Go back 40 years before the UVF started
shooting Catholics in an organised fashion and you’ll find
regular sectarian attacks taking place, though largely on
property – Catholic schools, Orange halls, GAA grounds.

It doesn’t change. Each summer there’s a crescendo
coinciding with the marching season as nationalist yahoos
burn property associated with Orangeism and unionist yahoos
attack Catholics.

What’s remarkable is that nothing is done to address this
most distinctive feature of the north, the feature which
makes the place the cesspit it is.

Repeatedly British administrations here have refused to
bring in effective anti-sectarian legislation, even on
incitement to hatred.

The Equality Commission told a House of Commons Select
Committee they couldn’t enumerate sectarian incidents yet
they can easily do it for racial incidents, even though the
word ‘racial’ is a misnomer for most of the incidents.

Is there a special police unit to counter sectarian
attacks? Has anyone ever been given a heavier sentence for
a sectarian attack?

Here’s what the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference
agreed on July 25.

"The conference condemned recent sectarian incidents across
Northern Ireland and recalled with deep regret the killing
of Michael McIlveen in May. The two governments called on
all those in positions of influence and leadership to work
to combat all manifestations of sectarian hatred in their
communities. For their part, they undertook to do all in
their power to foster good community relations and to
tackle the scourge of sectarianism."

Pathetic, isn’t it?

After all these years, still just so much hot air.

Opin: Injustice Must Always Be Opposed And Exposed

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

Britain’s history in Ireland is one of brutality and
inhumanity, often characterised through the abuse of
political prisoners.

One would have thought that the British government would
have learnt that lesson by now and would know that not only
is the maltreatment of prisoners entirely wrong it is also
entirely counter-productive.

All prisoners are entitled to humane prison conditions, to
proper medical facilities and to be treated with dignity.

For this reason Gerry Adams publicly called recently on the
British government to transfer those Irish prisoners
seeking repatriation to Ireland and to resolve the dispute
in Maghaberry by introducing decent prison conditions.

This was the public expression of a demand that the Sinn
Fein negotiating team have repeatedly made to both the
British and Irish governments.

In Maghaberry Prison 30 republican prisoners are
experiencing a vindictive regime.

An oppressive and hostile system of controlled movement
regulates the prisoner’s lives.

They are confined to their cells, denied adequate washing
facilities and are forced to eat all meals in their cells.

Objections from the prisoners to this treatment results in
them being put on bogus charges and punished by losing

Aiden Hume is a 27-year-old native of County Louth serving
a 22-year sentence in Belmarsh Prison in England.

He was convicted for his alleged part in a bombing campaign
in 2001 in England.

Before his arrest he was involved in an accident severely
damaging one of his legs.

While in prison his injured leg has deteriorated to the
point where prison doctors have told him his leg needs to
be amputated.

He believes this condition has been caused by medical

On four occasions the prison authorities cancelled an
operation depriving him of the urgent medical attention he
needs to save his leg.

Aiden believes repatriation to an Irish prison offers him
the best chance of getting proper medical attention.

Since September 2005 the Department of Justice in Dublin
has had his transfer application.

Aiden and his family believe the Justice Minister Michael
McDowell is deliberately blocking his transfer.

His transfer application is supported by Sinn Fein, the
SDLP, an independent TD and the Irish Commission for
Prisoners Overseas.

Mickey McKevitt is serving a 20-year prison sentence in
Portlaoise on the word of a paid informer.

McKevitt’s sentence followed a disturbing trial involving
the informer David Rupert, the FBI, MI5, the Garda Special
Branch, the Director of Public Prosecution and a number of
senior judges.

During the trial Rupert was shown to be a thoroughly
disreputable person who inhabited a world of criminality
and deceit throughout his entire life.

Several files characterising Rupert and penned by MI5
operatives were presented to the court, and in my view
destroyed his credibility as a person worthy of giving
evidence in a court of law:

McKevitt’s defence revealed Rupert to be involved in a
string of dubious ventures: a career informer for the FBI
from 1974, gambling deals with the Mafia in Florida, drug
dealing, tax evasion, bouncing cheques,

white slave trading involving two young (minor) girls,
human trafficking, arms, explosives,

and other contraband smuggled across the Canadian border.

Under relentless cross-examination by McKevitt’s defence
Rupert sought refuge in memory loss.

He said ‘I don’t recall’ over 1,000 times!

He was convicted and his conviction upheld by an appeal
court on the grounds that Rupert was a ‘credible witness’.

Informers insidiously undermine justice.

They pollute and corrupt those they touch. They put justice
on trial.

Whatever one’s opinion of Michael McKevitt’s political
views, and I for one fundamentally disagree with him, he is
entitled to justice through a fair trial in front of a

Political manipulation of the judicial system

is not only wrong it is counter productive.

Injustice whether at the hands of British or Irish judges
must be opposed and exposed.

Celtic Woman Record TV Show For US

By Staff Reporter

An Irish music group have returned to their roots as they
recorded a special show in Slane Castle for the US
television station which first propelled them to stardom.

Celtic Woman, starring Irish singers and musicians, filmed
the programme which will air next March on a purpose-built
stage on the lawn of the historic Co Meath venue in front
of 750 invited guests.

Ian Ralfini, general manager of the Manhattan Label which
released the CD and DVD, revealed the first show they
recorded for the station PBS was beamed into homes across
America making them a household name within just two

"We released the record on March 1 2005. By the time of the
first live gig they did in America in Cleveland Ohio on
July 20, in the Palace Theatre which seats 3,000 people, it
was packed. It was the first time they appeared on a live
stage," he said.

"It was amazing."

This show is going to be aired on American television from
March next year.

Lethal Snake Kept At Secret Location

28 August 2006 10:09

A highly lethal nine-inch snake found in a box of tiles in
Co Kerry is being kept at a secret location in Tralee until
a decision on its future is made.

The horn-nosed viper, which is highly poisonous, was found
in a box of house tiles imported from Greece.

The discovery was made by workers at a building site in
Ballyduff in Co Cork as they were about to lay tiles in a
new house.

The snake, whose venom can kill within two hours, was
curled up in the box and although they didn't realise it
was poisonous they had the presence of mind to move it to
an empty box and call the local branch of SPCA, according
to Chief Inspector Harry McDaid.

The snake will be kept undercover until it is moved to
Dublin later in the week where it is to be examined by a
team at Dublin Zoo.

Mr McDaid said that in his 25 years with the SPCA, this was
the first horn nosed viper he had ever seen and it gave
them all 'the shock of the century'.


Film: Saint Of 9/11

Rated: NONE

"Saint of 9/11" presents the turbulent, restless, spiritual
and remarkable journey of Father Mychal Judge.
Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, a
beloved Fire Department Chaplain, rousing Irish-American
balladeer and iconoclast, Father Judge was a humble parish
priest who wrestled with his own private demons while
touching others in powerful and miraculous ways.

IFC Films (NY)

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