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August 08, 2006

Tribute to Thomas McElwee

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 08/08/06 Crowe Pays Tribute To Thomas McElwee
BT 08/08/06 UDA Denies Families Forced To Move Out
SF 08/08/06 40 Loyalist Bands Into Rasharkin Is "Pure & Utter Madness"
CO 08/08/06 Scottish Cardinal Decries State-Sponsored Sectarian
BB 08/08/06 Man Seriously Injured In Attack
BB 08/08/06 New Appeal Over Schoolboy Murder
BT 08/08/06 What Stormont Body Kept Working Despite Political Impasse?
EX 08/08/06 Burial Of Black And Tan A Bogland Mystery
IT 08/08/06 RTÉ Denies Duffy Set For Rival Station


Crowe Pays Tribute To Thomas McElwee

Published: 8 August, 2006

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has paid tribute to hunger striker
Thomas McElwee who died twenty-five years ago today after
sixty-two days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long
Kesh. Speaking today Deputy Crowe said, Tom McElwee
“followed his friend, comrade and cousin Francis Hughes in
paying the ultimate sacrifice in defiance of the British
policy of criminalisation of the struggle for the freedom
of Ireland.”

He said, “Thomas McElwee died at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday,
August 8th 1981 after 62 days of slow agonising hunger

“Tom and his cousin, Francis Hughes where two dedicated
republicans from the small South Derry village of Bellaghy,
who were close friends in their boyhood years and who later
fought side by side in the towns and fields of South Derry
for the freedom of their country. So it came as no
surprise to family and friends of Thomas when he followed
his friend, comrade and cousin Francis Hughes in paying the
ultimate sacrifice in defiance of the British policy of
criminalisation of the struggle for the freedom of Ireland.

“Republicans throughout the thirty-two counties of Ireland
will gather today to remember our fallen comrade with
pride.” ENDS

Note: Dublin republicans will gather at the GPO on
O’Connell Street today at 12:30pm to hold a black flag
vigil in memory of Thomas McElwee.


UDA Denies Families Forced To Move Out

By Jonathan McCambridge
08 August 2006

Loyalist sources today moved to calm fears of further
division within the UDA in north Belfast following reports
that more families have been forced to leave the area.

Supporters of deposed UDA leaders Andre and Ihab Shoukri
left Northern Ireland last Thursday following a split with
the Inner Council of the terror group. Among those who left
was Alan McClean, who had taken over the leadership from
the Shoukris. Two of his sons also fled.

However, media reports today suggested that another 12
families had left the north of the city over the weekend as
the feud continued to simmer.

A UDA source today dismissed the claims.

He said: "No, it is definitely not true. I am only aware of
one other person who wanted to leave because she felt
unsafe. There has been nobody else."

Another loyalist said: "The UDA demanded that three people
leave and that was it.

"There were six families who left last week but nobody
since then. No other families have moved whatsoever and
nobody else has been asked to move.

"Things have been a lot calmer in north Belfast since last
Thursday and the community is thankful for that. There has
been ongoing mediation."

McClean and his supporters were driven out of north Belfast
last Thursday following a power struggle inside the UDA.

Alan McClean - an associate of the Shoukri brothers Andre
and Ihab - was blamed by the UDA's Inner Council for a
split in the organisation.

Following attacks on a number of homes the UDA brought up
to 1,000 men onto the streets and McClean and his
associates left with a police escort.

It is understood he is now living at an address in England.

The Inner Council of the UDA then met to elect a new north
Belfast leadership.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a leading loyalist who
survived an assassination attempt in May has left hospital.

Former UVF leader Mark Haddock was ambushed and shot in the
body several times during a murder bid in Newtownabbey.

Haddock, who was on trial for the attempted murder of a pub
doorman, then had his bail conditions revoked and was
ordered to return to Maghaberry as soon as he left the
Royal Victoria Hospital.

He initially left the hospital in June but was returned
when his condition worsened. He has now been returned to
prison for a second time. Two of Haddock's former
associates have been charged over the gun attack.


Plans To Bring 40 Loyalist Bands Into Rasharkin Is "Pure And Utter Madness"

Published: 8 August, 2006

Rasharkin Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí McKay has voiced his
extreme concern after learning that the Ballymaconnelly
Flute Band has applied to bring over 40 loyalist bands and
over 1,000 loyalists into the nationalist village on the
18th August. Many of the bands have links to both the UVF
and UDA. The village's Residents‚ Association is to present
the Commission with a 100 page+ document tomorrow detailing
the breaches of last year's Parades Commission Decision.
The Commission will also be presented with over 84 pages
detailing the results of a questionnaire carried out in
Rasharkin showing that over 95% of residents are totally
opposed to the parade taking place.

Cllr McKay said:

"The decision by Ballymaconnelly Band to try and flood this
village with loyalists on 18th August is simply pure and
utter madness. Residents in this village have made
strenuous efforts over the past year to try and open up
dialogue with the organisers of this parade to try and come
to an amicable resolution to this issue but unfortunately
these have not been responded to.

"Last year the presence of loyalist paramilitary bands was
well documented in the press and the parade organisers have
again applied to bring these bands through the village this
year. The silence of Unionist politicians in regard to the
presence of loyalist paramilitaries at this parade cannot
go on.

"One of the bands invited to Rasharkin is the Freeman
Memorial Band from Coleraine, named after a UVF member who
blew himself up in Coleraine in the 1970s. This band was
also invited to a DUP parade in Rathfriland last September
so the DUP's stance on the inclusion of them in the
Rasharkin parade will really be a litmus test of their
approach toward loyalist paramilitaries in this area.

"We will be telling the Parades Commission that this parade
remains unacceptable to residents in this village. This is
a 90% nationalist village and its residents have rights
that must be upheld. In the last two years there has been
an assault on a Catholic woman, tricolours burnt in the
street and hundreds of drunken loyalists intimidating and
harassing residents. The people in this village will
continue to have no confidence in the Parades Commission
whilst it continues to facilitate loyalist paramilitaries
marching through Rasharkin." ENDS


Scottish Cardinal Decries ‘State-Sponsored Sectarian’ Bigotry Of 300-Year-Old Law

Catholic Online (

GLASGOW, Scotland (Catholic Online) – Decrying “state-
sponsored sectarian discrimination,” a Scottish cardinal
launched an attack on a 300-year-old law and religious
bigotry which leaves a blight on the cultural landscape.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, in
remarks to the Glasgow-based Scotland on Sunday published
Aug. 6, said Scotland remains afflicted by a “shadowy
sectarian culture.

He said that sectarianism is codified in law through the
Act of Settlement of 1701, which prevents Roman Catholics
or those who marry Catholics from ascending to the throne.

"Our constitution contains legislation which describes my
faith as 'the popish religion' and defines me and my co-
religionists as 'papists'. That this arcanely offensive
language enjoys legal sanction is outrageous,” Cardinal
O’Brien said.

He said that sectarianism will continue to thrive until the
British constitution is changed to amend the settlement

“Anyone who seriously believes that introducing legislation
aimed at eradicating sectarian attacks, which are often
verbal, while elements of the very lexicon of hate they
seek to abolish remain on our statute books is indulging in
wilful ignorance."

Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell has spoken out
against sectarianism and is reportedly preparing to call a
second summit on sectarianism in the fall of 2006, which
leaders from the Catholic Church, the Protestant Orange
Lodge and others are expected to attend. Other moves by the
Scottish government include efforts to reform regulations
surrounding marches and imposition of rules against
attendance at soccer matches by fans caught singing songs
considered sectarian or bigoted.

While endorsing government efforts to eradicate
sectarianism, Cardinal O’Brien called upon McConnell to use
his influence to bring about a change in the law.

"How can the state in the form of the Scottish Executive
claim that religious discrimination is wrong,” he asked,
“when the state in the form of an act of Parliament states
that it is right?"

Acknowledging that the Act of Settlement cannot be repealed
or replaced by the Scottish Executive or the Scottish
Parliament as it is British law, Cardinal O’Brien called
upon “all those involved in anti-sectarian initiatives, at
every level to accept and acknowledge that this legislation
constitutes a blight on their efforts and its repeal would
dramatically improve the prospects of their work bearing

Change in the Act of Settlement would have to be ratified
by 15 parliaments of the British Commonwealth and would
require amendments to at least eight separate acts
stretching as far back as 1688, and including the Union
with Scotland Act of 1706.

Opponents of repeal believe that repeal could lead to a
Catholic assuming the throne, and could lead to the
disestablishment of the Church of England as the state
religion, as the English monarch must swear to defend the
faith and be a member of the Anglican Communion.

Scottish National Party Member of Parliament Alex Salmond
agreed to support O'Brien's campaign in Parliament, and
pressed British Prime Minister Tony Blair to amend the act
earlier this year. Blair rejected his call.

British Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor of Westminister
urged repeal of the law in June 2002.

The Act of Settlement, he said, "is not so much that it is
an act of discrimination against Roman Catholics - which it
is - but it seems to me to be discrimination against the
royal family."

He said at the time the law needed changing so that Prince
William could marry someone of any faith. "I think the
future monarch should be able to marry who he wants," he

"Talking about Prince William, he can marry by law a Hindu,
a Buddhist, anyone, but not a Roman Catholic,” he said.
"That seems to me anomalous and I think it should go."


Man Seriously Injured In Attack

A man is seriously ill in hospital after being assaulted in
east Belfast in the early hours of Tuesday.

Four men have been arrested and are being questioned about
the attack which happened in the Connsbrook Avenue area at
about 0040 BST.

It is understood the victim, who is not from the area, had
been invited to a party at a house in the street after a
night out in the city centre.

Police are still investigating the circumstances
surrounding the attack.

However, it is understood there had been a row inside the

The victim was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Detectives have been using a sniffer dog to search an area
off Connsbrook Avenue.

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the attack or
has any information about it to contact them at Strandtown
PSNI station.

Alliance assembly member Naomi Long said the incident was

"I hope that the victim makes a swift and full recovery and
I would call on anyone with information on the incident to
contact police immediately," she said.

Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland said: "This is a
particularly regrettable incident and I hope the young man
makes a full recovery.

"Incidents such as this are an all too frequent occurrence
on our streets."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/08 16:25:44 GMT


New Appeal Over Schoolboy Murder

Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Thomas
Devlin have made a fresh appeal for information.

The detective leading the case said they need more evidence
if they are to charge anybody with the killing in north

Thomas, 15, was stabbed in the back five times as he and
two friends walked home along the Somerton Road, on 10
August 2005 after buying sweets.

Nine people were questioned but no-one has been charged
with the murder.

Police said that more than 900 statements have been taken
in relation to the killing and more than 60 properties

Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, who is leading
the investigation, said police had suspects but not enough
evidence to convict them.

"I believe that there are people out there who still hold
crucial information that would convict the killers of this
child," Mr Barraclough said.

"I believe that the murderers left the scene, I believe
they went away and actually destroyed their clothes, I
believe they got rid of the murder weapon that was actually
used to stab young Thomas and I believe they spoke to
people about what they did.

"These people are still in the community and they haven't
spoken to the police.

"They need to come forward and they need to speak to us
about what happened."

Thomas's mother, Penny Holloway, said the lack of
convictions had been frustrating for the family.

"I think it is terrible that there are people out there who
know the two people who did this and yet they don't feel
that they want to come forward," she said.

"Thomas's murder was particularly brutal - he was jumped on
from behind and stabbed five times.

"I think it's important for all of us that these
individuals are put away for this crime."

Thomas's 18-year-old friend was injured in the attack, but
not seriously. A 16-year-old boy managed to escape.

Thomas, a student at Belfast Royal Academy, was a talented
musician who played the horn at school.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/08 16:25:21 GMT


Q:What Stormont Body Kept On Working Despite The Political Impasse?

A: The one that deals with the MLAs' pensions, of course

By David Gordon
08 August 2006

The one Northern Ireland Assembly body that has kept going
through all the years of suspension is facing the chop -
unless a devolution deal is sealed.

The pension trustees - made up of representatives from
across the political spectrum - have continued to meet
regularly to oversee pension arrangements for MLAs despite
the fact that the Assembly has been mothballed for nearly
four years.

But NIO sources today indicated that contributions to the
Stormont pension scheme will be halted if Secretary of
State Peter Hain's November deadline for a new power-
sharing agreement is not met.

A member of the trustees committee today admitted that its
continued existence is "hugely embarrassing", given that
everything else at the Assembly has been inactive since
October 2002.

The minutes of the pension trustees on the Assembly web
site show that they have been meeting up to eight times per
year since then.

They have also been producing annual reports, detailing the
assets of the MLAs' pension fund and its investment

The most recent of these reports, for 2004-2005, showed
that the total fund had grown from £5,288,880 to £6,014,706
over the course of that financial year.

Three of the five-man trustees group are no longer Assembly
members - Denis Watson of the United Unionist Assembly
Party, Mervyn Carrick of the DUP and John Kelly, formerly
of Sinn Fein. The other two trustees are David McClarty of
the UUP and the SDLP's John Dallat.

Mr Dallat today said: "It's ironic to say the least that
this is the only Assembly committee that has kept meeting.

"It's actually hugely embarrassing. But the responsibility
rests with the NIO and former Secretary of State John Reid
who decided that the trustees should remain in place."

He added: "Fund trustees are needed and if I didn't do it,
somebody else from my party would have to step in.

"But I have always felt deeply uncomfortable going to the
meetings, when I think of everything a fully functioning
Assembly could be doing and the people it could be helping
- including those with no pension provision at all."

Mr Dallat said: "I can't see the trustees body continuing
if the Assembly is closed down in November."


Burial Of Black And Tan A Bogland Mystery

By Donal Hickey

RESIDENTS of a Kerry village believe it is time that the
body of a nameless Black and Tan, said to be buried under a
solitary crab tree in a Kerry bog, was returned to his

Carried out under a cloak of secrecy during “the Troubles”,
such burials were known only to a handful of people, but
the story has been handed down through a number of families
in the Lixnaw area.

Some now believe it’s time the bramble and fern-covered
patch of ground — just beside the narrow road through the
centre of Gort bog, about 10 miles from Tralee — gave up
its secret.

One such person is Tony Deane, 96, whose home acted as a
headquarters for a north Kerry IRA flying column and whose
brother was active in the fight for independence.

He said he did not hear of the burial at the time but added
there was a culture of secrecy in the IRA.

“The Tans did terrible things, but I still think this man
should have a decent burial,” Mr Deane said.

The belief is that the Tan’s body was brought to the bog
after he had been kidnapped and shot by the IRA in Tralee,
a hotbed of activity in the early 1920s.

Lixnaw man Michael O’Connell said the dead Tan was most
likely brought to the bog in a cart and interred there, he

“However, a bog is no place to have a body,” he said. “If
he was an Englishman, the body should be sent back to his

Historian and Irish Examiner columnist Ryle Dwyer, who has
closely studied the period in Kerry, felt the story could
be true.

“These people around Lixnaw seem to be convinced about it
and it’s not just one family. The story has come down
through different families,” he said.


RTÉ Denies Duffy Set For Rival Station

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

RTÉ has denied that Liveline presenter Joe Duffy is to move
to rival radio station NewsTalk 106.

The State broadcaster was responding to media reports that
speculated Duffy would leave in the coming months.

NewsTalk, currently broadcast in Dublin, was recently
awarded a licence to extend its reach to 80 per cent of the

In a statement issued yesterday, RTÉ said: "RTÉ Radio 1
Liveline presenter Joe Duffy is pleased to confirm . . .
that, contrary to recent speculation, his future is with
RTÉ and he looks forward to returning to present RTÉ Radio
1's Liveline this autumn."

A spokeswoman for RTÉ Radio said Duffy will return to
Liveline after his summer break, on September 4th. The
presenter told The Irish Times in June that he could
neither confirm nor deny reports that he had been offered
€600,000 to move to NewsTalk, adding that he was "very
happy" at RTÉ.

NewsTalk was reported to be seeking a high-profile
presenter to lead the imminent expansion of its coverage.

Its previous best-known broadcaster, Eamon Dunphy,
announced last June that he was to leave the station after
two years presenting its flagship breakfast programme.

According to figures released by RTÉ last June, Joe Duffy
was paid a total of €279,149 in 2004.

© The Irish Times

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