News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

September 14, 2006

Blair To Meet Ahern For Talks

News About Ireland & The Irish

SM 09/14/06
Blair To Meet Ahern For Talks
BT 09/14/06 Call My Bluff
IE 09/08/06 Minister Ahern Addresses British-Irish Assoc
UT 09/14/06 Two Held Over Bangor Murder
BT 09/14/06 Church Attack Prompts United Clean-Up Effort
LN 09/14/06 Hunger Strike Remembered In Mountmellick 25 Years On
HC 09/14/06 British Exec Is Latest Extradited To US
BB 09/14/06 From Prisoner To Peace Officer?
IM 09/14/06 Ógra Shinn Féin Launch New Blog!


Blair To Meet Ahern For Talks

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet
Irish premier Bertie Ahern on Friday for talks aimed at
reviving Northern Ireland's stalled power-sharing

The two leaders, who will meet at Blair's country residence
Chequers, have given the province's feuding politicians
until the end of November to reach agreement for restoring
Northern Ireland's administration.

The Belfast assembly, set up under the 1998 Good Friday
peace agreement, was suspended in 2002 because of a dispute
over IRA activities.

Failure to meet the deadline of November 24 for an
agreement would put the assembly into "cold storage" with
direct rule continuing from London with increased input
from Dublin.

The impasse centres on the refusal by Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionist Party to share power with the IRA's
political ally and Sinn Fein.

Paisley, who met Blair earlier this week, said his party
would not work with Sinn Fein until it is convinced the IRA
is out of business.

The International Monitoring Commission, Northern Ireland's
ceasefire watchdog, has said the IRA is winding down its
military operations and is due to deliver an update to the
British and Irish governments next month.

"The next key stage is the publication of the IMC report in
early October that will be the trigger for an intensive
period of discussions," said Blair's official spokesman.

"We're doing the preparatory work to get ready for an
intensive round of talks at a later stage."


Call My Bluff

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness believes the DUP may be up
for a deal in November but, he warns Political
Correspondent Noel McAdam, any failure to "get on board"
will be a huge tactical mistake on its part.

14 September 2006

Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley sat at the Stormont lunch
for Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan on Monday - just
three seats apart. Nothing new there. When Morgan's
Scottish counterpart Jack McConnell visited Stormont in
May, the lunch was attended by the DUP leader and Gerry
Adams "... and the world didn't fall in on Ian Paisley
then," McGuinness quipped.

Yet, real, direct contact between the two parties who hold
the key to any devolution deal is ostensibly no nearer.
There are no 'back channels', briefings or interlocutors.
Even backroom officials mostly blank each other. Both
parties are locked into negotiating mode involving bluff,
double bluff and counter-bluff.

McGuinness says the DUP may be giving the impression that
it intends to flout the Governments' November 24 deadline,
but he cannot be sure.

"I'm not going as far as to say that they are not up for a
deal at this time," he explains, "but that is the
impression they are creating.

"There is a possibility that they could and that
possibility is one we want to attempt to turn into reality.

"The key phrase is (that the DUP is) giving the appearance
of being relaxed.

"There is bound to be a high level of disquiet within the
DUP about what is coming up the road."

After November 24 the institution which was most acceptable
to unionists will be gone and both governments will be
signed up to implementation of all aspects of the Agreement
and its further enhancement.

There are, it seems, reasons to cheerful. While the so-
called Comprehensive Agreement of late 2004 is null and
void the DUP and Sinn Fein are understood to have reached
clear understandings on a whole range of issues - without
ever meeting.

McGuinness also points to the "increasing engagement" on
the Preparation for Government committee over the summer,
including a direct meeting with DUP deputy Peter Robinson.

He further argues that the DUP is under pressure from its
own constituency, which is angry and fed up with the
detrimental decisions of direct rule ministers - and facing
the prospect that, after November 24, Stormont is gone.

"It would be very surprising if the unionist community is
not up in arms and there have been anecdotal reports that
unionists are being told they need to get into power," he

McGuinness blames elements of the media for harbouring the
impression that Sinn Fein prefers 'Plan B' - the new
partnership arrangements with the Irish Government.

"Those people within the media who believe that have got
our approach totally wrong," he says. "Our preference is
the reactivation of devolved government in the north - that
is by far the best way to proceed in the view of the Sinn
Fein leadership.

"The other scenario is one we have to discuss in the
context of the DUP refusing to take part in power-sharing

He says he hopes even after November 24 "the door is kept
open" for the DUP to "come on board".

But McGuinness insists contact must come at some point.

"The sensible thing for mature organisations to be doing is
meeting ... as a seasoned negotiator of many years, and
with these negotiations coming up in Scotland, I don't
think it is unreasonable to expect that someone from the
DUP would be in touch - yet that hasn't happened.

"How can you form an administration that has any
credibility with the community if people in the First and
Deputy First Ministers office are not talking to one

"If there is not engagement between the DUP and Sinn Fein,
you are obviously not going to form an administration that
is going to be viable over a lengthy period of time."

He says he is "quite philosophical".

He explains: "I read into that that the DUP are not yet
ready to do the business with Sinn Fein and also the
possibility that the DUP will never be ready to share power
with Catholics and nationalists.

"You don't get a sense this is a party leadership seriously
dealing with the situation we are in." When McGuinness
sends the DUP a message - asking, for example, whether the
DUP's planned consultation will involve "real leadership" -
he is aware it will be given little credence and could even

But he insists the greater post-November 24 challenge is
for the governments.

"They have very publicly stated their intention is to see
the Good Friday Agreement implemented and they will proceed
with that task," he adds. "And they have actually gone
further in saying they will establish new partnership

"The big challenge then will be the DUP's attempt to face
down or kill off the Good Friday Agreement.

"The only party that needs to sort itself out is the DUP.
The only party which is not saying 'Yes' at this stage is
the DUP, so the DUP needs to make up its mind and will have
to declare in the coming weeks how they intend to proceed
in this process.

"The wise thing for the DUP is do the deal now. Not to do
so is a huge tactical mistake on their part."


Minister Dermot Ahern Addresses British-Irish Association,

8th September
2006 Check Against Delivery
British- Irish Association,
Oxford, 8 September 2006

Remarks by Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and a privilege to join you tonight in
this fine venue at the BIA Conference - my first as
Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Weekends like this don't just happen. They require a hard-
working impresario. Happily, our Chairman, Conor Brady, has
been willing to bear this burden. For your efforts, Conor,
and those of your team, thank you.

The BIA is well established in the fabric of the British
Irish relationship - you are, in a sense, part of the
reflective apparatus of that relationship.

The coming weeks will be some of the busiest - and the most
important - which this process has experienced over the
past years. As we prepare to go down that path, the
opportunity you have given us this weekend to reflect on
what lies ahead of us is important and timely.

I want to particularly acknowledge the presence with us
this evening of our American colleagues. In carrying out
this work we have always received invaluable support from
our friends in the US - and we continue to need and welcome
that support so generously given by the President and his
Administration, and our many friends in Congress from both
sides of the aisle.

Mr Chairman,

Inevitably, politics is at the heart of what the BIA does.
I intend to focus my remarks on the political challenges
ahead - the opportunities as well as risks. I also intend
to touch on the economic dimension to our work - partly
because it shapes the context in which we work, but also
because it increasingly forms our agenda.

The coming weeks will be critical to answering the question
you yourselves posed in this afternoon's session: "A
Devolved Administration - Yes or No?"

Your question catches precisely the choice facing political
leaders in Northern Ireland in the eleven weeks remaining
for restoration of the institutions.

It is decision time. And the context for progress has never
been better.

We have had the most peaceful marching season in years -
thanks largely to the hard work of community leaders on
both sides in managing tensions on the ground - and also to
the work of the PSNI and Parades Commission. It would be
hard to imagine a greater contrast with the scenes we
witnessed at Whiterock this time last year.

The security environment is more stable than it has ever

In the past year we have had independent confirmation of
Provisional IRA decommissioning.

This week we had a further important indication from the
IMC that the Provisional IRA is living up to the
commitments made by its leadership last July.

We have signs of positive movement within loyalism and we
can hope for more in the coming months.

Against this background, in this environment, the answer
should be obvious. All of the parties are committed to the
restoration of devolved government. It is there for the

Of course, in such a seemingly benign context, the question
may be asked: does it really matter, whether we succeed in
putting together a devolved administration?

I believe profoundly that it does. It matters if, like me,
you believe in politics and in the power of politics to
transform society for the better.

Without political vision, patient negotiation and dogged
persistence - often in the face of apparently
insurmountable obstacles - we would not be where we are

If we allow a prolonged political stalemate, the real loser
will be the democratic process itself.

When arguments on institutional issues are seen repeatedly
to be at the expense of real local needs, then people
question the value of politics to the issues that most
affect their communities.

Every political party in Northern Ireland, every elected
representative is acutely aware of this.

I have heard from business leaders who are seriously
concerned that continuing political stalemate will lead to
economic stagnation.

I have heard from community leaders who are worried about
the long-term viability of their work on the ground in a
political vacuum. All understand that in the struggle
against sectarianism, in the battle for a shared future,
political stagnation is the enemy, not our ally.

And despite what we hear about apathy and aversion to
politics, I believe that the people of Northern Ireland do
care who makes decisions on the bread and butter issues
which affect them.

They want to have a say on local charges, on education, on
transport. They want to ensure that Northern Ireland has
the right economic policies, ones geared to its needs and

People on all sides of the political spectrum are
frustrated at their inability to exercise direct influence
in these areas and to hold their own locally elected
representatives to account.

Does it matter that people are angry, and politics is seen
to be powerless?

Of course it does. It cannot be good for the long-term
health of society if politics is seen to matter less and if
local accountability gives way to a more remote, distant

On 24th November, we can re-empower positive politics in
Northern Ireland for good.

It is, in a sense, the last threshold. A real opportunity.
Let's not squander it.

Why, some ask, would the Governments insist on a deadline,
when the process has been characterised, almost from the
outset, by missed deadlines?

The reality is that, the key issues have been endlessly
debated and are well defined. More time will not make them
easier to resolve.

There is a point where caution gives way to indecision and
drift. And if drift sets in, important decisions are
deferred or fudged.

That is bad for politics, bad for the economy and bad for
society as a whole.

Just as the Governments have stewarded this process from
its beginning, we have a responsibility to ensure that
drift and indecision do not continue across the business of

We have given our frank assessment that if November passes
without agreement, measures must - and will - be taken to
prevent any further drift.

What will that involve?

Let me begin by telling you what it won't be. It won't be a
shelving of the Good Friday Agreement. That Agreement has
been formally endorsed by the people of Ireland, North and
South. It is inconceivable that the Irish Government would
turn their back on it.

In addition, there is simply no practical alternative to
the Agreement.

If we were to start discussing one, we would end up with
all of the same fundamental elements.

The Agreement was negotiated as a fresh start for Northern
Ireland, laying the foundations for a future based on the
principles of mutual respect, equality and partnership.
These are the indispensable and immutable cornerstones on
which we build.

All who participated in the negotiations made compromises -
the Governments included. All who participated gained in
that collective effort. Northern Ireland gained. Our two
Islands gained.

It is the Agreement which has brought us this far along the
road. And it is the devolved institutions of the Agreement,
conceived as the structures of inclusive, partnership
government based on equality, which will always offer the
best prospects for a peaceful prosperous Northern Ireland
into the future.

The alternative to devolution in November, therefore, can
only be the fullest possible implementation of the
Agreement by the two Governments.

The Taoiseach and Prime Minister Blair have made clear
their intentions. If by 24 November a power-sharing
Executive has not been formed, the two Governments will
bring forward partnership arrangements to ensure that the
Good Friday Agreement is actively developed across all its
functions. As part of that, they have also made clear their
commitment to a step-change in North/South co-operation and
action for the benefit of all.

We are agreed on this and we are prepared to give practical
_expression to it.

Of course, in the absence of devolved institutions this
will be less than everyone would wish. In a sense there
will be no winners from this outcome. We will all lose, but
none more so than the political parties in Northern

Mr Chairman,

I said earlier that I believe that politics has the power
to transform communities and societies. Economics, too, is
transforming the context in which we are working in
Northern Ireland. I would go even further, and say that it
is increasingly shaping our agenda.

My perspective was formed in a border town that has been
transformed by the positive interplay between politics and

When Peter Hain and I meet - as we will in Dundalk next
Monday - practical issues of North South cooperation are
invariably close to the top of our agenda.

Because greater North South co-operation is critical to
building a prosperous Northern Ireland. And prosperity will
drive out economic decline which is the greatest ally of
social exclusion, sectarian hatred and bigotry.

North and South we are both operating in a highly
competitive and globalised economy.

The North is looking to increase its economic growth rate,
from the relatively low current level of 2.2%. We are
looking to maintain our competitiveness and sustain the
unprecedented levels of growth we have experienced in
recent years.

At the last British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, the
Secretary of State and I launched wide-ranging North/South
economic initiatives.

First, we agreed to pool our resources in trade promotion.
We will open all trade missions to companies across the
island. The facilities of Enterprise Ireland and Invest
Northern Ireland overseas offices will be made available to
all businesses on the island.

Second, we are taking an all-island approach to forecasting
labour market skills needs. We recognise that a skilled
workforce will be a key resource for a globally competitive
all-island economy.

Third we are intensifying collaboration in science and
technology to develop an innovation culture on the island
and take further advantage of EU funds on a cross border

Finally, we agreed an all-island approach to business
development through knowledge exchange and collaboration in
networks and clusters.

These initiatives are just the beginning. We have asked
that a comprehensive study be prepared to identify further
opportunities to work together to enhance the island's
competitiveness. Peter Hain and I are meeting again in
October to review this report. I am looking forward to
ambitious proposals that can help us realise the benefits
that a truly all-island economy can bring.

There are a number of key areas which we need to get right
and where the all-island dimension can be crucial:

We are looking at massive investments in infrastructure on
the island of Ireland in the next ten years. Joint
approaches will lead to better planning, better outcomes
and better value for money.

In our public services such as health and education, it
makes financial and policy sense to work together. We can
get better facilities and services in border areas and on
an all-island basis.

We can maximise our investments in education and R&D on the
island to develop a high skills and innovative economy.

We can achieve more balanced regional development and a
prosperous border region. The two Governments have already
launched a joint cross border initiative to promote the
development of the entire North West region. I have seen at
first hand the economic prosperity that co-operation
between Newry and Dundalk has brought to my own region.

The Irish Government is strongly committed to advancing
North/South co-operation. I hope that in the very near
future our partners in this can be Northern Ireland
Ministers working with us in the North South Ministerial
Council. The North/South arrangements in the Good Friday
Agreement are a vital part of the institutional balance in
the Agreement.

I see a discussion on the future of the Northern Ireland
economy has been included in the programme for tomorrow. I
very much welcome this. For too long, political issues have
sidelined discussion about the economic future of NI. We
need to focus on the needs of citizens - jobs, income,
economic stability, social well-being.

Inevitably, the centre of gravity in the British Irish
relationship is shifting from political, constitutional and
security issues to issues such as economic growth, labour,
environment and indeed our shared responsibilities in a
globalised world.

If Conor Brady would allow me make his life even more
difficult, I would suggest that these developments, and
their impact on the political process itself and the way in
which they are shaping our agenda deserve even closer
consideration by the BIA.

Mr Chairman,

I am optimistic about the immediate future.

The fact that all parties can sit together through August
to discuss issues necessary to prepare for Government -
including the devolution of justice and policing - gives
grounds for hope.

The issues themselves are well capable of being resolved by

The relative peace on the streets this summer gives strong
grounds for hope. Here is a clear signal - from some of the
most beleaguered and pressured communities - of
determination to secure a better future. Let's deliver on
that hope.

We will spare no effort to facilitate that progress. We
will devote all the time, energy and resources we have to
achieving restoration.

It is my overriding priority.

So - to pose your own question again - will we see a
devolved administration?

The decisions taken by the parties in the coming months
will determine whether or not come 25 November - eleven
weeks from tomorrow - the people of Northern Ireland can
wake up to an Assembly and Executive working for them and
accountable to them, or whether that opportunity is lost
for a very long time to come.

I believe they will because I believe that is in the
collective interests of all in Northern Ireland, and all of
us on these islands - not next year, or the following, but


Two Held Over Bangor Murder

Two men are being questioned about the gang murder of a
drug dealer found hacked to death in Northern Ireland.

Mark Christie, 36, was attacked with a range of weapons,
believed to have included a machete, in Bangor, Co Down,
last month.

At least six armed men chased him through Kilcooley, a
housing estate dominated by loyalist paramilitaries, before
inflicting the fatal wounds.

Christie, who was from the Whitehill district of the
seaside town, had been warned to stay away.

But he was spotted near a friend`s house on August 22 and
hunted down.

Detectives investigating the killing have since made
several arrests, without any charges.

But the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed today
that another two men had been detained.


Church Attack Prompts United Clean-Up Effort

By Nevin Farrell
14 September 2006

Loyalist community workers returned to a Catholic Church
yesterday to continue a hands-across-the-divide clean- up
after a double paint bomb attack.

Geoff Calderwood and Davy Warwick of Harryville Ulster-
Scots Society teamed up with Presbyterian Church youth
pastor Jeremy Gardiner to power-hose paint from The Church
of Our Lady in Harryville, Ballymena.

Mr Calderwood, chairman of the Ulster-Scots group, said:
"We were along with Parish Priest, Fr Paul, but
unfortunately it couldn't come off and we will back
tomorrow in an attempt to finish the clean-up".

The church has been paint bombed several times in the past.

Last year after a similar incident, Protestant church
groups, led by Jeremy Gardiner, also helped to remove the

Mr Calderwood said he believed dissident republicans were
responsible for the attack on Harryville Chapel in a bid to
drive up tensions and get loyalists the blame.

"We were glad to assist in removing the paint as the attack
was a disgrace. We have been working closely with Fr Paul
in recent times. I think our actions contrast sharply to
those of Republicans," said Mr Calderwood.

Fr Paul Symonds, the parish priest at Harryville, has
supported initiatives by the Ulster-Scots Society which has
seen a Red Hand of Ulster and red, white and blue paint
removed from footpaths outside the church and also the
replacing of a loyalist mural.

As part of that cross-community agreement, Irish tricolours
were removed from the Cushendall Road in Ballymena in

Mr Calderwood said the Ulster-Scots group had worked to
ensure the church was not attacked over the summer and he
said they received a letter of congratulations from Fr

There have been several sectarian petrol bomb attacks on
Catholic and Protestant homes in Ballymena in recent weeks.


Hunger Strike Remembered In Mountmellick 25 Years On

By: Joe Barrett

SINN Féin members and its supporters in Laois will mark the
25th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike with a
commemorative event in Mountmellick. .

Announcing details of the event local Sinn Féin
spokesperson John Nelson said: “To commemorate and
celebrate the lives of the ten brave men who made the
ultimate sacrifice in 1981, the William Brock Cumann,
Mountmellick will hold a commemorative day in the town on
Sunday, September 17 at 1pm in the Owenass Hall.”

The event will feature the national hunger strike
photographic exhibition from Belfast, Icons of Resistance a
photographic and a slideshow presentation. Guest speaker at
the event will be Sinn Féin’s Laois/Offaly general election
candidate, Cllr Brian Stanley. There will also be a
Republican gift shop, live music and drama, as well as a
raffle taking place during the event.

“The hunger strike of 1981 was one the most defining
moments in modern Irish history.

Twenty-five years ago, ten Republican prisoners made the
ultimate sacrifice and almost 50 other people, among them
three children struck by plastic bullets, died during that
time also,” said Mr Nelson.

“Two of those who died on hunger strike, Bobby Sands MP and
Kieran Doherty TD, were elected representatives of the
Irish people. They followed in the footsteps of the other
elected representative who died on hunger strike, Terence
MacSwiney TD, and Mayor of Cork. In all 23 Republicans trod
the lonely path of hunger strike to death from Thomas Ashe
in 1917 to Mickey Devine in 1981. One of which, Sean
McCaughey from Belfast died in Portlaoise prison after 23
days on a hunger and thirst strike in May 1946.

“We are conscious of the proud Republican tradition of
which we are a part and of the sacrifices made by those who
have gone before us in pursuit of Irish unity and
independence. The hunger strikers are a continuing
inspiration to free-dom-loving people in Ireland and
throughout the world. Here in Ireland their legacy is at
the core of our ongoing struggle for a New Ireland, a
united Ireland of equals.”

Mr Nelson said: “I would encourage everyone to attend this
event and send out a clear message to those who still try
and criminalise the Republican struggle. The events of 1981
and the sacrifices made by the men in Long Kesh and the
women in Armagh Jail will remain with us forever.”


British Exec Is Latest Extradited To US

By Jane Wardell AP Business Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

LONDON — A businessman accused of defrauding shareholders
on Thursday became the latest in a line of Britons
extradited to the United States under the controversial use
of a treaty originally designed to speed up the prosecution
of alleged terrorists.

Jeremy Crook, a former European vice president of
technology company Peregrine Systems, was accompanied by
U.S. marshals as he boarded a plane bound for San Diego,
where he will face a bail hearing on Friday.

Crook, 53, denies the fraud charges and had tried to
surrender voluntarily to American authorities, but his
passport was confiscated at an earlier London court

His departure for the United States follows the high-
profile extradition of the so-called NatWest Three _ the
trio of bankers facing Enron-related fraud charges in
Texas. All four were pursued under a 2003 extradition
treaty that critics say the United States is exploiting in
order to target white-collar crime.

Crook left his job at Peregrine in 2001, a year before the
company collapsed due to a major accounting scandal which
led to several senior managers being accused of fraud. His
name was added to the indictment in 2004.

If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 86
years. His lawyer, Steve Law, said that Crook was unlikely
to receive bail at Friday's hearing that allowed him to
return to Britain.

Crook maintains that he had no involvement with Peregrine's
accounts, which were handled in the United States.

"I have always tried to cooperate with the U.S.
authorities. If I was going to do a runner then I would
have done by now," Crook said at Heathrow Airport. "I could
have decided to go to Ireland or Cuba or anywhere to hide
from this but I wanted to tackle it head-on."

Crook and his lawyers have questioned the level of evidence
that the U.S. Department of Justice has against him, saying
he has cooperated with all U.S. inquiries. Crook said
Thursday he still had not seen the full case against him
made by U.S. authorities.

Lawyers say there are scores more executives with cases in
the legal system who could end up following Crook to face
charges in the U.S.

Legal experts and opposition lawmakers say that the treaty
_ which has yet to be ratified by the United States _
greatly reduces the level of evidence U.S. authorities must
show to request the extradition of a British citizen.

The House of Lords, the upper chamber of parliament, voted
earlier this year to suspend the treaty, but that vote is
unlikely to be carried in the lower House of Commons, where
Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party has a large
majority. The vote would need to pass both houses to become


From Prisoner To Peace Officer?

By Brendan Anderson
BBC News Website

It is one of the most emotive issues of the times and
always certain to lead to lively debate.

Should former paramilitaries be permitted to join the
police service?

Or, put another way, could a revolutionary become a
guardian of the law?

Many ex-prisoners, loyalist and republican, have espoused
the more peaceful path of politics and that is generally
accepted, if not always welcomed, in Northern Ireland.

And by one of the many quirks of the peace process, it is
entirely feasible that, in a restored assembly, an ex-
convict, could be the justice minister responsible for law
and order.

Uproar, however, followed the comments of Democratic
Unionist Party member Gregory Campbell who suggested it was
theoretically possible that former paramilitaries could
plod the beat as rank and file police officers.

They have to demonstrate that they are repentant and they
have to show that they do not advocate that sort of

Gregory Campbell MP

"They have to demonstrate that they are repentant and they
have to show that they do not advocate that sort of
activities," he said on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show

"If so, they could then be considered, only if they
demonstrate that, if they don't, they should not."

During the heated exchanges that followed those comments,
it was suggested that, in a country such as Canada, for
example, it could never be envisaged that those regarded as
former criminals would be entrusted with enforcing the law.

Others, opining that Canada was not a country coming out of
conflict, pointed to South Africa where ex-prisoner and ANC
activist Robert McBride is now a chief of police.

McBride, a member of the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we
Sizwe, took part in a shoot-out with security forces during
the successful rescue of a wounded guerilla commander.

He was sentenced to death for his part in the 1984 bombing
of a Durban public house which resulted in three deaths and
69 people being injured.

McBride was reprieved in 1992 and was attached to the
Mandela government's Department of Foreign Affairs before
being appointed chief of police in Johannesburg's East Rand

He remains a hate figure to some white South Africans while
retaining folk hero status amongst the black population.

His background, he said, far from being a millstone around
his neck, gave him the skills to tackle the serious crime
problem in his area.

He said his appointment was welcomed specially because of
his background.

"So it's the people who really know my work, who I've
defended and physically put my life on the line for. They
know my work," he said.

David Ervine also served a prison sentence for explosive
offences. He now heads the Progressive Unionist Party and
is an assembly member.

He said he is not in favour of former convicted
paramilitaries being accepted into the police service.

"The Progressive Unionist Party has a long-standing policy
that ex-combatants could not be involved in the police
service, simply because we don't need them," he said.

"We have 1.7 million people, we have a police service
that's meant to have about 3,000 to 4,000 people involved
in it.

"One has to think logically. We've got a police service
here who are building great credibility in terms of not
being a politically-driven police service."

Denis Bradley was until earlier this year vice-chairman of
the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

A former priest credited with having an insight into
militant republicanism.

Bradley believes some of the problem lies in convincing
unionists that the conflict was political, not criminal.

While acknowledging the huge public interest in the issue,
he said it did not appear to be very high on the agenda of

"Sinn Fein has not fought very strongly for this. There has
been no great political demand from any of the political
parties," he said.

"What I support is the possibility of people who have
actually been involved in a conflict over a period of time
who now want to join up, because what they have to do is
make an oath of fair play and decency and putting the past
behind them.

"That's actually what they sign up to."

Gary Blair, now a DUP member, served a prison sentence for

He resolutely opposes the idea of "people like me" being
permitted to become police officers. "

AA conviction is a conviction and it should rule everyone
out. I would never put myself forward to join the PSNI
(Police Service of Northern Ireland)," he said.

"If the police want to be a credible police force, then I
think they need to have credible officers and obviously
people who broke the law repeatedly don't have that
credibility and I include myself in that."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/14 13:53:34 GMT


Ógra Shinn Féin Launch New Blog!

national miscellaneous press release Friday September
15, 2006 03:20 by Bloghlaigh na h'Éireann - Ógra Shinn Féin
osfnational at yahoo dot ie

Blogging for Freedom

Malcolm X once said,

"I've had enough of someone else's propaganda. I'm for
truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter
who it's for or against. I'm a human being first and
foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever
benefits humanity as a whole."

With those inspirational words of guidance in mind, Ógra
Shinn Féin have launched a new blog spot at:

The Ógra SF blogspot will be used to keep activists,
supporters and the public updated with Ógra news, politics
and upcoming events. It will also be used as a discussion
forum for young Republican Socialists, debating important
issues in the time ahead.

Speaking of the launch of the Ógra Shinn Féin blog, Barry
McColgan said,

"Yet another platform has opened up for Ógra to present its
radical voice, our politics and news of past and upcoming
events. The blog will be used to keep our activists,
supporters and the public updated on Ógra and related news,
but it will also be used to present a platform for young
Republican Socialists to voice their opinions on relevant
issues, both political and social, domestic and

"We believe that the blog will provide a brilliant forum
for constructive debate in the time ahead, and we also
believe it will also extend our voice to a wider audience,
allowing people to read the true views of Irish Republican

"The blog is only one of a number of current initiatives
being undertaken presently by Ógra to encourage internal
debate and also to put our views out to the people. We are
planning the relaunch of 'The Spark' magazine for this
years ÓSF National Congress in November and we will also
launch a new National website in the coming months. Our
voice will be heard."

Related Link:

To Subscribe to Irish Aires News List, click
To Unsub from Irish Aires News List, click
No Message is necessary.

Or get full news from Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click
Or get full news from IrishAiresNews Google Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click
(Paste into a News Reader)

To September Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?