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October 22, 2006

Loyalists Linked to 90% of Race Crime

News About Ireland & The Irish

GU 10/22/06 Loyalists Linked To 90 Per Cent Of Race Crime
SB 10/22/06 O’Loan To Probe PSNI Murder Investigation
TO 10/22/06 Dublin To Spend €1bn In North
TO 10/22/06 Dissident Attacks Feared
GU 10/22/06 Cross-Border Action Urged Over Mounting Road Deaths
SF 10/22/06 Adams - Time To Increase The Pressure On Government
TO 10/22/06 Opin: Paisley & Adams Have Come Far, There's No Going Back
DT 10/22/06 Milestone For Museum Of Free Derry


Loyalists Linked To 90 Per Cent Of Race Crime

Observer survey reveals bombings, evictions and bullying in
Protestant neighbourhoods

Henry McDonald
Sunday October 22, 2006
The Observer

More than 90 per cent of all racist attacks over the last
two years in Northern Ireland have occurred in loyalist
areas, according to an Observer survey into every
publicised incident between January 2005 and September

In 2005 there were 31 racial assaults reported in the media
and 28 of these took place in loyalist communities ranging
from south Belfast to Portadown all the way across to
Portavogie on the Ards Peninsula. The remaining three
attacks were in Catholic areas including Derry and

So far this year there have been 33 racist attacks recorded
and 30 of these were in Protestant areas. These assaults
range from petrol bombings of the houses of migrant workers
to the forced evictions of black women from loyalist
estates. In one incident in March this year racists smeared
excrement over a Catholic Church in the Upper Newtonards
Road in east Belfast, which has become a place of worship
for Filipino nurses working at nearby Ulster Hospital.

The latest alleged racist incident occurred last Monday at
a secondary school in North Belfast. Jade Taylor, 13, was
left badly shaken and bruised after she said she was
assaulted by racists at Glengormley High School. Her Indian
mother, Satwant Shanti Johal, has vowed not to send her
child back until the school implemented a multicultural,
anti-racist programme. The school has said it already runs
a number of anti-racist projects.

Many of the racists' targets have been vulnerable women and
children including Alison Antoine, a black nurse, who was
intimidated into leaving her home on the loyalist Rathkyle
estate in Antrim Town in January. Racist graffiti and
swastikas were daubed on to the front of her home.

Anti-racist campaigners last night said the overall figures
showed there was a serious problem within loyalist
communities regarding racism.

Davy Carlin, one of the founding members Anti-Racist
Network in Northern Ireland, also called on unionist
leaders to do more. 'Those figures do confirm that the
majority of these attacks are happening in Protestant,
mainly working class areas. Racist attacks do happen in
both areas across the sectarian divide but we have to say
the overt assaults are coming in Protestant areas.

He claimed that the figures 'seriously underestimate' the
real number of attacks against immigrants and ethnic
minorities across Northern Ireland.

'They are definitely unrecorded and unreported out of fear.
Those people who have just come here to make a better life
for themselves and their families are least likely to
report them because they are outsiders in a new community.'

The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities said the
figures confirmed all their anecdotal evidence that most
racist attacks were taking place in unionist areas.

However, Patrick Yu, NICEM's director warned that racist
attacks in Catholic areas has also been on the rise
recently. 'NICEM heard recently of a case in Larne where
the two sides, Catholics and Protestants, united together
against migrant workers in the town.

'In rural parts of Northern Ireland we have also heard that
racist incidents against migrants are on the rise in
Catholic areas. So whilst it's true that over the last few
years there have been more attacks within Protestant
communities, it is a mistake to say there are no racist
incidents in the other side, a dangerous mistake,' Yu said.

One of the reasons both the PSNI and anti-racist
campaigners believe that attacks have been concentrated in
Protestant working class areas is due to housing.

In Belfast, for instance, the majority of immigrants are
being offered rental accommodation in de-populating
Protestant inner city areas like the Village and Donegall
Road. By contrast there are very few houses for rent in
Catholic areas, where demand for homes continually
outstrips supply.

In sharp contrast to the loyalist south, Belfast
republicans in the west of the city have published Welcome
Packs for new immigrants coming into the constituency. Sinn
Fein has also distributed leaflets in Polish welcoming
migrant workers from Poland.

However, the West Belfast Welcome Pack has come under
criticism from Searchlight, the UK anti-fascist magazine
that has been exposing neo-Nazi activity in Britain and
Northern Ireland since the early Seventies.

Searchlight singled out the pack's advice to immigrants on
dealing with the police. It reads that: 'The Police Force
in the North of Ireland (the PSNI) is seen by most people
here as an extension of the British State and has no
support. You should avoid calling them into the area,
unless it is a necessity.'

Searchlight said such advice offered little encouragement
to immigrants to report racist attacks to the police.

Groups including the British National Party and far right
groups such as Combat 18 have also tried to exploit the
race issue in Northern Ireland.

And while mainstream loyalist paramilitary groups have
organised campaigns to portray racism as anti-British, many
of their rank and file are behind the attacks. The
Progressive Unionist Party has run a very public anti-
racist campaign. However, members of the PUP's military
wing, the Ulster Volunteer Force, were at the forefront of
racist protests against the Chinese community in the
Donegall Pass area of south Belfast.


O’Loan To Probe PSNI Murder Investigation

22 October 2006 By Barry McCaffrey

The North’s Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, is to
investigate claims that the PSNI failed to arrest loyalists
suspected of murdering a Belfast teenager, the last
Catholic to be shot dead by loyalists during the Troubles,
even though they were identified by two eyewitnesses.

The parents of Gerard Lawlor last week asked O’Loan to
examine if their son’s murder was properly investigated.
They believe the original PSNI inquiry was ‘‘seriously
flawed’’ and may have been obstructed to protect police

The 19-year-old was shot dead by two gunmen on a moped as
he walked home from a north Belfast bar in July 2002.The
murder was the fourth UDA shooting in north Belfast that
night, following a dissident republican gun attack on a
Protestant teenager earlier in the day.

The motorbike was later found at the home of a relative of
one of the main suspects. Less than 24 hours after Lawlor’s
murder, a masked UDA man claimed that the killing had been
a ‘‘measured military response’’ to the INLA gun attack on
a Protestant in north Belfast.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds broke down in tears when visiting the
teenager’s parents. The talented hurler was the fifth
member of the local St Enda’s GAA club to be killed during
the Troubles.

More than 5,000 people took part in a peace vigil following
Lawlor’s murder. In August 2003, two men were questioned
about the murder, but were later released without charge.

For three years, Lawlor’s parents, John and Sharon,
supported the police but, over the last 18 months, they
have come to believe that there was never any serious
effort made to apprehend their son’s killers.

Among their concerns is evidence that a telephone call was
made to the PSNI’s confidential telephone line days after
the murder identifying a well-known UDA man, who visited
the Bellevue Bar several times in the week before the

The loyalist fled to England in 2003 after an internal UDA
feud, but was later jailed for trying to sell heroin and
crack cocaine to undercover police officers. Police told
the Lawlors that the motorbike used by the killers was
found at a house in nearby Newtownabbey, but that it had
been impossible to obtain forensic evidence, as it had been

It has now emerged that a female PSNI officer identified
one of the suspects from a police photofit, but was not
asked to attend any ID parade. It has also emerged that a
witness identified only as X telephoned the confidential
police line days after the murder, identifying two
loyalists who, X claimed, confessed to the murder several
hours after the attack. After hearing nothing for four
years, X approached police earlier this summer and gave a
statement identifying the two suspects.

The witness is also understood to have offered to give
evidence at any trial. However, the Lawlor family say that
police have refused to investigate the witness’s claims in
the absence of fresh corroborating evidence.


Dublin To Spend €1bn In North

Stephen O'Brien, Political Correspondent

THE IRISH government is planning to spend more than €1
billion on motorways, energy links and healthcare in
Northern Ireland, in an unprecedented peace dividend for
the province.

The investment will be part of the National Development
Plan (NDP), to be announced in January. Senior government
figures have confirmed that the capital spending plan for
the next seven years will include a series of large
infrastructure investments in the north.

The NDP will map out the government’s intention to spend
more than €100 billion on economic infrastructure from 2007
to 2013. For the first time it will include “a significant
cross-border element”, providing co-funding for projects
such as upgrading the 90-mile Derry-Aughnacloy road to
motorway standard, two electricity interconnectors, and
radiotherapy facilities at Altnagelvin hospital in Derry.

The details have emerged a week after Bertie Ahern and Tony
Blair promised the Northern political parties in the St
Andrews agreement that their governments would ensure the
Stormont executive has the capacity “to provide quality
public services” and to make long-term capital investments
to underpin the economic transformation of Northern

Further progress towards the establishment of the executive
is expected tomorrow, when last week’s impasse over Sinn
Fein declaring support for the Police Service of Northern
Ireland is likely to be resolved.

Dermot Ahern, the minister for foreign affairs, yesterday
confirmed plans for the cross-border investment programme.
“As a TD from a border constituency, I understand fully the
concept of developing an all-island economy,” he said. “In
terms of investing in this island, the republic will not be
found wanting when it comes to providing exchequer funding
(north of the border).”

Ahern, Brian Cowen, the finance minister, and Gordon Brown,
the British chancellor, discussed the north’s
infrastructural deficit at a dinner in Whitehall earlier
this year.

One of the largest spending commitments in the north is
likely to be on energy, and realising the creation of a
“single electricity market” already agreed between the
British and Irish government.

Noel Dempsey, the Irish energy minister, told an energy
conference in Dublin last week that a second north-south
electricity interconnector “will be operational by 2012 at
the latest” and would enhance security of supply and double
the existing cross-border electricity transfer capacity to
more than 600 megawatts.

The project is expected to cost about €180m, a sum that
could be split 50-50 between Britain and Ireland. The two
governments have also held talks about the construction of
an east-west interconnector, the first electricity link to
run from mainland Britain to the island of Ireland.

The east-west link could cost about €500m, according to one
government source, and it is unclear how the spending
burden would be shared. The interconnector would run from
Britain to Northern Ireland, but with two north-south
interconnectors in place it would give added assurance of
security of supply to the republic.

The Irish government has already invested funds in the
development of the City of Derry airport in recognition of
the facility’s strategic importance in relation to Co
Donegal. The first funds were invested in the late 1990s,
and last year Ahern and John Spellar, Northern Ireland’s
regional development minister, announced a joint government
investment of €15m.

Last year, the two governments also signed contracts with
SIAC-Ferrovial, a construction company, to build the nine-
mile A1/N1 cross-border route from Dundalk to Newry, the
continuation of the republic’s M1 motorway from Dublin to

The National Roads Authority and the Department of
Transport in Dublin are in discussions on other cross-
border road projects with the Department of the Environment
in Northern Ireland.

One finance official indicated that the new NDP would be
very different in approach and style from its predecessors.
“The old NDP was done by project and by region, listing the
spending per county,” he said. “This will set out a vision
to 2013. It will not be a list of projects with prices
attached. It will take a more sectoral, strategic approach
to the planning of infrastructural spending.”

Much of the plan’s contents are already known: the
government launched its €34 billion Transport 21 plan
almost a year ago and a strategy for science, technology
and innovation was published in June with a price of more
than €2.5 billion. They will both be included in the NDP.

The document is expected to provide for a growing cross-
border use of health facilities, while not necessarily
detailing spending on specific capital projects.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has already agreed to
use Belfast’s City hospital as a cancer speciality centre
for Donegal patients, starting in a few weeks.

“There is an interest in pursuing a population-based
approach to medical services,” said the official. “If there
were a willingness to co-fund satellite cancer centres and
radiotherapy centres, that would present an opportunity,
particularly in the context of the people in the

The government has dropped a plan to launch the NDP on
November 16, just before the 2007 spending estimates. One
source involved in the NDP drafting said publication had
been postponed until January because work remains to be

The possibility also exists of north-south co-funding for a
new €195m PSNI training college in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Alex Attwood, the SDLP justice and policing spokesman, has
raised with the north’s policing board the possibility of
co-funding from the republic to create “a centre of
excellence for training in Ireland”.


Dissident Attacks Feared

Liam Clarke

Stormont deal puts police on alert for bomb attacks

SECURITY forces in Northern Ireland are on alert for a
possible bomb attack on a town centre by dissident
republicans in the run-up to the November 24 deadline for
the election of the Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness
at Stormont.

The Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Fein are conducting
intense internal consultations on a deal offered by the
British and Irish governments and must give their verdict
on it by November 10. Security sources believe that
dissidents would like to panic Paisley’s party into
rejecting a deal with Sinn Fein.

“The next two to four weeks is a particularly vulnerable
time,” said a security source, who emphasised that the
security forces have foiled most dissident attacks to date.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a DUP MP, said he was aware of the
threat and that his party would not be knocked off course
by any attack. He said there had been bomb attacks during
the run-up to the Good Friday agreement, including some in
his own Lagan Valley constituency.

“Past form suggests that dissidents will target unionist
areas to try and unsettle the community. It is important
that we see that kind of tactic for what it is,” Donaldson
said. “It is a cynical, desperate ploy to drag Northern
Ireland back to that past but the DUP is determined to take
Northern Ireland into a future beyond conflict and

“I would be absolutely amazed if the Provisional IRA were
to start exploding bombs but it would not surprise me if
dissident groups (did) because of their narrow, poisonous

There are signs that dissidents are planning mayhem. Last
Monday a school bus driver and former member of the
security forces in east Tyrone was told by dissidents that
he would be killed if he continued to enter nationalist

In warning calls to a priest and the man’s employers, the
terrorists claimed to have set up an attack but aborted it
because there were too many children gathered around the
driver when he got off the bus.

In April a bomb was found in Lurgan following a tip-off and
more recently there have been firebomb attacks across the

The dissidents are increasingly desperate because they
believe Sinn Fein is about to support the police service
and go into government with the DUP, effectively removing
any remaining rationale for armed republican resistance.

The present impasse between the DUP and Sinn Fein looks set
be broken tomorrow at a preparation for government
committee meeting in Stormont that both parties will

Last week Paisley refused to attend a committee meeting
where he would have sat opposite Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein
leader, and planned what they would do when power sharing
is restored. The DUP leader vetoed the meeting because he
was not satisfied of Sinn Fein’s support for the PSNI.

Paisley wanted Sinn Fein to give an assurance that
McGuinness would take a pledge of office that included
allegiance to the police and the courts on November 24
when, if the timetable holds, he will be elected deputy
first minister.

Sinn Fein wamts to delay the pledge until after an ard
fheis which is to be held some time after November 24.

It is likely that a deal will be reached tomorrow by which
McGuinness will give a conditional undertaking on November
24, promising to give support for the police subject to
approval of the ard fheis.

Yesterday Dermot Ahern, the Irish foreign minister, said
the likely outcome was that McGuinness would “pledge to
take the pledge”.


Cross-Border Action Urged Over Mounting Road Deaths

Henry McDonald, ireland editor
Sunday October 22, 2006
The Observer

Calls for a cross-border road safety strategy were made
last night following news that six more people died on
Irish roads this weekend, four of them in one crash.

Four young men, two of them cousins, were killed on the
Monaghan to Threemilehouse road shortly after 2am
yesterday. A fifth victim was knocked down on Friday night
while walking along a road in Co Wexford. The death of a
motorist on the same day north of the border brought the
number of road fatalities in Northern Ireland this year
alone to 100.

The latest loss of life has prompted SDLP assembly member
John Dallat to demand an island-wide strategy aimed at
cutting the number of road deaths.

He said: 'A lack of political will in the past has
contributed to deaths on the roads north and south and must
not be part of the future. Northern Ireland and the
Republic must work together to harmonise our laws and audit
the cost of road safety.'

Gardai last night named the four men who died in the
Monaghan crash as Brian O'Neill, 19, Ciaran Hagan, 20, Gary
McCormick, 20, and Dermot Thornton, 21. All four came from
Threemilehouse.A fifth man, aged 27, was being treated in
Dublin's Beaumont Hospital after being transferred from
Monaghan General Hospital. He is described as being in a
critical condition.

Local politicians in Co Monaghan said last night that
family, friends and neighbours of the young men killed have
been plunged into a deep state of shock

Fine Gael TD Seymour Crawford, who knew the victims, said:
'This is an absolutely dreadful tragedy. People are
obviously extremely stunned to see four young people taken
in the prime of their lives and another man seriously ill.

'All the victims would be known locally and people are in a
deep state of shock. It just seems that all too often in
this country the lives of young people who go out during
the weekend are taken on our roads in the early hours of
the morning.'

Gardai sealed off the crash scene for a technical
examination; it is understood two Volkswagen Golfs were
involved in a head-on collision. All four victims were
pronounced dead at the scene.

The Sinn Fein TD for the area, Caoimhghin O'Caolain, also
expressed sympathy. 'The entire community of
Threemilehouse, Clones and North Monaghan is in shock this
morning on learning of the loss of four young lives in such
tragic circumstances. On behalf of myself and Monaghan Sinn
Fein I wish to extend heartfelt sympathy to all of the
bereaved and join with the entire community in offering our
support at this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers
are with them all.'

In Wexford on Friday night, a 32-year-old man was knocked
down by a car as he walked along the N25 at Ballygoman,
Barntown at around 9.45pm.

He was also pronounced dead at the scene. The female driver
of the car was treated for shock at Wexford General

The 100th road death in Northern Ireland this year occurred
on Friday when 19-year-old John Stephenson was killed after
his car crashed on the Belfast Road outside Bangor. The
accident, which only involved the dead man's car, was
reported to police in the early hours of Friday morning.


Adams - Time To Increase The Pressure On Government

“Sinn Féin is demanding change. We are putting equality
and the demand for healthcare as a right at the top of the
political agenda. We believe that health spending should
go into public services not private health care. We
believe that tax breaks to developers of private hospitals
should end. We believe that subsidies to private
healthcare should stop immediately. Sinn Féin will make
healthcare delivery a priority in the run up to this year’s
budget, in the election campaign and beyond. We will
continue to fight for health as a right until it is

Mr. Adams went on to say:

“No one should have to languish on a hospital trolley in a
corridor. Not in 2006, in the era of the Celtic Tiger. No
one should be on a waiting list for years. Every citizen
should have access to the same standard of care. The fact
is the money and resources are available to provide a first
class health service for everyone. What is missing is the
political will to achieve this.

“Successive Irish governments, and especially the current
coalition, have rejected the principle of health as a
public service. They have pursued a policy of privatisation
and the creation of a two tier health system. Public
money, taxpayers money, your money is given away by this
government to their friends in the private health sector.

The result of these policies is:

There are one third less beds in our acute hospitals than
there were in 1980. Yet the demand today is far greater.

There is huge inequality in the health system today with
the disgraceful fact that the poorest people in Ireland are
now 200 times more likely to die from the main causes of
death than the richest people in society.

Hardly a day goes by without some major controversy or
exposure of failure within our health system.

“The health system we have reflects the government’s agenda
for inequality. Their agenda for inequality is just as
clear in their bad policies on education, rural
regeneration, workers rights and many other issues.” ENDS

Full text

I want to commend all of those who helped organise today's
march and rally. This large crowd and your attendance here
today is testimony to the importance - the key importance -
of the issue of health in this state and on this island

More articles are written in newspapers, more news reports
are produced in the broadcast media, more comment and
conversation is made around health than probably any other
single issue.

The state of our health service impacts on all us.

It affects babies born in poorly resourced, understaffed
maternity units. It affects children and adults who queue
for hours in overstretched A & E units and it affects our
elderly who lie on hospital trolleys and sometimes die
there. The health care and attention given to mothers can
dramatically affect babies even before they are born.
Unemployed women are more than twice as likely to give
birth to low birth-weight babies as women in the higher
income groups.

Infant mortality rates are higher in families where the
father is an unskilled manual worker. Overall people
in Ireland have a lower life expectancy that the average in
the rest of Europe.

How we are treated and cared for within the health system
throughout our lives, and especially when confronted by
serious illness or old age, is a major worry for all but
the most wealthy.

Our individual state of health is linked directly to our
jobs - if we have one - to our housing conditions, to
education, to our environment - in essence to our quality
of life.

Earlier this week a report was issued by the Institute for
Public Health which said that the poorest people in Ireland
were 200 times more likely to die from the main causes of
death [including cancer, respiratory diseases and
accidents], than the richest people in society.

Another report concluded that death rates in Ireland are
higher than average when compared with 19 other countries
of similar development and wealth. There is hardly a day
goes pass without some major controversy or exposure of
failure within our health system.

Whether it is in the provision of and access to cancer
treatments; the availability of screening services and
maternity services; or the state of our Accident and
Emergency Units and the number of our relatives who daily
languish on hospital trolleys, the issue of health care is
a major issue for all of us.

The fact is that society in this state is more unequal than
it was 15 years ago at the beginning of this period of
economic growth.

Most people are better paid, but they are working longer
hours and commuting long distances because they cannot
afford to live near their place of work. They are
struggling to keep up with spiralling costs in housing,
education, childcare and basic services like ESB.

There are also - to the Irish government's great shame -
tens of thousands living in poverty. At a time of
unprecedented growth, 15% of all children live in
consistent poverty, while one in four children are deemed
by the government's own statistics to be at risk of

And this after 9 years of successive budget surpluses.

The predictions are that the government will have a surplus
of €1.8 billion this year and another €1.3 billion over the
following two years. A government committed to a decent
health system could make effective use of such resources.

What has this government and their predecessors done?

They have cut the number of acute hospital beds to one
third less than it was in 1980, from 17,500 to 12,000. Yet
the demand today is far greater.

Successive Irish governments, and especially the current
coalition, have rejected the principle of health as a
public service.

They have pursued a policy of privatisation and the
creation of a two tier health system. Public money,
taxpayers money, your money is given away by this
government to their friends in the private health sector.

Sinn Féin is committed to ending the two tier health

Sinn Féin is committed to the delivery of a public health
system accessible to all on the basis of need.

That's what people work and pay taxes for. No one should
have to languish on a hospital trolley in a corridor. Not
in 2006, in the era of the Celtic Tiger. No one should be
on a waiting list for years. Every citizen should have
access to the same standard of care. What is missing is
the political will to achieve this.

The fact is the money and resources are available to
provide a first class health service for everyone.

We are a republican party. Why doesn’t the government take
it’s lead from the Proclamation, read on the steps of this
building 90 years ago this year.

The Proclamation promotes equal rights and equal
opportunities for all citizens.

The Proclamation is a declaration of social and economic
intent for a rights based society in which the people - in
which you - are sovereign.

And it set a standard for the future care of citizens, "to
pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and
all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the
nation equally."

Government policy is totally at odds with this. Government
policy is based on the notion that inequality is good for

For our part we believe that healthcare is a right, not a

We believe that health spending should go into public
services not private health care.

We believe that tax breaks to developers of private
hospitals should end.

We believe that subsidies to private healthcare should stop
immediately. Sinn Féin would make this a priority in

The health system we have reflects the government’s agenda
for inequality. Their agenda for inequality is just as
clear in their bad policies on education, rural
regeneration, workers rights and many other issues.

The debate about our health services is really part of a
wider debate about the kind of Ireland we want. Right now
the wealth of Ireland is not being used to benefit of the
people of Ireland. We have to change that. We have to put
equality at the heart of government policy.

Ireland is in transition north and south. We are moving
slowly but surely from a partitioned island to a new agreed
Ireland. There are many challenges facing republicans in
the time ahead. But we need change in the here and now not
just in the north but across the island. What price
freedom if we have a Thatcherite Ireland. Republicanism is
about citizens. It’s about rights. Healthcare is
fundamental to the wellbeing of our people and our society.

Today's rally is part of an all-Ireland campaign to demand
and win a radical transformation of the health system.

Working together we can deliver a public health system that
works for all the people. We will accept nothing less.”ENDS


Opin: Paisley & Adams Have Come So Far, There's No Going Back

Only one issue commanded cross-party support in the St
Andrews negotiations: everyone agreed that it will cost the
British and Irish taxpayers billions to establish a
devolved power-sharing government in the north.

Peace comes dropping slow and it’s not coming cheap. The
issue of cost is a useful barometer to tell us how close
the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and Sinn Fein are to
closure. The more they focus on this dowry, the closer they
are to finally jumping into bed together.

At present they are almost too gentlemanly to mention money
— other issues must be dealt with first. But last week
Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, in an interview with An
Phoblacht, put a figure on it. “We have proposed a stand-
alone £10 billion investment package over a 10-year
period,” he said. “Discussions on this issue continued in
London yesterday.”

Ian Paisley put it more coyly in a speech in Scotland when
he referred to “a financial package and fairness and
equality measures for our community”.

The cost of this package will be borne in the main by
London, but Dublin will also have to bear part of the
burden, particularly on projects with a cross-border
dimension. In the St Andrews Agreement the two governments
said they were “committed to working with the parties to
establish the most favourable possible climate for a newly
restored executive”, adding that Gordon Brown and Brian
Cowen, the respective finance ministers, would meet local
parties “to take this forward”.

This meeting, at which the demand for money will be made
and met, cannot take place until Paisley and McGuinness
have been appointed first and deputy first minister
designates. If everything goes to plan, this should happen
on November 24. There will then be a gap of several months
until the executive “goes live”, and during that time the
ability of the parties to bring financial pressure to bear
will be at its maximum.

Both parties want a clear run in government during which
they can deliver steady economic growth without raising
taxes. The fact that they are, slowly but insistently,
focusing on that prize is a sign that the parties believe
the other difficulties can be overcome.

Another sign that the DUP and Sinn Fein leadership intend
to do a deal is that they have both begun to claim victory
from the St Andrews Agreement, even though neither of them
has yet signed up to it. When you trumpet the agreement, as
Ian Paisley did, as “considerable progress”, it is hard to
denounce it later as a sham. When you boast, as he did, of
how far you have moved Sinn Fein and the IRA, it is hard to
switch back to saying that there has been no change.

The DUP party machine seems set to do business. Anyone
visiting the party’s website will be struck by its
relentless foregrounding of the positive. Last week, for
instance, Paisley reverted to form when he warned the
British and Irish governments that he had a secret
assurance on policing that he would “ram down their throat”
before giving them “a knock between the eyes” that would
make them see stars.

The angry words lasted no longer than an autumn breeze. DUP
insiders insisted that this issue would be “sorted over the
weekend” without publishing anything. On the website
Paisley’s bluster was never mentioned. Instead the news was
of the unanimous welcome given by the DUP assembly group to
“the progress made for the interests of unionism and the
cause of democracy by the party’s negotiating team”.

Sinn Fein is, if anything, more focused. Last Sunday, the
day after he returned from the negotiations in Scotland,
Gerry Adams used a republican commemoration to sell the St
Andrews Agreement. Those being commemorated were Joseph
Surgenor, Paul Marlowe and Francis Fitzsimmons, who died
when four bombs destined for Belfast Gasworks exploded
prematurely in 1976.

It must have had personal echoes for Adams. Marlowe, a
former British army paratrooper, had been imprisoned with
him and had helped him devise an escape attempt that
failed. The three died shortly after the Sinn Fein leader
was released from jail and at a time when he held a senior
position in the IRA.

“We are very proud of our patriot dead and commemorations
like this allow us to honour their memory, reflect on their
lives and courage and remember that each was a son, a
husband and a brother,” Adams told a crowd of about 600
before claiming a victory in the negotiations he had
attended the day before in Scotland.

The achievement, he told them, had been “binding
rejectionist- unionism into the peace process” and “moving
the anti-Agreement DUP to a position where they are
prepared, for the first time ever, to accept power-sharing
with Irish republicans and to participate in all-Ireland
political arrangements”.

It hardly needed to be said that the objective of sharing
power with Paisley at Stormont, even with cross-border
institutions and a £10billion investment package thrown in,
would not have inspired anyone to join the IRA, go to
prison or risk their lives, as Adams and the three men he
was commemorating had done.

Who, for that matter, would have joined the DUP in
preference to the Ulster Unionists if Paisley had told his
followers in the 1970s that his legacy would be power-
sharing with Sinn Fein? Both the DUP and Sinn Fein have
moved so far from their founding principles that there is
no going back.

Theirs is a journey that can only be justified by success.
If they cannot reach agreement and take the measure of
power that is now within their grasp, it will be failure
for a generation of leadership — for Adams and McGuinness
as much as for Paisley and Peter Robinson. If they cannot
generate some momentum now, all of them will have
surrendered what they once considered the moral high ground
for a life of opposition and irrelevance.

The next move for both parties is clear. Sinn Fein needs to
talk directly to the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI) and the DUP needs to talk directly to Sinn Fein.

At present both parties stand in no man’s land. The IRA has
largely stopped operating its paramilitary policing
functions, but has still not supported the PSNI. This has
created a vacuum into which dissident republicans have
stepped. Last week the Continuity IRA issued a list of
people who must leave the country. Sinn Fein will lose
support if it cannot find an alternative within weeks
rather than months.

Now is the time for McGuinness and Gerry Kelly to begin
exploratory meetings with the PSNI in preparation for a
Sinn Fein ard fheis on the policing issue at the end of
next month. This is needed to prepare their followers, to
reassure working-class nationalist communities that crime
can be dealt with, and to maximise pressure on the DUP to

The DUP has made considerable gains by taking things slowly
with Sinn Fein, but by this stage their refusal to talk to
republicans is starting to look suspiciously like weakness
and fear. Direct dialogue with Sinn Fein is something that
Paisley and Robinson know is necessary if they are to get
their hands on the levers of power. Further delay can only
allow resistance to grow among hardliners as well as
eroding the confidence of government and the public.

These may be hard pills for both parties to swallow after
all those years of saying “no”, but if they need a spoonful
of sugar, then they can always start negotiating for the
£10 billion.


Milestone For Museum Of Free Derry

THE MUSEUM of Free Derry celebrated its 10,000th visitor to
their centre in the Bogside's Glenfada Park last week.

Speaking to the 'Journal', Project Co-ordinator Adrian Kerr
said he was delighted that so many had already passed
through the museums doors.

Mr. Kerr said: "This is only a temporary exhibition in
what's basically still a building site without any proper
marketing or proper signage, so to get 10,000 people
through the doors is better than even we expected!"

"We have had visitors from all over the world coming here,
which just shows the level of interest people still have in
Bloody Sunday, even moreso with the Saville Inquiry due out
next year."

Mr. Kerr went on: "We're closing for renovations next week,
when we will get the building up to the proper standard.
Then we will have the first stage of a prominent multimedia
exhibition from the civil rights era right up to Operation

"So we expect the number of visitors to the museum to be
even better next year," Mr. Kerr added.

The Museum of Free Derry will close today and it is
expected to reopen in time for the annual Bloody Sunday
commemorations in January, 2007.

21 October 2006

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