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October 22, 2006

Pledge Row Probably Not Last Glitch

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 10/22/06 Pledge Row Probably Not Last Glitch
SL 10/22/06 Allister Questions Sinn Fein's Intentions
IT 10/22/06 Ahern Quotes Paisley On Prospect Of Peace In NI
SF 10/22/06 McGuinness: Republicans Must Plot The Way Forward Together
SL 10/22/06 We Need Deal ... Or Future Generations Will Curse Us
SL 10/22/06 Brian Rowan: Mi5's Ulster Folly?
SL 10/22/06 Omagh Trial Set To Call Spy's Handlers
SL 10/22/06 Home Of UDA Exile's Daughter Attacked
SL 10/22/06 Remembering Thomas Devlin
SL 10/22/06 Crusading Dad's (Raymond Mccord) Call For Support
SL 10/22/06 O'Loan's Son Cops It Over Cafe Outburst
BB 10/22/06 Shock At Claudy Bomb Memorial Vandalism
BB 10/22/06 Family Plea Over Missing American Tourist
BN 10/22/06 Prices Fall For Second-Hand Houses In Dublin
BS 10/22/06 Edna O'Brien Surpasses Herself
BN 10/22/06 Poll On Irish Attitudes To Alcohol Abuse Published

(Poster’s Note: On the heals of the surprising revelation
from the DUP’s Jim Allister that Sinn Fein is working
for a UNITED IRELAND, Irish Aires news can now reveal that
despite his meeting with Catholics, Paisley still desires
to maintain the UNION with Great Britain. Next big
disclosure: Pope is a Catholic! Jay)


Pledge Row Probably Not Last Glitch

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

The St Andrews Agreement is far from a done deal. Not my
words, but those of DUP leader Ian Paisley, the politician
on whose assent the hopes of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern

If the scale of the achievement in the Fairmont Bay Hotel
was greater than most observers had been anticipating, the
days that followed were distinctly anti-climactic.

The supposedly historic meeting between Ian Paisley and
Gerry Adams, scheduled for a Stormont Committee room on
Tuesday 17 October, failed to take place.

So the first item on the St Andrews timetable was

History had to wait while the DUP attempted to resolve a
row with the government over when a ministerial pledge of
office needs to be taken.

The DUP claimed to have a promise from Tony Blair that Sinn
Fein's Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness would pledge his
support for the police and the courts on 24 November.

That would coincide with his designation as deputy first
minister but come before Sinn Fein holds a special Ard
Fheis to decide its future policing policy.

Both British and Irish officials would have preferred any
pledge to be left until March when the power-sharing
executive is due to go live.

Ian Paisley says that if Sinn Fein is having difficulties
persuading its supporters to accept the police, they should
ask the government for more time.

But this neatly avoids the point that republicans wanted a
joint designation of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness on
24 November - minus any pledge - precisely as a confidence-
building gesture ahead of their Ard Fheis.

Unpicking the problems over a precisely choreographed
series of steps on policing and power-sharing was what the
St Andrews talks were meant to be all about.

There's an air of unreality about the row over Martin
McGuinness' pledge.

Republicans may believe it would be premature for the Mid
Ulster MP to have to take a pledge ahead of the Ard Fheis.

But if the St Andrews timetable is to be met, the Sinn Fein
leadership would have already endorsed the deal by 10
November, including Paragraph 6 which backs the PSNI.

They would have also implicitly given their assent to the
wording of a new pledge which will be included in an
emergency law to be passed days before the 24 November

Equally, one wonders when the DUP started setting so much
store by a pledge from a former IRA leader?

From 1989 onwards, Sinn Fein councillors have been making a
solemn declaration against terrorism, required under a law
passed by Margaret Thatcher.

Until the IRA ceasefire of 1994, the republican pledges not
to support terrorism or any acts of political violence did
not seem to make a great deal of difference to the course
of the IRA campaign.

Shouldn't the lesson be that it's not what you say, or even
what you pledge that counts, but what you do?

Pledge to take a pledge?

Immediately after the postponement of Tuesday's meeting,
both DUP and Sinn Fein officials and ministers appeared
confident a way forward could be found.

Peter Hain called it a "glitch". Dermot Ahern suggested to
Inside Politics that some kind of pledge to take a pledge
might be the way forward.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionists have been making hay over
why the DUP set such great store by a side deal with Tony
Blair and questioning whether it was verbal or written.

If the parties meet their 24 November and 26 March
deadlines then the row over the pledge won't even make a
footnote in the peace process textbooks.

But Tuesday 17 October was also the day the DUP MEP Jim
Allister went public on his profound scepticism about the
St Andrews Agreement.

The pledge notwithstanding, there are plenty of reasons why
Mr Allister believes St Andrews is far from a done deal.

So the pledge is unlikely to be the last "glitch" before
the agreement is fully implemented.

Published: 2006/10/22 10:07:34 GMT


Allister Questions Sinn Fein's Intentions

By Alan Murray
22 October 2006

The DUP's hardline Euro MP Jim Allister last night poured
further doubts on the St Andrews proposals.

In a weekend statement that will cause further doubts
within his party about concluding a deal with republicans,
the MEP, who attended the talks in Scotland, said Gerry
Adams has since revealed his real intentions. He said Sinn
Fein were involved in a devious exercise of using
devolution to achieve a united Ireland.

"Even discounting the spin and rhetoric on the basis that
Sinn Fein has a sales job to do with their supporters, for
unionists, the message in these Adams' statements is clear
- devolution for Sinn Fein is but a means to their age old

"If it should happen, the challenge for unionists is to
ensure their grand design is comprehensively thwarted," he
said in a statement released last night.

"Mr Adams in a speech in Belfast within 48 hours of the
conclusion of the St Andrews talks also revealed his vision
of the role and purpose of devolution.

"He revealed that the IRA was moving from one phase of the
struggle to another which was 'more than a matter of
political judgement and strategic or tactical planning'. He
said republicans would judge the St Andrews proposals on
whether 'they can move them nearer to the Ireland they have
struggled so long to achieve'."

Mr Allister, whose post St Andrews comments have caused
major ripples within the DUP, said he wanted unionists to
realise the duplicity that Sinn Fein was engaged in to
achieve its goals.


Ahern Quotes Paisley On Prospect Of Peace In NI

Last updated: 22-10-06, 15:30

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern today borrowed the words of Ian
Paisley today to tell a republican commemoration that a
settlement to the Northern Irish question was at its
closest for two centuries.

Mr Ahern also paid tribute to his British counterpart, Tony
Blair, saying the Prime Minister had achieved William
Gladstone's mission to "pacify" Ireland. Mr Ahern was
speaking at the annual commemoration of Wolfe Tone in
Bodenstown, Co Kildare.

"In 200 years, there has never been as much dialogue and
interaction between all the significant political groupings
on this island as there is today," Mr Ahern said.

"Nor has there ever been such broad agreement as exists now
on the political framework that will govern the future
evolution of relations within the North, between North and
South, and between Britain and Ireland."

Signalling his optimism over the St Andrews Agreement on
restoring devolved government to Northern Ireland, Mr Ahern
borrowed the words of the Democratic Unionist Party leader.

"Let me quote, perhaps for the first time at this
commemoration, from Dr Ian Paisley. "He said at St Andrews
that we were at a crossroads. He spoke of a new light that
could shine on our children and our grandchildren.

"We do not agree on everything, but we fully share those
sentiments," he said. Turning his attention to Mr Blair, he
said the Prime Minister had made an "extraordinary historic
contribution to the consolidation of peace in Ireland".

Referring to former British prime minister William
Gladstone's remarks in 1868, that his "mission is to pacify
Ireland", Mr Ahern said: "It is Tony Blair who has actually
achieved it."

Northern Ireland's politicians have until November 10 to
say if they are prepared to sign up to the deal outlined by
the two Prime Ministers a fortnight ago after three days of
talks in St Andrews, Scotland.

If they back the deal, they will set in train a series of
choreographed moves which could see Mr Paisley and Sinn
Fein's Martin McGuinness become shadow Northern Ireland
First and Deputy First Ministers next month.

If the parties refuse to sign up to the deal or default on
it, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has warned the
Assembly will be wound down and the British and Irish
Governments will implement their Plan B.

Mr Ahern stressed his belief that progress could be
embraced in the coming weeks. "I believe the agreement at
St Andrews will finally and fully unlock the massive
potential for permanent peace and progress on this island,"
he said.

"That agreement addresses the reasonable concerns of all in
relation to the outstanding issues. It underpins the Good
Friday Agreement and envisages full support by all for
policing and the criminal justice institutions.

"The conditions for concluding the peace process have never
been more promising. As they reflect on the agreement at St
Andrews, the leaders of the Northern parties are carrying
the burden of history on their shoulders. But I believe
that they have the strength and capacity to deliver," he

© 2006


Martin McGuinness Interview:Republicans Must Plot The Way Forward Together

In the wake of the recent round of political negotiations
in Scotland and proposals from the Irish and British
Governments for the full restoration of political
institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin Chief
Negotiator MARTIN McGUINNESS talks about the latest
developments in the Peace process.

What were Sinn Féin's objectives going into last week's

MMcG: The Sinn Féin negotiations team went into this round
of negotiations with two clear objectives - to protect the
advances made in our struggle and to secure the restoration
of the power-sharing and all-Ireland political institutions
set out in the Good Friday Agreement. A key part of this
involves 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. That's a big challenge
for them and for us. Bringing rejectionist unionism into
the peace process would be an enormous achievement.
Bringing about a situation where myself and Ian Paisley are
equal partners at the head of a power-sharing government
would be momentous. Following last week's talks there is a
lot of hope and expectation among people across the island.
People are now speaking about the future in the way they
did following the IRA cessation in 1994 and the talks which
produced the Good Friday agreement. But there is still a
lot of work to do to make all of this happen.

How to you react to the surprise in many quarters at the
outcome of these talks?

Over the course of recent times republicans have been
attempting to deal with the genuine concerns of the
unionist community and trying to create the space for the
DUP to come into the peace process. I know that many
republicans are uneasy about developments over the last few
days. They are concerned about the role of the two
governments, concerned about the issue of policing and
concerned about the commitment of the DUP to properly
participate in a power sharing government with Sinn Féin. I
share these concerns but we also have a responsibility to
build on the opportunities created by the republican
strategies of the last three decades. I have been saying
for some time now that I believed that the DUP would do a
deal with Sinn Féin. For me there were only two questions -
what kind of deal would they be willing to do and when
would it happen. Obviously the decision of the DUP to pull
out of the Programme for Government meeting on Tuesday in
Stormont shows us the challenges that lie ahead if the
process is to move forward.

What is on the table from the British and Irish governments
- is it a deal?

Last Friday at St. Andrews the two governments set out
their proposals, including a timetable, which they believe
can lead to the full restoration of the political
institutions. So far the only people who have agreed to
these proposals are the British Prime Minister and the
Taoiseach. And in the coming weeks our talks with the two
governments will continue because a lot of detail is still
to be worked out. Many issues were not finalised at St.
Andrews and their resolution will form part of our
deliberations in the coming weeks. I was in London on
Monday and will meet with government representatives in
Dublin in the coming period. The governments have asked
that the parties respond to their proposals by 10 November
and have set 24 November as the date for the nomination of
Ian Paisley as First Minister and myself as Deputy First

How will Sinn Féin assess these proposals?

Issues of this importance, with such major implications,
have to be studied carefully. They require comradely debate
and thorough discussion. But if Sinn Féin is to respond
positively to these proposals they must have the potential
to deliver equality, accountable civic policing, human
rights and the full restoration of the political
institutions. They must take the struggle forward.

You have talked about a process of consultation within the
party and the wider republican community, how to you think
that will happen?

Today (Thursday) the Ard Chomhairle is meeting in Dublin.
Gerry Adams, myself and members of the negotiations team
will be briefing the party leadership on the talks in St.
Andrews and the Ard Chomhairle will be agreeing the process
for consultation, which in the first instance will involve
the proposals from the two governments and matters which
are still being negotiated. As these discussions are still
ongoing Gerry Adams will not be in a position at today's
Ard Chomhairle to put forward a proposal in relation to
holding a special Ard Fheis on the issue of policing.
However he is committed to going to the Ard Chomhairle to
ask them to call one as soon as these final issues are

It is important that republicans the length and breadth of
the country are part of our efforts to plot a way forward.
We are a democratic community of activists and all of us
must take ownership of this process. That does not mean
that we cannot disagree with each other. Of course we can
and we should when appropriate and be secure in our right
to dissent.

You raised the issue of policing, of course this is
something which is very important to republicans, what is
likely to happen next?

The two governments put proposals to all of the parties at
St. Andrews. Sinn Féin, like the other parties, will now go
away and consult and deliberate upon these proposals. We
will make our judgment on the potential of these proposals,
and on the basis of further discussion and negotiation with
the two governments, on whether or not they will resolve
all of the outstanding issues, including the crucial issue
of getting policing right.

But the key point is that Sinn Féin is for proper civic,
democratic and accountable policing. What we are against is
bad policing and bad law and order. What we are against is
political policing which has been the norm in the Six
Counties for generations. Sinn Féin is about changing all
of this and we have made huge progress in recent years. But
Sinn Féin's job is not to sell the PSNI to anybody. Our job
is to resolve all of the outstanding matters and to create
a proper policing service. It will be the PSNI's job to
prove themselves to the community. But we want to see rapid
progress made in the time ahead. And we believe that this
is possible. When this happens and in the right context
Gerry Adams will go to the Ard Chomhairle to ask them to
call a special Ard Fheis on the matter.

There has been a lot of talk about a referendum or an
election early next year, what is Sinn Féin's view of all
of that?

Sinn Féin sees no reason for either a referendum or an
election. This is a demand from the DUP. I believe that the
governments should be concentrating on implementing the
Good Friday Agreement and moving the process forward. In
relation to the Irish government I believe their main focus
should be on implementing the parts of the Good Friday
Agreement which are within their area of responsibility and
which people voted for in referendum here eight years ago.

What about the focus on the pledge of office?

Well Sinn Féin has suggested changes to the pledge of
office which we think would be helpful. If the DUP want to
make other suggestions then the people they should be
talking to are Sinn Féin. But we shouldn't move ahead of
ourselves on any of this. This is all a work in progress
and there is much still to be agreed.

What advances were made in relation to the peace dividend
and equality matters?

Substantial progress was made on a range of issues which
Sinn Féin has been campaigning and negotiating on for
several years now. One of the issues at the top of the
agenda was the need for a substantial peace dividend. We
have proposed a stand alone £10billion investment package
over a ten year period. Discussions on this issue continued
in London yesterday. The British government has also made a
number of commitments which must now be delivered on issues
including: all-Ireland Parliamentary Forum and the all-
Ireland Civic Forum, the removal of the British government
power to suspend the political institutions, a statutory
obligation for relevant Ministers to attend meetings of the
All-Ireland Ministerial Council, the establishment of a
Bill of Rights Forum by the end of the year, a single
Equality Bill, an Irish language Act, tackling
discrimination against ex-prisoners and an end to the bar
of Irish citizens accessing top Civil Service posts in the
Six Counties.

How difficult is the challenge of sharing power with the

For republicans to share power with the DUP will be a huge
challenge. Remember it's not that long ago that unionism
treated nationalists as second class citizens. It's not
that long ago when Ian Paisley was vowing to smash Sinn
Féin, something he completely failed to do. Gerry Adams was
speaking at a commemoration in Belfast last weekend to mark
the 30th anniversary of the deaths of IRA Volunteers Joey
Surgenor, Francie Fitzsimons and Paul Marlow. He recalled
that on 6 June 1966 Ian Paisley led a parade through this
district. Local residents were attacked and beaten out of
Cromac Square by the RUC. The target on that day for Ian
Paisley was the Presbyterian General Assembly. Ian Paisley
was subsequently imprisoned. There was serious rioting and
attacks on Catholic owned property throughout unionist
parts of the city. A number of Catholic people were also
killed in that month. So it is a big thing for republicans
to share power with the DUP. But we are serious about
making peace with him and those he represents because we
are avowedly anti-sectarian. Our watchword is equality.
Equality includes those citizens represented by the DUP.

There has been some controversy regarding the 11+ and a
letter which Ian Paisley said he got from the British?

A lot of spin came out of St Andrews on the issue of
academic selection. The facts are when I was Education
Minister I abolished the 11+. It will not be coming back.
Spin to the contrary from the DUP in the wake of St.
Andrews won't change this fact one iota. If we have a fully
functioning Assembly up and running this would of course be
an issue to discuss and debate and that is right and
proper. It is also right and proper that Ministers retain
Executive authority and Ministerial power. DUP support for
the 11+ will give little comfort to unionist working class
communities like the Shankill where only 1% of the
population move onto grammar schools the rest branded as
failures. Sinn Féin will continue to engage in the debate
on the future direction of education here with the clear
objective of delivering a fair and effective system which
delivers for all of our children not just the few."

What would you say to republicans in relation to recent

In every successful liberation struggle there is a phase of
reconstruction, of securing peace with justice, of national
reconciliation, of nation building. This requires
negotiation and outreach. It demands patience and
generosity. To move from one phase of struggle is not only
a matter of political judgment and strategic or tactical
planning. It requires political courage.

The IRA cessation in 1994 demonstrated that courage. The
IRA took decisions which provided a space in which a peace
process could be developed. Again and again and again
republicans have demonstrated commitment to that peace

The decisions last year by the IRA to end its armed
campaign and to deal with the issue of weapons were truly
historic and represented a brave and confident initiative.
It was a momentous and defining point in the search for a
lasting peace with justice. And it opened up the
possibility of making significant progress. It also
presented a significant challenge to the British and Irish
governments and to the Unionists, as well as to

And Sinn Féin has worked hard to seize the opportunities
created by the IRA. Today Irish republicanism is stronger
and there are more Irish republicans on this island than at
any time since partition. We have to continue to build
political strength as we advance our republican goals of
independence and freedom. But with political strength comes
a responsibility to deliver for the people we represent.
Our responsibility is also to see beyond our own support
base. And we take these responsibilities very seriously.


We Need Deal ... Or Future Generations Will Curse Us

In part 10 of our series giving key opinion shapers thier
say on devolution The Rev Ivan McElhinney, President of the
Methodist Church in Ireland, says now is the time to be
brave, or our grandchildren could still be debating
devolution a quarter of a century down the line...

22 October 2006

The year 1974 was a landmark year in my own life - the year
my first child was born.

It was also the year when "devolution" appeared on the
Northern Ireland political scene.

That son of mine is now a married man with two children of
his own and once again - three decades later - "devolution"
takes centre-stage.

The memories of most people in Northern Ireland contain
both vague and vivid images of the dark and troubled years
that are past.

Many of those memories are very deep, personal and painful.

Thankfully, the politically-motivated violence that blew
away any innocence there may have been in Ulster gave way
to the peace process a decade ago.

But we all knew, amidst the optimistic euphoria of the
1990s, that many issues remained to be resolved.

Prisoner releases were hard to take for those whose loved-
ones had been murdered and for those who had been injured
and traumatised, and then there were all the unresolved
murders and "on-the-runs".

Autumn is a time for change. The green of the summer gives
way to the various tints of autumn.

The old dies and the hope is that life will come again in

Those MLAs who will discuss the reintroduction of the
power-sharing Stormont Assembly may have their minds fixed
on what will be the best way forward in the interest of the
people they represent.

Perhaps they have learned the lesson that "an eye for an
eye and a tooth for a tooth" results in a society of blind
and toothless people.

So the "cold house" should give way to a house warm for

At present, the minority in Northern Ireland should be made
to feel secure and comfortable within the province;
equally, the minority in a hoped-for united Ireland should
be made to feel at ease in that context if such a
dispensation were to come about.

At the lowest point, the people of Northern Ireland would
be better served by those men and women they have elected.

By the failure of our MLAs to agree to work together in an
Executive with its own ministers, vital sectors of our
economy, such as farming and fishing, have not been well-
served by ministers who have no local knowledge and who
also have to serve the needs of their own electorate.

The demand for IRA decommissioning has been delivered, but
we still await a similar move on the part of the so-called
loyalist paramilitaries.

What remains is for Sinn Fein to sign up to policing and
for the DUP to have the courage to go for devolution.

Nothing else could better demonstrate that life in Northern
Ireland has returned to normal than for us to have both a
functioning Assembly and Executive bringing us into line
with both Scotland and Wales and that crucial matters such
as rates, water charges, education, health and local
government, return to the hands of locally-elected and
accountable MLAs.

While we have not yet achieved all we would like, life is
much better than over the last three decades. Devolution
would normalise public life.

A return to Stormont and devolution will take both vision
and determination, but surely it's a price worth paying - a
fitting memorial to all those who lost their lives en route
up to this moment.

Yes, there are risks and further hitches and
discouragements are almost certain, but I don't want my
grandchildren to be debating devolution when they are
getting old!


Brian Rowan: Mi5's Ulster Folly?

Man who was the conduit between spooks and IRA ridicules
necessity for secret service's huge new HQ here

22 October 2006

MI5's decision to build a new HQ in Northern Ireland has
been described as "out of time and unnecessary" by a man
who dealt secretly with the organisation for more than two

Brendan Duddy - now a member of the Policing Board - was
the link between the republican leadership, the British
Government and the security services in the period
stretching from the 1970s into the 90s.

He says the days of "cloak-and-dagger" policing are over
and that MI5 "should be far more open" in describing their
objectives here.

Next year, they will take over responsibility for "national
security" and will move into a new building at Palace
Barracks in Holywood.

Mr Duddy compared it to an "air raid shelter being built
after the war is over" and said rather than going for "a
reasonable headquarters", MI5 had chosen "the big splash".

He understands the security service's role in combating
international terrorism, but wants that made clear here in
Northern Ireland.

"Their job is over in terms of Irish republicans," Duddy
argues, "but don't ask Irish republicans to believe it. Let
MI5 demonstrate it."

The Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde accepts that the IRA is
no longer the threat.

Sir Hugh said: "If all the things about going away are
taking place, then they are not a threat."

The focus now is on international terrorism and dissident

The chief constable defended MI5's role here, saying that
one part of the UK cannot be "disconnected" from the rest.

"This place is not immune from international terrorism," he

"We cannot sit back and say we will not be affected. The
current threat to the UK is extremely high." While Sir Hugh
is insisting on MI5 sharing all relevant information with
the PSNI, he says there is "an obsession" here with

"That has become ludicrous," he says.

"There is this bizarre notion that we can have all sorts of
people poring over national security."

The MI5 role is still being discussed in the political
background and is a key issue to be resolved in terms of
republican support for policing.

The chief constable wants to speak to republicans and is
considering writing to the Sinn Fein leadership urging it
to begin a dialogue.

"At some stage, they've got to deal with us," he told the
Sunday Life.

Shadow of secret service looms over policing debate

IT is an issue that is complicating an already difficult
discussion - the issue of MI5 and its future role in
Northern Ireland.

The IRA "war" is over, but the "enemy" is building a new
fort - building it big, not hiding it, but letting it be
seen by anyone and everyone who looks into the grounds of
Palace Barracks in Holywood.

And it is poisoning - some would say unnecessarily - the
policing debate that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have
to win in the republican community.

That win is essential if the St Andrews agreement is to
work - made into a functioning political arrangement
involving Ian Paisley and the Provos.

"It still seems to me that Adams is way ahead of his people
and is struggling." This assessment from the highest levels
of security here tells us that, on the policing question,
the republican leadership still has work to do to persuade
a sceptical audience. The policing issue is one that will
take time to talk through - a matter on which detail will
be demanded.

Adams, McGuinness, Gerry Kelly, the IRA leadership can't
order support for the police - can't order young
republicans into the ranks of the PSNI.

The "activist base" and wider community will have to be
persuaded - be convinced, not told - that things have

They will want to know when policing and justice powers are
being transferred to local politicians.

How credible is the May 2008 target date written into the
St Andrews agreement?

What will be the shape of the new policing and justice
department at Stormont?

What powers will be transferred? What will be held back?
What is MI5 up to? What is that new headquarters being
built at Palace Barracks all about?

"Rather than have a reasonable headquarters, they went for
the big splash." This is Brendan Duddy speaking, the Derry
businessman who, for more than two decades spanning the
1970s into the 1990s, was the secret link between the
republican leadership, the British Government and MI5.

He now sits on the Policing Board.

"Republicans will find it hard to believe that this leopard
(MI5) has changed its spots," Duddy says, "because the
leopard is still appearing as a leopard."

This is another reference to the new headquarters, the
building of which Duddy describes as "out of time".

He firmly believes the IRA war is over and yet he says MI5
is building an "air raid shelter".

"The difficulty is they (MI5) are not publicly stating
their position and, as a result of that, they are opening
the doors to all sorts of conjecture - what they are doing,
what they might be doing, what they are not doing," he

It is that lack of detail - that lack of understanding -
that gives rise to suspicion.

What is national security in Northern Ireland?

What are the spooks watching for? Are they still at war
with the IRA?

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde argues: "If all the politics
come into play and if the IMC report trends continue, then
they (the IRA) are not a threat.

"Where is the threat?" he asks. "It's international
terrorism and the dissident threat."

Sir Hugh believes republicans should be speaking to him
about policing and whatever concerns they have. Indeed he
is thinking of writing to Sinn Fein.

"At some stage they've got to deal with us," he says.

While he waits, the chief constable is dealing with the
planned new working arrangements with MI5 and is very clear
that the five principles drawn up by his assistant, Peter
Sheridan, are the bottom line.

They demand that all security service intelligence relating
to terrorism in Northern Ireland "will be visible to the
PSNI" and that the police will be informed of all counter-
terrorism investigations and operations that relate to

They also deal with the sharing of information and
accountability matters.

Brendan Duddy is convinced that the days of "cloak-and-
dagger" policing are over.

The question now is can Adams and McGuinness persuade those
who need to be convinced that this is the new reality?

The future of the St Andrews agreement - the future of
politics here - depends on their ability to succeed.

They will win the debate, but they need to do so


Omagh Trial Set To Call Spy's Handlers

By Alan Murray
22 October 2006

The police handlers of a former Army agent who infiltrated
the IRA may be called as witnesses in the Omagh bomb trial,
legal sources have claimed.

The former agent, who later worked for the RUC and Customs
and Excise to infiltrate criminal gangs, has been
subpoenaed to appear at the trial as a defence witness.

He uses the pseudonym 'Kevin Fulton' and was one of four
potential witnesses subpoenaed in the High Court on Friday.

There is speculation that his former police handlers, a
retired Special Branch officer and a CID officer, have also
been subpoenaed by defence lawyers to corroborate his

Another potential defence witness could be retired Chief
Superintendent Eric Anderson, who was took charge of the
initial Omagh investigation.

And Garda Detective Sergeant John White, who claimed that a
warning about the bomb gang's request for one of his agents
to steal a Vauxhall car was not passed to the RUC, is also
thought to be a potential defence witness.

Fulton could be questioned about a trip he made with RUC
officers to Carrickmacross in the Republic in the days
after the Omagh bombing to 'scout' the possible location
where it was believed the 300lbs device was constructed.

Fulton has claimed that he met a convicted IRA man from
Newry just days before the Omagh bombing and noticed that
his clothing had dust on it and smelled of ground
fertiliser and diesel which was also used in Provo bombs.

Fulton who now lives in England resisted efforts to summon
him as a witness in the Omagh trial but is now expected to
comply with the court's instruction after arrangements to
cloak his appearance from the public and safeguard his
safety in Northern Ireland are put in place.

The trial of 37-year-old electrician Sean Gerard Hoey who
denies a total of 58 terrorist charges resumes on Tuesday.


Home Of UDA Exile's Daughter Attacked

By Alan Murray
22 October 2006

The terrified teenage daughter of an exiled UDA leader has
appealed to the terror group's south Belfast 'brigadier'
Jackie McDonald to order a halt to attacks on her home and

Cheryl McClean, whose father Alan fled Northern Ireland in
August, says she has received a written death threat and
has had both her home and car attacked by her father's

McClean, an ally of Andre and Ihab Shoukri, was forced from
power in north Belfast during the summer, following a purge
by the ruling 'inner council' faction.

Cheryl McClean, a 19-year-old hairdresser, was speaking
after the front door of her Westland Road home was kicked
in while she was at work last Tuesday morning.

She claims the men who attacked her home are controlled by
the inner council.

She also says the homes of two other women, the girlfriend
of Ihab Shoukri and the girlfriend of loyalist 'Jock'
McKenzie, were attacked and computers taken from the

Cheryl McClean said Tuesday's attack followed two months of
intimidation, during which acid was poured over her car and
men attempted to force her off the road when she was

"Mr McDonald and Mr (Frankie) Gallagher (of the UDA-linked
political group the UPRG) told the media the UDA were
moving against the leadership in north Belfast to stop

"Since my father and others left the area to allow a
peaceful situation to develop, I have been intimidated
every week.

"Now they have turned their attention to two other women
this week and homes have been damaged and robbed. What's
that if it isn't criminality?" she said.

The attacks are the latest episode resulting from the
continuing tension within the UDA in north Belfast.

In previous incidents, male relatives of some of those who
fled the area in August were threatened, even though they
were not involved in any way with the paramilitary group.

Church leaders are attempting to mediate to bring an end to
the tension.


Remembering Thomas Devlin

Murdered boy's friends and family gather for tribute dinner

By Stephen Breen
22 October 2006

Ulster TV star Eamonn Holmes has told how the brutal murder
of schoolboy Thomas Devlin has had a massive impact around
the world.

The telly presenter revealed the global interest during the
first Thomas Devlin Fund annual black-tie gala dinner at
the Europa Hotel, on Friday night.

The event, which included a Champagne reception, raffles
and dance, raised nearly £20,000.

A short film on the aftermath and the impact Thomas'
killing had on his family and friends was also shown at the

The Belfast-born broadcaster spoke of his admiration for
the teenager's family and said people in America and Europe
had been touched by Thomas' senseless killing.

Said Eamonn: "Thomas' murder has crossed a very wide
spectrum and people from America, the Channel Islands and
Europe have all contributed to the fund.

"Thomas' family would prefer not to be here and they don't
see themselves as heroes. I have got to know them quite
well and it is an honour for me to be patron of the trust.

"His family are sincere, articulate and passionate people
and they are not alone, because so many people care about
what they are doing.

"Around £45,000 has already been raised by the fund and it
just goes to show you the impact Thomas' life has had on

"The fund is dedicated to promoting the futility of
violence against young people. It will support young people
involved in music and the creative arts, commission a
sculpture on the theme and make representations to
government on appropriate actions and responses.

"Over 100 young people have been killed in north Belfast
since 1970 and we must ensure that, in future, our children
live without the fear of violence."

Thomas' father, Jim, praised people for supporting his
family at the event.

"The dinner was in memory of Thomas, but it was also a
great way for us to receive support for the young people
who represent the future of Northern Ireland, just as
Thomas did before his murder," he said.

"We can't thank everyone enough for their support, because
it has been a very difficult time for our family since last

"The dinner raised a significant amount of money for the
fund and if only the people close to the killers of my son
could see the support we have received."

Sunday Life's £10,000 reward for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of Thomas' killers remains in place.


Crusading Dad's (Raymond Mccord) Call For Support

By Stephen Breen
22 October 2006

The families of people murdered by republican and loyalist
spies have been invited to attend the launch of a major
report into collusion.

Raymond McCord has urged relatives from both sides of the
community to join forces for the publication of Police
Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's report into his son's
controversial killing.

Mr McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was beaten to death by a
UVF gang loyal to Special Branch agent Mark Haddock in
1997, made the plea after meeting with Mrs O'Loan, last

The north Belfast man has already been assured by Paul
McIlwaine, whose son David was butchered by a UVF informers
in 2000, that he will be present when the report is

The crusading father also hopes the report's findings will
prompt other families to contact the Police Ombudsman's

Said Mr McCord: "I have invited the families of innocent
people whose loved ones were murdered by agents of the
state to attend the launch of Mrs O'Loan's report.

"I think that it is important for innocent victims to stand
together, no matter what side of the political divide they
come from.

"I've no doubt the report will reveal what I have been
saying about collusion for almost the last decade and it's
important other victims are present to listen to Mrs

"I will meet with any innocent victim of violence and I
would even urge people who have not yet spoken publicly
about a loved one who may have been murdered by agents to
come along.

"There has been so many cover ups over the years and if
victims start supporting each other then we will be able to
get our message across in a much stronger way."

Mr McCord also hit out at DUP MLA Ian Paisley Jnr for his
public row with the Police Ombudsman.

Added the victims' campaigner: "As far as I am concerned
Mrs O'Loan is doing a great job and has never ever
mentioned her family to me during the course of our

"She is a very brave woman who has done more for victims
than some unionist politicians have ever done.

"I would have no problem in telling Ian Paisley Jnr about
the excellent work Mrs O'Loan is doing for victims from all
sections of the community.

"Politicians will see just how important her work is when
her report into my son's murder is published before the end
of the year."


O'Loan's Son Cops It Over Cafe Outburst

Paisley jnr to consult lawyers about 'hate crime' remarks

By Alan Murray
22 October 2006

Ian Paisley jnr says he will consult his lawyers this week
over what he believes were "hate crime" remarks directed at
him by Nuala O'Loan's teenage son, Ciaran.

The DUP man says he will seek legal advice before deciding
whether to make a complaint to police about what he claims
was an abusive outburst by 18-year-old Ciaran O'Loan in a
Belfast coffee shop a fortnight ago.

It was widely reported that Mr Paisley and Police Ombudsman
Mrs O'Loan had a public row following a chance encounter in
the city-centre cafe.

A spokesman for Mrs O'Loan described the incident involving
the pair as "a difference of opinion".

First reports indicated that Mrs O'Loan's son Ciaran, who
was also in the cafe, did not get involved.

But now a different version of events has emerged with Mr
Paisley claiming the teenager verbally abused him in front
of a Northern Ireland Office official.

Mr Paisley was discussing political developments with the
NIO official in the Bedford Street coffee shop when it is
understood he was approached by Mrs O'Loan.

The North Antrim Assemblyman has claimed that he was
verbally abused by Ciaran O'Loan, who was then told by his
mother to leave the shop.

It's understood Mr Paisley believes Ciaran O'Loan's remarks
may constitute a criminal offence under hate crime

Said a friend of Mr Paisley: "Certain words were used in a
context which would be a very serious circumstance or

"He hasn't had time to speak to his lawyer in detail about
the incident because of the political negotiations, but he
will probably speak to his solicitor this week."

Ciaran O'Loan is already facing possible prosecution
arising out of an incident in Ballymena on July 1 when he
was involved in an altercation with PSNI officers in the
town hours before an annual band parade.

A file on that incident has been forwarded by the PSNI to
the Public Prosecution Service for examination.

A spokesman for the PPS said on Friday that consideration
was still being given to the police file and no decision
had been taken on whether to direct a prosecution.

Concerning the coffee shop incident, a spokesman for the
Police Ombudsman confirmed Mrs O'Loan approached Mr Paisley
and raised matters concerning his comments about her family
and her role.

"There was a difference of opinion," the spokesman said.

Ian Paisley jnr would only say yesterday: "I repeat what I
said about Mrs O'Loan's conduct. I think it was
unprofessional and most undignified."


Shock At Claudy Bomb Memorial Vandalism

Vandals have damaged a memorial to the victims of the
Claudy bombing, removing it from its plinth and leaving it
lying on the ground.

Nine people, including three children, died when three IRA
car bombs exploded in the village in July 1972.

UUP councillor Mary Hamilton, who was injured in the
bombing, has condemned the attack, which is thought to have
happened on Friday night.

"I cannot understand what satisfaction anybody could have
got out of that."

She said people hearing about the attack for the first time
at church on Sunday were "just horrified at what had

"That statue was erected a few years ago in memory of the
victims, dead and living, of the Claudy bombing - it's in
memory of people from both sides of the religious divide,"
she added.

The sculpture was unveiled in the County Londonderry
village in 2000.

It was commissioned because many villagers felt as though
the atrocity had been forgotten, and sculptor Elizabeth
McLaughlin said at the time the monument was an attempt to
find an "expression of the grief of the individual".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/10/22 14:23:02 GMT


Family Plea Over Missing American Tourist

The family of a missing American tourist, who is believed
to be in the Londonderry area, have appealed for her to
contact them.

Amanda Gadd, who is in her mid-20s and from Denver,
Colorado, visited friends in the Woodbrook area of the city
on Saturday, but has not been seen since.

Her family are growing concerned for her welfare, the
police said.

She is being asked to contact her family in America, her
Derry friends or the local police station.


Prices Fall For Second-Hand Houses In Dublin

22/10/2006 - 13:21:12

The second-hand house market in Dublin is seeing big cuts
in its prices.

Estate agents have slashed prices by as much as 33% in
order to get properties sold.

A survey carried out by the Sunday Business Post newspaper
has found that €2m has been knocked off the price of one
luxury house in Howth Head.

Agents say that although the market is still strong,
properties are taking longer to sell.

Analysts have attributed the current slowdown to the rise
in interest rates and earlier expectations that there would
be a reform of the stamp duty regime.


Edna O'Brien Surpasses Herself

Mother and daughter, family and country - the unbreakable

By Judith M. Redding
Special to The Sun
Originally published October 22, 2006

Edna O'Brien
Houghton Mifflin / 304 pages / $25

Veteran novelist Edna O'Brien, the author of 20 volumes of
fiction and an Irish expatriate living in London for more
than 40 years, has been called one of the greatest writers
in the English-speaking world. Her latest and most complex
novel yet, The Light of Evening, proves that such lavish
praise is indeed justified. O'Brien is a writer whose work
only gets better and richer as she ages.

O'Brien's literary interests have always been far-ranging;
however, the decades of her expatriation have not
diminished her focus, which has remained implacably
Ireland, her most defining influence. Her readers have come
to know Ireland in all its aspects: its people and starkly
beautiful landscape, the all-pervasive Roman Catholic
Church, the complications of The Troubles and the IRA, the
poverty and hope to succeed - all through the intensity of
her novels and stories.

The Light of Evening takes a more autobiographical turn in
this novel of mothers and daughters, country and
countenance: Here are all the deepest ties that bind, ever
O'Brien's metier.

O'Brien's style has always been oblique and multi-faceted,
despite the lush clarity of her prose; she is the
quintessential Irish storyteller, but like her fellows,
gives nothing to the reader easily. In her latest novel,
she weaves a subtextual tale of her own life with those of
her two central characters, the aging Dilly and her
daughter, the writer, Eleanora.

Dilly does what many girls of the 1920s did: She emigrates
to America and spends part of her youth working as a
domestic servant in Brooklyn, which introduces her to a
wholly different life from the hardscrabble one she left.
It gives her options - or so she thinks.

O'Brien tells Dilly's tale retrospectively as she awaits
her daughter Eleanora's visit to her bedside. The two are
estranged by the complications of their lives, by what
Dilly wanted and couldn't have, by what Eleanora achieves
and doesn't. While Dilly waits and yearns for
reconciliation with the daughter she has ached to have at
her side, Dilly recalls her own life, and how mother and
daughter came to be in this place.

Dilly's time in America does what it had done for so many
emigres: It offered her freedom. The contrast between her
former life and her new one is underscored by letters from
home. Her mother, Bridget, forever exhorting her to write
home, pleading for her return, makes clear why that world
no longer holds anything for Dilly. Yet after Dilly's
brother, a Republican guerrilla, is killed by government
troops and Dilly's engagement to an Irish-American
lumberjack unravels, Dilly returns to Ireland. But attired
in her finest American clothes, she discovers her mother
will not allow her to help with the household chores,
considering her now to be "a lady."

Once home, the oppression of their life begins to seep in -
the harshness has not diminished, nor have the losses, and
Dilly decides to marry Con, a charismatic horse-breeder and
gambler, a choice she makes in large part because he will
be able to help her family financially. Ironically, instead
of providing stability, Con must sell off his land a parcel
at a time to settle his gambling debts.

Dilly's daughter, Eleanora, very much like her mother when
young, seeks a different future, and elopes with an older,
married writer, a foreigner. She eventually marries him,
raises two sons, and embarks on her own successful literary

As Eleanora drifts away from her mother, their estrangement
deepening, Dilly finds herself reprising her own mother's
painful role: exhorting her daughter to write, to make
their relationship part of her life. It is a painful, empty

When Dilly is admitted to a Dublin hospital for
observation, Eleanora guiltily feels the need to make some
kind of peace between them, although it is not the close
relationship that Dilly craves. Dilly, a practical woman,
is bound by blood ties; Eleanora isn't: She's bound only by
ideas and her own creativity.

O'Brien's work often incorporates autobiographical
elements, but never so overtly as in The Light of Evening,
in which the "E" of Eleanora shifts subtly to become the
"I" of O'Brien.

The parallels are many in this novel: O'Brien's mother
worked as a domestic servant in New York. Eleanora's
marriage to an older writer who becomes jealous of her
success is an apt depiction of O'Brien's 13-year marriage
to the Czech writer Ernest Gebler. O'Brien's work was
shunned by the Catholic Church (which she never fails to
discuss when she gives readings), as is Eleanora's work.
The confluent scandals of Eleanora's life and O'Brien's
come together in The Light of Evening.

O'Brien's novel goes beyond mere autobiography: The Light
of Evening is a riveting, finely drawn study of the
relationships that evolve and dissolve between mothers and
daughters. There are moments of breathtaking emotion, as
when the young Dilly recalls, "My mother found the note I'd
written and hidden under the mattress. It said, 'I want to
go to America where I can have nice clothes and a better
life than I have here' and was signed Dilly. She beat me
for it and ripped an old straw hat that I was decorating
with gauze."

Yet Dilly can't help but become her own mother, Bridget:
When Eleanora elopes with the writer Hermann, her family is
angry enough to track the couple down and do physical
violence to Hermann (as O'Brien's family did to Gebler).

Still, once free of her family, Eleanora writes letters to
her mother, full of thoughts, memories, requests for
advice. Eleanora writes them knowing that they will never
be sent.

As the mother of two sons, Eleanora is determined that she
will not face the same adult struggles with her children.
Or will she? Her brother Terrence married a woman who felt
that Dilly and Con never approved of her, and so Terrence
and his bride stopped visiting. Now Terrence has demanded
that, before Dilly goes off to the hospital, she sign what
little is left of the horse farm over to him. Which she
does, only later realizing that no provision was made for
Eleanora, that her daughter is once again being cut from
her life.

O'Brien details these conflicts with her characteristic
depth - few writers understand the interweaving of family
and country the way O'Brien does, and here she declares
that one's family is one's country, and that one's country
is one's blood and blood ties are unbreakable, immutable,
fast - no matter what.

The show-stopper ending is the coda on O'Brien's superb
storytelling and will leave readers as they are always left
after finishing a new work by this Irish master: aching for

Judith Redding lives in Philadelphia and reviews fiction.


Findings Of Poll Into Irish Attitudes To Alcohol Abuse Published

22/10/2006 - 14:44:43

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has today
published the findings of an opinion poll of public
attitudes towards the problems of alcohol misuse.

The poll, undertaken by market research company Behaviour &
Attitudes, examined the public’s views on who is to blame
for the problem of alcohol misuse and what they think
should be done about the problem.

When asked without prompting to nominate who they thought
was to blame for the problem of alcohol misuse, 31% of
respondents spontaneously blamed “drinkers themselves” with
26% blaming “parents”. The proportion of adults
spontaneously blaming these two groups has risen by 3 %
points in each case over the past year.

Publicans and the Licensed Trade were blamed by 23% of
respondents, 6% less than was the case a year ago, with 12%
blaming the Government, a fall of 3%. Only 7% blamed
“Alcoholic Drinks Ads”, a fall of 2%.

Speaking today, Graham Wilkinson Founding Director of
Behaviour & Attitudes said that the research was designed
to measure broad attitudes to alcohol misuse amongst the
general public, based on the following questions:

The survey then asked what people believe should be done to
deal with the problem of alcohol misuse. Again the survey
first asked people for their spontaneous response – then
for a reaction to a short list of options.

The survey also questioned this adult sample as to the
seriousness of the problem of alcohol misuse. In line with
the level of concerns expressed in previous such polls, 43%
of adults view the problem as “Extremely Serious” with a
further 35% suggesting it is “Very Serious”. A year ago the
responses were 41% and 37% respectively.

In a related question, the survey asked people to comment
on whether they regarded the situation today as “Better”,
“The Same” or “Worse” than five years ago. 70% responded
that the situation was “Worse” than five years ago – the
same percentage as last year. This is a decline on the
findings in the early years of the poll when 76% (2002),
79% (2003) and 78% (2004) said they thought the problem was
worse than five years previously.

“This research confirms two important facts,” said Michael
Patten, chairman of DIGI said. “Firstly, it confirms that
the Irish public is concerned about the problem of alcohol

“Secondly it demonstrates clearly that the public want the
better enforcement of existing regulations rather than the
imposition of new measures such as higher taxes or the
banning of alcohol advertising or sponsorship.

“For our part, the drinks industry shares the significant
level of concern about the problem of alcohol misuse and we
are playing our part in responding to that issue.
Specifically we have agreed to the operation of a
comprehensive set of rules and regulations to reduce the
exposure of young people to alcohol advertising and to
govern the operation of sports sponsorships by alcohol

“We have introduced an education programme for retail staff
in respect of their responsibilities on the sale of alcohol
and we have agreed a comprehensive series of initiatives –
under the Social Partnership Programme – to tackle key
areas of alcohol misuse.

“We have supported the introduction of random breath
testing and we have lobbied for the introduction of an
effective national ID card to assist the industry tackle
the problem of underage drinking.

“We will continue to identify and promote areas where the
industry and others can work together to reduce the problem
of alcohol misuse.”

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