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November 30, 2006

Blair & Adams To Hold Talks on Devolution

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 12/01/06 Blair & Adams To Hold Talks On Devolution
BN 11/30/06 Miami Showband Relatives Encouraged By Meeting
BB 11/30/06 Paisley Appeal Over Disappeared
SF 11/30/06 Adams Sets Out SF Position On Policing
UT 11/30/06 DUP Claim SF Are Dodging 1st Move On Policing
BB 11/30/06 Former PSNI Chief Cramphorn Dies
BB 11/30/06 Loyalist's Acquittal Appealed
NW 11/30/06 Victim's Brother Says Stone Is Publicity Seeker
BN 11/30/06 Teens Try To Reduce Number Of Belfast Suicides
BN 11/30/06 Omagh Judge Launches Attack On Police Witnesses
NW 11/30/06 Local Political Activists Critical Of Sinn Féin
IT 12/01/06 Opin: Growling At The Dog-Lover Adams
IT 12/01/06 Ancient Remains On View In Clare


Blair And Adams To Hold Talks On Devolution Today

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is to meet British prime
minister Tony Blair in London today to discuss how to
overcome obstacles to restoring devolution as a number of
DUP politicians insisted there could be no prior agreement
on when policing and justice would be transferred to the
Northern Executive.

PSNI chief constable, Sir Hugh Orde, responding to an
article by Mr Adams in yesterday's An Phoblacht, said he
was prepared to hold face-to-face meetings with the Sinn
Féin president.

DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley is due to hold a strategy meeting
today with Assembly members, MPs and the party's sole MEP,
Jim Allister, in Co Antrim today - a meeting which is also
expected to be used to address tensions within the party
over the St Andrews Agreement.

The British and Irish governments are attempting to devise
a formula that would resolve the standoff between Sinn Féin
and the DUP over when and whether responsibility for
policing and justice would be devolved to the Northern
Executive. This, and the subject of MI5, are expected to be
the main issues on the Adams/Blair agenda today.

Sinn Féin is also expected to decide today whether it will
participate in the new transitional Assembly which is
meeting again at Stormont on Monday.

Three DUP politicians - North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and
Assembly members Edwin Poots and Ian Paisley jnr -
yesterday issued statements insisting the party would not
provide Sinn Féin with a date for the devolution of justice
and policing powers.

This was in response to Mr Adams's An Phoblacht article
where he said he was prepared to speak directly with Sir
Hugh Orde and where he repeated his willingness to propose
an ard- fheis on policing, but based on a timetable for the
transfer of policing powers.

Mr Dodds repeated that such a DUP commitment would not be
forthcoming, although he moderated his previous position
that such devolution would not happen in a "political
lifetime". Sinn Féin now had a "long way to go" before the
DUP would consider such a move.

He said Sinn Féin, "alone of all the parties in Northern
Ireland, are demanding that before they can support the
police they must have some kind of control or influence at
an early date. No other party has ever demanded or been
granted this.

"Sinn Féin have a long way to go yet before they can even
begin to earn the confidence and trust of decent people
that would allow us to contemplate devolution of policing
and justice," said Mr Dodds.

Meanwhile, Sir Hugh said he was ready to hold direct talks
with Mr Adams. "My people have got to be able to talk to
their people and at every level openly about all the issues
that people are concerned about," he told yesterday's
Belfast Telegraph.

"Policing isn't political. It is about people who need
help. All I ask is that my people are given the opportunity
to protect all communities. Don't judge us by the past.
Judge us by what we do now. That's all I ask," he added.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP oppose MI5 having any role in
general or "civic" policing and distrust British government
assurances that the secret agency's role will be limited to
UK "national security".

Sir Hugh said that "national security is about
international terrorism and if people think the island of
Ireland is immune from international terrorism then they
need to wise up".


Miami Showband Relatives Encouraged By Meeting With Taoiseach

30/11/2006 - 16:01:35

Relatives of those that died in the 1975 Miami Showband
massacre said this afternoon they were greatly encouraged
by the intentions of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on their case.

A report from the Oireachtas Justice Committee, published
yesterday, said that British security forces colluded with
Loyalist terrorists in the massacre.

Three members of the band were shot dead by a UVF gang at a
checkpoint outside Newry after driving home from a dance in
Banbridge 31 years ago.

Speaking today after a meeting with the Taoiseach, massacre
survivor Steven Travers said Mr Ahern had indicated that he
would do all he could to get answers from Tony Blair:

“He asked us to clarify what it was that we wanted and he's
going to endeavour to get all the answers that we've been
looking for for 30 years,” Mr Travers said.


Paisley Appeal Over Disappeared

DUP leader Ian Paisley has appealed for anyone who can help
find the body of an IRA murder victim to come to him.

Mr Paisley was speaking before a meeting with Vera McVeigh,
whose son Columba, 17, was kidnapped, murdered and secretly
buried by the IRA in 1975.

He said he believed there were those who knew what had
happened but were under pressure not to speak.

"Let's identify the body and let our dear sister and her
family bring an end to it all," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said
he was prepared to do everything humanly possible to help
recover Columba's remains.

However, Mrs McVeigh said she was not impressed by Mr
Adams' words.

Mrs McVeigh, who has recently been ill, added that the
recovery of her son's body would mean the world to her.

Mr Paisley was contacted by the late Monsignor Denis Faul,
a campaigner for the Disappeared, asking for his help.

In July, he said Fr Faul had told him not to give in until
the families of the Disappeared had retrieved their loved
ones' remains.

The meeting was set up by the DUP peer Lord Morrow.

Columba McVeigh's younger brother, Oliver, said that his
mother talked about her murdered son every day, and needed

He said that they hoped the involvement of the DUP leader
would help his family and the other families of the

"They can certainly apply more pressure on Sinn Fein/IRA
and on the two governments because there's going to be no
closure for our families unless they turn up the bodies,"
he said.

"If anyone saw my mother - seen the state she was in, they
would certainly want it to happen and I'm sure the other
families would be the same."

In 2003, Mrs McVeigh said she had given up hope of ever
finding her son's body.

She was speaking as police completed a 14-day excavation at
bogland at Bragan near Emyvale, County Monaghan.

The operation was the third dig in the area and followed
new information passed to the Irish government by the IRA.

In 1999, the IRA offered to help locate the bodies of the
nine Disappeared. Three victims were found in 1999 while
one was uncovered in 2003.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/30 17:20:16 GMT


Gerry Adams Sets Out Sinn Féin Position On Policing

Published: 30 November, 2006

In a wide ranging article published in today’s (Thursday
20th) edition of An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin President Gerry
Adams sets out the party’s position on policing. Mr Adams
makes it clear that he believes that the remaining issues
can be resolved. He says that he is committed to calling a
meeting of the party Ard Chomhairle immediately when these
issues are resolved for the purpose of convening a special
Ard Fheis within the timeframe set out at St. Andrews.

Full text of article follows below

I want to welcome Ian Paisley’s commitment to take up the
post of First Minister and to share power with Sinn Féin
once outstanding issues are resolved, and if the electorate
so decide. I do not underestimate the challenge this is for
Sinn Féin and for many republicans and nationalists. Nor do
I underestimate the challenge a power sharing arrangement
presents for Mr. Paisley and the DUP.

However, I am confident that all of the outstanding issues
can be resolved, including that of policing. Sinn Féin is
for policing and a fair and effective legal and judicial
system which is transparent and accountable. That requires
a different policing experience to the one we have known.

Republicans and nationalists are against criminality. Those
who target the young and the elderly, those who deal in
drugs and rob and assault our senior citizens, as well as
the rapists and racists, have to face justice.

In all of the countless negotiations we have had on this
issue in recent years Sinn Féin’s strategic goal has been
to achieve a civic policing system which is accountable to
citizens and representative of the community as a whole.

A number of key matters remain to be resolved. Central to
these are the exercise of power and accountability over
policing and justice. It is unreasonable to expect
politicians or citizens to take responsibility for policing
and justice and yet have no real authority over these

Local politicians would not agree to run the health service
without authority over it. Local politicians would expect
to be able to question or challenge the Health Minister
about decisions being taken by the health department.

Policing and justice are vital, fundamental issues of
concern for every citizen. The Assembly and Executive
should have the same rights in respect of these matters as
for health and education and environment and so on. It
makes sense. I believe we can find agreement on this.

What is needed is a definitive timeframe, a date for the
transfer of power and the departmental model into which
power will be transferred. This isn’t rocket science. It is
about parties taking straightforward and practical

Some DUP politicians have said this matter cannot be
resolved for several political lifetimes. That is
unsustainable. Arguments about trust and confidence are in
my opinion fundamentally bogus. None of our political
parties trust each other. That is universal. It is not
unique. It is the nature of politics. In our situation this
distrust is heightened by decades of injustice, division,
discrimination and the last 30 years of conflict.

Very few nationalists or republicans trust the agencies of
the northern state. This is particularly so, and with good
reason the case with policing agencies, whether the old
RUC, the B Specials and other local militia, or the PSNI.

Significant progress has been made in making the PSNI more
accountable but because of the sectarian and repressive
history of policing in the six counties the PSNI will have
to do a lot to earn the confidence of most nationalists.

Some in this post conflict period may think this is unfair.
But the fact is that there was partisan policing which
engaged in harassment, torture, assassination, shoot-to-
kill, plastic bullet murders and maimings and collusion
with death squads. That is why the Good Friday Agreement
required ‘a new beginning to policing’ as an essential
element of the peace process.

That is why policing is such an emotive issue. And because
many RUC officers died or were injured in the conflict it
is understandable that this emotion affects unionists as
well as nationalists.

That is why there is a need for interlocking processes and
measures to compensate for the lack of trust and
confidence. And the truth is there is not a single
political player who does not know this. So crucially we
need local accountability and control of our policing and
justice structures. We need to take control of policing and
justice away from London.

The British government also needs to deal with a number of
matters which remain under its control; principle among
these is the role of MI5. There is no role for MI5 in civic
policing. The PSNI cannot serve two masters. Neither can
there ever again be a force within a force.

So, there is a job of work to be done on these issues. Can
they be resolved? Yes. And let there be no doubt that even
if and when these matters are resolved, there will still be
a lot of work to be done by everyone to win nationalist and
republican confidence in the PSNI. Indeed some republicans
may argue that the British connection and the partition of
Ireland prohibits support for any policing agency in the
north. But Sinn Féin believes that
none of these problems are insurmountable. We are up to the
challenge of resolving these matters.

Let me be very clear about this. I am committed to calling
a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle immediately when
these issues are resolved. This Ard Chomhairle meeting will
be for the purpose of convening a special Ard Fheis within
the timeframe set out at St. Andrews.

However, let me be equally clear that I will not go to the
Ard Chomhairle to seek a special Ard Fheis unless I have
the basis to do so.

In order to expedite these matters Sinn Fein will intensify
our contact with the British government. We are prepared to
meet with the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde on issues
which fall within his remit and we will sit down with the
DUP and other parties at any time to agree other issues.

I am determined to make clear to the widest cross section
of national public opinion and especially unionist people
that I am determined to see all these issues dealt with as
quickly as possible and, as I have said, within the
timeframe set out at St. Andrews. If the two governments
and the other parties are of the same mind then there is no
reason why this cannot happen.

Making the peace process work is exhausting and
frustrating. It is far from a perfect process and
republicans are not naive. I have repeatedly said that
progress is very much inch by inch.

I would appeal to nationalists and republicans to stay
focussed, united and patient through this difficult


DUP Claim SF Are 'Dodging' First Move On Policing

Gerry Adams has been accused of putting the cart before the
horse in demanding a date for policing and justice powers
to be transferred in Northern Ireland before Sinn Fein
endorsed the police service.

By:Press Association

Democratic Unionist Policing Board member Ian Paisley Jnr
accused the Sinn Fein president of trying to dodge the
requirement on his party to move first under the St Andrews
plan for power sharing by publicly supporting the Police
Service of Northern Ireland.

In a hard-hitting response, the North Antrim Assembly
member said: "Gerry Adams should hear this message loud and

"He is not getting a date for the devolution of policing -

"He cannot put the cart before the horse in this matter.

"Sinn Fein must stop running away from and dodging the
issue. Support for the police, the courts and the rule of
law must come first in a real, genuine and meaningful way
before anyone could even contemplate a timeframe for the
devolution of policing.

"By avoiding this issue Sinn Fein only postpones serious
consideration of devolution by unionists. It is up to Sinn
Fein to build confidence by their actions and so far they
have failed this sincerity test."

In an article in the republican newspaper An Phoblacht, Mr
Adams signalled Sinn Fein could hold a special conference
on policing by next March if all its concerns were properly

A day after it was confirmed the West Belfast MP had been
told by the PSNI of another threat to his life, he spelt
out clearly his requirements if a party conference to
consider endorsing the police was to be held within the
timetable envisaged at St Andrews.

Mr Adams said he needed a definite date for the transfer of
policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont,
agreement on the type of devolved government department
that would handle them and for MI5 to be excluded from any
civic policing role.

He also offered to meet PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
and the Rev Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists in a bid to
break the political impasse.

The Sinn Fein leader stated: "Let me be very clear about

"I am committed to calling a meeting of the Sinn Fein ard
chomhairle (national executive) immediately when these
issues are resolved.

"This ard chomhairle meeting will be for the purpose of
convening a special ard fheis (party conference) within the
timeframe set out at St Andrews.

"However, let me be equally clear that I will not go to the
ard chomhairle to seek a special ard fheis unless I have
the basis to do so.

"In order to expedite these matters Sinn Fein will
intensify our contact with the British Government. We are
prepared to meet with the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde on
issues which fall within his remit and we will sit down
with the DUP and other parties at any time to agree other

"I am determined to make clear to the widest cross section
of national public opinion and especially unionist people
that I am determined to see all these issues dealt with as
quickly as possible and, as I have said, within the
timeframe set out at St Andrews.

"If the two governments and the other parties are of the
same mind then there is no reason why this cannot happen."

Policing remains the major obstacle to Prime Minister Tony
Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern`s hopes of restoring
power sharing at Stormont by next March.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are engaged in a Mexican stand-off
over the issue, with Mr Adams insisting he cannot call a
special conference on policing without a date for and
agreement on the type of government department that will
handle law and order.

However DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson and the party`s
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds have warned it could take
several political lifetimes until unionists are convinced
the powers could be handled by a devolved administration.

Mr Adams said the DUP`s objections to the devolution of
policing and justice powers were bogus.


Former PSNI Chief Cramphorn Dies

Former acting PSNI Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn has

The police officer, who was deputy chief constable of the
RUC, had been West Yorkshire's chief constable for the past
four years.

He died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mr Cramphorn,
50 was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004.

As RUC deputy chief constable, and then acting PSNI chief
constable, he oversaw the introduction of the new policing
arrangements for Northern Ireland.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "The contribution by Colin
Cramphorn to the history and development of policing in
Northern Ireland can never, nor should ever, be

"The successful evolution of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland as a professional policing organisation, which is
regarded highly both at home and abroad, is in no small
measure due to his dedication, drive and unassuming but
effective commitment.

It added: "In the highly sensitive and often politically-
charged atmosphere which prevailed following the Patten
report, he recognised the importance of building on the
solid foundations of the past in order to create a new
service of which every citizen could, and should, be proud.

"In that he succeeded."

As West Yorkshire's chief constable, Mr Cramphorn led the
force during a time when it was rocked by the fatal
shootings of two officers - Pc Ian Broadhurst on Boxing Day
in 2003 and Pc Sharon Beshenivsky last November.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/30 17:50:39 GMT


Loyalist's Acquittal Appealed

The decision to acquit prominent loyalist William "Mo"
Courtney is to be taken to the Court of Appeal.

He was freed from Belfast Crown Court on Thursday after the
judge upheld his acquittal over the killing of Alan "Bucky"

Prosecuting QC Geoffrey Millar said they would appeal on
the grounds an error was made in deciding the 43-year-old
had no case to answer.

Mr Courtney, of Fernhill Heights, was tried under the
Diplock no-jury system.

On Tuesday Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice McLaughlin
said he could not convict him of the 2003 murder of Alan
McCullough - a former associate of UDA leader Johnny Adair
- or UFF and UDA membership.

As Mr Courtney was freed on his own bail of £100 on
Thursday, the judge said he had been thrust into a
difficult position after ruling that the evidence was not
strong enough to convict him.

"I have made it clear that the ruling I gave two days ago
was not intended to be a detailed analysis of all the
evidence," he said.

"It purports to be nothing more than an analysis of certain
portions of evidence which, in my opinion, left such gaps
in the prosecution case that I had to come to the
conclusion there were no circumstances in which I could
properly convict.

"The prosecution now invites me to allow them to appeal
that conclusion.

"It seems to me there's something of a conflict between me
having reached that decision and now saying there is no
arguable case to grant leave.

"I'm not very happy that the prosecution has established
the basis upon which it should be given leave (to appeal)."

As he refused the application, Mr Justice McLaughlin
accepted that the prosecution was free to put its case
before the three Appeal Court judges.

He added that he had proceeded with caution because it was
the first time a judge sitting in a Diplock trial in
Northern Ireland had been put in such a position.

The body of Mr McCullough, 21, was found in a shallow grave
on the outskirts of north Belfast. He had been shot.

An earlier hearing had been told that Mr McCullough had
been a member of the so-called "C company" of the UDA -
headed by Adair.

"C company" had been expelled from the UDA in 2002, and a
number of its members, including the victim, had been
ordered out of Northern Ireland by UDA leaders.

Mr McCullough returned to Northern Ireland in April 2003
and his body was found on 5 June.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/30 13:28:26 GMT


Victim's Brother Says Michael Stone Is Publicity Seeker

Roddy Hackett and Desmond Tutu.

By Mark McKelvey

THE brother of a Tyrone man murdered by Michael Stone has
described the convicted killer's bizarre attack on Stormont
last Friday as "a publicity stunt" to keep himself in the

The Milltown murderer is now being held in solitary
confinement at Maghaberry, facing five attempted murder
charges after his one-man offensive at Parliament
Buildings, which ended with him being trapped in a
revolving door and disarmed by two Stormont security staff.

Roddy Hackett, whose brother Dermot was gunned down in 1987
by the UFF near Drumquin, came face to face with the
notorious loyalist hitman in February for a controversial
BBC programme.

Stone was convicted of Mr Hackett's murder but later
claimed in his autobiography that he helped arrange the
killing but hadn't actually pulled the trigger.

Roddy, who lives in Omagh said, "We only met him for one
reason, to find out about whether he played an active part
in my brother's shooting and he said he didn't."

In this landmark meeting Stone claimed to have only planned
the attack, despite previously admitting that he carried
out Dermot Hackett's murder.

Speaking to the UlsterHerald, Roddy said he can no longer
believe fully what Stone told him, as these recent actions
have made him question the motives behind Stone's actions.

Roddy said, "I am beginning to think now, how many other
things has he said that he has done that he hasn't, as he
seems to be a real man for the limelight. I honestly do
think he is a publicity seeker, living in a world of his

"I don't think that he (Stone) had anything to do with my
brother's killing. He may have done a bit of the planning,
but he has left the whole thing up in the air again," said

Roddy questioned Stone's mental health, but also admitted
to feeling an element of sympathy for him.

"At the time that we met him I felt sorry for him, I still
do as I think he could have psychiatric problems - he is
just one of these people that has been brought up with
trouble in their life and now can't live without the
notoriety of being gone. I think the pressures of the way
he lives and what he has done in the past has got to him."

Independent MLA Kieran Deeny who was in the chambers of
Parliament Buildings at the time of the crazed attack
reiterated this suggestion that Stone craves attention.

He said, "There was an air of disbelief throughout the
chamber that this was happening, but that is the sort of
guy that he is a narcissist who loves publicity.

"I understand that big incidents like last Friday has to be
publicised, but these individuals get far too much media
attention and strive on it and wants more of it. The media
has to take some responsibility as this is why Stone picks
these places. He picked a graveyard 18 years ago because
there was a huge profile on it and picked a huge day in
Northern Ireland politics last Friday."


Teens In Bid To Reduce Number Of Belfast Suicides

30/11/2006 - 18:24:26

Two Belfast teenagers are at the centre of a new bid to cut
the city’s suicide rates from 150 a year, it emerged today.

Caitlín Ní Cathail and Paul McCann have become the youngest
team ever to be trained in internationally renowned
techniques to recognise the symptoms before it’s too late.

The pair attended a conference in Newfoundland, Canada, to
partake in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

The initiative, developed over 23 years, involves a first-
aid process to detect any warning signs and intervene.

Mr McCann, 19, a student from west Belfast’s Lower Falls,
said: “It’s to help recognise the basic concept of suicide
and symptoms such as stress and giving away possessions and
act on them.

“We see ourselves as care workers trying to pull people out
of the river of suicide.”

Mr McCann and Ms Ní Cathail, both 18, from Ballymurphy,
west Belfast, work with Belfast City Council’s Youth Forum,
where they are teaching colleagues about what can be done
to protect those at risk.

They are also planning to run a course for staff working in
the community and team up with the Samaritans to put on a
play at City Hall in December to raise awareness of the
difficulties facing some of the most vulnerable at

“We would like as many people as possible to come along,”
said Mr McCann.

“Suicide is something people find hard to talk about, but
we need to start looking closely at what we can do to
intervene before it happens.”

He added: “The Youth Forum has identified suicide as a
major area of concern and has drawn up a strategy to help
tackle it.

“We aim to raise awareness among as many people as
possible, highlighting the effects suicide has on our

“There is often a great stigma or taboo around suicide
which may prevent people reaching out for help.

“However, they often give involuntary signals that they are
thinking about it and if we can pick these up we can apply
first aid until the necessary help is forthcoming. In this
way ASIST is proven to work and it helps save lives.”


Omagh Judge Launches Attack On Police Witnesses

30/11/2006 - 17:15:31

The judge in the Omagh bomb trial today launched a
blistering attack on two police officers over what he
branded misleading and false evidence.

He called their actions “reprehensible” and added: “The
credibility of the two witnesses had been brought into
serious question”.

It was revealed today the Northern Police Ombudsman has
been called in by Chief Constable Huge Orde after the judge
earlier called for an immediate investigation of the
officers’ actions.

Mr Justice Weir issued his damning indictment of Detective
Sergeant Fiona Cooper and Detective Sergeant Philip
Marshall, since promoted to detective chief inspector, when
ruling on a defence application to have two of the 58
charges against the alleged Omagh bomber thrown out.

Yesterday the defence team for 37-year-old south Armagh man
Sean Hoey made an application to have two charges,
unrelated to the Omagh bombing itself, dismissed.

Orlando Pownall, QC, claimed the officers had been involved
in “a unity of purpose, otherwise known as a conspiracy to
bury” evidence.

The charges surrounded a murder conspiracy and a mortar
bomb find at Altmore Forest at Dungannon, Co Tyrone, in
April 2001, nearly three years after the Omagh bomb, which
claimed 29 lives and injured hundreds more.

Hoey, an electrician, denies all charges against him.

After considering the application overnight the judge told
Mr Pownall he was turning it down.

However, he described the actions of the two police
officers as “reprehensible”.

He said: “The defence has exposed the nature of false and
misleading evidence of these two witnesses”.

He went on: “The credibility of the two witnesses has been
brought into serious question.”

Explaining his refusal to drop the charges he said: “I do
not, however, accept in the course of the present case that
the conduct of the police witnesses is so grave as to
threaten or undermine the rule of law itself.

“Any prejudice can be dealt with within the trial process.”

Mr Justice Weir said he considered there was no
infringement of Hoey’s human rights in continuing the trial
on the two counts.

The accusations against the two police witnesses centred on
written statements that they made and that the court heard
had replaced earlier statements, which had since

Mr Pownall alleged the statements had been doctored to beef
up the case against Hoey to appear stronger.

Last week the judge called for an immediate investigation
into why the statements were altered.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed today that
Orde had referred the matter to the police ombudsman for


Local Political Activists Critical Of Sinn Féin

left to right , Francis Mackey 32 county Sovereignty
Movement , Brendan Mackin independant chairman , William
gallagher IRSP , and Declan Kearney Sinn Fein speaking at
the public meeting on policing in the Conway Mill last
night see bimpe fotogan pic seamus loughran

By Ronan McSherry

THE chasm within republicanism was evident during a
discussion on policing attended by leading Tyrone political
activists Francis Mackey of the 32-County Sovereignty
Movement and Willie Gallagher of the IRSP.

Around 200 people attended the debate in the Conway Mill,
Belfast on Monday night.

Mr Mackey who once held the position of Chairman of Omagh
District Council was highly critical of his previous party,
Sinn Féin. He claimed that his former colleagues allusions
to "securocrats" are merely "scare tactics" to justify
their acceptance of British rule in Ireland. He said that
his group would not accept a police force "whilst partition

Despite an assertion from Declan Kearney of Sinn Féin that
his party had signed up to nothing and are still in the
process of negotiation, Mr Mackey questioned the decision
to involve the republican movement in any process which was
in essence created and controlled by the British

He added,"The spectacle of republicans donning the uniform
of once legitimate targets blinds some to the reality of
what that represents. Part of the normalising policy is the
normalising of the British government's illegal claim to
rule in Ireland."

His sentiments were echoed by Willie Gallagher from
Strabane who said, "For republicans the PSNI can never be
accepted as an acceptable police service" He also commented
that while republicans have accepted police "in issues of
ordinary crime, they cannot solve the corrupt policing
system by becoming police within the corrupt system."

The debate which became quite heated at times, took place
against a background of pressure being exerted on Sinn Féin
by the two governments and other political parties to sign
up to policing.

Earlier that day DUP leader Ian Paisley intimated in an RTE
interview that his party would be ready to share power with
Sinn Féin as soon as they accepted the current policing
arrangement. It is a proposition that is causing much
unease among grassroots republicans.


Opin: Growling At The Dog-Lover Adams

Fionnuala O Connor

That was a tender tableau as the Sinn Féin leader arrived
at Stormont. Out of the car, scarf knotted against the
cold, busy politician's folder under arm, pats Osgur the
dog. The last political figure in the North to display
public affection for a pooch and take it to the office was
Peter Mandelson, a comparison you'd think Mr Adams would

Images matter too much when politics has little substance.
Last Friday's hokum at Stormont had a layer of dire
seriousness beneath the farce, yet it is the sights that
will stick. As a Sinn Féin image, November 2006 vintage, Mr
Adams as dog-lover may be as potent as the sight of Ian
Paisley clutching his script a bit too tightly, and much
more significant than the Michael Stone sideshow.

Many look at or listen to leading republicans in peacetime
mode and feel angry or sick. It affronts some of those
bereaved by the IRA, or maimed by them, to be presented
with images of Mr Adams as writer, Martin McGuinness as
fisherman, feted abroad or consulted by foreign visitors as
conflict-resolvers. Maybe when republicans do sign up to
support Northern Ireland's police - as they have only this
week begun to do formally in the South - a share of
antipathy will dissolve.

Some will always resent the sense that each ounce of new
respectability displaces a ton of blame for the blood and
misery of the past. Depict Adams, McGuinness et al as
personalities, this thinking goes, or simply enhance their
human qualities and you make a pact with Satan.

It is more difficult to judge the status of leading Sinn
Féiners now among their own community.

The SDLP's most loyal supporters will never forgive the
republican movement for so many deaths, for prolonging the
violence, alienating the South and embittering so many
unionists. Among republicans, there is fear and resentment
about the process that has neutered the IRA, destroyed the
arms and set a course towards final recognition of the
state by accepting the police. The still-uncertain prospect
of sharing power with Dr Paisley has obvious limitations as
a pay-off.

Traditionalists hate the Adams-McGuinness team with a
vengeance, but even among the faithful they have lost a
little lustre. The journey from war to peace has taken too
long, and familiarity breeds irreverence. There are people
old enough to have set up homes, had children and lost
marriages, who don't remember the war because they were
young teenagers in 1994 when the IRA called that first
cessation of hostilities. Some still like to see Gerry
Adams wandering round events in the West Belfast festival
in his Aran jumper or bringing his grandchild to watch his
son playing football in Casement Park. Simply because he is
a grandfather, the greying man patting Osgur the dog may
have passed his peak as father of his people. They might
not want him to try the regal wave of the octogenarian Dr
Paisley: the pose with dog had a touch of off-duty film

Still, he looked composed. Compared to "the other side",
Sinn Féin's leaders radiate assurance. Last Friday saw Dr
Paisley take up three, perhaps four positions inside 24
hours, none of them gracefully. As he read his speech,
crunching the paper hard as though warding off the
temptation to improvise, it became clear that the text
hammered out with Tony Blair's minions had been amended.
Some of his MLAs grew fidgety.

Near the end, concentration took its toll. Despite loud
prompts from his son and Peter Robinson, the new-fangled,
insulting replacement for the RUC eventually came out
"ESPI" instead of PSNI. Invoking Martin Luther's "Here I
stand" may have been his own idea but dwindled without "I
can do no other," which in the circumstances might have
brought disbelieving giggles. The angry statement that
emerged with 12 signatures included some surprises, like
the personable Gregory Campbell and the recently ennobled
Lord Morrow. Some wondered at the rebellion of longtime
Paisley aide Nigel Dodds.

Others thought it might be a reaction to his poor showing
in a recent poll, when he unexpectedly trailed in behind
blow-in Jeffrey Donaldson and well behind the leader's son,
the latter clearly benefiting from his new prominence
during his father's forays into the strange territory of
negotiation. As previously-hidden tensions break into the
light, the DUP has started to look like an ordinary
political party.

Mr Adams has averted major splits and held his movement
together on an extraordinary journey. Dr Paisley's ability
to do the same is now being put to the test. His
performance will decide the course of the next phase of the
peace process. He long ago went beyond playing grandfather
to assume the role of patriarch.

He has discovered, however, that some important supporters
are not as Paisleyite as they once were - but then nor is


Ancient Remains On View In Clare

Gordon Deegan

Artefacts from a cemetery containing the cremated remains
of at least 27 individuals discovered along the path of the
€190 million Ennis bypass went on display yesterday for a
month at the Clare County Museum.

Curator John Rattigan said the earliest of the remains have
been carbon-dated back to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze
Age between 2450-2150 BC. Burials continued at the site
through the Bronze Age and up to the late Iron Age,
spanning some 2,700 years, he said.

"Three glass beads, which are included in the 'Funerary'
section of the exhibit, were found when processing
archeological material during post-excavation. The beads
originated from a ring barrow excavated at Claureen near
the Lahinch Road and were probably votive offerings of
Mediterranean origin dating from between 250 BC-50 AD."

Other artefacts found at the cemetery include cremated
bone, pottery fragments, stone tools and cereal grains from
Manusmore in the parish of Clareabbey.

Mr Rattigan said the exhibition features a full collection
of artefacts dating from the Bronze Age to modern times.
"The free exhibition represents a final opportunity for the
public to view the artefacts" before they are sent for
storage in Dublin, he said.

A book on the archaeological work is expected next year.

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