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November 29, 2006

Collusion Revealed On Both Sides of the Border

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/29/06 Investigation Call Into Loughinisland Collusion
BN 11/29/06 Britain 'Colluded Over Murders In Republic'
BT 11/29/06 Belfast Telegraph Ltr: Stone’s Mission To Kill
BT 11/29/06 Copy Of Stone’s Letter

IT 11/29/06 SF Confirms Further Threat To Adams
BB 11/28/06 DUP Aiming To End Power Tensions
NW 11/29/06 Assembly Is Shambles Inside & Outside
BT 11/29/06 Ulster Future: Reconciliation? Talking
IT 11/29/06 Bradley Hails SF Policing Move
IN 11/29/06 SF Joins Boards But Backing For Garda Qualified
BB 11/29/06 Backing Police A Step Into History
IT 11/29/06 SF Battles For Hearts & Minds Over Policing
BB 11/29/06 NI Police DNA Database Trebles
IT 11/28/06 Plane Stopped At Shannon After Kidnap
BN 11/29/06 McDowell: Airports Not For Illegal Purposes
IT 11/29/06 McDowell Predicts FF Election Success
CO 11/28/06 Anti-Catholicism’ Throughout Scotland: Cardinal
IT 11/29/06 McAllister Refused Asylum Plea In US
IN 11/29/06 Opin: Stone Fired By Paisleyite Rhetoric
BT 11/29/06 Opin: After Stone Incident Nothing Surprises Us
IN 11/29/06 Opin: Proconsul Do Anything To Save Own Skin
BN 11/29/06 Ex Russian Leader Falls Ill In Dublin
DR 11/29/06 Cherish The Ladies: Christmas A Celtic Touch
IT 11/29/06 Minister Gives €500,000 To Restore Cathedral
IT 11/29/06 Shannon Closed After Jet Tyres Burst


Call For Investigation Into Loughinisland Collusion

The Families Of Six Men Gunned Down By Loyalists 12 Years
ago as they watched a World Cup match in Co Down twelve
years ago have met with leaders of all the major parties in
the EU, many of whom pledged support to their call for an
inquiry into the deaths of their loved ones.

Relatives of the six victims of the June 1994 Loughinisland
massacre in Co Down were joined by Sinn Féin Assembly
member Caitriona Ruane in Brussels to call for an
investigation into claims of British security force
collusion in the murders.

Patrick McCreanor, whose family lost two generations in the
attack, said he was delighted by the all-party support.

"If things were right at home we should not have to do
this. If the police had tried to investigate this properly
we would not be here," he said.

"Although I have no reason to believe the Police Ombudsman
will not do her job properly, we want to make sure there's
no slippage and no stone left unturned.

"There's not a day goes by that you don't think of your
loved ones at all but it is important to remember that
there were also survivors and we are fighting for them as

The victims were watching the Republic beat Italy in the
1994 USA World Cup when they were attacked. They came from
Loughinisland, Ballynahinch, Drumaness, and Downpatrick.

They were Adrian Rogan, 39-year-old Eamon Byrne, who was
married with four children, his brother-in-law Patsy
O'Hare, who was 35 and a single man, 59-year-old Dan
McCreanor, a single farmer, his uncle Barney Green, an 87-
year-old retired pig farmer who was married, and 54-year-
old Malcolm Jenkinson, a building contractor who was
married with three children.

Earlier this year the families, through their solicitors,
formally complained to Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman
Nuala O'Loan about serious flaws in the police

In particular, the families are concerned about the loss of
potentially vital forensic evidence and the decision by the
police to destroy the UVF's getaway car, a red Honda
Triumph, in 1996.

They also expressed concerns about recent claims that a
police agent codenamed Mechanic was believed to have
supplied the car.

The relatives also have called for a investigation into the
link between the Czech-made VZ rifle used in the attack and
the arms shipment brought to Northern Ireland from South
Africa by loyalists, including Ulster Defence Association
member and British agent Brian Nelson.

The Loughinisland Justice Group published a six-page
leaflet outlining the reasons for their campaign and
containing 10 portraits of the six victims. They also
launched a telephone number and email address for
information relating to the case.

Charlton's team learnt of the atrocity after securing their
historic victory over Italy and the Football Association of
Ireland sent a message of condolence. The attack was also
condemned by the Queen and Pope John Paul II. A declaration
of support was agreed following today's meetings.


Britain 'Colluded Over Murders In Republic'

29/11/2006 - 07:23:41

A public inquiry has been urged into alleged British State
involvement in murders in the Republic of Ireland ahead of
a Government report on the killings out today.

A Government committee has concluded its investigation into
bombings at Dublin Airport and Dundalk in 1975, and at
Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in 1976, which killed five

Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, has demanded Government
action on the findings of the report, which he said are
deeply disturbing.

He has backed a call from victims’ group Justice for the
Forgotten for a public inquiry into the bombings.

“The reports of collusion described by the Oireachtas
Committee’s report are deeply disturbing,” he said.

“The Irish Government had concerns in the mid-1970s that
loyalist paramilitaries and agents of the British state
were colluding to cause harm to life in the south of

“This confirms the pattern of behaviour that has recently
been reported by international legal and human rights
experts on behalf of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry. “

Earlier this month, an international panel of human rights
experts released a 115-page report that claims to have
uncovered evidence of British Army and police collusion in
dozens of sectarian murders.

The report says that there was considerable and credible
evidence of security-force involvement in 74 of the 76
sectarian murders they investigated, half of them in
Northern Ireland and the other half in the Republic.

“The consistent reports of high-level collusion demand a
public inquiry,” said Mr Sargent. “I fully support Justice
for the Forgotten’s call for such an inquiry.”


Ltr To Belfast Telegraph: Stone’s Mission To Kill

In an amazing letter to the Telegraph, Michael Stone
reveals his plan for murder at Stormont

By Lindy McDowell
29 November 2006

Stone's letter reveals targets were Adams and McGuinness

KILLER Michael Stone predicted he would meet his death at
Stormont in a chilling letter sent to the Belfast Telegraph
just hours before he launched his abortive bomb attack.

In the astonishing five-page letter, dated last Friday,
Stone said his main targets during his attempt to storm a
crucial meeting of the Assembly would be the Sinn Fein
leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The Milltown murderer is now being held in solitary
confinement at Maghaberry.

He is 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.

In Stone's letter to the Telegraph — penned in block
capitals — he revealed how his deadly plan was supposed to
unfold in order that there would be "no confusion as to the
objective of my mission".

Stone described himself as a "freelance dissident

He said that, by the time the Belfast Telegraph had
received his letter, he would be in one of two positions.

"One, I will be in police custody with the events
surrounding my arrest ensuring that I spend the rest of my
natural life in prison. Two, that I am deceased . . . the
latter in all probability."

He wrote that he would carry a replica handgun to "bluff my
way past two security guards stationed at a desk behind a
walk-through metal detector".

He also claimed he would carry one large "flash bang
device", seven nail bombs, three knives, an axe, a garrotte
and a body armour vest.

The former UDA killer claimed that he would detonate the
"flash bang device" in the Great Hall "to create panic and
confusion as I move to my left and along the corridor
towards the debating chamber and the two targets".

He said that, if the two Sinn Fein leaders were not in the
debating chamber, he would move to the party's offices on
the first floor of Stormont and would take "appropriate
action to deter" security staff if they tried to disarm

The letter described in detail the location of the Sinn
Fein office and claimed there was an "offensive tricolour"
on the inside of the office window.

Also in the letter, Stone claimed he was taking action
because he believed there would be a united Ireland within
20 years.

He also wrote: "Not a round, not an ounce, lose the golf
balls." This is believed to be a reference to the UDA
"brigadier" Jackie McDonald, reported to have played golf
with Martin McAleese, the husband of President Mary

Stone concludes his letter by stating: "I'm outgunned but I
wouldn't have it any other way", and signs the letter using
his nickname 'Flint'.

The loyalist killer has had his early-release license
revoked by Secretary of State Peter Hain following Friday's

He was originally jailed in 1989 and told he must serve at
least 30 years in jail for six UDA murders, including three
at a republican funeral in Milltown Cemetery in 1988 — his
first attempt to wipe out the Sinn Fein leadership.

However, Stone was re- leased on licence in 2000 under the
terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

His former UDA colleagues, who once viewed Stone as a hero,
have already distanced themselves from his actions of last

A UDA statement said: "The Ulster Defence Association had
no prior knowledge of Stone's intention and it is becoming
increasing- ly clear that he acted alone."

The paramilitary group said Stone had recently become
"estranged" and branded him a "recluse".

Police investigating Stone's attempted bomb attack on the
Assembly searched the home of a former girlfriend of the
loyalist killer on Monday. Officers carried out a detailed
examination of the property in Belfast's Ballybeen estate.
Psychiatrists are examining Stone while he is being held in
Maghaberry Prison.


Copy Of Stone’s Letter


SF Confirms Further Threat To Adams

Sinn Féin has confirmed that the PSNI has warned of a
second threat to the life of party leader Gerry Adams.

A party spokesman confirmed the West Belfast MP was alerted
to the threat by the police. "Sinn Féin takes all of the
recent threats seriously," he said.

The latest threat comes almost two and a half weeks after
it was reported that hard-line republicans had
threatened Mr Adams, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly.

Sinn Féin's confirmation of the threat came just hours
after a letter to a Belfast newspaper from the loyalist
Michael Stone said he had planned to kill Mr Adams and Mr
McGuinness in the Northern Ireland Assembly last Friday.

Mr Stone was arrested after he tried to launch a bomb
attack at Stormont. A Sinn Féin spokesman said they were
aware of the threat from a number of quarters to their

"We are very mindful that there are elements within the
British system, within unionism, and some disaffected
republicans who are opposed to the Sinn Féin strategy and
are prepared to take extreme action to pursue their narrow
agenda," he said.

"Sinn Féin will obviously take whatever precautions we can
to minimise the danger but we will not be deflected from
continuing to do the work we were elected to do."

Sinn Féin is understood to be concerned that disaffected
Provisional IRA members or members of existing dissident
republican groups such as the Real IRA and the Continuity
IRA are behind the security threats.


DUP Aiming To End Power Tensions

The DUP will hold a strategy meeting outside Belfast this
week aimed at tackling tensions in the party, DUP sources
have told the BBC.

It follows friction over when leader Ian Paisley will
become first minister.

Despite the DUP's insistence that the party is united,
sources have said there are tensions.

They said these are over the implementation of the St
Andrew's Agreement and exactly when power-sharing should
take place.

The meeting of assembly members, MPs, peers and the party's
MEP follows a disagreement last Friday - when 12 DUP
assembly members signed a statement insisting the
government must not interpret comments by Mr Paisley in the
assembly as a nomination for first minister.

The statement was contradicted by Mr Paisley soon after.

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent Martina Purdy
said the DUP leader issued his own statement - indicating
his willingness to accept the post, subject to delivery on
policing by republicans.

"Sources say the meeting will deal with the forthcoming
election - and in part attempt to find a common position on
power-sharing with Sinn Fein that everyone can sign up to,"
she said.

"There is concern by some members that the DUP leadership
is moving too quickly and the time-frame of next March does
not allow enough time to test republican intentions.

"The sources say they are responding to the depth of
feeling among grassroots DUP members who are deeply unhappy
about aspects of the St Andrew's Agreement."

On Friday, DUP leader Ian Paisley said that if all his
conditions were fulfilled he would accept the first
minister's post after a spring election.

Sinn Fein nominated Martin McGuinness as deputy first

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/28 17:44:57 GMT


Assembly Is 'A Shambles' Inside And Outside Of The Chamber

It's a 'Yes, but ...', from MLA's who gathered at Stormont
on Friday to bring the process forward and meet the
Secretary of State's, Peter Hain St Andrew's deadline of 24
November. And, despite the fact that Michael Stone
disrupted the proceeding, it seems there was as much
confusion inside the political chamber over what had
actually happened.

Ulster Unionist MLA, Tom Elliott declared: "It was as big a
shambles inside the chamber. The speaker called on parties
to make their nominations, or intentions to nominate.
Paisley spoke, and quite clearly said he was not nominating
or making an intention to nominate. Then Gerry Adams
nominated Martin McGuinness to the post of Deputy.

"However, the Speaker of the house, Eileen Bell, said she
was accepting intentions to nominate from both the DUP and
Sinn Fein. This came as a total shock to everybody in the
chamber. She then opened the floor to other parties, but
this was when the Michael Stone incident happened, and we
were all evacuated."

Mr Elliott explained Assembly members were only able to
return to business on Monday morning of this week, when the
Speaker reiterated her statement, but refused to take any
comments or questions from the floor.

"It doesn't seem very democratic to me," Mr Elliott
continued. "And there was a lot of confusion, with a
different statement coming from within the DUP. However,
everybody seems now to have accepted the DUP have decided
to get into bed with Sinn Fein."

Mr Elliott said the outcome of 'this peculiar set of
events' had been positive. However, he questioned what
would happen next with regard Sinn Fein: "Peter Hain has
lost all credibility. He set deadlines and didn't stick to
them, so I think Sinn Fein will think: why should we stick
to the deadline he has imposed to urge them to move on
policing, the DUP haven't moved, so why should we bother'"

But, the Sinn Fein Fermanagh MLA, Thomas O'Reilly was
positive about the way politics in Northern Ireland was
moving forward, "slowly, inch by inch, but at least we are
heading in the right direction," he said.

Questioned about the Sinn Fein sticking point that is
policing, Mr O'Reilly was adamant: "Sinn Fein have made
their position very clear. The British Government need to
move on their commitment to set a time-frame for the
devolvement of powers back to the Six Counties, and to make
policing in Northern Ireland accountable. This is a very
crucial part of the process, and there are still questions
to be answered."

Despite the confusion which reigned inside and outside
Stormont on Friday, the Fermanagh DUP, MLA is quite clear
about what happened.

Arlene Foster explained: "No, Ian Paisley did not nominate
or give an intention to nominate. Simply because we can't
do this until Sinn Fein move on policing. What he has made
clear is that the DUP will honour their commitment to the
St Andrew's Agreement, if Sinn Fein do likewise, but there
are still a lot of if's and but's."

Commenting on the apparent split in her party, Ms Foster
dismissed this: "We are united, but understandably there
are deep concerns within our community, and there are
always difficulties when trying to move forward."

The SDLP's Tommy Gallagher, claimed both the DUP and Sinn
Fein had 'shied away from facing up to their

"It is clear to everyone that the DUP have to accept power
sharing and Sinn Fein to support policing, if this region
is to have accountable democracy. Delay and postponement on
the part of Sinn Fein and the DUP is holding the rest of
the community to ransom.


Future Of Ulster: Their Aim? Reconciliation. Their Means? Talking

A British soldier, an IRA volunteer, a Protestant victim -
the extraordinary story of how, behind closed doors, former
foes are now fighting for the peaceful future of Northern

By David McKittrick
29 November 2006

Jackie McMullan, who joined the IRA at the age of 13, was
given a life sentence for an attack on a military billet.
Behind bars he became a republican legend, surviving 48
days of the hunger strike that killed 10 of his colleagues.
He served 16 years in prison.

Alan McBride is a Belfast Protestant whose life was
devastated when an IRA bomb killed his wife, Sharon, at a
Shankill Road fish shop in 1973. It also claimed the life
of her father. Mr McBride said the loss of his wife had
sent him to hell and back.

But together, Mr McMullan and Mr McBride are engaged in an
extraordinary venture where ordinary people - extraordinary
people - rather than politicians are taking the lead. Their
aim? Reconcilation. Their means? Talk, and specifically
talk about the past, with the aim of creating a better
future. Among those working with them is Andrew Rawding, a
former British soldier who lost friends and comrades during
tours of duty in south Armagh.

For two years, behind closed doors, they have united to
tackle one of the most deep-seated, difficult and
potentially dangerous issues: how to help in healing the
thousands of people on whom the Troubles inflicted
emotional lacerations.

"I know Jackie McMullan very well now," says Mr McBride. "I
have a problem with people who are unrepentant and
unapologetic but Jackie acknowledges that the IRA caused
hurt." Mr McMullan says: "I learnt a lot from Alan. I have
a lot of admiration for him and the position he takes,
coming from his circumstances. I believe he has shown moral
and political courage."

Mr Rawding said of their work: "This is an incredibly
important process. There is no moral high ground for
anybody. It is not enough to remain in a comfort zone and
sit on the sidelines and do nothing."

Some argue that looking back, and trying to make sense of
the Troubles, is just too painful and certain to open old
wounds. Yet there is already a striking amount of evidence,
that the question will not go away.

Many who have studied the problem have concluded that
bottling up the personal and communal hurt will cause it to
fester. The fact the group, whose stated aim was "Making
peace with the past," did so in a civilised way is an early
and encouraging sign that former adversaries can work
constructively on the future. "There was a real
engagement," said Mr McMullan. "It wasn't as if we were
shaking hands and hugging but we didn't spend every meeting
arguing and shouting. There were differences but we weren't
locking horns."

Another participant, former assistant chief constable Irwin
Turbitt, said: "It was a robust and mature set of
discussions - more robust early on and then more mature
later, as people actually started to listen."

The process produced not unanimity but a comprehensive
report with a set of five options that the group hopes
"will give shape and depth" to the debate which will
continue in the years ahead.

The political world and public opinion have yet to reach a
consensus on what to do next but Belfast's newspapers
illustrate daily that scores of individuals and groups are
seeking information about their relatives.

More and more previously secret information is gradually
being disclosed. The expectation is that further
revelations are on the way about loyalist assassins being
protected by the intelligence community. As one group
member put it: "Truth appears to be seeping under the
doors, through the cracks in the ceiling and down the
chimney, no matter how determined the attempts to stem the

This post-conflict process is sometimes referred to as
"truth recovery". The UN calls it "transitional justice",
defining it as "a society's attempts to come to terms with
a legacy of large-scale past abuses in order to ensure
accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation".

The Belfast group was assembled by Healing Through
Remembering, an organisation that grapples with the notion
of how people, in remembering the events of the conflict,
can contribute to healing society's wounds.

Northern Ireland is awash with scores of inquiries,
investigations and campaigns. Some are official, others are
entirely independent, sometimes community-based and
sometimes run by just one family.

The Government, for example, established the Bloody Sunday
Inquiry to investigate events in 1972, and the police have
set up a historical inquiries team to look into most of the
3,700 deaths of the Troubles.

Smaller-scale official inquiries have been announced into
high-profile killings such as those of the nationalist
solicitor Pat Finucane. The Irish government is looking
into 1970s bomb attacks in the Republic as well as IRA
killings of senior police officers on the border.

At a local level, dozens of families are seeking
information on how their relatives died. In the case of
"the Disappeared", some bodies have never been recovered,
relatives want to know where the IRA buried them in the

What is obvious is that whatever formal moves are to be
made, a wide range of truth initiatives are already under

All that generates highly sensitive questions. Should those
with knowledge of killings be legally compelled to talk
about them? Should amnesty be available to some? Should
names be named in public? Should large-scale compensation
be contemplated to victims? What about apologies from

Questions such as those continue to hang in the air, as yet
unresolved. Yet many members of the Healing Through
Remembering group say such questions cannot be put aside,
and need to be faced. But they did consider the option of
"drawing a line under the past".

An argument advanced in favour of that approach was the
concern that new revelations could jeopardise a new
coalition government headed by Sinn Fein and the Rev Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party. That was certainly a
strong factor behind the Government's decision, a year-and-
a-half ago, to put its consultations on hold.

Northern Ireland Secretary at the time, Paul Murphy,
explained: "I have not for one second suggested that we
have abandoned the idea. I am simply saying I did not think
this was the time for it, and if anything it could be
counter-productive ." A committee of MPs concurred, saying
"the peace is as yet too fragile, the scars of the conflict
too fresh".

Nationalists and republicans tend to be well-disposed
towards truth processes of some sort, though Sinn Fein and
the IRA have made no definitive commitment. They will not
show their hand until concrete proposals emerge, and it
will be a finely balanced decision: obviously they would
favour a mechanism that would show Britain and loyalist
groups in the worst possible light. Those on the Protestant
and Unionist side are much more wary.

The loyalist paramilitary groups who were involved in
violence say "the painful political conflict is not yet
past" and claim digging into the past would "run a real
risk of reigniting violent conflict".

They say, frankly, that "pro-state paramilitaries", which
is how they describe themselves, typically have more
difficulty justifying their actions than groups, such as
the IRA, which present themselves as fighting a "liberation

They also worry that republicans would outperform them on
presentation. According to one loyalist: "Republicans - who
are seen to be very skilful in the art of propaganda -
would use a truth commission as a stick to beat the British
state with."

Arlene Foster of the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist
Party said bluntly: "Any commission would amount to nothing
more than a Brit-bashing session. Would we ever learn the
whole truth from the terrorists? Are we expected to take
the word of IRA men? They have made lying and deceit an art

The bulk of Protestant opinion is against a large-scale
commission on the scale of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission which functioned in South Africa.

And not just loyalists but many others recoil from the
dimensions of the closest thing to a local example, the
Bloody Sunday Inquiry. Announced in 1998, it has yet to
report. It is the largest and most complex public inquiry
in British legal history. The Government has brought in new
measures to curtail subsequent inquiries and has attracted
criticism. But with the Bloody Sunday exercise costing
about £163m, it is almost universally agreed that no future
investigation should incur such phenomenal expense.

The search is therefore on new types of institutions that
could do the job quicker and cheaper. For some years, the
widespread assumption was that the question was bipolar:
should Northern Ireland follow South Africa, or do nothing
at all? The group's report includes the option of such a
full-blown inquiry.

Although it would have a financial cap and a specified
time-scale it would have a large staff of lawyers and
others, holding public hearings. It could grant amnesty to
former combatants who co-operate, and could recommend the
prosecution of others.

Tony Blair has shown no sign of favouring such an approach,
but he believes there "needs to be some way of trying to
allow people to express their grief, their pain and their
anger without the past continually dominating the present
and the future". It is a view shared by the Irish Prime
Minister, Bertie Ahern, who said: "Instead of the healing
process setting in, bitterness arises. Something must
happen - I do not know what is the best way to do it."

In addition to examining the South African experience, the
group looked at dozens of other countries that had truth
mechanisms, including El Salvador, the Philippines,
Mozambique, Guatemala, and Rwanda .

Several members were fascinated by the experience of Spain,
which seemed to show that attempts to forget atrocities
stretching back as far as the civil war of the 1930s have
been ultimately unsuccessful.

Although many in Spain went along with a post-Franco pacto
del olvido - pact of forgetting - the issue has now
resurfaced, with the government appointing a commission to
consider truth and reparations. Such research and
discussions have produced other options. One envisages
paramilitary groups and security agencies voluntarily
giving information to families through a central co-
ordinating body.

Another is for a commission of historical clarification,
placing the emphasis more on devising an independent and
authoritative historical narrative that would explore the
roots of conflict, employing primarily researchers and
historians rather than lawyers. The danger is it could be
an arid scholarly process, though one advantage is that
people could come forward to tell their stories.

The fifth option is to build on the grassroots initiatives
already under way, combining storytelling with
investigative work. An oversight body would collect
testimony from victims, witnesses and ex-combatants, the
idea being to maximise a sense of ownership and empowerment
and to allow people to be heard.

The group says the options are not mutually exclusive and
could be combined. Other ideas include a museum of the
Troubles and a day of remembrance.

Irwin Turbitt, the former assistant chief constable, said:
"I think the process that produced the report is as worthy
of notice as the report itself. That in itself is a
significant sign of progress."

Mr McMullan said: "Republicans have to set the standard in
acknowledging the suffering of all those we hurt.
Initially, I saw talking about this as a bit of a burden
but now I do feel personally committed to it. The past
isn't going to go away."

And Mr McBride, who is no stranger to hurt and pain, said:
"I believe we need some mechanism for dealing with the
past. It could hurt some people but I believe that the good
it could do is greater than the hurt."

The Troubles

3,720 People killed
47,000 People injured
37,000 Shootings
16,000 Bombings
116,000kg Explosives seized
12,000 Weapons seized
Over a million Bullets seized
19,000 Number charged with paramilitary offences


Bradley Hails SF Policing Move

Sinn Fein's new official role in policing is another sign
of the party's intention to back the PSNI, according to the
former vice-chairman of North's policing board, Denis

Mr Bradley described the party's decision to embrace new
partnerships in the Republic as "significant." Sinn Féin
has confirmed that 17 of its elected representatives have
taken seats in embryonic joint policing committees
throughout the country.

Mr Bradley said Sinn Féin's new role working alongside the
Garda Síochana was another step towards the party signing
up to the PSNI.

"I think Sinn Fein are now finding their way and leading
their followers into recognition of the policing
realities," said Mr Bradley .

"But also I think they are being led by their own people.
The fact of the matter is, in both the North and the South,
in all areas, people want decent policing.

"It is becoming so important in a modern society where the
Church, education and politics have lost some of their
authority. People long for some good and decency and
policing plays a part in that," he said.

The former Catholic priest, who was last year bludgeoned by
a baseball bat while watching a football match in an attack
blamed on dissident republicans, has been targeted several
times for his key role in policing.

"(Sinn Fein Leader) Gerry Adams said the other day that we
are moving through this process inch by inch. This is
another inch," he said.

In a statement released yesterday, Dublin Sinn Fein
councillor Larry O'Toole, who was appointed vice-chair of
the capital city's policing partnership, reaffirmed the
party's commitment to the new structures.

"While we had hoped, and proposed in Leinster House, they
would be more genuinely participative, we are committed to
making them work for the people we represent," he said.

"The policing committees could have a valuable role to play
in building better working relationships between
communities across the state and the Gardai.

"If they are allowed to function in a real and meaningful
way, with every effort made to maximise participation by
local people through public meetings and surveys, they
could allow for a direct input into policing priorities in
local areas."

The Dublin North East councillor has rallied against
gangland crime after surviving a gun attack during a First
Communion ceremony at a church in the city in 1998.


SF Joins Boards But Backing For Garda Qualified

By Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent

A PROMINENT Sinn Fein TD has said crime-fighting in the
Republic should be “left to the gardai’’ but fell short of
encouraging the public to cooperate with the Omagh bombing

Dublin South-Central dep-uty Aengus O Snodaigh is among 19
Sinn Fein councillors and TDs sitting on the Republic’s new
policing committees.

He said Sinn Fein fully backed the Garda in its battle
against drugs and anti-social behaviour in the state but
refused to encourage people to contact gardai about the
1998 Omagh bombing or the 1996 IRA killing of Garda Jerry
McCabe during a botched raid in Co Limerick.

Mr O Snodaigh claimed there were “whole aspects of the
police forces on both sides of the border’’ and their
treatment of the Omagh investigation that left unanswered

“We’re hearing all kinds of things about Garda and PSNI
informants’ prior knowledge that don’t inspire
confidence,’’ he said.

Mr O Snodaigh said in relation to the McCabe killing that
there was “no reason to go over old ground’’ and risk
“unravelling the work Sinn Fein has done on the peace

He was speaking after party colleague and Dublin city
councillor Larry O’Toole become the first Sinn Fein
politician to take an official role in policing in the

Mr O’Toole has been sel-ected as the vice chairman of the
Dublin City Joint Policing Committee, which will see local
authorities and the Garda liasing on law enforcement in the

The pilot phase of the e600,000 initiative has 22 joint
policing committees in local authorities for Fingal,
Offaly, Wicklow, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford,
Drogh-eda, Sligo Borough Councils, Athy, Arklow,
Ballinasloe, Birr, Bray, Edenderry, Greystones,
Letterkenny, Mallow, Tralee, Tuam, Tullamore and Wicklow.

Seventeen Sinn Fein councillors and two TDs sit on the
committees, giving their par-ty an unprecedented role in
policing in the Republic.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which
represents gardai on the ground, said it had “no official
position’’ on its members working side by side with Sinn
Fein on the committees.

Since 1970 a total of 13 gardai have died in violence
linked to the Northern Ireland conflict.

The GRA has been openly critical of the support Sinn Fein
has given the convicted killers of Detective Garda Jerry
McCabe by IRA raiders during a botched robbery.

One Garda source said there remained concerns within the
force that individual members of the Provisional IRA
continued to be involved in criminal activities, including
smuggling and money laundering, despite the commitment of
republican leaders to the peace process.

Mr O Snodaigh, a member of the Dublin City Joint Policing
Committee, defended his par-ty’s decision to become in-
volved in the southern policing committees, while refusing
to take part in their northern counterparts.

“We made the decision based on the history of policing on
both sides of the border,” he said.

“The gardai are accountable to an elected body elected by
the Irish people. The history of the RUC and the history of
the Patten report prevent Sinn Fein from signing up to the
committees [in Northern Ireland].”

Mr O Snodaigh insisted that his party had forged a “good
working relationship’’ with gardai in a number of areas,
such as regarding efforts to tackle the drugs problem,
traffic control problems and anti-social behaviour.

He conceded that Sinn Fein members had been accused of
vigilantism during the 1980s and 1990s because of their
involvement in anti-drugs groups, including Concerned
Parents Against Drugs and the Coalition of Communities
Against Drugs.

However, he insisted there was no evidence that members in
Dublin had ever been linked to Direct Action Against Drugs,
allegedly responsible for a number of violent attacks on
suspected drug dealers.

Mr O Snodaigh said that the battle against crime in the
Republic “should be left to gardai in this state and in
future to the PSNI [in Northern Ireland] if and when it
passes the standards set by the Patten Report’’.


Backing Police A Step Into History

By Vincent Kearney
Home affairs correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland

Supporting the police and encouraging nationalists to join
it will be a truly historic change for republicans, and one
that many see as a bridge too far.

Republicans have long memories. For them, the attack by
loyalist mobs on Bombay Street in August 1969, when
hundreds of Catholics had to flee their burning homes, is
still relevant today.

At the time, many nationalists accused the police of
standing by as they were attacked.

That same week, nationalists and the police fought running
battles in Derry during what became known as the Battle of
the Bogside.

The riots followed an Apprentice Boys parade and again,
nationalists pointed an accusing finger at the police.

Some commentators view those two incidents as the start of
the troubles, and the reason for the catastrophic breakdown
in relations between the Catholic community and the police.

That's the view of Brian Feeney, author of "Sinn Fein: A
Hundred Turbulent Years".

He says: "The effect of the role that the RUC played in
both the Bogside and places like Bombay Street meant that
the Catholic community saw the police as their enemies, as
their atttackers, and immediately afterwards set up
barricades to prevent the police coming into any of those

"They were called no-go areas and the police couldn't get
back into them and the RUC never regained the confidence of
the Catholic community as a result of that."

Chris Ryder, the author of a number of books on policing
and a former member of the Police Authority, believes the
seeds of division were sown much earlier, when the RUC was
founded in 1922.

"The unionist government wanted an armed constabulary
because they didn't trust the British to send the army in
if the IRA or the forces in the south tried to take over
the north," he says.

"So instead of having a conventional police force, they had
an armed police force charged with defending the state.

"And although a third of the places in the new police force
were reserved for Catholics they did everything they could
to discourage them from being taken up by Catholics."

Throughout the Troubles, republicans viewed the RUC as the
enemy, an armed unionist militia defending Northern
Ireland's constitutional position.

The risk was so high that the police couldn't patrol many
areas on their own and needed constant Army protection.

But the IRA still managed to kill more than 270 police
officers, and left hundreds of others maimed.

Much has changed in recent years. The RUC is gone. Chris
Patten was brought in to transform the police and its
relationship with the nationalist community.

His report consigned the RUC to the history books and
created the PSNI, with built in safeguards to dramatically
increase the number of Catholics in the ranks.

Policing changes

But Sinn Fein said the changes didn't go far enough. Now
they are being asked to endorse that new police service,
and to recognise it as the legitimate face of law and

An intense debate is taking place within republican ranks.
A public meeting to debate the issue of policing in west
Belfast on Monday night heard much criticism of the police
and the calls for republican support.

There is clearly much unease about the issue.

"It is the biggest step that republicans have ever been
asked to take," explains Brian Fenney.

"Sharing power is nothing compared to saying that they
recognise the state and urge people to join the police
force and support law and order within the state. And for a
lot of republicans that will be a step too far."

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein's spokesman on policing,
acknowledges that the issue is a difficult one, but also
insists that republicans want a new start to policing.

He says: "They want a police service that for the first
time, not just in our lifetimes but this is generational,
this is talking to your grandparents or your parents, that
for the first time you could have a police service which
actually represented the people and acted as a civilian,
instead of an armed force of the state."

Sinn Fein is under growing pressure to call a special Ard
Fheis to debate the issue and to approve a new policy on
policing. The ground is clearly being prepared.

Senior party members have been travelling all over Ireland
with a power-point presentation setting out the changes in
policing in recent years.

This week, it was announced that a Sinn Fein politician has
taken an official role on a policing board for the first

Dublin Councillor Larry O'Toole has become vice-chair of
the city's Joint Policing Committee.

He says his appointment should not be taken as an
indication of the party's position on the PSNI - but Sinn
Fein does not do things by accident and such a move would
not happen unless endorsed by the leadership.

Joining the policing board in Northern Ireland will be a
much bigger step - and it's one that many repuiblicans do
not want to take. But if Sinn Fein wants to be part of a
devolved government at Stormont, it has no choice.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/28 18:35:36 GMT


Sinn Féin Battles For Republican Hearts And Minds Over Policing

The party leadership has its own difficulties trying to
sell the radical shift on policing it is considering,
writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

About 250 people were at Conway Mill in west Belfast on
Monday night and most of them were vehemently opposed to
Sinn Féin signing up to policing, although there were
senior republicans present to argue the party line.

Declan Kearney, a senior Sinn Féin member who was involved
in debriefing the subsequently murdered Denis Donaldson
when he admitted he was a British agent, was speaking about
overall "republican strategy" as a motor for change on
policing and other issues.

"Sinn Féin strategy," corrected Marion Price tersely from
one of the front rows, to applause from the crowd.

She was imprisoned in the early 1970s for her part with her
sister Dolours in the IRA London bombings of 1973. She was
making a point that whatever Sinn Féiners might say, the
true republican strategy, so to speak, was to oppose
current moves.

An apparent Sinn Féin loyalist sitting a row ahead turned
around to reprimand her for interrupting Mr Kearney. She
fierily told him she would not be deflected from making her

"I was proud to be a Provisional IRA member," she said when
the meeting concluded shortly before 10pm, but now, a
member of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, she was
bitterly opposed to the policies pursued by Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness.

In the Conway Mill hall, you could taste her bitterness and
the bitterness of many in the audience. The meeting was not
organised by Sinn Féin but by other Belfast republicans.

Just as Ian Paisley has his internal detractors over his
expressed conditional willingness to share power with Mr
McGuinness, so too has the Sinn Féin leadership its own
difficulties about the radical shift on policing it is

This was the first public manifestation of rank-and-file
republicans debating policing with a small number of media
present. Sinn Féin has held several republican "family"
meetings on the issue, but with the press excluded.

There was talk that Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry
Kelly would be one of the speakers, but the only debaters
at the top table initially were Francie Mackey of the 32
County Sovereignty Committee, which is linked to the Real
IRA, and Willie Gallagher of the Irish Republican Socialist
Party (IRSP), which is linked to the Irish National
Liberation Army (INLA).

Independent chairman and trade unionist Brendan Macken said
the SDLP had initially said it would be present but due to
the "labelling of the meeting" it was not attending. This
was a reference to how the public meeting was portrayed as
a dissident republican event. Yesterday, Mr Kelly said
dissidents "bussed in" supporters from all over the North
to swell numbers.

Mr Macken told the crowd that Sinn Féin had also been
invited, appearing to suggest no one from the party would
be there, but just then Mr Kearney made his way to the
table to argue the party line.

The subject was "Policing: a bridge too far?" and Mr
Gallagher posited a simple argument. Until a 32-county
sovereign socialist republic was declared, there could
never be an acceptable police service in Northern Ireland.
To loud applause, he said: "We are never going to support
the PSNI. We are not going to give them any allegiance."

He did not offer a policing alternative in the current
circumstances. That could be a debate for another day.

Mr Mackey too played to a basic republican argument.
"Issues such as policing are beyond resolution until the
issue of [ Irish] sovereignty is solved."

He warned Sinn Féin that it must not contemplate offering
support for the PSNI. "The visual spectacle of republicans
donning the uniform of once perceived legitimate targets
blinds them to the depths of malaise such an act would
actually represent," he said.

Mr Kearney stressed that nothing was agreed on policing and
negotiations were continuing. The function of Sinn Féin was
to end the power of the "political detectives" and shift
responsibility for policing to Northern Ireland

"It is apparent that incrementally, steadily, those who
dominated in this state, just as unionists dominated, just
as the Orange Order dominated, are increasingly being
placed on the back foot," he said.

As well as acceptable policing, Sinn Féin was also focused
on a united Ireland. "The question that comrades in the
room - activists, friends, interested individuals - need to
reflect on is, are we closer today to a united Ireland or
Irish independence than we were 10 or 15 or 20 years ago?"
"No," shouted many in the crowd. "Wake him up," said one

But, Mr Kearney persisted, "the reality is that we are",
triggering guffaws from many in the audience.

Tony McPhilips, a republican from Co Fermanagh, said there
"wasn't a hair's breadth of difference" between the
positions of Sinn Féin and the SDLP on policing. He accused
Mr Kearney of being "full of spin" and said that even if
responsibility for policing and justice were devolved to a
Northern Executive, it would not negate that "the first
tenet of the PSNI would be to be the defenders of the [
British] state".

Tomás Gorman, an IRSP member, said that while Mr Kearney
could talk about Sinn Féin going "to-to-toe" with its
political opponents, signing up to policing would be
conceding a "unionist demand rather than a republican
manoeuvre". Another speaker was applauded for saying that
just as the ANC in South Africa ended up "on the side of
the cops", so too would Sinn Féin end up "on the other

While outnumbered, Sinn Féin speakers also rose to defend
party strategy. Seán Mac Uidhir, a party member and editor
of the North Belfast News, said the reality was that issues
such as policing must be addressed in the immediate term,
not "when we have that glorious day and won the revolution
and thrown the Brits out into the sea".

Mr Kearney, portraying what he felt were the views of his
more vocal opponents in Conway Mill, said the policing
issue would not be settled by a "flat earth" policy.


NI Police DNA Database Trebles

Police in Northern Ireland hold DNA samples on 1,116 people
who have not been convicted of, or charged with any
offence, it has emerged.

Samples from almost 56,000 individuals are now held on the
DNA database.

Paul O'Connor from the Pat Finucane human rights centre
said the PSNI were going too far.

He said in Scotland, Germany, Austria or Finland, DNA was
automatically destroyed if someone was not convicted of a
recordable offence.

"It is a no-brainer to have a discussion about whether DNA
should be retained on people found guilty of serious
violent offences or sexual offences. That is absolutely
clear and there is no discussion around that," Mr O'Connor

"The discussion is, should we be following the example in
Britain at the moment - or should we be following the
example of Scotland or Germany or Austria or Finland or
other countries where DNA is automatically destroyed if
someone is not convicted of a recordable offence?"

More than 45,000 of those whose DNA is held by the PSNI
have been convicted of an offence. About 9,000 more have
been charged or are being prosecuted.

DNA databases are held by police forces across the UK and
in Europe and are rapidly growing in size.

The size of the database in Northern Ireland appears to
have more than trebled in the past six years.

In total, it now holds nearly 70,000 samples but only about
17,000 date back to the year 2000.

The PSNI released the figures to BBC Radio Foyle under the
Freedom of Information Act.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/29 08:26:37 GMT


Plane Stopped At Shannon After Kidnap

Aoife Carr

The plane used by the CIA to transport the Egyptian cleric
Abu Omar after he was kidnapped from a street in Milan in
February 2003, stopped over in Shannon the next day on its
return to Washington, according to Euro-control records
provided to the European Parliament.

Mr Omar was kidnapped on February 17th 2003 in Milan and
brought to Egypt. The plane used in that operation, a
Gulfstream jet with the flight number N85VM, landed in
Shannon on February 18 thon its return journey to
Washington. It remained in Shannon for a full 24 hours.

Euro-control provides air traffic control for European air
space. Their records were provided to the European
Parliament's inquiry into extraordinary rendition.

This makes Ireland an accomplice to illegal rendition,
according to Labour Party MEP Proinsias de Rossa.

Speaking in the European Parliament today, Mr de Rossa said
the Government had a responsibility under the UN Convention
Against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights
to ensure that Irish territory was not used as part of the
rendition circuit "irrespective of whether or not prisoners
were on board these flights".

"The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern needs to
explain why the Government refused to accept the advice of
the Irish Human Rights Commission to put in place a system
of random inspections of CIA flights into Ireland to
prevent, insofar as we can, the rendition of prisoners to
countries where they will be tortured," he said.

According to Euro-control records, there have been 147
stopovers by CIA operated planes in Ireland. It is not
clear how many of these planes were engaged in activities
contrary to international law or if they were carrying

Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan said he looked forward to Mr
Ahern's appearance. He said the minister will indicate the
Government's opposition to rendition.

The draft report produces no evidence of rendition flights
through Shannon, he added.

"In fact what the report really points to is an exercise in
gesture politics. This report praises the role that
journalists and NGOs have played in highlighting that
flights of rendition have taken place in recent years."

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesman John Gormley the
report shows Ireland "played its part in the extra-judicial
detainment and transport of citizens".

He said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is due to
appear before the committee on Thursday, was "in denial"
about Ireland's role.

"A report from his own Department of Foreign Affairs states
very clearly that the arrangement for military stopovers
with the US was on an 'exceptional basis'. Are we to
presume then, that allowing flights used for rendition
purposes to pass through Shannon was on a very exceptional


McDowell: 'Irish Airports Not Used For Illegal Purposes'

29/11/2006 - 11:50:03

The Tánaiste, Michael McDowell, has insisted that Irish
airports and airspace have not been used for any illegal
purposes by the CIA.

Mr McDowell was responding in the Dáil to questions about
an EU report criticising Ireland's role in the CIA's so-
called rendition scheme.

The draft report says 147 flights connected with the
controversial programme of kidnapping and torture have
passed through Ireland.

Mr McDowell told the Dáil, however, that he accepts US
assurances that no prisoners have been on board any of
these flights.

He also said the Gardaí had investigated complaints from
the public and found no evidence of any illegal activity.

Opposition politicians say it doesn't matter whether
prisoners were on board the CIA flights as the very fact
that they passed through Ireland makes the country part of
the logistical back-up for the illegal rendition scheme.


McDowell Predicts FF Election Success

Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent

Tánaiste Michael McDowell maintained last night that Fianna
Fáil would win power at the next election and the only
issue left to be decided by the people was which other
party would share power with them.

"The closer we get to the election, the greater will be the
focus on who will have enough seats to be Fianna Fáil's
partners and on whom Fianna Fáil may wish to have as
partners in government," said Mr McDowell.

He said that the election would concern the choice facing
the people about who would partner Fianna Fáil. "The
electorate will have it in their power to grant that to my
party, the Progressive Democrats. They may grant it to
Labour. They may grant it to the Greens. And they may grant
it to Sinn Féin."

He said the one clear consequence of the current opinion
polls was that a Fine Gael-led government was becoming a
mathematical impossibility.

"Leading Fine Gael strategists may predict massive seat
wins for Fine Gael. They can even predict an overall
majority for Fine Gael at the next election for all I care.
But nothing that they have to say can be as eloquent as the
decision of Gay Mitchell TD not to contest the next general

"Gay Mitchell's decision is fraught with foreboding for
Fine Gael. Here is an experienced, capable party
representative in good standing who would have a claim on a
senior ministry were Fine Gael about to enter government.
He has opted instead to stay in Brussels. Better to be a
small fish in a big pond than a big fish in no pond," said
the Tánaiste.

He said Fine Gael may try and take comfort from Maireád
McGuinness returning from Brussels to contest a Dáil
election, but such a decision would be taken more in the
hope of succeeding Enda Kenny as party leader than of
serving him as a minister.

Mr McDowell was speaking in Dublin at the launch of a book,
called The Soul of Ireland, edited by Joe Mulholland, which
arose from contributions to this year's Magill Summer

Mr McDowell said that in the 1997 general election, the
people had to choose between a Fine Gael-led government and
a Fianna Fáil-led government and in the 2002 general
election, the people had to choose between whether Fianna
Fáil should govern on their own or whether they should
govern with coalition partners. "But if Fianna Fáil
maintain or grow their current levels of support, then in
the 2007 general election the choice which the people will
have to make will be which party can govern with Fianna
Fáil." he said.

Mr McDowell said the essential characteristic of the
alternative of Fine Gael and Labour was mediocrity. "Where
either Fine Gael or Labour go it alone the result is
usually something the other party will not wear. At best we
are offered the paralysis of handcuffed mediocrity. At
worst we are offered questionable proposals likely to be
vetoed by the other party.

"This is the core problem of the Rainbow combination. And
this is what probably lies behind voters' recent turning
away from the Rainbow parties. And, unfortunately for the
Rainbow parties, this is a central problem which they
cannot easily avoid or solve or fix," he said.


Blatant Anti-Catholicism’ Rampant Throughout Scotland, Cardinal Says

Catholic Online (

GLASGOW, Scotland (Catholic Online) – Catholics in Scotland
are faced with being the subject of sectarian violence due
to “blatant anti-Catholicism” prevalent throughout the
country, said a Scottish cardinal.

Responding to the Nov. 27 release by the Scottish
government executive of the first major study of 2003 anti-
bigotry laws in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St.
Andrews and Edinburgh, president of the Bishops' Conference
of Scotland, said that day it is of “grave concern” that
Catholics were, during the 18 months reported, “in fact
five times more likely to be victims of a religiously
aggravated crime” than Protestants.

The study of anti-bigotry laws, which showed that 532 cases
of reported religiously aggravated offenses between January
2004 and June 2005, dispelled the belief that sectarianism
is a "west of Scotland problem" that is associated with
English football or soccer. The number of cases of bigotry
reported by police has tripled since the Criminal Justice
(Scotland) Act 2003, which created the offense of religious
aggravation, came into force, according to figures recently
published by the Crown Office.

The report revealed that acts of religious hatred are being
reported in almost every part of the country, with only 33
percent of cases related to soccer events and 12 percent to
marches and parades. As well, less than half – 45 percent –
involved alcohol consumption.

According to the 2001 Scottish census, there are about
850,000 Catholics, making up about 17 percent of the
population, and about 2,450,000 Protestants, or 49 percent
of the about 5 million population.

“Today's figures show,” the cardinal said, that most “cases
do not relate to either football or parades.”

“With this in mind,” Cardinal O’Brien said, “I am forced to
question the wisdom of numerous high profile initiatives
focusing on football clubs or the constant marginalization
of sectarianism in Scotland as little more than drink-
fuelled, post-match rivalry.”

“It is,” he stressed, “sadly, deeper, wider and altogether
more pervasive than that.”

It is not a coincidence that Catholics were much more
likely than Protestants, Jews or Muslims to suffer
sectarian abuse, he suggested. "It is not poverty, alcohol
or football which underpins most cases of religiously
aggravated crime in Scotland, but blatant anti-
Catholicism," the cardinal said.

Cardinal O’Brien pointed to media attacks on Catholic
schools as a place where sectarian feelings are stirred.

These daily attacks “fill the letters pages, the opinion
columns and editorials of our newspapers and the airtime of
our radio and television stations,” he noted, adding that
this is despite there being no mainstream political party
questioning “the existence of Catholic schools or proposed
any change to them.”

“Each time a newspaper or broadcaster decides, in the face
of this indifference to raise, promote or advance these
arguments,” he said, “they fan the flames of religious
hatred and empower those whose views are not so
diplomatically expressed.”

He called on Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell to join
him in urging “he Scottish media to adopt a far more
cautious and measured approach in future to the topic of
Catholic schools.”

The cardinal further urged McConnell to consider how best
to incorporate the views and experiences of Scottish
Catholics, “who are so disproportionately affected” by the
problem of sectarian violence, in the forthcoming “Summit
on Sectarianism,” to which leaders from the Catholic
Church, the Protestant Orange Lodge and others are expected
to attend.

He also called for “wider and more detailed research into
religiously aggravated crime” in order to explain “why
Scotland's Catholics continue to suffer from such crimes
out of all proportion to their numbers."

The Scottish first minister has spoken out against
sectarianism and and has encouraged moves by the Scottish
government including efforts to reform regulations
surrounding marches and imposition of rules against
attendance at soccer matches by fans caught singing songs
considered sectarian or bigoted.

The Nov. 27 statement by Cardinal O’Brien is the most
recent attack he has mounted on sectarianism.

Decrying “state-sponsored sectarian discrimination” almost
four months ago, he took aim at a 300-year-old law and
religious bigotry which leaves a blight on the cultural

The cardinal, in remarks to the Glasgow-based Scotland on
Sunday published Aug. 6, said Scotland remains afflicted by
a “shadowy sectarian culture.”

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

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

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

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


Ex-INLA Man Refused Asylum Plea In Attempt To Remain In US

Seán O'Driscoll, in New York

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the asylum
application of a former INLA member fighting his
deportation to Northern Ireland.

Lawyers for Belfast man Malachy McAllister said his legal
challenge has now been exhausted and they must find a
political solution to stop the deportation of McAllister
and his two children, Nicola and Seán. The Supreme Court
declined to hear the case after the Third Circuit of the US
Court of Appeals refused the McAllisters' asylum
application, which was based on a claim that they could
face loyalist attack in Northern Ireland.

One member of the appeal court, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry,
a sister of property mogul, Donald Trump, had strongly
backed the McAllisters' fight to stay in the US but said
she could not find a legal remedy to their cause. The other
two judges had been strongly opposed to allowing the
McAllisters to stay.

With the Supreme Court announcement this week, the family's
Belfast-born lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, said the family's hopes
now lay with special legislation being introduced into
Congress by New Jersey congressman Steve Rothman.

Mr Dornan said the new Democratic majority in Congress may
help the family's cause. McAllister, who has a previous
conviction for conspiring to murder an RUC officer, fled
Belfast with his family 18 years ago after loyalists
sprayed his house with gunfire.

The case has been a high-profile one for Irish Americans
and some New York and New Jersey members of Congress.


Opin: Stone And His Ilk Fired By Paisleyite Rhetoric

By Susan McKay

“No sell-out. No power-sharing with the Shinners – Ulster’s
not for sale – No surrender.”

There’s been much talk about farce and pantomime but
demented Michael Stone with his ludicrously predictable
speech from the dock is a figure from a far more sinister
sort of drama.

The speech is pure Paisley.

It is a familiar rant and the Reverend Doctor delivered it
last summer when the blood was up for the Twelfth of July,
as he has delivered it on many similar occasions in the
past. It is one of unionism’s most ignominious traditions.

In 1805, Henry Grattan referred in the House of Commons to
those who stirred up panic so that “then walk forth the men
of blood” leading to “atrocities which he dare not commit
in his own name”.

Stone is one of the “men of blood”. There is every
likelihood that some of the murders he committed were
carried out with the assistance of members of the security

He was certainly fired up by Paisleyite rhetoric, a
powerful dose of sectarianism heavily laced with paranoia.

Unionism’s obsession with the IRA’s arms has coexisted with
a willingness to overlook the dangers posed by armed
loyalist criminal organisations. Stone appeared with his
crude weapons at Stormont like a malign ghost which said,
“We haven’t gone away, you know.”

The DUP denounced him, of course. However, the party has
encouraged loyalists to believe the threat from the IRA is
still real (and, for that matter, that real, continuity and
provisional are all the one). The UDA and the UVF have used
this as an excuse to hold on to their guns.

Back in May, after the IRA decommissioned, Paisley insisted
it had not and demanded that General de Chastelain should
tell the people “so that the people can be forearmed to
meet what is going to happen because those arms are going
to be used against the Protestant population of Northern

SDLP leader Mark Durkan rightly described these claims as
“disgraceful, reckless and inflammatory”. The DUP derided

pro-Good Friday Agreement political parties that emerged
from loyalism.

Since then, successive secretaries of state and others have
encouraged the steroid-and-chips leaders of the loyalist
gangs into suits and onto golf courses but to little avail.

Several reporters inexplicably took the trouble last
weekend to phone up Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair and quoted him
opining that Stone was an attention-seeking nutcase. Pot.
Kettle. Black. (We also learned that Adair is joining
forces with some neo-Nazi to look after orphans in Africa.
They should be warned).

The Ulster Political Research Group – what politics? What
research? – hastened to say that Stone was not part of the
nice wing of the UDA. Not any longer, anyway.

Paisley brazenly departed from the agreed script in
Stormont on Friday when he failed even to indicate his
intention to nominate himself to lead the country.

Eileen Bell proceeded anyway. The NIO has an endless
willingness to pretend that the DUP is cooperating when it
obviously and ostentatiously is doing the opposite.

Paisley also continues to trifle with the fire of
sectarianism. Last week he and Upper Bann MP David Simpson
spoke in the House of Commons about the terrible murder of
Lisa McClatchey in Co Armagh. Praising the young Protestant
woman, Simpson described the horrific violence meted out to
her – attributing it to “republicans... thugs, pure scum”.

Paisley said she came from a devout and church-going
Protestant family, adding that “There is bitter hatred
against that family because of their religion.” The clear
implication was that this was a sectarian murder by the
IRA. Dangerous talk, for there are plenty of vengeful
loyalists in the Upper Bann constituency.

In fact, Ms McClatchey’s Catholic partner appeared to be
the primary target of the killers.

The PSNI stated that the motive for this dreadful double
murder was not believed to be sectarian.

Back in May, Paisley muddied the waters over the murder of
the 15-year-old Catholic boy, Michael McIlveen, in
Ballymena, when he asked the prime minister in the House of
Commons if he knew there was a “strange significance” in
the murder because “those charged cross the religious
divide: they are Protestants and Roman Catholics”.

In this case, the PSNI stated from the start that the
murder was believed to be sectarian. Paisley’s tendency is
always to heighten Protestant fear and minimise Protestant
responsibility for sectarian violence. Stone and his ilk
have learned well. Stone is going back to jail. Paisley can
be the first minister if he wants.


Opin: After The Michael Stone Incident Nothing Surprises Us Anymore

Lindy McDowell
29 November 2006

Of all of the ludicrous aspects of the saga of Michael
Stone's aborted assault on Stormont, one of the most
farcical is a story currently going the rounds in Belfast.

Apparently the UDA, having got wind of Stone's intentions
to stage a spectacular, launched an operation to hunt him
down and, as James Bond might say, neutralise him.

A number of hit squads were deployed. One of these teams,
it is claimed, even had a blue flashing light on their car
and, as they raced to follow up a reported sighting of the
suspect Stone, this was used to clear a path through


A tall tale?

Possibly. But this is Northern Ireland. So, however comical
and unlikely the notion of Uncle Andy and Co hee-hawing
around the streets in hot pursuit of Red Hand Luke as he
hobbles down to the bus stop with his walking stick and a
rucksack full of bombs, we can not discount it out of hand.

This place is a mad house. Nothing surprises any of us any

Not the fact that the mass murderer Stone chose to go Metro
on his bombing raid.

Not the fact that he was able to walk unnoticed right up to
the entrance of Stormont and casually spray it with

Not the fact that a man whose face appears on gable walls
wasn't clocked before then.

Not the fact that it was left to two unarmed and truly
heroic security guards to overpower him.

And NOT even the fact that in the aftermath of this
shocking near disaster, those in charge of running the show
were shrugging their shoulders and assuring us that these
things happen but, hey, everything is under control. Mad?
To borrow a word from our chief of police, frankly, it's

Sir Hugh wasn't the only one to suffer an irony lapse
following Stone's attempt to nuke the Assembly.

Johnny Mad Dog Adair, when asked to comment, described his
erstwhile comrade-in-arms as a wing-nut.

Exactly. Johnny Adair calling Michael Stone a wing nut.

The unfortunate thing is that wing-nuttery is not confined
to those posing the threat.

It also permeates the thinking of those charged with
protecting people from that threat.

Remind me again. What did Peter Hain say in the aftermath
of this shocking incident?

That's right. Something about how President Putin had
questions to answer about the death of Mr Litvinenko.

Isn't it reassuring to know that our Secretary of State
appears to be more concerned about the fate of a former KGB
operative than the potential blowing up of our elected

Why else has he stuck his oar in there?

After all, Vladimir Putin isn't calling for an inquiry into
the Stone assault on Stormont.

But then Mr Putin doesn't have designs on a career move to
Downing Street.

Like the UDA hurtling around the streets in their pretend
cop car, the entire handling of this bizarre incident has
been part slapstick, part horror show.

When you attempt to explain to someone from outside this
place how come a mass murderer who was sentenced to 684
years got out in 12, it underlines the lunacy we are
expected to take in our stride.

It's a mad house this place.


Opin; Proconsul Will Do Anything To Save His Own Skin

By Brian Feeney

It’s all a shambles isn’t it?

There’s an assembly which is a cod assembly, invented by
our proconsul to appease the DUP.

To be accurate, it is now the second cod assembly he has
invented. It’s called the ‘transitional assembly’ and will
last until January 30.

The grandly titled so-called ‘speaker’ isn’t a real speaker
because she is appointed by the proconsul, whereas a real
speaker would be chosen from among the elected members.

Then of course it isn’t a real assembly, so why shouldn’t
there be a pretend speaker too, with a pretend title to
reinforce the full Ruritanian delusion?

To rub it in, the speaker does the proconsul’s bidding
after he has decided what the business for the day is going
to be.

Did you ever see a clearer example of a glorified coconut
colony sans coconuts, unless you count the assembly

Have they no self-respect?

Why don’t they dispense with the sheet of paper for the
speaker to read from and let her use an earpiece so that
she can say straight away what the NIO wants without any
bewildered looks?

It seems the only people who don’t realise what an
embarrassment the whole fiasco is are the assembly members

Do they not know that the British administration here is
making fools out of them all?

Do they not understand that the corrupt hand of the
administration is surely tainting them all?

What did Sinn Fein members think they were doing, solemnly
intoning that there was a need for ‘security to be
reviewed’, even after they knew a complete nutter with a
gammy leg had got caught in the revolving doors with an
imitation pistol? Do they not recognise a pantomime when
they see one?

Or is it because they are being drawn into the performance
that they have started to take the proceedings up there
seriously and play the part allotted to them?

The sad truth is that it wasn’t a mad loyalist, a man who
should be consigned to a secure mental institution rather
than jail, who brought politics into disrepute.

It’s our proconsul and his complicit civil servants.

It is painfully obvious that our proconsul is becoming
increasingly desperate to halt the downward trajectory of
his political career as he spirals earthwards from Leader
of the House of Commons to holding two non-jobs on the
Celtic fringe – one non-job where all decisions are taken
by the Welsh assembly and the other non-job where all
decisions are taken in Downing Street.

His one day a week here is spent frantically keeping the
plates spinning on top of the bamboo canes like a third-
rate provincial variety artist.

His desperation to appease the DUP in order to induce them
to share power with their sworn enemies has had the
inevitable result of delivering his fate to the people he
has been trying to appease.

Instead of carrying out his threat to close the assembly,
the only sanction he had in his power, he has chickened
out. He has set a date for an election – an election, as he
asked plaintively in Westminster last week, to what?

It is quite clear now that if Paisley agrees before an
election to share power with Sinn Fein the party will

Indeed it is more than likely that the party will face into
an election looking remarkably like Trimble’s UUP – some
candidates prepared to share power in principle, others
prepared to share power if SF jump through certain hoops,
yet others opposed to the concept of sharing power at all.

Paisley can gloss it all he likes but when 12 assembly
members and MPs – more than a third of his assembly party –
sign a document opposed to signing up to power-sharing next
March he can’t override them.

Nor will he.

Since our proconsul has shot his bolt by not carrying out
his regularly repeated threat, he will now have to try to
bribe and buy the two main parties to stay in his

The last few months of political chicanery, including
scandalously messing with children’s education, domestic
rating, water rates and the review of local administration,
will be nothing compared to what this proconsul will get up
to save his own political skin. He needs SF and the DUP to
do it.


Ex Russian Leader Falls Ill In Dublin

29/11/2006 - 09:24:07

Former Russian Premier Yegor Gaidar was being treated in a
Moscow hospital today several days after falling violently
ill at a conference in Ireland, his daughter said.

Gaidar, who served briefly as prime minister in the 1990s
under President Boris Yeltsin, began vomiting and fainted
during the conference in Dublin on Friday and was rushed
into intensive care at a hospital, Maria Gaidar said in
comments broadcast on Ekho Moskvy radio.

“There was a serious threat to his life. Doctors still
can’t figure out a reason for what happened,” she said.

Yegor Gaidar returned to Moscow earlier this week and
doctors at a Moscow hospital considered his condition to be

The incident comes amid heightened suspicions in Britain
about the poisoning of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko,
who died just one day before Gaidar fell ill.

Another former KGB spy who met with Litvinenko on the day
he was allegedly poisoned, Andrei Lugovoy, served as
bodyguard to Gaidar at one point.

Russian news reports quoted Gaidar aides as saying there
was no indication so far of foul play.

Mr Gaidar was believed to have told delegates at the two-
day conference that he was feeling unwell and took a break.

He later returned to discuss his book, Downfall Of The
Empire: Lessons For Contemporary Russia, when he was forced
to leave the gathering a second time through illness.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Dublin said: “As far
as we know he is still under observation. I understand it
is nothing threatening to his life.”

Mr Gaidar was treated in hospital until Sunday when he
travelled back to Russia. It is understood he has suffered
some health problems in the past.


Cherish The Ladies Gives Christmas A Celtic Touch

By Robert Hicks
Special To The Daily Record

CHERISH THE LADIES Sunday, 8 p.m. The Bickford Theatre at
The Morris Museum 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morris Township
Tickets $25 Call (973) 971-3706

Cherish the Ladies is approaching its 20th anniversary
performing tunes and songs in the Irish-American and Celtic

"I never thought we'd still be going on this long," said
Joanie Madden, the group's founder and leader.

"There are so many good things that have happened to us and
so many wonderful things that have come down the road and
places we've traveled to around the globe representing
Irish music from America."

As part of its Special Concerts series, the Folk Project
will present Cherish the Ladies'"Celtic Christmas" program
at The Bickford Theatre at The Morris Museum in Morris
Township Sunday.

The group includes founder Madden (flute, whistles, harmony
vocals), Heidi Talbot (lead vocals, bodhran), original
member Mary Coogan (guitar, banjo, mandolin), Mirella
Murray (accordion) and Roisin Dillon (fiddle).

Special guest artists will include Irish-Scottish pianist
Kathleen Boyle and world-champion step dancers Noelle and
Sinead Currin.

"We've got great dancing. I've got my six musicians. We've
got wonderful singing and we have a lot of fun on stage.
Between it all, there's something for everyone and it's a
great family show," said Madden.

The Celtic Christmas tradition includes songs such as "The
Holly in the Berry" and "On Christmas Night," as well as
traditional jigs and reels and Celtic songs from the 1600s
and 1700s. The group's program also includes traditional
Christmas carols such as "O' Holy Night,""Little Drummer
Boy,""Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Silent Night."

"We arrange them differently so that all the tunes have a
Celtic twist," she said.

Two years ago, the group recorded Christmas songs on its
2004 CD, "On Christmas Night."

"It's difficult doing a Christmas album because everyone
from Perry Como to Snoop Dogg has a Christmas album out,"
she said.

Cherish the Ladies gathered in Madden's dining room to
record its Christmas album, which won critical acclaim from
numerous publications, including The Village Voice and The
New York Times.

Five years ago, the group began doing Christmas concerts.
For the past 15 years, the group has joined other top
Celtic performers for an annual winter festival called
Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Scotland.

Friendships made at this event led to the group's 2005 CD,
"Woman of the House."

For Madden, Christmas always has meant a Christmas dinner
followed by musicians coming over to play music and young
children and adults dancing Clare sets around the kitchen

"Music and culture was an integral part of our holidays no
matter what," she said. "It's great seeing families coming
together at our shows now at Christmas."


Minister Gives €500,000 To Help Restore Cathedral

Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

Substantial funding will be required "for many years to
come" to carry out repairs to the fabric of St Patrick's
Cathedral in Dublin, according to a conservation plan
launched last night by Minister for the Environment Dick

The Minister announced that €500,000 is being provided for
works carried out this year, including restoration of the
stained-glass west window, installation of fire protection
partitions in the roof space and repairs to one of its

The conservation plan, prepared by architect Mary Hanna
with funding from the Heritage Council, identifies St
Patrick's as "a place of outstanding cultural significance
. . . one of the most important historic monuments in

It says the fabric of the cathedral, though largely dating
from its mid-19th century restoration by Sir Benjamin Lee
Guinness, "reflects Ireland's history, its relationship
with England and the crown, and the history of the Church
of Ireland".

The plan is intended to provide a policy framework for the
future conservation of the cathedral - a protected
structure under the 2000 Planning Act - as well as its
setting, urban context, monuments, fixtures and fittings.

Dean of St Patrick's, the Very Rev Robert McCarthy, said it
was "first and foremost a sacred and holy place" which
continued to "inspire all who come to worship and wonder" -
including more than 300,000 visitors every year.

Though tourism now contributes most of its revenue, the
conservation plan says it has an impact on the cathedral's
fabric - notably its glazed floor tiles - while the shop
inside the entrance "creates an inappropriate first

With nearby Kevin Street Garda station - originally the
Palace of St Sepulchre - due to be vacated, it suggests
that this might provide new visitor facilities for the
cathedral, including an exhibition devoted to its one-time
dean, Jonathan Swift.

In developing its plan for a cathedral quarter, it says
Dublin City Council should "acknowledge and support in
tangible ways the enormous contribution which the cathedral
makes to the cultural and economic life of this part of the

While many of its historic structures had been swept away,
substantial remains of the historic cathedral precinct
include the deanery, Marsh's Library and the old palace,
and it says these could be linked once again to reinforce
the precinct.

Referring to St Patrick's itself, the plan says some
external works and minor repairs can be funded from its
annual income.

However, this would not cover the cost of major projects
such as re-roofing, or internal repairs and restoration.
"New lighting, repairs to Minot's Tower, as well as the
provision of any additional accommodation, must also be
considered. Substantial capital will be required for many
years to come", it says, adding that wealthy individuals
might contribute.

The ceiling of the belfry in the tower, which houses its 14
ringing bells, is said to be "in danger of collapse". Parts
of it have already fallen, and the plan says a programme of
works needs to be put in place to replace the ceiling.

It calls for the preparation of a five- to 10-year
programme of priorities and budget estimates covering
routine maintenance and repairs, major conservation works
and "large-scale capital projects which require substantial

"It must also be recognised that extensive areas of the
roof have reached the stage where slates, nails, lead work,
valley and parapet gutters have started to fail, and cannot
be sustained for much longer by regular maintenance alone,"
the plan says.


Shannon Closed After Jet Tyres Burst

Pat Flynn

Shannon airport was closed for 40 minutes yesterday after
two tyres on a transatlantic jet exploded and disintegrated
as the aircraft landed.

American Airlines flight AA92 was en route from Dublin to
Chicago via Shannon and was carrying 115 passengers and 12
crew members at the time. No one was injured in the
incident which occurred at 10.55am during a scheduled
stopover at the midwest airport.

Immediately after the Boeing 767-323ER touched down,
emergency crews rushed to the aircraft. Airport police and
fire personnel attending classes in training school
reported to the fire station.

Despite the loss of two tyres on the main undercarriage,
the pilot maintained control and brought the aircraft to a
safe stop.

It is thought that the tyres burst as a result of a
heavier-than-usual landing.

The aircraft managed to move under its own power off the
runway to a nearby taxiway.

Tyre debris was removed from the runway after a meticulous
search was completed by crews, on foot and in several
support vehicles.

Passengers were taken by coaches to the airport terminal
building where they were provided with refreshments pending
a new departure time late last evening, after new tyres
were fitted.

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