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November 01, 2006

DUP Takes Absurd Position On Policing

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 11/01/06
DUP Taking An `Absurd Position' On Policing
SF 11/01/06 Time For Brits To Convene Programme For Govt Committee
IN 11/01/06 Report Explores `Truth' Process
SF 11/01/06 Sinn Fein Welcome Contribution To Truth Recovery Debate
BB 11/01/06 Parties Make Their Pitch To Brown
SF 11/01/06 Sinn Fein Set Out Agenda Ahead Of Gordon Brown Meeting
BB 11/01/06 Dissidents 'Behind Bomb Attacks'
IN 11/01/06 Opin: DUP Policing Stance Wrong
BT 11/01/06 Opin: Saville, Tony And The Troops Out Trendies
IN 11/01/06 Opin: Dr `No' Paisley Surprises The Faithful With A `Yes'
IN 11/01/06 Opin: Village Tensions Redolent Of A Wider Problem
BT 11/01/06 Opin: Hain Must Come Clean On Fugitives
BN 11/01/06 Garda¡ And Fire Service Report Busy Halloween Night
UI 11/01/06 Today In History - Kevin Barry Executed
IN 11/01/06 Seamus Heaney Suffered Mild Stroke


DUP Taking An `Absurd Position' On Policing

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Arguments over policing could yet prove to be a serious
setback to the St Andrews agreement as the DUP was
yesterday accused by nationalists and republicans of
adopting an absurd position.

The DUP's Nigel Dodds has certainly toughened unionist
attitudes on the devolution of policing and justice by
appearing to rule this out for a very long time or even "a
political lifetime.''

Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said Mr Dodds
appears to be trying to put up obstacles.

Mr Kelly said it was "crazy'' for the DUP to ask his party
to sign up to policing and justice and then deny them any
influence on the issue for years to come.

"They should not be able to demand that nationalists sign
up to this issue of policing and justice and then say...
you won't have influence on it for a generation.'

"It is not practical to try and kick the issue of policing
into touch. It needs to be resolved and resolved as soon as
possible," Mr Kelly said.

"The transfer of powers needs to happen and will happen.

"The way forward now is for the DUP to sit down with
ourselves and work out the detail of the timetable and
model,'' he said.

Mr Kelly said it was now vital that the British government
call together a meeting of the programme for government
committee to facilitate dialogue between the parties.

"One of the issues which needs to be resolved between
ourselves and the DUP is the issue of the transfer of power
on policing and justice away from Westminster and an
agreement on the departmental model within an executive,"
he added.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said: "The comments of
Nigel Dodds are on one level absurd but on another level
may be deliberately destabilising.

"Under the St Andrews proposals, it is a requirement of
Sinn Fein to nominate to the Policing Board, an event that
might happen as early as March 2007.

"At that moment Sinn Fein will be sitting with the SDLP,
UUP and also the DUP exercising policing powers more
extensive than in any part of western Europe.

"Nigel Dodds's position is therefore frankly absurd."

North Belfast MP Mr Dodds said that whilst Sinn Fein
continues to drag its feet on the issue of support for the
PSNI "the DUP will not be moved from its position.''

Mr Dodds insisted that there would be no devolution of
policing and justice powers to any devolved Assembly unless
there is confidence in the unionist community.


Time For The British Government To Convene Programme For
Government Committee

Published: 31 October, 2006

Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Gerry Kelly MLA has said it
is vital that the British government call together a
meeting of the Programme for Government Committee to
facilitate dialogue between the parties. Ian Paisley's
decision to withdraw from the first meeting was a set back.
The failure of the British government to hold any further
meetings since then is a mistake. These meetings are an
essential part of moving the process forward and key to
resolving some of the core issues including policing.

Mr. Kelly said:

"Dialogue between ourselves and the DUP is vital to
resolving the remaining outstanding issues. Ian Paisley,s
decision to withdraw from the first meeting of the
Programme for Government Committee was a set back. The
failure of the British government to hold any further
meetings since then is a mistake. These meetings are an
essential part of moving the process forward and key to
resolving some of the core issues including policing. It is
time for the British government to convene a meeting of the
Programme for Government and begin resolving these issues.

"One of the issues which needs to be resolved between
ourselves and the DUP is the issue of the transfer of power
on policing and justice away from Westminster and an
agreement on the departmental model within the Executive.

"We have consistently argued that the transfer of power
away from London to locally accountable politicians is a
key element of transforming policing. Both governments have
indicated that they support this position also.

"We are keen to come to an agreement with the DUP on the
timetable for transfer and the departmental model. And
these are all issues that can be resolved if the DUP come
at this genuinely."

Responding to Nigel Dodds comments last night on the issue
of Policing Mr. Kelly said:

"I heard Nigel Dodds comments on this issue. It appears he
is trying to put obstacles in the way of finding agreement.
It is not practical to try and kick the issue of policing
into touch. It needs to be resolved and resolved as soon as

"The real fact is that the transfer of powers needs to
happen and will happen. The governments have set out their
intent for this to happen in the St Andrews document. The
way forward now is for the DUP to sit down with ourselves
and work out the detail of timetable and model." ENDS


Report Explores `Truth' Process

By William Graham Political Correspondent

A major report published yesterday entitled `Making Peace
with the Past' offers a number of home-grown options for a
future truth recovery process about the conflict in
Northern Ireland.

The aim is to increase public debate on the truth about the
Troubles, the victims' issue and the wider question of
dealing with the past.

The report from the Healing Through Remembering group was
prepared by individuals from loyalist, republican, British
army and police backgrounds, as well as from different
faith backgrounds, victims, community groups and academic

Report author Professor Kieran McEvoy said the question of
truth recovery often evokes strong and conflicting

"Typically, the issue is immediately associated with South
Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission," he said.

"This report, however, seeks to challenge this approach and
expands the discussion beyond this example to other
international experiences.

"We must remember that no international option can simply
be imported into the local situation.

"Any decision on the issue of

truth recovery should be made following consideration of
home-grown options.''

Options to be considered include:

n drawing a line under the past (a do nothing option). This
would mean the ongoing patchwork of processes would
continue, however no additional formal steps would be taken
towards a process of truth recovery

n internal organisational investigation. Organisations that
had been involved in violence would take primary
responsibility for helping, as much as possible, in
providing victims with the truth about what happened to
their loved ones. This information and the victims'
requests could be fed through a central body that may
produce a report

n community-based `bottom up' truth recovery. There are
existing models of communities devising and carrying out
their own forms of truth recovery, largely through
collecting testimonies and stories

n truth recovery commission. Such a commission would focus
on events of the past over a specified period of time. Set
up by legislation by the British and Irish governments, the
commission would have the power to compel witnesses, grant
amnesty, potentially recommend prosecution, order
reparations and present a report

n commission of historical clarification. The focus would
be on devising an independent, authoritative, historical
narrative about what occurred during the conflict and why.

At a press conference yesterday members of the group
emphasised that the truth recovery debate has been ongoing
for a number of years.

"The process of developing this report has been truly

Dr Brandon Hamber, a conflict transformation expert from
South Africa who now lives in Belfast, said.

"Nowhere else in the world has civil society, never mind a
group as diverse as this, taken such a substantial lead in
developing options on issues of truth recovery and
transitional justice for their specific context.''


Sinn Fein Welcome Contribution To Truth Recovery Debate

Published: 31 October, 2006

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Truth issues Philip McGuigan has
welcomed today's report 'Making Peace with the Past' from
Healing Through Remembering as "an important contribution
to the debate on how society should deal with the legacy of
conflict, the lessons of the past, the needs of victims,
and the exploration of how to build support for the process
of conflict transformation".

Mr McGuigan said:

"The issue of truth, of victims and the need for a healing
process are crucial matters which need to be resolved in
the time ahead. The 'Making Peace with the Past' report is
a useful contribution to the debate around this issue.

"Inevitably there are many different views about we should
approach truth and victims. Today's report, drawing on
international experience and providing a range of options,
demands the closest scrutiny and discussion.

"Sinn Fein are absolutely committed to seeing a process
developed which can deliver closure for the families of
those killed during the conflict. This process must be
victim centred and must deal comprehensively with the
issue." ENDS


Parties Make Their Pitch To Brown

The Northern Ireland political parties are travelling to
London to meet Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Wednesday's meeting is being described as a "first pitch"
for a so-called peace dividend.

The parties will sit down with Gordon Brown in 11 Downing
Street and each will be given a few minutes to lay out
their priorities for funding.

Following this, the chancellor will share his views in a
round-table discussion.

It is thought the parties are all agreed on the key items
on the shopping list - they want massive investment in
infrastructure; a cut in the rate of Corporation Tax and a
concession on water charges.

People want to see action and they want to see it now

Basil McCrea

Northern Ireland Manufacturing Focus Group

There will also be calls for a reduction in fuel duty, even
though the government recently rejected this idea.

The parties are hoping for a financial package worth up to
œ5bn over five years and they insist that this should be
new money, over and above the NI block.

No deals done will be done on Wednesday - but the parties
have said they are keen to lay the foundations for a
package that would underpin devolution.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, DUP deputy leader Peter
Robinson said the financial package was "a necessary
precondition for any restoration of devolution".

"Unless the financial package is satisfactory, then there
is little benefit in any return of devolution," he said.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Mitchel McLaughlin said his
party was calling on the British government to "invest
œ10bn in a peace dividend over 10 years".

"We will also be making proposals with regard to the role
of the executive in relation to public finances and the
need to bring forward alternatives to replace those jobs
lost in manufacturing, agriculture and textile over the
last decade."

'A clear signal'

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland businessmen are making a plea
to the chancellor to cap industrial rates.

Basil McCrea, spokesman for the Northern Ireland
Manufacturing Focus Group, said the business community
needed some form of rates relief.

"People want to see action and they want to see it now," he

"Capping industrial rates at 25% is a thing the government
can do now.

"It would send a clear signal to the business community and
the people of Northern Ireland that the government is
listening to what we want."

In July, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain refused to
cap rates at 25%, amid industry claims that rate increases
would cripple the manufacturing sector.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/01 07:57:26 GMT


Sinn Fein Set Out Agenda Ahead Of Gordon Brown Meeting

Published: 1 November, 2006

Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness and Finance
spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin last night met with members
of the party's Assembly and negotiations team in advance of
this afternoon's cross party meeting with British
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in relation to a
peace dividend. This follows last weeks announcement from
the Irish government setting out key elements of their
contribution to a peace dividend.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

"Sinn Fein was the first party to call for a substantial
peace dividend. We also argued that this should be a
responsibility of the Irish government as well as the
British government. And we welcome the fact that progress
is now being made on this issue.

"Last week the Irish government set out elements of their
contribution to such a package and later on today all of
the parties in the north will meet with Gordon Brown to
discuss the British government's contribution.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the British government to invest
œ10 billion in a peace dividend over 10 years which would
be used for key infrastructural projects, education and
training, reversing cutbacks in public services and support
for business development. We will also be making proposals
with regard to the role of the Executive in relation to
public finances and the need to bring forward alternatives
to replace those jobs lost in manufacturing, agriculture
and textile over the last decade.

"Over the last number of days all of the parties have been
meeting in relation to the issue of the peace dividend.
This work needs to continue. Securing a substantial peace
dividend will have a crucial impact on future economic
growth and it is vital that opportunities such as this one
are availed of fully."ENDS


Dissidents 'Behind Bomb Attacks'

Dissident republicans have been blamed for firebomb attacks
on a number of stores in Belfast.

The Homebase store on Boucher Road was destroyed in one
attack, while nearby Smyth's toystore was also targeted.
That blaze was brought under control.

JJB Sports in Ann Street in the city centre was badly
damaged in a third overnight attack.

NI Secretary Peter Hain said it was an attempt by dissident
republicans to derail the St Andrews Agreement.

"They will not be allowed to succeed. We will hunt them
down and the whole community is united against them," he

The firebomb attacks came ahead of a meeting between the
Northern Ireland political parties and Chancellor Gordon
Brown in London on Wednesday about a so-called "peace

Fire crews were called to all three incidents at about 0200
GMT on Wednesday.

At its height, more than 70 firefighters attended the blaze
at the Homebase store, which also spread to Reid's
furniture store next door.

A number of staff were in the Homebase store when the
device exploded, however, there were no reports of injuries
in any of the incidents.

Keyholders in both areas have been asked to check their

In a statement, Homebase said all its staff were safe.

"Our immediate priority is to ensure the well being of our
colleagues involved in last night's incident and we have
staff on the ground to offer them advice and counselling,"
said the company.

"We can also confirm that no colleagues will lose their
jobs as a result of this incident.

"We are currently investigating how we can temporarily
transfer our colleagues from the Boucher Park store to
other Homebase stores within the local area."

Gas cylinders

Divisional Officer Chris Kerr from the Fire Service said
the blaze at Boucher Road was very dangerous.

"The crews were deployed inside Reid's and we had aerial
appliances pumping water above the premises to stop that
fire from spreading," he said.

"At one stage, there was an explosion involving gas
cylinders inside the Homebase area, which hampered
firefighting efforts.

"But again, all credit to those firefighters - their
courage and professionalism resulted in the fire being
confined to the Homebase store.

"Although, it has been very, very badly damaged."

Last month, dissident republicans were blamed for a fire
bomb attack on a B&Q store in Coleraine.

The Real IRA was also blamed for a series of incendiary
attacks on commercial premises in Newry in August.

Belfast city centre manager Joanne Jennings said businesses
would not allow the firebombers to defeat them.

"It is a major disappointment for the city, particularly as
we have been working all so hard to try and make the city
more attractive for investors and people coming in who want
to shop," she said.

The chairman of the Belfast District Policing Partnership,
DUP councillor Robin Newton, said the attacks were
"despicable and senseless".

SDLP MP for South Belfast Alasdair McDonnell said the
perpetrators had "nothing to offer society".

Sinn Fein South Belfast assembly member Alex Maskey said
the firebomb incidents were "an attack on the peace

The DUP chairman of Belfast District Policing Partnership
Robin Newton described the attacks as "despicable and

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/01 11:07:16 GMT


Opin: DUP Policing Stance Wrong

The Patten Report, which was published back in September
1999, provided an unprecedented opportunity for the
introduction of a new era in policing across Northern

Enormous progress has been made since then but it is still
depressing that more than seven years later there is still
an unwillingness in some quarters to resolve some of the
key issues in the wider debate.

Republicans were regularly criticised, with considerable
justification, for their reluctance to accept that the time
was right for an endorsement of the new policing

With Sinn Fein finally on the brink of taking its decision
it is striking that it is now the DUP which seems to be
adopting further delaying tactics.

Last month's St Andrews Agreement envisaged that powers on
policing and justice would be transferred to a revived
Northern Ireland assembly within two years of the
restoration of devolution.

However, the North Belfast Democratic Unionist MP Nigel
Dodds said yesterday that his party did not regard this
target date as viable in any shape or form.

Indeed, Mr Dodds went further and suggested that the
devolution of policing and justice was not likely to happen
"in a political lifetime".

While this reference to a political lifetime could be
interpreted as anything between two and 20 years, it might
also be useful to recall Harold Wilson's famous dictum that
a week is a long time in politics.

The DUP is in the process of consulting its supporters on
their attitude towards the St Andrews initiative and has
just summarised its position through a four-page document.

This publication listed what it saw as 20 positive points
about St Andrews from a DUP perspective and went on to
outline a further 10 areas where, in the view of the party,
advances had been made on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

In case anyone failed to get the message, it concluded by
putting forward eight consequences, all negative in DUP
terms, which would follow if the St Andrew's proposals were

No-one who read the document could be left in the slightest
doubt that the DUP leadership has come down in favour of
the St Andrews deal but wants to avoid the possibility of a
grassroots revolt of any seriousness.

Although there can be no guarantee that events will unfold
smoothly over the coming months, it is equally true that
every remaining obstacle on the road to a power-sharing
administration is fully capable of being removed.

The devolution of powers over policing and justice is part
of the solution and the idea that it might be simply
excluded from discussion cannot be sustained.


Opin: Saville, Tony And The Troops Out Trendies

01 November 2006

Why is it taking so long for the findings of the Saville
Inquiry into Bloody Sunday to be released? The official
line is that Lord Saville has a mountain of submissions to
trawl through and that, quite correctly, these things can't
be rushed.

But writing in the Daily Mail, columnist Peter Oborne
suggests the delay may also have been remarkably convenient
for Downing Street.

In politics, timing is everything.

And it goes without saying that should the inquiry findings
involve criticism of the Parachute Regiment - or even call
for prosecution of some of the soldiers involved - this is
hardly going to go down well with the military and the
wider British public at a time when soldiers from that same
regiment are risking all in Afghanistan.

It's an interesting argument. Not least because it
highlights how those who once derided the armed forces are
now so desperately dependant upon them.

Not so many years ago many of the leading faces and
backroom workers in today's Blair administration were
Troops Out trendies.

They had contempt for the armed forces. And contempt for
past sacrifice. British troops they argued, had no right to
be in Northern Ireland - a part of the United Kingdom.

These days, in a remarkable about-turn, the same boys are
festooned with poppies and trooping into television studios
the length and breadth of the land to argue the case for
British soldiers to remain in far-off Iraq and Afghanistan.

But not a week now passes when they aren't hit by yet
another verbal broadside from a leading soldier or military
expert questioning British involvement in these conflicts.
This week it's been Lord Guthrie, former head of the UK
armed forces telling one newspaper: "Anyone who thought
this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan ? to launch
the British Army in with the numbers there are, while we're
still in Iraq, is cuckoo."

The combined message of the criticism of such military
experts is that the Blair team are what the IRA reportedly
once called the PM himself (albeit in a different context)
- na‹ve idiots.

And not just na‹ve.

For an enduring hallmark of the Blair battalion has been
their cynical disregard for the sacrifice of the young men
and the young women in the armed forces down through the

Ironically, among those currently bravely fighting against
terrorists in Helmand Province in Afghanistan are soldiers
from the same Royal Irish Regiment that bravely fought
against terrorists in our own province.

And let's remember how well the Blair Government marked the
contribution of that regiment and its UDR forerunner here

The widows of UDR men killed in the early years of the
Troubles received a pittance in compensation money. That
injustice, which could so easily be put right by Tony Blair
and his Government, has yet to be addressed.

Surely the shabby treatment of those who fought in Northern
Ireland must occasionally flit through the minds of the
officers who today privately, and in some cases publicly,
criticise the armchair tactics of Colonel Blair.

How much more betrayed will they feel if the (delayed)
findings of the Saville Inquiry savage the Paras?

For this, let us not forget, was an inquiry set up at
staggering expense by Mr Blair, not primarily, many of us
would argue, as a means of providing answers for the
relatives of those who died that day - but as a blatant and
costly sop to Sinn Fein.

After all, if Tony Blair believes so fervently in justice
how come he hasn't instigated similar costly inquiries into
terrorist atrocities here?

And why isn't he demanding answers about the role played in
the past by terror representatives, many of whom are today
active in public life - and paid by the British Government?

The short answer? Because the mark of Tony Blair's
administration has not been about doing the right thing. It
has been about doing the politically expedient thing.

When you look at the New Labour apologists in television
interviews you know that they aren't wearing their poppy
with pride. But with cynical calculation. Which is why, as
the anniversary of Armistice Day approaches, we shouldn't
be taken in by this fulsome display of support for the
armed forces.

Those Troops Out campaigners, the New Labour legions who
once refused to be seen with a poppy unless it was white ??

We should remember them.


Opin: Dr `No' Paisley Surprises The Faithful With A `Yes'

By James Kelly

The clock is ticking away minute by minute to the midnight
political time bomb due to go off in a fortnight. Dr `No'
Paisley hurrying to the crossroads under fire from the big
guns at St Andrews, has suddenly decided to say "yes" to
the new agreement, which his critics sneer is the Good
Friday Agreement for slow learners.

During the past few days down in the bunker with his
kitchen cabinet of Ian junior and her ladyship, back home
from the House of Lords, he has penned an extraordinary
apologia to be served up to his party's grass roots,
warning them that the crisis has come.

No more backsliding and excuses; the governments in London
and Dublin are demanding an answer:

"get-on-or-get-off" the chariot of fire. Devolution at
Stormont or political suicide. The document, thrown to the
wilder elements like a bone to the dog, will shock them
profoundly in the loyalist regions of Tyrone, Fermanagh and

Some of them, deeply suspicious since the proceedings at St
Andrews, have been giving voice to their fears at party
meetings and in letters to the press. They ask has the boss
lost his marbles or has he been influenced by the Ulster
Unionist traitors and turncoats who have rushed in to join
the DUP since Trimble fled the House of Lords?

To all such waverers, including some leading party
spokesmen like the extremist parson, the Rev William
McCrea, who has been burbling on about the "agreement" and
laying down new conditions, Paisley is now issuing a
warning that this is a vital time in their history.

"This is not the time to withdraw" he says, "this is the
time to withstand".

If they reject the agreement a number of consequences would
follow, including a greater role for the government of the
Republic in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

In order to make their flesh creep he follows this with the
outlandish prophesy that while Sinn Fein would not be in
government in Northern Ireland they may have a role in the
Republic's government while devolution is unlikely to
return here for a number of years. Other consequences would
include no local control of education. And issues like
water charging or reform of the rating system and allow
Sinn Fein "off the hook" on law and order.

What is his solution to all this if he still funks power
sharing with Sinn Fein?

Nothing but a weak-kneed, "At this vital time in our
history true unionists must prevail and give leadership to
our province." Wow!

In the end we are told the party wants a response to this
document which might go down in history as the last will
and testament of a party whose leader led them to the
crossroads where the road ahead is marked "no entry". The
address for a response is given - by November 8 to 91
Dundela Avenue, Belfast, BT4 3BU, by fax on 028 9065 2480
or email

Finally unionist sources who tried to trap Conservative
leader David Cameron into the Ulster political jungle
during this week's visit to Belfast to address the
Institute of Directors were sorely disappointed. Asked
where he stood on the constitutional question of the Union,
Cameron pointed out tartly that the issue was settled by
the Belfast Agreement in 1998 and the principle of consent
meant that all sides accept the constitutional status of
Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom unless and
until the people of Northern Ireland freely and
democratically decide otherwise.

He said that nationalists and republicans were entitled to
"take pride in their Irish identity and campaign for Irish

Loyalist: Ain't you sorry you asked a silly question?


Opin: Village Tensions Redolent Of A Wider Problem

By Roy Garland

Last week Roger Poole, chairman of the Parades Commission,
said he looked to a time when peace walls would come down
and the commission no longer exist.

But two weeks ago the dreary steeples of Tyrone appeared in
the skies above the village of Beragh.

This took the form of Sinn Fein leaflets placed on car
windscreens while their owners were attending Mass,
asserting the right of people to live free of sectarian
harassment as in the Good Friday Agreement.

The problem is that most villagers were not conscious of
any harassment until the said leaflets arrived.

Incidentally, no leaflets appeared on cars parked outside
the nearby Protestant church, suggesting parades are the
target and that support is to be garnered on a purely
sectarian basis.

The supposed harassment consisted of a peaceful, non-
contentious parade the previous week by the Pride of the
Village Flute Band.

Leaders of Beragh Care and Development Association Ltd, a
cross-community group, pointed out that similar parades had
often taken place without controversy.

Organisers were highly commended for following guidelines
and for ensuring proper organisation and policing, after
obtaining permission from the Parades Commission.

Nor were complaints made to the PSNI. According to the
Beragh group, the parade was carried out in a dignified
manner - as always.

The Beragh association says organisers of parades, sporting
fixtures, church services and so on know that in a small
village like Beragh good timing and communication is
essential if tension and clashes are to be avoided.

The association expressed its appreciation of the voluntary
work of band organisers, youth club workers, sporting
bodies, church groups and others aimed at developing
talents of young people, teaching new skills and
encouraging them to acquire group discipline.

Respect had always been shown in the village for cultural
expressions by the other, for example in the display of
sporting emblems, street bunting and band parades.

The PNSI is commended for policing events in a way that is
widely appreciated. While politicians
must respond to concerns of their constituents, they should
use their influence to calm fears and ease tensions.

People must be encouraged to respect the cultural and
religious expressions of others as well as of their own and
the Beragh Association is always prepared to facilitate
dialogue. They insist that in a divided society bans are
not the answer - respect is.

The experience of the small village of Beragh encapsulates
many problems in the wider society.

Neighbours living side-by-side - sometimes for generations
- wish to continue living in peace. They have their
different traditions and cultural expressions and can work
together harmoniously.

In some parts bands have traditionally shared musical
instruments and neighbours protected each other's farms
while they were otherwise engaged in cultural activities.

This continues in some places and that is surely as it
should be. Tolerance and respect should be the norm.

To misuse the Good Friday Agreement principle that people
be free from sectarian harassment in order to harass
another cultural group is essentially sectarian, especially
when the victims, as in this case, are a minority
group in the area.

It is surely much better to see youth leaders encouraging
youths to engage in constructive cultural activities than
be distracted and destroyed by drugs, crime and wanton

If Sinn Fein protesters in Beragh are an indication of how
people from different traditions are to be treated in
future this would raise serious concerns about the future
governance of Northern Ireland.

The rights of bands to parade should be respected and
accommodated rather than subjected to what appears to be
blatant sectarian harassment. Republican activists in that
part of Co Tyrone may consider themselves victims but they
need to consider that they are also might be perpetrators
of sectarian harassment.

The new beginning was meant to enhance respect and
tolerance and to encourage people to feel free to assert
their identity. If we follow the pattern that now seems to
be emerging in Beragh, minority traditions may be
obliterated and we will all be losers.

To be free from sectarian harassment surely means being
free to experience as well as to express divergent cultural
traditions - not to seek the annihilation of peaceful
demonstrations with which we disagree.

The primeval way to achieve peace may have been through
physical and cultural genocide but that is now unacceptable
and mutual accommodation has rightly become the name of the


Opin: Hain Must Come Clean On Fugitives

01 November 2006

This Halloween an old spectre has returned to haunt the
Secretary of State, Peter Hain. Although the issue of on-
the-runs - suspects wanted for terrorist offences committed
before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement - was parked last
January, when the Government abandoned a Bill amounting to
a virtual amnesty, it could still upset the timetable for

The Government insists that there is "no contradiction"
between what Mr Hain told the US Attorney General in
September and the assurance he gave the Commons in October,
but people can judge for themselves. When Senators refused
to ratify an extradition treaty with the UK because they
feared it would be used against IRA suspects, Mr Hain said
the Government was "reflecting" and was committed to
"addressing these cases".

He was referring to what he called "the anomalous position"
of on-the-runs wanted for offences committed before 1998.
They had fled the jurisdiction but, if they had been found
guilty, would have been freed under the terms of the
Belfast Agreement.

Despite this commitment to deal with the issue, Mr Hain
answered a Commons question on October 11 by the DUP's
Peter Robinson by saying there was "no prospect of an
amnesty". The Government had "absolutely no intention of
bringing legislation back" and there was "no other
procedure". Earlier, David Hanson had told MPs there would
be no new OTR legislation.

What the Belfast Telegraph has revealed is that while the
Secretary of State was reassuring Senators that the
extradition treaty would not apply to OTRs, at the same
time he was ruling out new legislation. Although there was
a commitment to deal with them, the uncertainty that has
existed for eight years will continue.

The difference is that while the Americans have been led to
believe that a solution is on the way, and that OTRs in
America will not be pursued, people in Northern Ireland
have been told the issue is effectively dead. Which is
correct, many will be asking, and how will Mr Hain's
statements affect his credibility in Northern Ireland?

The Government dropped the OTR legislation, with its
virtual amnesty, after protests from terrorist victims and
a threatened Sinn Fein boycott, because it would have
applied to the security forces and their agents. While Sinn
Fein want action from the Government - which also should
involve freedom for those forcibly "exiled" - they say it
is "not a deal-breaker".

No one denies that it is a painfully difficult issue, but
Mr Hain must come clean about his intentions, or the St
Andrews deal could be jeopardised. People want and demand
plain talking, not spin.


Garda¡ And Fire Service Report Busy Halloween Night

01/11/2006 - 08:21:29

Garda¡and the Fire Service have had a traditionally busy
Halloween night, though no serious incidents have been
reported across the country.

Garda¡ in Dublin say the night coincided with a dramatic
increase in public order offences and stabbings, with two
people hospitalised after attacks in Finglas and Tallaght.

A man was also taken to hospital after a shooting incident
in Finglas, but his injuries are not life-threatening and
it is unclear if the attack was linked to Halloween

The Dublin Fire Brigade, meanwhile, says its workload was
between five and 10 times that of a normal night, with
hundreds of bonfires lit throughout the city.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today In History - Kevin Barry Executed

"Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty,
never give in except to convictions of honour and good
sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently
overwhelming might of the enemy.'' - Winston Churchill
speech, 1941.

November, 1920, was a very different Ireland to the one of

Two years previously, the people of the island of Ireland
had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the separatist party
Sinn Fein. However this desire for separation from the
United Kingdom would go ignored by the British. One year
previously, Irish delegates attempted to attain
international recognition of Irish self-determination at
the Paris Peace Conference however, due to Britain's
influence, this effort would also be ignored. Thus, the
Irish Republican Army found itself with no alternative but
to remove the British from Ireland through the barrel of
the gun.

Of the many great patriots who took up this brave fight
against, as Churchill would put it, the "overwhelming might
of the enemy", one such patriot was a young UCD college
student by the name of Kevin Barry.

Barry was a Dubliner who spent his life there as well as in
rural County Carlow. He entered Belvedere College in 1916.
While in his second year there he joined the Irish
Volunteers and initially was charged with delivering
motivation orders. In 1919, he enrolled at University
College Dublin.

During the War of Independence against the British
occupiers, Barry was promoted to Section Commander and took
part in various raids for arms throughout the city. On the
20th of September he was due to sit his final medical exam,
but he never sat it. That morning he was involved in an
ambush at 11 o'clock at the junction of Church Street and
North King Street on the Northside of Dublin. Barry thought
the raid would be concluded with more than enough time to
make his afternoon exam but Barry was captured hiding under
a truck after his comrades fled the scene.

At his trial, 18 year-old Kevin Barry told the court that
as a soldier of the Irish Republic he regarded all of his
actions as acts of war. As a republican he refused to
recognise the court and did not put forward a defence.

During the trial witness after witness was called to give
their version of the morning's events. Each time Barry was
asked if he wanted to question the witness. Each time he
replied "No", except for once when he snapped at the
President of the Court, "Don't bother asking me that
question any more, I am not interested in the proceedings."
He also showed his defiance and disdain for the court by
reading a newspaper during the trial.

The British reportedly tortured Barry in an attempt to find
out the names of other men involved in the raid but the
young man refused to tell. He was given a death sentence
but it was widely believed that this sentence would be
commuted, and that the British authorities would not dare
to execute an 18 year-old.

Appeals continued to be made on Barry's behalf until the
very last moment but on October 31st, Major-General H. H.
Tudor, Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary,
threatened to resign if Barry was reprieved. This was the
deciding factor. Barry would hang Monday morning.

On the day prior to his execution, Kevin Barry was
permitted three visits of three people each. Among the last
of these visitors was the Republican Capuchin chaplain,
Father Albert, who described Barry as a "a magnificent boy
- wonderfully calm". Before leaving the condemned cell, he
asked Barry if he had any final message. The reply was,
"That is making such a fuss. The only message I have for
anybody is 'Hold on and stick to the Republic.'"

That evening a final rescue attempt, planned by Michael
Collins himself, came to nothing. The British mobilised
three companies after Prison guards had become alarmed by
the large crowds of women who had gathered to pray by the
main gates.

Kevin Barry was executed in the morning of November 1st,
1920. Commander of the Auxiliary Division, Brigadier-
General Frank Percy Crozier, who had been required to
supply Barry's guard, was deeply moved by the young man's
bravery and commented, "In Ireland, as no hangman could be
found to hang Barry, we had to bring one all the way from
England, in disguise and in great secrecy. He came 300
miles across the sea, surreptitiously, to hang a rebel
murderer. Or - he came 300 miles across the sea,
surreptitiously, to hang a soldier of Ireland. You see, so
much depends on one's point of view." Crozier would later
resign in protest at the lawlessness of the Auxiliaries.

Prison Chaplain Canon Waters later wrote to Mrs. Barry with
a description of Kevin's final moments:

"His courage was superhuman, and rested, I am sure, on his
simple goodness and innocence of conscience. You are the
mother, my dear Mrs. Barry, of one of the bravest and best
boys I have ever known. He went to the scaffold with the
most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering,
repeating his little ejaculations and the Sacred Name 'til
the very last moment of his life."

The execution of Kevin Barry did not produce the effect
that the authorities in Dublin Castle had sought. In fact,
support hardened behind Sinn Fein, and many indignant young
men became active members of the IRA. The war intensified,
with both sides adopting a far more ruthless and deadly

Tom Barry, commander of the highly successful West Cork
Flying Column, summed up the Volunteers' new approach:

"The British were met with their own weapons. They had gone
down into the mire to destroy us and our nation, and down
after them we had to go to stop them."

On October 14th, 2001, the remains of Barry and 9 other
volunteers from the War of Independence were given a State
funeral and moved from Mountjoy prison to be re-interred at
Glasnevin cemetery.

I personally have great admiration and respect for the
courage and sacrifice shown by Irish hero Kevin Barry. I am
a free Irish citizen today thanks to the bravery of
patriots like Barry - and in spite of the greed and selfish
imperialist aggression shown by the British.

What savages they were to murder a young man who simply
sought for his nation to be free!


Seamus Heaney Suffered Mild Stroke

Sick Nobel laureate pulls out of reading

By Catherine Morrison

NOBEL prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney has pulled out of an
event celebrating the work of Queen's University Belfast
poets because of


The Gala Poetry Evening on Saturday night was being billed
as "possibly the most important reading ever in Northern
Ireland'' and was to bring together three generations of
Queen's University poets, including Heaney and other alumni
such as Michael Longley and Ciaran Carson.

While the evening will still go ahead it has been confirmed
that Heaney will not be able to attend after suffering a
mild stroke several weeks ago.

A statement released by the Seamus Heaney Centre for poetry
said the Co Derry-born poet had been advised to avoid all
public engagements "for some months''.

"He has asked the Seamus Heaney Centre to express how much
he regrets missing the chance to line out with all the
other poets associated with Queen's.

"All proceeds from the evening will go to support the work
of the Seamus Heaney Centre in promoting poetry.''

It is understood that the 67-year-old spent a short time in
hospital before returning home where he has been

Heaney was born near Castledawson, Co Derry, in April 1939.

From a Catholic farming family, he studied English Language
and Literature at Queen's.

He graduated in 1961 with a First-Class Honours degree.

He married Marie Devlin, a teacher and author in 1965, and
the couple live in Dublin.

Heaney has taught at Harvard and Oxford where he held the
Professorship in Poetry between 1989 and 1994.

He won his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

His most famous works include Station Island, The Haw
Lantern, Seeing Things, The Spirit Level and his
translation of Beowulf.

A new anthology of poetry from Queen's University will be
launched at Saturday night's gala evening.

The Blackbird's Nest: An Anthology of Poetry from Queen's
University Belfast, edited by Frank Ormsby, features a
foreword by Heaney.

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