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November 26, 2006

SF Prepared To Call Ardfheis In January

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/27/06 SF Prepared To Call Ardfheis In January
IT 11/27/06 Justice Job In North May Go To SDLP Or UUP
SF 11/26/06 Adams & McGuinness To Lead SF Delegations
TO 11/26/06 Stone 'Only Wanted To Go Back To Jail'
IH 11/26/06 Susp IRA Dis Charged With Firebombing Stores
IT 11/27/06 Opin: The Way We Use Irish
BL 11/26/06 Blog: Summary Of SF’s Sean Oliver Speech
TF 11/26/06 Blog: No Surrender?
IT 11/27/06 De Valera Sought Papal Approval For Constitution


SF Prepared To Call Ardfheis In January

Frank Millar, London Editor

The Sinn Féin leadership is prepared to call a special
ardfheis in January to change its policy on policing in
Northern Ireland, The Irish Times has been told.

However, the party insists there will be no special
conference without prior agreement with the DUP on a
timetable for the devolution of policing and justice powers
to Stormont.

Senior Sinn Féin sources confirmed at the weekend that the
special ardfheis would be necessary to permit Martin
McGuinness to accept his nomination as co-equal deputy
first minister in the power-sharing Executive scheduled to
be appointed on March 26th.

They also say the DUP would be entitled to regard the new
pledge of office, enshrined in last week's emergency
British legislation, as amounting to an explicit
endorsement of the PSNI.

The sources reiterated however that Gerry Adams would not
move to call an ardfheis without DUP agreement on the
modality of a new policing and justice ministry at
Stormont, the timetable for the transfer of powers and a
resolution with the British government of the vexed
question of MI5 involvement with the PSNI.

The signs also are that without prior agreement with the
DUP to form a government on March 26th, Sinn Féin leaders
are likely to join a growing number of politicians on all
sides questioning why the planned Assembly elections should

In the House of Commons last week, SDLP leader Mark Durkan
said Northern secretary Peter Hain risked a "crazy
position" in which voters were asked to "endorse a deal"
that had not been done. DUP chief whip Nigel Dodds said:
"Some people might wonder in those circumstances whether an
election will advance anything."

Mr Dodds was one of the 12 dissenting DUP Assembly members
overruled on Friday when party leader Ian Paisley issued
the second crucial statement required by the British and
Irish governments confirming that - provided his terms on
policing and other outstanding issues were met - he would
accept nomination as first minister.

On Friday night, leadership sources suggested that the
dissenting statement had been intended as an agreed
challenge to speaker Eileen Bell's interpretation of Dr
Paisley's first statement during the formal sitting of the
transitional Assembly.

However, The Irish Timeshas established that a number of
the 12 subsequently given a dressing-down by the leadership
did not know in advance of the second Paisley statement
regarded by Downing Street as justification of prime
minister Tony Blair's decision to allow the process to

Mr Hain attempted to keep the pressure on Mr Dodds in
particular yesterday, demanding that some "leading figures"
in the DUP - not Ian Paisley or Peter Robinson - "should
stop saying they will never accept devolution [ of policing
powers] in their political lifetime".

Mr Robinson has pointed out that he used the offending
words before Mr Dodds.

He was at one with his colleague in the Commons last week
in telling MPs that a timetable for the devolution of
policing powers was not a condition of the St Andrews


Justice Job In North May Go To SDLP Or UUP

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Handing over responsibility for policing and justice to an
SDLP or Ulster Unionist Party minister is one of the models
being considered to resolve the policing stand-off between
the DUP and Sinn Féin, according to senior political

As Friday's Assembly meeting - postponed because of the
attack on Parliament Buildings by Michael Stone -
reconvenes today, the focus turns to policing.

As well as concluding Friday's meeting, the Assembly is to
hear a report on the security implications of Stone's

It is likely now that armed PSNI officers will carry out
security duties at Stormont to assist unarmed security

Stone's early release licence under the Belfast Agreement
has been revoked and he is now due to serve the remaining
18 years of the 30-year minimum sentence imposed on him for
a 1988 attack at Milltown Cemetery, in which he killed
three people.

The British and Irish governments are now satisfied that
comments made by DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley inside and
outside the Assembly chamber on Friday mean he is
conditionally prepared to be First Minister.

The governments believe the process can now move to the
next stage of the St Andrews Agreement, persuading Sinn
Féin to call an ardfheis to endorse and support the PSNI
and the rule of law.

However, the DUP and Sinn Féin remain deadlocked on this
issue. Sinn Féin is demanding a date for the devolution of
policing and justice to the Northern Executive while the
DUP is insisting that no such commitment can be given.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, in particular, has angered
Sinn Féin by stating he could not see this devolution
taking place within a "political lifetime".

Northern Secretary Peter Hain said yesterday that such
remarks from Mr Dodds and other leading members of the DUP
were unhelpful.

Equally, he said Sinn Féin must provide clarity by calling
the ardfheis on policing, and this should take place before
the election.

The governments are currently working to an expectation
that the Sinn Féin ardfheis will be called before the end
of January when the Assembly election campaign formally

Sinn Féin Assembly member Francis Brolly caused surprise
when he was reported on Friday in Swiss newspaper Le Temps
as saying the ardfheis might not be called until the
summer. Mr Brolly later issued a statement saying he had
been misquoted and that responsibility for calling the
ardfheis rested solely with the party leadership.

Some Sinn Féin and DUP sources have indicated that there is
a possible way of breaking the deadlock over when policing
and justice would be devolved to the Northern Executive.

"One of the models currently being considered is that
rather than having a Sinn Féin or DUP minister in charge,
the department could be run by a Ulster Unionist or SDLP
minister, or that the department could be shared between
UUP and SDLP ministers," said a senior source.

The governments now hope the Assembly programme for
government committee, which also meets today, will begin
discussing whether this or other models could break the


Adams & Mcguinness To Lead Stormont SF Delegations

Published: 26 November, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness will l ead the party delegations in both the
Assembly meeting and the Programme for Government Committee
tomorrow in Stormont. Speaking today after a party meeting
in Belfast Mr McGuinness said:

"Gerry Adams and myself will lead the Sinn Féin delegations
in both the Assembly meeting and the Programme for
Government Committee tomorrow in Stormont. Sinn Féin will
be approaching both meetings with the serious intention of
moving forward the agenda set out by the governments at St.

"All of the parties including the DUP know what is required
of them in the coming weeks. The Programme for Government
meeting provides an opportunity for the DUP to engage in
real politics and seek out effective solutions to the
issues which remain to be resolved.

"Clearly up until now the DUP have been reluctant
participants in this process. However Sinn Féin are keen to
get down to the business of working with them in sorting
out serious issues like the timetable for the transfer of
power on policing and justice and the departmental model.
But resolving these matters will require the DUP to display
the necessary political will in the days and weeks ahead."

But the DUP's Nigel Dodds threw matters back on Sinn Féin,
saying it was their failure to sign up to support the
police and law and order that was behind the delay.

"Recent horrendous events including murder, petrol-bomb
attacks and other vicious crimes have resulted in a refusal
by Sinn Féin to call for the police to be assisted in any
way in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

"That proves the distance Sinn Féin has yet to travel. The
onus is on them."


Stone 'Only Wanted To Go Back To Jail'

Liam Clarke

MICHAEL STONE, the crazed loyalist killer arrested at
Stormont on Friday in possession of weapons and explosives,
had told friends that the only place he would feel safe was
in prison.

Following his dramatic arrest at the parliament building,
associates of Stone have described him as a tortured man
obsessed by the idea that republicans were plotting to kill
him with a gun they seized during his attack at Milltown
cemetery in 1988.

He had asked police on several occasions to interview him
about unsolved murders and murder conspiracies in what
seemed to be a campaign to be incarcerated again.

On Friday, he tried to burst into parliament buildings at
Stormont armed with an imitation pistol, a knife, a
garrotte and eight amateurishly made pipe bombs.

Yesterday he appeared in Belfast’s Magistrates Court
charged with attempting to murder Gerry Adams, the Sinn
Fein president, and his colleague Martin McGuinness.

Whatever the outcome, Stone looks likely to get his wish
and go back to jail. He was released on licence under the
Good Friday agreement in 2000 while serving six life
sentences, with a recommendation that he spend at least 30
years in prison.

The licence specifies that he can be returned to complete
his sentence if he is a danger to the public or if he is
suspected of engaging in acts of terror. That is the fate
that befell Sean Kelly, an IRA terrorist who bombed the
Shankill Road, and Johnny Adair, Stone’s loyalist rival.

Yesterday Adair taunted Stone, saying “now people will say
‘did you see Stoner getting wrestled to the ground by a
woman?’, ” a reference to Susan Porter, the Stormont
security guard who seized his replica weapon and
overpowered him.

Stone’s solo attempt to storm Stormont was described as the
“actions of a lunatic” by Sir Hugh Orde, the PSNI chief
constable. Former friends of the loyalist killer say that
the origins of the attack go back to the day in March 1988,
when Stone launched a similar kamikaze-style raid on the
funeral of three IRA members shot by the SAS in Gibraltar.
Stone’s intention had been to get close enough to Adams and
McGuinness to kill them.

On that occasion, Stone had a real gun and succeeded in
shooting dead three mourners in Milltown before members of
the IRA seized the weapon and the police arrested him.

Under questioning he confessed to three other murders. He
later said he had made up one of these confessions, and had
not, in fact, been responsible for the murder of Dermot
Hackett, a delivery man shot dead near Omagh in 1987. That
case has now been re-opened.

An Ulster Defence Association source said: “Michael had
become obsessed with the idea that the IRA were going to
shoot him with the gun they captured from him before any
peace deal was finally concluded. That is why he turned
against the Good Friday agreement after initially
supporting it. He was totally paranoid and receiving

Stone reacted badly when he heard in jail that the Browning
pistol taken from him had been used by the IRA to murder
Lance Corporal Roy Butler, an off-duty Ulster Defence
Regiment officer who was shot while shopping with his wife
and children in Belfast city centre in 1988.

After his release, Stone appeared to forget about his
phobia. He wrote a book and launched a career as an artist,
mainly based on his notoriety. The signature on the back of
paintings was the print of his right index finger, which he
told buyers was “Michael Stone’s trigger finger”.

In the past year his old demons had returned and he claimed
to have heard a republican say in a television interview
that his gun might be used to kill him.

He had given up art and had no fixed abode, usually staying
with a girlfriend in the Rathcoole estate, Newtownabbey.

A former UDA colleague said: “He saw a deal between the
Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Fein coming, and he
believes there will not be a deal until he is dead. He has
been trying to get put in jail for about the past nine

Stone, 51, who suffers from crippling arthritis, had
travelled to London earlier this year where he asked to be
interviewed about a number of unsolved murders, including
an alleged 1980s plot to murder Ken Livingstone, who was
leader of the Greater London council at the time.

He had also challenged police in Northern Ireland to arrest
him and had been interviewed at Antrim police station but
released. He was starting to be regarded as a nuisance.

Two weeks ago Stone revived the story of his supposed plot
to kill Livingstone at a London Underground station and was
interviewed by ITN television news in the grounds of

Wearing a poppy and walking with the aid of a stick he told
the interviewer: “I have regrets about my past. I regret
having taken men’s lives during the conflict. I regret not
having assassinated Adams and McGuinness and, to be quite
honest, I regret not having assassinated Ken Livingstone.”


Suspected IRA Dissident Charged With Firebombing Belfast Stores

The Associated PressPublished: November 26, 2006

BELFAST, Northern Ireland: Detectives charged a suspected
Irish Republican Army dissident Sunday with firebombing
Belfast stores, police said.

The 22-year-old man, who wasn't publicly named in keeping
with police policy, was expected to be arraigned Monday in
Belfast Magistrates Court on a lone charge of causing an
explosion likely to endanger life.

Police said they arrested the man Saturday on suspicion of
planting time-controlled firebombs in two Belfast stores,
including a massive hardware store that burned to the
ground, on Nov. 1.

In the mid-1980s, the IRA developed cassette-sized
firebombs that were designed to be planted on store shelves
and ignite after closing time, so that shoppers and staff
were not injured. Dissidents have maintained the tactic
since the IRA in 1997 stopped its 27-year campaign to
overthrow Northern Ireland by force.


Opin: The Way We Use Irish

The Irish language has gone through something of a revival
in major population centres as gaelscoileanna emerged and
families welcomed an opportunity to get closer to their

A growing knowledge of the language was reflected in the
recent census figures. And the voluntary basis of the
recovery, assisted by some government funding, was
particularly heartening. All the more reason then, to be
concerned about heavy-handed official intervention that
could have a counter-productive effect.

Old habits die hard. Making rules and regulations is a
Pavlovian response within any bureaucracy. In the past,
politicians drew lines around gaeltacht and breac-gaeltacht
areas and provided special grants for the people there.
Irish was made compulsory in all schools. And you couldn't
get a State job if you didn't have the cupla focal. In
spite of that, literacy levels in Irish and day-to-day
usage declined. Today, many second-level students have only
a vestigial knowledge of Irish. We have laws and
regulations to beat the band but many people have become
alienated from a limping revival campaign.

Minister for Rural, Community and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O
Cuív must have been aware of the corrosive effect
compulsion can have on public sentiment when he signed a
series of directives on October 2nd requiring all public
bodies to utilise the Irish language on their official
answering and public address systems; to use it on all
notepaper and office stationary; and to give it precedence
on their public signage from January 1st, 2009. About 500
organisations and agencies will be affected. But the
financial cost involved and the impact of them on public
attitudes has not been quantified.

Independent Senator Joe O'Toole, a committed revivalist,
has suggested the Minister should encourage, rather than
direct, public bodies to utilise the Irish language to a
greater extent. And he has criticised the one-size-fits-all
approach taken to such a disparate group. Why, he wondered,
should the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the Chester Beatty
Library be treated like a county council ? There is clearly
a case to be made for exemptions and for a gradualist
approach in particular circumstances.

Last month, the people of Dingle in Co Kerry voted
overwhelmingly against the Minister's determination that
all road signs for the town should be displayed in Irish.
Confusion caused by a change in name to Daingean Ui Chuis
could have cost the town business and, ultimately, jobs.
Eventually, Mr O Cuív accepted a compromise involving the
use of English and Irish. We should foster our native
language, but through gentle encouragement and incentive,
rather that crude compulsion.


Blog: Summary Of SF’s Sean Oliver Speech

Category: News and Politics

On November 16th, Sean Oliver, Sinn Fein's representative
for the United Ireland campaign spoke in Baltimore. What
follows is a summary of his presentation. All ideas,
paraphrased and quoted remarks are his. For more info.
check out


While carrying on "the tradition of Connolly & Mellows in
communicating with Irish America", the goal of a United
Ireland includes educating and involving Irish America,
particularly in the areas of all-Ireland and cross-border

1. The struggle is reunification, which is an ongoing
process. We are not sitting around and waiting for the
"big day." SF is working on as much cross-border
development as possible in preparation for the transition
to reunification.

A. Economics--the South is the stronger economy now and
there is growing interest in the north about sharing in it.
The British and Irish governments recently released a
document stating that "political borders" need not impede
"strong island-wide development".

B. GFA--All Ireland development is mandated by the
agreement. Each branch of the Irish government such as
language, tourism, and resources now has an all Ireland

C. Border Communities--These communities face unique
difficulties not of their making regarding different
currencies, healthcare, and the obstacles that arise when
calling across a field becomes an international call due to
an artificial border.

D. Sinn Fein, on the anniversary of the Hunger Strikers'
5 Demands, has created 2006's 5 Demands for Irish Unity.

1. A Green paper issued by Dublin including matters
such as unionist engagement (not political leaders, but
church leaders) in acknowledgement of our shared future.

2. The right of all residents of the 6 Counties, who
wish to, to vote for the Irish President.

3. Northern MPs should be granted speaking rights in

4. All-Ireland systems of government rather than
duplicating or conflicting systems.

5. Regarding Bertie's party, FF, we must "pin them up
to their colors." Since they claim to be a Republican
party, we must demand that they explain what they are doing
for reunification.

2. Current Situation

A. The armed struggle is over. All Republican activists
have been and will continue to be encouraged to join the
political process.

B. St. Andrew's Agreement--The agreement is an agreement
"between governments, not parties." SF's aims include
defending the GFA, including the right to a referendum,
restoring the assembly, and resolving the issues of
political prisoners and on-the-runs.

C. Despite (or perhaps because of) his malign influence,
Paisley must be pulled into the political process. After
40 years of "no" he has moved to a "maybe." That is a
seismic shift for him. We will continue ongoing
consultation w/ Paisley with the understanding that they
will have to share power w/ SF and that those ministers
will have to become part of an All-Ireland body.

3. Sinn Fein & Policing

A. We know the history of murders and collusion.
"Nationalists need to feel it is their police force and
they can join it and serve their community." While some
progress has been made, we are not there yet.

B. When SF leadership believes appropriate measures have
been taken they will call for a vote. The delegates will
then convene and vote on a policing measure.

C. We are not talking about "joining" the PSNI. The goal
for the nationalist and republican communities right now is
SCRUTINY! If we choose to participate with the policing
boards, it will be to supervise the protection of our

D. "Nationalist neighborhoods want policing to curb drugs
and violence, but they will not pay any price for it."
They want fair and unbiased policing and there is still
work to do in that regard.

E. In some neighborhoods, SF councilors would by virtue of
demographics chair the board as the dominant party. There
are still some "remnants of the bad days" that do not want
to answer to republicans. That situation must be resolved.

Conclusion: Our struggle is still about the Easter
Proclamation. That remains "our manifesto." The "unionist
bastions of City Hall and Stormount now harbor"
democratically elected Sinn Fein officials. That is still
very difficult for many unionist officials to accept. "We
are in the body politic and will not leave. Becoming a
major political force in the north and south is the only
way to implement the Proclamation. We have mastered
resistance, now we are focused on creating."


Blog: No Surrender?

Standing up for what you believe in can, of course, be a
good thing.

It can also, however, be a bad thing.

It depends on what you believe in, and what you're willing
to do because of that belief.

I'm not quite sure what Michael Stone believes in; it seems
to be some twisted mixture of political and religious
bigotries that views Catholic Christians and the modern
European nation of the Republic of Ireland as some demi-
demons from a medieval hell. But that's no matter.

Because of his beliefs he has killed. Many times. And he
has injured even more. Without discrimination. Without, I
would think, mercy or any empathy with his victims, their
families, friends and neighbours. By doing so he
contributed so much pain to generations of people of all
faiths and none across the island of Ireland.

And he's still described, by some, as a Loyalist. Loyal to
whom? The British Crown? Her Majesty's Government? His
local community?

To the very concept of democracy?

There was a lot made of his appearance in that TV show
where he came face to face with not just the relatives of
someone he'd killed, but to the pain, anger and anguish his
actions had caused. Part of me thought it might be a real
sign of a sudden outbreak of empathy and understanding of
our shared human worth.

After the events at Stormont on Friday, I somehow doubt it.

The political situation in Northern Ireland is by no means
ideal. But that's true democracy; people being forced to
co-operate and work together. It's not easy; in fact, it's
bloody hard, particularly in the likes of Northern Ireland
where so much pain, anger and anguish has been caused over
the decades. Clearly, it's not something that Michael Stone
can feel he can accept.

So he attempts to blow it up. In possibly the most pathetic
way possible...

I sincerely hope that it has helped concentrate minds of
the politicians in Northern Ireland, who have - it should
be pointed out - been in receipt of Assembly salaries for
the last four years despite not actually doing anything.

After so long, and so much horror, there must be no
surrender to those willing to use force to enforce their
childish, bigoted view of the world on the rest of us.


De Valera Sought Papal Approval For Constitution

Éamon de Valera sent the head of the department of foreign
affairs to Rome in the spring of 1937 to try and get the
approval of Pope Pius XI for his new Constitution, before
it was presented to the Dáil, according to a collection of
documents on Irish foreign policy to be published this
week, writes Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent.

Although the Pope refused to endorse the Constitution, as
it did not formally recognise the Catholic Church as the
only true church, a senior Vatican official said "it was a
great change for the better" compared to the Free State

Joseph P Walshe, the secretary of the department, went to
Rome in April, 1937 to seek the approval of the Vatican for
the sections of the Constitution dealing with religious
matters which recognised the "special position" of the
Catholic Church, but which also recognised the other major

In a memo to de Valera, Walshe said of his first meeting
with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli: "I
thought it well to say at a very early stage that you fully
realised that the sections of the constitution under
discussion did not correspond with the complete Catholic
ideal. You would like to have the approval of the Vatican
in so far as it could be given.

"At any rate you wished to have the satisfaction of having
the Card Sec and the Holy Father see the sections relating
to the Church before putting them before parliament. Card
Pacelli expressed his great joy that you had done so.

"You should understand that whatever he and the Holy Father
might say they were in the fullest sympathy with you and
the Govt in your difficulties, and thus appreciated how
great a task it was to achieve anything like the Catholic
ideal in the special circumstances."

Nonetheless, the Cardinal told Walsh that in light of his
preliminary chat with the Pope he felt obliged to say that
"the special position given to the Catholic Church had no
real value so long as there was not a formal recognition of
the RC Church as the Church founded by Christ. Moreover . .
. the realisation given to the other churches mollified any
advantage which might have been derived from exclusive
recognition. He thought we should use the word tolerate in
regard to them."

When the Pope finally pronounced his view it came as a deep
disappointment to Walshe. "Ni approvo ni non disapprovo;
taceremo." (I do not approve, neither do I not disapprove;
we shall maintain silence."

Concluding his memo to de Valera Walshe said: "I want to
express my great regret at not having been able to do what
I was sent out to do." Nonetheless, he concluded: "There is
very sincere respect and even gratitude for the extent to
which you have been able to go in making our Constit.

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