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January 28, 2007

Adams Closing Remarks To Ard Fheis

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/28/07 Adams Closing Remarks To Ard Fheis
SF 01/28/07 Motion Passed By SF Ard Fheis - 01/28/07
IT 01/28/07 Sinn Féin Vote Broadly Welcomed
GU 01/28/07 Historic Vote Ends SF's Battle With PSNI
TO 01/28/07 Not So Alone
BN 01/28/07 Paisley: SF Must Show Support For Policing
SB 01/28/07 How Collusion Was Built Into The System
SB 01/28/07 Opin: IRL Faces Fight To Hold On To Investment
TO 01/28/07 Opin: Momentous Day For Both IRA & Law & Order
GU 01/28/07 Opin: The Incredible Journey Continues
TE 01/28/07 Opin: Sinn Fein's Agenda
SB 01/28/07 New Restaurant To Open At Cliffs Of Moher


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams Closing Remarks To
Extraordinary Ard Fheis

Published: 28 January, 2007
Gerry Adams MP

Bhí seo ceann de na diospoireacht is tabhactach a rinne
poblachtanaigh i riamh.

Bhí muid oscailte agus carduil agus thug muid ar mbaruil
mar sin.

Agus tá mé buioch daoibh go leir mar glac sibh pairt ann.

This has been one of the most important debates in the
recent history of our country and of Irish republicanism.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to it.

The decision we have taken today is truly historic.

Its significance will be in how we use this decision to
move our struggle forward.

We have created the potential to change the political
landscape of this island for ever.

We have created the opportunity to significantly advance
our primary objective of a United Ireland through the
building of greater political strength.

Now it is up to each of us at this Ard Fheis, and to the
thousands of other republicans watching our deliberations
today, to build on today's positive outcome.

Of course, building political strength won't happen by
chance. It will require hard work and dedication.

As I listened to today's debate, listened to the scores of
contributions, and as I look around this hall now I am
confirmed in my confidence that Sinn Féin has the
commitment, the talent and ability, the determination and
vision to build a New Ireland.

I want to make a few other short remarks to bring today's
historic Ard Fheis to a close.

First of all I want to thank everyone who organised this
Ard Fheis - everyone from security to publicity - tellers,
steering committee, chair - achan daoine a chuir ocaid le

I want also to offer once again to meet with the leadership
of other republican organisations who are opposed to Sinn
Féin's peace strategy.

I want to meet with them and to listen to any alternative
strategy that they want to put forward.

I would also expect them to listen to our analysis and the
rationale behind our strategy.

I also want to appeal to unionists to encourage their
political leaders to engage in open debate with Sinn Féin,
and to unionist political leaders to take up that

Republicanism and unionism have to reach an historic
compromise if the promise and hope of the peace process is
to deliver stability and progress for all our people.

That means beginning a real dialogue, an anti-sectarian
dialogue, between nationalism and republicanism and

A dialogue which can move us all beyond the current impasse
into a living, hopeful future that will cherish all our
people equally.

To achieve that, we must begin to co-operate in managing
the process of change.

It is also up to us who are working for a united Ireland to
do everything possible to reach out to others and
especially to reassure unionists that their culture and
identity is not threatened by Irish unity.

On the contrary Irish unity can liberate and protect and
advance the rights and entitlements of every citizen,
nationalist and unionist and republican and all the new
Irish on this island.

Accepting the responsibility of leadership means rising
above our history of division, hostility and conflict.

I would appeal to those unionist political leaders to grasp
the challenge that now exists - to demonstrate the
leadership that is required in reaching beyond traditional

The reality is that there has been significant change in
recent years and that process of change will continue.

The decision we have taken today is not the end of the
issue of policing and justice.

There is much more work to be done to ensure that the
accountability mechanisms that are in place are used to
their fullest potential.

We have a lot of work to do in co-operating with the
families of those who continue to seek the truth on
collusion, and state terrorism or who campaign for an end
to plastic bullets.

Those campaigns have not ended.

They, like our struggle, have entered a new phase of

This applies to Policing and Justice just as it does to
other areas of state structures.

There is no going back, only forward to a new beginning and
a just society.

If we are to make progress republicans and nationalist and
unionists will have to set the terms of our relationship.

Republicans believe that the best way to achieve this is to
take control of our destiny.

That means persuading the British government to face up to
its responsibilities.

It means the British government leaving Ireland.

That is the democratic right of the people of our island.

But why, we must ask ourselves, would a British government
accept this democratic right, if the Irish government or
other parties in this state are asking for less?

Sinn Féin is the only nationally organised party on this

We face into the future filled with hope, confident in our
own ability and growing stronger day by day.

Today we acted in the national interest.

We look to others to do the same in the time ahead.

Today's Ard Fheis is about building our political strength.
It is about putting backbone into Irish national politics.

It is about building equality - not just in the north - but
everywhere in cities and towns all across this state and
throughout rural Ireland.

Seamus Breslin from Doire said what the establishment
feared was the wee man from the Bogside or the Falls Road
going on to the Policing Boards.

Seamus is right but what the establishment fears even more
than the wee man are the wee women, not just from the
Bogside or the Falls but from Dublin Central, from Cavan
Monaghan from the Cobh of Cork, from the west and the sunny
south east - not just on policing boards but on decision
making structures throughout Ireland.

Ní bheidh saoirse gan saoirse na mban agus ni bhrich SF
abalta e a fhail gan mna na hEireann anseo linn mar

Our duty is to develop politics which empower people. My
friends we are very capable of doing that.

We are with Connolly - Ireland without our people means
nothing to us.

We are about the re-conquest of Ireland by the people of

The last month of consultation - internally, then with the
wider republican base, and finally with everyone else is an
example of a new culture of politics - the politics of

Sinn Féin is the engine of that change.

As we go from here, united, we also need to give space to
everyone who has concerns or reservations about today's
huge decision.

The debate does not finish here.

It continues - as our struggle continues.

And the debate needs to include not just the issue of
policing but all other aspects of contemporary Irish
society and the republican vision for a better Ireland, a
new Ireland - an Ireland of Equals.

We are back here for our regular Ard Fheis in a months time
and the year after that and the next year - bigger,
stronger, bolder building political strength and building
the new Republic.

In the meantime let's take the next wee phase nice and

Let's not be upset by how others respond to today's

Remember the higher they build their barriers the stronger
we become.

Let's keep our strategic and primary objectives as our
compass in the time ahead.

Leanagi ar aghaigh le cheile, laidir, aontaithe agus ag fas
is ag togail cumhocht.


Motion Passed By The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis - 01/28/07

Published: 28 January, 2007

This Ard Fheis reiterates Sinn Féin's political commitment
to bringing about Irish re-unification and the
establishment of a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic.

This Ard Fheis supports civic policing through a police
service which is representative of the community it serves,
free from partisan political control and democratically

We support and will work for the development of a routinely
unarmed police service as envisaged in the Good Friday

We support fair, impartial and effective delivery of the
rule of law. The changes to policing secured in all
reforming legislation, including by Sinn Féin needs to be
implemented fully. The truth about wrongdoing by British
military, intelligence and policing agencies needs to be
uncovered and acknowledged. Sinn Féin supports the demands
for this from the families of victims. The PSNI needs to
make strenuous efforts to earn the trust and confidence of
nationalists and republicans. Gardaí corruption and
malpractice - which has been exposed in the Morris Tribunal
and the Abbeylara inquiry in the 26 counties - shows the
need for constant vigilance and oversight. These inquiries
and the ill-treatment of republicans by the Garda Special
Branch also provide compelling reasons as to why the
responsibility of political parties and representatives
should be to hold the police to account in a fair and
publicly transparent way.

This Ard Fheis is totally opposed to political, sectarian
and repressive policing and any form of criminalization of
republicanism. The experience of nationalists and
republicans in the Six Counties is of a partisan, unionist
militia which engaged in harassment, torture,
assassination, shoot-to-kill and collusion with death
squads and we will never endorse such policing practices.

The Good Friday Agreement requires and defines 'a new
beginning to policing' as an essential element of the peace
process. The Good Friday Agreement also requires
functioning, powersharing and all-Ireland political
institutions. The British Government have agreed to the
transfer of powers on policing and justice away from
Westminster to locally-elected political institutions and
have set out the departmental model to which these powers
will be transferred. In these circumstances authority over
policing and justice will lie in Ireland.

We note the British Government's new policy statement of 10
January 2007 which removes MI5 from policing structures in
Ireland. This removes the proposals to embed MI5 into civic
policing and removes the danger of again creating a force
within a force.

We note also the commitment by PSNI Chief Constable Hugh
Orde that plastic bullets will not be used for purposes of
public order/crowd control and his acknowledgement of the
hurt resulting from injuries and death of innocent people
including children. These weapons should never be used
again. Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a total ban.

This Ard Fheis notes the refusal of the DUP leader Ian
Paisley to publicly commit to power-sharing and
participation in the all-Ireland political institutions by
26 March 2007. Before the Ard Chomhairle meeting on 29
December the DUP had agreed words which they would release
in response to the Ard Chomhairle accepting the policing
motion put by the Party President. We note the DUP's
failure to keep to this commitment.

It is clear that elements of the DUP are determined to use
policing and other issues to prevent progress, resist
powersharing and equality and oppose any all-Ireland
development. This is unacceptable. It is the responsibility
of the two Governments and pro-Agreement parties across the
island to resist this and to ensure the full implementation
of the Good Friday Agreement.

Sinn Fein is committed to justice. Sinn Fein is committed
to law and order and to stable and inclusive partnership
government, and, in good faith and in a spirit of genuine
partnership, to the full operation of stable power-sharing
government and the north south and east west arrangements
set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

The responsibility of the police is to defend and uphold
the rights of citizens.

In order to fulfil this role they require critical support.
Sinn Féin reiterates our support for An Garda Síochana and
commits fully to:

* Support for the PSNI and the criminal justice system.

* Hold the police and criminal justice systems north and
south fully to account, both democratically and legally, on
the basis of fairness and impartiality and objectivity.

* Authorise our elected representatives to participate in
local policing structures in the interests of justice, the
quality of life for the community and to secure policing
with the community as the core function of the PSNI and
actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-
operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in
all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice

* The devolution of policing and justice to the Assembly.

* Equality and human rights at the heart of the new
dispensation and to pursue a shared future in which the
culture, rights and aspirations of all are respected and
valued, free from sectarianism, racism and intolerance

To achieve this the Ard Chomhairle is hereby mandated to:

* Appoint Sinn Féin representatives to the Policing Board
and the District Policing Partnership Boards to ensure

- a civic policing service, accountable and representative
of the community is delivered as quickly as possible, - the
Chief Constable and the PSNI are publicly held to account,

- policing with the community is achieved as the core
function of the PSNI,

- political policing, collusion and "the force within a
force" is a thing of the past and to oppose any involvement
by the British Security Service/MI5 in civic policing.

* Ensure Sinn Fein representatives robustly support the
demands for:

- equality of treatment for all victims and survivors,

- effective truth recovery mechanisms,

- acknowledgement by the British State of its involvement
in wrongdoing including collusion with loyalist

- to ensure that there is no place in the PSNI for those
guilty of human rights abuses,

* Resolutely oppose the use of lethal weapons, including
plastic bullets, in public order situations

* Authorise Sinn Féin Ministers to take the ministerial
Pledge of Office.

* Achieve accountable all-Ireland policing structures.

The Ard Chomhairle recommends: That this Ard Fheis endorses
the Ard Chomhairle motion. That the Ard Chomhairle is
mandated to implement this motion only when the power-
sharing institutions are established and when the Ard
Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice
powers will be transferred. Or if this does not happen
within the St Andrews timeframe, only when acceptable new
partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday
Agreement are in place.


Sinn Féin Vote Broadly Welcomed

Éanna Ó Caollai
Sun, Jan 28, 2007

The move by Sinn Féin to adopt a new policy supporting the
PSNI has received a broad welcome.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the vote was a "landmark
decision" which he said had opened the way to Northern
Ireland power-sharing.

"It is vital that we continue to maintain the momentum from
the St Andrews agreement and the timetable set out in that
agreement," he said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said:
"The Prime Minister welcomes this historic decision and
recognises the leadership it has taken to get to this

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain said the
vote was a "breakthrough" which had "put Northern Ireland
in a place it has never been before."

"What had always been a massive impediment to stable and
lasting government has been removed."

"We have always said that to make the breakthrough both
Sinn Féin and the DUP have both to deliver on the twin
pillars of support for policing and power-sharing. Now,
that can be done."

He said it was time for all politicians to seize the
initiative and close the deal that will bring devolved
government back to the people of Northern Ireland.

Deputy leader of the DUP Peter Robinson said the move was
to be welcomed but had to be supported by "delivery."

Mr Robinson said for the DUP to enter in a powersharing
arrangement, "support for the police, the judiciary and
the rule of law "is a necessary prerequisite."

"Sinn Féin having taken a decision in principle, which is
to be welcomed, must implement that decision - and that is
the basis on which we can move forward."

He added "the next step is theirs, the pressure is still on

The SDLP's policing spokesman Alec Attwood said the move
should be welcomed and that "at long last Sinn Fein has
moved past the redlight of policing."

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey described the vote as "the
inevitable outworking of the peace process."

"Nonetheless today's move is a massive step change in the
Republican psyche. It is an admission that the violent
'cause' has been abandoned and that Sinn Féin are prepared
to support the forces of law and order in this part of the
United Kingdom"

"My sense is that it could potentially herald the beginning
of a new era if the follow through is clear, swift and
unequivocal...Today's vote is a critical piece of the
jigsaw in getting the much needed devolved institutions
back up and running," he added.

However, Democratic Unionist MP Rev William McCrea
dismissed the conference as "pantomime" and again cast
doubt on whether republicans could prove their support for
the police was for real by March 26.

"This has been a carefully choreographed move by them," the
South Antrim MP said. "The fact remains that March 26 is
not a realistic date for them to prove unqualified support
for the security forces, the courts and the rule of law.

"We are doing nothing. The onus is on republicans to do
everything. "They have to deliver support on the grounds
for the PSNI, the courts and the rule of law, a complete
end to paramilitarism and the removal of terrorist

"Today's fiasco may have been aimed at Tony Blair, Peter
Hain and the two governments, but we will not be swayed."

Former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough, a member of the
Provisionals' East Tyrone Brigade during the Troubles, was
among those who criticised the vote to endorse the police.
"I am not surprised by the result," he said.

"This was a classic text book case of counter-insurgency.
"The British have succeeded in imposing their policy of
divide and rule. A significant section of the republican
movement has been recruited into the British Crown system
and is being used to administer and maintain British rule
in Ireland for a very long time."

Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny TD, welcomed the decision

"I welcome the decision of the Sinn Féin ardfheis to
support the policing structures in Northern Ireland. This
represents a vital move towards the establishment of
democratic politics in Northern Ireland, as no sustainable
devolved Government is possible without the unconditional
support of every political party for policing and the rule
of law," he said.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte urged Sinn Féin
representatives to take their places on local policing
boards. He added: "This move deserves a response and I
hope, in particular, that the reaction from the DUP will be
positive and considered."

© 2007


Historic Vote Ends Sinn Féin's Long Battle With The Police
Service In Northern Ireland

· Overwhelming majority backs cooperation
· Adams hails decision and urges unionist response

Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Monday January 29, 2007
The Guardian

Sinn Féin took a momentous step on its long march back to
political power last night when a special conference of
party members voted to support policing in Northern

By an overwhelming majority at the extraordinary
conference, or Ard Fheis, in Dublin backed a motion giving
the leadership the power to participate in the province's
policing and justice structures. The decision overturned a
century of opposition to any UK policing presence in
Ireland. There were no walkouts by disaffected members. The
final vote, not counted, showed probably little more than
5% of delegates opposed to the leadership.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin's president, called the vote "one of
the most important decisions in the recent history of our
country" and urged Unionists to respond. Downing Street
said Tony Blair welcomed the decision and "recognises the
leadership it has taken to get to this point".

The Rev Ian Paisley's response was a demand that
republicans must now demonstrate practical support for the
police. "No postdated action can take the place of real
delivery. The postponements must come to an end," the
leader of the Democratic Unionist party said. "The time for
true, visible and open support for the police and law
enforcement has arrived." The cautious comments reflected
his anxiety that Sinn Féin's executive might yet stall the

The government needs to be certain that the DUP will share
power with republicans before it authorises new elections.

Support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
and the courts is the price the movement has to pay to
assuage DUP suspicions and restore a power-sharing assembly
at Stormont. During the course of the Troubles, the IRA
killed nearly 300 police officers.

The debate followed a scathing report from Nuala O'Loan,
the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland, which revealed
collusion in the past between special branch and loyalist
paramilitaries. Mr Adams exploited those revelations to
press home the need for closer republican scrutiny of
policing in Northern Ireland.

"Citizens' rights include the right to a proper policing
service," he said. "We who live in the north have never had
proper policing. There are now more accountability
mechanisms in the north than there are in the [Irish
republic]. The office of the ombudsman would not be in
existence and would not have the powers it does if Sinn
Féin had not been tenacious and determined in our
negotiating strategy ... We cannot leave policing to the
unionist parties or the SDLP or the Irish government. We
certainly cannot leave it to the British government."

He accepted there would be those opposed to supporting the
police but pleaded with them to accept the final decision
of the conference.

The executive's motion gives the leadership considerable
leeway to decide when it will deliver republican support
for the police. Making that support conditional on the
future transfer of policing powers from Westminster to
Stormont may cause unease within the Democratic Unionist

The proposal to reverse a policy endorsed by generations of
republicans was repeatedly explained as a necessary switch
in tactics for the current phase of the campaign. "Dogma
doesn't win struggles," one delegate observed. Another said
the party needed to get inside the "rats' nest" of the
police force and destroy it.

Gerry Kelly, the party's justice and policing spokesman,
agreed that not every political objective had been achieved
but insisted progress had been made.

"We know that while British jurisdiction exists anywhere in
Ireland so will MI5," he said. "They will leave our country
with the rest of the British establishment but in the
meantime they will be kept outside civic policing. After
getting this far we cannot leave this fundamental arena
[policing] to be dominated by unionists ... This is about
achieving a united Ireland."

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin's chief negotiator, said the
decision had not been easy. "This is a historic day in the
annals of Irish history," he said.

After a recent debate with the families of IRA volunteers
who had been killed, he recalled, "some people read out a
protest and left. As they went out the door, my heart went
out with them. But my head stayed in the room."

What was needed, he said, was for Sinn Féin politicians to
become the "boss" of the police.

"We are the people with the electoral mandate. The PSNI
have to earn our trust. They are not going to get that
trust tomorrow morning," he said.

A vote of 50% plus one would have been enough to pass the
motion. About 900 voting delegates attended the Ard Fheis.

As many as 2,500 party members and observers packed the
hall in south Dublin. Those who opposed the motion feared
the move was one step too far.

A delegate from County Cork saw it as the legitimisation of
Britain's presence in Ireland. "We may still call ourselves
revolutionaries," he said. "But [if we pass this motion],
we would only be constitutional revolutionaries."

Luighaidan MacGiolla Bhrighde, whose brother was shot dead
in a gunbattle with the SAS in 1984, rejected the motion.

"To endorse policing is to endorse British occupation of
Ireland," he said.

Daniel Callanan, from the republic, urged those opposed to
the leadership to stay inside the party and not join
dissident groups. But he opposed the motion.

"I hope I'm back in 10 years saying Gerry [Adams] and
Martin [McGuinness] were right and I was wrong," he said.


The planned timetable for restoring devolution at Stormont

· Today (January 29): Democratic Unionist party expected to
respond to Sinn Féin's conference on policing.

· Tomorrow (January 30): At one minute past midnight the
transitional Northern Ireland assembly will be dissolved.

· Tomorrow: Publication of next report by the Independent
Monitoring Commission, expected to confirm IRA is no longer
involved in criminality or paramilitary activities.

· Tomorrow evening: British and Irish prime ministers meet
to assess whether sufficient political progress has been
made to enable fresh elections to be held for a new

· March 7: Fresh elections held for Northern Ireland's

· March 26: New power-sharing executive, with Ian Paisley
as first minister and Martin McGuinness as his deputy,
expected to assume office at Stormont

Changing times

Why is this moment so crucial for Northern Ireland peace?

Sinn Féin's vote opens the way to the restoration of power
sharing, through devolved government at Stormont. Support
for the Police Service of Northern Ireland can demonstrate
to the Democratic Unionist party that mainstream
republicans can be trusted in government. The last power-
sharing executive collapsed in 2002 after allegations of an
IRA spy ring at Stormont.

Why was yesterday's vote so significant for republicans?

Since Sinn Féin was founded in 1906 it has opposed any
British presence in Ireland. Successive incarnations of the
IRA have fought bloody campaigns against British-backed
policing, from the 1916 Easter Uprising to the Troubles.
Accepting the PSNI as law enforcer in what, for some, are
the "occupied six counties" is an extraordinary reversal of
a historic position.

What happens next?

All eyes will now be on the Democratic Unionist leader, Ian
Paisley, who must decide if the vote is sufficient to allow
his party to share power with republicans. Many DUP members
suspect republican motives. Of late, Mr Paisley has moved
away from his rhetoric of rejection. But the idea of Sinn
Féin's Martin McGuinness and him working closely together,
as first minister and deputy first minister, at Stormont,
is still a startling idea for many people.


Not So Alone

Sinn Fein’s shift on policing should allow devolution to be

Historic is an overused word. Most of the time events that
are described as “historic” are unlikely to disturb the
actual pages of history for very long. And history has also
been more of a burden than a blessing in Northern Ireland.
It has been an alibi for continued division, obstinate
sectarianism and much bloodshed.

The process by which Sinn Fein reached its decision to
accept the Police Service of Northern Ireland has been a
long one. It dates back, in a sense, two decades to when
the party, amid considerable internal controversy,
determined that it would enter the Irish Parliament, the
Dail, and effectively acknowledge the legitimacy of the 26-
county Republic of Ireland. The resolution passed at the
Ard Fheis yesterday would, however, have been utterly
unimaginable in 1987. For in endorsing the police service,
the courts and the wider system of justice in Northern
Ireland, Irish republicans have served notice that they
will work with British sovereignty in Ulster for what they
obviously hope will only be a transitional period but which
could and should last for many years to come.

All of which means that this breakthrough is in many ways
more significant than even the IRA’s decommissioning of its
arsenal. The IRA had “dumped arms” before, only to rearm
later. The stance of the Sinn Fein leadership today is
thoroughly different. It has made a vast ideological
transformation so that it can share power, and on a junior
basis, with the Rev Ian Paisley and the Democratic Unionist
Party. The sheer scale of this change is astonishing. It
should be recognised as such and welcomed with an
appropriate spirit. It is historic.

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, his Irish counterpart, will
now argue that no obstacle remains to elections for the
Northern Ireland Assembly proceeding as planned on March 7,
with devolved institutions set to be restored 19 days
later. They are surely right to make that case. Mr Paisley
and his colleagues have also made serious sacrifices to
reach this point and even Ulster’s “Big Man” will endure
some criticism for contemplating a coalition with men who
were once at the heart of Europe’s largest terrorist
organisation. Yet, if Unionism will not accept a truce with
republicanism under these conditions, when would it?

The DUP should thus take “yes” for an answer but not crow
loudly. It asserted from the outset of the Good Friday
Agreement that it could secure a better arrangement for
Unionists than David Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party,
and the DUP’s stance has been largely vindicated. It took
Mr Trimble to lay the foundations for a political
settlement in Northern Ireland but it will require Mr
Paisley to erect the house. He has shown a flexibility of
mind and deed in the past few months that few expected of
him. He should see this process through by assuming the
office of First Minister on March 26.

If he does, then the spectacle of the Rev Ian Paisley with
Martin McGuinness dutifully serving as his deputy will be
extraordinary. It does not, nevertheless, have to be
surreal. The DUP and Sinn Fein are both populist parties
rooted in working-class electorates. They have more in
common than either of them would care to concede and those
shared values are articulated in this agreement.

“Ourselves Alone” has been the de facto motto on both sides
of Ulster’s barricades. The time for “Themselves Together”
has come.


Paisley: SF 'Must Show Visible Support For Policing'

28/01/2007 - 19:15:50

The time for true and visible Sinn Féin support for
policing has arrived, the Rev Ian Paisley’s Democratic
Unionists said tonight.

The party leader said they had forced republicans to
recognise the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Delegates at a special Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin voted
overwhelmingly to work with the service.

Mr Paisley said: “The DUP has forced Sinn Féin to recognise
support for the police and the rule of law as an issue of
paramount importance for which there can be no other way.
Sinn Féin must now walk this road.

“No post-dated action can take the place of real delivery.
The postponements must come to an end.

“The time for true, visible and open support for the police
and law enforcement has arrived.”

Today’s shift means telling police about crime, taking
seats on accountability bodies like the Policing Board and
District Policing Partnerships.

Mr Paisley said anything less than full implementation of
Sinn Féin’s commitments would render today’s meeting

“Only with real delivery can the way be cleared for a full
return to democracy and a facing up to the everyday needs
and requirements of the people of Northern Ireland,” he

“The site must be cleared before proper building can begin.
All Ulster people, across both the religious and political
divides, know that it is now or never.”

The DUP, the majority unionist party, will be expected to
share power with Sinn Féin by the time the Northern Ireland
Assembly and Executive is restored on March 26.

That was part of the deal agreed last October by the Irish
and British governments at St Andrews in Scotland.


How Collusion Was Built Into The System

28 January 2007 By Colm Heatley

When British Army brigadier Frank Kitson proposed
establishing ‘‘counter-gangs’’ to defeat Northern
nationalists in 1971, his influential recommendations were
supposed to be a short-term measure to defeat the rapidly
developing ‘‘insurgency’’ in the North.

When British Army brigadier Frank Kitson proposed
establishing ‘‘counter-gangs’’ to defeat Northern
nationalists in 1971, his influential recommendations were
supposed to be a short-term measure to defeat the rapidly
developing ‘‘insurgency’’ in the North.

Relying on his experience in British colonial wars in
Africa and the Middle East, his philosophy was simple and
brutal - terrorise the nationalist community through the
use of security force-controlled loyalist gangs, whose
activities could not be traced back to Whitehall.

For years, his plans were hidden from the public by
successive British governments.

The Police Ombudsman’s report, published last Monday, which
exposed Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) collusion with
loyalist gangs ‘‘at the highest level’’ in at least 12
murders in north Belfast between 1990 and 2003, suggests
that Kitson’s proposals became a key plank of British
security policy in the North.

In the most damning report ever published on the North’s
security establishment, the Ombudsman’s investigation found
that senior RUC men not only colluded with loyalist serial
killers in murder, but actively ensured they remained free.

The report, concentrating on just one UVF unit in north
Belfast controlled by RUC Special Branch agent Mark
Haddock, was probably just ‘‘the tip of the iceberg’’,
according to Northern secretary Peter Hain.

Unionists sought to play down the report, with Ken
Maginnis, a former UDR member and UUP MP, describing it as
a mere ‘‘concession to Sinn Fein’’. Ian Paisley Jr said
there was ‘‘lots of smoke, but no smoking gun’’.

Sinn Fein said it confirmed what nationalists had known all
along, that collusion was a fact of life and it took place
with the connivance of the highest echelons of the British
establishment in London.

Last week in Belfast the families of those killed by
Haddock’s UVF gang were demanding answers, as to why the
RUC helped organise and protect the activities of a
ruthless killer gang.

One mother told how an RUC detective told her that her
son’s murderers would be under such close observation they
wouldn’t be able to make another move. Haddock’s gang had
killed her son.

Last week, senior UVF members told The Sunday Business Post
that they accepted their organisation was severely
penetrated by Special Branch and that a number of figures
within it were acting under police instruction.

With no officers to face prosecution, the report’s main
consequence has been to damage severely the legitimacy of
the RUC and the conduct of the British government in the
North throughout the Troubles.

Ironically, the report became public in the same week that
Sinn Fein is to ask its members to support the Police
Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

However, to understand the report’s full implications it
must be put in the context of what is already known about
British tactics in the North since 1969.

During the height of the troubles in the early 1970s,
loyalist gangs, principally the UVF and UDA, which was
actually a legal organisation for most of the troubles,
were extremely active. Their targets were almost
exclusively innocent Catholics, killed in sectarian

When the security situation became less volatile in the
mid-1970s and the British government introduced its policy
of ‘‘Ulsterisation, Criminalisation and Normalisation’’,
both the UVF and UDA became far less active.

From the mid-1970s until the late 1980s, both the UVF and
UDA killed relatively few Catholics; their victims instead
tended to be rival loyalists killed because of criminal
enterprises and turf wars.

However, by the late 1980s, the situation had changed.

The British government had failed to defeat the IRA, its
policy of criminalisation had largely been defeated through
the 1981 Hunger Strike, and the British Army was still
heavily involved in maintaining the state. What is publicly
known is that by 1985, when the then British prime
minister, Margaret Thatcher, was at the zenith of her
political power, the British Army had recruited former
soldier and UDA member Brian Nelson to coordinate the
intelligence gathering of both the UVF and UDA, by then
largely dormant.

Nelson’s activities, under direct orders from his British
Army handlers in the Force Research Unit, resulted in the
murders, and attempted murders, of dozens of Catholics.

Judge Peter Cory, who was commissioned to carry out a
report into Nelson’s activities, found that Nelson and his
handlers had colluded in at least 14 murders and attempted
murders in the North within a five-year period.

Pat Finucane, a human rights lawyer, was shot dead in his
Belfast home in 1989 as a result of Nelson’s activities.

Furthermore, Cory’s report found that the British Army had
funded an arms-buying trip by Nelson to South Africa in the

The vast majority of today’s loyalist arms stockpiles were
imported by Nelson with the knowledge of the British Army.
When Cory’s report was published in 2002, it recommended a
public inquiry into Finucane’s murder.

Shortly afterwards, the British government introduced the
Inquiries Act, which effectively means public inquiries in
Britain will be held in private, a law condemned by the US
Senate and Amnesty International.

Another of those involved in Finucane’s murder was Ken
Barrett, the chief gunman for Johnny Adair’s Shankill Road
UFF gang in the early 1990s.

It has since emerged that Adair’s UFF gang - and Haddock’s
UVF gang - were responsible for nearly all sectarian
murders of Catholics in north Belfast in the 1990s.

Both gangs were run by RUC Special Branch.

Aside from Barrett, a self-confessed informer, Adair’s gang
was staffed by informers, including its chief intelligence
officer, quartermaster and former commander.

Adair’s UFF unit would become the most prolific loyalist
killing machine in the history of the North, responsible
for more than 30 murders. Retired CID detective Johnston
Brown, whose evidence secured the conviction of Johnny
Adair in 1995, believes the loyalist killer could have been
put behind bars ‘‘years earlier’’.

‘‘Virtually all of the evidence used to convict Adair was
available years before he was actually brought to book,”
Brown told The Sunday Business Post.

‘‘I have to wonder why the authorities sat on that
information for so long.”

Many Northern nationalists have long been aware of such
collusion, prompting some to ask last w eek if there were
any sectarian murders in which the RUC did not have some

When last week’s report was announced, it was of little
real surprise to many nationalists.

However, O’Loan’s report did succeed in irrevocably
discrediting the RUC in the eyes of many.

For some, the real question is whether it can ever be
publicly proven that such collusion was a direct result of
official government policy taken at cabinet level in
Downing Street and by the spooks who wield power in

While Tony Blair and Hain described the activities of
Special Branch, as uncovered by O’Loan’s report, as
‘‘entirely wrong’’, neither attempted to explain why
Special Branch involvement with loyalist gangs resulted in
an increased killing rate.

Former FRU operative Martin Ingram, who helped organise
loyalist terror gangs in the 1990s, said they were the
‘‘worst rabble of men I’ve ever worked with’’. ‘‘They
couldn’t run a bath by themselves, let alone an armed
campaign; they were useless if left to their own devices,”
said Ingram.

Over the past decade, successive whistleblowers, such as
Ingram and Brown, have shed some light on British collusion
with loyalist killer gangs.

The legacy of O’Loan’s report, coming as it does at a
historic juncture in the peace process, may be to change
the context in which the Troubles are viewed in the future.

Well-worn cliches that the conflict involved two warring
‘‘tribes’’ held apart by a neutral British government, may
no longer ring so true.

Past inquiries pointed to collusion

Other inquiries have concluded that the British security
forces and the police in the North have colluded with
loyalist paramilitaries.

Stalker Inquiry

John Stalker, former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater
Manchester Police, was appointed to investigate allegations
of an RUC shoot-to-kill policy in the early to mid-1980s.

He produced a critical interim report of RUC involvement in
a number of shootings, which angered the then RUC Chief
Constable, John Hermon.

Stalker said the RUC, at the highest levels, obstructed his
inquiry and refused to hand over vital information.

Stalker was removed from the inquiry after allegations he
was involved with a criminal gang in Manchester. The
allegations were later shown to be completely false and
Stalker later blamed high-ranking members of the RUC for
spreading the bogus claims.

Stevens Inquiry

One of the longest running inquiries in British legal
history, it was established to investigate claims of RUC
collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, especially the role
of British agent, Brian Nelson. Stevens’ interim report was
made public in 2003.

Hugh Orde, the Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief
Constable, was part of the Stevens investigation team.

The report found substantial evidence of collusion with
loyalists in a number of sectarian murders in the North,
including the high profile murder of solicitor Pat

From the outset the Stevens team had serious concerns over
RUC cooperation with their inquiry, which was launched in

The team began to uncover evidence of collusion,
particularly in respect to Brian Nelson, who Stevens
believes was responsible for up to 30 murders.

In 1990 a mysterious fire broke out at the Stevens Inquiry
headquarters in Belfast, destroying many valuable

RUC Special Branch was widely suspected of causing the
blaze. Forty files on 23 British soldiers and RUC members
were sent to the DPP.

Because of the possibility of future prosecutions, only a
fraction of the report was made public. Almost four years
later the DPP is still ‘‘considering’’ whether to

Cory Report

Following the Weston Park political negotiations retired
Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed to investigate
allegations of British collusion in six murder cases.

In October 2003, Cory delivered his report to the British
and Irish governments.

His report found evidence of collusion in the murders of
solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

He recommended the ‘‘immediate establishment’’ of public
inquiries into those two murders as well as four others,
including Robert Hamill, a Catholic man kicked to death by
a loyalist mob in front of the RUC in Portadown in May

The British government introduced the Inquiries Act, which
allowed a government minister to decide what can be heard
in public and what must be heard in private.

The act attracted international condemnation, and the
Finucane family claimed that it was an attempt to suppress
the truth.


Opin: Ireland Faces Fight To Hold On To Investment

28 January 2007 By Jim O'Hara

Ireland’s economic success over the last 20 years has been

Ireland’s economic success over the last 20 years has been

Looking back, it’s easy to identify the key elements which
enabled this success.

The decision by US companies to invest in Ireland played a
pivotal role.

Factors that made it attractive for US companies to invest
in Ireland included access to European markets, our low
corporate tax base, a stable pro-enterprise government, a
relatively low cost base, and an abundance of well educated
English speaking people.

When US companies make decisions about future investment
they weigh up the attractiveness of locations right across
the world. In Ireland we constantly face the challenge of
protecting existing US investment and creating the
conditions for future success. The IDA report for last year
clearly demonstrates that we continue to be an attractive
location for many US companies.

However, it’s also apparent that we face many challenges as
we compete on a global stage and many of our traditional
strengths are no longer key differentiators.

In recent years, the cost base for US companies has
increased significantly and while it’s clear Ireland cannot
compete on cost alone, it’s imperative we urgently address
some of the fundamental drivers of the rapid increase in
our cost base.

US multinational companies in Ireland have done a superb
job responding to the changing environment driving dramatic
improvements in productivity, seeking and making investment
in higher value add processes and R&D, and where
appropriate, disinvestment in elements of businesses that
are no longer competitive, to lower cost countries.

For Ireland to maintain and increase its standard of
living, we must create increasingly sophisticated
competencies while continuing to address aggressively our
infrastructure and cost base.

The economic miracle we are all living through was in no
small part due to our ability to attract foreign direct
investment and build a world-class manufacturing and
service base. A significant portion of that was achieved by
the 600 or so US companies that employ close to 100,000
people directly in Ireland and are responsible for a
further 225,000 indirect jobs.

In 2006,US firms paid over €2.4 billion to the Irish
exchequer in corporate tax and contributed a further €13
billion in expenditure to the Irish economy in terms of
payrolls, goods and services employed in their operations.

The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, of which I am the
incoming president, recognises the positive steps taken by
Government in the recent past to chart our way towards
becoming a knowledge based economy. The Strategy for
Science, Technology and Innovation policy plus associated
€2.5 billion funding is a strategic, integrated approach
across government which is a welcome and positive step.

This, combined with previous initiatives such as the launch
of Science Foundation Ireland and the investment in third
level via the Programme for Research in Third-Level
Institutions (PRTLI), have changed the nature of Ireland’s
research efforts and are positive steps to set us on our
way to becoming a leading 21st century economy.

The National Development Plan launched last week addressed
many of our infrastructure deficits. Focus now needs to
shift to the urgency of execution and delivery which
ensures successful completion within published timeframes
while delivering value for money.

US companies have played a significant role in Ireland’s
economic success and forma large portion of Ireland’s
leading-edge manufacturing and services economy. The
American chamber’s desire is to focus attention on a small
number of prioritised actions that will significantly
improve our attractiveness for further investment and set
Ireland up for future success.

The all-party commitment to maintain the corporate tax rate
at 12.5 per cent is welcomed as it increases the level of
certainty for US multinationals. To be successful in the
future, Ireland needs to commit to achieving the EU average
of 3 per cent GDP to fund science, technology and
innovation by 2010 as a priority. A coordinated approach in
securing an acceptable level of EU research funding into
Irish based projects is essential.

The R&D tax credit system needs to be revised in order to
more effectively encourage investment in innovation as the
basis of future value creation. Education policy needs to
take an integrated approach from primary through to fourth
level with a target to be in the top decile of OECD

A competitive market-place which encourages inward
investment on a level playing field must be established as
a matter or priority in both the energy and telecoms
sectors. The disadvantages of regional locations in terms
of access to air transport and the serious deficit in road
and rail infrastructure also need to be urgently addressed.

We must continue to attract additional investments here and
encouraging parent operations to invest in collaborative
R&D activities. US companies have a significant role to
play in assisting indigenous SMEs to establish in the US
marketplace through co-operative marketing/distribution
strategies and in assisting to make their company’s IP
available on a commercial basis.

Ireland is in a transition period at present and this poses
many challenges and questions. Our tenacity and flexibility
have allowed us to negotiate change successfully in the
past and we can do the same in the future.

US companies here are ready and willing to play their part
with government, academia and indigenous companies to
ensure Ireland’s continued success. We have set the success
bar very high and we have no alternative but to achieve it

As US poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
‘‘That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that
the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to
perform it has improved.”

Jim O’Hara is the incoming president of the American
Chamber of Commerce Ireland, and general manager of Intel


Opin: A Momentous Day For Both The IRA And Law And Order

David Sharrock: Analysis

Gerry Adams made the most important speech of his political
career yesterday when he directed Sinn Fein to support the
policing and justice services that its military wing, the
Provisional IRA, has spent much of the past 40 years trying
to destroy. But there were few rhetorical flourishes and he
kept his contribution brief as he opened a special
conference whose decision will unlock the door to Northern
Ireland’s future for the next 40 years.

It was a sure sign that the result of the day-long debate
was confidently expected and that fine words were not
required. Given the glacial pace of the Ulster peace
process it is possible on occasion to miss the earth-
shaking moments, leaving to the historians the task of
planting academic markers at the turns in its long and
winding road.

Mr Adams brought his movement towards yesterday’s decision
with perseverance, patience and, at times, sleight of hand.
But its significance should not be overlooked.

Its importance can perhaps best be appreciated by the
recollection of a remark made by the Sinn Fein leader more
than 20 years ago, when he declared in a newspaper
interview that if his party ever abandoned its support for
“armed struggle” then he would no longer remain a member.

He made the comment after another key turning point and
another special conference in 1986, when Sinn Fein dropped
its abstentionist policy towards the Irish Parliament, the
Dail. The vote was controversial and it later emerged that
the hall had been packed with IRA delegates loyal to Mr
Adams’s leadership whose support was crucial to breaking
one of the sacred tenets of Irish physical force

At the time it seemed that the IRA was still wedded to its
narrow, and self-defeating, vision of expelling the British
authorities by force. Now that the contours of the peace
process landscape can be more easily discerned, it was
inevitable since then that yesterday’s decision would one
day be taken. But who could have imagined that the
republican slogan “our day will come” would encompass a
power-sharing agreement with Ian Paisley’s Democratic
Unionists in a Stormont Assembly and support for a police
force that lost more than 300 officers, murdered chiefly by
the IRA.

The task lay in how to present this absolute reversal of
previously cherished beliefs. The tactic employed by many
speakers for the motion, including Martin McGuinness, was
not especially subtle. It involved portraying the policing
that Northern Ireland has experienced as rotten to the
core, with the white knights of Sinn Fein riding to its
rescue. Delegates spoke of drumming out, retiring and
arresting the bad apples, with an emphasis on Sinn Fein’s
role in the “clean-up”. It was for this reason that the
publication last week of a report by the Police Ombudsman,
which revealed collusion by some Royal Ulster Constabulary
officers with loyalist terrorists, might have seemed
fortuitous to many.

There were shouts of “traitor” and taunts of “here comes
the chief constable” when Martin McGuinness arrived at the
venue, the Royal Dublin Society. But the few hardline
protesters were there to represent the strand of Irish
republicanism that walked out of the 1986 conference in
disgust at the shift towards the possibility of a political
resolution of the Troubles.

Their leader, Ruairi O’Bradaigh, a former chief of staff of
the Provisional IRA, crystallised the issue at stake: “What
we are talking about is British police in Ireland, British
courts, British justice — British rule.” The very name of
the police force that Sinn Fein has now agreed to support
contains a title that the party refuses to use: the Police
Service of Northern Ireland. For republicans “Northern
Ireland” has always been “the occupied Six Counties” of
“the Northern statelet”.

After more than 3,000 killings — most carried out by the
Provisional IRA — the acceptance of a policing and court
system that Sinn Fein demonised for so long looks like a
capitulation. But that is not the whole story. A lot of Mr
Adams’s remarks were not directed at Sinn Fein delegates
but at voters in this year’s general election in the
Republic of Ireland.

An election to the Northern Ireland Assembly will provide
Sinn Fein with hours more television and radio coverage in
the Republic. Mr Adams is putting his shirt on a good
result, with the election of possibly 12 party candidates
to the Dail. That would place Sinn Fein in the rankings for
joining a coalition government, a position that would give
Mr Adams far greater leverage in directing policy towards
reuniting Ireland — a goal that the British G overnment has
repeatedly said it will not obstruct, as long as it is
achieved democratically.

But even the most optimistic Sinn Fein spin-doctor would
have difficulty giving that politically achieved Holy Grail
a margin of probability within the next decade.or so. And,
while space was made yesterday for the token dissenting
voice, at least one dared to speculate that Mr Adams’s
strategy will never succeed in achieving Irish republican

A Cork delegate observed: “History shows us that acceptance
of the state which was meant to be a tactic has the habit
of becoming permanent.”


Opin: The Incredible Journey Continues

Monday January 29, 2007
The Guardian

Like two men climbing towards a summit with their legs
strapped together, Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams are being
forced to walk in step towards the return of devolved
government in Northern Ireland. Hesitation or a stumble on
the part of either man could prove fatal to the whole
expedition. Nor can one afford to get too far ahead of the
other; progress has to be balanced. Yesterday, Sinn Féin
scaled a crucial interim peak when the party endorsed the
leadership's plan to work with the Police Service of
Northern Ireland. Today the Democratic Unionist party must
make a move of its own, by declaring its readiness to work
with Sinn Féin in power. Assuming it does, Northern Ireland
will vote in elections on March 7 that should make Mr
Paisley first minister and Martin McGuiness his deputy, an
extraordinary and, not long ago, unimaginable outcome.

Once and if this occurs, new challenges will arise,
throwing up worries of their own. Forced by constitutional
structures to work together, the DUP and Sinn Féin lack any
kind of an agreed programme for government. But that is for
the future. For now, the Northern Ireland secretary appears
to have won the game of political hardball which he has
been playing for most of the past year. He has confronted
both communities with the need to reach a deal by
threatening to walk away from devolution and by ruling over
Northern Ireland in the meantime, most recently proposing
reforms to adoption laws which are even more unpopular with
religious groups in the province than they are with them in
England, Wales and Scotland.

It is enormously to the credit of both Sinn Féin and the
DUP that they have engaged with such changing
circumstances, rather than obstructed them. Of course it
could be said that they had no choice, if they wanted a
share of power. But that reality did not make Sinn Féin's
new approach to policing, backed by yesterday's special
party conference in Dublin, any easier to accept. The Royal
Ulster Constabulary, the predecessor of today's reformed
service, was at the heart of the system of rule that Sinn
Féin aimed (and aims) to overthrow. The party has always
argued that it was a sectarian force, working in collusion
with loyalist paramilitaries. The evidence of last week's
official report into collusion in parts of north Belfast
shows that in at least some aspects of this claim the party
was correct.

Rather than use this as a reason to distrust the new PSNI,
as would have happened in the past, Mr Adams yesterday used
it as a reason to support engagement. "We cannot leave
policing to the unionist parties or to the SDLP or the
Irish government," he said yesterday. "It's bigger than us,
bigger than Sinn Féin, it's the common good". That upbeat
language came from a man whose strategy runs beyond the
March elections in the north. Within the next six months,
the south will also vote. An obstructionist Sinn Féin would
go down badly. A party that has gone out of its way to
support and oversee the police service north of the border
can make a serious claim to be part of a government in
Dublin, too. Success on both sides of the border might not
be the same thing as reunification, but it could be a step
towards it.

Meanwhile, both Mr Adams and Mr Paisley need to keep the
lid on dissent. Yesterday's Sinn Féin vote, although not
unanimous, was won convincingly enough to limit fears about
a dissident republican breakthrough in the March elections
(and if dissidents do stand, they are, after all, also
committing themselves to politics). The DUP is not united,
despite Mr Paisley's command; Nigel Dodds, usually
pragmatic, has sounded less so recently. Some of that may
just be posturing for the succession. But it could mean
trouble ahead for a devolved government. First, though,
Northern Ireland should get the chance to vote - and Tony
Blair will be able to leave office with a remarkable
success among his legacies.


Opin: Sinn Fein's Agenda

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 29/01/2007

We are all agreed that collaboration between the police and
loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland was shameful.
So why is collaboration between the police and republican
paramilitaries considered not just acceptable, but the
supreme goal of government policy? For, make no mistake,
what is on the table is not simply Sinn Fein/IRA's
acceptance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. No,
what the Shinners want is for their gunmen to don the
bottle-green uniform and enforce the law in "their" areas.

The odd thing is that Sinn Fein is supposed to have become
a law-abiding party a decade ago. Yet, by never quite
delivering, it has squeezed endless goodies out of
successive Northern Ireland Secretaries. The disbandment of
the IRA was originally a precondition for the talks on
power-sharing. Then it was meant to happen during the
talks. Then within two years of the Belfast Agreement.

When it became clear that Sinn Fein still had no intention
of delivering, ministers rushed to offer further
incentives: the dismantling of the province's military
infrastructure, the release of IRA prisoners, the scaling
down of the garrison, parliamentary expenses for Sinn Fein
MPs, exemption from the ban on overseas fundraising,
ministerial office and, in the end, the abolition of the

No wonder Sinn Fein was in no hurry to make good its promise.
And no wonder that even some decent and moderate
nationalists began voting for the party: unlike
the SDLP, Sinn Fein was plainly setting the agenda.

You might wonder what Peter Hain has left to concede. One
disquieting rumour is that he might offer an amnesty to
terrorists who have committed crimes since the Belfast
Agreement; but surely not even as vain and slight a man as
Mr Hain would do something so disgusting. Accepting the
rule of law is not a sacrifice deserving of reward. It is,
or ought to be, a precondition for participating in a


New Restaurant To Open At Cliffs Of Moher

28 January 2007 By Elizabeth McGuane

Clare restaurant group The Long Dock will open its third
venue at the new Cliffs of Moher visitor centre on February

Moher Restaurants, trading as The Long Dock, won the bid
for the lease on the first-floor restaurant premises at the
€31.45 million Cliffs of Moher centre.

There were 12 submissions made to Clare County Council.

The group, owned by Finbarr Malone and Tony Lynch, operates
two other Clare restaurants – the original The Long Dock
pub and restaurant in Carrigaholt, and a second one in

With seating for 120 people, the restaurant is bigger ‘‘by
about 20 per cent’’ than their other locations, according
to Malone.

‘‘Clare County Council are expecting numbers that would
demand that capacity,” he said. Malone said they had been
in talks with the council for nearly a year in developing
the project.

The restaurant features large windows with panoramic views
of the cliffs, looking toward Hags Head and Liscannor Bay,
and is the only area in the building to offer such views,
Malone said.

The centre will also house an interpretive centre, coffee
shop, retail shop and information office. Outside, there
will be elevated viewing areas and landscaping, new
pathways and a ranger service, as well as bicycle and coach
facilities, a picnic area and a large paved concourse.

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