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January 18, 2007

Adams: Goal Is A United Ireland, But Means Have Changed

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 01/18/07 Adams: Goal Of United Irish, But Means Changed
BB 01/18/07 Adams Offers To Meet Dissidents
BT 01/18/07 Poll: St Andrews Has Support, But Slim Chances
BB 01/18/07 Crown Appeals Loyalist Acquittal
IN 01/18/07 PSNI Appeal Over 1993 Murder Of Woman ‘Spin’
BN 01/18/07 Ombudsman 'In Witch-Hunt Against RUC Officers'
IN 01/18/07 Paisley Should Apologise For UVF Murders
BB 01/18/07 PSNI: Police Cuts Plan 'Ill-Conceived'
BN 01/18/07 Assets Agency Freezes £12m Of 'IRA Property'
IN 01/18/07 Opin: Another Special Moment On Road To Peace
IN 01/18/07 Opin: Mystery Surrounds Shinners Resignations
RT 01/18/07 Cost Of Living Highest In Four Years
IN 01/18/07 MRSA Drug Welcomed By Belfast Hospital


Goal Of United Ireland Is Absolute, Means Of Achieving It
Has Changed

By Gerry Adams Sinn Fein president, MP, MLA

By any measurement the republican struggle is stronger now
than at any time since partition. The Sinn Fein peace
strategy, supported by the vast majority of Irish
republicans, has delivered enormous change.

There are tens of thousands of Irish republicans on the
island of Ireland and beyond and thousands of them are
involved in activism. The confidence of nationalists living
in the north has never been higher.

In the south many citizens are looking for an alternative
to the conservative policies of the establishment parties.

In the midst of great wealth more and more people see the
need for equality. There is great potential
to build a really radical political movement.

But the most significant success of the Sinn Fein peace
strategy is the Irish peace process which has created for
the first time ever in our long and troubled history, a
peaceful and democratic option for achieving the free and
united Ireland that is the core political objective of all
Irish republicans.

The cornerstone of a truly national republic will be the
recognition, protection and respect for individual rights
on an equal basis for all. Like the United Irelanders 200
years ago “Equality is our watchword”.

As a result of all of this the IRA took the historic and
courageous decision in July 2005 to end its armed campaign.

The IRA decision presented an unparalleled challenge and
opportunity for every nationalist and republican. One which
we in Sinn Fein have proactively sought to build on.

The goal of a united Ireland remains absolute but the means
by which it can be achieved no longer needs to involve
armed actions.

The conditions which in the past led to republican armed
actions have fundamentally changed.

Armed struggle was never a republican principle. It was and
always has been an option of last resort in the absence of
any other alternative.

But, there is now an alternative.

There is a peaceful way to achieve political change,
equality, justice and ultimately Irish freedom.

Given our collective history, the current debate on
policing is undoubtedly a difficult one for all Irish

We have all suffered as a result of political policing,
some more directly and painfully than others.

We cannot and should not forget the abuses of the past. We
need to expose these abuses and those responsible for them.
But we also have a responsibility to create a different and
better future.

We need to hold both police

services to account. They need to uphold the rights of
citizens in a non-partisan and professional way. That is
the core of Sinn Fein’s approach to policing.

I have called for the debate on the way forward within the
broad republican community to be widespread and inclusive
over the coming weeks.

A small number of republicans continue to engage in armed
actions. None of the groups involved have any strategy to
deliver Irish unity and independence.

They have no popular support. Their actions are counter-
productive. Their actions put the lives of innocent people
and their own members in grave danger.

The only product of their campaign is incidents like the
tragedy of Omagh – where republican and unionist lives were
taken – and the destroyed lives of an increasing number of
young people facing long prison sentences.

I appeal to those groups engaged in armed actions to end

I do not want to see any other people killed or imprisoned
as a result of their activities.

I welcome the decision of republicans who oppose Sinn Fein,
to stand in the assembly elections.

Elections are the proper arena for testing different
political views and analysis and I look forward to
defending and promoting and winning popular reendorsement
of the Sinn Fein peace strategy.

The Sinn Fein leadership is willing to meet with and
discuss all of these matters with other republican groups,
including how we can secure the release of political

Sinn Fein is intent on journeying on from here, to be part
of building a republic worthy of those who made the supreme

Our focus is clear. Sinn Fein is determined to achieve an
end to British rule in our country.

I want to meet with these organisations to brief them in
detail on current developments and impress upon them my
belief that the current Sinn Fein strategy is the best way
forward for our community and for the wider republican

I am willing to work with the families of prisoners
belonging to or supportive of these groups and I have
already raised with both governments a number of issues,
including the conditions in Maghaberry Prison and the
transfer of prisoners held in England back to Ireland.


Adams Offers To Meet Dissidents

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has offered to meet other
republican groups, including dissidents, to discuss his
party's peace strategy.

His offer comes ahead of a series of public meetings before
Sinn Fein's conference to debate policing.

He said he wanted to impress upon the INLA, CIRA and RIRA
that the current Sinn Fein strategy was the way forward.

Mr Adams said a peaceful and democratic alternative to
violence now existed for achieving a free and united

He said the conditions, which in the past had led to
republican armed actions, had fundamentally changed.

"Armed struggle was never a republican principle. It was an
option of last resort in the absence of any other
alternative," he said.

"But, there is now an alternative. There is a peaceful way
to achieve political change, equality, justice and
ultimately Irish freedom."

The Sinn Fein president said he was appealing to those
groups engaged in armed actions to end them.

Policing meeting

"I do not want to see any other people killed or imprisoned
as a result of their activities," he said.

"I want to meet with these organisations to brief them in
detail on current developments and impress upon them my
belief that the current Sinn Fein strategy is the best way
forward for our community and for the wider republican

Meanwhile, about 400 republicans opposed to policing have
attended a debate in Londonderry.

Sinn Fein had been invited but did not attend.

Gerry McGeogh, a former Sinn Fein national executive
member, told the meeting his former colleagues were
"waddling into 10 Downing Street for orders from the
British government".

"There is nothing for us to do in 10 Downing Street," he

"All 10 Downing Street have to do is say they are leaving
Ireland once and for all."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/18 08:34:13 GMT


St Andrews Wins Support, But Poll Shows Chances Of Success
Are Slim

[Published: Thursday 18, January 2007 - 08:49]
By Chris Thornton

With less than two weeks to go until the Assembly is
dissolved and a new election campaign begins, the St
Andrews Agreement is about to face its sternest test.

Sinn Fein has yet to commit to policing and the DUP has not
yet agreed to share power.

According to an Ipsos-MORI poll for the Belfast Telegraph,
the public isn't exactly brimming with confidence about the
prospects for the plan working.

More people support the St Andrews Agreement than oppose
it, but that doesn't reflect confidence in a successful

Forty-nine per cent of the 1,001 people who took part in
the poll said they support the plan that was produced by
the British and Irish governments at St Andrews in Scotland
last October.

Opposition is not strong, at 12% of those who responded.

Support is stronger among Catholics than Protestants.

Sixty per cent of Catholics said they support the
Agreement, compared to 43% of Protestants.

There is clearly a large degree of uncertainty.

Overall, 38% indicated that they don't know whether they
support the agreement or not.

And even among those who support the agreement, there
appear to be doubts about its chances for success.

More people think St Andrews is unlikely to work than
expect it to succeed. Less than 30% think the agreement is
likely to work, while more than a third - 37% - think it
unlikely to work.

Again, the Ipsos-MORI poll found differences between the
two communities on the outcome. Catholics were much more
likely than Protestants to believe the Agreement could

Even if the public isn't buoyed with confidence about the
prospects for the St Andrews Agreement, they broadly agree
with the Government's intentions if it all goes pear-

More than three-quarters want to see MLAs' salaries stopped
if agreement cannot be reached. Less than 10% indicated
support for continuing their pay checques.

An outright majority, 55%, support the idea of closing the
Assembly if the present process fails. A quarter oppose
shutting down Stormont.

The Ipsos-MORI poll was conducted in November and December.

The poll involved 1001 face-to-face interviews with a
representative sample of the Northern Ireland population.

A successful St Andrews Agreement will see Ian Paisley and
Martin McGuinness (right) installed as First and Deputy
First Ministers.

The DUP still refuse to meet Sinn Fein, but could be their
partners in Government within weeks. Could it work?

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents thought the two
politicians won't work well together, with 24% thinking
they will.

Majority wants SF to back PSNI before new deal

Policing and justice are the crunch issues that divide Sinn
Fein and the DUP.

Ian Paisley wants Sinn Fein to demonstrate their support
for policing before he will commit to sharing power with

Gerry Adams wants the DUP to commit to power-sharing before
he fully endorses policing.

According to the Ipsos MORI poll for the Belfast Telegraph,
the most popular preference among respondents was for Sinn
Fein to join the Policing Board before the Assembly is

Thirty-three per cent chose that option, including 36% of
Protestants and 31% of Catholics.

However, there was some division among the options.
Overall, 19% thought Sinn Fein should join the Policing
Board after they show more support for policing.

Fourteen per cent - mainly Catholics - wanted further
reforms, although polling was conducted prior to
announcements on MI5 and plastic bullets.

Eighteen per cent of Protestants think Sinn Fein should
never join the Policing Board.

In a related question, Catholics support the transfer of
policing powers from London to Belfast more than

Overall, 44% want those powers devolved.

© Belfast Telegraph


Crown Appeals Loyalist Acquittal

Willliam Courtney was acquitted of murder

The first case of the Crown appealing against a murder
acquittal in Northern Ireland has opened in Belfast.

It involves William 'Mo' Courtney, 43, of Fernhill Heights
in Belfast cleared of murdering Alan McCullough in 2003.

The trial judge ruled Mr Courtney had no case to answer.
However, prosection lawyers told the Court of Appeal that
the judge was wrong on three grounds.

The Crown said the appeal judges could order a resumption
of the trial, a retrial or confirm the original ruling.

The appeal was brought under legislation which came into
force nearly two years ago.

Mr Courtney was in court when a lawyer said it was the
Crown's contention that the trial judge, Mr Justice
McLaughlin, had been in error on three grounds.

The lawyer cited said were: his failure to follow the
guidance set out as to how cases of circumstantial evidence
should be approached; his consideration of the evidence
presented to him and his consideration of legal arguments
presented at the conclusion of the Crown case.

The body of Alan McCullough was found in a shallow grave

The prosection lawyer said that if the three appeal judges
were satisfied that the trial judge was wrong they had the
power to order a resumption of the trial or a retrial.

He said the court also had power to confirm the ruling
which would mean that Mr Courtney's acquittal would stand.

He added: "It will be the Crown's submission that the court
has the right to intervene and order a re-trial."

The Crown is not appealing the decision that Courtney had
no case to answer on a charge of membership of the loyalist
paramilitary UDA/UFF.

Alan McCullough, 21, fled to England with other members of
UDA leader Johnny Adair's so called 'C Company' when
feuding broke out within the organisation.

However, he returned to the Shankill area of Belfast after
his family got assurances he would not be harmed.

He was last seen leaving his mother's house in Denmark
Street on 28 May, 2003, being driven away in a car.

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


PSNI Appeal Over 1993 Murder Of Woman ‘Spin’

By Bimpe Fatogun

A MURDER victim’s family have accused police of turning
their investigation into PR spin ahead of the release of
what is expected to be a damning report by the ombudsman.

North Belfast Catholic Sharon McKenna (27) was shot dead by
a loyalist gang on January 17 1993.

Yesterday, 14 years after her murder, the officer heading
the hunt for her killers, Detective Inspector Ken
Armstrong, joined head of the Historical Enquiries Team
(HET) Dave Cox to appeal for information.

The new move by police also comes five days before Nuala
O’Loan releases a report expected to confirm that Ms
McKenna’s killer – named in the Dail as north Belfast
loyalist Mark Haddock – was a police informant.

Allegations of security-force collusion in the murder are
expected to be exposed in the report.

Her family have expressed concerns over the timing of the
new appeal, which included a leaflet drop.

Their solicitor, Padraig O Muirigh of Kevin Winters and Co,
said they had requested the action several months ago but
were only informed the day before that it would be going

He said they were “very unhappy about the timing”.

“The family see this as a PR exercise and an attempt to
deflect criticism or fallout from Monday’s report by the
ombudsman,” Mr O Muirigh said.

He pointed out that other recent anniversaries had passed
without such appeals.

Mr Cox insisted that there was no link between the two

“The ombudsman’s report was originally scheduled for
release in December,” he said.

Mr Cox said the family and the HET were working to the
common objective of finding the truth about the murder.

He was unable to say what sanctions would be brought
against any officer found to have colluded in her death but
said any such evidence would be handed to the ombudsman.

Mr Armstrong confirmed that the people arrested at the time
of the murder “remain suspects”.

Ms McKenna was at the home of a disabled, elderly neighbour
on the Shore Road, close to the Crusaders grounds, at
around 6pm when the killers called at the door.

They knocked the man aside and asked her for the keys to
her car.

When she turned to the mantelpiece to get them, she was
shot in the back.

Police want to speak to the several witnesses who contacted
detectives anonymously at the time of the murder.


Ombudsman 'In Witch-Hunt Against RUC Officers'

18/01/2007 - 11:45:55

The North’s Police Ombudsman is carrying out a witch-hunt
against RUC officers who defended the public against
terror, a unionist peer claimed today.

As Nuala O’Loan prepares to publish an explosive report
into allegations that a ruthless gang of loyalist
paramilitary informers were allowed to murder at will, Ken
Maginnis claimed she was biased against the force.

Former Ulster Unionist MP Maginnis said: “The Police
Ombudsman’s office is engaged in a campaign of stealth
where, by leaks, it seeks to tarnish the reputation of the
good men and women who, at huge personal cost, rescued
Northern Ireland from the brink of a civil war.”

His withering assessment came as the British government
braced itself for the devastating findings of a massive
inquiry into a north Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force unit’s
bloody reign of terror.

The gang, based in the Mount Vernon estate, was allegedly
heavily infiltrated by agents working for Special Branch.

After a sprawling probe that began with the killing of
former RAF man Raymond McCord Jr, 22, in 1997 but has
widened out to include a decade of murders, Mrs O’Loan is
expected to reveal damning evidence of collusion among
detectives and paramilitaries.

Senior RUC men are understood to have been implicated,
although their names will not be disclosed in the report
published on Monday.

Their identities will, however, be contained in a
confidential and even more extensive dossier to be handed
to Chief Constable Hugh Orde and Northern Secretary Peter

With the inquiry centred on Mark Haddock, a UVF boss and
Special Branch agent shot and wounded in an assassination
attempt last year by former associates desperate to silence
him, Mrs O’Loan’s findings are to be hugely damaging and
embarrassing for the intelligence services operating in the

Files are with the Crown Prosecution Service, which will
consider if criminal charges are to be pursued.

Despite the scale of the scandal uncovered, Maginnis was

He added: “The Police Ombudsman’s office has been costly,
ineffective and unfair.

“It has brought misery and unhappiness to the victims of
terrorism and has persecuted those who put their lives on
the line for our community.”


Paisley Called On To Apologise To Murdered Brothers’ Family

By Allison Morris

DUP leader Ian Paisley is coming under pressure to
apologise to the family of three brothers murdered by the
UVF in south Armagh 31 years ago.

It emerged this week that the Historical Enquiries Team
(HET) has apologised to the elderly mother of the Reavey
brothers for security force treatment of the family in the
aftermath of the shootings.

David Cox, the head of the team looking into Troubles-
related deaths, also confirmed the men were “innocent
victims of senseless sectarian violence”.

John Martin (24), Brian (22) and Anthony Reavey (17) were
killed when up to six loyalist gunmen burst into their
Whitecross home on January 4 1976 and opened up at close

Two of the brothers died at the scene, while Anthony – the
youngest sibling and a promising footballer with St
Killian’s minor GAA team – lost his battle for life four
weeks later.

Shortly afterwards what was believed to be the same gang
murdered three members of the O’Dowd family 15 miles away
in Gilford.

The following day around a dozen gunmen ambushed a minibus
full of Protestant workmen at Kingsmill crossroads as they
returned home from work, killing 10 and injuring one.

In 1999 Ian Paisley used parliamentary privilege to
implicate a brother of the Reavey victims in the Kingsmill

Speaking in the House of Commons – which prevented the
comments being legally challenged – the DUP leader read out
the names of 20 individuals he claimed were involved in
various republican attacks, among them Eugene Reavey.

Mr Reavey said yesterday it meant a lot to his family to
receive the HET apology and have his brothers’ names

“However, when Paisley read out my name in the Commons
claiming I was an IRA man it was yet another blow for my
family,’’ he said.

“I was a father-of-seven myself at the time and it put my
own family in grave danger. For over 25 years my entire
family, including my mother, were victimised and mocked by
members of the security forces.

“Five years and 14 heart attacks after my brothers’
murders, my father died. He had to experience not only the
loss of his sons but the whispering campaign that took
place afterwards.

“There is a small window of opportunity here for past
wrongs to be undone. Whether that happens or not remains to
be seen.”

SDLP assembly member Dominic Bradley also said the Reavey
family’s suffering was made worse by the “despicable
whispering campaign and security force harassment’’
following the murders.

“Ian Paisley colluded in this whispering campaign under the
protection of parliamentary privilege he too should do the
right thing and withdraw his remarks and apologise to the
family,” he said.

When contacted yesterday a spokesman for the DUP leader
declined to comment.


Police Cuts Plan 'Ill-Conceived'

The Police Federation has criticised plans to cut the
number of police officers in Northern Ireland by almost
1,500 by 2011.

The recommendation, by the scrutiny body Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Constabulary, would reduce police levels to
just over 6,000.

Security Minister Paul Goggins said any reduction would
only happen when the security situation was assessed.

However, the Police Federation said the plan was "ill-
conceived and foolish".

Federation chairman Terry Spence said the plans potentially
reduce the service to the public to a "dangerously
unacceptable level".

"The current threat to officers from dissident republicans
creates an unacceptable security environment - as recent
warnings about personal threats and reports of attempts to
murder officers from police headquarters have made clear,"
he said.

In 1999, a commission chaired by Lord Patten recommended
widespread changes to the police force, then the Royal
Ulster Constabulary.

The HMIC report would see levels falling to 6,028 from
13,000 at the height of the Troubles.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said any cuts would
only be made if Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde agreed that
the improving security situation warranted it.

However, Mr Spence said: "We are having difficulty in
meeting the legitimate and reasonable expectations of the
public at the moment.

"How we are to deliver policing in 2011 with 1,500 fewer
regular officers on top of the 680 full-time reserve
officers who are already scheduled to leave is extremely
difficult to envisage?"

Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr, of the DUP, said:
"The government must be out of its mind to think that
Northern Ireland can be policed by 6,028 police officers.

"We have had to drop from over 12,000 police officers in
the last six years down to 7,500 police officers and for
the government to suggest that by 2011 we could take
another cut of over 1,000 officers is just unimaginably

In a statement, the security minister said the report had
outlined the policing numbers beyond 2010/11 required to
deliver an "effective policing service enabling the PSNI to
tackle crime and provide a first class service in
protecting the public".

"The review was conducted on the basis that the government
remained committed to the PSNI's complement of 7,500
regular officers until 2010/11, as recommended by Patten,"
Mr Goggins said.

Republican debate

"The review recommends that, after 2010/11, the number of
regular police officers should reduce, over time, to 6,028.
It also recommends that PSNI should have available for
deployment 400 PCSOs, 932 part-time officers and some 2,691
other civilian staff.

"The government remains committed to ensuring that the PSNI
is fully resourced to provide an efficient and effective
police service to the people of Northern Ireland."

The report comes as the Sinn Fein leadership holds debates
across Northern Ireland to sell to grass-roots republicans
the idea of backing policing.

The party is to hold a special conference on the issue in
Dublin on 28 January. More than 2,000 republicans will

Some republicans view accepting policing as a step too far
but prime ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern see it as
crucial for restoring devolution.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/18 09:29:23 GMT


NI Assets Agency Freezes £12m Worth Of 'IRA Property'

18/01/2007 - 10:07:44

The North's Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has made moves to
seize almost £12m (€18.3m) worth of property in Manchester
as part of a crackdown on alleged IRA money-laundering.

The 77 properties are registered to two local businessmen
who have been at the centre of an ARA investigation for
some time.

The High Court has frozen the portfolio after the agency
said it was funded by the proceeds of financial crime and
used to launder money.

The properties consist mainly of rented flats and houses
owned by Manchester-based property companies.

The ARA raided the companies 18 months ago and seized
records as part of an investigation that is believed to be
targeting alleged IRA leader Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, who
lives on the Louth-Armagh border.


Opin: Another Special Moment On Road To Peace

By Jim Gibney

There have been many special moments, many special
occasions, many significant, mould-breaking and difficult
decisions made by a host of individuals and organisations,
which have brought us to this point in the peace process.

Some have been recorded in the history books, others have
yet to appear there. Many of the individuals who created
the opportunity for these unprecedented occasions are well-
known, others are not.

Last Friday in a mission hall on Belfast’s Newtownards
Road, in the heartland of loyalism, yet another little
moment recorded a significant two-sided gesture.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Alex Maskey, in the company of
former taoiseach Albert Reynolds and foreign affairs
minister Dermot Ahern and SDLP leader Mark Durkan, were
spontaneously and warmly applauded by a congregation among
whom ranked the leaders of loyalism.

The occasion was the funeral of David Ervine.

Gerry Adams and Alex Maskey personally expressed their
sympathy to the grieving Ervine family by attending the
funeral service. The family appreciated their presence as
did David Ervine’s former associates.

The spontaneous nature of the applause conveyed these

Their presence was indeed remarkable given that both men
carry the scars from the time when they were shot by

In his own living room Alex Maskey’s friend Alan Lundy was
shot dead as loyalists made an attempt on Alex’s life.

To decide to attend the funeral was not only brave but
surely one of the most difficult decisions either man has

But as republican leaders they set to one side a possible
risk to their own lives.

Their presence was also about recognising and acknowledging
how far David Ervine had travelled and his willingness to
lead others in the same direction.

He was a rare unionist politician – a positive leader.

In life David Ervine’s style of leadership was unique. He
challenged the unionist political establishment in equal
measure to the challenges he made on those he was a part of
– loyalists. He also challenged republicans.

He had the intellectual capacity when required to bridge
the needs of loyalists, unionists, nationalists and

His efforts helped change the political landscape of this
country. The widespread expressions of sympathy that
greeted his sudden and untimely death, especially by
nationalists, reflect the esteem in which he was held. The
turnout at his funeral also reflects the important place
where loyalism is now situated, put there by the efforts of
David Ervine and other loyalists.

Loyalists will find it difficult to replace David Ervine
and continue his work of building a party to reflect their

But continue they must. The constituency they represent is
too important not to be heard and the peace process and
Irish politics will be incomplete without them.

Catholics know and will not forget the violent history of
loyalists. But the presence of the Sinn Fein leadership at
David Ervine’s funeral was a public expression of
reconciliation, of peace-making with former enemies.

Inertia is the enemy of change. That is the pertinent
lesson of the peace process. Big or small, initiatives are
needed to maintain forward movement. In that regard Gerry
Adams and Alex Maskey’s presence as peace-makers at last
week’s funeral could be viewed in those terms.

There is certainly no other interpretation can be put on
the decision by Sinn Fein’s ard chomairle last Saturday to
proceed with its ard fheis on policing.

The party leadership would have been entirely justified to
stall the ard fheis on the grounds that the DUP leader Ian
Paisley reneged on his commitments.

But that would have meant giving the DUP a veto over Sinn
Fein’s political strategy.

It would have meant republicans being paralysed by their
opponents, by the rejectionists in the DUP out of step with
the needs at this precise moment of the peace process. The
next few weeks will tell whether they are also out of step
with the intentions of their party leader.

I am convinced that republicans all over Ireland are in
step with their party leader Gerry Adams and the sentiment
of his statement last Saturday when he said that the new
beginning to policing as promised in the Good Friday
Agreement is “now within our grasp”.

We could be facing yet another special moment.


Opin: Mystery Still Surrounds What Shinners Were Led To

By Newton Emerson

Mystery surrounds the recent resignation of two Sinn Fein
assembly members over policing.

That mystery is why they didn’t resign nine years ago after
the Good Friday Agreement, which made it quite clear that
all signatories would have to accept new internal policing

The agreement said: “The participants believe that the
agreement provides the opportunity for a new beginning to
policing in Northern Ireland with a police service capable
of attracting and sustaining support from the community as
a whole.”

To this end it proposed an independent review, which was
set up and completed on schedule. The Patten review made
175 recommendations, including the appointment of an
independent commissioner to monitor progress over five
years. This commissioner was duly appointed and his latest
report states that 132 of the recommendations have been
implemented to date, with most outstanding issues now
“subject to the ongoing political process”.

There is certainly scope for a difference of opinion over
that political process and the implementation of the Patten
report. However, this is not why Davy Hyland and Geraldine
Dougan quit Sinn Fein.

Following his resignation, Newry and South Armagh MLA Mr
Hyland said: “If you accept policing you are really
accepting the statelet.”

Prior to her resignation, Mid Ulster MLA Ms Dougan said:
“If a special ard fheis mandates Sinn Fein to support
policing and the judiciary while still under British
control in any shape or form, membership of that party
would be untenable for me as an Irish republican.”

These are not practical positions based on concern at the
speed or direction of policing reform. They are
aggressively anti-agreement positions which reject any
internal policing arrangements this side of a united

How did Mr Hyland and Ms Dougan hold such views for so long
while representing a pro-agreement party?

Ms Dougan occupies the assembly seat of former Mid Ulster
MLA John Kelly, who quit Sinn Fein in 2003 after describing
the party as “a control dictatorship”.

Mr Kelly is also opposed to policing recognition and is
talking loudly about the possibility of independent anti-
policing candidates. Yet Mr Kelly was still an active Sinn
Fein member five years after the agreement, four years
after the Patten report and two years after the
establishment of the PSNI. What was he waiting for? A
telegram from the Queen?

Perhaps the explanation for this delayed anti-agreement
sentiment is that rejectionist republicans never really
believed Sinn Fein was a pro-agreement party. After all,
Sinn Fein did not actually sign the Good Friday Agreement.
Its delegates merely abstained from the final vote.

Given the number of prominent party members who apparently
felt that they would never have to endorse internal
policing arrangements, questions must be asked about what
these people were led to believe.

Sinn Fein has never made any secret of the fact that it
views the agreement as a means to an end but the means it
has actually deployed suggest considerable cynicism.

The Ulster Unionists and the SDLP took huge risks to back
the new police service and nationalist representatives
continue to face violent harassment while delivering
progress through the agreed accountability structures.

Sinn Fein, by contrast, has taken almost a decade just to
concede the most fundamental implication of an agreement
that it claims to support. During that decade it undermined
everyone who sought to work the institutions, with stunts
ranging in ridiculousness from Ogra Sinn Fein invasions of
the Policing Board to paramilitary-linked ‘restorative
justice’ schemes that threatened every principle of natural

However, even at its most obstructionist, Sinn Fein never
openly claimed that it wanted the new policing arrangements
to fail. It simply said that the arrangements had to be
perfect before republicans could have anything to do with
them. There was certainly no public suggestion that this
perfect state required an end to the imperfect statelet “in
any shape or form”.

Two weeks ago, in a joint letter to this newspaper, John
Kelly and Hunger Strike leader Brendan Hughes wrote: “It is
the possibility of republicans fed up with Sinn Fein lies
and deceit deciding to mount an electoral challenge that
sends shudders of anxiety through the leadership circles.”

Perhaps. But it is not leadership lies as such which have
angered the rejectionist republicans.

What really upsets them is that the leadership lied when it
told them it was only lying to everyone else.


Cost Of Living Highest In Four Years

18 January 2007 12:47

The cost of living in Ireland has hit its highest rate in
almost four years.

The annual rate of inflation increased from 4.4% to 4.9% in
December. The increase was driven by higher mortgage
interest costs as a result of the decision by the European
Central Bank to increase rates.

The move to increase the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes
by 50 cent in the Budget has also had an effect.

For the full year of 2006 inflation was 4%; it was 2.5% in

In 2006 the price of gas rose by 34%; health costs were up
4.4%; doctors' fees increased by 7% and dentists' fees were
up 6.6%.

Mortgage interest increased by 31% in 2006, and rents rose
by 7%.


MRSA Drug Welcomed By Belfast Hospital

By Seanin Graham Health Correspondent

A NEW drug that scientists claim kills the MRSA superbug
has been welcomed by an infection control specialist at a
Belfast hospital.

Scientists say the breakthrough treatment – which would
wipe out the deadly bug – could be ready in two years.

Latest figures show there were 186 MRSA-related deaths in
Northern Ireland between 2001 and 2005. The more widespread
and newer bug, Clostridium difficile [C-diff], was
connected to almost 200 deaths.

Mary McIlroy, a senior infection prevention and control
lead at the Mater hospital said the spread of hospital
acquired infections was a continuing problem.

“While MRSA rates have come down, C-diff is still on the
rise. We would welcome any new intervention in the fight
again MRSA,” she said.

“The difficult treatment of MRSA has been recognised for a
long time as some strains resist antibiotics. However we
have to remember it is a multi-faceted problem.”

The new compound – called ETS1153 – is set to have clinical
trials as early as March. It is understood a variant could
also be developed to tackle c-diff.

Patients are most likely to be given the antibiotic
vancomycin as a last resort treatment, but some strains of
MRSA have developed resistance.

The drugs discovered by Newcastle-based firm e-Therapeutics
have been demonstrated in the laboratory to kill even
vancomycin-resistant strains of MRSA.

Professor Malcolm Young used his academic background in
mathematics to develop systematic analysis to assist drug

He used computers to ‘industrialise’ drug research by using
models to predict how drugs would affect human tissue and

The treatment is now in the final stages of clinical
testing, and the developers hope it could take as little as
three years to license as the drugs are already used on
humans for other conditions.

“We believe that the discovery of these new drugs is
important for doctors and their patient,” Prof Young, chief
executive of e-Therapeutics, said.

“We pursued treatments for MRSA and other resistant bugs
because older laboratory methods have been extensively
tried in this area but haven’t resulted in effective new

“These new therapies for MRSA and other dangerous hospital-
based infections are a tremendous boost for our new
approach to drug discovery and for patient safety”.

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