News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

January 26, 2007

Adams in Police Manners Promise

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams at a public meeting
this week in Clonard Monastery, west Belfast, where
his party debated policing

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 01/26/07 Adams In 'Police Manners' Promise
BT 01/25/07 I Would Applaud SF Support For Police: Widow
BT 01/26/07 Glossy Pamphlet Campaign Is Just Words Says DUP
BT 01/26/07 Ard Fheis Police Verdict Only A Start: DUP
BB 01/26/07 McGuinness Threat 'Quite Ironic'
BT 01/26/07 IMC To Issue New Report Next Week
AP 01/26/07 Ombudsman's: Collusion Went Right To The Top
BT 01/26/07 Haddock: Pressure Piles On Flanagan
BT 01/26/07 O’Loan: Ex-Branch Officers Did Refuse To Help
BT 01/26/07 Analysis: Place Of Secrets Leaking Like A Sieve
BT 01/26/07 Haddock's Drug Den & Link To A Gun Tragedy
IN 01/26/07 SF: Patterns Of Collusion Exist Outside Belfast
BT 01/26/07 Unionists Are 'In Denial' Over Report: McCord
IN 01/26/07 Tohill Issues Mercy Plea For Kidnappers
IN 01/26/07 Survivors: McDougall Plan A Sop To The DUP
IN 01/26/07 2 Guns Used By Loyalists In 14 Deaths
BB 01/26/07 Loyalist In Feud Murder Retrial
BT 01/26/07 Opin: Sinn Fein Stands Poised At Cross-Roads
IN 01/26/07 Opin:1st Step To Accountable Policing Is Support
IN 01/26/07 Opin: Stalling Of Report Blame For Bad Timing
AP 01/26/07 Seamus Harvey 30th Anniversary
BT 01/26/07 Latest House Price Hotspot: The Shankill Road
IN 01/26/07 Derry Implored To Change Name Despite Ruling
IN 01/26/07 Museum Of Free Derry Launched


Adams In 'Police Manners' Promise

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has told republicans in
Londonderry that if the party did support policing it would
be to "put manners" on the PSNI.

He was addressing more than 1,000 people at the party's
last rally ahead of this weekend's special ard fheis on
policing to be held in Dublin.

Members of the audience expressed concern about collusion
and the accountability of MI5.

There was also criticism about the decommissioning of the
IRA's weapons.

Mr Adams told the crowd: "(I have asked to meet) people in
armed groups which are not in cessation, one that styles
itself the Continuity IRA and the other the Real IRA.

"In my opinion, there is only one IRA, and that's the one
which fought the British for a very long time."

More than 2,000 republicans are expected to vote at the ard
fheis this weekend.

Sinn Fein's party executive decided earlier this month to
go ahead with the ard fheis.

It had earlier been put in doubt after the party complained
about the lack of a "positive response" from the DUP.

The British government has said Sinn Fein support for
policing and the DUP's commitment to power-sharing are
essential if devolution is to be restored in Northern

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/26 07:13:23 GMT


I Would Applaud SF Support For Police: Widow

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 08:51]
By Brian Hutton

The widow of a garda officer shot dead by the IRA said
yesterday that she would applaud Sinn Fein if the party
signed up to policing in Northern Ireland.

Anne McCabe, an arch-critic of the republican movement
since her husband was shot dead in a botched Provo bank
raid more than a decade ago, said such a move would draw a
line under the past.

"It would be historic. I would be all for it. But to be
honest with you, I can't see that happening. But I'll give
them the benefit of the doubt - my husband always did," she

Garda Jerry McCabe, a detective in the Republic's Special
Branch, was gunned down without warning as he sat in a
garda car with his colleague Ben O'Sullivan on June 7 1996.

The men were escorting a security van in Adare, Co
Limerick, when an IRA man armed with an assault rifle
opened fire on them during the aborted robbery.

Mrs McCabe was making preparations for a family holiday
planned for two weeks later and getting her youngest son
and only daughter ready for their exams when the news of
the shooting came.

More than 10 years on, Mrs McCabe maintains she will never
get over the death of her husband. Her loss is regularly
intruded upon by developments in the peace process.

"It will always be painful. Make no mistake about that -
I'll never get over it. It's just the fact that it has been
on the table, brought backwards and forwards because of the
Good Friday Agreement and that."

But in a remarkable gesture, Garda McCabe's widow confessed
she would give the republican leaders credit if the
movement backs policing.

© Belfast Telegraph


Glossy Pamphlet Campaign Is 'Just Words' Says DUP

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 08:54]
By Noel McAdam

A Sinn Fein advertising push on the party's policing plans
was dismissed by the DUP today as "just more words".

A glossy four-page pamphlet published by Sinn Fein and
distributed with today's Belfast Telegraph says this
Sunday's special ard fheis by the party could open up the
potential for the "full involvement" of republicans in

But DUP MLA Arlene Foster indicated her party is still
waiting for Sinn Fein to go beyond statements and arrive at
actual support.

"There is nothing new in this," Mrs Foster said. "It is
just more words and what we need to see is deeds -

A yes vote at Sunday's special ard fheis will not
immediately commit the party to support for the PSNI.

Instead, it will allow the party's executive to trigger
support when a new Stormont Executive is formed and there
is a commitment to devolve justice and policing.

Ulster Unionist Lord Maginnis, the party's former security
spokesman, said he remains suspicious of the appearance of
republicans "suddenly wanting to become almost an
institutional part of the United Kingdom".

He said: "I am very suspicious of the sincerity of the
Provisional IRA. I think they are just being clever.

"I would always be suspicious when things appear to be
coming together too neatly.

"We have the constant erosion of the way of life of, if I
may use the phrase, ordinary decent people across Northern
Ireland while the emphasis is constantly on the Labour
Party's 'hug-a-Provo' approach.

"It is the way things could have come together after 1998
but now we are seeing a form of compromise with no built-in

The Sinn Fein leaflet said the party had worked to
dismantle the RUC and the violence and oppression "which
has been the policing experience of nationalists since

Party president Gerry Adams said the policing issue is
difficult for many nationalists and republicans "not
because we oppose law-and-order but because our experience
is of a police service which served only one section of the
community and which was involved in murder, torture,
collusion and shoot-to-kill."

The glossy document said, however if the ard fheis in
Dublin on Sunday adopts the proposed motion "then we will
have the potential, for the first time ever, for the full
involvement by Irish republicans in policing structures
across the island".

It made clear the ard fheis will mandate the party's ard
chomhairle (executive) to implement the motion which
includes commitments that Sinn Fein will "robustly"

Active encouragement of everyone to "co-operate fully" with
police and active support of criminal justice institutions

Authorisation for Sinn Fein Ministers to take the
ministerial Pledge of Office

Appointment of representatives to the Policing Board and
District Policing Partnerships.

Mr Adams said he believed the point had been reached of
taking the next step, which would advance the search for a
just and lasting peace in Ireland.

"Almost eight years after the Good Friday Agreement, it
would be entirely wrong to allow the most negative elements
of unionism a veto over republican and nationalist efforts
to achieve the new beginning to policing," the West Belfast
MP said.

The paper said the party has secured profound changes on
accountability and major advances in demilitarisation and
pointed in particular to:

Reversing Government plans to integrate MI5 with the PSNI

Commitment by Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde that plastic
bullets will not be used for crowd control

"No place in the PSNI for those guilty of human rights

The pamphlet argues that the SDLP claimed the integration
of MI5 with the PSNI as a "victory for their negotiators" -
a "fundamental mistake" with the British agreeing over
Christmas "that MI5 would be entirely separate from the

But the SDLP's Policing and Justice spokesman Alex Attwood
said his party did not accept the proposals, known as Annex
E, at St Andrews.

"Indeed, hours after the British Government published Annex
E, the SDLP handed over a document to the two governments
outlining why Annex E was not acceptable. And all the time,
Sinn Fein were silent," he said.

"But worse was to follow... Sinn Fein have now signed off
on a new MI5 HQ in Holywood, the recruitment of more MI5
staff and an even bigger and damaging role for MI5,
including MI5 running republican agents. Sinn Fein not only
committed the worst of negotiating blunders, but have
created conditions where MI5 can get up to all sorts of
mischief and wrong-doing."

The Policing Board member said he urged Sinn Fein to back
away from its " dangerously flawed approach" and join the
SDLP in opposing MI5 and demanding the highest levels of

© Belfast Telegraph


Ard Fheis Police Verdict Only A Start: DUP

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 11:02]
By Noel McAdam

The DUP today told Sinn Fein it's crucial ard fheis verdict
on policing on Sunday will be "only a start".

The warning came as Gerry Adams, in a pamphlet with today's
Belfast Telegraph, said "negative" unionism must not be
allowed to veto attempts to achieve a new beginning to

As the party completed its grass roots meetings, the Sinn
Fein president also said republican involvement in policing
would "put manners" on the PSNI. And it emerged that,
significantly, the former IRA second-in-command, Martin
McGuinness, will propose the motion at the crunch gathering
in Dublin.

DUP Policing Board member, Arlene Foster, said, however: "I
know everyone is very entranced about Sunday, but Sunday is
only the start."

Referring to the glossy leaflet, she added: "If this is all
about unionist outreach then to be frank their best
outreach would be to sign up in word and deed.

"It's only when they start delivering on the ground and
people start to see a real change in the way they deal with
the police service, and encourage young people to join, and
the way they deal with the courts system and rule of law,
that people will start to know there is a difference."

Ulster Unionist Lord Maginnis warned: " We are seeing a
form of compromise with no built-in safeguards."

The ard fheis motion - all but certain to be endorsed -
will mandate Sinn Fein's executive to decide when it should
be implemented.

© Belfast Telegraph


McGuinness Threat 'Quite Ironic'

Sinn Fein will combat death threats to its leaders with
"discussion and debate," Martin McGuinness has said.

Mr McGuinness was speaking after police had warned him of a
"substantially increased threat" to his life.

He said it was "quite ironic" that dissident republicans
were threatening someone who had spent his adult life
struggling against British rule.

Sinn Fein is to debate endorsing NI's police service at a
special convention in Dublin this weekend.

Mr McGuinness, who is his party's senior negotiator, said
he was not sure if the threat he had "received in the past
24 hours was a real threat".

"Many people within society will think that it quite ironic
that if this threat is true, that someone who has spent all
of his adult life in struggle against British rule and
tried to bring about what is our primary political
objective, ie a united Ireland, is being threatened by
people who regard themselves as republicans," he said.

Mr McGuinness was asked on BBC's Good Morning Ulster if the
dissidents would face a "clampdown" from Sinn Fein.

"No, what they will face is the type of debate and
discussion we have seen in halls and rooms all over this
country over the course of the last number of weeks," he

"I think many within these organisations are already
considering their position in the context of a poltical
breakthrough which I passionately hope will come in the
restoration of the power-sharing and all-Ireland

"There will be much food for throught for many groups
within our society and many people can come to no other
conclusion than that the only way forward for all of us is
through a political and peace process."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/26 11:11:03 GMT


IMC To Issue New Report Next Week

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 11:31]
By Brian Rowan

The Independent Monitoring Commission is expected to issue
another key report within 48 hours of Sunday's Sinn Fein
ard fheis vote on policing.

Commission members Lord Alderdice, John Grieve, Dick Kerr
and Joe Brosnan have been meeting in Belfast and Dublin
this week, with publication of their latest assessment
planned for Tuesday.

The Sinn Fein leadership is expected to achieve a
convincing victory at its weekend party conference.

And the British and Irish governments will be hoping that
this alongside the IMC report will set a positive tone for
the next political steps.

At this critical moment for republicans, police and the
Commission will be watching to see if the IRA meets in any
structured form in this period - either in a "convention"
or in some other "shape or fashion" .

As part of the preparation for Sunday's ard fheis, senior
IRA and Sinn Fein figures have been involved in intensive
background meetings and briefings across the republican
movement and community.

There is a security assessment that the Adams-McGuinness-
Kelly leadership will achieve a comfortable victory in the
conference vote.

The IMC would clearly see that as a highly significant
development, and its latest report will not be finalised
until the outcome of the ard fheis is known - both the
result and the planned implementation of the motion on

This week's revelations on the loyalist informer Mark
Haddock and his relationship with the Special Branch are
not expected to have any damaging impact on Sunday's vote.

But in the political and policing backgrounds there is a
continued probing of who knew what and when.

There is a particular focus on contact Raymond McCord had
with the Stevens Investigation in August and September 2000
and a letter that team of detectives then sent to the RUC.

Politicians and journalists are seeking disclosure on the
detail of that letter and a response received on September
13 2000.

Earlier this week, the current chief constable Sir Hugh
Orde - who was a senior officer on the Stevens
Investigation - told this newspaper that the matters raised
by Mr McCord about his son's murder were "outside,
absolutely outside, the Stevens terms of reference".

What is not clear is how the RUC acted after a letter was
"sent straight away to the (then) Chief Constable Sir
Ronnie Flanagan".


Ombudsman's Report: Collusion Went Right To The Top

State terrorism was a British policy in Ireland

The report this week by Nuala O’Loan, Police Ombudsman in
the Six Counties has confirmed the fact that UVF death
squads in North Belfast and elsewhere operated virtually as
surrogates for RUC officers, and the RUC Special Branch
colluded with and covered up for sectarian murderers. The
report also found that a bomb attack in Monaghan in 1997
involved collusion.

O’Loan’s report identifies senior officers, including two
retired Assistant Chief Constables, seven Detective Chief
Superintendents and two Detective Superintendents involved
in covering up collusion in the RUC.

Sinn Féin has said that the report is but the tip of the
iceberg in relation to the extent of collusion that took
place between official British forces and unionist
paramilitaries over the decades. The party has also called
for the immediate sacking of former RUC Chief Constable
Ronnie Flanagan who now acts as British ‘HM Chief Inspector
of Constabularies’.

Flanagan in denial

Flanagan, who was Chief Constable during the period
investigated by the Ombudsman, is in clear denial following
the publication of the report. Amazingly he claims not to
have witnessed any abuse of suspects in his years in
Castlereagh during his time as duty sergeant. He denies the
existence of a shoot-to-kill policy in North Armagh during
his time heading up HMSU and TSGs and is now denying
collusion happened during his time in the Special Branch.

He also denies the allegations that he did not assist
Ombudsman fully in her investigations.

On Tuesday Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams spoke by
telephone with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair about
the implications of the Ombudsman Report. Adams has
consistently briefed Blair on the issue since their first
meeting in December 1997.

“I once again made the point that this was an
administrative practice which was rooted in Whitehall. It
was a policy which was about upholding British government
involvement in Irish affairs. I told Mr Blair that those
involved would have to be removed from the PSNI and that
the Ombudsman needed to be properly funded in order to
carry out further investigations.

“I also made the point that the British government needed
to acknowledge that this was a matter of policy and that it
had now stopped and I told him that there needed to be a
root and branch reform of the DPP which had covered-up and
allowed the perpetrators of collusion to go free. I
specifically raised very serious questions over the role of
Alistair Frazer the Director of Public Prosecutions”, Adams

Collusion goes right to the top

A Sinn Féin delegation led by Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness MP held urgent talks with the Irish Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern in Dundalk on Tuesday about
the implications of the Ombudsman report.

Speaking after the meeting McGuinness said: “The report by
the Police Ombudsman is I believe the beginning of the
process to uncover the full extent of collusion and the
involvement of the most senior political figures in the
British system in it. Collusion was a British policy, it
was about upholding the Union and its result was a campaign
of State terrorism in Ireland.

“The former RUC Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White
admitted in a Sunday newspaper that British Ministers and
senior officials were ‘regularly briefed’ on undercover
operations and that he personally had briefed former
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This goes right
to the very top.

“I impressed upon the Irish government today that a passive
role on this issue is no longer an option for them. They
must join with Sinn Féin and the families of those killed
and injured through this British policy in demanding that
the British government come clean. They must rigorously
pursue those instances where the collusion policy directed
from Whitehall resulted in attacks in the 26 counties. They
must join with us in demanding that any serving members of
the PSNI involved in this activity are drummed out of

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called
for a special Dáil debate on the Ombudsman’s report.

“The Taoiseach has repeatedly told the Dáil under
questioning from me that there is no necessity for a summit
with the British Government on the specific issue of
collusion. I would ask him if he can maintain this position
in light of the Ombudsman’s report and the growing evidence
that collusion between British crown forces and loyalist
death squads was widespread, systematic, deadly, and went
to the top of RUC command” , he said.

“As Ms O’Loan points out: ‘There is no reason to believe
that the findings of this investigation are isolated.
Indeed given that many of the failings identified in the
course of the investigation were systemic, this is highly
likely and the implications of this are very serious.’

“I would also ask the other political parties in the Dáil,
who backed the call for an independent inquiry into the
murder of Pat Finucane, what they intend to do in the
aftermath of this report and for a special Dáil debate on
the O’Loan report following the resumption. This report
should serve as a wake-up call for those parties in the
South who ignored the issue of collusion for decades.”

On Wednesday evening Sinn Féin Assembly group leader, Upper
Bann MLA John O’Dowd accused the DUP and UUP of running
away from a debate on collusion after both parties blocked
a debate on collusion in the Assembly.


Haddock: Pressure Piles On Flanagan

Ex-RUC Chief Was Told Of Allegations Seven Years Ago

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 11:20]
By David Gordon

Pressure mounted today on former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie
Flanagan to explain when he learned about concerns over
Mark Haddock and to outline what action his force took to
explain them.

The PSNI today confirmed that Sir Ronnie was officially
informed of McCord case allegations by another police team
almost seven years ago - while he was still Chief

And it is also now known that Raymond McCord held face-to-
face talks with Sir Ronnie at RUC headquarters around the
end of the 1990s.

And the campaigning father is adamant that he raised his
central allegations about the terror activities of Special
Branch agent Haddock at that meeting.

This week's Police Ombudsman's report stated that Haddock
was not axed as a police informer until 2003, when Nuala
O'Loan's office alerted Sir Ronnie's successor, Sir Hugh
Orde, to the serious problems it was uncovering.

Mr McCord today said: " There is no question that I raised
Haddock at the meeting I held with Sir Ronnie, when I was
accompanied by DUP politician Nigel Dodds. The meeting must
have been in 1998 or 1999.

"I then wrote in September 2000 to the Stevens team which
was investigating collusion and detailed a number of
allegations. They passed them on to Sir Ronnie and I was
told an Assistant Chief Constable would be looking into

Mr McCord's claim was confirmed by Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde, who was then part of the Stevens Inquiry. He told the
Belfast Telegraph this week that on September 6, 2000, he
wrote to Sir Ronnie and added: "There is a full audit trail
on that communication."

Mr McCord added: "I am calling on the PSNI to detail what
was done at this point and explain why Haddock was not
struck off as an agent.

"How many more terrorist and criminal offences did he
commit after 2000 while still being paid by police?"

The O'Loan report linked Haddock and his UVF associates to
the murder of loyalist politician Tommy English in October
2000 - one month after the Stevens team wrote to the RUC
about the McCord allegations.

It is understood Sir Hugh Orde briefed the Northern Ireland
Policing Board on the Stevens Team correspondence during
private discussions this week.

Mr Dodds has, meanwhile, confirmed that he accompanied Mr
McCord to a meeting with Sir Ronnie while he was chief

The DUP MP told the Belfast Telegraph that he could not
recall the details of these discussions, but believed they
involved Mr McCord's wish to speak to officers leading the
investigation into his son's murder.

A PSNI spokeswoman has confirmed that correspondence
between the Stevens team and Sir Ronnie over the McCord
case occurred in 2000.

She said: "A letter was sent from the Stevens Team to the
RUC in September 2000 about a complaint it had received
from Raymond McCord.

"The matter was outside the terms of reference of the
Stevens Investigation and was therefore sent to the RUC.

"The letter was sent to the investigating officer
responsible for the case and it was included as part of
their investigation at that time."

In a statement this week, Sir Ronnie said: "With respect to
the specific matters dealt with in the Ombudsman's report,
at no time did I have any knowledge, or evidence, of
officers at any level behaving in the ways that have been

SDLP MLA and Policing Board member Alex Attwood said: "Sir
Ronnie needs to explain what actions were taken following
the correspondence from no less a source than the Stevens
Team and the face to face meeting he had with Mr McCord."

Sir Ronnie was unavailable for further comment today.

He is now Head of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of
Constabulary, which oversees all UK police forces, and is
very highly regarded by the Blair Government.

© Belfast Telegraph


Ex-Branch Officers Did Refuse To Help Inquiry, Insists O'Loan

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 11:22]

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has publicly rebuked ex-
senior Special Branch officers over their recent claims
that they co-operated with her McCord case investigation.

In a strong-worded statement to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs
O'Loan said it was "important that the record is put

She said former officers refused requests by her
investigators to speak to them over a six month period and
instead sent regular correspondence through a solicitor.

"We put a series of questions about some of the murders I
referred to earlier this week. Again they refused to answer
them. Their solicitor said it would be 'completely
impractical' to do so.

"These people were police officers. They know well that no
investigator would view such a response as cooperation. One
of the reasons the solicitor gave was that they had 'no
real desire' to raise their media profile.

"I have noted that almost within 24 hours of my report
being published they had begun a series of television,
radio and newspaper interviews."

Mrs O'Loan added: "It is important that the public are not
left with the impression that the attitude of these
officers is typical of police officers and retired police

"More than 100 serving and retired police officers
cooperated with our investigation."

© Belfast Telegraph


Analysis: Place Of Secrets Leaking Like A Sieve

By Brian Rowan

In this week of revelations about the UVF informer Mark
Haddock and his relationship with the Special Branch, we
are being told by some that the damning report of the
Police Ombudsman lacks context.

Yet those who could have provided that balance, if it
exists, chose not to co-operate with the investigation.

There have been all sorts of Special Branch - old Special
Branch - whispers in the background since, and you wonder
what they're all about, why things are being said and
whether they can be believed.

The place of secrets is leaking like a sieve. There is talk
that tells you things and makes you ask questions.

"If the main man comes out, there will be ructions. It
(Haddock) will look like choir boys."

The intelligence source is talking about the main
republican informer in Belfast - a name he doesn't
disclose, but a seed is planted.

Then there's the story of the expensive, but failed,
attempt to recruit a senior INLA/IRSP figure in contact in
London and later while he was on holiday.

The Special Branch "sat down beside him on the beach" in
the Bahamas, and "he ran to (name withheld)".

And is there a loyalist informer - "a long, long, time"
agent ? whose codename could be 'Mr Magee'?

The talk here is about someone who sits much higher than
Mark Haddock in the loyalist paramilitary leadership.

Why am I being told? It can't just be because I'm asking.
There has to be some other explanation.

Is it about trying to say that what happened on one side
happened on every side?

That if you call it collusion in terms of the Special
Branch relationship with loyalist informers, then you have
to call it the same in the description of what went on with
republicans ? with 'Stakeknife' and others.

I don't know if this is meant to be the reading between the

And I think a lot of people - watchers of the war - don't
know what to make of what is emerging.

The revelations around Haddock, the linking of him to
everything from drugs to murder, are so shocking.

And yet, I think, it is too soon to be shocked because
there is more and worse to come.

Given the revelations about the money Haddock was paid ?
the tens of thousands ? there are questions now being
asked, privately within the Policing Board, about where
that money comes from ? how it is allocated.

There's an explanation being sought on something called the
"single intelligence vote", and on what role, if any, MI5
has, and will it have a continued involvement in all of
this in the new national security arrangements that come
into place later this year.

What are the accountability arrangements for running and
paying informers? Who sees the books? Who decides who's
paid what?

Policing Board member Alex Attwood of the SDLP claimed: "It
may yet be proven that Haddock's money came from and was
approved by MI5. If so, this scandal becomes much deeper
and much bigger."

On Haddock, there is a continued probing of who knew what
and when, and more detail is being sought on the contact
Raymond McCord had with the Stevens Investigation in August
and September 2000, and a letter that team then sent to the
RUC in that period.

What, if anything, was alleged about Mark Haddock? And, if
something was alleged, how was it investigated by the RUC?

Who dealt with the matters raised by Mr McCord? Who has the

That report by the Police Ombudsman earlier this week told
us so much, but it also left us with many questions.

There is more to be told in this story - this scandal - of
agents, murder and the Special Branch.

And more will leak from that sieve.

Is there really a republican informer who will make Haddock
look like a " choir boy"?

Is there a loyalist in the pay of the Special Branch much
more senior than the man from Mount Vernon?

And did the 'Branch' really travel to the Bahamas on the
tail of the terrorist from the INLA?

Nothing would surprise me. Not after this week. Not any

© Belfast Telegraph


Haddock's Drug Den And The Link To A Gun Tragedy

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 09:07]
By David Gordon

A Drug-dealing haunt of Mark Haddock was linked to the
death of a young man during the loyalist's time as a police
informer, it can be revealed today.

Haddock's connection to the drugs trade at a Larne hotel
was exposed in this week's report by Police Ombudsman Nuala

The hotel - Kilwaughter House on the outskirts of the town
- was named in a 1995 inquest into a drugs-related death.

Alan Helm, a 25-year-old labourer, shot himself with an
illegally-held firearm after taking a cocktail of Ecstasy
and alcohol.

The inquest was told that Mr Helm was believed to have
bought the Ecstasy at the Kilwaughter House Hotel.

A detective sergeant also testified that drugs were known
to be available at the hotel.

The coroner found no evidence that Mr Helm had meant to
take his life, emphasising the significance of the drug

This week's Police Ombudsman report accused RUC Special
Branch of turning a blind eye to Haddock's involvement in
drug dealing over a number of years.

Mrs O'Loan's investigators found around 70 separate police
intelligence reports implicating the north Belfast UVF man
in dealing cannabis, Ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine.

Haddock actually admitted his involvement in drugs to
police officers on two occasions.

He also told his handlers in August 1994 that the north
Belfast UVF had taken control of drug-dealing in the hotel.

Mr Helm's death occurred in September 1994 in his home in
Ballyduff, Newtownabbey after a night at Kilwaughter House.

The Kilwaughter House Hotel is now closed. It was a popular
rave scene venue for teenagers in the 1990s.

The claims made at the August 1995 inquest into Mr Helm's
death were strongly rejected by the hotel's owners at the

© Belfast Telegraph


SF Claims Further Patterns Of Collusion Exist Outside Belfast

By William Scholes

SINN Fein has claimed that a similar pattern of collusion
to that found in north Belfast between the RUC and loyalist
paramilitaries existed in the Co Derry and north Antrim

Billy Leonard, a Sinn Fein councillor in Coleraine, said a
group of families whose relatives were murdered during the
Troubles wanted to know if Greysteel killer Torrens Knight
“was the Mark Haddock of that area”.

He said there were “long term and deep suspicions” that UVF
and UDA members in the area were Special Branch informers
and questioned whether “Sinn Fein activists and general
members of the public were murdered as police colluded with
Knight’s infamous gang”.

In a statement several families said Police Ombudsman Nuala
O’Loan’s findings on Special Branch collusion with Mount
Vernon UVF “are mirror images of our suspicions about the
murders of Tom Donaghy, Danny Cassidy, Bernard O’Hagan,
Gerard Casey, Malachy Carey and John Davey”.

“We believe that the Mount Vernon situation is definitely
just the tip of the iceberg. Collusion was a reality over
the decades and in all areas, including Co Derry and north
Antrim where our relatives were slain by loyalists working
hand in hand with Special Branch,” they said.

Johnny Donaghy, a brother of Tom Donaghy, said the families
were considering making a fresh complaint to Mrs O’Loan’s
office in light of the collusion findings she published on

“We have fought for a long time to get the facts about the
policy of police collusion with loyalist killers such as
Torrens Knight and the individual police officers
involved,” he said.

“We cannot let this situation go and we will approach the
Police Ombudsman.”

Tom Donaghy (38) was a Sinn Fein worker and former IRA
prisoner who was murdered by the UDA on August 16 1991 as
he arrived to fish at the River Bann near Kilrea.

Sinn Fein said Danny Cassidy (40), who was shot in Kilrea
by the UDA on April 2 1992, had been electioneering for the
party, though his family denied this and claimed he had
been continually harassed by the RUC.

Bernard O’Hagan (38), a Sinn Fein councillor, was shot dead
by the UDA as he arrived for work in Magherafelt on
September 16 1991 while Gerard Casey (29) was a member of
the IRA’s north Antrim brigade and murdered in his
Rasharkin home by two UDA gunmen on April 4 1989.

One-time Sinn Fein candidate Malachy Carey (36) was shot by
the UDA as he walked through Ballymoney. He died the
following day.

Sinn Fein councillor John Joe Davey (58) was murdered by
the UVF as he returned home to Gulladuff after a
Magherafelt District Council meeting on February 14 1989.

Torrens Knight was one of the UDA gunmen who murdered eight
Protestants and Catholics in the Rising Sun bar in
Greysteel on October 30 1993. It later emerged that Knight
was paid by Special Branch


Unionists Are 'In Denial' Over Report: McCord

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 09:04]
By Chris Thornton

Raymond McCord has slammed unionists who vetoed an Assembly
debate about the Police Ombudsman's report on collusion in
the police force.

The father - whose campaign exposed that UVF killers were
paid police agents - said it was "a disgrace" and "an
insult" that the Assembly's business committee chose to
debate liquor licences over the report.

Mr McCord said the DUP and UUP decision to block the debate
shows they are in a state of denial. "If this report is so
wrong, have the debate and explain why you think it's
wrong," he said.

"Let them have it while I sit in the public gallery. Then
they can look up, look me in the eye and say, 'Raymond
McCord, you're wrong'."

"Nuala O'Loan says I'm right. Peter Hain says I'm right.
Tony Blair says I'm right.

"If the DUP and UUP think I'm wrong, have the debate and
say why.

"I accept that we had a police force that wanted to put
people in jail. I accept a lot of good men lost their

"This is not a witchhunt. It's about men who hid behind the
badge and the good name of the RUC."

Mr McCord's complaint to the Police Ombudsman led to the
three-year investigation which concluded that UVF informers
were involved in at least 10 murders while they worked for

DUP Assembly member Lord Morrow said he voted against the
debate as Sinn Fein put forward the motion to hold it. A
second motion by the SDLP was not considered.

Alliance Party MLA Kieran McCarthy, who was in favour of
the debate, said: " It is essential that we have the chance
to discuss this report within the Assembly so that everyone
can voice their thoughts and concerns."

© Belfast Telegraph


Tohill Issues Mercy Plea For Kidnappers

By Staff Reporter

A high-profile republican whose kidnapping prompted a
crisis in the peace process in 2004 has delivered “a plea
for mercy” on behalf of two of his kidnappers who are due
to be sentenced next month.

Bobby Tohill was abducted from Kelly’s Cellars bar in
Belfast city centre in February 2004 and bundled into the
back of a van.

Police stopped the van at the nearby junction of Millfield
and Divis Street close to the Westlink and found Mr Tohill

They arrested four men – Gerard McCrory (34), of Dermott
Hill Road, Harry Fitzsimmons (36), of Spamount Street, Liam
Rainey (32), of New Barnsley Crescent and Thomas Tolan
(34), from Ballymurphy Parade – who later jumped bail.

However, two of them – Thomas Tolan (35) and Gerard McCrory
(34) – were arrested on Monday on the A1 dual-carriageway
at Hillsborough.

They appeared before Belfast Crown Court where they were
remanded into custody. The two other men are still on the

Speaking last night, Tohill said he did not want the four
men sent to jail.

“This was done years ago and it is in the past,” he said.

“They were only foot soldiers. I want them set free. It is
completely on the shoulders of senior republicans. I want
them brought to justice and not the four men.”

He added: “I just want a peaceful life.

“I don’t bother with the republican [movement] going on
four years.

“I still support a united Ireland but peacefully. I
certainly don’t support the Provisional strategy.”


Survivor Labels Mc Dougall Plan A Sop To The DUP

By Catherine Morrison

A survivor of a loyalist gun attack in which five people
died has said a proposed fund for families of UDR members
killed in the Troubles reinforces a “hierarchy of victims”.

Mark Sykes was responding to a report by the former Interim
Victims’ Commissioner Bertha McDougall.

In the 140-page document, Mrs McDougall, whose RUC
reservist husband was shot dead in 1981, has made a series
of recommendations aimed at helping victims and survivors
of the Troubles.

One proposal was for further consideration to be given to
the establishment of a fund, similar to the ‘police fund’,
for families of murdered UDR men and women.

Mr Sykes, who survived the Sean Graham bookmakers’
shootings on Belfast’s Ormeau Road in 1992, said this was a
sop to DUP demands.

“Many families find this completely offensive and
consequently feel excluded – their experience at the hands
of this notorious sectarian organisation not being taken
into consideration at all,” Mr Sykes, a spokesman for the
group Relatives for Justice, said.

“Rather than supporting victims’ and survivors’ needs
across the community equally, Mrs McDougall has managed to
resurrect the hierarchy of victims, reinforcing the hurt
and pain of so many families affected by state violence.”

Mrs McDougall defended her decision to make special
provision for UDR families.

“My report has been looking at individual victims,” she
said yesterday.

“I am addressing the needs of everyone. I have said that I
based this on need.”

Meanwhile, Alan McBride, of victims’ group Wave, said
another recommendation – an annual £2,000 payment to widows
and widowers bereaved before 1988 – could be very useful
for some families.

“There are questions around it, such as how it will be
administered, but it must be welcomed,” he said.

“Through my work here, some of the people I have met are in
dire straits and this could be very helpful to them.”

Sinn Fein general secretary Mitchel McLaughlin said all
British government initiatives to date on victims had been
“geared towards unionists”.

“Bertha McDougall’s recommendation that a special fund be
established for UDR families underlines the reasons why her
appointment was challenged and successfully challenged in
the courts,” Mr McLaughlin said.

The SDLP’s Alban Maginness welcomed the recommendation for
a new and better compensation fund for early victims of the

However, he said: “A figure of £2,000 a year does not seem
to be enough to make a real difference to many of these
victims’ standard of living.

“If government is to make a real difference it needs to
allocate more money to any fund.”

Alliance leader David Ford said the report had given a
voice to victims and survivors.

“I am glad that this publication gives us a starting point
from which to proceed in order to address victims’
concerns,” he said.


2 Guns Used By Loyalists In 14 Deaths

By Seamus McKinney

TWO of the guns used by loyalists to murder Co Donegal Sinn
Fein politician Eddie Fullerton in May 1991 were used in 13
other atrocities, his family has claimed.

His daughter, Amanda Fullerton, said the family has been
given information that a Browning pistol and another weapon
were used in the loyalist paramilitary murder of four
workmen in Castlerock in March 1993 as well as 12 other

Ms Fullerton was speaking after a meeting with the Police
Ombudsman’s office yesterday.

Nuala O’Loan is investigating Mr Fullerton’s murder
following claims of collusion between his killers and
members of the RUC.

A member of Donegal County Council, Mr Fullerton was shot
six times at his home at Cockhill, near Buncrana, by the

It has subsequently been claimed that the gang responsible
was from the greater Belfast area.

Mr Fullerton’s family believe the gang made their getaway
through Culmore on the outskirts of Derry.

In a TG4 documentary broadcast in 2005, it was claimed that
a man saw three men in combat fatigues being collected in
an unmarked police car close to Culmore just 30 minutes
after Mr Fullerton was murdered.

Ms Fullerton, said the family was pleased with the
relationship established with the Police Ombudsman’s

“We have agreed a definitive family statement and that has
been refined and I signed it off today,” she said.

Ms Fullerton said the family was expecting the
investigation to be a long and drawn out affair and did not
expect any results within the next year.

She said they had recently been made aware of the fact two
of the weapons used to kill her father had been used in
other attacks.


Loyalist In Feud Murder Retrial

A man cleared of a murder during a loyalist feud must stand
trial again, Appeal Court judges have ruled.

William 'Mo' Courtney, 43, was released in November after a
judge decided he had no case to answer on a charge of
murdering Alan McCullough, 21, in 2003.

It is the first time the Crown appealed against a murder
acquittal in NI.

It is believed his new trial will have to be heard in front
of a different judge to Mr Justice McLaughlin, who heard
the first case.

Courtney is out on bail and was not in court.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr heard the Crown's
application with Lord Justice Campbell and Mr Justice

Sir Brian said: "We are satisfied that the interests of
justice require that the defendant stand trial on the first
count of the indictment (murder) that has been preferred
against him."

The Crown had not sought a retrial on a second charge of
UDA/UFF membership.

Sir Brian said the court was satisfied that if Mr Justice
McLaughlin had taken all the evidence into account on an
all-encompassing basis he would have found that there was
sufficient evidence to raise a prima facie case against
Courtney, notwithstanding the frailties of some witness

"The failure to approach the case in this way constituted,
in our opinion, an error both in law and in principle," he

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.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/26 12:02:53 GMT


Opin: Sinn Fein Stands Poised At Cross-Roads

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 11:09]

Today the Belfast Telegraph contains an important document.
For the first time, Sinn Fein is using Northern Ireland's
largest circulation newspaper in a deliberate attempt to
explain to the unionist community, in its own words, the
party's policy on policing.

The publication of the document comes two days before the
special ard fheis in Dublin which will be asked to endorse
the party leadership's vision of the way ahead.

It is a vision that calls for a fundamental change in
republican attitudes to policing and the justice system in
Northern Ireland and which, if agreed, could transform the
political landscape here.

The vast bulk of the document is positive in tone but it
also contains rhetoric which will be offensive to many of
our readers. Accusations that the RUC was a partial force
guilty of involvement in murder, torture, collusion and
shoot-to-kill are a slur on the hundreds of brave officers
who gave their lives, and the many more who were maimed, in
defence of the country against a sustained, murderous
campaign by the IRA over 30 years.

There were instances where police officers failed to live
up to their task, as evidenced this week by the Police
Ombudsman's report into the Mount Vernon UVF and the
previous Stalker and Stevens inquiries, but it is offensive
to brand an entire courageous force on the faults of

But this document is not about history, however painful
that history is for so many people in this province. We can
never forget what happened, but past events should not
shackle us forever from moving forward. This newspaper,
repeatedly over the years, has called for our politicians
to show leadership and courage.

Whatever the reservations about Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein,
it would be churlish not to acknowledge that what
republicans are being asked to accept on Sunday is a
complete reversal of their previous mindset.

Now they are being asked to not just simply accept the
legitimacy of the PSNI and the justice system, but to
actively support both, in all their forms, through sitting
on the Policing and District Policy Partnership Boards,
taking the Ministerial Pledge of Office, and urging people
to co-operate fully with the police and to support all
criminal justice institutions.

That, it can be argued, is the normal behaviour of all
democratic parties and law-abiding citizens, but it is a
significant development in republican thinking. Sinn Fein
has come to its cross-roads and is poised to take a
positive direction.

Everyone should read Sinn Fein's words and make their own
judgement on the party's sincerity.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: First Step To Accountable Policing Is Support

By Jim Gibney

Over the last week republicans have been attending meetings
all over Ireland debating the Sinn Fein leadership’s
proposal on policing to be put before Sunday’s special ard

The meetings were organised to allow for maximum debate for
different voices drawn from different experiences to be

The widest possible range of people from a nationalist
background participated in the discussions.

The meetings I attended were charged with passion and
emotion, sometimes below the surface other times very

They were difficult meetings for those attending because
all were hurt in varying degrees by the crown forces, in
particular the RUC.

Bereaved people over the past 30 years and more spoke of
their loss and shattered lives; others just nodded in
agreement unable to utter a syllable, so raw remains the
pain even now.

“How can you ask us to support the police, to join the
police, when they murdered our children, our husbands,
wrecked our homes and gaoled our young people,” a woman
asked Alec Maskey in a quivering voice at a meeting in
Belfast’s Short Strand. She lost an infant and her husband,
an IRA volunteer, in the conflict.

At a meeting in Twinbrook the mother of a young man shot
dead with two others by undercover British soldiers held my
hand and told me with tears in her eyes Sinn Fein had her
and her family’s support.

“It’s time for change, time to support the police”, she

In Beechmount on Belfast’s Falls Road Sinn Fein’s Fra Mc
Cann and Tom Hartley with over 200 people listened in
stunned silence as a mother told of the day the PSNI raided
her home. It was the anniversary of her son’s death shot by
Michael Stone in Milltown cemetery. The PSNI asked for her
dead son by his Christian name. She could never trust or
support the police.

A history of hurt and pain, a nightmare visited upon people
by the RUC and for some carried over into the PSNI.

An unacknowledged history, ignored in the main and
dismissed by those who knew and remained silent. Catholics,
nationalists, republicans, Sinn Fein activists the targets.

Republican propaganda was how the SDLP viewed it as they
supported the RUC in the ‘impartial discharge’ of their
duty; and in the year 2001, cosily tucked their feet under
the table in the office of the PSNI’s policing board.

No questions asked by the SDLP of those in the RUC and now
in the PSNI who colluded with loyalists. No help for
families campaigning for truth. The purchase of thousands
of plastic bullets for the PSNI by the policing board.

Easily satisfied the SDLP left it to Sinn Fein’s
negotiators to secure more safeguards to protect citizens
against excesses by the police, the expulsion of MI5 from
the police, progress on limiting the use of plastic
bullets, the transfer of policing and justice powers to an

A weak SDLP and a lame policing board meant the
continuation of systematic, institutionalised collusion.
This is what is starkly revealed in Nuala O’Loan’s report.

It is in the public domain not because of those who claim
to have been holding the police to account but because of
the single-minded determination of a father seeking justice
for his son’s murder.

The policing board have strong inquiry powers. They and the
SDLP have failed in their duty to use those powers. The
continued presence in the PSNI of some of those involved in
collusion is evidence of their failure.

MI5, the British intelligence agency directed the policy of
collusion. The Special Branch implemented it. The SDLP were
prepared and are still arguing for MI5 to be integrated
into the PSNI.

It is this failure and complacency that Sinn Fein will
challenge and expose if republicans back the party’s
proposal on Sunday.

Republicans inside the north’s policing institutions will
ensure that never again will citizen’s lives be endangered
by those empowered to protect them.

The abuses, wrong doings, systematic illegality which the
RUC engaged in must never be repeated. That means holding
the police fully and effectively to account.

The first step along that road is for delegates to back the
policing proposal on Sunday.


Opin: Stalling Of O’Loan Report To Blame For Bad Timing

By Newton Emerson

The timing of Nuala O’Loan’s report is so bad that it is
tempting to suspect a conspiracy. In this instance those
suspicions are correct, although not in the way you might
imagine. Vested interests couldn’t possibly have conspired
to delay publication of a four-year inquiry until exactly
one week before a Sinn Fein vote on policing. They merely
conspired to delay publication for as long as possible.

Their reasons ranged from self-protection to the hope that
Sinn Fein might sign up to policing before the details

As the explosive contents of the report became apparent,
the risk of implication in deliberate delays made self-
protection the priority. It was obvious that this would
occur once the political stakes were raised by a republican
move on policing, so it is not entirely coincidental that
the report appeared at the worst possible moment.

That was always going to be the moment when officials got
cold feet over dragging their feet.

The stalling began in May 2003 when the NIO received a
request for £5 million of extra funding to support the
ombudsman’s investigation. Responsibility for this decision
fell to then secretary of state Paul Murphy, who was also
ultimately responsible for the management of informers
during part of the period under investigation. Mr Murphy
turned down the request and the resulting shortfall delayed
the inquiry by two years. Mrs O’Loan completed her
preliminary report in September 2005 and passed it to the
Public Prosecution Service (PPS), initiating another round
of stalling over the prospect of criminal charges. The PPS
received further supplementary reports in March and October
2006 and referred the matter up to the attorney general.
However, the fact that critical evidence had been destroyed
was already contained in the initial report so there was no
need for the PPS to wait a year before deciding that this
made prosecutions impossible. During that year the PPS also
freed Mark Haddock on bail while he awaited sentencing for
attempted murder, despite a PSNI warning that this would
endanger his life.

An attempt on Haddock’s life was duly made by other Mount
Vernon UVF informers. The PPS then dropped all charges
against the suspects when Haddock withdrew his statement.

If this chain of events does not constitute a conspiracy
then it represents incompetence of the highest order.

It would be useful if one of our political representatives
could ask director of public prosecutions Sir Alasdair
Fraser which explanation applies. Taken together these
unnecessary delays held back the report by more than three
years and that does not include the effect of non-
cooperation by senior retired Special Branch officers.

If the report had appeared in early 2004 it would have
predated the Leeds Castle talks, the chief constable’s
review of informers, final IRA decommissioning, the
establishment of the PPS and the last general election.
Lessons learned from the report could have been used to
consolidate these developments. Instead they were left to
lurk in the background, waiting to trip progress up – and
that is hardly the worst of it. There have been eight UVF
murders since early 2004 – not including north Belfast
schoolboy Thomas Devlin who was stabbed by youths from the
Mount Vernon estate. Could any of these deaths have been
prevented by earlier publication of the ombudsman’s report?
If the extent of the informer network had been known in
2005 it would certainly have been harder for Peter Hain to
ignore the UVF-LVF feud, during which he refused to specify
the UVF’s ceasefire and continued to fund its political
wing. Last September the Mount Vernon UVF temporarily
exiled the prime suspect in the Devlin murder but no
informer was ordered to turn Queen’s evidence and testify
to facts that the PSNI still insists it can’t bring to

The great and the good have declared that the corruption
uncovered by the ombudsman’s report is all in the past.

But dubious tactics to delay the report continued up until
last year, followed by a year of even more dubious tactics
to prevent prosecutions and concluding with an outright
refusal to hold an inquiry. Instead, relatives will have to
bring a private prosecution to uncover corruption beyond
the scope of the ombudsman’s narrow remit, leading to more
unnecessary delays and more appalling revelations coming
out at the worst possible moment.

The key lesson of the O’Loan report is that the best time
to come clean is as soon as possible but the dirty dealers
of the peace process still haven’t learned a thing.


Seamus Harvey 30th Anniversary

Photo: Gerry Adams, members of the Harvey Family and local
Sinn Féin elected representatives pictured at the memorial
dedicated to Volunteer Seamus Harvey

The 30th anniversary commemoration of IRA Volunteer Seamus
Harvey took place in Coolderry, Crossmaglen in South Armagh
last Sunday, 21 January. Over 1,000 people attended the
event which was caired by Sinn Féin Councillor Terry

Speaking at the commemoration ceremony Gerry Adams praised
Seamus Harvey, his family and all the families of the
republican patriot dead. He addressed the current
situation, the Ombudsman’s report tomorrow into the killing
of Raymond McCord jnr, and the policing debate.

Adams said: “Tomorrow the Omudsman will publish a report
into the killing of Raymond McCord jnr.– a young loyalist
killed by the UVF. The report will confirm that collusion
was an institutionalised practice involving the old RUC
Special Branch, British intelligence, mainly MI5, and the
unionist death squads.

“Over the weekend the SDLP leader, in a cynical and most
opportunistic effort sought to claim this report for the
SDLP. Nonsense! When these killings and hundreds more were
taking place the SDLP denied that there was Collusion.
Instead, as MI5 was killing our people, the SDLP were
telling us that the British were neutral.

“The real credit for the Ombudsman’s report must go to
Raymond McCord Snr and his family. They have endured much
in pursuit of the truth of their son’s killing.

“But this report is only the tip of the iceberg. And the
investigation into the activities of the Special Branch and
the UVF in north Belfast is only part of the story of

“But the truth will out. Here in South Armagh collusion was
a central part of British strategy. Their deaths squad were
active through this area.

“Their activities extended into Dublin, Dundalk and
Monaghan. Scores were killed by gangs of killers involving
loyalist death squads, the UDR, the old RUC and MI5 and
British military intelligence.

Policing debate

“Sinn Féin is committed to helping the families bereaved by
collusion. But the Ombudsman’s report also impacts directly
on the debate we will be having next Sunday at our Special
Ard Fheis on Policing. This is another reason why
republicans must take ownership of the accountability
mechanisms we have secured for policing.

Our job is to hold the police to account. Our job is to
ensure that no one within policing is able to collude with
or run death squads. That is our responsibility.

For republicans the policing debate is probably the most
challenging and difficult we have yet faced. But as we
discuss among ourselves and with our friends and comrades
and community what this means – let us also keep our eye
firmly fixed on the big prize – the prize of unity and
independence. Because everything we do is about taking us
one step closer to that goal.

“Republican strategy today is about building political
strength; popularising republican ideas; and mobilising,
organising and strategising about how we can best achieve a
free, united Ireland.

“One part of this is reaching a new peaceful accord with
our unionist neighbours based upon equality. The new
Ireland we seek to build has to be inclusive of the new
Irish, the immigrants who have come to this island in
search of a better life, as well as of unionists. This is
the context in which we must approach the issues of
policing and justice. Significant progress has been made on
key policing and justice issues in this period. The party
leadership believe this represents a sustainable basis to
deliver a new beginning to policing in the context of our
strategic objectives; the full implementation of the Good
Friday Agreement; and, moving the struggle closer to our
primary aim of Irish independence, self determination, and

Our intention, if the Ard Fheis agrees with the Ard
Chomhairle, is to ensure that no police officer ever again
does what was done to our people without being held to

I believe if we advance together, united behind our
republican goals, we will win our freedom and build the
united Ireland for which Seamus Harvey and his comrades
gave their lives

• The Crossmaglen Sinn Féin Cumann organised a tug of war
contest in memory of Seamus Harvey who was a keen
sportsman. The event attracted 16 teams to the Crossmaglen
Rangers complex. There were men, women and children
contests and the keenly contested sporting event attracted
huge interest. Pictured here a young trophy winner is
congratulated by Gerry Adams, Conor Murphy MP and Arthur
Morgan TD.

Articles may not be reproduced without the consent of An
Phoblacht. For further information, please contact


Ulster's Latest House Price Hotspot: The Shankill Road

[Published: Friday 26, January 2007 - 08:38]
By Helen Carson

Belfast's Shankill Road has made the headlines for all the
wrong reasons in recent years - but now it is one of the
city's hotspots for buying property.

"House prices here have almost doubled in the last year,"
said Erica McNeill, manager of The Mortgage Shop, which
opened its Shankill Road office last November.

Terrace houses which sold last year for £70,000 are now
achieving £130,000, and demand is high. "Properties that go
on at £100,000 are making £20,000-£30,000 over their asking
price," she said.

And it's very much a local market, with people on the
Shankill snapping up the houses within weeks of a 'For
Sale' board appearing. "There is a shortage of properties
so there is a tremendous demand for anything that goes on,
and this pushes prices up," said Erica, who added that
bidding wars are frequent.

But it's not just a case of economics. Erica believes the
Shankill Road is having something of a renaissance. In the
1950s and 60s the well-populated Shankill had a strong
community and was a vibrant place to shop.

"The majority of buyers are local and we have some
investors, but many people who left the road in the 1970s
are coming back from places like Ballyclare and Bangor,"
she said.

The massive redevelopment of the Shankill Road more than 30
years ago saw hundreds of houses demolished with most of
their occupants rehoused in and around greater Belfast.

The ensuing decades of the Troubles meant the Shankill Road
became synonymous with some of the most extreme loyalist
paramilitaries, putting many people off returning.

But now it is a very different story, and many of the new
breed of home-owner on the Shankill are Housing Executive
tenants who exercise their right to buy. "If you are living
in a Housing Executive property you are sitting on a
goldmine," said Erica. "Prices have doubled on council
houses in the last six months on the Shankill."

Many tenants are buying their home through the Right To Buy
scheme with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Despite this, however, some cultural obstacles still exist.
"This area was traditionally full of tenants, with some
families paying rent all their lives," she said.

Happily this is changing and tenants who are entitled to
discounts can buy their properties for very affordable
prices. "Rents for houses in the Shankill are around £500 a
month. You could have a mortgage for not much more - and
have something for your family."

And she is confident the Shankill will get its community
spirit of old back again, citing the Falls Road as an
example of how this type of recovery can happen.

"There are no blocked up shops on the Falls Road now. The
community there is thriving. And the Shankill will have
this in five years' time," said Erica.

"People are taking greater pride in their area. They want
to better their lifestyles, get jobs and get off benefits."

And she is the first to admit there is no shortage of much-
needed Government money being pumped into regenerating the
Shankill, but added that it is the local people's
commitment to the area which will turn the road's image

"People here don't want to go into the city centre to do
their business, they want everything to be 'on the road'."

And for this reason The Mortgage Shop offers financial
advice and expertise from Erica, while Jayne Farrell,
manager of TMS Homes, is the estate agent based at the

© Belfast Telegraph


Derry Council Implored To Change Name Despite Ruling

By Seamus McKinney

Derry City Council has been urged to press ahead with plans
to change the city’s official name despite a High Court
ruling that it is still called Londonderry.

Mr Justice Weatherup ruled yesterday that city remains
known as Londonderry regardless of a 1984 decision to drop
‘London’ from the city council’s name.

The council had sought a declaration about the legal
position of the city’s name in April 2004.

The judge said just because the council name had changed
did not mean the name specified by Royal Charter granted by
King James I in 1613 should have altered at the same time.

He said the name could only be changed through legislation
or by Royal prerogative.

Mr Justice Weatherup’s ruling was welcomed by unionists in
Derry, with DUP MP Gregory Campbell saying nationalists
should now put the issue behind them.

“For 23 years it has made us the subject not only of
division but of derision,” he said.

But nationalists said the ruling did not change the
council’s determination to change the name of the city to

Former SDLP mayor Pat Ramsey, who cosponsored the move
which led to the High Court ruling, said it clarified what
needed to be done and the council would have to see if the
issue could be moved forward.

Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell also said a council
decision that the name be changed remained in place.

“We will be insisting that the city goes down whatever is
the next avenue to address the issue,” he said.

“This politicisation of the name has led to a plethora of
names being used including the Maiden city, the Walled city
and even Stroke city.

“This has caused confusion in terms of marketing the city
as a viable brand in terms of tourism or attracting inward

Derry City Council described the ruling as important. A
spokeswoman said it provided the clarity needed for any
future decisions or actions.

“This was always the council’s position. The judgment will
be examined in full and presented to Derry City Council for
further consideration and discussion,” she said.

The Northern Ireland Office said the government recognised
the sensitive nature of the name issue but welcomed the
High Court’s clarification.


Museum Of Free Derry Launched

By Seamus McKinney

A JACKET ripped by bullet holes, a belt nicked by a fatal
shot and clothing used to stem blood from dying Bloody
Sunday victims form some of the key exhibits at the new
Museum of Free Derry.

The museum at Glenfada Park in the city’s Bogside was
officially opened last night by former Guantanamo Bay
inmate Moazzam Begg and Derry mayor Helen Quigley.

Housing a permanent exhibition detailing events in Derry
from the October 5 1968 civil rights march through to
Bloody Sunday, it attracted huge interest when it opened on
a temporary basis last year. Among the exhibits are the
coat worn by Bloody Sunday victim Jim Wray with two bullet
holes clearly visible on the back.

There is also the belt worn by Paddy Doherty bearing the
nick made by the bullet which ended his life, along with a
child’s babygrow used to staunch the wounds of the dying
Michael Kelly.

Exhibits from the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 include a
garage receipt for £65 in payment for petrol to be used for
petrol bombs at the height of the battle.

Project manager Adrian Kerr said it was the culmination of
10 years’ work by the Bloody Sunday Trust.

“It means that now we can tell the entire story whereas
before we only had room for the Bloody Sunday exhibits,” he

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To January Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?