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January 29, 2007

Adams: No Equivations for Sinn Féin

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/29/07 Adams - No Equivocation From Sinn Féin
IT 01/29/07 Adams Calls For Public To Co-Operate With PSNI
IT 01/29/07 Ahern Says DUP, British Must Take Next Steps
IT 01/29/07 SF Vote A Step Forward, Says Paisley
IN 01/29/07 Paisley Says His Party ‘Forced’ PSNI Support
IN 01/29/07 History In The Making At Ard Fheis
IN 01/29/07 Not Enough Change, Say Victim’s Family
IN 01/29/07 Mum Can’t Forgive Sinn Fein ‘Terrorists’
SF 01/29/07 Adams & McGuinness To Meet Methodist Church
BB 01/29/07 Oath Challenge Lawyer Now A Judge
IT 01/29/07 Ex-Hunger Striker Complains Over M15
BB 01/29/07 Shoukri Ordered To Go To England
IN 01/29/07 Ervine Told Of Anger Over Hunger Strike
IN 01/29/07 Bloody Sunday Victims Remembered 35 Years On
IN 01/29/07 Opin: DUP Left With Responsibilities
IN 01/29/07 Opin: DUP Must Now Commit
TH 01/29/07 Opin: Why The Unthinkable Is About To Happen
IN 01/29/07 Opin: More Topsy-Turvy Times Ahead After
BT 01/29/07 Over 5,500 Caught Using Phone While Driving
IT 01/29/07 Free Wireless Internet Planned For Dublin
ST 01/29/07 Stark Portrayal Of The Bloody Sunday March

Tomorrow in History: January 30, 1972 -- Thirteen Roman
Catholic civil-rights marchers were shot to death by
British soldiers in Northern Ireland on what became known
as "Bloody Sunday."


Adams - No Equivocation From Sinn Féin

Published: 29 January, 2007

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking today at
Stormont said:

"The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle motion was very clear and
unambiguous. And it was overwhelmingly endorsed by the
party membership at the Ard Fheis yesterday. The Ard
Chomhairle will meet tomorrow to discuss the outcome of the
Ard Fheis and its ramifications. But let me be clear. Sinn
Féin is moving forward.

"The DUP has no veto over this motion or Sinn Fein'
approach to policing. No party can lecture any other party
about law and order or set tests. The people we represent
are as law abiding as anyone else.

"The motion sets out two contexts for progress. The first,
the preferred one, is with the DUP in a power sharing
Executive as set out in the Good Friday Agreement. However,
if the DUP is unwilling to embrace power sharing then there
is a second context. The two governments need to move
forward with new all-Ireland partnership arrangements.

"Sinn Féin will work with them to assure that these
arrangements are acceptable to republicans. However,
whatever happens the DUP will have no veto, no block on
progress. And Sinn Féin is determined to move forward on
the policing issue and all other matters."

Asked about Sinn Féin's attitude to crime and the police
Mr. Adams said:

"Let me be very clear. If any citizen is the target of
crime, whether it be death riders, drug pushers or rape, or
attacks on our elderly, if there are crimes against the
people, against citizens, Sinn Fein will be urging and
encouraging victims and citizens to co-operate with the
police. There is no equivocation or qualification on this.

There are justifiable concerns about political dimensions
of policing. Collusion for example needs to be tackled but
at all of the meetings I did no one raised any question
about the need for civic policing. The PSNI need to win the
confidence of citizens. They do that by being professional,
non partisan and genuinely civic. That is a public service
for citizens."ENDS


Adams Calls For Public To Co-Operate With PSNI

Gerry Moriarty, Dan Keenan and Mark Hennessy
Tue, Jan 30, 2007

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams moved swiftly yesterday to
build on Sunday's landmark ardfheis decision to support the
police by urging immediate co-operation with the PSNI. His
comments have intensified pressure on the DUP to declare a
willingness to share power with Sinn Féin by the St Andrews
Agreement deadline of March 26th.

As of midnight last night the transitional Assembly at
Stormont was dissolved and under the St Andrews Agreement
the Assembly elections scheduled for March 7th were

British prime minister Tony Blair is expected to formally
call the elections when he meets Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in
Downing Street today.

As Northern Ireland politicians prime themselves for
Assembly elections on March 7th, Mr Adams has made it clear
that republicans should report crimes to the PSNI now.

At Stormont yesterday Mr Adams said republicans had
justifiable concerns about the PSNI around issues such as
collusion but citing crimes such as rape, attacks on the
elderly, car theft, and killings and injuries caused by so-
called joyriders whom he described as "death riders", he
said victims should seek police help.

"If anything like that happens then what Sinn Féin will be
doing will be asking people, urging people, encouraging
people to work, to co-operate with the police in taking
these people off the streets," he said.

The motion passed by the ardfheis states support for the
PSNI would "only" happen when the DUP agreed to share power
by March and to the transfer of justice powers to the
Northern executive by May 2008. Or failing that when "Plan
B" - the strengthening of British-Irish "partnership
arrangements" - was put in place.

Mr Adams, however, said that while the Sinn Féin
ardchomhairle would meet in Dublin today to decide on how
the motion would be implemented, in terms of civic policing
there was no conditionality about supporting the PSNI. He
was quizzed by reporters in the context of whether such
support applied from yesterday. "We need to depoliticise
policing and make it non-partisan," said Mr Adams. "But in
terms of civic policing, dealing with crimes against the
people, there is no equivocation, there are no
qualifications and there are no conditions."

Mr Blair indicated yesterday and is expected to emphasise
today, that if it were clear there was no chance of
powersharing government by the deadline of March 26th then
the Assembly elections would be halted.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) is today
publishing its latest report on paramilitary activity
which, senior sources say, confirms that the IRA is still
meeting its commitments.

Mr Adams upped the tactical ante yesterday by insisting he
was "not making any demands of the DUP", that it had the
choice of sharing power or accepting the alternative of
Plan B.

Sinn Féin as of now co-operating with the PSNI, the
positive IMC report, the prospect of halted elections if
the DUP does not say it will share power, and the
additional prospect of an increased role for Dublin if the
DUP does not enter government with Sinn Féin places
pressure on the DUP to be more explicit about whether it
will share power by March 26th.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson was guardedly positive
about Mr Adams's remarks without being categorical about
powersharing. "We want to see a devolved Assembly operating
with people accountable to the electorate in charge. As Dr
Paisley said if there is delivery from Sinn Féin the
Democratic Unionist Party will not be found wanting," he
told the BBC.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Ahern Says DUP, British Must Take Next Steps

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent
Tue, Jan 30, 2007

The Democratic Unionist Party and the British government
now bear responsibility for the next steps to restore
Northern Ireland's political institutions, Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern has declared.

He paid tribute to the Sinn Féin leadership "for bringing
their organisation this distance in a united way" on foot
of Sunday's overwhelming vote by the party's ardfheis to
support policing and the rule of law.

Asked if the DUP would now create new hurdles for Sinn
Féin, Mr Ahern replied: "In all the areas that Sinn Féin
said they would deliver on they have.

"There have been hiccups along the way. For people to start
saying that they again need another period is not a
reasonable position.

"I think we can take it that the position has been made,
that it is irreversible and we should move on with it," he
told journalists in Dublin.

However, Mr Ahern, who will meet British prime minister,
Tony Blair, in Downing Street tonight, made clear that the
British government now has to act, and to put pressure on
the DUP.

"I don't want to pre-empt that decision [ on whether to
call the elections for March 7th or not]. I do want to hear
the analysis of the PM before I come to that.

"I have been dealing in an effort to deliver certainty on
my side. There has been a fair amount of responsibility put
back on me by the British government, by unionists and by
loyalists over the years about the unique and special role
that I was in.

"It is now fair enough for me to say that responsibility
rests elsewhere," said Mr Ahern, who said he wanted to hear
directly from Mr Blair about the latter's frequent contacts
with the DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, over recent

He went on: "Less than two years when the bar was put up -
and I felt it was a pole-vault bar, not a high-jump bar -
when it was said we want decommissioning of republicans, we
want the IRA to make a clear and unambiguous declaration
that the struggle and the Troubles are over from their
perspective, and to see them embracing the rule of law.
That was a high bar. But we got there.

"I really think that we have to move quickly and speedily
and in line with British legislation. British legislation
now predetermines that these things happen, that the
powersharing executive be set up." While not expecting the
DUP to announce that it will definitely enter into
powersharing with Sinn Féin after the election, the
Government is concerned that it does nothing to rule it out
during the campaign itself.

Under the terms of the St Andrews Agreement, the election
can be abandoned - even after it has been officially called
- if parties do not run with the intent of joining a
powersharing administration.

Though the Taoiseach was quick to praise the Sinn Féin
leadership on foot of Sunday's result, Tánaiste and
Progressive Democrats leader, Michael McDowell, said it was
"a tragedy" that it had not happened years earlier.

"I welcome the decision of anybody to uphold the rule of
law and to respect the police force of Northern Ireland. I
believe it is important that this is made clear, but what I
would say is that it is a terrible tragedy that it wasn't
done five, or seven years ago in the immediate aftermath of
the Good Friday agreement."

© 2007 The Irish Times


SF Vote A Step Forward, Says Paisley

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Sinn Féin's decision to get involved in policing is a step
forward, the Rev Ian Paisley acknowledged today.

But the Democratic Unionist leader insisted the republicans
have to deliver co-operation with the police on the ground
if there is to be political progress at Stormont.

He also stated his belief that Assembly Elections scheduled
for March 7th would go ahead.

Dr Paisley said: "We have made headway. I wouldn't deny
that. If you had told me 20 years ago that they
[republicans] would be repudiating the very fundamentals of
Sinn Féin/IRA, I would have laughed but that is what they
have done.

"Of course, they have done it on a post-dated cheque. Now a
post-dated cheque is no good to you until the day comes and
the time for paying out. They have to pay out now.

"I talked to the prime minister this morning and I put it
to him that I thought I had spelt it out in plain language
that our demands were a return to pure democracy . . . that
they [Sinn Féin] accept . . . the police, the law
enforcement officers of the crown and the courts and the
rules of law," the DUP leader said.

"That is not asking anything of anybody, really. It is the
done thing."

Dr Paisley was commenting after the vast majority of
delegates at a special Sinn Féin conference voted to
support their leader Gerry Adams's call on republicans to
support the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin's motion made its pledge of support to the police
conditional on either of two scenarios.

The party's preferred situation would be devolved
government returning to Northern Ireland on March 26th with
a guarantee that Stormont ministers would have policing and
justice powers transferred to them from Westminster by May

Alternatively, the party also agreed to consider supporting
the police if, in the event of there being no power-sharing
government, Mr Blair and the Taoiseach bring forward joint
partnership proposals acceptable to republicans.

The party's move has been welcomed by Mr Blair, Bertie
Ahern and Sir Hugh Orde, but it has been criticised by some
former republican comrades.

Earlier today, former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough confirmed
he would stand against Sinn Féin in the Fermanagh and South
Tyrone constituency in the upcoming Assembly election.

© 2007


Paisley Says His Party ‘Forced’ PSNI Support

By Staff Reporter

DEMOCRATIC Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley last night
said his party had forced republicans to recognise the

Speaking in the wake of the Sinn Fein ard fheis at which
delegates voted overwhelmingly to work with the PSNI, Mr
Paisley said the time for true and visible Sinn Fein
support for policing had arrived.

“The DUP has forced Sinn Fein to recognise support for the
police and the rule of law as an issue of paramount
importance for which there can be no other way,” he said.

“Sinn Fein must now walk this road.

“No post-dated action can take the place of real delivery.

“The postponements must come to an end.

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

Mr Paisley said anything less than full implementation of
Sinn Fein’s commitments would render yesterday’s vote

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

“The site must be cleared before proper building can begin.

“All Ulster people, across both the religious and political
divides, know that it is now or never.”

Party colleague and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said
the DUP “would not be found wanting” in its response if
there was “quality delivery” from Sinn Fein.

In relation to the March 26 deadline for restoring the
assembly and executive, Mr Donaldson said the “ball was
still firmly in their [Sinn Fein’s] court, in terms of
actions on the ground”.

He referred to the case of the Belfast man Robert
McCartney, who was killed two years ago.

“The McCartney family want to see Sinn Fein cooperating
with the police,” Mr Donaldson said.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey said the Sinn
Fein vote on policing was a “massive step change in the
republican psyche”.

“They have used this card as leverage and government has
run, bent over backwards and offered sweetener after
sweetener to them when there was no necessity to do so in
order for them to show their hand,” he said.

“Nonetheless, today’s move is a massive step change in the

republican psyche. It is an admission that the violent
‘cause’ has been abandoned and that Sinn Fein are prepared
to support the forces of law and order in this part of the
United Kingdom.”

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde also welcomed the Sinn Fein

He said everybody was entitled to a policing service.

“I have always said that no ideology or individual should
stand between the public and that service and that the
community is entitled to have their public representatives
hold this police service to account,” he said.

“I believe that the community has recognised for some time
now the value and importance of the professional and
dedicated service provided by the officers and staff of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland on a daily basis.”

Secretary of State Peter Hain said the step was a

“This overwhelming endorsement of the Sinn Fein
leadership’s support for policing and the courts puts
Northern Ireland in a place where it has never been
before,” he said.

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

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

Ruairi O Bradaigh, president of Republican Sinn Fein,
condemned the move by Mr Adams’s party.

“The British will seek to have them complete the work of
collaboration by steeping their hands in the blood of Irish
republican activists,” Mr O Bradaigh said.

“That is the lesson of history which has been borne out
step by step since 1986.

“Ultimately the Provos will be indistinguishable from the
unionists in their support for British rule in Ireland.”


History In The Making At Ard Fheis

By William Graham

IT ALL started with some traditional tunes on the uilleann
pipes, then moved to the serious business of the policing
debate and ended with the Labi Siffre song Something Inside
So Strong blasting through the loudspeakers.

This was a special Sinn Fein ard fheis 2007-style and the
outcome was a seismic shift on policing by the modernists
inside republicanism and by the traditionalists as well.

A couple of thousand people packed the Royal Dublin Society
conference hall for what at times was an emotional but
fairly calm debate on policing, the outcome of which has
the potential to change the political landscape in the

In the morning Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was first up
on the platform, dressed in a sober dark suit, to deliver
his detailed assessment of the policing issue.

He was followed by a long line of speakers stretching well
down the hallway. Time was called late in the afternoon and
a proposal was put to go to the vote.

Then the long-awaited moment in Irish politics arrived as
1,000 delegates put their hands in the air and held up
their voting cards.

There was no need for the tellers to be called to take a
card count because the vast majority, perhaps between 85
and 90 per cent, was in favour of the Sinn Fein
leadership’s strategy on policing.

The cameras turned from the voters to the stage as a
relieved Mr Adams stood to acknowledge the standing ovation
and be embraced by his ard chomhairle colleagues.

This was Irish history in the making – and as far as Sinn
Fein is concerned it is now over to Democratic Unionist
Party leader Ian Paisley and whether or not his party will
now keep its side of the political bargain and go into a
power-sharing government at Stormont.

It was an interesting day on the Irish political landscape
ahead of a crucial week awaiting the reaction from the DUP
and the final session of the transitional assembly at
Stormont before the parties head out on the election trail.


Not Enough Change, Say Victim’s Family

By Marie Louise McCrory

The family of the first civilian victim of the Troubles –
who died after he was beaten by the RUC – have said they
don’t believe there had been enough change in policing.

Samuel Devenney (42), a father-of-nine from Derry, suffered
internal injuries, a possible fracture to the skull and
damage to his eyes and mouth when he was beaten up in his
own home by members of the RUC in 1969.

He had been standing at the front door of his home in
William Street on April 19 when RUC officers burst in
chasing a number of young people, several of whom ran into
the house.

Other members of the family were also injured in the

It was said Mr Devenney and his family were beaten with
batons. He died three months later.

The inquest attributed the death to natural causes.

An investigation into the death by Police Ombudsman Nuala
O’Loan in 2001 found there had been a wall of silence by
police officers during an investigation at the time of Mr
Devenney’s death.

On the day Sinn Fein asked its members to support policing
in Dublin, Mr Devenney’s son Harry last night said he did
not believe there had been enough change in the police.

“These people are telling us they’ve changed, that they are
not the RUC any more,” he said.

“There is a chunk who are still the RUC.

“There was a conspiracy of silence in 1969 right up to the
British government. That conspiracy of silence is still

“Nuala O’Loan found massive, massive barriers. It was very,
very disturbing.”


Mum Can’t Forgive Sinn Fein ‘Terrorists’

By Staff Reporter

The mother of an RUC reservist shot dead in Lurgan in 1997
says she finds it impossible to accept Sinn Fein having a
say in policing matters.

Thelma Johnston’s son David was shot dead alongside full-
time RUC constable John Graham, while on foot patrol in the
centre of Lurgan.

The two men were the last policemen to be shot by the IRA
before the second ceasefire came into effect three days
later on July 20 1997.

Mrs Johnston says she feels Sinn Fein politicians sitting
on the Policing Board “besmirches” the memory of her dead

“My son was murdered by the IRA at the very time when peace
talks with the Labour government were taking place,” she

“I find that so hard to come to terms with. I’m still
getting counselling; 10 years on the pain is still very

“For me I’m stuck in that day 10 years ago when my child
was taken

from me.

“As far as I am concerned these people are terrorists and
members of the same IRA that murdered my David.”

Mrs Johnston said she still carried the Irish News front
page with a picture of her son lying dead in the street
with a blanket over him.

“I can’t get past that image. It besmirches the name of the
RUC that my son served to allow Sinn Fein to have any say
in policing. David and John were respected by all the
community; people from all over Lurgan came to his

She said she still awoke each Monday morning to think “this
was the day my David was murdered”.

Mrs Johnston said: “For me moving on is not that easy. I
can’t forgive and forget. I can only be honest to myself
and that’s how I feel.”


Adams And McGuinness To Meet Methodist Church In West

Published: 29 January, 2007

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will meet the leadership of
the Methodist Church in Ireland tomorrow, Tuesday 30th
January, at 9am in the party's Sevastopol Street Offices on
the Falls Road, Belfast.

The Sinn Féin delegation will include: Gerry Adams MP MLA,
Martin McGuinness MP MLA, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA,
Martina Anderson (Director of Unionist engagement) Cllr Tom
Hartley and Cllr Carol Ni Chuilin.

The Methodist delegation will include: Rev Harold Good, Rev
Dr Fred Munce, Rev Bob Stout, Dr Gwyneth Hines and Rev
Henry Keyes.


Oath Challenge Lawyer Now A Judge

A barrister who won a landmark legal action not to swear
allegiance to the Queen has become a high court judge.

In 2000, Seamus Treacy and another barrister successfully
challenged the royal oath barristers had to make before
they could be a Queen's Counsel.

They said the declaration to serve the Queen discriminated
against them as nationalists and was an affront to their
political sensibilities.

Mr Treacy was sworn in as a judge at a private ceremony in
the high court.

Seven years ago Mr Treacy and colleague Barry Macdonald
applied for a judicial review of the decision to retain the
declaration to "well and truly serve Queen Elizabeth II".

It had been retained in spite of a recommendation by the
Elliott Committee - composed of members of the Bar Council
- that any reference to the Queen should be dropped.

In June 2000, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, announced
that Northern Ireland's barristers would no longer have to
swear to serve the Queen.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/29 16:56:16 GMT


Ex-Hunger Striker Complains Over M15

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

A formal complaint against MI5 officers who detained a
republican ex-prisoner at Belfast International Airport was
tonight made to a tribunal set up to monitor the activities
of the Intelligence Services.

Solicitors acting for IRA Maze Prison hunger striker
Bernard Fox lodged the complaint over his treatment with
the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

Madden & Finucane said Mr Fox was detained at the airport
by customs officials while returning from a family holiday
last Friday before being questioned by two individuals who
identified themselves as being members of MI5.

They said Mr Fox was subjected to a series of bizarre
questions relating to the peace process and the current
political situation.

"Our client instructs us that whist being held in an
interview room he repeatedly enquired if he was under
arrest and that he wanted his solicitor notified and
present with him," said Madden & Finucane.

They added that when Mr Fox said he was leaving the
interview room the MI5 officers attempted to give him a
telephone number on which he could contact them and as he
left the terminal the registration number of the car he was
travelling in was noted by police.

His solicitor Ciaran Shiels said the practice had written
to the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the airport
and lodged a formal complaint with the tribunal.

"We consider that he was held in circumstances which amount
to unlawful detention. We have requested that the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal investigate this incident as
a matter of urgency."

MI5 is taking over responsibility for intelligence
gathering from the police in Northern Ireland just as
responsibility for policing is due to be devolved to a
local power-sharing executive next year under plans which
the Government hopes will now go ahead following Sinn
Fein's vote at the weekend to support the police.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal was set up under the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. It exists to
investigate complaints against various bodies including the
Intelligence Services and law enforcement agencies and to
ensure they use their powers correctly.

© 2007


Shoukri Ordered To Go To England

Belfast loyalist Ihab Shoukri has been granted bail in the
High Court.

He was ordered to live in England after a judge refused to
consider intelligence documents supporting claims he is a
leading paramilitary.

Mr Shoukri was previously refused bail three times on
charges arising from a raid on a Tiger's Bay bar last

In light of the on-going risks to his life, he was released
on his own bail of £500 but ordered to live in England at
an address approved by the police.

Prosecution counsel told the hearing in Belfast on Monday
that he had intelligence documents which, he claimed, would
prove Mr Shoukri was "not an ordinary paramilitary but a
leading paramilitary".

But a defence lawyer said the three page-document was not
being presented as evidence in the Crown court against him
and should, therefore, not be considered in the bail

Granting bail, Mr Justice Weatherup said that due to "the
climate of today", he would not accept the intelligence

Mr Shoukri was also banned from associating with his co-
accused "either directly or indirectly" and was told to
obey a curfew and report to police on a daily basis.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/01/29 13:58:34 GMT



Ervine Told Of Anger Over Hunger Strike

By Margaret Canning

In one of his final public comments before his death, the
late PUP leader David Ervine said he continued to feel
angered by what he claimed was a failure to foresee the
consequences of the republican Hunger Strike of 1981.

He made the remark in a review of Hunger Strike:
Reflections on the 1981 Republican Hunger Strike, a book of
essays edited by former Sinn Fein director of publicity
Danny Morrison.

The review, which Mr Ervine submitted just five days before
his death earlier this month, appears in the first edition
of the new literary magazine Verbal.

He wrote that memories of the Hunger Strike provoked mixed

Mr Ervine said the general theme of the book – that the
Hunger Strike changed the north beyond recognition – could
not be questioned but he believed the book failed to
address what he regarded as the short-sightedness of pol-
iticians who did not recognise the potential fallout.

He said that at the time of Bobby Sands’s death on May 5
1981 he was working as a milkman after his release from
Long Kesh where he had served time for possession of
explosives. He could sense the growing momentum of the
republican movement as the strike continued.

Mr Ervine said he believed that the Labour government of
1976 had set back the prospects of peace by depriving
paramilitary prisoners of special category status.

Verbal editor Garbhan Downey said Mr Ervine ag-reed
immediately to write the piece after being invited to do so
in November.

“The review, as you might expect, is evocative, lyrical,
wise, scrupulously fair and genuinely conciliatory,” Mr
Downey, a former journalist with The Irish News, said.

Mr Ervine died three weeks ago after suffering a heart at-
tack, stroke and brain hae-mhorrage.

Novelist Edna O’Brien, playwright Peter Sheridan, singer
Christy Moore and Labour Party grandee Tony Benn are among
the contributors to the book.

Last year Mr Morrison denied claims by Richard O’Rawe, who
was public relations officer for the prisoners, that the
IRA leadership had turned down a deal with the British
government which could have prevented the deaths of six of
the prisoners.


Bloody Sunday Victims Remembered 35 Years On

By Margaret Canning

THE 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday was marked with a
rally in Derry yesterday. A massive crowd, be-lieved to
have been larger than last year’s, retraced the steps of
the civil rights and anti-internment marchers of January 30
1972 from Creggan to the Bogside.

Thirteen male protesters, including seven teenagers, were
shot dead by members of the 1st Battalion of the British
Parachute Regiment that day. A 14th man died of his
injuries later.

Sinn Fein’s director of unionist outreach, Martina
Anderson, and SDLP councillor Sharon Haughey add-ressed the
crowd yesterday.

Miss Haughey said it was a “great privilege” to speak on
behalf of her party.

Addressing the relatives of those who died, she said she
was “inspired by your cour-age in the face of heartbreak,
your dignity in response to cruel insult and calculated
attack, your dogged determination in spite of setback, let-
down and cover-up”.

“All victims and survivors must have their right to truth
and justice upheld, not overlooked, through a truth
recovery process shaped by victims for victims,” she said.

At Sinn Fein’s ard fheis on policing in Dublin earlier
yesterday Ms Anderson had urged delegates to back the
motion to support policing.

“If the lessons of Bloody Sunday thought us anything it is
that we must hold those in power to account,” she said.

For the first time, none of the Sinn Fein leadership att-
ended the annual rally as it clashed with the ard fheis.

A representative of the Shell To Sea campaign briefly add-
ressed the crowd.

Police said one juvenile and an adult were arrested for
riotous behaviour after stone and bottle throwing in
Taylors Row and Butcher Street at around 5pm.

A vehicle was also damaged in Magazine Street. The
disturbances were thought to be unrelated to the rally.

A report by Lord Saville into the Bloody Sunday killings

is expected to be published early next year.

Earlier this month John Kelly, whose brother Michael (17)
was killed, said the victims’ families had hoped the report
would be published early this year but remained determined
to uncover the truth.


Opin: DUP Left Coming To Terms With Responsibilities

The Monday Column
Roy Garland

The Sinn Fein ard fheis has faced a momentous and far
reaching decision to support policing and criminal justice,
to participate on policing boards and to authorise Sinn
Fein ministers to take a pledge of office to support law
and order.

Having done so, Sinn Fein and other politicians can hold
the police and courts to account in the interests of
everyone in this society.

It gives me some satisfaction, after at times being
pilloried by DUP activists for suggesting Sinn Fein might
be serious in their quest, to see DUP politicians now
struggling to come to terms with their own

They are to be tested because as always, there are provisos
that power sharing arrangements are in place and that the
ard chomhairle is satisfied that policing and justice
powers will be transferred.

It has been a long and difficult learning curve and many
DUP grass roots must be reeling from the realisation that
their leadership is seriously contemplating sharing power
with republicans. To be fair the DUP do require practical
assurance that Sinn Fein are indeed for real and that their
decision will have tangible outcomes.

On the other hand, dissident republicans feel betrayed but
many remain blinded by reactionary ideology.

In conversations some time ago I was struck by the
similarity in some of their approaches with that of certain
fundamentalist Protestants. In their absolute subservience
to supposedly sacred texts there were clear echoes of those
religious fundamentalists who see the authorised version of
the Bible as a clear, inerrant and infallible authority.

Dissident republicans make gods of particular texts
relating to

1916-1919 which keep them in the same kind of pit that a
certain type of Protestant fundamentalism was stuck until

While we must learn from the past we need not live there
and instead must ditch the sacred cows that divide us as we
look to the future welfare of all our people.

Until recently the DUP leadership remained blinkered by
their past and convinced that we were moving inexorably
towards a 32-county single Irish state. All change was
interpreted as decay and decline. Now belatedly their
leadership can see new possibilities.

Many republican dissidents still see change as an attack on
their dreams of unity and separatism.

But the truth is that unity of the people becomes more
likely whereas separatism has long been a dead duck.

In today’s world independence has been replaced by the
reality of interdependence.

Even in terms of the environment, activities in distant
parts affect us here and our excess consumption of scarce
resources has repercussions in far flung places.

We only exist in relationships for no man is an island and
no nation is unconnected with the flow of humanity. For
individuals as for peoples, independence is obsolete. The
way forward – as set out in the Agreement and accepted by
Sinn Fein – is through constructive relationships between
our communities reaching out both north/south and

We must cherish the children of all the nations.

Territorial Irish unity could never be forced through armed
struggle. It was tried and failed.

The decades of barren conflict brought too much pain and

True unity between people can never be built on coercion.

The old IRA realised long ago that hearts and minds had to
be won rather than trampled on.

The Provisional campaign dragged on and on before it slowly
dawned on people that while violence might inspire martyrs
and stimulate blood sacrifices, it could never create a
better Ireland.

One had to live for Ireland – not die for it.

Violence intensified resistance, heightened insecurity and
divided people.

Whatever shape the future takes it has to be shared.

People must make space for others and encourage them to
move out of their bunkers and into the light of new
relationships. The British government clearly has no
selfish strategic or economic interest here and, it would
seem, neither has the Republic. That is not to say they
have no interest.

Both states appear to have a major interest in promoting a
stable, open, outward-looking and developing Northern
Ireland. This island without her people is nothing and the
people’s good is best served through constructive and
wholesome relationships stretching across the islands.

We must sustain the vision of unity in diversity between
the peoples of our islands and this appears to have been
accepted in Sinn Fein’s ard fheis motion.


Opin: DUP Must Now Commit


The positive outcome to last night’s Sinn Fein vote on
policing has to be regarded as providing a strong opp-
ortunity for wider political progress.

While many observers will believe that republicans should
have endorsed our new policing structures at an earlier
stage, there is still never a wrong time to do the right

It must be accepted that Sinn Fein faced a range of
challenges on the issue, as last week’s report from Police
Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan yet again illustrated.

However, the very fact that Mrs O’Loan was able to expose
the truth, no matter how unpalatable it might be, demon-
strated the full extent of the changes which have swept
over the policing debate since the Patten report of 1999
and the replacement of the RUC by the PSNI two years later.

The RUC contained many courageous and principled officers,
who had to bury 302 murdered colleagues during an en-tirely
unjustifiable campaign of violence by paramilitary groups.

Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons, the RUC drew
its membership almost entirely from one side of a divided

Its structures were also deficient in a number of key
areas, and the introduction of reforms, leading to the
launch of a new police service, became essential.

In the relatively recent past unionists were demanding that
the RUC must be re-tained completely intact while
republicans insisted that they could not give allegiance to
any form of police service within Northern Ireland.

Both positions had to change if a partnership
administration at Stormont was ever to have firm
foundations, and all our main parties deserve considerable
credit for the maturity they have dis-played along the way.

The spotlight has been firmly on Sinn Fein in recent
months, and perhaps in-evitably a minority of party
activists felt they could not accept what was being

At the same time, the lack of a credible alternative to the
motion which was passed last night was emphasised when one
departing figure suggested that a stage when the PSNI could
be supported had not arrived and might never materialise.

It is more than 12 years since the IRA called what was
supposed to be a com-plete and permanent ceasefire,
indicating beyond doubt that republicans were moving into
the constitutional arena.

If another 12 years could be required for further
consideration, are we seriously expected to continue
arguing over polic-ing until somewhere around the year

Sinn Fein is now ready to join the SDLP, the DUP and the
Ulster Unionists on the Policing Board, and the body will
be more representative and effective as a result.

A firm and unequivocal DUP commit-ment to power sharing is
the next logical step forward, and it deserves to follow


Opin: Why The Unthinkable Is About To Happen

Ian Bell January 30 2007

It will be ironic if Tony Blair's elusive legacy is
located, finally, at Stormont. A terrorist campaign more
efficient and lethal than anything in Islamic
fundamentalism is brought to a peaceful, negotiated
conclusion. A movement founded on the rejection of British
values is reconciled, finally, with British institutions.
When he comes to write his memoirs, Blair might stop to
wonder how he did it.

He did not do it alone, of course. Gerry Adams may never
knowingly risk a vote he could lose, but the decision on
Sunday by Sinn Fein's Dublin Ard Fheis (conference) to co-
operate with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
is a triumph for political evolution. As so often before,
yesterday's terrorist has become today's statesman.

In the space of 20 years, Irish Republicanism has
recognised the legitimacy of the Dail, discarded the gun,
negotiated with Unionism, embraced coalition with Ian
Paisley and accepted a central tenet of democracy: the rule
of law. And, no mere detail, Adams is still alive.

Dr Paisley will claim his share of the credit unaided. He
will present a lifetime spent saying no as a necessary
preparation for final, gracious assent. He will boast that
because he has never deviated in his distaste for Roman
Catholicism he has brought Catholic Nationalists to heel.
Then he will deviate, and deviate some more. When the
blackly comic photograph is taken at last, more than a few
supporters of the Democratic Unionist Party will avert
their eyes.

After all, if - always have a supply of qualifications to
hand where the north of Ireland is concerned - Sinn Fein's
resolve holds, there will be elections on March 7. If - and
never say ever, in these matters - the DUP fails to find a
new reason to delay the horror, a power-sharing executive
will be formed on March 26. The doctor will become First

Yet there at his side in the photograph, fresh from the
cut-and- paste of history's Photoshop, will be Martin
McGuinness, IRA commander and proud deputy leader of a
devolved government under the British Crown. Upwards of
3000 will have died over 30-odd years for the sake of
surrealism, belated pragmatism and an administrative

Paisley and McGuinness boast nothing in the way of joint
policies, of course. No-one knows if they can work together
for more than five minutes. For example, Sinn Fein's
leadership claimed on Sunday that the point of accepting
the PSNI was to clean up policing, not least after the
recent revelations of Loyalist death squads sponsored by
the Special Branch. Paisley's Unionist constituents, with
memories of 300 police officers killed at IRA hands, will
take a different view.

Upwards of 3000 will have died over 30-odd years for the
sake of surrealism

That's just the start. It is, however, a real start after
innumerable false dawns. The Provos, most of them, have
been on ceasefire since 1997; the Good Friday Agreement was
signed as long ago as April, 1998. In July of 2005, the
IRA's Army Council declared that its campaign to end
British rule was at an end. Yet still the haggling went on.
Adams cajoled and wooed the Republican movement. Paisley
blustered and bullied, yet prepared to accept the
inevitable. Controversies came and went, but the essential
facts survived.

The strategy being pursued by Adams will not drive Britain
from the island of Ireland any time soon: Republican
purists are right about that. Their problem is that "armed
struggle" was, if anything, even less profitable. Many
volunteers died, and for what? Another heave? Another
bombing "spectacular" more staggering than the last? Long
before many of their followers, Adams and McGuinness
realised that Republicanism was becoming nihilism by
another name. It had to stop.

When it stopped, Paisley inherited the problem. Mere
bigotry is sustainable when you decline to participate in
the political process. When you aspire to power, you aspire
to democratic respectability. You cannot simply refuse to
co-operate with "them" just because of who they are, not in
the real world, not if they have a mandate, not if they
insist on passing every test of political legitimacy. Adams
and McGuinness have deprived the doctor of his excuses.

Yesterday, the best that the DUP could manage was the
insistence that Sinn Fein's words must be matched by
"actions on the ground" and an "end to criminality". But
otherwise - teeth may have been gritted - the "move towards
government" would be accepted "positively". Having defeated
the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the struggle for the
Protestant vote, the DUP now bears the burden of

Some among them won't care for that. Let us be blunt: they
don't like Catholics. Some Republicans, equally, are liable
to detect another historic betrayal of the old cause and
return to the malevolent fringes. Let's be equally frank:
if you exist only to "get the Brits out", anything less is
liable to sound disappointing, and deeply infuriating.
Dissidents on both sides could still provide the main
protagonists with familiar excuses to renege.

The fact remains that Paisley, Adams and McGuinness, the
erstwhile extremists, are the only game in town. The UUP
and the theoretically-Nationalist SDLP have only a middle-
class appeal. Their memberships are ageing and shrinking.
Other minority parties, meanwhile, have no real traction.
The IRA is on ceasefire; Loyalist gangs are imploding and
returning to gangsterism. Politics, to the relief of the
people of the province, is beginning to resemble something
normal, ordinary and dull.

Sinn Fein could not have hoped to enter government while
boycotting the institutions of justice: such gestures no
longer apply, and no longer make sense. The DUP, equally,
could not hope to "speak for Ulster" while gerrymandering
the facts of political life in Northern Ireland: Catholics,
in increasing numbers, tend to vote. So the old enemies are
locked together, each convinced that the upper hand is

Just in case London and Dublin have failed to notice, Adams
is pursuing a two-state solution. The Republic will go to
the polls this summer. A newly-respectable and acceptable
Sinn Fein might hope to win 10 to a dozen seats in the
Dail. That would not turn the world upside down, but it
could give the party a place in a coalition government
reaching out, economically and politically - the process
has already begun - to Stormont. And who would be the
junior partner in that northern administration?

Paisley, for his part, will be gone, soon enough, mourned
by some. In the meantime, his successors grow accustomed to
the political realities the old man spent a lifetime
despising and, latterly, accommodating. The Irish state is
modern, successful, European and just down the road.
Mainland Britain, oceans apart, hopes merely to hear less
of its province in Ireland in years to come, but,
meanwhile, stakes no inalienable claim. The old contours
become visible once more.

The IRA did not win Sinn Fein a place in Stormont, but a
place in Stormont may do more than the Provos ever did, one
day, to reunite Ireland. As though in mirror image,
Paisley's lifetime of opposition and rejection may yet
conclude with two communities bound more closely together
than ever before. Two ironies for the price of one society.

In the meantime, expect another minor crisis, another war
of words, another round of brinksmanship. Expect some
meaningless violence, too. Nothing happens overnight in
Northern Ireland. But never entertain the fiction that
nothing ever happens


Opin: More Topsy-Turvy Times Ahead After Revelations

By Tom Kelly

The revelations about collusion between police and
paramilitaries in the Police Ombudsman’s report will hardly
surprise anyone living in Northern Ireland.

Nevertheless to see it documented, researched and presented
in such a professional and dignified way by Mrs O’Loan
makes all of us feel somewhat sullied and let down by the
forces of law and order.

In fairness the revelations prove beyond doubt that the
policing architecture established after Patten actually
work and that today we have one of the most scrutinised
police services anywhere in the world.

Would the old Police Authority have responded as quickly as
the new Policing Board in implementing the changes as
recommended by Mrs O’Loan? Somehow one doubts it.

Mark Durkan was right when he said that as far as policing
goes all the ‘heavy lifting’ was done by the SDLP and those
who embraced the Patten proposals.

The most worrying aspect of the O’Loan report was that the
ombudsman was only looking at the operations of one part of
Special Branch and one small but out of control UVF Unit,
in one very small part of Belfast.

Only a few days before the launch of her report the great
and the good lined up to attend the funeral of David

I mentioned at the time that I felt queasy watching the
spectacle, though I know that some of those present felt
even more uncomfortable sharing space with the very obvious
UVF contingent also at the funeral. They should be

They should be uncomfortable having a member of the PUP on
the Policing Board while the UVF is still active but then
again we are living in ‘topsy-turvy’ land where anything
that would be normal anywhere else in the world is stood on
its head.

Mr McCord too, deserves a lot of credit for pursuing with
such tenacity justice for his murdered son.

Yet these days we are told people who once were apologists
for terrorists are ‘remarkable’. I could think of a few
adjectives to describe them but remarkable would not be
among them.

Given the alleged and admitted roles of Freddie Scappaticci
and Denis Donaldson as British agents within the
Provisional movement, some people attending yesterday’s
special ard fheis must have given the odd glance around the
room wondering how many more ‘comrades’ are still in the
pay of the intelligence services.

The logical outcome of the O’Loan report points to
widespread collusion between some members of the security
forces and paramilitaries; that some police and UDR shared
the anti republican sympathies of loyalist paramilitaries
is even in less doubt. The way that some unionist
politicians reacted to the O’Loan report was disgraceful
and actually besmirched and insulted the thousands of good,
decent police officers who served the community to the best
of their ability throughout the troubles.

Thinking back to the 1980s and 1990s and the murders of
Catholic civilian workers or those working in the court
system or even Catholic police officers – one wonders how
many of them may have been sacrificed to maintain the
reputations and standing of informers within the
Provisional IRA? Anyone who believes that collusion is an
issue solely concerning police and loyalist paramilitaries
is delusional; it was as rampant within the ranks of the
IRA and to their handlers it did not matter who got in the

Even the paramilitaries colluded across the divide to set
up and remove bothersome comrades. There is no code of
honour in the world of informants – they sell to the
highest bidder and usually once sold they don’t have the
loyalty to stay bought.

Watching former senior RUC officers trail themselves around
TV studios to explain their alleged non cooperation with
the ombudsman’s investigation made for very uncomfortable
viewing. Even more uncomfortable was watching the report
being shelved by government as its ink was still drying.

Nonetheless Mrs O’Loan has lifted a lid on a shameful and
dirty chapter in our recent past which will not be easily
put down.

The problem for such reports is that they can appear to be
very one sided. Of course while that is unfortunate, it’s a
consequence of participating in a political process which
has no mechanism for getting answers or justice for the
actions of paramilitaries.

Notwithstanding that, the work of the ombudsman must
continue to highlight shortcomings which impede the
progress of good policing because, as John F Kennedy once
said, we are free to disagree with the law but not to
disobey it.


Over 5,500 Caught Using Phone While Driving Since Ban Was

[Published: Monday 29, January 2007 - 17:46]

More than 5,500 people have been caught using their mobile
phone behind the wheel since it was outlawed.

The first official garda figures to have been released
following introduction of the ban on mobiles last September
were published this afternoon.

Improved enforcement lead to significant increases in the
number of speeding, drink driving, and seatbelt detections
last year compared with 2005.

© Belfast Telegraph


Free Wireless Internet Access Service Planned For Dublin

Ciarán Brennan
Tue, Jan 30, 2007

Dubliners can look forward to free wireless internet access
anywhere in the capital if Dublin City Council goes ahead
with plans to launch a WiFi internet service.

Such a service would allow everyone from commuters on buses
to tourists in city parks to access the web from wireless

The council has tendered for consultants to offer advice
regarding regulatory, technological and financial issues
surrounding the deployment of a citywide wireless
broadband-access service.

"Many European and US cities have set up citywide WiFi
networks which are independent of the private sector," said
Brian Curtis, Dublin City Council's IT manager. "We have a
tender out for advisers to give independent advice on a
number of issues around citywide WiFi access."

The consultants are expected to be appointed in the next
four to five weeks and will report their findings to the
council at the end of June, said Mr Curtis.

WiFi allows you to access the internet without the need for
wires. Hotspots, or areas that offer WiFi access, can be
found in selected locations in the capital such as
libraries, hotels, conference centres, cafes and public
buildings. However, the city council's plans would allow
internet access from anywhere in the city.

Building a WiFi network for a city the size of Dublin could
cost between €12 million and €20 million, according to Mr

As well as Dublin residents, the service could be accessed
by tourists, business people visiting the city, mobile
workers and the voluntary sector. A number of commercial
companies in Ireland already provide wireless internet

Mr Curtis said the council's network was not intended to
provide competition to commercial operators already
offering wireless and fixed line services.

Digiweb head of strategic development John Quinn said that,
because the council's WiFi service would typically be in
the unlicensed radio spectrum, it would not impact on more
secure licensed commercial operators.

"The challenge, in particular in Ireland, for WiFi is
managing unlicensed spectrum and there is no real way to do
this," he said. "Because it is an unlicensed network, you
don't protect the operator and users are competing with a
lot of other radio traffic and congestion in that space."

However, he said he would support any initiative that
encourages broadband take-up in Ireland.

"By using WiFi hotspots, people would be encouraged to take
up superior high-speed connection at home or in the
workplace from providers such as Digiweb."

© 2007 The Irish Times


Stark Portrayal Of The Bloody Sunday March

By Jane Clifton

It would be hard to think of a more powerful piece of
television spanning recent history than TV One's Bloody
Sunday, (Sunday, 8.30pm). Students of the piece of history
depicted, the massacre of marching civil rights protestors
in Derry in 1972, might find plenty of bias in the

The array of British Army bosses featured a pompous
blowhard, and a vascillating toff, which is all a bit
familiar and predictable. But maybe that's exactly what
they were like. And overall, the account was strangely
balanced, even the portrayal of the paratroopers who ran
amok, gunning down nearly 30 demonstrators, 14 of whom

To be churlish for a minute, TVNZ took its time getting
around to showing us this tele-movie. It's five years old,
produced to mark the 30th anniversay of the Derry march.
Better late than never, and at least the programmers found
a slot within coee of the actual anniversary.

It was a tough watch for a Sunday night, when we've grown
used to being jollied toward another working week by much
lighter fare.

But the huge value of programmes like this is that they
bring history to life with a vividness no documentary or
CNN report can ever match.

Like the superb British series Warriors, which explored the
United Nations' failure in the Balkans, and the American
series, Band of Brothers, Bloody Sunday took us right into
the old news footage and the Time magazine photos, and made
them come alive. The stark grimness of 1970s Northern
Ireland streets, which we only glimpsed in black and white
TV at the time, turn out, according to this portrayal, to
be pretty well colourless in reality. The houses and roads
are dingy, the clothes drab, the people unambitious, but
not yet completely downtrodden. Not yet, because they still
believe that their country, arbitrarily partitioned by the
British, will be restored to them – or at least that they
might salvage their status in that country.

The central character for the purposes of narration here is
the Protestant MP Ivan Cooper, who believed passionately
that Catholics had had a rotten deal, and that Catholics
and Protestants could work together to get a better deal
from the British.

Winningly, the producers cast Northern Irish actor James
Nesbitt, with his firm jaw and trustworthy, industrial-
strength eyebrows, for this role. He spends much of the
film in almost constant motion, wading through seas of
people. These are his constituents clamouring for guidance,
endorsing his aims, trying to earbash him. He almost never
stops for more than 20 seconds. Plans to make, people to
see, arrangments to see to. Yet somehow, he never comes
across as big-headed or shallow. You can see that he loves
and is loved by his constituents. He is not in any sense
getting off on his status, or the attention he gets.

The dialogue style is bald realism – naturalistic gabbling
and over- talking, much of it indistinct, but extremely
engrossing. Much of the film is spent flipping between the
British Army's war room as the chiefs decide on deployment
along the march route, and Cooper's increasingly fraught
attempts to prevent any of the hotter-headed marchers from
bringing arms or guns or any form of aggro to the protest.

Eventually, the action devolves into noise, crush,
confusion and finally horror as innocent folk are gunned
down. You can see the Paras are 100 per cent culpable,
especially given transmission of the attitudes from on
high. They say later that they believed they were being
fired on, but that barely holds up. Yet you're haunted by a
conversation early among the soliders. They're sick of
being spat at, jeered, jostled, wondering if they're going
to be blown up, ambushed. Day-in day-out, they are met with
hatred. It feels personal. The hideousness of the job has
soured many of them toward the Northern Irish, hardened
whatever attitudes they came in with. Only one of the
soldiers is portrayed as bewildered and sympathetic to the
locals, but seeing how far out of step he is with his
cohorts, he doubts himself.

At the same time, you get to savour the queasy reality of
armed soldiers, common on your streets as postboxes,
legally dominating the neighbourhoods where you grew up,
being allowed to stop and question you, and, on this
particular Sunday, being allowed to shoot you and say it
was your fault.

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