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January 24, 2007

House Committee Approves Finucane Resolution

News About Ireland & The Irish

PR 01/23/07 House Committee Approves Finucane Resolution
IT 01/24/07 Ahern Welcomes Bush Immigration Comments
BB 01/24/07 O'Loan Briefs Board On Collusion
BT 01/24/07 RUC Brown Would Gladly Give Evidence To Inquiry
NL 01/24/07 Former SB Men Blast 'Rewriting Of History'
IN 01/24/07 Ombudsman Rejects Retired Officers’ Claims
IN 01/24/07 Appeal For More Probes Of Collusion
BN 01/24/07 Fullerton Family To Meet Police Ombudsman Staff
SF 01/23/07 Adams Speaks To Blair Over Collusion Report
BT 01/24/07 Bertie Promises To Seek Action On Collusion
BN 01/24/07 D Ahern To Discuss O’Loan Report With SDLP & SF
BT 01/24/07 SF Seeks Stormont Debate On Collusion Report
SF 01/23/07 O'Loan Report Could Never Happen In Republic
IN 01/24/07 Statement Issued By Sir Ronnie Flanagan
IN 01/24/07 Denial An Insult Says Brother Of UVF Victim
IN 01/24/07 Flanagan’s RUC Pension: £431k Plus £86k A Year
IN 01/24/07 Officers Guard Haddock In Hospital
BB 01/23/07 McCord To Stand In NI Election
BT 01/24/07 Informer Saved My Life Says McCord
IT 01/24/07 Adams Denies Outside 'Pressure' On PSNI Policy
BB 01/24/07 Derry Meeting Held On SF Policing Move
BN 01/23/07 SF Youth Wing Will Not Back Policing Motion
BB 01/24/07 Extra Voters 'Good For Democracy'
SF 01/24/07 Improved Electoral Rgstr Doesn’t Hide Problems
IT 01/24/07 Executive Role Crucial To Cross-Border Plans
SF 01/23/07 McLaughlin - National Development Plan
BN 01/24/07 DUP Welcomes NDP Spending In Northern Counties
BT 01/24/07 Bertie Can Stick His Handout - Bloggers
BT 01/24/07 Politicians Apart Over 11-Plus Replacement
BT 01/24/07 Walsh Wins Right To Appeal ‘91 Conviction
IN 01/24/07 PUP Leader Purvis To Stay On Police Board
BT 01/24/07 Opin: UVF Murders: Police Must Reveal All
IN 01/24/07 Opin: British Remain Silent Despite Revelations
IT 01/24/07 Medjugorje Pilgrim Laid To Rest
IT 01/24/07 Chapter One Awarded Michelin Star
IT 01/24/07 O'Toole Gets 8th Oscar Nom For Best Actor
IT 01/24/07 Paisley Praises For Island Jesuit Priest


House Committee Approves Finucane Resolution

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The day
after the release of a devastating report detailing
collusion between a Protestant paramilitary organization
and police in Northern Ireland, the U.S. House of
Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee today approved a
resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
calling on the government of the of the United Kingdom to
begin a full "independent public judicial" investigation of
the murder of Northern Ireland defense attorney Pat

"Pat Finucane was a courageous human rights activist and a
loving father and husband. It is imperative that the
questions surrounding Mr. Finucane's murder are answered in
order to restore full confidence in the rule of law in the
north of Ireland. Any agents of the government who may have
colluded in the murder of a defense attorney must be held
accountable," said Smith, the author of three separate
bills regarding human rights abuses by the police force in
Northern Ireland.

In 1989, Patrick Finucane, a human rights attorney, was
gunned down in his home in Belfast as his wife and three
children watched. Numerous non-governmental human rights
organizations have connected loyalist paramilitaries and
British Security forces to his horrific murder.

Among other things, Smith's resolution specifically calls
on the British government to "reconsider its position on
the matter of an inquiry into the murder of Mr. Finucane,
to amend the Inquiries Act of 2005, and to take fully into
account the objections ... raised by the Finucane family."
Smith's resolution -- H.Con.Res. 20 -- is now cleared for
consideration by the House of Representatives.

"For years, numerous international bodies and
nongovernmental human rights organizations have raised
allegations that Mr. Finucane's murder resulted from
collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British
security forces," Smith said during the Committee's
consideration of the resolution. "In 2004, retired Canadian
Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory, who was appointed by the
Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom to examine
these allegations under the Weston Park Agreement, reported
that sufficient evidence of collusion existed to warrant a
full, independent and public judiciary inquiry without
delay. Unfortunately, the British government has yet to

In 2001, as part of the Weston Park Agreement and in an
attempt to help jump start the stalled Good Friday
Agreement, the British and Irish governments pledged to
follow Cory's recommendation. After public release of the
Cory report in 2004, the United Kingdom enacted legislation
that limits the scope of an independent investigation. The
legislation was subsequently rejected by Judge Cory, the
Finucane family, the Irish Government and human rights

Smith -- who has held eleven hearings on the peace process
in Northern Ireland during his tenure as chairman of the
subcommittee on human rights and as chairman of the
Helsinki Commission -- said that it is vital to the peace
process that human rights abuses by members of the police
service in Northern Ireland are investigated.

"During Congressional hearings, the one theme that kept
recurring was the ongoing concern about human rights abuses
by members of the police service in Northern Ireland. The
concerns about collusion may never be put to rest without a
full investigation into the possibility of collusion in the
Finucane murder," said Smith.

The report released yesterday by the police ombudsman is
theculmination of a three-year investigation. It details
collusion between Northern Ireland police and criminals in
dozens of violent attacks and murders of Catholics from the
1990's all the way to 2003. The report's release comes at a
time when tensions are high as members of Sinn Fein prepare
to vote on whether to support the Northern Ireland police,
a key step in the peace process.

"A stumbling block to greater acceptance of the police by
the community has been that the charges of official
collusion in the murders of people such as Mr. Finucane
remain unresolved. People are hesitant to move forward if
they are not confident that those guilty of abuses will be
held accountable. As I have emphasized in other areas of
conflict, there can be no peace without justice," said

Contact: Patrick Creamer (202) 225-3765
Source Office Of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith


Ahern Welcomes Bush Immigration Comments

Kilian Doyle

Wed, Jan 24, 2007

The Government has welcomed a pledge by President George W
Bush to reform US immigration laws and resolve the status
of illegal aliens, including tens of thousands of Irish

In his State of the Union address last night, Mr Bush
called for a "serious, civil, and conclusive debate" on the
issue prior to signing comprehensive immigration reform
into law.

"We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants
who are already in our country without animosity and
without amnesty," Mr Bush said.

There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the
US, including more than 20,000 Irish citizens.

In a statement today, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern said he "warmly" welcomed Mr Bush's comments, which
he said would "add significant momentum" to the campaign to
secure rights for undocumented immigrants in the US.

"Mr Bush has consistently called for a humane and balanced
solution to this sensitive issue. His support for the
enactment of legislation that would regularise the status
of the undocumented is particularly encouraging," Mr Ahern

"The Government is determined to continue its active
engagement on behalf of our people in the US who remain
caught in the shadow of fear and uncertainty," the Minister

Mr Ahern said he and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern intended to
raise the issue again with Mr Bush and other senior US
politicians when they visit the US over the forthcoming St
Patrick's Day holiday period.

© 2007


O'Loan Briefs Board On Collusion

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is to brief the Policing
Board on her findings of RUC collusion with loyalists at a
special meeting later.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is also expected to attend
the sessions which are likely to be heated.

Unionists have criticised what they said was a lack of

Nationalists have called on the former Chief Constable Sir
Ronnie Flanagan to resign from his post as Head of Her
Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman found officers colluded
with loyalists behind over a dozen murders in north Belfast
- during the 1990s - at a time when Sir Ronnie was in

But Sir Ronnie said on Tuesday that he had no knowledge of
any collusion.

In an interview on the BBC's Spotlight programme on
Tuesday, Sir Ronnie also dismissed calls for his
resignation as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of

"I reject that as chief constable it would have been easy
or possible for me to know all that is going on in relation
to the handling of informants within one unit, of one
paramilitary organisation, in one geographical area of
Belfast," he said.

"I think what we have to bring to this is some sense of

"We have to look at it and dispel the thought that this was
some sort of common practice right throughout Special

Earlier, in a statement, he told the BBC that he had fully
cooperated with the ombudsman's investigation at all times.

Nevertheless, he is facing calls to quit the body which
promotes police efficiency.

The issue is expected to be raised in the House of Commons
during Prime Ministers questions.

A Sinn Fein delegation is expected to call for action from
the Irish government during a meeting later with Irish
Foreign Minister Dermott Ahern.

'Totally unacceptable'

Meanwhile, the sister of a man murdered by the UVF gang at
the centre of the ombudsman's report said the family were
not warned in advance that he was to be mentioned in the

Jacqueline Larkin's brother, Gerard Brady, a Catholic taxi
driver, was murdered in Carrickfergus in 1994 after picking
up a fare in Antrim.

Jacqueline Larkin said the way they found out was totally

"I am not knocking the ombudsman's team - because of
certain reasons they couldn't release information to us.

"But I think it would be a fairer thing to come and let my
mother know, or a member of the family have some idea that
Gerard was going to be named in that report."

However, a Police Ombudsman spokesman said all the families
were contacted before the report's publication.

He said he believed that, in some cases, there were
communication problems between some family members.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/24 09:17:55 GMT


'Vindicated' Ex-Detective Would Gladly Give Evidence To

[Published: Monday 22, January 2007 - 11:09]
By David Gordon

The retired detective who battled with Special Branch over
the Mount Vernon UVF informers today said he would be
"honoured" to give evidence at a public inquiry on the

Former RUC sergeant Johnston 'Jonty' Brown was among the
first to raise the allegations that have now been upheld by
Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

But the ex-CID man was himself arrested by the Ombudsman's
investigators last summer.

Mr Brown - who strongly denied any wrongdoing - learned at
the weekend that he will not be prosecuted as a result of
the case.

He is now planning to challenge his arrest through legal

"I have instructed my solicitor to seek redress," he said.

"There was never any evidence against me. I investigated
criminal matters for nearly 30 years and I know evidence
when I see it.

"There was no evidence whatsoever to support the
preposterous suggestions made by the Ombudsman's office."

Mr Brown said Mrs O'Loan's report would vindicate what he
has been " screaming about" for years.

"Special Branch agents were involved in murder and we in
CID were not allowed to arrest them."

The former detective also argued that the Ombudsman's
investigation had not uncovered the full extent of the

"What is needed is a full and open public inquiry. I would
be honoured to give evidence at such an inquiry.

"No case begs an inquiry more, but the Prime Minister and
Secretary of State will be opposed on grounds of cost.
Finance should not dictate this.

"The victims of the Mount Vernon UVF have been failed once.
We should not compound that by failing them again."

Mr Brown withdrew co-operation from Mrs O'Loan's
investigation, after being told he would be interviewed
under caution.

He was arrested last August, on his return from a holiday

It is believed the Ombudsman's team challenged him over the
fact that he and his CID partner did not immediately arrest
Mark Haddock in 1993, when the loyalist had spoken to them
about his involvement in the murder of Catholic Sharon

Mr Brown last summer said he was being "pilloried" over his
methods, even though they had put UDA leader Johnny Adair
in jail and helped expose Ken Barrett, the loyalist killer
of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

He said he had followed proper procedure, recording details
of conversations and informing his superiors.

"If I had done in the Barrett and Adair cases what the
Ombudsman's office is suggesting I should have done, they
would both have escaped justice," he added.

© Belfast Telegraph


Former Senior Branch Men Blast 'Rewriting Of History'

RETIRED senior Special Branch officers have blasted
Operation Ballast an "attempt at an Orwellian rewriting of

Speaking to the News Letter on behalf of his peers, one
said he and others "gave their professional lives to public

The retired SB men said they understood that the public
might "reasonably expect" that they would readily assist in
any enquiry (Operation Ballast] of this sort.

"The officers themselves have no objection in principle to
assisting; and indeed they offered their support and
assistance in writing.

"However, their experience of the conduct of senior members
of the PONI office (Police Ombudsman), collectively and
individually, was such that they were not prepared to be
interviewed, however "informally", on an individual basis.

"They believed that to do so would lead to the PONI office
seeking to use the interviews as a means to incriminate
serving officers and to provide the basis for unjustified
criticism directed against the management of Special Branch
past and present.

"It was quite apparent to the former officers, both from
the conduct of her office in the past and from the content
of the letters addressed to them, that once again the
conclusion of the enquiry had been decided in advance and
now the evidence to support that conclusion was being

According to the NIRPOA representative the report had found
that: "Special Branch had been a mixture of malice and
incompetence and that somehow the Special Branch rather
than the terrorists had been to blame for Northern
Ireland's ills over the last 30 years".

The post-Operation Ballast situation now needed to be
approached in a "rational and cool way". He said the
investigation was a "campaign of denigration against one of
the parts of the security apparatus for political reasons".

"Whilst we put up with a lot of nonsense for political
purposes hoping that our children would have a better life
than the previous generation, but when you start to go into
the realms of the Orwellian rewriting of history, you are
not actually creating a better future but a compromise of
integrity which is not the foundaton for lasting peace.

"It is certainly not in any way going to produce justice -
either for the relatives of people who were killed by that
gang of thugs in north Belfast or justice for the
reputations of the people who were working very, very hard
to prevent their activities."

The NIRPOA representative said former SB officers were
"very proud" of their contribution to policing and "the
contribution that the work of Special Branch made to
bringing relative peace to Northern Ireland".

"They are also proud that many of the counter-terrorist
techniques pioneered by them in Northern Ireland are today
helping to save lives in other parts of the world, in
communities where there are growing terrorist problems."

The retired Special Branch officers also lashed out at "a
challenge to their personal integrity, the first quality of

They said their "personal integrity" had never before been
challenged during this period – and was only being
challenged for the first time by "terrorists and their

In response to criticism by the Police Ombudsman that a
decision was taken in 1997 by senior Special Branch
officers not to apply the standards of informant handling
that was prevalent throughout the RUC, the source said:
"The 'standard' for handling informants came from old Home
Office guidelines that were drawn up for handling criminal
informants in England and Wales. The purpose of the
operations were not the same. What was being done in
Northern Ireland was an attempt at protecting life in a
long term intelligence war and in no circumstances was one
life sacrificed in order to protect other lives."

24 January 2007


Ombudsman Rejects Retired Officers’ Claims

By Catherine Morrison and Claire Simpson

THE Police Ombuds-man’s Office has rejected criticisms made
by the Retired Police Officers’ Ass-ociation that its
report on collusion was “riddled with inaccuracies,
contradictions and vindictive assertions”.

The statement, released on behalf of retired Special Branch
officers, called the report “seriously flawed”.

It accused the ombudsman’s office of failing to “apply even
the minimum standard of professional competence, rigour and
investigative discipline to the inquiry”.

The statement rejected the ombudsman’s assertion that a
number of retired officers had refused to cooperate with
the investigation.

It said the officers had given Nuala O’Loan “considerable
information” about Special Branch and Criminal
Investigation Department internal practices.

Unionist Unionist peer Lord Maginnis also criticised the
report, which was published on Monday.

The former MP, who was once a major in the UDR, said Mrs
O’Loan’s investigators “could have looked more objectively”
at the facts of the cases.

A key finding of the ombudsman’s report was that records
and evidence – including metal bars used to beat people to
death – had been destroyed.

On BBC radio yesterday Lord Maginnis claimed such evidence
might have been destroyed under the Data Protection Act.

“There is something called the Data Protection Act and when
you no longer require evidence, that evidence is
destroyed,” he said.

“I am astonished that nobody has asked the question about
the investigative methods of the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

“Nobody has asked in fact was there a method? I don’t
believe this was an investigation as such. I believe this
was a commentary delivered with prejudice. “

Commenting on claims that two retired assistant chief
constables had refused to cooperate, he said the ombudsman
had sent out a general letter to officers “at random” to
come for a “chat” about their methodology.

A spokesman for the ombudsman defended the investigation.

“Everything in the report, every paragraph, is evidenced
through witness statements, from serving and retired
officers and members of the public, through transcripts of
interviews, police records, police journals and other
documentation and sources,” he said.

“The investigation was independently reviewed by a former
detective chief superintendent who was chairman of two
advisory groups for UK chief police officers.

“The independent reviewer said the investigation had been
managed ‘professionally and well’ and that the analytical
work undertaken had been outstanding.

“Evidence in murder cases should not be destroyed.”


Appeal For More Probes Of Collusion

By Allison Morris

There were calls for further ombudsman probes into
collusion between loyalist murder squads and the police
after the damning McCord report.

Leading politicians echoes suggestions that the findings,
which showed major collusion between Special Branch and
members of the north Belfast UVF, may be just the “tip of
the iceberg”.

Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said the om-budsman
should be allowed to extend her investigation across
Northern Ireland.

“This was no little local problem in one Belfast barracks,”
he said.

“Special Branch operated on a centralised structure so the
same senior officers who signed the money orders for Mark
Haddock controlled oth-er agents across the north.

“We already know that the gang which murdered the three
Reavey brothers operated with security-force help and
participation in the 1970s and we know that Special Branch
was still running killers in the 1990s and into this

“This is just the tip of the iceberg and without waiting
for specific complaints

the ombudsman should re-view all murders by loyalist gangs
across the north to see what links to the police might

Sinn Fein assembly group leader John O’Dowd said his party
had tabled a motion on the ombudsman’s report into
collusion for debate in the assembly on Friday.

“The issue of collusion is a massive. It is one that we
should be debating in the assembly,” he said.


Family Of Murdered SF Man To Meet Police Ombudsman Staff

24/01/2007 - 07:52:40

The family of a murdered Sinn Féin councillor are due to
meet staff from the Police Ombudsman's office in the North
later today to discuss their ongoing campaign for justice.

Eddie Fullerton was shot dead at his home in Buncrana, Co
Donegal, in 1991.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is investigating the family's
claim that British security forces colluded with his
loyalist killers.

Earlier this week, Ms O'Loan published a damning report
accusing the RUC Special Branch of colluding with a
loyalist gang in Belfast which murdered up to 15 people
between 1991 and 2003.


Adams Speaks To Blair Over Collusion Report

Published: 23 January, 2007

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

Mr Adams said:

"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." ENDS


Ahern Promises To Seek British Action On Collusion Issue

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 13:06]

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has promised to
press the British Government to take action on the issue of
collusion between the security services and loyalist

Mr Ahern was speaking after talks in Co Louth this morning
with representatives of Sinn Fein and the SDLP in the wake
of the Police Ombudsman's report earlier this week.

The SDLP said it wanted to discuss the need for
prosecutions against loyalists and police officers, while
Sinn Fein said it wanted to discuss the need for the Irish
Government to take decisive action on the collusion issue.

Speaking after the talks, Mr Ahern said the British
Government would have to deal with the problem of collusion
between the police and paramilitaries.

"It's not going to go away," he said. "I think the British
Prime Minister and Peter Hain are well aware of that, they
agree with that."

© Belfast Telegraph


Dermot Ahern To Discuss Collusion Report With SDLP And SF

24/01/2007 - 07:45:34

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is due to meet
representatives of Sinn Féin and the SDLP today to discuss
the Police Ombudsman's report on collusion between the RUC
and loyalist paramilitaries.

The Ombudsman has concluded that RUC Special Branch
protected a loyalist gang responsible for up to 15 murders
between 1991 and 2003 because its leader was a paid

SDLP says it will be using today's meeting to discuss the
need for both loyalists and police officers to face
criminal prosecution in the wake of the report.

It also says it wants to emphasise the importance of giving
the Ombudsman powers of scrutiny over the MI5 spy agency
after it is given responsibility for intelligence-gathering
in the North.

Sinn Féin's delegation today will be led by Martin
McGuinness, who says he will be using the meeting to
discuss the need for the Government to finally take
decisive action on the collusion issue.


A Sinn Féin delegation led by Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness MP and including Assembly members Alex Maskey
and Caitriona Ruane and Louth TD Arthur Morgan will hold
urgent talks with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern in Dundalk tomorrow morning.


SF Seeks Stormont Debate On O'Loan's Collusion Report

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 13:56]

Sinn Fein is seeking a debate at the Stormont Assembly on
yesterday's collusion report from the Police Ombudsman.

The report says RUC Special Branch officers protected a
loyalist gang responsible for up to 15 murders between 1991
and 2003 because its leader was a paid informer.

Sinn Fein has tabled a motion in the transitional Assembly
seeking a special session to debate the matter on Friday.

The SDLP, meanwhile, is urging the Ombudsman to widen her
investigation and examine how the police handled loyalist
informers throughout the North.

Yesterday's report only dealt with one small gang of UVF
members in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast.

© Belfast Telegraph


O'Loan Investigation Could Never Happen Here - Ó Snodaigh

Published: 23 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has
called on Justice Minister Michael McDowell to give the new
Garda Ombudsman Commission resources, staff and powers at
least equivalent to those of Nuala O'Loan, the Police
Ombudsman in the Six Counties. He was speaking after the
publication yesterday by Ms O'Loan of a damning report
exposing RUC collusion with loyalist death squads and made
the point that a similarly thorough investigation on Garda
misconduct would be impossible in this state.

The Dublin South Central TD said: "In terms of legal
powers, Nuala O'Loan has the power to investigate retired
officers, which proved crucial to her investigation into
collusion surrounding the killing of Raymond McCord Jnr and
others. The Garda Ombudsman has no such power.

"Nuala O'Loan has full access to PSNI documents and
stations in order to conduct her investigations. By
contrast the Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice
Michael McDowell can thwart any future investigation by An
Garda Ombudsman Commission by denying it access on the
grounds of 'state security'. The excuse of state security
has been misused and abused by successive Ministers.

"Under current provisions it is unlikely that the Ombudsman
Commission would be able to conduct an independent
investigation, akin to that conducted by Nuala O'Loan, into
collusion involving Gardaí, in cases such as the Dublin-
Monaghan bombings and the murder of Sinn Féin Councillor
Eddie Fullerton.

"It is equally unlikely it would be able to investigate
throughout Garda complicity in the deaths of Terence
Wheelock, Brian Rossiter and John Maloney.

"I am calling on the government to rectify these two
crucial shortcomings with amending legislation and to
ensure equivalence as required by the Good Friday

"In terms of resources, Nuala O'Loan's office has 125
staff, none of which are members of the PSNI, to deal with
5,000 officers. The Ombudsman Commission have fewer staff
to deal with nearly three times as many officers.

"It also receives less funding than Nuala O'Loan's office.
Because of under staffing the new commission will have to
rely heavily on Gardaí to carry out the investigations for
them which is just the same as the current situation of the
Gardaí investigating themselves."



Statement Issued By Sir Ronnie Flanagan

By Staff Reporter

I consider myself someone who played a pivotal role in the
reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and its transition
to becoming the Police Service of Northern Ireland. This
included the restructuring of what was Special Branch and
the Criminal Investigation Department, a process so ably
carried on by my colleagues the late

Colin Cramphorn and Sir Hugh Orde.

In relation to the ombudsman’s investigation that is the
subject of recent media coverage, I at all times fully
cooperated with their staff, as I of course would with any
of their investigations.

I utterly refute any suggestion, as has been misrepresented
in some of the media coverage, that I was in any way
evasive or unhelpful. On the contrary, at no time during
the investigation, or since, did any member of the
ombudsman’s staff express to me any reservations about my
personal action or conduct in any post that I held. This
includes the

six-month period when I was appointed as head of Special
Branch in the aftermath of the Chinook helicopter tragedy
in the summer of 1994.

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 described.

I would find such conduct to be abhorrent and if such
behaviour took place my hope would be that it would be the
subject of criminal or disciplinary proceedings.

I particularly welcome the recommendation that the dreadful
crimes described are to be reexamined.

It is my earnest hope that evidence can yet be uncovered to
bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice
and I fully endorse, and add my personal apology to Sir
Hugh Orde’s apology to relatives that this has not yet been


Denial An Insult Says Brother Of UVF Victim

By Allison Morris

The brother of UVF murder victim Sharon McKenna said Sir
Ronnie Flana-gan’s claim that he had no knowledge of police
collusion with loyalists under his command is an insult to
his family.

Paul McKenna was reacting to a statement from the former
chief constable yesterday in which he denied that he had
failed to cooperate fully with Police Ombuds-man Nuala
O’Loan’s investigation.

Mr McKenna said the statement was an insult to the memory
of the many victims of paid informer Mark Haddock including
his 27-year-old sister, a Catholic gunned down as she
visited the home of an elderly Protestant friend.

“It is a bit much to expect us to believe that the most
powerful policeman in Northern Ireland, a former head of
Special Branch, knew nothing at all about the activities of
his men,” he said.

“Mr Flanagan should be stood down from his current policing
post with immediate effect.”

Sir Ronnie, head of Her Ma-jesty’s Inspectorate of Constab-
ulary, yesterday broke his silence on Mrs O’Loan’s
findings, having initially refused to comment.

“I utterly refute any suggestion, as has been
misrepresented in some of the media coverage, that I was in
any way evasive or unhelpful,” he said.

“On the contrary, at no time during the investigation or
since did any member of the ombudsman’s staff express to me
any reservations about my personal action or conduct in any
post that I held.

“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 described.

“I would find such conduct to be abhorrent and if such
behaviour took place my hope would be that it would be the
subject of criminal or disciplinary proceedings.”

Mrs O’Loan’s report, triggered by a complaint from the
father of loyalist murder victim Raymond McCord jnr, was
scathing in its criticism of the RUC handling of informers.

It stated that junior officers “could not have operated as
they did without the knowledge and support at the highest
levels of the RUC and PSNI”.

Ms McKenna was murdered by a loyalist gang, led by Special
Branch informer Haddock, on January 17 1993.

Haddock admitted involvement in the murder to police the
following day. He was later arrested and detained for six
days and interviewed 37 times but he was never charged with

A detective said Haddock had been agitated during
questioning and wanted to bring up the topic of Ms
McKenna’s murder but was stopped by his handler before he
could say anything.

In the weeks after Ms McKenna’s murder Haddock was given a
rise in the amount he was paid each month by the RUC.

Mr McKenna said he would meet the ombudsman’s
representatives in the next week and would raise questions
about the collusion.

“I have no faith in the PSNI to re-investigate the murder
of my sister,” he said.

“Some of the people still in top positions were members of
Spe-cial Branch at the time her murderers were being
allowed to kill without fear of prosecution.

“I will be meeting with the om-budsman and we are currently
looking at the possibility of taking a civil action against
senior members of the RUC at the time including Ronnie

“This report is not the end but just the start of this


Flanagan’s RUC Pension: £431k Plus £86k A Year

By Allison Morris

Former chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan will pocket a
pension payout of £431,405 and around £86,000 a year for
life for his time as head of the RUC.

Other senior officers – including the two retired assistant
chief constables who refused to cooperate with Police
Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s investigation into collusion with
loyalists – have also received hundreds of thousands of

The father of murder victim Raymond McCord said top
officers should be stripped of their pensions in light of
the revelations in her report.

Last night the BBC described former Special Branch boss
Chris Albiston as one of the two retired assistant chief
constables who Mrs O’Loan accused of failing to cooperate.
The BBC rep-orted that he rejected her allegation.

According to the BBC he said that although he had never
spoken to the ombudsman’s investigators he had responded in

Mr Albiston said the murders committed by informants must
be judged against the lives saved through the intelligence
they provided.

Mr Albiston defended his former chief constable, saying he
had “neither read nor heard anything during the last 38
hours to shake my loyalty and my confidence” in Sir Ronnie.

Chief constables receive a lump sum of £431,405 plus annual
payments of around £86,000, subject to length of service.
Sir Ronnie served 32 years in the RUC and PSNI.

Assistant chief constables receive £239,000 plus £47,500 a
year for life.


Officers Guard Haddock In Hospital

By Allison Morris

ULSTER Volunteer Force serial killer Mark Haddock (37) was
last night under armed guard at the Royal Victoria Hospital
in Belfast after being transferred from his prison cell for

Up to four police officers are understood to be stationed
round the clock at his ward.

Former associates tried to kill him before he was jailed
for 10 years in November for attacking a nightclub doorman.

Haddock was shot six times last May after going to a
rendezvous near Doagh, Newtownabbey. He survived but was
seriously injured.

It is believed he will need a colostomy bag for the rest of
his life.

Sources said Haddock had been taken within the last
fortnight from Maghaberry Prison near Lisburn, Co Antrim,
where he was being held in isolation for his own safety.

Surgeons operated on him at the Royal but neither Haddock
nor his family wanted any details of his whereabouts

“We have a patient fitting that description in our care,” a
spokeswoman for the Royal said.

The prison service refused to discuss Haddock. “We do not
comment on any individual cases except in exceptional
circumstances,” a spokeswoman said.

Families bereaved by Haddock have called on Chief Constable
Hugh Orde to meet them.

Paddy Murray of Kevin Winters Solicitors represents
relatives of three people named in the Police Ombudsman’s
report on police collusion with loyalists in north Belfast.

He said he would pursue the possibility of civil action
against police officers on behalf of the families of murder
victims Sharon McKenna, Gerard Brady and John Harbinson.

“We would be calling in Hugh Orde to meet with these
families, who deserve answers to their many questions,” he

“We have asked for a meeting before on behalf of the
McKenna family and this was denied.

“We are now calling on Mr Orde to meet with all three

“The ombudsman’s report has went some way to revealing what
went on between police and loyalist killers.

“However, it has also left the families of victims named in
the report in limbo to a certain degree, given no
prosecutions have been made.

“We are looking at a number of legal avenues open to us
including a civil action against senior members of the
police, both past and present.”


McCord To Stand In NI Election

Raymond McCord, whose complaint about a police
investigation into his son's murder led to the ombudsman's
report, is to stand in the assembly election.

Mr McCord said on Tuesday that he intends to stand in north
Belfast in the March election for the NI assembly.

He said he felt "dismayed" at the reaction of unionist
politicians to Nuala O'Loan's report.

It said police colluded with loyalists behind over a dozen
murders in north Belfast.

The report found that UVF members in the area committed
murders and other serious crimes while working as informers
for Special Branch.

"I am going to give the Protestant and Catholic people a
chance in north Belfast to put somebody in who is not
frightened to tell the truth of what is going on here," Mr
McCord said.

"This campaign will stay on until people are in jail for my

Raymond McCord Jnr was murdered on 9 November 1997.

The 22-year-old Protestant who had spent four years as a
radar operator in the RAF was beaten to death by the UVF.

He had been a member of the organisation and is also said
to have had some involvement in drugs.

The report, published on Monday, said information held by
police and corroborated from a number of sources, indicated
that Informant 1, who was in prison at the time, ordered
his murder and that another man, who was on leave from
prison, carried it out.

It added that the ombudsman has established that there were
a number of failures with the murder investigation which
may have significantly reduced the possibility of anyone
ever being prosecuted for the crime.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/23 17:12:08 GMT


Informer Saved My Life Says Campaigning Dad

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 10:53]
By Chris Thornton

An informer saved the life of campaigning father Raymond
McCord as he worked to expose the agents who killed his

As a debate about the police use of informants continued
today, Mr McCord revealed "the irony" of the agent who
prevented UVF attempts to silence him - although he says he
is certain the informer never crossed the line into murder
like Mark Haddock.

Mr McCord spent almost 10 years digging for information
about the 1997 murder of his eldest son, Raymond Jnr.

On Monday, a report by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan said a
UVF informer - already identified as Mark Haddock - and
other agents were involved in the murder of Raymond McCord
Jnr and at least nine other killings.

The report indicated that some police officers knew about
Haddock's involvement in crime and protected him from
prosecution. The report has sparked a huge public debate
about whether informers saved lives or were allowed to get
away with murder.

Mr McCord has seen both sides of the argument. He says his
son might be alive today if police had prosecuted Haddock
when they first knew he was involved in crime.

But he says his own life was saved by an informer -
allowing him to reach his goal.

However, he says he knows the identity of that informer and
says he has worked within acceptable limits of the law.

There were a series of UVF threats and plots to kill Mr
McCord as he worked to expose his son's killers. His most
recent warning came on Saturday.

"There's been many, many threats to my life," he said. "
Police got wind through an informer that they were going to
try to shoot me in different places.

"The irony of it - an informer saved my life. I know who
that informer is. I was able to find out. And I know that
informer was not involved in murder.

"I know people will turn around and say, 'ah Raymond
McCord's just saying that'.

"I can tell you - I'm not going to sit and tell lies over
Raymond's case. It's not my case, it's Raymond's case and
I'm not going to tell lies over it. But the man saved my

Earlier this week Mrs O'Loan told the Belfast Telegraph
that she feared Mr McCord could be murdered before her
investigation was complete.

She said she made representations to the police about Mr
McCord's security and did not share information with him
during the course of her investigation in case it
heightened the risk of a murder bid.

© Belfast Telegraph


Adams Denies Outside 'Pressure' On PSNI Policy

Deaglán de Bréadún, in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams denied last night that the
party leadership's attitude to policing was determined by
outside pressure rather than conviction. "We are doing it
because we think we are right," he told an audience of 300
at the Slieve Russell Hotel near Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

In the latest of Sinn Féin's series of meetings to discuss
its proposed new policy on the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, questions were raised from the floor as to whether
there was any real difference between the PSNI and its
predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and about the
strategic benefits of the stance Mr Adams and other Sinn
Féin leaders have taken on the policing issue.

Although Mr Adams and party colleagues Gerry Kelly, Bairbre
de Brúand Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin received a generally
friendly reception, speakers from the floor voiced unease
about the proposed move to get involved in the governance
of the PSNI. Referring to the B-Specials, the RUC and the
PSNI, one speaker said: "There's no difference." Addressing
the platform group, he said, "You'se live at the coalface.
Can you tell me honestly if anything has changed in

Another speaker, James O'Connor, compared the position of
the Sinn Féin leadership with the dilemma faced by Michael
Collins in the Treaty negotiations which led to a split in
republicanism. "You are faced with a decision now that
Michael Collins was faced with," he said.

Mr Adams rejected the comparison with the situation facing
Michael Collins. "I don't think there are any parallels,"
he said. Instead of being divided, "the republican people
of the island" were coming together.

Another member of the audience said he had "just one
concern" and that was whether the Sinn Féin leadership was
contemplating this latest move "because of pressure or
because they genuinely believe it's the right thing to do".

Responding, Mr Adams said there had been "substantial
changes" in the accountability mechanisms governing the
PSNI which was now more accountable than An Garda Síochána.
He noted the role of the Ombudsman in the North in recent
days in exposing RUC collusion with loyalist

Commenting on the proposed policy move, Mr Adams said: "We
do it because we think it's the right thing for our
struggle and for our people. We have to reach above
ourselves and think about the future and all of this is
oriented towards the future."

Another speaker, who said he was from Clones, Co Monaghan,
said that, "hopefully", the institutions would be "up and
running in the six counties" in the near future, but how
was the party going to keep its ministers accountable so
that they did not accumulate power on a personal basis.
Gerry Kelly said Sinn Féin was an all-Ireland party which
was not like other parties on the island and the
ardchomhairle or executive would deal with the issue of
ministerial accountability.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Meeting Held On SF Policing Move

Republicans in Derry have held a second major debate on the
policing issue within a week.

This Sunday a Sinn Fein ard fheis decides whether it should
vote in favour of signing up to the PSNI.

About 400 people attended Wednesday night's event, which
was held as part of the Bloody Sunday commemorations.

Sinn Fein's Ulster chairman Declan Kearney said his party
did not take it for granted that the policing motion would
be passed.

"Nobody should under-estimate the difficulties within
republicanism not just within the six counties but
throughout the 32 counties.

"I am hopeful, I am confident, that republicans will see
the bigger picture and that they are prepared to take a big
leap forward, take a risk with their strategy, and be
prepared to deliver the kind of change that they know is
necessary within our strategy."


However, former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre, who
describes himself as a concerned republican, criticised
Sinn Fein's strategy.

"I think that many people had a faith in the leadership and
I think that they felt it was going to take them to a
united Ireland of some sort and they went into self-denial
over it," he said.

"Now the writing is on the wall for many of them and it
spells unionist veto, partition and a British police force
in Northern Ireland."

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

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

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: 2007/01/24 08:00:29 GMT


SF Youth Wing Will Not Back Policing Motion

23/01/2007 - 19:28:51

Sinn Féin leaders have suffered a setback in their bid to
persuade party members to support the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, it emerged tonight.

The party’s youth wing Ogra Shin Féin has instructed
delegates to this Sunday’s special conference in Dublin to
vote against Gerry Adams’ motion which recommends the party
getting involved in policing structures in the North.

However the party leadership was quick to point out that
while the youth wing decided to vote against the motion,
they also agreed to respect whatever decision was made at
this weekend’s policing debate.

Barry McColgan, the head of Ogra Shinn Féin, said: “The
issue of policing is absolutely huge for republican
activists, our communities and support base and any
decision taken on policing will have wide ranging
implications for republicanism as a whole.

“Ogra Shinn Féin’s position from its inception since 1997
has always opposed the brutal, sectarian state militia,
that passed for a police force in the north.

“It was Ogra who spearheaded the ’Disband the RUC’
campaign, it was Ogra who called on young people not to
join in a repackaged RUC – the PSNI and it was Ogra who
last year were shouting from the rooftops, literally, to
’smash political policing’.

“The motion passed at this weekend’s national congress sets
out a revolutionary new model of policing with radical
changes in structure and practice. It calls for the
formation of municipal policing which is locally
accountable at district council level, decentralising power
away from the state. It is about decoupling the state from

“It is important that next weekend there is a healthy,
comradely debate and that whatever decision is taken that
we remain united.”

Sinn Féin leadership figures have been involved in a
frantic round of internal debates and public meetings over
the past 10 days which will continue in the run-up to this
Sunday’s policing debate.

Local branches are currently deciding how they will
approach the debate.

However despite Ogra Shinn Féin’s rejection of the motion,
leadership sources were satisfied with how the debate
within the party was unfolding.

“The important thing about the Ogra position is they have
said they will respect the verdict of Sunday’s
extraordinary ard fheis (conference),” a source said.

“What is quite clear from the public meetings that Gerry
Adams and others have been conducting is that people are
coming to this issue in a mature fashion and they are
coming out agreeing that no matter what view they take
republicans will stay united.

“The Ogra position illustrates what Gerry Adams has been
saying to those people who criticise the party. Gerry has
been saying Sinn Féin members are not sheep.

“They do weigh up the arguments and they debate the issues
in a mature way.”

Sinn Fein support for policing in Northern Ireland is seen
by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern as crucial to their plan to set up a power sharing
government in Northern Ireland by March 26.

Democratic Unionist leader, the Rev Ian Paisley will not
contemplate sharing power with Sinn Féin without the party
demonstrating its support for the police, the courts and
the rule of law.


Extra Voters 'Good For Democracy'

Almost 41,000 extra voters have been added to the electoral
register in time for the assembly election, which is
planned for 7 March.

These voters had submitted their forms after 16 October,
the deadline for the register published on 1 December.

The revised register will contain the names and addresses
of 1,115,965 people who returned their form by 11 January.

Chief Electoral Officer Douglas Bain said it is "excellent
news for everyone who cares about democracy in NI".

"As a result the register, which was already by far the
most accurate and comprehensive anywhere in these islands,
is even better," he said.

"The register is the result of an enormous programme of
work over several months and I would thank everyone who
returned a form and all those who have assisted with the
registration process."

Earlier this month, the Electoral Office sent a reminder
letter to every person on the 2005 register who had not yet
returned their form.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/24 06:49:27 GMT


Improvement In Electoral Register Fails To Hide Problems

Published: 24 January, 2007

Sinn Féin National Director of Elections, West Tyrone MP
Pat Doherty has welcomed the news that nearly 41,000 people
have been put back on the electoral register but added that
it does not diminish serious concerns that thousands of
people are still being disenfranchised.

Mr Doherty also raised specific concerns that people with
both mental and physical disabilities were being denied the
right to vote.

Mr Doherty said:

"When the draft register was recently published it was
clear that thousands of people had been wiped off and would
be denied the right to vote.

"Sinn Féin activists across the 6 counties have driven
forward a massive registration campaign and are confident
that thousands of people who had been wiped off the
electoral register have now secured their democratic right
to vote.

"However, we have very serious concerns that thousands of
people are still being disenfranchised.

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that people should be
entitled to register up until 11 days before the election
date and that given the huge number wiped off the register
that there is also a strong case for the previous register
to be rolled forward.

"In recent days our offices have been receiving a steady
stream of calls from people complaining that the Electoral
Office was again on to them seeking additional sources of
ID. Given the fact that registration has now closed it is a
mater of deep concern that while there has been significant
progress in getting thousands of people back on the
register that the Electoral Office rather than facilitating
and assisting people in claiming their democratic
entitlement instead appears to be putting more bureaucratic
obstacles in the way of people trying to get on the

"There are also concerns that people with disabilities,
particularly young people with learning difficulties, are
being denied the right to vote. The parents of, and
professionals who work with young adults with learning
difficulties are saying that that their exclusion from
voting represents an act of discrimination based on
outdated values and misconceptions.

"While there is a clear understanding that special needs is
a broad field ranging from severe complex and profound
difficulties, to mild and moderate difficulties, the
question of judging the ability of a person to make a
choice, and who makes that decision is a key issue.

"There is a belief amongst many that the onus should be on
the relevant authorities to remove the 'voting right'
rather than on parents or guardians to prove that young
people can vote. We should all have a vote and that right
can only be removed in a very few specific cases.
Unfortunately the current registration procedures have had
a severe adverse impact on disadvantaged, marginalised and
hard to reach groups." ENDS


Executive Role Crucial To Cross-Border Plans

Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

North-South dimension:The National Development Plan
promises "significant" Irish Government investment in
North/South projects to be agreed with the British
government and a restored Northern Ireland executive.

However, it does not outline any specific costing for
projects, saying in some cases they will involve more
effective use of existing funding on an all-island basis.

Projects will involve significant investment by the Irish
Government, the plan says.

The proposed package includes joint investment in new
strategic projects North and South, and the opening of
access to existing development funding on an all-island
basis. The plan says priorities for agreement on joint
projects include:

the completion of "high-quality" road networks on the
inter-urban routes linking Dublin, Belfast and the
northwest by 2013;

the development of the Dublin-Belfast rail line;

improved access for tourism;

the possibility of restoring the Ulster Canal;

a significant upgrading of higher-education capacity in the
northwest and the Border regions through alliances between
educational institutions North and South;

and maximising the potential for cross-Border cancer

The proposed "all-island funds" will be subject to
agreement with the British government in the areas of
education, skills, science and innovation, regional
development, and energy research, including renewable and
sustainable energy.

The funds will address long-term challenges that need to be
tackled and will be agreed on a competitive basis,
rewarding innovation and collaboration and ensuring funds
are allocated to the best project, the plan states.

It adds that since the Good Friday agreement, there has
been a transformation in Northern Ireland and in
North/South co-operation and an unprecedented period of
peace and prosperity.

Frank Millar, London Editor, adds: British chancellor
Gordon Brown welcomed yesterday's publication of the
National Development Plan, with its proposed major
investment in North/South projects.

The British and Irish governments had discussed the
importance of the economic dimension of the Northern Irish
peace process during the St Andrews negotiation, Mr Brown

He had been pleased to announce a significant package of
funding and investment for Northern Ireland last November.

"I therefore warmly welcome the announcement of the Irish
Government's National Development Plan, which proposes
major investment in North/South projects and initiatives
for the benefit of the entire island of Ireland," he said.

"I believe that, taken together, our common efforts offer a
unique opportunity to restore devolved government on a
sound and forward-looking basis."

© 2007 The Irish Times


McLaughlin - National Development Plan

Published: 23 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin has said
that the National Development Plan (2007 - 2013) published
by the 26 County government today falls short of what was
expected in terms of specifics and detailed commitments to
the development of the all-Ireland approach, particularly
in relation to investment in infrastructure.

Mr McLaughlin

"Sinn Féin has welcomed the historic nature of this
investment programme as the first commitment of its kind
from the by the 26 Counties in the north.

"However, Sinn Fein have serious concerns about exactly how
much of this represents genuinely new commitments and new
money. It is clear that any repackaging of previous
commitments would fall a long way short of what was
expected and indeed what was being flagged up by the Irish

"There are a number of specific projects that both deserve
and require an all-Ireland approach in terms of financing
and development. This requires not just a commitment from
the Irish government but also clear commitments from the
British government.

"Sinn Fein have met with Minister Cowen on the need for an
increased focus on cross-border development. Sinn Féin have
argued not just for substantial investment in cross-border
infrastructure and the integration of economic and social
infrastructure but for progress across a range of areas
including health and education. Unfortunately some
commitments in relation to North-South cooperation are
vague, such as the pledge to jointly improve access to
health services in border region. Likewise with education.

"It is disappointing that the commitment to the Ulster
Canal is only to explore the possibility for its re-
opening. There is no commitment to reopen the canal or
funding allocated. Similarly the NDP identifies the Dublin
- Derry/Letterkenny route as a key strategic cross border
route but it does not commit to funding the project." ENDS


DUP Welcomes Planned NDP Spending In Northern Counties

24/01/2007 - 07:55:18

The DUP has welcomed moves by the Irish Government to spent
billions of euros in the North as part of the latest
National Development Plan.

The €184bn plan includes funding of around €1.2bn for
projects north of the border.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson responded yesterday by
saying any contribution to making the North more
economically competitive was a good thing.

He also said his party was happy to work with the Irish
Government on matters of mutual benefit.

Mr Robinson said the planned spending posed no risk to the
North's sovereignty or constitutional status and the DUP
would have the right to vet each project proposed under the


Bertie Can Stick His Free State Handout, Say Northern

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 11:58]
Kim Bielenberg

It may not have been the subject of feverish discussion in
the pubs and clubs of Ireland, but the riproaring National
Development Plan is already giving rise to some lively
cross-border banter.

On the internet, most of the discussion centred on the
€1.2bn Bertie has promised in handouts for those "spongers"
in Northern Ireland.

While many Northern bloggers expressed delight at getting
their red hands on Free State lolly, others were not so

On the blog 'Tangled Web', one of our Northern brothers
gave his considered judgment on Bertie's Billion.

"To paraphrase the great film 'Withnail and I', Bertie can
stick it up his arse for nothing and f*** off while he's
doing it. The €1.2bn will probably be dug up from that
animal Haughey's grave - or courtesy of the EU (by which I
mean ourselves, France and/or Germany)."

Not every cyberbabe on this side of the border is thrilled
about sending the cash to those 'pesky' Northerners,

On the website 'Slugger O'Toole', there was feverish debate
about the handout.

A gentleman going under the heretical name 'Manichaeism'
suggested taxpayers from the six counties should be sending
money the other way.

"Do you know the effect your 'troubles' had on the economy
of the rest of this island? It's Northern Ireland that
should be compensating the Republic with a billion," said a
gentleman going under the heretical name 'Manichaeism'.

Like a gaggle of drunks propping up a bar at midnight, the
internet blabbermouths began with lofty pronouncements
about dreary economics, and then descended into arguments
about which jurisdiction had the finer football team. John,
of Belfast, put it sagely: "Before the Republic of Ireland
team got an English manager, who was also an expert in
genealogy, NI had already made it to three world cups -
Sweden, Spain and Mexico.

"How many had the Republic made it to?"

And so the great debate went on.

© Belfast Telegraph


Politicians Still Miles Apart Over 11-Plus Replacement

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 11:43]

The possibility of agreement being reached on a replacement
for the 11-plus exam appeared bleak today.

A report drawn up by the Assembly's sub-group on Schools
Admissions Policy shows that local politicians are still
miles apart when it comes to deciding if academic selection
should be part of Northern Ireland's schools' system after
the 11-plus test is scrapped next year.

The six members representing the DUP, UUP, Sinn Fein and
SDLP agreed on 21 recommendations - although crucially
still could not reach consensus on whether or not Northern
Ireland should retain its academically selective system.

One glimmer of hope emerged from UUP education spokesman
and supporter of selection David McNarry who said today
that he was still willing to consider all options -
including a non-selective system.

However, Sinn Fein education spokesman Barry McElduff said
that his party remained focused on its goal to ban academic
selection as a means of deciding which pupils are admitted
to over-subscribed schools.

"I do not believe this is an area for political trade-off
or bargaining - our stance is based on what is in the best
educational interests of children," Mr McElduff said.

The Belfast Telegraph has obtained a copy of the sub-
group's report - which has not yet been made public.

It shows that the group reached agreement on a range of
issues - including further research into transfer at the
age of 14, concerns about the use of pupil profiles and the
need for a parents' forum in education.

Mr McNarry said: "Selection is still the crux issue, but
there are reasons why we cannot agree and that is because
there is unfinished work.

"The admissions criteria are still up in the air and the
department is currently doing no work on a possible
replacement for the 11-plus, which amazes me.

"We may be unable to agree at the moment, but the Assembly
is going to have to agree something. We have to remain open
about a non-selective system too. All things need to be on
the table.

"I am reasonably confident having sat through the sub-group
and seeing how many things we could agree on and also
seeing how nationalists and republicans are prepared to
consider transfer at the age of 14. If we all pursue it
with open minds, we should be able to get agreement on

The members of the sub-group are Mr McNarry, Jeffrey
Donaldson and Sammy Wilson (both DUP), Catriona Ruane and
Barry McElduff (Sinn Fein) and Dominic Bradley (SDLP).

The group met six times between December 8 and January 16,
and took evidence from a number of educational bodies and

© Belfast Telegraph


Belfast Man Wins Right To Appeal 1991 Explosives Conviction

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 11:11]

A Belfast man convicted of possessing explosives has made a
significant step forward in clearing his name.

Christy Walsh, now living in Cork, has won the right to
lodge a new appeal to the Belfast High Court.

Three judges ruled this morning that he should be allowed a
third appeal.

Mr Walsh served seven years of a 14-year sentence for
possessing a coffee-jar bomb in 1991.

The evidence of two British soldiers has been discredited
and a witness has come forward to substantiate his claim
that he never touched the device.

British-Irish Rights Watch has described the case as one of
the worst miscarriages of justice ever seen in Northern

© Belfast Telegraph


Purvis To Stay On Police Board

By Staff Reporter

Dawn Purvis can continue as an independent member of the
Policing Board despite being elected the new leader of the
Progressive Unionist Party, the NIO has confirmed.

Questions were raised after Ms Purvis was selected to
succeed Mr Ervine, who died suddenly earlier this month, at
a meeting of the UVF-linked party’s executive in Belfast on

However, in a statement released yesterday an NIO
spokeswoman said the election did not affect her position
on the Policing Board.

“She was the chairwoman of the PUP when appointed as an
independent member of the board and remains an independent
member,” she said.

“The appointment is in accordance with the Police Northern
Ireland Act 2000.”

Ms Purvis has said her number one priority as party leader
is to retain David Ervine’s assembly seat in the planned
March poll.


Opin: UVF Murders: Police Must Reveal All

[Published: Wednesday 24, January 2007 - 10:59]

Some very serious questions remain unanswered, after the
Ombudsman's three-year, £2m investigation into collusion
between elements in the police and the UVF in north

It is bad enough that no one is being held to account,
because evidence was destroyed, but the failure of senior
officers to co-operate fully with the inquiry team is an
abdication of their responsibilities - whatever they think
about the Ombudsman's methods.

This wall of silence, or lapse of memory, went right to the
top of the police hierarchy at the time, and is reminiscent
of many such investigations. Each time, the reputation of
the force is sullied by a few intransigent individuals,
when the vast majority of police officers, serving and
retired, have fought against terrorism without fear or

Now that the full gravity of the report can be studied, all
those who have been less than open about the Mount Vernon
scandal - and any others that are suspected - should
examine their consciences. The families of at least 10 UVF
murder victims deserve to hear the whole truth about what
happened, and who may have escaped justice because he was a
paid informer. That Mark Haddock, Informant 1, should have
received an increase, after confessing to being in a murder
gang, is iniquitous.

The initial response of the senior officers responsible for
managing the police's actions in north Belfast has been
disappointing, to say the least. Their statement, claiming
that they "always acted in the best interests of the
pursuit of justice" and "have nothing to be ashamed about"
shows they are still in denial. From Tony Blair to Sir Hugh
Orde, the Ombudsman's report has been accepted - and there
must be plenty of detail that these officers could supply,
from their own knowledge, to fill in the gaps.

In particular, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, a former Chief
Constable and head of the Special Branch, should have been
aware of lax procedures in the handling of informants, even
if he did not know the detail of the north Belfast
operation. He leads the UK police inspectorate, making sure
that high standards are maintained, and yet his memory
failed him when questioned by the Ombudsman's team.

Some will always believe the worst about the police,
ignoring the fact that 300 officers were murdered in the
course of a ruthless campaign, by terrorists who obeyed no
rules. But while most people honour the police's bravery,
they want to know how the counter-terrorist war was
conducted, and why, in order to make sense of unexplained
murders. On reflection, Sir Ronnie and his senior officers
should tell all they know, to help establish the new era
for policing.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: British Politicians Remain Silent Despite Revelations

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Here we go again. Another report of another inquiry years
after the events took place. No prosecutions recommended or

Chief constable, prime minister, current proconsul all
throw up hands and say as one: “Nuffink to do with me,
guv.” All in the past. Couldn’t happen now. Let’s move on.

So far so predictable. At least there’s one minor
difference this time. The one lesson that’s been learnt
from previous reports like Stevens’ in 2003, and it’s a
small mercy, is that politicians no longer automatically
‘call for a public inquiry’.

The penny’s dropped even with our local geniuses that it’s
pointless, first because the British government has acted
shamelessly to prevent inquiries revealing awkward truths
by introducing the 2005 Inquiries Act to wreck the powerful
1921 Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act.

Second, and more important, is the reason the British
government emasculated the inquiry process.

They’ll tell you it's because of the vast expense over the
years of inquiries like the Saville Tribunal which if you
laid them end to end would never reach a conclusion.
Needless to say that reason is far from the truth.

Guys like Mark Haddock, coyly referred to as ‘Informant 1’
in the ombudsman’s report, were up to their dirty work
during the first five years of this Labour government’s
tenure of office and indeed for the first year of Hugh
Orde’s time as chief constable.

It was only after the Stevens report that rapid and radical
changes were made in handling what are known as covert
human intelligence sources [agents]. If it hadn’t been for
the doggedness of Raymond McCord would any of this
disgusting immorality have come to light?

Will anything ever be done as a result? Nuala O’Loan
concluded that in dealing with the Mount Vernon UVF, “the
most serious failings are at chief officer level
particularly those chief officers who were responsible for
Special Branch”.

Now do you imagine for one minute that if prosecutions were
taken against senior police officers that they would not
immediately point the finger upwards and show that even
more senior figures at Stormont were well aware of the
dirty war going on?

Lord Stevens felt he could trust the taxpaying public with
only a tiny fragment of his 3,000-page report which showed
military intelligence, Special Branch, 14th Intelligence
Company, MI5 and the even more infamous Force Research
Unit, all competing for agents. We know some agents were
operating for two agencies.

Mrs O’Loan tells us that Haddock was paid “in excess of
£79,000” of taxpayers’ money between 1990 and 2001. Who
knew? Who was in charge? A policeman or a senior securocrat
at Stormont?

Does anyone imagine that the RUC-protected murder gang
operating out of Mount Vernon was anything other than one
tiny fraction of the total British administration’s
conspiracy operation across Belfast, let alone across the
north and in the Republic? Does anyone think you wouldn’t
uncover exactly the same stomach-turning sights if you knew
which stone to turn over in say, Portadown or Lisburn or
Armagh? We know that after the Security Services Act of
1989 the director and coordinator of intelligence (DCI) at
Stormont was responsible to the secretary of state. We know
that intelligence provided by top agents was read by
British cabinet members of the Joint Intelligence

Are we seriously expected to believe that successive
secretaries of state did not know of their agents’
unsavoury misdemeanours? Does anyone believe senior
intelligence officers did not ask for such behaviour to be
sanctioned at cabinet level? If the proconsuls from 1997-
2003 did not know what Special Branch was up to or ask the
DCI for reports, why not? Apart from murder and
racketeering, what was the outcome of this policy? Mrs
O’Loan concludes that, “As a consequence of the practices
of Special Branch, the position of the UVF, particularly in
north Belfast and Newtownabbey, was consolidated and
strengthened over the years”.

In his report the then Sir John Stevens concluded that the
intelligence services, far from advancing the cause of
peace, actually prolonged the Troubles.

In short, the behaviour of the security forces in the north
and their political masters produced the opposite of what
the British administration claimed to intend. Yet no
British politician has accepted responsibility never mind


Medjugorje Pilgrim Laid To Rest

Ronan McGreevy
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

The discovery of the body of missing pilgrim Winnie Brady
has brought "closure" to her family, a priest said

Fr Bernard Hughes said it had been "four trying months" for
the family, between her disappearance in Medjugorje last
September and the discovery of her body earlier this month.

He told the congregation which gathered for Mrs Brady's
funeral Mass at St Paul's Church in Ayrfield, near Coolock
in north Dublin, yesterday morning: "She is now back home
in her home parish lying here before God's altar and she is
at peace because God has taken her to her true home in

A crowd of about 250 mourners turned out on a cold, bright
day to pay their last respects to Mrs Brady (59), a mother
of five surviving children and grandmother of 11.

Her husband Stephen, daughters Carmel, Linda, Joan and Una,
and her son Stephen led the mourners, who also included her
grandchildren, sisters Dolores and Bernie, and brothers
Johnny and Joey. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was represented by
Comdt Michael Murray ADC.

Fr Hughes said Mrs Brady had been an "uncomplicated" woman
who had always thought of others before herself. "Stephen
and the family told me that she was a great lady with a
heart of gold - a person who had a great temperament and a
great sense of humour," he said. "She treated everybody
with dignity and respect. Her faith was of great importance
to her and she did this in her own quiet way.

"In her life, Winnie reflected the two-fold commandments of
the love of God, who she served faithfully, and love of
others. I know that Stephen and her family are pleased that
she was found in Medjugorje and that they were able to
bring closure to four very trying months."

Mrs Brady, who was on her third visit to Medjugorje,
disappeared on September 6th after leaving her guesthouse
for a walk. A search by 600 people failed to locate her
body until it was discovered by a hunter in deep
undergrowth about three kilometres (1.9 miles) from the

The cause of her death has not been established, but it is
most likely she slipped and fell on an isolated
mountainside. After Mass, a lone piper accompanied Mrs
Brady's cortege to Fingal Cemetery, where she was buried.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Chapter One Awarded Michelin Star

Kilian Doyle
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

Chapter One, long-described as the best non-Michelin
starred restaurant in Ireland, has finally joined Dublin's
big three in being recognised by the culinary bible.

The Parnell Square restaurant, where chef Ross Lewis plies
his art, was awarded its first Michelin star in the new
edition of the guide.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in the Merrion Hotel retains
its two stars, while Thornton's, which remains on one star,
has failed the regain the star it lost last year.

The rating for Derry Clarke's L'Ecrivain on Baggot Street
stays unchanged on one star.

Michel Roux's Waterside Inn and Heston Blumenthal's Fat
Duck, both in Bray, Berkshire, and Gordon Ramsay in
London's Chelsea held on to their positions as the only
holders of three Michelin stars in Britain.

The Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2007lists
4,839 establishments, including 3,052 hotels and
guesthouses and 1,787 restaurants and pubs.

© 2007


Peter O'Toole (74) Gets Eighth Oscar Nomination For Best

Michael Dwyer, Film Correspondent
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

True to his word and feisty as ever, Irish actor Peter
O'Toole is back in the Oscar arena at the age of 74.
Yesterday he collected his eighth nomination as best actor,
setting a new record as the most nominated actor who has
never won the award.

Offered an honorary Oscar four years ago, O'Toole refused
the honour, insisting that he was "still in the game" and
would like more time to "win the lovely bugger outright".
He relented only when he was informed that the award would
be bestowed on him whether he collected it or not.

A native of Connemara, O'Toole was nominated yesterday for
his touching portrayal of an ageing actor in Venus - aptly
enough on the day when the most Oscar nominations (eight)
went to Dreamgirls, a musical charting the ups and downs of
showbusiness careers.

O'Toole was nominated seven times between 1962 and 1983 for
Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr
Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man and My Favourite

At the London premiere of Venus on Monday night, he
remarked: "Are the nominations tomorrow? I better start
getting excited. A nomination wouldn't mean a sausage,
though if I won the f***er . . . "

O'Toole faces formidable competition from US actor Forest
Whitaker for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in
The Last King of Scotland. The other nominees are all long
shots: Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness), Leonardo
DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson).

Joining O'Toole in flying the Irish flag at the Oscars next
month will be Consolata Boyle, who was at home in Wicklow
yesterday when she heard she had been nominated for best
costume design for her work on The Queen.

"I am thrilled," she said last night. "The film was such a
joy to do, and now this is a bonus. It is very exciting."
She has a busy month ahead, having been nominated for a
Bafta award in London and for a Costume Designers' Guild
award in Los Angeles in the fortnight before the Oscars.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Paisley Joins Chorus Of Praise For Island Priest

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

It's seldom, if ever, you will hear and see the Rev Ian
Paisley praising a Jesuit but you'll witness this miracle
tonight if you tune into TG4 at 9.30pm for a film about
Tory's Island's former pastor, Fr Diarmuid Ó Péicín.

The film, Fear na nOileán, is a tribute to Fr Ó Péicín, but
also to the islanders who in the late 1970s and early 1980s
fought a drive to see the island abandoned and transformed
into a firing range for the Irish Army - to cite one of
four proposals.

Tonight's film about the 90-year-old Jesuit features a
disparate cast of characters ranging from the DUP leader to
the current Bishop of Derry, Dr Séamus Hegarty; Clannad,
whose musical inspiration comes from Tory; politicians and
priests who felt the lash of his tongue; and even Charles
Haughey, who liked and admired the priest but nonetheless
was tight enough with the purse-strings.

The film tells how Fr Ó Péicín, who initially arrived on
the island in 1980 for a couple of months to learn Irish,
fought the island's case with Donegal County Council and
with the Government, and how he then brought Tory's plight
to the attention of Washington and Strasbourg, where he
enlisted the support of Scottish MEP Winnie Ewing and of Dr

Fear na nOileán makes uncomfortable viewing for Ireland's
church and State of the period because, as it shows, in the
four years he was on Tory, before being ordered off by
Bishop Hegarty, Fr Ó Péicín achieved more for the island
than any priest, prelate or politician before him.

What galvanised Fr Ó Péicín was the decision of Donegal
County Council to offer islanders 10 houses on the mainland
rather than spending a similar amount of money to provide
basic rights such as island housing, full-time electricity,
a proper water supply, a safe harbour, a ferry, road
improvements, jobs, a secondary school and tourist
business. Mainly because of Fr Ó Péicín, all of these
amenities and more were achieved or set in train while he
was there.

At the time I worked for the Donegal Democrat and wrote
regularly about his campaign and managed to expose how
there were official proposals to get everyone off Tory and
use the island as an Army firing range, or a holiday
village for rich Americans, or a quarantine centre, or a
high-security prison.

Officialdom didn't have much faith in Tory or its people
all those years ago. But it's faring well now, and that's
in large measure down to Fr Ó Péicín and the courageous
islanders - some alive, some now dead - who battled with
him and won against the odds.

"He has lit a fire that has never gone out in Europe and
Europe must look after its island people," Dr Paisley says
on the programme. Of Fr Ó Péicín he adds, "He was an
excellent presenter of the case for the people of the
island. He was a very able ambassador, and he knew what he
was talking about."

© 2007 The Irish Times

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