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January 17, 2007

Report on RUC/UVF Collusion In Killings

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 01/17/07 Report On RUC/UVF Collusion In Killings
IN 01/17/07 Confessed Agent Stayed Free To Take More Lives
BT 01/17/07 UVF Collusion Report Must Lead To Inquiry
KA 01/17/07 Kilkenny SF To Host 'Expose Collusion' Event
BT 01/17/07 PSNI Should Be Slashed By 1,500: Report
IN 01/17/07 Trio Killed By Loyalists ‘Innocent’
BB 01/17/07 Threats Will Not 'Unnerve' SF
EE 01/17/07 2nd SF MLA Quits In Protest At Policing Moves
BB 01/17/07 Direct Rule Is 'Harming Society'
BB 01/17/07 Judge To Consider Omagh Verdict
IN 01/17/07 Omagh Accused’s Lawyer Says ‘DNA Was Planted’
BT 01/17/07 Ervine Widow Thanks Adams For Support
IN 01/17/07 Opin: Flat-Earthers Get A Grip On Reality
BB 01/17/07 New Troubles Archive Is Launched


Report On RUC/UVF Collusion In Killings

O’Loan Investigation - Special Branch Agents Allowed To

By Barry McCaffrey

The police ombudsman is about to publish explosive evidence
of how a UVF gang was allowed to commit a series of murders
in the 1990s. Barry McCaffrey reports

RUC agents escaped prosecution for at least a dozen murders
because they were protected as informers, Police Ombudsman
Nuala O’Loan is ex-pected to confirm.

A long-awaited report, due to be published on Monday, is
understood to provide damning evidence that Special Branch
effectively allowed a UVF gang operating on the Mount
Vernon estate in north Belfast to murder with im-punity
because more than half were police agents.

While previous investigations by Lord Stevens and retired
Canadian judge Peter Cory have highlighted individual cases
of security-force collusion with loyalists, Mrs O’Loan’s
report is expected to confirm that police agents were
permitted to carry out at least 12 murders between 1993 and
2002 without fear of prosecution. Some reports suggest the
number could be as high as 24.

She is expected to deliver a 200-page report to Secretary
of State Peter Hain, Chief Con-stable Sir Hugh Orde and the
Policing Board but only 100 pages will be made public.

Mrs O’Loan was originally asked to investigate the claim
that the UVF’s Mount Vernon leader Mark Haddock was be-ing
protected as a police in-former but her inquiries are
understood to have expand-ed quickly as she uncovered
evidence that Special Branch had blocked legitimate police
inquiries into a series of murders because Haddock and
other agents were implicated.

A key aspect of her report is understood to relate to the
actions of at least six Special Branch officers within the
RUC’s D Division in north Belfast. These handlers are
alleged to have protected or failed to take action against
at least six informers within Mount Vernon UVF despite
evidence of their involvement in a string of murders.

One of the most damning allegations is that Special Branch
officers not only thwarted the arrest of agents but also
tipped off the killers about police investigations into
their activities.

It is being speculated that Mrs O’Loan’s report might even
go further and ask whe-ther any high-ranking RUC officers
were made aware of the involvement of police agents in

Last September Mr Hain ad-mitted that the report would
provide “extremely uncomfortable” conclusions when it was
eventually made public.

Victims’ relatives are waiting to hear whether Mrs O’Loan
has recommended charges against any Special Branch
officers, who are all understood to have retired in recent
years. She provided the Public Prosecution Ser-vice (PPS)
with an interim report of her findings in 2004.

It is understood that at least one victim’s family are keen
to ask exactly when Sir Hugh became aware of Haddock’s role
as an informer.

Former RUC detective Tre-vor McIlwrath is understood to
have first claimed in May 1999 that Haddock was being
protected as a Special Branch agent despite being involved
in multiple murders.

His allegation came while he and colleague Johnston Brown
were assisting Lord Stevens’s inquiry into the murder of
Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane. Stevens inquiry detectives
are understood to have told Mr McIlwrath and Mr Brown that
the remit of their inquiry did not allow them to
investigate the allegations made against Haddock.

In December that year Sir Hugh took over day-to-day control
of the Finucane in-quiry from Lord Stevens.

The family of at least one victim are understood to have
already asked in writing whether Sir Hugh was made aware of
Haddock’s role as an informer at that time.

Haddock is alleged to have been involved in at least two
murders after December 1999.

Sir Hugh was appointed as PSNI chief constable in May 2002
and immediately implemented changes which in-cluded the
merger of Special Branch and CID into a Crime Operations

Last June the PSNI ann-ounced that it had ‘deactivated’ a
quarter of its informers after a two-year review of ‘covert
human intelligence’ sources. Haddock is understood to have
been one of the first to be ‘deactivated’.

In an ironic twist in 2004 a planned meeting between Mr
Brown and the ombudsman’s detectives had to be cancelled
after it emerged that Haddock and his Special Branch
handlers were meeting in the same hotel on the outskirts of
south Belfast.

Mr Brown and Mr McIlwrath have said they fear that
Haddock’s handlers will not be prosecuted and that they
could be used as scapegoats.

Last August the pair were arrested by the ombudsman’s
detectives and questioned over alleged misconduct of office
relating to a failure to charge Haddock with the murder of
Catholic taxi driver Sharon McKenna in January 1993.

The two detectives are understood to have stated that
Special Branch and sen-ior RUC officers blocked them from
charging Haddock with the murder.

Questions have also been asked about whether any Special
Branch officers or agents will face charges even if Mrs
O’Loan recommends this course of action.

Sceptics point to the fact that the PPS has failed to
recommend a single charge against any of the 20 security-
force members Lord Stevens accused of collusion in April


Even Having Confessed, Agent Stayed Free To Take More Lives

O’Loan Investigation - Special Branch Agents Allowed To

By Barry McCaffery

Mark Haddock is alleged to have been involved in at least a
dozen murders over a 10-year period including the shooting
of a Catholic woman 14 years ago today

The two detectives listened in amazement as the UVF
informer broke down in tears and admitted the murder of a
Catholic taxi driver 24 hours earlier.

It was shortly after 6pm on Jan-uary 18 1993 when Johnston
Brown and Trevor McIlwrath stopped Spec-ial Branch agent
Mark Haddock’s Mini Metro car in a pre-arranged rendezvous
at the side of the motorway on the outskirts of north

Twenty-four hours earlier good Samaritan Sharon McKenna had
been making dinner for a Protestant pensioner in his north
Belfast home when Haddock and a second gunman burst in and
blasted her with a shotgun. She was shot a second time at
point-blank range as she lay on the ground.

Haddock was said to have been forced to kill Ms McKenna, a
taxi driver, after the UVF suspected him of being an

Mr McIlwrath had first recruited Haddock as a low-level
agent when the loyalist was caught trying to petrol-bomb a
bus in 1985.

By 1991 Haddock had joined the ranks of the UVF and come to
the attention of Special Branch.

He had been under Special Branch control for more than a
year before Ms McKenna’s murder.

Mr Brown and Mr McIlwrath ex-pected that Haddock would be
charged with murder when they reported his confession to
their superiors.

However, Special Branch is alleged to have insisted that
its agent was too important to go to jail.

Haddock was arrested for the murder but released without

Six months later he and another UVF man were arrested after
a failed murder bid on a Catholic mechanic in north

It is claimed that Haddock told his handlers that the
attack was due to take place and agreed to be arrested
along with the gunman.

His credibility within the UVF would increase, while his
handlers assured him the charges would be dropped due to a
lack of evidence.

Back out on the street in February 1994 Haddock is alleged
to have taken part in the murder of Sean McParland (55), a
Catholic shot dead while minding his four grandchildren at
their north Belfast home. He was not the intended target.

Two months later Haddock is also alleged to have been
involved in the murder of Catholic builders Gary Convie
and Eamon Fox as they worked on a peaceline in north Belfast.

In June 1994 the UVF in Mount Vernon was implicated in one
of the worst sectarian attacks of the Troubles when gunmen
burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down, and
shot dead six customers as they watched a World Cup match
between Ireland and Italy.

The car for the attack had been provided by Haddock’s best
friend, a Catholic from the nearby New Lodge area. It would
later emerge that this man was also a police informer
codenamed Mechanic.

By March 1996 Haddock is alleged to have been so convinced
he was untouchable that he boasted to his Special Branch
handlers that he had killed UVF man Thomas Sheppard after
he was suspected of being an informer. He was not charged
with the killing.

In March 1997 Presbyterian minister David Templeton became
the first clergyman to be killed by paramilitaries. The 43-
year-old died from injuries sustained in a so-called
punishment shooting by the UVF six weeks earlier after he
was falsely accused of being a paedophile.

It is understood that on his death bed Mr Templeton
identified Hadd-ock as one of his attackers.

Again, no action was taken to charge Haddock.

A month later Haddock was implicated in a UVF bomb attack
on Sinn Fein offices in Monaghan town. At least one other
UVF man involved in the attack was also said to have been
an agent.

Special Branch is alleged to have been made aware of the
attack but took no action to stop it.

In May 1997 William Harbinson, a Protestant, was beaten to
death by Haddock’s UVF gang on the Mount Vernon estate. RUC
sources were quoted as saying the UVF was not involved.

Six months later Haddock’s gang beat Raymond McCord to
death. The body of the 22-year-old was found at Ballyduff
Quarry on the outskirts of north Belfast.

Haddock is alleged to have or-dered the murder from the
Maze Prison where he was awaiting trial for a UVF attack on
a bar in Portadown.

Shortly after his release in October 2000 he was also
implicated in the murders of David ‘Candy’ Greer and former
Ulster Democratic Party spokesman Tommy English as part of
a feud between the UDA and UVF.

In August 2003 Haddock was arr-ested in Wales and brought
back to Northern Ireland where he was charged with the
attempted murder of Newtownabbey doorman Trevor Gowdy.

By then the allegations of Hadd-ock’s role as a Special
Branch agent had been made public.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan had already begun an inquiry
into allegations that Special Branch had allowed the agent
to take part in more than a dozen murders.

He was placed into a secure unit inside Maghaberry Prison
amid fears that he would be killed by his former UVF

However, last January he was released on bail despite
police warnings that his release could lead to a loyalist

In May he was shot and seriously wounded as he arrived for
a meeting with former comrades.

In November he received a 10-year sentence for the Gowdy
attack. He is being held on a hospital wing inside
Maghaberry jail.

Having already spent three years on remand, he will be due
for release in 2009.

Exactly 14 years to the day since he first admitted killing
Sharon McKenna, Haddock could now be just days away from
learning whether he will finally be brought to justice for
her murder.


'UVF Collusion Report Must Lead To Inquiry For There To Be Justice'

[Published: Wednesday 17, January 2007 - 09:05]
By David Gordon

A damning collusion report by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
is just five days away from publication.

But the campaigning father who instigated the probe has
warned that his battle for justice will be far from over
when the watchdog's findings are released.

Raymond McCord has alleged for years that the 1997 murder
of his son Raymond Jnr was carried out on the orders of UVF
man and police informer Mark Haddock.

He expects to be fully vindicated next Monday, when the
Ombudsman's long-awaited report is unveiled at a Press
conference in Belfast.

"My family are very grateful to Mrs O'Loan and her team for
all they have done for us," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"When I first spoke out about my son's murder, I was
dismissed as a crank by some people.

"The Ombudsman's report will show that I was telling the
truth. Next Monday will not be the end. It will be an
important stage in the campaign to get justice for my son.

"I still believe people will end up in the dock for the
murder. That's what this has all been about.

"I will also continue to push for a public inquiry. I
expect next week to lead to more people supporting an

Mr McCord said he has yet to see the Ombudsman's report,
but is confident that it will be very hard-hitting.

"It will raise questions for the police, the British
Government and the UVF. It will also help other families
from both communities," he added.

The Ombudsman's investigation - codenamed Operation Ballast
- was launched some five years ago.

The published version of the report will not include the
names of police officers or informers.

The central questions expected to be addressed next week

Just how many police informers operated within the north
Belfast UVF?

How long were they on the payroll, how much were they paid
and exactly what were they paid for?

How far up the police's chain of command did knowledge
about Mark Haddock's activities go?

Will any past police officers be recommended for

How will the Government respond to the Ombudsman's
findings? Will it agree to a public inquiry, despite
concerns about the rising costs of other inquiries?

Will Mrs O'Loan's report have any impact on political
developments in Northern Ireland? Unresolved issues over
policing are at the heart of the current wrangles over the
restoration of devolution.

An official finding of security force collusion with UVF
murderers would certainly complicate the situation yet

Background to explosive revelations

NOVEMBER 1997: Raymond McCord, a 22-year-old ex-RAF man, is
found beaten to death in Ballyduff quarry, Newtownabbey.

His father, Raymond Snr, subsequently alleges that the
murder was carried out on the orders of a high-level police
Special Branch informer within the north Belfast UVF.

His claims attract sporadic media interest but are largely
ignored elsewhere.

He is repeatedly warned by police about UVF threats to his

MAY 2002: Mr McCord reveals to the Belfast Telegraph that
he has made a formal complaint to Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan, prompting an investigation.

"The UVF should not think they can scare me," he says. "I
am not going to go away until this whole thing is solved
and sorted.

"I believe that a whole can of worms will be opened when
all of this comes out."

DECEMBER 2002: Pub doorman Trevor Gowdy is left in a
critical condition after a hatchet and hammer assault in
Monkstown, Newtownabbey.

AUGUST 2003: Prominent north Belfast UVF man Mark Haddock
is named in court as a prime suspect in the Monkstown

Haddock is being hunted by police, while Mr Gowdy is in a
witness protection programme outside Northern Ireland.

The homes of a number of his relatives are attacked in a
co-ordinated intimidiation campaign that leads to questions
being raised about the UVF ceasefire.

It is also revealed in court that an attempt was made to
drive Mr Gowdy away in the boot of his own car during the

He was told he would be left "in the same place as McCord".

A photograph of Mark Haddock is published in the Press for
the first time on August 18, 2003, on the front page of the
Belfast Telegraph.

He is arrested later that same day, after fleeing to north

OCTOBER 2005: Irish Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte uses
parliamentary privilege in the Dail to name Haddock as the
central figure in the Police Ombudsman's ongoing McCord
case investigation.

He also alleges that the senior loyalist was linked to a
string of murders while working for Special Branch.

"The central allegation is that Haddock was not charged
with any crime because he was an informer who had to be
protected," the Dublin politician tells fellow TDs.

"He was able to act with impunity, while the police
effectively colluded in his crimes."

JANUARY 2006: With his trial on the Gowdy assault charge
delayed, Haddock is freed from prison on bail - despite a
police warning that his release "would trigger violence".

MAY 2006: Haddock is left in a critical condition, after
being gunned down in Newtownabbey. It is believed he had
been lured there by former UVF associates.

The murder bid is widely viewed as proof that the UVF has
finally accepted the truth of the informer allegations
against him.

SEPTEMBER 2006: Haddock is found guilty of inflicting
grievous bodily harm on Trevor Gowdy, but cleared of
attempted murder.

NOVEMBER 2006: Haddock is sentenced to 10 years in jail for
the Gowdy assault.

But he could walk free by the end of 2008, given his time
in prison awaiting trial and the 50% remission policy.

The court proceedings in November reveal the loyalist had
committed 54 previous offences, including serious assault,
intimidation, drugs, rioting, arson and assault on police.

Raymond McCord Snr comments: "How could police keep him on
as an informer for years with a record like that?

"I couldn't believe the details when they were read out in

"This shows why we need a full public inquiry."

JANUARY 2006: Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan finalises her
long-awaited report, ahead of publication on Monday,
January 22.

© Belfast Telegraph


Kilkenny SF To Host 'Expose Collusion' Event

Kilkenny Sinn Féin will host an 'expose collusion' function
in the Urlingford Arms Hotel on Friday January 19 at 9pm.

The event is planned to increase public awareness of the
collusion that existed during the troubles between British
and loyalist forces, resulting in the murder of many Irish

Fermanagh Sinn Féin councillor Bernice Swift who is a
member of Firinne - the campaign group made up of families
of victims of collusion, will be speaking at the event
along with members of the Fullerton family.

Eddie Fullerton was a Sinn Féin councillor from Buncrana,
Co Donegal who was murdered in his home by loyalist forces
in 1991.

Speaking about the event local Sinn Féin representative
Kathleen Funchion said "The families of collusion victims
have campaigned for years for the truth to emerge in
relation to collusion and for those responsible for the
killings of their loved ones to be held accountable. Events
such as this one in Urlingford help to increase public
awarness of this issue."

Ms Funchion added, "hundreds of people were killed and many
more injured as a result of the policy of collusion by the
British Government, it is imperative that the truth comes
to light in relation to collusion."


PSNI Should Be Slashed By 1,500: Report

[Published: Wednesday 17, January 2007 - 14:01]
By Jonathan McCambridge

A Government report today recommended that policing numbers
in Northern Ireland should be cut in the future by 1,500
depending on the security situation.

The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
(HMIC) has recommended that numbers should stay at 7,500
for at least another four years.

However, it then proposes that the number of regular
officers should be cut to 6,028 following a further review
in 2009.

The chairman of the Police Federation has issued a warning
about any attempts to downsize the PSNI. Security Minister
Paul Goggins today briefed the Policing Board and police
staff associations on the HMIC review about policing
numbers from 2010/2011 onwards.

He said: "Any reduction in the number of police officers
would only come when all issues including the improving
security situation and policing environment are considered,
and would be made on the advice of the Chief Constable.

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

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

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton said the PSNI would
consider the implications of the HMIC report.

He said: "We welcome the fact the report clearly states
that the recommendations are dependent upon the security
environment and that a review of this study will be carried
out in 2009.

"It has to be stressed that it is for the Chief Constable
to make judgements about the security situation and that
the reductions proposed in the review will depend on the
Chief Constable being satisfied that he can deliver
effective policing with a reduced number of officers in the
security situation existing at the time."

Chairman of the Policing Federation Terry Spence said: "It
is clear that this force cannot afford to be reduced below
7,500. Although we are not in the same terrorist situation
we once were the threat is still there and there is a
volatile public order situation."

© Belfast Telegraph


Trio Killed By Loyalists ‘Innocent’

By Bimpe Fatogun

THREE Co Armagh brothers gunned down by a loyalist death
squad 31 years ago have finally had their names cleared.

Eugene Reavey said the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) had
confirmed that his brothers John Martin (24), Brian (22)
and Anthony (17) had been “innocent victims of senseless
sectarian violence”.

The acknowledgement by the team, which is looking into
Troubles-related deaths, was accompanied by an apology for
the conduct of the security forces at the time.

The apology was made by HET chief David Cox to the men’s
83-year-old mother.

“HET are the first people in 30 years that ever came
through our door,” Mr Reavey said last night.

“We never had a representative from the police, from the
government, nobody.

“Nobody never came to my mother and said: ‘I’m sorry that
you lost your sons.’”

The brothers were killed on January 4 1976 at 6.10pm in
Whitecross. Thirty minutes later three members of the
O’Dowd family were gunned down in Gilford, Co Armagh.

The same gang are believed to have been responsible.

That death squad has also been linked to the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings of 1974.

Mr Reavey said the family’s grief had been made more acute
by their treatment by the security forces.

They started a whispering campaign to link the dead men to
the IRA, he said.

The HET has now laid such rumours to rest.

“At my request they were ready to go over and visit my
mother to confirm that there was no trace of evidence
against them to link them to a paramilitary organisation or
criminal activity,” Mr Reavey said.

“They said they were entirely innocent victims of senseless
sectarian violence and said they were there to apologise
for the appalling harassment suffered by the family and in
particular the treatment of my mother by the security

“He [Mr Cox] said he had no hesitation in saying that.”

The case is before the European Court of Human Rights
because of allegations of security-force collusion.


Threats Will Not 'Unnerve' Party

A bullet was found for every Sinn Fein representative in
West Tyrone

Packages found in cemeteries in County Tyrone contained 19
bullets, the area's Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty has said.

Two bundles with the bullets, which also contained
photographs, were found. one in Newtownstewart and one in
Killyclogher near Omagh.

The 19 bullets equal one for each of the elected
representatives Sinn Fein has in West Tyrone.

Mr Doherty said he was not scared by the threats, aimed at
unnerving party members during the policing debate.

"This was clearly designed to unnerve Sinn Fein and Sinn
Fein representatives in this current debate we're having on
policing - it won't work we've been through a lot worse,"
he said.

"We're very aware that this could have come from any amount
of facets of society here and we're not saying because we
don't know who was involved in this."

In December, police reportedly warned Sinn Fein's Gerry
Adams and Gerry Kelly about dissident republican threats.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the threats to the Sinn
Fein leadership were "very real".

Republican sources said the threats to senior party members
came from disaffected IRA members who left the organisation
in recent months.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/17 06:38:41 GMT


Second SF MLA Quits Party In Protest At Policing Moves

17/01/2007 - 8:27:17 AM

A second Sinn Féin Assembly member has quit the party in
protest at its imminent moves to endorse the PSNI in the

Mid-Ulster MLA Geraldine Dougan, from Co Tyrone, joins her
Newry/Armagh colleague Davy Hyland in deciding to leave the
party because of its handling of the policing issue.

She has previously spoken out against Sinn Féin's move to
endorse the PSNI while the force is still under British

The two resignations bring Sinn Féin's representation at
Stormont down from 24 to 22 and indicates major concern in
the party ranks over the policing moves.


Direct Rule Is 'Harming Society'

Real harm is being done to society and ordinary people
because of Northern Ireland's "temporary government", a
leading community body has said.

Nicva - the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action -
said "vulnerable people are being left behind" by the
absence of devolution.

Policy influencing had been rendered "extremely difficult"
by direct rule.

Nicva will launch its manifesto for 2007 later, expressing
an overwhelming need for "stable government".

Director Seamus McAleavey said: "If the current round of
negotiations fail, the consequences may well be profound.

"Nicva is calling on those with responsibility to heed the
call of the 4,500 organisations, and the 30,000 employees
in the voluntary sector, and provide the people of Northern
Ireland with the stability we urgently need to halt the
paralysis of governance which is having a devastating
effect on our society."

Wednesday's launch will feature presentations from
representatives of NI Environment Link, Help the Aged,
Opportunity Youth, Nippa and Housing Rights.

Duane Farrell from Help the Aged said the elderly were
being directly affected by the absence of devolved

"Older people are telling Help the Aged that it is time for
Northern Ireland's politicians to get back to the business
of improving the quality of life for our increasingly
ageing population and addressing the issues outlined in
this manifesto," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/17 06:38:41 GMT


Judge To Consider Omagh Verdict

The Omagh bomb trial has ended with the judge acknowledging
he has a great deal to think about and a great deal of
material to look at again.

Mr Justice Weir reserved judgement in the case.

Sean Hoey, 37, from Jonesborough, County Armagh, denies a
total of 56 charges, including 29 counts of murder as a
result of the 1998 Omagh bombing.

The judge said he would give his verdict in the case as
soon as possible.

The prosecution case had many strands, but probably the
most important was DNA evidence, specifically a type called
low copy number DNA.

This is a relatively new and very sensitive form of

Mr Justice Weir has said there is currently no
international set of standards for it.

The defence raised a range of other issues in its final
submission including questions over the integrity of
evidence and the "beefing up" of statements from witnesses.

The Omagh trial lasted a total of 56 days.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/17 13:37:56 GMT


Omagh Accused’s Lawyer Says ‘DNA Was Planted’

By Staff Reporter

A LAWYER for Omagh bomb accused Sean Hoey yesterday claimed
it would be a travesty if the 37-year-old from south Armagh
was convicted.

Defence QC Orlando Pownall told Belfast Mr Justice Weir at
Belfast Crown Court that the case against the south Armagh
electrician could not survive the taint of having witnesses
beef up their evidence, exhibits being interfered with and
prosecution witnesses undermining one another.

He said that Hoey, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, was not
guilty and the hope of finding “incontrovertible evidence
showing that Sean Hoey was involved in Omagh has always
been a mirage and an unobtainable goal”.

Mr Pownall said that when considering the case “this court
will be unavoidably wracked by doubt”. He added: “This is
not a claim borne of boast, triumphalism or out of a naive
hope without foundation in fact.”

Mr Pownall further claimed that those bereaved in the Omagh
bomb “could not now dispassionately conclude that the man
trumpeted is in truth responsible” for the devastating
effects it has had on their and their families’ lives.

The defence lawyer went on to criticise the DNA evidence,
labelling it unscientific and without foundation in the
wider scientific world. He also attacked the integrity of
the exhibits, and suggested that one exhibit, a detonator,
as well as tape with Hoey’s DNA, “was planted” and on
another occasion labelled a chief inspector “a liar”.

Mr Pownall said if Hoey were not facing such dreadful and
serious a case as the Omagh bombing, but was accused of
just one crime, the case would have been thrown out ‘along
with the bath water’ before Christmas.

Concluding his submissions yesterday on the question of the
exhibits he said: “This court will not, we trust, pay lip
service to the integrity of exhibits.”

Although trial judge Mr Justice Weir invited the defence
lawyer to take up to next week or longer to conclude his
submissions, Mr Pownall said they should be finished by
today. Earlier the prosecution argued that Hoey had a case
to answer.

Prosecuting QC Gordon Kerr began his submissions by
attacking Hoey’s failure to give evidence on his own

He claimed there was no suggestion that Hoey was unfit to
give evidence, and the inference could be drawn that there
was a case for him to answer.

Mr Kerr suggested that one reason for not going into the
witness box was because any innocent explanation he could
give, “would not bear scrutiny and he is aware of that, and
it is proper to infer that such an explanation is untrue”.

The lawyer claimed that was not only an inference of Hoey’s
guilt but was also

capable of providing corroboration for the DNA findings.

Turning to the agreed evidence of FBI spy David Rupert, Mr
Kerr said: “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that
Rupert was introduced to all or indeed any of the persons
who were actively involved in any particular incident or
series of incidents.”

He added that it was hardly surprising that some of those
he met may have been suspects wanted by police.

Mr Kerr said it was accepted that Hoey was interviewed by
police in relation to the Omagh bomb as set out in other
agreed evidence.

“We submit the agreed statement does not advance the
defence case in any way,” declared the prosecution lawyer.


Ervine Widow Thanks Adams For Support

[Published: Wednesday 17, January 2007 - 08:41]
By Claire McNeilly

David Ervine's widow last night said she was stunned that
so many people from "every walk of life" turned out to pay
their respects at her late husband's funeral.

Jeanette Ervine, who was speaking from her east Belfast
home, also thanked politicians, including Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams, for their words of comfort and
support following the PUP leader's sudden death nine days

It is the first time the 56-year-old former Barnardo's
project worker has felt strong enough to talk about what
happened, and she described the details of the MLA's
passing away as "a blur".

"David was my soulmate," said Jeanette.

"We were married for 35 years. He was a great man. It's so
hard to take in that he's gone. I'm still numb.

"I still think he has gone somewhere and he's going to walk
through the door. The house has felt a lot emptier, despite
the number of people who have called round."

Jeanette said that the public outpouring of grief following
Mr Ervine's death, with hundreds of people lining the
streets for his funeral - which was attended by dignitaries
from across the world - has made it easier for the family
to cope.

"David could reach out across the board," she said.

"No other politician here could do that. We have received
hundreds of cards and letters. People are so kind. It means
a lot to us and it has given us strength."

She added: "We thought it was very brave of Gerry Adams to
come to the funeral. I said that to him after the service
and he said it was out of respect for David and his family.

"He said he would be in touch and he rang today, just to
ask how I was. I thought it was very nice."

Jeanette and David have two sons - Mark (34) and Owen (26)
- and two grandchildren. Their eldest grandchild, Mark
died, in tragic circumstances, almost two years ago.

"Our wee 14-year-old grandson (Mark's son) died by suicide.
He hung himself. We never got over losing him," said

"We got strength from each other. It must have been
difficult for David to carry that around and also do his

"I have so many memories of David. We did a lot of things
together. We practically knew what each other was thinking.
He was a wonderful husband and a great father and

"All the praise people have given since he died ... I
didn't need anyone to tell me those things. I knew the man.

"There would be a million things I'll miss him for. I will
miss the sound of his voice on the phone. When he phoned me
he always said 'Wifey, what's happening?'"

David's eldest son Mark described his father as a "man
without prejudice".

"I was shocked by the tributes," he said.

"I knew he was popular and well-liked, but I didn't realise
for one second the extent.

"He had people singing from the same hymn sheet, under the
one roof. He touched all colours, all religions, all walks
of life, from presidents to the man on the street.

"After the showing there was, the greatest tribute would be
for everyone to carry that good will into what they do
every day.

"If our politicians worked for the good of all our people
and for future generations, we wouldn't need a peace

Mark also said he was initially shocked to learn of his
father's previous paramilitary involvement, which saw him
serve five and a half years in prison.

"I was two when my Da went to prison. Mum took me to visit
him, but she told me he was working there - painting and

"When I was old enough, my Da sat me down and talked me
through it, which couldn't have been easy for him. It was a
shock. He was always a gentleman with Owen and me.

He added: "My da was open and honest. He recognised the
type of politics he grew up with and said it was wrong.
"That's why he dedicated do much time to conflict
resolution work in different parts of the world - in places
like Bosnia, Kosovo and Gaza. A lot of people don't realise
he was involved in that."

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Time For Flat-Earthers To Get A Grip On Reality

By Brian Feeney

It’s entirely predictable that the Flat Earth Society
(republican section) is touring the north to howl at the
moon in various chilly hired halls and hotel rooms.

It is also entirely predictable that its howling maintains
the same monotonous chorus whatever the location.

In fact, when you come to think of it, generations of the
Flat Earth Society have been raising the same racket now
for about 85 years.

It goes something like this.

“Ochone, ochone, the Free Staters/Fianna Fail/the Irish
government [please underline culprit of choice] have
betrayed/been bought/sold out/defied the will of the Irish
people/northern nationalists/the voters [please underline
nature of treachery and victim of choice] by accepting the
Treaty/entering Dail Eireann/Stormont.”

As you see, you could leave blanks for those members of the
Flat Earth Society who can read to fill in depending on
whether it was 1921, 1932, 1986, Dublin, Belfast, London.
The current blanks would be filled by Sinn Fein and the

Essentially the position of the

flat-earthers is that the voters have no right to be wrong.
Being wrong of course means disagreeing with the flat-

Being whacked by the voters in an election is the preferred
aim of the flat-earthers so they can say: “Look, they have
all been fooled again. They’ve all betrayed the Irish
people. Only we, the flat-earthers, remain true to our
original beliefs. There are only 50 of us so we must be

Stand by for another exercise in this time-honoured
procedure. We are promised that a dozen or so prime
republican Flat Earth Society candidates will stand in any
forthcoming election in the north. Good. Who’s afraid of

The appearance of these candidates is important for a
number of reasons. First because they will be slaughtered
in the election, thereby demonstrating that they have no
support except in the most benighted corners of the north.

By the way, note the partitionist nature of their disc-
shaped world for they won’t be standing in the Republic in
June. Even these candidates, normally oblivious to reality,
couldn’t stand the derision of the voters in the south for
presumably they are abstentionist, as well as partitionist

So it’s important they stand to show there is no support
for their nonsensical views.

Secondly it’s important because they demonstrate by their
fatuous remarks that they offer no alternative to what they
reject – namely the prospect of nationalist political
control of policing and criminal justice in the north, a
prospect unimaginable to nationalists even a few years ago
and still inconceivable to unionists.

One of the presiding geniuses of this society produced an
embryonic slogan the other day: “I’m not anti-police. I’m

So what police would this flat-earther be in favour of?

Mexicans? Canadians? Martians? No. Police who believe
planet Earth is flat.

Let’s face it. Does anyone except these nutters imagine for
a second that the British and Irish governments are going
to unravel the Patten Report, knit it together again and
reorganise the north’s police?

Is there any hope these guys can get a grip on reality? No,
of course not.

Just as well too because if they didn’t exist Sinn Fein
would have to invent them. The truth is that they make
movement on policing easier for the Sinn Fein leadership.
They make it easier for Sinn Fein to wring more concessions
out of the British.

They allow Sinn Fein to hold them up in exasperation and
say: “Look, do you see what we have to contend with? There
are actually people that daft out there.”

They will also help to get out more voters in what might
have been a fairly lacklustre election.

The same is true for the Flat Earth Society (unionist

This group is ahead of the republican loony tunes because
it has a name – the Voice For Democracy (VFD).

Now don’t laugh.

While the republican variety dreams of waking up (can you
do that?) in 1920, the unionist variety dreams of waking up
in 1968 and having majority rule in the ‘sick counties’.

Ah, bliss it was to be alive then.

It was a great wee country.

This much both sets have in common – they prefer 100 per
cent of nothing to 70 per cent of anything.


New Troubles Archive Is Launched

Queen's and the University of Ulster created the archive

A new catalogue of material on the Northern Ireland
Troubles has been launched by NI's two universities.

It features under-used and incompletely documented material
over the last 35 years.

The catalogue has been created by ARK, a social and
political archive run jointly between Queen's University
Belfast and the University of Ulster.

It contains transcripts of interviews, video and audio
recordings, photos and political pamphlets.

Academics believe the catalogue and its associated archived
material will be a valuable resource for researchers and

Queen's professor, Robert Miller, said the material had
"great potential for addressing issues of reconciliation
and the study of violence, both for comparative research
and to help promote the peace process in Northern Ireland".

"It adds a valuable dimension to ARK's coverage of Northern
Ireland society," he said.

"While some blocks of the material relating to the conflict
in Northern Ireland contained in the catalogue are archived
in sites such as the BBC, UTV and the Linenhall Library,
effective use of the bulk of what is potentially available
had been thwarted by its wide dispersion and the lack of
any comprehensive central index."

Professor Miller of the School of Sociology, Social Policy
and Social Work at Queen's, added: "Now, in keeping with
its mission of making social science information available
to the widest possible public, the ARK Project has indexed
this material together into a single searchable database."

"The catalogue would facilitate academic researchers,
documentary film makers, secondary school students and
interested members of the general public," he said.

The new archive will be available at

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/17 06:38:41 GMT

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