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January 18, 2007

Republican SF Dismisses Talks With Adams

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 01/19/07 Republican SF Dismisses PSNI Talks With Adams
BT 01/18/07 Return To Violence Not Ruled Out
BB 01/18/07 Armed Factions Need Time: Adams
UH 01/18/07 Adams Challenges Behaviour Of Castlederg PSNI
BN 01/18/07 HR Commissioners Call For Omagh Review
SF 01/18/07 Martina Anderson To Address Bloody Sunday March
IT 01/19/07 €18m Of Assets Held In Manchester Operation
NL 01/18/07 Ervine's Wife Lauds 'Brave' Gerry Adams
IT 01/19/07 Colombia Lifts Visa Rule For Irish Visitors
IT 01/19/07 Opin: SF Seeks To Curtail NI Policing


Republican SF Dismisses PSNI Talks With Adams

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Fri, Jan 19, 2007

Republican Sinn Féin has rejected an appeal by Gerry Adams
to discuss policing in Northern Ireland. The Sinn Féin
president had offered to meet other republican
organisations to discuss the PSNI in advance of Sinn Féin's
ardfheis on January 28th.

Speaking at his Falls Road headquarters yesterday, Mr Adams
said: "We've made contact with the 32 County Sovereignty
Movement, and I see that as a separate initiative from any
dialogue with the armed groups. We want to be inclusive, we
want to talk and to listen to people who oppose us. The key
is to try to get an end to any armed actions from any
republican element."

Republican Sinn Féin leader Ruairí Ó Brádaigh quickly
dismissed Mr Adams's approach.

Although Mr Adams stressed yesterday he was not appealing
to so-called "dissidents", Mr Ó Brádaigh said in a
statement: "Who is Mr Adams addressing? Is it the people
who have resigned recently from his party? For our part we
are not dissidents. Mr Adams knows well our core values,"
he continued. "He knows that no reconciliation is possible.
Republican Sinn Féin's values were once his own, before he
and the Provos decided to accept the institutions of
British rule in Ireland. The discussions he proposes do not
refer to us."

Mr Adams begins a series of public consultation meetings
aimed at addressing grassroots republican concerns at
endorsement of the PSNI. The meetings begin in Toome, Co
Derry, and Galbally, Co Tyrone, on Saturday. He said the
outcome of the ardfheis was not a foregone conclusion and
expected some people might walk in to some of the public
meetings so that they could walk out.

Republicans opposed to Sinn Féin's moves on policing met on
Wednesday night and heard pointed criticism from former
Sinn Féin ardchomhairle member Gerry McGeogh. He said that
senior Sinn Féin members were "waddling into 10 Downing
Street for orders from the British government".

"There is nothing for us to do in 10 Downing Street. All 10
Downing Street have to do is say they are leaving Ireland
once and for all."

Mr Adams said: "It is always easy to draw a crowd in terms
of a 'tiocfaidh ár lá' speech. We're not going to be drawn
into silly name-calling."

Looking ahead to next week's report by the Policing
Ombudsman into alleged loyalist-RUC collusion, Mr Adams
said he thought Nuala O'Loan's report would "vindicate
everything we have said".

"It will indicate there was collusion and it will show some
of the dastardly things that were done by police officers."
He said this would act as an argument for republicans to
become involved in policing. "Unionists will have to ask
themselves when they hear this report next week, was this
done in their name?" The key for democratic parties was to
keep the police services in both parts of Ireland
democratically accountable, he added.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Return To Violence Not Ruled Out

[Published: Thursday 18, January 2007 - 13:05]
By Sarah Brett

Emotions and anti-Sinn Fein sentiment ran high at a major
rally in the heartland of disaffected republicanism, where
support for policing was ruled out but a return to violence
was not.

Around 400 republicans opposed to the PSNI and Sinn Fein's
support of it packed a conference room of the Tower Hotel
in Londonderry last night in anticipation of a heated
debate, but as one audience member pointed out, the
speakers were preaching to the converted as Sinn Fein
shunned the meeting.

Chaired by John Kelly, former Sinn Fein member and a
founder of the Provisional IRA, the meeting heard from IRSP
and 32 County Sovereignty Movement representatives and

Sinn Fein took a rain check, instead sending a message
which was read out amid mild heckling.

"Arising from our ongoing commitments to hold policing
talks around the north we are unable to attend," it said.

The overwhelming message from speakers and audience on the
night was that any acceptance of the PSNI was "conferring
legitimacy on the British presence in Ireland".

Francie Mackey, formerly of Sinn Fein and last night
representing the 32 County Sovereignty movement said: "It
is not relevant whether they are Catholic or Protestant or
come from Tipperary or Tyrone, they are enacting and
enforcing the laws of a foreign occupying power in our

Former IRA gunrunner Gerry McGeough, an independent who is
likely to run against Sinn Fein in any upcoming election,
said he sensed a growing rebellion among republicans not
felt since Bobby Sands' landslide election in 1981.

"Sinn Fein know something is up and they are about to be
hit with the political equivalent of a tsunami," he said.

"The entire republican movement is a complete and absolute
shambles. The British are more in control than ever. How
have we ended up here? With an inept and bungling
leadership. While we were suffering they were already
engaging with the enemy o further their own political

He continued: "Republicans are totally and utterly fed up.
We don't recognise any British police force here in
Ireland. It is totally unacceptable. Sinn Fein has lost all
moral right to represent the republican people of Ireland -
they must and shall be replaced."

The Good Friday Agreement was roundly denounced and
described by Independent Tony McPhillips as a "treacherous"
attempt to "disarm" republicans.

He said there was disagreement among the speakers over a
possible return to violence. But he made his own opinion
clear: "As long as there is any form of British rule in
Ireland there will be Irish men and women willing to
resist. And I as an Irish republican will do nothing in
word or deed to discourage those brave people."

© Belfast Telegraph


Armed Factions Need Time: Adams

Gerry Adams said there is an alternative to violence

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is "not expecting a quick
response" by republican armed groups to his invitation to
talks, he has said.

Dissidents have been heavily critical of Sinn Fein's plans
to hold a special conference on supporting the police.

Mr Adams had offered to meet the groups, including armed
dissidents, to discuss his party's peace strategy.

He said, however, that the various republican factions
would need time to consider his offer.

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein had already been in contact with
"political formations" including Republican Sinn Fein.


"We've made contact with the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
and I see that as a separate initiative from any dialogue
with the armed groups," he said.

"We want to be inclusive, we want to talk and to listen to
people who oppose us.

"The key is to try to get an end to any armed actions from
any republican element."

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

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

Sinn Fein had been invited but did not attend.

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

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

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


Adams Challenges Behaviour Of Castlederg PSNI

By Ronan McSherry

SINN Féin president Gerry Adams has launched a scathing
attack on the behaviour of the PSNI in Castlederg.
Ironically, his remarks came during the press conference
announcing the party executive's decision to endorse
policing arrangements in the North.

Mr Adams called on the Irish and British governments to
investigate the arrest and subsequent court appearances of
young nationalist males in Castlederg.

West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff, who attended the ard
comhairle meeting held at the Great Southern Hotel at
Dublin Airport said, "There has been a large number have
been paraded before the courts on all kinds of spurious
charges to do with public order and they are being placed
under curfew or sent to prison. We are asking for an
investigation into the PSNI conduct in Castlederg at this

Hed that the arrests and prosecutions of the young men
would invariably lead to difficulties attaining employment
and acquiring visas for America.

"Gerry Adams has added his voice calling for the two
governments to take a look at what is happening," said Cllr

The Sinn Féin leader's call was welcomed by local Cllr
Charlie McHugh.

"The perception on the ground here is that it is a partisan
police force determined to give nationalist youth a
criminal record," said Cllr McHugh. "There is one lad who
has been before the courts three times and on each occasion
he was cleared of committing any offence."

Last year a protest was held in Castlederg to highlight
grievance at what is being perceived as 'political

Cllr McHugh added, "The situation has only got worse.
Obviously there is an agenda at work and a spotlight needs
to be shone at the behavior of the PSNI in Castlederg. We
welcome Gerry Adams's remarks and there needs to be a full
inquiry about what is going on here."


Human Rights Commissioners Call For Omagh Review

18/01/2007 - 14:05:23

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and its Irish
counterpart today called for the appointment of a top judge
to examine the need for a cross-border public inquiry into
the Omagh bombing.

Professor Monica McWilliams, chief commissioner of the
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Dr Maurice
Manning, president of the Irish Human Rights Commission,
urged British and Irish governments to review circumstances
and events surrounding the atrocity to see if a public
inquiry was needed.

They said the review should be along the lines of that
carried out by retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory who
examined allegations of state collusion in four high
profile murders and recommended public inquiries.

Prof McWilliams and Dr Manning specifically proposed a
serving or retired judge of international standing should
examine all available material about the bombing in which
29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were
killed and hundreds more injured.

In an unprecedented joint statement they said “We further
recommend that the purpose of such a review will be to
determine whether it is appropriate to institute a North-
South inquiry into the atrocity”.

Dr Manning said: “We certainly do not want to do anything
that would prejudice any future trials or legal action. But
we believe there is enough new material that has emerged
which should help the person appointed to decide whether or
not the truth about Omagh will be found through a public

Families of the victims have been calling for such a cross-
border inquiry into the 1998 bombing for years – calls
which have fallen on deaf ears in the corridors of power in
London and Dublin.

The move by the two human rights chiefs came the day after
the end of the 56-day trial of Sean Hoey, the south Armagh
electrician charged with the Omagh bombing and a series of
other attacks.

The judge involved in the non-jury trial is expected to
return his verdicts on a total of 56 charges within two

In April a civil action by the Omagh families against five
men they believe to be responsible for the bombing is due
to begin in the High Court in Belfast.

Nearly three years ago Judge Cory recommended public
inquiries be held into four murders because he said he had
uncovered enough evidence to suggest state collusion in the
killings was a possibility.

The murders were those of:

:: Catholic solicitor Patrick Finucane who was shot dead by
loyalists in front of his family in their north Belfast

:: Catholic solicitor Rosemary Nelson who was killed by a
bomb planted under her car which exploded as she drove away
from her Lurgan, Co Armagh home;

:: Billy Wright, the loyalist paramilitary shot dead inside
the Maze Prison by INLA inmates;

:: Robert Hamill, a Catholic who was beaten to death in
Portadown, Co Armagh - there were allegations police sat
back and watched;

Three of the inquiries have been opened, but the British
government has yet to appoint a judge to head the Finucane


Martina Anderson To Address Bloody Sunday March

Published: 18 January, 2007

Sinn Féin has announced that Árd Comhairle member Martina
Anderson will address the Bloody Sunday annual march on
28th January.

Ms Anderson said:

“I was deeply honoured to have been asked by the party to
speak on behalf of Sinn Féin at the annual Bloody Sunday
March. As a Derry woman who was raised in the Bogside the
events of Bloody Sunday had a deep impact on my political
conscience and impelled me to become a republican activist

“Sinn Féin’s support for the families of Bloody Sunday has
been unparalleled and our commitment to uncover the truth
of what happened that day remains as steadfast now as it
did on Sunday 30th January 1972 when the shooting stopped.

“Unfortunately due to the extraordinary Árd Fheis being
held in Dublin many of the Sinn Féin leadership will be
unable to attend. The Árd Comhairle did everything in its
power to avoid a clash but due to the timeframe and size of
venue needed this was unavoidable.

“Sinn Féin has met with the families to explain this
position and while there will be 2000 members at the Árd
Fheis the party is encouraging and organising for all other
members to attend the commemoration."ENDS


€18m Of Assets Held In Manchester Operation

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Fri, Jan 19, 2007

The lawyer representing a businessman whose assets were
frozen yesterday by the UK's Assets Recovery Agency (ARA)
has denied his client has been involved in criminality.

This follows the seizure of £11.8 million (€17.97 million)
of assets in the Manchester area, the largest action taken
to date by the ARA, which is the UK equivalent of the
Criminal Assets Bureau in the Republic.

The agency alleges that 77 properties, mostly residential,
in the greater Manchester area have been funded by the
proceeds of financial crime and used to launder money. The
property portfolio, with an equity value of about £4.7
million, consists largely of tenanted flats and houses
owned and operated by property companies in Manchester.

The agency told the High Court in London yesterday it
believed businessmen Paul Dermot Craven and Brian Pepper
established the portfolio through the proceeds of unlawful
conduct, including money laundering, tax evasion, false
accounting, mortgage fraud and benefit fraud.

Yesterday's actions follow the freezing of £1.5 million
(€2.28 million) in property assets last November.

The Irish Times understands that case was referred to the
ARA by the Metropolitan Police in London following
investigation by the force's Anti-Terrorist Squad.

It is further understood that alleged IRA leader Thomas
"Slab" Murphy's farm on the Louth-Armagh border was
searched as part of this investigation.

The court actions also follow a highly publicised search
operation in Manchester in October 2005 which resulted in
more than 350,000 pieces of evidence being taken for
further examination.

Mr Craven has always protested he has no connection with
any republican activity.

His solicitor, Michael Kenyon, criticised the ARA, which is
due to be merged with the Serious Organised Crime Agency
(SOCA). "As far as we are concerned these are just the
death throes of a failing agency which is earmarked for
closure," he said yesterday.

Jane Earl, UK director of the Assets Recovery Agency, said:
"This is the latest stage in one of the largest and most
complex investigations the agency has undertaken."

The agency has served property freezing orders on Dermot
Craven Developments Ltd, based in Sale, Manchester, and
company directors Brian Pepper of Bridgewater Street, Sale,
Manchester, and Dawn Craven.

Orders have also been made against Avenue Holdings Ltd,
Craven House, also in Sale, and company directors Paul
Dermot Craven, Brian Pepper and Gerald Joseph Nightingale.

Also included in the orders is DC&BP (2004) Ltd, Craven
House, Sale, and company directors Dermot Craven and Brian
Pepper. However, the ARA has not alleged any criminal
conduct by Dawn Craven or Gerald Joseph Nightingale but has
frozen property held by them, or by companies of which they
are directors, because it alleges the property is the
proceeds of crime.

Northern political representatives and the PSNI chief
constable, Sir Hugh Orde, have expressed alarm at the
proposed merger of the ARA and SOCA, despite British
government assurances that the combination of agencies will
enhance the fight against organised crime.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Ervine's Wife Lauds 'Brave' Gerry Adams

THE widow of PUP leader David Ervine has spoken of how the
coming together of the community following her husband's
death has helped her come to terms with her loss.

Jeanette Ervine also praised Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
for coming to her husband's funeral last week, calling him
"brave" for doing so.

The image of Mrs Ervine and Mr Adams embracing outside the
East Belfast Mission, where the funeral service was held
last Friday, was a poignant reminder of how far Northern
Ireland has come since the dark days of the Troubles.

And it is this progress, in which the PUP leader played a
significant part, that Mrs Ervine hopes her husband will be
remembered for.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme
yesterday, the 56-year-old former Barnardo's worker
explained just how much the outpouring of grief over Mr
Ervine's death has meant to her and her family.

"It was very significant. There was something special about
coming together under one roof to share with us in our
grief. It was amazing," she said.

"It gave us so much strength that so many people cared.
There were Mass cards, letters, telephone calls, people
calling to the house, it was tremendous.

"It was a big comfort. It was really heartwarming to see
people embrace and talk together. I can't thank people

Gerry Adams came in for high praise for attending the
funeral of a man who he would have seen as an enemy 15
years ago.

"It was very brave – absolutely brave to come along and
express his sympathies. He said it was in respect of a
great man," said Mrs Ervine.

"I was surprised but there had been representatives of Sinn
Fein call at the house. I thought it was wonderful. It was
huge they did that. There again it showed the respect they
had for David and recognised him as a good man.

"I thought he was very, very brave in doing that, coming
into the Protestant heartland. He did it entirely without
thinking about himself but of his respect for David and to
sympathise with his family. I thought that was really big
of him."

Mark Ervine, 34, Jeanette's eldest son, said Mr Adams'
presence at the funeral has convinced him "peace is an
absolute certainty".

"When Gerry Adams left the church there was not a sound.
People from that community (east Belfast) respected that he
came," he said.

"Not so long ago people were trying to kill each other but
now people were being quiet to allow him to pay his

Mark and his mother said they are hopeful that the conduct
of the mourners is a sign that Northern Ireland is ready
for peace.

"We have made strides. There's still more to be done. I
think for David it would be very significant if we were to
continue to make this a better place for the children, to
work hard to make it happen," said Mrs Ervine.

18 January 2007


Colombia Lifts Visa Rule For Irish Visitors

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Fri, Jan 19, 2007

The visa requirement for Irish visitors to Colombia has
been lifted, following representations from Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern. The restriction was
introduced following the August 2001 arrest of the
"Colombia Three" on terrorism charges at Bogota's El Dorado

The three Irishmen - Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and
James Monaghan - were initially found not guilty on the
main charges of training FARC guerrillas, but this was
reversed on appeal. However, they jumped bail and returned
to Ireland rather than serve their 17-year sentences.

Following the initial arrests, the Colombian authorities
issued a ruling that - uniquely among European Union member
states at the time - that all Irish citizens would require
a visa for travel to Colombia.

Ironically, only Niall Connolly was holding an Irish
passport when arrested while his two companions were using
British passports, but no visa requirement was imposed for
British passport-holders.

On the instructions of Mr Ahern, officials from the
department made representations to the Colombian
authorities on the matter last year, initially without

However, the Colombian foreign ministry has lifted the visa
requirement as of January 1st, for all Irish citizens who
wish to visit Colombia temporarily and for Irish tourists
to Colombia.

According to the order signed by Foreign Minister Maria
Consuelo Araujo, the lifting of the visa requirement was
recommended by the director for Europe in the foreign
ministry, "taking into account that Ireland has succeeded
in becoming one of the most economically and socially
advanced countries in the EU and it is appropriate to
initiate a process of rapprochement and diversification of
the agenda with this country".

Colombia is keen to develop greater economic links, but
this was being hindered by the visa requirement. The
Colombians have also been appreciative of the supportive
stance Mr Ahern has taken in relation to their peace
process and the country's controversial "justice and peace
law", aimed at demobilising former guerrillas and

Commenting on the move, Mr Ahern said: "I very much welcome
the decision of the Colombians to lift the visa
requirements for Irish citizens. We have been working
steadily through our ambassador in Mexico to have this
requirement lifted and now that hard work has borne fruit.

"As far as I am concerned it was not sustainable to have
Ireland, almost alone among countries in western Europe, to
continue to be singled out with the requirement that its
citizens require entry visas."

The Colombian authorities applied in September 2005 for the
"Colombia Three" to be sent back from Ireland, but were
told by the Government that the documentation supplied did
not form a sufficient legal basis for extradition.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: SF Seeks To Curtail NI Policing

Fri, Jan 19, 2007

Although heavily trailed beforehand, there was nothing new
in last week's written statement from Tony Blair on the
future role of MI5 in Northern Ireland. It amounted to no
more than a repetition of what is already laid down in the
relevant section (annex E) of the St Andrew's Agreement,
writes David Adams

Despite this, Sinn Féin followed with a ludicrous claim
that it had made "significant progress" in negotiations
around accountability and future relationships between MI5
and civic policing. It left one wondering why the subject
had been raised at all, but only for a few hours.

It soon emerged that around the same time as Blair's
statement was being delivered to the House of Commons, the
British government was distributing a letter to Northern
Ireland's political parties informing them that the Assets
Recovery Agency (ARA) is to be abolished.

The high-profile airing of MI5's role in Northern Ireland
had been an attempt by both the British government and Sinn
Féin to deflect public attention from this far more serious

By their own measure, republicans had indeed made
significant progress in the negotiations. Commenting in
2005 on an ARA investigation into the finances of leading
republican Thomas "Slab" Murphy, Gerry Adams described the
agency's work as "hostile to the peace process".

Unfortunately, he did not go on to explain why he
considered a legal body dedicated to tackling criminality
and gangsterism as an obstacle to peace, but he had made
his feelings towards the ARA known.

Those viewing the situation from a different angle would
consider that Mr Adams and his colleagues have now managed
to negotiate the removal of the most important and
successful bulwark against organised crime in Northern

These negotiations, we should remember, are aimed at
getting republicans to support policing and criminal
justice in the North. Yet, is there not something
paradoxical about having to destroy the most vital elements
of a justice system to convince someone to support it?

If the price of Sinn Féin support for policing and law and
order is the wholesale destruction of anti-crime agencies
and the neutering of the PSNI, then how valuable is that

In those circumstances, could one reasonably claim a
genuine change in republican attitudes to the rule of law?
Or would it not be more accurate to say that the rule of
law had been contorted to fit with a republican viewpoint?

As well as expressing his surprise at the abolition of the
ARA, former member of the Patten commission, Senator
Maurice Hayes, commented the other day on policing in the
North and what he called the "new term of civic policing".

He said: "It [civic policing] seems to envisage a police
service that does not actually arrest anybody . . . and
which is not equipped with the intelligence or the powers
to counter modern, organised crime. This is certainly not
the police service envisioned by the Patten report".

Yet, it seems to be the only form of policing that will be
acceptable to Sinn Féin. Frighteningly, in its eagerness to
have a Northern Assembly reinstated, it appears the British
government will be only too happy to deliver what
republicans want.

But what good a powersharing executive in Northern Ireland
if we have to create a gangsters' paradise to achieve it?

The British of course deny suggestions that the abolition
of the ARA is linked to their attempts to secure republican
support for policing in the North.

Their denial is simply not plausible.

If it wasn't linked, then why did they not delay a decision
on the ARA until after the March deadline for Assembly
elections to avoid just such a suspicion arising? Instead,
it was conveniently scrapped just a few days before the
Sinn Féin ardchomhairle met to discuss whether to recommend
support for the PSNI and criminal justice system to a
special ardfheis.

The British also say that their planned merging of the ARA
with the London-based Serious Organised Crime Agency will
increase local operational efficiency.

This is absurd. The ARA is by far the most successful
agency of its kind in the UK. Making it part of a larger,
more broadly focused and less successful organisation based
in Britain, can only dilute if not completely destroy its
ability to tackle organised crime in Northern Ireland.

PSNI Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, a man not noted for
going public every time he disagrees with government
policy, has expressed his reservations about the removal of
the ARA.

He said he "remains to be convinced" that dissolving the
agency is a good idea. Praising the work of the ARA, Sir
Hugh said if its closure leaves gaps in the battle against
crime, then he is prepared "to fill them with my own staff,
because it is a vital part of the criminal justice

But that will not work.

Such is the nature and extent of modern organised crime
that the conventional structures of policing have proved
inadequate in tackling it. It was for this reason that
dedicated agencies like the ARA were formed in the first
place. Northern Ireland simply cannot afford to be left
without one.

© 2007 The Irish Times

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