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January 23, 2007

Special Branch Cave Still Hides Many Secrets

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 01/23/07 Special Branch Cave Still Hides Many Secrets
BN 01/23/07 SF: Ahern Take EU Court Action Against Britain
BT 01/23/07 Sinn Fein Winning The Battle On Policing
BT 01/23/07 Policing: SF Woos Roots; DUP Dissent Grows
BB 01/23/07 Ex-RUC Chief Urged To Quit Body
BT 01/23/07 Defiant Flanagan Comes Out Fighting
BT 01/23/07 Officers Criticised For Not Co-Operating
BT 01/23/07 Sir Hugh Receives Vote Of Confidence
BT 01/23/07 Board To Hold Special Meeting Over Report
DR 01/23/07 Timeline: Exposed Conspiracy With Killers
BT 01/23/07 McKenna- Murdered While Police Turned Blind Eye
BT 01/23/07 We'll Fight On, Vow Victims' Relatives
BT 01/23/07 My Fears For McCord's Life
BB 01/23/07 UVF Victim's Family Want Justice
BT 01/23/07 Doubts About Intelligence Safeguards In UK
BB 01/22/07 Reaction To Ombudsman's Report
BN 01/23/07 IRA Chef Charges Had €94,000 In Daz Box
BB 01/23/07 Republic Unveils Cash Plan For NI
BT 01/23/07 EU Slams Irish Part In CIA Torture Flights
BT 01/23/07 Republic 'Failed To Protect Wildlife'
BT 01/23/07 Opin: PSNI Must Show Lessons Have Been Learnt
IT 01/23/07 Opin: Policing The North's Police
GU 01/23/07 Opin: Máirtín Ó Muilleoir - A Silenced Alarm


Special Branch Cave Still Hides Many Secrets

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 09:05]

It was a dark day for policing, as dark as the cave in
which the old Special Branch used to hide - hide from all
scrutiny and accountability.

And today there's a question that needs to be answered, how
many more Mark Haddock-type cases are there?

This one is bad enough, but it is only part of the story.

A man up to his neck in murder, attempted murder, drugs
crime and much, much more, was, as this newspaper revealed
last Friday, paid tens of thousands of pounds by the
Special Branch.

Who signed the payments? What was he paid for? And in the
cave, were the normal rules and practices of policing just

The answer to that last question is, yes.

A number of retired senior officers refused to co-operate
with the Ombudsman's investigation - among them assistant
chief constables, detective chief superintendents and
detective superintendents.


What does the current Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde,

"I think senior officers whether they are serving or
retired who have had the privilege of rank and without
doubt hold responsibility for specific areas of policing
should be prepared to come and explain what went on," he
told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I think one of the consequences of that failure is that
junior officers have been badly let down," he continued.

"And they will be asking quite legitimately, where were the
people that asked us to do these things when the chips were

Before becoming chief constable here, Sir Hugh Orde was a
senior member of the Stevens team investigating collusion
in the murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane - a
killing involving many agents, agents in another loyalist
organisation but as dirty as Haddock.

In August 2000, Raymond McCord contacted the Stevens team
about the murder of his son.

"It was outside, absolutely outside, the Stevens terms of
reference," Sir Hugh Orde told me yesterday.

But, on September 6, 2000, the Stevens team wrote to the

RUC chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

A week later they got a letter back saying an assistant
chief constable would deal with the matters raised.

Sir Hugh Orde says "there's a full audit trail on that
communication" .

It took until 2003 for Mark Haddock to be "decommissioned"
- to be stood down as a covert human intelligence source,
for the Special Branch to finally get rid of him.

Let's take one other case and ask some questions.

In February last year this newspaper revealed that the
loyalist John White - a close associate of the Shankill UFF
leader Johnny Adair - was a Special Branch informer.

White was a convicted murderer - and in his agent years a
suspected drug dealer.

How much was he paid, and for what?

Who recruited him? When was he decommissioned?

In that dark cave, the Special Branch was a law unto

Yes, you will be told that agents saved lives; that "there
would have been more people in the cemeteries of Northern
Ireland if we (Special Branch) hadn't run people like Mark

So, what are we meant to do? Forget all the other bits?
Pretend it didn't happen?

Many agents were stood down as part of a police review,
which began in October 2003 - indeed almost a quarter of
all informers were decommissioned.

Of those struck off, 12% were "involved in serious crime".

What were they getting up to?

Special Branch is now out of the cave - in a new place
where there is accountability and scrutiny.

That was accepted in the report of the Ombudsman yesterday.

But the cave is still the hiding place for many secrets -
the place where you will find the filth of a very dirty

It is too soon to be shocked, because there is worse to
come. And in the paramilitary worlds, it goes much higher
than Mark Haddock.

© Belfast Telegraph


SF Wants Ahern To Take EU Court Action Against Britain

23/01/2007 - 08:03:08

Sinn Féin is demanding that the Taoiseach take a case
against the British government to the European Court of
Human Rights following yesterday's collusion report in the

The party is seeking a meeting with Bertie Ahern's
officials to discuss the Police Ombudsman's findings about
links between the RUC and UVF murderers.

Nuala O'Loan's report says senior RUC Special Branch
officers protected a loyalist gang responsible for up to 15
murders because its leader was a paid informer.

Following the publication of an Oireachtas report into the
Dublin and Monaghan bombings last October, Mr Ahern said he
was considering taking a case to the European courts to
challenge London's refusal to hand over intelligence files.

There have long been suspicions that the British security
services helped and protected the loyalists who carried out
the Dublin/Monaghan attacks in 1974.

Speaking last night, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said he
was seeking a meeting in Dublin to find out whether the
Taoiseach intends to press ahead with European court action
in light of yesterday's revelations.


Sinn Fein Winning The Battle On Policing

[Published: Monday 22, January 2007 - 11:22]
By Noel McAdam

The Sinn Fein leadership has faced a barrage of questions
and concerns from republicans at public meetings as the
crunch ard fheis on policing looms.

But with around half of its series of grassroots gatherings
still to go, the party leadership appears to be winning the
argument on support for policing.

In Galbally in Tyrone, one former blanket protestor said he
could not get his "head around" how the Sinn Fein
leadership was asking republicans to wear the "criminal
uniform of the RUC".

Former ard chomhairle member Gerry McGeogh said he had been
"ashamed" to be a member of the Executive and told Sinn
Fein President Gerry Adams he only wanted to "look good for
the cameras" for coming elections in the Republic.

At Toome, veteran republican Laurence O'Neill said: "The
dirty deals have already been done and the decisions made."

And at Newcastle last night some in the audience, while
supporting the overall Sinn Fein strategy, said they could
never support either the PSNI or the Garda. Mr Adams and
panels which included senior party figures, among them
policing spokesman Gerry Kelly, MEP Bairbre de Brun and MLA
Francie Molloy, challenged anyone opposed to the move
towards supporting policing to produce an alternative.

Mr Adams dismissed suggestions that entering into policing
structures would " copper-fasten partition", but also
argued the point at which the time had become 'right' to
back policing had only been reached six weeks ago.

"We do not want to leave policing to the unionists - and we
don't want to leave it to the securocrats. We must leave it
in the hands of accountable politicians - us," the West
Belfast MP said in Toome.

"Sinn Fein has a strategy and are building a political
party which with the democratic will of the people will
take power in a united Ireland and bring about the type of
socialist republic that we all here want to see.

"Did the British defeat us in the last 30 years? No they
did not. Did the British put us down over the past 30
years? No they did not. I stood with others on the
frontlines in some of the most repressive conditions, but
they did not beat us."

Opponents of the party's strategy - calling themselves the
Concerned Republican Group - refused to enter the meeting
which they described as a " stage-managed farce".

Mr O'Neill said: "Any attempt to voice any opposition would
just have been shouted down."

© Belfast Telegraph


Policing: SF Woos Grass Roots As DUP Dissent Grows

[Published: Monday 22, January 2007 - 08:55]
By Deborah McAleese

Sinn Fein was remaining optimistic that it was winning the
support of republicans to back party plans to endorse

As the first round of public debates got under way at the
weekend, the party's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness,
said he was encouraged by the response.

"I am greatly encouraged by the vibrancy, the focus and the
quality of the debate so far. It is evidence of a community
that is intent on moving forward with even greater
confidence than before," he said.

However, Sinn Fein has not yet been able to win the support
of republican hardliners and, on Friday, rival republican
leader Ruairi O Bradaigh, the Republican Sinn Fein
president, snubbed an offer to meet Gerry Adams to discuss

But, at a public meeting in Lurgan, Mr McGuinness said the
party's opponents would be disappointed if they thought
hardline republicans posed a serious challenge.

He added: "We think it is better for the entire process
that we have all the power-sharing institutions and the
all-Ireland institutions up and running with (DUP leader)
Ian Paisley in them. That would be good psychologically for
loyalists and unionists as well."

The results of the public meetings, to be held throughout
the week, will be released on Sunday during a special ard

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
have identified Sinn Fein's support for the PSNI as
critical to hopes of persuading the DUP to share power by
March 26.

Mr McGuinness claimed the DUP had, on several occasions,
fallen short of honouring what it had agreed to do to
advance efforts to secure power-sharing. because of
opposition from within its ranks, including from MPs
Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds and David Simpson.

Meanwhile, disaffected DUP voters have organised a series
of meetings to vent their opposition to Mr Paisley's party

During the latest meeting in Lurgan, over 100 voters
slammed him for his " electoral betrayal" in the wake of
the St Andrews Agreement.

They said that, if Mr Paisley and his party members share
power with Sinn Fein, they would be "traitors to the Ulster
electorate" and " treasonous in disregard of their own DUP
2005 electoral manifesto".

© Belfast Telegraph


Ex-RUC Chief Urged To Quit Body

Former RUC chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan is facing
calls to quit the body which promotes police efficiency.

NI's police ombudsman found officers colluded with
loyalists behind over a dozen murders in north Belfast at a
time when Sir Ronnie was in charge.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: "Either he was not in control
of a dysfunctional organisation, or he knew full well but
kept the truth hidden.

"In either event, he should not head up the Inspectorate of

The body reports on and encourages efficiency and
effectiveness of policing in England, Wales and Northern

On Monday, Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's report said UVF
members in the area committed murders and other serious
crimes while working as informers for Special Branch.

Special Branch officers gave the killers immunity, it said.

The report called for a number of murder investigations to
be re-opened.

But it is unlikely that any of the police officers involved
will be prosecuted - the ombudsman said that evidence was
deliberately destroyed to ensure there could not be

Mrs O'Loan said Sir Ronnie was interviewed by her office,
but was unable to assist the investigation.

Sir Ronnie led Special Branch before being promoted to
chief constable.

He has clashed with Mrs O'Loan before, when her highly
critical assessment of the RUC's inquiry into the 1998
Omagh bombing led him to say he would "publicly commit
suicide" if he believed her report was correct.

'Appalling and shameful'

Meanwhile, the Policing Board, which holds to account the
Police Service of Northern Ireland, is to hold an emergency
meeting on Wednesday to discuss the damning report.

Board chairman Desmond Rea said: "The Police Service of
Northern Ireland has embarked on the process of change.

"It has dealt with many of these issues, and indeed, that
is acknowledged by the ombudsman."

Dawn Purvis, the new leader of the Progressive Unionists -
which is linked to the UVF - denied her party had any
responsibility in relation to the O'Loan report.

"This is not a case of the PUP shrugging this off. The PUP
issued a statement yesterday which quite clearly said that
the findings in the report were appalling and shameful,"
she told the BBC on Tuesday.

"We need to face up to the fact that there are families to
be considered in all this - families that are hurting and
families that need closure.

"The work of the PUP is to ensure that things like this
never happen again."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/23 08:50:42 GMT


Defiant Flanagan Comes Out Fighting

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 11:25]
By Jonathan McCambridge and David Gordon

Former RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan today
dismissed calls for his resignation as the head of a UK-
wide policing body as he prepared to come out fighting in
the wake of Nuala O'Loan's devastating collusion report.

The Ombudsman yesterday reported on what she said was
widespread collusion between police and UVF informers
responsible for at least 10 murders - many of which
occurred when Sir Ronnie was Chief Constable or head of
Special Branch.

The report contained revelations that Special Branch agent
Mark Haddock was protected from prosecution despite
involvement in multiple murders - including those of
Raymond McCord Jnr and Sharon McKenna.

Sir Ronnie, who now heads up Her Majesty's Inspectorate of
Constabulary (HMIC), is coming under increasing pressure in
his new role. SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he has no option
but to stand down.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has already said that Sir
Ronnie co-operated with her investigators in giving an
interview, but that he had been unable to give answers to
many questions because he could not remember the details.

The former chief constable holds two knighthoods and is
very highly regarded by Government, not least for his role
in the reform of policing in Northern Ireland.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph today, Sir Ronnie
said he had been in meetings all day yesterday and was not
aware of any specific criticism of him. He also said he was
considering preparing a statement.

However, when confronted with calls for his resignation,
his initial reaction was bullish.

"I am wondering how this has all come back to me. I co-
operated with the Ombudsman and there is no criticism of me
at all in her report. I see no grounds whatsoever for my
resignation, but I do not want to get into an interview at
this stage."

But SDLP leader Mark Durkan told the Belfast Telegraph that
the Ombudsman's report had left Sir Ronnie with no option
but to stand down from his position within HMIC.

He said: "He was the head of Special Branch and then the
Chief Constable during the most serious episodes of
collusion revealed by Nuala O'Loan. He was never a man who
gave the impression of being remote or detached from what
was going on in his organisation.

"Either he was not in control of a dysfunctional
organisation, or he knew full well but kept the truth
hidden. In either event, he should not head up the
Inspectorate of Constabulary."

Speaking on Channel Four News last night, Secretary of
State Peter Hain refused to confirm if Sir Ronnie would
face further questions.

He added: "The Ombudsman is not ... pointing the figure
particularly at Ronnie Flanagan ... obviously everybody
concerned will have to account for their responsibilities
and that will take a bit of time to work through.

"At the moment nobody's complaining about the way Ronnie
Flanagan's doing his job as the chief inspector of Her
Majesty's (Inspectorate of) Constabulary."

However, Raymond McCord snr, whose initial complaints into
the UVF murder of his son sparked the Ombudsman probe, said
that Sir Ronnie must stand down and he should also lose his

"The Chief Constable at the time was Ronnie Flanagan. As
far as I'm concerned Ronnie Flanagan has a lot to answer

Victims group Relatives for Justice revealed they are
consulting legal advisers on taking civil proceedings
against the former Chief Constable.

Ironically, the UK-wide policing body headed by Sir Ronnie
is to conduct a key review of the PSNI's running of
informers in the wake of the O'Loan investigation.

The Ombudsman recommended in her report that Her Majesty's
Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) should conduct an
inspection of new "PSNI processes for informant handling,
controlling and management".

Mrs O'Loan's report stated that this recommendation had
been accepted by HMIC.

The aim of the inspection will be to identify any legal or
administrative changes needed to ensure the effective
handling of informers within terrorist networks.

It has been proposed by the Ombudsman in the light of the
forthcoming transfer of national security matters to MI5
from the PSNI.

Meanwhile, Mr McCord today announced plans to stand in the
Assembly election.

"I will be running as a victims' candidate with support
from other victims' families. One of my main aims will be
to expose the hypocrisy of unionist politicians who have
done nothing for my family and are in denial over the
collusion exposed in the Ombudsman's report," he said.

© Belfast Telegraph


Officers Criticised For Not Co-Operating

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 08:59]
By David Gordon

Retired senior Special Branch officers have been severely
criticised by the Police Ombudsman for not co-operating
with the investigation into the Raymond McCord allegations.

Nuala O'Loan's report said no senior officer had taken
"total responsibility" for the management of "Informant 1"
- the loyalist known to be Mark Haddock.

It also stated: "The Police Ombudsman was particularly
concerned that retired senior officers, who had had
significant responsibilities within Special Branch and who
undoubtedly could have assisted this enquiry, refused to do

"Among those who refused were two retired Assistant Chief
Constables, seven Detective Chief Superintendents and two
Detective Superintendents."

Mrs O'Loan's report also said most senior officers involved
had not made themselves accountable.

"They have portrayed themselves as victims rather than
public servants, as though the public desire for an
explanation of what happened during the period under
investigation was unjustified.

"Their refusal to co-operate is indicative of disregard for
the members of families of murder victims from both sides
of the community.

"In addition to this, their refusal to co-operate has had
the effect of lengthening the investigation, and of
depriving the public of their understanding of what

The Ombudsman's report was equally scathing over gaps in
police documentation.

"Records were minimized, exaggerated, fabricated and must
also have been destroyed.

"Informant 1 would have been well aware of the level of
protection which he was afforded," the report stated.

The report also said: "The general absence of records has
prevented senior officers, who clearly have significant
responsibility for the failings, from being held to

"It is abundantly clear that this was not an oversight, but
was a deliberate strategy and had the effect of avoiding
proper accountability."

© Belfast Telegraph


Sir Hugh Receives Vote Of Confidence

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 09:00]
By David Gordon

The Police Ombudsman has given an enthusiastic vote of
confidence to PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.

Nuala O'Loan also spoke positively about the future of
policing in Northern Ireland.

"I'm very optimistic," she said yesterday.

"We have a first class chief constable who has made massive
changes. It's like turning round a massive ocean liner. You
don't do that overnight.

"I believe the ship is in good hands."

Mrs O'Loan added: "At no stage did the Chief Constable ever
obstruct us. When he became aware of things, he acted."

© Belfast Telegraph


Board To Hold Special Meeting Over Report

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 11:55]
By Jonathan McCambridge

The Policing Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow to
discuss the implications of the Ombudsman's collusion

The private meeting of members at the Board's Clarendon
Dock headquarters will be given a briefing by Nuala O'Loan
before they ask questions of the Chief Constable Sir Hugh

Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said they would
want assurances that recommendations made by the Ombudsman
are implemented in a "timely and effective" manner.

He said: "The Board welcomes the fact that the Chief
Constable has already accepted in full the recommendations
that fall within his remit but the Board will want to put
in place robust monitoring arrangements to ensure
implementation in a timely and effective manner, as
recommended by the Ombudsman.

"While the Ombudsman's report has highlighted serious
failings in some police operations in the past, the report
also records the progress that has been made in this area.

"In her report, the Ombudsman has recognised the leadership
shown by the current Chief Constable and the senior
management of PSNI and their commitment to achieving the
highest standards of informant and intelligence handling."

Sir Desmond added: "The Board will want to be satisfied
that the recommendations relating to the PSNI are dealt
with in a way that ensures accountability in practice € not
just on paper."

The Policing Board will also be meeting with the
surveillance commissioner to discuss issues around the
management and dissemination of intelligence and the
handling of informants."

However, former DUP Policing Board member Sammy Wilson has
already said the report should be given "short shrift".

He said: "Those officers who refused to co-operate with
what has become the latest exercise in denigrating the RUC
took the wise course of action because it is clear from the
manner in which the investigation took place that it was
going to be used at yet another attack on officers who
served Northern Ireland well and took great personal risks
and saved hundreds of lives."

© Belfast Telegraph


Timeline: How Inquiry Exposed Conspiracy With Killers

NUALA O'Loan's £1million probe is the largest in the
history of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's office.

Key events over 10 years have culminated in the exposure of
a major policing scandal.

November 1997: Raymond McCord jnr, 22, is killed by the UVF
Mount Vernon unit.

December 2002: Mount Vernon UVF leader Mark Haddock
oversees a brutal attack on nightclub doorman Trevor Gowdy
in Monkstown, Newtownabbey August 2003: Haddock is arrested
while attempting to flee toWales.

November 2003: Ombudsman staff investigate claims by
Raymond McCord snr that his son was murdered by Special
Branch agents.

January 2006: Against the advice of police, Haddock is
released on bail while on trial for the attempted murder of

May 2006: Haddock survives being shot six times in a UVF
assassination attempt.

August 2006: Three former RUC detectives are arrested but
released without charge as the Ombudsman's inquiry
investigates the 1993 murder of Sharon McKenna, 27.

September 2006: Haddock is cleared of attempted murder but
convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent, false
imprisonment and setting fire to a car.

November 2006: Haddock gets 10 years for the attack on

January 2007: O'Loan publishes her report into Special
Branch collusion.


Sharon McKenna: Murdered While Police Turned A Blind Eye

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 10:23]
David McKittrick

Sharon McKenna is remembered as something of a Good
Samaritan by her family and circle of friends in north
Belfast, who speak of an outgoing young woman who was
generous and made friends easily.

North Belfast is a tough place, which during the Troubles
saw more deaths per square mile than any other area. Many
people avoid it, while those who live there carefully watch
where they go and veer away from its many dangerous

Sharon was slightly unusual in that she drove a taxi-cab
around the whole area, often at night, as well as taking
part in a CB-radio network that included both Catholics and
Protestants. She had friends in both communities, her
gregarious nature leading her to put friendship before
precaution. Her mother recalled: “I’d say to her, ‘Watch
yourself, with these old troubles going on.’ But she’d just
say, ‘No one would want to bother me.’”

Sharon was Catholic, and on the night of her violent death
she was cooking a meal for an older Protestant man, a
family friend who was home from hospital. He would later
recall her as a “generous and kind young woman”. The two
loyalist gunmen who forced their way into the house first
demanded her car keys. Then, without warning, one of them
blasted her with a shotgun. As she lay helplessly on the
floor he fired again into her body.

At her funeral, a bishop said she was killed, “because she
crossed a divide to help a friend,” adding: “She dared to
cross... barriers, barriers erected by those who wanted a
particular area to be a no-go area for those who differed
from them in religious belief.”

At first, her death seemed to be one more of the relentless
stream of north Belfast sectarian killings. Sometimes the
police secure convictions for these, sometimes not: no one
was charged with McKenna’s murder. Very often detectives
reckon they know who carried out such attacks, but very
often they say they cannot prove it, and the guilty go
free: the phenomenon is a familiar fact of paramilitary
life in Belfast.

Yet the extraordinary and appalling facts behind the
McKenna killing, and behind at least nine other Belfast
murders, have just been exposed to public gaze in a
breathtaking report released yesterday by Northern
Ireland’s Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan.

The document cements O’Loan’s reputation as a woman with
the tenacity to dig out concealed details behind some murky
facets of police work, whatever forms of obstruction are
placed in her way. The report on the deaths of Sharon
McKenna and others centres on the activities of the Special
Branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which has now been
replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

In this case, the investigation was hampered by the fact
that many documents disappeared before and after the O’Loan
inquiry got under way. Most of the officers she contacted
failed to reply, while others, she said, gave answers that
were untrue, or “evasive, contradictory and on occasion

Yet there was enough testimony, and enough documents
survived for her to construct a detailed account of the
shooting and its aftermath.

Central to the story was one of the gunmen, a particularly
unsavoury character named Mark Haddock, who was involved
both in the drugs trade and in the paramilitary Ulster
Volunteer Force in the loyalist stronghold of Mount Vernon.
Haddock, referred to in the report as Informant 1, was at
that point an informer for the CID and the Special Branch.
In what seems an incredibly trusting move on the morning
after the McKenna killing, Haddock told a CID officer he
was one of the two gunmen involved.

Quite apart from this admission, Special Branch recorded
other information showing Haddock was involved, along with
others. This intelligence meant he had to be questioned
about the murder, so he was detained.

He was interviewed 37 times over a six-day period, but made
no admissions. Those questioning him were aware that he was
an informant and knew he would say nothing: one detective
said he “felt like a gooseberry” sitting in on the futile
question sessions.

In fact, one of the detectives interrogating Haddock was
actually his CID handler, another officer feeling he was
“just going through the motions”. The O’Loan report
concluded: “These interviews were a sham.”

Police involved have provided conflicting versions of what
happened, and various Special Branch intelligence reports
relating to the murder cannot be found.

The report found that while Haddock is a main suspect for
the McKenna murder, he has not been properly investigated
for it. And there is no record of anyone querying the
wisdom of having retained a prime murder suspect as an

For some reason, Mark Haddock was given a pay rise after
Sharon McKenna was shot. He had been earning £100 a week,
but soon after the killing this rose to £160.

Over the course of a decade he made £80,000, before ceasing
to be an informer in 2003.

It is not clear what he did for such payments – or whether
he was paid even more, for some monies were never recorded
or had been destroyed. On one occasion he was paid £10,000,
but as Mrs O’Loan said, “nothing is known about why this
payment was made, how, or who au-thorised it.” There is no
indication that he regularly produced life-saving

In his early days as an informer, Haddock had, it seemed,
saved one life, as informers are supposed to do. This is
the justification for keeping such people on the books: it
is a grey area both legally and morally. In Northern
Ireland, on both sides, everyone knows informers are not
people of sterling character. The theory is that they must
inevitably break the law to maintain their positions within
underground groups, but that such lawbreaking should be
kept to an absolute minimum.

Yet in Haddock’s case, his status as informer, in effect,
gave him carte blanche to become what an investigator
yesterday described as a serial killer. Surviving records
show Sharon McKenna was one of many victims in a career
that has put him among the most active loyalist assassins.

He is believed to have been involved in 10 killings. His
victims include half a dozen murders of Catholics such as
Sharon Mc-Kenna, all of which appear to be sheer sectarian
killings of people who were not politically active.

Four other men were killed in internal loyalist disputes,
including the son of one of Northern Ireland’s most
remarkable men, Raymond Mc-Cord. His son, also Raymond, had
the misfortune to become mixed up in a cannabis deal with
Haddock in 1997, and was battered to death on Haddock’s

McCord senior is a striking example of the Belfast
tradition of hard men who settle disputes with their fists.
Years ago, when he discovered Haddock had had his son
killed, he repeatedly named him in media interviews,
unafraid of UVF death threats.

Although he is probably the city’s champion bare-knuckle
street-fighter, McCord was overcome several years ago by a
gang of loyalists who set about him, breaking his legs and
putting him in hospital.

But he continued to issue statements accusing Haddock of
having his son killed and of being a high-level police

He told The Independent at the time: “This man is a drug
dealer, extortionist, Special Branch agent, who has been
allowed to get away with murder. He has been involved in
many murders, and he has been totally immune from
prosecution.” For years, his charges seemed incapable of
independent verification, for the police and other agencies
would not confirm whether anyone was an agent.

Yet snippets emerged that tended to support the McCord
allegations, and eventually a former police officer turned
whistle-blower also alleged Haddock was an informer.

McCord’s decision to take his case to the Ombudsman that
eventually produced firm evidence that Haddock had been
allowed to get away with murder.

The 10 killings do not exhaust the list of wrongdoings with
which he has been associated, for there are five more
deaths in which he may also have been involved. He and his
associates are also believed to be linked with five more
attempted murders, 10 “punishment” attacks and activities
such as criminal damage, extortion and intimidation.

To this can be added drug-dealing actitivies, for which he
had a conviction. The files reveal 17 instances of Haddock
selling drugs: on two occasions he admitted to handlers he
was into the drugs trade. He did pass on to the police
information about other drug-dealers – including some
associates – apparently to have them arrested so as to
create a bigger market for himself.

O’Loan collected 70 separate reports implicating him in
drugdealing, but when she interviewed Special Branch
officers, “the vast majority” said they were unaware of
such activity.

Drug money formed a major part of the revenues of the
violent loyalist groups. The report includes her terse
comment that she “does not accept that the officers were
ignorant of Informant 1’s drug-dealing”. Her conclusion is
that the Special Branch disregarded most of Haddock’s drug
activities, an attitude which she describes as collusion.

In past few years, Haddock’s life has been eventful and
hazardous. First, he and associates attacked a Protestant
man with a hatchet, knife and baton, inflicting a fractured
skull and mul-tiple lacerations. When he was released on
bail on a charge of attempted murder he arranged a meeting
with his UVF associates, apparently to reassure them that
the reports that he was an informer were untrue. When he
showed up, he walked into a mafia-style hit, his former
mates shooting him six times.

He quickly recovered, but towards the end of last year was
jailed for 10 years for the previous attack on the
Protestant man. He is due for release in a few years, but
as those six bullets indicate, he will, if he remains in
Northern Ireland, be a dead man walking. Many questions are
unanswered. How many other Haddocks have there been? This
report concerns only one north Belfast housing estate where
the UVF has a presence; there are dozens more districts
infested by UVF “teams” or “units”.

If the Haddock pattern is repeated elsewhere, then the
number of loyalist killings that may merit reinvestigation
could spiral into the hundreds.

The impression is that the secret world of the Special
Branch was beyond any meaningful accountability, with
police chiefs fending off outside inspections by arguing
that Belfast’s problems were so severe that normal rules
simply could not apply.

When O’Loan’s investigators asked for written material,
they found that parts of murder files, decision logs and
intelligence documents were missing. This she judged “a
deliberate strategy which had the effect of avoiding proper
accountability”. Although this has not prevented her
producing a searingly critical report, the lack of
specifics almost certainly means that prosecutions of
individual officers can never be brought. Haddock’s
activities were clear to his handlers, the sergeants and
constables, but the entire system, in her opinion, could
not have operated without “the knowledge and support” of
the highest levels of the police.

The Special Branch could perhaps answer some of the
outstanding questions, but it has clammed up and closed
ranks. Special Branch had six heads during the time in
question: none would speak to O’Loan.

Almost all of the officers who have fallen under suspicion,
or have refused cooperation, have left the police service,
and many new safeguards and structures are said to be in

The Ombudsman’s investigators now express a high degree of
confidence that a “proper and ethical” system is in place
and that the present Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde,
reacted quickly and decisively when they told him some
years ago what had gone on in his force.

None the less, although this is in one sense merely the
latest in a line of revelations, it is one of the worst
cases of police misbehaviour and one that yesterday
produced widespread shock.

O’Loan, in a repeat of previous revelations concerning the
Special Branch, discovered that it almost routinely
refrained from passing on vital information to CID
detectives investigating murders. In one case, Haddock was
questioned about a killing but the interrogations were
conducted by his handlers. They knew he was involved, but
“babysat” him through the interviews, later handing in
notes that did not reflect what he said. In another double
murder of two Catholics, Haddock was one of the suspects.
The gunman was said to have had a goatee beard. Haddock had
one, but was allowed to shave it off in custody.

The report has many more such snippets, together with
allegations of practices which, together, are said to
constitute collusion. These range through concealment,
misleading documents and the production of misleading
material for the courts.

One accusation has not been stood up, for the report found
no hard evidence that the Special Branch knew some people
were being targeted by Haddock and the UVF, and allowed
them to die. Yet although this is true in terms of
specifics, the generality is that the Branch protected
Haddock, even though it knew he was repeatedly involved in
killings. It kept him out of prison and on the streets, it
turned a blind eye to money-raising drug activities, and
paid him well.

The Branch did not know he planned to kill Sharon McKenna,
the cheerful girl who paid with her young life for her
efforts to cross the sectarian divide. But after her death,
they certainly knew he would murder again, and they did
nothing to stop his decade-long killing spree.

Victims who justice betrayed

Peter McTasney
24 February 1991

A 26-year-old Catholic voluntary worker, he was shot by the
UVF in the living room of his home. His three-year-old
niece was injured in the attack. Two men, one with a
sledgehammer, shot him through the window before entering
the house and shooting him again as he lay on the floor.

Sean McParland
24 February 1994

A 55-year-old married Catholic with four children, he was
shot by loyalists while babysitting four grandchildren at
his daughter’s house. He was wounded in the neck and died
in hospital a week later. He had recently had his voicebox
removed during an operation to remove throat cancer.

Eamon Fox
17 May 1994

A 44-year-old Catholic who was married with six children,
he was shot by the UVF with Gary Convie as the two were
eating their lunch in a car near a building site where they
were working. The gunman fired from a children’s
playground, using its railings to prop up a Sten sub-
machine gun.

Gary Convie
17 May 1994

A Catholic building worker, he was living with his
girlfriend and child at the time of his murder by the UVF.
Convie was described as a “happy-go-lucky” person who was a
member of a Gaelic Athletic Club.

Gerald Brady
17 June 1994

A taxi driver aged 27, he was shot by the UVF after picking
up two men. A witness said the killers got out of the car
and spoke to their victim briefly before shooting him three
times with a pistol. Brady was hit twice in the head and
once in the back. He and his partner had two children.

Thomas Sheppard
21 March 1996

A Protestant with links to the UVF, he was in a bar when
two gunmen wearing scarves to conceal their identities
kicked open the doors and singled him out. One of the
gunmen opened fire, hitting Sheppard three times in the
head and body.

John Harbinson
19 May 1997

A Protestant, he was found beaten to death in an alley on
the Mount Vernon estate, where Mark Haddock lived.
Harbinson had been handcuffed. His death was originally
classed by police as a “domestic” incident, rather than one
with paramilitary overtones.

Raymond McCord
9 November 1997

A 22-year-old Protestant who had been a member of the RAF
for four years, his body was found in a quarry. His father
mounted a campaign claiming his death had been ordered by
Mark Haddock, who he claimed was being protected by Special
Branch as an informer.

Tommy English
31 October 2000

A loyalist figure who had been involved in political talks,
he was shot in his home after four masked UVF men forced
their way into the house, beating his wife when she tried
to stop the attack. Their three children, who were
celebrating Halloween, also witnessed the killing.

© Belfast Telegraph


We'll Fight On, Vow Victims' Relatives

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 09:07]
By Chris Thornton and David Gordon

The fight for a public inquiry into policing handling of
Mark Haddock was led by a family who learned the informer
was given a pay rise after murdering their loved one.

The family of Sharon McKenna, the 27-year-old victim of a
sectarian murder, also learned that Haddock may even have
been paid to go on holiday to get over the killing.

Their call was also backed by Raymond McCord, the grieving
father whose complaint to the Police Ombudsman broke open
the case.

The families say the lack of prosecutions in the case is
one reason why there should be further legal scrutiny. They
may also turn to the civil courts.

Their call was immediately rebuffed by Secretary of State
Peter Hain, who said Northern Ireland was "awash with

He said an inquiry would not uncover any more than the
Ombudsman has.

But the families said they would fight on.

Last night Mr McCord responded: "If Peter Hain thinks he's
going to win a fight with me on this, he's going to be

"There has to be a public inquiry.

"I now want to hear from Tony Blair on when he is going to
meet me."

Sharon McKenna's brother Paul said: "My family's been let
down, big-time."

Police learned Haddock, who was already working for them as
an informer, was one of the gunmen who shot Sharon McKenna
in January 1993.

He was arrested and questioned - but one of his police
handlers was involved in the interviews.

Weeks afterwards, Haddock's monthly retainer payments were
increased from £100 to £160.

Paul McKenna said: "One of Nuala O'Loan's recommendations
is that the PSNI reinvestigate Sharon's murder.

"In light of what I've seen in the report, I'm not to keen
on that.

"Haddock was on the PSNI payroll up to 2003, during the
tenure of the current chief constable. Hugh Orde recently
refused to meet me about this so I have no confidence in it
being handled by the PSNI."

Mr Hain ruled out a public inquiry.

"There is nothing at all to suggest that such an inquiry
will uncover any new or additional evidence that has not
already been unearthed by the Police Ombudsman during the
painstaking investigation conducted over the past three
years," he said.

The Police Ombudsman yesterday revealed that a 2003 request
for additional funding for the McCord probe was turned down
by the Northern Ireland Office.

A total of £250,000 was subsequently provided but Nuala
O'Loan said it did not meet the "anticipated cost" of the
inquiries from the case.

© Belfast Telegraph


My Fears For McCord's Life

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 08:43]
By David Gordon

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan last night spoke of her fears
about the UVF murdering campaigning father Raymond McCord
before the truth about his son's killers was exposed.

Mr McCord's long struggle to prove that his son died at the
hands of a loyalist gang riddled with Special Branch
informers was vindicated yesterday by a devastating
Ombudsman's report.

He has been repeatedly warned by police about UVF threats
to his life, with the latest alert coming just last

Mrs O'Loan told the Belfast Telegraph that she made
representations to the police about Mr McCord's security.

She also did not share information with him during the
course of her investigation in case it heightened the risk
of a murder bid.

Mrs O'Loan said Mr McCord had helped bring about "massive
changes" in policing.

"Raymond McCord is a man for whom I have a huge respect.

"He's a very brave man and a very determined man. He has
put his own life on the line to try to bring the murderers
of his son to justice.

"He received a lot of threats during the time we were

The Ombudsman said she had been "very concerned" about Mr
McCord's personal security during her office's
investigation and had made contact with the PSNI.

"I would go through to the police and say I'm hearing about
more threats to Mr McCord, will you take appropriate
action? And they did," Mrs O'Loan said.

The Ombudsman rejected allegations from aggrieved former
Special Branch officers that details of the investigation
had been leaked.

She said there had been a "complete close down policy" on
information, motivated by security concerns.

"To be quite blunt, I wouldn't tell anybody anything and I
certainly wouldn't tell Raymond.

"I was afraid that if people thought he knew, they might
try and come and get him, and it might make the threat to
him worse."

The Ombudsman's report yesterday linked the UVF in Mount
Vernon, north Belfast, to between 10 and 15 murders,
including the 1997 killing of Raymond McCord Jnr.

A number of the UVF gang's senior members, including its
leader Mark Haddock, worked as Special Branch informers.

Haddock, a police agent between 1991 and 2003, is suspected
of ordering the McCord murder to cover up his involvement
in the drugs trade.

Police intelligence has also linked him to other killings,
as well as attempted murder, extortion, drug-dealing,
intimidation, "punishment" attacks and a bomb attack in the

The Ombudsman's report accused officers of "collusion" and
said Special Branch's actions had "consolidated and
strengthened" the UVF in North Belfast and Newtownabbey.

It said police failings identified in the probe are "highly
likely" to have been replicated with other informants. The
implications of this are "very serious", the report added.

Haddock is currently serving a 10-year jail sentence for a
vicious assault on a Newtownabbey pub doorman. That offence
was committed in December 2002 - when the UVF man was still
a Special Branch informer.

Families of victims of the Mount Vernon UVF have slammed
the fact that no prosecutions are to follow Mrs O'Loan's

© Belfast Telegraph


UVF Victim's Family Want Justice

The family of one of the victims named in the Police
Ombudsman's report on police collusion with the UVF say
they want those involved brought to justice.

Speaking publicly for the first time since his death 10
years ago, John Harbinson's daughter Joanna said they had
lost all confidence in the police.

"There was a boot print on his head. I am sure if they got
a boot they could have matched it," she said.

"Even with the ombudsman's report, no-one contacted us
about it."

"We do not know what to do now.

"Do we go to the police and ask them to reopen the case?
There is no-one here to advise us."

Mr Harbinson was murdered on 18 May 1997. He died after
being handcuffed and beaten by a UVF gang on the Mount
Vernon estate in north Belfast.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman's office has said the
office will be meeting with all the victims' families in
the days ahead to make sure they have a full briefing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/23 09:19:18 GMT


Report Raises Doubt About Intelligence Safeguards In UK

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 11:54]
By Chris Thornton

The fallout from Nuala O'Loan's devastating collusion
report spread today - raising questions about whether the
UK's intelligence safeguards are fit for purpose.

The Police Ombudsman's report about the activities of
informer Mark Haddock said the main watchdog had been
"ineffective" when it came to discovering collusion.

And she said those failures had implications for MI5's
takeover of anti-terrorism activities later this year and
the wider war on terror.

Yesterday Mrs O'Loan's report found that some Special
Branch officers had protected Haddock and other UVF
informers from prosecution, despite their repeated
involvement in murder.

Further findings show that the safeguards against such
activity failed to uncover it - even though it later
emerged that one out of every eight police informers was
involved in serious crime.

Mrs O'Loan said it is "essential" that there is an
effective system in place to prevent those kind of lapses
when MI5 takes the lead in anti-terrorism from the PSNI
later this year.

And she says there should be an assessment about whether
the current methods for guarding against breaches are good
enough during "this unprecedented period of threat to the
National Security of the United Kingdom ".

The Ombudsman's report found that between 2000 and 2003 -
the last part of Haddock's reign of terror - the PSNI's
informer network had been given a clean bill of health.

Successive reports from the Office of Surveillance
Commissioners, the UK's watchdog against human rights
breaches by informers, failed to uncover significant

In February 2003, the OSC reported some failings by the
PSNI, but found that the majority of Special Branch
informers were "well handled and controlled".

But seven months later - after being tipped off by Mrs
O'Loan's investigators about Haddock's activities - the OSC
concluded that Special Branch "failed to meet national
minimum standards".

And 18 months after the last clean bill of health, the
PSNI's own review concluded that a quarter of their
informers should be dismissed - half because they weren't
useful and half because of serious criminal activity.

The Ombudsman's report suggests that the OSC may have been
unable to find out about Haddock because police filed
reports about him that were " selective, biased, and
misleading" and in some cases "manifestly untrue".

But for whatever reason, the OSC was unable to catch them
out. Mrs O'Loan says it is evident that the safeguards
"were ineffective between 2000 and 2003".

"Preliminary enquiries had indicated to the Police
Ombudsman that previous inspections by the Surveillance
Commissioner had not identified significant non-compliance
by the Police Service of Northern Ireland," her report

She recommended that the Chief Surveillance Officer should
consider " whether the current processes adopted by his
Office are sufficient to ensure that the service offered by
the Surveillance Commissioner is adequate to ensure
compliance with the law, at this unprecedented period of
threat to the National Security of the United Kingdom."

And she said that those arrangements should be made right
to make sure there is no repeat under MI5.

"It is essential that in the arrangements for the future
strategic management of National Security issues in
Northern Ireland, there will be accountability mechanisms
which are effective and which are capable of ensuring that
what has happened here does not recur," she said.

The oversight mechanisms are currently a key battleground
between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

The OSC was asked for comment on Mrs O'Loan's findings but
did not immediately respond.

© Belfast Telegraph


Reaction To Ombudsman's Report

Leading political figures have been giving their reaction
to a report from Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan into
collusion between the police and loyalists in north Belfast


"This is a deeply disturbing report about events which were
totally wrong and should never have happened. The fact that
they did is a matter of profound regret and the Prime
Minister shares that regret.

"But this is also a report about the past and what is
important now is that new structures introducing a lot of
information about the PSNI means that these events could
not happen now.

"What matters at this stage is that the whole community
supports that process of transformation."


"While much has changed for the better in recent years,
today's ombudsman's report is deeply disturbing.

"Its findings are of the utmost gravity. It paints a
picture of despicable past behaviour. The government will
study the detail in this report carefully and will discuss
the matter further with the British government."


Sir Hugh Orde offered an apology to the victims' families
and said the report made "shocking, disturbing and
uncomfortable reading".

"It does not reflect well on the individuals involved,
particularly those responsible for their management and

"While I appreciate that it cannot redress some of the
tragic consequences visited upon the families of those
touched by the incidents investigated in this report, I
offer a whole-hearted apology for anything done or left

He said the force had undergone "significant re-
organisation" and that the new systems and processes to
deal with this "most difficult area of policing which we
have put in place over the last four and a half years will
ensure that the situation described by the Ombudsman could
never happen again in Northern Ireland".


Mr Hain acknowledged that the report would make "extremely
uncomfortable reading" and said it "shone a torch into a
very dark corner".

But he said that policing in Northern Ireland had now

"These things - murder, collusion, cover-up, obstruction of
investigations - could not happen today, not least because
of the accountability mechanisms that have been put in
place over recent years.

He added: "There are all sorts of opportunities for
prosecutions to follow. The fact that some retired police
officers obstructed the investigation and refused to co-
operate with the Police Ombudsman is very serious in

"There will be consequences for those involved and it is a
matter for the relevant bodies to take up."


The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said it
condemned the human rights violations revealed in the

Chief commissioner Professor Monica McWilliams said: "The
report raises a number of major human rights concerns and
reveals a systemic failure in the management and operation
of police intelligence systems."

"I believe there is a need to reopen a number of the murder
investigations referred to in the report and the commission
will be urgently addressing the means by which this can be
taken forward.

"The commission also believes that government should take
into account United Nations guidelines on the removal from
public service of officials and officers responsible for
such violations."


Mr Spratt, a former Police Federation chairman, said: "If
this report had had one shred of credible evidence then we
could have expected charges against former Police Officers.

"There are no charges, so the public should draw their own
conclusion, the report is clearly based on little fact.

"This report is another clear example why both serving and
former Police Officers have no confidence in the Police
Ombudsman or her office, the goverment should immediately
appoint an independent body to investigate complaints made
against her and her office."


"For 25 years, we in Sinn Fein argued that there was
collusion between elements within British Military
Intelligence, RUC Special Branch and loyalist
paramilitaries, causing the deaths of over 1,000 people.
This really is only the tip of the iceberg, a window on a
small area of north Belfast.

"There is no doubt, whatsoever, in my view, that the most
senior people imaginable within the RUC were involved in
this. This was institutional practice.

"Many people poo pooed this allegation as republican
propaganda. But now we've been vindicated by an unlikely
source, someone within the loyalist community.

"All of us own Raymond McCord a great deal of gratitude."


"All of this is appalling.

"Those involved in any of this - be they agents or officers
or anyone else - should face the full consequences for
their actions, including prosecution.

"That is why the PSNI and PONI must relentlessly pursue
those involved. The risk that people referred to in the
McCord report or those named in the Stevens Inquiry or the
On The Runs all going free without penalty and punishment
is real and must not be tolerated."


"This comprehensive document sheds some much-needed light
on incidents and practices which must be examined even
further. "The authorities must pay attention to this report
to ensure that they can build confidence in the Police to
ensure the full support of everyone in this community.

"There are clearly major concerns regarding the conduct of
some of the authorities in the past and these concerns must
be addressed swiftly and effectively."


In a statement the PUP described the results of the
ombudsman's report as "both appalling and shameful".

"It highlights the failings of some RUC Special Branch
handlers to uphold law and order and act with integrity and
honesty in performing their duties," the PUP said.

"This failure quite literally allowed informants to get
away with murder.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those killed, some
of whom are learning for the first time that security
forces colluded in the death of their loved ones."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/22 16:49:23 GMT


Chef On IRA Charges Had €94,000 In Daz Box, Court Told

23/01/2007 - 12:28:32

A Co Cork chef charged with IRA membership was found in
possession of a Daz washing powder box containing over
€94,000 by gardaí investigating the funding of illegal
organisations, the Special Criminal Court heard today.

The court was told that in follow-up searches in Cork
gardaí found an investment bond for €50,000 and a sweet tin
containing £870 (€1,300) at the chef’s home.

At another house in Cork detectives also found £60,000
(€91,600) in Northern notes in 12 bundles.

Don Bullman (aged 32), a chef and father of two of Fernwood
Crescent, Leghanamore, Wilton, Co Cork, has denied
membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the
Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann,
otherwise the IRA, on February 16, 2005.

Today, on the opening day of the trial, Mr George
Birmingham SC, prosecuting, said that gardaí carried out a
surveillance operation at Heuston Station on February 16,
2005, and saw Bullman carrying a rucksack outside the

He was seen getting into a jeep containing two other men.
The jeep then drove to a car park at the rear of the
station, where gardaí approached it.

Bullman was in the back seat. There was a large red box
beside him on the seat and Bullman told gardaí it contained
toys. After Bullman and the two other men, both from Derry,
were arrested, gardaí examined the box, which was a Daz
washing powder box.

They found €94,250 in three bundles, each bundle wrapped in
cloth. The box had been refilled with washing powder after
the money was put inside.

During seven interviews at Clondalkin Garda Station,
Bullman denied membership of an illegal organisation and
denied any knowledge of the box with the money.

The court held a minute’s silence before the trial in
memory of Mr Justice Diarmuid O’ Donovan who died at the
weekend. Mr Justice O’ Donovan had been a member of the
Special Criminal Court since 2000.

The trial is continuing and is expected to last four weeks.


Republic Unveils Cash Plan For NI

By Shane Harrison
Dublin correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland

The Irish Republic is for the first time to spend money on
Northern Ireland's infrastructure.

The Irish government's National Development Plan for 2007-
2013 will be published later.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and his cabinet colleagues
will be in Dublin Castle, the former seat of British power
in Ireland, to announce details of their 180 billion euro
infrastructure spending for the next six years.

They say it is nothing to do with the summer general
election, but the opposition parties are far from

And amid the splendour of the castle, the cash-rich Irish
government will do something unprecedented - it will unveil
some of its spending plans for the sovereign British
territory of Northern Ireland.

About 1.2 billion euro of that 180 billion euro will head
north - that is about £800m.

The money will be invested in projects aimed at promoting
closer ties between the two parts of Ireland and at
underpinning the peace process by trying to boost the
Northern Ireland economy.

It is believed some funds will go towards improving cross-
border roads, particularly between Dublin and Londonderry.

The money will be invested in projects aimed at promoting
closer ties between the two parts of Ireland and at
underpinning the peace process by trying to boost the
Northern Ireland economy

It will also be spent on cross-border educational projects.

Letterkenny IT, for example, is expected to develop ties
with the University of Ulster's Magee College in Derry.

It is believed that the Irish government may also be
prepared to provide about £65m to restore the Ulster Canal
so that it links Lough Neagh and Lough Erne.

Ministers believe the canal that passes through Counties
Armagh, Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh could become a major
tourist attraction rather like the Ballyconnell Canal that
joins Lough Erne to the river Shannon.

Some of the funds are also expected to go hospitals in
border areas.

The Irish government dismisses talk that its spending on
Northern Ireland is an attempt to hollow out the union and
create a united Ireland by stealth.

The money, ministers say, will be spent on commonsense
projects for the benefit of people on both sides of the

Nevertheless, it's still a sign of the times.

And with the two governments working for the return of
devolution to Northern Ireland in March, many believe the
Irish government will continue to contribute to the economy
north of the border.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/23 06:50:58 GMT


EU Committee Slams Irish Complicity In CIA 'Torture

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 12:51]

The Irish Government is coming for more severe criticism
today over the use of Shannon Airport by planes involved in
the Bush administration's rendition programme.

In a report out today, a European Parliament committee
investigating the so-called "torture flights" says
thousands have crossed through EU airspace and landed at EU
airports in recent years.

Ireland is named as one of the worst offenders.

The committee expresses "serious concern" about 147
stopovers in Ireland by CIA planes involved in the
rendition scheme, which is used to kidnap suspected Islamic
militants in countries across the world.

The victims are then transferred to other countries for
interrogation which frequently involves torture.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern appeared before the
EU committee investigating the matter, but today's report
says he failed to answer all the questions put to him.

It says Ireland breached its own human rights obligations
by simply accepting the Bush administration's assurances
that no terrorism suspects were on board any flights which
landed in Ireland.

The Government is now being urged to hold a Dail inquiry
into the issue and to either ban all CIA flights or
initiate random searches to ensure they are not involved in
illegal activities.

© Belfast Telegraph


Republic 'Failed To Protect Wildlife'

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 11:45]
By Linda McKee

Europe's highest court has ruled that the Irish government
has broken EU conservation law by failing to protect
threatened plants and animals.

The European Court of Justice said there was no effective
national system in place to monitor protected species such
as the otter, Kerry slug and a number of species of bats.

It found that Irish law offered no legal protection to the
breeding grounds of protected species, citing a number of
major infrastructure development projects that were
approved despite disturbing endangered species.

The state gave the green light to the Ennis bypass, the
construction of a gas pipeline in Broadhaven Bay and the
Lough Rynn Estate project which includes a golf course, all
before the completion of environmental impact assessments
that found they would have a negative impact on the

The court said these projects showed that rare species
protected in Ireland, their breeding sites and resting
places were open to threats which Irish law cannot prevent.

It is not an offence for a person engaged in road-building,
agriculture, fishing, aquaculture, forestry or turf cutting
to interfere with or kill protected species or to
unintentionally destroy the breeding place of such an
animal. This situation does not comply with EU law, the
court said.

However the Republic's Department of the Environment
insisted the judgment was out of date and related to before
new legislation was introduced.

Substantial progress is being made, a spokesman said.
"Since 2005 we have advanced the production of species
action plans. Four plans have been produced covering the
Irish hare, the corncrake, the pollan and the Irish lady's
tresses orchid," he said.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: PSNI Must Show Lessons Have Been Learnt

[Published: Tuesday 23, January 2007 - 10:47]

Shocking is a mild word to use about the Ombudsman's report
into the serial killings carried out by a UVF gang in north
Belfast with the knowledge of police handlers.

It applies to one of the most disgraceful episodes in the
history of policing in Northern Ireland, when police
officers at all levels allowed informers within the UVF the
freedom to terrorise.

The public has had enough experience of terrorism, and the
difficulty of obtaining evidence, to know that informers
are vital to the intelligence war. But the police who
handle them, and the informers themselves, must operate
within the strictest of guidelines, to ensure that for any
crime that goes unpunished, many more are prevented. In the
case of the RUC - and PSNI - against the Mount Vernon UVF,
the police's "helpers" were obviously out of control.

The first rule is that murder can never be excused, in any
circumstances, and yet the Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, found
that "Informer 1" - known to be Mark Haddock - and his
associates were linked to at least 10 murders. How could
this have happened, as Special Branch detectives kept
watch, and why did no one, up to the highest level,

Many alibis will be presented, arguing that the police had
to preserve their intelligence sources. Yet what was so
valuable, in what the police were being told, to justify
protecting criminals from facing the rigours of the law?
The handlers were interrogating their own informers, the
Ombudsman reports, and releasing them without charge.

Senior members of the Special Branch must have suspected
that there was something strange going on, even though they
were coping with terror from both sides of the community.
Yet it took an angry father, Raymond McCord, to campaign on
behalf of his murdered son, before the Ombudsman was able
to uncover the hidden truth. How many other informers,
republican as well as loyalist, got away with murder?

The government now faces the inevitable calls for a public
inquiry, but what purpose would be served? Names, now
withheld because of lack of evidence, might be named, and
charges brought, but at what a cost? The procedures for
handing informers have undergone drastic change, like the
PSNI itself, and the Special Branch "force within a force",
obstructing CID investigations, is no more.

The timing of the Ombudsman's findings won't make Sinn
Fein's job of selling co-operation with the police any
easier, though it does emphasise the need for democratic
control to be exercised, through the Policing Board. Sir
Hugh Orde must prove that hard lessons have been learned
and that in future a tight rein will be kept on both
informers and those who deal with them.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Policing The North's Police

Tue, Jan 23, 2007

The fact that Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been able
to investigate the noxious interface between the RUC
special branch and loyalist paramilitaries and publish her
findings in relation to murders, attempted murders and
punishment beatings shows just how much things have changed
in Northern Ireland. Her damning report looks at collusion
between the RUC and a multiple killer between 1991 and 2002
and concludes that it was sanctioned at a very high level.
Worse than that, she finds this may not have been an
isolated pattern.

Acceptable policing standards in Northern Ireland collapsed
because special branch dominance led to the creation of
what the Patten report described as "a force within a
force". Junior detectives broke the law by withholding
information on sectarian murders and by destroying evidence
on serious crime in order to protect their informants. That
behaviour was tacitly accepted as being necessary by their
superior offices because of particular circumstances. But
Mrs O'Loan concluded that it led to the development of the
Ulster Volunteer Force and the expansion of its sectarian
and criminal activities within the community.

As might be expected, there was an attempted cover-up. Half
of the retired RUC officers contacted by the Ombudsman's
office did not respond. Those who did, including some at
the highest level, either declined to co-operate with the
investigation or they provided evasive or contradictory
evidence. On occasion, the individuals concerned told
complete untruths. Files were later sent to the Director of
Public Prosecutions but no charges have been brought. In
spite of that, Northern Secretary of State Peter Hain has
insisted there will be consequences for those involved.

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has accepted all of the
recommendations made in the report concerning new reporting
structures and the handling of police informants. He
criticised the management and oversight of the RUC special
branch. And the few remaining officers employed within the
PSNI, will be retrained and assigned to different work.

Senior politicians on both sides of the Irish Sea have
responded with suitable concern. The Taoiseach found the
report on RUC collusion with the leader of a loyalist
murder gang to be "deeply disturbing". The British prime
minister expressed his "profound regret" while noting that
recent reforms would prevent any recurrence.

This is a time of particular sensitivity in Northern
Ireland, as the Sinn Féin leadership consults its members
over a policy change that could provide formal recognition
for the PSNI and open the door to powersharing with the
Democratic Unionist Party. A special ardfheis will decide
the matter. The party's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness
has chosen to regard the Ombudsman's report as a positive
development and a challenge to republicans to participate
in a fully representative police service. That is the way
to go.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Máirtín Ó Muilleoir - A Silenced Alarm

January 23, 2007 11:30 AM

Nuala O'Loan claims that most people who have had any
association with the RUC (in its ranks or in a position of
governmental control) would feel "shock" at the latest
revelations of collusion between that policing obscenity
and loyalist gun gangs. Nuala O'Loan may count herself
among the shocked, but those hundreds of thousands of
nationalists who knew this was happening and cried to the
very rafters to have it stopped are shocked only at the
fact that anyone could be naive enough to believe this
isn't the very tip of the iceberg.

Certainly, readers of the Andersonstown News, pilloried and
censored as they were by the powers-that-be, had no doubt
throughout the 30 years of war that the British forces were
pulling the strings of the bloodthirsty loyalist
paramilitaries. Ultimately, it's those ordinary
nationalists who have been vindicated by today's
disclosures and the great and the good who have been shamed
by their three-decade silence.

Where was the Dublin media when courageous investigative
reporters were needed to expose and stop the hand-in-glove
cooperation between loyalist paramilitaries and the RUC and
British intelligence? It had gone Awol, unfortunately, as a
quick perusal of back copies of the Andersonstown News
shows. In fact, when Catholic taxi driver Thomas Hughes was
gunned down by loyalists in July 1991 (just after the
period when the Special Branch-protected North Belfast UVF
started its killing spree) below a British army spy post on
the Falls, the Irish Times decided that his funeral didn't
merit a full sentence.

Why, throughout this period, was the Catholic hierarchy
urging young nationalists to join the RUC?

Why was the Irish government spurring the Garda Síochána on
to even higher levels of co-operation with the RUC?

If former RUC men are shocked about the disclosures, maybe
they should take it up with Chief Constable Jack Hermon, in
charge of the force up to 1989, who demanded UTV pull a
programme entitled Shoot To Kill in 1990 because he found
it "personally distasteful". Or perhaps they should have a
chat with Sir Jack's breezy successor, Sir Hugh Annesley,
who in 1991 launched a "Join the Professionals" campaign
aimed particularly at Catholic schools. And let's not
forget the guys at the top in the NIO who lavished hundreds
of thousands of pounds on an advertising campaign that same
year on the theme "Breaking the Silence". "Somebody's
silence keeps them free to kill again and again and again."

The youth and community worker Peter McTasney was one of
the early victims of the joint RUC/Special Branch/UVF reign
of terror. He was shot dead by two gunmen, at least one an
RUC informer with his very own branch guardian angels, who
called to his home on a Sunday night, February 24 1991,
only minutes after he had returned from the local youth
club. He saw his killers approach and ran out of his living
room only to return to pick up three-year-old niece
Lynette. The gunmen fired through the window, wounding
Patrick, then ran into the house to finish him off. A
bullet grazed his niece's head. In the 200-family Bawnmore
enclave where Patrick lived, he became the 25th victim of
sectarian violence.

Peter McTasney's murder was, says Nuala O'Loan, carried out
by Informer 1 (believed to be UVF leader Mark Haddock). The
report says Informant 1 was arrested and interviewed 19
times. His Special Branch "handlers" conducted the main
interviews and claimed that notes were completed which did
not reflect what happened in the interview. He was
subsequently released without charge.

As an Andersonstown News editorial of the time put it: "The
term British justice has, for the majority of nationalists,
become a contradiction in terms, the very mention of which
is more likely to produce gales of laughter than the
hushed, respectful reverence to which its perpetrators seem
to think it is due."

Perhaps now British society will understand why we were
laughing through our tears.

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