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January 29, 2007

Who Will Pay For Mass Murder?

News About Ireland & The Irish

BP 01/28/07 Who Will Pay For Mass Murder?
IT 01/29/07 SF Endorses PSNI By Overwhelming Majority
IT 01/29/07 Delegates Urged To End Pillar Of Corrupt State
IT 01/29/07 D-Day 'To Deliver For Ireland' - McGuinness
IT 01/29/07 Ógra Warns Of A 'Massive Mistake'
IT 01/29/07 Ard Fheis Vote:SF Had Crossed Last Great Hurdle
BB 01/29/07 Assembly Launches Final Session
IT 01/29/07 Parties Must Live Up To Commitments - Hain
BN 01/29/07 SF Policing Move Puts Pressure On DUP
BN 01/29/07 Dodds Questions Timeframe For Testing SF
BN 01/29/07 Former IRA Prisoner To Stand Against SF
IT 01/29/07 Opin: After Sinn Féin, DUP Must Deliver
IT 01/29/07 Opin: SF Leadership Gets Their Way Over PSNI
BT 01/29/07 Opin: Has Devolution Come Any Closer?
IT 01/29/07 Casey Claims Pope Did Not Want Him To Resign
IT 01/29/07 Knock To Operate Transatlantic Flights
IT 01/29/07 Irish Film Wins Award At Sundance Festival


Who Will Pay For Mass Murder?

Sunday, January 28, 2007 - By Tom McGurk

So that’s it then. The popular press and political
consensus following Nuala O’Loan’s Report is as follows: a
small group of RUC Special Branch officers went overboard
when running their informers in one small area in north

Up to 15 murders and an unknown number of other crimes
resulted - but it won’t happen again.

Many very senior officers, including two (there were only
five) former deputy RUC chief constables refused to help
the inquiry. The man in charge, both of the Special Branch
and the RUC itself for separate periods during this time,
Sir Ronnie Flanagan, apparently knew nothing of the crimes
and spent only four hours in total with the inquiry team.

But that’s all right, because - according to no less a
figure than the British Home Secretary John Reid - Flanagan
is above suspicion. As Inspector of Her Majesty’s
Constabulary, he will remain Britain’s top policeman, whose
everyday job it is to check out how all its police forces
are behaving.

By the way, none of the police officers involved in the
crimes will be charged anyway because most of the evidence
has apparently been destroyed - this was routine RUC
practice at the time.

The British political class was very upset.

But don’t worry because, according to Tony Blair and his
Northern secretary Peter Hain, it can never happen again
because the PSNI now operates under totally different

We were also solemnly warned that some scumbags from the
UVF may well face prosecution - imagine who they will
summon as witnesses - but in the meantime, the public
should calmdown. They should be like those law and order
folk in the DUP and just keep their heads down and say

So there you have it. It was all a ‘‘storm in a very dirty
tea-cup’’; a few ‘‘rotten apples in the barrel’’; perhaps
even an ‘‘excessive devotion to duty’’ in the battle with a
ruthless enemy during a 30-year war. By the way, it wasn’t
the lead item on any British television news bulletin,
because of all that loot to plunder washing up on the
beaches in Devon.

There is, of course, another version of all of this and
with the week that’s in it, it would do no harm to give it
an outing.

From the very beginning of the war in the North, the
British decided that their counter-insurgency strategy
against the IRA dictated that they could not tolerate two
paramilitary armies conducting their own war, besides the
one being fought between the IRA and the British army.

There were a number of important political, strategic and
military reasons for this. For a start, the loyalists were
potentially a far more serious threat to British policy in
the North than the IRA.

They represented the majority and they constituted a huge
segment within both the RUC and the UDR- critical to the
ongoing security situation. Further, since their rationale
was entirely sectarian, if allowed run amok, they could
very quickly tip the North into civil war.

It was even possible that, if allowed their independent
military existence along with emerging political demands,
they could in the long run become a threat to the British
‘mainland’ - in the same manner as the Algerian pieds-noirs
in France - or even attack the Irish Republic.

In other words, an independent paramilitary loyalist army
would stymie British political options, maximise the
security crisis and become a powerful player whenever the
political end game loomed.

A strategy was evolved to deal with this potential crisis
with the whole thing conducted under the auspices of
British intelligence.

From the outset it was deemed by British military
strategists that they would have to control and run all
loyalist paramilitary groups in secret.

This was a complex strategy. To work it would mean giving
the impression to the loyalists themselves and the watching
world that their force was independent, while at the same
time pulling the strings whenever political or strategic
demands required it.

Since the vast majority joining up were poor enough
political or revolutionary material, by the surreptitious
use of agents, informers and organised crime, the UVF and
the UDA were contained and controlled.

A central plank in this containment operation was the
widespread acceptance of criminal activity involving
protection rackets, illegal cigarette and alcohol sales and
the drugs trade. British intelligence quickly identified
the types they required - usually working class thugs with
aspirations to riches and delusions of grandeur.

So the loyalist paramilitary ‘‘commander’’ with his cars,
girls, clothes and lifestyle was born. Johnny Adair, Billy
Wright, Robin Jackson and a host of others came and briefly

From the outset, all the top loyalist paramilitaries were
compromised by their handlers. If they got out of line, the
list of those subsequently killed in ‘‘feuds’’ is there for
all to see. With control of the leaders of paramilitary
loyalism, their wider potential threat was stymied.

Their subsequent direction then became a part of a wider
ongoing policy to engage the IRA. The sectarian
assassination campaign against the Catholic population was
considered critically important.

While it served to calm loyalist community frustrations and
demands for law and order, strategically it also put huge
pressure on the IRA in its heartland, terrified its
supporters and destabilised its support base.

Whenever the IRA responded violently it seemed to give the
lie to republican claims that their war was a non-sectarian

So tit for tat killings became a method of containing the
war and undermining the IRA’s political strategy and the
movement’s wider identity. As a consequence, the war in the
North could be characterised not as a liberation struggle
but rather a nasty sectarian conflict. It was in fact the
ultimate act in criminalising the IRA campaign.

Attacks in the South also became an integral part of this
strategy. Early bombings in Dublin served to encourage
Dublin to enact tougher security legislation in the Dail,
and later attacks in Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk served to
threaten the southern economy and to damage the IRA in the
eyes of southern public opinion.

Throughout, British political strategists watched opinion
in the South carefully - as they had done ever since the
Bloody Sunday debacle. Turning the North into a sectarian
killing ground was critical in shaping southern political
and public opinion.

Remarkably, attacks in the South were carefully contained,
for which many Dublin governments should be grateful .Had
loyalist paramilitaries been truly independent, it could
have been much worse.

High on the list in the North were selective assassinations
for various political or strategic reasons. Victims
included John Turnley, Ronnie Bunting, Miriam Daly,
Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane and Bernadette McAliskey, who
survived her attack.

As the peace process began, an organised campaign against
Sinn Fein councillors was unleashed, killing seven.

Its purpose was to hasten Sinn Fein’s appetite for a
ceasefire and politics.

Central to all of this strategy was the hands-on operation
by both military intelligence officers and RUC Special

What O’Loan characterised this week as seemingly part of
the police force out of control and oblivious to every
document in the criminal code was actually the modus
operandi of this counter-insurgency strategy in operation.

Nor is it simply credible that North Belfast was a one-off,
its RUC Special Branch somehow different - this strategy
operated province-wide.

To date, all attempts to reveal this dirty war have been
stymied. John Stalker was first in and quickly out; the
then not very subtle members of the RUC Special Branch
actually burned down his investigation office in Belfast.
Then there was Lord Stevens twice, and now Judge Barron and
Patrick McEntee are digging. One wishes them luck.

Interestingly, O’Loan’s report, since the DPP is loath to
act, may actually be a subtle operation for releasing the
pressure, public and journalistic on this criminal legacy -
indeed as this week has subsequently proved, doing it in
the most advantageous circumstances for the political

The Police Ombudsman’s office in the North may now be
actually unwittingly part of as a subtly orchestrated
cleaning-up operation; those who wrote this script are
telling it in their way and in their timeframe.

The central problem, of course, is that the British
establishment has to protect those in their intelligence
services and police forces who ran this operation and the
politicians who approved it. Don’t ever expect to see any
of them in court to face any charges for the very good
reason that their defence will be to open up an appalling
vista of state-sponsored mass-murder and criminality.
‘‘They were under orders, m’lord.”

No wonder senior RUC officers can thumb their noses at
O’Loan, no wonder Flanagan is still super-cop, no wonder
the DPP has already signalled that there will be no
prosecutions of police officers.

Nor I suspect was all the evidence totally destroyed, as
O’Loan suggests. I suspect that all of these men and women
have kept every conceivable bit of paper should the
terrible day arrive that they have to explain.

From the dock then, notes in hand, they in their turn would
be pointing the finger. But upwards.

The facts are stark and require some reflection.

As a response to armed insurrection in the North, the
British government down through the years initiated a
campaign of mass murder and a wider supporting criminality
as a critical part of its counter-insurgency strategy.
Hundreds of citizens of this country and of Britain have
been murdered.

Many readers, of course, simply will not believe this
thesis. If that’s the case it simply means the strategy was
even more effective than its original genius Brigadier
Frank Kitson, author of Low Intensity Operations, could
have imagined. It should be on the best-seller list.


Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams votes at yesterday's extraordinary ardfheis on policing at the RDS in Dublin. Almost 1,000 delegates voted on the motion supporting the PSNI. Photograph: Julien Behal

Sinn Féin Endorses PSNI By Overwhelming Majority

Mark Hennessy, Gerry Moriarty and Dan Keenan
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Sinn Féin has voted by an overwhelming majority to endorse
the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the rule of law
in the North.

An extraordinary Sinn Féin ardfheis at the RDS in Dublin
yesterday endorsed a motion driven by Sinn Féin leaders
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to support policing.

The final decision of the ardfheis was never in doubt from
the opening speeches by Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness. But the
extent of the victory, with over 90 per cent of the 982
voting delegates supporting the motion, caused surprise.

"The decision we have taken today is truly historic," said
Mr Adams. "This is one of the most important debates in the
history of republicanism and of this country," he added.

"Let's not be upset by how others respond to today's
decision. The higher they build their barriers the stronger
we become," he said in a reference to how the DUP will

"This ardfheis acted in the national interest. We look to
others to do the same in the time ahead," he added.

The pressure will now fall on the DUP leader, Rev Ian
Paisley, to state whether he would be prepared to enter
into a powersharing Stormont administration with him as
first minister and Mr McGuinness as deputy first minister
on March 26th.

That pressure is likely to be intensified based on an
Independent Monitoring Commission report on IRA activity
tomorrow, which sources say will be positive.

Dr Paisley's initial response indicated that any potential
positive DUP response will not happen before Assembly
elections on March 7th.

"Only with real delivery can the way be cleared for a full
return to democracy, and the facing up to the everyday
needs and requirements of the people of Northern Ireland,"
Dr Paisley said.

Delegates spoke over four to one in favour of the motion
put forward by the ardchomhairle. Nearly 1,000 delegates
were entitled to vote at the ardfheis, though another 2,000
had visiting rights. Delegates queued from before 9am to
gain entry to the RDS venue.

The motion "commits fully" to support for the PSNI and the
criminal justice system, and to take up places on the
Policing Board and the district policing partnership

However, it is qualified because the party's ardchomhairle
has been mandated to implement it only if powersharing is
established and when satisfactory arrangements to transfer
policing and justice powers are agreed - or failing that to
support the PSNI when new British-Irish "partnership
arrangements" are in place.

The Sinn Féin ardchomhairle will discuss the issue in
Dublin tomorrow.

Urging delegates to vote in favour, Mr McGuinness said:
"You have a decision to make and it is a big decision.
Today is decision day when Sinn Féin moves decisively

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and the British prime
minister, Tony Blair, will meet at Downing Street tomorrow.

The transitional Assembly is also due to be dissolved at
midnight tonight, triggering the Assembly elections for
March 7th.

Welcoming Sinn Féin's decision, Mr Ahern said it was a
landmark move that "opened the way for inclusive support
for policing throughout Northern Ireland. That is
profoundly in the interests of everybody". He said the
timetable set out at St Andrews must be kept.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the vote "should be matched by
the DUP committing to restoration [of the executive] and

© 2007 The Irish Times


Delegates Urged To End 'Pillar Of Corrupt State'

Dan Keenan and Mark Hennessy

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Speeches:The Sinn Féin decision to back the Police Service
of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the criminal justice system
is a "watershed in the history of our struggle", a leading
party member declared.

Urging delegates to back the motion "overwhelmingly",
Derry-based ardchomhairle member Martina Anderson said the
passage of the motion would "remove another pillar of the
corrupt state from the enemy's hands".

"If war is the continuation of politics by other means,
then this is the reverse. I urge you to vote for this. And
if you cannot vote yes, abstain," said Ms Anderson, who
left the ardfheis to attend the 35th Bloody Sunday
anniversary march in Derry.

During seven hours of talks, delegates spoke in favour of
the leadership's motion by a majority of about eight to
one, although the debate was brought to an end with many
others still waiting to speak.

Throughout the debate, delegates on both sides of the
argument emphasised the need for unity, and for those on
the losing side of the vote to abide by the majority's

Cllr Mark Daly from Tallaght compared the vote to the
issues of weapons decommissioning in September 2005 and the
statement from the IRA earlier that year to formally end
its campaign.

Republicans had committed themselves firmly to politics,
and this required republicans to ensure that political
institutions functioned properly.

The PSNI was far from being a civic force, he said, and the
SDLP had failed to hold them properly to account since

It was vital that Sinn Féin took a long-term view. "The
army have brought us to where we are. It's now up to us."
Comparing the PSNI to "a rat's nest", Monaghan delegate
Oliver Bradley said: "We have to get into that nest and
dismantle it and destroy it. We must replace them with one
that we can all support."

Louise Minihen from Dublin also advocated a strongly pro-
leadership line, and she placed the issue firmly in a
political contest.

"It is up to us to drag the DUP over the line."

Francie Molloy, the Mid-Ulster Assembly member, defended
the ardchomhairle motion against some hostile amendments.
"Would anyone now seriously say that Bobby Sands should not
have stood for election?"

Those seeking to amend the motion would only succeed in
negating the entire motion, he said..

Tom Hartley, a Belfast city councillor, said the policing
issue was unique in that it delineated the relationship
between the individual and the state.

"Nationalists have been on the receiving end of police
violence. Today is a new juncture in the struggle, and
there is now a need to decide on the agenda of policing."

The motion was "a fundamental change in our strategic
direction," , and he called on the movement to move towards
"a challenge role" within policing.

Paul Butler, a Lisburn councillor and a former Maze prison
"blanket man", said the Ireland they wanted "could not be
built on our own terms".

Republicans had to "break the grip of unionists on
policing". Sinn Féin had to end "political policing".

"That is the challenge for republicans," he said. Such a
strategy was "risky", but added: "Those who want maximum
change have to take the biggest risks."

Pressing for the motion to be amended, Seán Mac Brádaigh
called on delegates not to build "conditionality" into its
strategy, and he argued against the exclusion of non-jury
courts from an appeal for support of the judicial systems
of North and South.

He said delegates should oppose the Special Criminal Court
and equivalent non-jury courts in the North.

He called for a continuation of republican "critical
engagement" in institutions of state in both parts of

Pressing for the ardfheis to back policing, he called on
voting delegates not to give unionists their day by
rejecting the motion.

Newry/Armagh MP Conor Murphy said Sinn Féin had to be
involved in policing to ensure that collusion with loyalist
paramilitaries never happened again.

"Who else will sort it out? The Irish Government? The
British government? Or, God forbid, the SDLP?"

SDLP councillors, he claimed, had been "wined and dined" by
senior RUC officers who had been involved in collusion with

Dublin City Council's Cllr Daithí Doolan urged delegates,
whatever their attitude to the motion, to "stay united"

Belfast City Council's Cllr Tom Hartley said a yes vote
would create a framework for policing that would allow Sinn
Féin to demand accountability.

Declan Kearney, a member of the ardchomhairle, said
Republicans had been faced with many difficult decisions in
the past, including the 1986 decision to take up seats in
the Dáil and Stormont.

However, he said: "Every time we have taken the initiative
our struggle has become bigger, stronger and more powerful.

"If we remain united and remain cohesive and strategically
focused we will not just sort out policing, we can achieve
anything that we want."

Paul Deeds from Andersonstown in Belfast said there was "an
inescapable logic" to the motion, though he warned that
unionists did not "want the party to say yes".

"They do not want us to do it. We are taking away one of
the unionists' last bastions of power. Policing is
important to unionism. It is because of its importance that
we must be part of it."

Séamus Breslin from Shantallow in Derry said the unionists
were afraid of "the wee man from the Falls, or the Creggan"
joining the policing board.

"The leadership has taken risks and courageous decisions."

© 2007 The Irish Times


D-Day 'To Deliver For Ireland' - McGuinness

Dan Keenan and Mark Hennessy
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Leadership views:Sinn Féin leaders began the debate by
insisting that policing in Northern Ireland should not be
left to the unionists, the SDLP, or the Irish Government.

Chief negotiator Martin McGuinness roused delegates and
urged them to seize the opportunity to advance
republicanism. Proposing the ardchomhairle motion he said:
"Today is D-Day," he said. "Decision Day, to deliver for

He said the debate took place against the backdrop of
increasing Irish nationalist confidence and the rise in
Sinn Féin at succeeding elections. The republican movement
had considerable political power and this should be used to
change Ireland fundamentally, he added.

Looking to future Northern elections he forecast that Sinn
Féin could be the largest political organisation in the
North, overtaking the DUP.

Castigating the British and Irish governments and the SDLP
to the delight of the ardfheis, Mr McGuinness said the
Irish Government needed to become "energised on this

"Today I hope we will deal decisively with the issue of
policing," he said, admitting that January 28th will be a
significant day for republicans. But he added: "Blair and
Hain must make January 29th an even bigger day for Ian
Paisley," and to press him to share power.

Turning to the SDLP, he said Nuala O'Loan's report on the
McCord killing was "collusion for slow learners" and he
criticised the DUP reaction to Mrs O'Loan's findings. "This
highlights their commitment to the rule of law."

Recounting his first day as minister for education, he said
he made clear to his civil service staff that he "was the

"It's the same with policing now. The PSNI will have to
earn our trust," he said.

Party president Gerry Adams said he had made up his mind "a
short time ago" to back policing and the courts system, and
he accused the SDLP of being "PSNI cheerleaders".

He claimed that Sinn Féin had "stayed out" of the Policing
Board because "that was the best way" to bring about the
necessary oversight of police.

Sinn Féin's justice and policing spokesman, Gerry Kelly
said the party had to avoid "political isolation" if it is
to achieve its political ambitions. "The best way to avoid
that is to make sure that more and more people understand,
accept and support our strategy.

"After getting this far we cannot leave this fundamental
arena to be dominated by unionists who have dominated the
same area for generations - and we especially cannot
exclude ourselves. Every arena that Irish Republicans have
entered they have made radical change for the benefit of
ordinary people. This is no different," said Mr Kelly.

Seconding the proposal, Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald called
on delegates to recognise current political reality. "The
RUC has gone. We demanded a new beginning [ to policing]
and we were right to stay out [of policing structures] and
increase pressure for change. The advances we secured must
now be implemented."

© 2007 The Irish Times


Ógra Warns Of A 'Massive Mistake'

Dan Keenan and Mark Hennessy
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Opposition:Ógra Shinn Féin, which entered the ardfheis in
stark opposition to the leadership's stance on the PSNI,
argued that acceptance of support for the PSNI would be "a
massive mistake".

Ógra spokesman Senan Mac Aoidh said such a move would be
against "the ideals and principles of Sinn Féin", and would
underscore British imperialism and capitalism in Ireland.

The ardfheis should adopt a position alongside that of Ógra
members, he added.

Also opposing the ardchomhairle motion, Luaghaidh Mac
Giolla Brighde from south Derry said a vote to back the
police in the North was tantamount to a vote to back
British rule.

Speaking as the brother of a dead IRA member and one who
opposed the entry of Sinn Féin TDs into Leinster House in
1986, he said only when republicans had influence in key
positions within policing would he feel happy to support
the PSNI.

"Unless we have people in day-to-day control - as chief
constable, assistant chief constable - or have people who
are sympathetic, we will not have control or influence over
policing," he said.

But he warned: "Let no one use my analysis for splitting
republicanism." Sinn Féin should engage in "guerrilla
politics" and work to make the Border irrelevant.

Northern Ireland MEP Bairbre de Brún said that a vote for
the ardchomhairle motion was not a vote for the northern

She called for a strategic debate and argued that any
change should be real change. "Don't just change flags,"
she said. "We can't have a pale reflection of the two
failed states" in Ireland.

Opposing the motion, David Glackin, Mullingar, said the
primary purpose of any police force was to defend the

"I believe that the six-county statelet is illegitimate and
a failed state and should not exist. Do not ask me to
support and defend a force whose primary purpose is to
defend a state that I want to see dismantled." He proposed
an amendment to the motion that would have dropped Sinn
Féin support for the PSNI and the criminal justice system.

Cork delegate Paul O'Connor said he and his fellow cumann
members could not support the motion, since it asked them
to support a British-controlled police and judicial system
in the North.

"As long as there is British rule in Ireland that is simply
unacceptable to us. We should not give in to blackmail. To
pass this motion is to limit ourselves in the future.

"But whatever decision is reached today we will leave here
united, strong and determined."

Opposing the motion, Ógra Shinn Féin delegate Morgan Fraser
said: "It would be completely wrong and a massive mistake
to support the PSNI."

Tullamore delegate Michael Scully said it would be wrong
"to allow our sons and daughters to join a rebranded RUC".

Plastic bullets can still be used in the North, he said,
despite all of Sinn Féin efforts to have them banned. "Who
will decide if they are to be used again?"

Galway West delegate, Daniel Callinan, said every
initiative taken by Sinn Féin had been "thrown back in our
faces 10-tenfold" by the DUP and by the UUP before them.

© 2007 The Irish Times


The Vote Was Called And It Was All Over - SF Had Crossed
Last Great Hurdle

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Inside the hall:On a chilly Sunday morning, in an old Royal
Dublin Society warehouse in the heart of Dublin 4, Sinn
Féin crossed its last great hurdle, writes Kathy Sheridan

At 10am, all the pieces were in place for what Martin
McGuinness called "D-Day. . . our Decision Day": a hall
packed with more than 2,000 delegates, members of the
diplomatic corps and at least 100 journalists, a platform
party that included such republican icons as Martina
Anderson, Derry beauty queen turned Brighton bomber, and
Evelyn Glenholmes, an OTR (on-the-run), wanted on explosive

And it was all unfolding - albeit unplanned - on the 35th
anniversary of Bloody Sunday, one of the most emotive
commemorations in the republican canon.

The banners spoke the old language, "A century of
struggle", while the platform backdrop boasted a fresh, new
colour scheme, a swathe of calming blue, with a splash of
white, orange, an odd shade of pinky-purple (a hue also
picked up in the delegate voting badges) and dash of green.

It was a day distinctly low in passion. When a pale, gaunt
Gerry Adams declared that "volunteerism is alive in Sinn
Féin", he was not talking about the Fenian dead but about
the people who transformed an RDS warehouse into a place
fit for an extraordinary ardfheis.

Anyone who came to the RDS yesterday expecting ardour,
would have been better off lining up with a few republicans
to have their picture taken with protester, Willie Frazer
(of Love Ulster fame), or better still, sidling into the
Bride of the Year show next door.

Because for Sinn Féin, this was more about the long, hard
trudge of a good-enough marriage, where the passion has
dimmed, everyone is all talked out and peace of a kind

Parity of esteem, a stoutly rational head over dreamy old
heart, a united front against the world come what may. . .
they may not be the stuff of romance, but they stand for
life and survival.

On the way in, Martin McGuinness was stopped by an
acquaintance, who assured him it was all "no bother".

"No bother?" yelped a startled McGuinness.

"No bother? It was a lot of bother. When you have people
you've known for 30 years not speaking to you, families of
dead volunteers . . . that's not easy."

But the message, repeated over and over, was unity.

It had all the signs of a rubber stamping exercise.

The leadership had done its homework. There would be no

Seán Oliver, who spoke for the Greencastle Martyrs Cumann,
from near where serial killer Mark Haddock operated in
Mount Vernon, said there would be other battles, "but I'd
say this is the biggest one . . ." He does not want his two
boys, aged 17 and 12, "to go through, what we went
through". He mentioned "the irony" of watching the TV with
his boys, all "automatically supporting the police dealing
with the criminals", but then having to explain why he
didn't support their own police force ".

Despite the many declarations of "Tiochfaidh ar lá", "Beir
bua", and the defiant rhetoric of warriors and martyrs -
"I'm here in support of the revolu - I mean the
resolution", said Rose Dugdale, to a shout of laughter -
there was a terrible pathos in the scale of the loss of
young lives (16 young men within one five-mile square area
of Co Tyrone), the stories of a generation alienated by the
RUC, the trail of grieving relatives, rising one after
another to support the resolution, people worn down by loss
and the futility of war.

When the dissenting speakers from Ógra were all lined up,
the guillotine came down. Frank O'Neill from the Munster
region called for a vote, "as people had long distances to
travel home". He got the biggest cheer of the day.

The vote was called and, suddenly, it was all over. One
woman sobbed as the delegates rose slowly to a standing
ovation for those on the platform, while those on the
platform applauded the floor. As the media and well-wishers
swarmed onto the platform, on either side of Gerry Adams, a
new generation - Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty -
smiled broadly.

Oliver beamed : "Aye. It was the right thing to do."

One small matter remains: were those delegate voting badges

"Ah no," protested Ed Connolly, a Munster delegate, "that
colour is cranberry."

So they might have been the "pinkies", the ones who have
brought Sinn Féin into a bold new political world.

Instead, they will be known henceforth as the Cranberries.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Assembly Launches Final Session

The last day's proceedings of the transitional assembly at
Stormont have begun.

The assembly will be dissolved at midnight so that
politicians can start campaigning for an election planned
for 7 March.

Members began the session with debates on rates and water
charges, but there were also exchanges about collusion.

Sinn Fein had wanted to debate collusion but their motion
was blocked by members of the DUP and the UUP.

Sinn Fein's Chief Whip John O'Dowd asked the Speaker Eileen
Bell to confirm that unionists had stopped discussion of
Nuala O'Loan's report on the murder of Raymond McCord.

Ian Paisley Jr, DUP, said Sinn Fein had "not convinced
others of the merit of debating their motion".

The DUP wanted members to congratulate the police on the
level of security they have provided at Stormont in recent

John O'Dowd claimed it was ironic that the DUP wanted to
discuss security for assembly members but not for the wider

The politicians then debated a report calling for the
introduction of water charges to be delayed.

Before the session began, the PUP's Dawn Purvis signed the
register to confirm she was taking the seat held by the
late David Ervine.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/01/29 11:37:32 GMT



Parties Must Live Up To Commitments - Hain

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain warned the political
parties today that he would only trigger Assembly elections
for next month when he was certain they would live up to
their commitments.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Hain described yesterday's Sinn
Féin vote to support policing as hugely significant.

But he said: "There now needs to be delivery of practical
co-operation with the police by Sinn Féin and delivery on
practical power-sharing by the DUP.

"Provided these two are in place, I think we can move
towards an election on March 7, with power-sharing and
devolution on March 26."

But he said the importance of practical delivery by both
was absolutely critical.

"I don't want the voters of Northern Ireland to trudge down
to polling stations in a pointless exercise. The point of
having an election on March 7 is to trigger a power-sharing
executive on March 26.

"We can't have another election to an Assembly that might
not exist."

He said the British government would make an assessment.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are
meeting tomorrow and will consider the next step.

But Mr Hain said he did not have to make a decision
tomorrow on whether to call the election.

He warned: "I don't want to pull the election, I want to
see the successful restoration of devolution, but I don't
think the voters would thank the parties or the Government
for allowing them to have to go through a whole exercise,
turning up to vote, and then it becomes pointless.

"We just need to be clear from all the parties that they
are willing to grasp this fantastic prize which is
available to them."

Mr Hain said he had had a successful meeting with DUP
leader the Reverend Ian Paisley this morning but declined
to say what commitments, if any, Mr Paisley had given him
in response to the Sinn Féin vote.


© 2007


SF Policing Move Puts Pressure On DUP To Share Power

29/01/2007 - 07:07:05

The DUP is set to come under renewed pressure in the coming
weeks to share power with republicans following yesterday's
decision by Sinn Féin to endorse the PSNI.

The party's ard fheis voted overwhelmingly to back the
police service in a move that has been welcomed by both the
Irish and British governments.

The DUP has given the decision a guarded welcome, saying it
will wait to see how Sinn Féin delivers on the vote before
making any promises about power-sharing.

However, the unionist party is expected to come under major
pressure from Dublin and London to drop its refusal to
enter government with republicans.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime minister Tony
Blair meet tomorrow to discuss the matter and are expected
to announce fresh Assembly elections for March after their

Their plan is to have a power-sharing executive up and
running in Stormont shortly after that vote.


Dodds Questions Timeframe For Testing SF Policing Move

29/01/2007 - 10:42:47

DUP MP Nigel Dodds has questioned whether enough time
exists for Sinn Féin to prove its support for policing
before the March 26th deadline for restoring devolution.

Yesterday, the republican party voted to endorse the PSNI
at its special ard fheis in Dublin, a move that has been
widely welcomed in Dublin and London.

The DUP has given it a guarded welcome, but says Sinn Féin
must demonstrate its support for the police service before
it will agree to any power-sharing arrangements.

Speaking today, Mr Dodds questioned if enough time existed
for this proof to be forthcoming.

He said Sinn Féin was failing to take a clear-cut decision,
adding: "If they are going to stick to this policy, then
there will certainly be no delivery by March 26th and
therefore there can't be time for the testing."


Former IRA Prisoner To Stand Against SF

29/01/2007 - 10:26:48

Former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough has confirmed his
intention to stand against Sinn Féin in the next Assembly

Mr McGeough has been a critic of the party's move to
endorse the PSNI, which was backed by an overwhelming
majority at yesterday's ard fheis in Dublin.

The 48-year-old, who was jailed in the United States in the
early 1990s for gun-running, has responded to the vote by
confirming that he will seek an Assembly seat in Fermanagh
and South Tyrone.

He says he was not surprised by yesterday's outcome as the
republican movement had been "recruited into the British
Crown system" and was "being used to administer and
maintain British rule".


Opin: After Sinn Féin, DUP Must Deliver

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

The decision by Sinn Féin to change its policing policy and
recognise the Police Service of Northern Ireland represents
the penultimate piece of a democratic jigsaw. Years of
careful preparation and hard work, involving an IRA
ceasefire, the Belfast Agreement, arms decommission and the
emergence of Sinn Féin as the leading nationalist party in
Northern Ireland have led inevitably to this point. All
that remains is for Ian Paisley and the Democratic Unionist
Party to join with Sinn Féin and others in a power-sharing

It has been a long and difficult road for the political
parties in Northern Ireland, not least for the SDLP and the
Ulster Unionist Party which broke new ground and urged
compromise and reconciliation in a harsh and unforgiving
environment. As the peace process now moves towards
completion, however, there may be further obstacles ahead.
Extremist elements within both communities would prefer to
live in hostility, rather than in harmony. And they will do
everything possible to thwart the implementation of the
Belfast Agreement. Death threats have been made against the
Sinn Féin leadership by dissident republicans. And Dr
Paisley's authority and political direction is under
assault within the DUP.

Sinn Féin has linked formal recognition and active support
for the police and the criminal justice system with the
establishment of power-sharing institutions and assurances
on the transfer of policing and justice powers to Northern
Ireland. Such conditions were predictable because of the
level of distrust that exists between Sinn Féin and the
DUP. But they do not disguise the hugely important and
socially transforming decision that has been taken by
republicans and the potential it offers for the future.

All parties recognise the benefits devolved government can
bring. And change is certain. The capacity to direct and
manage that change in the interests of their constituents,
however, rather than have it imposed from Westminster, is
of central political importance. By endorsing the PSNI and
the criminal justice system, even in this conditional
fashion, Sinn Féin has swept away the DUP's justification
for not sharing power with republicans. It has,
effectively, jumped first and opened the door to devolved

The Rev Ian Paisley has said repeatedly he will 'not be
found wanting' if Sinn Féin undertook this policy shift.
The DUP leader also signalled a willingness to become First
Minister. But those commitments were conditional on DUP
supporters endorsing the power-sharing project in the March
Assembly elections. Now that Sinn Féin has delivered on its
portion of the St Andrews Agreement, it falls to Dr Paisley
to deliver. It will be difficult. For, just as Sinn Féin
has swallowed hard and offered to set aside its intrinsic
hostility to the criminal justice system, so the DUP will
be required to accept elements of the Belfast Agreement
that it so vehemently opposed.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: SF Leadership Get Their Way Over Support For PSNI

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

There was no walkout, no split, and little if any danger of
one. There was never any doubt about the result yesterday,
just curiosity about the margin, writes Gerry Moriarty,
Northern Editor

'This is a historic day in the annals of Irish history, in
my view,' said Martin McGuinness at the start of the
debate. "This decision we have taken today is truly
historic," said Gerry Adams after the vote at the Sinn Féin

"Historic" is a much devalued word but their views indeed
could not be contradicted in the RDS in Dublin yesterday.

Sinn Féin supports the PSNI.

Not so long ago no journalist would anticipate writing such
a line, no republican would have considered it possible.

Outside the RDS yesterday morning a handful of Republican
Sinn Féin (RSF) supporters cried "traitor" at Martin
McGuinness. "There goes the chief constable," they said.

Inside the hall some speakers said endorsing the PSNI was
endorsing the British state. "We can still call ourselves
revolutionaries but we will be constitutional ones," said
Paul O'Connor from Cork.

None the less the leadership prevailed, and did so, not so
much comfortably, but overwhelmingly. At 5.35pm chairman
Pearse Doherty put the amended motion - but amended to the
liking of the leadership - to the hall and it was carried
by the vast majority of delegates.

Between 900 and 1,000 of the 2,500 delegates there were
entitled to vote and if you said up to 10 per cent voted
against you could reasonably be accused of exaggeration.

This was a far cry from the electric ardfheis of 1986 on
electoral abstentionism when Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó
Conail walked away. That was because the men they ceded
leadership to, Adams and McGuinness, had done their
groundwork. There was no walkout, no split, and little if
any danger of one. There was never any doubt about the
result yesterday, just curiosity about the margin. By
lunchtime yesterday speakers in favour of the Sinn Féin
leadership motion endorsing the PSNI were running six to
one, 24 for, six against. By the end of the day it was more
than four to one in favour, by my count 65 speakers for 15

And you had some interesting individuals urging support for
the PSNI: Seán McGlinchey, brother of murdered INLA leader
Dominic McGlinchey and Eddie Gallagher's former IRA
accomplice Rose Dugdale, to name just two. She opened with
the line, "I want to support this revolution . . . sorry,
resolution . . ."

Gerry Adams started the proceedings and was well received,
although a small number in the huge hall sat passively,
arms folded. He made the arguments he made in dozens of
halls and meeting rooms in the past two weeks for
supporting the police, all the time hammering home the
message that whatever the result republicans must and would
remain united and cohesive. And that's the result he got.

Anyone in that hall yesterday with a vote had been briefed
and briefed again, canvassed and canvassed again by the
likes of Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness over recent weeks,
talked into submission at a hundred meetings throughout

A big moment in Irish history needed a big speech yesterday
and it came from Mr McGuinness. Adams spoke primarily to
the republican head but McGuinness spoke to the heart. They
were quite the double-act.

"There is every possibility that Sinn Féin will be the
largest political party in the North within the next five
to 10 years," said Mr McGuinness. "We have to boss
policing." Two comments respectively that will worry and
annoy unionists, but the RDS wasn't the place for emollient
words to unionism.

Or for self-searching analysis about what the IRA had
perpetrated during the Troubles. "We come from the IRA
tradition that fought the British army to a standstill," Mr
McGuinness added to loud applause, ratcheting up the sound
level even higher with his rider and his reference to the
insults he took from the RSF picketers, ". . . and we are
being criticised by those who never fought them to a
start". And then his voice cracking he spoke about meeting
families who had lost IRA members during the conflict.

One family said it could not accept the police and left the
meeting, said Mr McGuinness. "My heart went out the door
with them," he said, "but my head stayed in the room." The
"securocrats", he added, wanted a "resounding no" from the
ardfheis. Fill them with "fear and trepidation", he said,
with a "resounding yes".

Most of the opposing speeches came from Ógra Sinn Féin,
young republicans, some of whom would have been watching
Teletubbies or Barney around the time of the 1994 IRA
ceasefire. They spoke passionately but with just about 35
votes out of 1,000 they were never going to have a
significant impact. Moreover, many who opposed the motion
went out of their way to emphasise that while they would
not like the result they would live with it.

To quote one opponent of the motion, Mark Daly from
Tallaght, Dublin, "There are no traitors in this hall,
there is no sell-out in this hall." So, what does it all
mean? Well time will tell, is the short answer. Mr
McGuinness also said that yesterday "was a big day for Sinn
Féin" but that today "is an even bigger day for the Rev Ian
Paisley". In other words, we've jumped, now it's your turn,
Dr Paisley.

Expect some positive words from those in the DUP who appear
amenable to a deal but no absolute commitment to
powersharing by the St Andrews Agreement deadline of March
26th, and negative words of suspicion from those who won't
or can't acknowledge how Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness
persuaded members to tear up the Sinn Féin rule book on

The "yes" word is unlikely to be available from Dr Paisley
until after the Assembly election on March 7th, if then,
because the DUP will hardly go into the election confirming
that Dr Paisley as first minister will sit alongside Martin
McGuinness as deputy first minister at the end of March.

Time will also be required to establish what the motion
means on the ground. There is an element of conditionality
about the motion in that the final paragraph says that it
will "only" be implemented by the ardchomhairle when
powersharing is established and when there is agreement on
transferring policing powers to a restored Northern
executive, or alternatively when "Plan B" is in place - ie
the strengthening of British-Irish "partnership

The bottom line though is that Sinn Féin supports the
police. The conditionality only applies to when and in what
circumstances it endorses the PSNI: with powersharing, or
with Plan B? Most politicians say they want Plan A. There
is a big choice for the DUP, the most devolutionist of
parties, to make now, or by mid-March to be more exact. The
pressure is on them.

It's new, uncharted territory, where republicans were
brought by Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness yesterday. Strange
and challenging not only for republicans but unionists too.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Has Devolution Come Any Closer?

[Published: Monday 29, January 2007 - 09:42]

Everyone expected yesterday's special Sinn Fein ard fheis
in Dublin to pass the party leadership's call for active
support of policing and justice institutions in Northern
Ireland, but the sheer scale of the endorsement - backing
from more than 90% of the near 1,000 delegates - was

That was a testament to the work done by the leadership in
preparing the ground for the vote. For, make no mistake, it
was a historic decision, reversing an 86-year boycott of
both the police and courts systems in the province and
declaring clearly that there is no longer any stomach
within mainstream republicanism for violent insurrection.

Yet, for all its significance and potential to change the
political landscape, the vote, as of this precise moment,
has not brought Sinn Fein and the DUP any closer to forming
a power-sharing government. The reason is that the motion
is conditional - it will not be implemented until the DUP
agree to enter into government with Sinn Fein and policing
and justice powers are devolved. That runs contrary to the
DUP's declared position that it will not enter into
government or agree to devolution of powers until it sees
Sinn Fein's words of support for policing translated into
action on the ground.

Support for policing is Sinn Fein's last bargaining chip
and it is determined not to sell it cheaply by giving the
DUP a blank cheque on the speed of political change.
Likewise the DUP, which faces internal and electoral
resistance to forming a government with Sinn Fein, is
playing hardball. Neither party wants to go into a new
Assembly election - which could be announced very soon -
facing charges of a sell-out. In that respect, Gerry Adams
is probably a lot more confident today of how his
supporters will react than Ian Paisley will be of unionist
voters' intentions.

In some respects Ian Paisley's ard fheis will be the
Assembly elections. The pressure is on the DUP to respond
positively to yesterday's vote, and that pressure is bound
to increase, but he cannot risk a backlash from hardliners
within his party and in the country by moving forward too
quickly. As his deputy, Peter Robinson, pointed out, the
political graveyard is full of unionist leaders who moved
too far in advance of the electorate and then found
themselves isolated and friendless.

However, in spite of all the understandable caution, the
political impetus is still forward. A restoration of a
power-sharing devolved government is now more achievable
than for many years. There is still significant suspicion
on the part of Sinn Fein and the DUP of each other's
goodwill and sincerity, as is to be expected, but the
hostility is thawing a little. Both realise they have to
co-operate to achieve their mutual desire to be in
government. The question is - how swiftly will that desire
be consummated?

© Belfast Telegraph


Casey Claims Pope Did Not Want Him To Resign

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Pope John Paul did not want Dr Eamonn Casey to resign as
Bishop of Galway when he went to Rome to do so in May 1992,
Bishop Casey has claimed.

"It was heartbreaking," Dr Casey (79) has said, in an
interview to be broadcast this week. "The holy father
didn't want to accept it."

In an interview with Tralee historian and broadcaster
Maurice O'Keefe, which will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio's
Morning Ireland, Dr Casey says he resigned because he
wanted "to get out before the media descended on me".

Conor O'Clery, then North America correspondent for The
Irish Times, had put an official request through to the
bishop's residence in Galway, asking for a meeting to
discuss certain financial payments he had made to Annie
Murphy, with whom the bishop had a son 17 years previously.

As the then editor of this newspaper, Conor Brady, recalled
in his book Up With The Times: "It turned out that Casey
was on holidays in Malta. But a message came back to say
that he would meet The Irish Times on his return in two
days' time."

The meeting was set for the Skylon Hotel, close to Dublin
airport. But Dr Casey did not keep the appointment. The
same evening the Vatican announced that he had tendered his
resignation to the pope.

He left Ireland on an Aer Lingus flight to New York. A
"very good friend" had booked the ticket.

When he arrived in New York a car was waiting. He was taken
to a place where he stayed for five days to avoid the

After a brief stay in New York during May 1992, following
his flight there, he spent six months in a contemplative
monastery in the northern US where "I came to terms with
myself", he says.

He sought out "God's will for me. I believe in God's
forgiveness and healing".

He also replied to the 750 letters he had received at the

The radio interview, which was conducted at Dr Casey's home
in Shanaglish, Co Galway, last summer, will be broadcast in
three eight-minute segments - each approved by Dr Casey -
on three consecutive mornings.

In his interview with Mr O'Keefe, Dr Casey recalled how he
met Veronica Guerin in the US through a friend, with whom
he had agreed to talk to her. He and Ms Guerin spoke for "a
few hours every day" over a period until he felt he could
trust her.

Then, according to Dr Casey, she told him her boss (then
Sunday Tribuneeditor Vincent Browne) was coming over from
Ireland to conduct the interview. Dr Casey said he told Ms
Guerin that if he did an interview, the only one he would
do it with was her. He recalled meeting Mr Browne and
telling him he had "total confidence" in Ms Guerin and
would do the interview with her or not at all.

He said he found her "a delightful person". They did the
interview over four days and she allowed him see the
finished articles before publication, except for the final
piece. "I didn't edit the fourth piece," he recalled, as he
had not time. He was in Ecuador by then. He remembered
crying when he heard she had been shot (in June 1996).

He worked as a missionary priest in Ecuador for six-and-a-
half years and in 1998 he was accepted for parish work and
a hospital chaplaincy in Staplefield, Sussex, in the
Arundel and Brighton diocese in England.

Last February he returned to live in Ireland, at Shanaglish
near Gort in Co Galway. However, he has been unable to say
Mass there pending the outcome of a Church investigation
into allegations of child sex abuse made against him by a
woman in November 2005.

The 13 allegations concerned incidents that she claimed had
taken place in Ireland over 30 years ago. She has made
similar unproven claims against others in the past.
Following a Garda investigation, the DPP announced last
August that no charges were being brought arising from her
allegations. At that time it was anticipated the separate
internal Church inquiry into the allegations would take a
further few weeks.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Knock To Operate Transatlantic Flights

Mon, Jan 29, 2007

Knock airport will operate services to New York and Boston
from May, it was revealed today.

The new services will be operated by UK carrier
Flyglobespan, and the routes will be from Liverpool to New
York via Knock and Glasgow to Boston via Knock.

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen, who approved the
granting of traffic rights for the service, said the move
was a "positive development" for the area.

"This presents a great opportunity to grow tourism and
exploit business opportunities for the benefit of the BMW
[Border, Midland, Western] region," Mr Cullen said.

The services are scheduled to start in May 2007, subject to
the finalisation of security arrangements at Knock airport,
and authorisation is to be granted to the airline for an
initial period of 12 months.

Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Paul O'Toole said the new
services represented "a huge vote of confidence" in the

"They will substantially expand air travel options for
potential tourists and open up Ireland's western regions
even more as a holiday destination to the lucrative North
American market," he added.

Council for the West chairman Sean Hannick said the
transatlantic services were a "dream come true" for the
late Monsignor James Horan, founder of Knock airport.

"With a potential to facilitate 56,000 US tourists with an
estimated spend of up to €45 million by 2008, the service
will be a major plus for tourism in the region which can do
with all the assistance it can get," said Mr Hannick.

© 2007


Irish Film Wins Prestigious Award At Sundance Festival

Michael Dwyer, Film Correspondent
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

A low-budget Irish film has taken one of the most
prestigious prizes at the most important US film festival
over the weekend.

The film, Once, received the World Cinema Audience Award at
the closing ceremony of the Sundance Film Festival - which
was established by actor-director Robert Redford to foster
independent productions - in Park City, Utah.

"I hope I don't wreck this by crying - doing something
Irish and emotional," the film's writer-director John
Carney said as he collected the prize on Saturday night.

Onceis a musical, and more words are sung than spoken as it
charts the tender relationship that forms between two
musicians - a Grafton Street busker (Glen Hansard) and a
Czech pianist (Marketa Irglova) who sells roses and the Big
Issueon the street.

Carney, who directed On the Edgeand has been one of the
team behind the RTÉ series Bachelors Walk, affectionately
observes these two lonely characters as they are drawn to
each other, and their instinctive chemistry is beautifully
expressed when they make sweet music on an improvised duet.

Irglova graces the film with a serene, endearing presence
and Hansard, in his first movie since The Commitments15
years ago, performs with the passion he exudes on stage
with his band, The Frames.

The film will be shown at the Dublin International Film
Festival next month.

"We have had a wonderful reaction at Sundance," the film's
executive producer, David Collins of Dublin-based Samson
Films told The Irish Times. "So many people wanted to see
the film that the festival added four extra screenings. And
Glen and Marketa have been singing on stage after every
screening. The audience loved them."

So did the critics. "I liked the movie right from the
opening scene," Scott Foundas wrote in LA Weekly. "It's the
sort of completely unhyped, unheralded little gem you go to
a festival like Sundance hoping to find, and every once in
a while, do."

"The movie pulled all the right strings," according to
popular film website, Ain't It Cool.

The film attracted the attention of many international
buyers at Sundance, concluding in a deal between Samson
Films and the prominent US company Summit Entertainment to
sell the cinema, DVD and TV distribution rights to Once
around the world.

© 2007 The Irish Times

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