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February 08, 2007

Collusion Families Meet Ahern

News about Ireland & the Irish

IN 02/08/07 Collusion: Families Meet Ahern
IN 02/08/07 McCord To Run On ‘Justice For Families’ Ticket
IN 02/08/07 Loyalist Likely To Join Ulster Unionists
IN 02/08/07 Watch Out Ian, There’s A New Man In Town
IT 02/08/07 Durkan Baited Over Former RUC Officer Law Suit
BT 02/08/07 Opin: Getting Rid Of Bigotry Begins At Home
IN 02/08/07 Opin: Time To Put Flesh On Agreement Promises
IN 02/08/07 Opin: O’Loan Report: Tip Of Collusion Iceberg
BT 02/08/07 Opin: Why We Still Need Touts
BN 02/08/07 Cancer In Ireland Well Ahead Of European Norm
BN 02/08/07 Taoiseach Opens Cliffs Of Moher Visitor Centre
BN 02/08/07 Coach Operators To Protest At Cliffs Of Moher


Collusion: Families Meet Ahern

By Bimpe Fatogun

FAMILIES affected by collusion on both sides of the border
met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday to urge him to press
the British government to "come clean".

Relatives of members of the Miami Showband and those killed
in the 1975 Dundalk and Silverbridge bomb and gun attacks
made the trip. They were joined by the Reavey and O'Dowd
families who each lost three members in early 1976 and
relatives of those killed in bombings in Castleblayney and
in Keady, south Armagh, the same year.

It has been alleged that these and many other attacks in
that decade in the

so-called 'murder triangle' were carried out by a gang
based at the farm of a former RUC officer in Armagh. The
gang of Portadown loyalists have been linked to members of
the RUC Special Patrol Group and UDR members working with
army intelligence.

The final report by the Dail committee found: "There is
evidence tending to show that there was a period of time in
which there was significant state collusion which was not
limited to what might be referred to as foot soldiers, bad
apples or the occasional wayward RUC officer or UDR member.

"The sub-committee expresses its outrage that acts of
international terrorism could have been colluded in by all
levels of

the British administration."

Among the delegation was Alan Brecknell whose father was
killed in a gun and bomb attack by the gang.

He said the group would press Mr Ahern to ensure that Prime
Minister Tony Blair "comes clean" on collusion.


McCord To Run On 'Justice For Families' Ticket In Election

By Allison Morris

The father of UVF murder victim Raymond McCord has called
on the Catholic electorate in north Belfast to vote for him
in the forthcoming March election.

Raymond McCord snr, lodged his papers with the Electoral
Office yesterday after expressing a previous interest in
standing in the assembly elections as an independent.

"I am a Protestant from a unionist background but I have no
interest in religion or sectarianism," he said.

"While uncovering the truth about the murder of young
Raymond I also brought into the open cases of collusion
involving nationalist families, such as the family of
Sharon McKenna.

"I will be running on a 'justice for victims' ticket and
hope that people from all sections of the community will
judge me on my actions.

"With me what you see is what you get and I think people
could use someone in Stormont who's not afraid to speak


Loyalist Likely To Join Ulster Unionists

By Seamus McKinney

LEADING loyalist David Nicholl looks set to join the Ulster
Unionists and may even contest next year's expected local
government elections on their behalf.

Mr Nicholl (44) was once a leading figure in the Ulster
Democratic Party, the political wing of the UDA.

Yesterday he said he had been canvassing on behalf of the
UUP in Derry.

He also revealed that a significant number of UDA members
were considering moves to mainstream unionist parties as
they felt communities would move towards the centre
political ground over the next decade.

Mr Nicholl is a member of the Ulster Political Research
Group (UPRG) which provides political advice to the UDA and
has represented the group in talks with Taoiseach Bertie

The Derry loyalist said that although he had not yet joined
the UUP, he was considering the move.

"I have addressed a rally of 500 in the city on Saturday
night past of loyalists from my own particular constituency
and urged them to vote for Peter [Munce]," he said.

Mr Nicholl denied speculation that he had been asked by the
UUP's Foyle branch to stand in next month's assembly
election but said it was "possible" that he would join the

"The UPRG is of the opinion that we don't need a third
political force within unionism because that is divisive,"
he said.

"What the UDA has said to us - and the UDA leadership - is
that in a democracy people have freedom of choice to vote
for and join whatever political party they wish."


Watch Out Ian, There's A New Man In Town

By William Scholes

Harryville minister the Rev John Finlay has been elected as
the Presbyterian Church's next moderator, reports religious
affairs correspondent William Scholes

REPORTS of Ian Paisley's demise may have been greatly
exaggerated in the past but he is about to face a fresh
challenge in the form of a new 'big man' in Ballymena.

Mr Paisley is, among other things, the moderator of the
Free Presbyterian Church which gathers much support in the
north Antrim 'Bible belt'.

The 'mainstream' Presbyterian Church, from which Mr Paisley
led a secession more than 50 years ago, has now elected a
Ballymena minister, the Rev John Finlay, to be its next

The question of whether Mr Paisley's north Antrim
stronghold is big enough for two moderators will not be
settled until after June, when Mr Finlay (61) takes over
the reins.

Although he has ministered for 25 years at Harryville in
Ballymena, Mr Finlay said his path had crossed only once
with that of the North Antrim MP.

"I have never met him other than when he came to our halls
once to see what colour it was painted," he said matter of
factly yesterday.

Sensing that this answer needed further explanation, Mr
Finlay added that Mr Paisley's church was building halls of
a similar design to his own congregation and was seeking

The colour scheme, incidentally, was an off-orange shade of

To the outsider at least, a rather peculiar aspect of the
Presbyterian system is that incoming moderators are elected
while the serving moderator is eight months into his 12-
month term.

This means the minister who has just been designated as
'Moderator elect' makes a brief public appearance at a news
conference, only to disappear to pasture until June.

Mr Finlay said he was "open to change" on the practice of
moderators serving for just one year, though this is a
matter for the wider Church to decide.

For those unused to dealing with the press, the news
conference can be a daunting experience but Mr Finlay -
clad in a black suit and shirt, hands clasped in front of
him - acquitted himself well.

The restoration of devolution could only be good, he said.

"We are encouraged and hopeful that it is going the right
way. There have been so many false dawns but I think there
will be a happy conclusion in the not too distant future,"
Mr Finlay said.

Sinn Fein had made considerable progress by voting to
support the PSNI, he added.

Mr Finlay said he was hopeful that loyalist paramilitaries
would stop their activities.

Referring to issues such as gay adoption and the sexual
orientation regulations which came into force on January 1,
Mr Finlay said there was concern among Presbyterians that
the Christian voice was being squeezed out of public policy
by the government.

"We are very uncomfortable with that," he said.

"The perception on the ground, certainly in my
congregation, is that Christian opinion has been virtually

Harryville was once synonymous with the loyalist picket of
the area's Catholic church but Mr Finlay said it was "a
good place now" and that he enjoyed good relations with
neighbouring Catholic clergy.

"We have been through difficult times but that is water
under the bridge," he said.

Mr Finlay said he expounded Scripture as the "bread of
life" and that his ministry was one of "bringing people to
personal faith and encouraging and strengthening them in
that faith".

In common with the majority of Presbyterians, he would not
attend Mass.

Mr Finlay was elected as the next moderator by securing
nine votes out of 21 in Tuesday night's vote. He takes up
office on June 4.


Durkan Baited Over Former RUC Officer Law Suit

Thu, Feb 08, 2007

The Democratic Unionists today baited SDLP leader Mark
Durkan after a former senior RUC officer said he was suing
the nationalist party over its claim that it influenced the
appointment of the PSNI chief constable.

DUP Policing Board member Ian Paisley Jr questioned whether
Mr Durkan was "man enough" to admit that it was wrong for
his party to have insisted upon an appointment from outside
the RUC.

Former Metropolitan Police officer and Stevens Inquiry
senior investigator Sir Hugh Orde was appointed chief
constable of the newly created police service in 2002.

The SDLP's claim was published in an advertisement in the
Irish Newsfollowing last month's Police Ombudsman's report
which found high ranking RUC officers must have been aware
of collusion between Special Branch officers and loyalist
death squads.

One of the two RUC applicants short-listed for the PSNI
job, Alan McQuillan announced yesterday he was suing the
SDLP and its leader Mark Durkan, having failed to obtain an

The Irish Newsapologised earlier this week saying it
regretted any distress and embarrassment the advertisement
had caused.

Lawyers for Mr McQuillan, now deputy director of the
North's Assets Recovery Agency, are due to issue a writ for
defamation today.

His lawyer Paul Tweed said: "My client has sought an
apology and retraction repeatedly from Mr Durkan. As this
has not been forthcoming, he has been left with no
alternative but to issue legal proceedings in order to seek
vindication of his reputation and character."

An SDLP spokesman denied the party implied Mr McQuillan was
involved in collusion or that there was anything improper
about Sir Hugh's appointment.

"We have been happy to give that assurance before and
reiterate it now but we cannot apologise for what we have
not said," the spokesman said.

The party were also in hot water with the Policing Board
who made the appointment.

And Sir Hugh, who fended off competition from Mr McQuillan
and Chris Albiston for the post was also angered by the
claim and wrote to the Policing Board.

The Board considered the claim at a meeting last night and
chairman Sir Desmond Rea issued a statement afterwards
denying any interference in the appointment.

Sir Desmond said: "The board remains fully satisfied that
its recruitment processes were and are of the highest
professional standard and that it seeks to appoint on

"The board regrets the hurt caused by the statement to the
Chief Constable and the other candidates who were not

Mr Durkan is to meet Sir Desmond and vice chairman Barry
Gilligan to discuss the controversy.

Mr Paisley Jr said his party was satisfied with the
appointments procedure but said Mr Durkan's leadership had
been damaged by the affair.

"Is Mark Durkan man enough to admit that he got it wrong?
Surely now his leadership of the SDLP has been seriously
dented given what has happened."

He also called on Prime Minister Tony Blair make a
statement. "There is one person who can confirm or refute
what the SDLP is claiming. That is the Prime Minister."

Additional reporting PA
c 2007


Opin: Getting Rid Of Bigotry Begins At Home

[Published: Thursday 8, February 2007 - 10:18]

Although few can have been surprised by a survey showing
Northern Ireland to be a world capital of bigotry, it is
time that we acknowledged the shame - and did something
about it. The findings of a study by academics from the
University of Ulster and the University of Queensland will
be circulated around the world, confirming our unhappy
image and deterring tourists and investors.

The key question, in a survey of 32,000 people in Europe,
Australasia and North America, asked if they would like to
have persons from five minority groups as their neighbours.
Here a high 44%, out of 1,000 respondents, did not want
neighbours from at least one group - just ahead of Greece.
The least bigoted nations were Sweden (13%), Iceland (18%)
and Canada (22%).

Homosexuals would be the most unpopular neighbours in
Northern Ireland, rejected by 35% - compared to a world
average of 19.6% - but there was also a bias against
immigrants (19%), Muslims (16%), Jews (11%) and even
"people of a different race" (8.5%). Homophobia is easily
the main source of bigotry, mentioned by 80% of bigoted
persons here and Canada, compared to 75% or less elsewhere.

Not surprisingly, women are less bigoted than men, and
younger people are more tolerant than their elders. Yet,
even allowing for Northern Ireland's insular nature,
isolated from the Republic, Britain and mainland Europe,
there is something radically wrong that should not be

Could the reason be that, almost from birth, the two
communities divided by religion and politics learn to be
suspicious not only of each other, but of those who do not
share their values? Many are hostile to outsiders,
particularly of another religion.

In a world that is increasingly open-minded and multi-
cultural, such a mindset is rightly regarded as backward
and bigoted. Northern Ireland has a well-deserved
reputation as a welcoming place for tourists - as well as
for generous donations to charity - but to grow to its full
potential it must open up to the minority groups in its

The community as a whole should take this survey to heart,
rather than find fault with it. Bigotry begins in the home,
with critical, unthinking remarks by parents, and what is
learned there can only be countered by honest, searching
discussion in the schools.

Everyone has a part to play, making sure that the next
generation does not grow up with the bigotry of the past,
based on pure prejudice. Political and religious leaders,
teachers and, most of all, parents should watch their words
and be careful not to pass on their unfounded prejudices.
We all know where that led, in Nazi Germany.

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: It's Time To Put Flesh On Agreement Promises

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Tucked away in Annex B of the so-called St Andrews
Agreement is the following: 'The government will work with
business, trade unions and ex-prisoners' groups to produce
guidance for employers which will reduce barriers to
employment and enhance re-integration of former prisoners'.

Read it again and you'll see it's as meaningless as the
original reference to ex-prisoners in the Good Friday
Agreement which said: 'The governments continue to
recognise the importance of measures to facilitate the
reintegration of prisoners into the community' and blah,

Nine years on and they're still talking in the future tense
about working to reduce barriers to employment.
Furthermore, unlike the other items in Annex B, the remarks
about ex-prisoners are exceptionally vague.

For example, one item promises to 'establish a Victims'
Commissioner this autumn'. Another announces a forum on a
Bill of Rights to be convened in December 2006. Legislation
on additional powers for the Human Rights Commission is
promised 'in the next parliamentary session'. And so on.
About ex-prisoners, just waffle.

The problem is this. It's estimated that since the early
1970s, between 24,000 and 30,000 prisoners and internees
spent time in custody in the north. After the Good Friday
Agreement 447 prisoners were released.

They all face difficulties finding jobs, in some cases
insurmountable difficulties. Although many republicans and
a few former loyalist prisoners have degree qualifications
and some have also professional qualifications, their
criminal record disbars them from the professions.

However, it is not simply access to professional jobs that
is the problem. Ex-prisoners find it difficult to land any
job. A recent Fair Employment Tribunal (FET) decision has
added to that difficulty.

Two former prisoners took a discrimination case against the
Simon Community for refusing to employ them on the grounds
of their political opinion. The Simon Community contended
that they were entitled to refuse to employ the men because
the 1998 Fair Employment and Treatment Order specifically
excludes any political opinion which consists of or
includes approval or acceptance of the use of violence for
political ends connected with the affairs of Northern

Although the FET accepted that neither man held such views
at the time they applied for the jobs, it was decided that
the Simon Community acted lawfully when they used that
clause in the Order to turn the men down because the clause
is unconditional and it doesn't matter whether an employer
tried to find out if an prospective employee still held
views supporting violence.

It's quite likely that this decision will be appealed but
it illustrates quite clearly the nature of the barriers to
ex-prisoners obtaining employment.

People convicted of offences over 30 years ago, people
released on licence because the state is satisfied they no
longer pose a threat to society, people released under the
terms of the Good Friday Agreement, all fall foul of the
same handicaps.

Bear in mind that the vast majority of them would never
have seen the inside of a cell were it not for the
circumstances of the conflict here. Bear in mind the fact
that the

ex-prisoners are not the only people condemned to live in
the poverty consequent upon permanent unemployment. Many of
them have families whose futures are also affected by the
ex-prisoners' inability to find work.

Sinn Fein is the party which bears most responsibility for
these people but they have been singularly ineffective in
promoting their case almost a decade after the Good Friday

It is true that any public push by SF would automatically
result in opposition from the DUP, who would be quite happy
to see former loyalist paramilitaries they marched beside
and conspired with go to the wall as long as republicans
got nothing.

It really is up to the British administration here to act
to put flesh on the promises in the Good Friday Agreement
and at St Andrews.

Talking about working with business, trade unions and so on
is just so much hot air.

None of it will work unless the 1998 Order is amended to
take account of the new circumstances of the last two years
in particular when decommissioning has taken place, the IRA
has stood down and SF has voted to support policing and


Opin: O'Loan Report Just The Tip Of Collusion Iceberg

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

It was ever so cosy. Great company and place to have a bit
of R&R. A refuge to escape from the pressures of the job.
Somewhere to relax in the company of very obliging friends
- mates really. They were very protective, generous with
their time, advice and, of course, money. They provided
much needed accommodation for a night or two to get away
from it all, wholesome food and a friendly chat. All pals

That sort of commentary you will, understandably, not find
in Nuala O'Loan's devastating and withering report about
the Mount Vernon UVF. An organisation who moved in and out
of the RUC/PSNI Special Branch and Castlereagh
interrogation centre as freely as they moved about north
Belfast killing hapless victims at will, Catholics and

For me that sort of commentary was inescapable as I read
O'Loan's report. There was an old boy's bonhomie club
atmosphere about the interplay between the state forces and
those deemed illegal as they shared cells in Castlereagh or
met in unnamed locations to collaborate over the many acts
of violence under discussion. It was akin to 'shooting the
breeze' with your buddies.

O'Loan's report is refreshing for its frankness and
clarity. Its precise, to the point, use of language exposes
senior and middle ranks of the RUC/PSNI, its Special Branch
and CID and their direct involvement in murder, plotting to
murder, attempted murder, extortion and drug dealing.

O'Loan's style of investigation and its presentation brings
you into the centre of a sordid and secret world which
relatives, human rights organisations, solicitors and Sinn
Fein have been trying to expose for decades. A world where
there is contempt for life and the law is manipulated to
protect the perpetrator. O'Loan draws back the heavy black
curtain and shines a beam into crevices and reveals
disturbing and frightening behaviour.

In the 160 pages of her report you meet dark, sinister,
Machiavellian people in the uniform of the RUC/PSNI who
protected, paid and praised UVF personnel responsible for a
10-year catalogue of crimes against defenceless people.
Senior RUC personnel who knowingly and wilfully provided
glowing references for murderers as if they were applying
for a prestigious job.

In fact, they provided the Director of Public Prosecutions
a 'get out of jail' card for many UVF personnel.

This report reveals a powerful, elaborate, carefully
constructed, tried and trusted system which with ease
expertly concealed the killers, the planners, the bank-
rollers of a state-sponsored, controlled and directed
killing machine. A system which, until the publication of
this report, was virtually impenetrable. A system which was
a law unto itself, run by people who played God with the
lives of individuals they were paid to protect and did not.

The report strikes you in so many different ways, in
particular the intrinsic immorality and corruption of the
Special Branch. There is no personal or operational
distinction between the UVF killers and the Special Branch.
There is no informer/handler relationship. There is no
'them and 'us'; police officer and loyalist; no thin blue
line protecting citizen and society. There is just 'us';
UVF and Special Branch, Special Branch and UVF.

Even though I have known and read extensively about
collusion this report shocks on practically every page.

Most shocking of all is the cloak of protection the Special
Branch weaved around those involved in killing as many as
15 people.

The killing of Sharon McKenna screams out of the pages of
the report for justice as you read how the Special Branch
carefully erected a fortress around the killer which even
his own admission to them for killing her failed to

Their influence even stretched into the H-Blocks into the
very cell where they protected the person who killed
Raymond McCord junior, whose father's campaign was to lead
O'Loan's report.

Murder files and investigations lost or deliberately
destroyed, falsified statements, sham interviews, concocted
alibis for killers, withholding vital information,
frustrating O'Loan's inquiry - the active hand of the
Special Branch behind every obstacle.

It represents the tip of the collusion iceberg. The
perpetrators are in the spotlight but where are those who
shaped and set the policy - MI5 and their paymasters in 10
Downing Street?


Opin: Why We Still Need Touts

[Published: Thursday 8, February 2007 - 11:59]

The Police Ombudsman's report into the Raymond McCord
Junior case, as the Chief Constable has already publicly
acknowledged, makes shocking, disturbing and uncomfortable

Again, I would repeat the whole-hearted apology which Sir
Hugh Orde gave to victims and families for anything done or
left undone.

We have already said that we accept in full the Ombudsman's

Significant re-organisation and 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.

Those systems are informed by a number of independent
reports (including Patten, Stevens, Blakey and Crompton). A
substantial range of independent checks and human rights
safeguards are in place to ensure all intelligence work is
done to the highest professional and ethical standards.

Let me be absolutely clear on one point ? like any other
police service in England, Scotland, Wales or the Republic
of Ireland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland cannot
operate effectively, it cannot fulfil its primary function
to prevent and detect crime, unless it uses intelligence.

The use of properly managed sources can offer significant
access to the thinking and planning of criminals and
criminal organisations.

I have no doubt that intelligence sources under Police
Service management have helped save lives and brought
offenders to justice. Can I say that these people will
never commit unauthorised criminal activity? No, I can't.

But what I can say is that individuals who operate outside
their authorisation will be liable to arrest and
prosecution in the same way as any other person who breaks
the law.

This is clearly reflected in Police Service policy and
procedures in relation to the use of sources. The public
should know that when individuals are authorised, it is
clarified and recorded in writing as to the parameters they
must work in. People who supply information are not immune
from the law.

PSNI has an absolute commitment that the gathering and use
of intelligence must be for the protection and vindication
of the human rights of all.

This commitment is underpinned by legislation and
substantial regulation including the European Convention on
Human Rights and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

Article Two of the European Convention places an obligation
on the police to protect life and other Articles contain
rights in relation to a fair trial and privacy. This
obligation also means that the Police Service has a duty to
protect the identity of individuals who work for the police
in this way.

I might say at this point that police are concerned about
media reports which name individuals and allege they are,
or have been, sources acting on behalf of police or other
security agencies. Terrorist organisations have reacted
with extreme violence against individuals who are alleged
to have been human sources.

The right to life of all is confirmed by Article Two of the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.
Release of any information, or speculative discussion,
about alleged sources places individuals at serious risk.
We are confident that we are complying with all the
relevant legislation in this regard. I would ask media
outlets to ensure they are complying with their legal
obligations under Article Two.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act sets out how
Covert Human Intelligence Sources must be managed as well
as defining roles, responsibilities and structures.

There are stringent internal and external mechanisms in
place to ensure intelligence is handled and managed

Internally, all sources are reviewed every six months by a
Superintendent, all officers must pass a selection course
and be trained to approved standards in handling sources,
all sources are managed in the same way by Crime Operations
Department and the policies and procedures governing the
management of intelligence have been quality assured by the
Policing Board's human rights lawyer.

As well as sources being subject to a six-monthly
Superintendents' review, any source who is deemed to be
high risk must be endorsed personally by me. In those cases
I will also seek a three-monthly review.

Externally, we are subject to scrutiny by the Office of
Surveillance Commissioners. The Chief Commissioner has
access to all materials and carries out an annual
inspection. This is a standard process throughout the UK
and all law enforcement agencies must comply.

If a complaint is made, this will be investigated by the
Police Ombudsman. Furthermore, an individual may complain
to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. This Tribunal is made
up of senior members of the judiciary and the legal
profession and is independent of the Government.

The policies and procedures which we use to authorise and
handle intelligence sources are subject to regular review.
This is a dynamic area. The use of sources is one of the
most challenging operational activities undertaken by the
Police Service and we are not complacent.

We have a set of policies and procedures in place which
will withstand any scrutiny. But, more importantly, given
the new context we are in, we have had a cultural change in
the organisation through training and education. Officers
at all levels now have a much greater understanding of risk
? risk associated with individual sources, corporate risk
and community risk.

But there are two sides to this coin and while I in no way
want to minimise the negatives, it is important to
highlight the positive outcomes which can be directly
attributed to the proper management and handling of

In 2006, a total of 80 successful operations were mounted
by police on the basis of intelligence supplied from C3
Intelligence Branch.

I have no doubt that these operations saved lives, resulted
in arrests and charges and led to the recovery of drugs,
weapons and illegal materials.

I am constrained about what I can say because of the legal
process but let me give you some examples of those 80

the seizure of œ18million worth of cannabis in Newtownards
last October. This was the largest seizure ever made in NI,
both in terms of quantity (three and a half tonnes) and
value. Three men currently face charges in relation to

a major operation against dissident republicans last June
which we believe was an attempt to procure a significant
quantity of arms. This operation stretched across the UK
and Europe. A quantity of materials was recovered; four
people are currently facing charges and another four were
reported to PPS;

last month officers from the Extortion Unit arrested seven
suspects in two separate operations in Carrick and Lisburn.
Again, intelligence played an important part in the police
operations. All seven suspects were subsequently charged
and are awaiting trial. In one of the operations, searches
uncovered a firearm, cash and counterfeit goods. These
operations have undoubtedly reduced the threat to public

last April a proactive intelligence-led operation against
dissidents in the Belfast area culminated in the arrest of
seven individuals. Component parts for bombs were found and
seven people were subsequently charged;

in Dunmurry 14 months ago, we arrested four individuals who
we believe were members of a tiger kidnap gang. Those four
suspects are currently awaiting trial;

last March, police arrested five individuals who had been
involved in stealing life savings from a vulnerable older
person in greater Belfast. Police recovered the money and
four people have been charged.

You can see from these incidents that intelligence-led
operations are not confined to some dark underworld of
agents and spooks.

When it is handled and managed properly, intelligence can
result in benefits for everyone in the community ? to
protect older people preyed on by unscrupulous criminals,
to protect young people at risk from drug traffickers, to
protect the business community from gangs of violent
robbers and extortionists.

In conclusion, the legislation is in place, policies and
procedures that observe our obligations under the European
Convention on Human Rights are in place and, the highest
standards of accountability and scrutiny are in place.

All of this is evidence that this important aspect of
police work is being properly managed and that the mistakes
of the past cannot be repeated.

c Belfast Telegraph


New Cancer Cases In Ireland Well Ahead Of European Norm

08/02/2007 - 08:21:10

The number of new cancer cases being diagnosed in Ireland
is reportedly surging well ahead of the European average
for some of the most common forms of the disease.

Reports this morning say figures compiled by the
International Agency for Research on Cancer show that the
number of new prostate cancer cases in Irish men was twice
the European average.

The number of new lung cancer diagnoses in Irish women was
also 86% above the average, while new breast cancer cases
were 40% higher than the European norm.

Overall, the number of new cancer cases in the 39 countries
involved was 10% higher than the last statistics compiled
in 2004.

The expert who put together the latest figures is calling
for greater action to prevent, diagnose and control cancer
cases as the upward trend is likely to continue due to
Europe's ageing population.


Taoiseach Opens Cliffs Of Moher Visitor Centre

08/02/2007 - 06:35:09

A new underground visitor centre for the 214m-high Cliffs
of Moher will be opened today by the Taoiseach.

The ?31.4m project in Co Clare was financed through the
European Regional Development Fund under the Government's
National Development Plan 2000-2006.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience includes an
underground visitor centre and units for six licensed

Regional tourism authority Shannon Development said the
centre would help to sell Co Clare and the Shannon region
as a 'must visit' holiday destination.

"The Cliffs of Moher attract an estimated 800,000 visitors
annually and is an iconic tourism attraction for Ireland,"
said spokesman John King.

"Shannon Development, Tourism Ireland and F ilte Ireland
have for many years used this iconic visitor attraction as
a magnet to draw overseas and domestic visitors to the

"The new enhanced facilities at the Cliffs will add to the
Shannon Region's capacity to attract even more visitors to
this area."


Coach Operators To Protest At Cliffs Of Moher Opening

08/02/2007 - 08:43:48

Coach operators are set to protest at the new rates they
will be forced to pay at the new Cliffs of Moher visitor
centre which will be officially opened by Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern today.

The facilities charge scheme, shortly to be introduced at
the site of the new ?31.5m Cliffs of Moher visitor centre
project, has been developed following extensive
consultation with coach and tour operators and represents
exceptional value for money.

"We have engaged in extensive discussions with coach
operators over a long period of time," said project leader
for Clare County Council's 'Cliffs of Moher New Visitor
Experience' team Ger Dollard.

"The final charging structure set out by Clare County
Council represents a significant shift in our initial
proposed pricing policy and is, in our view, an
exceptionally positive response to the issues being raised
by operators," he added.

"Clare County Council has changed its proposed charging
structure on two occasions following on from
representations from coach operators. The final charging
approach provides for a significant discount for volume
business and is based on a per-passenger rather than a per-
seat charge. Clare County Council is satisfied that the
charges more than represent value for money.

"For coach passengers on a coach carrying 50 people, it
represents a charge of ?1.20 per passenger which taken with
the discount scheme can be further reduced to a charge of
92c per passenger. The Council is not in a position to
offer individual incentives to coach operators as part of
any package."

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