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February 12, 2007

Tributes Paid To Pat Finucane 18 Years On

News about Ireland & the Irish

AN 02/12/07 Tributes Paid To Pat Finucane 18 Years On
IT 02/12/07 So Long To The Armagh Watchtower
IT 02/12/07 NI Candidates Lodge Election Papers
BT 02/12/07 DUP Could Be Hit By Resignations
BT 02/12/07 Strange Days As DUP Feels The Unease
NL 02/12/07 It's Time To Come Clean On Your Past


Tributes Paid To Pat Finucane 18 Years On

Andersonstown News
Chris McCann

A mural celebrating the life of murdered Belfast solicitor
Pat Finucane was unveiled yesterday in West Belfast.

Around 200 people braved the cold conditions to gather in
Beechmount Drive for the unveiling to mark the 18th
anniversary of his murder.

Members of the Finucane family, representatives of
Relatives For Justice, and local politicians from Sinn F‚in
and the SDLP, including Cllrs Paul Maskey and Alex Attwood,
were among the gathering.

The new mural depicts an iconic image of Pat Finucane, and
reads "Targeted by British establishment, executed by
unionist death squads".

The solicitor's widow Geraldine Finucane and brother S‚amus
Finucane officially unveiled the mural.

Clara Reilly from Relatives For Justice and Pat Finucane's
former colleague Peter Madden also addressed the crowd.

Wreaths were laid by the Finucane family and from the local
Beechmount community.

Pat Finucane was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries at his
North Belfast home in February 1989. Evidence unearthed
later proved that his killers had acted in consort with
British Intelligence and Special Branch. Indeed, echoing
recent disclosures about the Mount Vernon UVF, several of
the UDA gang which carried out and sanctioned the murder
were British agents.

"The defining of a great person is in his or her acts of
humanity, courage and dignity," said Clara Reilly of RFJ.
"Pat Finucane had those qualities in abundance. He was a
great man whose determination to champion the rights of
others ultimately cost him his life," she said.

"Over the years he supported the families involved in the
shoot to kill, plastic bullets, collusion and many other
campaigns. His reputation for going that extra mile in
exposing the corrupt practices of the government and the
security forces often brought him into the media spotlight.
The case of Pat Finucane is symbolic as it commands local,
national and international support," she added.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Pat Finucane's widow
Geraldine said the mural was a fitting way to mark her
husband's legacy.

"Pat represented the whole community so it is marvellous
that the people of Beechmount are remembering him in this
way," she said. "It is nice that so many people are not
forgetting him and what he did for them.

"I am very touched and surprised at this turnout today, the
people of West Belfast have been very supportive," she

Local Sinn F‚in councillor Paul Maskey said: "This mural is
in a prominent position in the Falls Road and is a fitting
tribute to Pat Finucane.

"Here we are 18 years after his death and the circumstances
surrounding his death are still being covered up. It is
important that justice prevails for the Finucane family,"
he said.


So Long To The Armagh Watchtower

Mon, Feb 12, 2007

One of Northern Ireland's best known British army
watchtowers is being dismantled this week.

The heavily fortified armoured guard post in the south
Armagh republican heartland of Crossmaglen is being knocked

The tower was built in 1992 to protect British soldiers in
one of the areas most hostile to their presence during the

The decision to knock it down is part of the British
government's security normalisation moves that followed the
July 2005 IRA declaration of an end to its armed campaign.

The fortified post will be lifted from the tower tomorrow
by a crane, and the rest of the structure will then be

Its disappearance will mean plans to withdraw soldiers from
Crossmaglen police station by March 31st remain on course.
The Crossmaglen site will only be used as a police station.


c 2007


NI Candidates Lodge Election Papers

Mon, Feb 12, 2007

Northern Ireland's Assembly Election campaign will today go
up several gears as candidates lodge their nomination
papers for the March 7th poll.

With the possibility of devolved government returning to
Northern Ireland by March 26th, there could be a more
crowded field in the province's 18 constituencies than in
the previous Assembly Election in November 2003.

The Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists will be bidding
to hold on to their position as the leading party in the
Stormont Assembly and as the biggest voice in unionism.

Sinn F‚in will be hoping to remain the largest nationalist
party and challenge the DUP for the top post of First
Minister in the next executive.

Sir Reg Empey's Ulster Unionists and Mark Durkan's
nationalist SDLP will be providing the main challenge to Mr
Paisley's and Mr Adams's parties.

Following Sinn F‚in's move to endorse the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, disaffected republican candidates are
expected to put their names forward in several

Republican Sinn F‚in, which broke away from Gerry Adams's
party 21 years ago, and independent candidates such as
former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough have already declared
their intention to run.

On the unionist side, UK Unionist leader Bob McCartney has
announced he may put his name forward in a number of
constituencies, as well as running other candidates in a
bid to draw votes away from the DUP in protest at their
involvement in recent efforts to revive power sharing.

Smaller parties such as the cross-community Alliance Party,
the loyalist Progressive Unionists and independent Assembly
member Dr Kieran Deeney will also be battling to hold onto

The Green Party, the Conservatives and the UK Independence
Party will also be hoping to make breakthroughs.

c 2007


DUP Could Be Hit By Resignations In Run-Up To Election

[Published: Monday 12, February 2007 - 08:44]
By Noel McAdam

A number of DUP officials may resign in protest over the
party's moves towards power-sharing with Sinn Fein, a
senior member warned last night.

Jim Wells, who has co-chaired the Programme for Government
committee at Stormont recently, said it was a time of
trauma and pain for many in the party.

Referring to its executive meeting last Thursday, he said:
"Even at the meeting the other night, everyone admitted
that no-one is happy to be in the position we find
ourselves in. There is no-one dancing in the streets in DUP

His comments came after the Belfast Telegraph revealed the
resignation of one of the party's 'founding fathers',
George McConnell, who was chairman of the Mourne branch for
more than 20 years.

"No-one knows the amount of effort that man has made to
build up the branch, fundraising, electioneering, passing
on information about constituents needs," said Mr Wells.

"He is exactly the sort of guy who is the bedrock on which
this party is built upon."

The South Down MLA also said he sympathises with Mr
McConnells' views - and fears other resignations could now

"There are others I am aware of who are going through a
similar kind of trauma and heart- ache. This is a very
painful process for people in the DUP.

"I would urge people to stay and work through this with us.

"I would have to be honest and say I have found this period
quite difficult as well.

"The DUP, in my opinion, has moved considerably and taken
considerable risks over this last few months.

"I frankly don't think our opponents have given us credit
for what we have done. I still see rather disparaging
comments... which are based on where people believe us to
be rather than where we actually are."

Mr McConnell's decision to quit came after several party
councillors revealed they will not be working for party
leader Dr Ian Paisley in his heartland North Antrim

A party spokesman had no comment to make.

c Belfast Telegraph


Strange Days As DUP Feels The Unease

[Published: Monday 12, February 2007 - 10:46]

As the DUP prepares to launch its Assembly campaign,
Political Correspondent Noel McAdam explores what is going
on inside the party

These are strange times in the DUP. Many of its most
stalwart members feel uneasy.

Some talk in terms normally associated with bereavement:
they feel like they are grieving.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph on Saturday, one of
the DUPs 'founding fathers', George McConnell, from
Kilkeel, has resigned. Others may follow.

The grassroots, long viewed as the party's backbone, are
confused and angry. For many the leadership they still love
seems distant and indifferent.

This is the leadership that now says the very basis for the
party's existence, the thing on which it has campaigned
most for decades - prevention of the spread of
republicanism - could potentially change.

At some non-defined point - and certainly hardly likely
this side of March 26 - and given the fulfilment of certain
conditions, it will share office with people it believes
want to destroy Ulster.

The argument made by both Ian Paisleys, father and son, and
others is that overall strategy remains the same.

The party is achieving its goals. Devolution is the
preferred option and power-sharing the only available model
at present. Get into it, then change it from within. The
'fair deal', as Peter Robinson put it last week, is not the
'final destination'.

Thus a vote for the DUP is still the best way of thwarting
a united Ireland.

The party manifesto, anticipated next week, will argue the
party has forced Sinn Fein to change, to move towards
policing and acceptance of the six-county state, "dragged
kicking and screaming" towards democracy.

Leader Mr Paisley points out there are more independents
standing on the republican side in this election, including
some former Sinn Fein members: an indication of the
disarray the DUP claims to have caused.

Yet the party refuses to make crystal clear what 'delivery'
from Sinn Fein will constitute. Mr Paisley senior said
Gerry Adams had not yet gone to police to tell them any
information in relation to any crimes he is aware of.

Let's just speculate the Sinn Fein President did so. Would
that be enough for the DUP? Would Dr Paisley then want to
wait to see whether the information brought charges? If it
did, would that be enough? Would QC Jim Allister want to
wait until convictions are ensured?

Some of the most troubled in the party also ruminate over
how a party which at times appeared even more 'ourselves
alone' than Sinn Fein has now left the key decisions which
could lead to progress to its enemies.

Isn't there still the chance, they say, that Sinn Fein does
not want this to work, that they will be able to blame the
DUP for its failure and then switch to its main focus - the
next election in the Republic, less than two months away?

The DUP insists it is 'condition-led, not calendar-led'.

But creating the conditions is left entirely to Sinn Fein.
"I don't have to do anything," Ian Paisley has argued,

There were said to be some pointed exchanges at the party's
executive meeting in the Park Avenue Hotel last Thursday

But, according to some sources, one of the most significant
elements in the meeting was people continuing to talk while
the leader spoke.

"This would never have happened in the past," one source,
unwilling to be identified, said. "Even if you didn't agree
with Dr Paisley, people gave him the respect of silence.

"Is it a sign he is losing authority within the party?"

c Belfast Telegraph


'It's Time To Come Clean On Your Past'

MARTIN McGuinness is today under pressure to cooperate with
the police on claims he lied to the Bloody Sunday tribunal
and has information about an IRA murder.

Claims that he perjured himself at the inquiry have emerged
in a new book.

Meanwhile, the PSNI are also to interview him about
allegations he conducted an IRA internal inquiry into the
killing of Eoin Morley in Newry in 1990.

Last night, the DUP's Jim Allister and MP Peter Robinson
called for the Mid- Ulster MP to immediately talk to the
PSNI if he wanted his party's claims of support for law and
order to be taken seriously.

Failure to do so would not bode well for Sinn Fein's chance
of re-entering in government - and Mr McGuinness becoming
Deputy First Minister - it was indicated.

Sinn Fein's chief negotiator has been accused of lying
under oath at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry by an ex-IRA hunger

Brendan Hughes told Spanish writer Rogelio Alonso - in the
book the IRA and the Armed Struggle - that McGuinness was
still involved within the Provos in the late 1980s.

Yet the Sinn Fein man told Lord Saville's tribunal that he
had cut links a decade earlier.

Hughes said: "When people get caught up in lies, thay have
to continue with the lies."

At the weekend, Mr McGuinness refused to say whether what
he told the Inquiry was accurate.

Hughes has also claimed that at a meeting in Donegal in
1986, McGuinness authorised a "major push" on military and
police bases.

One such attack went badly wrong for the terrorists, when
at Loughall in 1987 the SAS shot dead eight IRA men while
they had been launching an assault on the local RUC

Hughes, a senior member of the IRA during the Troubles,
told Alonso that McGuinness believed the attacks would
protect himself and Gerry Adams against internal criticism
as they had tried to make changes in Sinn Fein rules.

Hughes has confirmed the interview is accurate.

Meanwhile, it also emerged that McGuinness will be
interviewed by the PSNI about the death of Mr Morley, who
was murdered in 1990 by the IRA when he was shot in the
back after being held hostage at his girlfriend's home in

The killing was thought to be a punishment attack gone
wrong and was described in the book Unsung Hero, about the
activities of undercover Army agent Kevin Fulton.

Mr Allister said: "These allegations pose serious questions
which someone who thinks he is fit to be Deputy First
Minister must answer.

"The hands-on role attributed to McGuinness in making key
'military' decisions in the IRA, long after he claimed, on
oath to the Saville Inquiry that he had left, warrant not
just truthful clarity from McGuinness but should cause
police enquiries as to whether the offence of perjury was

"If Sinn Fein wish to be taken seriously in their
protestations of willingness to support the rule of law,
then candid addressing of the past would contribute."

Mr Robinson said: "McGuinness is accused of being complicit
in the decision to proceed with a number of bombings and it
ties him into responsibility beyond the date he admits to
being in the IRA.

"Sinn Fein says that support should be given to the police,
the courts and the rule of law. This is an opportunity for
them to comply, conform and cooperate."

12 February 2007

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