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February 22, 2007

UDA Accepts Catholics Suffered

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 02/22/07 UDA Accepts Catholics Suffered
IT 02/22/07 Action Sought Against PSNI Officer
NL 02/22/07 Patten Ulster Visit Blocked
NL 02/22/07 Rea 'Did Not Call For Truth Inquiry'
BT 02/22/07 Adams Looking Forward To Forthcoming Elections
BT 02/22/07 DUP 'Gutless' In Poll Commitments: Empey
BT 02/22/07 Unionist MLAs Expected To Retain Seats
BT 02/22/07 Paisley: I'm Not In Favour Of Power-Sharing
IT 02/22/07 Inflation At Highest Level In Almost Six Years


UDA Accepts Catholics Suffered

[Published: Thursday 22, February 2007 - 08:53]
By William Allen

A document produced for the UDA says it will have to
acknowledge that " the ordinary Catholic community suffered
appallingly" as a result of its actions.

It also said the State shares culpability and that as part
of any conflict resolution, the IRA must acknowledge its
campaign of violence "was not the pure and idealistic
liberation struggle it was so often portrayed as being".

The revelation came as UDA leaders voiced their support for
peace building and power sharing.

Members of the UDA's Inner Council gathered this week with
other leading loyalists in Londonderry's Guildhall to
launch a new strategy document, Learning From Others In
Conflict: Loyalism In Transition.

Amid calls for the UDA to be legalised, the organisation
vowed to wage a political battle to replace decades of
armed conflict.

In the document an unnamed member of the Inner Council
says: "We fought the IRA when they tried to destroy this
country, tried to take away our identity, and we will still
fight them.

"But it will be in a different way, not on the battlefield
but through the force of our arguments."

David Nicholl, the Ulster Political Research Group
spokesman in the North West, said a new path to peace was
being forged by the UDA, whose ceasefire has lasted for 12

"It is now a political process that the UDA are engaged in,
and they are in favour of powersharing and integrated
education and they are prepared to contemplate recognition
of Sinn Fein ministers when they are in office.

"The UDA is giving a lead saying they want bread and butter
issues tackled, and they want to create an environment in
which there is no longer a need for paramilitarism."

However he ruled out disbandment saying: "The IRA hasn't
gone away, and the UDA is exactly the same."

The new booklet is the latest in a series of initiatives as
the UDA develops a conflict transformation strategy.

Under the heading: Some Final Thoughts, the document said
the UDA's wish to play a constructive role was apparent,
adding: "The UDA/UFF will have to acknowledge that,
although they talked of 'taking the war to the IRA', the
ordinary Catholic community suffered appallingly.

Likewise, the IRA will have to acknowledge that their
violent pursuit of a united Ireland was not the pure and
idealistic liberation struggle it was so often portrayed as

"The State, too, has to accept its share of culpability."

c Belfast Telegraph


Action Sought Against PSNI Officer

Thu, Feb 22, 2007

A PSNI officer who allowed a loyalist march into a
prohibited nationalist area should be disciplined, a police
watchdog said today.

Three Police Service of Northern Ireland officers were
injured and three men charged with disorderly behaviour
after an Apprentice Boys feeder parade in Castlederg, Co
Tyrone, was allowed into a prohibited nationalist area on
December 3rd, 2005.

Confusion arose after marchers produced alternative letters
of permission.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan recommended action against
the head of the police operation.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman's office said: "The officer
in charge on the ground that day made a decision in all
good faith faced with a difficult public order situation.
There are, however, some minor issues relating to his
decision-making process.

"He has been recommended for disciplinary action, and there
was a technical breach of the Parades Commission's

The 70-strong procession by the Mitchelburne Club
Apprentice Boys Garvetagh Branch parade had been blocked
from entering mainly nationalist Lurganbuoy Road by police,
after a determination by the Parades Commission, but was
allowed to proceed a short distance.

There was a subsequent confrontation between nationalist
residents standing nearby and police.

c 2007


Patten Ulster Visit Blocked

The man who recommended that the RUC be consigned to the
pages of history was to be invited to address an
international conference on policing, which concludes at
Belfast's Waterfront Hall today.

Chris Patten, now Lord Patten of Barnes, headed the team
that produced the report that led to the demise of the RUC
- a force which lost hundreds of brave officers at the
hands of terrorists during Ulster's bloody Troubles.

Unionist representatives felt his presence at the
conference would have caused annoyance to victims' families
and the wider RUC family - and spelt it out to organisers
that the former MP and Governor of Hong Kong would not be

Evidence of a proposal to invite Lord Patten emerged in a
leaked letter written by DUP Policing Board member Ian
Paisley Jnr to his party's executive.

It states that the SDLP wanted the controversial Lord
Patten to be the guest of honour at the three-day event.

A PLAN to invite the man who presided over the destruction
of the RUC to this week's Policing the Future Conference
had to be shelved, because unionists warned his presence in
the Province was "not welcome".

A letter written by the DUP's Ian Paisley Junior - which
was leaked to the News Letter - has revealed that the SDLP
wanted Chris Patten (now Lord Patten of Barnes) to be guest
of honour at the event which concludes at the Waterfront
Hall in Belfast today.

However, unionists intervened, warning of tensions over
such a visit by the controversial figure.

The Paisley Jnr correspondence was sent to members of the
DUP's 120-strong executive, to update them on the

The letter says the international policing conference must
be welcomed, but the lack of gratitude for the RUC in
bringing Ulster to a position where "normal" policing could
be possible has been "offensive".

The letter also accuses the SDLP of using the policing
issue politically and to attack ex-RUC officers, the
British state and unionism.

Mr Paisley calls the SDLP members on the Policing Board
"impotent" in the face of unionist representation on the

He writes: "When it came to their proposal to invite Chris
Patten to be guest of honour and keynote speaker at the
Policing the Future Conference, it was shelved because I
and other members of the board pointed out that he was no
longer relevant to the policing debate or welcome to
comment on things to do with Northern Ireland."

Last night, Mr Paisley confirmed the authenticity of the
letter. He said: "Efforts were made to try to bring Mr
Patten back to the Province but were frustrated by our

SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood said: "Some in
unionism have so failed to hold back Patten they are now
clutching at straws. Present and speaking at the policing
conference are two Patten Commissioners, Patten's chief of
staff of the commission, and dozens of international police
officers and experts who informed and influenced the Patten

"Lord Patten and his colleagues are far bigger than the
silly minds that break Policing Board confidences. They
deserve respect and gratitude, not this petty vindictive
attitude around this latest leak."

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said: "An invitation
was issued to Lord Patten to attend the conference,
however, he had another event on and unfortunately wasn't
able to come."

However, a source close to the Policing Board said that
Lord Patten had been more than willing to come to Belfast
but didn't want his presence at the three-day conference to
become "a big deal".

22 February 2007


Rea 'Did Not Call For Truth Inquiry'

The chairman of the Policing Board yesterday distanced
himself from reports that he was calling for a South
African-style Truth Commission in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to an international policing conference in Belfast
on Tuesday, Professor Sir Desmond Rea was reported as
having suggested an amnesty for those involved in 30 years
of violence as part of a move to "reconcile the losses of
the past and embrace the future".

He said it would be more constructive than public
inquiries, such as that into Bloody Sunday, and called for
four inquiries into controversial murders here to be

Professor Rea called on the Secretary of State and the
British and Irish governments to establish a commission
which would deliberate on the past, consult with the
public, and make proposals on a constructive way forward.

Following a straw poll among unionist politicians and
leaders earlier in the week, the News Letter found the vast
majority of terror victims and their families wanted
prosecutions, not just "truth".

Asked yesterday whether Professor Rea's apparent call for a
Truth Commission would undermine ongoing murder
investigations by the Historical Enquiries Team, the
Policing Board issued a statement. It said: "Please note
that Sir Desmond did not call for the establishment of a
'Truth Commission' as reported in some media.

"Rather, he called on the Government 'to grasp and deal
with the issue of dealing with the past by establishing a
broadly based and inclusive commission to consult widely,
and not least with victims, and to recommend how we as a
society should deal with our past in such a way that it
will enable us to embrace fully the future'."

Rita Hassan, of victims' group Saver/Naver in Markethill,
said her group's 500 members unanimously rejected any idea
of a Truth Commission.

"Several of our group agreed to take part in a BBC
reconciliation programme recently where the perpetrators
had been convicted," she said.

"But in the end they refused to meet the victims and that
hurt us very deeply.

"One man was 80-years-old and wanted to meet the man who
murdered his son."

Political representatives such as Nigel Dodds, Jim
Allister, William McCrea and Danny Kennedy, and victims'
campaigner Willie Frazer, all told the News Letter the vast
majority of those people they represent want prosecutions,
not information.

The News Letter yesterday asked Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde if his repeated calls for a Truth Commission were
undermining the work of the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team
he oversees, which is reviewing 3,200 deaths, of which
1,800 are unsolved murders.

A PSNI spokeswoman, on behalf of the chief constable, said:
"The chief constable has said from the outset that he
envisaged the Historical Enquiries Team as part of a wider
social response to dealing with the past.

"HET has been established to provide a family-centred
response to unresolved cases. There are no set rules and
each family is different.

"Where there is sufficient evidence, prosecutions will be
made - in addition, one of the team's top priorities is to
try to answer the questions families bring and to offer a
measure of resolution in that way."

22 February 2007


Adams Already Looking Forward To Forthcoming Elections

[Published: Thursday 22, February 2007 - 08:00]

Sinn Fein says the election campaign which is just getting
underway is a precursor for the forthcoming general
election in the Republic.

Speaking at the launch of his party's campaign in Belfast,
he said Sinn Fein would be seeking to transform Irish
politics in both jurisdictions.

In Northern Ireland, particularly, he said, other parties
must respect the democratic mandate of the people.

Mr Adams said, "We're standing on a Republican agenda,
we're contesting even though it hasn't been declared yet.

"We look forward to rolling out of this election and into
the one in the South to build right across this island a
strong, democratic, radical Republican mandate."

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP 'Gutless' In Poll Commitments: Empey

[Published: Thursday 22, February 2007 - 12:25]
By Noel McAdam

Rival parties today scrambled to score points off the DUP's
manifesto as the Assembly election race stepped up a gear.

But as criticism from both Ulster Unionists and the SDLP
focussed on the DUP's failure to commit to a power-sharing
deal, party leader Ian Paisley scoffed at Secretary of
State Peter Hain's insistence that March 26 is a real
devolution deadline.

The manifesto emerged on the same day that Sinn Fein
formally launched its campaign - but made no criticism of
the DUP.

In contrast, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey hit out:
"The party that called for an election is too gutless, for
fear of splitting right down the middle, to tell people
what it stands for and what they are asking people to vote

"That is why the entire 64 pages are a commitment free zone
- talking up the benefits of devolution without committing
to it. The people of Northern Ireland deserve better."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan also warned: "At a time when people
across the North are being hit hard in their pockets by
direct rule, it is just wrong for the DUP to try to pretend
that the election is all about who gets what perks and

"Yet again we are seeing the DUP trying to make out that
this election is all about who will be First Minister,
(but) people know that if the DUP and Sinn Fein come back
stronger, the chances are that we won't have a First
Minister any time soon."

As the DUP unveiled its 64-page blueprint, the loudest and
longest laughter came when Mr Paisley was asked if he
thought the Secretary of State Mr Hain is serious about his
March 26 deadline.

Mr Paisley said he had told Mr Hain: "Make no more
blackmailing comments to the unionist people. We don't
believe you. All the dates you have given us, you have had
to bow yourself out of them. Now if you want to go on doing
that, you are only destroying yourself."

The North Antrim MP also stressed he is not in favour of
power-sharing " per se" but hopes a promised review will
bring Stormont back "to a proper democracy".

Mr Paisley said the problem was that the Government was
insisting the current system at Stormont must remain. Any
review will come after a power - sharing Executive, which
includes Sinn Fein, is formed.

The DUP leader discounted speculation that Sinn Fein could
be the largest party after the March 7 poll - and that he,
then, would serve as Deputy First Minister to Martin

c Belfast Telegraph


Sitting MLAs Expected To Retain Most Seats In Stronghold Of

[Published: Thursday 22, February 2007 - 09:17]
By Lisa Smyth

A Unionist stronghold, there are expected to be few
surprises in North Down with many of the MLAs elected last
time confident they will hold onto their seat.

At the last elections in November 2003, two UUP
representatives - Leslie Cree and Alan McFarland - the
DUP's Alex Easton and Peter Weir, UKUP leader Bob McCartney
and Eileen Bell of Alliance won seats.

A total of 16 candidates are standing this time, with
familiar faces challenged by some less well-known names.

The DUP has a strong following in North Down and believe
they could take as many as three seats next month.

In 2003, UUP defector Peter Weir claimed 3,675 votes for
the DUP, while running mate Alex Easton attracted 3,570
votes. Both are likely to retain their seats and hope they
will be joined by councillor Alan Graham.

The UUP is fielding three candidates - outgoing MLAs Leslie
Cree and Alan McFarland and councillor Marion Smith.

North Down is the only constituency where the UUP managed
to retain a seat in the last Parliamentary elections.

Despite this, the party may still struggle to hold onto its
two seats as a result of the DUP's increasing skill at vote
management, voter apathy, fragmentation of the vote caused
by the number of independents and the lower profile of Mrs
Smith than some of the other candidates.

Bob McCartney, who topped the polls in 1998 and retained
his seat five years later, is also a strong contender. He
has raised his profile with his campaign against the
introduction of water rates and his fight for the retention
of grammar schools - two issues close to the hearts of
North Down people.

Eileen Bell, who was elected as speaker in the transitional
Assembly, is not standing and has been replaced by Stephen
Farry, who is hoping he will gain enough support from
traditional Alliance voters to take up his party
colleague's seat.

The Green Party is also fielding a well-known character in
long-standing councillor Brian Wilson.

The SDLP vote could damage the DUP - there was evidence of
tactical voting in the transfers for the final few seats in
2003, and this could be the case again as voters attempt to
stop the DUP taking a crucial third seat.

Although he failed to win a seat last time, Liam Logan is a
well known face in North Down and the SDLP man proved
popular four years ago, taking 1,519 of first preference

Past results show that it is unlikely that Sinn Fein will
make much of a dent in the voting.

In 2003, Maria George managed to poll only 316 first
preference votes and the party candidate this time is the
relatively unknown Deaglan Page.

Among the independent candidates, the person most likely to
have any impact going on past performance is Alan Chambers,
who secured 1,077 first preference votes last time.

Ulster's Independent Voice Chris Carter is again up for a
seat but in the last elections he gained only 109 first
preference votes, while the fact that newcomer Brian Rowan
is a familiar face may stand him in good stead.

The PUP has one runner, Elaine Martin, but the unionist
vote in North Down is traditionally split between the UUP
and DUP which is expected to hamper her bid to win a seat.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party is hoping for more
success this time around with James Leslie.

c Belfast Telegraph


I'm Not In Favour Of Power-Sharing, DUP Leader Tells

[Published: Thursday 22, February 2007 - 09:19]
By Noel McAdam

Ian Paisley has insisted: "I am not in favour of power-

As the party launched its election manifesto yesterday, the
DUP leader said he hoped a promised review would bring
Stormont back "to a proper democracy".

Mr Paisley said the problem was that the Government was
insisting the current system at Stormont must remain. Any
review will come after a power- sharing Executive, which
includes Sinn Fein, is formed.

The DUP leader discounted speculation that Sinn Fein could
be the largest party after the March 7 poll - and that he,
then, would serve as Deputy First Minister to Martin

But the loudest and longest laughter came when Mr Paisley
was asked if he thought Secretary of State Peter Hain is
serious about his March 26 deadline.

He said Sinn Fein had "diluted" the decision of the Dublin
ard fheis to support policing, courts and the rule of law.

Several Sinn Fein representatives had not been consistent
in their willingness to report to police, he said: "Gerry
Kelly said he might report some matters but not others and
Michelle Gildernew indicated she would 'not go to a police
station at all'.

"There is no distinction between civil and political
policing," Mr Paisley stressed. "We have had them trying to
dilute what they did at their ard fheis."

The 64-page manifesto said: "Sinn Fein making support for
policing and the rule of law conditional on them being in
government may satisfy Peter Hain but it is not sufficient
for the DUP or the people of Northern Ireland who have
borne the brunt of decades of republican attack on the rule
of law."

Mr Paisley made clear the peace dividend is a precondition
for going into government.

But the DUP's demand for a mechanism to prevent the
collapse of any future Executive if Sinn Fein "defaulted"
is not - although deputy leader Peter Robinson said: "It is
absolutely essential that we have in place arrangements to
ensure unionists don't get punished because republicans

Secretary Nigel Dodds said the party was on course to
deliver its 'Fair Deal' but its requirements would have to
be met.

The detailed blueprint also says the system for devising
Area Plans in Northern Ireland must be "radically
overhauled", demands a " joined up" Government approach on
housing and calls for long-term sustainable funding for
victims' groups.

c Belfast Telegraph


Inflation At Highest Level In Almost Six Years

Thursday, 22 February 2007 13:03

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show the
annual rate of inflation climbed to 5.2% in January, its
highest level for almost six years.

The rate compares with 4.9% in December, but is not as high
as some economists had expected.

As expected the price of electricity and fuel, and the
higher costs of borrowing money because of interest rate
rises, have led to a substantial rise in inflation.

Those prices did go up, but their rise was
offset by a drop in prices in other areas.

Post-Christmas sales saw a drop in clothing and footwear
prices, which fell by 14% in January, and household goods,
which dropped by 2.6%.

Meanwhile in the year to January the price of housing,
water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased by 23.2%.
Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes went up by 5.5%.

For last month's reading the Central Statistics Office
updated the basket of goods it uses to measure how prices
change - this is to better reflect what we are spending
money on.

In the past it reviewed what items it priced every seven
years. Now it is updating the list of items every five
years. This is because the pace of life is changing so fast
in Ireland and a review every five years gives a more
accurate picture of prices.

Out of a total of 613 items, 33 were taken off and 36 were
put on.

Among the changes, tinned peaches are replaced on the list
by tinned fruit, loose tea has been changed for speciality
teas and MP3 players have replaced the Walkman.

Other new items include yoghurt drinks, digital cameras,
fresh or chilled Indian or Chinese meals, cereal breakfast
bars and replica sports jerseys.

The items which have been deleted include streaky rashers,
cooking fat, men's working boots, CD players, video
recorder/players, audio and video cassettes and public

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