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February 06, 2007

Unionism Fails To Face Truth About Collusion

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 02/05/07 Unionism Fails To Face Truth About Collusion
IT 02/05/07 'Too Much' Spent On NI Ombudsman
BB 02/05/07 New Law 'Excludes' Alliance Role
SF 02/05/07 DUP Failing Unionist People
IN 02/05/07 DUP Accused Of ‘Buying Silence Of Candidates’
EE 02/05/07 Shot IRA Men Fams In House Of Lords Challenge
BN 02/05/07 McCabe Widow Welcomes Legal Costs Move
IN 02/05/07 Opin: Assembly Elections Do Not Present Choice
IT 02/05/07 Flight of the Earls to be commemorated


Unionism Failing To Face Up To Truth About Collusion

Published: 6 February, 2007

Sinn F‚in MP Michelle Gildernew responding to the Ken
Maginnis attack on the Police Ombudsman has said that it is
yet further evidence of the deep and profound inability of
unionism to face up to the truth about collusion.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The Police Ombudsman's Report into the murder of Raymond
McCord jnr represents the tip of the iceberg. Yet not only
did it expose the extent and nature of collusion it also
cruelly exposed the deep and profound failure of unionism
to face up to the truth about collusion.

"You have to wonder whether certain unionists really have
any commitment to delivering real accountability into the
policing structures and to the rule of law and policing
that is free from partisan political control.

"Ken Maginnis would make a more positive contribution to
the future of our society and the development of a new
beginning to policing and justice if he challenged both
former and serving members of the PSNI, RUC, RIR and UDR,
of which he was a member, to co-operate fully with the
Police Ombudsman

"The fact is that, particularly former members of the RUC
and PSNI have not co-operated with Nuala O`Loan and indeed
the Ombudsman has highlighted the destruction of evidence
by such former members as frustrating future prosecutions
and convictions." ENDS


'Too Much' Spent On NI Ombudsman

Tue, Feb 06, 2007

More than œ42 million (?63 million) has been spent on
running the North's Police Ombudsman, but so far just six
officers being found guilty of criminal offences, it was
revealed today.

An Ulster Unionist peer claimed the low levels of
corruption found by Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's staff proved
that too much cash has been spent on the organisation.

Lord Maginnis, formerly Ken Maginnis MP, said: "It is
totally over-resourced and possibly totally unnecessary. If
we had someone with more judicial and investigative
knowledge than the current Police Ombudsman we might do
things a lot less painfully."

But a spokesman for Mrs O'Loan stressed that a major part
of her work focused on investigating complaints and finding
police innocent.

Lord Maginnis made his criticisms after receiving
parliamentary details of the total cost since since the
office was set up six years ago.

Northern Ireland Minister Lord Rooker confirmed the budget
has risen from œ5,815,000 in 2001/02 to an allocation of
just under œ8 million this year.

In total the Ombudsman's Office has received œ42,461,000 to
deal with allegations and run cases.

During this period it has handled around 19,000 complaints
and, by the end of the last financial year referred 74
cases to the Public Prosecution Service.

But Lord Maginnis claimed the only relevant fact was the
criminal conviction of six officers from all completed
investigations, which he said was a cost of just over œ7
million each.

This showed the police service in different a light
compared to the damning details of RUC Special Branch
collusion with loyalist paramilitaries contained in a
devastating Ombudsman report published two weeks ago, he

c 2007


New Law 'Excludes' Alliance Role

The DUP and SDLP have said government proposals for the new
Northern Ireland Assembly are discriminatory.

A new legal clause effectively excludes the Alliance Party
from any future role as justice or deputy justice minister
in an assembly, they said.

Legislation, debated in parliament on Tuesday, states that
the jobs should be occupied by politicians from the two
biggest designations in the assembly.

The posts would almost certainly go to a unionist or

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson told MPs that this
proposal was discriminatory.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said that limiting the assembly's
choice of a future justice minister was "indefensible".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/06 18:21:42 GMT


DUP Failing Unionist People

Published: 6 February, 2007

Sinn F‚in Economic Spokesperson and Assembly Candidate for
South Antrim, Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the DUP of
allowing its fear of sharing power with republicans to fail
its own electorate.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"The DUP has a crucial decision to make before the 26th
March. Failure to act decisively and take their positions
in the power-sharing structures of the Good Friday
Agreement will succeed only in condemning the population -
including their own electorate - to the heavy hand of the
British Exchequer.

"It is a matter of record that the British Exchequer bases
its fiscal policy on what is best for the economy of
Britain with the specific conditions prevailing in the
North of Ireland playing no part in the decision making

"This is borne out by the fact that the comparative high
cost of living here combined with wages which are only 85%
of those in Britain is inconsequential to British economic

"The majority of employment being created here is in low
paid, low skill, insecure Call-Centre and service sector
jobs. This combined with high energy costs, resulting from
a bad privatisation deal by British Direct Rule ministers,
is contributing to increased hardship for people here.

"Unless we take control in a devolved power-sharing
government with its all-Ireland potential for building a
strong island wide economy we will be abandoning our
community to continued regressive Direct rule tax regimes
such as water charges, massive regional rates increases
and other measures over which we will have no control.

"The only party refusing to give a commitment to removing
unaccountable Direct rule government is the DUP. Will the
DUP now give an assurance that it will abide by the
democratic wishes of the electorate and take its
responsibility seriously to form a government with whatever
parties receive sufficient mandates to participate in the
Executive? Or is it going to continue to fail its
electorate by giving carte blanche to unaccountable British
Ministers to impose draconian economic measures on a

public?" ENDS


DUP Accused Of 'Buying Silence Of Candidates'

By William Graham Political Correspondent

The Ulster Unionist Party has accused the DUP of trying to
buy the silence of its election candidates by introducing
contracts with the threat of a œ20,000 fine for anyone who
steps out of line.

It has been reported that DUP assembly candidates have
received a contract featuring some draconian clauses,
including hefty fines as a method of imposing discipline.

Another clause asks candidates to sign a letter of
resignation which could be invoked by party leader Ian
Paisley if a member is in serious breach of his or her
obligations under the contract.

Such obligations include regularly attending meetings and
obeying party policy.

A DUP spokesman yesterday said contracts had been drawn up
for two previous assembly elections and are normal

He said he did not believe contracts had been finalised at
this stage.

However, Ulster Unionist chief negotiator Alan McFarland
described such a move as "outrageous".

"It reeks of a paranoia and shows a party deeply uneasy
with itself. It also runs contrary to basic principles of
democracy,'' he said.

"It is clear that the DUP are trying to buy the silence of
their candidates.''

Mr McFarland said there was a plethora of views within the
DUP about the prospects of power-sharing on March 26.

He claimed one candidate had already ruled out power-
sharing entirely, others were saying the March 26 deadline
cannot be met, while others have indicated they won't be
found wanting in response to moves by Sinn Fein.

"The real question to ask the DUP is what their definitive
position is on power-sharing,'' he said.

"It appears that they are just too scared to tell their
electorate and the people of Northern Ireland what it is
they are voting for.'"


Families Of Shot IRA Men In House Of Lords Challenge

17/01/2007 - 3:41:11 PM

Lawyers representing the families of two IRA men shot dead
by security forces in controversial circumstances went to
the House of Lords today to challenge the manner in which
the inquests into their deaths will proceed.

Pearse Jordan was shot dead by an RUC officer after the
stolen car he was driving was involved in a collision with
a police vehicle on Belfast's Falls Road in 1992.

Martin McCaughey was shot dead near Loughgall, Co Armagh,
by an undercover SAS unit two years earlier.

Jordan's father Hugh, who successfully took the British
government to the European Court of Human Rights in 2001
for a breach of its obligations under the European
Convention on Human Rights, is seeking to secure changes to
the inquests system to permit a jury in the North to return
a verdict of unlawful killing.

McCaughey's father Owen is seeking to compel Chief
Constable Hugh Orde to produce key documents including
intelligence reports relevant to the death of his son and
the report of the RUC's investigating officer.

In January 2002 Northern Ireland High Court Judge Mr
Justice Weatherup ordered the disclosure of the documents.
However, Mr Orde successfully appealed the ruling in
January 2005.

Peter Madden of Madden and Finucane, solicitor for both
families, said: "The decision of the House of Lords will
have profound implications for the manner in which inquests
shall be conducted by coroners in Northern Ireland."

He said previous judicial challenges his firm had taken had
secured amendments to the Coroners' Rules, which now compel
those members of the security forces responsible for the
use of lethal force to appear at inquests and be subject to
cross examination by lawyers for the families.

"We hope that the outcome of these further challenges will
enable the families to have access to all relevant
documents and permit the jury to return a verdict of
excessive force and unlawful killing, in protection of the
families' legitimate interests, the public interest and in
a manner which is compatible with Article 2 of the European
Convention, the right to life," said Mr Madden.

The Jordan killing sparked controversy after witnesses
claimed he was shot several times in the back by an unnamed
RUC sergeant while trying to run away after his stolen car
was rammed by a police vehicle.

McCaughey was allegedly unarmed when he and fellow IRA man
Dessie Grew were shot by the SAS as they walked towards a
barn where weapons were stored.

The killing raised fresh allegations of a shoot-to-kill
policy being operated as McCaughey was said to be a "marked
man" after being wounded in a shoot out with soldiers
earlier in the same year and escaping across the border.


McCabe Widow Welcomes Legal Costs Move

06/02/2007 - 16:03:46

The widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe today praised the
courts after her husband's IRA killers were ordered to pay
the costs of their failed bid for freedom.

Ann McCabe's husband was gunned down by a Provisional gang
during a botched raid on a post office in Adare, Co
Limerick, in 1996.

Two of his killers, Pearse McAuley and Jeremiah Sheehy are
serving 14 and 12 years for his manslaughter and sought
release under the Good Friday Agreement, claiming their
detention breached their human rights.

The High Court threw out that challenge before Christmas
and today the two terrorists were dealt a second blow and
ordered to pay costs for their failed lawsuit.

Mrs McCabe said it was the right decision.

"I don't think they should be allowed costs. If it was the
likes of you or I that had to go to the High Court in the
morning we would have to pay our own costs," she told
newstalk radio.

"[It would be] the taxpayers' money that are paying their
costs so I don't see why they should."

But Mrs McCabe warned that the two IRA men had plenty of
supporters ready to help them pay the legal bill.

"I'm very glad at the outcome of the High Court that they
have to pay their own [costs], but I'm sure they won't be
found wanting. There will be people that want to pay their
money for them - people within Sinn F‚in/IRA, people who
they represent and who represent them," she said.

In 1999, McAuley, 40, originally from Strabane, County
Tyrone, and Sheehy, 45, from Limerick, pleaded guilty at
the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin to the
manslaughter of Det Gda McCabe during an attempted robbery
outside Adare post office in June 1996.

They opened fire on him and his close colleague Ben
O'Sullivan as they sat in an unmarked car guarding a cash
delivery van. Mr O'Sullivan survived.

During their bid for freedom, the men's lawyers argued they
should be released because they were qualifying prisoners
under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

But Mr Justice Daniel Herbert ruled their imprisonment was
not discrimination.

He also said it made no difference whether the offence was
prior to or subsequent to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Before the case was brought Sinn F‚in claimed the pair were
to be released as part of a secret deal to restore the
North's power-sharing executive in 2003.

At that time, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the releases were
conditional on the IRA decommissioning and an end to

However, last year, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern warned
that Sinn F‚in would hit a brick wall if it again requested
their early release.


Opin: Assembly Elections Do Not Present Real Choice

By Roy Garland

THE March assembly election is supposedly an opportunity to
endorse the St Andrews agreement. But a genuine endorsement
presupposes a choice, which doesn't exist in any
substantial form. A referendum would have been better but
the DUP feared an all-island mechanism so we face a curious
election. Given that almost all parties are pro-agreement
the choice is reminiscent of the old Soviet system when
elections offered an opportunity to endorse the only party

The election is primarily a morale boost for the two
biggest parties who can present themselves as the only
shows in town. Changes to St Andrews mean the old
requirement that First Minister be nominated by the largest
party within the largest designation was substantially
altered in the Act. This states if at any time the party
which is the largest political party of the largest
political designation is not the largest political party,
nomination shall instead be made by the nominating officer
of the largest political party. Put simply, the largest
party nominates so that Martin McGuinness could lead an
assembly dominated by unionists or Ian Paisley one
dominated by nationalists as long as other parties remain
disunited or have been eliminated.

Sinn Fein and the DUP can present the election as a
straight choice between Paisley and McGuinness. Paisley can
say that if unionists don't vote for him they could have
McGuinness and vice versa. McGuinness is thus being overly
cautious in suggesting Sinn Fein might have First Minister
in five years.

This is likely to colour the election and could result in a
reversion to the notorious sectarian head-counting
exercises of the past. The change apparently originated
with Sinn Fein but was understandably and eagerly grasped
by the DUP. Usually political parties can be relied upon to
serve the interests of political parties and Tony Blair is
so desperate about his personal legacy he colludes in
sacrificing our hopes for a shared future so long as this
antagonistic tribal marriage can be made to appear to work.

In mitigation it is claimed that First and Deputy First
Minister constitute a single office in which one is not
superior to the other. But first or prime hardly suggests
equality with deputy first!

Given the DUP's refusal to even talk with the partner they
are to be unequally yoked with, we face renewal of the
politics of enmity. Sectarianism often raised its ugly head
during past elections and mechanisms were supposed to be
introduced to avoid this. But now all semblance of a shared
future seems about to be jettisoned.

The proposed reform of local government adds insult to
injury with its green and orange cantons that could thrive
on sectarian headcounts and all of this as a short term
ploy providing doubtful legacies for Tony Blair and Ian

Any supposed endorsement will not necessarily encourage
compromise because a system so clearly working to the
advantage of big political parties is unlikely to stimulate
an appetite for change. Instead the divisive system could
become self-perpetuating in the medium term because it
serves the interest of Tony Blair, Ian Paisley and Sinn
Fein. Given the lacklustre 50-year history of one-party
government, a two-party system potentially in perpetuity,
is only marginally, if at all, better. There is provision
for review after three years but I wouldn't hold my breath.

There is an alternative. The

so-called centre parties - SDLP, Ulster Unionists, Alliance
and PUP - could come together in a potentially powerful
democratic alliance opposing those wittingly or unwittingly
about to cement apartheid. Such an alliance would be a
practical expression of a desire for a shared future and
could become a powerful antidote to a system based on
division of the spoils between pyrrhic victors.

But such a coming together presupposes considerable courage
and a coming of age, neither of which appears to exist in
sufficient quantities. The centre parties seem dominated by
inertia and risk aversion. They reflect sectional - if not
sectarian - interests. For them, compromise for the sake of
peace is good in theory but not all that attractive in

Perhaps we can detect a gleam of light in the changing face
of republicanism and in the cumbersome about-face of Ian
Paisley. If the big parties can build a stable future even
on the basis of a divided society, this is perhaps progress
of a kind. Politics after all, is the art of the possible.


Flight of the Earls to be commemorated

Tue, Feb 06, 2007

Ceremonies to mark the 400th anniversary of the Flight of
the Earls will be announced in coming days, it emerged

Last year the Government set up a cross-departmental
committee to decide how to mark the watershed event in
Ireland's history. In September 1607, Hugh O'Neill, 2nd
Earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
and 90 of their followers fled to Europe.

Their armies had been defeated by the English and they
feared arrest. The exodus led to the demise of the ancient
Gaelic aristocracy in Ireland and paved the way for the
Plantation of Ulster.

There are currently exhibitions dedicated to the Flight of
the Earls in Cos Donegal and Derry.

A Government spokeswoman confirmed that a programme of
commemorative events will be announced next week.

c 2007

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