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March 27, 2007

Agreemt Marks Beginning of A New Era of Politics

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 03/26/07 Agreement Marks Beginning Of A New Era Of Politics
BN 03/26/07 'We Will Play Our Full Part': Ian Paisley Statement
BB 03/26/07 In Quotes: Paisley/Adams Reaction
BN 03/26/07 US Welcomes North Devolution Deal
SF 03/26/07 Ó Caoláin Welcomes SF/DUP Agreement On Executive
PD 03/27/07 Northern Ireland's Future
BB 03/27/07 Emergency Bill On NI Devolution
IT 03/27/07 Anal: Paisley Reaches Out And Grasps Cherished Prize
BB 03/26/07 MEP Allister 'May Leave The DUP'
BB 03/26/07 Transfer Test To Be Up For Debate
BN 03/26/07 Sinn Féin Condemns Attack On Former UDR Soldier
BB 03/26/07 Loyalist Shoukri Back In Prison
BB 03/27/07 Top Loyalist Courtney Given Eight Years
BT 03/26/07 Washington Trip Boosts Anti-Collusion Campaign
SF 03/26/07 Shock & Anger At Closure Of Galtee Factory


Agreement Between Sinn Fein And DUP Marks The Beginning Of A New
Era Of Politics On This Island

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking following today's
meeting between Sinn Fein and the DUP said 'The discussions and
agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what can
now be achieved.'

Mr. Adams said:

"I want to begin my remarks by welcoming the statement by Ian

While it is disappointing that the institutions of the Good
Friday Agreement have not been restored today, I believe the
agreement reached between Sinn Fein and the DUP, including the
unequivocal commitment, made by their party Executive and
reiterated today, to the restoration of political institutions on
May 8th, marks the beginning of a new era of politics on this

The discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the
potential of what can now be achieved.

Sinn Fein entered into these discussions in a positive and
strategic way strengthened by our recently renewed and increased
mandate. I want to once again thank everyone who supports our

Tá muid buíoch daoibh go léir.

In all of the initiatives we have taken in recent times we have
been guided by the need to deliver for the people of Ireland. So,
in our discussions we have listened very carefully to the
position put forward by Ian Paisley and his colleagues.

The relationships between the people of this island have been
marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy.

In particular this has been the sad history of orange and green.
Ach tá tús nua ann anois le cuidiu Dé..

Sinn Fein is about building a new relationship between orange and
green and all the other colours, where every citizen can share
and have equality of ownership of a peaceful, prosperous and just

There are still many challenges, many difficulties to be faced.
But let us be clear. The basis of the agreement between Sinn Fein
and the DUP follows Ian Paisley's unequivocal and welcome
commitment to support and participate fully in the political
institutions on May 8th.

In the lead up to restoration important work has to take place
preparing for government. And you have the outline of that also.

As an immediate step both Sinn Fein and the DUP have asked the
British government not to issue the water bills.

Tús maith leath na hoibre. A good start is half the work.

The two governments also have other work to do.

We are committed to, and today discussed, further engagements
with the British Chancellor, with the Irish government, and with
others to ensure that the incoming Executive has the best
possible resources to fulfil our responsibilities.

We have all come a very long way in the process of peace making
and national reconciliation.

We are very conscious of the many people who have suffered.

We owe it to them to build the best future possible.

It is a time for generosity, a time to be mindful of the common
good and of the future of all our people.

I am pleased to say that collectively we have created the
potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship
between nationalists and republicans and unionists, as well as
the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.

Sinn Fein will take nothing for granted in the days and weeks
ahead but we will do all that we can to ensure a successful
outcome and we ask everyone to support us in our efforts."ENDS

Sinn Fein Press Office
44 Parnell Square
Dublin 1
Tel: 353 1 8722609


'We Will Play Our Full Part': Ian Paisley Statement

26/03/2007 - 14:03:48

This is the full transcript of the statement delivered by the
Reverend Ian Paisley:

"In 2003 the DUP became the largest political party in Northern
Ireland and the last three and a half years has seen our strategy
deliver very significant advances for the unionist people.

"Our goal has been to see devolution returned in a context where
it can make a real and meaningful improvement in the lives of all
the people of this part of the United Kingdom. On March 7, the
unionist community gave us a mandate to deliver on this pledge.

"On Saturday the DUP Executive overwhelmingly endorsed a motion
committing the party to support and participate fully in
government in May of this year. This is a binding resolution.

"In the past the government has set arbitrary deadlines but now,
as laid out in our resolution, we, as a party, have agreed the
timing, the setting-up and working of the institutions. Today, we
have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday May 8,

"As the largest party in Northern Ireland, we are committed to
playing a full part in all the institutions and delivering the
best future for the people of Northern Ireland.

"In the period before devolution we will participate fully with
the other parties to the Executive in making full preparations
for the restoration of devolution on May 8.

"This meeting represents an important step on the road to the
setting-up of an Executive in six weeks' time. It has been a
constructive engagement and we have agreed that in the weeks
between now and the restoration of devolution on May 8 there is
important preparatory work to be carried out so that local
ministers can hit the ground running.

"This will include regular meetings between the future First and
Deputy First Minister.

"The work must begin as quickly as possible and we have been
considering a work programme to bring us to the agreed date for
devolution which we are now asking the Government to legislate

"There is still vital work to be done to ensure the most
favourable financial package possible is in place to allow
devolution to succeed and prosper. To this end we have agreed
with Sinn Fein to seek an early meeting with the Chancellor.

"In the next few days detailed work will begin, involving all of
the Executive parties, to allow a programme for government to be
finalised for the start of devolution. This will require regular
meetings in the next few weeks.

"The two parties have already asked the Prime Minister to ensure
that no water charge bills should be issued and the matter should
be left for a local Executive to determine. We hope, trust and
believe that the Secretary of State will listen to the voice of
the people of Northern Ireland.

"After a long and difficult time in the province, I believe that
enormous opportunities lie ahead for Northern Ireland.

"Devolution has never been an end in itself but is about making a
positive difference to people's lives. I want to make it clear
that I am committed to delivering not only for those who voted
for the DUP but for all the people of Northern Ireland.

"We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and
tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better
and more stable future.

"In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have
suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God,
emerging. We owe it to them to craft and build the best future
possible and ensure there is genuine support for those who are
still suffering.

"With hard work and a commitment to succeed, I believe we can lay
the foundation for a better, peaceful and prosperous future for
all our people."


In Quotes: Paisley/Adams Reaction

Leading political figures have been giving their reaction to news
that devolved government is to return to Northern Ireland.

It follows an historic meeting between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Power-sharing will begin at Stormont on 8 May.


"This is a very important day for the people of Northern Ireland,
but also for the people and the history of these islands.

"In a sense, everything we have done over the last 10 years has
been a preparation for this moment, because the people of
Northern Ireland have spoken through the election.

"They have said we want peace and power-sharing and the political
leadership has then come in behind that and said we will deliver
what people want."


"This morning saw unprecedented and very positive developments in
Northern Ireland.

"We move forward from today in an entirely new spirit and with
every expectation of success.

"I welcome the agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP on the
restoration of the devolved institutions on 8 May. This has the
potential to transform the future of this island."


"Today the clouds have lifted and the people can see the future.
Those pictures of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams will resonate
around the world.

"If, after the last 40 years or more they can talk, anything and
everything is possible for Northern Ireland."


"Long and late as today's meeting between Sinn Fein and the DUP
is, I do welcome it.

"Both the DUP and Sinn Fein spent a long time opposing power-
sharing and used all sorts of tactics against it.

"Now it is positive to see them embrace it.

"Some of us predicted that the DUP would, with a wider mandate,
get past the 26 March deadline. The governments rubbished this,
but that is what has now happened.

"But if we have to spend another 40 days and 40 nights in direct
rule, let's make the most of it. Let's look to the hope in all of
this and use the time constructively."


"(Ian Paisley) gave Gerry Adams a huge propaganda coup today and
he has given Sinn Fein very significant bargaining power with the

"I am sure they will, and have, extracted further concessions out
of the government as a consequence, because without Adams's
support, Peter Hain would have been in an impossible position
going into parliament tomorrow having made the statements he did
about there being no possible change of date for devolution.

"Adams will have played his cards well - he extracted a big
public meeting today when it was supposed to be a simple meeting
behind closed doors with no cameras present."

die in a ditch for the sake of six weeks. Today is not a day for
begrudgery. It should be a day for magnanimity and conciliation.

"I think the major step that we needed was to have Ian Paisley
and Gerry Adams sitting down together and agreeing publicly to go
into government.

"That was taken today and that is a huge deal.

"I also think as we edge closer and closer to political stability
that will have a hugely positive impact on progressive elements
in society, including loyalism."


"I welcome in the warmest terms today's historic agreement at

"The decision to restore the devolved institutions on 8 May marks
a profoundly important milestone on the journey towards lasting
peace and reconciliation.

"I congratulate everybody involved in bringing us to this
extraordinary day. The challenge for all of us now is to ensure
that this golden opportunity is grasped to the full."


"If the representatives of unionism, republicanism and
nationalism can reach agreement on the way forward to that which
the whole House will hope will be a political settlement and a
final political settlement in Northern Ireland through a shared
future, I believe it is right that this House should do all it
can do to facilitate that in the interests of the people of
Northern Ireland."


"It's a deeply divided society, it continues that way. While one
can agree on political and security measures, it takes a very
long time, generations perhaps, to change people's hearts and

"So while this is a very important step, no-one should think that
trust and love is going to be breaking out tomorrow between the
two communities in Northern Ireland.

"That will take a long time, but this is a tremendous step


"After 40 years of violence, it will not be easy for Northern
Ireland's political leaders to build trust.

"However, today's historic meeting between Ian Paisley and Gerry
Adams marks a new start in that difficult process.

"There are still problems to be resolved before May but there's
now a better chance than at any previous time in my adult life
for Northern Ireland to move towards stable devolved government."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/26 16:07:19 GMT


US Welcomes North Devolution Deal

26/03/2007 - 19:20:36

The United States government tonight welcomed the deal which will
see Sinn Fein and the DUP share power in the North from May 8.

President George Bush's special envoy on the North, Paula
Dobriansky, said: "Today's agreement demonstrates a new era in
Northern Ireland and augurs well for the successful establishment
of a fully functioning Northern Ireland Assembly.

"As a special envoy, I will do all I can to assist the people of
Northern Ireland in moving into full and effective government
that fully implements the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements.

"My discussions with political leaders, policing officials and
community groups during St Patrick's Day events have convinced me
that all in Northern Ireland are committed to working towards a
better future. These discussions will continue in the critical
weeks ahead."


Ó Caoláin Welcomes Sinn Féin/DUP Agreement On Executive

Published: 26 March, 2007

Sinn Fein D il leader Caoimhgh¡n O Caol in has welcomed the
agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP on the establishment of
the Executive under the Good Friday Agreement. Describing the
joint announcement of the agreement by Gerry Adams and Ian
Paisley as "truly historic", Deputy O Caol in said every effort
must now be made to ensure that the Executive gets up and

Deputy O Caol in said, "The agreement between the DUP and Sinn
Fein on the establishment of the Executive under the Good Friday
Agreement is a hugely important and welcome development. While it
would have been preferable for the Executive to be put in place
on Monday as scheduled, the agreement by the DUP to enter
Government with Sinn Fein is a major step forward.

"The agreement and its announcement jointly by Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams and DUP leader Ian Paisley is truly
historic. It has the potential to open up a new era in the
politics of this island.

"Every effort must be made to ensure that the Executive and all
the attendant institutions, including the All-Ireland Ministerial
Council, get up and running in the time agreed. There is a
special obligation on the Irish and British governments to ensure
that the Executive is fully supported and that it has the
resources to do its job.

"I will be pressing the Irish Government to fulfil the potential
of this political progress to the full. This must include a real
peace dividend for the Border counties and real all-Ireland
development, including accelerated co-operation and integration
in areas such as health, transport and communications." ENDS


Northern Ireland's Future

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The leaders of Northern Ireland's major Protestant and Catholic
parties announced a stunning deal Monday to forge a coalition of
archenemies within six weeks.

What does the deal involve? Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists
and Gerry Adams' Sinn Fein agreed they must leave behind Northern
Ireland's bitter divisions and forge a unity government. Britain,
in turn, promised to pass emergency legislation today that would
extend its deadline for a working power-sharing government from
Monday to May 8. On that date, the Northern Ireland Assembly
would elect a 12-member administration with Paisley at its head
and Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness in the No. 2 post.

What is the historical perspective? The conflict over Northern
Ireland, a corner of the United Kingdom with 1.7 million
residents, has claimed more than 3,600 lives since the 1960s -
when Adams was an up-and-coming IRA member from Catholic west
Belfast and Paisley the province's most infamous opponent of a
Catholic civil rights movement.

Local reaction: "This has historic dimensions," said Jack Kilroy,
a Lorain lawyer who drove Gerry Adams to the airport after Adams
gave a speech at John Carroll University two years ago. "Does it
mean everything is settled? No. Does it mean the border will
disappear? No. But it's the removal of a very major stumbling

Kilroy and other Sinn Fein supporters say the agreement should
lead to power sharing with Catholics in a province dominated by
Protestants and that, in turn, should lead to democracy and
normal life.

"This is just a very important step," said Pat Kempton of Concord
Township. "I think it's going to give the people over there the
peace and stability they deserve." Kempton is a longtime member
of Irish Northern Aid, a U.S.-based civil rights group founded in
the 1970s to help Irish political prisoners.

SOURCE: Associated Press; Plain Dealer reporter Robert L. Smith


Emergency Bill On NI Devolution

Emergency legislation is to be rushed through Parliament to give
effect to the historic power-sharing deal brokered in Northern

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams have agreed to share power on 8 May.

Commons leader Jack Straw said MPs and peers will be asked to
back the bill, which delays devolution by six weeks, due to
"exceptional circumstances".

The government hopes the bill will be law by midnight on Tuesday.
Opposition parties have pledged their support.

Meanwhile, there is growing speculation that the MEP Jim Allister
may be about to resign from the DUP.

Mr Allister is known to be opposed to the DUP executive
resolution committing to power-sharing with Sinn Fein in May.

He has called a news conference for Tuesday.

Devolved government is to return to Northern Ireland following an
historic meeting between the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein on

On Monday, Mr Paisley said the DUP would fully participate in
government. Mr Adams said it was a "new era".

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness - set to be deputy first minister -
said a lot of work had been done in the background before
Monday's agreement.

"Obviously this agreement didn't come out of thin air. There was
a considerable amount of work done in the days leading up to it,"
Mr McGuinness said.

He said it was vital that the DUP and Sinn Fein now make a joint
approach to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown to try to
build on the economic package on offer to Northern Ireland.

"I think the impact of yesterday's developments will not be lost
on anyone, least of all the chancellor and the British prime
minister. We've a very strong hand, a very strong case to make."

'Extraordinary significance'

There will be many in this House and beyond who would never have
expected such a development in their own lifetimes

Jack Straw

Hailing the "extraordinary significance" of the deal, Jack Straw
later told the Commons it was right the House should do all it
could to facilitate moves towards a "final political settlement"
in Northern Ireland.

"There will be many in this House and beyond who would never have
expected such a development in their own lifetimes," he said.

Shadow leader of the House, Theresa May, pledged Conservative co-
operation to get the bill through Parliament and paid tribute to
those who brought about the deal.

David Heath, for the Liberal Democrats, described the agreement
as "extraordinary and welcome news"

On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was a very important
day for the people of Northern Ireland.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said this had "the potential to
transform the future of this island".

Chancellor Gordon Brown had promised an extra œ1bn if devolution
was back on 26 March on top of œ35bn pledged by the government
over four years.

The British and Irish governments had said they would shut the
assembly if an executive was not agreed on Monday.

However, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said: "When you
have got both major parties saying we will deliver... that gives
me confidence that this process is finally achieved."

The DUP and Sinn Fein emerged as the two largest parties in the
recent assembly election.

The power-sharing executive will have four DUP ministers, three
Sinn Fein, two UUP and one SDLP.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October
2002, amid allegations of an IRA spy ring at Stormont.

A subsequent court case collapsed. Direct rule has been in place
since that date.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/27 04:46:00 GMT


Anal: Paisley Reaches Out And Grasps Cherished Prize

Tue, Mar 27, 2007

DUP leader believes he has led republicans to accept an NI state,
writes Frank Millar, London Editor

The Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams made history in Belfast
yesterday. But the DUP leader did something more than that. In
inimitable fashion, "the Big Man" also confounded Enoch Powell's
dictum that all political careers must end in failure.

To some erstwhile believers, of course, this will seem the
biggest mistake of Paisley's long life. Though he has correctly
divined the general mood of his people, there would inevitably be
tears in some of the heartlands last night, that he did that for
which he denounced all unionist leaders before him, and

Others too, principally in the UUP - but also in the SDLP - were
plainly soured and bemused at the spectacle of "Dr No" finally,
famously, saying "yes".

For practitioners and admirers of realpolitik, however, it would
have been hard to resist at least sneaking regard as the
fundamentalist preacher cum lucky politician seized his
opportunity and set his terms, then struck out and grasped the

Prof Henry Patterson caught something of the conflicted mood of
many unionists, telling the BBC that in some ways yesterday's
events represented "a posthumous victory for David Trimble" -
before adding that it was unlikely the former first minister and
Ulster Unionist leader would see it that way.

Many will find the grief understandable. And at least some senior
DUP figures privately admit that Trimble's original "heavy
lifting" made it significantly easier for them to undertake the
process culminating in yesterday's DUP/Sinn Fein agreement.

Others in what remains of the UUP, however - and not least party
leader Reg Empey - seem pretty philosophical. And so they should
be, for this is politics.

Eoghan Harris advised Trimble at key points in his successful
negotiation and delivery of the Belfast Agreement. There is no
record of the writer offering his talents to Paisley. But he
could be forgiven for fancying somebody in the DUP might have
been reading him closely.

"If there is one iron law in Irish politics, it is this," Harris
wrote recently in his Sunday Independent column: "The more sacred
cows you slay, the more somersaults you perform, the higher your
standing with the general public. As Sinn Fein found out when it
gave up the gun. As Fianna F il found out when it gave up
fulminating about Irish unity. As the GAA found out when it
opened up Croke Park . . ."

The firebrand who built his career condemning all compromisers is
now up there with the best of them in grasping the Harris rule
that, "like a boxer, any party which wants to hold its ground is
going to have to continually change its position".

Not only has Paisley adapted and changed his position, but he
confirmed it yesterday with style and apparent confidence.

There had been mistaken speculation in advance that "the question
of a picture" with Adams might be "the last hurdle" to be
surmounted. But this was never going to be a hole-in-the-corner
affair. Lights and cameras were always part of the DUP plan in
opening its public dialogue with Sinn Fein on back of Adams's
agreement to the deferred devolution date of May 8th.

Intriguing questions persist as to why and when Paisley changed
course, and specifically when he decided to determine Sinn Fein
support for the police to be the effective equivalent of IRA
disbandment, in what was unquestionably a triumph of pragmatism
over principle.

The first minister-designate knows he will also have to endure
the jibes of those who suspect he was successfully wooed and
flattered by an establishment he long railed against.

But who will complain if, as is suggested, family pressures
encouraged Paisley to secure a kinder "legacy" than might
otherwise have been in prospect?

Big politicians ring the changes and make decisions for a variety
of reasons. Of course, in part, these may be motivated by
ambition and ego. But that is not a reason to preclude other
human emotions and instincts - in this case, a real sense that
the people are war weary and yearn for a better future.

Into the mix of calculation and speculation, too, must go
Paisley's reasonable contention that others have been required to
change, and more radically than him.

He has successfully used his leadership of unionism to further
alter an already-transformed political landscape in Northern
Ireland. As an editorial in this newspaper observed last week,
the comprehensive IRA decommissioning, damagingly denied to
Trimble, happened on his watch.

And while governments maintained it could not be done, he
successfully made support for the PSNI a requirement of all
parties entering government.

In doing so, he thinks to have brought republicans finally to
accept the legitimacy of a Northern Ireland state they fought so
long to destroy.

Making that changed state work, however, is now the challenge
awaiting Paisley and those who will in time succeed him.

c 2007 The Irish Times


MEP Allister 'May Leave The DUP'

There is growing speculation that the MEP Jim Allister may be
about to resign from the DUP.

Mr Allister is known to be opposed to the DUP executive
resolution committing to power-sharing with Sinn Fein in May.

He has called a news conference to issue a statement on his
position after the ground-breaking meeting between Ian Paisley
and Gerry Adams at Stormont.

Meanwhile, Ballymena DUP councillor Sam Gaston has stepped down
from the party as a result of Monday's developments.

Mr Gaston said six weeks was not enough for republicans to prove

"I think they have gone into government too quickly," Mr Gaston

"I think those people who have suffered deserve that we don't
have unrepentant terrorists in government."

European Parliament

Mr Allister was elected to the European Parliament in 2004,
ending a 17-year absence from frontline politics.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said: "It is
no secret that Jim Allister is one of the DUP politicians most
hostile to sharing power with Sinn Fein.

"He has previously called for a lengthy period to test republican
intentions and proof that structures, such as the IRA army
council, have been disbanded.

"On Saturday, he was one of the members of the 120-strong DUP
executive who voted against the resolution committing the party
to sharing power in May.

"He drove away from Castlereagh council before Ian Paisley
emerged, flanked by the majority of his colleagues."

'Fundamental negatives'

If Mr Allister is now leaving the DUP, it will not be the first
time he has parted company with Ian Paisley.

In the 1980s, he left active politics after disagreeing with his
leader's tactics after the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

His return to the DUP fold to stand as an MEP surprised those who
believed he had already given up politics to concentrate on his
legal career.

Last October, Mr Allister said the St Andrews Agreement had
definite gains but also fundamental negatives.

He said disadvantages included the length of the testing period
for Sinn Fein and enforced mandatory coalition.

He also said there was no mechanism to exclude Sinn Fein if it
"defaulted", other than to punish all parties.

Mr Allister said it would be "intolerable for any unionist" if
the IRA army council was still in existence when the parties are
due to share power. He said this would be a deal-breaker for him.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/27 10:43:29 GMT


Transfer Test To Be Up For Debate

The issue of academic selection is controversial

Northern Ireland politicians will be under pressure to come up
with a substitute for academic selection following Monday's deal
on devolution.

The DUP and Sinn Fein have agreed to share power from 8 May.

The agreement removes any suggestion that academic selection
might be banned by a Westminister government, though the last 11-
plus is scheduled for 2008.

It appears Education Minister Maria Eagle will be back at work
this week but is unlikely to make any decisions.

The problem facing the politicians is to quickly find an
alternative which wins the agreement of parties who hold strongly
opposing views on selection.

So far, there has not been cross-party support for a replacement
in spite of lengthy discussions in a Stormont committee.

The only significant point of agreement has been to "urgently"
investigate how the Dickson plan in Craigavon, which delays
selection until the age of 14, would work across Northern


However, it is believed no further research has been done and the
politicians do not expect to tackle the issue again until the
assembly is fully restored in May.

A new computerised test is one of six options suggested to
replace the transfer test.

The Association for Quality Education, representing grammar
school lobby groups, has said any alternative must be fair to all

It has drawn up six possible methods for selection, including
regular class tests and a number of computer based systems.

However, the SDLP has said the test is another form of academic

The Ulster Unionist Party has said the proposals are a welcome
addition to the debate, but nothing meaningful could be achieved
until a local assembly was up and running.


Sinn Fein Condemns Attack On Former UDR Soldier

26/03/2007 - 20:09:44

Sinn Fein tonight condemned an attack on a former Ulster Defence
Regiment soldier after a concrete block was thrown through his
car window.

The incident happened in the early hours of this morning and
Democratic Unionist Party representative Sammy Brush was not in
the vehicle, which was parked outside his home in Ballygawley.

An independent republican candidate for Fermanagh and South
Tyrone in the last elections, Gerry McGeough, has been charged
with attempting to murder Mr Brush in his home town in 1981.

Local MP Michelle Gildernew said: "It is not clear who was
responsible for the attack on Cllr Brush's home last night.

"However I am confident that republicans were in no way involved
and that this was not motivated by any sectarian motive.

"I would encourage anyone with any information on this matter to
co-operate with the PSNI."

McGeough, 46 and Vincent McAnespie, 44, of Aghabo Close,
Aughnacloy, also face charges of conspiracy to murder and
possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.

Police do not believe at this stage that the incident at Mr
Brush's house was linked to supporters of the accused.

A spokesman said: "We are investigating an incident of criminal
damage which occurred at Main Street, Ballygawley, at around
2.10am this morning."


Loyalist Shoukri Back In Prison

The leading loyalist Ihab Shoukri is back in prison after
appearing in court charged with handling stolen goods.

The charge is believed to have been connected with an alleged
robbery in the Larne area on 17 March.

Earlier this month, Mr Shourkri, 33, was allowed to return to
Northern Ireland from England after a High court judge altered
his bail conditions.

He is accused of membership of the UDA and UFF. Mr Shoukri was
brought back to Maghaberry prison on Saturday.

The move was ordered after he appeared before a magistrate.

It is understood that the public prosecution service is preparing
to go to the High Court in a bid to have his bail revoked.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/26 11:54:34 GMT


Top Loyalist Given Eight Years

Leading loyalist William "Mo" Courtney has been jailed for eight
years for his part in the killing of UDA member Alan McCullough.

Mr McCullough's body was found in a shallow grave in the
outskirts of Belfast four years ago.

Last year 45-year-old Courtney, of Fernhill Heights, Belfast, had
been found not guilty of murdering the 21-year-old.

However, during a retrial last week he admitted to his

Mr McCullough was one of a number of loyalists who fled Northern
Ireland during a UDA feud.

He returned to Northern Ireland in April 2003 and his body was
found on 5 June. He had been shot.

Courtney must know someone else who was at the scene of this
murder, but he has not chosen to disclose that to the authorities

Mr Justice Deeny

Speaking outside the court, Alan McCullough's family said they
were unhappy with the sentence.

However, the victim's family said they planned to refer the
matter to the Police Ombudsman.

'Must know someone'

His mother Barbara said: "Justice wasn't done - this isn't the
finish, it's only the start of it.

"He (Courtney) told me my Alan would be safe. He gave Alan
reassurances he would be safe coming in the car," said Mrs

Mr Justice Deeny told Courtney he had done nothing to bring Mr
McCullough's murderers to justice.

The judge said while it "must be bourne in mind" that the actual
killers would receive "life imprisonment with a substantial
minimum period if convicted - Courtney has done nothing to assist
in this conviction".

"He must know someone else who was at the scene of this murder,
but he has not chosen to disclose that to the authorities," added
the judge.

He said it was also accepted, "without objection" by the
prosecution, that while Courtney "contemplated" Mr McCullough
would be kneecapped, this was not his intention nor wish.

"And in particular, that he never contemplated that these other
persons would go outside the scope of such harm by actually
shooting Alan McCullough to death," he added.

Courtney's retrial came after the prosecution claimed the judge
who had acquitted the loyalist made a mistake and lodged 10
grounds of appeal.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/27 11:06:25 GMT


Washington Trip Boosts Anti-Collusion Campaign

[Published: Monday 26, March 2007 - 11:31]
By Chris Thornton

Protestant collusion victims say unionist politicians are
beginning to treat to them seriously after they took part in a
cross-community trip to Washington.

Campaigning dads Raymond McCord and Paul McIlwaine, who flew to
the US with the group Relatives for Justice, said they lined up
meetings with both the UUP and DUP as a result of the trip.

Both men had previously accused most unionist politicians of
ignoring their cases because they raised uncomfortable questions
about the behaviour of the security forces.

Raymond McCord's son, Raymond jnr, was murdered in November 1997.
In January a Police Ombudsman report concluded there was
collusion in the case.

Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan found that the murder was ordered by a
paid police agent and UVF member who was linked to at least 10
murders and protected from prosecution.

Paul McIlwaine's son, David, was butchered by the UVF along with
another Portadown teenager, Andrew Robb, in February 2000.

Mr McIlwaine has repeatedly raised concerns that an agent was
involved in the case. At one stage police threatened to throw an
official gagging order, known as a Public Interest Immunity
Certificate, over a court case he has pursued against the chief

They travelled to Washington with nationalist victims Theresa
Slane, whose husband's murder by the UDA was linked to Army agent
Brian Nelson, and Pauline Davey-Kennedy, whose father was also
murdered by loyalists.

During the trip, Mr McCord attended the White House's St
Patrick's Day reception along with the widow and youngest son of
murdered solicitor Pat Finucane.

DUP members clashed with Mr McIlwaine last October because he
protested about collusion during the St Andrews talks.

But Mr McIlwaine said contacts in Washington with DUP Assembly
member Ian Paisley jnr and UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy at
some of the Washington events led to promises of meetings back in
Northern Ireland.

"It's been a very positive experience," said Mr McIlwaine. " Ian
Paisley jnr told us he got into politics because of human rights
issues surrounding the UDR Four.

"The way we've been treated has been tremendous - whether it
meeting Congressmen, being at the British Embassy, the Irish
Embassy or when Raymond was in the White House."

Ms Davey-Kennedy, whose father was a Sinn Fein councillor, said
her family has long been concerned about remarks made by DUP MP
Rev William McCrea. She said Mr Paisley told her to raise the
comments with the MP.

"He was quite adamant that the family should contact William
McCrea and that is what we're going to do," she said.

Mr McCord added: "I've been astounded by the reception we've got.
Because we are a cross-community delegation, doors were opened
and people listened very closely to what we had to say."

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice added: "We hope that this
good will can travel to our own shores and that promises made
will bear fruit.

"Both of these public representatives are recognised as being men
of integrity in their own right. We look forward to a new
engagement with unionist politicans on these issues."

c Belfast Telegraph


Shock And Anger At Imminent Closure Of Galtee Factory In

Published: 27 March, 2007

Sinn Fein candidate Cllr Sandra McLellan has reacted with shock
and anger at the imminent closure of the Galtee factory in
Mitchelstown. She has called for an urgent government statement
on how they plan to replace the many jobs lost in Mitchelstown
and Mallow in recent years.

Sandra McLellan said: "Unfortunately I have received reliable
information that the Galtee factory is due to close in June of
this year, with the loss of nearly 100 jobs. It has also been
put to me that no announcement of the closure was intended until
after the general election."

"This is shocking news for Mitchelstown and North Cork. There
have been major closures of agri-businesses in both Mitchelstown
and Mallow in recent years. This news is a further blow to
Mitchelstown where for my lifetime

the names Galtee and Mitchelstown were synonymous."

"Time and time again we are told how successful the economy is.
Well it certainly does not display its success in this area. The
government have abandoned the agri-food industry in North Cork.
They have sat idly by as industries have been closed down for
speculation and short term profit. The people who have borne the
burden of these closures are workers, farmers and contractors."

"The government needs to urgently address the jobs deficit in
this area. Government policy should be to site employment across
all parts of the country not just major urban centres like Dublin
and Cork."ENDS

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