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March 12, 2007

IRA Has Abandoned Terrorism: IMC

News About Ireland & The Irish

RT 03/12/07 IRA Has Abandoned Terrorism: IMC Report
BB 03/12/07 Army's Moves 'Ahead Of Schedule'
IT 03/12/07 More Cash On Offer Cash For NI Agreement
IC 03/12/07 ‘Thank You,’ Says Adams
NL 03/12/07 PSNI To Set The Record Straight
BN 03/12/07 Mandelson Rounds On Blair Over Peace Concessions
IT 03/12/07 Belfast Killings May Be Connected
SF 03/12/07 Gerry Adams Comments After Discovery Of Two Bodies
TO 03/13/07 Opin: Dr No, What Were The Last 40 Yrs All About?
BB 03/12/07 Shot Priest Thanks DUP's Paisley
RT 03/12/07 Carbon Monoxide Scare At Irish Function In NY
GU 03/12/07 Sinn Féin's Plea To Think Again On Eve Of Iraq War


IRA Has Abandoned Terrorism: IMC Report

Monday, 12 March 2007 18:47

The latest report by the Independent Monitoring Commission
(IMC) says that the IRA remains firmly committed to the
political path and has abandoned terrorism and violence.

Secretary of State Peter Hain MP welcomes the IMC's new
findings which is the eighth report released by the
commission since the IRA announced its armed campaign had
ended in July 2005.

'This report details what the people of Northern Ireland
are already experiencing - that they are living in an
increasingly normalised society', Mr Hain said.

'It is now up to the politicians to normalise
politics in Northern Ireland and restore devolve government
and a power sharing Executive on March 26.'

The T naiste, Michael McDowell, welcomed the report as
well. He said it shows the programme of normalisation is
proceeding as planned and ahead of target in some areas.

The IMC says that the Real IRA, which murdered 29 people in
the 1998 Omagh bomb atrocity, is still intent on violence
and is attempting to strengthen its deadly capacities.

The report covers the period 1 August 2006 to 31 January

The programme of normalisation is due to end on 31 July and
the IMC will submit its final report on it in September.


Army's Moves 'Ahead Of Schedule'

The British government's two-year demilitarisation
programme is running ahead of schedule, the Independent
Monitoring Commission has said.

The programme was drawn up in response to the IRA statement
in July 2005 that its campaign of violence was over.

In its 14th report, the IMC again said it believes the IRA
poses no security threat and is committed to politics.

It said dissident republican terrorists remain a threat,
but do not have the ability to mount a sustained campaign.

Support role

Set up by the British and Irish governments in January
2004, most of the Independent Monitoring Commission's
reports have concentrated on activity by paramilitary
groups in Northern Ireland.

However, it also monitors the "normalisation" of security

The demilitarisation moves are part of the end of Operation
Banner, the British army's support role for the police
during the Troubles.

By 1 August, the Army's presence in Northern Ireland will
be reduced to no more than 5,000.

The commissioners said that between last August and January
2007, troop levels have been reduced by another 600 to
bring the total to just over 7,500.

Overall sites have been reduced from 24 to 20, and the
programme's target of 14 military installations has been
further reduced with the government confirming another four
can go.

Demolition of the towers and observation posts in border
areas is almost complete. Ten were standing in July 2005,
but only two remain and they are due to be taken down
within months.

Soldiers were once posted at 10 police stations but
Crossmaglen is the only station to still have troops.

Helicopter use by the British army was also reduced by more
than a third compared to the same period in 2005/06.

The commission confirmed that seven vacated security sites
have been disposed of, while another six are currently in
that process.

Details of the defortification of police buildings were
also included, with the report noting that 59 schemes will
have been completed by this summer. Plans include 35
defortification schemes in 2006-07.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the report was
evidence that society in Northern Ireland has been

He said: "This is the eighth IMC report since the IRA
announced that its armed campaign had ended in July 2005,
each one progressively confirming delivery of the
commitments promised by them, including driving criminality
out of the organisation.

"This report details what the people of Northern Ireland
are already experiencing - that they are living in an
increasingly normalised society."

He added: "It is now up to the politicians to normalise
politics in Northern Ireland and restore devolved
government and a power-sharing executive on 26 March."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/12 12:39:48 GMT


More Cash On Offer Cash For NI Agreement

Mon, Mar 12, 2007

Extra money will be made available if it is needed to make
Northern Ireland's political parties agree to form a power-
sharing executive, Northern Secretary Peter Hain said

Mr Hain met at Hillsborough Castle with the Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern to plot the days ahead as the
two governments seek to encourage the parties to form an
administration following last week's Assembly elections.

Mr Hain said there was now a crucial countdown period to
the March 26th deadline when an executive had to be
established, or pull the plug on Stormont and impose direct

"The St Andrews legislation leaves no discretion to me to
do anything other than restore or dissolve the Assembly,"
Mr Hain said.

And he said there was not the slightest possibility of
Parliament revisiting the legislation, he said as he
repeated his oft-stated mantra that it was now or never.

Mr Ahern said, given that it was Cheltenham week, "we are
coming to the final hurdle and as far as we are concerned;
we want the parties to jump that hurdle on the 26th.

"We will be available between now and then to help them in
whatever way we can."

But he too stressed: "It's the 26th - either that or bust."

Mr Hain met the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein and the
Alliance parties today and will see the Democratic
Unionists and the SDLP tomorrow.

On Thursday of next week, four days before the deadline, he
will accompany the parties to a meeting with Chancellor
Gordon Brown to try to thrash out a financial package which
he hopes will be attractive enough to make them want to go
into government together.

Speaking at Hillsborough, Mr Hain held out the prospect
that money could be provided to prevent the introduction of
water charges next month.

He said if he was still in control, the charges - which
became a major issue during the election campaign - would
be implemented.

But he said if the parties came to the Government with
alternative proposals, "we would want to consider that very

"I want to encourage the successful start to devolution and
an incoming executive, and clearly the electorate made
clear their feelings on water charges to the parties - it
was the biggest issue on the doorstep and the biggest issue
at the polling stations."

Mr Ahern said the Irish Government was also was prepared to
provide finance. "We are more than willing to contribute to
a financial package on a North/South basis."

He said given that it was Irish taxpayers' money there
would need to be some benefit in terms of infrastructure
for those on the Southern side of the border.

Both ministers also hailed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams'
call for the public to co-operate with detectives
investigating murders in the north and west of the city
overnight as proof that republicans were living up to their
promise to support policing.

Mr Ahern said Mr Adams had been "unequivocal" in support
for the police.

c 2007


`Thank You,' Says Adams

Andersonstown News
Roisin McManus

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has stressed that the next
few weeks in the political process will be crucial and said
that if the DUP are not prepared to enter power-sharing,
the process will move on without them.

Mr Adams was speaking last night at a thank-you event in
West Belfast for election workers, candidates and MLAs.

Speaking at the Felons function, Mr Adams thanked the
electorate in West Belfast and Lagan Valley who voted for
Sinn Féin.

"The next few weeks will be crucial as we seek to restore
the political institutions," said Mr Adams.

"The onus is firmly on the DUP. The two governments have to
stick to the March 26 deadline. Sinn Féin will be there and
ready to form a government on March 26.

"If the DUP is not prepared to enter into the power-sharing
structures then the process of change will move on without
them, and Sinn Féin will be in the driving seat," he added.

Speaking last night, Mr Adams said that the election of
five Sinn Féin MLAs in West Belfast had been a "spectacular

He also paid tribute to the late MLA Michael Ferguson.

"I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our late
friend and colleague Michael Ferguson. His loss was
especially felt during this campaign but his hard work and
dedication to the republican struggle contributed
significantly to our success. Our thoughts are with Louise
and the children," said Mr Adams.

The Sinn Féin president thanked all those in West Belfast
and Lagan Valley who voted for Sinn Féin.

"We do not take your vote or your confidence in us lightly.
We gave commitments in the course of this election campaign
and we intend to deliver on them."

Mr Adams said that Sinn Féin would not differentiate
between people in need. "I would especially appeal to the
people of the Shankill and other unionist areas to engage
with Sinn Féin. While we cannot reflect your position on
the union we can represent you effectively on social and
economic matters," he said.

Mr Adams paid tribute to the hard work put in by the Sinn
Féin team. He thanked the candidates who stood, as well as
the hundreds of party activists and election workers.

"All of you spent many long hours distributing leaflets,
doing registration, putting up posters, working in and
outside of polling stations, providing transport and all of
the many other pieces of the jig-saw which are essential
for a good election campaign," he said. "Go raibh maith
agaibh go leir," he added.


PSNI To Set The Record Straight

The Policing Board is undertaking a mission to Washington
to counteract Irish-American perceptions that Sinn Fein has
reformed the PSNI.

Seven members of the board and two officials will be
jetting out on Tuesday and Wednesday this week to meet
movers and shakers in Washington with a possible White
House engagement for the board's Chair and Deputy Chair.

UUP Deputy Leader and Policing Board member Danny Kennedy
said the time would be spent meeting the US media and
opinion formers.

"Clearly there are still mixed messages coming out from
Sinn Fein about their support for policing," he said. "Only
this weekend past we had Sinn Fein MLA Catriona Ruane asked
on live radio if she would report dissident republican
terrorist activity to the PSNI and she refused to answer
the question.

"The message we will be trying to get across is that people
on that side of the Atlantic understand that policing will
not just be beginning when Sinn Fein finally take their
seat on the board," he said. "We are keen to ensure that
everyone on that side of the Atlantic are aware of all the
changes that have taken place without the help of Sinn

Mr Kennedy said it was hard to envisage Sinn Fein coming to
the current position where they were officially endorsing
policing without the work already done by the board, which
consists of both representatives from political parties and

"They have been dragged kicking and screaming thus far but
we have to remember they have still not actually taken
their seats," he added. "But the existing policing Board
have made a significant contribution and we want to keep
awareness of that high."

He said he was not aware of any plans for Sinn Fein to have
any part in the board's trip but that it was expected the
Chair and Deputy Chair of the board would receive a White
House invitation.

By Philip Bradfield


Mandelson Rounds On Blair Over Peace Concessions

12/03/2007 - 22:19:02

Former Northern Secretary Peter Mandelson accused Tony
Blair today of making "irresponsible" concessions to keep
the peace process going.

The European commissioner and staunch Blairite told The
Guardian he had different views to the British prime
minister and at one point refused to write a secret letter
to Sinn Féin.

Mr Mandelson was Northern Secretary between 1999 and 2001,
when he was forced to resign amid the Hinduja passport
application affair.

He said: "In order to keep the process in motion (Mr Blair)
would be sort of dangling carrots and possibilities in
front of the republicans, which I thought could never be
delivered, that it was unreasonable and irresponsible to
intimate that you could when you knew that you couldn't."

Former cabinet secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell also
acknowledged the difficulty facing Mr Blair in balancing
the need to bring the republicans on board without
alienating unionists.

He said: "There was a lot to be said for paying a price to
keep the bicycle moving. The issue is whether Tony Blair
paid too big a price."


Belfast Killings May Be Connected

Mon, Mar 12, 2007

Feuding dissident republicans may have murdered two men
whose bodies were discovered at separate locations in
Belfast, it emerged tonight.

One of the victims was bludgeoned beyond recognition in a
northern district where two homes have been raked by
gunfire in the last fortnight.

The other, aged in his 30s, was shot dead near a GAA club
four miles away on west Belfast's Falls Road.

As detectives examined a possible link between the killings
they questioned a third man taken to hospital with bullet

His revelation that he was attacked at an area known as Bog
Meadows early this morning led police to discover the
gunned down body at a car park.

But the inquiry took a deadly twist hours later when the
second killing was confirmed. The victim was found in an
alleyway off Elmfield Street in north Belfast's Ardoyne

He had been battered so ferociously around the head with a
blunt object that a priest called in to give the last rites
said it was impossible to recognise him.

Police spent the day carrying out searches in the area in a
bid to discover any clues.

Tensions have soared in Ardoyne, a staunchly republican
neighbourhood scarred by years of violence, since two homes
were shot up earlier this month.

Amid rumours that dissident republican factions had
launched some kind of purge, many had feared further

Ardoyne priest Fr Aiden Troy said: "The shock here has been
immense. I have been here since 8am this morning and people
have been shaking their heads; they still can't believe
this has happened.

"The vast majority of people are terrified that this could
be a throwback to something they thought was forever gone."

Although detectives did not declare any link between the
two killings, security sources confirmed it was a major
line of inquiry. "Whether its score settling or a feud, it
looks like there's been a serious fall out among these
people," one said.

With Sinn Fein now supporting the police in Northern
Ireland, party president Gerry Adams urged full public co-
operation with detectives.

The West Belfast MP said: "If they did not die of natural
causes, if they were killed, then anyone with any
information should bring that information to the police and
should co-operate to bring the perpetrators to justice."

c 2007


Gerry Adams Comments After Discovery Of Two Bodies

Published: 12 March, 2007

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking this morning at
Parliament Buildings commented on the discovery of two
bodies. One in west Belfast and the other in north Belfast.

Mr. Adams said:

"Our thoughts are with the families who have been bereaved.

"While the circumstances surrounding the two deaths is not
yet clear, if they were killed, then anyone with any
information should bring that information to the police and
should co-operate to bring the perpetrators to justice."


Opin: So, Dr No, What Exactly Were The Last 40 Years All

Ian Paisley's eagerness to do a deal with Sinn Fein is
astonishingDean Godson

Ian Paisley loves to tell the story of his first meeting
with his mentor, the Rev W.P. Nicholson, a famous Ulster
revivalist preacher. "Young man, have you ever seen a cow's
tongue?" asked the venerable evangelist of the young
firebrand. "Go into a butcher's shop, get a cow's tongue
laid out on the counter and rub your hand up it the wrong
way, and it will cut you like a file. It will bring the
blood." Nicholson then prayed: "Oh God of hosts, give this
young preacher a tongue like an old cow."

The Rev Ian Paisley took this advice. "Even my infidel
opponents", he has boasted, "would bear witness that God
has answered that prayer, for my tongue has drawn the blood
of many an opponent and many an enemy of the Gospel."

Well, the Old Cow seems to be turning into a great,
slobbering St Bernard - keen to lick as many hands in
Belfast, Dublin, London and Washington as he can. Politics
can do funny things to people, even to men of God. After
last week's Assembly elections, which reaffirmed the
ascendancy of Mr Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party and
Sinn Fein, the "Doc" would appear to enjoy the mandate to
do the deal and to enter a power-sharing executive
alongside his sworn republican foes.

Why has Mr Paisley changed? What, indeed, were the past 40
years about if he is about to sit cheek by jowl as co-
premier alongside Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein-IRA? What
was so terrible about those "sell-out" leaders of moderate
Unionism whom Mr Paisley so ruthlessly destroyed - such as
Terence O'Neill, the Ulster Unionist Premier of the late
1960s, who merely sought a few cautious reforms of the old
Stormont system? Or Brian Faulkner, the first Unionist
leader to attempt a power-sharing compromise with
nationalism in 1974? Or what about David Trimble -
excoriated for signing up to the 1998 Belfast agreement
whose key provisions remain in place?

The dark suspicion must be that Mr Paisley's great surges
of holy writ were as much about himself and his own
position within the unionist family as about vast
differences of principle between himself and these long-
vanqushed rivals. Every established institution within the
Ulster-British family seemed unable to accommodate his vast

Consider the record. Mr Paisley split the Presbyterian
Church in Ireland because of its supposedly ecumenical
tendencies, and in 1951 founded his own Free Presbyterian
denomination. He founded his own Protestant Unionist Party
- later the DUP - because of Ulster Unionism's alleged
weakness. He even left the main Orange Order for the
Independent Orange Order. He wrecked the most hallowed
concept of Unionism, "United we stand, divided we fall".

The truth is that Mr Paisley has always loved being top
dog. And after years of marginalisation, he savours such
tokens of respectability as a privy councillorship for
himself, a peerage for Mrs Paisley and the Doc's latest pet
project - the prospect of a solitary moment in the Oval
Office with President Bush this forthcoming St Patrick's
Day (and, who knows, maybe even the chance of a shared
prayer together?).

The big mystery here is Mr Paisley's rush to do the deal.
Tony Blair obviously needs a success in short order so as
to go out on a high note. But from Mr Paisley's standpoint,
why not wait until Gordon Brown takes power and give the
new PM a success? And why not wait until after the Irish
elections in May, thus depriving Sinn Fein of a boost in
the Republic? The truth is that the DUP has always been a
purely provincial party purporting to operate in the
Protestant interest. It remains resolutely indifferent to
the effects of its actions upon Irish democrats in the

So where does Mr Paisley's new found emollience leave the
Union? There is certainly a defeatist strain within the
DUP, personified by the former Conservative MP Andrew
Hunter, who ran as a DUP candidate in the 2003 assembly
election. After that poll, Mr Hunter told me: "Trimble sold
the pass and administered the death blow to the Union. All
that remains now is for us to go in and negotiate
Protestant homeland within a united Ireland on as
advantageous a basis as possible." Mr Hunter confirms that
this remains his view today - and he regards republican
talk of unity by the time of the centenary of the Easter
Rising of 1916 as not unrealistic. He claims that Mr
Paisley can at times see that this is the logic of events -
but that the DUP chieftain still does not fully accept it.

Certainly, the vast bulk of the Unionist electorate do not
think that they have voted for such drift: indeed, the very
reverse. What will be the ructions within the DUP and
within the Free Presbyterian Church when they discover
otherwise? The DUP's Janus-faced ambiguity served it well
when Sinn Fein participation in government was entirely
theoretical. But what happens when it becomes a reality?
And could such arrangements survive beyond the lifetime of
the frail Mr Paisley?

Whatever now happens, to have got even this far constitutes
an achievement for Anglo-Irish statecraft. For years,
officials have smirkingly counted upon the defeatism,
vanity and venality of much of the Unionist political class
to push through a project of creeping condominium with the
Republic. But who would have thought that Ian Paisley, the
ultimate "honest bigot", would turn out to be their last

Dean Godson is author of Himself Alone: David Trimble and
the Ordeal of Unionism


Shot Priest Thanks DUP's Paisley

A Belfast missionary priest seriously injured in a gun
attack in South Africa has thanked the Reverend Ian Paisley
for his wishes of support.

Father Kieran Creagh was shot twice by robbers at the
hospice he founded to help Aids sufferers in Pretoria.

Surgeons had to remove one of the bullets from his lung.

Fr Creagh said he wanted to thank DUP leader Mr Paisley,
who had been one of many people from Northern Ireland who
had sent him messages of support.

"Ian Paisley contacted my brother Liam to say he was
'thinking and praying for your brother the priest' - and
that is just brilliant.

"Thanks Ian - honest to God, that's brilliant," he said.

Speaking in his first media interview since the shooting,
Fr Creagh told the BBC's Spotlight programme he had to have
a series of operations to remove the bullet from his lung.

"One of the bullets was lodged in my lung and they were
going to keep it there, but then they realised it had done
more damage so they had to go in a second time and take it
out," he said.

"That was the worrying part of the operation, but they have
got rid of it and they have stitched everything up."

He also described the moment when he was confronted by the
armed gang.

"I was saying don't point that gun at me, what are you
doing here, this is a hospice, people are dying here, they
don't need this rubbish, go on home," he said.

"They shot me outside my door first and then, as I was
running along the courtyard, they shot me again."

Two mobile phones, a two way radio and a safe - which is
believed to have been empty - were stolen in the robbery.

The priest, who was the first person in Africa to be
injected with a trial HIV vaccine, was made Irish
International Personality of the Year in 2004.

He received the award after volunteering to try out the
vaccine, despite being free from the virus himself.

He has worked with Aids patients in the country for a
decade and opened the Leratong hospice in 2004.

Father Creagh's story will be featured on Spotlight on
Tuesday at 2240 GMT on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/11 18:08:53 GMT


Carbon Monoxide Scare At Irish Function In NY

Monday, 12 March 2007 16:28

A number of people have been treated in hospital after
collapsing from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while
attending a social function for the Irish community in New

The County Sligo Social and Benevolent Association was
holding an annual ball on Saturday when party-goers started
to collapse.

Speaking on RT Radio's Morning Ireland, the society's
President, Bridie O'Reilly, said a number of people had
been physically ill.

Around 200 people were attending the ball.

The hotel was cleared and more than 20 people were taken to


Sinn Féin's Plea To Think Again On Eve Of Iraq War

Owen Bowcott and Nicholas Watt
Tuesday March 13, 2007
The Guardian

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness pleaded with Tony Blair
on the eve of the Iraq war to learn the lessons of Ireland.
"We said, you know we are only a small party from Ireland
and obviously we do think you have made an important
contribution to the situation in Ireland," Mr McGuinness
told the Guardian. "But ... if you go into Iraq it will be
another Vietnam and it will be a huge mistake. That's it.
It is sad, it is tragic." One of the prime minister's
officials told the Sinn Féin leaders that Iraq would be
sorted out in months.

Mr McGuinness added: "I said to him, I said to the people
who were there with him, you are living in cloud cuckoo
land ... given the previous history of successive British
military expeditions to Ireland, that certainly would not
be my view of how the situation in Iraq is going to move in
the next short while." Mr McGuinness said he could not
understand how the prime minister could have been so gung
ho in Iraq while showing such sensitivity towards Ireland:
"Tony Blair and Iraq is almost like a total contradiction
of Tony Blair and Ireland."

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