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April 12, 2007

Ex-FBI Boss Blasts MI5's Record

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 04/12/07 Ex-FBI Boss Blasts MI5's Ulster Record
BB 04/12/07 Sinn Fein Condemn DPP Bomb Attack
BT 04/12/07 Sinn Fein Boycott 'Absurd'
BN 04/12/07 DUP Hoping To Resolve Drumcree Dispute In Talks w/ SF
BN 04/12/07 PSNI Officers Attacked During Rioting In Belfast
SF 04/11/07 Ruane - All-Ireland Co-Operation In Education Is Key
BT 04/12/07 DUP: We Must Approve Ruane Plans
BT 04/12/07 Paisley plc
BT 04/12/07 Bill For Assembly To Top £110m
BT 04/12/07 Executive's 'Peace Dividend' Of £2.8bn
BN 04/12/07 Bill O’Reilly To Address Trinity College Students
NS 04/12/07 How Two From N.Y. Aided Peace In Ireland
BT 04/12/07 Opin: Inquiry Process Must Be Questioned


Ex-FBI Boss Blasts MI5's Ulster Record

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 09:13]
By Sean O'Driscoll

A formerdirector of the FBI has attacked MI5 for its "long and
painful history" in Northern Ireland.

Louis Freeh told the Wall Street Journal that the spying agency's
operations in the province had been characterised by decades of
"secrecy and non-transparency" and argued against a similar
agency being established in the US.

This year MI5 - officially known as the Security Service and to
be locally based in Holywood - will take over the lead role in
intelligence gathering about national security from the PSNI,
including international terrorist threats and terrorist
activities within Northern Ireland.

This is the first time that Freeh has so openly criticised MI5,
which worked closely with the FBI in operations against the IRA
while Freeh was FBI director.

The FBI made the unusual step of releasing Freeh's comments as a
Press release on its website.

In an angrily-worded editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Freeh
strongly rejected an argument by conservative federal circuit
court judge Richard Posner that the US needs its own version of
MI5 to fight terrorism.

Describing Judge Posner's idea as "dangerous and dumb", Freeh
accused him of having an overly romantic concept of MI5.

"Judge Posner's citation to England's MI5 is romantic enough but
needs to be qualified by the long and painful history of its
operations in Northern Ireland, which are still unfolding after
decades of secrecy and non-transparency," he wrote.

Freeh warned that such an organisation could not be adequately
trusted or monitored by the US public, and accused Judge Posner
of offering a " long winded thesis" that could not work.

"I suppose that this secret-police agency would appear before
Congress in closed sessions and operate with a black budget,"
Freeh wrote, adding that the American public would never tolerate
a CIA-type police organisation operating against US citizens and
non-citizens "who live and work under our flag".

He was responding to an editorial by Judge Posner, also in the
Wall Street Journal, in which he said that Freeh had tried and
failed to get the FBI to take terrorism seriously and that it was
now time for a US version of MI5.

Freeh, who resigned in 2001 after nearly ten years as FBI
director, has previously worked very closely with British spying
agencies and police.

He ran into serious confrontation with President Bill Clinton
because of his insistence in prosecuting US-based IRA members
during sensitive moments in the Irish peace process.

Both President Clinton and a former Miami FBI chief have publicly
acknowledged that Clinton and Freeh had shouting matches over
Clinton's opposition to prosecuting four Miami-based IRA gun-
runners in the early 1990s.

c Belfast Telegraph


Sinn Fein Condemn DPP Bomb Attack

Sinn Fein has condemned a bomb attack on a member of Strabane
district policing partnership and urged anyone with information
to contact police.

Arthur McGarrigle said his son, who is in his 20s, saw two youths
leaving the bomb at his home, and lifted it without realising the
danger it posed.

Sinn Fein MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty said the people behind
such attacks had nothing to offer.

"There is absolutely no need for this type of activity
whatsoever," he said.

"They should stop this. They should realise that big decisions
have been made, that the vast majority of the community in the
six counties who support the unification of Ireland have a
political means and a peaceful means to achieve their objectives.

"This type of activity serves nobody. If people have information,
they should tell the police."

Mr McGarrigle said the device, left at his home at about midnight
on Wednesday, could have severely injured his family and caused
extensive damage.

"The indication is that it was a viable device... it certainly
wasn't left at my front door as a gift," he said.

A number of items were taken away for further examination after
what was the third alert in the area in four days.

On Monday, a bomb was defused outside the Sion Mills home of
former DPP member Mary McCrea.

On Sunday, a device was found at another home nearby.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/12 09:04:05 GMT


Sinn Fein Boycott 'Absurd'

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 11:10]
By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein's on-going boycott of the House of Commons must call
into question continued funding by taxpayers, a senior Ulster
Unionist insisted today.

Assembly member Tom Elliott argued Sinn Fein's abstentionist
policy - while it is about to join the Policing Board and re-
enter a power-sharing Executive - made little sense.

"Sinn Fein Ministers will be taking an oath to sit in the
Executive (but) will not sit in the UK Parliament. So it's OK to
sit in Stormont and administer British rule in Northern Ireland
through a devolved Assembly. But it's not OK for republicans to
go to Westminster," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said.

"This makes little sense for taxpayers, who also happen to be
Sinn Fein constituents, to continue to pay them for the luxury of
these absurd and incongruous sensibilities."

"Republicans may need this comfort blanket but many people will
be wondering why they're picking up the tab for it," Mr Elliott

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Hoping To Resolve Drumcree Dispute In Talks With SF

12/04/2007 - 11:35:37

The DUP has said it hopes to hold discussions with Sinn Fein
aimed at ending the long-running dispute over the Drumcree Orange
parade in Portadown.

The parade has been banned from the nationalist Garvaghy Road
since 1998 due to the Orange Order's refusal to hold talks with
local Catholic residents.

The DUP says resolving the stand-off is one of its top priorities
and party spokesman Jeffrey Donaldson says the issue has already
been raised in talks with Sinn Fein.

The revelation follows the decision by the spokesman for the
Garvaghy Road residents to resign from Sinn Fein.

Breandan MacCionnaith has refused to comment on speculation that
one reason for his resignation was a possible compromise over


PSNI Officers Attacked During Further Rioting In Belfast

12/04/2007 - 11:33:49

Police in west Belfast have come under attack again during
another night of sporadic rioting involving teenagers as young as

Petrol bombs, bottles and stones were thrown at PSNI officers
during violence involving youths from the Protestant Springmartin
area and the Catholic New Barnsley estate.

The two sides threw missiles at each other before community
representatives eventually managed to restore calm.

Four people were arrested, but some local residents have accused
the police of standing by and not doing enough to intervene.

The PSNI says it has to make a judgement about whether
intervention would escalate the situation and is appealing to
parents to exercise more control over their children.


Ruane - All-Ireland Co-Operation In Education Is Key

Published: 11 April, 2007

Speaking at the annual ASTI conference in Sligo today, the
incoming Education Minister in the North Caitriona Ruane said
that educational challenges would be most effectively met through
all-Ireland co-operation. She used the example of the Autism
Centre in Middeltown which will shortly begin to provide services
for children across the island as an example of good practice.

Ms Ruane said:

"I firmly believe we can move beyond the divisions of the past
and the traumas that have been suffered, and that together we can
move forward to ensure that every young person in Ireland can
achieve their full potential.

"We have a real opportunity to develop confident young citizens,
able to work together, to create secure and prosperous futures
for themselves and for future generations."

"Ensuring the curriculum is properly focused and delivering good
quality schools, and ensuring that opportunities are kept open
for young people throughout their time in school is essential.

"Too many of our young people do not achieve their full potential
and come out of compulsory education with too few skills and with
significant challenges.

"The exchange of best practice, the development of the
professionalism of teachers and all involved in education,
improved mobility of teachers, are all examples of how we can
practically work together across the island for the good of our
young people.

"The opportunities are exciting, enabling us to pool our
expertise and achieve better outcomes."ENDS


DUP: We Must Approve Ruane Plans

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 11:28]
By Kathryn Torney

Northern Ireland's new Education Minister Caitr¡ona Ruane will
not be able to make "any significant decision whatsoever" if she
fails to find favour with the DUP.

The warning was issued today by Strangford DUP Assembly member
Simon Hamilton and comes just weeks after UUP education spokesman
David McNarry said that Sinn Fein taking the education portfolio
would test the stability of the new Assembly. Mr McNarry said
that it had the potential to rocket the new Executive into a
crisis within weeks.

However, DUP education spokesman Sammy Wilson argued that
safeguards are in place to prevent any "damaging legislation"
from being brought forward by a Sinn Fein Minister.

Mr Hamilton said: "A Sinn Fein Education Minister can dream all
they want about installing a comprehensive education system or
shutting state schools or expanding Irish medium education but
the fact of the matter is any republican Minister, irrespective
of what department they oversee, will not be able to make any
significant decision whatsoever if it fails to find favour with
the DUP.

"The unionist population can be assured that the DUP will not
accept anything that undermines our excellent education system or
puts our children's standard of schooling at risk.

"History shows us that under the approved Belfast Agreement style
of devolution, Ministers could act independently of the Assembly
and totally disregard the views of the people as voiced by their
elected representatives.

"The only reason the DUP had to rescue academic selection at St
Andrews was because the UUP jeopardised it by letting Martin
McGuinness thumb his nose at the Assembly and scrap selection.
Our injection of the fundamentals of democracy, like
accountability, will protect everyone."

The new Education Minister is today due to attend the NASUWT
national conference in Belfast.

c Belfast Telegraph


Paisley plc

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 11:17]

A BBC One documentary tonight looks at the rise of the DUP,
tracing the party's history from its foundation in 1971 up to
that momentous meeting between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams. Here,
producer John Deering reveals just why the party has proved so

When the Democratic Unionist Party met for its annual dinner in
June, last year, it was in a triumphant mood. It was celebrating
a long political journey that has taken it from the margins of
unionist society to its heartland.

During its 35-year existence the DUP has toppled all its unionist
rivals and frustrated every Westminster initiative to create a
power-sharing government for Northern Ireland. It's been a
turbulent, ruthless, controversial campaign ¨ and spectacularly

The Rev Ian Paisley, the only leader the party has ever had, was
able to declare: "How I can sit here today and be the leader of
unionism proves what I was saying from the very first day was the
truth and I have been more than vindicated in my stand. I think I
have come through to the position where I am the personification
and incarnation of what a true unionist is."

And yet, within a few months of the DUP's annual dinner, Ian
Paisley was to take the biggest gamble of his career and lead his
followers in a direction they could never have predicted - into a
power-sharing administration with Sinn Fein, the party they vowed
to smash back in the mid-1980s.

The Rise and Rise of the DUP - tonight, 10.35pm -traces the
party's history from its foundation in 1971 up to the momentous
meeting between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, last month.

The party was launched in the aftermath of an IRA bombing of a
pub on Belfast's Shankill Road, but it's origins stretch back to
the Sixties when Ian Paisley, Moderator of the fundamentalist
Free Presbyterian Church, emerged as the most vociferous critic
of Prime Minister Terence O'Neill's plans for modest civil rights

Paisley stood against O'Neill in his own constituency in the 1969
Stormont General Election and lost ... but very narrowly. O'Neill
was humiliated and it was the real start of Ian Paisley's career.

He launched the DUP with his close political ally, Desmond Boal,
Unionist MP for the Shankill.

They pledged that it would be right wing on the constitution, but
to the left on economic and social policies. It was out to
attract unionists disillusioned with the old unionist

The programme talks to early influential recruits to the party,
like Maurice, (now Lord) Morrow and Jim Allister, and it examines
the crucial role played by the party's deputy leader, Peter

Author and journalist Ed Moloney says: "If you look at the DUP
phenomenon as Paisley plc, then Paisley is the symbol, the person
that everyone recognises as representing the brand, but it is
really Peter Robinson who has built the DUP into the sort of
electoral and political machine it has become."

The documentary examines the party's controversial links, in the
1980s, with loyalist paramilitary groups, like Ulster Resistance
and The Third Force, and talks to an eye-witness of the
'invasion' of the Co Monaghan village of Clontibret, in 1986,
when Peter Robinson joined several hundred loyalists in a protest
about the lack of security along the southern side of the border.

When David Trimble led the Ulster Unionists into a power-sharing
executive in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement it looked as
if Ian Paisley and the DUP had been marginalised for good, but in
reality it was the beginning of the end for the founding party of
the state.

Former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Ken
Bloomfield, says: "Poor old Trimble goes, probably without any
great enthusiasm, for the Good Friday Agreement on the basis of
what he thinks is a bankable assurance from Tony Blair that if
there isn't any disarmament there won't be any people associated
with the armed movement involved in government.

"But there they are in government and they haven't disarmed by
that stage. You can understand what ammunition that gives to Ian
Paisley and his people."

In a series of spectacular election results, from 2001 onwards,
the Democratic Unionist Party has overhauled the Ulster Unionists
to become the biggest party in Northern Ireland politics. Now, it
is about to go into government with Sinn Fein.

The big question is: how will it use its power and influence?

Seamus Mallon, former deputy First Minister, comments: "The jury
is out at this present moment as to whether the capacity is there
within the DUP to take part in real partnership. It is not just a
matter of joining a power-sharing arrangement. It is exercising
real partnership because real partnership requires absolute
equality. Without it, partnership is imbalanced and won't work.
So there's the acid test."

The Rise and Rise of the DUP also examines the links between the
party and the Free Presbyterian Church and takes a wry look at
who'll eventually succeed Ian Paisley as party leader.

At 81, even the 'Doc' can't go on forever. The question of his
successor is a favourite topic of gossip in political circles.

He seems to enjoy the speculation as much as anybody else,
judging by his reaction, at the party's annual dinner, to a
horse-racing sketch by Sean Crummey, creator of the BBC Northern
Ireland series, Folks on the Hill. The leading contenders in the
succession stakes watch, in various states of embarrassment, as
Sean Crummey lines up the runners and riders.

In the programme Ian Paisley admits to more than a passing
interest as to who will succeed him. He says: "It will be
interesting to see who is chosen and it will be a happy time for
the party because times change, old leaders have their day and
they go and that has to happen in the DUP like anywhere else."

But he also has a word of caution for ambitious would-be
successors: "I have plenty of zest and zeal left. It will be a
while before I am worrying about a party meeting to appoint a

The Rise and Rise of the DUP tonight, 10.35pm, BBC One Northern

c Belfast Telegraph


Bill For Assembly To Top œ110m

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 08:56]
By Noel McAdam

The full, final cost of Northern Ireland's suspended Assembly is
set to soar past œ110m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

With the return of devolution less than four weeks away, the
price to the public purse of more than four years of political
stalemate at Stormont is being disclosed.

If other items are added, including grants for party running
costs and salaries of special advisers, the total bill could come
closer to œ120m.

Up until the end of February - 53 months after it was first put
into suspension - the cost of the Assembly was running at

According to new figures provided by the NIO, that total broke
down into œ47.7m for Assembly members' salaries, allowances and
expenses and œ60.4m for "running costs".

But - as the Telegraph revealed - since it was suspended in
October 2002, the total tab for the mothballed institution has
been running at more than œ2m a month.

Once the costs for March and April are added in, with no Assembly
meetings since the deal to restore devolution was struck between
the DUP and Sinn Fein, the total will be around œ112.2m.

In May the Belfast Telegraph disclosed the cost for the silent
Assembly would pass œ100m by the time of the Governments' then-
November deadline.

Over the entire period Assembly members have not been able to
take collective decisions or pass legislation, while their albeit
reduced salaries and allowances continued.

The Belfast Telegraph referred to 'the House of the Rising Sum'
after disclosing that by October of the previous year - three
years after the Assembly went into deep freeze - the cost had
reached œ71m.

Recently released figures also showed, however, that more than
œ2m in running cost grants has been handed to the parties at
Stormont since suspension - on top of the wages and expenses for
each MLA.

The party grant scheme was originally devised to help the elected
representatives "perform their Assembly duties" but after the
collapse of the Stormont Executive, its remit was changes to
assisting the parties to "engage in political discussions about a
return to devolved Government".

The cost, disclosed to the Belfast Telegraph by the Assembly
under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, showed between
suspension and the end of the financial year 2005/06, the grant
allocations had added up to œ1,902,513. The total value of
payments for the current financial year is not available, but is
expected to be œ450,000 - pushing the overall figure beyond

A Belfast Telegraph investigation also revealed the continuing
cost of employing special party advisers since suspension was
around œ1m, pushing the overall total towards œ120m. Seven
ministerial advisers retained taxpayer-funded jobs after
devolution was suspended at a cost between October 2002 and the
end of the last financial year of œ1,065,936.

c Belfast Telegraph


Executive's 'Peace Dividend' Of œ2.8bn

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 09:16]
By Noel McAdam

A œ2.8bn cash bonanza will be available to the new power-sharing
Executive over its first three financial years in office, the
Government has revealed.

The money earmarked for current expenditure will come not just
from Chancellor Gordon Brown's 'peace dividend' package but
through efficiency savings being made in Government departments.

Direct Rule Minister David Hanson also said the initial strategy
on capital investment, given a two-year, œ2bn boost by Chancellor
Gordon Brown, will have to be updated.

But he added any issues which arise - including inflationary
pressures - will be for the Executive to tackle in their own
budget process.

In a letter to former Trade Minister Sir Reg Empey, Mr Hanson
said " significant resources" will be available for deployment in
addition to existing allocations until March of next year.

"On the current expenditure side a minimum of some
œ500m/œ900m/œ1.4bn will be available across the three years,
arising from a combination of the efficiency work initiated by
the Secretary of State, and the Chancellor's package," he said.

"As regards capital investment, the initial investment strategy,
published in December 2005 will fall to be reviewed and updated
by the Executive in the context of the Chancellor's extension of
the period by two years and œ2billion, providing some scope to
deal with any emerging pressures."

The minister's attempted clarification came as fresh doubts
surfaced over the value of the overall Brown package with
negotiations in the run-up to the anticipated start of devolution
from May 8 expected to resume.

The Government has admitted there is an emerging financial
problem - referred to as "unfunded liabilities" - but has not yet
quantified how much may be involved.

Mr Hanson revealed he is already talking to the Treasury about
the possibility of using past departmental 'underspends' to
tackle the shortfall.

Sir Reg said the four main parties, DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and his
own Ulster Unionist representatives were told by officials there
were no unfunded liabilities when they last met the Chancellor on
March 22.

"We have now been told there are outstanding liabilities, in
effect unpaid bills and it puts a dent into the package the
Chancellor is offering," Sir Reg said.

"There may not be a black hole, but they should be able to give
us some general information, or at least some sort of steer about
what kind of liability is involved.

"Until we can get this sorted out we will not know what the net
gain, if any, is from the Chancellor's package.

"It is essential this is sorted out."

A spokesman for the Department of Finance and Personnel - where
DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson is expected to become Minister -
said some financial pressures have emerged.

"There are some emerging pressures, linked to the wide-ranging
reform programme - for example the Review of Public
Administration and rating and water reform - for which no
allocations have been made at present," the spokesman said.

"However, this approach is not unusual, as firm quantification of
the pressures was not possible when the spending plans were set.

"Also, and as has been the case in the past, the End Year
Flexibility mechanism provides an important facility for
addressing such pressures. This involves drawing on unspent
resources from previous years in the context where all unspent
resources remain available to Northern Ireland, and are not
returned to the Treasury."

c Belfast Telegraph


Controversial US Broadcaster To Address Students

12/04/2007 - 07:02:12

One of most controversial and powerful broadcasters in the US
will tonight air his contentious views at Trinity College Dublin.

Bill O'Reilly has gained a hugely-successful reputation as cable
television's leading outspoken conservative hard-man.

Two million viewers tune in to hear his bombastic commentary on
his nightly show airing on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News network,
although his provocative in-your-face style on The O'Reilly
Factor has also earned him no shortage of detractors and critics.

Daire Hickey, president of the Trinity's Philosophical Society,
said the confrontational commentator would be an interesting
guest at their latest debate.

"His views aren't typical in Ireland and often go unheard. He's
the voice of the opposite side of the spectrum. The University
Philosophical Society is glad to host such a guest," he said.

O'Reilly has had high-profile verbal spats with actor George
Clooney in recent years over fund-raising for victims of the 9/11
attacks in the US.

The commentator claimed several of Clooney's films flopped at the
box office because of his openly liberal political views.

The author of four best-selling books, he has also been the
subject of writers claiming to uncover errors and inconsistencies
on his popular show.


How Two From N.Y. Aided Peace In Ireland

By Colin Miner
April 12, 2007

It was raining in Belfast the Monday after St. Patrick's Day, but
the sun was about to shine on the peace process.

Traffic and weather had assured that Brian O'Dwyer, as close
there is to royalty in Irish-American politics in New York, and
Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, were late
arriving at the seat of government in Northern Ireland, Stormont.

There they were scheduled to meet two Protestant leaders, Jeffrey
Donaldson and Peter Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The New Yorkers, who hoped to have a chance to express their
desire for peace in Northern Ireland, expected to hear
discouraging news from Messrs. Donaldson and Robinson.

A deadline was looming for the Unionists and Sinn Fein to reach a
power-sharing agreement or face more British involvement in their
day-to-day activities. It wasn't looking good.

"We fully expected to hear why they weren't ready to join the
government," Mr. O'Dwyer said. "What we certainly were not
expecting was what happened."

At the gate, the officer told them, "Dr. Paisley is waiting to
see you."

Mr. Paisley at 80 is as feared as he was at 60. At 40. The chief
Loyalist, Mr. Paisley has developed a reputation as Dr. No,
refusing for decades even to meet in person with his Catholic

"We didn't know what to expect," Mr. O'Dwyer said. "I told Chris
it should just be the two of us at first. He had never agreed to
meet with a delegation from the United States. When we were
setting up this trip, we didn't even ask to meet with him because
we knew the answer would be no."

Things change.

"The whole situation was a little eerie," Mr. O'Dwyer said.
"There was no one around. The building was officially closed
because it was a bank holiday. They opened up just for us. And we
were led down a quiet hallway to a conference room on the fifth
floor. And there, along with Donaldson and Robinson, was Ian
Paisley. He greeted us warmly with a smile.

"I was shocked. Flabbergasted. Astounded."

To top it off, the Protestants had a spread of tea and sandwiches
waiting for them.

While Paul O'Dwyer - Brian O'Dwyer's near-legendary father - had
always been somewhat ahead of his time in believing that the
Irish-American community had a real responsibility to reach out
to the Protestants, Brian O'Dwyer said he doubts his father would
have foreseen this meeting ever taking place.

"Don't get me wrong. He was the first - and for many years the
only - Irish-American to reach out to the Protestants. But I
don't think he would have anticipated this. I'd like to think he
would be delighted," he said.

For about 15 minutes, the two New Yorkers listened almost in awe
as a person they had both heard many times described as being
among the most hated, spoke quietly, with conciliation in his

"He was charming and eloquent," Mr. O'Dwyer said, still sounding
a little surprised by the experience. "Right away, he gave us
signs that there had been a change, that he was willing to deal.
He spoke of how impressed he'd been by Sinn Fein, acknowledging
that they had made many concessions. And he kept speaking of
'this little country of ours.' All three of them were using the

Mr. O'Dwyer said that while the Protestants made it clear that
they finally were willing to talk, they also made it plain that
they would not be dictated to. It was the issue of being told
what to do that Mr. O'Dwyer thinks may have brought the
Protestants and Catholics together, he said.

"Irish politics is very retail-oriented," Mr. O'Dwyer said. "And
both parties, going door to door, had heard from their people
that the main concerns were no longer things like the
Constitution. It was bread and butter issues like unemployment
and water bills."

Throughout Britain, most residents pay for their water, something
unheard of in Northern Ireland.

"The British had made it clear that if there was no agreement by
Monday, on Tuesday the first water bills would go out," Mr.
O'Dwyer said. "No one really wanted that to happen."

Mr. O'Dwyer said the Protestants also made it clear that
economics is a major issue.

"They see what's going on in the south and recognize they are not
seeing the same prosperity," he said. "We assured them we would
work to help them."

After the meeting, Mr. O'Dwyer and Ms. Quinn informed Sinn Fein
and the Irish and British governments about the meeting.

"There was a lot surprise," he says. "But everyone was
delighted." Five days later, Mr. Paisley and the Sinn Fein
leader, Gerry Adams, sat down for the first time. Two days after
that, an agreement was announced.

"We were used," Mr. O'Dwyer said. "But it was in a good way. We
were used to send a message.


Viewpoint: Inquiry Process Must Be Questioned

[Published: Thursday 12, April 2007 - 10:52]

Revelations that MI5 and the Army have been shredding files which
may be needed in public inquiries into collusion raise enormous
questions about the future of investigations into Northern
Ireland's "dirty war".

There was so much skullduggery and deception involved, to save
lives, that there will always be arguments for preventing the
truth from being known.

Both intelligence services - plus the RUC - ran informers deep
within republican and loyalist paramilitary organisations and
they obviously have a duty to protect them, where necessary. That
explains why, with the first public inquiry into the murder of
LVF leader Billy Wright due next month, they want the return of
documents supplied to the police teams led by Lord Stevens,
former head of the Met, who found much evidence of collusion.

But instead of keeping the files safe - and it is claimed that
during three investigations 9,000 statements were taken and more
than a million pages filed - some of them are being destroyed.
Those that have not been copied will be lost to the public
inquiries, so the investigators are resisting requests and
conserving whatever they can. Already the Prison Service has
admitted that key documents relating to the Wright murder have
been lost or destroyed.

The whole purpose of the Government-ordered inquiries into high-
profile murders on both sides of the border, including the UDA
killing of solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989, was to find out if
collusion, negligence or obstruction of justice was involved. Yet
if allegations by the Stevens inquiry teams are correct, the
intelligence agencies are making sure that vital evidence will be

This would make a mockery of the whole inquiry process, set in
motion by Tony Blair, and already beset by complaints that the
Secretary of State can prevent certain evidence being heard,
under the Inquiries Act. If there is official interference before
the cases are re-opened, the public is entitled to ask what
purpose the inquiries will serve, if only a sanitised version of
the truth can emerge. The Finucane family, which has resisted the
restricted nature of an inquiry, would feel vindicated.

It is all too easy, where informers are involved, for the
authorities to argue that evidence must be withheld, to save
lives and keep intelligence-gathering methods secret. A balance
must be struck between uncovering the truth and protecting
informers - and, in the present relaxed political climate, the
emphasis should be on truth.

Surely it should be possible to find someone with wide experience
in the intelligence field, and an independent mind, to hear the
arguments for and against particular evidence being withheld -
and give a ruling. Otherwise the public may conclude that a
costly inquiry process has been rigged from the start.

c Belfast Telegraph

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