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April 10, 2007

MI5 & MoD Try to Recover Secret Docs Before Hearings

Rory McAlinden, 18, and Claire Steele, 16, died in the tragedy

News about Ireland & the Irish

GU 04/10/07 MI5 & MoD Try To Recover Documents Before Hearings
BT 04/10/07 Ulster Spells Out What It Demands From Stormont
BT 04/10/07 Garvaghy Spokesman Leaves Sinn Fein
IN 04/10/07 UVF Ready ‘To Stand Down’ Its Members
IN 04/10/07 Little Fuss As Apprentice Boys’ Passes Interface Area
BB 04/10/07 Hundreds At Lake Tragedy Funerals
BT 04/10/07 They Died Together & Now They Will Be Buried Other
IN 04/10/07 Building That Held Collins’s Body ‘To Be Demolished’
BN 04/10/07 Major Tourist Route Closed After Kerry Cliff Collapse


Investigation could reveal hand behind four Ulster murders

MI5 And Mod Try To Recover Secret Documents Before Public

Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
Tuesday April 10, 2007
The Guardian

Over the next 12 months four crucial inquiries are expected to
lift the lid on the extent of security force collusion with
paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. But just weeks before the
first public hearing, the Guardian has learned that both MI5 and
the Ministry of Defence are among government agencies involved in
a desperate race to recover secret documents handed to the
original Stevens inquiry.

Sources within the inquiry team, set up 18 years ago to
investigate collusion by the security forces in Northern Ireland,
say the pressure upon them to return confidential documents is
growing before the inquiry into the murder of the loyalist
terrorist Billy Wright starts on May 30.

The four public inquiries are:

Billy Wright

The hardline leader of the outlawed Loyalist Volunteer Force,
Wright was ambushed by the nationalist Irish National Liberation
Army in the Maze prison on December 27 1997. He was shot three
times by an INLA team led by Christopher "Crip" McWilliams, and
died at the scene.

The killing, within a high security prison where republicans and
loyalists were segregated, raised questions about whether the
authorities colluded with the INLA to have Wright murdered
because he was a danger to the emerging peace process - Wright
had opposed the ceasefire ordered by the Ulster Volunteer Force
in 1994 and formed the breakaway LVF.

Wright's father campaigned for a public inquiry into his son's
murder. The killing was investigated by the collusion inquiry
carried out by the retired Canadian supreme court judge Peter
Cory and it was recommended that the UK government launch an

A public inquiry was announced by the then secretary of state for
Northern Ireland, Paul Murphy, in November 2004, and changed by
Peter Hain, the current secretary of state, into an inquiry to be
held under the Inquiries Act 2005. Its remit is: "To inquire into
the death of Billy Wright with a view to determining whether any
wrongful act or omission by or within the prison authorities or
other state agencies facilitated his death, or whether attempts
were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was
intentional or negligent; and to make recommendations."

Full hearings are due to start in May.

Patrick Finucane

In May 1999 Lord Stevens was asked to reinvestigate the murder of
Patrick Finucane, 39, who was killed in front of his wife and
children on Sunday February 12 1989. Finucane, who worked as a
solicitor in Belfast primarily representing nationalist clients,
was shot 14 times by two masked men who entered his house in the
early evening. The gunmen escaped in a car. The murder was
claimed the next day by the Ulster Freedom Fighters. One of the
firearms used was found to be from a gun cache stolen in 1987
from an Ulster Defence Regiment barracks. By November 1989 the
murder remained unsolved.

In 1990 a journalist, Neil Mulholland, came forward with
information from a man called William Stobie, who claimed to be a
quartermaster for the loyalist terror group the UDA and an agent
of the RUC special branch.

It was established that Stobie had supplied information to the
RUC of a murder being planned. He also gave information after the
killing which never reached the murder team. Stobie was arrested
and charged with the murder following the Stevens investigation,
but the trial collapsed when Mulholland failed to give evidence
because of his mental state. Two weeks later Stobie was shot dead
by the loyalist terror group the Red Hand Defenders.

The Stevens inquiry also reviewed the role of army agent Brian
Nelson. He is said to have passed Finucane's picture to another
person to identify him as a target. Nelson has since died.

Rosemary Nelson

Rosemary Nelson, a solicitor who represented men accused of
terrorist crimes, was murdered as she drove away from her house
in Lurgan on March 15 1999. She had spoken of personal threats.
Allegations of collusion were made within hours of her death. On
the basis of investigations carried out by Peter Cory, it was
recommended there should be a public inquiry.

The terms of reference are to: inquire into the death of Rosemary
Nelson "with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or
omission by or within the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern
Ireland Office, army or other state agency facilitated her death
or obstructed the investigation of it, or whether attempts were
made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional
or negligent". Hearings are due to start in September.

Robert Hamill

Robert Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic, died in hospital after
being attacked by a loyalist mob in Portadown in 1997. Armed
Royal Ulster Constabulary officers were stationed in a Land Rover
near the scene but allegedly failed to intervene. The inquiry
into Hamill's death was announced in November 2004 by Mr Murphy.
He said the terms of reference were to inquire into the death of
Hamill with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or
omission by or within the RUC facilitated his death or obstructed
the investigation of it, or whether attempts were made to do so;
whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent;
whether the investigation of his death was carried out with due
diligence; and to make recommendations.

The inquiry remains adjourned pending a legal battle over whether
RUC officers can give evidence anonymously.


Ulster Spells Out What It Demands From Stormont

[Published: Tuesday 10, April 2007 - 10:53]
By David Gordon

High-profile Northern Ireland organisations have been spelling
out their top priorities for the incoming Assembly and power-
sharing Executive.

With the restoration of devolution less than a month away, the
well-known bodies have highlighted a number of key areas for MLAs
and Ministers to address.

Belfast Telegraph readers, meanwhile, are taking full advantage
of "The People's Petition" to pinpoint what they want from

The long-awaited return of a fully-functioning Assembly is
scheduled for May 8.

Business and trade union leaders are both hoping to see concerted
action on improving the province's economy.

Deirdre Stewart, the CBI's Northern Ireland assistant director,
said: " Everything flows from creating a strong, sustainable and
dynamic economy.

"Success will only be achieved by increasing investment, creating
a strong export performance, improving economic activity rates
and transforming public services."

Peter Bunting from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions told the
Belfast Telegraph: "Creating a dynamic economy requires a lot of
growth in the private sector.

"We also need a lot of up-skilling of the current workforce and
those who are deemed to be economically inactive."

The Consumer Council, meanwhile, is keen to see progress on
public transport.

It is the statutory voice for transport users and wants a new
approach in this policy area.

Chief executive Eleanor Gill said: "While there has been recent
welcome investment in new buses and trains and the introduction
of the Metro services, we have a long way to go if we are to
deliver an integrated, responsive and value-for-money service for
all users which encourages them to get out of the car and stay
out of the car because public transport meets their needs."

Ms Gill also stated: "While Translink will continue to be a major
provider of public transport, we need to connect all transport
providers including private operators and community transport
providers as well as taxis."

Pat Austen, chief executive of National Energy Action, wants the
problem of fuel poverty to be made an important priority in the

She said: "There are still an unacceptably high number of people
who are fuel poor in Northern Ireland and successive direct rule
government strategies have failed to tackle the issue.

"It's time to really get serious about this issue, and the
political parties need to stop seeing this as the sole
responsibility of just one department and start to understand
that fuel poverty isn't as simple as that.

"If we are going to stop people dying from cold related
illnesses, the Executive needs to stop thinking like the direct
rule Ministers and realise that government as a whole needs to
set the tackling of fuel poverty as a cross-departmental
priority, and to go after its eradication in a serious and
sustained fashion."

A nine-strong coalition of green groups has been campaigning for
some time for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in
Northern Ireland:

Lisa Fagan from Friends of the Earth, one of the groups, said:
"Our nine organisations have 100,000 members across Northern
Ireland. These individuals and many others are demanding an
Environmental Protection Agency for the region.

"This is the only part of the UK and Ireland not to have an EPA
and it's no coincidence that ours is the pollution blackspot of
these islands: in February we were warned of huge fines from
Europe for pumping raw sewage into the sea, and illegal dumping
is rarely out of the news."

The Ulster Farmers Union is hopeful that its push to cut red tape
for farmers will be successful under devolution.

UFU President Kenneth Sharkey said: "Reducing the burden of red
tape is a major priority. There are three sides to it - the
volume of it, the cost of it and the unnecessary nature of some
of it.

"To give one example, last year farmers who made minor errors in
applications for the EU Single Farm Payment were penalised to the
tune of œ2.3M by the Department of Agriculture."

Issues that matter: the shape of your Assembly agenda

By Lesley-Ann Henry

Rates hikes, road links and rural planning laws were just a few
of the concerns raised in the first week of the People's

The unique campaign, launched to give Belfast Telegraph readers
an opportunity to state their personal priorities for the new
Executive come May 8 has revealed a wide range of issues to keep
the politicians busy in the months ahead.

Stacks of letters and emails from as far away as Melbourne,
Australia, have highlighted academic selection, the need for more
affordable housing and future investment in Londonderry city
among the public's concerns.

The protection of the elderly's rights and improved policing also
appear to top the public's agenda for any new Assembly.

"I want the Assembly to vigorously uphold the ban on one-off
rural housing, otherwise the countryside will cease to exist and
the whole of Northern Ireland will become a vast Los Angeles-
style suburb" - Liam Lynch, Belfast

"Vital Assembly concentrate on what we can do together - so
shared future and better community relations are key. This needs
to be outworked in education particularly - more sharing and
integration" - Michael, Belfast

"I want the Assembly to be more than a talking shop and implement
practical measures to increase the stock of social housing for
those in genuine need and to help first-time buyers onto the
property ladder without bringing about their financial ruin" -
Nichola, Belfast

"My wife and I would like to see the overpaid MLAs getting their
act together and working for the good of the people in relation
to the following. As in Scotland, getting it passed that elderly
people that have to go into care through no fault of their own,
don't have to sell their homes to pay for the care" - Norman
Campbell, Finaghy

"I want to see an end of the decrimation of the west. Whether it
be roads, closure of services in Tyrone and Altnagelvin, to jobs
and investment" - Diarmaid Elder, Derry

"I want our new Assembly to put back a visible effective police
force on our streets" - Tom McLean, Gilnahirk, Belfast

c Belfast Telegraph


Garvaghy Road residents' leader resigns from Sinn Fein

[Published: Tuesday 10, April 2007 - 10:38]
By Noel McAdam

Senior Sinn Fein official Breandan MacCionnaith has dramatically
resigned from the party, it was confirmed today.

But it is understood Mr MacCionnaith, who had been an adviser to
Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd, is to remain as leader of the
Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition.

The former independent councillor, whose contract with Sinn Fein
is believed to have been due for renewal, was not immediately
available for comment today.

But there was speculation that Mr MacCionnaith may have been at
odds with the party leadership over its recent moves on policing.

It was also reported, however, that his resignation had come
within the last fortnight, long after Sinn Fein's special ard
fheis which agreed to move towards acceptance of the legitimacy
of the police and courts structure if devolution returned.

Recent tentative moves over the flashpoint Portadown parade were
also being mentioned as the party insisted it was up to Mr
MacCionnaith to explain his reasons for quitting if he wished.

A new statement from Portadown District Lodge No. 1 dismissed
reports that the latest attempts to resolve the Garvaghy Road
parade had ended in failure.

Portadown District Master Daryl Hewitt said: "It is certainly not
my understanding. The talks are going very, very slowly but they
haven't stopped.

" In the first instance our talks have never been secret. We are
in regular communication with authorised officers of the Parades
Commission and keep Portadown and County officers briefed on
everything we do.

"We have been offering to get involved in mediation since
October, but to date this offer has not been either accepted or

Mr O'Dowd, who is Sinn Fein's health spokesman and who is to
chair the Public Accounts Committee when devolution is restored,
was also not available for further comment today.

c Belfast Telegraph

Yesterday Sinn Fein Upper Bann assembly member John O'Dowd
confirmed the news of the resignation.

"As far as I am concerned Breandan Mac Cionnaith remains a friend
of mine, he remains a comrade of mine, and he remains a
republican,'' Mr O'Dowd said.

Mr Mac Cionnaith had been political adviser to Mr O'Dowd, who is
Sinn Fein's health spokesman and is to chair the Public Accounts
Committee when devolution is restored.

Earlier yesterday the Calton Unionist group, which runs a website
on unionism and loyalism, claimed Mr Mac Cionnaith had been
unhappy about the political concessions offered by Sinn Fein and
their position on policing.

In the 1990s Mr Mac Cionnaith came to prominence in the Drumcree
dispute between Garvaghy Road residents and the Orange Order.


UVF Ready 'To Stand Down' Its Members

By Barry McCaffrey

Relatives of a Catholic pensioner murdered in one of the worst
atrocities of the Troubles last night said that an expected
statement that the UVF was preparing to stand down would be
"worthless'' without decommissioning.

Robert McClenaghan's 73-year-old grandfather Philip Garry was one
of 15 people killed when the UVF planted a no-warning bomb at
McGurk's Bar in north Belfast on December 4 1971.

The UVF was responsible for nearly 570 murders during the
Troubles, including the notorious Shankill Butchers killings and
the Dublin/Monaghan bombs which killed 33 people in May 1974.

The UVF is preparing to make a significant announcement on its
"future intent'' but the organisation will stop short of
decommissioning any of its weapons.

The expected statement is understood to relate to internal
discussions within the organisation over the last year regarding
its future actions. However, it is claimed the UVF statement will
offer "no suggestion of imminent decommissioning''.

Mr McClenaghan last night insisted that any UVF announcement that
it was standing down would be seen by nationalists as
"worthless'' without the organisation agreeing to decommission
its weapons.

"I welcome any positive move that is going to mean that no-one
else is going to be killed,'' he said.

"But why do the UVF and UDA need to hold on to weapons?

"If they are serious about peace why won't they decommission
their weapons?

"The PIRA has done it, so why can't the loyalists?

"Nationalists will not believe that the UVF and UDA are serious
about peace until they decommission.''

The families of six men murdered in a UVF gun attack in Co Down
in June 1994 have also demanded that the loyalist paramilitary
group decommission.

UVF gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland in Co Down
shortly after 10pm on June 18 1994 as patrons were watching a
World Cup match between Ireland and Italy.

Six men, including 87-year-old pensioner Barney Green, were
killed while five others were seriously wounded.

The UVF ceasefire was called four months later.

Last year the Loughinisland families asked Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan to investigate allegations that the UVF gang were
protected from prosecution because a number of Special Branch
agents were involved in the killings.

"The families believe that recent political events mean there is
now a possibility of real and lasting peace for everyone in this
society,'' their solicitor Niall Murphy said.

"They welcome any move which will help bring an end to violence
but they do not believe this can happen until all weapons are


Little Fuss As Apprentice Boys' Parade Passes Interface Area

By Barry McCaffrey

An Apprentice Boys' parade in Ardoyne in north Belfast passed-off
without incident yesterday morning.

There was a low-key police presence as 65 Apprentice Boys and one
band passed the flashpoint interface shortly before nine o'clock
yesterday morning.

Nationalist residents had earlier signalled that they would not
protest against the parade as a good will gesture.

"It is thanks to hard work done on both sides that the parade
went off without incident," Apprentice Boys spokesman Tommy
Cheevers yesterday said.

"I hope that this can be built upon for the rest of the marching
season so that we can agree to share our roads and our

In south Belfast Apprentice Boys boarded buses at Ormeau Bridge
after being rerouted away from the lower Ormeau Road.

In Castlederg in Co Tyrone an Apprentice Boys parade was kept
away from a nationalist section of the town.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly addressed a republican
commemoration in the New Lodge in north Belfast yesterday

Insisting that republicans were now ready to share power with the
DUP, Mr Kelly said: "The historic engagement we are now involved
in provides a solid basis upon which to move forward into a new
future of politics on this island.

"On May 8 a government jointly led by Martin McGuinness and Ian
Paisley will be set up.

"I am privileged to have been chosen as one of the five
republican ministers involved.''

Insisting that republicans would now be exercising real political
power, he said: "We will be taking decisions which can change
peoples lives for the better.

"We cannot and do not want to do this on our own.

"Republican people on the ground must make their voices heard in
the corridors of power.''


Hundreds At Lake Tragedy Funerals

Hundreds of people are attending the funerals of two teenage
cousins who drowned at the weekend after their canoe capsized on
a County Down lake.

The bodies of Rory McAlinden, 18, and Claire Steele, 16, were
found in Castlewellan Lake by divers on Saturday morning after a
10-hour search.

Members of local sports teams lined the streets as the cortege
wound its way through Castlewellan on Tuesday.

Teenagers formed a guard of honour outside the church.

Inside, Father Sean Cahill spoke of how adventure had turned to
tragedy on the night they died.

He also spoke directly to the young people at the funeral, urging
them to "honour their own lives" more strongly so the tragedy
could have a positive impact.

Best friends

The cousins were described by their brothers as the best of

James Steele and Brian McAlinden said Rory held onto his cousin
"until the end" while they were in the water.

Members of local sports teams have lined the streets in
Castlewellan of the funeral route.

The cousins went missing in the water at Castlewellan Forest Park
at about 0100 BST on Saturday.

A third person in the canoe managed to swim ashore and dial 999.

Friends and relatives mounted a vigil at the lakeside as their
bodies were recovered by a search party.

Laurence Cummings of the Coastguard said the cousins were found
by a local dive team at about 1100 BST on Saturday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/10 11:21:49 GMT


They Died Together And Now They Will Be Buried Beside Each Other

[Published: Tuesday 10, April 2007 - 09:44]
By Emily Moulton

The devastated brother and cousin of the two teenagers who
tragically drowned in a Co Down lake has told of how they died in
each others' arms.

Claire Steele (16) and Rory McAlinden (18) died after their boat
capsized in the lake at Castlewellan Forest Park during the early
hours of Saturday morning.

Their joint funeral will take place this morning in St Malachy's
church in the town.

It is understood the pair were having fun with another friend
when they got into trouble.

Claire, who could not swim, fell overboard into the cold waters
and became distressed.

Rory, her cousin, jumped in after her and tried to save her, but
tragically the pair drowned just 30 feet from land.

Their friend, Patrick Morgan, survived the tragedy and has been
praised for his assistance to the search and rescue teams who
worked frantically on Saturday morning to find the bodies.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Claire's eldest brother,
James, spoke of his family's devastation at losing his sister and

"Claire was just a class girl. She was very down to earth and had
a lot of friends. She was very sporty - a bit of a tomboy at
times - but when she dressed up she was a stunner.

"She loved her football especially GAA. She just followed
everything and loved County Down.

"She was always in a football top and shorts, that was Claire."

James (29) explained that while the family were completely
devastated by the loss, they took comfort from knowing that the
pair died together.

"They did everything together," James said.

"There wasn't anything either of them wouldn't do for each other.

"There were just very, very close, just like brother and sister.

"Our whole family is just devastated. It is really unbelievable
at the moment.

"It is very hard for my Ma and Da. I'm finding it really hard to
come to terms with but at least they were together."

He added: "The divers and the police told us that when they found
them they were embraced together which gives us comfort.

"They died together and now they are going to be buried beside
each other.

James added: "He is a real hero. Rory did everything he could to
save her.

"It's just an unfortunate accident.

"Also my heart goes out to Patrick. He is totally devastated by

"I know that he thinks he should have done more but it was just
an accident.

"There is no blame here."

James added: "I just want to thank everyone in the community over
the past few days.

"Their support and help means a lot to us.

"I really can't thank them enough."

c Belfast Telegraph


Building That Held Collins's Body 'To Be Demolished'

By Valerie Robinson

The Dublin building in which Michael Collins's body was prepared
for his state funeral is to be demolished.

Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell has claimed Spruce House, formerly
the dispensary and mortuary of the former Vincent's Hospital, is
to be knocked down to make way for the

Irish government's decentralisation programme.

Under the programme thousands of civil servants are to be moved
from their city centre offices to new buildings in towns and
cities all over the Republic.

The plan, devised by former finance minister Charlie McCreevy is
designed to help tackle Dublin's soaring population figures.

Spruce House had been used in recent years by the Department of
the Environment to house archaeological artefacts and is also
used by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural

However the building has been earmarked for demolition when civil
servants move to Drogheda under the decentralisation programme.

Ms Mitchell claimed it would be a "tragedy'' to demolish the
building, saying: "The body of Michael Collins was brought from
Cork by sea to Spruce House, where it was prepared for lying in
state in advance of his State funeral. Yet the building does not
have a protection order and its future is now in jeopardy.''

She said the building would be demolished and the land sold to
raise funds for the purchase of new sites needed for

"If a building on Moore Street which was occupied by Easter
Rising leaders can be saved for historical reasons, then there is
even more reason to save Spruce House,'' Ms Mitchell said.


Major Tourist Route Closed After Co Kerry Cliff Collapse

10/04/2007 - 09:08:57

One of Ireland's most popular tourist routes looks set to remain
closed for some time following a dramatic cliff collapse during
the weekend.

Huge cracks have opened up in the Slea Head drive on the Dingle
Peninsula after hundreds of tonnes of rocks and earth fell into
the sea below the road at Cuas na gColzr on Sunday evening.

The route attracts thousands of tourists every year and moves are
now underway to try to prevent the weekend collapse from harming
the local tourist trade.

Kerry County Council has already begun talks to acquire land for
a new road further inland and is also holding a public meeting on
the matter in An Daingean today.

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