News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

April 26, 2007

Wright Witnesses in Legal Move

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 04/26/07 Wright Witnesses In Legal Move
BN 04/25/07 Loyalists 'Still Profiting From Crime'
BT 04/26/07 It's Time To Deliver, Orde Tells Loyalists
BT 04/26/07 UVF & Red Hand Commando Must Stand Down Convincingly
SF 04/26/07 IMC ‘Not Needed’
SF 04/25/07 Talks Welcomed; UVF Death Threats Must Be Addressed
BB 04/26/07 Paisley And Ahern Set Boyne Date
BN 04/26/07 McGuinness' Brother-In-Law Facing Criminal Charges
BN 04/28/07 SF Refuses To Commit To Any Major Party
BN 04/26/07 Galway Fastest Growing City In Ireland
JN 04/26/07 Piermont Priest To Be Honored By Irish-Unity Group


Wright Witnesses In Legal Move

Five witnesses at the Billy Wright murder inquiry have won a
legal battle for anonymity.

The three government officials and two prison officers won a
judicial review of the inquiry panel's refusal to keep their
identities secret.

The five claimed their lives could be in danger from
paramilitaries if they were forced to give evidence in public.

The judge ordered the inquiry panel to reconsider the five's
request for anonymity and/or screening.


Billy Wright, leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was
murdered in the Maze Prison on 2 December 1997.

Three INLA prisoners were later convicted of the killing.

The inquiry was set up following an investigation by retired
Canadian judge Peter Cory into allegations of collusion by the
prison service.

Lawyers for the five had argued that public exposure could lead
to revenge attacks against prison officers and officials.

Wright had just got into a prison van to be taken to the
visitors' area of the jail, when the INLA prisoners climbed over
the roof of the H-block and into the prison yard.

One opened the van door, singled out the LVF leader and shot him
several times.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/26 11:53:23 GMT


Loyalists 'Still Profiting From Crime'

25/04/2007 - 10:42:44

Senior Ulster Defence Association members profited from crime
just weeks before the British government pledged œ1.2m (?1.76m)
to the loyalist group's plan to wean its communities off
paramilitarism, it emerged today.

The Independent Monitoring Commission's latest study of
paramilitaries in the North revealed the Provisional IRA's
terrorist capability continued to deteriorate between December
and February.

And while the ceasefire watchdog welcomed signals from the UDA
and the Ulster Volunteer Force that they wanted to follow suit,
the commission said they were not moving fast enough and needed
more coherent strategies.

According to the IMC's 15th report, while the UDA did not engage
in terrorist, racial or sectarian violence over the three-month
period under review, senior members were involved in black market
activity in the North.

UDA members also took part in extortion, drug dealing and loan
sharking, although the report noted there were signs that such
activity was beginning to drop off in some areas.

"In the case of the sale of counterfeit and contraband goods,
there were, in our view, indications of the engagement of some
senior members in an organised way," the four-member commission

"There have, however, been some first indications that the level
of drug dealing and extortion may be starting to decline in some

"One case of attempted extortion precipitated a petrol bomb
attack against a public house in Carrickfergus. There have also
been instances of intimidation. Some members have undertaken
robberies, though we think without leadership sanction."

The report said assaults carried out by the organisation tended
to relate to internal dissent or anti-social behaviour and it
noted tensions between members in South East Antrim and the rest
of the UDA.

While it welcomed the group's Conflict Transformation Initiative,
to which the British government pledged œ1.2m (?1.76m) last
month, and its efforts to prevent racial attacks and extortion,
the IMC said this did not amount to an effective strategy against

The commission said: "There have continued to be welcome signs
that the leadership wants to move in a positive direction but so
far the impact of these aspirations has been limited and the pace
has been slow.

"This may reflect a lack of a clear and unified strategic view
and of either the capacity or the will to put a strategy into
effect. But whatever the root cause, we believe the UDA needs to
move faster and more vigorously, including on the question of
decommissioning weapons."

The UVF, the commission said, was not involved in terrorist
activity, was involved in no shootings during the period under
review, and had tried to address the problem of racial crime
carried out by members.

Assaults were carried out during the three months but they
appeared to be linked to internal discipline and anti-social

While the UVF did not carry out robberies or attempt to acquire
weapons, the commission noted: "Individual members were involved
in serious crime, mainly for personal gain, including extortion
and counterfeiting.

"There has, however, been further evidence of a reduction in the
amount of drug dealing by members, in terms of both its scale and
geographical spread."

The UVF leadership, the report observed, was keen to reduce the
size of the organisation and to restructure it.

And while the group ordered its members to refrain from
criminality, the IMC believed its leadership wanted to retain
some residual paramilitary capacity.

The commission said: "As Northern Ireland moves into a new stage
of political development, the time has, in our view, clearly come
for the leadership of the UVF to show courage and imagination and
grasp the nettle.

"If it does not do so soon, including on the question of
decommissioning weapons, then talk of these intentions will
become less and less credible. As with the UDA, early substantial
moves are now essential."

The IMC believes the Loyalist Volunteer Force is now a criminal
concern involved in drug dealing and counterfeit money, using the
proceeds of crime for personal gain.

There was more comfort for the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic
Unionists as they prepared for a new era of power sharing
featuring Sinn Fein, with the IMC revealing the Provisional IRA
(PIRA) continues to wind down its terrorist capability.

Individual PIRA members, the report noted, continued to be
involved in crime such as fuel laundering, smuggling, tax fraud
and money laundering despite instructions from the leadership not
to do so.

But the commission said the general level of involvement in crime
appeared to be on the wane.

The leadership's support for Sinn Fein's decision to get involved
in policing was also significant, the report said, and there were
a number of examples of republican communities co-operating with
the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The IMC warned that hardline dissident republican groups such as
the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann continued to
pose a threat.

The Continuity IRA targeted police in December, senior figures
were involved in crime and the group has been suspected of two
murders since February.

The Real IRA continued its criminal activity and was involved in
a failed mortar bomb attack on a police station in Craigavon in

The INLA also posed a terrorist threat and increased its criminal


It's Time To Deliver, Orde Tells Loyalists

[Published: Thursday 26, April 2007 - 15:09]
By Brian Rowan

One day before his talks with the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist
Party, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde today called on loyalist
paramilitaries to " put up or shut up".

A major statement on the future of the UVF and Red Hand Commando
organisations is expected next week - but there is no suggestion
of early decommissioning. Instead the loyalist paramilitary
leadership will outline its own plans for dealing with its

"Enough for me isn't some half-baked thing," the Chief Constable
told the Telegraph.

And he has now said publicly what other senior police officers
have told this newspaper in recent days.

"Anything other than decommissioning through the proper channels,
which is de Chastelain, will not be good enough."

Asked would he say this directly to the PUP in tomorrow's talks,
he said: " Of course I will."

"There's no point talking. You've got to deliver," Sir Hugh
added, making clear his comments are aimed not just at the UVF
and Red Hand Commando, but also the UDA.

On the timing of the expected major statement from the UVF, the
Chief Constable said, "It's got to be before May 8."

His meeting with the PUP is part of a series of high level talks
? the choreographed build-up to the UVF announcement.

The Chief Constable will be asked about the dissident republican
threat, an issue also on the agenda when the PUP met the
Taoiseach in Dublin yesterday.

Before and after that meeting, the political face of loyalism was
seen on television, but senior figures in the UVF and Red Hand
Commando also attended the private talks.

This period of talking is about creating the context for the
statement from the loyalist leadership to emerge.

The PUP is to meet the Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey
today, with the Orde talks and a meeting with the DUP, including
deputy leader Peter Robinson, scheduled for tomorrow.

The final piece of the pre-statement jigsaw falls into place next
Tuesday, when the Stormont MLA and PUP leader Dawn Purvis will
meet the Secretary of State Peter Hain.

Loyalists are insisting that early decommissioning cannot be
delivered, and want their statement read for what it will say
about the future status of the UVF and RHC and the ending of

c Belfast Telegraph


Analysis: If The UVF And Red Hand Commando Are To Stand Down,
They Must Do So Convincingly

[Published: Wednesday 25, April 2007 - 09:26]
By Brian Rowan

When you flick through the pages of today's report from IMC
you'll not get any of the detail of the UVF's planned endgame.

This latest assessment from the Independent Monitoring Commission
has come a few days too soon, or, I suppose, you could put it
another way - the expected statement from the loyalist
paramilitary leadership has been held back for a few days too

And in that mistiming, the opportunity to tell a story of some
significant progress has been lost.

The UVF and Red Hand Commando are very close to declaring the
future of their organisations - to making what should be a major

But before they do, there is the business of political and
policing meetings to go through.

The Progressive Unionist Party is in Dublin today for a meeting
with the Taoiseach, and other talks with the chief constable, the
Secretary of State, the DUP and the Ulster Unionists are planned.

This is the political build-up before the paramilitary words are

We should see the fine print soon - probably before the May 8
devolution date, which means next week.

The Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey is very clear about when
the paramilitary leadership should speak. "Now is the time," he
told the Belfast Telegraph.

"If ever there was a time, it's now," he continued.

"I can't see any next point. Anything short of a conclusion now
is going to be seen as a day late and a dollar short."

We know there is no imminent prospect of decommissioning - that,
for now, the loyalists intend to deal with their own weapons in
their own way.

But Sir Reg wants to see "a proper process of engagement" with
the de Chastelain decommissioning body, although he said he
"would not be prescriptive in terms of the method used" to
dispose of weapons.

All of this is the stuff of the small print of the loyalist
statement - a statement that should be issued for our reading in
a matter of days.

There will, of course, be a particular focus on the weapons
question, but from inside loyalism, the comment that is made is
judge the statement " in the round".

In other words read it for what it says on the future status of
those organisations and what it says about a whole range of

This is where the wording and the meaning need to be right.

The pencils and pens and the keyboards that put the text of this
statement together, need to find and use words and sentences that
are easily understood.

If it needs a dictionary to understand, then the moment and an
opportunity will be lost.

In today's IMC assessment, there will be information on
continuing activities linked to the UVF and Red Hand Commando.

And when the paramilitary leadership comes to speak, its words
will be read to see what is said by way of ending those

You'll find the roots of this paramilitary debate in a discussion
that began back in 2003, and which is now very close to a
declared outcome.

If the UVF and Red Hand Commando are going away, then that will
be hugely significant.

But they must leave the stage in a way that is credible and can
be believed.

We know, because we have watched the IRA process, that these
things are not easily achieved - that they take time.

So this phase will be judged on whether there is an order to
stand-down the military units, to end all paramilitary and
criminal activity, and to be convincing on the question of

The IRA leadership is still in place managing that organisation
away, and, so, the loyalist leadership will remain in some
structured form.

The UVF and Red Hand statement is being finalised and the ink is

Soon the words will be there for all to read, and for this
initiative to be judged.

c Belfast Telegraph


IMC 'Not Needed'

Published: 25 April, 2007

Sinn Fein Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy has dismissed the IMC
report published today as irrelevant and called on loyalist and
unionist leaders to use their influence bring a permanent end to
loyalist violence.

Mr Murphy said:

"The IMC report published today is irrelevant. The IMC has made
no positive contribution to moving the political process forward.
It has no place in the political process and no constructive
future role to play.

"No one needs an IMC report to know that republicans have
delivered on their commitments and that loyalist organisations
have a considerable distance to travel to deliver on what is
required in terms of a wholehearted commitment to a peaceful
future for everyone.

"Recent revelations about UVF intelligence gathering operation
involving a member of the PSNI Administrative team and a serving
member of the RIR raise questions again about collusion which
must be answered. Such activities must be brought to a permanent
end. Loyalist and unionist leaders must now demonstrate the sort
of positive leadership required to influence organisations
engaged in loyalist violence to permanently cease their

"The recent agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP has created a
new hope and expectation about the future. It is an opportunity
that all must play their part in consolidating and building
upon." ENDS


Talks With PUP Welcome But UVF Death Threats To Nationalists Must
Be Addressed

Published: 25 April, 2007

Sinn Fein Justice spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh TD has welcomed
today's talks between the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and PUP leader
Dawn Purvis and said that he hoped that the recent death threats
from the UVF to well over 100 republicans and nationalists in
North would top the agenda at the talks.

Deputy O Snodiagh said:

"While the talks today between the Taoiseach and the PUP leader
Dawn Purvis are obviously welcome they come against the back drop
of a significant threat from the UVF to over 100 nationalists and
a continuing refusal by that organisation to engage with the IICD
and deal with the issue of arms.

"Over the course of the past 10 days details of a UVF
intelligence gathering operation involving a member of the PSNI
Administrative team and a serving member of the RIR have been
gradually exposed.

"Well over 100 nationalists and republicans including Sinn Fein
members and senior figures in the GAA in South Derry have been
informed of a significant threat to their lives from the UVF.
This is completely unacceptable and is an issue which needs to
top the agenda at today's talks between the Taoiseach and PUP
leader Dawn Purvis.

"All of us clearly want to help loyalist communities to move
forward and play their part in creating a new society on this
island. However this will not happen while unionist paramilitary
gangs heavily involved in drugs, extortion and other criminality
continue operate. These issues cannot be ducked at today's talks
or in the future as we move towards the political institutions
going live on May 8th." ENDS


Paisley And Ahern Set Boyne Date

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley
have agreed a date for their visit to the Battle of the Boyne

The visit, on 11 May, takes place three days after the return of
devolved Government at Stormont.

The Protestant King William defeated Catholic King James at the
County Meath battlefield in 1690.

Mr Ahern invited Mr Paisley to the site during a meeting in
Dublin earlier this month.


The taoiseach said he was delighted that Mr Paisely had accepted
the invitation.

"I look forward to welcoming him and reviewing with him the work
that we are planning for this important place in our shared
history," he said.

"I believe that this site can become a valuable and welcome
expression of the new relationship that we are building on this
island, a relationship that is respectful of its past and all its

Mr Paisley has already said he will present a 300-year-old musket
used in the 1690 battle to the site's visitor centre.

The Protestant Orange Order celebrates William's victory every
year on 12 July.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/26 10:54:12 GMT


McGuinness' Brother-In-Law Facing Criminal Charges

26/04/2007 - 14:18:16

A brother-in-law of the North's deputy first minister in waiting
appeared in court today charged in connection with a cross border
kidnapping and assault.

Marvin Canning, 45, is the brother of Sinn Fein chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness's wife, Bernie.

He appeared in Derry Magistrates' Court facing seven charges
linked to the kidnap and assault of a man and woman who were
snatched from their home at Mullingar, Co Westmeath, earlier this

The victims were found in the early hours of Tuesday morning
lying battered and bleeding in a street in the nationalist
Creggan area of Derry. The man had also been shot in the lower

Canning, of Glendara, Derry, was charged with the false
imprisonment of Brendan Cranston, the kidnap of Mr Cranston and
with causing him grievous bodily harm.

He was further charged with the kidnap of Linda Docherty, falsely
imprisoning and assaulting her and causing her grievous bodily
harm with intent.

He faced a further charge of possessing a firearm with intent.

A detective constable told the court he had arrested, charged and
cautioned the defendant at Strand Road police station last night
and believe he could connect him to the charges.

Questioned by defence solicitor Paddy McDermott, he agreed that
the evidence against Mr Canning was of an identification nature
and that the defendant had denied any connection with the alleged
offences during seven police interviews.

The accused was remanded in custody to reappear at the same court
by a video link on May 24.

A crowd of supporters gathered outside the court building when
Canning was driven to the hearing in the back of a police van.

He turned and gave them a clenched fist salute as he was led into
the court building.

Later Mr McGuinness, who confirmed he was Canning's brother-in-
law, said he unequivocally condemned the abduction and brutal
attack of a man and woman in Derry.

Mr McGuinness said: "Whoever carried out this attack I absolutely
and unequivocally condemn it. Such attacks have no place in our

"Those responsible must be made accountable through the courts."


SF Refuses To Commit To Any Major Party

25/04/2007 - 15:42:53

Sinn Fein has refused to rule in or out the possibility of doing
a deal with Fianna F il following the General Election.

It says it will not commit to one major party in advance of the

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Fein's priorities, its leader in
the D il Caoimhgh¡n O Caol in said his party will see who's
offering the best deal.

"If the circumstances are right, if we have the numbers, if the
configuration opens up the opportunity, if whatever other party
or parties are interested in being involved with Sinn Fein, that
their specific programme - what they're prepared to do - meets
our requirements and our demands, it will be Sinn Fein who will
make that decision and Sinn Fein alone."


Galway Fastest Growing City In Ireland

26/04/2007 - 16:48:40

Galway is the fastest growing city in Ireland, new census figures
showed today.

While its residents struggle on amid a water pollution crisis,
the City of the Tribes is attracting plenty of newcomers with
more than 231,000 now living there.

Galway grew by just under 10% between 2002 and 2006.

Last year, there were 2.19 million people living in Dublin, Cork,
Limerick, Galway and Waterford accounting for 34.2% of the
population - down from 35.5% four years earlier.

According to the first volume of census 2006 released by the
Central Statistics Office, Ireland's population grew by 8.2% to
4,239,848 in the four years from 2002 but less than one fifth of
this growth was in the cities.

Large towns of 10,000 people or more are springing up all over
the country. There are now 34, six more than 2002, including
Mallow, Wicklow, Arklow, Cobh, Middleton, and Ballina.

Twenty-two of them are in Leinster. Swords showed the highest
growth with 6,823 moving to the area while Balbriggan grew by
more than 50% - the highest percentage growth.

Unsurprisingly Dublin has the highest population density, whilst
Co Leitrim still has the most open space with the least amount of
people per square kilometre.

With an election just around the corner, the census figures
showed a wide variation in the make-up of D il constituencies.

In 2006, the population per TD in constituencies ranged from
22,833 in Dun Laoghaire to 30,967 in Dublin West.

Under the Constitution and our proportional representation system
there should be one TD for between 20,000 and 30,000 people in
each constituency.

According to the CSO figures, calls by Independent TDs Catherine
Murphy and Finian McGrath for an additional TD in the area are

They claim 11 of the 43 constituencies breach article 16 of the
constitution that every constituency should have, within reason,
the same ratio of TDs per population.

Other facts the census recorded included the number of villages
with at least 50 occupied households and with a population of
less than 1,500 increased in population by 18.6% in the inter-
censal period.

In the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow the
population of these small villages increased by over one third
while elsewhere in the state the increase in the village
population was one sixth.

The population living in sparsely populated rural areas numbered
1.37 million in 2006 compared with 1.3 million in 2002 (up 5.3%).


Piermont Priest To Be Honored By Irish-Unity Group

By Gerald McKinstry
The Journal News
(Original publication: April 26, 2007)

PIERMONT - When Monsignor John Mulligan was growing up in the
South Bronx in the 1930s and '40s, Irish culture was as much a
part of his experience as was being from New York.

A first-generation American whose parents came from Ireland,
Mulligan fondly remembered songs like "Shall My Soul Pass Through
Old Ireland" and stories that his parents told him. His
experience mirrored that of many in his neighborhood.

"I grew up with Irish culture, music, songs and feis," Mulligan
said Tuesday. "It was a constant relationship to the old country.
I've always gone back to the old homestead."

As pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Piermont for the past
nine years, the 75-year-old Roman Catholic priest doesn't have to
go very far to stay in touch with the homestead or the quest for
peace and a unified country. He's been chaplin for the Rockland
County Ancient Order of Hibernians since he arrived here.

For his work, Mulligan is being honored Saturday by the MacBride
chapter of Irish Northern Aid. The chapter, which includes
Rockland, also will commemorate the lives of a group of
revolutionaries, including Bobby Sands, who died during a hunger
strike in a British prison in Northern Ireland.

Mulligan will be the celebrant of the annual memorial Mass at the
Rockland Irish American Cultural Center in Blauvelt, which will
be followed by a social.

Cy Hughes of Nanuet, vice president of the MacBride chapter, said
the push for peace has come a long way since he first got
involved in the 1960s.

With the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which called for disarmament
and political reform, and last month's agreement to have northern
province's affairs run by both Protestants and Roman Catholics,
Hughes said it was important to continue to recognize what Sands
and the others did.

"We're closer than we've ever come," Hughes said yesterday. "I'm
absolutely pleased with the progress."

Frank Fee, treasurer of the MacBride chapter, said the improved
education system and strong economy are evident in the country
and important for peaceful progress. He said the younger
generation may finally experience what so many have wanted.

For Mulligan, the honor is something his parents would be proud

"It takes me back to my parents," Mulligan said. "I realized
there was a great love of Ireland. I treasure it, mostly because
of them. It gives me an opportunity to go back and thank the Lord
for my vocation and my wonderful life."

Reach Gerald McKinstry at or 845-578-2439.

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?