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August 22, 2007

McAliskey Was in NI During Bomb

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 08/22/07 McAliskey 'Was In NI During Bomb'
SF 08/22/07 SF Calls For McAliskey Extradition ToBe Dropped
FH 08/22/07 Hunger Strike Commemoration
ND 08/22/07 Loyalist Presence Is Blasted
TE 08/22/07 Michael Collins Was A Peace Icon, Says Puttnam
IN 08/22/07 Opin: Michael Collins Was A Cold-Blooded Killer
IT 08/22/07 Teen (16) Held In NI Murders Inquiry
BT 08/22/07 Robinson Challenges Coalition Critics
BT 08/22/07 Opin: Peter Robinson: Our Brave New World


McAliskey 'Was In NI During Bomb'

Roisin McAliskey was not in Germany at the time of a 1996
IRA bombing of a British army base, her extradition hearing
has been told.

German authorities want to extradite the 35-year-old
daughter of former MP Bernadette McAliskey over the attack
in Osnabruck.

A defence solicitor said the Coalisland woman was working
in NI at the time.

Ms McAliskey was arrested at her home at Coalisland, County
Tyrone, in May and is currently out on bail.

It is the second time that German authorities have sought
her extradition.

The first bid was abandoned in 2000 when the Crown
Prosecution Service in England ruled she had no case to

Lawyers for the mother of two will try to get the latest
application dismissed on the grounds that there has been an
abuse of process.

Judge Tom Burgess gave defence lawyers and those
representing the Crown, acting for the German authorities,
until 5 September to exchange statements of evidence.

He provisionally fixed the extradition hearing for 23

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/22 12:38:56 GMT


Sinn Fein Re-Iterates Call For McAliskey Extradition To Be

Published: 22 August, 2007

Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness has re-iterated
the call for the German Authorities to drop their
extradition proceedings against Tyrone woman Roisin

Speaking today's hearing Mr McGuinness said:

"Over ten years ago these matters had a more than adequate
hearing in a succession of British Courts and seven years
ago the British Crown Prosecution Service ruled that Roisin
McAliskey had no case to answer.

"Roisin is the mother of two young children and she has
lived in Ireland since her release from prison in England
the last time that German authorities attempted to have her
extradited. She has always maintained her innocence.

"Sinn Fein have been in contact with both the British and
German authorities. This extradition attempt should not
have proceeded this far and the case should be dismissed.
Sinn Fein fully supports Roisin's campaign for justice."


Hunger Strike Commemoration

The 26th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten
men died in Long Kesh will be marked in Bundoran this
Saturday, 25th August, starting at 3.00pm.

The ten who died, in order of death were - Bobby Sands, MP
for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, Francis Hughes, Raymond
McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin
Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Micky Devine.

An interesting booklet, 'The Final Salute', published by
the organisers of the Bundoran march and rally, Republican
Sinn Fein refers to, 'Nor Meekly Serve My Time' in which
one fellow prisoner records on 3rd December, 1978, the
brutality meted out to Martin Hurson (he died on July 13th,

'Martin was dragged from the cell by the hair and the sound
of boots and fists thudding into him could be clearly
heard. The screws (prison warders) dragged him to see a
doctor who was nicknamed 'Mengele' by the blanketmen'.

Joe O'Neill, a member of Saturday's organising committee,
noted that Sinn Fein wanted nothing more to do with the
hunger strikers, apart from the previous week's annual
Hunger Strike rally in West Belfast, which centred on the
theme of State collusion.

"(Martin) McGuinness came out and said the (Sinn Fein)
wanted no paramilitaries and no paramilitary organisations.
Those ten men weren't paramilitaries. They were freedom

He explained that, each year, about eight of the ten
bereaved families attended the Bundoran event and that, on
a few occasions, all ten families were represented.

This year, Bob Loughman will represent the Emerald Society
New York Police Band (the band itself were there for last
year's 25th anniversary) and he will be one of the speakers
along with Cathleen Knowles McGurk and Ruairi White, Newry.

This year's honouree will be Don Hurley of the Emerald
Society Police Band and, among the visiting bands will be
those from Lurgan, Camlough and Derry City together with a
piper from the Glens of Antrim.


Loyalist Presence Is Blasted

A SINN Fein councillor has said that UDA and UPRG members
who joined onlookers at the Ancient Order of Hibernians
march in Kilkeel should instead be encouraging the removal
of what he termed sectarian insignia in the town.

Mick Murphy was commenting after UDA leader Jackie McDonald
and Colin Halliday of the UPRG observed Wednesday's annual

Mr Halliday told the Democrat that the pair travelled to
Kilkeel at the invitation of local members of the
Protestant Interface Network to watch the parade and, in
his words, to see how it went.

"Eighty per cent of it was okay and the 20 per cent that
wasn't was largely down to alcohol," he said. "There were
some drunks, stragglers on the parade, who spat at us or
shouted sectarian abuse at us. One guy who was very drunk
shouted at us that if he had a gun, he'd shoot us.

"We didn't reply, you're talking about someone who could
hardly walk because he was so unsteady on his feet. We were
happy enough with what we saw."

However, Mr Halliday claimed that some bands breached
Parades Commission restrictions through the display of
tricolours and by playing for longer than permitted.
Responding to Mr Halliday's comments, councillor Murphy
admitted that he was surprised to learn of the presence of
the two Belfast loyalists in Kilkeel.

"This is something which has been going on for about 20
years, it's not even really a parade, it's bands walking in
a local town before getting on a bus and heading to
Warrenpoint," he said.

"I've watched it for a number of years and the only trouble
has come from some people opposed to it." The Sinn Fein
representative said that the UDA should not be "trying to
stir up feelings in the area", adding that community
relations have improved in Kilkeel over recent years.

"If the UDA want to do anything, they should encourage
people to take down the sectarian insignia that flies in
Kilkeel the whole year round and try and make this a happy
place for people of all allegiances," he insisted.

While a personal commitment prevented Mr Murphy from
attending this year's parade, he told the Democrat that had
he done so, he would have challenged Mr McDonald and Mr
Halliday and asked them to justify their presence in

On behalf of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Newry
spokesman Gerry Lennon stated that he was confident that
the "AOH part of the parade" would have passed Mr McDonald
and Mr Halliday without comment. Any trouble, he said,
would be down to an "ignorant element" who do not
appreciate what the AOH stands for.


Michael Collins Was A Peace Icon, Says Puttnam

By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:20am BST 22/08/2007

Lord Puttnam, the Labour peer and Oscar-winning film-maker,
has stirred up controversy by suggesting Michael Collins,
the violent Irish patriot, was a peace icon.

Lord Putnam has caused controversy by comparing Michael
Collins to Mandela and Gandhi

His remarks drew an irate response from those who view
Collins as a cold-blooded killer and contest the romantic
republican view of him as a man who helped liberate Ireland
from British oppression.

Lord Puttnam was speaking at a gathering held to mark the
85th anniversary of the rebel's death in an ambush during
the Irish civil war at B‚al na mBlath, Co Cork.
The 66-year-old said: "Ireland was gifted a figure to rank
alongside other 20th century leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi
and Nelson Mandela - men who, having freed their own people
from the shackles of oppression, became icons for peace and
reconciliation everywhere."

The Chariots of Fire producer's speech marked the first
time that a British parliamentarian had addressed the
annual Collins commemoration in west Cork. It was supposed
to be a sign of improved Anglo-Irish relations.

advertisementHis assessment of the IRA leader's life
angered those who believe that Collins's creation of a hit
squad to murder British agents in 1920 set a violent
precedent that acted as a catalyst for the subsequent riots
and killings that have plagued Ireland's history.

Collins waged a guerrilla war against the British in the
aftermath of the Easter Rising in 1916.

Kevin Myers, one of Ireland's leading commentators, said:
"Let me remind you of the truth about Michael Collins.

"It was he who, with his murders of the men of the G
Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police [the British
intelligence system], introduced the concept of a campaign
of assassination in support of a political cause."

Mr Myers added: "He injected a toxin into Irish life. Bad
as this was in southern Ireland, it had catastrophic
consequences in the North."

Writing in the Irish Independent, Mr Myers also argued that
after he played a key role in negotiating the Anglo-Irish
treaty that led to the partition of Ireland, Collins
started a war against Northern Ireland.

Michael Collins waged a guerrilla war against the British
in 1916

According to Mr Myers, Collins equipped the IRA with guns
that had been supplied by the British for the self-defence
of the new Irish Free State Army after he pledged that the
arms would not be used against the newly created Northern

Collins was accused of promoting the "cult of murder" by Mr
Myers, who gave examples of police officers on both sides
of the border who were murdered by the IRA.

"So to call Collins an 'icon for peace and reconciliation'
is not just idiotic, but is to indulge in the depraved
rhetoric of republicanism," Mr Myers added.

Mythology has grown up around Collins and many biographies
have been written about his life.

He has also been the subject of documentaries and films,
most notably Neil Jordan's 1996 film Michael Collins
starring Liam Neeson.

Lord Puttnam, who lives in west Cork, said that he was
particularly proud to commission Mr Jordan to write the
original screenplay for the movie.

Collins biography.

Oct 1890 - born Clonakilty, Co Cork

Aged 15 - moves to London

1906 - joins British Post Office.

1916 - imprisoned after fighting with rebels in Easter

1917 - rises to Sinn Fein executive and is organiser of
Irish Volunteers.

1920 - forms assassination squad known as the Twelve
Apostles to wipe out British Agents. Helps form the IRA's
flying columns during War of Independence.

1921 - Key figure in the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish
Treaty with Lloyd-George that led to the creation of the
Irish Free State and Northern Ireland.

Aug 1922 - killed in an ambush at Bael na mBlath, Co Cork,
during the Irish Civil War between the anti-treaty IRA and
Collins's Free State troops.


Opin: To Say Michael Collins Was A Peacemaker Is Humbug: He
Was A Cold-Blooded Killer

By Kevin Myers
Tuesday August 21 2007

Michael Collins, stamp-collector; Michael Collins, composer
of string quartets; Michael Collins, basket-weaver; Michael
Collins, pacifist; Michael Collins, lace-maker; Michael
Collins, teetotal Buddhist monk; Michael Collins, flower-

At this time of year we're used to an entire gallery of
ludicrously fictional Michael Collins being mellifluously
wafted out of the Bael na mBlath clay by some Irish voice
or other, so I suppose there's no reason why some tame
Englishman like Lord David Puttnam shouldn't have been
invited to add to the heap of poppycock about the most
fictionalised man in Irish history.

And naturally, he didn't disappoint, labelling Michael
Collins "an icon for peace and reconciliation" and an
example of "how people ought to behave in the service of
their country".

Well, as it happens, at the time of his death, this "icon
of peace and reconciliation" had already started a war
against the Northern state, which, in the Treaty of the
previous year, he had already agreed should come into

And with what did he equip the IRA units he unleashed on
the North?
Why, the very guns supplied by the British for the self-
defence of the new Free State Army, which he had given his
word of honour would not be allowed to be used against the
Northern state. To "refresh" your memories -- which
probably have been misinformed by a criminally delinquent
educational system, and by a general social consensus which
prefers the annual farrago of falsehoods of the flowery
meadow to the truth of the school of hard fact -- let me
remind you of the truth about Michael Collins.

It was he who, with his murders of the men of the G
Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, introduced the
concept of a campaign of assassination in support of a
political cause: in doing so, he injected a toxin into
Irish life that has never left it.

Bad as this was in southern Ireland, it had perfectly
catastrophic consequences in the North.

After he organised the murder of DI Swanzy in Lisburn,
massive rioting followed there and in Belfast, in which 22
people were killed, and almost all Catholic businesses in
Lisburn destroyed.

The murderous chaos moved the Northern authorities to enrol
a special constabulary, the Ulster Special Constabulary
(USC), to restore order.

Contrary to republican myth ever since, this was not
intended to be all-Protestant.

Some Catholics joined, but after one of their number,
Special Constable McCullough was shot by the IRA, most

Collins's attitude to Northern Unionists was perhaps best
exemplified by events in February 1922, when he authorised
the kidnap of 100 Northern Protestants by cross-Border IRA

The raiders actually managed to abduct just 42 men from
their homes, and these men were kept as hostages in IRA
hide-outs in the Free State, incredibly, with the assent of
Michael Collins, the leader of the Provisional Government.

Collins then authorised an intensified assault on the USC.

A train containing mostly unarmed special constables en
route for Enniskillen was ambushed at Clones and four
constables killed, with a dozen others captured.

The consequences were entirely predictable: riots in
Belfast in which over 30 people, most of them Catholic,
were killed.

That, however, did not slake Collins's appetite for blood,
for he then ordered a further systematic assault on USC

Between March 10 and June 1922, and on Collins's general
orders, 38 Northern police officers were killed.

Some of them -- such Samuel Laird and George Chittick of
Trillick, Co Tyrone -- were assassinated in their homes.
Two others, Sergeant Patrick Joseph Early, a Catholic from
Roscommon, and his colleague, Special Constable James
Harper, were calculatedly lured to their deaths in South
Armagh by IRA men wearing uniforms taken from the Clones

In Garrison, Co Fermanagh, Special Constable James Plumb
was killed in an ambush and his body seized.

What followed had nothing to do with Collins's orders, but
it is a salutary reminder of the consequences of a
generalised authorisation to commit murder. Kiltyclogher
IRA men lined up to beat the body into an unrecognisable
pulp with rifle butts.

The return of Constable Plumb's shattered cadaver to his
home off the Albertbridge Road in Belfast must have done
wonders for community relations.

Now admittedly, Collins was now no longer in control of the
Northern IRA, but he had equipped and formally unleashed
it, with catastrophic consequences for all concerned.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the cult of murder, which Collins had
done so much to promote, was now reaching its diseased

In Galway, two middle-aged RIC sergeants, Tobias Gibbons,
from Mayo, and John Gilmartin, from Leitrim, who were
gravely ill patients in St Brigid's Hospital, were shot
dead in their sick-beds by the IRA.

The campaign against the Northern Ireland security forces
was ended, not by Collins's orders, but effectively by the
Civil War, which divided the Northern IRA.

So to call Collins an "icon for peace and reconciliation"
is not just idiotic, but is to indulge in the depraved
rhetoric of Irish republicanism.

This invariably sees "who" as "whom": perpetrators are
victims, and unrepentant, jovial killers like Collins are
peacemakers: thus the annual Bael na mBlath blather.


Teen (16) Held In NI Murders Inquiry

A teenager was arrested today in a double-murder
investigation linked to dissident republicans in Northern

The youth (16) was detained in west Belfast by detectives
investigating the murders early this year.

Edward Burns (36) and Joseph Jones (38), were found dead
hours apart in different areas of Belfast in March.

Burns, from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, was found
shot in the head in a car park off the Falls Road. Jones,
from Poleglass on the outskirts of west Belfast, was found
battered to death in the Ardoyne.

Police recovered a spade that they believe was used in the

The killings were believed by police to be the result of
heightened tensions within splinter republican

A number of people have been arrested, but no charges have
been made.


Robinson Challenges Coalition Critics

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Noel McAdam

Grammar schools would have been abolished and the number of
councils reduced to seven against the wishes of the
majority of parties had the DUP failed to join Sinn Fein in
a coalition government, Finance Minister Peter Robinson
insisted today.

In an article for today's Belfast Telegraph, the DUP deputy
leader moved to challenge critics of his party's decision
to share power with Sinn Fein.

He argued that the continuation of Direct Rule would not
have been in the interests of unionism.

It would have meant Sinn Fein's preferred model of seven
super councils being implemented and the abolition of
successful grammar schools, he said.

The Direct Rule administration would also have pursued an
all-Ireland agenda and imposed an Irish language act, he

Acknowledging the reservations and concerns of unionists
who oppose government with Sinn Fein, Mr Robinson insisted
his party will continue to press for changes to the way
Stormont is run.

He said: "I am under no illusions about the past activities
of many of those who are in the Assembly today and I know
that they are programmed to act according to republican

But he argued that pushing republicans to end violence and
criminality and give support to the police had "tipped the

While people could carp and complain, the process also
included sufficient safeguards to control any potential

The East Belfast MP said his party intends to formulate
proposals to continue to keep pressure on republicans "to
fulfil all the requirements of peace and democracy" and
develop programmes to assist the innocent victims of

He said he believed the new Executive is committed to the
goal of making Northern Ireland a better place for
everyone, while the Sinn Fein notion of a united Ireland by
2016 is rightly regarded as a "pipe dream".

Republicans might hanker after and indulge in the "make-
believe" of a united Ireland "but few in private could
believe it likely in their lifetimes", Mr Robinson added.

But challenging critics including supporters of his party,
he said those who offer "no attainable alternative route to
stability" had to be faced down rather than placated.


Opin: Peter Robinson: Our Brave New World

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

He may be finance minister in our new coalition government,
but he's also DUP deputy leader. Here, Peter Robinson talks
about working with republicans

After only 100 days of devolution it may be too soon to
make a judgment on the performance of the new Executive,
but we can, with certainty, say that the prospects for the
future of Northern Ireland are better today than they have
been for decades and unionism is at its strongest in over a

Few could dispute that Northern Ireland is now a much
better place in which to live than was the case just a few
years ago and with a more settled and stable political
environment we can start to realise the potential that has
been held back by terrorism and political instability for
the last 40 years.

Unionism has been strengthened. After 40 years of terrorism
our constitutional position is more secure than ever. This
is not to claim that there is nothing more to accomplish -
there is still unfinished business but we move forward from
a strong position.


The last census revealed that the demographic threat to the
future of Northern Ireland has disappeared and with
nationalists and republicans in a local Executive there is
widespread support across the community for the
institutions of Government. Perhaps at no time since the
creation of Northern Ireland has there been more security
about our future. To maintain that position all parties
will have to keep their commitments and the DUP will keep
their feet to the fire.

The Sinn Fein notion of a united Ireland by 2016 is rightly
now regarded as a pipe-dream. Republicans when gathered
together may still hanker after and indulge in the make-
believe of achieving a united Ireland but few in private
could believe it likely in their lifetimes.

Indeed only unionist division and carelessness could feed
their craving. It was the DUP who succeeded in placing a
veto on any process that can lead in that direction.

While nationalists can - no matter how mindless or futile -
yearn and argue for a united Ireland, the real challenge
for all of us is to make Northern Ireland a better place
for everyone who lives here and I believe that the new
Executive is committed to this goal.

Getting to where we are today has not been easy for any of
us. Unionists have had to face up to the undesirable
situation of having to sit in an Executive with Sinn Fein,
but more significantly republicans have had to settle for
helping to administer Northern Ireland within the UK and so
much more.

The return of devolution did not come quickly but what we
have now is stronger because we waited to make sure the
conditions were right and the IRA had disarmed and given up
all of its criminal and paramilitary activity. Who today
believes that anyone would tolerate a return to violence or
conflict by the IRA? Greater normality is a sign of victory
and not of defeat.

Because of this there has never been a better prospect that
devolution is stable and will last. This stability provides
the most secure foundations for investment in the province
and for lasting economic growth. There are few places in
Europe today with greater potential than Northern Ireland.

But no one should pretend that devolution is a panacea to
all of our problems. Difficult decisions still have to be
taken but it must be better that those decisions are taken
by those who are locally accountable.

The form of devolution we have at Stormont is far from
perfect and we will continue to press for changes to make
Northern Ireland a more normal democracy but it is still
far more preferable than having no meaningful say in how we
are governed.


We now have an Assembly and Executive with a unionist
majority. The dominant North South agenda accepted and
operated by the UUP has been curtailed and balanced by a
growing East West relationship that encourages our proper
and traditional link to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Moreover, while power sharing means that there is no
majority rule, through our negotiations last year we now
have the ability to veto any significant decisions we do
not support.

I genuinely understand the reservations and concerns of
those unionists who opposed entering an Executive with Sinn
Fein, but pushing republicans to end violence and
criminality and give support to the police tipped the
balance, particularly as we succeeded in putting controls
in place to protect the unionist community from
unaccountable decision-taking, both within the Executive
and on a North South basis. We succeeded where others

Of course, people can carp, grumble and complain that
perfection had not been achieved. Again my judgment was
that we had surrounded the process with sufficient
safeguards to control any potential abuse, that moving into
the Executive could provide the momentum for further
progress. In addition, what future was on offer for
Northern Ireland in general and unionism in particular by
the continuation of Direct Rule?


Had the DUP not secured devolved government, the Direct
Rule administration would have proceeded with an all-
Ireland agenda and also imposed an Irish Language Act. The
Sinn Fein-supported model for local government would have
proceeded. Our successful grammar schools, which have
contributed to the best results in the UK again this year,
would have been abolished. Does any unionist really trust a
Labour Government to take decisions that are in unionist

The reality is that in recent times, no party in Government
at Westminster has acted in the interests of unionism. What
kind of strategy is based on the hope that once in every 30
years there is a hung Parliament in which for a few years
unionists might have some influence?

Many people were concerned with Plan B and a greater role
for Dublin in the affairs of Northern Ireland and
undoubtedly over time that would have insidiously grown,
but in reality even the continuation of Direct Rule was not
in the interests of unionism. For decades governments have
bent over backwards to meet the needs of Sinn Fein.

While Tony Blair was prepared to concede to Sinn Fein, with
devolution we as unionists have it in our power to block
the republican agenda. Fortunately now it is unionists
rather than the Government that Sinn Fein has to deal with.

We must never forget the past and those who suffered
throughout the Troubles. We must resist republican
revisionism. Republicans, through selective inquiries and
so-called truth marches, seek to imply that others were the
villains and attempt to airbrush their own murderous past.
The history of the last 40 years must not be rewritten.

Throughout the negotiating process we sought and received
assurances from the government that it would continue
strenuously to track and recover terrorist criminal assets
and that the police would, without fear or favour,
persistently seek convictions in all unresolved cases
involving paramilitary activity no matter what position
such a person now holds or the political consequences. No
one can be above the law.

I am under no illusions about the past activities of many
of those who are in the Assembly today and I know that they
are programmed to act according to republican ideology.


However, in every decision we take we are conscious to
ensure it will be consistent with our unionist agenda. The
Press might obsess about photographs of the First and
Deputy First Minister but the hard work of protecting the
interests of the unionist community is the critical task
being undertaken by the DUP in the Executive, the Assembly
and its committees and even out of the range of the cameras
day and daily by our team.

In the months ahead we will formulate proposals to:

öachieve economic growth and improve the living standards
of people here;

öfurther develop and improve the Assembly, its structures
and other institutions;

öformulate programmes to recognise and assist the innocent
victims of terrorism;

öcontinue to keep pressure on republicans to fulfil all the
requirements of peace and democracy;

ösafeguard and strengthen the unionist position;

ökeep unionism in prime position and the driving force in
local politics

Northern Ireland is stronger and while the system we are
required to operate throws us into government with those we
would not choose, we are well placed to control any
excesses and our people have a better future because of the
improved stability that has been achieved. Those who want
to go back to the conflict and instability of the past and
who offer no attainable alternative route to stability must
be faced down and not placated.

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