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August 19, 2007

Nelson Report Critical of RUC Over Threats

News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 08/19/07 Nelson Report Critical Of RUC Over Threats
SF 08/19/07 Catholic Move Out As Loyalists Take Over Rasharkin
BB 08/18/07 UDA Guns Ultimatum 'Not Debated'
IT 08/19/07 DUP MP To Name Sinn Féin 'Spy'
II 08/19/07 Opin: Silent As The Grave While Killers Escape
BB 08/19/07 Aer Lingus Intervention Ruled Out
BN 08/19/07 Government Split On Shannon-Heathrow Decision
RT 08/19/07 Puttnam Delivers Collins Oration


Nelson Report Critical Of RUC Over Threats

19 August 2007 By Colm Heatley in Belfast

A Police Ombudsman report on the murder of human rights lawyer
Rosemary Nelson is expected to be highly critical of the RUC's
investigation into death threats made against her by police

The Sunday Business Post understands Nelson was offered
protection in the months before her murder under the ''key
persons security scheme'', but she refused because she didn't
trust the RUC with her personal security.

Before Ms Nelson was murdered, by a booby trap bomb under her car
on March 15, 1999, outside her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh, she had
made complaints that RUC officers had threatened her life.

She named a number of officers, who she said had made threats
against her directly, and through a number of clients she

The Ombudsman's report is expected to criticise the RUC
investigation into these death threats, which it believes was not
carried out effectively, or with serious intent, and was met with
resistance by some RUC officers. Nelson's murder is suspected of
being the result of collusion between security force members and

In 2003, the officially sanctioned, Cory Report, recommended her
murder be made the subject of a public inquiry.

The inquiry is due to start in October, but it has been delayed
three times. One of the officers who made death threats against
Nelson is a serving member of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI) and has since been promoted.

The Ombudsman's report will be made public by the end of the

Eunan Magee, Nelson's brother, said: ''I don't think there is
anyone who doesn't think that collusion took place in Rosemary's
murder. We hope this report will shed some light on the police
and their actions, and that the public inquiry will be put on a
more secure footing. There has already been a number of delays
surrounding the case, all we want is to get to the truth of who
murdered Rosemary."

In 1998 the UN special rapporteur, Param Cumaraswamy, wrote to
the British government expressing his concerns for Nelson's

The Cory Report said it appeared the RUC Chief Constable, Ronnie
Flanagan, was hostile to the UN report. Nelson's murder is
regarded as one of the most controversial of the Troubles.


Catholic Residents Move Out As Loyalists Take Over Rasharkin For

Published: 17 August, 2007

The Parades Commission has agreed to allow over 1,000 loyalists
to assemble in the nationalist village of Rasharkin tonight which
will result in many Catholic families being forced to leave their
homes for the evening. The Parades Commission has put no
restrictions on the parade which has been passed to include 40
bands and well over 1,000 loyalist supporters.

This year many residents are again being forced to leave their
homes, especially in the wake of some of the intimidation that
occurred in the village last year.

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Daith¡ McKay said this morning:

"This is a totally unacceptable situation. The violent actions of
loyalists at this parade in the past three years, including an
assault on a Catholic woman, the burning of tricolours on the
street and a litany of sectarian incidents have clearly been
ignored to the amazement of local residents.

"The Parades Commission has decided not to put in place any
legally binding code of conduct which would have meant that
loyalists taking part in this parade could be brought to book for
sectarian behaviour and intimidation. It is clear that loyalist
paramilitaries are involved, indeed some of the bands are quite
open about their connections with both the UDA and UVF.

"People here are disgusted that the Parades Commission has
refused to view evidence of how the Pride of The Maine band broke
the law on numerous occasions at a parade in Rasharkin last week,
and that there will be no restrictions or deterrents to stop this
band coming through the village and doing the same thing again

"There is no doubt that this Parades Commission decision has not
taken into account the right of residents to live free from
sectarian harassment and the question has to be asked why
Rasharkin is being treated differently by the Parades Commission
than other areas in the north. It is bizarre that the Parades
Commission's advice and code of conduct has been broken by parade
participants for the past three consecutive years but they still
refuse to do anything about it." ENDS


UDA Guns Ultimatum 'Not Debated'

The Stormont Executive refused to discuss government funding for
a loyalist project following UDA violence, a minister has said.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has given the UDA 60
days to begin decommissioning or she is to cut funding for a
loyalist initiative.

However, she said that before making her decision, she had wanted
to discuss the matter with her colleagues.

But she told the BBC's Inside Politics programme her request was

"This issue was never discussed at the executive," she said.

"I have written to my executive colleagues and they quite clearly
see it as an issue for the minister for social development.

"I understand that the minister for agriculture was on this
programme last week, where she clearly articulated that it was a
matter for the minister for social development."

She told the same programme, there would be no fudge on the
decommissioning issue and it had to be verified by the arms body.

In March, the Northern Ireland Office pledged more than œ1m to
the Conflict Transformation Initiative (CTI) project involving
the Ulster Political Research Group - which gives political
analysis to the UDA.

The project aims to encourage redevelopment in loyalist

On 10 August, Ms Ritchie said she would not keep supporting the
project without clear decommissioning evidence and reduced

Recent violence in Carrickfergus and Bangor was linked to the

The minister said the actions were a "clear breach" of the basis
on which funding was awarded, and said it was "the last chance
saloon" for the UDA.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/18 08:24:34 GMT


DUP MP To Name Sinn Fein 'Spy'

A DUP MP who is the relative of a former police officer murdered
by the IRA in 1979, is planning to name a senior Sinn Fein figure
in Parliament as a security force spy who conspired in the murder
of his relative, according to the Democratic Unionist party

MP David Simpson said he would use parliamentary privilege to
name the alleged spy, a move which could destabilise relations in
the north's power-sharing executive.

The politician under suspicion is well known and Mr Simpson added
that his intervention would not come before the autumn when the
Assembly will have returned after the summer break.

"It will be October time before we get to the nitty-gritty of it.
At this moment in time we are keeping our powder dry," he said.

The murder victim in the case referred to by the DUP is Frederick
Lutton, 40, a former part-time member of the Royal Ulster
Constabulary reserve, shot dead on May 1 1979, in County Tyrone.

Mr Lutton was a caretaker for the National Trust, killed as he
left his car to lock the gates of its premises in Moy. He was a
cousin of Mr Simpson.

The partnership between Sinn Fein and the Reverend Iain Paisley's
DUP has worked well since the May restoration of devolved

The last time the Assembly was suspended, in October 2002,
followed the exposure of Sinn Fein official Denis Donaldson, 56,
as a police agent after detectives arrested him for alleged
intelligence-gathering at Stormont. He was later shot dead in
County Donegal.


Opin: Silent As The Grave While Killers Escape

Sunday August 19 2007

If there's one thing that can be said about the brutal murder of
a 23-year-old man in Sligo in the early hours of Monday morning,
it is that plenty of people know who did it.

Champion boxer Tom Ward Jnr died of head injuries from an axe
after being attacked outside his parents' home in Joe McDonnell
Drive by at least four masked men who then drove away in a car.

Those men have friends and family who will, to put it mildly,
have their suspicions that the men next to them have committed
murder of a particularly brutal kind.

That no one has yet come forward and shared what they know with
the police says a lot about the matter-of-fact acceptance of
violence which still clings on in many parts of our supposedly
shiny and progressive New Ireland, especially when, as seemingly
in this case, it involves feuding Travellers.

Is this the special culture which Pavee Point, and its sister
Traveller advocate organisations, want us all to cherish and
protect? If so, then most of us should be forgiven for thinking
that the sooner this "culture" is consigned to the dustbin of
history where it belongs, the better for everybody, Travellers
themselves most of all.

Having said that, the silence with which this latest victim's
murder was met is not peculiar to Traveller communities.

Wives habitually cover up for their husbands' misdeeds; parents
for their children's; friends and families for each other's. They
call it loyalty. In truth, it's nothing more than moral cowardice
masquerading as principle.

Just because you're married to someone, or are someone's mother
or father, doesn't give them the right to, quite literally in too
many instances, get away with murder.

That's the thing about killing people. In the fictionalised
variety, murder is usually a secret act, unknown to all others,
hidden and harboured in the dark, out of sight, and its eventual
revelation a surprise to all. That's what gives the imaginary
murderer his mythic air of mystery. In real life, murder tends to
be a much more social activity. People see. People hear. People

When the police close in, it only confirms what is already common
knowledge among the killer's closest circle. His secret has
become one they all share.

How ironic then that Tom Ward Jnr should have died on a road in
Sligo named after an IRA hunger striker, as it is precisely this
collective culture of silence which the Provos fomented for
years. Oh, but we're not supposed to talk about that any more
because it's all in the past, it's history, forgiven and
forgotten, and why bring up unpleasant memories from yesterday
when the future's so bright that even the Rev Ian Paisley has to
wear shades?

That's certainly what the mother of Thomas Devlin was told by
some callers when she appeared on Brenda Power's radio show on
NewsTalk last week.

Thomas Devlin? Don't worry if the name means nothing. It
apparently means nothing to a lot of people nowadays.

Thomas was a schoolboy killed in north Belfast two years ago as
he returned from a late-night walk to buy sweets from the garage
with friends during the summer holidays. Two men followed them
and stabbed Thomas to death. He was a Catholic. No one but his
killers know for certain why they did what they did.

All his parents know for certain is that he was killed for no
good reason by people who should be made to pay for their crimes.
And they, and police, have had good indications from the start
who did it.

The murderers live in the grotty loyalist enclave of Mount Vernon
in north Belfast. But so far, they have not been charged, nor has
anyone in the area come forward with the information which would
convict them, although neighbours know who they are as well as do
the police and family.

They would rather provide false alibis and harbour child-killers
than do their proper duty as human beings. In fact, not only do
they stay silent, but they even, like the local community in
Portugal irritated at Kate and Gerry McCann's cheek for daring to
still look for their daughter Madeleine, turn their fire on those
who have put their community in the spotlight.

As it happens, Mount Vernon has just received a ?4,000 gift from
the Office of the Taoiseach to help with "grassroots development"
-- yes, that old chestnut. Responding to criticisms from the
parents of Thomas Devlin that the Taoiseach should not be
lavishing money on a community which cannot even speak out
against murderers, local loyalist representative Billy Hutchinson
had nothing to offer but sniping at the Devlin family for,
basically, not shutting up. He even referred to them as "these
people". Charming. Old bad habits clearly die hard.

But that's how it goes in Belfast. The worse you behave, the
better the rewards, and those who suffered most are silenced.

The nice word for it is the "peace process" -- it was in that
much-abused name that several of the callers to NewsTalk felt
Thomas Devlin's mother, Penny Holloway, should keep her own
counsel. Ms Holloway replied that it had nothing to do with
politics, it was about catching people who had murdered a child
in cold blood. If a mother's quest for truth is now considered
wrong, then it's not peace, it's still appeasement.

We don't have much choice except to go along with the grand
project which Bertie Ahern and former PM Tony Blair wrapped
themselves in glory for shepherding in.

But we do have the choice not to meekly fall in with the lie that
the only way to settle the small, petty sectarian shooting match
in the North was to abandon all the rules of democracy and
decency, give the nutters what they wanted, and ignore the
bereaved parents.

Ulster today was summed up by a report last weekend by the
Observer's Henry McDonald, telling how an official from the
Department of Foreign Affairs recently attended a meeting with
the UDA on the Shankill Road to see how the Irish Government
could "revive loyalist working-class areas".

And here's the yet more sickening part: "Members of the illegal
organisation stood guard outside . . . to ensure her safety." All
hail Bertie the peacemaker! Isn't there supposed to be a police
force up there to do that kind of thing?

Thomas's parents, Penny and Jim, are fronting a new poster
campaign calling on locals in Mount Vernon to come forward with
information. The message is as simple as the difference between
right and wrong: "If we knew who had murdered your child, we'd
call". Sadly, the moral boundaries have probably been blurred too
much in the North for the message to get through. Do Travellers
in the West of Ireland still remember the difference?


Aer Lingus Intervention Ruled Out

An Irish minister has ruled out intervention in Aer Lingus'
decision to end its Shannon-Heathrow service.

The decision to transfer the Heathrow route to Belfast
International has proved controversial, with fears of job losses
at Shannon.

Aer Lingus pilots are to strike over plans to pay staff at its
Belfast hub less than in the Republic of Ireland.

Eamon O Cuiv said he was dismayed at Aer Lingus' move, but
"interfering with their affairs is no solution".

"My precise position on the Shannon question is as articulated by
Noel Dempsey at the beginning of last week and that is we are not
going to interfere with the decisions of Aer Lingus," the
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs told RTE

"Other than that we have to try now to deal with a difficult
decision at Shannon and look at other ways of resolving the

Aer Lingus is seeking to recruit up to 30 pilots for its Belfast
International Airport operation, as part of a œ100m investment.

The move has sparked protests in the Irish Republic, with fears
of job losses at Shannon.

More than 50% of Aer Lingus is owned by Ryanair, the Irish State
and the unions.

Ryanair, which owns a 28% stake in Aer Lingus, has promised three
additional flights from Shannon to various London airports if Aer
Lingus closes the Heathrow route.

Aer Lingus is to hire planes from Ryanair to provide cover for a
48-hour strike planned by pilots next week.

The airline confirmed it had leased two aircraft and will pay
full commercial rates for the planes. It is understood Ryanair
will also provide the crew.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/19 17:34:55 GMT


Government Split On Shannon-Heathrow Decision

19/08/2007 - 10:04:54

The Government could be set for a split over the on-going Shannon

The Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and John Gormley have
voiced their opposition to the Aer Lingus move to axe the
Shannon-Heathrow route.

Fianna F il is the party worst affected by the on-going
controversy with government ministers, TDs and councillors split
on the issue.

The Ministers for Finance, Transport, Education and Foreign
Affairs have all defended the Government's approach of not
getting involved in the affairs of Aer Lingus, which is now a
private company.

However, at least four ministers and junior ministers are not
happy with the government line and are lending their support to
business and lobby groups in the mid-west.

The Cabinet is due to meet on August 29, where the Shannon-
Heathrow slot debacle will most likely be top of the agenda.

It is expected that former Minister for Transport Martin Cullen
will come under pressure at that meeting, after he gave
guarantees on the Shannon-to-Heathrow route when he presided over
the Aer Lingus privatisation.


Puttnam Delivers Collins Oration

Sunday, 19 August 2007 19:40

The British peer, and former film producer, David Puttnam has
delivered this year's oration at Béal na mBláth to mark the 85th
anniversary of the death of Michael Collins

Lord Puttnam, who lives in West Cork, was invited to give the
oration by a member of the Collins' family.

The invitation has upset some Collins' fans but organisers say
that at this juncture in our history, the choice of speaker is

The Labour peer in the House of Lords, is known to
be a great Collins fan who in his own way is responsible for
bringing the story of the Collins and his achievements to a world
wide audience.

In 1987 he asked Neil Jordan to write a screenplay that later
became the film Michael Collins.

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