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September 03, 2007

Terror Gangs Fight To Keep Street Power

News about Ireland and the Irish

ST 09/02/07 Terror Gangs Fight To Keep Street Power
SL 09/02/07 Reconciliation: Little Can Go A Long Way
SL 09/02/07 Dissidents Furious Over Loyalist Link
NL 09/02/07 Petrol Bomb Attack Threaten's Baby's Life
DJ 08/28/07 Bloody Sunday MP Fined For Driving At 91mph
II 08/29/07 Topless Of The Pops: Daniel Strips For Charity


Terror Gangs Fight To Keep Street Power

As hoodlums invade the paramilitaries' turf, the tarring
and feathering of an alleged drug dealer in Belfast,
cheered on by locals, signals a return to vigilante
'policing'. Henry McDonald reports

Sunday September 2, 2007
The Observer

In broad daylight, close to one of Belfast's busiest,
trendiest quarters, they staged a brazen 'arrest'

Jock Nelson was stopped, searched and, his captors said,
was found to be carrying up to six bags of crack cocaine.
Although he was 'released' after the drugs were allegedly
seized, Nelson's time on 'remand' was shortlived. Forty-
eight hours after he was confronted on Belfast's Bradbury
Place the alleged drug dealer suffered a humiliating

Those who 'arrested' Nelson on Friday, 24 August, however,
were not drug squad officers from the Police Service of
Northern Ireland. Instead they came from that section of
society offering an 'alternative justice system' to the
official rule of law. Jock Nelson fell into the hands of
the Ulster Defence Association, and the price he was to pay
for his alleged crimes brought back memories of the darkest
days of the Troubles.

Last Sunday the ex-pub bouncer was tarred and feathered and
a placard hung around his neck naming him as a 'drug
dealing scumbag'. This act of public humiliation in front
of women and children at shops in south Belfast followed a
savage beating earlier that afternoon.

His mother, Jean Nelson, angrily describes the charge that
her son was supplying crack to teenagers as 'slander'. She
has said little else except to plead for privacy and to
warn reporters that her family, including her son's four
children, still live on the Taughmonagh estate.

She could also point out that those who carried out the
attack are open to charges of hypocrisy. Loyalist and
police sources told The Observer this weekend that one of
the UDA's most notorious young gunmen - who also lives on
the estate, and who is a former associate of Johnny 'Mad
Dog' Adair - finances a major cocaine-dealing operation in
south Belfast. Although he is strictly 'hands off' the
dealing, his money supports a lucrative trade which
operates out of a bar close to Belfast city centre.

'I wouldn't mind if they (the UDA) were genuine in wanting
to rid their community of drugs,' one veteran loyalist said
yesterday. 'But they themselves are up to their eyeballs in
drugs in the south of the city. I know people from the east
who come over to this power either on Saturday night or
early on Sunday morning to buy their coke. Maybe the guy
they claim is dealing was queering their pitch.' Nelson has
fled Northern Ireland for Scotland and is unlikely to
return to Taughmonagh.

Meanwhile all traces of the deed have been erased. The spot
where he was tarred and feathered has been hosed down and
swept up. But the cleaning-up operation was not an act of
collective atonement, motivated by shame over what had
occurred. On Friday afternoon there appeared to be wide
support for this most primitive form of 'justice'.

On the surface Taughmonagh is a far cry from the sink
estates of urban England where, according to David Cameron,
anarchy reigns. The area borders the more affluent,
increasingly Catholic upper-middle-class Malone. Yet even
Taughmonagh has little or no graffiti on its walls; most
gardens have neatly trimmed lawns and carefully tended
flower beds. Apart from the odd Union Jack and Red Hand of
Ulster flag flapping on street lights there is little
evidence that this is a loyalist stronghold, home to Jackie
McDonald, the head of the UDA.

For those living on the estate, however, the fear of drugs
taking hold among young people is widely held. When the
victim of the 'tar and feather' attack was forced on to a
main road, the placard placed around his neck and his
plight filmed by mobile phone, the locals admitted there
were cheers of support.

Yesterday what Deborah McKinstry, 27, had to say was
typical of Taughmonagh residents in their attitude to the
incident. 'He was not hurt. He was humiliated, and in a way
he deserved it; people like that deserve humiliation. Maybe
it was not the right way to go about it, but people are
dealing drugs to kids and deserve to be made an example of.
There have been worse punishments in the area, OK?'

Another mother on the estate, Joanne Stewart, 46, showed
little sympathy. 'I know he was supposed to be dealing
drugs to wee kids. Generally I don't believe in punishment
beatings or anything of a violent nature, but I suppose
it's a way of getting a message across.'

Amy Clarke, 27, also of Taughmonagh, said Nelson got off
lightly. 'I suppose he did deserve it, but was it a warning
enough? It was a can of tar, cold tar and feathers.'

'That guy was the lowest of the low,' said Peter Browne.
'Nothing is being done. Kids are exposed to God knows

No community leaders or, indeed, local UDA members were
prepared to comment. One local, who said that he was
appalled by the attack, added: 'I can't talk to you, as I
have to live here.' One community worker who spoke
anonymously contrasted the estate with areas like Croxteth
in Liverpool where teenage gangland violence led to the
death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones last month.

'Why are these attacks so popular? Because working-class
people over here won't tolerate scumbags and hoods taking
over their areas. They've been used to paramilitaries
keeping the hoods in check for years. They don't want their
areas to become like them estates in England where you
can't go out the door for fear of being set upon by wee
thugs and criminals.'

Even though places like Taughmonagh have endured 35 years
in a state of near civil war, the social problems on this
estate are nowhere near as grave as those in urban Britain
or the Republic of Ireland. Unlike Croxteth or gun-ridden
estates such as those in Limerick, ordinary criminals don't
have the same access to firearms. Illegal weapons remain
under the tight control of paramilitaries, who until now
have resisted selling guns to local, non-political gangs.
Nor are Belfast's drug problems comparable to those of
Merseyside or Dublin. There is little or no market, for
instance, for heroin or crack in Belfast.

One senior Police Service of Northern Ireland detective
said: 'Nothing moves in Taughmonagh, not even a dog,
without the UDA knowing about it.' The movement's political
wing - the Ulster Political Research Group - has issued
vehement denials that the UDA was responsible.

The MP for South Belfast, Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP,
was sceptical of this claim. He described the attack as
'the work of hypocritical criminals. No one is seriously
suggesting a rival gang can operate on the Taughmonagh
estate without the UDA's knowledge or blessing. I have no
doubt the UDA had a hand in this. It deserves our
condemnation and nothing else.'

But there were few others putting themselves forward to
condemn the tarring and feathering. The incident had echoes
of a similarly publicly staged act of savagery carried out
by the UDA nearby five years ago. Less than a mile from
Taughmonagh, the UDA on the Seymour Hill estate captured
and then 'crucified' on a wooden stile a notorious
convicted joyrider from west Belfast.

There is a feeling throughout republican and loyalist
communities that their areas are spinning out of control;
that young criminals who were fearful before the peace
settlement of being beaten or shot by the IRA or UDA or UVF
believe that they can now do whatever they want. This
suspicion was realised last week in Ardoyne, a Sinn Fein
stronghold in north Belfast where the IRA operated its
brutal street 'justice' for decades.

Last Wednesday night, youths from Ardoyne carried out a
mass, unprovoked sortie into the nearby Protestant Twaddel
Avenue. During the attack they hurled petrol bombs at a
house where an 18-day-old baby was sleeping. The family
have since fled the street. Sinn Fein condemned the
violence, but appeared powerless to stop it.

In recent years the IRA used its muscle to quell clashes on
this sectarian interface. But now, officially disbanded and
decommissioned, it is unable to act physically to prevent
such incidents.

There have been further examples across Belfast this summer
of paramilitary 'law and order' losing its grip. On the
night of 8 August, youths in the Markets area now loyal to
the Continuity IRA defied Sinn Fein and built a bonfire to
commemorate the 36th anniversary of internment. Emboldened
by drink, mobs went on the rampage and burnt posters of
Sinn Fein election candidates on the pyre alongside the
Union Jack they set alight each year.

It was a message of defiance and an acknowledgment that the
'hoods' know that the IRA's hands are politically tied when
it comes to 'policing' their own communities.

The attack at Finwood Park last Sunday - deliberately
filmed not only for the Taughmonagh estate but also the
world - took place in front of a church, a community centre
and a row of shops. The aim was as much to reassert control
of the estate as to put an alleged dealer out of business.

On Friday evening a number of children were playing in
thepark across from where the horrific scene was acted out.
One child came up to The Observer and boasted that he had
witnessed the attack. 'It was class. We just stood around
laughing at it, it's his own fault,' he said, sniggering.


Reconciliation: Little Can Go A Long Way

[Published: Sunday 2, September 2007 - 09:32]
By Alan McBride

Hands up all those who were shocked at Deloitte's recent
report indicating that sectarianism costs the Northern
Ireland economy big time.

Ok, so maybe the figure of £1.5bn per year does seem a bit
alarmist, but can anybody with an ounce of wit seriously
doubt that maintaining the 'two tribes' tradition in this
country costs a lot of money?

Frequently in this column I have focused attention on the
need to combat sectarianism and press ahead with the
'Shared Future' agenda. It is my firm opinion that this
remains one of the greatest challenges facing our society.

I also believe, given significant developments on the
political front, that we are now better placed than at any
time in our history to do something about it.

While I acknowledge that it is very early days in the life
of the Assembly and that I could be made to eat my own
words in this regard, I have to say that I have been
greatly encouraged by the DUP/Sinn Fein coalition to date.

However, the business of building a shared future is not
just the responsibility of politicians but equally applies
to every citizen.

Those in power undoubtedly have a duty to create the
infrastructure that supports a shared future, but it is up
to the rest of us to make it work. This is pretty much the
philosophy behind the 'One Small Step' initiative that I
have also been banging on about in previous weeks.

This time out I want to highlight a small step being taken
by one man from Portavogie.

Steve Petri is originally from Scotland, where he lived for
a while in the city of Glasgow, a place not unaccustomed to
sectarianism. However, it wasn't until he moved here that
he came face to face with the harsh realities of separation
and segregation.

For Steve this wasn't about the violence from which we are
all emerging. He wasn't beaten up, he didn't lose anyone in
the Troubles, his house has never been attacked and he has
never witnessed a riot.

He was simply out with a friend at a pub in a nearby
village when the conversation from some of the locals took
on an overtly sectarian tone. It was a conversation he had
heard many times before, yet that night something clicked
and he just knew he had to do something about it.

In many respects Steve's experiences of life in Northern
Ireland were no different from lots of people who live
here, people who all too often believe that the sectarian
climate that fuelled the Troubles and continues to permeate
our society has nothing to do with them. Yet, how many of
us have listened to, or even participated in, sectarian

What about sectarian jokes? What was our response? You see,
it's easy to hide behind the 'nothing to do with me'
mentality, it's much more difficult to take a small step to
address the issue.

Steve has organised a cross-community football match for
next Saturday featuring teams from mainly Protestant
Portavogie and the mainly Catholic Portaferry.

The match will be followed by a public auction of George
Best memorabilia (the great man himself having for a brief
period lived on the outskirts of Portavogie) and dinner at
the Quays restaurant.

Not only will the event promote good community relations in
the area but will also raise some money for the George Best

I have to say the link with George Best is entirely
appropriate for this occasion. While it would be stretching
things a bit far to romanticise his memory by suggesting he
was a reconciler, it is well known that his footballing
genius was enjoyed by all regardless of religious or
political belief.

Initiatives like this are hardly unique and by themselves
will not lead to a shared future, but they should be
acknowledged as a small step in the right direction.

If significant numbers of us took enough small steps there
is no telling what could be achieved in terms of
transforming Northern Irish society.

I never thought I would hear myself say this, but maybe
it's time to follow the lead set so far by Martin
McGuinness and Ian Paisley.

Of course, what they have done couldn't in any way be
described as a 'small step', but for once I find myself
believing that they have set the benchmark.

If these two adversaries can set aside their differences
(for whatever reason, selfish ambition or the greater good
of the country, who cares?), two questions remain.

How many small steps will it take us to step up to the mark
and when do we begin?

For more information on the events at Portavogie contact
the Quays on 028 42772225.

© Belfast Telegraph


Dissidents Furious Over Loyalist Link

[Published: Sunday 2, September 2007 - 09:44]

Disgraced Tyrone GAA star Gerard Cavlan faces being hounded
over his links to a former UVF drug dealer.

Cavlan - who admitted knowing the loyalist during the BBC
sting - worked with the Co Antrim loyalist to arrange
illegal dog fights.

Now furious dissident republicans want to know why the GAA
hero was doing business with the loyalist thug, who was
expelled from the UVF.

Sunday Life knows the name of the loyalist, but cannot
publish it for legal reasons.

Cavlan and the gang formed a team called Bulldog Sanctuary
Kennels (BSK) and travelled to bloodthirsty dog fights

A senior source told us dissident republicans were
"interested" in Cavlan's links to the former loyalist.

Said the source: "This man may have been kicked out of the
UVF, but the dissidents want to know just how close these
pair actually were.

"Cavlan is stupid for getting involved in something like
this and more importantly for running about with a former

"Cavlan is not under any threat from the dissidents because
they just think he was an idiot to get caught up in
something like this because of his standing in the

The GAA star issued an apology after the programme, adding:
"I would like to again unreservedly apologise to my family,
all my friends, supporters and colleagues in the GAA for
any disappointment or distress they have felt arising out
of the events reported."

In a separate development, the family of the mastermind
behind the pitbull dog-fights in Co Armagh have disowned

Stephen Barriskill's family told how they were disgusted by
the thug's involvement in such barbaric acts.

Said a family spokesman: "We are shocked and disgusted that
he has sought to blacken such a respectable family's name
in this manner."

© Belfast Telegraph


Petrol Bomb Attack Threaten's Baby's Life

A young father this morning claimed that his two-week old
baby could have been killed during a petrol bomb attack on
his home in north Belfast.

At least two houses in Twaddell Avenue near the Ardoyne
interface were targeted at about 11pm last night by hooded

The man, who asked not to be identified, said he was
sitting with his 18-day-old baby on his lap when his house
came under seige from petrol bombers.

Describing what happened he said he saw a flash at his side
window, looked up and heard a bang.

He said he saw some flames then grabbed his child and ran

If the petrol bomb had come through the window, the man
believed his child would have been "burnt to death."

He said his partner had been traumatised by the attack and
was still in shock.

He added that it was the second attack on his rented house
in three weeks and his family were now planning to leave
the area because they were so concerned about their safety.

This morning local priest Father Aidan Troy condemned the

As did DUP assembly member Nelson McCausland.

Mr McCausland said:"I had hoped that such sectarian attacks
were a thing of the past but the events of the past few
weeks show that this is not the case."

Police said this morning that they were called to the area
last night just after 11pm and remained there until peace
had been restored.

A spokeswoman said there were no reports of any injuries,
and there were no arrests.

Last Updated: 29 August 2007 12:21 PM


Bloody Sunday MP Fined For Driving At 91mph

Former Derry MP and civil rights leader, Ivan Cooper, has
been fined for speeding at 91 miles per hour.

The case of the 63 year-old, who is best known for leading
the anti-internment march which ended up in the Bloody
Sunday killings of January 30, 1972, was before Limavady
Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that he was detected during a police speed
check at Foreglen Road, Dungiven - which is governed by a
60 mph speed limit - on April 9 this year.

Defence solicitor, John Fahy said the "well known" former
politician currently had penalty points on his driving
licence. He added that his client's licence was "important"
to his business as an insolvency inspector.

Resident Magistrate, Austin Kennedy handed down a fine of
£400 and five penalty points.

At the height of his political career, Ivan Cooper
commanded the largest support of any nationalist Stormont
MP. Actor James Nesbitt played the former MP in the 2002
film 'Bloody Sunday.

Last Updated: 31 August 2007 11:23 AM


Topless Of The Pops: Daniel Strips For Charity

Wednesday August 29 2007

IT was once asked what’s the difference between Daniel
O’Donnell and Santa Claus? Daniel, it went , pulls the old
dears for a few bucks, while a few bucks and old dears pull

So what would the genteel matrons make of "wee Daniel" with
his kit off? Quite a lot actually. The star who has brought
the image of a mammy's boy to new levels of saintliness,
shocked and thrilled an audience by stripping off -- for

The Donegal crooner fufilled thousands of female fantasies
by shedding his threads .

Jim McDaid added to the madness when he turned up donned in
a diving suit and waved his flippers at the cheering crowd.

The two men were participating at the charity event, 'Not
the Rose of Tralee', which is a far cry from the lovely
girls competition in Co Kerry.

Over 700 people attended the event which was held to raise
funds to bring community breast screening to the Donegal

The judges, who included former Miss Ireland Natasha Nic
Ghairbheith, Country star Philomena Begley and Daniel's
singer sister Margo, couldn't figure out what category Jim
McDaid was contesting when he lifted a foot to wave a
flippered greeting at them.

Eventually, with tongues firmly in cheek, they declared him
the Most Debonair.

Philomena Begley reckoned Daniel O'Donnell was over-dressed
when he appeared in shorts and top. She abandoned all
pretence of neutrality and called out to him to "show more
body." She even got up on stage to help him get his top

It was enough to win Daniel the title of the man with the
'Best Come to Bed Eyes.'

Comedy male stripper Bernard McHugh, former star of tv
programme 'Blind Date', bared even more than Daniel and was
acclaimed Sexiest Man in the event, which went on into the
early hours of yesterday morning.

The contest was the opening event in a planned series of
fundraisers with a €500,000 target to build a cancer clinic
in Co Donegal.

The "Not The Rose" made €20,000 for the fund.

A recently-established cross-community voluntary group,
called the North West Wellness Centre Committee (NWWCC),
aims to have the centre in place by Spring 2008 to provide
community breast screening with triple assessment for the
people of the North West.

At present, Breast Check is not available in the region and
when it is, it will screen people only between ages 50 and
64. Donegal women have to travel to Belfast for private

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