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October 09, 2007

Hand Over Shoot To Kill Reports

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 10/09/07 'Hand Over Shoot-To-Kill Reports'
SF 10/09/07 Orde’s Attempt To Derail Shoot-To-Kill Inquests
BB 10/09/07 NI Assembly Irish Ban Is Rejected
BB 10/09/07 Minister In Talks Over UDA Guns
BT 10/09/07 Paisley's Centre Letter To Council Revealed
BT 10/09/07 Ombudsman To Investigate Loyalist Attack
BT 10/09/07 Opin: Policing Breakthrough For Sinn Fein


'Hand Over Shoot-To-Kill Reports'

Controversial reports into alleged "shoot-to-kill" deaths
should be released by the chief constable, a senior coroner
has said.

John Leckey has formally requested that Sir Hugh Orde hand
over the Stalker and Sampson reports into security force
killings for the inquests to proceed.

He was speaking at a preliminary inquest into the deaths,
which took place more than 25 years ago.

He said he could see no reason why the reports could not be
released to him.

The inquests are into the November 1982 deaths of IRA men
Sean Burns, Eugene Toman and Gervaise McKerr near Lurgan,
County Armagh.
Police fired 109 bullets into the car they were travelling
after they claimed it crashed through a checkpoint.

It later emerged the three were suspected of involvement in
the killings of three RUC officers in a bomb a fortnight
earlier and had been under observation.

'Repercussions of disclosure'

Mr Leckey also plans inquests into the death of Catholic
teenager Michael Tighe, shot dead by police at a hay shed
near Craigavon, County Armagh in November 1982, and
suspected INLA men Roddy Carroll and Seamus Grew, shot dead
near Armagh in December 1982.

The coroner told Tuesday's hearing he was asking the legal
representatives of the PSNI "to confirm that I, my team and
Mr Stalker and his team will be provided with access to the
Stalker Report and that I, my team and Sir Colin Sampson
will be provided with access to the Sampson Report".

Following a recent High Court ruling on another alleged
"shoot to kill" death, Mr Leckey said: "I see no reason why
I should not now be provided with access to both reports."

A lawyer for the PSNI said Sir Hugh had yet to form an
opinion on whether the reports could in fact be handed

He said "an investigation of the repercussions of
disclosure" was being undertaken.

"The chief constable has not yet made a decision about the
need for disclosure," he said.

The lawyer said he would be in a position by the start of
December to advise Mr Leckey on a decision.

However, the coroner warned he would be likely to challenge
a refusal through the High Court.

The government has always denied any "shoot-to-kill" policy
existed and has resisted calls from families to look again
at what happened.

Former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
Sir John Stalker was brought in to investigate. He was
later replaced by Colin Sampson, Chief Constable of West
Yorkshire Police.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/10/09 12:02:25 GMT


Anger At Hugh Orde's Attempt To Derail Shoot-To-Kill

Published: 9 October, 2007

Sinn F‚in Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has said that the
families of a number of men killed in shoot-to-kill
incidents in the 1980's and 1990's are angry at the
attempts by the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde to derail
the inquest.

The preliminary inquests into RUC killing of Pearse Jordan
in November 1992, and the shoot-to-kill incidents of
November and December 1982 that claimed the lives of Sean
Burns, Gervaise McKerr and Eugene Toman, and Roddy Carroll,
Seamus Grew, and Michael Tighe have now been postponed
until at least December while legal arguments are

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Hugh Orde has today attempted to derail the search for
truth behind these controversial deaths. Not only is he
challenging the right of the inquest to go ahead and the
coroner but he is also trying to block disclosure of the
Stalker and Sampson Investigations into these shoot-to-kill

"There is a total contradiction in Hugh Orde's complaint
about the cost of inquiries and investigations into the
past and his eagerness to use expensive and time consuming
legal tactics to cover-up the truth about these killings.
He should know that the truth and full disclosure would
cost nothing.

"These people deserve due process. Yet Hugh Orde has failed
to demonstrate the commitment to accountability that is

"I know that the families of these men are very angry about
the Chief Constables intervention today. Sinn F‚in will
continue to support them in their demand for truth." ENDS


NI Assembly Irish Ban Is Rejected

The NI Assembly has rejected a motion calling for an end to
Irish being spoken in the Stormont chamber.

The UUP's David McNarry, who tabled the debate, said the
language was being "forced down unionists' throats".

Nationalist assembly members put down a petition of
concern, which means unionists cannot push through the
measure against their will.

However, the petition was not needed as the motion was
rejected by 46 votes to 44, with Alliance also opposing it.

Mr McNarry said his party rejected any nationalist attempt
to smear unionists as bigots over discomfort with the use
of gaelic.

A Sinn Fein petition ensured the motion, requesting the
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
(OFMDFM) prevent the use of Irish in the legislature, would
require significant cross-community support.

Mr McNarry said the debate was: "A clear definitive signal
that unionists are fed up with the Irish language being
thrown in their faces."

"There is no demand here, just a request, no abuse of
anybody' rights and I reject any attempt by any republican
to smear any unionist by branding him a bigot," he added.

Sinn Fein's Caral Ni Chuilin said the debate would recruit
scores of fresh Irish language recruits.

"The issue of language rights, a non-controversial issue in
Wales, Scotland, the south of Ireland and throughout
Europe, an expression of human rights, has now become a
political football in the battle for supremacy between the
unionist parties," she said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/10/09 16:07:23 GMT


Minister In Talks Over UDA Guns

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has spoken to
the head of the decommissiong body about progress on UDA

A deadline for the paramilitary organisation to begin
giving up guns expires at midnight.

Ms Ritchie has threatened to withdraw more than œ1m of
funding for a loyalist project if the UDA does not

The US government has issued a statement welcoming moves by
the UDA to engage with the arms body.

US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Paula Dobriansky
said: "We have consistently called for all paramilitary
groups in Northern Ireland to decommission and there is no
rationale for the continued possession of illegal arms.

"We are encouraged that interlocutors have now been
appointed and hope further negotiations will bring about
significant and rapid progress".

At the weekend, Secretary Shaun Woodward said the
paramilitaries had begun "meaningful" talks with the
decommissioning body.

The BBC has now learned that Ms Ritchie has talked to
General John de Chastelain, the head of the arms body, to
get an update on any moves by the UDA to hand over guns.

Frankie Gallagher, of the Ulster Political Research Group,
has said Ms Ritchie's deadline could lead to a "disastrous

Ms Ritchie said she had come under pressure from direct
rule ministers to compromise on her 60-day deadline.

However, Security Minister Paul Goggins said the final
decision on whether to redirect œ1.2m from the Conflict
Transformation Initiative to other loyalist projects was

The UDA said it was adhering to its own timetable for
getting rid of its weapons, despite Tuesday's deadline.

The funding was intended to help move the UDA away from

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/10/09 17:24:20 GMT


Paisley's Centre Letter To Council Revealed

[Published: Tuesday 9, October 2007 - 12:06]
By David Gordon

DUP leader Ian Paisley tried to persuade Moyle Council to
back away from an alternative to tycoon Seymour Sweeney's
centre proposal for the Giant's Causeway, it has been

The intervention by Dr Paisley in 2005 could have scuppered
the development of plans for a new publicly-funded visitor
centre at the north coast attraction.

Moyle Council rejected his plea at that stage, but has
recently seen the project shelved as a result of actions by
DUP Ministers.

The council entered into a partnership in 2005 to deliver a
replacement for the Causeway centre that had burned down
five years earlier.

This scheme also involved the National Trust, Northern
Ireland Tourist Board and the Department of Enterprise.

Mr Paisley, however, preferred an alternative commercial
centre blueprint tabled by developer Seymour Sweeney, who
is a DUP member.

In early 2005, the DUP leader issued a statement with his
politician son Ian Paisley Jnr denouncing the Government-
backed project as "fool's gold" .

It has now been discovered that Mr Paisley followed this up
with a last-ditch appeal to Moyle Council in September of
the same year.

He wrote to the council on the day that it was due to
formally sign up to the joint project, urging it not to
take a decision at that time.

A copy of the letter, which was faxed from Mr Paisley's
office, has been obtained by this newspaper.

It claimed that "hasty action" would damage ratepayers'
interests and decisions should not be taken "without
exploring all of the commercial, legal and professional
options available".

And it added: "Taking a binding decision without first
exploring all of the options would be negligence and I know
that Moyle Council has a record of ensuring that it
considers such matters appropriately."

The council, nevertheless, voted that day to sign up to a
joint Causeway centre company with its partners.

Minutes from the meeting indicate some annoyance within the
council at the DUP leader's letter.

The plans to develop a publicly-owned visitor centre could
not have been taken forward without Moyle Council's
involvement, given its ownership of existing buildings and
the Causeway car park.

The council-backed scheme was shelved last month by DUP
Minister Nigel Dodds, after DUP Environment Minister Arlene
Foster announced that she was " of a mind" to approve Mr
Sweeney's rival project.

Both Mr Dodds and Mrs Foster have denied being approached
by their party leader or Ian Paisley Jnr on the matter.

This newspaper revealed last week that Dr Paisley had
claimed in a 2003 letter that Mr Sweeney's plans had the
approval of international body UNESCO.

The organisation, which oversees world heritage sites like
the Giant's Causeway, categorically denied giving any such

SDLP MLA John Dallat yesterday announced that he is
referring the 2003 letter to the parliamentary standards
watchdog in Westminster. Mr Paisley Jnr has claimed the
letter's references to UNESCO approval were "fair" .

Moyle Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane yesterday
commented: "The letter in 2005 to our council raises yet
more questions in this whole affair.

"It is strange that Mr Paisley was urging people not to
take decisions in 2005, five years after the old centre had
burned down. In recent weeks, his party has been hitting
out at the delay in getting a new centre."

c Belfast Telegraph


Ombudsman To Investigate Loyalist Attack In Portadown

[Published: Tuesday 9, October 2007 - 10:49]
By Deborah McAleese

The Police Ombudsman has been asked to investigate after
two Catholic men were attacked by a loyalist mob in
Portadown at the weekend.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly claimed that up to 30 loyalists
tried to force their way into a Catholic bar in the town
centre in the early hours of Saturday morning before
attacking the two men while a Police Land Rover was close

She said she has viewed CCTV footage which clearly shows
one of the loyalists sitting on top of a Catholic man and
punching him with both fists before getting up and jumping
on his head.

The second Catholic man was allegedly attacked with a
broken bottle.

According to the PSNI a female police officer was injured
during serious disturbances which flared when officers
arrived at the scene.

The alleged incident occurred close to where Catholic
Robert Hamill was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in

"It is only through the grace of God that there was not
another death like Robert Hamill's but after viewing the
CCTV footage I am in no doubt that members of this mob
fully intended causing serious harm," Mrs Kelly said.

She added: "A Police Land Rover was parked at the top of
the street when the men were attacked and the officers did
not intervene. Because of the history of the area and the
death of Robert Hamill the District Commander has very
sensibly called in the Police Ombudsman to investigate

Sinn F‚in MLA for Portadown, John O Dowd, said he was
"deeply concerned" about the circumstances surrounding the

"Eyewitness reports show that the PSNI were in the area,
they were aware there was a loyalist mob in Woodhouse
street, a nationalist part of the town," he added.

A spokesman said: "Police, mindful of the sensitivity of
the area, took the step of referring this incident to the
Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland Office in the interest
of transparency and community reassurance.

"Police are treating the assaults as sectarian and continue
to appeal for witnesses."

c Belfast Telegraph


Viewpoint: Policing Breakthrough For Sinn Fein

[Published: Tuesday 9, October 2007 - 08:05]

Another milestone has been passed with Sinn Fein
councillors in Magherafelt taking their places for the
first time on a district policing partnership. It is one
thing sitting on the main Policing Board, as three Sinn
Fein MLAs have been doing for the past six months, and
another engaging with PSNI officers in a local forum.
Hopefully Magherafelt is just the first of many towns where
elected republicans will accept their responsibility to
play their part in achieving better policing. There has
never been any doubt that people want a responsive policing
service, but old attitudes towards the RUC - and, in years
gone by, the RIC - have prevented a proper dialogue. The
DPP move should change all that.

Nevertheless it has to be admitted that there are elements
in both the nationalist and unionist communities who will
be unhappy with the involvement of such well-known
republicans. Peter Bateson, the vice-chair of the council,
was released under the Good Friday Agreement, having served
seven years of a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to murder
members of the security forces, and Ian Milne, council
chairman, served 17 years in jail.

They will be under pressure from dissident republicans, who
have attacked SDLP members of other DPPs, to show they have
not surrendered their principles and are taking seriously
their pledge to hold the police to account. In their
defence, another Sinn Fein colleague, Sean McPeake, said
they want to play a constructive role, but will not shy
away from challenging or criticising policing decisions.

Unionists are entitled to be sceptical about the role that
Sinn Fein members on DPPs will play until there is evidence
that they are looking to the future rather than the past.
Ominously, Mr McPeake, who is Sinn Fein's Elected
Representatives' co-ordinator, wants to be a voice for
communities who have experienced "only bad policing". In
his new capacity, however, he looks to the PSNI to arrest
those responsible for criminality and anti-social behaviour
- "and take them off the streets if need be" .

Anywhere else, it would go without saying that elected
representatives would support the police but here Sinn
Fein's participation in DPPs is rightly regarded as a
significant breakthrough. The Patten reforms of policing
have been highly controversial, reducing numbers while
discriminating in favour of Roman Catholic recruits, but
they have achieved a level of general approval never
previously seen in Northern Ireland.

Meetings of the local police commanders with elected
representatives in DPPs can only help to open minds to a
new form of accountable policing, putting old histories of
antagonism firmly in the past. It is part of the process of
normalisation taking place at every level of society,
cementing the peace and providing a lead for Stormont
politicians to follow.

c Belfast Telegraph
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