23 April 2005

Islamic Republic News Agency

Elections expected to further polarize Northern Ireland politics

London, April 23, IRNA
UK-Elections-N. Ireland

Britain's general election is likely to result in an even greater polarization in Northern Ireland between the pro-British Democratic Unionists (DUP) and the Irish republican party Sinn Fein.

According to News Letter, a Belfast daily, the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) could lose a further three of its 4 remaining parliamentary seats, including that of its leader, David Trimble, who was Northern Ireland's previous First Minister.

Using the odds of local bookmaker, Barney Eastwood, it predicted that the DUP would increase the number of its MPs from 5 to 7 to confirm its position as the largest party.

Sinn Fein would also increase its lead as the largest nationalist party, up from 4 to 6 seats, despite recent criticism about the alleged involvement by the IRA in a massive Pnds 26.5 million (Dlrs 50 m) robbery in Belfast last December.

A major realignment in redrawing Northern Ireland's political map started at the 2001 general election following failure to fully implement the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement. Previously it was dominated by the UUP and more moderate nationalist SDLP.

Subsequent disputes led to the suspension over two years ago of Belfast's devolved assembly and with it the power-sharing executive.

Attempts since to find a compromise failed last December and were followed by the IRA being blamed for the UK's biggest bank robbery.

Despite the predictions of gains by Sinn Fein, which has political links with the IRA, its leader Gerry Adams suggested the wave of publicity, blaming the paramilitary group for the robbery and its alleged involvement in a recent murder, could hit his party at the elections.

"I have no doubt the exploitation, particularly of the killing of Robert McCartney, by our opponents will have a negative effect," Adams was quoted saying by Reuters on Friday. "That's what it's aimed to do," he said.

At the opening of the election campaign, Adams made a direct appeal to the IRA to take a historic decision and fully embrace political and peaceful means of achieving its objectives for a reunited Ireland.

The position of the DUP, which originally opposed the peace agreement, has been to call for Sinn Fein's exclusion from power- sharing arrangements until the IRA disbands.

With both the DUP and Sinn Fein at the extreme ends of the political spectrum in Northern Ireland, expected to make further gains, questions remain about the future survival of an inclusive peace process.


Daily Ireland

SF slur sparks school row

A row erupted at a Co Derry school yesterday after a teacher allegedly made anti-republican remarks to pupils.
The dispute began yesterday afternoon after the alleged comments were made by a teacher at St Mary's Secondary School in Limavady.
However, a meeting between the boy’s parents and the principal of St Mary’s Secondary School was yesterday abandoned when the boy's mother brought along Sinn Féin’s East Derry Westminster candidate, Billy Leonard.
The school insisted that only the boy's parents should attend the meeting.
However, the boy's mother says she will ask her solicitor to write to the school’s board of governors about the incident.
The remarks were allegedly made after a few students were told to remove republican badges from their uniforms.
“I was outraged when my son arrived home from school extremely distressed," said the woman.
“When I asked what had upset him he reluctantly told me that his teacher had called Sinn Féin criminals and that he had to sit there and listen to it.
“This is completely and utterly inappropriate behaviour in the school.
“The classroom is not the place to make political points of this sort.
“My son has been very upset by the incident and had to take the day off school.
“I brought along Billy Leonard because of the direct implications for Sinn Féin of such a statement,” she added.
The woman added that she had the “highest regard" for the school, but insisted that yesterday’s incident would have to be remedied.
Despite repeated attempts to contact the school, no one was available for comment yesterday.
A spokeswoman from the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools (CCMS) said the incident was a matter for the school.
“Anything like that would be a management issue for the school and we wouldn’t even necessarily be contacted about something like that,” she said.
Sinn Féin’s East Derry Westminster candidate Billy Leonard said that any teacher with a problem with Sinn Féin should refrain from addressing their comments to schoolchildren.

Daily Ireland

Illegal Orange Order march to go ahead

Almost 300 Orangemen are planning to take part in an illegal march past one of Belfast’s most notorious interfaces.
Loyalists from around the city will gather at the Albertbridge Road Orange Hall in east Belfast tomorrow, before marching around the nationalist Short Strand enclave. The area has been the scene of intense sectarian rioting in recent years, particularly in 2002, when a number of people were shot and homes were bombed.
Tomorrow’s parade, billed as a service for widows of Orangemen, has been deemed ‘illegal’ by the Parades Commission because organisers did not fill in their marching application forms properly.
Instead of naming the members who are co-ordinating the march, the Orange Order chose to only name the lodge taking part.
This policy was adopted by Orangemen in east Belfast last year following the PSNI questioning of senior Orange Order members Harry Whiteside, Raymond Spiers and Raymond McMichael after an alleged breach of marching guidelines.
According to east Belfast Orangeman and former Belfast mayor Jim Rodgers, if no names appear on a parade application form no one can be questioned. The Ulster Unionist politician said: “This is a policy I support and it was brought into being following the questioning of senior Orangemen last year.
“The Parades Commission needs to understand that individual Orangemen are not responsible for organising parades, it is the entire lodge’s responsibility. The Parades Commission can describe Sunday’s parade as illegal if they want, but it will still go ahead.”
Short Strand residents have sought legal advice in a bid to halt the march.
Local Sinn Féin councillor and Deputy Mayor of Belfast, Joe O’Donnell, said it would be the second illegal parade to pass by the area in recent months. “If this march is allowed to go ahead it will show how willing the PSNI is to facilitate illegal parades in east Belfast," said Mr O'Donnell. “If this was nationalists marching illegally past a unionist area, I am certain there would be serious security and legal repercussions."
A spokesperson for the PSNI said that in the absence of a Parades Commission ruling, policing decisions taken in relation with any parade will be proportionate and appropriate. He added: “Police use all methods available to them to closely monitor parades and will have no hesitation in reporting breaches of the law to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Campaign:
What price a child's life?

Sign up now to save our lollipop patrols

22 April 2005

The plan to cut more than 100 lollipop patrols in Belfast is quite literally a matter of life and death.

Anyone who has ever been on the school run knows just how vital a service these committed men and women provide.

They take their lives in their hands to see children safely across the city's busy roads - who knows how many lives they have saved down the years?

That is why the recommendation of a Belfast Education and Library Board committee to axe dozens of patrols across the city must be opposed.

We support the board's efforts to prioritise in terms of making education cutbacks but it must get its priorities right.

Although the current reduction plan is limited, there is no room for compromise on safety.

The Belfast Telegraph is today launching a snap petition to save the lollipop patrols and there is no time to lose.

The board is due to deliver its verdict on the recommendation next Thursday and we want to ensure the voice of the people is heard.

Cut out today's coupon and have it signed by as many people as possible. Feel free to photocopy the form if you need to and send the completed forms to our office as soon as possible.

There will also be a box at our front counter where the forms can be delivered by hand. We will ensure they are all delivered to the board meeting next week. The more people who sign up to the cause, the more chance there is of having this penny-pinching decision reversed.

Some board members have already pledged to do all they can to save the patrols. But they need your support.

Please get on board the Save our Lollipop Service campaign now. There is no time to lose.
Click here to get the campaign coupon

School leaders back campaign

By Claire Regan

The Belfast Telegraph today launches a campaign to save the vital lollipop service that protects the lives of our children.

We are calling on the public to throw their support behind our plea to the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) to abandon plans to axe dozens of school crossing patrols across the city.

Save Our Lollipop Service is calling on readers to sign our petition urgently by cutting out the coupon printed today and getting it signed by as many people as possible. We will then deliver these petitions to the Belfast board next week when members meet to decide on whether to rubber-stamp plans that will seriously jeopardise the lives and safety of school pupils.

Politicians and school leaders today urged people to support our campaign against the proposals which will see the lollipop service cut at 54 lunchtime patrols, 14 at post-primary schools and 38 on roads where there is also a pelican crossing or traffic lights.

BELB vice chairman Jim Rodgers, who is bitterly opposed to the cuts, said he feared the plans would lead to the death of pupil.

"I have been absolutely inundated by calls and emails from parents, teachers and principals with serious concerns about this decision," he said.

"People are really angry - there is a feeling of disbelief that these cuts could even be considered.

"This campaign is a wonderful initiative that will give people a voice to tell the board that these proposals are unacceptable. It's an issue that affects the lives of everyone in this city and I call on readers to have their say."

Principal of Belfast Royal Academy Billy Young said his pupils would be particularly affected, as the school operated from a split site on the Cliftonville Road.

"We need a crossing patrol all the time. These measures could put a child's life at risk," he said.

"At a time when there is so much emphasis on the protection of the child, it seems madness that pupils could be denied a basic service provided to protect their safety. I would ask people to support the Belfast Telegraph's campaign and get this vital service reinstated."

Alliance education spokeswoman Naomi Long said: "I understand the financial pressure that the boards are under but this is outrageous. What price can you put on a child's life?"

The board's general purposes and finance committee voted for the move this week, which will save almost £300,000 as part of a package of cuts of almost £7m reluctantly passed by BELB to cope with budget shortfalls from the Department of Education. The total stripped from services across the five education boards hit £30m.

Public service union Nipsa was today balloting more than 5,000 of its members employed in the education and library sector on strike action. If there is a positive vote for industrial action the union, along with other non-teaching unions, will be calling its members out on strike on May 13.

Union in call for strike at schools

Cash cutbacks lead to ballot

Non-teaching staff at Northern Ireland's financially crippled education boards were set to receive ballot papers in the post today to vote on whether they should strike over cash cutbacks.

Northern Ireland's largest public service union Nipsa is balloting over 5,000 of its members employed in the education and library sector on whether they should join an all-out strike on May 13.

The action is a backlash against cutbacks of £30m reluctantly agreed by the five education boards to stay within the controversial budget allocations handed out by the Department of Education for this financial year.

The boards were forced to remove funding from vital frontline services such as school meals, maintenance, transport and special needs education. The ensuing turmoil has led to fears of mass redundancies among teaching and non-teaching staff and concern over potential school closures.

Tommy Wright, Nipsa assistant secretary, said they were urging all members in the five education and library boards, in schools, board headquarters, libraries, youth services and other locations, to vote for strike action in order to give the Government "a clear and unambiguous message that cutbacks in education services and jobs are totally unacceptable".

"It is not acceptable that the Government can get away with not properly funding education and library services," he said.

"It is despicable that these cutbacks will directly impact in a very serious way on the most vulnerable children in our community, in particular children with special educational needs. Nipsa cannot sit on the sidelines and witness the destruction of our education services.

"We are calling on our members to show their determination to resist these cutbacks by voting emphatically for strike action."


PSNI to quiz children after school shooting horror

23/04/2005 - 12:35:39

Police officers in Northern Ireland are today preparing to interview pupils, teachers and parents about an incident where a five-year-old boy was shot in the head in a school playground.

Darren Summers was shot yesterday lunchtime in the playground of Mullinaskea primary school in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

He was taken to Erne Hospital with serious head injuries and later transferred to the Royal Hospital in Belfast, where he was in a critical condition.

The five year-old, who lives with his parents Gerald and Janine Summers, in a housing estate in Drumbeg, just outside Enniskillen, was in his first year, known as primary one, at the Catholic school in Enniskillen.

Detectives are meeting today for a conference in Enniskillen to discuss the next steps in the investigation, including quizzing pupils, teachers and parents.

A spokesman for the PSNI said detectives were still trying to establish the weapon used in the shooting.

“It could have been a pellet gun – but it could have been a less serious or more serious weapon,” he said.

The local parish priest Fr Matthew Brady said the community was shocked by what had happened.

“We have to hope now that the young boy will be all right. That’s the main thing,” he said.

The Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) said the shooting was a horrific incident. “For those immediately around the boy at the time, the pupils, the teachers and other school staff, it was a very traumatic experience. But it’s shocked everybody in the area,” said local assembly member Tommy Gallagher.

He added that the shooting was alarming for all parents in the area.

“Like all of us, parents would assume when they leave their child at school that they’re safe. That’s a very distressing thing as well, that something like this could happen.”

Derry IRSP

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The following statement was received by the IRSP from the INLA on 21-04-05:

"The Tyrone Brigade of the INLA wish to put it on record that it has no involvement whatsoever in the drugs trade. The person arrested in Dungannon has had no association of any kind, directly or indirectly with the INLA or IRSP for 16 years.

"We do not accept any kind of responsibility for the actions of ex-members who have went down the road of criminality Our position is clear and unequivocal in relation to the drugs trade – anyone using the name of the INLA or inferring any type of association, directly or indirectly with our movement will be executed.



Officer refutes 'no-go' comments

A senior police officer has said there is no question of any part of Derry being a no-go area for officers.

Chief Superintendent Richard Russell, district commander for the Foyle area, was responding to comments made in the High Court on Friday.

A crown lawyer said police do not go into the nationalist Galliagh estate because of fears of civil unrest.

However, Mr Russell said his officers police the entire city.

He added that to suggest otherwise was a misunderstanding of the situation.

The comments about Galliagh were made during a bail application for a man accused of using a hammer in an attack on two men on the estate last weekend.

Crown lawyer Charles McKay said police were targeted by stone-throwing mobs of young people in the Galliagh area.

"This is an area with excessive policing problems," Mr McKay said.

"After children come home from school the police don't go into this large housing complex because they are suddenly attacked."


Toddler critical after NI school shooting

23/04/2005 - 09:44:08

A five-year-old boy remains in a critical condition in a Belfast hospital after apparently being shot with an air-rifle.

It is understood the incident happened at a primary school in Enniskillen, in Co Fermanagh. The child is suffering from head injuries.

Sinn Féin Councillor Pat Cox says locals are finding the news difficult to take in. “People are shocked beyond belief. It’s something you read about happening in America and these places, but when it comes to your own doorstep it’s a different story,” he said.

22 April 2005

An Phoblacht

Finucanes call for boycott

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Photo: Geraldine Finucane, widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane

The widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has written to every senior judicial figure in England, Wales and Scotland asking them not to sit on an inquiry into her husband's 1989 killing.

Geraldine Finucane wrote personally to every senior judge in Britain asking them to refuse to accept any appointment to sit on an inquiry and to reject the controversial new Inquiries Act.

Under the act, which became law after being pushed through by the British Government last week, ministers have the right to decide if some evidence can be heard behind closed doors.

Despite pressing for a public inquiry for years, Finucane believes the terms of the Act could prevent the truth of her husband's killing in 1989, and allegations of British involvement in colluding with loyalist paramilitaries in the killing, coming out.

In her letter, Geraldine Finucane said: "In view of these considerations, I write to request that if approached to serve on an Inquiries Act inquiry into my husband's murder, you, like Lord Saville and Judge Cory, refuse to accept such an appointment."

The Finucane family have said they will not cooperate with the inquiry into the solicitor's killing under the new legislation.

Public inquiries into the deaths of Pat Finucane and three other people were recommended by retired Canadian High Court Judge Peter Cory in 2002, in which he said there was strong evidence of collusion.

NIO minister Paul Murphy warned that some of the evidence would have to be heard in private due to security concerns, but Cory said the Act would make a "meaningful inquiry impossible" and advised other Canadian judges not to sit on such an inquiry into the solicitor's death.

Finucane said she felt she should make judges very aware of what was happening.

"The best way to sum up the Inquiries Act is that the word public does not appear in the title," said Finucane.

Government has no confidence in British Inquiries Act

Responding to a Dáil Question from Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on Wednesday, Bertie Ahern stated that the Dublin Government has no confidence in the Inquiries Act, one of the last pieces of legislation passed by the British Government before the Westminster parliament was dissolved for the General Election.

"Can the Taoiseach confirm that he raised with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair the total unacceptability of this Act to the Irish people?" asked Ó Caoláin. He said the Act "would allow a British Minister to effectively gag an inquiry and is designed to prevent any real inquiries into the murder of Pat Finucane and others as a result of collusion". He pointed out that Judge Peter Cory has stated that the Act "would make a meaningful inquiry impossible" and would create "an intolerable Alice in Wonderland situation".

Ó Caolain asked the Taoiseach to echo the call of the Finucane family to every senior judge in Britain not to serve on any inquiry established under the Act.

While the Taoiseach did not make that call, he stated that his government had raised objections to the Act with the British but only some of their proposed amendments had been adopted. He said they did not have confidence in the Act as now passed.

An Phoblacht

Rosemary Nelson inquiry opens amid controversy

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click to view photo: Assassinated solicitor Rosemary Nelson

The opening of an inquiry into the murder of Lurgan defence lawyer Rosemary Nelson this week was largely symbolic, with the immediate adjournment of the proceedings to allow an investigation process to begin.

Many people believe the hearing, which is not expected to reopen until next year, may also prove to be little more than symbolic. They have good reason. First, the British Government has already tampered with the rules of the inquiry to make public disclosure of information it might find politically 'embarrassing' more difficult.

Peter Cory, the Canadian judge tasked with calling for an inquiry, has already condemned the new restrictions, declaring the imposition makes establishing the truth virtually impossible. The restrictions effectively transfer power to suppress disclosure away from the judiciary and into the hands of government ministers — in other words, into the hands of some of the very people accused of collusion.

Second, the media has already established a restricted notion of collusion in relation to the Nelson killing as a casual relationship between individual members of the RUC and loyalist killers. Did members of the RUC pass Rosemary's personal details onto loyalists?

In other words, the inquiry will consider informal illegal relationships between state personnel and unionist paramilitaries. To reduce the inquiry to this denies evidence already within the public arena of organised state sponsored murder involving specific units within the RUC and British Intelligence and directly accountable to the British Cabinet.

Third, within hours of the formal opening of the inquiry into possible collusion, the RUC officers involved had already been publicly declared innocent. According to the Sunday Times, a report into the killing of Rosemary Nelson by Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has concluded that there is no evidence to suggest collusion by the RUC.

The only criticism the Ombudsman's report suggests is that the RUC, then headed by Ronnie Flanagan, did not take threats to Nelson's life seriously. The report, which has been forwarded to the PSNI for comments, concludes that there is no evidence of collusion or of the RUC intentionally putting the solicitor's life at risk. The report also accepted the RUC conclusion that there was no evidence of a specific terrorist threat against Nelson's life.

Fourth, the killing of Rosemary Nelson can only be fully understood in relation to the killing of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane ten years earlier. The mechanisms of state collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane have been further exposed and to consider the killing of Rosemary Nelson outside those mechanisms is in itself a cover up.

Rosemary Nelson died on 15 March 1999 after a booby trap bomb placed under her car exploded. Before she died, Rosemary, a human rights lawyer, told the UN and a US Congressional hearing that she had received death threats from the RUC.

The Lurgan lawyer came to prominence after she defended a number of high-profile cases involving republicans and became the legal representative for the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition, a nationalist community group contesting the Orange Order's determination to parade through their area to Drumcree.

Rosemary also represented the family of Robert Hamill, a Catholic kicked to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown. An armed RUC patrol at the scene refused to intervene and made no attempt to arrest the killers. A similar probe into the death of Robert Hamill is due to open next month.

The formal opening of the inquiry into the killing was held in Craigavon Civic Centre. A three-member panel outlined the scope of their investigations. Retired British judge Michael Morland read an 18-page opening statement saying: "Our task is to seek out the truth." He was joined by Valerie Strachan, former chair of the British Board of Customs and Excise and Anthony Burden, former British chief constable of South Wales.

Morland has a controversial history in relation to the Six Counties. He acted for the crown in 1973 internment proceedings and was a member of the 1974 Gardiner commission, which recommended phasing out special category status for political prisoners.


Work still needed to tackle suicides – PIPS

The organisers of a North Belfast based suicide prevention group took part in an all-Ireland exercise to discuss the emergence of a forum to tackle the issues around suicide.
The Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm (PIPS) project took part in the event at the invitation of Teen-Line Ireland alongside other groups from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Ballynahinch last weekend who gathered to hear of the forthcoming launch of a new 24-hour help line and website.
Joe Barnes, one of PIPS Project co-ordinators said the need for greater resources to tackle the problem was immense.
“Recently another young man from North Belfast was buried as the result of suicide and again, just as recently a young mother from a rural community in County Wexford drowned herself and two of her children, aged three and four, in the River Slaney,” Joe Barnes said.
“Last week there was the funeral of a young man in Kerry who shot himself. Once again we are reminded of the continuing tragedy that transcends all religious, political, social and economic boundaries. It is not just a mental health issue but is something that needs to be addressed by society as a whole and without prejudice.”
In North Belfast, according to the PIPS Project, there have been at least seven suicides since the beginning of the year. In West Belfast that figure is similar. The number of attempted suicides is unknown.
Phil McTaggart whose son Pip took his own life and whose anniversary occurs this weekend, said he was still encountering grief-stricken families who found themselves with nowhere to turn for help.
“People are still coming up against brick walls and being told there aren’t enough beds, or money or resources. This needs to be tackled now because young and old people alike, who are depressed, are taking their own lives at an alarming rate in Ireland.”
In order to tackle the issues at a local level the Pips project has become involved in offering advice and training to interested parties.
Most recently a two-day suicide prevention training course was carried out in NICVA headquarters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills and Training (ASIST) course was completed by over 20 individuals in the Duncairn Gardens based community centre.
The North Belfast Partnership Board and the Executive Programme in Springvale fund the rollout of the ASIST programme across North and West Belfast, which costs £150 per person.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Facing up to interfaces

Hazelwood Principal Noreen Campbell’s school is an interface college on the Whitewell Road. With sectarian strife going on around it, she tells how the school is breaking down the ancient barriers that keep the communities apart...

The Whitewell/Whitecity interface has suffered a spate of tit-for-tat attacks – including children assaulting children from other religions.
But amid this backdrop of ongoing sectarian tensions in the area, a North Belfast integrated school gets on with the work of learning and allowing room for everybody’s culture.
Noreen Campbell is head of Hazelwood College and as she says the work at the school goes on regardless but not in spite of what’s happening outside.
Hazelwood nestles at the bottom of a spectacular view of Belfast’s Cavehill. Even with driving rain, the beauty of the setting shines through.
A Belfast linen merchant built the grand old house that now serves as the offices of the college. It became part of Hazelwood College after the closure of Graymount girls’ school.
All around the old house has grown the school buildings with Hazelwood nursery and primary schools further along the Whitewell Road. From its genesis in cold mobile classrooms in the 1980s the school marks its 20th anniversary next year with close to 1000 pupils on its books.
As the age-old sectarian tensions are played out around the Whitecity and Serpentine interface, in Hazelwood, the head explains, children place loyalist and republican flags side by side and discuss their identities with each other.
Daniel McColgan was a past pupil who attended Hazelwood just a few years before loyalists gunned him down as he arrived for work at Rathcoole postal sorting office in January 2001.
Noreen Campbell is from Fermanagh, but she was a founding parent of Hazelwood College, a founding teacher and has lived longer in North Belfast than anywhere else – and she’s “passionate” about integrated education.
And when the principal turns on the news in the morning and hears of another sectarian attack near her school, she knows that once the bell rings, learning starts regardless.
It is a culture, she explains that runs throughout the school.
“On a day-to-day basis what happens outside doesn’t really affect us. But we have systems in place which allow us to respond to students’ needs.”
The school run various schemes that allow pupils to express themselves including its ‘Speak Your Peace’ exercise which is currently into its fourth year. Last year the students discussed the issue of trust and responded to symbols and flags, football shirts and religious symbols.
One student recalls their experience of the day in the school’s annual report.
“Speak Your Peace day was great. It made me notice even more about differences, and how different we all are. I brought a tricolour in because it represents my area and my religion, but I realised when we spoke about it, a flag doesn’t represent me, nothing does.”
“We allow our students to have a voice so they can express themselves and things don’t build up,” says Noreen Campbell.
There are two representatives for each class and two for each year group that bear out the issues important to them.
A bicycle rack for children cycling to school is the latest suggestion from that group which has borne fruit.
“Everyone at the school buys into the culture of no sectarianism, no racism and no violence and our culture here teaches the students to respect everyone’s place. We strive to promote that all the time.”
The support that an interface school needs is right inside the classroom and any issues that a student has can be dealt with in any given class.
“We have a lot of support services in class and we have a counsellor who comes in one day a week. There is a long waiting list for the counsellor and ideally we would like to have a full-time one. There are lots of reasons why a student will want to see a counsellor and those issues will include sectarian issues. We have a student council, which also gives the students a voice and the teachers have informal relationships with the pupils that allow them to speak about problems in confidence. During 2001 and 2002 when the trouble was really bad we had a family trauma centre set up at the school. We have children who come here not only from around this area but from interface areas in Ardoyne, Glenbryn and Limestone Road and the parents support the school because they want their children to be taught in an integrated school.”
But it is in everyday lessons that issues of identity and sectarianism can be openly discussed with fellow pupils who actually come from those communities most affected.
“They will come up in history and English lessons. That is the beauty of an integrated school in breaking down divisions. In year 10 the students take part in Speak Your Peace and they will put a Union Jack on the floor beside a tricolour and talk about them. They are interested rather than reacting to them.”
Noreen Campbell says the status of the integrated school in divided North Belfast has seen its pupils go around the world to take part in discussions on cultural identity and reconciliation.
The school has had pupils travel to Japan, the US and recently to the United Nations youth forum in Barcelona. And seeing other countries and cultures puts our own conflict into perspective for the Hazelwood pupils.
A yearly peace assembly is one of the most important days in the calendar for the 740 students, soon to increase to 850. There the pupils and teachers reaffirm their commitment to reconciliation.
“When a student from Hazelwood leaves this school, research shows us that they come out open in their attitudes. They have more friends from the other side of their community and they are more likely to maintain those friendships. They are used to more points of view and they listen better.”
“So they come out well-rounded members of the community?” I ask. I get an insightful response
“They come out well-rounded members of the communities,” replies Noreen Campbell.

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon


Anger as Sinn Féin members step down

Sinn Féin representative and community worker in the Markets, Sean Hayes, has blasted what he described as the "disenfranchising" of local voters following his suspension and that of several other South Belfast members by the party.

Also among those suspended was local council candidate, Deirdre Hargey, who had planned to run alongside current Sinn Féin councillor, Alex Maskey, in the forthcoming elections for Laganbank but has now been forced to step down.

It is believed that a further seven members also resigned in protest at the suspensions.

Mr Hayes said: “Thanks to this, the party in south east Belfast and the Ormeau Road has been effectively shut down.

“We are really annoyed. People in the Markets were expecting big things from Deirdre, who is young, dynamic and has no baggage whatsoever.

“She would have been a real force for good for the Markets and given badly needed representation for the community in council.

“What the party have done here is wrong. We have now been removed from the scene of these elections and it is this community which will suffer,” he added.

The decision by Sinn Féin to suspend members follows revelations that they were present in Magennis’s Bar on the night of the murder of Short Strand man, Robert McCartney.

Both Mr Hayes and Ms Hargey deny witnessing the murder on the evening and say that they were not present when it happened.

“We have to stop punishing people for something they didn’t do. It will get to the stage where as soon as a republican walks into a bar, they will be attacked or accused of something.”

Mr Hayes added that residents in the Markets were “angry” about the party leadership’s decision but stressed the importance of people still voting for Sinn Féin.

“Of course it’s natural for people to get angry about this. I have had many people who supported Deirdre approaching me and saying that they are not going to vote for Sinn Féin now.

“But whatever has happened, Sinn Féin are still the only party who can deliver services and resources to the community.

“We must now work on rebuilding local membership and strengthening our grass roots base.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Mallusk youth wins award

A Mallusk youth has won a prestigious award from the Terry Enright Foundation for her leadership abilities in representing her community.
Nichola McIlvenny, 20, received the accolade this week at the city hall and she said she was “over the moon”.
The award recognises young people who follow the example set by Terry Enright, a youth worker who was shot dead in January 1998 at the Space nightclub where he worked as a doorman.
The award recognises young people who follow the example set by Terry Enright’s work and who are dedicated to their own future development.
Nichola McIlvenny was sent along to the Terry Enright Foundation to partake in the leadership award through Greater Shankill Alternatives. It is a community restorative justice scheme in Monkstown.
She seeks to help anti-social young people who through their activities are under loyalist paramilitary threat.
She said she was delighted with the bog oak carving that depicts the ancient Irish Tír naÓg story of youth.
“I was in the middle of telling a friend about the story when I heard my name called. I couldn’t get over it,” she said.
Director of the Terry Enright Foundation, Seamus Colligan paid tribute to Nichola’s dedication after she completed a leadership programme “and has proven herself as a capable young leader who has potential to give positive leadership within the Protestant/unionist/loyalist community.
“One could be in no doubt of Nichola’s commitment. She has readily taken on any piece of work asked of her on the leadership programme. Nichola like so many young people is a second-generation survivor of the conflict. Furthermore, society has set a path for many young people who are perceived as not having achieved academically and Nichola has not allowed herself to be pigeon-holed in this way.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Boy With a Heart of Gold

James Savage is the pride of North Belfast this week after winning a Heart of the People award at a glittering ceremony at Belfast City Hall.
Over 100 young people aged between eleven and 25 took part in the Heart of the People Awards that originated in West Belfast in 1998.
But 12-year-old James stole everybody’s heart with his determination to live life to the full despite facing life with spinal cancer.
And the local hero was praised for saving the life of his epileptic mum, not once, but twice.
Ann O’Neill nominated the Limestone Road youngster saying he was an inspiration to everyone.
“I got to know James at a Christmas party and got to hear good stories about him. I heard about the things he does in his class in school for other children.
“His sister died tragically and he has been through a lot in and out of hospital, but he’s so bright and is an inspiration to everyone.”
James, a dedicated dog lover, was this week taking his award in his stride with his mum Sinead.
“He never complains even though he’s been through painful surgery,” she said.
“He loves animals and is torturing me for a new Shitsu puppy.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


US lawyer lends support to New Lodge Six campaign

An American human rights lawyer, who came to Ireland to attend the Rosemary Nelson inquiry visited the New Lodge this week as part of the ongoing New Lodge Six campaign.
Ed Lynch was at the Ashton Centre to review the campaign, which was started by the families of the six men to try and uncover the truth as to why they were killed.
It was claimed at the time and carried in the media that the men Jim McCann, Jim Sloan, Tony Campbell, John Loughran, Brendan Maguire and Ambrose Hardy had been killed in a shoot out with the IRA, but the families instantly rubbished the claim.
Several other people were wounded, but it wasn’t until a Community Inquiry was held in November 2002 that people could give their accounts of what happened. At that time an international panel found that the killings of the six men had never been properly investigated and that there had never been a full accounting of the tragedy.
It was found that the men had been killed without any justification. However, despite the best efforts of the families and their legal representatives, all attempts to get the British government to acknowledge the injustice have been ignored.
A petition to the United Nations to have the case reinvestigated is currently being considered. The meeting in the Ashton Centre was attended by one of the original members of the international panel, Ed Lynch.
Also in attendance were the families of the men, New Lodge Six committee members, Claire Reilly of Relatives for Justice, Gerry Hyland of Madden and Finucane and local Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín.
Ed Lynch said the lack of movement was disappointing, but added, “it is important that we do not lose heart”.
“While it may be over 30 years ago the families continue to endure immense pain and loss. These events are also symbolic of other such state killings of defenceless people in this community and elsewhere,” he said.
“The State cannot be allowed to permit its forces to murder citizens with impunity. This should be an indisputable universal principle for any government that says that it values human rights. This must apply everywhere whether the culprits are US forces in Iraq or British forces in Ireland. The killing of unarmed citizens is abhorrent”.
Willie Loughran, brother of John Loughran said despite the lack of movement the case had been worth it.
“To be absolutely honest I never expected justice from the State. However, this campaign has been worth it,” he said.
“The inquiry proved beyond doubt what everyone already knew. The important thing for me is that the people have spoken, we have documented the facts and the truth is there for everyone to see.”
Copies of the New Lodge Six Community Inquiry Report can be obtained at the Ashton Centre 90-742255 from Paul O’Neill.
Meanwhile Relatives for Justice spokeswoman Claire Reilly has asked people whose loved ones were killed by the state to get in touch.
“While I was in the New Lodge I was struck by the fact that there are a lot of people sitting there without support.”
Claire can be contacted at 90 220100.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Holy Rosary becomes first casualty of education cuts

A mother and toddler group held in Holy Rosary Primary School will close its doors for the last time at the end of this school year, one of the first casualties of the education cuts.

by Evan short

Formed 20 years ago, the Early Years Learning Service meets once a week to prepare pre-school children for their transition to primary school.

Much loved by the local community it is vastly oversubscribed, and each year there is a lengthy waiting list of children wanting to take one of the limited places in the class.

Mrs Diane Boyle, who has a child at the group, is furious that the funding has been withdrawn.

“This is a great wee group and the children love it. It’s brilliant preparation for when they go to the main school and we are all devastated that it is being closed down.

“No one from the Education Board has come to see the work that is done here, they are just making the decisions knowing nothing about us.
“It’s not as if it is expensive. They only have to pay four salaries, the school provides all the facilities,” she said.

Sean Merrick is Headmaster of Holy Rosary Primary School and he said he was also very sorry to lose the class.

“I am very disappointed as the Early Years learning service is of great value. It benefits the children by developing their social skills, and the parents also get a great deal from it, learning strategies for helping their children develop at home. Everyone at Holy Rosary will be very sorry to see it go.”

Eithne Gorman has been a teacher with the programme for 20 years, and is now having to face up to the reality that as of September, she will no longer be taking the group. I am extremely annoyed that such a valuable service is being lost. Our experience is working with parents and children and all that is being lost with the closing of the service.

“We have been told we will be redeployed elsewhere, but it is a shame that our expertise will go to waste,” she said.

Eithne and the other staff have been approached by some of the parents to help them in the campaign to get the funding reinstated.

“Over the years the parents have given us support, so there is no reason why we should not help them in their fight to restore this valuable service.
“There are 180 pupils who benefit from the service throughout Belfast, and they are all going to lose out when we have our funding withdrawn."
Belfast Education Library Board confirmed that the Early Years Learning Service was going to be affected by funding cuts.

“We can confirm that there is a proposal going to the board to close the Early Years Learning service, comprising two teachers and two classroom assistants.

“This non-statutory service was set up at a time when there was no pre school provision. This is now provided through PEAG playgroups, the Surestart scheme and various parenting initiatives. Additionally at that time, there was no enriched curriculum provision. Therefore we believe the needs of these children can continue to be met without the use of this service, through these different methods of support.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Pedigree dogs stolen to order by cruel criminals

Ruthless criminal gang cash in on South Belfast pet owners’ misery by abducting pedigree pets for lucrative dog farming

The USPCA has issued a warning to local dog owners as fears grow that a lucrative pet scam – that is making thousands for criminal gangs every year – has turned its attentions to South Belfast.

Over the past few months pedigree dogs have been abducted from gardens and parks all over South Belfast for what now appears to be a stolen-to-order pet scam.

USPCA, Stephen Philpott said it was a cause for great concern.
“There is a worrying trend here. We haven’t got precise figures for pet abductions but we do know that they’re on the increase.”

One South Belfast man who knows only too well the pain of losing his beloved pet was left devastated following the abduction of his one-year old prize pit bull dog on Sunday night.

Chung Wing of Cusack Street off the Lisburn Road, returned home from work to find that callous thieves had broken in and taken Max, his one-year-old English Pit Bull, believed to be worth an estimated £1,600.

Neighbours confirmed to the police that strangers were lurking about the street all evening.

Mr Wing said: “I am absolutely gutted. Max was only a puppy and I can’t believe that anyone would do this or why.

“I’ve called the police and at first they didn’t know whether to take it seriously then they said they’d look into it but weren’t sure what they could do about it.”

A shaken Mr Wing also said that he feared for Max’s health.
“He’s very ill at the minute. I was due to take him to the vets next morning for a bad skin condition that he has. He won’t get treated now and I am seriously concerned that he will get sick.”

The abduction is the latest in a long line of pedigree pet thefts in the area and something that Chief Executive of the USPCA, Stephen Philpott said was a cause for great concern.

South Belfast is a particular target because of the high numbers of prize pups owned by residents in the Malone and Upper Lisburn Road areas.

“There is a worrying trend here. We haven’t got precise figures for pet abductions but we do know that they’re on the increase.

“These dogs have a very high monetary value and this is something that goes on, not just in Belfast, but right across Northern Ireland.

“Illegal puppy farming is extremely big business these days with some of the dogs fetching up to thousands of pounds.

“There is very little that police can do as they have few facilities to deal with this problem and even though I would recommend that people call us about any incidents like this, I am afraid that Max may even be out of the country now.”

Mr Wing, however, refuses to give up hope.

“I would appeal for anybody who knows anything to please come forward.
“I feel my life has been absolutely shattered. Max and I were so close and I don’t know what to think about the whole thing.

“I haven’t done anything to anyone, why would they do this to me? Words cannot describe how I feel about these people.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the USPCA hotline on 02890 814242. Calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Daily Ireland

Nursing school opens in Dundalk

If you’re a fan of No Angels, currently showing on Tuesdays on Channel 4, then you’ll know how much business nurses can bring to the local community.
Although fictional medical students Lia, Kate, Beth and Anji spend most of their cash down at the local pub, real-life nurses inject money into all areas of the economy, including the housing and educational sector, thanks to the length of their training courses and their need for permanent accommodation.
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) in Co Louth is a case in point.
The college, which currently caters for nearly 4,000 full and part-time students, is currently embarking on a multi-million euro revamp, which will see the addition of a new nursing building, as well as four new sports pitches and an indoor sports complex, to its present 45-acre campus.
Institute bosses hope the move will see a huge upsurge in applications from those wishing to study in Dundalk while the local economy is bracing itself for an upturn in business as students descend upon the border town.
Local politicians have welcomed the expansion plan and believe it will be a positive move for Dundalk, which has suffered from years of economic misery.
“This new addition to DKIT will definitely be an advantage to the town,” says councillor Martin Bellow.
“It will generate more money, and more shops and housing will be needed which can only be a good thing.
“DKIT is already one of the biggest employers in Dundalk so we would welcome any addition to its campus.
“We lost our maternity unit here two years ago so the fact that it is a dedicated medical extension is also good news.”
The development is part of a drive to introduce several new courses to the institute, which already teaches subjects as diverse as business, science and engineering.
Although there are no plans at present to boost the number of places currently available on the Institute’s medical programme, DKIT bosses are hopeful that the opening of a dedicated nursing building, due to take place on Friday, April 29, will see an increase in applicants.
The institute’s border location has traditionally made it difficult to attract students, resulting in it having the highest number of initial vacancies of any state-funded college in August following the first round of CAO offers for non-degree courses.
The provision of bigger and better facilities means this could be set to change.
With Ireland’s population rapidly expanding, the need to recruit more nurses, particularly those trained in specific specialities, has never been greater.
“There are more than 700 nursing vacancies in the South of Ireland so we are talking about a massive shortage of nurses at present,” says Tony Fitzpatrick from the Irish Nurses Organization (INO).
“Because of changes to the training programme, which has seen a shift from a three-year diploma to a four-year degree, that shortage is set to increase further as, with the changeover, there won’t be any nurses graduating this year.”
Low pay and long days – a typical nurse works a 39-hour week compared to the average 35 hours – have also affected recruitment levels.
“It isn’t just a question of training more nurses and training them better, but also retaining them,” says Fitzpatrick.
“Hundreds have left the profession in the last year alone because they get more money overseas or in another job.
“Pay needs to be addressed and brought onto the same par as other medical services if new facilities, such as those in Dundalk, are to be properly utilised.”
The Irish Nurses Organization is hopeful that the new DKIT building will encourage similar investment elsewhere in Ireland, regenerating the nursing service and highlighting the problems it faces.
“This is a vital move,” says Fitzpatrick.
“It will make nursing more professional, helping employees feel more secure in their jobs and allowing them to specialise in different areas.
“The health service is dying at the moment due to overcrowding, a lack of resources and a dependancy on agency staff.
“Opening this new building will make people look at the state of nursing in Ireland and make changes to the way in which it is run.”
With most medical services still located further south - Galway, Cork and Dublin run undergraduate degrees in medicine while Dublin also boosts the Royal College of Surgeons – Institute bosses are hopeful that the new nursing building may encourage other training programmes to also ‘shift’ further north.
“Attracting potential nurses from the border areas is something the government should be looking very closely at,” says Fitzpatrick.
“Limiting courses to either Belfast or Dublin discourages people from applying but creating world-class facilities in Dundalk encourages more cross-border co-operation and gives students from the North and South an alternative place to study.”

Belfast Telegraph

Murder police are attacked
Officers petrol-bombed at scene of shooting

By Deborah McAleese
22 April 2005

Police at the scene of a horrific murder in Newry were attacked with petrol bombs and bricks.

The attack happened shortly after 4pm yesterday as police were guarding the scene of Jonathan Graham's murder in the mainly nationalist Derrybeg estate.

A gang of youths threw petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at the officers, who were forced to don protective headgear.

Police are today questioning a man about the killing of Mr Graham (20), who was gunned down by a masked man as he parked his car close to his Ardcarne Park home early yesterday morning.

And it has emerged that Mr Graham's mother is currently recovering from surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital - the same hospital where her son died.

A friend of Mr Graham's narrowly escaped death after shots were fired through a window of his house at nearby Parkhead Crescent, missing him by inches, at around the same time of the murder.

And there have also been reports of further shots being fired at another house in the area.

Although police have not yet connected the incidents, a number of security sources believe the shootings were a result of ongoing inter-estate rivalry.

The officer heading the inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Tim Hanley, of the Murder Investigation Team, said police will be "considering all possible motives in relation to this murder."

Meanwhile, Dominic Bradley, SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, said that the shootings were the outcome of a problem that had been brewing for some time within the area.

Mr Bradley said that a few months earlier, a number of residents in the area had contacted him and told him they were very concerned that something bad was going to happen.

He said: "The residents told me they were fearful that trouble could develop within the area. Unfortunately that trouble had not gone away."

Murder squad detectives have set up a major incident room at Ardmore police station in Newry.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact police on 3026 5500.

Daily Ireland

No action over cop’s gun show

A PSNI woman who brandished her weapon in public after leaving a bar in Co Antrim will not be disciplined by the force, Daily Ireland can reveal.
The PSNI has conducted an investigation into the incident which took place last month at a house near the seaside village of Cushendall.
The woman had been drinking after being told earlier that day of a threat to her life from paramilitaries.
In the early hours of the morning a row broke out at the party in the house and the PSNI woman, a Catholic who had joined the force only a week before, came downstairs with a gun behind her back.
Cushendall Sinn Féin councillor Oliver McMullan asked the Police Ombudsman’s office to investigate.
However, the Ombudsman said they did not have the authority to investigate because the PSNI woman was off-duty, although they did see a copy of the PSNI investigation.
The PSNI’s internal report concluded that no action would be taken against the woman.
Mr McMullan said it is “deeply worrying” that the PSNI woman is still serving.
“This was an outrageous incident in which a loaded gun was produced when drink was involved,” he said.
“That this woman should still be serving and that the PSNI are the only people to investigate the incident is also very worrying.
“How can we be sure that such an incident won’t happen again and what sort of message is the PSNI sending out to the community by its actions?”
Paddy Murray, a solicitor acting on behalf of Oliver McMullan, said it was regrettable that the Ombudsman’s office couldn’t investigate.
“We don’t have any faith in the PSNI investigating themselves so the conclusions of their investigation don’t mean much.
“This is obviously a very serious incident that is of concern to the wider community.
“It is regrettable that it has reached an impasse,” he said.
The PSNI woman was barred from a Cushendall pub in the wake of the incident.
She had been drinking in the bar earlier that day when she was told of the threat to her.

Belfast Telegraph

50,000 recycling bins are bound for Belfast

By Debra Douglas
22 April 2005

Belfast City Council is to embark on a major recycling drive, it emerged today.

With the estimated cost of waste handling set to jump from £2m to £15m, the council is to distribute more than 50,000 environmentally friendly blue and brown bins to encourage householders to recycle.

A spokesman for the council said that the action would be taken to help the council meet stringent EC targets.

"We have serious targets to meet within Europe and failure to do so will lead to heavy fines for the council," he said.

He added: "These fines will then be passed on to the rate payers so what we are trying to do is provide them with the facilities to recycle.

"Waste is the biggest single issue facing this council and we have to get to the stage where we are recycling everything we can."

Between June and August, 33,000 homes across the city will be given the bins. Another 20,000 will be distributed between February and November 2006.

Black wheelie bin collections across the city are to be cut from weekly to biweekly with the new bins being collected on alternative weeks.

The spokesman added: "Not recycling is like throwing money on the rubbish tip."


National Library and Museum become semi-state

22/04/2005 - 14:09:37

The National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland are to become independent semi-state bodies.

From May 3, Minister for Arts John O'Donoghue said they would be autonomous national cultural institutions.

Today the Minister named the new board of the National Library.

Minister O'Donoghue said: "The National Library will be in a better position to provide enhanced support and services the public from now on. The National Library and its wonderful collections are in safe hands - I wish them well."


3,000 for Glengormley marches

Nationalist politicians have reacted angrily to two band parades that will bring over 3,000 bandsmen to Glengormley next Saturday night including one for a dead UDA man.
Unionists have hit out accusing nationalists of electioneering and say that the larger of the two marches is a community event to celebrate Ulster Scots heritage.
But this morning the Whitewell Defenders flute band’s spokesman John Montgomery admitted his band would be joining the “competition” after it had marched in memory of murdered UDA man Gerry Evans.
At 6.30pm the Pride of Carnmoney Hill flute band will gather together with 50 other bands and an expected 2,500 people.
They will meet at Glengormley Park, march down the Carnmoney Road and through the commercial street of Portland Avenue before turning up the Ballyclare Road. The march will proceed along the Antrim Road, Glencairn Park, Glencairn Drive, Ballyclare Road and back to Glengormley Park, dispersing time is 10pm.
At the same time the Whitewell Defenders flute band will also march in Glengormley.
Eight bands and 400 participants will gather at 6.30pm at Glengormley High school and march along the Burnhill Road into Queen’s Drive, Queen’s Avenue, Queen’s Park, and along Queen’s Avenue and Queen’s Drive again, dispersing at 8.30pm.
The march is to commemorate Queenspark UDA man Gerry Evans The top loyalist was shot dead at his fishing tackle shop at Northcott shopping centre in 1994 by the INLA.
Sinn Féin’s Breige Meehan condemned the decision to allow the parade and said she would be leading a delegation to the Irish Secretariat and the Parades Commission.
“This parade is madness. It is none other than a sectarian march through a community that is mixed in many areas. The presence of the UDA band shows it’s not a heritage parade.”
SDLP general election candidate for South Antrim Noreen McClelland appealed for calm ahead of the parades
“These two parades, by the Whitewell Defenders and Pride of Carnmoney flute bands are being held late on a Saturday evening. Given the lateness of the hour and the large numbers involved, I imagine that some people will have been drinking beforehand and that the atmosphere will be particularly volatile,” she said.
But Nigel Hamilton of the DUP, who said he would be taking part in the march, said nationalists were objecting to a band competition, adding that it would follow a “children’s fun day”.
“It is to celebrate Ulster Scots heritage and has nothing to do with sectarianism,” he said.
“It is a band competition and it will be well supported by bands throughout the province. Last year it was very successful. If republicans and nationalist representatives are trying to curry favour with their electorate and play on this it is a cheap shot,” said Cllr Hamilton.
John Montgomery said he did not expect any trouble at the march.
“It was the Whitewell Defenders who helped a Catholic man in White City home late last weekend. The parade is to commemorate Gerry Evans, which we have been doing for the past 15 years and afterwards we will be joining the competition,” he said.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter



**See also Troops Out Movement - Peter McBride

Family of slain teen bid to have army killers dismissed

22/04/2005 - 07:58:15

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Peter McBride

The family of a north Belfast teenager killed by two British soldiers 13 years ago have begun a new campaign to get the pair dismissed from the British army.

Eighteen-year-old Peter McBride was shot dead while running away from a Scots' Guard patrol in the New Lodge area of Belfast in September 1992. *'An identity check showed that he was not wanted and a body search found him unarmed. Peter McBride panicked and ran away from the soldiers. Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher chased him, shot him in the back and killed him'. (TOM)

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Peter's killers, Wright and Fisher

Two years later soldiers Mark Wright and James Wright were convicted of his killing and sentenced to life in prison. However, they were freed in 1998 and were later allowed to rejoin the British army.

The McBride family has secured two High Court rulings calling for the pair to be dismissed from the British army but the British authorities have ignored the judgements.

Last night, the dead man’s sister met London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Labour election candidate Yasmin Qureshi as part of a new campaign to ensure all soldiers convicted of human rights violations and serious crimes are automatically sacked.


Illegal dog fighting 'increasing'

A Staffordshire bull terrier had to be put down after the fight

Organised dog fighting is on the increase in Northern Ireland, according to an animal charity.

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals (USPCA) said family pets were being stolen to take part in such illegal activity.

A Staffordshire bull terrier had to be destroyed in Londonderry this week after being savaged by two other dogs.

The USPCA's Stephen Philpott said the charity takes about 7,000 calls a month about alleged animal cruelty.

"The USPCA is busier now than ever investigating reports of cruelty," he said.

"However, as time goes by the levels of cruelty inflicted on animals has become more severe."

Mr Philpott said a child appeared to have been used as a distraction to get the Staffordshire bull terrier out of its back yard in Derry on Sunday, before being set upon by other dogs.

There are incidents where people's family pets are being used and stolen to blood dogs to make them better fighters in the ring
Stephen Philpott

The animal suffered injuries to its head, legs and stomach and had to be put down.

Mr Philpott said he did not believe this incident was related to organised dog fighting, but the animals were blooded just for fun.

"There are incidents where people's family pets are being used and stolen to blood dogs to make them better fighters in the ring," he said.

"I don't believe this incident had anything to do with organised dog fighting. I think it's more to do with some sort of entertainment value that the individuals were looking for.

"They obviously knew the dog. They knew what breed the dog was and they obviously worked out that if they got the dog out of the yard, the dog would be able to put up a good fight for itself because of the particular breed that it was."

'Unclear legislation'

He said the USPCA would pursue the incident in a bid to get evidence to bring people to court.

He has also called for the law on pitbull terriers, which are proscribed in Northern Ireland under the Dangerous Dogs Act, to be properly enforced.

However, Nigel Cardwell, a dog warden in Belfast,said the current legislation was unclear.

"There is legally a grey area. What most people refer to as pitbull terriers are in fact not pitbull terriers at all. Most of what you see about are Staffordshire bull terriers which are a legal breed," he told the BBC's Stephen Nolan show.

"They gave this catch-all area. What they said was: "Dogs having characteristics, the type known as a the pitt bull terrier.

"Pitbull terriers are a construct of various different breeds. It is a type of a dog. It is a generic thing. They are virtually impossible to identify."

Irish Independent

Charge against suspected killer of boy raised to murder by DPP

Friday April 22nd 2005

AN engineering student was yesterday charged with the murder of 11-year-old schoolboy Robert Holohan after the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that an earlier manslaughter charge be dropped.

The court yesterday heard that Wayne O'Donoghue (20) of Ballyedmond, Midleton, Co Cork, replied "no thanks" when he was cautioned and charged with the new offence .

The young victim, a student at Midleton CBS, disappeared after going for a cycle on January 4 last on his new BMX bike.

After a massive manhunt, his body was found on January 12 in a ditch near Inch Strand, some 12 miles away.

A post-mortem indicated that Robert had been asphyxiated.

Yesterday, Superintendent Liam Hayes explained to Judge Michael Pattwell at Midleton District Court that the DPP has directed that a murder charge be brought against O'Donoghue and that no evidence should be offered on the earlier manslaughter charge first brought on January 17.

Sergeant Joe O'Connor then told the court that he formally arrested, cautioned and then charged O'Donoghue at Midleton Garda station at 9.55am yesterday morning.

During yesterday's 10-minute hearing the accused sat with his head bowed, staring at the floor, standing only briefly to acknowledge a query from Judge Pattwell on the issue of free legal aid.

Defence lawyer Frank Buttimer said he had no submissions to make at this stage on the book of evidence which was formally served on his client.

Judge Pattwell asked whether there was any question about the accused's ability to enter a plea.

Mr Buttimer said that there was no question on that issue.

Because of hearings on the earlier manslaughter charge, the judge warned the media that they were to restrict themselves to what they were legally entitled to report about the present case.

Yesterday's hearing was once again observed by Robert's parents, Mark and Majella.

Wayne O'Donoghue's father, Ray, sat silently at the back of the court.

O'Donoghue appeared in court for the eighth time yesterday.

An earlier hearing was told that there were 1,351 statements to be processed and over 1,022 witnesses to be dealt with as part of the state's book of evidence in the case. Gardai also had to deal with almost 1,900 lines of inquiry.

O'Donoghue is formally remanded for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

He has been been in custody at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise since January 18. He was transferred from Cork Prison to the Midlands Prison within 24 hours of his initial charge for safety reasons.

The defendant will appear before the Central Criminal Court next Thursday.

Ralph Riegel

21 April 2005


'Past haunts the peace process'

By Kevin Connolly
BBC Ireland correspondent

The inquiry into Mrs Nelson's death will focus on the local police

In Northern Ireland the past continues to haunt the present and shape the future.

The power-sharing government and assembly created by the Good Friday Agreement remain in the state of suspension which now appears to be their natural form. There is no immediate prospect of their being restored.

With the future uncertain, and unpromising, the past has become an increasingly important battleground for Northern Irish politicians.

Lord Saville's inquiry into the killing of unarmed demonstrators by British soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972 is the largest of the inquiries.

'The common theme was collusion - the suspicion that agents of the state had helped, advised, encouraged or even armed paramilitary killers for sinister reasons of their own'.
Kevin Connolly

It has already been sitting for more than six years and has cost more than £150 million.

Significantly Tony Blair agreed to establish Saville as a concession to nationalist opinion at what seemed at the time to be a crucial phase in the peace process negotiations.

That pattern was repeated during another intensive round of bargaining at Weston Park in Shropshire.

The bomb which killed Rosemary Nelson was planted by local loyalists

There Mr Blair agreed to refer a number of cases to a retired judge, promising inquiries wherever the judge thought it necessary.

The cases referred included the murders of two Catholic solicitors murdered by loyalists - Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

In addition there was the killing of a young Catholic, Robert Hamill, who was kicked to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown and the murder of a loyalist killer Billy Wright who was shot dead by republican paramilitaries inside the Maze prison compound.

The common theme was collusion - the suspicion that agents of the state had helped, advised, encouraged or even armed paramilitary killers for sinister reasons of their own.

The case of Robert Hamill fell slightly outside that template - there the allegation was that a police patrol had stood idly by while he was killed.

'Every one of those cases involves the grief and pain of bereavement for families who still do not know exactly how or why husbands, mothers or sons came to die'.
Kevin Connolly

In the interests of political balance - in other words to defuse the unionist suspicion that the inquiries were somehow targeted at them - two other cases were also referred to the retired Canadian judge Peter Cory.

They were murders where it was suspected that the IRA had been given information by sympathisers in the Irish police about the movements of their targets - a high court judge and his wife, and two senior RUC officers.

If the British government was hoping that the judge would play the establishment game and recommend inquiries in some cases but not others then it was disappointed.

Judge Cory recommended full inquiries in every case - and in doing so drew attention to the human dimension in all this.

Every one of those cases involves the grief and pain of bereavement for families who still do not know exactly how or why husbands, mothers or sons came to die.

For the family of Rosemary Nelson things move a step further towards closure with the opening of the inquiry into her 1999 murder.

The booby-trap bomb under her car which killed her was planted by local loyalists - the inquiry will focus on the role that may have been played by local police officers who she always accused of threatening her.

'It is worth remembering too, that there are plenty of grieving families in Northern Ireland for whom there will be no inquiry'.
Kevin Connolly

But the case of Pat Finucane, another Catholic lawyer murdered 10 years before Rosemary Nelson, continues to pose much more substantial political difficulties.

We already know that British military intelligence officers, and their agents, played a substantial role in his murder by loyalist paramilitaries.

The government has legislated to create a new type of tribunal which would be very firmly under the control of government ministers and which would fall very far short of the sort of independent, public investigation which the Finucane family is demanding.

The Finucane family will not accept that sort of limitation and so the argument over the nature of the institution continues, 16 years after Pat Finucane's murder.

It is worth remembering too, that there are plenty of grieving families in Northern Ireland for whom there will be no inquiry.

They are cases where there was no obvious political dimension beyond the fact that a murder happened to suit the sinister purpose of one paramilitary group or another at some moment in the troubles; the killings of many members of the security forces, for example, fall into that category - a source of resentment to Unionists.

The Nelson inquiry and the others like it might run on for years, as the Bloody Sunday tribunal has and at least to individual families they offer hope of closure.

But in general terms Northern Ireland's troubled relationship with the pain of the past is very far from being resolved.

Daily Ireland

'Come forward' plea to abuse victims

Thousands of people who were the victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in Irish institutions are being urged to come forward to seek compensation.
A solicitors’ firm representing Irish victims in England estimate that 12,000 people have yet to seek redress for a lifetime of trauma brought on by abuse.
Manchester-based solicitor Peter Garsden, of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, currently represents around 400 Irish-born abuse sufferers, mainly based in England.
However the group believe there could be up to 12,000 victims worldwide, who suffered abuse over a 50-year period in Ireland but who have yet to come forward.
Peter Garsden is encouraging other victims to make themselves known so they can have their case heard by the Redress Board, set up by the Irish government to compensate the victims of institutional abuse.
“We believe there are between 6,000 to 10,000 people in England, with the rest scattered across the globe,” said Mr Garsden.
“It’s hard to say how many of these people now live in Ireland but it has to be in the thousands.
“A lot of people who were abused in these facilities in Ireland throughout the decades from the ‘20s to the ‘70s left the country when they came out of them.
“Many people ended up in England and we believe there could easily be as many as 12,000 living outside Ireland.
“Most were totally unprepared for life outside their institution and Ireland was poverty-stricken at the time, so they left.
“As well as seeking redress for the abuse suffered we also raise the issue of loss of opportunity.”
According to the latest figures provided by the Redress Board, 5,071 applications have been made by people claiming they were abused while being cared for in institutions, including schools run by the Catholic Church and the state.
Of that number, 2,397 cases have been processed. 1,784 offers have been made following settlement talks, while 539 awards have been made following hearings.
Just two applicants have rejected their awards, and only one application for a settlement was rejected.
In total, 73 refusals have been issued for various reasons.
So far the average value of each settlement totals €78,0000 (£53,000). The largest pay-out possible is €300,000 (£204,000) and depends on the severity of abuse suffered.
A fund to cover the cost of compensating victims is topped up every two months by the Department of Finance.
A spokesperson for the Redress Board declined to comment.
Anyone who suffered abuse while at an Irish institution can call the Survivors Helpline on (00 44) 800 783 5969 (freephone from the North of Ireland), or call (00 44) 0161 482 8822 from the South of Ireland. There is also free advice in the ‘Irish Survivors’ Guide’, which can be found at www.irishsurvivors.org.uk.
The deadline for lodging a case with the Redress Board is December 2, 2005.

Daily Ireland

Donegal gardaí ‘informer’ is vindicated

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What you are about to read is a true story. In saying that, never before has the cliché “incredible but true” seemed so inadequate or trite.
You don’t have to believe Adrienne McGlinchey’s version of events or that she is innocent.
After hearing evidence for 150 days, Mr Justice Frederick Morris completely, unequivocally and publicly vindicated her in a tribunal. It is worth remembering this when reading her story.
One other point to remember is that, although Adrienne McGlinchey was blackmailed, framed, exploited, beaten, tormented, hunted and trapped by the Donegal gardaí, she is not bitter.
“Oh God, no,” she says. “Sure, what’s the point in being bitter? I’ve put it behind me and I want to get on with my life.
“I don’t want to look at every guard I come across and think he is a bad person. I know everyone isn’t as rotten as McMahon or Lennon.”
Detective Garda Noel McMahon’s wife described him as a “Starsky and Hutch-type cop”.
In 1992, Sergeant Kevin Lennon was on traffic duty. By 1995, he had become superintendent of the Co Donegal division.
The Morris tribunal was set up in 2002 to investigate incidents of Garda corruption in the Donegal division. The subsequent Morris report, published last year, identified widespread malpractice among the force.
Adrienne McGlinchey was the main witness to one of the modules of the tribunal, dubbed a “whistle-blower” in the media.
Mr Justice Morris found her innocent of claims by the two rogue Donegal gardaí that she was an IRA informer and bomb maker.
The judge refused costs to Noel McMahon and found that Kevin Lennon had “lied to the tribunal on almost every issue”.
Adrienne McGlinchey, her mother Liz and sister Karen owned a late-night restaurant in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. The Steers restaurant was open 18 hours a day and was a favourite spot with guards.
On July 15, 1991, Adrienne McGlinchey went to see the builders who were doing work on her mother’s home. They had left scaffolding up around the front of the house and had not turned up to remove it.
The McGlincheys regularly collected or left staff home after work. That day, Adrienne McGlinchey had young staff member Yvonne Devine in the car with her.
On her way home, she noticed a Garda car behind her, flashing its lights. She pulled over and the guard who approached the car told her a lorry bomb had been discovered in the area the night before. Both women were arrested under section 31 of the Offences Against the State Act.
Unbeknown to Ms Glinchey, gardaí had the builders’ house under surveillance for some time. They suspected that the commanding officer of the Red Tyrone brigade of the IRA was staying in the house and they linked the lorry bomb with the presence of subversives in the area.
Steers staff members lived beside the house. So too did Ms McGlinchey’s best friend, whom she visited regularly.
When questioned about regular Garda sightings of her around the suspected subversives’ house, Ms McGlinchey could say nothing. One detective said: “She would talk about everything and anything except the reason she was arrested for. She knew nothing of that.”
Ms McGlinchey had a row with her mother and sister when they chastised her about getting involved, however innocently, in something so serious. She moved out of the family home, and she and Yvonne Devine found themselves a flat in Buncrana.
Gardaí kept up their surveillance of the pair and constantly reported back to the worried McGlinchey family in Letterkenny. Gardaí told Karen and Liz McGlinchey that the young women were drug addicts and were using Steers company cheques to fund the IRA. They said Adrienne McGlinchey was planning to liquidate her share of the business.
Naturally concerned, Liz and Karen signed a statement to say the chequebook had been stolen.
Too frightened and embarrassed to return home and facing suspicion from the guards, Adrienne McGlinchey felt she had nowhere to turn. Just then, when she was at her most vulnerable, Noel McMahon made his move.
Finding her alone one evening, Detective McMahon said he would help her with the charges of stolen company cheques in return for help from her.
“My life had taken a nosedive and I was a mess,” says Ms McGlinchey today. “I had spent a lot of money and felt awful about leaving mum and Karen to do all the work. Now the guards were after me and McMahon said he would help.
“McMahon said: ‘I need information about your associates in the republican movement.’ When I told him I knew nothing, he said: ‘I can’t help you with the cheques if you don’t help me.’ He told me the most valuable asset to a Border detective was finding information on the IRA,” she recalls.
Detective McMahon told her that his boss wanted her arrested and charged and that she was looking at a prison sentence.
He told her to go along with his story that she was an IRA informer. She could be seen to be passing him titbits of information, which he would provide. It would impress his boss and get her off the other charges.
Ms McGlinchey agreed to help him once. So began one of the most complex webs of Garda corruption in the history of the state.
One tip-off to Noel McMahon’s boss was not enough. When Ms McGlinchey tried to walk away, from his scheme, he reminded her that she was already in too deep.
In 1992, Kevin Lennon was promoted to inspector and he moved to Buncrana. He and Noel McMahon had been flatmates when they were training as guards. Ms McGlinchey became a slave to their egos, and the manipulation and corruption began in earnest.
Noel McMahon suggested she be seen carrying a bag with some bullets. With her fingerprints over confiscated bullets, Detective McMahon was able to bribe her into committing more absurd incriminating exercises.
He suggested she spread ground-up feriliser around the carpet in her flat. Detective McMahon would tip off uniformed guards, who would later “discover” it.
In 1993, Detective McMahon and his new colleague Kevin Lennon arranged for her to take a bomb to Strabane in Co Tyrone, causing a massive security alert. Between them, they managed to plant 1.25 tonnes of fertiliser in seven different hoax bomb finds across the county. One was planted after the 1994 IRA ceasefire.
On the orders of the two gardaí, Ms McGlinchey turned her flat into a bomb factory. The gardaí supplied her with the tools and material to make IRA-style rocket launchers. She was known on both sides of the Border as the guards’ informer. Kevin Lennon and Noel McMahon often went to the RUC in Derry with the latest information or the prototype of a new rocket.
Detective McMahon, who was a violent alcoholic, and Superintendent Lennon were not adverse to using their fists on Ms McGlinchey if she refused to comply with any more of the crazy schemes. They had taken over her life and used her to attain their own ends — promotion and recognition as the top detectives in the Garda Síochána, with the most successful record of counterterrorism in the the history of the state.
The nightmare only ended for Ms McGlinchey through a twist of fate. Noel McMahon threatened his estranged wife, also an alcoholic, that he would “take the law into his own hands” if their children were taken into care. His wife Sheenagh McMahon then went to the Garda authorities.
She threatened the guards that she would tell Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator, of her husband’s hoax IRA bomb finds and the fake informer who had the RUC and gardaí on high alert.
In 1999, the gardaí instigated their own internal inquiry. The Carty inquiry failed to find any evidence of Garda misconduct and painted Ms McGlinchey as a liar and fanatic — the town fool.
The independent Morris tribunal and the subsequent report was more damning. In all, 17 gardaí were found to have lied in their evidence. The tribunal found that they had been grossly negligent and, in some cases, completely failed to carry out their duties.
Noel McMahon and Kevin Lennon were refused costs.
It was only through the Morris tribunal that the real nightmare endured by the McGlinchey family began to emerge.
Karen McGlinchey tells her sister Adrienne’s story in a new book, Charades, published by Gill and Macmillan and available now.

Daily Ireland

Ex-INLA man said to be held after raid on cocaine factory

A former associate of the Irish National Liberation Army kidnapper Dessie O’Hare is believed to be one of three men arrested yesterday during raids connected with a major cocaine distribution network on both sides of the Border.
The man was arrested by the PSNI after an alleged drugs factory was raided in Moy near Dungannon in Co Tyrone yesterday morning.
The PSNI described as “significant” the haul of six kilograms of cocaine, valued at £500,000 (€734,000).
Forensic experts later took away several items for examination.
On Tuesday night, gardaí in Cork uncovered €500,000 (£340,000) worth of cocaine in the Timoleague area in a connected raid.
The former INLA prisoner, originally from the Newry area, was released under the Good Friday Agreement after serving a sentence in Portlaoise prison, Co Laois.
He had been jailed for his part in a kidnapping carried out by the paramilitary group in the 1980s.
A former IRA prisoner is also among the three being questioned by the PSNI. He too was released as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
In the Cork raid, detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit uncovered seven kilograms of cocaine and a quantity of cannabis.
It is understood the raid took place after a tip-off from the PSNI.
A Garda spokesman said: “Investigations are continuing. No arrests have been made in connection with this seizure.
“Gardaí are liaising with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in connection with this seizure.”
The cross-Border operation has prompted calls for an all-Ireland drug strategy.
Dungannon SDLP councillor Vincent Currie said the creation of a cross-Border anti-drugs strategy would send a message to dealers.
“It’s very worrying that such a haul has been found in the area,” he said.
However, Eddie McGarrigle, a spokesman for the IRSP, last night claimed that none of those arrested were connected with his party or the INLA. “None of these people could class themselves as republicans,” said Mr McGarrigle.
More than £15 million (€22 million) of drugs were seized in the North last year, official figures say.


Real IRA bomb plot appeal fails

Aiden Hulme (right) and his brother Robert were each jailed for 20 years

A man jailed for 20 years over Real IRA bombings in England has failed to have his conviction overturned on appeal.

Aiden Hulme, 27, was convicted of conspiring to cause a series explosions in 2001 in London and Birmingham.

His lawyer claimed the jury at his trial should not have been shown evidence of text messages said to link him to the attacks.

Judges rejected the appeal. They also refused Noel Maguire, convicted with Hulme, leave to appeal his sentence.

No-one was killed in the attacks, which took place on Saturday evenings between March and November 2001.

The first blast was outside the BBC Television Centre, west London, followed by bombings in Ealing Broadway, west London, and Queensway, Birmingham.


The trial judge, Mr Justice Gibbs, said in sentencing that the campaign had been "designed as threats to the country as a whole" and it was a "mercy" no lives had been lost.

Two of the men's co-accused pleaded guilty to the charges

Hulme and his brother Robert, then 23, were each jailed for 20 years while Maguire, then 34, received a 22-year sentence.

Mr Justice Gibbs said Maguire had played "a major part in the conspiracy".

All three had denied involvement in the attacks.

On Thursday, defence QC Richard Ferguson told the Appeal Court that the first of the text messages shown to the trial jury, which read "up the Provos, up the Provos", was both "ambivalent and ambiguous".

The second, which showed fizzing sticks followed by the words "what were you at last night" could merely show ignorance about Hulme's whereabouts, he said.

He added that since it was never established who sent the messages, they could not be seen as "furtherance of the conspiracy".


For the crown, Orlando Powell QC told the judges there was "clearly" prima facie evidence allowing the jury to conclude that the messages had been sent by a conspirator.

Several were hurt in the blasts, which used homemade explosive

He said the jury was entitled to ask itself "whether a terrorist cell already operating in this country would have need to contact others out of the jurisdiction".

"It is in circumstances that a terrorist cell operating on the mainland requiring support, influence, encouragement and help from conspirators operating in Ireland, that the text messages have to be viewed," he said.

After a short retirement, Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Wilkie rejected the appeal.

"We have ... come to the conclusion that this appeal against conviction must be dismissed for reasons which we will give in writing in due course," Lord Justice Kennedy said.

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