11 June 2005

:: IRBB ::

Posted today by P.R.O. Na Fianna Eireann and sent to me by macliam73

Fianna Attacked and Arrested after Frank Gartland Function

Members of Na Fianna, supporters and members of RSF were in a senior member of Na Fianna's house in Tallaght celebrating the success of the Frank Gartland Tribute night on Friday. The celebrations went on into the early hours. At approximately 05.45 members of the ERU (Emergency Response Unit) and members of the Special Branch appeared at the living room and kitchen windows brandishing handguns. There were calls for the front door to be opened; while the Fian was in the process of unlocking the front door, it was broken in on top of him by battery ram. Fianna members and RSF members were kicked and beaten and had 9mm handguns shoved in their faces. Fianna supporters in the house also had guns pointed at them and received kicks and punches.
Na Fianna and others present struggled with the Free Staters and tried to defend themselves but received only harsher beatings for this. The people who were not members of Na Fianna were then locked in a room under armed guard while the house was ransacked and sleeping Fians and supporters were dragged downstairs to receive the same treatment as their comrades.

RSF members from Kerry and from the 6 occupied counties were then both arrested under section 30 of the offences against the state act and taken to Tallaght barracks. The occupants of the house were held captive there for more than two hours.

We hope to show you the photographs of just some of the injuries received by those present in the house. It is Na Fianna's opinion that this was an attempt by the 26 county Free State to steal the money raised from the function in as they did with the money raised by RSF at the Ard Fheis.

A member of Na Fianna with Cerebal Palsy was also assaulted. He was thrown over a sofa which caused him to hit his head on some banisters. He was then kicked in the head above the hairline; if that wasn't enough he then had an ERU member stand on his head for about 5 minutes. He was also repeatedly searched and refused permission to use the toilet.

The two RSF members arrested are still in custody at this time.

The cot of the Fian's baby (less than 6 months old) was dismantled and then irreparably damaged.

When asked for Identification a number of Gardai replied "*Expletive Deleted* off" and "go *Expletive Deleted* yourself".

No warrant was shown.

Several of those present were handcuffed for the duration of the attack.

This was not a simple raid, this was an attack. This is the kind of behaviour suffered in the 6 counties by Nationalists and Republicans from the RUC and their ilk.

Photos to come.

Added by Celtic1981

The houses of the two people arrested were later on raided by the Special Branch and they took away bodhrans, mirrors and hankies. In the case of one of the people arrested, 6 branchmen raided the house and dug up his garden. While the men were being interrogated by the Special Branch the branchmen continually asked them to become informers and questioned them about the ballad night. The idea behind the raid was to try and take the money raised but they never got it. The members of the 26 County police arrived in a Ford Fiesta and the ERU arrived in a white transit van complete with ladders. This was clearly an attempt by the free to try to harass and intimidate us but we will never fear them nor will we ever give up the fight for a United Ireland so their attempts are all in vain.

Fianna Éireann Abú

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Feast Day June 9

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click pic to view 'St Columba' by Duncan

St Columba is a saint who still, after fourteen hundred years, exerts an appeal upon our imaginations. Born in Ireland, in Donegal in the year 521, he was of the blood royal, and might indeed have become High King of Ireland had he not chosen to be a priest. His vital, vigorous personality has given rise to many legends, and it is a little hard to sift fact from what is more probably fiction. We do know that he was a man of tremendous energy, probably somewhat headstrong in his youth, but with his tendency to violence curbed by a gentle magnanimity.

It seems certain that he left Ireland as an act of penance, although it is less certain how far this was connected with his quarrelling over a copy of the Gospels he had made, a dispute that led to a bloody battle. He came from Ireland to Scotland, to the colony of Dalriada founded on the west coast by his fellow Irish Scots who were at that time somewhat oppressed by the dominant Picts. With twelve companions he founded his monastery on Iona in the year 563. These Celtic monks lived in communities of separate cells, but Columba and his companions combined their contemplative life with extraordinary missionary activity. Amongst his many accomplishments, Columba was a splendid sailor. He sailed far amongst the islands and travelled deep inland, making converts and founding little churches. In Ireland he had already, it is said, founded a hundred churches.

Of all the Celtic saints in Scotland, Columba's life is much the best documented, because manuscripts of his Life, written by St Adamnan, one of his early successors as abbot of Iona, have survived. Iona itself remains a place of the greatest beauty, a serene island set in seas that take on brilliant colorsin the sunshine, recalling the life and background of this remarkable man whose mission led to the conversion of Scotland and of the north of England, and indeed carried its influence far further afield. It later became the site of a Benedictine Abbey and of a little cathedral. These were dismantled by the Scottish reformers in 1561, and part of Columba's prophecy was fulfilled:

In Iona of my heart, Iona of my love,
Instead of monks' voices shall be lowing of cattle,
But ere the world come to an end
Iona shall be as it was.

When Dr Samuel Johnson visited the island in 1773 he observed, 'That man is
little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of
Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona!'
Columba was a poet as well as a man of action. Some of his poems in both
Latin and Gaelic have come down to us, and they reveal him as a man very
sensitive to the beauty of his surroundings, as well as always, in St Adamnan's
phrase, 'gladdened in his inmost heart by the joy of the Holy Spirit.' He died in
the year 597

Belfast Telegraph

Fresh plea on power cables near schools
Study leads to new fears on leukaemia

By Michael McHugh
11 June 2005

THERE were new calls yesterday for a halt to the siting of power cables near homes and schools after a study suggested the practice dramatically increased the chances of children devloping leukaemia.

Upper Bann Assemblyman Sam Gardiner was reacting to research carried out by Oxford University's Childhood Cancer Research Group which surveyed 9,700 children from England and Wales with leukaemia and found a 70% increased risk of the killer disease.

Residents in the Craigavon area have raised concerns about this issue in the past but the latest findings have established one of the most alarming links so far.

Mr Gardiner said the findings would worry thousands of parents until more analysis was carried out and called for a ban on the siting of power cables near homes and schools until that work is complete.

"I believe there should be a moratorium of siting power cables near houses and schools until an answer to this question is definitively obtained.

That would be a prudent and sensible response," Mr Gardiner said. "I believe this will involve new stringent planning guidelines."

The Oxford researcher, Dr Gerald Draper, said that a variety of other factors could cause leukaemia including damage to the immune system and exposure to radiation before the baby is born but his findings are being taken seriously by public representatives.

"The only answer is for the Government to commission well-defined research which is targeted at producing an answer to this problem," Mr Gardiner added.

"It is very worrying for many people because across the country (UK) around one per cent of all homes are estimated to be within 200 metres of high-voltage National Grid power lines.

"It is all very well saying to those people not to worry. It is a natural human reaction for people to be worried about their children."

"This research involved more than 29,000 children (suffering from many cancers) and that is a pretty large sample," added Mr Gardeiner.

Belfast Telegraph

Honour for Terry Enright, loyalist victim

11 June 2005

**See also Terry Enright

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photo from the Terry Enright Foundation.org

A PLAQUE erected in memory of a community leader who was shot dead by loyalists in the centre of Belfast was due to be unveiled in the city's Cathedral quarter today.

The plaque, erected in memory of Terry Enright, is being placed on one of the pillars of St Anne's Cathedral to acknowledge the cross-community work undertaken by the west Belfast father of two.

Terry was shot dead by members of the LVF outside a nightclub close to St Anne's in January 1998.


Pupils march against ASBOs

11/06/2005 - 16:40:56

Hundreds of students and school pupils marched through Dublin city centre today against Government plans to introduce ASBOs.

With Justice Minister Michael McDowell eager to adopt the orders this summer in a bid to end anti-social behaviour on the streets protesters claimed it was an attack on civil liberties.

Around 200 demonstrators paraded along O’Connell Street before holding a rally at the Central Bank and calling on the Justice Minister to abandon his proposal to use ASBOs on youngsters as young as ten.

Rory Hearne, Union of Students in Ireland (USI) deputy president, said it was time for the Government to see sense, abide by democracy and drop the ASBO plan.

“These measures if introduced will seriously impinge on young people’s freedoms and the civil liberties of everyone,” he said.

“The more public pressure we can put on the government then the less likely they will introduce these draconian measures. We are calling on McDowell to see sense, abide by democracy and the drop the proposals.”

Mr Hearne called on the government to tackle the root problem of anti-social behaviour such as inequality in education and the lack of recreational facilities in certain areas.

“ASBOs and other aspects of the Criminal Justice Bill which infringe on our civil liberties will not solve the so-called crisis of anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“The government and some opposition political parties appear to be using this serious issue for reasons of political expediency.”

Organisers claimed 46% of local authorities did not provide playgrounds, while there were twice as many golf courses as playgrounds in the country.

And they said youth clubs were closing because of a lack of funding while alcohol free entertainment venues were virtually non-existent.

Protesters also claimed cross party TDs were backing their campaign. Several Government TDs have expressed their concern at the move.

Hazel Nolan, from the Union of Secondary Students, said anti-social behaviour was a growing problem in Irish society.

But she warned using the orders to clampdown on kids would be seen as a lack of respect and understanding.

“The proposal to introduce ASBOs is a direct sign of lack of respect for young people, and it is hypocritical to presume that respect can exist if it is not mutual,” Ms Nolan said.

“ASBOs are a quick fix to a serious problem and are yet again another example of a reactive rather than proactive government.”

Ms Nolan said the cost of detaining one young person for a year could cover the cost of four youth workers.

“ASBOs and the measures proposed by the Justice bill are a complete abortion of natural justice,” she added.

Daily Ireland

Language summit

By Conor McMorrow

A convention is being held in Belfast next week to discuss Irish-medium education.
The Irish-language organisation Pobal has been working on a draft law for the Irish language in the North.
The proposed legislation is being drawn up because people in the Irish-language community in the North want to have their rights defined and protected in law.
They want an Irish language act that would give them due recognition in legislation and impose obligations on the state system.
Seán Ó Coinn, chief executive of Comhairle na Gaelscoilaíochta (the Council for Irish-Medium Education), said: “We want as many people as possible from the Irish education and the Irish-medium sectors to attend this convention, including principals, teachers and parents.
“This generation of children in the Irish-medium education sector in the North will benefit most from an Irish language act in future.
“The current Irish-medium education leadership has a grave responsibility because it is they who have to ensure that the rights of these children have legislative protection.”
There are currently more than 3,000 children in the Irish-medium education sector in the North. The convention is being held in the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich on the Falls Road in west Belfast between 3pm and 6pm on Tuesday.
Organisers said they hoped the convention would raise questions over whether or not the Irish-medium education sector was being denied rights and what the best way forward would be to conteract this with an Irish language act.

Daily Ireland

**Go here for background info: The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition

Mac Cionnaith says ‘Drumcree is dead’

by Ciarán Barnes

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The annual Drumcree march, which at its height brought the North to a standstill, is now regarded as a “dead issue” by nationalists, a Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition spokesman said yesterday.
Speaking to Daily Ireland, Breandán Mac Cionnaith said that “whether the Orange Order like it or not”, a solution has been reached regarding the Drumcree dispute.
The Orange Order is once again planning to march past nationalist homes down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh, on its route to Drumcree church on July 10.

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The last time Orangemen were permitted to go down the road was in 1997.
Since then, the number of loyalists protesting at Drumcree against the Parades Commission’s refusal to allow them to march the route has fallen from approximately 6,000 in 1998 to 600 last year.
Mr Mac Cionnaith said he saw this as proof that, even in the eyes of Orangemen, the Drumcree dispute was “no longer an issue”.
He said: “In the eyes of Portadown nationalists, Drumcree is a dead issue.
“We have reached a solution whether the Orange Order likes it or not. In a way, there is now a peaceful equilibrium between both sides and we can live with that.
“A decade ago, the very mention of Drumcree would get people’s backs up. Now the majority of people are not in the least bit concerned about it.”

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Mr Mac Cionnaith insisted that the massive drop in the number of loyalist protesters at Drumcree proved that many unionists also viewed the parade as a dead issue.
“During the last couple of years, things have been relatively quiet in Portadown.
“Everyone is happy with the way things are currently.”
The Orange Order is expecting at least 2,000 loyalists to turn up to next month’s Drumcree parade.
The Parades Commission has yet to announce whether it will allow Orangemen down the Garvaghy Road.
However, sources within the organisation claim there is “not a hope” of the Orangemen getting down the road.
Since 1997, a hardcore element of around 20 Portadown Orangemen have appeared at Drumcree church every Sunday demanding to be allowed down the Garvaghy Road.
The Parades Commission has refused every single request.
In previous years, a huge security presence has been drafted into Portadown during the run-up to Drumcree to prevent clashes between loyalists and nationalists.
However, as the march has became less volatile, the security presence has reduced considerably.
During the mid and late 1990s, the Drumcree dispute was the cause of widespread rioting across the North.
The stand-off between Orangemen and Garvaghy Road residents led to the loyalist murders of Portadown Catholics Michael McGoldrick and Robert Hamill, and the deaths of the three young brothers Richard, Mark and Jason Quinn in Ballymoney.
However, there has been little or no violence during the past three years.

Daily Ireland

They knew he was innocent three years ago

By Conor McMorrow

The Irish justice department knew for almost three years that Frank McBrearty Jr and Mark McConnell were no longer suspects in Garda investigations into the death of Donegal cattle dealer Richie Barron.

Daily Ireland has obtained evidence that the department was aware in late 2002 that the focus of the Garda investigation into Mr Barron’s death was on a hit-and-run incident and not on a murder.
Justice Frederick Morris officially declared last week that Mr McBrearty and his cousin Mark McConnell had been framed for the supposed murder of Mr Barron in 1996.
Earlier this week, Daily Ireland revealed that Garda commissioner Noel Conroy had stated in a letter to Mr McBrearty last year that Mr Barron’s death had been redesignated in February 2002 from a murder investigation to a hit-and-run.
Daily Ireland can now disclose that justice minister Michael McDowell knew that his department was aware of the redesignation of Mr Barron’s death as far back as November 2002. Mr McDowell made this admission in a response to a Dáil question from Labour Party TD Joe Costello in December last year.
However, Mr McBrearty and Mr McConnell were not told in 2002 that they were no longer suspects in Mr Barron’s death.
Mr McBrearty said last night: “The information that Richie Barron’s death was redesignated was not given to the Morris tribunal until I got it out of the Garda commissioner.
“The Garda commissioner at the time [Pat Byrne] and the justice minister prolonged my family’s agony that we were guilty.
“Minister McDowell has to go or, if he does not resign, he has to explain who is responsible for this and who is accountable for it.”
Details of the redesignation were never made available to the coroner’s inquest into Mr Barron’s death.
A Dáil debate will take place next Wednesday on the findings of the Morris tribunal.
Several opposition TDs are to raise the question of whether or not Mr McDowell was aware of the redesignation of Richie Barron’s death at the time the tribunal was set up.
Nobody was availbale for comment in the Department of Justice or the Garda press office yesterday.
In his reply to Mr Costello’s Dáil question, Mr McDowell said Garda commissioner Noel Conroy had written to Mr McBrearty on November 19 last year, telling him that the redesignation had been changed on the Garda computer on November 13, 2002.
However, in the letter from Mr Conroy to Mr McBrearty, obtained by Daily Ireland, the commissioner states that the redesignation took place on February 13, 2002 — the month before the Morris tribunal was set up.
Nobody was available for comment in the Department of Justice or the Garda press office yesterday.
In his reply to Mr Costello’s Dáil question, Mr McDowell said Garda commissioner Noel Conroy had written to Mr McBrearty on November 19 last year.
The commissioner told Mr McBrearty that the redesignation had been changed on the Garda computer on November 13, 2002.
However, in the letter from Mr Conroy to Mr McBrearty, obtained by Daily Ireland, the commissioner states that the redesignation took place on February 13, 2002 — the month before the Morris tribunal was set up.


M & S recall of 12,000 children's clothing items

11 June 2005 15:27

Thousands of children's clothes are being recalled by Marks and Spencers stores in Ireland and Britain after parents found sewing machine needles still attached to the garments.

The company has issued an urgent alert about 12,000 items of clothing following complaints that two children in Britain were scratched by the needles.

The clothes involved are a pink two-pack jogger set, pink gingham dungarees, a white T-shirt and denim jeans set, all of which have been available since last month.

Also affected are pure cotton chambray pyjamas, which have been available since March this year.

Shoppers seeking more information are being asked to contact the Marks and Spencers Customer Service desks at any store.


Unionists 'shouldn't be allowed veto cross border links'

11/06/2005 - 14:32:51

Unionists should not be allowed to veto political progress by failing to respond positively to any moves the IRA may make to embrace democracy, it was claimed today.

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin MP, said the British and Irish governments had a responsibility to make it clear to the Democratic Unionist Party that they could not put a block on developing cross border links.

“If the DUP disappoint us I think then others have huge decisions to make particularly the British and the Irish governments and I think it has to be made very clear to the DUP that they are not going to have a veto on progress,” he said.

“There are many things, if the DUP indicate that they are not prepared to share power, that the two governments can do to move the situation forward in an all Ireland way.”

The Sinn Féin chief negotiator said officials on either side of the Irish Sea should look at building on the north-south institutions in areas such as health, education, energy and transport.

“There are a huge amount of things that can be done,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams made a call on April 6 for the terror group to abandon its armed struggle and achieve its aims through democratic means.

Speculation has mounted that the British and Irish governments have set the start of the Orange marching season on July 10 as an unofficial deadline for the IRA to respond.

But Mr McGuinness would not be drawn on when the IRA would answer.

“Obviously I am hoping for a positive outcome. I am hoping that the IRA will take huge decisions which will recognise the importance of what Gerry Adams has said vis-a-vis the need for all of us to go forward by purely political and democratic means,” he said.


McBrearty hits out at gardaí decision

11/06/2005 - 11:27:50

The Donegal publican framed for a murder that never was today hit out at a decision to transfer five gardaí named in damning Morris Tribunal reports to Dublin.

A garda spokesman confirmed two officers are to be moved from their posts in the north west to headquarters in Phoenix Park, one will be posted to Harcourt Terrace, while two others will serve elsewhere in the capital.

Raphoe businessman Frank McBrearty junior said the move was part of a ploy by garda management to make it look as though action was being taken against officers implicated in the corruption probe.

“This is a publicity stunt that Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy is involved in,” he said.

“The Garda Commissioner is coming down here and transferring men out of Donegal when he should be transferring himself out of Phoenix Park and resigning. They should not be transferred they should be sacked.”

The gardaí being moved are Martin Anderson, Letterkenny Garda station; Thomas Rattigan, Buncrana; James McDwyer, Ballybofey; Martin Leonard, Letterkenny, and Patrick McDermott, Lifford.

It is not known to which stations they will be posted or what duties they will perform.

But Mr McBrearty said he was not surprised by the decision to move the officers out of the Donegal division.

“Nothing surprises me any more, it’s a joke and a publicity stunt by the Garda Commissioner,” he said.

The transfers come ten days after Mr Justice Frederick Morris hastily published the Tribunal’s second interim report.

The judge heavily criticised several top officers and two superintendents have since resigned their posts, Supt Joe Shelly and Det Supt John McGinley.

The pair had key roles in overseeing the botched investigation into the hit-and-run death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in 1996-1997.

The Morris report found the Barron death probe, over which Mr McBrearty was framed for murder, was “prejudiced, tendentious and utterly negligent in the highest degree”.

Mr McBrearty has called on the Chief Superintendent Noel White of the Donegal division to order the transfer of every officer involved in the investigation out of the county while he pursues a civil suit.

He said he would continue with High Court action against the State and name up to 100 gardaí who he claimed harassed, intimidated and attempted to frame him for murder.

Lawyers from the Raphoe family are due to attend the Tribunal on Monday for an application for legal costs but Mr McBrearty said he would not be returning to the inquiry.

Jim Higgins, Fine Gael MEP, said the decision by Garda headquarters to transfer rank and file officers was bizarre and incredible.

“What is patently obvious is that the culture of long-fingering and whistling past the graveyard is still alive and well at Garda HQ level and is fully supported by Justice Minister, Michael McDowell,” Mr Higgins said.

“Instead of being transferred with full salary rights, the five gardai should have been suspended pending the examination of the file sent by Morris to the DPP.

“I find this incredible decision by Garda HQ and supported by Minister McDowell to transfer the five Gardai bizarre in the extreme. It is in total contempt for the Morris Tribunal findings.”

Mr Higgins said in the wake of the public and political outrage at the decision to accept the “so-called honourable” retirements of Supt Shelley and Det Supt McGinley the transfers were impossible to comprehend.


Arrested tree protest trio freed

Some of the trees were 150-years-old

Three people have been arrested but were later released in a row over trees more than 150-years-old being chopped down in Bangor, County Down.

Contractors moved in to chop down the beech, ash and chestnut trees on the boundary of an old detached property in the Beeches area at about 0730 BST.

Protesters, including local MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, tried to stop them.

Cutting stopped for a time while police searched the trees for nesting birds. No birds were found and work resumed.

There was no "for sale" sign nor any indication the property had changed hands.

It is understood that, as yet, no planning application has been lodged by the developer who owns the site.

Irish Independent

Hidden gun spurs charge of IRA membership

A MAN arrested when gardai found a handgun hidden in a van on Tuesday was charged with membership of an illegal organisation at the Special Criminal Court yesterday.

Vincent Kelly (20), Empress Place, Ballybough, Dublin, was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, on June 7.

Garda Brendan O'Sullivan, Clontarf, gave evidence of stopping an Opel Astra van at 10.30pm on Tuesday night. He said he arrested Kelly under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Garda O'Sullivan said Kelly was taken to Clontarf Garda Station. A firearm was found in the rear of the vehicle in a search. He released Kelly from arrest under the Misuse of Drugs Act and arrested him under the Offences Against the State act for the unlawful possession of a firearm. Garda O'Sullivan said Kelly made no reply after caution.

The court remanded Kelly in custody until Monday. A second man arrested with Kelly has been released and a file will be sent to the DPP.

Diarmaid Mac Dermott

Irish Independent

Number of Gaeltacht schools using Irish 'in steep decline'

GAELTACHT schools are facing a crisis and unless they get more support, few of them will be teaching through Irish in 20 years' time, says a major study launched yesterday.

It warns that if the perilous state of Gaeltacht education is not resolved, the future of the Gaeltacht areas themselves is threatened. There are 127 primary and 27 post-primary schools in these Irish speaking communities which are scattered over seven counties, mainly along the Western seaboard.

The report says that parents feel that the educational system cancels their efforts to pass on Irish as a living language to their children and to develop a loyalty to the language.

Already a significant number of Gealtacht schools have conceded defeat in the face of the difficulties they face and have switched to teaching through the medium of English while a number of other schools would appear to be wavering.

The study reveals that 10pc of the pupils leave primary and post-primary schools in the Gealtacht areas with little or no Irish.

A further quarter of the pupils who leave primary schools in these areas leave with only a 'reasonable' level of Irish, as do 18pc leaving the post primary schools.

The study was commissioned by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta - the educational council for Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools which was established in 2002 under the Education Act 1998.

Breandán Mac Cormaic who chairs the committee suggested that nothing had happened as a result of earlier reports and it would be a terrible blow to the Gaeltacht if the latest report met the same fate.

John Walshe
Education Editor


Five gardaí in Morris report transferred to Dublin

11/06/2005 - 08:51:02

Five of the gardaí referred to in the Morris report are being transferred from Donegal to Dublin.

The report was highly critical of the investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in Donegal nine years ago and the attempt to frame two men over the death.

The Garda Commissioner has told the five they are being transferred later this month - two will be based at Garda Headquarters and the others at stations around the city.


It's Sir Hugh boy now...

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10 June 2005


Police refuse to remove UVF flag

(Irish News)

Police have refused to remove an illegal paramilitary flag flying from a private home just two months after a promised crackdown on the display of sectarian flags.

The UVF flag, right, flying from the balcony of a high-rise flat, is visible to motorists on one of the main access routes to Belfast.

Commuters believe it should be straightforward for police to act against the tenant of the flat, as opposed to the difficulties in identifying those who attach flags to telephone poles and street lights.

But a police spokeswoman said officers would not remove the flag at Mount Vernon flats on the Shore Road, blaming the need for the cooperation of "local communities and statutory agencies".

Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by the Mount Vernon UVF, said the police's inaction was symptomatic of a system that allows paramilitaries to rule areas.

"In Mount Vernon the UVF are a law onto themselves. They are a disgrace to the unionist cause. These people are totally immune to prosecution. They are holding the police and their own community to
ransom," he said.

"The majority of people in Mount Vernon are good, decent people but a small minority have turned it into a drug den and a place where murderers live.

"Nobody wants to see paramilitary flags flying. It's a disgrace – take it down."

In April a protocol was signed by police, the Housing Executive and government bodies to get rid of all displays of sectarian flags.

At the time, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said: "The display of flags to mark out geographical areas of 'territory' or to promote sectarianism or to intimidate people is, and must remain, wholly unacceptable in a peaceful and tolerant society."

However, last night (Sunday) a police spokeswoman said while they were aware of the loyalist flag and were monitoring the situation, no immediate steps would be taken to remove it.

"We would stress that many of the issues surrounding the flying of flags cannot be resolved with the policing solution alone. They can only be resolved by local communities and statutory agencies working together to find an acceptable answer," she said.

"Where police action may be required, consultation and negotiation will take place with community representatives regarding local flying of the flags displayed and if required their removal."

A Housing Executive spokeswoman said it would speak to its tenant, as well as community representatives, in an effort to resolve the matter.

June 10, 2005


Couple to move after gang attack

The gang broke into this house in Ballymoney

The husband of a woman beaten by a gang armed with baseball bats in County Antrim has said they will be selling their home and moving out.

Police are linking the attack on the 56-year-old in Ballymoney to loyalist paramilitaries.

The woman was in bed when three masked men forced their way into her house in Mosside at about 2330 BST on Thursday.

She was beaten with baseball bats and is being treated in hospital for severe bruising to her arms and body.

The gang ransacked the house before fleeing towards Armoy. Police are still investigating a motive.

However, they said their main line of inquiry was a link between the attack and loyalist paramilitary activity in the north Antrim area.

Detective Inspector Nick McCoy said the woman was subjected to an "horrific" ordeal.

"It is an attack that has to be condemned by any right thinking person in the community," he said.

'No justification'

"We are keen to bring these people to justice and we need the community's help.

"If anybody has any information out there please contact the detectives at Ballymoney."

The woman's husband, who was at work at the time of the attack, described those responsible as "cowards".

Sean Farren, SDLP assembly member for North Antrim, said the attack was "brutal and horrifying".

"There can be no possible justification for acts like this and there can be no toleration of them either," he said.


Witnesses come forward in PSNI road death

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Jim McMenamin - killed by the PSNI

AN Eyewitness has claimed that the PSNI Land Rover responsible for the death of Jim McMenamin was speeding and had no siren on before the fatal collision.

The investigation into the death of the 29-year-old Glenalina man also took an unexpected twist during the week as a mysterious taxi became embroiled in the investigation.

Jim McMenamin was knocked down by the PSNI vehicle on the Upper Springfield Road as he made his way home from a night out in Gort na Mona GAC in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A married couple who came across the scene of the death with their two daughters have come forward to the Andersonstown News with fresh information about the incident and the presence of a private taxi. The family wish to remain anonymous, although they have spoken to the McMenamin family directly and confirmed that they will provide a statement to the office of the Police Ombudsman.

Just after 1am on Saturday morning the West Belfast man travelled down the Upper Springfield Road to pick up his wife from a party in Caulfield’s bar near the junction of the Whiterock Road and the Upper Springfield Road. At this stage, he could confirm that no incident had taken place. Just before his wife and their two daughters were collected a PSNI Land Rover drove up the road.

The man thought that the PSNI vehicle was driving at a considerable speed and without its headlights on. “The police were coming up the Upper Springfield Road, horsing up it. There was only one jeep. It had no headlights on, nor a siren, just the blue light flashing.”

He estimated that the vehicle was traveling at “easily 60mph”.

His wife and their children got into the car and they drove back up the Upper Springfield Road in the direction of the Monagh By-pass Travellers’ site. When they arrived at the scene of Jim McMenamin’s death, near the entrance to the laneway of Gort na Mona GAC, they saw the police vehicle had stopped, with the rear of the jeep on the left lane countrywards, and the front of the vehicle on the diagonal white lines in the centre of the road. Also in the partition was a private taxi, a Volkswagen Passat, with its rear door open.

“At first I thought that the peelers had rammed the taxi,” said the man. “I saw a peeler sitting at the back of the jeep and he looked like he was in shock. He was as green as his shirt. Jim’s body was lying on the right hand lane as you go up the Upper Springfield Road. It was obvious he was dead, as they had put a coat over him. His legs and lower body were twisted.”

The Andersonstown News can reveal that the taxi driver has since contacted both the family and the Police Ombudsman about what he witnessed.

A spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman’s office said, “We have spoken to a number of people who were in the taxi. It was not involved in the collision and they would not have been required to stay at the scene.

“We continue to investigate the circumstances of this incident and to liaise with the McMenamin family.”

Speaking yesterday, Jim’s uncle, Eamonn Stott, encouraged any one who saw anything on the night of the tragedy to contact the Police Ombudsman, or if they had reservations, to contact the family.

“The Ombudsman have told us that they have taken the vehicle away for tests, including mechanical tests. It could be a few months before we hear anything but they have been keeping us regularly updated,” said Eamonn.
On Tuesday Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams visited the family of Jim McMenamin to express his condolences.

Speaking afterwards Mr Adams said, “There is serious disquiet in the local community, shared by the family, that the PSNI handling of Saturday night’s incident gives cause for real concern. Many serious questions need to be answered about the circumstances surrounding the killing of Jim McMenamin, the role of the PSNI and its behaviour immediately after the incident.

“The family want no cover-up. They want the truth. I am appealing to anyone who saw anything or who has any information to bring that forward and speak to the Office of the Police Ombudsman which is carrying out an investigation into this incident. It is important that this is done in conjunction with a solicitor.”

Journalist:: Damien McCarney


Squinter - a sideways look the week

Freedom of a city they’d much rather forget

Get this: Sunday Life has started a campaign to give the British army bomb squad the freedom of our city.

And get this: the SDLP says it’s something that they can look at “sympathetically”.

Squinter’s not sure which part of that he finds more troubling.

Possibly the fact that while others are exercised by the G8 summit, world poverty, Aids and global warming, somebody sat down and decided that the very considerable resources of ‘Sir’ Tony O’Reilly’s bean empire would best be deployed in giving a bunch of alcoholic ne’er-do-wells a slap-up meal at our expense and the right to graze their sheep in Cornmarket. Or possibly the fact that the SDLP think this might be a good idea.

Let’s be clear about one thing – if the bomb squad was being honoured in terms of results, then we’d be better off giving the freedom of the city to the Keep Sport Off Sky TV Association.

When the bomb squad was at its busiest, Belfast made Grozny look like Monaco and the main job of the bomb squad then was to watch from a distance as another screamer filled the city air with smoke and glass and bricks.

Should the old boys get the freedom of Belfast, it won’t be the first time they’ve been invited along to a beano to pick up a gong. Squinter’s diligent researchers have established that the bomb squad has picked up over 300 awards over the years.

Clearly, there’s not space here to list them all, but the following have all had cause to be grateful to the squad...

• The Ulster Glazers’ Association
• Northern Ireland Brick and Concrete Ltd
• The Ulster Vintners’ Association

Over the years, the bomb squad – or the 321 Explosive Ordnance Squadron – has responded to 55,000 call-outs, although, disappointingly, the Soldier (magazine of the British army) fails to note how many of these bombs it managed to neutralise. Not a lot, as somebody on the TV used to say.

Bomb squad vehicles were characterised by the drawing of Felix the cat which, in a rare moment of levity, the squad decided to use as its call-sign because the famous moggy had nine lives and routinely survived all sorts of hair-raising scrapes.

Perhaps none of the squad at that time had a working knowledge of Latin, but the name Felix means lucky, which was a particularly unfortunate choice given that 20 members of the tiny squadron were to be killed and 24 seriously injured.

Those behind the campaign no doubt passionately believe they’re doing a good thing, but Squinter’s not so sure they’ve thought it through.

Given the high rate of post traumatic stress disorder suffered by squadron members, you have to wonder whether it’s a good idea to take them from their gardens in Sussex and bring them back to Belfast just when those sweat-soaked nightmares about hedgerows, milk churns and Morris Marinas were beginning to subside.


In that scrum for McCartney murder showcase...

Squinter must admit that his hard old heart melted at the sight of so many journalists scrambling to get into the court to see two men charged in connection with the killing of Robert McCartney.
Sometimes this cynical old trade can make a person depressed, but sometimes, just sometimes, something happens which reminds us all that hacks are human too.
As Squinter made his way to the court on Saturday, he bumped into a colleague whose concern for victims and their families has been the pilot light which has guided his career.
His simple words said all that needed to be said: “Hey, fella, any idea where the magistrates court is?”
In the middle of the boisterous scrum of journos trying to claim one of the limited number of press places available, an international visitor tapped Squinter on the shoulder and asked: “Are those guys with the caps and the guns IRA or unionists?”
A feature writer from the Azerbaijan Daily News asked Squinter was it true that one of the men present on that fateful night was now willing to give evidence in the case.
Squinter was delighted to report that it was, although he had to add that the witness’s sentencing on an armed robbery rap and his trial on charges of attempted murder arising from a city centre stabbing might hold things up a bit.
Strangely, the Azerbaijan bloke turned on his heel and went back to the airport.
Squinter was equally pleased to note that while two men have now been charged, the McCartney family say they won’t rest until another 15 people have been charged as well.
Cynics might point out that the last time there was a trial in Belfast with 17 people in the dock the only evidence against them was given from behind a curtain by a bloke flown in from Cornwall in a Chinook with a cardboard box over his head.
Personally speaking, Squinter thinks a good show trial is long overdue.


NIPS seek taigs for work and other pleasurable activities

The Brits want to increase the number of Taigs in the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Squinter learns this week.
Eager for a much-needed if rather belated career change, Squinter downloaded an application form from the NIPS website which he’s pleased to reproduce here in the hope that some of you will fill it in and return it.
£30,000 a year; 150 sick days a year; subsidised canteen; rent allowance; free membership of the prison officers’ social club, which regular readers of this column will know is a wild west-themed establishment called The Lazy B; free shiny boots.
Sure where would you get it and what are you waiting for?

First name:
a) Simpson
b) Gibson
c) Wilson

a) Simpson
b) Gibson
c) Wilson

a) British army
b) RUC
c) UDA

a) Ulster-Scots
b) Pipe bands
c) Ulster-Scots pipe bands

place of birth:
a) Portadown
b) Londonderry
c) Comber

last job:
Head of the Colombian Cali Cartel.

reason for leaving:
Need more money.

criminal record:
The Old Rugged Cross by William McCrea (©Ye Olde Joke Shoppe)

And by total coverage you mean what


A correspondent writes to say that he eagerly picked up Sunday Life to read the report on the Republic v Israel match only to find to his horror that the World Cup qualifier was dealt with in a single 24-word paragraph.
Can it be true?

It is Squinter’s sad duty to report that he has scanned the five pages of the paper’s ‘World Cup 2006 Total Coverage’ to find that it can indeed be true.
Happily, the report on the Azerbaijan-Poland match is satisfyingly comprehensive.


Executive offers UVF threat victim house in loyalist area

The Housing Executive offered a North Belfast man, who is under loyalist death threat and was forced to leave his home, a flat with red, white and blue kerbstones outside.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he was “baffled” at the “bizarre” offer to house him in Henderson Avenue at the top of the Cavehill Road in an area close to Ballysillan.
The Housing Executive later apologised to the 25-year-old who received a bullet through his letterbox along with a threat from the UVF.
Officials also agreed to remove the offer from his file that would mean he would only have two more offers under a three offer rule.
It’s not the first time the Housing Executive has bungled an emergency housing application.
Two years ago the Meekin family who had to move out of Ligoniel after daughter Emma revealed pensioner John O’Neill had sexually abused her, was subsequently offered a house in the same estate they had been forced to move out of.
“I received the bullet last year and I applied for alternative housing,” said the loyalist threat victim.
“I was given 310 points and I’m shifting about living with relatives and friends at the moment. I couldn’t believe it when they offered me Henderson Avenue with the kerbs painted red, white and blue. I felt very intimidated.”
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive confirmed that the offer was made for Henderson Avenue, but despite the painted kerbstones, claimed the area was “mixed”.
“This man presented to the Housing Executive as homeless in November 2004 citing intimidation from his privately rented accommodation. As is standard Housing Executive practice he was offered temporary accommodation and furniture storage until the circumstances had been investigated, but made his own arrangements,” she said.
“After investigation, and confirmation from PSNI, he was awarded full duty applicant status and is currently appearing on the waiting list for permanent housing in the Oldpark and Cliftonville areas.
“He was offered permanent accommodation at Oldpark Road but this offer was refused. He was also offered permanent accommodation at Henderson Avenue, which is a mixed area, and again this was refused. However, after speaking to the applicant the district office have agreed that this will not be treated as a formal offer.
“The district office is sympathetic to this man’s situation and will make every effort to rehouse him as quickly as possible in his chosen areas of choice.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


McCartney friend in court

Glengormley man Brendan Devine who was stabbed in a Belfast bar along with Robert McCartney appeared in court on Tuesday in connection with a stolen vehicle.

Devine of Mayfield Village was charged with receiving stolen goods (a Mercedes four wheel drive) on August 3, 2003.
Charges of using a fraudulent tax disc, fraudulent registration mark, no test certificate and no insurance on the same date were also included.
The case was adjourned until June 21.
Devine is also awaiting sentencing for his part in an armed robbery in South Belfast last year.
In January this year Devine, John Connolly O’Connor and William Evans pleaded guilty to robbing a Cashco employee and taking a cash-box valued at £1,800. The boxes usually contain about £25,000.
Devine is also due to make another appearance before judges in the summer. This relates to an incident in November 2003 when a pub bouncer was stabbed.
He has been charged with unlawfully and maliciously wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.
A second man Hugh ‘Applegoat’ McCormick, from Carryduff, has also been charged with offences linked to the attack.
McCormick is the brother of James ‘Dim’ McCormick who has been charged with attempting to murder Devine during the pub brawl, which resulted in the death of Robert McCartney.
Devine will be one of the witnesses who will testify against those accused of attempted murder on himself and the murder of Robert McCartney.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


PSNI will police Live 8

The PSNI will be taking part in the policing operation surrounding the G8 anti-globalisation day, Scottish police have confirmed to the North Belfast News.

But cops on this side of the Irish Sea are remaining tight-lipped about the role they will play, prompting speculation that the riot squad could be deployed in case of violence.
A counter insurgency operation could also be carried out on activists travelling from Ireland.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said questions had to be asked on the role the PSNI would play in the massive event.
A spokesman for the task force specially set up to plan the policing of the massive Live 8 concert confirmed to the North Belfast News this week that PSNI officers would be involved in the massive concert and rally events planned for July.
“There is some involvement from Northern Ireland, the extent (of which) we would not say,” said a spokesman.
“As far as I’m aware there will be officers coming from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
The protests are to coincide with a meeting between the leaders of the world's top industrial nations at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in Perthshire from July 6 to 8.
Organisers like Bob Geldof have urged 1million people to converge on Edinburgh.
Estimates of the policing operation in Scotland have been said to be close to £120m by one newspaper. But no overall figure has yet been given by the British government for the cost of hosting the Gleneagles event.
“Questions are raised over what role the PSNI will play, be it in riot control like we had in Ardoyne on July 12, or in counter insurgency and monitoring anti-poverty and anti-war protesters over there,” said Gerry Kelly.
“Certainly this role will not address the issues of global poverty and in fact it could make the situation worse. It doesn’t bode well for Edinburgh in having a police force there that operates on an anti-community and sectarian agenda.”
A PSNI spokeswoman refused to say what the role of the PSNI would be in Live 8.
“The PSNI has agreed in principle that if support is required we will consider meeting that requirement in the context of our own operational requirements.”

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon


Girdwood: Brits to go back in

British army could go back into Girdwood because kids are ‘wrecking’ the base...

The NIO has threatened to put the British army back into Girdwood barracks, if locals don’t keep children from wrecking the base, a community worker has said.
Manus Maguire from Manor Street Community Association was given the startling ultimatum this week by an NIO official.
The British army has engaged a contractor to dismantle the base after local teenagers gained access.
But it’s believed no night watch men are employed at the base and children and teenagers are gaining access through gaps in the outer steel walls.
The North Belfast News understands that the British army is looking at options to improve security including the use of soldiers to guard the barracks.
A security source said the vandalism could hold up the work of the contractors for months.
The vandalism, which occurred over the weekend, has raised the dual issue of parents knowing where their children are, and the risk of serious injury or death in the base.
Manus Maguire urged parents to keep their children out of the dangerous grounds.
“The sangars are still there and the kids are climbing up them. It’s very dangerous and the kids are just going in wrecking. The NIO contacted us and told us if local community workers couldn’t stop kids going in, then they would bring the army back in.
“We then gave the phone number of the NIO to residents to voice their concerns because they are being tortured by these vandals and the NIO told them it was nothing to do with them,” he said.
But a spokesman for the NIO refused to be drawn on the issue saying: “Proper security has to be provided for the site to allow the contractor to continue his work to return the site to civilian use."
A spokesman for the British army confirmed it was reviewing security at the base.
“Because of the vandalism at the former Girdwood army base in North Belfast at the weekend, the MoD is reviewing security measures to protect contractors carrying out demolition on the site,” he said.
Meanwhile CCTV cameras have already been installed at Girdwood.

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

Unison.ie / Irish Independent

Boys escape near blast

THREE children had a lucky escape yesterday when the pipe bombs they discovered failed to detonate after they hurled them on the ground. Christopher McElroy (8), his brother David (7) and their friend Adam Currie (8) found a bag containing 13 bombs in a derelict flat in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Belfast Telegraph

Man due in court over bar shooting

By Brian Hutton
10 June 2005

A man charged in connection with a sectarian bar shooting in Derry was due before court today.

The 26-year-old is accused of causing grievous bodily harm and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an arrestable offence.

It is understood the charges relate to an incident in Derry's Waterside on Wednesday night at the Oval Bar in Duke Street, during which a man was shot in the head.

The male victim, believed to be Protestant, was also shot twice in the hand, while a woman sitting near him was hit in the chest.

The wounded man underwent further treatment yesterday. However, his injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

Belfast Telegraph

Millionaire loyalist shot 11 times
Life term for killing terrorist

By Ashleigh Wallace
10 June 2005

Justice in Northern Ireland should be dispensed in a court of law and not down the barrel of a gun.

That's according to Superintendent Roy McComb, the senior investigating officer involved in the prosecution of Portadown man Robert Young - who was yesterday handed a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering Jim 'Jonty' Johnston.

Young (41), from Ulsterville Park, appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court and was yesterday told by Mr Justice Higgins: "You have been found guilty of the murder of James Herbert Johnston.

"The only penalty in this jurisdiction for murder is of imprisonment for life, to which I sentence you."

The court is expected to reconvene at a later date to decide what tariff Young must serve. It is understood he plans to appeal against his sentence, which was passed following a six week Diplock trial.

During yesterday's hearing, the court heard that blood which matched Young's was found on barbed wire fencing close to the murder scene along the escape route taken by the gunmen.

When he was arrested two weeks after the murder in his parents home, Young denied the murder to police.

He told them that at the time of the killing, he had been at his sister Lorraine's house in Holywood.

When Young was examined by a doctor, he was found to have injuries which the judge said were "consistent with scrambling through rough terrain and through thick and sharp vegetation".

Johnston, a member of the Red Hand Commando, was hit 11 times when two gunmen opened fire at his plush home on the Ballyrobert Road in Crawfordsburn on May 8, 2003.

Also appearing in court yesterday was Young's sister Lorraine (35) - the former sister-in-law of Stephen Warnock who was shot dead in Newtownards in September 2002.

The mother of three, from Church Hill, claimed her brother was with her the night Johnston was killed. However, after finding her brother guilty of the murder, Mr Justice Higgins said if Young was guilty of murder, she was guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Holywood woman Susan Ferguson (35), from Westlink, was also found guilty of possessing a magazine for a Taurus pistol which was found on top of her fridge and which was connected to the murder.

Speaking outside the courthouse, Supt Roy McComb said: "Whatever people thought of Jim Johnston and whatever crimes he was suspected of, no-body has the right to kill him."

He added that justice should be dispensed in court and not "from the barrel of a gun".


**Takes a real man to gang up three on one woman and using baseball bats. There's something they can be proud of.

Masked gang attack woman in house

A woman has been treated in hospital after being beaten by a gang of masked men who broke into her home in Ballymoney, County Antrim.

Three men forced their way into her house in the Mosside area of Ballymoney at about midnight on Thursday.

They beat her with baseball bats, causing severe bruising to her body.

The gang ransacked the house before escaping in a car in the direction of Armoy. Police are describing the attack as a paramilitary-style assault.

They have appealed for anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them.

Sean Farren, SDLP Assembly member for North Antrim, described the attack as "brutal and horrifying".

"There can be no possible justification for acts like this and there can be no toleration of them either," he said.


Abuser 'forced family to flee home'
Police unable to stop paedophile living near his schoolgirl victim

Steven Morris
Friday June 10, 2005
The Guardian

The family of a schoolgirl claim that they have been forced out of their home after a paedophile who was jailed for sexually assaulting the child moved back into their street after being released.

**First off, the scum was only given an 8 month sentence and then was out in 5. Now this. Crimes against women and children are not seen as serious by the men who make the laws.


IBUPROFEN - 'Safe' drug link to heart attacks
Millions face painkiller dilemma

Sarah Boseley, health editor
Friday June 10, 2005
The Guardian

Nine million people with arthritis were yesterday left in a dilemma as ibuprofen, a painkiller which has long been considered one of the safest drugs on the market, was linked with heart attacks.

The news will dismay those who depend on drugs to reduce the stiffening in joints, alleviate the pain and allow them to lead a normal life.

The question mark over ibuprofen, of which Nurofen is one of the best known brands, and the other less well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) follows on the heels of the crisis over a newer class of medicines used for the same purpose.

The drug company Merck took its best-selling Vioxx off the market after trials showed it, too, was linked with heart attacks. A whole class of drugs, known as the Cox2 inhibitors, is now under investigation.

The biggest support group for people with arthritis made a heartfelt plea yesterday for doctors to advise them on what they should do.

"Medicine is an important element in the treatment for the vast majority of people with arthritis. There is now much confusion and worry over the risks associated with many of the medicines used for arthritis," said Neil Betteridge, chief executive of Arthritis Care.

"We urgently need the medical profession to take a lead in helping people with arthritis decide what treatment is right for them. Of course, any medicine that brings a benefit is likely also to carry a risk of some side effects. Indeed, doing nothing to manage your condition may also carry a risk.

"However, there needs to be very clear communication of both the risks and benefits associated with each and every treatment.

"Ultimately, it is the person with arthritis who will decide what to take for their condition and their decision needs to be an informed one."

Confidence in ibuprofen, which as an over-the-counter painkiller had sales of over 200m in 2000, was further dented by a study published last week by researchers at the University of Southern California, who said they had identified a link to breast cancer.

Today's paper, published in the British Medical Journal, comes from academics at Nottingham University, who identified 9,218 patients in England, Scotland and Wales aged from 25 to 100 who had suffered a first heart attack.

They then looked to see if they had been taking NSAIDS and Cox2 inhibitors.

Their results were adjusted for factors linked to heart attacks, such as age, heart disease, smoking habits and whether they were also taking aspirin, which reduces the heart attack risk.

They found that the risk of a heart attack was increased in those who had taken the drugs in the three months before their heart attack.

For ibuprofen, the risk rose by almost a quarter (24%) - higher if they had been on it longer - and for a similar drug called diclofenac it rose to 55%.

The increased risk with the Vioxx (generic name rofecoxib) was 32% and with an other Cox2 called Celebrex (celecoxib) it was 21%.

The authors were particularly concerned about older NSAIDS like ibuprofen, because many people will have switched to them after the furore over the Cox2s. For every 1,005 people over 65 taking ibuprofen, they say, one will have a heart attack.

The authors, Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice, and Carol Coupland, senior lecturer in medical statistics, call for an investigation of the heart risks of all these drugs.

They say that given the high prevalence of the use of these drugs in elderly people and the increased risk of heart attack with age, there could be considerable implications for public health.

In a separate editorial in the BMJ, Peter Juni, senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Berne, and colleagues say that some of the results of the study could be explained by other factors.

Large-scale clinical trials comparing the efficacy and side-effects of the drugs may be necessary to determine the best treatment for people with musculoskeletal pain, they say.

Westward Ho!


**Glad to hear our 'three-decade conflict' ended in 1998.

Queen may make first Ireland visit

June 10, 2005 - 6:19AM

Queen Elizabeth may soon make her first state visit to Ireland, Irish President Mary McAleese said after meeting the monarch.

The Queen has avoided visiting Ireland because of security worries stemming from neighbouring Northern Ireland's three-decade conflict, which ended with the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

"The Irish and British governments are agreed that a visit should take place and the timing is for decision by them in the light of the successful development of the political process in Northern Ireland over time," McAleese said in a statement.

The possibility of a state visit by the Queen has been discussed for years. She has been wary of visiting Ireland since her husband's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed by the Irish Republican Army while holidaying there in 1979.

The IRA declared a cease-fire in 1994 but a breakaway group known as the Real IRA remains active. Prince Charles and other senior royals have visited the country.

09 June 2005

An Phoblacht

The Gough Barracks raid - Remembering the Past


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Photo: Gough Barracks

In January 1954, Leo McCormick, the Training Officer for the Dublin Brigade of the IRA, was on a visit to Armagh. As he passed Gough Barracks, the home of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, McCormick noticed that the guard on duty outside the barracks was armed with a sten gun without a magazine. McCormick concluded rightly that Gough Barracks was in effect being guarded by an unarmed guard.

On his return to Dublin, McCormick informed the Dublin Brigade of his chance observation. Alas, McCormick was not to see the end result of his information, as he was arrested soon after and received four years for possession of a document.

By April, the General Head Quarters decided that they would raid Gough Barracks for arms. But first, more information was needed.

Eamon Boyce the Intelligence Officer of the Dublin Brigade, was asked to travel up to Armagh and check out the barracks. Boyce travelled up many times and soon had a detailed account of life outside the barracks. But GHQ wanted more inside details. Charlie Murphy got over this problem by asking Seán Garland to go up to Armagh and enlist in the British Army.

Not long after Garland's enlistment, a stream of maps, documents, time schedules and even photographs flowed into GHQ for processing. Finally, a last intelligence coup was arranged. Using Garland's information, the IRA got inside the barracks to have a look around.

On a Saturday night in May, Boyce and Murphy slipped into the barracks as 'guests' at a weekly dance. With them they brought a girl, Mae Smith, who was later to become chairperson of Sinn Féin. After a few dances, Garland took Mae outside for what his fellow soldiers assumed was an hour of light passion but was in fact a detailed tour of the entire barracks.

The operation was launched on 12 June 1954, from a farm just outside Dundalk. A large red cattle truck had been commandeered at the last moment and 19 IRA men, about half of the Dublin Brigade, climbed in and were informed as to what their target was. It was almost 3 o'clock on a busy Saturday afternoon when the cattle truck and a car drove into Armagh.

Paddy Ford got out of the car and walked over to the sentry and asked him about enlisting in the British Army. While the sentry was dissuading Ford of what he considered a foolish course of action, he looked down into the barrel of a .45 calibre colt revolver in the perspective recruit's hand. As the sentry was held at gunpoint, three IRA men went past him into the guardhouse. The sentry was then brought in after them. While the sentry was being tied up, a new IRA sentry, complete with British uniform, white webbing belt, regimental cap and sten gun with magazine stepped out to stand guard over Gough Barracks.

As soon as the IRA sentry appeared, the cattle truck drove through the gate and came to a halt outside the arsenal door. After fumbling through 200 keys, Eamonn Boyce found the right one and opened the armoury. Murphy raced up the stairs and in the first room two British soldiers demanded to know what a civilian wanted inside the barracks. Murphy had some trouble getting his revolver out of his pocket and was further embarrassed when the two soldiers refused to put up their hands. However, another IRA man arrived carrying a Thompson sub machine gun, which quickly convinced them to do as they were told. Posting a Bren gun at the armoury window to command the barracks square, the IRA began stripping the armoury.

During the course of the raid a woman, noticing something was wrong, stopped a British officer in the street and urged him into the barracks to investigate. Once inside the gate the officer was taken under control and, protesting that he was an officer and a gentleman, refused to be tied until a gun was put to his head.

An NCO then noticed what was happening, got into a lorry and drove for the gate, intending to block the exit. But an IRA man (later to become editor of An Phoblacht) stood at the gate brandishing a revolver and shouted "Back". He forced the NCO to reverse the lorry. The NCO was placed under arrest in the guard room. By the end of the raid, the IRA had tied up 19 British soldiers and one civilian.

In less than 20 minutes the job was done. The lorry carrying 340 rifles, 50 sten guns, 12 bren guns, and a number of small arms drove out of the barrack gates and rumbled through Armagh in the direction of the 26 Counties. Eamon Boyce and the group in the car followed after locking every gate and door for which they could find keys (the keys were later auctioned in America to raise funds for the IRA). At 3.25pm the first alarm in the barracks was given but it was not until 5 o'clock that the general alarm was given and by that time the big red truck was long gone.

The raid for arms in Gough Barracks gained international attention. The IRA, which had been described by some as moribund since the '40s campaign, had once more risen from its slumber to strike a blow against the forces of occupation. The raid awoke a calling in many to join the IRA and take part in the Border Campaign, which kept alive the flame of republicanism through to the present time.

On 12 June 1954, 50 years ago, the IRA raided Gough Barracks in County Armagh.

Unison.ie / Irish Independent

**I have just noticed that the URL I have always used for stories coming from the Irish Independent does not work at all. Since you must register with your email details to view the articles from the site, I only meant to give a link to the Independent's front page, but it turned up an error message. I apologise for not checking this. This is the correct link for access to the Independent:



An Phoblacht

New Bloody Sunday rifle claim - Families demand truth


The Bloody Sunday families have demanded an investigation into claims that one of the SLR rifles used by the Parachute Regiment in the killings in January 1972 turned up in Sierra Leone — after the Ministry of Defence had told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that the weapon had been destroyed.

The claim is made in a newly-published book by former Royal Irish Regiment colonel, Belfast-born Tim Collins, who during his time in Iraq was investigated for the violent abuse and murder of Iraqi civilians. Although he was formally exonerated, the mud of the allegations stuck and he left the British Army with some bitterness. He now works for Aegis, a firm of private 'security consultants', headed by Tim Spicer. Spicer was head of the mercenary organisation Sandline International, which was forced to shut up shop in April 2004 when it became involved in an attempted illegal coup in Equatorial Guinea. Spicer was also the former commander of two British soldiers sentenced to life for murdering unarmed Belfast teenager Peter McBride 13 years ago.

In his book, Rules of Engagement, Collins writes that the rifle in question was one of a number taken by the British Army during an operation against the rebel group, The West Side Boys, in Sierra Leone, in which he was involved. It was taken back to Britain and kept as a souvenir. Collins writes: "It was only when they were back to the UK that it was discovered from the serial numbers that one of the rifles was actually an old 1 Para rifle.

"It was used on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 when 13 protestors had been shot — and it had been declared destroyed when the Saville Inquiry into the shootings had asked for it."

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney supports the families' call for a full investigation into the matter. He says:

"At the Saville Inquiry we were told that this particular rifle was destroyed yet we now have claims in a new book that it turned up in Sierra Leone and was captured by the same British Army regiment that was responsible for Bloody Sunday.

"If this is the case then it begs the question as to why the MOD told the Inquiry it was destroyed when in fact it was being held in an British Army camp as some sort of macabre trophy.

"In Derry recently a man was imprisoned for failing to attend the Inquiry although he stated he was not present on the day yet we have no one being held to account for misleading the inquiry.

"People must have full confidence that the British Government have disclosed all relevant information in relation to Bloody Sunday but if the accusation in this book are true then people will be sceptical of any findings as the full truth is obvious being withheld."

An Phoblacht

Criminality, Collusion and Cover-up


The revelations in the Morris Tribunal Report this week would have been astounding if not for the fact that most of us already knew what Morris exposed officially.

But what is astounding and would be unacceptable in any other jurisdiction in the free world is that a Commissioner of Police and a Justice Minister who were guilty of overseeing the operation of a Police Service while ignoring all of the warning signs of corruption, collusion and cover-up within that service are not to be held accountable.

Will the Morris Report lead to root and branch reform of the Gardaí? I don't think so, because the arrogance of the present Irish Justice Minister knows no bounds and I don't believe that he will accept, despite all of the evidence, the need for an Independent Garda Ombudsman. That would be to accept that there is something fundamentally wrong with the manner in which he has conducted his responsibilities not just as Justice Minister but also as Attorney General when the allegations in the McBrearty case first emerged.

It's not as if Mr McDowell only became aware of the facts of the McBrearty case with the publication of the Morris Report last week. Frank McBrearty Jnr claims that he informed Michael McDowell about what happened to his family as far back as nine years ago, when McDowell was Attorney General, and he failed to take any action. The least that an Attorney General should do if there are allegations of wrongdoing in the police service would be to set up an inquiry. Such dereliction of duty would not be tolerated in any other walk of life. Because of his inaction, the McBrearty family were forced to endure nine years of untold suffering and hardship.

It's not as if there was no precedent for Garda corruption and cover-up going back many years and covering instances such as the Kerry Babies case, the Sallins Train Robbery, the Frank Shortt case and the Garda Heavy Gang. Resistance to scrutiny of state bodies within the Irish political establishment must end if true democracy is to be developed on this island. It is hypocritical to say the least for Irish Government Ministers to lecture others on the principles of democracy whilst at the same time presiding over a system rife with corruption, criminality and cover-ups.

Of course, this attitude by government ministers who fail to accept responsibility for their actions when things go wrong does not apply solely to this Minister. But in this Ministry, failure to ensure openness and transparency inflicts hurt and suffering that can never be erased on innocent citizens who are supposed to be protected by the State.

I have great admiration for the McBreartys‚ for the courage that they have shown in challenging the establishment knowing that all the powers of the state would be used to disprove their allegations. I wish them every success and hope that they can find closure on this episode in their lives and go on to enjoy good health and good fortune in the future.

Irish Independent

Suspected RIRA men 'on way to carry out a hiding' held by gardai

TWO suspected members of the Real IRA were in Garda custody last night after a handgun was found hidden in a car.

Senior gardai believe the suspects were part of a six-strong group on their way to hand out a "hiding" to a former associate linked to a rival dissident group.

The Real IRA has been riven with faction fighting since the split between its former chief of staff, Michael McKevitt, and his former director of operations, Liam Campbell.

The two men were arrested by gardai as part of Operation Anvil, the big offensive against armed crime in Dublin, after they were spotted acting suspiciously.

Detectives on an Anvil patrol stopped their estate car at Croydon Green in Marino on Tuesday night and a search of the vehicle later unearthed the gun hidden underneath the floor.

Gardai also recovered a number of balaclavas and batons which they think were to have been used in the intended assault. The two men, aged 30 and 21, are both from the Ballybough area in the north inner city. They were being held last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act at Clontarf garda station and a decision on their fate was expected to be made this morning.

Meanwhile, detectives from the Santry divisional task force yesterday raided a flat in the north inner city and seized two replica firearms and a quantity of cannabis with a street value of a couple of thousand euro.

Three men were detained and were being held last night under the Offences Against the State Act. The men had been placed under surveillance after they were seen watching a bank in Cloghran, Co Dublin, last weekend. Gardai said there was no paramilitary link to the arrests and they believed the bank raid was to have been carried out by a city crime gang.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

Daily Ireland

OPINION: Is it safe for the IRA to completely go away?

Danny Morrison
To comment: columnists@dailyireland.com
Danny Morrison.com

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There are two crucial political questions at the moment in the North. What will be the IRA’s response to Gerry Adams’ appeal for it to stand down and for its activists to devote their energies to political struggle? And what is the Democratic Unionist Party’s true position on a power-sharing deal with Sinn Féin?
Last Christmas, the DUP balked at the unprecedented offer then made by the IRA leadership — without consultation with its volunteers — to verifiably put all of its arms beyond use. For a short while, it seemed as if Ian Paisley and the DUP were going to take most of the blame for the impasse.
But within a short time, republicans were being urged to do “more” — that is, agree to decommissioning being photographed — while the DUP was merely chided for turning down a historic offer.
Republicans felt that the pressure should have been on the DUP and were angry at London and Dublin for retrospectively conferring any validity on Paisley’s “sackcloth and ashes” approach.
Despite the peace, every protagonist here is still fighting the old wars through the political process. Just because opponents shake hands doesn’t make them bosom pals. Bertie Ahern, in particular, needs to keep Sinn Féin in check in the South by limiting its prestige nationally and exploiting the party’s difficulties.
Tony Blair represents a state that was antipathetic to the Irish long before the IRA relentlessly attacked it. He is from a tradition of “my country, right or wrong” — which explains why he will not even co-operate with his ally Bertie on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Certainly, Blair and Ahern do not want the IRA to return to armed struggle and do not want to be perceived to be the cause of a split that might see a rump of the IRA return to conflict, even if that were disastrous for the cause of republicanism.
Those in the political establishment want to keep the Sinn Féin leadership under pressure, reeling, embarrassed, angry and frustrated. They love the idea of being tough and putting manners on Sinn Féin. Thus Bertie Ahern’s riposte to an angry Gerry Adams’ denial of republican involvement in money laundering: “What kind of eejits do people take us for?”
This is the price Sinn Féin has to pay for being the driving force for major change when its disparate opponents would prefer various degrees of minimal change, if any. But it is also the price the party has to pay for the question mark over IRA intentions.
Republicans are always going to be viewed as the real enemy. How can it be otherwise, given their relentless pursuit of their objectives and their high aspirations?
Immediately after the Northern Bank raid and before the repercussions of the Robert McCartney murder (and the major mishandling of this local incident), the remaining limited pressure on the DUP vanished and Sinn Féin was roasted on a hot spit for five long months.
Sinn Féin’s vote in the Westminster elections still proved remarkably resilient but, had it not been for the Northern Bank raid and the McCartney murder, the party’s vote would have been more substantial. Foyle just might have been taken, and the SDLP lead over Sinn Féin in South Down would have been narrowed beyond dispute.
Instead, the SDLP has been reinvigorated for a while by limited successes — but successes nonetheless — which actually masks a party still in decline. The negative impact of the SDLP’s election results is that Blair and the DUP will waste time thinking there is an option available of co-opting Mark Durkan into a power-sharing arrangement to the exclusion of Sinn Féin. Durkan has repeatedly repudiated that as an option but, with people in the party such as Alasdair McDonnell and Eddie McGrady who supported the idea just months ago, Blair and the DUP are likely to give up later rather than sooner.
One repercussion of this is that the DUP will resist to the end answering Gerry Adams’ challenge to engage in dialogue. Indeed, because of its inherently sectarian nature, the DUP might remain intransigent even if the IRA responds to Gerry Adams in a way that turns the tables on the DUP, including the two governments putting pressure on the DUP. That is a real possibility that will influence the internal debate requested by Gerry Adams.
It doesn’t matter that the IRA has already put weapons beyond use on three separate occasions — acts witnessed by international observers. However unfairly, Sinn Féin was always going to pay the price for the IRA’s past and present and the question over its future.
The ceasefire is arguably a staging post in the unified and disciplined demobilisation of the IRA. But republican opponents have successfully presented it as the very opposite — a position from which the IRA carries out limited but significant activities and consolidates its ability to return to war.
The IRA has existed, in one mode or another, throughout the existence of the Northern state, a state of which nationalists could never feel a part, except as vanquished subjects. The IRA existed to defend nationalists against the forces of the state and to make a stand against the state as part of the struggle to overthrow the state, break the British connection and reunite Ireland.
The largest popular support for the IRA came in the 1970s and was directly fuelled by violent unionist opposition to the civil rights movement and its demand for equality. With the introduction of the British army in support of the unionist status quo and the intensification of military repression, the conflict shot to an unprecedented level.
Given the repeated outbreaks of conflict throughout the history of the Northern state, is it safe for the IRA to completely go away? When all is debated and discussed, that might be the most crucial question republicans have to answer.
Would the nationalist community feel safer, be safer, if their sons and daughters made up half of the PSNI and, as insurance, if their party of choice in the North, Sinn Féin, was also a party or potential party of government in the South?
What is in a deal for unionists? Access to real, though shared, power and, clearly, the hope that nationalist fervour for reunification would be dulled or neutered by full participation in the North. For nationalists, it is the power to really change society and the hope that peace and stability in the North would relax unionists and allow them to view Ireland as their home.
All life is a gamble. To me, the IRA has fulfilled its role in line with the cards it has been dealt. Many former activists joined Sinn Féin and brought to that party immense energy and talent. It only remains for the process to be completed and republicans, in my opinion, will triumph.

Danny Morrison is a regular media commentator on Irish politics. He is the author of three novels and three works of non-fiction.

Belfast Telegraph

Concern at MI5 role in police intelligence
Watchdog raises worries at handover

By Chris Thornton and Jonathan McCambridge
09 June 2005

The Government's plan to hand responsibility for intelligence to MI5 raised concerns today with police reform watchdog Al Hutchinson.

Mr Hutchinson warned that the plan to take intelligence primacy away from the PSNI and hand it to MI5 could undermine Patten reforms and hurt the fight against organised crime.

Mr Hutchinson, issuing the 13th regular report on police reform today, described Sinn Fein's refusal to support policing as "an impediment" to reform.

The former Canadian Mounted Police chief said 114 out of 175 recommendations from the 1999 Patten report have now been realised. He described the doubling of Catholic representation in the force as a success story but warned that police, media and the community need to address the gap between falling crime and a rise in public fears about crime.

MI5 is due to take over primary responsibility for intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland in 2007.

Mr Hutchinson said he raised concerns about the plan because "I do not want to see Patten undermined".

"For very specific reasons, Patten went about setting up a number of recommendations about Special Branch, security and a force within a force," he said.

He said those changes - while still incomplete - have improved the accountability of Special Branch and the use of intelligence in combating crime.

"I do not want to see that effectiveness changed by a switch to the Security Services or MI5, he said.

"We don't want to end up inadvertently recreating what we had before, where you have an impenetrable wall between intelligence gathering and the needs of the community.

"The caveat to this is that we haven't seen any detail.

"The element of transparency is important, and at the same time you don't want to destroy effective policing."

Mr Hutchinson said full political support for policing - a veiled reference to Sinn Fein's refusal to back policing - is holding back further progress.

"We've generally skated around this but we're now at the stage where it really is the issue," he said. "I won't say it's a blockage but it is an impediment to the further progress that people want on the streets."

But Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said concerns about MI5 vindicated his party's refusal to consider support for policing until after the publication of a bill to transfer policing and justice powers to Stormont.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde said the time is now right for discussions with Government on how to fully implement the Patten Report.


New tribute to Terry óg

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A plaque commemorating the life and work of local man Terry Enright Junior is to be unveiled at St Anne’s Cathedral this Saturday on what would have been Terry’s 36th birthday.

The plaque will be positioned on a pillar on the cathedral’s façade, and will overlook the spot in Talbot Street where the Dermott Hill man was murdered by LVF gunmen almost eight years ago.

The father-of-two was working as a doorman at the nearby Space nightclub when he was gunned down in an apparent retaliation for the INLA killing of loyalist Billy Wright.

Delighted by the mark of respect to his son, Terry Enright Senior says it is a fitting tribute to the life and work of a man who was a well-known and respected member of his own community and, indeed, of many other communities across Belfast, where he promoted his passion for youth work and mutual understanding.

“Talbot Street, and the cathedral beside it, is a place where any time I pass,it’s in my head… sometimes I’ll go a different way,” said Terry.

“But this plaque is going to be on a pillar, approximately opposite to where Terry was killed, so that’s a nice idea, and it’ll make it a wee bit easier to walk past, I think.

“I think the idea is to get two kids, young leaders from Ballymurphy and the Shankill, who are taking part in the Terry Enright Leadership Award, to launch it.”

Commenting on the event in memory of the former Gort na Mona player and coach, the Dean of Belfast, Rev Houston McKelvey said, “Terry Enright worked cross-community and his funeral brought together young people from every tradition in the city. His funeral was an act of unity and hope amidst immense sorrow and grief.

“Thankfully, his work is being continued with the Enright Foundation and particularly through its bursary scheme for emerging young leaders.

“The Cathedral Board was unanimous in its response to a request from the Foundation and Terry's family that a plaque be erected at the cathedral close to where Terry died.

“We hope that this event, which is being held on Terry’s birthday, will be of comfort to his wife, young daughters, his parents and his family. We welcome this opportunity to remember a young man who made a most positive contribution to our city and to send out yet again a clear message to those who engage in or plan murder that good will always ultimately conquer and that the hope of those working for a better city cannot be quenched.

“Terry’s work brought him to all areas,” added his father, “and he was a person who came across so well, women liked him a lot,” he laughed, “ and he was able to build up a great rapport with people, particularly children, and he loved his work.

“He treated everyone the same. He didn’t care where he was, or indeed what people were, he treated them as he found them, and I’ve been surprised time and time again over the years by the people who tell me they met him and remembered him. They say he had a lovely way about him and a great openness.

“Sometimes I hear people talk about this closure you get, but there’s no such thing, it’s always with you, it never goes away. But you get on with it and you deal with it.

“I used to walk past St Anne’s Cathedral,” said Terry, “and there was all this chat about the good work of the Black Santa and everything and I used to think, ‘well, there’s no mention of my son, and he was killed just outside the place’, but now this very nice gesture from the church is happening and it’ll make it that little bit easier to walk down the street.”

A short service will be held in St Anne’s Cathedral on Saturday at 2pm before the dedication.

Also taking part in the service will be clergy from St Peter’s Cathedral on the Falls Road.

Journalist:: Ciara McGuigan

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